Be advised of Consumers construction project in Bailey neighborhood and Grand River/Hagadorn intersection.
Community members are advised of a Consumers Energy construction project that will begin Tuesday, Sept. 5 in the City of East Lansing’s Bailey neighborhood and at the intersection of Grand River Avenue and Hagadorn Road.
According to a press release from the city, the Consumers Energy construction project will include installation of new natural gas systems at the intersection of Grand River Avenue and Hagadorn Road. The project will also include the area bounded by Albert Avenue to the south, Stoddard Avenue to the west, Lexington Avenue to the east and Burcham Drive to the north.
Construction is expected to be complete by Dec. 31.
Motorists are advised to use alternate routes of travel when possible during construction. Lane shifts will be in place while still maintaining access to residences and businesses throughout the duration of the project.
Community members who have questions may call Consumers Energy at (844) 660-3477 and reference DAPP code 22408 to identify the area.
Questions can also be directed to the East Lansing Department of Public Works at (517) 337-9459. Construction updates will be posted on the city’s website as they become available. The city is providing more information here.
Stayed tuned to ELi for further updates, as well.
Reported by Julie Seraphinoff (Friday, Sept. 1, 2023)
Playing Scrabble? Doing yoga in a garden? Both are great ways to relax.
Scrabble Hour – Board game enthusiasts are invited to the East Lansing Public Library on Monday (Sept. 4) from 6-8 p.m. for Scrabble Hour. Attendees may bring their own board but are not required to. The event will be run by an Apprentice Director from the North American Scrabble Players Association.
Yoga in the Beal Botanical Garden – Community members looking to get active in a serene environment are invited to participate in Yoga in the Beal Botanical Garden. Health4U and University Health and Wellbeing are offering the yoga session from 12:15-1 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 6). It is free to participate but registration is required. Those interested in attending are encouraged to bring a yoga mat or towel.
Reported by Lucas Day (Friday, Sept. 1, 2023)
Broad Art Museum will celebrate fall with an opening party.
The MSU Broad Art Museum will celebrate four new exhibitions during a Fall Opening Party 6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8.
The four new exhibitions being displayed at the museum include “Resistance Training: Arts, Sports and Civil Rights,” “Seeing in 360 Degrees,” “The Zaha Hadid Design Collection, “Andrew Canepa: As we dwell in the fold and “Shouldn’t You Be Working? 100 Years of Working from Home.”
“Resistance Training” explores the value of social justice-related issues shared between artists and athletes. “Seeing in 360 Degrees” displays 150 objects that designer Zaha Hadid and her studio experimented with in order to create something that would improve user experience. The experimental exhibition “As we dwell on the fold” investigates the duplexity of fabrics and how they both liberate and oppress. Lastly, “Shouldn’t You Be Working?” explores home as the site of labor.
The event will welcome all in the community to explore the new exhibits while also enjoying tailgate-themed food and drinks, music from the Spartan Alumni Marching Band, an appearance from Sparty, and other activities and fun.
Michigan Speaker of the House Joe Tate, MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff and MSU Broad Art Museum Interim Director Steven L Bridges will give opening remarks at 6:45 p.m.
“We are absolutely thrilled to launch our fall season and celebrate the many ways the museum continues to foster meaningful experiences and artful engagements for our communities both on and off campus,” Bridges said. “For those of you who have joined us in the past, welcome back! To those who may be visiting for the first time, we are your art museum on the campus of Michigan State University, and we look forward to exploring the world of art and ideas together with you.”
Registration for the event is encouraged here. The Broad Art Museum is located at 547 Circle Drive, East Lansing.
Reported by Mya Gregory (Friday, Sept. 1, 2023)
A free poetry event is set for Thursday at Canterbury MSU on M.A.C.
Canterbury MSU at 225 M.A.C. is hosting a typewriter poetry event Thursday (Aug. 3), beginning at 4:30 p.m. The Rev. Dr. Kit Carlson of All Saints Episcopal Church and Michigan State University librarian Sara Miller will be on-hand to write unique poems for each visitor.
The first East Lansing School Board meeting of the school year was a short one.
Gary Holbrook was sworn in as the newest member of the East Lansing School Board after being selected at the Aug. 14 meeting while Superintendent Dori Leyko announced the consideration of a bond proposal for the district at the Monday (Aug. 28) meeting.
“Based on an assessment of middle and high school safety, security and accessibility needs, along with stakeholder feedback from last winter,” Leyko said, “district leaders are considering a bond proposal to improve these aspects at our secondary buildings. We are aiming for a May 2024 election and we’ll be convening a bond advisory committee soon. We are still in very early stages of this work and so, much more information will be forthcoming and regularly shared.”
There was no new business discussed.
During her committee report, Board Secretary Tali Faris-Hylen reported on updates made to facilities over the summer.
“I’m happy to report that Billy [Hastings], our facilities head, is going to be plotting out the best places at each elementary school for community gardens and said he’d have this information by the next meeting,” Faris-Hylen said. “[There were] installed handicapped access areas at each elementary school to the path from the asphalt to the swing set. They added an asphalt pad at White Hills. They added fencing around retention ponds last weekend. They’ve reworked wood chips at all playgrounds spread over a thousand yards to make them safer.”
Video of Monday’s board meeting is available at this link. The board next meets at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, in the boardroom in the lower level of East Lansing High School.
Reported by Dustin DuFort Petty (Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023)
The City is taking requests until Friday to assist with cleanup of large tree limbs.
In the wake of last week’s big storm, the City of East Lansing is offering a special collection of large tree limbs for residents who file a request before 7 a.m. Friday (Sept. 1).
The service is intended for limbs that cannot be cut, bundled and tagged, which is the city’s usual guideline for cleaning up tree debris. Large tree limbs should be brought to the side of the road by 7 a.m. Friday to be collected.
Those needing the service can use this form to make a request (select “Large Tree Limbs” under the type) or call the Department of Public Works at 517-337-9459.
Reported by Lucas Day (Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023)
It’s a once in a super blue moon kinda night!
A rare super blue moon will fill the night sky tonight (Wednesday, Aug. 30) and East Lansing residents will actually be able to see it.
For once, the weather forecast is calling for clear skies and cool temperatures. Mid-Michigan residents are well aware this is not always the case for astronomic phenomenons!
Keith Barger, a space engineer in Colorado Springs who previously worked as an educator for the Space Foundation, provided an explanation of the super blue moon.
“A supermoon is when the moon is closer to Earth in its orbit, appearing bigger or ‘super,’” he explained. “A super blue moon is the second full moon event in the same month that happens to occur at a period in the moon’s orbit where it is closest to Earth.”
Tonight’s super blue moon will rise in the east after sunset and is expected to reach its peak at 9:36 p.m.
A super blue moon only occurs every 10 years, meaning we will not see this phenomenon again until January 2037. Tonight is a once in a blue moon moment!
Barger provided a deeper explanation about the moon and super blue moon. Also, here’s an article from CBS News about the super moon event. NASA offers some great explanations and tips on how to photograph the super blue moon.
(Full disclosure: Keith Barger is ELi Managing Editor Julie Seraphinoff’s son-in-law.)
Reported by Julie Seraphinoff (Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023)
Be SMART presentation Wednesday will focus on secure gun storage.
Tamara El-Khoury, a parent of Marble Elementary students, contacted ELi about a Be SMART presentation at 7 p.m. Wednesday (Aug. 30) at Marble School. Be SMART is an organization dedicated to secure gun storage.
“This presentation is for adults who are both gun owners and non-gun owners,” she said, “giving steps we can take right now to keep our kids safe as gun violence is the leading cause of death for children and teens in our country.”
Only adults are invited, as the presentation is not intended for children. Gun locks will be available for attendees, as well.
“We need to normalize this conversation in the community,” El-Khoury said. “Before a playday, we talk about allergies and adults available. Why not about unsecured weapons?”
Marble Elementary is located at the corner of Hagadorn and Burcham roads.
Reported by Dustin DuFort Petty (Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023)
How can you make a complaint about party noise or party litter?
With Michigan State University set to kick off the football season with a home game against Central Michigan University at 7 p.m. Friday (Sept. 1), the East Lansing Police Department (ELPD) is gearing up for a busy weekend.
The city sent out a press release on Aug. 24 welcoming students back while offering “reminders about important ordinances.” Those include the party noise and party litter ordinances.
The city’s noise ordinance prohibits noise that is audible to someone not on the property where the noise is being generated. The city’s “Need-to-Know Ordinances” website explains, “Do not create noise that would disturb neighbors, including loud stereos, shouting.”
Amplified music is illegal outside. That includes live amplified music and playing radios or stereos that can be heard off the property.
Tickets can be written for noise violations before 11 pm. After 11 p.m., noise violations become misdemeanors. Combining noise with kegs or with outdoor drinking games increases the fine.
Repeated violations by residents of a rental property can mean the property loses its rental license.
East Lansing also has a party litter ordinance that basically says trash has to be cleaned up promptly. Read more here.
Officers patrol to look for problems but ELPD has limited staffing. Residents who want a PACE or ELPD officer to come out to deal with a party noise or party litter complaint should dial the non-emergency number: 517-351-4220. Choose the option for “police desk.” Be aware you will likely be rerouted to Ingham County 911 because that is how calls are dispatched. You can also call 911 to report these problems.
ELPD reminds residents that officers are here to help with quality-of-life concerns like party noise and party litter and encourage residents to reach out for help.
ELPD also reminds people to attend to their own safety, including to only “drink alcohol in moderation, alternating with plenty of water and food…don’t leave belongings unattended; keep cell phones out of sight when not in use, keep purses and wallets closed and car keys secure.”
Also “avoid dark alleys and parking lots, stay in well-lit areas, keep belongings out of sight” and lock the doors to your car and home. Read more here.
Reported by Alice Dreger (Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023)
PeaceQuest is underway with a variety of events scheduled throughout September.
The annual PeaceQuest officially got started Sunday (Aug. 27) with the Greater Lansing United Nations Association Peace Gathering (GL-UNA) at Lake Lansing South Park. PeaceQuest is a month-long celebration in honor of the International Day of Peace (Sept. 21). Hosted by GL-UNA, the month of September will celebrate peace with a variety of events and activities.
According to organizers, the purpose of PeaceQuest is to bring the community together to have fun while focusing on ways to promote peace, resolve conflicts, learn about other faiths and cultures, and encourage mutual understanding.
The events throughout September reflect the 17 goals of the United Nations, known as the “Global Goals” or “Sustainable Development Goals,” which were created in 2015 with hopes of being reached in 2030. The goals include no poverty, zero hunger, quality education, among others.
A fun challenge beginning Saturday is a Peace Pole Pursuit. The peace poles are located throughout Greater Lansing and organizers challenge participants to walk, drive or bike in pursuit of as many poles as possible.
“Once you have found and photographed at least 10 peace poles with you in each photo and posted them on your Facebook page, submit the form by clicking here,” organizers said on their website.
Other events on the schedule through the month include peace vigils, Yoga for Peace, meditations and community sing-alongs. A full list of activities and events can be found at the 2023 Events Schedule.
Reported by Mya Gregory (Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023)
Free geraniums! Get ’em while they last!
East Lansing’s Department of Public Works (DPW) has cleared away the Albert EL Fresco amenities, and this morning the geraniums that had festooned the downtown social space were spotted sitting at the soccer complex off Coleman Road.
Asked if folks can come take the geraniums, East Lansing Director of Parks, Recreation & Arts Cathy DeShambo said, “Yes, of course! DPW will be putting the containers in storage, but I have asked that they wait until all the flowers can be given away. Feel free to let folks know through your network. Thanks for reaching out!”
Update – 12:57 p.m. Tuesday (Aug. 29): Wendy Sylvester-Rowan, City of East Lansing Arts Programming and Creative Placemaking Specialist, emailed ELi that DPW workers had already started transporting planters to storage. But the workers are leaving some of the flowers out until Friday (Sept. 1), so you can still get free geraniums – while the smaller supplies last.
“I have added this to my notes to perhaps consider offering the flowers to the community the day before EL Fresco closes next year,” Sylvester-Rowan wrote.
Reported by Alice Dreger (Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023)
The East Lansing Meridian Water and Sewer Authority (ELMWSA) honored for its tasty water.
The East Lansing Meridian Water and Sewer Authority (ELMWSA) has won the 2023 American Water Works Association Mount Pleasant Regional Water Taste-off Competition.
ELMWSA will compete at the 2023 American Water Works Michigan Section Annual Conference Taste-off in Port Huron on Sept. 13. ELMWSA water will go up against water from the City of Ann Arbor, the City of Kalamazoo and the Village of Mancelona.
The winner will be announced during an awards ceremony at the conference and on the City of East Lansing’s social media accounts.
“Residents of East Lansing and Meridian Township can now say they have some of the best tasting tap water in the state,” ELMWSA Manager Joel Martinez said in a Monday (Aug. 28) press release.
ELMWSA serves the residents of East Lansing and Meridian Township with their drinking water supply.
To view the ELMWSA 2022 Water Quality Report, select “Most Recent Report” at the City of East Lansing website.
Reported by Julie Seraphinoff (Monday, Aug. 28, 2023)
Just as two new site plans are headed to Planning Commission, East Lansing’s Department of Planning, Building and Development is rebuilding itself.
ELi reported recently that 10 employees quit the Department of Planning, Building and Development in the last year as part of a big wave of resignations in the city. But last week, the department’s interim director, Tim Dempsey, had three pieces of good news to share about personnel.
Dempsey let the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) know at its Thursday (Aug. 24) meeting that long-time department staffer Heather Pope has been promoted to Community and Economic Development Administrator, putting her in charge of that division of the department Dempsey runs. (She had been working as “interim” in that role, which was previously held by Adam Cummins, who resigned in January.)
The DDA greeted the news with a warm round of applause. Pope has long served as key staff support to that body.
At the DDA’s meeting, Dempsey also introduced Joey Emery who just joined the city as a community and economic development specialist. Emery will also be providing staff support to the DDA.
One day earlier (Aug. 23), Dempsey told the Planning Commission the city has hired a new planning and zoning administrator. That position has been vacant since the departure of Peter Menser, who had been acting in Dempsey’s current position just before Menser quit.
To make do with the lack of planning and zoning staff, Dempsey has been getting the help of an external consultant to keep development proposals moving through the review process. Now, Landon Bartley will take the position of planning and zoning administrator and be chief staff to the Planning Commission.
“Mr. Bartley comes to us from the Grand Rapids area where he had his own business for the last several years,” Dempsey told the Commission. “Prior to that, he worked in the City of Grand Rapids’ Planning Department for over 14 years, so he brings a wealth of experience from Grand Rapids to East Lansing. He’s an MSU graduate so he’s excited to be back here in mid-Michigan. We’re looking forward to having him on board starting next week.”
Dempsey also gave the Planning Commission a heads’ up on two items expected to be presented at their next meeting on Sept. 13.
“The Lansing Board of Water and Light is proposing a rezoning and site plan for their property at Stoddard and Burcham,” Dempsey said. “It’s a former substation that was decommissioned a number of years ago. They want to turn it into a small training facility with very limited parking.”
In addition, a proposal is expected to develop a Mister Car Wash location at the corner of Merritt and Park Lake roads.
Dempsey was recently passed over by a majority of Council in his bid to become East Lansing’s next City Manager, but he continues to work on rebuilding the department he headed from 2012 to 2019.
Reported by Alice Dreger (Monday, Aug. 28, 2023)
From the East Lansing Insider Saturday Mailer.
School is back in session, as East Lansing Public Schools welcomed students back this week and Michigan State University students are filtering back into their college homes. It is a busy and exciting time in our city.
It’s also been a challenging few days as we watch the clean-up after the tragic tornado and wicked storm that rolled through our area Thursday (Aug. 24). The Williamston area experienced a confirmed EF-2 tornado touching down and roaring down I-96. The Lansing State Journal reported it overturned 17 semi trucks on the highway. According to Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wrigglesworth, the road will be closed for the foreseeable future.
There were downed power lines and trees in East Lansing, but schools were still open – unlike some neighboring communities.
It was a slower week in city government, but one big story did crop up about a contentious development proposal.
The Wednesday (Aug. 23) Planning Commission meeting saw 85-100 citizens in attendance. Many stepped forward to speak out against the proposed affordable housing development at 530 Albert Ave. The Downtown Development Association (DDA) also took on the topic Thursday (Aug. 24). Both bodies voted in favor of recommending the City Council approve the construction. Here is the in-depth reporting from ELi Reporters Dustin DuFort Petty and Alice Dreger.
Otherwise, things slowed significantly for city government as there were only a few committee meetings and no major developments from City Council. This allowed ELi reporters to circle back and provide recaps to a couple meetings from Aug. 2.
At the August East Lansing Independent Police Oversight Commission (ELIPOC) meeting, Police Social Worker Taylor Knickerbocker presented. ELi City Desk Editor Luke Day reported the department desperately needs a second social worker, but finding one has proven to be difficult. As a result, Knickerbocker is regularly working more than her scheduled hours to keep up with a never-ending demand for her services.
Dustin attended the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting where the University Lutheran Church received approval to install a second solar array. Earlier this summer, the church was denied a permit for the solar array because it would bring the church’s energy capacity over limit allowed by a city ordinance.
ELi is assisting League of Women Voters with candidate forum. What questions do you have?
Looking ahead to election season, ELi is assisting the League of Women Voters to put on a forum where candidates express their views. The event is scheduled for. Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m. In preparation, we are asking community members to fill out a survey that will help us shape questions for the forum and our reporting throughout the race. Stay tuned for profiles by the ELi team on the eight candidates vying for the three open seats on Council.
Next week, there are zero (!) meetings scheduled for East Lansing city government.
The East Lansing Board of Education will hold its first meeting since the start of the school year. The board will meet Monday (Aug. 28) at 7 p.m. in the lower level of the high school. See the agenda here.
New ELi Now column provides live updates.
Last week was the first week of ELi Now, a new feature that allows us to broaden our coverage. ELi Now is a column that our reporting and editorial team adds to throughout the week. It consists of shorter – but important – stories we would otherwise not have the resources to cover. Have an event or quick story you’d like ELi to cover in ELi Now? Let us know!
Because we are now providing live updates to news throughout the week, including events coming up on the weekend and next week, your East Lansing Insider Saturday Mailer will be shorter going forward. There are a number of benefits to becoming an Insider member, including getting ELi Now posts and stories (members get content first!) to your email.
Becoming a member means an investment in ELi’s public service journalism!Here are details on how to become an East Lansing Insider member.
The new column also allows the ELi team to continue to provide you with the investigative reporting readers have come to rely on from our nonprofit news service. Last week, ELi established a special new Investigative News Fund to support our investigative reporting for East Lansing. Read more here.