East Lansing Fire Department celebrates 100 years of service

East Lansing’s Fire Department celebrated 100 years of service on Aug. 12 by inviting the community to an open house. Multiple vehicles were available to tour, gear was offered to try on, and safety demonstrations were held throughout the event. 

There were about a dozen firefighters, along with volunteers, manning booths about different aspects of the job and answering questions from the community. The department’s safety training officer, Olivia Skowronek, said she enjoys the opportunity to show her family and friends the work she does. 

“I like that the community gets the opportunity to see us outside of an emergency situation,” said Skowronek. “Usually when people see us they’re having the worst moment of their lives.” 

Fun was highlighted in this setting as kids were allowed to try on uniforms, spray fire hoses, and food/drinks were offered for free.

Coyotes cause chaos in Los Angeles area

Imagine waking up to discover your family pet has been killed overnight by a wild animal and the remains have been left in your yard. For Dyann Williams, and many others in Southern California, this wasn’t an imagination, but her reality. About a year ago, a coyote came into her family’s backyard and killed their beloved cat. 

Southern California is a region known for its diverse array of wildlife as the state is home to mountain ranges, coastlines and deserts. Surrounded by mountain ranges and the Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles County is home to many species and coyotes are one of the commonly sighted animals in both urban and suburban areas. 

Although coyotes have lived in the Southern California region “well before European settlement,” according to the National Library of Medicine, there has been an uptick in sightings and interactions according to the LA County website’s “Managing Coyote Problems” page. In 2022, 15 coyote bites were reported while the previous five years all reported five or less.

Vegan Playground lets diners let loose

Vegan Playground is a weekly vegan night market in Hollywood that offers food trucks, live music, and a few sustainable, local vendors. Over 20 vendors set up shop outside of Plant Power Fast Food, a vegan restaurant that lets the market take over its parking lot. 

Diana Colmenar, founder of Vegan Playground, is a longtime vegan and said she always loved teaching people about a vegan lifestyle and showing how easy it can be. 

“We want to create a space where people who’ve never had vegan food can learn how delicious it is,” said Colmenar. “I also want to show vegans how many options we really have.” 

The wide variety of vendors included cookies, soft serve and tacos. Colmenar ensures a variety as the event can open people’s eyes to all of the options when choosing a vegan lifestyle. 

“My husband is from Mexico and I lived there with him for a while despite the lack of vegan food,” said JoJo Sevilla, owner of Tierra Taco. “When we got back to the states I was inspired to bring amazing Mexican recipes with me, but I wanted to make them completely plant based.” 

Discovery is not limited to food.

Farm fresh food fosters community

Fruits, vegetables, and lines of customers waiting for fresh eggs are only a few of the things you can find at the Torrance Certified Farmers Market. Held every Tuesday of the year from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. , this market provides a space for shoppers to buy goods from 60 California farms, according to the market’s website. 

Rows of booths, multiple food stands, and a stage with live music makeup the Torrance Certified Farmers Market. Citizens of all ages sat at tables to eat, shopped for weekly groceries, and listened to the reggae band performing. 

“This is the best weekday market I’ve seen,” said Hector Valencia, a vendor at The Almond Guy, a booth selling farm fresh almonds. “It’s my first time selling here and it’s cool to see people walking around and coming out so early on a Tuesday.” 

Valencia said he has worked at many different markets throughout LA County and there’s a wide range of size and attendance. Sometimes a market will be slow and Valencia said he’s “just there to sell” while other markets offer an environment to chat with shoppers and people watch.

Torrance City Council meeting draws vocal citizen comment

The Torrance City Council meeting held on June 20 drew a crowd, half of the citizens carrying signs demanding environmental change with the others decked out in patriotic attire. Demands for the Torrance Refinery to be more transparent were made along with groups fighting to stop a decision that would allow flags other than that of the country or state on street lamps and poles. 

A proposed discussion was on the agenda to help the city council members decide whether the city should allow banners or flags, other than that of the city or state, to be put on city street lamps and poles. Three business owners discussed wanting to put banners with company logos or decorate the city for events. 

Despite there being no mention of specific events or kinds of flags that would be acceptable, there were rows of citizens adorned in American flag attire at the meeting that had come to try to stop the city councilors from allowing this. Seven members from that group who came up to speak targeted their comments toward pride month

 “A month dedicated to the sexual preference of one group has become overwhelming and unnecessary,” said one member of the group. 

All comments that were not in favor of allowing more kinds of flags and banners focused on pride month, despite pride flags being only one example given by community members. 

City council members and the mayor said they are dedicated to bettering their community and local government is all about the seemingly small issues. 

“Local government participation is where the public gets to truly interact with their elected officials in a very transparent forum,” said Mayor George Chen. “We encourage everyone to come and let their voice be heard.” 

Another group of citizens were present at this meeting, but for an entirely different cause.

High-end pizza? Get it at Locale 90 in the South Bay

Redondo Beach, Calif. — Pizza is a favorite of many communities, be it deep dish Chicago style or New York City thin crust. Locale 90 provides one-of-a-kind pizza, for the community of Redondo Beach. Locale 90 is a family owned pizza restaurant in Riviera Village, a strip of businesses offering shopping and dining. According to the mission statement offered on its website, a group of brothers and their wives came together to open the establishment with the mission of selling gourmet pizza and being a prominent force in their community.