Author: Al Hargrave Jackson

Al Hargrave recently moved to East Lansing, Michigan, and is a reporter at-large for ELi. Her interests include the environment and public policy. Click here to read more about our staff.
Event Will Help Citizens Clear Old, Non-Violent Convictions from Public Records

Event Will Help Citizens Clear Old, Non-Violent Convictions from Public Records

Local law students, attorneys and notaries are teaming up to help people move past old, nonviolent convictions. Learn more from ELi’s Al Hargrave-Jackson.

School Board Approves Curriculum Changes, Contract With Teachers

School Board Approves Curriculum Changes, Contract With Teachers

The School Board unanimously approved a new curriculum for teaching about HIV and AIDS, a high school-led trip to Germany, and a new contract with the teachers’ union. Al Hargrave Jackson reports.

Mark Wood of Trans-Siberian Orchestra to Perform with ELPS Students
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Mark Wood of Trans-Siberian Orchestra to Perform with ELPS Students

Mark Wood, an original member of the group Trans-Siberian Orchestra, will perform with ELHS and MMS students this Friday. Al Hargrave Jackson reports on the concert and partnership.

Where Does the City Stand in Its Plans to Go Green?
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Where Does the City Stand in Its Plans to Go Green?

Ten years ago this month, the City approved its Climate Sustainability Plan. This Earth Day, Al Hargrave Jackson takes a look at what the plan has achieved and future plans for sustainability in the City.

Two Years After Pledging to Increase DEI Efforts, Here’s Where ELPS Stands

Two Years After Pledging to Increase DEI Efforts, Here’s Where ELPS Stands

Following the murder of George Floyd, ELPS administrators vowed to undertake new efforts related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Where does the district stand on meeting those goals?

Council Discusses Changes to ARPA Funds, Anticipates Vote to Allocate Millions Next Week
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Council Discusses Changes to ARPA Funds, Anticipates Vote to Allocate Millions Next Week

During a presentation, the City Manager proposed using ARPA funds for three new projects. Council may vote next week to allocate more than $4 million of its ARPA funds. What will the money be spent on?

School Board Approves Policy Changes About Recess, Suicide Prevention, And More

School Board Approves Policy Changes About Recess, Suicide Prevention, And More

The School Board unanimously voted to adopt five new policies on Monday as it reviews and revises its new policy manual. Al Hargrave reports on the policy changes.

Why Did the School Board Hold a Vote on a Policy That Was Already in Place?

Why Did the School Board Hold a Vote on a Policy That Was Already in Place?

Superintendent Dori Leyko announced an almost identical policy nearly two weeks ago, but the Board held an official vote due to language in the recently approved policy handbook. What did the four trustees present have to say about the policy?

Council Approves Evaluation Form In Preliminary Step To Assess the City Manager’s Job Performance
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Council Approves Evaluation Form In Preliminary Step To Assess the City Manager’s Job Performance

The evaluation is supposed to occur prior to May 31, 2022, according to the contract. Al Hargrave reports on the first steps in City Manager George Lahanas’ coming evaluation.

Parks & Rec Advisory Commission Talks New Trails, More Food Trucks, and a Grant For Placemaking
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Parks & Rec Advisory Commission Talks New Trails, More Food Trucks, and a Grant For Placemaking

As it was the first meeting of 2022 for the Commission, they elected a new chair and vice chair. Al Hargrave reports.

School Board Discusses Removing Masks, Standardized Testing

School Board Discusses Removing Masks, Standardized Testing

ELPS will continue to require masks through at least mid-April. The Board also discussed a new Black American history course, standardized testing, and more.

Andrew Wells, East Lansing High School Principal and Longtime Educator set to Retire After 33 Years
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Andrew Wells, East Lansing High School Principal and Longtime Educator set to Retire After 33 Years

Wells started working in the district as a lunchroom monitor and paraprofessional, serving in a multitude of roles before eventually being named the principal at ELHS. Al Hargrave reports.

Local Girl Scouts at ELHS Working to Improve Community
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Local Girl Scouts at ELHS Working to Improve Community

Each troop has its own personality and interests, but all give back to their communities in meaningful ways. Al Hargrave reports.

Free Menstrual Products Coming to Public Restrooms? [UPDATED]

Free Menstrual Products Coming to Public Restrooms? [UPDATED]

City Council passed an ordinance requiring City-owned restrooms provide free menstrual products.

Unions Renew Push For ARPA Hazard Pay To City Employees Who Risked Covid Exposure [UPDATED]
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Unions Renew Push For ARPA Hazard Pay To City Employees Who Risked Covid Exposure [UPDATED]

Despite City Council approving “retention bonuses” for employees, some unions are pushing for employees who endured more Covid risks to get bonuses for that work. Al Hargrave reports.

Albert El Fresco is Coming Back to Downtown East Lansing, Despite Brookover’s Concerns
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Albert El Fresco is Coming Back to Downtown East Lansing, Despite Brookover’s Concerns

The official dates for EL Fresco have not be set, but Council voted to approve the closure of two lanes on Albert Street from Apr. 27 to Sept. 11, despite Council member Brookover voicing concerns about the project benefiting some local businesses and not others, among other things.

Outdoor Facilities Upgrades Coming to ELPS in 2022

Outdoor Facilities Upgrades Coming to ELPS in 2022

The athletic field and tennis courts at ELHS will undergo significant renovations this summer, and remaining bond money will be used to create outdoor learning spaces at the elementary schools. Al Hargrave provides a School Board round up.

What Have East Lansing’s Hired Lobbyists Been Up To?
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What Have East Lansing’s Hired Lobbyists Been Up To?

At Tuesday’s Council meeting, a representative from McAlvey, Merchant & Associates updated Council on the firm’s successes advocating on behalf of the City at the State Capitol, but at least two Council members called for clearer communication between the lobbyists and Council.

City Staff Set to Get Covid Bonuses From ARPA Money After Pushback

City Staff Set to Get Covid Bonuses From ARPA Money After Pushback

Full-time employees working for the City of East Lansing on Feb. 6, 2022, will receive a $2,000 bonus, and part-time workers will receive a $1,000 bonus, with a total of about $675,000 in tax dollars to be used. The intent is to reward and retain current employees.

EL School Board Addresses Covid Challenges With New President
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EL School Board Addresses Covid Challenges With New President

The ELPS School Board unanimously voted to make Kate Powers president in 2022, as the district faces high numbers of absenteeism at ELHS and challenges from the more transmissible Omicron variant.

Girl Scout Hopes to Sweeten the Semester for ELPS Employees
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Girl Scout Hopes to Sweeten the Semester for ELPS Employees

The article that had appeared at this url, about a sale of Girl Scout cookies, has been unpublished This year, one Girl Scout in East Lansing is working to keep alive a tradition started last year by a Girl Scout Troop from Whitehills Elementary School: collecting enough donations to give a free box of Girl…

Despite Calls For Covid-Related Bonuses To City Staff, East Lansing’s Draft ARPA Plan Leaves Them Out

Despite Calls For Covid-Related Bonuses To City Staff, East Lansing’s Draft ARPA Plan Leaves Them Out

UPDATE: At last night’s meeting, Council supported a motion by Council member George Brookover asking the City Manager to look into using ARPA funds for extra pay for “all unelected part time and full time City employees.”

School Board Discusses Oxford Shooting, Student Safety, Other Issues

School Board Discusses Oxford Shooting, Student Safety, Other Issues

At its first meeting since the school shooting in Oxford, Michigan, the ELPS School Board discussed student safety and a host of other issues, including finances, a new policy handbook, and curriculum changes. Al Hargrave delivers your School Board round up.

Upgrades to Burcham Drive and Elsewhere Coming This Spring

Upgrades to Burcham Drive and Elsewhere Coming This Spring

The Transportation Commission provided more details on the upcoming construction to Burcham Drive. When will it start? What will it entail?

City Seeking Resident Input on Draft Plan for ARPA Funds
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City Seeking Resident Input on Draft Plan for ARPA Funds

City Manager George Lahanas provided Council with a line-item American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Draft Plan on Nov. 16. The plan prioritizes parking systems, the fire station, and the Hannah Community Center as some of the first to receive funds, but residents can complete a survey by Dec. 10 to provide feedback on how the City should spend its ARPA funds.

Ask ELi: What’s Going On With The City Attorney Search?
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Ask ELi: What’s Going On With The City Attorney Search?

It’s been over three months since East Lansing’s City Council decided to look for a new City Attorney, and five law firms have submitted proposals to take on the role. What’s going on with all this?

ELHS Students Recognized by National Merit Scholarship Competition

ELHS Students Recognized by National Merit Scholarship Competition

Every year, students enter the National Merit Scholarship (NMS) competition by taking the Preliminary SAT. This year, East Lansing High School is proud to have four Semifinalists and two Commended Students for the National Merit Scholarship among the ELHS Class of 2022.

School Board Discusses Covid, Student Conduct

School Board Discusses Covid, Student Conduct

ELPS continues to grapple with issues related to returning to school during a pandemic, including vaccinating students, addressing mental health stressors, and messaging good student conduct. Here’s the School Board meeting round up.

What Has East Lansing’s “Percent for Art” Law Cost and Brought to the City?
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What Has East Lansing’s “Percent for Art” Law Cost and Brought to the City?

East Lansing’s ordinance compelling some real estate developers to contribute art has not been without controversy. Seven years in, what effects has it had?

City Already Received $6M in Covid Relief. How Will It Spend the Funds?
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City Already Received $6M in Covid Relief. How Will It Spend the Funds?

The City received the first payment of funds in May but has time before funds must be allocated and used. City Manager George Lahanas provided some ideas on how to use the money during a presentation to Council last week. What did he recommend? What did Council think of the draft plan?

Council Praised City’s Place Making Projects, Desires to See EL Fresco Return
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Council Praised City’s Place Making Projects, Desires to See EL Fresco Return

Community & Economic Development Administrator Adam Cummins spoke to Council about the City’s Daytime. Nighttime. Anytime. Place Project. What did he say worked? What could be improved?

How Often are CoEL Trash and Recycling Carts Trashed or Recycled?
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How Often are CoEL Trash and Recycling Carts Trashed or Recycled?

When an East Lansing Info reader saw chatter on social media regarding a trash truck causing damage to a neighbor’s trash cart, she wondered how often this happened. Here’s what we found out.