An increase in social gatherings leads to an increase in social distancing

While in-person classes are canceled and moved online, several students still moved into their off-campus apartments and houses leading to several large social gatherings. There are restrictions placed on an East Lansing area of houses and apartments largely mostly rented by Michigan State students. These restrictions prohibit gatherings of no more than 10 people inside and 25 people outside. Several gatherings were held that went against the restrictions, leading to the largest spike in COVID-19 cases Ingham County has ever seen. The recent spike saw two days reach 100+ cases, roughly tripling the single-day record of cases that occurred in June when several positive tests were linked to the breakout at Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub.

Mason looks in the mirror after a summer of national protests

Paul Kato has spent the last 20 years of his life as the media and information teacher at Mason High School and has dedicated his life to teaching Mason students. He was the only Black  teacher on staff when he was hired in 2000, and remains the only black teacher in the school district despite the demographic shift that has taken place in Mason over the past two decades. As the nation has become engulfed with protests following George Floyd’s death at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, a conversation has sparked within Mason as well. Mason has the fastest-growing minority population in Ingham County according to the U.S. Census, but Kato said he believes that Mason has a long way to go before the town is fully accepting of minorities. Paul Kato is the only Black teacher at Mason High School.

View from back of church up main aisle toward altar

Detroit Catholic LGBTQ group grapples with isolation beyond COVID-19

As Detroiters self-isolate to prevent the spread of  COVID-19, the Archdiocese of Detroit has isolated a longstanding  LGBT Catholic advocacy organization, ordering it off Catholic grounds. Bishop Gerard Battersby wrote a letter which was sent to all diocesan clergy on March 9 forbidding Dignity/Detroit gathering on archdiocesan grounds. “Dignity/Detroit has long operated its ministry in the Archdiocese of Detroit while rejecting some of the church’s teachings on sexual morality,” Battersby wrote. “These teachings, though challenging, promote human flourishing and bring joy when received with open hearts. This situation is thus a source of sadness, for those who reject the teachings deprive themselves of the blessings that come with living a life in Christ.”

Dignity/Detroit, an affiliate of DignityUSA, has been active in the city since 1974.

COVID-19 forces restaurants to rethink business model

Michigan restaurants don’t look as they used to before COVID-19. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order leaves restaurants with only one option to continue the business, and that is through carry-out orders. 

Without customers at their tables, hundreds of restaurants across the state have placed their employees on furlough. For the remaining few, hours have been shortened. Some have temporarily closed until the order is lifted. Some will never open again. 

Portage, Michigan

At Red Lobster in Portage, Michigan, 17-year-old Sarah Sweers is a hostess who worked part time after school and on the weekends.

Three high school basketball players in uniform.

From backyard to the big court: East Lansing High’s Aaliyah Nye makes a name for herself on and off the basketball court

Alabama resident LaQueena Douglas would wake up at 5 a.m. and check on her three daughters. She’d expect to find them sleeping, which would be true for two of them, but not for Aaliyah Nye. Nye, now a senior at East Lansing High School, has taken basketball much further than the mini court she once had. During her four years at East Lansing, she has made a name for herself as the team’s top defender and finished as the runner-up for Michigan Miss Basketball 2020.

First grade girl holds learning packet.

Charlotte students, staff adjusting to COVID-19

Lacy Jewell, like many seniors at Charlotte High School, said that in the past few weeks, she’s learned to not take anything for granted. She said she’s been dreaming about end of high school experiences,such as prom and graduation, her whole life. “I would give anything to go to school at 7:30,” Jewell said. “I think we’re all realizing that we’re not going to take the little things for granted anymore.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order April 2 to close Michigan schools for the remainder of the school year. Since then, Charlotte Public Schools has been providing  students with academic preparation from afar.

Holly Tiret's cats Sophie (left) and Luna (right)

Reaching out during the pandemic; the benefits of fostering an animal and helping local shelters

The effects of isolation in a time of crisis can be overpowering, but many have found companionship in their family and pets. Others have reached out a hand to foster an animal. 

Michigan State University student Kelly Leary noticed shelters and nonprofits had lost their volunteers due to the shutdown. 

Kelly LearyKelly Leary’s foster cat, Flash

Leary found herself lonely after her apartment roommates had left for their permanent residences, so she decided to foster Flash, a 20-pound, 8-year-old cat. “My mental health has improved. Before fostering I was very lonely and had cabin fever,” Kelly said. “I am an extroverted person, so it has been hard being in my apartment by myself.”

Flash, nicknamed Thickcums, had surgery recently after being rescued on the side of a road, Kelly said, describing him as a dog-cat; chill, talkative, outgoing and super affectionate.

Sudden loss of sports stirs feelings, emotions, values

The Coronavirus pandemic has practically shut down the world and society is facing it with the loss of one of its greatest attractions. Sports give society an anchor during difficult times. This time, sports are not there. The world of sports has been placed on pause and changed the everyday life of many people. To Emily Carless, student-athlete at Western Michigan University, it means the loss of a potential championship.