3 Coming together at Chandler Crossings

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During winter at Chandler Crossings apartment complex, you will find a basketball court that has been transformed into a hockey rink. It comes equipped with boards, nets, lights and good times with new friends.

“I love coming here, not only because I love to play, but because I get to meet new people who share the same love for the game as I do,” said Zack Ruffin, a former high school hockey player.

“Nobody’s selfish. If you come to the rink, everyone will welcome you and invite you to play with them,” said Ruffin, who discovered the hockey rink in January.

You don’t have to live at Chandler Crossings to use the rink.

“That’s the best part,” said Josh Mesclier, who lives on the corner of Gunson and Albert street, just off Michigan State’s campus. A former travel hockey player,Mesclier said the rink keeps him connected to the sport he loves.

“I’ve been looking for a place in East Lansing where I can play whenever I want and not be charged for it. I can come to Chandler Crossings any day during winter and play and socialize with new people,” said Mesclier, who said he goes twice a week and has made a lot of friends because of the rink.

“After games, we exchange numbers and it’s cool because if I want to play, I can call any of them up and they know they can do the same,” said Mesclier.

Emma Flynn used to skate all the time in her hometown of Commerce, Michigan. She said the rink makes winter in East Lansing less miserable and is a great way to meet new people.

“I’m so happy it exists.  Instead of sitting inside and doing nothing, I can skate and be active,” said the third year education major.

“The people I’ve met here are so friendly. I’ve actually gone to the bar with a few of them,” she added.

The address to get to the rink is 3839 Hunsaker St.

 

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Spartans hockey drive for championship and NCAA bid

Winter Sport

2/19/15

2:30

Sims

TRT: 2:50

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Lead in: The Michigan State Spartans ice hockey team is in full swing now as they continue their push for a Big Ten championship. The publicity and excitement around the team this year is certainly different from previous years as a lot more attention has been drawn their way because of their performance.

 

 

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3 MSU Vita volunteers give back, one tax return at a time

By Kelly Cullen
Entirely East Lansing

MSU Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a nonprofit program whose mission is to give back to the community by offering free tax services.

Serving the Tri-County area of Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties, clients are able to receive guidance from trained student volunteers.

VITA provides free tax service to anyone with an income less than $60,000. In addition, clients are offered one-on-one appointments with the IRS-certified volunteers if their income is less than $53,000. MSU VITA operates at two sites, Kogelschatz said. The East Lansing Tax Super Center is located at 1900 Deerpath Lane East Lansing, and the on-campus International site that has drop-in appointments on Fridays from 3-5 p.m in the Student Services Building

Adam Kogelschatz, MSU VITA president

Adam Kogelschatz, MSU VITA president

“It still gives me chills to talk about it,” said Adam Kogelschatz, senior accounting major in the MSU Eli Broad. “I realized at that moment, more than ever, what an amazing program VITA is.”

A story that he still vividly remembers is that of a single mother of three who came in for assistance with a tax return. Kogelschatz was able to call and deliver her the news that she received a $6,000 return.

“I called her and she instantly started crying,” said Kogelschatz. “You hear a story like that every year. It really makes everything worth it.”

Kogelschatz started as a general tax preparer his sophomore year and moved up to the president of the board. With around 120 volunteers, he is responsible for training them as well as overseeing many of the day-to-day operations of MSU VITA.

The Asset Independence Coalition seeks volunteers to help with the VITA program by providing rigorous training sessions and certification through the IRS, Kogelschatz said. Volunteers will then be IRS certified and become a tax preparer and can then volunteer their time to VITA.

All volunteers, including basic tax preparers, quality reviewers, and site coordinators, must pass the qualification test to get the certificate to be involved with the program, said Jie Zhang, senior accounting major and web-master on the E-Board for MSU VITA.

To enrich her experience and resume, Zhang joined MSU VITA her sophomore year after her academic advisor mentioned the opportunity.

The most valuable part of this program to Kogelschatz is the impact he makes while giving back to individuals and families, and the moving stories that will stick with him forever.

Jim Eddy, a certified public accountant (CPA), and the chief financial officer of Capital Area United Way, also volunteers with VITA.

“With my experience with tax preparation, it was a natural fit to volunteer and help with the program,” said Eddy.  “I express a passion for helping others achieve.”

Volunteers are ready to help once an appointment has been made. In addition, there is a website clients can visit if they prefer to do it at home and have an income of $60,000 or less. The website is www.myfreetaxes.com, which also includes a number to call if further assistance is needed.

“It is important that volunteers feel confident while working with clients,” said Kogelschatz. “They’re able to learn how to be professional while providing tax services to the individuals and families.”

Giving back to the community is something that the MSU VITA volunteers and executive board members value and strive for, Ryan Stead, junior accounting major, director of promotions said.

“It’s nice to see how happy the clients are when you’re working with them,” said Stead. “They truly appreciate our help.”

Just last year $4 million was brought back to the Lansing area because of the services of VITA, Kogelschatz said.

“It’s really fun to preach the four million dollars, but there’s nothing like the individual connection you make with your clients,” said Kogelschatz. “VITA is such a meaningful program to be a part of that can make a huge difference on someones life.”

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School Board Meeting

The school board meeting on Jan. 26 was one of celebration and recognition.

January celebrates the contributions of the late Martin Luther King Jr.

 The Board of Education recognized student essay winners in the Martin Luther King Jr. Greater Lansing Area Holiday Commission’s annual essay contest. The top essay was awarded $500.

Winners from East Lansing included Austin Brown, Razia Muhammadi, Ahmed Sufyan and Madison Foley. Sufyan and Brown were present at the meeting and read their poems. The Board presented them with certificates of recognition.

The school district received a gift from boosters at the meeting.

Andrew Erickson and Rob Thompson  presented a check to the school district to help pay for concession area upgrades that were required by the state.

East Lansing School Board President  Nell Kuhnmuench was thankful for the donation given by the boosters.

“The Board of Education was most appreciative of the donation made by the boosters. They are an important part of our community” said Kuhnmuench.

“They provide support to our students in the pursuit of their learning experiences and enrich our school community in many ways. For that, we are deeply grateful,” said the School Board president.

 In other reported news, a change in standardized testing is taking place at MacDonald Middle School.

Karen Hoene, the principal at MacDonald Middle School, reported that the M-STEP will replace the MEAP this year.

The M-STEP will test students on knowledge from the current school year whereas the old test drew questions from the previous year.

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MSBOA Teacher of the Year

This year’s recipient of the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association teacher of the year award is East Lansing’s David Rosin.

 

Each year, the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association recognizes a teacher of the year for band and one for orchestra. The process begins in the spring with each of the association’s districts able to nominate a candidate in each classification. The executive board reviews all of the candidates and selects up to three in each area to submit to the entire active membership.

 

Rosin beat out the other two candidates, Jonathan Glawe and Carol Johnson.

 

Rosin has taught the high school and middle school orchestras in East Lansing for seven years.  He is a co-conductor of the Mid-Michigan Youth Symphony and a member of the Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan.

 

The music teacher said his parents were the spark that ignited his passion for music.

 

“My mother was an amazing special education teacher in the Detroit area. My father was a wonderful hockey coach for many years.  Plus, he really was a great musician. I think the combination of the two together led me to this path,” said David.

As he grew older, David came into contact with people who supported his passion.

“I was really lucky to be around some amazing mentors growing up, in college, and even now,” said Rosin.

However, it wasn’t Rosin’s parents or mentors that convinced him to pursue a music career. Music itself did that for him.

 

“I love all kind of music, but the Oscar Peterson Trio is what really got me serious about music as a career.”

Today, the East Lansing Public School music director enjoys success, but challenges persist. Keeping a healthy work and life balance is the most difficult part of the job, David admitted.

 

“My wife is a music teacher as well, so we really have to balance it all out.  We dive in during the school year, but try to reset and refresh ourselves during the summer months,” said Rosin.

 

The Rosin’s continue to perform professionally and that helps.

 

“It reminds us of why we are music teaching in the first place. It also reminds us of why we love music and how important it is to society,” said the music teacher.

There are moments that make the job rewarding and worthwhile for David. Moments that provide David with enjoyment include performing in front of a crowd with his students, hearing stories from alumni of the program and working with colleagues.

 

“There are moments in performance where everything just clicks and everyone involved gets lifted to another plane musically and emotionally.  I think hearing stories from alumni of the program and other former students always make it great.  Now, I have reached a point in my career where former students are becoming music teachers.  That is pretty cool.  Plus, I have some amazing colleagues that I work with on a daily basis.  That is always inspiring,” said Rosin.

 

Byron Valentine, a colleague of Rosin’s, enjoys working with David because he is a humble person who provides motivation .

 

“It really does motivate you to achieve more when you see a great teacher at work. I am not surprised Mr.Rosin has won the teacher of the year award, and yet, he was. That is the type of humble person he is,” said Valentine.

 

He also spoke about the relationship and commitment that David has to his students.

 

“Mr. Rosin is a genuinely good person. He cares for others, especially students, and goes above and beyond to help them,” said Valentine.

 

Valentine said the comfort that Rosin provides his students with is why David is such a successful music teacher.

 

“Music is an emotional art and students have to trust you and be comfortable around you in order to try new things and get through the initial mistakes that all players make before succeeding. Mr. Rosin’s students can do that. Dave is great at reaching the human part of it,” said Valentine.

The students make the job special for David. They provide energy and diversity to the orchestra program.

 

“The best part of the job is being able to see and experience the music and life journey the kids make from 7th grade all the way through 12th grade.  I am in a unique situation to be able to witness that as well as be a part of it.  We have so many wonderful and unique music experiences and moments over those 6/7 years of working together,” said the Michigan music teacher of the year.

 

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Making property sales easy could be hard

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 11.52.22 AMBy Chris Boggus
Entirely East Lansing

It would be easier for the city to sell land it owns under a proposed change to the City Charter. The change would lower the margin needed on the ballot to approve sales from 60 percent to 50 percent.

A plan to sell three city-owned parking lots near Abbot and Grand River fell short in November when it received just 57 percent of the votes.

A simple majority of the vote is a standard in some cities, however it is not coming to East Lansing as easily.

“The November ballot saw a vote to the people for the sale of these parking lot properties,” said City Manager George Lahanas. “This vote will be on the percentage of voters needed to approve the property sales.”
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City of East Lansing launches e-Town Hall online forum to encourage citizen participation

By Brittanie Chludzinski
Entirely East Lansing

When East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas entered his position almost three years ago, encouraging citizenship, transparency and participation was at the top of his agenda.

In support of this ongoing objective, the city introduced its new approach to expanding civic engagement on Feb. 9 by launching an online forum called e-Town Hall.

e-Town Hall Home Page

e-Town Hall Home Page

“Essentially it’s providing another avenue for public input,” Megan Clark, assistant of the city manager, said. “I think allowing this provides an easier opportunity for people to weigh in and allow their perspective to be heard on the decisions that council will be making.”

According to Clark, this new medium will elicit a broader range of responses, because it allows residents to participate in local government without becoming directly involved.

“They (City Council members) hear from people at the podium or via written communications, and sometimes that limits the number of people you hear from because not everyone has time to go to a meeting or to sit down and draft a letter,” she said.

e-Town Hall’s first topic open for resident views and comments

e-Town Hall’s first topic open for resident views and comments

Located on The City of East Lansing website, the forum currently has two topics open for citizen comments. One topic asks residents how they believe the Bailey Community Center building should be used in the future, while the other post invites individuals to vote and comment on which downtown developments they prefer.

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Up in Smoke: MSU’s Tobacco-Free Policy Currently Under Discussion

By Jalen J. Smith
Entirely East Lansin
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Cigarette smoking is one of the biggest ongoing debates in the world.Studies have shown the dangers of smoking and laws have limited cigarette smoking in public facilities and business across the United States. The debate is even occurring on our college campuses, including at Michigan State University.

MSU is currently planning a smoke-free policy on campus, which would ban the use of any tobacco or tobacco-free smoke products from being used on campus . An advisory board is currently coordinating with local and MSU officials to develop a policy for the campus community. Once the policy is complete, the MSU Board of Trustees is set to vote on it this summer and it could go into effect as early as next school year.

“The research speaks for itself,” said Jason Cody, head of media communications for MSU’s office of Communication and Brand Strategy. “We have a trusted board of MSU faculty members that have been diligently working to make our campus environment as healthy as possible.”

MSU has been working for years to try to move this policy forward and it finally seems to be falling into place, Cody said. “You can’t doubt the research.” According to a report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cigarette smoking results in more than 480,000 premature deaths each year in the United States alone. www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cigarettes-other-tobacco-products

MSU would not be the first in the East Lansing community to step up against cigarettes. CVS Pharmacy stores across the nation including the store at M.A.C. Avenue in downtown East Lansing stopped selling cigarettes in September 2014.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/03/cvs-steps-selling-tobacco-changes-name
“Our revenue has increased and we are stronger than ever post cigarette ban,” CVS said. “Sometimes the hard decision is the one you have to make.”

But not everyone is excited about the MSU tobacco-free policy, “How can the school tell me what I can and cannot do? I am on a public campus and feel I should be allowed to smoke cigarettes at my disclosure as long as I don’t do it around others” said Jacob Hansel, an East Lansing resident. “I know the health risk, I don’t want someone doctoring me from doing what I want. Since MSU is a large part of the city itself this could be a problem for me.”

No matter the position on this, one thing is clear. It is happening and the MSU Board of Trustees will vote this summer.

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Schools eager to expand MSU Service-Learning Program

By Savannah Swix
Entirely East Lansing

East Lansing Public Schools plan to advance their partnership with Michigan State University’s Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement and its program Academic Service-Learning.

“I really want to solidify it and make it something that is just how we do business here and at MSU,” said Tammy Baumann, director of educational services at East Lansing Public Schools.

Academic Service-Learning offers opportunities for Michigan State students to volunteer in their community while gaining first-hand experience in their prospective fields.

“Academic Service-Learning is where you’re doing things in the community…paired with a course,” said Christie Schichtel, the academic specialist for the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. “What you’re learning in the course relates to your experiences in the community.”

The Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement displays their program on a bulletin board outside their office in the Student Services Building at MSU.

The Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement displays their program on a bulletin board outside their office in the Student Services Building at MSU.

Education students are required to participate in the program. However, various courses in Human Development and Family Studies and Integrative Studies in Social Science also offer these opportunities, but not all are required.

The program assigns volunteers to classrooms where they assist teachers with educational needs. This includes tutoring one-on-one or in small groups, reading to children, leading activities and more.

“Many of our teachers have…little backpacks that have individual students’ interventions in them and so a volunteer can come in and check in the backpack and see what that child needs help with and then they can work on whatever is in their backpack,” said Baumann. “It’s very individual and very much customized to the student. That’s the whole goal of the partnership: to individualize.”

The program is in effect in Glencairn and Marble Elementary Schools, MacDonald Middle School as well as East Lansing High School.

Claire Barna, a human biology junior at MSU, volunteers at MacDonald with the program. Her Social Differentiation and Inequality class influenced her involvement.

“I like school districts and helping kids out,” said Barna. “It’s been great to connect with the students and meet them where they’re at, especially when we do homework help and just learn about them and their family, interests and hobbies.”

The Academic Service-Learning program is designed to ultimately benefit both the volunteer and the younger student.

“In general, (the volunteers are) likely exposed to a diverse group of young people, often in settings that are different from their own education backgrounds,” said Schichtel. “They gain skills in communication (by) interacting with young people, but also teachers, different generations.”

Baumann would like to see the program become an internal project at East Lansing Public Schools.

“We’re trying to write it into the coursework at MSU. We’re looking for the fall to try out the course being held one day a week in our district, right in our buildings,” said Baumann.

“We’re trying to make that a little bit smoother of a process versus someone comes in and says ‘I have an hour every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.’. Right now, that’s the way it is, so I have to find a match for that and it’s really a challenge to do that versus if we write it into the course and we have distinct partnerships with MSU that allow us to do that. Then I can match the need instantly.”

Schichtel and Marc Hunsaker, the program manager at the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, agreed that this step could work for the program, but it’s up to MSU and course instructors.

“The faculty have the autonomy to decide how they want to structure their classes,” said Hunsaker. “If they wanted to do some kind of on-site, regular thing, that would be up to the faculty member.”

The partnership is proving to be successful. The question on the table in 2015 seems to be asking how can they improve.

“It’s kind of the beginning of the work. We’re trying to work our way through this. What can this look like? What potential does this have? What service can MSU provide to us and what service can we provide to MSU?” said Baumann. “A mutual relationship is what we are trying to develop right now. That’s our goal.”

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Hooked app offers food deals in East Lansing

Maria Hruska has worked at Georgio’s Pizza in East Lansing for 12 years.

Maria Hruska has worked at Georgio’s Pizza in East Lansing for 12 years.

By Shireen Mohyi
Entirely East Lansing

A new smartphone application called Hooked is new to East Lansing and it’s helping residents save cash while dining out. The application can be downloaded for free from any mobile device’s application store. All a customer has to do to is show up at the restaurant with the temporary deal, and show the employee the application’s current deal to score discounts and free food.

Hooked deals are only available in East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Champaign, Illinois; Austin, Texas, and Madison, Wisconsin. It has gained its greatest level of popularity amongst college students in East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Austin and Madison. The app has been ranked number 1 at the major universities in those three cities and has reached a total of 30,000 downloads, according to Hooked’s official website.

“It’s really awesome, like, a lot of people eat out, so whenever there’s deals you kind of have a choice of where to go eat,” said MSU civil engineering major Nick Tower, a Hooked user. “It’s really nice to see all these options and not have to pay full price.”

The application is not only an opportunity to save money, but Hooked also hires students for advertising and marketing.

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