Will return of students help East Lansing’s labor shortage?

When walking around downtown East Lansing, you will run into help wanted signs out front of many of the businesses and restaurants. Starting fall 2021, Michigan State University is set to resume in-person classes for the first time since March, 2020. Will students returning to campus coincide with an increase in the labor workforce? Peter Dewan, who served on the Downtown Development Authority board for 11 years until resigning this July, said that the DDA was particularly concerned in helping downtown businesses navigate the negative effects of lacking students on campus during the pandemic. “So many businesses rely on the students,” said Dewan.

Pinecrest elementary school to be renamed in tribute to civil rights activist Dr. Robert L. Green

The East Lansing School Board unanimously voted to re-name Pinecrest Elementary School to honor Dr. Robert L. Green, the first Black homeowner in East Lansing and civil rights activist. Emotions ran high as the board room began to clap following the final approval of the name change. 

Gabrielle MortonFormerly known Pinecrest Elementary School is in the same neighborhood that Robert L. Green raised his own kids. The Robert L. Green Commission, which was formed earlier this year, was created in an effort to commemorate Green and his efforts to improve the East Lansing community for people of color in the 1960s. Ron Bacon, a member of the commission as well as a city councilman, said that this change brings light to a missing part of East Lansing’s history. 

“There is a long history of Dr. Green that I wanted to know,” said Bacon. “His story being told makes all of our communities’ history make a lot more sense.”   

In 1962, President Kennedy signed Executive Order 11063.

MSU students react to required vaccine and mask for fall semester

After previously stating that the COVID-19 vaccine and masks would not be required this fall, Michigan State University has decided to take a different course of action. With the university now requiring the vaccine and masks to attend classes in the fall, students have had a mixed response to the news. 

Michigan State University has declared that masks must be worn indoors within all facilities. Outdoor settings on campus do not require masks and are left to the student’s discretion if they wish to wear a mask or not. Photo by Gabrielle Morton

“I understand MSU’s reasoning for requiring vaccines and masks for class to try to keep everyone safe, especially with the new COVID variant,” said Kaelan Zalewski, a senior at Michigan State University. “I’m hoping that this will allow us to be in person for classes this year so that we don’t have to move to online classes again.” 

In March 2020, MSU sent students home to start online classes due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Wendell, N.C. restaurant struggles to find balance after mask mandates end

Wendell restaurant Farmers & Merchants was planning its grand opening for the early months of 2020, but COVID-19 had different plans. Months were spent refurbishing the tired old building in downtown Wendell into a greatly anticipated eating and drinking establishment. When the global pandemic that shut down the state was declared on March 11, owners Brad Ellis and Sigurd Westerlund were surprised to find the Metro Raleigh restaurant patrons would travel almost anywhere to experience eating out again. 

In the small metropolis of Wendell, the enforcement of the mask mandates was not as strict as those in Raleigh. Because of the looser restrictions, Ellis and Westerlund decided to continue with the opening in June 2020. In hindsight,  Westerlund said they could have never predicted the success. 

“We also could not have pictured the effects of the city (Raleigh) opening back up,” Westerland said. 

Farmers & Merchants was able to keep its doors open during the pandemic, but as mandates lifted within Raleigh, residents have started to retreat back to the city rather than spend time in the suburbs. 

Nights that traditionally led to a full house; now host only a few tables.

Meridian Township awards Haslett Robotics Club with certificate of achievement

The successes of four Haslett Robotics Club students lead them to a championship that meant more than just a trophy. 

 “There’s been a lot of hard work that’s gone into this past year,” said Ian, who is a member of the high school team. “It is nice to be recognized for something that we are all so proud of.” On July 20, Haslett Robotics Club members were presented with the Certificate of Achievement. Phil Deschaine, Treasurer of the Meridian Township Board, awarded the students. “Congratulations to the Haslett Robotics Club on your success persevering through the Covid pandemic and competing at the state and world tournament level,” said Deschaine.

Farmington Hills’ florist’s business booms post-COVID-19

Michelle Hinds, owner of The Vine in Farmington Hills, said that Michigan’s lift on COVID-19 restrictions has brought a sense of normalcy back to her business. On June 22, Michigan joined the majority of the states that are pulling back COVID-19 restrictions. With masks no longer being required, unless per the business owners’ request, businesses such as The Vine have seen a dramatic increase in sales for events. Hinds said that people are starting to come into the store more to design and plan rather than over the phone. “Some of our biggest customers come to us during the wedding season,” said Hinds.

Lansing Moves forward in one-way to two-way street transformation

The city of Lansing developed a traffic model that would convert one-way streets into two-way streets. After receiving a $3.3 million grant to pay for the needed changes, the city of Lansing started the beginning phases of the project. Andrew Kilpatrick, public service director for the city of Lansing, said he believes that the change will be positive. 

“It will definitely make things less confusing for those not familiar with downtown,” said Kilpatrick. “Generally, there is a positive correlation between two-way traffic and retail businesses and the economics of the area.”

Lansing City HallAbove is a map of the roads that are being effected by the conversion. The conversion will take place over the next few years.

Wendell, N.C. restaurant struggles to find balance after mask mandates ends

Wendell restaurant Farmers & Merchants was planning its grand opening for the early months of 2020, but COVID-19 had different plans. Months were spent refurbishing the tired old building in downtown Wendell into a greatly anticipated eating and drinking establishment. When the global pandemic that shut down the state was declared on March 11, owners Brad Ellis and Sigurd Westerlund were surprised to find the Metro Raleigh restaurant patrons would travel almost anywhere to experience eating out again. 

In the small metropolis of Wendell, the enforcement of the mask mandates were not as strict as those in Raleigh. Because of the looser restrictions, Ellis and Westerlund decided to continue with the opening in June 2020. In hindsight,  Westerlund said they could have never predicted the success. 

“We also could not have pictured the effects of the city (Raleigh) opening back up,” Westerland said. 

Farmers & Merchants was able to keep its doors open during the pandemic, but as mandates lifted within Raleigh, residents have started to retreat back to the city rather than spend time in suburbs. 

Nights that traditionally led to a full house; now host only a few tables.