Journalism at Michigan State University

After Nassar: A community responds to a local face shrouded in national scandal

Ex-Michigan State University doctor and former Holt resident Larry Nassar is facing over 80 sexual abuse allegations, and that number seems to grow every week. Holt, a small and tight-knit community of just under 24,000 people watched as the headlines of court cases and accusations piled up. Nassar was a long-time resident and, at one point, an active member of the community. The reports began last August, when former Olympic gymnast Rachael Denhollander published her story about her experiences 17 years prior with him. Her story has been echoed by many more defendants: Nassar, ungloved and without proper explanation, digitally penetrated her vagina during what was then explained to her as a “medical treatment.”

Denhollander learned later, as many of Nassar’s other patients, this was not a legitimate medical procedure—at the very least, not a commonly used and unexplained one.

Local children line up in wait for their turn to seek Easter Eggs at Valhalla Park in Holt. The Holt Easter Egg Hunt draws hundreds of children to the town every year.

Free for all, the annual Holt Easter Egg Hunt has built community for 50 years

Easter Sunday is always a busy day for the Easter Bunny. But for the past 50 years, he’s made an appearance in Holt every Saturday before his biggest day of the year. The special occasion? The annual Holt Easter Egg Hunt, held at Valhalla Park. Attracting hundreds of kids up to 10 years old from the Lansing area, the hunt is a happy chaos of children celebrating one of America’s most beloved holidays.


Littering a problem in Holt? It depends who you ask

Holt resident Joni Kosloski has a two-mile route that she often walks her dogs through near Holt Middle School. It’s also become her litter pick-up route. “I find litter very disgusting and I found myself suddenly unwilling to keep looking at it and walking past it,” Kosloski said to a community group on Facebook. “I started picking it up every day on my walk.”

Kosloski shared photos of her clean-up experiences after being away from her route of pick up litter in a couple weeks. Show in the photos are cigarette boxes, empty plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and more–and fellow members of her community chimed in once she spoke out against the trash.

Holt High School, pictured, is one of the many places in Holt students can go to receive specialized special education curriculum.

In Holt, special education is underfunded but still successful, officials say

There are about 35 professionals and 65 parent professionals that make up Holt Public School’s special education staff. But according to the director of special education across the district, Wayne Abbott, it’s enough for Holt.

“We individualize programs and services to the needs of the particular student,” Abbott said. This is all thanks to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which was signed into law in 1990. Across the country, just like students in Holt, students with disabilities are given what is called an Individualized Education Program, or IEP. It’s a federal mandate that many fear is in jeopardy under the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

One of the more active community service-driven churches in Holt, Michigan, First Presbyterian runs the local Holt Food Bank Medical Lending Closet, and offers free tutoring for elementary school students.

What’s “happening” in Holt? Local churches are numerous and the place to be

Roy Sweet reclines in his seat after another Delhi Charter Township board meeting. He’s the township treasurer and recalls the time, 56 years ago, when he was baptized at Holt United Methodist Church. He’s been a regular attendee ever since. “It’s really the people who kept me going back. A lot of the same people still go there,” Sweet, who now serves as the treasurer of the town, said.


Where do your taxes go? Let’s take a look

It’s February, which means homeowners across the nation are soon to begin receiving their annual taxes from the previous year. Many residents in Holt have noticed increasing taxes as the years go by. “(Taxes) are pretty high,” Holt resident of four years Christen Lott said. “I don’t necessarily know why. I’m sure there’s a good reason for it.”