The East Lansing City Council discussed public safety and police reform that led to lively four-hour council meeting on June 23 which was conducted via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. East Lansing councilmembers discuss new resolutions for new temporary overnight commission with input from the community. Issues ranging from an East Lansing Police Officer Andrew Stephenson, who was accused of using excessive force on a black man back December has been a controversial topic from Lansing citizens calling into the meeting. Police reform, public safety, and defunding the police were among many other issues that have no solution that was discussed in the meeting. https://soundcloud.com/cera-powell-538569031/east-lansing-citizen-response-to-andrew-stephenson-case
“The agenda item is certainly not the whole solution but it’s part of it, it’s an idea,” City Councilwoman Lisa Babcock said.
In this edition of Focal Point, the director of MSU Museums is suspended for keeping his sources under wraps. Vice President MIke Pence visits Lansing and things are heating up in the Democrats. Michigan’s primary is on March 10, and we speak with Lansing’s city clerk to learn about voting in the primary.
East Lansing may become the latest in a string of cities to commission the creation of a mural designed to attract tourists if a proposal from the Arts Commission is approved. The mural, which would be part of the national Greetings Tour, would feature a postcard-like design using classic lettering, bright colors and depictions of the city’s icons. So far, 41 Greetings Tour murals have been installed in 20 states. Wendy Longpre, assistant director of the East Lansing Parks, Recreation and Arts Department, said the murals have a following of their own and could increase traffic to the city. “Once you found one of these murals you kind of look for them, then, as you’re traveling,” Longpre said.
Candidates for East Lansing City Council discussed the insurgence of rental scooters throughout the city, and the potential of a 25 mph speed limit for them, during a candidate forum at the Hannah Community Center on Oct. 3.
Members of the Red Cedar neighborhood voiced concerns over the closing of the Red Cedar Elementary School at the joint East Lansing City Council and Board Meeting on Monday, March 21. In February, the school board unanimously voted against reopening the school, despite previously approving the motion in December. The decision caused widespread disappointment among those who felt the elementary building was an integral part of the Red Cedar neighborhood. “We were very excited at the plans that came forward earlier in the year,” said former city council member Kathleen Boyle. “We were very disappointed that those plans were met with so much objection and rancor and we’re disappointed that we can’t go forward with those at this time.”
At the time the elementary school was being considered for reopening, the school board announced plans of beginning “innovative educational programming” at the building.
EAST LANSING — Over 90,000 adults in the greater Lansing area are functionally illiterate, or cannot read above a third grade reading level, according to the 2012 U.S. Census survey. This makes it difficult or impossible to complete daily tasks like reading food labels, pay stubs and the directions on a bottle of medicine. The Capital Area Literacy Coalition seeks to empower adults and children with weekly reading tutor services. “There’s not a lot of funding for [illiterate] adults,” said Di Clark, the assistant director of the Capital Area Literacy Coalition. “A lot of times the attitude is ‘they had their chance.’ The reality is, they probably didn’t.”
The group is one of many seeking money from the East Lansing Human Services General Fund Grant.
The City Council passed an ordinance that helps further East Lansing’s reputation as a city dedicated to arts and culture. The ordinance, which passed 3-1, requires that 1 percent of the cost of both private and city construction be used for public art. According to city attorney Thomas Yeadon, the ordinance will not apply to plans that have already been approved. “Once the effective date is established, any project seeking site plan approval that has not already submitted its request will be required to comply with this,” said Yeadon. “Site approval is when you have to show staff how you are meeting the percent for art requirement.”
Art with private developments would be capped at $25,000.
Although being sued discourages many workers, it has made City Clerk Marie Wicks more dedicated. Wicks was sued in August, for presumedly invalidating numerous signatures of a marijuana petition. The petition proposed that adults 21 and older should be allowed to possess one ounce or less of marijuana on private property. While the petition was submitted timely on July 29, there was not enough time to canvass it to validate it by Aug. 12.