Toilet paper in the time of COVID-19


As I left the Better Health Store, I found a plastic bag hanging on my car door. Inside was a roll of toilet paper. Given that my license plate is CTYPULS, I feared a disgruntled reader was delivering an opinion on what paper City Pulse is worth printing on.

So, I was pleased to discover this note: “Thanks for all your updates from City Pulse,” signed by friends Lois Mummaw and Gregg Hill, East Lansing residents who are leaders of the local jazz community. Thanks, Gregg and Lois. In these times, toilet paper is indeed welcome.

Those updates are twice-daily web stories in midafternoon and again at midnight. We also email them to 8,000 recipients of the City Pulse newsletter. You can sign up for our e-newsletter on our home page,

Those updates are written by our staffer Kyle Kaminski. He’s working seven days a week to help keep our readers informed. His updates aggregate news locally and beyond. If you want to limit your exposure to bad news (good luck), his updates are concise briefings with links to stories and other information.

The pandemic has turned things on its head as far as how people access City Pulse. In March last year, City Pulse’s website had about 100,000 pageviews. This March it was about 300,000. Conversely, our print distribution has declined by about half, to about 8,000 copies. Your best bet for finding us include Meijer (except for Bath Township), Whole Foods, Better Heath Store, Speedway (in some locations you may need to ask at the register), Fresh Thyme and our many boxes around town. Our list of distribution points can also be found at under the “distribution” tab near the top.

Top of the Town

Next week was to be the big reveal of the top five in our annual Top of the Town contest. But some businesses have asked us to postpone Round II until they return to normal operations. We may even just start over. Nominations fell way off this year as the pandemic spread, so rebooting may be the way to go.

I will share with you the results of the shrunken contest for best candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. It started with nine. By the time round one was over, we were down to two: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Biden is well on his way to being the Democratic nominee — but might not be if the election were held just in Greater Lansing. The results: Sanders: 261, Biden: 78.

Restaurant guide coming 

City Pulse has created a guide to restaurants and carryouts that are open for pickup and/or delivery. We published the list March 18 in print, which you can access online in the “food” section of

Next week, we will reprint it in a pullout section as a salute to restaurant owners and staffs for serving our community. We encourage our readers to order in or pick up — experts say cooked food doesn’t convey the virus — and to buy gift cards as a gesture of support.

City Pulse Fund

In January, we launched the City Pulse Fund for Community Journalism — not knowing how timely that would be. City Pulse has accepted donations since we started in 2001, but the Fund, which is an educational nonprofit, allows tax deductions. (Under virus-related emergency legislation, you can deduct up to $300 in donations to nonprofits without having to itemize.) As we continue to operate with drastically reduced ad revenue —virtually all our revenue —support for the Fund has become critical.

We hope you will share the sentiments of one contributor who included this note with a check: “My wife and I recently moved to Lansing and have been extremely impressed with the quality of your reporting. We want to ensure that your outstanding journalism continues during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.”

To donate by credit card, please go to and look for the banner ad on top of the home page, or mail checks made out to City Pulse Fund to City Pulse, 1905 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI 48912. If you wish to set up a monthly gift, please call Suzi Smith at (517) 999-6704 or email her at and she will contact you.

Please be safe.

(Berl Schwartz is editor and publisher of City Pulse.)


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  • LivingRoughwithElroy

    I have been seeing all that is being done for the various people groups of Michigan. The one people group that is being ignored, mostly, is the homeless. Some cities in Michigan are stepping up and some shelters. However, many are not. Sadly the politicians, at the State and Federal levels, seem to forget the homeless have rights as well.

    Tuesday, March 31, 2020 Report this

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