As Okemos residents and nearby college students dive into school and work, they are able to nurture their physical and mental health with workouts outside of their homes. Powerhouse Gym Okemos employee Katie Boncore said the gym is taking a multitude of precautions to remain COVID-safe. “The gym is currently enforcing the six feet social distancing rules with every other cardio machine turned off, markers on the floor and all machines distanced,” Boncore said. There are sanitation stations set up very frequently in the gym — these include hand sanitizers, buckets of wipes, spray bottles and towels. On top of that, Boncore said the gym is enforcing the governor’s mask mandate, along with the 25% capacity rules.
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.
Upon entering the cafeteria, the smells of chicken, pizza and wings filled the air. These smells are sponsored by the many restaurants in town that volunteered to cater the Taste of Okemos event at Okemos High School for the Okemos Choir. On Oct. 12, around 16 booths were lined up around the cafeteria. In the middle there were decorated tables where people can sit.
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.
Megan Villasurda, 26, had a longtime dream of opening up her own dance store but realized the community already had Bottoms Up as their go-to dance supply store. “I really wanted to do this for like five years,” Villasurda said. “but I did not want to compete with them because they had all the contacts and over 40 years of business.”
When Bottoms Up closed in May, she was encouraged by her friend and boss to make her dream a reality so in August, Villasurda opened her store at 2395 Jolly Road. “I gave her a call when I heard Bottoms Up was closing and said, ‘this is your sign,’” said Kick It Out Dance Studio owner, Denise Krumm. Villasurda had been teaching at Kick It Out Dance Studio for six years.
Local representatives have been working together on an initiative called “Shaping the Avenue” to spark economic development across four mid-Michigan cities. This is a multi-jurisdictional partnership between the City of East Lansing, City of Lansing, Lansing Township, Meridian Township and the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA).
Saddleback Barbeque is now open for business at its second location in Okemos (1754 Central Park Drive). Soft opening events for invited guests were held last Monday and Tuesday night, followed by the grand opening on Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Mitten Raised (4661 Okemos Road) opened on May 19. Since then, Katie Anne Lambert and Leah Fabian have been baking to bring “world class, handcrafted, baked goods to the Mitten State,” as promoted in their website. Born out of Lambert’s love for baking and Fabian’s contributing work, Mitten Raised is said to have baked goods and an experience customers won’t forget. A world traveler, Lambert gained experience working in Vail, Colorado, with top pastry chefs. She also spent time in Maui working at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, located inside the Four Seasons resort in Wailea but something about Michigan brought her back.