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Apartment Hunting: MSU Edition

You’ve been on campus for two years and you’re ready to move off campus and live on your own. Finding a new home in East Lansing/Michigan State University isn’t easy. When I first planned to move to East Lansing/MSU, it was trouble from the time I started. Rent being advertised that is was $335, and finding out that is was $335 a person. The models of the apartments were no where near the real apartments. And not to mention, you never know what is included in the rent and what isn’t. I wish that I had a guide or even a booklet that could have helped me on my journey to finding my humble abode. Allison Repp, currently searching for an apartment, describes how she feels and I how I felt too.

“I hate looking for apartments,” said Repp. “There is so much pressure. Finding the right apartment for you is not easy. Location, price and amenities are important. But moving from apartment to apartment is the worst. The move in dates are insane and it makes me crazy. It just sucks.”

This is insight on East Lansing from a person who has lived here for about 1 year and a half. This is your complete guide to living in East Lansing/MSU area.

When you’re looking for an apartment, there are many things that you must consider.

How far away from campus do you want to live?

Do you want roommates or would you rather live by yourself?

If I would like to have a roommate, would I have to find one myself or do they have a roommate matching service to help me find someone I can get along with?

If you do have a roommate, how are you going to split the rent and/or utilities?

What is included in your rent or can you include utilities into your rent?

What about adding a phone line or getting cable?

Is it cable ready? Does the apartment allow pets?

How far are you from a store to get your necessities?

Does the apartment you are choosing include a CATA Bus card or will you have to pay? After I stay here for a certain amount of time, is my rent negotiable, stays the same or does it go up?

The average rent in the area is $550 or so. This varies by number of rooms, bathrooms, styles of apartments and how far you are away from campus. The number of rooms can range from none (a studio) to a four bedroom apartment. These apartments can be very versatile. For certain places, such as Chandler Crossing and Abbot Place, they have individual leases, where you pay for your room but share utilities. Or you can get a standard one, and split everything with a roommate. Or you can have an apartment all by yourself. It seems that the farther away from campus your are, the less you pay. In Lansing, the typical 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom cost about 450 but in East Lansing, it can cost $600.


The East Lansing/MSU area is a great place to live. There are malls, restaurants, bars and movie theaters to go to. So boredom would never and could never happen. If you live very close to campus, you have Grand River. Grand River is a strip you could never forget. There are many restaurants from American to Chinese, thrift stores and boutiques, and bars and clubs where you can hang out with your friends until 6 in the morning. If you live east of the area, Meridian is your hangout. This mall has huge department stores like Macy’s and JC Penny. They also have a food court and if after your delicious pretzel you would like to watch a movie? AMC is right around the corner. If you live on the west side of the area, you have a double wammy: Frandor and Eastwood Mall. Frandor and Eastwood are both strip malls. They have stores and restaurants that are very fancy. All of these place you can get to by bus. The CATA Buses are very reliable and are easy to use.

Beware of the party areas! If you are used to being in a quiet area, picking a place like the Pointe at 3636 might be for you. “We’re a bit more laid back here,” said Jill Banish, a community assistant. “I live here and you don’t see nearly as many parties as you see in other apartments. It’s a really relaxed environment and I think that is what attracts us to renters.”

This may seem like a lot of information. And it is! It can be overwhelming and sometimes, you just want to pick someplace and get it over with. But remember! You’ll be staying at your new home for a while. Comfortability is very important.

The Apartment Store, located right inside SBS on Grand River is here to take the stress away, and the best part? It’s absolutely free! “We can help anyone,” said Nicole Levy, a locator specialist. “Usually, we can match people with an apartment as soon as possible. And there is something for everyone. Since we do all the work for you, it’s so connivence. It’s a one stop shop for apartment living.” They have listings for about 84 communities in and around the East Lansing and MSU area and we know all the details inside and out. You tell them what you are looking for and we’ll match you up! It’s like an apartment dating service, you go look and if you like it all you need to do is sign your lease. This makes it extremely easy!

Now that you know all that you need to know, you can make a conscious decision when locking into a lease agreement.

Blog 1: Knight News

Organization or Business Name: Real News

Annual Operating Budget: $10,000

Project Title: NewsForYou.com

Requested amount from Knight News Challenge:  $10,000

Expected amount of time to complete project: One year

Total cost of project including all sources of funding: $20,000

Describe your project

This project dedicated to all the people of the world who would love to go on the internet and get “good” news. What I mean by “good” news, is news that is fair and balanced, tells the whole story, and is interesting. That is “good” news. People have lost faith in the media because of biases, half-truths, lies and attacks on issues (i.e. abortion, same-sex marriages). The project that I would like to start up and have funded has the sole purpose to build the publics trust in the media. The website would involve panels of journalist and reporters that look over current stories that are written and have them go through a review that will look for biases, half truth, ect. Then they will be ranked from 1 to 10, 1 being a “bad” article and 10 being a “good” article (which is subjective in politics). With these ranks comes the best part! The user will sign up for NewsForYou.com, which is a website that will use answers from questions asked and interest chosen, and with those (and the extensive trials all articles have to go through) they will pop up on your home page and you just read away. The next great thing about this website is that you can add comments and feedback what you thought of the article, meaning if it was well written and if you thought it was fair and balanced on a scale 1 to 10.

The great thing about this website is it balances fairly written news articles with reader opinion that aides in continued website development and growth.  The function of the website is to help readers help themselves by adding continued opinion and bringing a fresh perspective that may escape the panelists.  The readers will have an opportunity to weigh in on what makes “good news” creating a more simplistic flow of quality and entertaining news without the trouble of sifting through endless articles.  We bring reader preference without the endless search.  This is Pandora for readers.

How will your project improve the way news and information are delivered

Information is tailored to the reader. Using crowd-sourcing as a major technique, this will pinpoint what the readers want. And it is all in one place. Who wants to sit and look at cnn.com, abcnews.com, and yahoonews.com? And we all that there are so much more. Also, this website has tons of links that gives the opportunity for readers to branch out to other website and read other articles while experiencing what the other website have to offer. Some may believe that this could be bad for our website, considering it could be a gateway to people leaving our website and just going to the one that they like, but please remember that we are our website is more than just for reading. It is tailored to the readers needs and desires.

How is your idea innovative? (New or different from what already exists)

My idea is innovative because it is new and I believe that the public will benefit from it greatly. Sifting through articles that are absolutely useless to them and giving them what they need. It could also cause the media to better choose its journalist, reporters and gatekeeps. So many times today, people would rather put on the tv a celebrity scandal than what is happening with your government, educational system, healthcare system, prison system, ect. Those are the things that matter and they affect us greater than what happened than Kim Kardashian. This is a brand new fresh idea. Pandora for news. It’s completely tailored to the reader and it’s judge by a panel that makes sure that it is fair and balanced. And that what the public wants. I think that this website will be the first step in the direction that it was meant to be in. And hopefully, others will follow suite.

What experience do you or your organization have to successfully develop this project?

Every person that is a part of my company has experience with journalism. We have been apart of newspapers and magazines such as Forbes and the New York Times. All of our work has been under a rigorous peer review to make sure that they meet the requirements of the company. Also, there are people on the board who have connections with the CEOs and owners of magazines and newspapers around the world. We have also searched for upcoming journalist, writers and bloggers to allow them to write for the news site. This helps them build credibility while building credibility as a freelancer to other newspapers. We have a plan of how we are going to spend the funds, including the upkeep and launch of the website, our advertising department and street team. We have a website now, that like a  newspaper on site. But now, we would like develop now a website where interaction is very important. We also have experience in graphic design and our website will be successful because we have know how to capture our audience. We have gotten a lot of readers to our original site, and the audience has given us great ratings on the quality of the stories that we post on our site.

Blog Post 1:

Cover It Live Experience

Today, I covered the Stanley Cup Finals. Canucks vs Bruins. I love hockey. And I thought it would be a great idea for me to put my skills to the test and write a live story about what was going on there.

The Stanley Cup Finals is a big event. Primarily because Canada and the US are going against each other. Canada hasn’t had a Stanley Cup in 40 years and the US want another one.

The game was high intensity from the start. Tim was blocking shots while McPierre was defending his team. (You can read my story here!

I think that Cover It Live is good in some degree but I wouldn’t use it much. I think that it is good for sports, award shows and government. Something fast paced and always keeps going. And obviously, live.

I had the hardest time trying to use Cover It Live. The biggest thing I like about it is that you’re not just telling a story, you can have the audience interact with you directly. I think that it makes it really special and adds more discussion. You never know where it goes. And the audience can give you information that you may have not have thought of.

The thing that I hate the most is that trying to find videos and pictures and tweets is crazy! Personally, I don’t think it is that user friendly. It could use some improvement. I think it would have been better if they had basic and advanced settings. It was a little overwhelming trying to find things while a high paced hockey game was going.

Overall, I don’t think I would use it again. It’s okay, but as a journalist, I would turn this down.

Blog 2: Who is your favorite blogger?

I don’t have a favorite blogger. However, there is one blog that I go to for my digital and technological information. The blog that I go to all the time and swear by is slashdot.org. This blog is such a great source to know all about the newest technology, problems and innovations due from technology. On this blog, they spilt their pages into 8 sections: Cloud, Hardware, Linux, Management, Mobile, Science, Security and Storage. This makes the blog crowd-source friendly. They always have the newest news, while also adding their opinions on what may happen in the future (which sometimes happens). They also don’t always write their own stories, they link to other websites on the internet, have freelancer submit stories or they may link stories that further their stories for those that are further interested. So, you get a variety of writing styles and different voices adding diversity to the blog.

What makes their writing important is that technology is affecting our lives every day because we are consumed by it. And having someone writing about technology, pros and cons, innovations or improvements, and developments  is great so we as consumers of this technology understand what we are buying and  in some way, get a grasp on what is going on in the industry. Even though our live is consumed by technology, I think that all the news and information about it gets swept to the side so to speak. It’s there, but no one really notices it, unless it’s mainstream and can cause a large scale impact. This blog and other blogs like it also gives people the opportunity to become early-adopters of this technology. And sometimes this can better influence the people around them, causing the new or improved product to spread like wildfire. This can also work for things like the discovery of viruses and how to get the “patch” for the computer.

I think that they are pushing the envelope forward by constantly updating and staying on top on everything in the technology world. And between phones, computers, television and the web, that is such a difficult task. They are using Twitter, Facebook and RSS feeds to better get their work out there. They mostly use links in their stories to other credible source (usually the home source) to further their source. However, I think that they could do so much more. The layout of the current blog is bland and if you’re not motivated by learning about technology like I am, then reading it is a lost cause. I wish that they would add videos and more pictures. They have such a great information, I wish that they would further their work in those mediums. They could do stand-ups or compare equipment and technology side-by-side using videos. Slideshows are very engaging. Overall, visuals would do the blog good. Maybe this is far fetched, but if they they had representatives (i.e. Apple, Microsoft, Nokia) writing for the blog, it would be great because they would know what is happening in the company furthering the knowledge and readers.

Top Five Theme Parks

School is almost out. Summer is here. And theme parks all over the U.S. are making their grand openings, inviting you to a world of roller coasters, water slides and delicious elephant ears. There are so many of them but which one should you choose? If you choose to go to a theme park, you want the best bang for your buck. In an economy like this, if you’re going to spend the money, you want to enjoy yourself from the moment you step in, to the moment you leave for the day. Here are the top five theme parks!

1.) Walt Disney World

The happiest place on earth. Where dreams come true. The most magical place on earth. Which ever slogan you heard, they are all true. Disney World is a kids dream…on steroids! Little girls love Cinderella and little boys love Tarzan, but this park takes it to a whole new level. There plenty of rides and every character of the Disney family walking around the park greeting people and ready to take photo with you.  Time with your family and your children’s dreams coming true? It doesn’t get any better than that.

2.) Cedar Point

Cedar Point has been voted best park on the planet seven years in a row. And with good reason! They are called the roller coaster capital of the world. The Millenium Force has been called the greatest attraction at the park. Opened in 2000, it has broken 10 world records and still has the longest line in the park (if you ask me). There is a new ride at Cedar Point called the “Windseeker”. It is 30 feet off of the ground and you swing around. With Cedar Points legacy, you will not be disappointed.

3.) Wisconsin Dells

To be indoors or to not be indoors? That is the question. And you will contemplate every day because there is so much to do. Wisconsin Dells is a great place for everyone. There are roller coasters, there are water parks, there are water sports, there is hiking, and the list goes on and on and on! The special thing about the Wisconsin Dells is that there is something to do all year round. So toward the fall, most places start to shorten their hours, not the Dells! From scenic hikes along the river and screaming on a roller coaster to interactive game playing and museum oddities, you will never have a dull day.

4.) Six Flags

Now most people would beg to differ. “Six Flags is number four? What an outrage!” But it’s still in the top five. This is why. Six Flag has a different feel that Cedar Point. Six Flags is more family friendly. Everyone in the family can enjoy the ride. It’s not as intense as Cedar Point. What also sets them a part is the important details and it is more THEME based. Whereas Cedar Point is classified by it’s intensity level. Either way, they are both fine parks, clean, friendly staff, and you are going to have a great time.

5.) Schlitterbahn

Three areas. One theme park. Bundles of fun. Blastenhoff is the slides and beach base of the park. The second part is Surfenburg. Surfenburg is the surfing-based part of the park. Also, there is a kiddie park and a hot tub for the adults. Schlitterbahn West has it all! Tubing, swimming, sliding and thrill rides. There is something for everyone. It’s truly family oriented and you can be in there for days and never get bored.

JournChat Fun!

JournChat has to be one of the most fun and rewarding things I did his semester!

I really liked because there was a constant conversation from all people around the world and you just talk about journalism and issues going on that world. I spoke to some really smart people, received insight and saw things from a different angle. It was a bit hard to follow at first. The newsfeed was going out of control, but it got better as I learned how to set up my Tweetdeck to work for me. It is such a way to network. I started following two people and they followed me back. One was a freelancer and one was PR. They direct messaged me and gave me some useful advice for finding a job and being successful in life.

At first, I thought because I’m a young 19 year old junior at Michigan State University, no one would value what I had to say. Or people would just blow me off because of how young I am and I don’t have much experience in the field. But people were so receptive and nice. I felt like “one of the guys”. It was friendly debate and I had a great time

JournChat is something that I plan on being a part of in the future.


Chalk the Town

I think that Storify is great platform to tell stories and is a giant step for journalism.

My experience with Storify was a very incredible learning experience. It was very frustrating at first. Trying to find things on the internet to add, especially Facebook, was hard for me. Because most people have their post and statuses on private. Unless it is something along the lines of an organization, then it was hard for me to find a post relevant to my story. Flickr and Twitter weren’t that hard because people for the most part make their tweets public.

I think that storify is so specific. That’s what I love about it. It’s made for certain people that like certain things. And the post and pictures that you get add to your story. I believe as journalism become more and more online based, we need to incorporate not just video and pictures, but post to them. To me, it adds a personal element to these stories. In a way, it’s for the people but also by the people. It’s the constant conversations and discussion between the public and the reporter that makes this special. I truly believe that this is the future and how it will be. This is a great change of pace for industry too. The reporter aren’t talking to us, we’re talking back to them and adding to it.


Cristo Rey Fiesta 2011

It’s Memorial Day weekend. You’ve barbecued with your family, hung out with your friends and thanked those who have sacrificed their lives to keep this country safe. Have you checked off everything on your checklist? Take another look because you have just looked over one of the biggest things happening in Mid-Michigan this weekend. The 30th annual Cristo Rey Fiesta 2011!

The Cristo Rey Fiesta 2011 is a annual festival for the Cristo Rey Church in Lansing. It is a festival to celebrate and show the community the Latin culture of this church.

“This is a family oriented event,” said Veronica Madrid, secretary of Cristo Rey Church. “We are very proud because it has been such a success and it is growing. Most festivals start and stop because they haven’t been good. But we have been blessed, it just gets better and better every year.”

There are four big parts of this festival. First there is the food vendors.

“All of our food, except for the pizza, is prepared fresh in the church kitchen,” said Madrid. They make and sell a wide array of items such as tacos, gorditas, pan dulce (sweet bread), pinto beans and rice, and even pizza for the kids.

The second part of the festival is the mercado or the shopping area. They sell rosaries, traditional Mexican clothings, purses and other trinkets.

The third part of the festival is the music and performance. They have performances from the Tejano Sound Band to a dj playing the latest Latino music for the younger generation. The fiesta also features young children performing traditional dances from Mexico.

The fourth and final aspect to this festival is that there are things for children to do.

“Children are fenced in and they can just play with there friends or new people they meet in the community, ” said Madrid. “It is very safe.” There a huge blow-up slide and bounce house for the kids. Also, inside of the mercado, there is a place where they can get their face painted. Exciting right?

This fiesta isn’t just about 30 years of the festival, it is also about 50 years of the parish!

“It is a combined fiesta,” said Madrid. The anniversary of the Parish opening is on November 20th. We will have a celebration for the church at the time too. But we wanted something now to commemorate 50 years of blessings and we thought that it would be great to combine the two.

Members of the church are very active in the fiesta and are apart of committees that make this event so great.

“My family has been apart of this for years,” said Diana Delgado of Lansing. “My daughters have performed on stage and I look forward to this every year. Volunteering is a way to participate and give back to a church that has done so much for me.”

“This is such a vibrant Christian community,” said  Arnold Hennig of Lansing. “This is a great weekend for the church. I’m glad to be apart of it.”

With all the food and entertainment, Madrid said that there is a bigger thing about the festival that makes it wonderful. “This festival is about showing our culture and our church, but I believe that the biggest and best thing about our festival is that it is so diverse,” said Madrid. “There are many races under our tent. Latinos, Chicanos, Caucasians, African-Americans, everyone. That is a beautiful scene.”

This event also has sponsors from the community, including PNC bank, Sam’s Club, UAW and the Lansing Police Department. These sponsors help make the fiesta successful. “This fiesta is one of the biggest source of income,” said Madrid. “It helps us keep doing the annual festival, help the church pay our bills and allows us to do things for the community.”

So you have food, family-orientated, shopping, performances and music all under one tent? That sounds like a blast! If you think so too, Sunday is the last day to go to the fiesta. It’s starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. Make your way to the Cristo Rey Fiesta 2011 and party the night away!