Welcome to campus, chips. There were some major local news events this summer that you may have missed if you weren’t on campus or in Mount Pleasant. Here is your chance to play catch-up.
Mari Poindexter, a 23-year-old CMU fixed-term faculty member, says she was attacked by a man at the Cabin.
Poindexter said she was at a Toby Keith concert Wednesday with some family members when a man began dancing uncomfortably close to her cousins. When she moved to position herself between family and the stranger, the man lashed out.
“He called me a ‘cross-dressing fag’ and asked why I look like a man if I’m a girl,” Poindexter said. The man eventually left them alone after Poindexter and her family ignored a string of hate slurs.
Later that night Poindexter, the designated driver for the night, brought friends to the Cabin Bar. She said she thought she saw the same man inside.
“I wasn’t completely sure, but I thought it was him,” she said. “He never spoke to me inside the bar.”
At around 1 a.m., as Poindexter searched through her car for her house keys in the bar’s parking lot she felt a tap on her shoulder.
“I hardly turned and he punched me in the face,” Poindexter said. “I didn’t know who it was; I was curled up in the fetal position on the ground to protect myself.”
Poindexter said the man spit on her, and as he walked away she heard the same voice and the same words as earlier.
“Cross-dressing fag,” the attacker said.
“I was in complete shock,” Poindexter said. “This is my home. I could not believe it happened.”
Over the summer, Warriner Hall was temporarily closed after elevated levels of asbestos were found inside the building.
On May 29, staff at Central Michigan University’s Office of Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety were alerted of elevated levels of asbestos in the air of the first and second floors of Warriner Hall. University officials asked all employees in the building to evacuate the building.
It was reopened on June 18 and employees were allowed to return to their assigned location inside the hall.
Provost Mike Gealt is among 169 employees who work in Warriner Hall. He said all affected employees were to be temporarily reassigned to other locations on campus or to work from home.
Fibertec, an environmental consulting firm from Holt, did the testing.
HBC, an asbestos abatement contractor, removed the damaged asbestos from the air duct.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that occurs in rock and soil, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has been used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant.
When asbestos-containing material is disturbed during product use, demolition work, building or home maintenance, repair or remodeling, asbestos fibers may be released into the air, according to the EPA. Exposure to asbestos increases one’s risk of developing lung disease and smoking increases that risk.
There are some federal bans on asbestos.
More apartments could be coming to Mission street.
At the July 27 Mount Pleasant City Commission meeting, an adjustment was made to the city’s zoning ordinance that would increase flexibility for developers.
A text change of the ordinance was approved, allowing single-floor residences to act as a transition between commercial and residential developments.
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The change is intended to affect the Mission Overlay Redevelopment Zone, which encourages developers on Mission Street to consider site layouts that are more accessible and architecturally interesting.
“The Planning Commission made this recommendation to broaden their flexibility,” said City Manager Nancy Ridley.
The amendment will allow developers to combine commercial uses with residential buildings, allowing for a transition between commercial businesses and family-owned homes.
This would allow developers to build apartments in the overlay zone, even if they are not adjacent to other apartments. They could abut owner-occupied homes, and parts of Central Michigan University’s campus.
Washington and Main streets are now two-way.
An abundance of social media and email notifications were sent out to CMU students to make them aware the streets now have traffic flowing both north and south.
Mount Pleasant Police Capt. Paul Lauria said city officials had notified residents and students for nearly a year.
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Mt. Pleasant Police Capt. Paul Lauria said city officials conducted an educational campaign, put up signs, used all forms of social media possible, put information on the city’s website and sent notices to CMU students about the change in the streets.
In addition, there are a number of signs posted along both streets letting drivers know they are two-way, and more lighting, Lauria said.
“We really tapped all of the social media outlets to remind them,” Lauria said. “If all of those are forgotten, there’s signage in place.”
In addition to drivers, Lauria said, pedestrians need to remember that traffic is coming both north and south on both streets, and to look both ways before crossing.
Making the streets two-way was to allow a more convenient connection from campus to the downtown area, Lauria said, and was not entered into without letting the public know.
Parking on streets adjacent to campus could come at a higher cost for students this fall, as the university is raising its ticket fees to match the city of Mount Pleasant.
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Enforced by the university, parking meters on Franklin, University, Main, Bellows and Washington streets, as well as parking by the former site of the Student Book Exchange, will increase ticket fees to match the city’s rates.
At CMU, fees for empty meters are issued at a $10 fine with a $10 late fee. The Mount Pleasant rate is $15 for an empty meter with a late fee of $30. In August, fees on the predominantly student-populated streets will increase to the city’s fees.
Mount Pleasant Building Official Brian Kench said the idea is to get people to park elsewhere, thus relieving street congestion in those areas.
“If you want to park near campus, you’re going to pay,” he said at a June 8 City Commission meeting. “A couple blocks away, it’s free.”
CMU enforces those parking meters for the city as a result of a 2014 agreement during a neighborhood parking analysis which went into effect last August. The university is responsible for ticketing in those areas, collecting unpaid citations, processing payments and participating in all issues that may require a court hearing.
In exchange, the city provides maintenance, repairs and replacement of the meters. CMU collects 70 percent of all revenue taken from parking enforcement activity.
Students will receive an email notification if they are cited for a parking violation, which was implemented by Parking Services last fall.
The Central Michigan University football team is in the spotlight again when former defensive back Brandon Greer was charged with three more felonies by Isabella County Prosecutor Risa Hunt-Scully on Aug. 4.
Greer’s two felony charges were dismissed the previous week after he had been in jail for 21 days.
Hunt-Scully charged Greer, 21, with assault with intent to commit sexual penetration, a 10-year felony, criminal sexual conduct-second degree assault, a five-year felony and attempted unlawful imprisonment, a five-year felony. Greer was also charged with lying to a police officer, a two-year misdemeanor.
He is currently held at the Isabella County Jail.
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On July 31, Chief Judge Paul Chamberlain dismissed attempted kidnapping and assault with intent to commit sexual conduct charges against Greer. Hunt-Scully said Greer could be re-charged if new information was found. The new charges are based on a statement from a woman who said she was approached by Greer in June while walking down Mission Street.
Police have statements from seven women alleging to have been approached by Greer.
This comes recently after former CMU football player Michael Kinville faced assault by strangulation and domestic violence charges in June after police say he choked his girlfriend inside his Mount Pleasant apartment.
On September 14, 2014, the team’s then leading rusher Thomas Rawls was suspended from the team and was arrested on three felonies by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal Police Department, according to Isabella County court documents.
Kevin Andrews is a reporter for CMU Insider. You can follow him on Twitter, @.