East Lansing and Okemos schools look to ease N95 mask shortage

Courtesy of Dean BuggiaOkemos Public Schools use 3D printers to make masks and filters that will be donated to Sparrow Health System to help ease the medical supply shortages during the COVID-19 crisis. East Lansing and Okemos school districts located in Ingham County are looking to help ease the spread of the COVID-19 virus by 3D printing N95 masks for healthcare workers on the front lines. They join Michigan State University and other local schools in replicating N95 masks. 

As of 2 p.m. April 9, Michigan had over 20,000 coronavirus cases, making it one of the top five states with COVID-19 cases. The United States has over 363,000 cases and over 15,700 deaths. 

Initial inspiration

The growing number of cases in the area forced several health care providers to run on depleted supplies of necessary PPE for doctors and nurses on the front lines, in the local battle against the virus. 

Sparrow Hospital created a donation list, filled with supplies the community can provide to help medical professionals in their open locations, including Sparrow Hospital in Lansing. 

Courtesy of Dean Buggia Dean Buggia, the Okemos High school technology teacher, estimates each mask and filter cost about $1.20 to produce. One of the items on the donation list, 3D printed N95 masks, caught the eye of both East Lansing Public School’s Technical Director Chrisitan Palasty and TinkrLAB founder and owner Melissa Rabideau. 

“So, I actually had a customer email me this project that she had seen, and I looked into it,” said Rabideau about coming across the project.

COVID-19 is causing chaos in grocery stores

It’s like the holiday rush, shoppers in a frenzy. 

COVID-19 has created chaos all over the world, including a place you might not expect: grocery stores. Shoppers have been scrambling to buy whatever is left, but there isn’t much. “I’m here ‘til like 10 and I don’t see it slowing down that much,” Meijer employee Dylan S. said. But the hot commodity isn’t a run on turkeys, it’s toilet paper. “Every store you go to, it seems like everyone’s bought toilet paper,” Jean Schlicklin said.  “They’re trying to restock them, but they can’t get them restocked quick enough.”

Toilet paper isn’t the only thing people have stocked up on.

Fate of senior season rests on day-to-day decisions

High school seniors around the state have most likely played their last games in their high school careers including Okemos seniors Mitchell Sambaer and Rio Tomlinson; Sambaer waits to close another noteworthy basketball season while Tomlinson’s final season had yet to start.

8th Congressional District ups its civic involvement

Gordon Trowbridge, spokesman for Slotkin’s re-election campaign, said from a campaign standpoint, he has noticed a difference this year in public participation. Trowbridge said it seems like voters are aware this is a big moment for Michigan because a lot of national issues addressed can also have a significant impact on a local level.  For example, concerns about medical costs and water quality is at the top of that list. 

“What was successful for Slotkin in 2018 and so far this year, was to be pragmatic toward these issues,” he said. “Slotkin has said participating in the choice-making is one of the most important symbols to show love for the country.”

Slotkin decided before voting took place to publicly endorse Democrat Joe Biden in the year’s primary. 

Infographic listing some of the candidates and topics voters may have seen on their ballot. Credit: Lauren Buchko

Trowbridge said he has definitely noticed a higher turnout during campaign events. “Slotkin realizes there’s a lot of attention on Michigan during the primaries,” he said.  “It’s kind of like a ‘ground zero’ when it comes to a campaign.”

Representing the district

Trowbridge said it’s quite a bit of work for Slotkin to represent Michigan while in Washington D.C. because of the complicated schedule, but she works to represent as best as she can.

Meridian Township wants a president to be a change agent

With the 2020 presidential election top of mind, some Meridian Township residents said they want a leader with a strong moral compass and who will improve the health care system. 

Sarah Howard, a Meridian Township resident, said even though she doesn’t keep up with the candidates’ positions, she wants to see a huge change. “I don’t think our healthcare system makes any sense,” said Howard. “I appreciate that we are trying to move toward a socialized health care system, but I do not think the current system makes financial sense.” 

Howard is also concerned that social media may become a greater issue with the next leader elected in office. She wishes media would report on more real issues instead of hot topics. Howard said: “I think most of the other changes I want to see are more social than something that has to do directly with the presidency.

Township officials upset about mailing absentee ballots out late

Meridian Township Board members blasted the township’s clerk at its most recent meeting for mailing absentee ballots out late. The rest of the agenda included updates on the new marihuana dispensaries and Michigan State University’s solar panel project.

Nonprofit dance program “Happendance” set to perform at the Wharton Center

Happendance, a nonprofit dance
studio in Okemos, Michigan, will perform at the Wharton Center in East Lansing
on March 19 and March 21, part of a two-year collaboration with the FRIB. 

Happendance logo via happendance.org

The organization’s staff said it
has provided a safe space for many students and families.  Colleen Erpelding, Director of Education
Services, said the staff is specialized to achieve this safe space. “We have staff who are training to
work with those with special needs as well as those who are dedicated to help
create a culture of inclusivity and equity,” she said.  “Those who train with us are families for
life and we have several who bring their children to us after they have left
our doors as students.”

The organization hosts events and
performances each month.  These events
are a way the program allows families to get together, ask questions and
showcase the purpose of the program.  The
organization does a number of community outreach events and it uses grant
funding to provide services to schools and families, said Erpelding. 

They will have a mini-performance
by Impulse, one of their student companies on March 28, during one of their
Social Saturday events. Their annual spring concert will be held at Eastern High School in Lansing from May 15 to Mat 17, and it will be a performance by students from Happendance School. Upcoming spring Happendance events. Infographic by Lauren Buchko

Happendance was founded in 1976 by
Diane Newman, originally as a program focused on small and private instruction.

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Meridian Township may open this year

Board of Commissioners at Feb.10 meeting discussing medical marihuana provisioning centers. Credit: Demetria Bias

The Meridian Township Planning Commission voted last Monday 8 to 0 to continue the groundwork for two medical marijuana provisioning centers, citing the businesses would benefit more than harm  the community. “I think it is going to have a positive effect,” said Ken Lane, chair of the township’s planning commission. “If it doesn’t have a positive effect, we have ordinance provisions in place to take care of that.”

Both marijuana provisioning centers are located in Okemos. Board Commissioners said they see the two dispensaries as useful resources.