Remodeling bringing downtown Mason back to life

There’s a lot of historical buildings in the city of Mason, many which have been around for a long time. The city is encouraging businesses to remodel and look more presentable. As one of the older cities in the state of Michigan, Mason has done a nice job in keeping the city a place where people can go and hang out regularly. The downtown area is a major focal point that brings in a lot of traffic and the city tries to get businesses to take pride in their building. “What we’ve tried to do in the city, and this started 20-ish years ago, is encourage the building owners to take pride in the way their buildings look and to take some ownership on their part in creating the downtown square that we want to have,” said Mason Mayor Russ Whipple.

Mason lacks variety in restaurant choices, some say

There is one common complaint that residents typically have about small towns; there aren’t enough restaurants. Like most small towns, Mason seems to fit into that stereotype, according to residents. Some of the restaurants in Mason include Mason Depot Diner, City Limits, Los Tres Amigos, Darb’s Tavern and Eatery and The Vault Delicatessen.

Aside from the occasional fast food joint in Mason, most of the restaurants are small businesses and locally-owned. Despite Mason’s emphasis on locally-owned eats, some residents have a hard time finding variety, such as one resident of Mason for six years, Angela Izzo. “On a day-to-day basis I guess it doesn’t really affect me because we’re not trying to eat out every day, but when we do want to go out to eat, a lot of times it means we need to leave Mason to eat,” said Izzo.

Ingham County is looking to replace its aging jail

MASON — There is a long-overdue need for Ingham County to replace their deteriorating jail facility. The discussion is a standing item on the county commission agenda, as a plan is in the works to efficiently make the necessary moves to put it in motion. A significant part of the jail was built in 1964, making those areas 54 years old, and has never been closed once during that span. “We passed our MDOC (Michigan Department of Corrections) inspection last year without being cited, which according to the inspectors was a modern day miracle,” said county Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth. To put things in perspective, according to Wriggelsworth, the jail is the oldest large jail in Michigan, and is seventh-oldest overall, amongst the total 83 jails in the state.

Business goes on as usual despite renovation of Lansing’s state Capitol building

LANSING — The idea of a construction project in the busy downtown area of an urban center often causes people to think of an excess of dirtiness and chaos. The restoration and renovation of Michigan’s Capitol building and its’ climate control and electrical systems in downtown Lansing are not any of those things. The $70 million project being completed by The Christman Company was subject to extensive planning and forethought according to Project Director Chad Clark. “During the summer months we have water trucks out here … so that we don’t have dust …

Chinese nationals strive to feel at home in Ingham County

OKEMOS — ore and more foreigners go to various countries to settle and travel now. There are a lot of people from other regions or countries in Ingham County, including international students, visiting scholars and tourists from China. Over time, the number of local Chinese has increased. According to the Census Reporter, Ingham County had 288,051 people. Among them, Asians made up 6.6 percent. And the 2012-2016 American Community Survey showed that between 2012 and 2016, the Chinese registered an estimated 5,500 people living in Ingham County.

East Lansing residents, students work together to ensure best living environment

It’s no secret that families who share neighborhoods with students from a major university face unique circumstances. In the city of East Lansing, permanent residents often find themselves living in close proximity with students who live lifestyles completely different from their own. Naturally, some frustration among permanent residents regarding the more raucous lifestyle of college students is to be expected. “If the partying didn’t go on as much as it does along M.A.C. (Avenue) I’m sure people would be very happy,” said Jim Levande, an East Lansing native. “After a big game weekend if you walk along M.A.C. you’re gonna find all kinds of empty beverage containers,” Levande said.

Seniors citizens reap benefits from resources in East Lansing

According to the 2010 census data, only 6.4 percent of East Lansing residents are age 65 or older, compared to the 13.7 percent of Michigan as a whole being seniors age 65 or older. Regardless of the seemingly small percentage, the city of East Lansing offers a variety of programs catering to the elderly. According to The Tri-County Office on Aging’s community relations and grants manager, Tammy Lemmer, TCOA recognizes the positive effect of support on elderly citizens and they offer many services to combat loneliness or feeling of neglect. In a 2009 study, Dr. Archana Singh concluded there is a strong correlation between loneliness and depression. Singh discussed how socializing and maintaining connections with people can be beneficial to an aging person’s mental health.

Businesses in East Lansing are dependent on student-driven economy

Businesses in East Lansing are supported by a student-driven economy in which many businesses cater to the needs of the student population. This can be seen not only in the types of businesses located near Michigan State’s campus but also their sheer quantity. “Without the students this town wouldn’t exist,” said Jeff Cooper, a barber at Campus Barber Incorporated located on East Grand River Avenue. “The townies (East Lansing residents that are not students) need to get that the students are not part-time residents — that they’re full time residents. I mean if that campus over there wasn’t over there, there’s not a business on this strip that could survive.”

Not all of the businesses that are found in East Lansing are only there to cater to the students.

Fine-dining restaurants in East Lansing seek to capture diverse customer base

Restaurants in downtown East Lansing near Grand River Avenue rely on a fluctuating customer base ranging from local residents and students to out-of-town visitors. Fine-dining options in the area are consolidating élite and casual elements in order to capture a larger customer demographic. Heather Pope, a community development analyst with the City of East Lansing, listed Bistro 43 and Black Cat Bistro as two fine-dining locations in downtown East Lansing that offer higher price points. According to Pope, many different factors go into whether a fine-dining restaurant settles and succeeds in a city. “Maybe the community would love to have more fine dining in the downtown,” said Pope.