Crime on a steady decline in Old Town

By Sakiya Duncan
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Despite a rough past, Old Town has seen crime decline as it becomes one of the safer places in Lansing. Crimes such as destruction to property, larceny and burglary have been on a steady decline in Old Town. What is Old Town doing to make sure that its crime stays low? By joining efforts between the community of Old Town and the Lansing Police Department. Austin Ashley, the executive director of the Old Town Commercial Association, says, “Old Town has banned together to have a neighborhood watch, we coordinate and cooperate with authorities, and we have invested in our community to make it less hospitable for criminals.”

The Nature Conservancy is working to help the environment

By Sakiya Duncan
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Without places such as The Nature Conservancy or the Fenner Nature Center, our environment could be on a steady decline and natural resources, and our wildlife and land would be suffering. The Nature Conservancy is located at 101 E. Grand River Ave. The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to help preserve and protect natural resources. Melissa Molenda is the associate director of marketing for the Central U.S Division of The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy is a global organization composed of nearly 70 countries world wide, and in all 50 states.

Prostitution more of a local issue than just Stuart Dunnings III allegations

By Zachary Barnes, Emily Elconin and Sakiya Duncan
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporters

A secret rose to the surface after Detective Amber Kenny-Hinojosa was investigating Tyrone Smith for involvement with human trafficking activities. This investigation led to the discovery of a case that involves Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney Stuart Dunnings III who is facing 15 charges across three counties, including Ingham County, for allegedly engaging in prostitution. The problem, though, is far more than just of an alleged rogue prosecutor. There were 381 commercialized sex/prostitution offenses reported in 2014 in the state of Michigan according to Michigan Incident Crime Reporting database. In 2013 and 2014, 12 men and 15 women were arrested for such crimes in Lansing.

Festivals bring in fundraising and new people to Old Town

By Sakiya Duncan
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Old Town host an assortment of events and festival. These festivals are part of the reason Old Town is staying on the map. The biggest festivals Old Town host are Scrapfest, Oktoberfest and Festival of the Moon and Sun. Austin Ashley, executive director at the Old Town Commercial Association gave insight on exactly what goes into these festivals. “We actually work really closely with  a lot of  the design shops down here to get the initial art work and designs for our festival posters and our interns take that and produce the collateral work from that,” said Ashley.

Art isn't an Old Town problem. Getting the word out is

By Sakiya Duncan
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Art is driving the community of Old Town and other areas. The problem is, do people know about the activities? Katrina Daniels is the program director for MICA (Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art) Gallery in Old Town, located at 1210 Turner St. Daniels shared her frustrations in running the gallery. “I found when I started working here that it is a challenge to communicate to the community what we are doing.”

Old Town is still growing

By Sakiya Duncan
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Old Town is expanding — businesswise, that is. There are now two new additions to the neighborhood, moving Old Town closer to full capacity. There has been a recent sighting of two new businesses within Old Town. The Urban Beat Event center and Retail Therapy. While construction for The Urban Beat Event Center is underway, Retail Therapy is now open.

Keeping money in Old Town: the 4-3-50 program

By Sakiya Duncan
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Keeping money within Old Town, shopping locally, supporting local businesses and the community are the goals of the 4-3-50 program in Old Town. The 4-3-50 program is a frequent shopper program in which shoppers who visit three participating businesses and spend up to $50 over the span of four months can turn in a 4-3-50 card to the Old Town Commercial Association when done and be entered into a drawing for a prize, said Austin Ashley, the executive director for the association. This is a way to promote different businesses. If the shopper spends money in one business, it will most likely promote them to visit other businesses nearby, said Ashley. “There are definitely ways that we can continue to improve the program and promote it and make sure that people know about it,” Ashely said.