Lansing’s Snoopfest celebrates DIY music scene’s inclusive spirit

The one-day music festival called Snoopfest featured 10 “DIY” bands, who performed along with other local artists and featured local vendors. Drawing inspiration from house show culture of the ’70s through early 2000s, the DIY music scene has historically been a haven for the LGBTQIA+ community, with its ethos revolving around inclusion, safety and underground emo-punk music.

East Lansing Fire Department celebrates 100 years of service

East Lansing’s Fire Department celebrated 100 years of service on Aug. 12 by inviting the community to an open house. Multiple vehicles were available to tour, gear was offered to try on, and safety demonstrations were held throughout the event. 

There were about a dozen firefighters, along with volunteers, manning booths about different aspects of the job and answering questions from the community. The department’s safety training officer, Olivia Skowronek, said she enjoys the opportunity to show her family and friends the work she does. 

“I like that the community gets the opportunity to see us outside of an emergency situation,” said Skowronek. “Usually when people see us they’re having the worst moment of their lives.” 

Fun was highlighted in this setting as kids were allowed to try on uniforms, spray fire hoses, and food/drinks were offered for free.

Farm fresh food fosters community

Fruits, vegetables, and lines of customers waiting for fresh eggs are only a few of the things you can find at the Torrance Certified Farmers Market. Held every Tuesday of the year from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. , this market provides a space for shoppers to buy goods from 60 California farms, according to the market’s website. 

Rows of booths, multiple food stands, and a stage with live music makeup the Torrance Certified Farmers Market. Citizens of all ages sat at tables to eat, shopped for weekly groceries, and listened to the reggae band performing. 

“This is the best weekday market I’ve seen,” said Hector Valencia, a vendor at The Almond Guy, a booth selling farm fresh almonds. “It’s my first time selling here and it’s cool to see people walking around and coming out so early on a Tuesday.” 

Valencia said he has worked at many different markets throughout LA County and there’s a wide range of size and attendance. Sometimes a market will be slow and Valencia said he’s “just there to sell” while other markets offer an environment to chat with shoppers and people watch.

Montgomery County Libraries host Summer Reading Challenge 

The Montgomery County Libraries in Maryland kicked off its Summer Reading Challenge with lots of festivities on June 17. The event included music from Ghanaian drummer and storyteller Kofi Dennis, storytime led by Maranda Schoppert of Germantown Library and a meet-and-greet with Read to a Dog service dogs. 

The challenge is offered to provide local kids and teens the opportunity to read books and participate in activities. This year, the theme is “All Together Now,” which was created to promote kindness, friendship and unity within the Montgomery County community. 

The Montgomery County Summer Reading Challenge kicked off June 17. Photo by Liz Thomas. To participate in the challenge kids and teens can login onto the READsquare app or sign up at their local library. 

“Friends of the Library make a donation to the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center and Friends of Montgomery County Animals,” said Tyler Chadwell-English, who serves as the teen services manager for MCPL. 

The animal services and adoption center is one of the six local organizations partnering with MCPL. Partnering with the animal services and adoption center is to help animals find their forever homes. 

Other Organizations partnering with MCPL include the Washington Nationals, Manna Food Services and Montgomery County Parks. 

The Washington Nationals provided vouchers that MCPL will give out to participants who make it to the midway portion of the challenge.

20th Annual Mid-Michigan Women’s Expo

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.

Williamston High School fights the vaping epidemic

Michigan made history as the first state to move toward a flavored nicotine vaping ban on Sept. 4, with other states like New York, Massachusetts and Oregon following shortly after. 

With an increase in vape-related deaths being reported across the nation, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) with the help of her Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun concluded that underage vaping constitutes as a public health emergency. 

Under Whitmer’s orders, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued rules detailing the ban, including the prohibition of flavored nicotine products in stores and online and misleading marketing strategies claiming the products are “safe.” Whitmer also ordered the Michigan Department of Transportation to outlaw vape advertisements on state billboards. 

Timeline of the 2019 Michigan vape ban. Graphic by Claire Heise. “As a governor, my No. 1 priority is keeping our kids safe,” said Whitmer in a statement on Sept.

Grand Ledge area women meet to knit as part of the Crafting with a Cause group. They work on items such as blankets for those in need.

Group knits together Grand Ledge community

Cheryl Mulder started Crafting for a Cause in fall 2016 as a way to give back to the Grand Ledge area. Group members spend their time around a large table knitting and talking with one another. They started off making hats and other items. Their finished products go to multiple area charities.

Meridian Township adds an -s to Family Winter Sport Weekend

Meridian Township’s Parks and Recreation department expanded this winter its schedule of Family Winter Sports Weekends. What once was a program held in one weekend spans multiple weekends.

“When we first started out 18 years ago, we try to do just one big weekend,” said Mike Devlin, one of Meridian Township Parks and Recreation team specialists, “Now, every weekend we have something going on.”

FCC rule changes and senate bill threaten to cut funding for HOMTV and other stations

When Deborah Guthrie and Brandie Yates started the communications department in Meridian Township in 2012, they predicted that cable companies were going to switch their model from cable to satellite. This model would mean stations like theirs, HOMTV (Haslett, Okemos and Meridian television) were going to lose money. Now it looks like their prediction is coming true. The dark future they saw is coming true due to the legislation that has been passed and is on its way to being passed that will have a large effect on their funding. The FCC is working to push through rule changes that will affect the relationship between local access stations and cable companies.

Okemos School Board of Education welcomes two new members

Following the midterm election, Okemos residents will welcome two new faces to its Board of Education. Voters elected newcomers Mary Gebara and Katie Cavanaugh, while also re-electing Dean Bolton and Vincent Lyon-Gallo. Both newcomers said they are excited to join the board and serve their respective terms. Gebara beat out candidates Adam Candeub and Michael Kieliszewski for one of the three, four-year term positions. According to WILX, the NBC affiliate in Lansing, Gebara received the most votes in the race with 4,419 or 30 percent of all votes. “I’m very excited (to join the board), I worked hard, so I’m really happy that I won and I’m anxious to get started,” said Gebara.