A Week in the Life of Your ELi

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Saturday, December 12, 2015, 12:17 am
Alice Dreger, Publisher and Board President


We’re reaching the end of ELi’s first full calendar year, and I would personally appreciate if you would take a moment to reflect with me on whether we are meeting our stated non-profit mission: providing local news and information specifically focused on East Lansing, with the aim of educating citizens, supporting fact-based dialogue, building community, bridging generations, and teaching people—from high school students to senior citizens—how to do non-partisan, non-editorial embedded reporting for their own community.

Me? I think the ELi team is doing a spectacular job, for me, for you, and for our community.

In this past week alone . . .

Our East Lansing High School reporter Danny Kaplowitz brought you the story of ELHS junior Samantha White’s efforts to fix gender disparities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields by creating a new club at our high school.

Chris Root followed up for us on HB 5041, attending the State-level meeting of the committee that’s been working on the bill, and reporting back to you. Chris also took our six Council candidates’ latest finance reports and did an analysis for you on how much they took in, spent, and what they spent it on.

ELi’s Caitlin Leppert, one of our many MSU student-reporters, went deep for you to find out what problems occurred after the big MSU win Saturday night, and reported for you on why many students feel just as worried about “celebration” fires as permanent residents.

Coleen Moyerbrailean, a member of ELi’s dedicated four-person government team, covered ELi’s FOIA appeal at the County Board of Commissioners so you would know what happened since my news to you last Sunday about the “Steve Meadows” mystery. Coleen also attended the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) meeting and followed up diligently for us on the coming TIF plan for White Oak Place.

Rosalind Arch reported for you on how to shop sympathetically for “kids these days,” supplementing our recent cheat-sheet on potluck contributions that you can pick up at local businesses and our tips on hostess gifts that you can delight in while supporting small East Lansing businesses.

I went to Council’s three-and-a-half-hour work session to bring you back news of the Chesterfield Hills parking controversy, the City’s external audit and our City’s finances, and the possibility of the City closing or selling the M.A.C. garage.

While I was at Council, news broke of an armed robbery at East Lansing’s Pizza Hut, so I dipped back three rows in the Council Chambers, interviewed Chief of Police Jeff Murphy, who was there, and wrote up the breaking news for you. Even though it was almost 10 p.m., our Managing Editor Ann Nichols immediately arranged a photographer and edited and posted the piece, while I got back to listening to the Council’s deliberations. Ann followed up the next day with ELPD's Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth.

Our environment reporter Paige Filice helped you figure out the dilemma of what’s better for the environment—a real or a fake holiday tree. And Paige’s article from last week, “Where Do Michigan Reptiles and Amphibians Go in the Winter?”, was reprinted with permission at the Go Green Youth Challenge blog, with a note bringing in yet more new readers to ELi’s website.

We worked with City Engineering Administrator Bob Scheuerman to bring you in-depth answers to another reader’s question about rain barrels and sewage fees, and started reporters working on several new “Ask ELI” investigations, as suggested by you, our readers.

Another student reporter, Ashley Carlini, brought you the story of how Jewish students at MSU are celebrating Hanukkah even while they’re stuck here taking classes.

And tying ELi’s all-time-record for Facebook “likes,” Ann Nichols interviewed a local refugee services expert and brought you specific information on how you can help coming refugees feel welcome in our area. (As I write, the piece is up to 923 “likes.”)

This doesn’t even count what you don’t see going on behind the scenes, like Ann arranging reporters for upcoming stories (including the “Rally for Peace” scheduled for East Lansing’s downtown next Tuesday), our calendar editors Ken Sperber and Val Thonger logging key local events, the prep of our weekly mailer, pushing out material to citizens via our Facebook page and Twitter account, answering readers’ questions and requests, working with our Board of Directors on budget management and policy and with our tech team Lisa and Morgan Lees on website issues, and consulting with a marketing expert about how to reach more younger and older people in East Lansing with our material.

Truth is, this is about what we do for this City every single week! On a relatively small budget—about $35,000 a year, right now—we do all this for you. And about 95% of the money ELi spends stays in your community. I think this is an incredible public service, brought to you by incredible people with whom I feel very fortunate to collaborate as a volunteer for ELi.

Do you feel as I do? That you can’t remember what East Lansing was like before ELi? That you hope ELi continues to thrive, expand, and create a better educated and more connected community in East Lansing?

Then join me in making a year-end, tax-deductible contribution to East Lansing Info. It’s easy to do: just click here.

You can rest assured that your donation will go far in impact, but stay local in economic effect.

I promise you, if you keep donating, we will keep delivering the high quality, factual, community-focused news you have come to expect from us. And in doing so, we will keep promoting intelligent, factual dialogue, citizen participation in voting and community activities, appreciation of our local artists, arts, parks, and library, knowledge about our schools, and ever greater understanding of the place that is East Lansing.

East Lansing Info is news of the people, by the people, and for the people of your town. Please, donate right now with a year-end, tax-deductible contribution. Give generously!



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