Community members fear outcome of proposed East Lansing budget cuts

East Lansing residents are concerned about the loss of city resources if budget cuts are approved. Earlier this year, the East Lansing City Council has hosted several community engagement meetings regarding budget issues and priorities in the city. There, community members were able to share their thoughts and learn more about potential budget reductions and revenue sources. City Manager George Lahanas  presented on the financial challenges from the first community engagement meeting. According to the presentation, some of the main causes for the financial stress are restrictions on the ability of raising funds for revenue at a local level and cuts in state revenue sharing.

New construction in downtown East Lansing to provide housing, parking and retail for residents

The Center City District redevelopment project has residents hopeful for positive changes in downtown East Lansing. According to the City of East Lansing website, the City Center District is a mixed-use redevelopment project involving Albert and Grand River avenues. Planning & Zoning Administrator David Haywood said the project will include two buildings with housing, retail, a parking structure and infrastructure improvements. “There are two buildings, one on Grand River and one on Albert,” said Haywood. “The Grand River building is 12 stories.

East Lansing Public Schools seek to increase diversity

East Lansing Public Schools, while currently not the most diverse school district, is making efforts to change for the better. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics’ Census data from 2000, the city of East Lansing has 5,398 residents under the age of 18. A whopping 3,806 of these children are white. [infogram id=”el-under-18-1hke60x5lp9165r”]

Students and parents alike are taking notice to this fact. East Lansing High School sophomore and student of color, Megan Pemba, commented on her view of the level of diversity.

Bad road conditions are damaging residents’ vehicles in East Lansing

During what was expected to be a typical day driving for Uber, East Lansing resident Antoine Cato encountered a pothole. Cato could feel something wrong with his car and began to slow down. Once he made it to an auto shop, he grew angry and frustrated upon learning the hefty cost of replacing his tires. “I ended spending over $200 on two front tires … I was angry because these roads have been in need of repair,” said Cato.

East Lansing recovers from February’s flooding

East Lansing pushes forward after the flood which occured at the end of February. Due to rainfall and rapid snow melting, residents were advised of potential floods in the area. According to the City of East Lansing’s website, the level of Red Cedar River was expected to rise to 9.5 feet by the end of the week of Feb. 20. Residents were advised to avoid driving through water and to report any flooded streets or areas.

University breaks negatively impact East Lansing businesses

Due to the close proximity to Michigan State University, many East Lansing businesses report that they have a high amount of student customers. When students leave campus during semester breaks and holidays, these businesses suffer a certain loss. According to 2012 Economic Census data, there are 776 businesses with paid employees in East Lansing. Although there is a plethora of businesses, from fast food to clothing stores, many of the businesses on the outskirts of campus have some degree of student business. According to 2010 Census data, 40.2 percent of East Lansing residents are in the age bracket of 20-24 years old.

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.

In wake of Larry Nassar, some East Lansing residents concerned about ‘rape culture’ at MSU

Following the Larry Nassar sentencing in January, there have been many discussions in East Lansing concerning rape culture at Michigan State University. Concerned community members shared their thoughts regarding this issue after the Nassar allegations blew up in the media. Kintla Striker, an East Lansing resident, owns her own yoga studio and has worked with many sexual assault survivors through yoga therapy. “I have been writing to the university for years about the number of sexual assault survivors that I see who feel unsupported and who feel too afraid to speak up at the university and about their care of sexual assault survivors,” said Striker. Striker explained that she has seen this issue for years, and that “the Nassar issue just blew it up.”