Tuesday (Feb. 13) marks a sad anniversary in the Michigan State University (MSU) and East Lansing communities. One year ago, three students were killed and five injured in a mass shooting in Berkey Hall and the MSU Union. In recognition of the anniversary, classes at MSU have been canceled, there will be no school at East Lansing Public Schools (ELPS), City Council canceled its discussion-only meeting, and a variety of activities are planned and resources being offered to members of the community that day. ELi will be reporting on what’s planned in a story to be published Monday (Feb. 12).
Stories from the schools, city meetings and more dominated work of the ELi team last week.
Reporter Mya Gregory brought us a Q&A with East Lansing Environmental Specialist Cliff Walls about the city’s artificial intelligence recycling program. The program put cameras in city recycling trucks to detect contaminants, or non-recyclable materials, that residents were putting in bins. Residents would then receive postcards to educate them on responsible recycling habits. The pilot program proved to be just as effective as a manual audit, while reducing the amount of staff time needed.
Mya also introduced readers to East Lansing High School’s (ELHS) new post-secondary counselor Chloe Wolma. Wolma is working to help ELHS students determine the best route forward after graduation, as pathways other than attending a traditional four-year college become more and more prevalent and appealing.
Reporter Alex Maas recapped the Jan. 24 Planning Commission meeting. At that meeting, the commission discussed a proposal for a new retail space and restaurant and heard from a group of MSU Urban Planning seniors about work they are doing to better understand what MSU students want from development in the city.
City Desk Editor Luke Day covered Tuesday’s (Feb. 6) City Council meeting. At that meeting, Council set a March 5 public hearing for the rental restriction overlay that is proposed for part of the Glencairn neighborhood and revisited a pair of projects that were rejected at the body’s Jan. 23 meeting: A bed and breakfast on Grove Street and a new gas station at the corner of Abbot Road and Saginaw Street. Councilmember Erik Altmann’s wife was also appointed to the East Lansing Independent Police Oversight Commission, but first Council engaged in a conversation about the ethics of appointing people close to city leaders on city commissions.
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It’s a slower week of city meetings; school board meets Monday.
Next week is a slower meeting week due to cancellation of the Planning Commission and City Council meetings. Still, the Human Rights Commission meets Monday (Feb. 12) and the Arts Commission and the Community Development Advisory Committee convene Thursday (Feb. 15). When meeting agendas are posted, they can be found here.
With all of the innovations in all things electric, the city is hosting an informational open house to explain proposed zoning ordinance amendments related to electricity. The Monday (Feb. 12) open house will be from 6-8 p.m. at the East Lansing Public Library (ELPL). Staff from the planning department will be on hand to answer questions and printed materials will be available. The amendments focus particularly on solar energy systems, outdoor lighting standards and brightness levels, electronic display signs, and clarification of the city’s Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers requirements.
Additionally, the East Lansing Board of Education will meet Monday (Feb. 12). School board meetings are held in the lower level of East Lansing High School at 7 p.m. The agenda will be posted here.
Learn more about US-127/I-496 closures.
We’ve all been hearing and reading about the upcoming closures on US-127/I-496 for construction to improve the roadway and solve safety concerns. But if you have questions about the closures, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will provide more details about the project from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 13) at the Foster Community Center, 200 N. Foster Ave., Lansing. You can visit the project website here.
Black History month is being celebrated at the ELPL.
The East Lansing Public Library (ELPL) has numerous activities planned in honor of February being Black History Month. This year’s reading theme is “African Americans and the Arts” and is “infused with African, Caribbean, and Black American lived experiences." You can find more information and a detailed list of suggested books here. Black History Month Teen Movie Days continues 3-5 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 15) with the showing of “Soul.” Find a listing of other ELPL activities here.
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