Williamston’s small-town feel draws visitors from near, far

 

To Elizabeth “Liz” Williams, dance is much more than a passion. It’s a lifestyle. When she was in junior high, Williams knew she wanted to share that lifestyle with others. So in 1992, she opened the doors to the Elizabeth Williams School-Dance in downtown Williamston. Williams fell in love with the old buildings in Williamston, a community that she was familiar with prior to opening her studio.

Bringing Lansing to eBay

With the help of online shopping, people from all over the world are able to shop and help support businesses. Now, people from all over the world can shop and help support businesses in the greater Lansing area through eBay. It’s all part of eBay’s Retail Revival program where Lansing entrepreneurs and small business owners get the opportunity to sell their merchandise and goods online. “I’ve sold things just from my website to people across the country, but it’s me promoting it, but it’s nice to have eBay on my side and to help me promote my stuff as well,” said Cori Thackery, Owner of Sweetlees Boutique. Thackery wanted to be a part of the program because she says eBay is a platform she has never really sold on before and she thought she would reach a whole new customer base.

Gas prices may resist holiday bounce

By NICK KIPPER
Capital News Service

LANSING — Gas prices statewide have dropped an average of more than 30 cents in the past month, and experts expect them to hold steady or possibly drop even further leading up to Thanksgiving. “Usually during a traveling period there is a high demand, so it’s kind of unusual to see prices around Thanksgiving down,” said Nancy Cain, the public relations director for AAA Michigan. “We do anticipate at least short term that this trend will continue. Even on Thanksgiving Day you might see prices a bit less than what they are now.”

The average price of regular gas in Michigan was $2.482 per gallon on Monday, according to AAA’s website. On the same date last year it was $2.634, a nearly 6 percent drop.

Harris Nature Center puts focus on educating the community

The sound of leaves crunching under your feet, the Red Cedar River flowing right beside you and birds chirping: The sounds and sights of nature are an experience, the Harris Nature Center staff is hoping all visitors can have. “Basically the biggest thing is, that we like people to understand that a nature center is not just the building it’s like the entire park is the nature center that’s where you’re going to have your experience,” said Kit Rich, coordinator of the nature center.  “We want you to come into the building say hello and see what we have in here, but then get outside, kind of create your own experiences.”

The center is tucked away in the woods lining Van Atta Road and is just off the bank of the Red Cedar. First opening its doors in 1997, the center has proclaimed itself as a place for recreation and education. “The nature center means a lot to us,” said Liza Potts, an associate professor at Michigan State who frequents the park.

With preseason sales up, snowmobile industry hoping for snow

By KALEY FECH
Capital News Service

LANSING — Snow is flying, and Michigan’s snowmobilers are gearing up to hit the trails. Traffic on the trails took a nosedive during the recession but was up last year. Bill Manson, the executive director of the Michigan Snowmobile Association, is optimistic the uptick will continue. “We had a good year last year,” he said. “We actually had about 11,000 more snowmobile permits sold last year than the year before.”

And he said this year, preseason sales of trail permits are up substantially.

Most northern Michigan roadside parks have closed for the winter

By NICK KIPPER
Capital News Service

LANSING — All of the roadside parks in the Upper Peninsula and most in the northernmost region of the Lower Peninsula closed for the winter at the end of October, with state officials citing budget constraints and harsh weather as the reasons. The state has 85 roadside parks located primarily along rural highways, including 32 in the U.P. and 15 in the northern Lower Peninsula. The roadside parks double as rest areas, catering primarily to long-distance travelers by offering a safe space to pull over and view or explore scenic spots. Every park is also equipped with a bathroom and water fountain. “They provide convenience spots to stop, get out and stretch your legs, see some nice scenery and take advantage of the amenities,” said Dan Weingarten, the communications representative for the Department of Transportation (MDOT) Superior Region.

Watch Focal Point: Overview of ballot issues, a popular app creating unrealistic expectations and more

On this week’s Focal Point News, an overview of issues on November’s ballot. Plus we have an update on a student who was killed a few weeks ago. Fraternity’s ban hard alcohol above 15% at Greek life events. MSU played its biggest rival, University of Michigan, twice this past week. Those stories and more on this week’s Focal Point.

MSU Museum looking for volunteers

The MSU Museum is looking for docents, or volunteers, to lead group tours and explain artifacts and exhibits to visitors. The museum is a Smithsonian affiliate which means it has received its stamp of approval from the Smithsonian for being a good museum. They also trade specimens with each other throughout the year. Even though this is an unpaid position, it offers many educational benefits like access to the many educational books in the docent library, learning from the exhibits themselves, and working with children and other guests. “I’d like people to be outgoing, but mostly we’d like them to just be passionate.

Amateur rock hound eyes yooperlite career potential

By WHITNEY MCDONALD
Capital News Service

LANSING — Michigan native Erik Rintamaki discovered a glowing rock on the shores of Lake Superior — and a new career path. The Upper Peninsula resident found the luminescent stone in June 2017. He called the stone the “yooperlite.” He doesn’t claim to be the first person to have found it on the beaches, but he is the first to get the stone verified by a lab at Michigan Technological University. He uses a blacklight to illuminate the beach.

Find the bee, park for free

Construction keeps spreading in East Lansing… between road closures and traffic, parking can be impossible. However, there is a bee flying around town that might help take the sting out of finding a place to park. “Find the Bee, Park for Free,” happens two times a week in the downtown East Lansing area near the shops and restaurants. “We post a picture on social media, five parking meters are covered, and that provides free parking for the day, that’s over $700 a month in free parking,” said Amy Schlusler-Schmitt, Community Development & Engagement Manager of East Lansing.