Campaign volunteer spends election day thanking people for voting

While many voted early or voted by mail this year, the polls were open in-person voters. Voters who went to the Hannah Community Center were greeted by a passionate campaign volunteer. Alan Shulman is a senior international relations student at Michigan State. He at the community center from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. thanking people for voting and encouraging them to support Democratic candidates including Joe Biden, Gary Peters and Elissa Slotkin. “If people care about proper representation, they have to go and make their voices heard on the issues they care about,” Shulman said.

Want to recycle a mattress or clean up a park? April 23 is your day

By Katie Dudlets
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

April 23 is a big day for the environment in Meridian Township. Upcoming Spring Clean and Go Green! and Love-A-Park Day events are giving volunteers a chance to participate in a community-wide effort to recycle items they have at home and to beautify the natural areas all over the township. Chippewa Middle School’s parking lot will be filled with volunteers accepting recyclable items at the annual recycling event, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. that Saturday. “This recycling event is a convenient way to recycle or reuse items that you may not be able to recycle curbside or even at your local recycling center,” said Recycling and Energy Coordinator LeRoy Harvey.

East Lansing seniors and special needs students create art

By Chloe Kiple
Entirely East Lansing

EAST LANSING—Students squish red clay between their palms as they carefully mold small angel figurines. Smiling faces, laughter and conversation fill the room. On March 21, the joy was palpable in the art studio of the Prime Time senior center, making fertile grounds for creative expression during the intergenerational art program. 

The senior center pairs special needs students with seniors. Over six weeks, the duo works together to create art projects, like glass night-lights, masks and mosaic picture frames.  

“We have some really gifted artists among the seniors and the students,” said program planner Lisa Richey.

Crystal Award winner awaits successors

By Danielle Chesney
Entirely East Lansing

EAST LANSING – Among members of the East Lansing community sat Joan Fairey with her friends and family, who traveled from everywhere from London to Los Angeles to attend the 2015 Crystal Awards and surprise Fairey with a much-deserved award. Unaware of her nomination and completely content to watch and enjoy the free food, Fairey said she was “gobsmacked” when the host announced her name as one of the four Crystal Award winners. The East Lansing Crystal Awards is an annual event hosted by the East Lansing City Council. According to the city of East Lansing website, recipients of the award can be groups, individuals, non-profits, businesses or professionals who contribute to community life in a remarkable way. East Lansing City Council member Susan Woods describes the typical Crystal Award recipient as “a citizen in East Lansing who has contributed greatly to the betterment and the fabric of East Lansing.”

Karen Arndorfer, a friend of Fairey’s, nominated Fairey for the Crystal Award because of her extensive contributions with multiple organizations including the East Lansing Food Co-op, Greater Lansing Food Bank, Sparrow Hospital and the East Lansing Public Library.

Growing use of The Basic Needs Center points to Clinton County poverty

By Emily Elconin
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

For the families in Clinton County who have nowhere else to turn, The Basic Needs Center is there to provide food, clothes, and other vital necessities for a basic household.  Married couple Adele MacCoy and Pastor Russ MacCoy started this non-profit organization six years ago out of their compassion for helping people in their community. “When we first just started out, we only thought we would be helping about 100 families.  Now, we’re up to 1,666 families over the course of six years,” Adele MacCoy said. The Basic Needs Center is located at 105 N. Clinton Ave. in St. Johns.

Area thrift stores, shelters affected by unusually cold winter

Subzero temperatures this winter have made it tough for secondhand stores and homeless shelters in Lansing, not because of a greater demand for their services but because volunteers hesitated to venture out to donate their belongings or their time. Donations lacking

Debra Kelly, the assistant manager at Hidden Treasures Thrift Store, said that the store’s goal is to “be real and resourceful and meet all the needs” regardless of the season. “Whether it’s the winter or summer, there are so many in need,” she said.  “The demand is much greater than the supply.”

Kelly said that the cold winter significantly limited donations compared to what the store normally receives at this point in the year. “The cold has kept people kind of in a slumber,” she said.  “The ice storms, the winter, the cold weather – it’s the same for most of the surrounding retail in the community.”

This is certainly true for Upscale Thrift, a secondhand store operated through the City Rescue Mission, according to employee Hannah Hall. “I think that the cold weather and the amount of snow on the roads definitely affected business,” Hall said.

Capital Area Humane Society receives new funding

Forms of funding

 “I have been here longer than any other dog.  Please give me my second chance,” a sign reads on the cage of 7-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback/Redbone Coonhound-mix Zoie. Fortunately for animals like Zoie, things are looking up: Capital Area Humane Society received new grant funding, and adoption rates and volunteer numbers are high. The humane society, located at 7095 W. Grand River Ave., is not funded by government.  “We’re completely independent,” said development, events and grant manager Jamie Fuhr.  “We don’t take tax money or anything like that.”

Fuhr said that their funding is comprised exclusively of donations from the public and the fees they collect for their services, including their adoption and spay and neuter fees. PetSmart Charities recently awarded Capital Area Humane Society a $135,000 grant payable over two years, according to Fuhr. “This grant will end up spaying and neutering about 2,400 cats,” Fuhr said.  “And this is actually the second phase that we’re doing.”  Two years ago, they received a grant that allowed them to spay and neuter 2,800 cats.

Animal shelter recognizes citizens for services and dedication

By Micaela Colonna
Mason Times staff writer

Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter hosted its annual Humanitarian Awards Banquet on Thursday, March 13, at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. The event, which included an auction and dinner, awards volunteers, media, companies, law enforcement and veterinarians in Ingham County who made substantial contributions to the shelter in 2013. “Most of our awards go to the volunteers,” said Ashley Hayes, volunteer coordinator for the animal shelter. “But we also have media personnel who do stories on animal welfare, law enforcement officials who have helped out, and vets that have done pro bono work, offering free services to the shelter or people in the community.”

Barbara Paul received this year’s Beebe Humanitarian Award, the highest honor given to a volunteer. A member of the Dog Walking Club, Paul said she’s always had a soft spot for dogs.

Weekend Survival Kit program works to feed kids in need

By Richie Carni
Entirely East Lansing staff writer

EAST LANSING—The Weekend Survival Kit program is operating again this school year. The program helps provide for underprivileged elementary schoolchildren by donating backpacks full of food and delivering them to area schools. Dave Muhleck, owner of Allegra Marketing in Okemos, revived the program after it had been stopped due to a lack of funding and volunteers. Muhleck said the program has expanded greatly since he took over. “There are 17 schools being served right now in Lansing, Mason, Williamston, Haslett, DeWitt and other areas,” Muhleck said.

A push to increase the Old Town volunteer base

By Christine LaRouere
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer

OLD TOWN LANSING — The Old Town Commercial Association meeting of the Board of Directors met on Feb. 20 to talk about the need for more volunteers for each of the Old Town committees and recognize one of its volunteers. After reflecting on the 2014 Annual Meeting, which is dedicated to introducing new people to volunteer and recognizing those who do a lot for the community, board members such as David Such said having the OTCA board members speak at the meeting benefited the community members. “I heard feedback from other people that they were inspired by this year’s meeting,” Such said. “It has value in giving a face from the board to the people who showed up.”

Additionally, the board discussed little things to help improve the Annual Meeting next year such as making the clip boards to sign up more visible and creating better descriptions of each committee’s duties.