Root Doctor plays for hometown crowd at Summer Solstice Jazz Festival

For 23 years, the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival has brought live jazz music and education to the East Lansing community, showcasing both nationally recognized and local artists. The 2019 festival served more than a gathering of bands. For its closing act, Root Doctor, it served as a homecoming celebration. “We’ve been playing for 30 years in the area,” said band manager Marge Mooney. “We have a lot of family and a lot of friends that we’ve acquired through playing in the area, so it was exciting to have us back in town.”

This year marks the 30 year anniversary of the band, which formed in Lansing in 1989.

The Empire strikes out at the Lugnuts game

In a galaxy far, far away, the Lansing Lugnuts held one of their fan-favorite themed nights, Star Wars Night on June 16 where they hosted the Bowling Green Hot Rods and lost, 7-1. While the Lugnuts lost, the force was with the audience as there were different Star Wars themed events and prizes. In-between field changes and timeouts, select fans were able to play fun mini-games like “Burger Dash”  and “Categories” to entertain the waiting audience. “Baseball games are always a blast to go to because they really make the effort to get the fans involved,” Taylor Konwinski said. “It’s why I always end up coming to more and more games.”

The biggest fan interaction came from the opportunity to take pictures with Darth Vader, stormtroopers and Jedi manhunter, Nico the Fett.

Lansing celebrates annual Pride Festival

 

 

LANSING—On June 15, thousands of local residents united to celebrate Pride. The day of festivities began at noon with the parade beginning at Adado Riverfront Park and ending at the Capitol Building for a peaceful rally. The rally served a purpose of unity and an outlet of voices to discuss the struggles of the LGBTQ community as well as the success that has been achieved throughout the years. Guest speakers such as Michigan Pride board members, two transgender teens, the Attorney General of Michigan, Dana Nessel and many more were able to express their gratitude for the community. “Pride is important here in Lansing for the visibility factor,” said Michigan Pride board member Ricci Stollsteimer.

The menu at Blue Owl Coffee features drinks that take a spin on classic cocktails such as the Mackinac, which is inspired by a Manhattan. Craft coffee shops are a growing part of the coffee market.

Coffee market sees increase from craft shops

Behind the bar there are a variety of dark colored bottles with handwritten labels and eye droppers to ensure perfect measurements. The handwritten menu has descriptions of coffees and flavorings that baristas mix to order.

The low murmur of customers working together and studying is broken when a barista calls out a name and pushes one of the coffeehouse’s signature coffee cocktails, a Mackinac, to the edge of the bar.

It’s a scene that’s repeating itself across the country as craft shops take a growing share of the coffee market.

The East Lansing Recycling Drop-off Center provides local residents with pre-sorted recycling bins as a supplement to its single-stream curbside recycling program.

Higher costs put community recycling programs at risk

Sharply higher costs are putting strains on community recycling programs — even pushing some cities to send all of their waste to landfills instead. The problem is due in large part to the trade war with China, once the largest buyer of recyclable materials from the U.S. In January 2018, China imposed tariffs and bans on Americans’ waste materials like cardboard and plastics. That’s led to a steep drop in the price waste companies can get for raw recyclable materials. Recyclers have increased fees for processing cities’ waste to make up for those losses. Lansing paid $6.42 per ton to recycle waste gathered from its curbside recycling program in January 2018.

Lansing Community College offers high demand skills trade programs

There are lots of degrees that you can finish in two years and come out making some good money, but you may have to get your hands a little dirty. Students at LCC aren’t learning in a traditional classroom setting. Instead of picking up a pencil, they pick up a blow torch. “I really enjoy working with my hands and applying myself,” Jared Walter, an LCC junior, said. LCC offers a number of options for students going into a skilled trade and welding is one that’s in high demand. Scott Poe, LCC welding instructor, said, “There is this huge need to get people involved, to get the younger generation in and start using their hands.”

After decades of pushing bachelor degrees, high paying trade jobs sit vacant.

Michigan United’s Capitol Day gives activists a platform

Passion was running high in the Lansing Center when activists from around the state met to speak with representatives about issues in their communities. Michigan United provided buses for groups from Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo to ensure constituents were able to make it to the annual Capitol Day. Issues included treatment of immigrants, living wages, prison reform, environmental issues, healthcare and racial inequality.