ELi’s Top Feel-Good Stories of 2018

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Friday, December 28, 2018, 6:24 am
Ann Nichols, Managing Editor

When ELi's Publisher Alice Dreger asked me to finish up the year with a collection of my Top Ten Favorite Feel-Good Articles we published in 2018 – taking into account what our readers have also loved – I was delighted.

Until I went through the archives and found that there were actually 22 articles from 2018 that I love.

We compromised on fifteen.

I hope you’ll take a moment to read or re-read these stories that, to me, an East Lansing native, speak volumes about the community in which we live together.

The Kammerer Stories

If you’re a regular reader of ELi, and you have a heart, you’re probably a fan of everything Ann Kammerer does for us. She writes the features that make Alice and me cry while editing (no kidding).

So, first for me is Ann Kammerer’s story about the “peace fence” (pictured above) on Burcham. A reader asked us what the story was behind that local icon, and the story turned out to be even more interesting than we’d hoped.

A lot of Kammerer’s stories are on my list, but another that I couldn’t resist was her article on “Marsha’s Friendshop” at the East Lansing Public Library, and on Marsha Bristor, the woman who has given years of her time and energy to making our library the heart of the community.

Actually, there’s one more from Ann that I loved – a profile of Allie Gibson Murad and her Highland Dance Studio.

The School Stories

Many of our most-read stories this year focused on the East Lansing Public Schools.

One that inspired East Lansing residents was about East Lansing High School (ELHS) student Alex Hosey’s essay on why he sits during the National Anthem at athletic games. The essay and Hosey’s persistence led to the start of community-wide dialogues on race and racism in the city. Hosey (along with his brother James) both participated in ELi’s Summer Youth Journalism program in 2018, and are now part of our reporting team.

Arts reporter Sarah Spohn brought you the story of how another ELHS student, Ajah Montalvo, released an independently-produced single, “DMT.” The story came to us via high school Principal Andy Wells, who has known Montalvo since she was in the fifth grade at Whitehills Elementary School.

Jessy Gregg wrote about the phenomenon of the “walking school bus” . . .

Mark Meyer covered a strong season of ELHS Trojan football (but I had to pick just one football story) . . .

. . . and ELi Summer Youth Journalism grad James Hosey wrote about the tradition of flockey at the high school.

East Lansing Loves the Natural World

Another topic that seems to fascinate ELi readers is the natural world. It was hard to pick from among this year’s offerings, but I settled on Aron Sousa’s incredibly popular article on the phenomenon of “Burcham-Henge” . . .

. . . and Paige Filice’s piece on dealing with baby animals that seem to be abandoned in the spring.

Local Businesses

ELi (and I) are big fans of local businesses, large and small. I will admit that for our list, I chose one of my own articles, about local fiber store Woven Art, mainly because the photos are so beautiful. As is the shop itself.

We were also very excited to break the story that Blue Owl Coffee is opening in downtown East Lansing, especially because the owners contacted our reporter Sarah Spohn to ask her if she wanted an exclusive for ELi.

It may be cheating to include a story about a major development as opposed to a small business, but I know I was not the only person who was thrilled to read Dan Totzkay and Alice Dreger’s report saying that the “blighted corner” of Abbot Road and Grand River Avenue is finally, definitely going to turn into something new.

ELHS reporter Somer Sodeman was assigned merely to write about downtown activities for kids before Halloween, but she ended up snagging a really great story about what happened when a local inn found itself short of a Wicked Witch of the West and a Glinda.

And a Wild Card

Many of these stories are really about community, but one that I’ve thought about all year is Christopher Wardell’s write-up about the Bailey Neighborhood’s Ice Cream Social, which has happened every year since 1974.

I could do this all day, because I’m proud of ELi, our reporters, and my community. Oh, and ELi reader? I’m pretty pleased with you, too.

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