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Up in smoke

East Lansing Police are on the look out for the people they say started at least seven arson fires during post-game celebrations on Saturday night. Police said after Michigan State University bested the University of Michigan in football, large crowds gathered in the downtown and marched through campus.

The fires resulted from celebratory burnings of couches, miscellaneous furniture and other objects. MSU has a long history of couch burnings and civil disturbances, as well as riots, tied to the performance of the Spartan football and basketball teams.

“These celebrations put the public at risk and force us to respond when there could be bigger threats happening at the same time,” said Lt. Chad Connelly.

No arrests have been made connected to the cases. Connelly said investigations are ongoing. Because many couch burnings are posted on social media, police utilize the footage to identify suspects. MSU gives students pamphlets warning them not to participate in riotous behavior, because it is often filmed and posted online.

“They are full-fledged arsons. It is not an appropriate means of celebration,” said Connelly.

Meridian Township begins anti-gerrymandering effort

The Meridian Township Board of Trustees passed a resolution last week that will begin an effort to prevent gerrymandering. Township Clerk Brett Dreyfus said the resolution supports creating an Independent Citizens Commission to cast new voting districts.

Voting districts are mapped out every 10 years and are sometimes designed to unfairly benefit one political party over another, or gerrymandering. The board backed the efforts of Voters Not Politicians, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to creating unbiased voting districts in the state.

Dreyfus began working with the group earlier this year. He said his involvement helped encourage the township’s board to pass the resolution.

Gerrymandering is the subject of a Supreme Court case that could create federal regulations on the way voting districts are drawn. The case, Gill v. Whitford, is centered around the allegation that Republicans in Wisconsin altered their voting districts to favor their own party.

Police Halloween open house

A fun Halloween event for kids is coming to the Meridian Township Police Department Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Attendees can tour the Police Department and meet the township’s police officers. Kidfriendly happenings will include receiving candy and glow sticks for trick or treating, meeting McGruff the Crime Dog, and taking mini tours in the officers’ patrol cars.

Visitors can also meet the police canine and its handler and see a demonstration of the officers’ equipment.

The Police Department will hand out prizes and serving cider and donuts throughout the event. Costumes are encouraged.


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