ELi's Editing Staff

Ann Nichols (above), ELi's Managing Editor, has been a cellist, a lawyer, a soccer mom, a political operative, and a Buddhist cook at a Protestant church. As it turns out, she’s really a writer. Raised in East Lansing, she currently lives in a 102-year-old house near the MSU campus with her husband, her son and an improbable number of animals. Ann has served on the board of the Community Relations Coalition and as President of the Oakwood Neighborhood founded the Brownie Brigade. For her service to East Lansing, she has been given the Crystal Award. Besides all of her professional talents, Ann brings to ELi her love of local food, her talent for meaningful relationships with the MSU students who live all around her, and a pride in living downtown. Check out her place-making column, Ann about Town.


Alice Dreger (above), ELi's editor for Politics, Government, and the Natural World, founded ELi in 2012 as a local news cooperative and recreated it in 2014 as a non-profit corporation. She is currently President and Secretary of ELi's Board of Directors, and as such, is paid nothing by ELi. (Board members of ELi are strictly prohibited from profiting in any fashion from ELi, as are their household and immediate family members.) Alice is one of the head comrades of the Oakwood Neighborhood Association where she lives with her spouse and high-school-age son in a 1923 historic house that is always under construction. The house is sometimes called "the flower house" because in the summer, thanks mostly to Alice's partner Aron Sousa (ELi's astronomy reporter), the front yard has about a million flowers. Alice has substantial professional experience as an editor and writer and has published her work in various national newspapers as well as national magazines. She brings to ELi her love of East Lansing, her professional skills, and her gregarious spirit. She asks that you join her in financially supporting this amazing community project now! Click here to donate!

Ken Sperber (above), along with his life partner Valerie Thonger, is the ELi Calendar of Events Co-Editor and sometimes also an ELi reporter. When they are not correcting each other, Ken and Val also work together as the ELi proofreaders. Ken has worked in a variety of early childhood education and care programs from MSU campus preschools to Head Start and then the Ingham County Office for Young Children and Great Start. Ken says that the best part about working with families with young children was that it helped keep the child inside him always alive. Now retired and with his two grown sons off in Chicago, Ken has turned his attention to eldercare, gardening, soccer, being a fix-it man, and ELi. Ken enjoys working on ELi as it brings back memories of working from the basement of his house with his roommates and friends in the 1970s on Lansing's first underground alternative newspapers, the Joint Issue and then the Lansing Star.

Valerie Thonger (above) moved to Michigan to go to MSU in 1971 and has made East Lansing her home. With her husband and best bud, Ken Sperber, she has two grown sons, who are well-adjusted, smart and self-sufficient (as is true for their soon-to-be daughter-in law). At ELi, Valerie, working with Ken, is the Calendar of Events Co-Editor, proofreader, and occasional also a reporter. Valerie worked at the non-profit Eastminster Child Development Center for over 31 years in a variety of administrative positions including Assistant Director, Interim Director (several times),  Finance Coordinator, and ECDC Board Member. At ECDC, Valerie was responsible for keeping the accounts for the revenues and expenses for what grew to be a million-dollar budget. During her 30+ years there, Val was able to account for all the expenses and revenues down to the last penny. Valerie especially enjoyed building so many relationships with the parents and children for all those years. It is gratifying for her to now see those same parents as grandparents, and the former preschoolers as grown adults and now parents. As a retiree, Val has volunteered at the Marble School library, at Everybody Reads bookstore, and at the East Lansing Public Library. Valerie's hobbies include reading, gardening, biking, walking, soccer, traveling and, of course, ELi.


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