The State – 09/20/22

Rachel Fulton

Today’s weather forecast is predicting a mix of clouds and sun early in the day and then cloudy later in the day with a high of 80 degrees and a low of 68 degrees.

Sparrow Emergency Center Okemos hopes to bridge gap on greater Lansing’s east side

Sparrow Emergency Center Okemos located at 2446 Jolly Road is now seeing patients.

The new center opened to better serve the east side of the greater Lansing area, according to the center’s medical director Dr. Kent Yaney.

This freestanding facility is one of the only of its kind in the state. It stands separate from a hospital, but still serves the community as a fully-functioning emergency room.

The Emergency Center is staffed by certified emergency physicians and emergency nurses, offering 24-hour CAT scans, 24-hour X-ray availability and ultrasounds until 11 p.m.

A core group of nurses will staff the center 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will coordinate with Sparrow Health System’s main hospital on E. Michigan Avenue to provide care to all of the system’s patients.

In addition to providing medical care, Sparrow’s new site intends to reduce disparities in healthcare access. With more facilities being built on the east side of the Capitol Region, factors that prevent people from accessing care – such as socioeconomic status and neighborhood residency – can be battled.

The new emergency room with an adjoining primary care office will help to relieve congestion at the main Sparrow emergency room.

“This synergy will allow Sparrow Healthcare and the community healthcare partners, like Capital Area Health Alliance, or CAHA, to work hand-in-hand to address access to care,” said executive director Jason Blanks of CAHA in an email.

Ali Easley’s road from Crown Boxing Club head coach to MSU professor

MSU faculty member, father and “Coach” Ali Easley began his boxing passion with his childhood neighbor, kickboxing and doing martial arts together.

Just then, Easley was convinced to go to his first boxing gym in downtown Pittsburgh.

“I remember we were walking up the steps, and the boxing gym was on the second floor of an old warehouse,” Easley said. “I’m hearing this ‘duh duh duh duh,’ and I couldn’t figure out what the sound was. I get to the top of the steps, opened the door and just the whole place came to life.”

Easley moved to mid-Michigan to teach at Lansing Community College and Michigan State University, and never stopped his passion for boxing.

In 1998, he took over the reins at Lansing’s local boxing gym, Crown Boxing, for competitive training, student boxing courses and beginner adult and youth classes. Filled with champion belts, newspaper features and vintage boxing posters, the gym became his home.

On top of HAWK and coaching at Crown Boxing, Easley teaches over eight varying levels of boxing courses at MSU.

Before beginning class each semester, Easley reminds the students of the world-class facility they will work in. Although some courses are catered towards beginner students, the quality and rigor of class time aren’t downplayed compared to competitive athletes’ daily sessions.

At the end of each semester, he requires every student to write a one-page opinion paper. Throughout their essays, most students write about how great it felt to be involved in a sports environment or the discipline, energy and effort they received from the class.

“Those that stick it out, like I said, they learn more about themselves in this class and they make more friends in this class than they will in any other class,” Easley said.

Easley invites all students to try his boxing courses but warns that the demand may be stricter compared to other kinesiology courses.

“Come, see, try it,” Coach Easley said. “Be prepared to work. Be prepared to sweat.”

Where to find Lansing’s many LGBTQ-owned businesses

The Municipal Equality Index examines cities across the United States and ranks them based on how inclusive their municipal laws are – In the 2021 MEI survey, 11 cities in Michigan were surveyed. Lansing scored an 87 overall, making it one of the best places in Michigan for LGBTQ citizens, families, and businesses.

The State News has compiled a list of LGBTQ-owned businesses in Lansing. From vintage thrifts to cat cafes, Lansing sports a welcoming and supportive badge of pride for its queer community. Here are a few that may touch your interests.

First, Metro Retro specializes in vintage and high quality clothing and decor, all carefully curated to represent the best of fashion history. Metro Retro was founded in 2016 and quickly became a staple of Old Town as the one-stop-shop for everything queer fashion. The store offers a wide range of clothing and decoration – including glittery leather jackets and rainbow jewelry, of course.

Next, Thrift Witch is a consignment store which has curated a collection of gothic pop-culture oddities and antiques that capture the beauty of horror. Taxidermy and preservations aren’t all Thrift Witch has to offer, though, as they also are home to the Dark Art Market – a feature of small businesses, collectors, and artists for lovers of the dark arts to browse.

Finally, Constellation Cat Cafe is a nonprofit organization that works with volunteers and their few employees to bring the magical experience of brunch with a colony of cats to East Lansing. They’re a queer-owned organization dedicating to raising awareness and support for cats in need of love. The best part about this cafe, though, is that every single one of the cats you dine with are up for adoption!

Constellation Cat Cafe offers a variety of options for those wishing to visit. Since they are appointment-only, you can choose options ranging from a 1-hour cat room visit to throwing an entire party with the cats. There’s even a movie night rental, so you can enjoy a private showing of the movie of your choice to watch with all of their kitties.

Based on original reporting by Maggie George, Ashley Zhou, and Alex Harding.