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.

Creative energy in Old Town is fueling growth for community

By Emily Elconin
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

From the beginning, the neighborhood of Old Town has been a creative, kooky, and eccentric place that vibrates with a colorful and inviting energy. From the moment you walk down Turner Street, it is evident there is a new chapter being written here in Old Town. There is a story to be shared on every corner. As Old Town continues to grow, so do the people who are helping Old Town come back stronger than ever before. Old Town is in the process of planning exciting summer festivals and a new event called Arts Night Out, where four neighborhoods in Lansing including Old Town, East Lansing,REO Town, and Downtown Lansing will feature all different kinds of art to draw in the younger community and help the arts community thrive all over Lansing, beginning in Old Town.

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.”