Yard waste collection made simple

By Kelly Cullen
Entirely East Lansing

East Lansing residents are offered a convenient way to dispose of yard waste without having to leave their yards or pay an extravagant fee.

Every year, the City of East Lansing provides yard waste collection from April 6-Nov. 30 every Monday. This service is for single-family households, duplexes and households with one to four units, Environmental Services Administrator Catherine DeShambo said.

“Residents get really excited about the no-fee yard waste collection,” said DeShambo. “This is an easy and cost-free method that is done for them.”

Yard waste includes leaves, grass clippings, plant materials, twigs and more. Once the yard waste is collected, it is brought to the Granger Compose Center.

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Special Olympics road leads to Breslin

The Monsters, one of the teams competing in the league.

The Monsters, one of the teams competing in the league.

By: Andrea Urban
Entirely East Lansing

**Watch the MSU Special Olympics feature video here**

In March 2015, Michigan State student Jessica Osos brought to life her idea of creating a MSU Special Olympics league. She, with the help of others, put together a four-team league filled with student volunteers and alumni special athletes from around the mid-Michigan area. The teams were the Ultimate Iguanas vs. Spartacus and the Monstars vs. Spartan Wolfpack. While on the court, there had to be two volunteers and 3 athletes at a time. Emotions throughout the league season rose and there was one champion in the end. I followed the Spartan Special Olympics team all throughout March and April, watch the journey here.

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The great road debate

By Jalen J. Smith
Entirely East Lansing

Tomorrow, East Lansing residents are expected to vote in the city elections. Among the proposals on the ballot is a proposed road bill for the state of Michigan from Gov. Rick Snyder. The bill will include an increase in the state’s sales tax by one percent in addition to new fuel tax regulations and new divisions in the state’s school aid funds for public schools,community colleges and universities.

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, highway program investment levels will drop at least $117 million dollars and will cause at least $655 million in federal revenues. The loss of federal revenue could cause the department to hold up plans in its five-year transportation program proposal.

“Our roads are in generally great condition in comparison to past years, but they could be better,” said George Lahanas, East Lansing city manager. “We have been working on the improvement of our city’s overall infrastructure for several year, but lack of funds derail some plans.”

A cracked city road in downtown East Lansing

A cracked city road in downtown East Lansing

According to the Michigan Municipal League, about 30 percent of the state’s roads are in need of repair and Michigan is now dead last in per-capita (per resident) funding for roads.

A league representative also reports, “that the bill would allow for every one dollar invested in maintaining our roads and bridges we would save at least six dollars in reconstruction costs.”
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School board and city council working together on marketing efforts

By Jalen J. Smith
Entirely East Lansing

At a joint meeting of the City Council and School Board in City Manager, George Lahanas unveiled a new tri-fold pamphlet as one of the many collaborative marketing tools being used between the city and the school board.

East Lansing City Mayor Nathan Triplett discussing the new marketing efforts at the city council meeting.

East Lansing City Mayor Nathan Triplett discussing the new marketing efforts at the city council meeting.

This campaign, which includes a pamphlet, a monthly newsletter communication packages for new city residents and a intergovernmental committee are all being done to promote the city and bring in families and tourists.

“The school board is directly intertwined with the city.”Our success is in part to their success,” Lahanas said. “We always try to support the school board in everything they do.”

The new marketing plan is a revamp of an old city marketing plan with some refinements to appeal to a younger audience. The plan, designed by the city’s communications department, was created in part to help in gaining an increase in younger student enrollment for the school district as well as bringing more businesses to the city. This plan also includes the return of the city’s monthly newsletter, The Dialogue. New East Lansing residents are also given a communication packet when buying a new home in the city. This packet includes important city information and resources and is delivered by the city’s public works department.

“We are seeing relatively good growth and stability in our city businesses and I only expect it to get better in the next five years,” Lahanas also said.

The marketing plan, in addition to promoting the school board, features areas such as outdoor recreation, community events, cost of living and university community.

“Part of the goals of this marketing plan, I think, is to promote our university life. We want the college students who live in our community to become involved and attend our meetings. I think that would be really cool,” said Marie Wicks, city clerk. “I am an East Lansing local, I moved away for years and came back to the city years ago so my stepson could go to East Lansing’s high school, one of the best around.”

The marketing plan promotes the city as having, “big city amenities, small-town charm.” School Board Vice-President Nathaniel Lake said during the meeting, “it is always great when the city and school board work together to better reach the community,” Lake also said.

All of the marketing efforts are to be displayed and used to promote the city in all city buildings in the coming weeks.

The cover of the city's new pamphlet, one of the many new marketing tools for the city.

The cover of the city’s new pamphlet, one of the many new marketing tools for the city.

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Let’s talk sex: the community’s take on MSU’s sexual assault policy

By Jalen J. Smith
Entirely East Lansing

Michigan State University is responding to a 2014 report that it is a campus where sexual assault take place. MSU in response to a federal investigation is implementing a campus wide policy that changes the way MSU handles its sexual assault cases. The new policy is quite simple, any and all assaults reported to or made aware of by an MSU faculty member will be subject to immediate police investigation.Through the new policy, MSU and its employees agree to take all sexual assault cases seriously regardless of sexual orientation, gender or race.

Early last year, MSU was accused of something Jason Lucas, an East Lansing local views as an, “unacceptable” mishandling several of its sexual assault cases as far back as 2010. According to a U.S. Department of Education report, MSU along with several other universities as being investigated for open Title IX sexual assault investigations. http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-releases-list-higher-education-institutions-open-title-ix-sexual-violence-investigations

As a result MSU has initiated a new sexual assualt policy that requires all sexual assaults claims reported to faculty and staff members associated or employed with MSU on the campus premises to be reported to the police.

“Our young girls once again have a voice without the feeling they can be sought after for such claims,” said Elizabeth McDonald, an East Lansing local and MSU parent “I’m glad to know my daughter can walk around MSU and feel safe at all times.”

MSU’s sexual assault policy is being taught across the campus including to several Residential and Hospitality service members. Patrick Palmers, an East Lansing resident and former RHS team member said, “This type of formal training about RHS is something that I never received while employed there, I am glad to see them making a change in the right direction. Sexual assault is something I never really thought deeply about before but with this issue being so prevalent in my community, I feel better connected than ever to these issues.”

Lucas said, “The best part about this policy in my opinion is it’s anonymous nature, I think MSU does a good job of expressing those values and ensuring to young people that it’s not your fault and there are resources here to help you.”

In addition to the new sexual assault policy MSU also requires all of its freshman to attend a Sexual Assault and Relationship Prevention Program http://studentlife.msu.edu/sarv MSU is also expected to host Sexual Assault prevention programs open to the public in the coming academic year. In the meantime, check out MSU’s Resource Guide on Sexual Assault for more info.

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Bill would loosen minor in possession penalties

Statistics from Spartan Smart Program

Statistics from Spartan Smart Program

By Kelly Cullen
Entirely East Lansing

Over the past year, East Lansing has issued 387 citations to minors for possession of alcohol.

Minor in Possession (MIP) is the criminal charge is a misdemeanor for anyone caught with alcohol under the age of 21. State Sen. Rick Jones, R- Party, 24th District, proposed a bill to change the current Michigan law for MIPs.

“It’s time to re-evaluate the situation,” said Jones. “Minor in Possessions are stopping young people from getting scholarships, getting into college and harming future employment placement.”

The proposed bill would start by offering two “warnings” for young adults that would serve as a civil fine, rather than a misdemeanor charge.

Jones said the first MIP offense would cost $100 and the second would be $200.

“If you get caught a third time, you would be charged a misdemeanor. “Along with the charge, a drinking program would be required as the problem would need to be addressed appropriately.”
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MSU Surplus Store offers bikes for a bargain

surplus bike sale 2

By Sean Deters
Entirely East Lansing

The Michigan State Surplus Store had its first big bike sale of the year from  9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 11.Bikes came in a range of styles, models and condition and were available on a first-come-first-served basis.

There were roughly 300 bikes for sale, according to sales manager Tom March, with prices that ranged from $15-$300.

“We sold around 175 bikes. The rest will be for sale during our normal hours on Tuesdays and Fridays,” said March.

The sale’s turnout was large, and many people got the bargain they hoped for, which was the case for East Lansing resident Joey May.
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Proposal would decriminalize marijuana in East Lansing

By Sean Deters
Entirely East Lansing

Ethan Slabosky- Coalition for a Safer East Lansing- Audio Interview

Marijuana could become decriminalized in East Lansing on May 5. Around 2,300-2,400 signatures collected by a group called Coalition for a Safer East Lansing ensured a spot on the ballot.

Jeff Hank is the chairman of the group and is demanding reform.

“The goal is to bring awareness to a victimless crime that ruins the future for young people. The efforts of our law enforcement should be aimed toward serious crimes like murder and robbery. But instead, we’re throwing people in jail for smoking marijuana, and that needs to stop,” said Hank.

The proposal will allow the use, possession and transfer of up to 1 ounce of marijuana on private property by people 21 and older.

Ballotpedia.org said on its website that East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett supports marijuana decriminalization as a matter of public policy, but has serious concerns about attempting to advance it.
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Library hopes for permanent Maker Studio after success

By Savannah Swix
Entirely East Lansing

East Lansing Public Library opened the first Maker Studio at the library in September of 2014. A few weeks later, it opened a second pop-up space in the Marriott at University Place on Oct. 1. After months of success, the library is planning and fundraising to open a larger and permanent studio.

The Maker Studio at the East Lansing Public Library.

The Maker Studio at the East Lansing Public Library.

“The success has been phenomenal. I think in the press release we said we’ve had over 1,500 people, so now that’s probably up to 1,700 people … People have really responded to it, much more than we thought they would,” said Lauren Douglass, head of technological services at East Lansing Public Library.

The Maker Studio at the Marriott was opened as a temporary location meant to last through the end of February. Due to its achievement, it’s been extended to July 31.

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Property development expanding across East Lansing

By Chris Boggus
Entirely East Lansing

East Lansing skyline is expected to get a little larger over the next year. Well, that’s what the current building project’s agenda shows.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Darcy Schmitt is working with a multitude of properties that are under development.

“We are extremely busy,” said Schmitt. “Like, ridiculously busy.”

According to the City of East Lansing website, there are 24 projects in different stages of planning.

“Right now myself and my one employee are reviewing 10 different development plans that are in different stages of the process,” said Schmitt. “They are all over the city, I couldn’t even tell you off the top of my head.”

DTN is the land developer for three of the proposals.

“Currently there are two buildings, the Garten Haus project off of Gunson and Beach, and the 300 Grand River Ave. project, and that is the Gateway. A little outside of that we have buildings going up in Lansing Township, Holt, DeWitt and Grand Rapids,” said Colin Cronin, the vice president and co-owner of DTN Management Co.
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