ELi's Editing Staff

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Mark Meyer (above) serves as ELi's General Editor with a focus on sports and community. Mark began writing regularly for ELi in August 2018 by providing coverage of the East Lansing High School football season, which included game storiesadvances and an occasional feature story, such as the end of season Recognition Night and a profile of head coach Bill Feraco, who was recently inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Mark and his family moved to East Lansing during the 2001-02 school year, when he accepted a position as assistant features editor at the Lansing State Journal. He eventually worked his way over to the sports desk, where he was sports editor from March 2007 until June 2011. He has since held writing positions with the public relations agency of Truscott Rossman as well as Michigan State University. His wife, Christine (whom he met in a central Illinois newsroom more than 30 years ago), works for the Capital Area District Library’s Outreach department. His three daughters – Libby, Emily and Ellen – all graduated from East Lansing High School, and his fourth (well, kind of), Sandy, is a 16-year-old terrier mix whom the family adopted from the Ingham County Animal Control shelter in April 2006. Mark grew up in northwest suburban Chicago and graduated from St. Mary’s College (Winona, Minn.) with a bachelor’s degree in 1983.

Alice Dreger (above), ELi's editor for Politics, Government, and the Natural World, founded ELi in 2012 as a local news cooperative and recreated it in 2014 as a non-profit corporation. She is currently President and Secretary of ELi's Board of Directors, and as such, is paid nothing by ELi. (Board members of ELi are strictly prohibited from profiting in any fashion from ELi, as are their household and immediate family members.) Alice is one of the head comrades of the Oakwood Neighborhood Association where she lives with her spouse and high-school-age son in a 1923 historic house that is always under construction. The house is sometimes called "the flower house" because in the summer, thanks mostly to Alice's partner Aron Sousa (ELi's astronomy reporter), the front yard has about a million flowers. Alice has substantial professional experience as an editor and writer and has published her work in various national newspapers as well as national magazines. She brings to ELi her love of East Lansing, her professional skills, and her gregarious spirit. She asks that you join her in financially supporting this amazing community project now! Click here to donate!

Chris Root (above) serves as co-editor for Government. Chris moved to East Lansing in 1983 from Washington, D.C. Chris registered as a lobbyist at the age of 18, when she began working on anti-apartheid and southern Africa issues for a church- and union-sponsored non-profit, the Washington Office on Africa. After moving to East Lansing, Chris provided staff support for the Democratic caucus of the Michigan House of Representatives on a bill to divest state public employee pension funds from companies operating in South Africa. Chris continues her focus on this movement by helping to build the Africa Activist Archive Project. Chris worked at MSU for 15 years helping faculty obtain grants. She now devotes a lot of her time to monitoring economic development and financial issues in East Lansing, gardening, and spending time with family. She focuses mainly on government reporting for ELi (parking lot salesCity financescampaign finance analysis--Chris does it all!) but she has also been known to encourage local foraging and to provide tasty recipes for local weeds.  Chris is also a financial donor to ELi; join her today.

Ann Nichols (above), ELi's Editor for Lawsuit and Legal Reporting, has been a cellist, a lawyer, a soccer mom, a political operative, and a Buddhist cook at a Protestant church. As it turns out, she’s really a writer. Raised in East Lansing, she currently lives in a 102-year-old house near the MSU campus with her husband, her son and an improbable number of animals. Ann served as Managing Editor for ELi from 2015 - 2019. She has also served on the board of the Community Relations Coalition and as President of the Oakwood Neighborhood founded the Brownie Brigade. For her service to East Lansing, she has been given the Crystal Award. Besides all of her professional talents, Ann brings to ELi her love of local food, her talent for meaningful relationships with the MSU students who live all around her, and a pride in living downtown. Check out her place-making column, Ann about Town.

Ken Sperber (above), along with his life partner Valerie Thonger, is the ELi Calendar of Events Co-Editor and sometimes also an ELi reporter. When they are not correcting each other, Ken and Val also work together as the ELi proofreaders. Ken has worked in a variety of early childhood education and care programs from MSU campus preschools to Head Start and then the Ingham County Office for Young Children and Great Start. Ken says that the best part about working with families with young children was that it helped keep the child inside him always alive. Now retired and with his two grown sons off in Chicago, Ken has turned his attention to eldercare, gardening, soccer, being a fix-it man, and ELi. Ken enjoys working on ELi as it brings back memories of working from the basement of his house with his roommates and friends in the 1970s on Lansing's first underground alternative newspapers, the Joint Issue and then the Lansing Star.

Valerie Thonger (above) moved to Michigan to go to MSU in 1971 and has made East Lansing her home. With her husband and best bud, Ken Sperber, she has two grown sons, who are well-adjusted, smart and self-sufficient (as is true for their soon-to-be daughter-in law). At ELi, Valerie, working with Ken, is the Calendar of Events Co-Editor, proofreader, and occasional also a reporter. Valerie worked at the non-profit Eastminster Child Development Center for over 31 years in a variety of administrative positions including Assistant Director, Interim Director (several times),  Finance Coordinator, and ECDC Board Member. At ECDC, Valerie was responsible for keeping the accounts for the revenues and expenses for what grew to be a million-dollar budget. During her 30+ years there, Val was able to account for all the expenses and revenues down to the last penny. Valerie especially enjoyed building so many relationships with the parents and children for all those years. It is gratifying for her to now see those same parents as grandparents, and the former preschoolers as grown adults and now parents. As a retiree, Val has volunteered at the Marble School library, at Everybody Reads bookstore, and at the East Lansing Public Library. Valerie's hobbies include reading, gardening, biking, walking, soccer, traveling and, of course, ELi.


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