LGBT is A-OK: Acceptance is important for Old Town

Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community has been a big part of Old Town’s rich history and the acceptance of it is a big reason why those within the neighborhood and visitors feel a close-knit, family-like bond. Acceptance is in Old Town’s fabric. The tolerance for those that identify as LGBT can be seen as a symbol of the openness Old Town has for people of all colors, backgrounds, gender, sexual orientation, and beliefs. Maintaining the ability to express yourself and feeling welcome at all times is a huge part of the Old Town fabric. General Manager of Spiral Dance Bar, Sam Courtney, says it’s important for Old Town businesses to promote a welcoming and a tolerant message.

Elderly Instruments helps develop sense of community and arts culture in Old Town

By Emily Elconin
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

The arts play an important role in small neighborhood of Old Town. Elderly Instruments located at 1100 N. Washington Ave., plays a significant role in the development of the arts culture in Old Town. The power of art and music has helped create a sense of community for people in Old Town and people who are just visiting or passing through. “Elderly has been a staple and anchor here in Old Town which has been really important because they’ve been here for a really long time,” Program Director for Michigan Institute of Contemporary Art Katrina Daniels said. “They are a really important cornerstone here in Old Town.

Old Town reliant on volunteering to stay afloat

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Volunteers have allowed Old Town to become what it is today, and are also the reason it remains such a vibrant community. Whether it be the upcoming Taste and Tour of Old Town event where guests can sample food from various restaurants in the Old Town area while touring Old Town property or Oktoberfest where visitors can dance to their favorite polka song, Old Town is known for its festivals. Festivals continue to be the heart and soul of the community. But with only one and half employees working for the Old Town Commercial Association, people dedicated to the growth of Old Town are a necessity to put on these events. Without volunteers, there are no festivals, without any festivals there is no money for the neighborhood, without any money Old Town is back to a red light district.

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.

Wake Up Old Town brings businesses together in more ways than one

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Networking and collaboration is vital to the growth of Old Town. To accomplish this, the Old Town Commercial Association has been putting on an event called Wake Up Old Town. “Wake Up Old Town first and foremost is a networking event for people to come together, both Old Town and people that can serve Old Town businesses,” said Old Town Commercial Association Executive Director, Austin Ashley. “It’s a great time for us to collaborate and come together as a community.” During the event that takes place the first Friday of every month, it looks like a family reunion.

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.”

Vacant buildings turning into an anomaly for Old Town

Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

The vacant commercial buildings in Old Town aren’t set to be empty for much longer. One may notice when walking down the few streets that make up the Old Town neighborhood that there are a noticeable number of vacant buildings for such a small area. For the part of Lansing that prides itself so much on growth, it can be seen as a sad sight. But by no means are vacancies or trying to fill these buildings a problem for Old Town. “We are pretty much at capacity in terms of our commercial spaces at this point,” said Austin Ashley, Executive Director of the Old Town Commercial Association.

Waiting for a bus at Old Town? Don't expect your wait to get shorter anytime soon

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Old Town Lansing is not slated to see public bus service become more frequent in the near future. That’s bad news for Old Town bus riders. Currently, during evening and weekend hours CATA will only pass through the Old Town area roughly every 45 minutes. This does not include the time it takes to get to the downtown Lansing CATA bus station where one must connect to the specific bus that will take him or her to Old Town. One must connect again when leaving Old Town to get on the right bus that will take them home.

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.