East Lansing bars respond to on re-openings and the spread of COVID-19

 The typically loud and rambunctious crowds in East Lansing bars have been replaced with control and regulation, rendering a dramatic change in the bar scene since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Before [the pandemic], it was very laid back, it was a fun environment to make good money at,” said Lauren Dix, server at Beggar’s Banquet. “It’s just a little bit tenser and there are not as many people coming in.”

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced Michigan State University to end in-person classes, hundreds of students flocked to the local bars in East Lansing. Not long after, the lack of social distancing and mask-wearing at many bars and restaurants caused many of them to shut down or implement new rules in order to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. 

Four months after the pandemic reached East Lansing, many bars and restaurants attempted to re-open after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order on June 1 that allowed them to begin conducting business again. Some were able to open successfully, relying on curbside pickup and takeout orders to make up for the revenue that they lost while being forced to close down but, others, however, were not as successful.

COVID-19 cancels Michigan’s largest free festival

Jillian Felton / Michigan State UniversityThe Lapeer Days website sharing that the event has been cancelled due to COVID-19. The aromas from vendors that travel from all over the country and crowds filled with people that come from near and far won’t be present in Lapeer this year. 

Michigan’s largest free festival since 1902, Lapeer Days, will not be happening this year because of COVID-19. Neda Payne, director of the Lapeer Chamber of Commerce, said that everything for the event is run through the chamber office. There is a committee of about 25 people, and everyone handles a different aspect of the festival. Payne said that the festival  fortifies the economy in Lapeer County and estimates the event brings in 300-400 thousand dollars each year. 

“Our hotels are always full, the restaurants in the downtown area are very busy, the gas stations usually are making a ton of money,” Payne said.

Community-wide fundraising for Lapeer’s dog park

Friends of Lapeer Dog ParkA map that shows the layout of the Lapeer dog park that will be in Rotary Park. Funding has been doing on for two years for a new dog park which will be located at Rotary Park in Lapeer. The dogs will have it made with a fenced in three acres to roam off their leash, a shade company to cool down under and even their own doggy dish water fountain system. 

Rodney Church, the director of the Lapeer Parks and Recreations, said six years ago the Lapeer City Commissioners decided that Lapeer needed a dog park. The city of Lapeer agreed to donate a section of Rotary Park in Lapeer for the dog park, the only problem was Lapeer did not have available funds for the project, so it has become a community-wide fundraiser for the past three years. 

“We came up with a design, how much it was going to cost, and then we formed a subcommittee to help fundraise to raise money to build the park,” said Church. “It’s an official 501(c)(3), or a nonprofit organization, known as the Friends of Lapeer Dog Park that I oversee.”

The president of the Friends of Lapeer Dog Park, Troy Bostick-Tullius, said that the group meets the third Tuesday of every month to talk about ways in which they are going to be getting funding.

Indigenous People’s Day recognized in Lapeer County

The Lapeer City Commission meeting held virtually on July 6. The Indigenous People will now be recognized on the second Monday of October this year and years to come in Lapeer County instead of Christopher Columbus. 

At the Lapeer City Commission meeting held over Zoom on July 6, the Lapeer City Commission voted unanimously to no longer recognize the second Monday of October as Columbus Day. Lapeer mayor Deborah Marquardt, said that Indigenous People’s Day will reflect on the ongoing struggles of the Indigenous People on the soil of Lapeer, the United States, and all over the world. The day will also celebrate the thriving culture and values that the Ottawa, Ojibwa and Potawatomi tribes contribute to society. “Business, organizations and public entities all are expected to recognize this day no longer for Columbus, but for the Indigenous People of our community and elsewhere,” Marquardt said.

Lapeer’s Kiwanis Club adjusts plans, fundraising during COVID-19

Kiwanis Club LapeerThe ticket for the Kiwanis Rubber Duck Dash event that will be happening in September. When the Flint River flows through Crampton Park, don’t be surprised if you see a rubber duck flowing along with it. That duck is only there to contribute to the future of the children of Lapeer. 

Kara Lambourn, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Lapeer, said that there are Kiwanis Clubs that operate all over the country. Kiwanis Club of Lapeer is a small part of a large nonprofit that hosts annual fundraisers. All of the proceeds from the fundraisers are given to local organizations and causes in support of their efforts with children in the community.

Food bank in Lapeer serves through folklore morals

Jillian Felton / Michigan State UniversityThe entry way of the Stone Soup Food Bank of Lapeer. The old European folk story, Stone Soup, tells the story of a stranger who enters a town and convinces the villagers to all contribute a small amount of their food to make a meal they could all enjoy. The moral of the story is that by working together and contributing what you can, a greater good can be achieved. Stone Soup Food Bank of Lapeer operates under the same morals this folklore reinforces, which is how it got it’s name. Mary MacLeod, the business development director at Stone Soup Food Bank of Lapeer, said through volunteers, program, fundraisers and donations, the food bank is able to serve around a million pounds of food a year.