Lawn parties as seen from overhead

St. Patrick’s Day, the pandemic and partying: students balance choices

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and with a second Saint Patrick’s Day in the midst of the crisis, East Lansing partiers weighed plans for the holiday and their worries about the virus. Sheldon KrauseStudents on Albert Avenue walk by El Azteco. The coronavirus pandemic was officially declared by the World Health Organization March 11 2020. This declaration came days before St. Patrick’s Day, when safety advocates across the country encouraged governors to close or limit public gathering spaces before the holiday.

“That smile of his.”

MSU Sophomore Michael Zyrek is loved around East Lansing. He’s the President of Sigma Nu and impacted a lot of Spartan lives throughout his two years. But during a workout with one of his close friends mid-February, he began having a raging headache and texted his girlfriend saying something just felt off. It was then a split-second decision by her to leave a Zoom class, not even wearing shoes, and rush him to Sparrow Hospital. Just seconds after walking through the automatic doors, he collapsed unconscious.

Ingham County health officer receives Inspirational Woman of the Year Award

Every year, the Michigan State University Center for Gender in Global Context honors staff, faculty, and student women on campus and Ingham County with the Inspirational Woman of the Year Award. The Inspiration Awards highlight women’s abilities in several categories. Linda Vail, health officer of the Ingham County Health Department, was awarded the Community Engagement award. 

Linda Vail

Women who receive the Community Engagement award demonstrate a commitment to engaging and advancing communities and organizations at MSU and in the greater Lansing community through service and leadership, per the MSU GenCen website. Vail is CEO of the Ingham County Health Department where she oversees the operations and leads the entire department, which includes public health services, federally qualified health centers and correctional health. Vail also holds a small responsibility related to the medical examiner’s office. Vail received her Bachelor of Science in microbiology from The University of Georgia in 1982 when she was 20.

Portrait of Debbie Walton

East Lansing School Board, like students, plans to get back to in-person work

East Lansing’s school board might follow students’ example and resume in-person meetings.

Trustee Debbie Walton proposed at the board’s Feb. 22 meeting that, with students heading back to school, board members head back to live meetings. She noted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s string recommendation that school open by March 1. It was Whitmer who, in March 2020, issued an order exempting school boards from the Michigan’s Open Meetings Act’s requirement that they meet in person.

Andrew Wells

East Lansing plans return to in-person learning March 1

East Lansing schools return to in-person learning March 1 after almost a year of remote classes.

East Lansing High School Principal Andrew Wells said, “the learning plan entails an opportunity for students to return to school starting March 1 in a hybrid setting, meaning some of our students will be taught in person and the others who have chosen to do so will remain learning remote.”

East Lansing Police Department faces oversight commission amid significant policy changes

After many months of increased scrutiny and renewed conversations about the role of law enforcement in American society, the City of East Lansing has formed a study committee to put in place a permanent oversight board to work with the East Lansing Police Department on better serving their community.

The Study Committee on an Independent Police Oversight Commission, which began in October following the summer’s mass protests over police brutality and misconduct, is working with East Lansing community members, officials and law enforcement to form a board to provide guidance to the police department.