Local tourists spots voice concerns over Pure Michigan cut

Governor Gretchen Whitmer cut the proposed $37.5 million budget from the 2020 state budget. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, MEDC, tells Focal Point News, “Governor Whitmer and the MEDC remain committed to the Pure Michigan Campaign and the positive impact it has had on the tourism industry in Michigan.” They continued to say the cut is a “recognition that the Legislature cannot continue to pass record-high budgets for Pure Michigan while funding for other economic development initiatives is cut to record lows.” Greg Taucher, an advertising professor at Michigan State, said you can’t just turn off the lights on Pure Michigan. “I think that if Michigan killed their tourism campaign, they’d be in a deficit position,” he said.

More local businesses adopt sensory kits to aid families

Front sign Okemos’ Outback Steakhouse, which has new kits for people with sensory disabilities. Photo by Zaria Phillips

OKEMOS,MICH—Restaurants bustle with the sounds of joyful eating, dishes clanking and the rumbles of chatting and laughter. 

This can all be very overwhelming for people with sensory processing issues, making it seemingly impossible to go out to eat for many families. 

Okemos’ Outback Steakhouse is the latest business to offer a solution. “We’ve had occupational therapists come in examined the sensory kit and tell us that we have everything you need,” said Derick Zanger, manager at Okemos Outback Steakhouse. He said the kits are mostly aimed for people with sensory processing disorders; autism is one that many families struggle with. 

“It looks like it mainly aimed at kids but most of the time they’re the ones who have the hardest time dealing with their sensory disorder,” Zanger said. Zanger said his fiance is a paraprofessional, his best friend is a special needs teacher and he himself works with kids in Special Olympics.

Esports gain popularity in high schools

Electronic sports, or esports, is on the rise in the country. With the rise in popularity, many school districts have added esports to their list of school sponsored sports. Okemos High School doesn’t offer esports as a sponsored sport, but Brian Fuller, the athletic director, see’s the potential. “Anything that can potentially add to the educational value of the students, I think the district has an obligation to at least investigate,” he said. According to their website, they currently offer 31 sponsored sports from wrestling to golf to football.

Masonic Lodge celebrates 150 years of service

This is the Okemos Masonic Center located in Okemos. This center has been here for more than 150 years. Photo by Julian Stainback. The Masonic Lodge members held a special celebration for their 150 years of service to the Okemos community at their lodge on Sept. 21. 

The Okemos Masonic Lodge was chartered in 1869 and was built by the brothers of the lodge in 1970.

Paddle for Your Cause helps local charities

By Tianyi Xiao

The parking lot of people joined the event. Photo by Tianyi Xiao. “Paddling is really special to me,” said Elizabeth Maxwell, the founder of Shaka SUP Racing. 

“I paddle in the morning, water for most people is very calming and it is good for the mind, as well as the body.” Maxwell and her husband were telling people the instructions. Photo by Tianyi Xiao.

Dup-Dup app takes off

A new social media application startup in Okemos, Michigan is beginning to gain traction and popularity among teens and millennials. Only about 40 days since its official launch, this company has garnered over 250 registered users. Dup-Dup is a simple way to ask and answer questions, help others, be someone’s hero, and share with the entire world who your hero is and how he or she has impacted you.This application enables users to follow their friends, family, and like-minded heroes, while enjoying the interest based curated feed fueled by A.I.  and CEO, Saquib Khan. “Our goal is to create something meaningful, to help each other, and have fun doing it,” said Saquib Khan (Buddy), CEO of Dup-Dup. Khan had the vision of Dup-Dup mid summer 2018.