Pivotal City Votes and More Expected This week

Here are previews of what's ahead this week and some of the stories ELi covered last week.

Pivotal City Votes and More Expected This week

After the discussion-only City Council meeting and Planning Commission meetings were canceled last week, City officials have a busy slate ahead of them that includes big votes.

The agenda for Tuesday’s (Sept. 19) City Council meeting revealed the body will be voting on a proposed contract to appoint former Saginaw County Controller Robert Belleman as East Lansing City Manager. This vote comes more than a month after the 3-2 vote to appoint Belleman. Here is City Editor Lucas Day’s breaking news report from Friday (Sept. 15) where he explains the proposed contract.

See the story here

In advance of the vote, Investigative Reporter Alice Dreger provided an investigation  – including through use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) – showing the road to Belleman’s appointment has been rough. Here’s her Sept. 14 story.

Also on the Council agenda is consideration of a rezoning request by Hagan Realty for the 700 block of Grove Street. Council heard several residents’ concerns and the vision of Hagan Realty at its Sept. 5 meeting. While Council pushed a decision on the matter back to Tuesday (Sept. 19), Reporter Dustin DuFort Petty reported on the Sept. 5 meeting. Dustin has been following the story, including a report on a lengthy May 10 Planning Commission meeting that brought several city residents – particularly from the 600 block of Grove Street – to speak against the rezoning.

ELi investigative reporter digs deeper into Bailey Street parking lot redevelopment.

See the story here

Alice reported on another controversial development in the city, as a document dive revealed that city officials expressed a desire for the Bailey Street parking lot at 530 Albert Ave. to be developed. The property is currently under a sale agreement and a five-story “workforce housing” apartment building has been proposed for the space.

The Bailey Street and Belleman stories were made possible by donors to ELi’s new Investigative News Fund. Join them today!

And, yes, election season is here.

See the story here

Election season is officially upon us, as the first of three forums for East Lansing City Council candidates was held this week giving candidates a chance to interact and share their platforms. Eight are vying for three open spots on Council in the Nov. 7 election.

Alice attended the first forum held at the Hannah Community Center Thursday (Sept. 14) to chronicle the event and highlight key moments. Here’s her report. For those who missed the two-hour forum, the League of Women Voters recorded the event. ELi will let you know when it’s available.

The Pinecrest Neighborhood Association is holding a forum from 7-8:30 p.m. Monday (Sept. 18) at the East Lansing Public Library.

The Associated Students of Michigan State University will hold a Council “debate/forum” 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3, in the International Center on the MSU campus.

To help residents understand what will be on the ballot this November and get to know candidates, Luke put together a voter guide. In addition to candidate information, the guide covers ballot initiatives and resources to help plan out your election day. Let ELi know what other information would be helpful as Nov. 7 draws closer.

Meeting set to review Community Development Block Grants.

Monday (Sept. 18) a public hearing to hold a Consolidated Annual Performance Evaluation Report (CAPER) is scheduled. The meeting will provide an update on projects and activities funded by Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) from July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023.

The agenda for the meeting provided a document that says last year’s priorities were public infrastructure, public service and housing assistance. The meeting will discuss how CDBG was used to address those challenges.

Outside of Council, other city meetings are scheduled throughout the week. Monday (Sept. 18) the commission on the environment will meet. Wednesday (Sept. 20) the Library Board of Trustees and Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee will each gather. Then Thursday (Sept. 21) will see meetings for the Age Friendly Communities committee and Arts Commission.

Agendas for city meetings can be viewed here.

Filmmakers with local ties honor 9/11 hero with documentary.

See the story here

This week marked a solemn occasion in the United States, as we remembered those who lost their lives in the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. On Thursday (Sept. 14), Michigan State University (MSU) hosted a screening of “American Jedi: The Salman Hamdani Story” which documents the lives Hadmani saved before tragically losing his life. Reporter Sarah Spohn delivered a preview of the documentary and what inspired the filmmakers that can be read here.

Plants, politics and tea do mix.

For gardening fans looking for a unique experience, the W.J. Botanical Garden will be hosting “Bizarre Botany Tour: Plant Politics and Yaupon Tea” Wednesday (Sept. 20) at 6 p.m.. An event description on the Choose Lansing website reads as follows:

“Join Education Director Maeve to learn about some of the more politically divisive plants. This tour will end with addressing a 300 year old smear campaign and trying yaupon tea. Tours often contain adult materials and meet at the Botanical Garden Pond.”

There are a variety of other events and activities going on around East Lansing. You can get information about those and live news updates for the week in ELi Now. Have an event, activity or announcement you would like to feature in ELi Now? Let us know!

East Lansing Insider members receive the live news updates first in their emails through the week. An ongoing stream of news can be found in the ELi Now column on the front page of  East Lansing Info. The website column begins fresh each Monday and is updated through the week with news and previews of upcoming events and activities.

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