Michigan’s Capitol Renovation

In the immediate years following the end of the Civil War — an era known as Reconstruction — a different type of construction was happening in Lansing.

On Oct. 2, 1873, officials in Lansing held a ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone of what would become our state’s permanent Capitol building. More than 140 years later, the Capitol is undergoing renovation to restore its iconic dome and sandstone façade.

After Michigan was admitted as the 26th state to the Union, Detroit served as our capital until 1847, when in accordance with the constitution, the state Legislature would elect a new city to serve as the state’s seat of government. In early March of that year, the governor signed the law declaring Lansing as the new capital city. Soon, a temporary structure was constructed to serve as the Capitol and a city began forming in the adjacent lands, which had been for the most part unsettled until that time.

By 1871 it was clear the 20-plus-year-old “temporary” building was no longer suitable nor befitting our state. A nationwide contest was held to select an architect for a permanent Capitol. Elijah Myers was awarded the job and responsibility of overseeing the $1.2 million project (about $23 million in today’s dollars). Continue reading

Pavlov hosts summer reading contest winners at Michigan Capitol

I was delighted this week to host the winners of my 2015 “Be a Senator For a Day” summer reading contest at the Michigan Capitol.

Thirteen students from Huron, Macomb, Sanilac and St. Clair counties traveled to Lansing with their parents to participate in a mock swearing-in ceremony and committee hearing and a guided Capitol tour.

This year’s contest was held throughout the summer and was open to all first- through fifth-grade students who completed their local public library’s summer reading program.

I appreciate the participation from the nearly 300 competition entries my office received. It’s terrific to see so many young people excited about reading! We randomly selected the winners from each participating library.

Research has shown that children who develop a love for reading do better in school and are more successful later in life. Our local libraries are helping instill this appreciation for reading through their summer reading programs.

After taking their “oaths of office” in the Senate chamber and a tour of Michigan’s historic, 137-year-old Capitol, the “junior senators” vigorously debated the merits of a hypothetical bill to require uniforms in Michigan’s public schools in a mock committee hearing that I chaired. Ultimately, they voted 5-8 against passing the “bill.”

The 2015 contest winners are:
• Jillian Bussone, fourth grade, home school
• Avery Cutcher, fifth grade, Brown City Elementary
• Jack Davis, fourth grade, Krause Elementary
• Nathan Flanagan, fourth grade, Sandusky Elementary
• Troy Livingston, fifth grade, Croswell-Lexington Schools
• Evan Martin, fourth grade, Palms Elementary
• Lane Morris, fourth grade, Yale Elementary
• Gabrielle Nelson, fifth grade, Kimball
• Ava Norman, fifth grade, home school
• Raven Peplinski, third grade, Bad Axe Elementary
• Isaac Powell, fifth grade, home school
• Hallie Smith, fifth grade, home school
• Kya Vettraino, fifth grade, Palms Elementary
• Kyle Wetter, fifth grade, Capac Elementary
• Austin Wilson, fourth grade, Belle River Elementary
• Maria Zyjewski, fifth grade, Eddy Academy

Congratulations to all these students! I look forward to hosting more fine young readers again next year.

Sen. Phil Pavlov stands in the Senate chamber with some of the winners of the 2015 Be a Senator For a Day summer reading contest as they take the “oath of office.”

Sen. Phil Pavlov stands in the Senate chamber with some of the winners of the 2015 Be a Senator For a Day summer reading contest as they take the “oath of office.”

Be prepared with the emergency plan mobile app

The first day of autumn falls during National Preparedness Month and serves as a reminder to Michigan residents to take the necessary steps to be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Being prepared can mean the difference between life and death if disaster strikes, and it can be as simple as following four steps:
• Find out what emergencies may impact your community;
• Develop a plan for what to do during an emergency;
• Practice and maintain your plan so everyone knows what to do; and
• Create an emergency kit with essential items, such as food, water and medications.

For simple steps to prepare, visit www.michigan.gov/prepares. The site also features information on the free Michigan Prepares mobile app, which can help your family plan for emergencies. Along with helping you create an emergency plan, the app covers basic supply checklists, Michigan-specific hazard fact sheets and links to other resources.

Students, parents gear up for another school year

To ensure that the upcoming school year is a success, there are important roles that both parents and students must play. The first priority, of course, is student safety.

If your child rides the bus, take the time to make sure your child knows the proper safety procedures for getting on and off the bus. If you drive your child to school or for students who drive themselves, please be aware and cautious when driving in school zones and around buses.

As parents, we also need to make sure we communicate with our kids and are doing what we can to help them get the most out of their education. Show support and do what you can to foster growth in your young students. For parents of first-time students, the Michigan Department of Education’s website provides many useful resources at: www.michigan.gov/mde under the “Parent Engagement” tab.