By Jaclyn McNeal
Entirely East Lansing staff writer
While East Lansing is largely considered a “college town,” I’ve had the privilege this last week to experience how it truly thrives as first and foremost, a city. How easy and understandable it is to always associate the City of East Lansing with Michigan State University, but as the university is stripped of students in the summer time, the locals, both governmental and simply residential, seem to come out of the woodwork and make the city alive in an entirely new way.
The Entirely East Lansing team dove into the happenings of East Lansing by covering three major meetings including a school board meeting for the East Lansing Public School System, a City Council Meeting, and a planning meeting for the downtown area of East Lansing.
During the school board meeting we heard from a father who was concerned about the treatment of his son, complaining that it was not meeting his standards for a school system. On a better note, two teachers were reinstated to the school district and new textbooks were approved.
The City Council Meeting was focused largely on the sale of alcohol as El Azteco, a popular restaurant in East Lansing, was approved to package liquor and sell it with their food and take-out items. Shortly after, the BP gas station located on Michigan Ave. requested a license to sell liquor and spirits at their establishment. Controversy followed the decision of the council by a 3-2 vote in favor of refraining to grant this liquor license to the owner of the BP gas station.
The planning committee for downtown East Lansing was excited to begin planning their events for the fall of 2011. There are events such as “Girl’s Night” and Chili Cookoffs being planning for the fall as well as “back-to-school” sales for many local businesses in downtown East Lansing. The topic of a gift card program being established for participating businesses in the downtown area was also discussed and overall the committee seems pleased with the interest of not only downtown businesses, but citizens and guests of the East Lansing area. Local business owners in attendance at the meeting were overjoyed to report that during the weekend of the U2 concert at Spartan Stadium, their sales at least doubled the income they report for any other given weekend. In the words of Curious Book Shop’s owner, Ray Walsh, “Who can we send a thank you to for bringing them here?” =)
Overall, I’m thankful for the perspective change and appreciation that came for me along with all of this new information on the happenings in East Lansing. While I’ve always loved associating myself as a student at Michigan State University, I’m also proud to be able to consider myself a resident of East Lansing, MI.