517 Magazine Days of Giveaways

2018-19 Newsmakers

Rosemarie Aquilina Ingham County Circuit Court judge What is your biggest takeaway from your experiences in 2018? It only takes one voice to create change, and there’s an incre…

Rosemarie Aquilina
Ingham County Circuit Court judge

What is your biggest takeaway from your experiences in 2018?

It only takes one voice to create change, and there’s an incredible power in listening and believing.

How does it feel to be recognized by Glamour magazine and the survivors during the ESPYs?

I’m beyond humbled to be recognized by the sister survivors. Their courage, strength and resilience inspire me every day. It’s also an incredible honor to be acknowledged by Glamour and to be in company with the other inspirational women they have recognized throughout the years. From the beginning, the media helped put a spotlight on this case, and now they are continuing the conversation to help create much-needed transparency and change.

What do you hope is gained by the national attention to you and the sister survivors in this case?

I hope people choose to listen and believe instead of ignore and shut down. If there’s anything that we can take away from this case, it’s the destruction that can happen when voices are ignored. This case should have been solved long before I took the bench. But unfortunately, the girls were ignored for years and the number of victims multiplied. I hope people remember that inaction is an action, and inaction has consequences. I also hope that victims are inspired to come forward and that they keep talking until they’re heard and believed. Their voices matter. My courtroom is a place for justice and healing –  for both sides –  and I hope we start to see other judges adopt this same mantra.

After a long day in court, how do you like to unwind?

On my drive home I love listening to books on Audible to relax me from my day. I also love spending time with my family, writing, oil painting, making boot spurs/bracelets for my collection of cowboy boots and cooking. When I’m really stressed and need to clear my head, I have cooking bake-offs with myself, which my family loves and laughs at.

What are the things you enjoy most about the Lansing area?

Lansing is a large family of people who care about their community and each other, helping out when there is a need. There are tremendous opportunities for education, entertainment, the arts, good food and family activities. I have always felt at home in Lansing. I am very proud to raise my family here and to serve the public as a circuit court judge.

Bill Beekman
Michigan State University athletic director

What were your 2018 highlights, professionally and personally?

2018 was a fairly tumultuous year in the life of the university. From my perspective, I think one of my accomplishments personally and professionally was having the ability to help the university to try and heal and to continue to grow. When President (Lou Anna) Simon resigned, the board asked me to fill in briefly before President (John) Engler was selected, so I served briefly as the acting president. And then coming over and helping out in athletics and becoming the permanent athletic director, I think I’ve been able to have a role in helping the university heal and grow, something very important for our community. I see the AD role as someone who is in the back of the room encouraging others to shine. Our collective success is really what I’m most concerned about. We’ve had some big accomplishments this year. We made the Final Four in men’s soccer for the first time in about 50 years. It was reported in December that in the Academic All-Big Ten list, we had 30 football players make honors. A full 25 percent of our roster made Academic All-Big Ten.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

It’ll be my first full year as athletic director, so I think I’ll have gotten through a fair bit of the learning curve and be able to dive into different things. A couple of projects that we’re really excited about include putting lights up at the baseball and softball stadiums, so in the spring we’ll be able to play night games. If you have lights, you can also host Big Ten championships and NCAA regional events. In late 2019, we’ll also be starting a significant exterior renovation of Munn Ice Arena. That building that was built in the early ’70s will be getting a bit of a facelift, and we’ll have some enhancements that will really make coach (Danton) Cole able to sell our program and bring in top-notch recruits.

I’m also excited about some other behind-the-scenes projects that will help guide us over the next decade.

Describe your perfect day on MSU’s campus.

Probably it’s a day in the summer, because I’m a summer guy. I’m a guy that likes warm weather. It would be a day where I have an opportunity to observe some of our teams that are more active in the late spring, maybe catching part of a softball or baseball game. My family and I have had a tradition of taking a walk on campus in the evening, maybe stopping at the Dairy Store and getting some ice cream. I’ve got a sweet tooth. So that would be a good day on campus: Watching our programs be successful and spending a little time with my family.

What are the things you enjoy the most about the Lansing area?

If I’m not on campus, I enjoy hanging out at one of the local bookstores. I love to read. Whether it’s Curious Books in East Lansing or one of the bookstores in the malls, my kids and my wife and I spend a lot of time over the summer reading and visiting the stores. It’s fun to roam around and see what they have. If I haven’t gotten enough of a sports fix on campus, I’m always good for a Lugnuts game. I love Minor League Baseball. My youngest son and I often travel around the Midwest in the summer and catch some minor league games.

How do you like to spend your downtime?

Probably the No. 1 thing I enjoy doing is spending time with my wife and my three kids. In the summer, we love to travel; so as much as I love Lansing, we like to do road trips in the summer as a family. I visited all 48 state capitol buildings, and maybe 100 of the national parks and historic sites. My kids will tell you that I dragged them to the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Kansas. I love to take a good old-fashioned road trip and see what there is to see.

Gillespie Group
600 Block

Something new is coming to the Stadium District in downtown Lansing, thanks to a developer familiar with reshaping and revitalizing the area. In August, the Gillespie Group unveiled plans for their 600 Block project, located at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Larch Street across from Cooley Law School Stadium.

The four-story, mixed-use concept, totaling 150,590 square feet, will feature a nationally branded hotel, residential apartments and a much-anticipated urban market as its centerpiece. Residents and visitors of downtown Lansing have dreamed about a grocery store for years and the new 37,000-square-foot “Capital City Market” is certainly beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. The market will occupy much of the project’s frontage along Michigan Avenue.

For the Gillespie Group, the urban market will help change Lansing’s reputation as a food desert, providing residents with easily accessible and fresh food downtown. The market is expected to be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, giving the early birds, night owls and everyone in between an opportunity to visit. According to Lansing Mayor Andy Schor,  a Capital City market and grocery store has been his priority from when he was in the Legislature and now as mayor.

The urban market will be designed and run by Grand Rapids-based Meijer, which recently launched a similar urban market concept in downtown Grand Rapids. For those eager to imagine what Lansing’s “Capital City Market” will be like, a visit to Meijer’s popular Bridge Street Market in Grand Rapids is a good indication.

In addition to the market, the 600 Block will feature a new hotel from Concord Hospitality Enterprises. The hotel is planned to have 120-125 guest rooms, which will help meet the growing demand for accommodations for business and leisure travel. Some of the amenities in consideration include a cafe, bar/lounge and meeting spaces. In addition, the residential portion of the development project will feature a mix of 36 one- and two-bedroom units, with leasing options available in spring 2020.

Construction on the 600 Block project is anticipated to begin in the spring, with the development expected to open in late 2020 or early 2021. As they say, good things come to those who wait. The people of Lansing have been waiting a long time for this type of project, but the 600 Block will undoubtedly be worth it.


Gretchen Whitmer
Governor-elect for the state of Michigan

As governor-elect, you have said that you will be ready to hit the ground running in January. What are some of the key issues you would like to tackle when you first enter office?

We put a strong foundation in place during the transition so that I was able to hit the ground running on Jan. 1. We are rolling up our sleeves to tackle the dinner table issues that matter most to Michiganders, including affordable health care, improving education and access to skills training, cleaning up our drinking water, and fixing our roads.

What or who inspired you to pursue a life of public service?

At the age of 29, I became a member of the sandwich generation, meaning I was taking care of my mom at the end of her life and my first daughter at the beginning of hers. That experience didn’t change my values, but it eliminated my patience for anyone who wants to politicize issues instead of actually solving problems. I put that into practice when I negotiated with Republicans to expand health care access to more than 680,000 Michiganders and raise the minimum wage.

As governor, I’m ready to work with anyone who wants to get things done for the people of our state.

 You are the second female governor to be elected in the state of Michigan and the mother of two daughters. How does it feel to be a role model to young girls and women in Michigan?

When I took my oath of office as Senate Democratic leader in 2010 with my daughters at my side, I looked around the room and realized there were more men named John in the Senate than women. We need more women in office for young girls to look up to. I’m proud to have been part of a wave of women that ran for office in 2018 and look forward to serving Michigan alongside Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel, Secretary of State-elect Jocelyn Benson, Sen. Debbie Stabenow and all those women in public office across the state.

You are a proud Michigander. What are your favorite things about our state and the Lansing area, your hometown, in particular?

Many of my favorite memories growing up in Michigan revolve around water, whether it was the time I spent swimming in the Thornapple River, fishing for perch off the dock in Onekama or climbing the dunes on Lake Michigan. Here in Lansing, I enjoy watching football on the banks of the Red Cedar, walking the trails at Lake Lansing Park or walking at lunch with my husband from his dentist office downtown to Old Town and back.

One of the nice things about having lived in mid-Michigan prior to being elected governor is our commute has always been short and my kids won’t have to move schools. We will go from living in the neighborhood of my youth to the neighborhood of my husband’s. Three generations of my family are here in town and that’s what’s most important to me: family. 

When you get brief moments of downtime, what are your favorite ways to unwind?

Spending time with my family is what I cherish most. On the campaign trail, I FaceTimed with my girls during dinner time more often than I was able to sit across the table from them. My oldest daughter said she’s glad that the campaign is over and even though the work will be harder, I’ll actually be home more in the evenings. That’s something I am grateful for too.

Tom Dickson
Lansing Ignite

What was your highlight of 2018?

I would say our new soccer team is by far the most exciting thing we’ve done. We brought Minor League Baseball to Lansing back in 1996 and it’s still doing really well. We decided to expand our sports business a bit and get into the world of soccer. We were excited to make the announcement in October, and we’re looking forward to playing two professional teams in the ballpark starting next year.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

I think it’s important that we don’t ever consider putting baseball on anything other than the front burner as well. Minor League Baseball is really what has made the ballpark what it is and helped redevelop downtown Lansing. In no way is soccer designed to put baseball on the back burner, so it’s important we keep that business humming along. That business is getting better and better. We’re really excited about both of them. Obviously, soccer is new, but baseball has done a lot for the community, too.

Pun intended, how do you see the new soccer team igniting downtown Lansing?

The most obvious thing is that it’s another 20 dates where there’s going to be professional sports being played down there. If you go back to our original vision back in the ’90s when we built the ballpark, the whole objective was to redevelop downtown Lansing. You do that by inviting people downtown and giving them good reasons to come. We play our 70 baseball games, we do concerts and other events. Starting next year, we’ll have more events to invite people downtown and keep the expansion rolling.

What are the things you enjoy the most about the Lansing area?

It’s my second home. I live in Chicago full time, but I spend a lot of time in Lansing and in many ways feel like it’s my home as well. I’ve always loved the place. I like the people, and I’ve had a great relationship with the fans and the business community. I really feel like I’m part of the community even though I don’t technically live there.

How do you like to spend your downtime?

Anybody who knows me really well knows that my passion, other than sports, is sailing. I am a passionate sailor. I race sailboats. I have a boat in Chicago, and we do the race from Chicago to Mackinac every year. I’ve been doing that for many years. When I’m not working, I’m generally on my sailboat. My boat’s name is Qarlock; we inherited the name when we bought the boat. But my previous boat was named Lugnuts.

How do you like your hot dogs?

My favorite hot dogs at the ballpark are the foot-long sausages that we make on the cart. I like them with onions and a lot of mustard and relish. That’s the way I like them.

Scott Keith
CEO of the Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority

What were some of your highlights from 2018?

Taking over the Groesbeck Golf Course and exceeding all of our goals that we set for out there was certainly a huge accomplishment. Another year of Common Ground was a huge accomplishment. The convention center exceeding 25,000 room nights directly attributable for the first time in history was a pretty big goal of ours that we accomplished.

For the upcoming year, what can the people of Lansing expect in the world of entertainment?

I think the Lansing Ignite coming to town is a big deal. That is going to change the way we look at the stadium – you have the Lugnuts and now the Ignite. There’s going to be a multipurpose feel to the stadium. We’re going to continue to grow our convention business I think, particularly with the announcement of another downtown hotel from Gillespie. That is a year or two away, but it starts to make the needle move a bit in terms of attracting business. Convention seasons typically are booking two or three years out anyway, so it really works to our favor. With the elimination of the City Market, although negative in the press, I think the potential redevelopment of it into something else is exciting. I think it’ll add to the value of the entertainment district here.

What are some of the things you enjoy most about the Lansing area?

We are a big small town. I will borrow a phrase from Bob Trezise: When I use the term Lansing, I really do refer to the region. I think we have so many great amenities here, whether it’s going to Hawk Island Park to go snowboarding, or the Wharton Center for a show, or to come downtown for dinner. We have a lot of amenities like a large city, but in a small-town feel. It only takes you 10 minutes to get there. It is convenience here: a lower cost of living and a great place to raise a family. There are all of these attractive parts of Lansing that are what made me want to stay here when I moved here for a job.

How do you like to spend your downtime?

I love the lakes and the freshwater here. That’s again a positive of Lansing. You can really be within a two-hour drive to some great destinations, whether it’s the wintertime or the summertime. You could be at a ski resort or a lake within two hours. In my downtime, I love getting outside and using the activities available. I actually enjoy working outside and gardening. I love the fact that we have four seasons, and I try to take advantage of being outside for each one of those seasons. I think that’s a positive of not only Lansing, but Michigan.

Expanding partnership
Redesigning health care
MSU-McLaren Health Care hospital project

It’s a project 10 years in the making, and one that will transform health care in our community for decades to come. The Greater Lansing area is set to become the home of a brand-new, state-of-the-art hospital and health care campus, thanks to an expanded partnership between Michigan State University (MSU) and McLaren Health Care Corp.

In December 2017, McLaren Health Care announced plans to build a $450 million hospital, replacing McLaren Greater Lansing and McLaren Orthopedic Hospital. The campus will be developed at the MSU Foundation’s University Corporate Research Park, located between Collins Road and U.S. 127, adjacent to MSU. Daniel Medrano, vice president of facility management for McLaren Health Care, said the site is an ideal location.

“The University Corporate Research Park property is unique because it is situated at the crossroads of south Lansing and Michigan State University,” Medrano said. “It’s not often that a development of this magnitude can have such a positive impact on so many municipalities and organizations. McLaren’s investment will be a tremendous benefit to the city of Lansing, Lansing Township, the city of East Lansing, the MSU Foundation, MSU and the entire region.”

McLaren’s biggest medical partnership is with MSU, and the new project will expand the academic partnership on health care with the university. Expected to open in 2021, the new hospital will feature 240 beds, a cancer center, an ambulatory care center and other facilities to support educational opportunities and medical research on the 52-acre campus.

In a statement, CEO of McLaren Greater Lansing Tom Mee said: “We intend to redesign the traditional hospital and ambulatory-care settings to build the safest, most efficient health care campus in the world.”

MSU sees the new facility as an opportunity to advance medical research and recruit top physicians and researchers to the region.

Some of the initiatives within the collaboration between McLaren and MSU also include cooperation on clinical trials through MSU’s Institutional Review Board and support for team-based learning philosophies in the design and workflow of the facilities.

In an effort to redesign health care, as well as making the voices of the Lansing community heard, McLaren Health Care is encouraging individuals to give feedback and share their thoughts on the new project through the McLaren website. Some of the feedback already shared by the community include questions about parking, accessibility to the campus for those without a vehicle and the inclusion of a mental health facility.

As technology and health care continue to evolve and improve how we live, all eyes in the medical community will be on Greater Lansing in the coming years.

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