Category Archives: East Lansing

Return of Cedar Fest

The revival of the semi-annual block party Cedar Fest turned from a fun gathering to a riot early Sunday morning in a matter of minutes.

Cedar Fest was a semi-annual block party held in Cedar Village during the 1970s-1980s. It was a place where students could get together and celebrate peacefully. The block party started getting hostile in 1983 and after the 1987 celebration, police put an end to the block party.

Over the years there have been many hostile celebrations in Cedar Village including the 1998 Munn Field riot. This riot occurred after the university placed an alcohol ban on Munn Field. Bitter defeats for the men’s basketball team in the NCAA Tournament have led to three different riots within the past ten years. The worse came in 1999. The riot of 1999 had a crowd of 10,000 that caused $250,000 in damages. The other two riots occurred in 2003 and 2005.

(Cedar Village during Cedar Fest around 7p.m.)

This attempt to revive Cedar Fest had been planned since November 2007 through the networking website of Facebook. Over the course of a few months around 6,000 students said they were planning to attend this event. There were posts from students on the event page that said everyone should party peacefully but there were also some that were demanding a riot just so they could get tear-gassed.

 The day of the party came on April 5, 2008, and all seemed calm. The party didn’t seem to begin until 10a.m. At that point students were just drinking, grilling and playing games like frisbee. It was a perfect spring day and students were just having fun interacting with each other. Even by night fall around 8 p.m. students were just relaxing with fellow students and friends, though there were hundreds more people then at the start of the party.

Around campus most all parties start at 10 p.m. and for Cedar Fest that is when the party truly began and hoards of people began showing up. As soon as non-MSU student Patrick Moebs set foot on Cedar Street he gasped, “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever witnessed.” The view he saw was half of the 200 block of Cedar Street covered with people, yelling and singing. Above them were students hanging out their windows and off their balconies to join in the revelry. By this point there were at least a thousand people gathered on the street.

As the night wore on things started to get a little out of hand. There were several young ladies who got on the shoulders of different men only to expose themselves to the crowd. Those women were immediately arrested by the police. A few men gathered empty beer boxes and lighted them to start a fire but the crowd quickly put the flames out. Beer cans and empty beer boxes were hitting bystanders every few seconds.

Around 1a.m. the mood of the few thousand was changing drastically. The entire crowd began encircling the corner of Cedar and Waters Edge. A group of guys charged at the street sign to remove it from the ground. Every few minutes from above the police would shine a spotlight into the crowd sending them into an uproar it was like putting gas on a fire. The groups of guys finally removed the street sign which sent the crowd in a frenzy as they started running with the sign up and down the block.

By 1:30a.m. the crowd was completely out of control. It was raining beer cans and bottles. MSU senior Erin Bledsoe’s front windshield got smashed in by a bottle, who’s only remark was, “I feel really upset but it is something small compared to what else could have happened.”

(Cedar Street during Cedar Fest around 1a.m. as the crowd starts taking down the street sign)

The tension was slowly building up around 1:50 a.m.. The police lined the Grand River Avenue end of Cedar Street. Police were met by a mini crowd of 30 reverlers who stood 20 feet away from them. For minutes both the police and the crowd stood still, it was like the calm before the storm. The only noise came from the warnings from the police to vacate the street because it had been declared an unlawful assembly. Then the crowd slowly edged towards the police, who then pushed them back. The crowd became aggrevated with the police and started throwing beer bottles and whatever else they could find at the police. Smoke grenades and flash-bang grenades were shot off, panic erupted through the crowd and people started clearing the streets.

After the warning shots, half the crowd remained. Police clothed in full riot gear ran throughout Cedar Village. The crowd began chasing police who then had finally had enough with the crowd and let out 13 rounds of tear gas. The crowd dispersed quickly. All that remained was the now vacant Cedar Street. The street held a ghastly resemblence to eastern Berlin during the Cold War. The streets were covereed an inch thick with broken glass. The air was foggy with tear gas and smoke from dumpster fires. Police roaming around on foot and in patrol cars were the only visable signs of life.

The next morning the city and the university were trying to sort out what had occurred the previous evening. East Lansing police Chief Tom Wibert announced at the press conference that, “As far as I’m concerned, Cedar Fest is over and we’re not going to allow it to happen again.”

 Police figure there were more then 3,000 people at Cedar Fest. There was a total of 52 arrests, of those only 28 were MSU students. As of April 10, six MSU students have been suspended from the university for their actions at Cedar Fest.

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

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School of Choice

 

 

 

Michigan’s School of Choice law has aided East Lansing High School’s recent success but is causing problems for neighboring cities.

East Lansing schools offer well a rounded curriculum that includes a good athletic program, comprehensive academics and several extra-curricular activities. Finding education like that has been rarely seen at public schools. This appeal of a better education is drawing students from neighboring cities to transfer from there hometown schools to ELHS. This boost in enrollment is putting ELHS above other local high schools and is boosting its budget as well as many individual awards for students.

The ruling of School of Choice was made by the state of Michigan in 1996, but individual districts have the option on whether to allow out of districts students into their schools. With this rule of open enrollment a student that resides in the Lansing district has the ability to enroll at ELHS. The application is simple a student would just have to indicate name, grade, address, district of residence, and whether there have been suspensions or expulsions.

The City Pulse, a local paper, did an article on September 10, 2003 that researched how local schools were doing since Schools of Choice was enacted by the State Legislation. The 2002-2003 Ingham County School District research in the chart below, shows that the biggest winner is East Lansing and its neighboring city, Lansing, is on the losing side. In the article student Sofia Maystrenko explained how life is since she transferred out of the Lansing School district and is now having much more success at ELHS. She feels that the students at ELHS are more accepting of her and her hobbies and believes that she will have better success at her new school.

With East Lansing leading the pack of students enrolled in their district one can understand why the education infrastructure is doing so well. Good high scoring students who might have gone to a Lansing school are now choosing to attend an East Lansing school. Those students are boosting East Lansing’s credibility and in turn leading more students from other districts to transfer into East Lansing. It’s a cycle that builds up one district but punishes the others.

Last year ELHS was honored with many awards. They have a National Merit semi-finalist. There are many students that have earned Advanced Placement awards. Then at the end of last year ELHS was picked by US News and World Report to receive a Silver Award, marking ELHS as among the top 3 percent of all high schools in the country.

ELHS Principal Paula Steele is very proud of what her teachers and students have

accomplished in the past few years. The school district and the city is being recognized

for their efforts in bettering education.

Current students that live outside the district are the best source to understanding why they chose ELHS. Ben Barkman a senior lives in Lansing but attends ELHS. His reasoning for attending school in East Lansing was that his sister really wanted to go to ELHS so he just followed her but says, “I would have made the same decision all over again because I love ELHS, our sports everything just makes it a great place to go to school.”

Then there is ELHS senior Melissa Johnson. Johnson grew up in East Lansing and lived on Lexington Ave. until 7th grade, where her family decided to move to a country home in Alaidon Township. Johnson and her family had to decide what school district her and her sister would attend. The decision was between East Lansing, Okemos and Mason. The choice was easy for Johnson because Mason was 2.5 miles farther and didn’t have the reputation in academics that ELHS had and Okemos is perceived as not being friendly to out-of-district students. Johnson said she considers herself spoiled because she got to stay at ELHS and receive a great education that she knows has prepared her for college. She adds, “East Lansing has become a part of me and my family.”

On the other side of the story is the Lansing school district which understands it has a problem but has no current solution. Every year the city is losing hundreds of students and millions of dollars because they cannot compete with neighboring, East Lansing when it comes to education. From what students have said, in order for Lansing to compete with East Lansing they might what to integrate specialty classes like foreign languages and AP classes and improve their athletics.

Bruegger’s Bagels to be closed indefinitely

Bruegger’s Bagels in East Lansing on Grand River will close its doors until further notice. An accidental electrical fire erupted at the shop Friday evening after closing. There was no one in the shop at the time and no injuries were reported. The fire was mostly confined to the bakery area of the shop but there is heat and smoke damage to the entire shop. There will be a walk though to process the extent of the damage. It seems that Bruegger’s Bagel will have its doors shut for at least a few months but no plans to repair the damages have been made until the walk through is completed.

East Village Project

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The East Village has been a huge topic for students and residents for the past year. Now that the project has entered into its second phase does anyone believe that Pierce Education Properties will be able to get companies like DTN Management to just sign their land over? Is this plan a good idea for both the city and the students or just another way for the city to push students to the outer limits of the city? I believe that the East Village needs to be reconstructed but perhaps not in the manner that the city is going. Most current students that I’ve talked to dislike the plans that Pierce has laid out  because they do not believe normal undergraduate students will be able to afford such luxuries that are to be included in the apartments. When I spoke to residents and alumni they are all for the change and think the improvemnt in the area will lead to more businesses coming to East Lansing.

Campus Police

Michigan State University Police reported a number of offenses occurring over the Valentines week including minor in possession or MIP and other incidents.

               Thursday February 14 saw more motorists enjoying the holiday by going out  to dinner with their significant other. While on Grand  River  Avenue between the hours of 8- 10 p.m., bystanders at local restaurants saw quite a significant number of traffic  enforcements occurring.  When questioned  about the abundance of traffic violations MSU Police  Inspector Kelly Beck explained, “There was nothing special about  February 14th traffic  enforcement.   It was business as usual for us.”                   	  	Valentines week also brought more serious offenses, including a fire in North Hubbard Hall around Noon on February 12. The fire,  according to Sergeant McGlothian- Taylor, was an  accidental. The fire was found in the trash compactor room on the north side of the building.   The MSU Police and the East Lansing Fire Department  were called to the scene to investigate.  Resident of Hubbard, Cody Barz said, “I smelt  a little smoke but didn’t think it was a big deal." The fire was confined to one  trash bag that had nearly melted away. Police were able to find its  owners by a delivery receipt found in the bag. Police investigated whether they put anything flammable  in the bag. They found nothing within the  bag that would have caused a fire, so the cause is still unknown. The cost in damage was around $5.00.                     	 	There was a larceny from Wilson Hall cafeteria on February 12 between 12:00 p.m.  and 6:00 p.m. A 21-year old female student employee  reported her  Apple Classic iPod had been  taken from her coat pocket. The cost in losses is around $250.00 for the iPod. There are no suspects,  but the employee believes it  must have been someone who was working on her shift.                   	 	Valentine’s Day saw less incidents occurring in and throughout campus then the two previous days. There was a reported domestic assault  at Shaw Hall  at 9:00 p.m. Other infractions of the day included one MIP, a person driving with a suspended license and a person stopped at the  corner of Hagadorn Road and  Mt. Hope who was arrested for possessing a controlled substance.                	   	Friday, February 15, was a relatively slower day for police then a normal weekend night. There were only five offenses reported throughout  day.  Three of those five were MIP’s reported throughout campus halls. The fourth infraction was driving while under the influence. The offender  was stopped on  Hagadorn Road at 1:50 a.m. The only other offense happened in Lot 20 when a student was found using a fake handicap permit.  	 	Saturday in this city is known as party and bar night, and the offenses that occurred were mostly alcohol related. There were six MIP  infractions including two in the dorms, two in  parking  lots or street and one in the MSU Police Department. A person was found on Shaw Road  in their motor vehicle with an open container of alcohol and ticketed with an open intoxication. A incapacitated person was found on Grand River  Avenue. The only non-alcohol related infraction was a person driving with a suspended license.                   	 	 According to police records the second week of February was statistically on pace with past weeks as far as the number of incidents  occurring within the campus perimeter.  A number that has gone down is the amount of MIP given out. This is due in part to the new law on how  police can not just randomly go up to people on the street and give them a  breathalyzer test. The new law states that police must have reasonable  cause, like a person is being extremely disorderly.   

Crystal Balogh Bio

My name is Crystal Balogh, and I am journalism and art history student at Michigan State University. I enjoy reading, writing and photography. When I’m not busy with school and work, I enjoy hanging around downtown East Lansing with my friends. My dream job would be writing for The Smithsonian Magazine in Washington D.C.