An in-depth look at how the tourism industry affects Lansing

When it comes to tourism, you would think Lansing wouldn’t be too high on most people’s list of places to visit. Unlike popular tourist destinations like Los Angeles and Miami, Lansing isn’t that big. According to the 2016 U.S. Census, Lansing’s population doesn’t even exceed 120,000 people. One could argue that if it weren’t for Lansing being Michigan’s capital city and home to Michigan State University, the city would be relatively unknown. But despite all of this, the mitten state’s capital city still sees its fare share of visitors.

Michigan State students react to spring snow shower

It has now been more than two weeks since the seasonal transition into spring, but it seems mother nature did not get the memo. On April 4, the city of East Lansing experiences 27 mph winds, close to an inch of snowfall and temperature reached a high of 33 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 23 degrees. In the week ahead, the cold temperature is predicted to remain steady. According to the 10-day weather forecast, East Lansing is expected to receive two more snow showers between now and April 11. Temperatures will not exceed 50 degrees until April 12.

Lansing residents react to city’s ‘March for Our Lives’

Thousands of people marched from the Hall of Justice to the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan to show support for the Stoneman Douglas shooting victims on March 24. The event is part of a larger wave of demonstrations that brought thousands of participants in the March for Our Lives to the streets of Washington, D.C., to voice their opposition to gun violence. The main march – organized by a group of students and survivors of the shooting – took place just blocks away from the Capitol Building, but the movement’s impact permeated far past the nation’s capital. Hundreds of sibling marches were organized in cities across the country, including in Lansing. “I thought it was a really good idea not only for the people in Lansing, but worldwide,” said Lansing resident Amir Franklin.

Shuto Con hits the Lansing Center

Lovers of anime filled the Lansing Center and Radisson Hotel over the weekend, from March 23 to March 25 for Lansing’s annual Shuto Con anime convention. Shuto Con means “Capitol City”, and is named after Lansing, the city the convention is held in and Michigan’s capitol city. More than 1,000 people attended the first Shuto Con convention in 2011, and those attendance numbers have continued to rise annually. More than 6,000 people attended the convention last year. This year’s convention featured over 50 unique anime artists and dealers, in addition to thousands of anime fans dressed as their favorite fictional characters.

Home improvement companies attempt to grow businesses at home and garden show

Showspan, a company that produces consumer shows throughout Michigan, brought its annual Lansing Home and Garden show to MSU Pavilion from March 15 to March 18. The exhibit featured over 300 exhibitors from landscaping and home improvement companies in mid-Michigan, with a large majority based in Lansing. With over 20,000 people attending the exhibit, show manager and publicist Carolyn Alt said the show is a substantial benefit to vendors looking to display their products. “To talk to that many people just in four days, it’s a huge opportunity for them to make a lot of connections,” she said. Much of what was on display at the exhibit were products designed to either improve homes aesthetically or structurally, such as home gardens and roofing installations.

Farmers market serves as healthy alternative for Lansing residents

Lansing currently doesn’t have an abundance of grocery stores, but for several neighborhoods in Lansing, The Allen Farmers Market, located in the Allen Neighborhood Center, serves as a substitute for the regular supermarket, and has done so for the last five years. “In 2013 we opened the Allen Market Place facility, which houses a lot of our other programs, but that was the first year we went year round,” market manager Julia Kramer said. “We have every type product you could ever need, and everything here is local. It’s grown, or produced and prepared in Michigan.”

Kramer said the local aspect of the market makes it an asset, especially to residents in a community without easy access to fresh foods. “There isn’t really a grocery store within the neighborhoods boundaries.

New head football coach at Everett High School

Everett athletic director Mike Smith was named football head coach on Jan. 29 after former coach and athletic director Chad Foster resigned back in November. Foster was placed on administrative leave for having an inappropriate relationship with a student, according to a Lansing State Journal report. Foster was disciplined by the school for allegedly interacting with a 17-year-old female student that school officials deemed unprofessional and inappropriate. Smith left his head coaching position at Eaton Rapids High School to become the new athletic director at Everett in January, a couple of weeks prior to being named head coach of the football team.

New plans to improve Bailey Park include eliminating “dog park” atmosphere

Talks to improve one of East Lansing’s oldest outdoor spaces, Bailey Park, were advanced in the city’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Located in Bailey neighborhood north of Grand River Avenue and south of Burcham Road, Bailey Park has been used by the residents of the Bailey community and East Lansing since the 1920s for a wide array of outdoor recreational activities such as soccer, frisbee and a site for young children to play. But Wendy Longpre, Assistant Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Arts, said dog owners in the community have been frequently using the park as a space to exercise their pets, which has been detrimental to other community members wanting to have access to the park. “I think one of the big things with Bailey Park right now is because it is fenced it’s used like a dog park, which really limits other people from using it for park purposes,” Longpre said.

Lansing sexual assault centers reflect on Nassar scandal

The Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal has been directly associated with Michigan State University, but the impact of Nassar’s crimes goes further than MSU’s campus. End Violent Encounters Inc. (EVE) and the Firecracker Foundation are Lansing-based non-profit organizations that provide support services to victims of sexual assault.

“It’s mainly all about support and empowerment,” said Leah Davidson, volunteer coordinator at EVE. “We do lots of things for healing such as support groups and one-on-one counseling, just so they can heal from the trauma they experienced.”

Since it was founded in 1977, EVE’s central focus has been to aid victims of violence, but its services didn’t always extend to survivors of sexual abuse. EVE used to solely center its assistance towards victims of domestic violence, hence its former name, Council Against Domestic Assault, until sexual assault-related services were formally added to the organization in 2015. EVE utilizes a variety of methods to help survivors, including therapy, which Executive Director Erin Roberts said is contingent on the experiences of the victim.