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ELi ON EARTH: Snow Sowing Time in EL

Monday, February 2, 2015

Image: The author sowing seeds the day before the big snow.

If you are tired of winter and cannot make the trip south to warmer climes, you can still begin some spring activities right here in East Lansing. It may not be warm outside, but there are some seeds that do well planted in the snow. Snow planting is as simple as putting the seeds in the snow where you would otherwise plant them in the dirt.

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.

ELi ON EARTH: Redwoods in East Lansing

Monday, January 26, 2015

Image: The author's coast redwood. The leaves are very similar to those of the dawn redwood, but there is a key distinction: the leaves of the coast redwood alternate on each side of the stem while the dawn redwood leaves grow exactly opposite each other on the stem.

YOUR ELi: East Lansing, Rewound

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ann Nichols’ column this week about Spartan Spirits and other businesses that have been here forever has been bringing historical delights to the ELi mailbag. Among the communications was one letting Ann know that Spartan Spirits used to be a grocery store!

ASK ELi: City-Owned Land Sales?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Image: The Avondale Square development, where the City continues to own many parcels; courtesy City of East Lansing

At next Tuesday’s City Council work session, City staff is planning to ask Council to put a City Charter amendment on the ballot for May 5 that would change how City land is sold. (Like all “work sessions,” this public meeting of City Council will not be broadcast or video recorded for accessible public viewing.)

ELi ON EARTH: East Lansing Starts Its Spring

Monday, January 19, 2015

Above: From left, a paper seed-starting container made from scrap paper using the wooden press shown behind it; a dish of commercial seed-starting mix; a commercial peat pot like those the author uses for starting seeds.

It may not be spring-like outside yet, but it is time for East Lansing gardeners to be thinking about summer planting. For those interested in starting their flowers, vegetables, and herbs as seedlings indoors, this is the season for getting organized.

YOUR ELi: Minutes versus Hours

Saturday, January 17, 2015

East Lansing City Council meets every week, but half of these meetings are called “regular meetings” and half are called “work sessions.” Council “work sessions”—which have, all told, been constituting over half the time Council actually meets—are not videotaped or broadcast to the public, which  “regular meetings” are. This means that, unless you have the time and energy to go to City Hall for "work sessions," you can’t find out for yourself what’s going on at Council over half the time.

ASK ELi: Groceries Downtown?

Friday, January 16, 2015

The question: Any hope of groceries downtown?

If you live in or near downtown—which more and more permanent residents seem to be doing—there are actually a few nearby places you can now walk or bike to get some basic groceries.

Council Capsule: January 13, 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Photo: A previous Council meeting, because this reporter forgot her camera this week

ELi apologizes for the slight delay in getting Council Capsule to you today. The reason is that we have today been producing in-depth stories on three of the many major issues covered last night.

All councilmembers were present:  Mayor Nathan Triplett, Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris, Ruth Beier, Kathy Boyle, and Susan Woods.

ELi ON EARTH: Lovejoy Comet Cometh

Monday, January 12, 2015

Image: Another Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) as photographed by Dan Burbank from the International Space Station in 2011; courtesy of NASA.

Last week ELi on Earth (EoE) focused its binoculars on the moons of Jupiter, and this week we will point our binoculars to comet Lovejoy.. The comet is bright enough to be seen with binoculars in East Lansing, or even with the naked eye if you are in a darker area.

Your ELi: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Saturday, January 10, 2015


During this week’s bloom of Je suis Charlie, in the wake of the murders at France’s satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, I got to wondering whether Eli is Charlie. The simplest answer, of course, is “no.” Much to the disappointment of our astronomy reporter who would dearly love to write satire about what goes on in East Lansing city politics, we don’t accept satire. Satire is editorial, and ELi is nonpartisan and non-editorial.

ASK ELi: Who can legally ring your doorbell?

Friday, January 9, 2015

The question from a reader: Who can legally ring your doorbell to peddle or solicit business if you live in East Lansing?

The answer: Representatives of commercial businesses must have a permit from the City of East Lansing to appear at your door. No one is allowed to come to try to sell you new windows, gas contracts, or anything like that unless they have an active permit. The person at the door should be able to show you the permit if you ask to see it.


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