Public Safety and Crime

The Mercurial Trail, Part 6: Blown Out

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Image: a vestibule at the Hannah Community Center

This article picks up from "The Mercurial Trail, Part 5: The Violations."

The subject line on Paul Stokes’ email alert to the upper ranks of City management—“Past mercury concern”—didn’t quite capture the volatility of the situation, a volatility that seems to have quickly become clear to the City Manager.

ASK ELi: Can Mercury Hurt?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Editor's note: This week's "Ask ELi" connects to our ongoing series, The Mercurial Trail, which traces what happened during and after about 1 to 1.5 pounds of mercury were spilled at the East Lansing Wastewater Treatment Plant in November 2013. This column addresses a question we've been getting in response to the series.

The question asked of ELi this week is: Could 1.5 pounds of mercury hurt a person?

The Mercurial Trail, Part 1: The Spill

Monday, February 16, 2015

Image: Layout of the East Lansing Wastewater Treatment Plant, courtesy of City of East Lansing

Even if you don’t know where the East Lansing Wastewater Treatment Plant is by sight, you may know its location by smell. If you’re turning off of southbound 127 onto Trowbridge Road and it’s a warm day, you can often smell the sewage just as you round the curve. The formal address of the plant is 1700 Trowbridge Road.

The Mercurial Trail: An Introduction

Monday, February 16, 2015

Photo/Image: p. Gordon on Flickr, showing elemental mercury spilled from an old thermostat switch

Last week, thanks to a tip from an ELi reader, Ann Nichols and I broke the story of a lawsuit against the City of East Lansing by a group of workers from the Wastewater Treatment Plant. According to their legal complaint, the workers are suing because they “were intentionally and unnecessarily exposed to mercury and asbestos.”

ASK ELi to INVESTIGATE: Tickets for Icy Sidewalks?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Image: Example of a poorly maintained sidewalk at the corner of Evergreen Avenue and Valley Court.

A reader asks: Does anyone really get ticketed for failure to clear ice- or snow-covered sidewalks in East Lansing?

The answer: Yes, although it varies substantially by date and neighborhood.

Council Capsule, January 27, 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Image: City Council last night

All members of City Council were present. The meeting lasted from 7:02 pm on January 27 until 12:27 a.m. on January 28.

City’s credit rating at risk, with layoffs possible: Dire financial news was delivered by City Manager George Lahanas just before the end of the meeting. Read our special report.

Details Emerge about ELPD Phone Scam

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The East Lansing Police Department (ELPD) issued a warning today about a phone scam involving the ELPD’s non-emergency phone number, saying the department’s non-emergency number “has been compromised.” But according to ELPD’s Lt. Steve Gonzalez, it now appears the scammers are simply using an online trick to make it look like they are calling from ELPD’s number.

CITY OF THE SMARTS: Knowing What "Secure in Place" Means

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Image: ELPD's Lieutenant Steve Gonzalez, courtesy ELPD

This past week, East Lansing experienced two “secure in place” orders from the local police, including one on Monday involving the East Lansing Public Schools and another on Tuesday at MSU. What trips these orders? What do “secure in place” and “lockdown” orders really mean?

To find out, I talked to Lieutenant Steve Gonzalez of the East Lansing Police Department (ELPD).

What does it mean when ELPD or MSU Police recommends people “secure in place”?

Monday's "Secure in Place" Order Shows Need for Improving Emergency Communication

Friday, November 28, 2014

Image: ELPD's Captain Jeff Murphy, courtesy of ELPD

On Monday, an online threat to schools triggered a “secure in place” order at the East Lansing Public Schools (ELPS). ELi Twitter follower Ross Fort asked us to find out why the order went only to the public schools and not the private schools in East Lansing.

The answer has been provided to us by Captain Jeff Murphy of the East Lansing Police Department (ELPD).