Lansing, East Lansing work to get online education right

Kendra Freeman doesn’t know what she should do. When the Lansing School District decided on July 17 it would move to fully virtual learning for the first marking period between Aug. 31 and Nov. 6, Freeman, a mother of a 9th grader and kindergartner, was left wondering how she was going to make it work. “It has been very tough as far as moving online,” Lansing School District parent Kendra Freeman.

MSU Greek life goes virtual

One of the popular attractions in college is the social aspect of college, which includes doing Greek life. This upcoming school year, Greek life will join a long list of other social activities that will look different.  

Greek life at Michigan State allows students to not only xperience social venues at college, but also give them the opportunity to be a part of something bigger and get involved in philanthropy like ways never before that are both rewarding and fun for the students. One of the most important parts of Greek life is membership and recruitment. The ability to be face-to-face and in close quarters with one another. 

This type of recruitment will need to be adjusted as both the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Council will need to adjust their ways in order to continue. 

Kate Vernier, who is the Panhellenic president said how this upcoming fall will be like no other due to everything going virtual. 

“This fall, formal recruitment will be completely virtual,” Vernier said. “We will be using an online platform, which has not been decided yet.” 

Spring as well is likely to look different, although plans have not fully been made, says Vernier. 

“While we haven’t started formally planning for spring recruitment, we plan to follow all local, state and university recommendations, as well as the recommendations from the National Panhellenic Council,” said Vernier.

Local school districts prepare for upcoming year

Students will have to wait to show off their first day of school outfit, as the upcoming school year for those in the Lansing School District will be like no other, when students will start the first marking period online. The move was announced in mid-July, and has sparked mixed reviews with the decision to go online in regards to parents and staff. Kari Haines, who is a former music educator in the Lansing School District, said how the way the district is handling the situation is the right one. “I’m so glad to see the kids and teacher’s health and safety is being put first,” said Haines. “I’m hoping more districts follow this lead.”

Haines appreciation for the district’s decision, however, is joined with parents who are more flustered with lack of communication and multiple questions, especially for those with special education students.

Local Jewish community responds to anti-Semitic comments

Recent comments made by big-name celebrities like Philadelphia Eagles football player DeSean Jackson and well-known Hollywood star Nick Cannon have sparked outrage for the Jewish community at Michigan State. Earlier in the month both Jackson and Cannon were under a lot of heat for their comments that were deemed anti-Semitic. In an Instagram post, Jackson reposted a photo that was attributed to Hitler, in which “white Jews” are accused of trying to “blackmail America.” For Cannon, he was fired for promoting hateful speech on an episode of his YouTube podcast, according to the network Cannon works for ViacomCBS

       Robyn Hughey, the associate director of the Lester and Jewell Morris Hillel Jewish Student Center, said she was frustrated on how different these issues were addressed.        “I personally think it wasn’t treated to the same level severity,” said Hughey.

Will historic East Lansing landmark get needed updates?

For the first time since March 12, the Historic District Commission met July 9 and was filled with many public hearings. One in particular, however, may seem recognizable to natives and students of East Lansing. A large blue house, located at 415 M.A.C., is known not just for its loud color, but for it being one of the few properties left in East Lansing as a co-op landmark. The house is a part of the Michigan State University Housing Cooperative, and allows students to jointly control and have equal shares, membership and occupancy rights to the housing community. Photo of the Co-op, also known as Howland (Cred Mike McCurdy).

Safety and sanitizing: The El Azteco way

It was difficult at first for El Azteco general manger to get adjusted to not having people dine in. But after nearly three months, Johnny Vlahakis gets to see his loyal customers again. “Customers love the patio especially during this time of the year, but once we opened back up, people were lined up at the door,” said Vlahakis. El Azteco, like many other restaurants in Michigan and across the country, had to adjust once restaurants and bars could reopen, especially with making sure customers feel safe. One way El Azteco made sure its customers felt safe was by focusing on cleaning and sanitation.

Lansing-area gyms adapt to survive shutdown

As soon as COVID-19 closed his gym, Justin Grinnell knew he had to make adjustments. Grinnell, who owns State of Fitness in Lansing, wanted to keep his door open, he just had to do it virtually. “We’ve had 300 virtual sessions,” said Grinnell. “We did a lot of private zoom meetings and usually 60 outdoor sessions a week, with a mix of indoor, outdoor and virtual.”

Gyms are among many businesses that deal with people being in close contact on a day-to-day basis, and have had to make adjustments for their own sake in order for their customers to feel safe, and stay in business. Grinnell also mentioned the process of the internship program that’s a part of the gym and how it contributes to the new wave of their gym that helps customers even when they can’t meet in person.

Faculty’s help saves students’ summer

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immense impact on many students across the country, especially those at Michigan State. One change that has affected students involves their internships moving remote or having their offers completely rescinded due to the pandemic. This obstacle, however, didn’t stop faculty at Michigan State to set students up with alternatives for their summer plans. Summer with some hope

MSU faculty tends to help students looking for summer work every year, but with COVID-19 happening, some faculty members stepped up in the process. Karin Hanson, the director of employer relations and communications for the Career Service Network, is a part of a team that sets students up to attain internships.

East Lansing takes part in protests, BLM movement

Protesters seen on Gunson and Grand River. Photo by Austin Winslow. Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the world has moves toward equality and recognition of black lives. Floyd’s death has reached people everywhere, including in the East Lansing area. Students at Michigan State and members of organizations have felt the need to express what they can do to help the movement.

Absentee ballots are in high demand in Williamston

The consolidation of precincts  

The Bureau of Elections offered the option of consolidating two precincts into one to allow for the creation of an AV Counting Board.  The consolidation would free up one of the tabulators to be able to have an AV Counting Board at no cost. City Clerk of Williamston Holly Thompson also mentioned how a mass mailing was sent out to citizens of Williamston, offering the option to be placed on a permanent AV list to “vote from home” which, she added, has been positively received by the community. 

The new consolidation of one precinct (via city of Williamston website). “I do feel the option of ‘no reason AV voting’ will increase voting participation by reminding voters there is an upcoming election and getting the ballots directly into their hands,” Thompson said when asked if voting participation will change. With people living very busy lives, voting from home ensures one to have plenty of time to vote and get in the ballot before the deadline. 

Proposal 18-3 allowed anyone to vote no matter the reason. The impact on local residents 

Even from a non-elected officials’ point of view, the ballots are a big deal.