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ELi brings you the news.
That time of year when the redbuds match the umbrellas at Black Cat Bistro downtown.

This week, ELi welcomes a new member to our regular reporting team: Mya Gregory, a Michigan State University double-major in interculutural communications and journalism, interested especially in sports journalism and fluent in Spanish.

Mya’s first report for us is on the swearing-in of the two newest members of the East Lansing Police Department, Officers Cuong Dang-Le and Brennan Surman. At the swearing-in, Chief Kim Johnson spoke of ELPD being short-staffed and commended his current staff, many of whom were present, for their patience as the department continues to bring “the right people through the door.” Read Mya’s story.

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In the first in a series of in-depth reporting by ELi on the City of East Lansing’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2024, Luke Day and Alice Dreger reported this week that the plan is to bring the sworn officer ranks in ELPD to a total of 51 in the next fiscal year. ELPD’s detailed budget request names “goals and objectives” including working more closely with ASMSU, the MSU Black Student Alliance and faith-based organizations, improving officers’ capacity to serve BIPOC, LGBTA+, immigrant, senior and student communities, and establishing a full-time Downtown Business Officer and Youth Engagement Officer. The department is also looking to use drones. Read the report.

Luke also reported for us on this week’s City Council meeting, which started with a mystery closed session. The meeting also included public hearings on the budget and a special downtown tax that supports the Downtown Management Board, plus a long consent agenda. Find out what happened.

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ELi’s Dustin DuFort Petty attended the monthly meeting of East Lansing’s Human Rights Commission and bring ELi readers up to speed on what’s happening – or not happening – with two long-running complaints alleging civil rights violations. Dustin also reports the commission hosted a representative from Washtenaw County to discuss its county identification card program while considering how a local option might be introduced. Read on.

Dustin also brought the news from this week’s meeting of the East Lansing School Board. The meeting included recognition of seniors Gabriel Benavides and Alexander Mielock for their time as student representatives on the board, discussion of teachers’ professional learning experiences, and calls for transparency with regard to safety measures and disparities in academic success. Get the news.

Localizing national news for ELi, ELPS parent Chris Umphlett brought our readers a special look at how ELHS teachers – including math teacher Jeff Burgess, English and psychology teacher Jade Bennett, and social studies teacher Mark Pontoni – are dealing with the inception of A.I. (artificial intelligence). Learn how our local public-school teachers are thinking about ChaptGPT.

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In a funny coincidence, just as the ELi mailbag brought an inquiry from a fellow who was a line-cook at Beggar’s Banquet as an MSU undergraduate back in the 1970s – asking if we happened to know the restaurant’s recipe for London broil – we were publishing a long-form piece by Sarah Spohn about that beloved East Lansing Institution. As Beggar’s celebrates its 50th anniversary, Sarah takes us on a walk down memory lane, revisits the history of the business, and chats with the owners – past and present – and longtime customers. Please enjoy.

Finally, this week, our publisher Alice Dreger brought a look at what we know so far about the ongoing struggles at City Hall and an explanation of why ELi continues to investigate. Thanks to everyone who wrote in letters of support in response to this Your ELi column. Here’s a sampling from the mailbag:

“To acknowledge your invaluable reporting, I just sent you $100 via PayPal. Your content and style are unmatched by larger regional and statewide media. You stand up to the many faces of power and get the information we need to be better citizens. Through defending our right to know, you make our community a better place to live. Thank you.”

“I just wanted to drop a note thanking ELI for all of your collective hard work and effort. Keeping ‘checks and balances’ and ‘accountability’ is so important and NEEDED. The ELI team does a fantastic job doing this. Let me know if there is anything I can do more as a supporter and a lifelong East Lansing resident.”

“I think you guys do a great job. If you are making some folks uncomfortable, so be it. IMHO, it’s your job to dig, find things out, and help keep us informed. I, for one, certainly appreciate your efforts.”

Don’t forget that the East Lansing Art Festival will be taking place next weekend, May 20-21. We’ll be bringing you a preview this week.

And we’ve got a whole lot of other East Lansing news in the hopper, so stay tuned! Remember that if you want to support ELi and get the news fast, you can become an East Lansing Insider Member. Here’s how.