Ask ELi: Car Break-Ins, Fabric Recycling, and Streetlights

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In today’s Ask ELi to Investigate Grab Bag, we address some of the most recent inquiries and tips that we have received. Will fabric recycling return to the City of East Lansing? Why is it so dark at Valley Court Park?

We also provide a public service announcement after a reader wrote in about their experience having their car broken into twice in one evening.

Since January 1, 2021, we have received nearly 200 inquiries for the ELi team to investigate. Do you have a question about East Lansing that you want answered? Submit it to us here!

“I’ve read that several MI cities have re-engaged with Simple Recycling (textile and small household goods) after the COVID suspension was lifted. I understand that pick-up service has changed from regular curbside collection to individually scheduled collections through the service’s website. I also understand that the new EL Environmental Services Administrator will be starting in December. It would be great to know if they had plans to re-start the service.”

Prior to the pandemic, the City of East Lansing partnered with Simple Recycling. Residents could leave their clothes, shoes, and small home goods curbside in a special bag on their scheduled recycling day, but the recycling program was suspended in March 2020.

Simple Recycling’s website does allow individuals to schedule personal pick-ups, but currently the website does not show any available pickup days for the 48823 zip code.

ELi asked the City’s Communication Coordinator Mikell Frey if the program will return in the future.

“[Department of Public Works] staff have been in contact with Simple Recycling concerning their proposed changes to services, but have been awaiting additional information from them,” Frey told ELi. “The new environmental specialist slated to begin working with the City in early December will be reaching out to them again.”

“The street lights around Valley [Court] Park, near where the road joins Grand River don’t seem to be working at night. This makes the crosswalks at Grand River and Delta, and Delta and Valley Court dangerous to cross, as cars exiting Grand River aren’t always looking for pedestrians. This is part of the quickest route for anyone walking to downtown from the Chesterfield Hills neighborhood. When is the city going to fix these?”

ELi again wrote to Frey to find out the answer. It turns out that BWL owns and maintains the lights.

“Our Department of Public Works staff have reached out to the BWL regarding these outages,” Frey wrote to ELi. “They indicated that they will be looking into the issues in that area and hopefully get those outages resolved soon.”

“This past weekend, there seems to have been a rash of car break-ins in East Lansing. Three were reported on Nextdoor, including ours. Our car was broken into 2 times on the same night, by 2 different people.”

The ELi reader mentioned above asked that ELi “help remind the community to stay vigilant.”

We reached out ELPD Deputy Chief Steve Gonzalez for more information on how to best mitigate the risk of car break-ins.

In addition to locking doors and rolling up windows, Gonzalez said that ELPD “would also encourage people to keep cars in a closed garage if that is an option. If it isn’t, parking the vehicle in a well-lit area during the overnight hours is the next best option.”

He also recommended that people remove or hide valuable objects inside their cars.

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