What happened in East Lansing this week?

Catch up in five minutes flat.

What happened in East Lansing this week?
City Councilmember Dana Watson speaking, with Mayor Ron Bacon in the foreground and ELPD Capt. Chad Pride and DEI Administrator Elaine Hardy in the background, at the Nov. 2 Oversight Commission meeting. (Julie Seraphinoff for ELi)

East Lansing’s Independent Police Oversight Commission marked its first year anniversary this week with a public input session that included intense public testimony. Read on to learn what was said.

After a shooting downtown last Sunday morning that sent one person to the hospital, City Council faced renewed criticism from Liam Carroll, a citizen demanding a more forceful response to violence downtown, with three members of Council specifically defending East Lansing policing. Carroll criticized the Oversight Commission, calling it the "overstep commission."

Council also voted 4-1 to spend federal Housing and Urban Development dollars on lighting – now described as safety-oriented lighting rather than aesthetic lighting designed to promote economic development. Voting against, Councilmember Dana Watson said she felt “dismissed” by the process and decision. Find out why.

Julie Seraphinoff for ELi

Looks like the iconic Quality Dairy at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Harrison Road is closing. We answered a reader’s question this week about whether that location could end up as a marijuana dispensary. Read the answer.

Speaking of marijuana dispensaries, the one being built on the land the City of East Lansing sold via an eBay auction is set to open soon, with developers now wanting to sell recreational marijuana in addition to medical marijuana. But plans appear to be stalled to build the hotel and additional retail that had been proposed when the whole project was approved. Read more in this ELi report.

Yesterday, Will “The Poet” Lanford brought a one-night-only performance of original poems to East Lansing, and in advance of the event, ELi’s Arts & Cultures reporter Sarah Spohn provided us a feature on this creative Michigan State University Department of Education Ph.D. student. Read her profile.

Will “The Poet” Lanford (courtesy photo)

Sarah also reports for us this week on the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the East Lansing Film Festival. Founder Susan Woods shares the history of the festival and news of what will be happening at the event this year. Check that out.

What’s happening in your city government this week?

City Council is off because Tuesday is Election day. But Transportation Commission, the Seniors Commission, and the Art Selection Panel will each meet on Monday, Nov. 7.

On Wednesday, Nov. 9,  the Planning Commission will take back up the questions of Valley Court Park’s redesign and High Society’s request to sell recreational marijuana. Planning Commission will also hold a public hearing to consider a request to rezone 1788 Woodside Drive from B-2 (Retail Sales Business District) to RM-32 (City Center Multi-Family Residential District).

Raymond Holt for ELi

The Parking Task Force will also meet on Wednesday, Nov. 9, after a long hiatus, and on Thursday, Nov. 10, the Historic District Commission will meet, taking up the Valley Court Park proposal.

Find all the agendas when they’re posted at the city’s meeting portal, except for the Seniors Commision, which is posted elsewhere.

Signs outside East Lansing's City Hall (Alice Dreger for ELi)

Tuesday marks your last chance to vote in the Nov. 8 election. The ballot includes four seats on the East Lansing School Board and the East Lansing Public Library millage. ELi has reporting on all that and more, and you can find it linked through ELi’s general election guide.

The City Clerk’s office at City Hall at 401 Abbot Road will be open this weekend. You can go register and vote “absentee” in person on Saturday and Sunday (today and tomorrow) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday is also an option. More info here.

Hit this link to find out where you should vote on Election Day and what will be on your ballot. Polling locations will be open on Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you’re planning to vote in person, ELi’s sister nonprofit publication The Bridge explains what to expect from poll challengers following a state Supreme Court ruling on Thursday.

The City of East Lansing is outreaching.

East Lansing’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Arts is continuing its food drive through Nov. 15. Donations can be dropped at the Hannah Community Center (819 Abbot Road). According to the announcement, “Only non-perishable food items are being accepted. These include things like jars of peanut butter, canned soups, canned vegetables, canned meat and fish, rice, cereal or pasta.” Nothing in glass, please.

Photo of the 2018 wreath-laying ceremony at Hannah Community Center (Alice Dreger for ELi)

On Thursday, Nov. 10, the city will hold its annual wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Veterans Day. The event starts at 11:30 a.m. at the memorials outside the Hannah Community Center, and all are welcome. Learn more about East Lansing native U.S. Marine Corps Reserve 2nd Lt. Sherrod E. Skinner Jr., a Korean war hero, who is honored at the site in this ELi archive article.

The City of East Lansing is now accepting applications for Community Development Block Grant funding. Eligible applicants include local organizations that provide for “the development of viable communities by the provision of decent housing, a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income.” Learn more here.

ELi has launched its annual campaign with support from NewsMatch!

The great news is that our core donors have pledged about $25,000 for ELi, which, when added to our NewsMatch grant of $15,000, gives us $40,000 to match donations to ELi made before Dec. 31! Donate right now to double your support and keep the news coming.

We’re also happy to announce that, thanks to our core donors’ generosity, the Knight Foundation will also be granting ELi a $3,000 challenge grant bonus for our 2023 reporting. Read more here.

Folks who donate $500 or more to our local match fund before the end of November will be invited to a special thank-you cocktail party at the home of ELi Publisher Alice Dreger on Dec. 2.

Thanks for staying connected to factual, nonpartisan, nonprofit, meaningful local news!