Katie Arvia’s news highlights of 2019

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“Lansing’s story”

Editor’s note: It takes a team of professional writers to cover Lansing news and contribute articles to the daily online edition as well as the monthly print issue. We asked our contributors to choose a favorite story from the past year and explain what made it special for them.

by Katie Arvia

For a little over two years now, I have been writing for The Lansing Journal. Being a journalist definitely has its perks, especially in the form of unique experiences and, subsequently, unique stories. 2019 was no exception.

This year, I had a multitude of exceptional opportunities. In January, I visited Thornton Distilling and Brewing Co. in neighboring Thornton and was given a rare behind-the-scenes tour of the building. I was able to bring along my dad, who remembers when the building was home to Widow McCleary’s, one of his former haunts.

I listened to Miguel Cervantes, star of Chicago’s Hamilton, and his wife, Kelly, speak at Munster’s Theatre at the Center to raise awareness for Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) on behalf of their daughter, Adelaide. (Plus, I met Miguel and Kelly outside in the parking lot!)

On a cold and rainy Community Clean-up Day, I traveled around Lansing and met with residents from all walks of life who were actively improving our town, despite the poor weather.

I interviewed Dominique Harness, a mother working to instill creativity, empowerment, and motivation for girls of all ages.

I met real-life royalty at St. Archangel Michael Orthodox Church and the Serbian Social Center in June, and even received some words of encouragement from Princess Katherine of Serbia: “It’s lovely what you’re doing. Keep it up!”

I attended July’s Cruise Night and saw the community come together during this classic Lansing tradition, despite the heat and rain.

I met some spectacular folks from LARC at Fox Pointe while they volunteered at the Dick Diamond and the Dusters concert.

I spent time with my friend Jackie Protsman, owner of Fashionette, at the Theatre at the Center while she sold pajamas at a fun dinner-theater event.

And in December, I learned about Lansing’s Meals on Wheels program and how it went from nearly shuttering for good to receiving a huge wave of new volunteers, showing just how incredible the Lansing community is.

I’ve had quite the year with The Lansing Journal! Choosing just one story as a favorite is impossible, so I think my favorite story from this year is Lansing’s story. The numerous occasions that I have seen our community rally together—like Community Clean-up Day or volunteering for Meals on Wheels. Opportunities for people of all walks of life to come together at events—like Fox Pointe concerts or annual Cruise Nights. The fact that Serbian royalty visited and spoke very highly of one of Lansing’s churches. And the incredible individuals—like Dominique Harness and Jackie Protsman—who work every day to improve our community and lives of those who live here.

I want to extend a very heartfelt thanks to all of Lansing’s residents for making 2019 an amazing year. I can’t wait to see what stories 2020 brings.

PS: I also loved Jamilyn Hiskes’s story covering the beard and moustache competitors who visited Lansing in October. I was able to tag along while she interviewed and photographed them, which was a fun opportunity for me to sit back and see the journalism process from a different perspective. Jamie is a great writer, and the beardos had a great time visiting our village!


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