Community Profile: Erik Berakovich

By Tori Zackery

Velvet Candy Store owner Erik Berakovich

Velvet Candy Store owner Erik Berakovich

How long have you been in the East Lansing?

-Well we got here about two years ago from northern Michigan.

What are your favorite thing about the area so far?

-Well I went to Michigan State back in the 90s, so I’m alumni, but we like the fact that we have the school across the street. The university has a constant turnover of students and you have the graduate programs, you have the internships, and so on, so forth. We like the set up and we like the diversity as well.

What would you consider one of your biggest accomplishments?

-I would say probably being an entrepreneur in this type of economy and market. It’s challenging. This is our third store now. We were originally in Mackinac Island and we had a Harbor Springs store briefly and this is our third location so the fact that our brand has become known across the state of Michigan now, I think is a huge accomplishment. We’ve only been in business for about five or six years now, so slowly but surely we’re starting to build our brand name for ourselves.

If you could be any ice cream flavor, what would you be?

-I would say probably the Super Joey, which is like superman. I think that’s because it’s a real strong, bold flavor for us. It has some lemon in there and cherry and blue moon all swirled together.

If you could be any movie character, who would you be?

-Vince Vaughn.

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Five questions with Brad Brown

What brought you to East Lansing?
“Working for CATA (Capital Area Transportation Authority).”

Brad Brown, CATA bus driver

Brad Brown, CATA bus driver

How did you get into working with CATA?
“I saw an ad in the paper. I used to drive Ready Mix trucks and I’ve been with CATA for ten years now.”

What’s it like being in a college town, but not actually being in college?
“It’s interesting really because it kind of takes you back to your own youth.”

What is your favorite childhood memory?
“Tiger Baseball. I was big Detroit Tigers fan, years ago. It’s a big thing.”

What is your definition of success and have you achieved it?
“Working for CATA, so yes, I have.”

-Danielle Chesney

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Five questions with Michael Popovich

Michael Popovich

Home town: Grosse Pointe Woodsphoto (5)

East Lansing resident since 1997

Works at the East Lansing Public Library as a Librarian Assistant

What do you do as a Librarian Assistant?

“I hired in as IT (information technology). As tech services type stuff, like doing computer work, and they found that I was really good at doing reference so now I’m like a reference librarian here. But I do a little bit of everything. I do tech work, I help with all the computers and such, I help patrons if they have any problems on the PC’s or with their own equipment, I do one on one training with them for computers or tablets or phones or cameras. I work at the desk doing reference work for people coming in. I have my hand in mostly everything.”

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5 Questions with Shelby Anderson

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1. What is your favorite part of living in East Lansing?

It’s clean in this area, compared to where I come from. It’s a good environment and it’s a nice city period to raise your family in and go to school. The jobs are good here too.

2. Do you think this is a good area to raise a family in?

It is a good area to raise a family because it’s not too violent of a city. It’s clean and there’s lots of different things to do as a family. I’ve been here for over 20 years and it’s just a nice city to live in altogether.

3. What is your favorite restaurant?

Red Lobster because I like seafood.

4. Does it ever get to be too much living in a college town?

No. I like the spirit that the students have at the college. The parties are cool too.

5. Would you say East Lansing has a lot of opportunities for people?

Yes. There’s many different spots to work on campus, many restaurants and stores and other businesses. There’s plenty of opportunities; you just have to get out there and apply yourself.

-Kayla Robinson

 

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5 Questions with Ray Walsh

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Ray Walsh owns Curious Bookstore on Grand River in East Lansing

Why do you like East Lansing?
It has a variety of businesses. I like it because it is a college town. It has a lot small businesses and restaurants that makes it unique and I like that. I like having a choice of places to shop. There are a lot of sections to shop. Everything from tattoo parlors to bars, places I don’t go to anymore but it’s nice to have choices to go to.

Have you lived anywhere else?
Well I was born in Ohio, I grew up in Northwest Detroit. I lived in Brody dormitory, Bailey Hall, when I went to school here. I got an apartment and then bought and moved into a house and now I live in Lansing, about 15 minutes away.

What makes East Lansing different from any other place you have visited?
The choices and the variety of people and businesses.

Did you choose to live/work in East Lansing? Why and why not?
When I was going to school, my parents said, “live in a dorm, keep your hair short, don’t buy a car and we’ll pay your way through college, son,” so I moved off campus, let my hair grow long and bought a car and paid my own way through college. So having those kind of decisions, living in East Lansing is something I have always enjoyed and would definitely recommend to other people.

What is your favorite place to go in East Lansing?
Well Curious Book Shop, obviously, but I like going places that people don’t publicize a lot, like the MSU Museum, because a lot of people don’t even know it exists and it has great exhibits and I’m fortunate to have a lot of great employees helping me run the business here.

-Katie McCoy

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Community Profile: Chris Melnyk

By Tori Zackery

Chris Melnyk volunteering at the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Chris Melnyk volunteering at the Unitarian Universalist Church.

How long have you been living in East Lansing?

– (Lives in Haslett, active in East Lansing community) 35 years.

What’s your favorite thing about the area?

– Where I live, it’s close enough out the country, you can get out to it, but you got everything you need close by. You got everything you need, without being a huge city.

If you could be any movie character, who would you choose?

– Oh dear me… That’s a good one. I can’t think of a movie with a name, but it’s one I saw recently… A woman works for the CIA, actually goes into the field, she’s been in the office and she just sorta takes life and goes for it.

What would you consider one of your biggest accomplishments?

-I could be sarcastic and say surviving 62 years on this crazy planet. I suppose the years I worked on the open heart surgery unit at the Am Medical Center. It was quite something to do.

If you could eat a single food item for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

-Oh dear. Looking at it from a nutritional point of view, one food would probably have to be milk because it has pretty much everything in it. If I could get all the nutrients in just one food, I would just wave my magical wand and everything would be in it. That’s a good question. This is gonna sound strange, but probably potatoes.

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5 Questions with David Marshall

 

 

What’s your favorite veggie?

Mayo man

David Marshall works in Mary Mayo Hall.

“Corn. I like it on the cob. On the cob is tasty.”

What’s your favorite breed of dog?

“Probably… oh, man. What’s the name of that dog? Let’s go with golden [retriever]. They’re loyal and they look pretty and they’re a good size, a solid size.”

What’s your favorite genre of music?

“Rap, hip hop I guess. Right now, the Weeknd.”

What’s your favorite kind of cereal?

“Frosted Flakes”
What’s the best part of East Lansing?

 “The college atmosphere. I live downtown but when you come to EL, being a college student there’s a lot of things you can do around here a lot of fun a lot of activities and things to do around here.”

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5 questions with Catina Shelby

What is your favorite part about East Lansing?

One of my favorite parts is my job. I work for a Retina surgeon, I only moved to Michigan about 3 months ago so I don’t know a lot about East Lansing yet but I’m excited to learn more and more.

Catina Shelby shopping at Fresh Thyme during her lunch break

Catina Shelby shopping at Fresh Thyme during her lunch break

Why do you choose to live/work in East Lansing?

I moved to East Lansing from Colorado for my job.

If you won the lottery, what would you do?

I would probably continue with my job but also open a bed and breakfast somewhere near Ludington.

If you could live anywhere, where would you live and why?

I would choose San Diego because my daughter and my two grandchildren live there so of course I would want to be near them.

Where is your favorite place to eat in East Lansing?

My favorite is Woody’s Oasis, it’s very close to my work and their food is very good.

-Gabriella Galloway

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5 Questions with Kora Anderson

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Kora Anderson works at Landon Cafeteria at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

1. What is your favorite part of living in East Lansing?

The students at Michigan State.

2. Do you think this is a good area to raise a family in?

Absolutely. The community is pretty close-knit. People look out for one another and that, to me, is the most important thing.

3. What is your favorite restaurant in East Lansing?

Noodles & Company.

4. Does it ever get to be too much living in a college town?

Yes. When you get used to a group of students, you just learn to love them. Then pretty soon, they move on. A lot of the time, they don’t comes back and it just changes things. But then during football season sometimes, it becomes way too much to be around it.

5. Would you say East Lansing has a lot of opportunities for people?

Absolutely. East Lansing is always re-inventing itself. It changes with the time. They’re always looking for ways to go above and beyond.

-Kayla Robinson

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Five questions with Tony Ouraz

Tony Ouraz, hospitality professor at Lansing Community College

Tony Ouraz, hospitality professor at Lansing Community College

What brought you to East Lansing?
“Well, I have an interesting story to tell you. I was born here. My parents went to MSU – ’66 and ’68 – to get their masters MBA, and I was born here. They lived in Spartan Village, actually. They went back to Turkey when I was one year old, and I came here 20 years later and I’ve been here 26 years. So, what happened is I came here for college because I’m a U.S. citizen by birth and I decided to stay and get a job at MSU and I’ve been with MSU almost 20 years now. I have master’s degrees, so I teach hospitality classes at LCC. That’s what I do. That’s why I’m in East Lansing.”

Have you ever wanted to go anywhere other than East Lansing?
“No, not really. I enjoy East Lansing because the world comes to me. I meet different people everyday, especially in the food business.”

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