Meet ELi’s Board of Directors and Community Advisory Board

East Lansing Info, a public service news organization, has been a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation registered in the State of Michigan since 2014. ELi’s voluntary Board of Directors is charged with the duty of overseeing the finances and operations of the nonprofit corporation that runs East Lansing Info. Our voluntary Community Advisory Board (ELi CAB) functions as a group to whom we can turn for editorial feedback, sources, and ideas. (Some people serve on both boards, so we’ve combined information about the members here.) We are very grateful for the service and support of our board members!

Raymond D. Vlasin, President of the Board of Directors

Ray has served in various roles at Michigan State University since 1971, including Dean, Department Chair, Professor, Extension Specialist, and Extension Program Leader. He co-authored the books Increasing the Odds for High-Performance Teams—Lessons Learned and Pursuing What Is Best for the World: 150 Years of Teaching, Research and Extension—Stories of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. As a long-time resident of East Lansing, he has volunteered his time in many local and state venues. In addition to being a long-time leader in his own East Lansing neighborhood, Ray served on East Lansing’s Financial Health Team and on the Executive Committee of the Rural Development Council of Michigan; and served as Chair of the Education Committee for the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA). Ray was designated “Life Member” by MEDA. Currently he is assisting the Port of Monroe in Michigan with legal and economic development analyses.

Anne Hill, Vice President of the Board of Directors

Anne has been a resident of mid-Michigan most of her life, and has called East Lansing home since 2006. She brings with her over 30 years of experience in business – both as a small business owner and working for Fortune 500 companies, primarily in the areas of operations, supply management and finance. She earned her undergraduate degree in Business from Northwood University, and her Executive M.B.A. from Northwood’s DeVos Graduate School of Management. Anne has served on many non-profit boards, and enjoys volunteering her time to give back to the community. She is from the Hawk Nest neighborhood, serves on their Home Owners Association Board, and is an active member of the Council of Neighborhood Presidents.

Chuck Grigsby, Treasurer of the Board of Directors

Chuck Grigsby was unanimously appointed to the ELi Board on June 21, 2022. He possesses a wealth of abilities, experiences, and skills that will benefit ELi. He motivates others toward community enhancement goals. He is committed to team development and is skilled in team leadership. He has over eight years of experience in proactive management strategies to help drive collaboration for positive results. He is experienced and skilled in helping organizations and groups clarify and achieve their mission and purposes, and in business development and operation. Among his recent professional experiences, he served as Chairperson of the Study Committee on Independent Police Oversight Commission, Chairperson of the Human Relations Commission for the City of East Lansing. Also, he brings experience and skills of effective volunteering as mentor, teacher, organizer or evaluator for helping the East Lansing Schools, the East Lansing Public Library, other government agencies, and for a variety of youth and sports agencies and programs in Michigan and other states. 

Amalia Medina, Secretary of the Board of Directors

Amalia is a graduate of East Lansing High School and is now an undergraduate student at Michigan State University double-majoring in Journalism and also Comparative Cultures and Politics at James Madison College. She started working with ELi in 2018 and is a graduate of both of our Summer Youth Journalism Programs – the intro and the advanced courses and has reported for us on a wide variety of topics, including East Lansing Public Schools, local recycling efforts, compensation of City Council members, local businesses and children’s activities, wildlife, and more. With a unanimous vote of support from the Board in Nov. 2021, Amalia has taken the place of Maysa Sitar who graduated from MSU and left for Ireland as a Mitchell Fellow. ELi has found that having students on our Board gives us important generational diversity in perspectives, provides us important insights into their educational institutions, and also gives us an opportunity to mentor and support them. You can read Amalia’s explanation of why she reports for ELi here.

Adan Tomas Quan, Director at Large

Adan is a student at East Lansing High School and is the Editor of Portrait, the ELHS student newspaper. He has been a reporter for ELi for several years and is a graduate of both of our Summer Youth Journalism Programs – the intro and the advanced courses. Adan has reported for us on a wide variety of topics, including food banks, the ELHS Trojan Marching Band, a town-gown medical training program, Covid vaccinations, and much more. With a unanimous vote of support from the Board in Nov. 2021, Adan has taken the place of Anaiis Rios-Kasoga who graduated from ELHS and left East Lansing to attend Yale University. Our Board gives us important generational diversity in perspectives, provides us important insights into their educational institutions, and also gives us an opportunity to mentor and support them. You can read Adan’s explanation of why he works with ELi here.

Cody Harrell, Director at Large

Cody Harrell is an East Lansing High School Journalism and English Teacher. He earned his undergraduate degree in English and Journalism in secondary education from Michigan State University in 2016. He has experience as a media consultant and has been the director of ELi’s Summer Youth program for five years. He has earned accolades from the Journalism Education Association, the Society for News Design, and the School of Journalism at MSU.

Michael Krueger, Community Advisory Board Member

Michael Krueger grew up in Canton, Michigan, and came to East Lansing for the reason many young people do: to attend Michigan State University. He graduated MSU in 2001 with a B.A. in History, and opened a record store called Vinyl Addict Records. He met his wife Jessica working at St. Vincent Home for Children. Life then found him working as a union organizer a contract negotiator and then working in the bar and restaurant industry. In 2010 he became the General Manager of Crunchy’s, a beloved East Lansing pub. He bought Crunchy’s in July 2015 and has grown that business and made it a long-time supporter of ELi’s weekly e-newsletter. Mike is very active in East Lansing civic life, serving on the Downtown Management Board, the Downtown Development Authority, and the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. He has also served on the Executive Board of the Responsible Hospitality Council (RHC) since 2010.

Alex Hosey, Community Advisory Board Member

Alex is known for his leadership in civil rights in East Lansing and beyond. An Honor Roll student-athlete at East Lansing High School, Alex sparked a city-wide conversation that led to a formal acknowledgment by the City Council of East Lansing’s history of racist housing discrimination. Since that time, Alex has worked to change Michigan school curricula to include more meaningful material about the history of Black people, including the history of inequities and inequalities. Alex’s public speaking has included events hosted by the NAACP, MSU, the Rotary Club, and the Obama Foundation. His many honors include having been named “Athlete of the Week” by ESPN’s “The Undefeated” and “Peacemaker of the Year” by the Peace Education Center of East Lansing. A graduate of ELi’s Summer Youth Journalism Program, Alex works as a general reporter for ELi.

Thasin Sardar, Community Advisory Board Member

Thasin lives in East Lansing with his wife and two boys. He has a Masters Degree in Software Engineering Administration and works as an IT Infrastructure Architect for Secure Solutions of Lansing. He currently serves as a board member of the Islamic Society of Greater Lansing, Michigan Chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations, the Greater Lansing United Nations Association, Peace Education Center, and an East Lansing Human Rights Commissioner. He also serves on the Community Advisory Board of the Michigan Muslim Community Council and was a founding member of the City of East Lansing’s Citizen Innovation and Technology Panel. In the recent past, he served two terms on the City of East Lansing Crystal awards committee and as a Chairperson of the Greater Lansing Islamic School. A very active community volunteer, Thasin is very concerned about social justice issues and is a strong believer in civic engagement, working extensively in outreach efforts for the Islamic Center of East Lansing to bridge his faith community with the larger community and foster a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood.

Chris Root, Community Advisory Board Member

Besides being a member of the ELi CAB, Chris reports on Government (and sometimes gardening) for ELi and also helps edit our Government reporting. She was recently named a member of East Lansing’s Study Committee on an Independent Police Oversight Commission by City Council and is an active leader in the Oakwood Historic Neighborhood association. By way of background: Chris registered as a lobbyist at the age of 18, when she began working on anti-apartheid and southern Africa issues for a church- and union-sponsored non-profit, the Washington Office on Africa. After moving to East Lansing, Chris provided staff support for the Democratic caucus of the Michigan House of Representatives on a bill to divest state public employee pension funds from companies operating in South Africa. Chris continues her focus on this movement by helping to build the Africa Activist Archive Project. Holding bachelors and masters degrees in Economics from American University, Chris worked at MSU for 15 years helping faculty obtain grants. She now devotes a lot of her time to monitoring economic development and financial issues in East Lansing, gardening, and spending time with family.

Liao Zhang, Community Advisory Board Member

Liao Zhang is a doctoral student at Michigan State University, studying Russian and Eurasian history. The pursuit of graduate education brought him over to East Lansing from Northern China by way of Columbus, Ohio. Liao has enjoyed much of what East Lansing and the whole Mid-Michigan area have to offer: friendly and hospitable people, diverse and exciting culture, and numerous parks and trails. He has been engaged in student organizations at MSU that aim to promote equitable and just environment for graduate student employees and international students and scholars. Liao has been a loyal reader of ELi. He is thrilled to join ELi’s Community Advisory Board and contribute perspectives of international students and scholars to ELi’s news reporting and community engagement.