News Briefs 6-17

Union Missionary Baptist Church, Sisters of the Spirit Women’s Ministry, under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Dr. Rev. Melvin T. Jones, has created a wonderful array of women’s activities. The remaining events are filled with a full itinerary planned with praise and worship and informative and enlightening conference workshop sessions — all to equip you to become advancing Women of God. Our last FREE Friday Fellowship will start at 5:30 p.m. on September 21st at Union Missionary Baptist Church. The evening will start with light dinner refreshments and ending with praise and worship representing numerous churches in the community. Conference day takes place on September 22, featuring national speaker, Rev. Mayowa Reynolds of Fellowship Chapel in Detroit, Michigan. Providing a wonderful closing to this year’s activities on September 23rd, 10:15 a.m. Sunday Service, is Rev. Dr. Marsha Foster Boyd, President of Detroit’s Ecumenical Theological Seminary.

This year’s scriptural basis is Colossians 1:10, "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God".

Early bird registration is still available to obtain a custom made prayer stole. For registration and to take advantage of exhibitor/sponsor opportunities, please visit us at to download information or call UMBC at (517) 485-7705. Women ages 18 and up are welcome to join in the activities.

Homeless advocate/author to speak Sat. Sept. 22 at Central United Methodist Church

Nationally known author and homeless advocate Phyllis Cole-Dai will speak Saturday evening, Sept. 22, at Central United Methodist Church, Capitol at Ottawa in downtown Lansing.

Cole-Dai spent two months living among the homeless on the streets of Columbus, Ohio, which has much in common with Lansing. The experience is chronicled in the book, The Emptiness of Our Hands. Interesting and extensive background information is posted at

The remarks of Ms. Cole-Dai are the highlight of the Third Annual Open Door Ministry of Downtown Lansing Celebration, which includes a dinner and fund raising silent auction. Doors open at 4:30, program at 5:30, dinner 6, followed by Cole-Dai’s comments. Tickets $15 adults, $8 children. Reservations: call the church at (517) 485-9477, or email

Contact Cris Bobier/Justin Sleight 485-9477
Michigan school districts approach the 2007-08 school year with caution

Michigan school districts approach the 2007-08 school year with caution

Lansing, MI – It’s back-to-school time for Michigan’s 1.6 million students, yet school districts still don’t know how much money they will receive from the state for the upcoming school year. The Michigan Legislature hasn’t been able to reach an agreement on the State budget for 2007-08, and one isn’t expected until the end of September.

The inaction of the Legislature is affecting jobs and programs that impact students.

The roller-coaster ride of the last few years has caused most school districts to respond with fiscal cautiousness — resulting in some alarming trends. “The bottom line is that school districts are doing their best to conserve their resources…but they’re cutting programs and spending down needed reserves,” says Tom White, Executive Director of the Michigan School Business Officials (MSBO), which recently released results of its “Fiscal Condition of Michigan Schools” survey.

The survey revealed that 74% of the responding school districts had budgeted no increase in funding from the State for 2007-08. On top of that, 56% of schools are anticipating a loss in pupils, which will also negatively affect the amount of state aid coming into their district.

“How can districts provide programs and services that students need when they don’t know what their revenues will be? It’s especially difficult to add new programs and services required by State and Federal regulations,” White said.

Schools are responding to the fiscal crunch by eliminating jobs, increasing class size and deferring needed maintenance, and by shifting costs to parents. According to the MSBO survey, with 228 school districts responding:
· 89% of districts in the state are reducing staff for 2007-08 either through layoffs or attrition
· 59% are spending down their financial reserves
· 53% are increasing class size
· 38% are contracting out services once performed by district employees
· 37% are consolidating services in collaboration with other school districts
· 33% are deferring maintenance on buildings
· 32% are shifting costs to parents through pay-to-play and other means

“While this survey shows school districts are being responsible with public dollars, it’s clear that they continue to head toward the edge of the financial cliff,” according to White. “Schools are doing everything they can to avoid affecting quality in the classroom, but it’s reaching a crisis point in many districts. Michigan is a state that historically has taken care of its kids. we can and must do better for Michigan’s kids than we have in the last few years.”

MSBO is a statewide association representing the interests of over 1,900 school business officials.

Action of Greater Lansing Calls For Action to Confront Crime and Substance Abuse Problems in Our Community

Monday, Sept. 24 at 6:30 pm, hundreds of leaders of Action of Greater Lansing will call for action to confront the rampant crime and substance abuse problem in our community. County Commissioners, Police Chief Mark Alley and elected City officials including Mayor Verg Bernero will be there to respond to the assembly. It will be held at Union Missionary Baptist Church, 500 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. All concerned citizens are urged to attend.

Action of Greater Lansing will call for public commitments from elected officials to implement a “Hot Spot Card” initiative and a Jail Services Gap program. Action of Greater Lansing is comprised of 12 diverse congregations in Greater Lansing. They focus on one to two issues of community concern each year.


The NorthWest Initiative announces their TEAM Fitness Club. This program is free to area residents. The NorthWest Initiative is a local non-profit community development organization charged with creating change through community engagement.

TEAM Fitness Club
Through a partnership with the Westside Community YMCA, this specialized program will encourage single mothers and their school-aged children to get physically active and learn more about nutrition and healthy eating!
o Location: Westside Community YMCA (3700 Old Lansing Road, Lansing, MI 48917)
o When: Sunday September 16 through Wednesday December 5
o Time: Sundays 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 pm, Wednesdays 7:00-8:00 pm
o The Sunday afternoon class includes fitness and nutrition instruction as well as a fitness class for school-aged children. The Wednesday evening session is just fitness and there will be no fitness class for children. The YMCA does offer free childcare: tot watch (ages 2 months to 5) and kids’ gym (ages 4-9), during the TEAM Fitness class times. However, it is space limited, and children of YMCA members will have first priority.
o There is open swim for families on Sundays and Wednesdays after each class.
o We are looking for participants to make a commitment to attend all or close to all of the 12-week session.
o The YMCA will be offering incentives (i.e., free classes) for women who attend at least 80% of the classes.
o The cost of attending the TEAM Fitness club is free!
o Please pre-register by emailing or calling Kathy Hollister at 483-4499 x 7.
For more information about Team Fitness, please contact the following:
Kathy Hollister, Office Coordinator
NorthWest Initiative
125 W. Main Street
Lansing, MI 48933
Telephone: 517-483-4499
Fax: 517-483-4403
Email: Web Site:


The Early Childhood Literacy Coalition (ECLC) will celebrate family literacy at two free mall stage shows in October.

With both offering the theme “Everyday Moments are Learning Moments”, the first will take place Saturday, October 20, at Lansing Mall, with the second Saturday, October 27, at Meridian Mall. Both events will run from 1-4 p.m.

The free mall stage shows will feature storyteller Jean Bolley as the Cat in the Hat, juggler Tim Salisbury, magician Nate the Great, plus the new PBS series character Super Why. The Meridian Mall show will also feature special guest Mr. McFeely, the “Speedy Delivery” mailman from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood who will be on hand for the stage show plus picture taking and meet-and-greet time. Included will be free activities for children along with information about early childhood agencies for family members.

The mall events are part of two weeks of literacy activities at individual agencies and libraries, from October 11-29. A detailed schedule can be found on starting in mid-September.

The Early Childhood Literacy Coalition is a volunteer committee comprising many of the greater Lansing area’s leading literacy, education and early childhood agencies. Formed in 2000, the group gathers regularly to network, share resources and discuss ways to promote literacy among Michigan’s youngest citizens and their families.

This information has been obtained from press releases.