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Wednesday, September 19,2012

This is a good headline

Lansing's Eric Dennis invents the icon you can't refuse

by Lawrence Cosentino
Last week, a lady in an ankle cast stopped me at the grocery store. "Why don’t you write more about the good things people are doing?" Journalists are often asked this question. Sorry I stepped on your wrist, lady. I was having a bad day. Here's my real answer.
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Wednesday, September 19,2012

Apotheosis of Ralph

Votapek wows hometown crowd with two concertos plus encore

by Lawrence Cosentino
There is no elevator to the top of Ralph Votapek. You have to take the stairs to get to the summit. But once you get there, the view is panoramic, the air is clean, and you feel like you're on top of the world. Friday night, the Lansing Symphony teamed up with MSU's piano monument and artist-in-residence for 36 years to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Votapek's win in the first Van Cliburn competition in 1962.
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Wednesday, September 12,2012

Heart of the barrio

César Chávez and North Lansing's Latino history

by Lawrence Cosentino
On July 30, 1973, labor leader César Chávez visited Lansing as part of a four-day swing through Michigan to gather support for a grape and lettuce boycott. In a speech at Cristo Rey Community Center on the north side of town, he broke the crowd up with a story about an elderly woman he met in Flint.
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Wednesday, September 12,2012

Back into orbit

Votapek launches Lansing Symphony season with rare two-concerto mission

by Lawrence Cosentino
In 1962, 23-year-old Ralph Votapek won the first Van Cliburn piano competition, serving a double dip knuckle crunch in a waffle cone: Beethoven's magisterial Fourth Piano Concerto and Prokofiev's volcanic Third. That same year, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth.
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Wednesday, September 5,2012

Getting a pat on the roof

Five buildings nominated for first Preservation Lansing awards

by Lawrence Cosentino
For decades, Lansing blithely bulldozed its historic buildings and neighborhoods to make room for freeways, urban renewal projects and bland architectural junk. The city is still behind the curve compared to other places — even East Lansing — that cherish historic urban fabric. This year, a new preservation group has found concrete (and brick and wood) evidence that the city is catching up slightly.
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Wednesday, August 22,2012

Crossroads and corner store

One thing leads to another as Goodrich's Shop-Rite marks 75 years in business

by Lawrence Cosentino
In less than a minute, I was chatting with amiable Ernst Floeter, 89, who came to the United States in 1944 as a P.O.W., captured by Americans on D-Day. Floeter was repatriated to Germany after the war, but liked America so much that he came back for good 11 years later.
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Wednesday, August 15,2012

Closing the window on climate change

How much heat will it take to get fired up?

by Lawrence Cosentino
Vinifera grapes love dusty Mediterranean places like Morocco and Portugal. The vines are sinewy and stoic, like my Sicilian grandfather.
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Wednesday, August 8,2012

'It was a good run'

Kristine Thatcher looks at life after Stormfield

by Lawrence Cosentino
Parking lot seagulls pace around the Sears water tower in the Frandor Shopping Center, looking as out of place as Chekhov characters in a strip mall.
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Wednesday, August 1,2012

'Build on it'

Land Bank finishes rehab of 530 Pacific Ave. as new owners move in

by Lawrence Cosentino
Other than hinting at a previous marriage, Greenwood didn't want to talk much about the life she's leaving behind. In February, she started her own business, Open Arms, a companion service for elderly people.
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Wednesday, August 1,2012

Something Old Town, something new

Etienne Charles and John Douglas trumpet this weekend's JazzFest

by Lawrence Cosentino
On June 5, U.S. Rep. Howard Berman of California recognized the Trinidad-born trumpeter and Michigan State University professor for his "musical contributions to nationals of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the world," as part of a resolution marking Caribbean American Heritage Month.
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