What’s happening, East Lansing?

The weather's looking good for the Art Festival!

What’s happening, East Lansing?
Dylan Lees for ELi

Festival season officially opens in East Lansing today with the annual Art Festival, a spring tradition for area residents as well as visitors and artists from all over the country. The festival runs in downtown 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today (Saturday) and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and will feature art, crafts, demonstrations, live entertainment, food trucks, family activities and more. ELi’s Sarah Spohn spoke with City of East Lansing Art Festival Coordinator Heather Majano to get the scoop.

Next Saturday, June 3, the 13th annual Pumpstock Music Festival of American Roots Music will bring a unique blend of folk and roots music to the newly-renovated Bailey Park from 2 to 8 p.m. This year’s festival will feature five bands on the main stage and four more acts on a local stage. You can help the artists by acting now. Check it out.

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While we’re talking summer, take note that also next weekend, on Saturday, the Family Aquatic Center will open on time for the first time since 2019 and on Sunday, the farmers’ market will start back up in Valley Court Park.

East Lansing’s City Council is poised to approve the upcoming fiscal year budget on Tuesday (May 23). As part of our continuing coverage of the city’s operations, we brought you this week a report from ELi’s Mya Gregory explaining why Acting Director of Public Works Ron Lacasse and Environmental Specialist Cliff Walls are seeking an increase in the part of the City of East Lansing budget that mitigates the city’s environmental impact. Find out what’s planned.

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Council is also getting ready to approve nearly $500,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars to support local non-profit service organizations and public improvement projects. ELi’s Dustin DuFort Petty reports on which organizations and infrastructure projects have been recommended for funding.

This week in East Lansing Public Schools news, ELi’s Luke Day reported the search committee charged with finding a new principal for the high school recommended Ashley Schwarzbek, who has been serving as acting principal for East Lansing High School (ELHS) since February.

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Luke attended yesterday’s meeting for our readers and brought the news that a long conversation about bias, responsibility and moving forward as a community preceded the East Lansing Board of Education’s unanimous decision to approve the appointment. Get the news.

Luke also reported on Tuesday that MacDonald Middle School physical education teacher Dennis Petrowitz used the N-word while interacting with sixth grade students on May 10 following an incident involving students using the same racial slur. Petrowitz apologized and, on Thursday, MMS Principal Amy Martin let families know he’s been placed on administrative leave following “Restorative Circle discussions in each class where students were provided a safe space to share their comments and feedback.” Read on.

Four months after the 3-1 Council vote to declare East Lansing a sanctuary city, responding to a reader inquiry, on Wednesday, ELi’s Alice Dreger brought an overview of what's happening in the city to prepare should a sudden influx of immigrants occur. Read more.

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Following a successful search for a new chief executive officer, the East Lansing Info (ELi) Board of Directors has voted unanimously to name Beth Peck as ELi’s new Executive Director and Publisher. Peck’s educational and professional background along with her dynamism and passion for ELi’s mission led the board to choose her for the position out of six applicants. The ELi team is very excited! Read all about it.

This week, the City of East Lansing announced the hire of a new finance director: Penny Wright. Read about her background in the press announcement. The city also announced it has once again been awarded gold certification in the Michigan Green Communities annual sustainability challenge. Read more.

There’s lot’s happening at the East Lansing Public Library including Books & Bagels for 4th-6th graders, Maker Monday, French Club, the Out of This World Book Club, Poetry Day, and so much more. Check it out.

A few weeks ago we told you about Flix Bus, a  new service running from Frandor to Grand Rapids and Detroit. Now, Flix Bus is offering daily service from Frandor to Chicago, running the opposite schedule of Amtrak (leaving in the afternoon, returning in the morning), offering a new mass transit option for trips to the big city on the lake. Meanwhile, Amtrak is using new passenger cars on the Blue Water route, making train travel from East Lansing more comfortable.

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