On this special edition of Focal Point, we interview President Samuel Stanley about how the coronavirus affects Michigan State students and the university’s plans moving forward. It’s not just college students who are forced to stay home from school; meet high schoolers finding new ways to make memories their senior year. Facing shortages of protective equipment, find out how some Michiganders are adapting and finding new ways to make hand sanitizer and face masks. All those stories and more on Focal Point.
While many Americans have been under orders to stay home to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, truck drivers continue to deliver food and other essential goods to stores across the country.
High school proms all over the state have been canceled because of COVID-19, meaning seniors are missing out on one of the last special nights they had left with all of their childhood friends. But a Lansing business is making it their priority to give them that night back — eventually. Pierre’s Bridal, Prom and Tuxedo is used to seeing its upstairs prom section full of high school girls looking for that special dress from March to June. But now the store is empty and temporarily shut down. Co-owner Sarah Samson got the idea to still hold a prom somewhere, just a little later than most high schools had originally scheduled, for seniors in the Mid-Michigan area.
The governor’s executive orders allow farmers markets to operate during the pandemic, but many aren’t opening on schedule or at all. That has an adverse impact on farmers and other vendors who rely on them. We talk to a Zeeland farmer and a Traverse City-based organization that promotes local farmers and producers.
Small businesses in Williamston apply for emergency relief grants from the Lansing Economic Area Partnership. More than 500 businesses vie for financial support. Photo by: Ian Gilmour. Several small businesses in Williamston applied for emergency financial relief from the Lansing Economic Area Partnership after the Michigan Economic Development Corporation awarded it $600,000 to grant to 60 small businesses in Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties. “I think the fact this money is available just for the tri-county area is super important,” said Williamston Mayor Tammy Gilroy.
“There has been a lot more deliveries due to the coronavirus.” said Jordan Gagala. Gagala is a delivery driver for Panera Bread and has felt the impact of COVID-19. She said there have been a lot of bigger orders with much more food, and loaves of bread have been selling at an increased rate. Panera has also dropped the need to sign for food being delivered to stop the spread. Gagala said the store is closed for any on- site eating but the drive-through, rapid pickup stations and delivery services are still open.
Brianna Garrett of Haslett said it’s important for people to research their CBD products.
“These products have become a lot more accessible, but people need to be careful,” she said. “You should get your products from a reputable company, not a gas station.”
She said she doesn’t think CBD has a negative connotation surrounding it and knows plenty of users. “I utilize CBD products, and I know a lot of people, ranging from children to the elderly that use it for a multitude of reasons,” she said.
Garrett said she thinks many people are not getting the proper information or education about CBD products.
1 ounce of hemp-derived CBD oil. Credit: Lauren Buchko
“I think it’s important for people to know that CBD can be derived from hemp, which is what most companies are doing,” she said. “It can actually contain up to .03% THC and be classified as CBD.”
THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that triggers most psychological effects of marijuana.
Peggy Hargrove Keep, a Haslett resident, said using cannabidiol or CBD cut down her dependence on prescription drugs. “CBD oil has impacted me personally by helping me with neuropathy pain, diabetes and anxiety,” she said. “About a year and a half ago, I was able to stop using a prescription drug that I’ve used for 20 years, cut down on insulin and have an overall sense of well-being I didn’t have without it.”
Hargrove Keep said she initially hesitated trying CBD products because she had never used anything but prescription drugs. “I think there’s a lot of negativity surrounding it,” she said.
To combat organized retail crime, online marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist should be held more responsible in screening crooked vendors who use their platforms to peddle purloined goods, the Michigan Retailers Association says. A recent retail fraud arrest in Mecosta County also uncovered a meth operation. A Northern Michigan University criminal justice professor discusses. By Kyle Davidson.
The Golden Dandelion opened in August 2019 in Williamston. They just recently celebrated the six month anniversary of its opening. The Golden Dandelion is a women’s resale shop, tailored to selling clothes at affordable prices. The store is co-owned by a mother and son, Sheila and Garrett Gabriel.
Ken Campbell has lived in East Lansing his entire life. A graduate of East Lansing High School and Michigan State University, Campbell used his connections with local farmers to open up Campbell’s Market Basket, East Lansing’s only locally owned and sourced market.
The 20th annual Mid-Michigan Women’s Expo was a celebration of women, entrepreneurs and bringing people together. There were over 300 businesses with products catered to women, including healthy eating. One of the businesses at the event was Vitamix, a company that manufactures blenders for restaurants and every day consumers. Every booth at the event showcased their products, ranging from cakes, hair styling tools and jewelry, but Vitamix promoted something bigger.
“Love hearing stories about how we changed people’s lives, that they’ve gotten healthier, they’ve beat their healthy obstacles etc.,” said Nancy Spruiell, a Vitamix demonstrator. Spruiell said the blender also helps parents get their kids to eat fruits and vegetables.
“Raising healthier kids, that’s a huge thing these days, especially with the way they make our food these days,” Spruiell said.