Mystery monolith appears in Old Town
A mysterious monolithic structure is catching some attention in Lansing after it mysteriously appeared on the sidewalk on Turner Street in Old Town Tuesday. The otherworldly art project appears to be wooden and resembles a widely publicized metal monolith that was discovered in — and later disappeared from — a remote southern Utah desert late last month. Its nameless creators sent a message to City Pulse: “We have come to observe, and perhaps interact. Our mission is to spread kindness, happiness and perhaps a little chaos.” Since the monolith isn’t blocking the sidewalk, Mayor Andy Schor has decided to let it stay put. “Lansing often gets visitors from all over the world and now I’m happy to see we’ve expanded these visitors to parts unknown,” Schor said in a statement. “We welcome our new visitor.”
Toplessness allowed under new East Lansing laws
The East Lansing City Council voted unanimously last week to amend the city’s disorderly conduct laws, removing language that made it illegal for women to publicly expose their breasts. City officials said the change was about gender equality and ensuring that women won’t be unfairly charged with crimes that men cannot commit. Other recent changes included removing the ability for people to be arrested simply for taunting or chanting at police officers — all part of much broader efforts to reform policies and procedures and ensure equitable laws for residents.
Help wanted: Lansing School District superintendent
The Lansing School District will reportedly relaunch its search for a new superintendent over the next several weeks after the process stalled amid the pandemic earlier this year. The Board of Education is expected to select its next set of candidates in February for interviews in March.
Hertel weighs congressional campaign
Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing, told City Pulse last week that he’s considering making a run for the U.S. House of Representatives after records showed his campaign team registered the domain names “curtisforcongress.com” and “curtishertelforcongress.com” in November. Exactly when and where, however, remains to be seen. Hertel said he isn’t even sure what his next move will be. He also insisted that we would never run against U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin.
Lansing Promise board member faces criticism
Linda Lee Tarver, a board member for the Lansing Promise scholarship program, former state civil rights commissioner and a former vice-chairwoman of the Michigan Republic Party, faced criticism last week after she told the Michigan State Oversight Committee that Black communities were more susceptible to election fraud. “The larger the jurisdiction which are people of color, people who look like me, the more fraud that can be inserted into stealing an election,” Tarver testified. The remark drew immediate criticism, including from fellow Lansing Promise board member and Lansing City Council President Peter Spadafore, who demanded she resign.
Outdoor recreation projects planned in Lansing
Greater Lansing would reportedly receive more than $1 million for outdoor recreation projects next year under a list of grants recommended by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board. Ingham County will receive about $350,000 for two projects, with most of that going to boat launch and parking lot improvements at Lake Lansing Park South, while East Lansing gets $300,000 for tennis courts at Patriarche Park. The balance of the $1,008,500 funding is going for projects in the village of Dimondale and in Meridian and Delta townships.
U.S. House passes pot legalization bill
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation last week that aims to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level and formally remove it from the list of scheduled substances, also creating the potential to expunge pot-related criminal records for those arrested under old laws. The bill goes to the Senate, where it is expected to languish.
BWL kills power for thousands
The Lansing Board of Water & Light has quietly shut off service to almost 2,400 customers since the pandemic started, according to reports in the Lansing State Journal. Though many utility companies reportedly paused shutoffs this spring, many, including BWL, have since resumed. The LSJ found that BWL actually ramped up shutdowns in October as coronavirus cases reached record-highs, partly in an attempt to collect on $11 million in outstanding customer bills. As a result of the shutoffs, the city of Lansing has since red-tagged 59 homes for lack of utilities or “safety issues resulting from the lack of utilities.” That designation means residents must immediately vacate the property until all code enforcement violations have been corrected.