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Mary Gajda

Mary Gajda is the managing editor for 517 Magazine and has an extensive background in radio and television. She enjoys creative writing, photography and spending time with family — and she will never say no to an evening of karaoke.

Articles by Mary Gajda


A Q&A with Deborah V. Toby, Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Administrative Services at Cinnaire

How does Cinnaire understand employee mental health as contributing to the work environment? As a rule, and in keeping with our people-first culture, we’v…

Utility Puts What It Preaches into Practice

In 2020, Lansing Board of Water and Light General Manager Dick Peffley made clear his stance on denouncing racism. His words stand out on the BWL diversity, …

Apple-of-My-Eye Pancakes

Ingredients 2 eggs 2 cups of milk ¼ cup of granulated sugar 2 cups of all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons of baking powder 1 teaspoon of vanill…

Best of Health Food

We asked readers to name their favorite local spots for health food. Be it a supermarket, a restaurant that caters to healthy eating or a store that sells he…

The Kids will Love these Healthy Ladybug Apples

What you need: 4 of your favorite red apples ¼ cup of raisins 1 tablespoon of peanut butter 12 pretzel sticks   What to do: Slice…

Jazz Up that Composition Notebook for Back to School

What you need: Notebook Peel-and-stick wallpaper or shelf liner Glue gun and sticks Pompom trim or fun edging of your choice Scissors Wha…

Cool Pets: The Sugar Glider

This nocturnal gliding exotic pet gets its name from its predilections for specific sugary treats and gliding through the air. They are very social and may s…

Addressing School Faculty Shortages

A Q&A with Greg Sieszputowski, director of leadership development and executive search services for the Michigan Association of School Boards   …

Local 16-Year-Old Baker Makes 100th Delivery

There are plenty of young entrepreneurs in the world, but Dominic Blatnik of Okemos stands out. Dominic has autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder,…

Getting Back in the Swing

By now many of us have been back in the office, or at least a hybrid work situation. You may have found your creative mojo working from home, and now that…

Best of Patios in the 517

Lansing Brewing Co. Lansing Brewing Co., in the heart of the Stadium District, was tapped as one our readers’ favs. The wide-open patio with plenty of spa…

Beef’s Carbon Hoofprint

Whitney Belprez and her husband, Dan are on their ninth season of farming. Two Sparrows Farm and Dairy, a grass-based farm in Eaton Rapids, produces fresh mi…

Unvaccinated May Still Need Masks at Work

For more than a year, the issue of masks has been a topic of controversy, and now that controversy may have a new front in the workplace. While cases are …

Despite Pandemic Challenges, Michigan Food, Agriculture Exports Grew in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly caused challenges and uncertain in supply chains over the last 16 months, but there is good news. According to officials at…

Jackson Water/Sewer Hikes Should Be Minimal

Although the Jackson City Council recently approved hikes in the water and sewer rates for residents and businesses, the city said the increases customers ca…

Survey Shows 1 in 4 Considered Starting a Business Despite Pandemic

A recent LendingTree survey shows that there were plenty of entrepreneurial dreamers and doers over the past year-plus, despite the novel coronavirus pandemi…

Adorable Teacup Bird Feeder

This might be the easiest and cutest craft you’ve made. What you need: Teacup and saucer. Grab one from home or visit your favorite local resale or t…

The Mighty Chihuahua

These feisty little pups unfortunately are often purchased as accessory dogs before ending up in animal shelters because of the level of care and attention t…

A Conversation with Craig Hatch of the Jackson Chamber

Tell us about downtown Jackson and how it’s grown. Downtown Jackson has been on a strong and steady growth path for years. Everything from events to downt…

Best of Ice Cream

We asked our readers where they all scream for ice cream, as well as their favorite flavors.   Arctic Corner At 314 E. Grand River Ave. in Lan…

517 Day of Giveaways

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, you’ve probably spent more time in your own backyard than you care to admit. But honestly, it’s a good thing. Because yo…

Get on Board with a Great Gift for Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day — and Father’s Day — just around the corner, you may be racking your brain trying to think out of the box for gift giving. You may just …

10 for ‘Studio 10’

We played a quick-fire game of 10 Questions with Stephanie McCoy and Holly Harper, the hosts of the news and lifestyle show “Studio 10” that airs weekdays at…

Craft Idea: Fairy Garden Flower Pot

This simple DIY for a fairy garden flower pot took us less than an hour to complete. It will look lovely inside or outside What You Need: Glue gu…

Footprints of Michigan Provides Footwear to Those in Need

Helping someone with a simple and gentle gesture of assistance is a mission that, quite literally, starts from the ground up at Footprints of Michigan. In…

Best Of 517: Brunch

We asked readers about their favorite brunch spots in the region. For some, the definition of brunch isn’t a special buffet on a special day. It’s just eatin…

Cool Pets: The Awesome Axolotl

The axolotl is a unique pet in that it looks a bit like a fish — but when you see its legs, you’ll know it’s actually an aquatic amphibian. They are a fairly…

Professionals Forum offers Leadership Lab

Effective leadership is an absolute must in today’s global business market. The Professionals Forum is offering a leadership lab to educate, encourage and em…

Craft Idea: Decoupage Easter Eggs

Decoupage Easter Eggs What You Need: Mod Podge Brush Decorative paper napkins of your choice Eggs — hard boiled or craft eggs   What t…

Cool Pets: Holland Lop Rabbit

The Holland Lop rabbit is a miniature breed that lives roughly 7-10 years with good care. At around 2-4 pounds, these little guys are calm and gentle but als…

A Conversation with Elaine Hardy, East Lansing’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Administrator

Elaine Hardy is the City of East Lansing’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Administrator. 517 Magazine’s Mary Gajda spoke with her about her passion for the …

EVE Helps Survivors Understand They Are In Control

Empowering those whose power was stolen is the foundation of the work of Sam Stiles. As an assault survivor herself, Stiles finds immense purpose in her r…

Best Of 517: Air Frying

We asked our readers to name their tops when it comes to cooking without the oil.   Favorite Brands Air fryers come in all shapes, sizes and br…

Recipe: Twice-Baked Potatoes

Ingredients: 6 medium or 3 large potatoes ½ cup of sour cream ¼ cup of butter Approximately 6 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped into bits …

Harris Nature Center Foundation Hosts Virtual ‘Painting Nature’ Fundraiser April 24

  The Harris Nature Center Foundation is inviting artists of all ages and skill levels to a virtual fundraiser, Painting Nature: Tyco the Turtle. Reg…

Answers Begin to Emerge about the Future of the Lansing Mall

Malls across the nation have been in distress for years as more consumers turned to online retail options. The Lansing Mall is no stranger to that struggle. …

After a Brief Pause, For Crepe Sake Makes its Comeback

In 2014, For Crepe Sake opening in the Lansing City Market before moving to downtown Lansing. After having closed its Lansing location in 2020, the locally o…

Shyft Group Looks to Hire in Charlotte

In January, the Shyft Group announced it would be hiring for its Charlotte campus as the company continues to receive new vehicle orders and ramps toward pro…

MSUFCU Student Art Exhibit Winners Announced

The creative talents blossoming from today’s young minds were honored recently in the 14th annual MSUFCU Student Art Exhibit. The exhibit was held from Ja…

Women’s History Month: Women in the Workforce and the Gender Pay Gap

March is Women’s History Month. From politics to business and even sports, there are women excelling in 2021. Consider Kamala Harris, the first female vice p…

International Women’s Day: Choose to Challenge 2021

Monday, March 8, is International Women’s Day, and the theme for this year’s celebration is Choose to Challenge. Challenge yourself with these questions: …

Michigan is Top 20 for Tiny Homes and Tips for Keeping them Clutter-Free

According to social data, the Mitten State ranks in the top 20 for tiny homes. Michigan ranks at No. 11, behind states like California, New York, Colorado an…

27th Annual Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Award Nominations Open

Recognizing and celebrating entrepreneurs should never take a year off. Last year, the 26th annual Entrepreneurial Awards adapted to COVID-19 by pivoting its…

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