Rewind: News Highlights From The Last 7 Days


MSU trustees voted 6-2 Sunday to censure and refer misconduct allegations against former Chair Rema Vassar and Trustee Dennis Denno to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, allowing her the option to remove them. Only Vassar and Denno voted no. They also voted to censure Trustee Brianna Scott, with Vassar the lone no vote, because she wrote and publicly released a letter alleging misconduct by Vassar. Scott voluntarily accepted the decision, which amounts to a formal statement of disapproval. Dan Kelly, the only GOP member on the board, and Democrat Kelly Tebay were named chair and vice-chair of the board.

MSU’s 22nd president, Kevin Guskiewicz, began his term Monday. He was hired for the post on Dec. 8, with unanimous board approval. Guskiewicz was the chancellor of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he spent 30 years and played an important role as a neuroscientist and leading concussion researcher.

Mayor Andy Schor and City Clerk Chris Swope announced Monday that the city of Lansing has received $1,418,072.40 as its annual revenue sharing payment from the state of Michigan for its licensed marijuana retail facilities. Based on 24 facilities operating at the end of the fiscal year, it is $400,000 over the previous fiscal year’s revenue. Ingham County received the same amount. Municipalities and the counties where such businesses operate each receive 15% of the total excise tax.

Mayor Schor and other Lansing elected officials could get 3% cost-of-living raises in 2024 and 2025, based on recommendations from the city’s Elected Officers Compensation Commission Tuesday. City Clerk Chris Swope would get almost a 15% increase this year to account for extra work. That would bump Schor to $143,798 and Swope to $120,000 for this year, unless six of the eight city council members vote down the changes. It had previously been reported that the commission might recommend a $24K increase for Schor, but the panel opted for about $4,000 a year instead. Council members, who are part time, would go from $26,356 to $27,961 over the two years. In the same period, the salary for president and vice president would rise from $28,966 to $30,730 and $27,335 to $29,000, respectively.

 “Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó,” a 17-minute short film that Potterville native Sam Davis co-produced, is one of five nominees for Best Documentary Short Film at Sunday’s Academy Awards. The inspiration came from a short, humorous “Christmas Card” video Davis’ friend Sean Wang shared with him five years ago, featuring his elderly Taiwanese grandmothers in California. Davis also worked on 2019’s “Period. End of Sentence,” which won the Oscar in the same category.

Former East Lansing resident Seann Patrick Pietila was sentenced Monday in Grand Rapids to a year and a day in Federal prison for sending threatening, antisemitic messages last June. Those messages mentioned a possible attack on Sharey Zedek Congregation in East Lansing on Instagram with the date March 15, 2024, and that he had “had a desire and a plan to kill or injure Jewish people and use a camera to stream his attack over the internet.” The 20-year-old Pickford man was also ordered to pay more than $10,600 in restitution and spend three years on supervised release after leaving prison.

MSU Professor Iskandar Arifin, 49, of Meridian Township has been charged with six child pornography felonies following an investigation by the Michigan State Police. He was arraigned Friday, with bond set at $75,000, and was placed on paid administrative leave at MSU. He faces three counts of aggravated child sexually abusive material and three counts of using a computer device to commit a crime. Arifin is a fixed-term faculty member in the Finance Department of the Eli Broad School of Business since 2019.

Southfield-based OPV Partners LLC, owners of Autumn Ridge Apartments in Lansing, is suing the city for at least $44 million because of what it claims is unfair treatment, as well as excessive use of pink and red tags. The complaint, filed Feb. 21 in the U.S. District Court’s Western District of Michigan, called the city’s actions vindictive and said the tagging is confusing tenants and preventing a sale of the 600-unit complex on Long Boulevard by turning away potential buyers. It also stated a settlement agreement reached in 2022 was violated by Mayor Andy Schor’s administration.

A substitute teacher was removed Feb. 28 from Hope Middle School in Delhi Township after he was accused of inappropriate behavior. The teacher and the behavior were unnamed in a letter from the administration that stated a group of students had reported the conduct. School officials are reviewing the incident. The district also stated it would provide updates on the review as information becomes available and that mental health experts will be available for any student who needs support.

Public Safety:

Two individuals were treated at a local hospital for minor burns and smoke inhalation after a fire that destroyed a home in the 2100 block of South Pennsylvania Avenue Saturday. … A single-vehicle crash Friday at South Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Webster Street left one person hospitalized. The vehicle had struck a utility pole, pinning the passenger inside and requiring firefighters to use extrication equipment to remove its roof.


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