The Michigan State football travel guide: Indiana University


After surviving a weekend in Piscataway, the Michigan State Spartans are back on the road, taking on the Indiana Hoosiers down in Bloomington, Indiana.

If you are heading down to southern Indiana to catch the game, there are plenty of restaurants, bars and attractions on and near the campus of Indiana University to check out.

The Campus

Indiana University is one of the most historic universities in the Big Ten. Founded in 1820, Indiana is the third oldest in the conference, behind only the University of Rutgers and the University of Michigan. There are plenty of iconic landmarks throughout the more than 200-year-old campus.

Of course, for those making the trek down to the Hoosier state this weekend, Memorial Stadium, better known as “The Rock,” will be a central aspect of the trip. Don’t forget to take a peak at the prow of the USS Indiana, a former battleship of the U.S. Navy, which sits just outside the stadium.

It might be a good idea to park a bit farther than normal and stroll around Indiana’s campus on the way to the game.

“Just walk around,” Patrick Felts, a student at Indiana and the multimedia football reporter at the Indiana Daily Student, said. “I might be biased, but I don’t think there’s a more beautiful campus on the face of the earth.”

The most iconic start to a walk through Indiana’s campus starts at the Sample Gates, which guard the entrance to the oldest part of the university. It is a classic spot to snap photos for visitors and students alike. Right around the corner gates is Dunn Woods, a 20-acre patch of land with winding brick pathways cutting through forestry. The Rose Well House, a limestone gazebo, is a campus landmark found in Dunn Woods.

There is plenty of unique architecture found throughout the campus. Eskenazi Museum of Art, — designed by the same architect that designed the Louvre in Paris, I.M. Pei — Lilly Library and Beck Chapel are just a few of the standouts on the Bloomington campus.

Bloomington

Indiana University teaches more than 80 languages — perhaps that is why Bloomington has such a diverse representation of cuisine from around the world.

Eighteen countries are represented by over 75 international restaurants throughout Bloomington, with anything from Turkish to Thai clustered mostly on 4th street.

Also, pro tip from Felts: if you find yourself out on the town during or after a night at the bars and have a craving for sushi or teriyaki, Z & C Teriyaki & Sushi has you covered.

If you are looking for a staple of Bloomington’s pizza scene, Mother Bear’s Pizza is a local favorite.

“It is pretty much the iconic Indiana restaurant,” Felts said.

Those looking to consume their daily calories in the form of alcohol can find plenty of bars up and down the streets of Kirkwood Ave., the central road and artery of activity in Bloomington. Kilroy’s is one of the most popular bars in Bloomington, especially among the student base, Felts said.

Nick’s English Hut is a more family friendly bar that specializes in both booze and food, with Indiana apparel and pictures crowding the walls and creating a real college eatery experience. The bar is also known for “sink the biz,” a drinking game that includes a bucket of beer and a floating cup.

Surrounding the city are plenty of parks and forests for those looking to get more in touch with nature in southern Indiana. A short drive from campus is McCormick Creek State Park, Indiana’s oldest state park, complete with waterfalls and hiking trails.

Also not far from campus is the 202,814-acre Hoosier National Forest, which is especially scenic in the midst of autumn, Felts said. It is a bit of a further drive, but Felts said Brown County State Park, the largest of Indiana’s state parks, also offers the opportunity to hike through the nature of Indiana.

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The Michigan State football travel guide: Indiana University


After surviving a weekend in Piscataway, the Michigan State Spartans are back on the road, taking on the Indiana Hoosiers down in Bloomington, Indiana.

If you are heading down to southern Indiana to catch the game, there are plenty of restaurants, bars and attractions on and near the campus of Indiana University to check out.

The Campus

Indiana University is one of the most historic universities in the Big Ten. Founded in 1820, Indiana is the third oldest in the conference, behind only the University of Rutgers and the University of Michigan. There are plenty of iconic landmarks throughout the more than 200-year-old campus.

Of course, for those making the trek down to the Hoosier state this weekend, Memorial Stadium, better known as “The Rock,” will be a central aspect of the trip. Don’t forget to take a peak at the prow of the USS Indiana, a former battleship of the U.S. Navy, which sits just outside the stadium.

It might be a good idea to park a bit farther than normal and stroll around Indiana’s campus on the way to the game.

“Just walk around,” Patrick Felts, a student at Indiana and the multimedia football reporter at the Indiana Daily Student, said. “I might be biased, but I don’t think there’s a more beautiful campus on the face of the earth.”

The most iconic start to a walk through Indiana’s campus starts at the Sample Gates, which guard the entrance to the oldest part of the university. It is a classic spot to snap photos for visitors and students alike. Right around the corner gates is Dunn Woods, a 20-acre patch of land with winding brick pathways cutting through forestry. The Rose Well House, a limestone gazebo, is a campus landmark found in Dunn Woods.

There is plenty of unique architecture found throughout the campus. Eskenazi Museum of Art, — designed by the same architect that designed the Louvre in Paris, I.M. Pei — Lilly Library and Beck Chapel are just a few of the standouts on the Bloomington campus.

Bloomington

Indiana University teaches more than 80 languages — perhaps that is why Bloomington has such a diverse representation of cuisine from around the world.

Eighteen countries are represented by over 75 international restaurants throughout Bloomington, with anything from Turkish to Thai clustered mostly on 4th street.

Also, pro tip from Felts: if you find yourself out on the town during or after a night at the bars and have a craving for sushi or teriyaki, Z & C Teriyaki & Sushi has you covered.

If you are looking for a staple of Bloomington’s pizza scene, Mother Bear’s Pizza is a local favorite.

“It is pretty much the iconic Indiana restaurant,” Felts said.

Those looking to consume their daily calories in the form of alcohol can find plenty of bars up and down the streets of Kirkwood Ave., the central road and artery of activity in Bloomington. Kilroy’s is one of the most popular bars in Bloomington, especially among the student base, Felts said.

Nick’s English Hut is a more family friendly bar that specializes in both booze and food, with Indiana apparel and pictures crowding the walls and creating a real college eatery experience. The bar is also known for “sink the biz,” a drinking game that includes a bucket of beer and a floating cup.

Surrounding the city are plenty of parks and forests for those looking to get more in touch with nature in southern Indiana. A short drive from campus is McCormick Creek State Park, Indiana’s oldest state park, complete with waterfalls and hiking trails.

Also not far from campus is the 202,814-acre Hoosier National Forest, which is especially scenic in the midst of autumn, Felts said. It is a bit of a further drive, but Felts said Brown County State Park, the largest of Indiana’s state parks, also offers the opportunity to hike through the nature of Indiana.

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A quick guide for those traveling to Michigan football games


We often get asked about putting out some sort of guide for Michigan Wolverines fans that are coming to town for games, whether it be the first trip or a return visit. For whatever reason, we have not been able to get to it, but that changes today!

Below are some tips and tricks for people looking to maximize their time in Ann Arbor this fall. These are the takes and opinions of someone who has spent a decent amount of time around campus in the seven years of operating this site, so put into that what you will.

Without further ado, here would be my tips for your Michigan experience in town and around the stadium.

Note: MnB is not being paid or endorsed for any of these. We are simply sharing friendly tips!

Where should I stay?

This one is tough for me to answer given I live close enough to drive in, but I would suggest Residence Inn in Downtown Ann Arbor if I were planning a trip for you. The reviews are pretty positive and it puts you into the thick of where some of the good bars are restaurants are. It is about a mile down the road from the stadium and about a 25 minute or so walk down Main Street. If you need a break, there are plenty of bars and restaurants on the way to dip into.

Where should I park?

A move of mine in the past has been to park downtown and make the long walk. When the weather sucks, there are usually Ubers or Lyfts around that will get you pretty close, or at least a lot closer than the mile walk would.

But if you’re coming into town to take in a game, the U-M golf course or Ann Arbor Pioneer High School are your two best bets. It puts you right across the street from the stadium and throws you into the thick of the tailgate scene. It will be your priciest option at around $40-$50 a game. You can also park on someone’s lawn in one of the neighborhoods and pack a few travel beverages in a cooler and check out the tailgates for yourself.

What are some bars or eateries I should check out?

Whether enjoying a drink and an appetizer before or after the game or finding a place to partake in some adult beverages on your way to the stadium, there are plenty of options. Three of my favorites are The Pretzel Bell, Jim Brady’s and Pizza House. The first two are on the Main Street walk that we referenced earlier, while Pizza House is closer to campus on Church Street. The Brown Jug is another favorite of mine and is located over by Pizza House.

There are plenty of coffee shops in Ann Arbor being that it is both a college town and extremely hipstery. My favorite is RoosRoost, which has a location downtown on Liberty Street and another closer to the golf course off of Industrial Hwy.

How should I spend my pregame time?

Spend as much time around the stadium and at tailgates as you possibly can. There is nothing like a college sports tailgate, especially one that surrounds one of the cathedrals in college sports. There is plenty of stuff around the stadium for both families and kids. Your little ones (and let’s be honest, yourself as well) are going to be begging you for merch. MDen will have a pop-up location and there are usually a few other tents selling shirts, hats and more around the stadium.

Make an effort to get over to the East side of the stadium to see the band enter the Big House if you can. It’s not something I’ve ever been able to do, but everyone should probably check that out at least once.

How early should I get into the stadium?

The gates open two hours before kickoff. That’s a little early to get there as a fan, but if you’re the type that likes to settle in, find your seat and then take in the stadium a bit, that’s as early as you can get in. I would recommend getting in sometime within an hour of kickoff. It gives you enough time to see warmups, the band’s pregame performance, the team running out to touch the banner and more.

What should I do during the game?

Cheer on your squad and have the time of your life. Don’t be a jerk. Be mindful of the people around you. With that said, Michigan has a reputation for having older fans that want you to sit down. Just be respectful, but also be sure that you’re being able to bring the energy to the game that it requires. You’re allowed to cheer and go nuts when good things happen. Don’t be a jerk, though!

Other than that, have fun! Enjoy your Big House experience.

Do you have suggestions for what people should do during a football game visit? Be sure to sound off in the comments below! Everyone’s preferences and experiences are different, so the more opinions, the better.



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AJ Hoggard, Tyson Walker compete for Michigan State basketball PG job


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EAST LANSING — Tom Izzo quickly quipped that his point guard battle between A.J. Hoggard and Tyson Walker was a “quarterback controversy.” Even jokingly compared them to Oklahoma football’s Spencer Rattler and Caleb Williams.

In reality, one of the biggest salesmen for Walker to transfer from Northeastern to Michigan State basketball during the offseason happened to be his chief competitor for minutes: Hoggard.

“I just told him it’s a real family,” Hoggard, a sophomore, said after practice Wednesday. “A lot of schools preach it, I’ve been through it. … It’s truly a family, truly a brotherhood here. I just told him if he comes here, he’s gonna be locked in from Day 1, and everybody’s gonna show him love.”

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And after a 2020-21 season in which Izzo blamed himself for persistent problems at point guard that almost led to his NCAA tournament streak ending, the Spartans feel Hoggard and Walker present advantages running the offense as they battle for the starting job.

“They’re both like New York City cab drivers,” Izzo said Wednesday. “They get along well together, they both work very hard. They’re a little different — one shoots it better than the other, one’s bigger and stronger; one defends on the ball a little bit better, one rebounds a little better. So I think it’s gonna be a good combination. And if we run like I want to run, we’re gonna have to put more guys in.”

MSU, which went 15-13 while being eliminated in the NCAA tournament’s First Four by UCLA, struggled to find an answer at point guard. Foster Loyer opened as the starter, followed by Rocket Watts took over, but both struggled for various reasons and left the program. Loyer transferred to Davidson and Watts to Mississippi State.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Hoggard, who underwent a knee procedure before last season, worked his way into starting eight of his 26 games, averaging 2.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 13.4 minutes as a freshman. He shot 30.7% overall, including 3-for-18 on 3-pointers, but he used his size and ability to get into traffic off the dribble and get others involved.

After dropping 20 pounds during the offseason, Hoggard said he feels he went from “a little sluggish” in summer 2020 to “a lot better” coming into his second season.

“I feel I can go longer,” Hoggard said. “I feel a lot stronger. I feel quicker when I’m pushing outlet.”

Though Hoggard is the best returning option at the point, and MSU added freshman combo guard Jaden Akins, Izzo still pursued Walker. The 6-foot, 175-pound junior averaged 18.8 points, 4.8 assists and 2.4 steals last season for Northeastern, becoming a first-team all-Colonial Athletic Association pick and winning the league’s defensive player of the year award. He also emerged as a finalist for two national awards — the Lou Henson Award, which goes to the top mid-major player, and the Lefty Driesell National Player of the Year, given annually to the top defensive player in Division I.

Hoggard said Wednesday he and Walker have played against each other since fourth grade in travel competition. Both are from the East Coast — Walker from Westbury, New York (on Long Island) and Hoggard from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb.

“Tyson made me a lot better…,” Hoggard said. “Growing up going to the tournaments, we played each other every weekend. We formed a relationship since fourth grade, our parents know each other. So him coming here kind of gave me a sense of back home.”

And with that shared background comes a grittiness and competitiive nature seemingly inherent in guards from the East Coast. It is something Hoggard said he admires in Walker and tries to emulate, which he feels is bringing out the best in both ahead of Nov. 9’s the season opener against Kansas at the Champions Classic.

Fittingly for them, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“It’s great, because we can go here, we can almost get into an argument, altercation — however you want to call it — on the court, because we’re competing and because we’re both competitors,” Hoggard said. “And afterward, we can go to the locker room like nothing happened, because that’s my brother.”

Exhibitions set

Before facing Kansas, the Spartans will host Ferris State on Oct. 27 and Grand Valley State on Nov. 4. Both exhibition games against Division II opponents will tip off at 7 p.m. at Breslin Center and be streamed on Big Ten Network-Plus.

Contact Chris Solari: [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Read more on the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.





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The Michigan State football travel guide: Rutgers University


The undefeated Michigan State Spartans return to the road this Saturday to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on the east coast. 

Making your way to New Jersey to see the game in person? We have got you covered with a guide on the best sights, eateries and bars on and near the campus of Rutgers University.

A Historic Campus

Rutgers University is not only the oldest college in the Big Ten, it is one of the oldest in the country. Founded in 1766, the university now consists of five campuses stretching through Piscataway and New Brunswick. 

Rutgers holds the unique title of the “birthplace of college football”. Right on College Avenue is a statue commemorating the first-ever college football game between New Jersey (which eventually became Princeton) and Rutgers.

The statue is a central aspect of a gameday tradition called “the Scarlet Walk”. As the players arrive off the bus, they make sure to touch the statue on their way to the SHI Stadium as fans and the band cheer them on. 

The statue is one of many sights present on or near College Avenue, as the street strikes through the heart of campus.

Historic buildings, the student center, the main dining hall, the library and “the yard” (an open field on campus lined with restaurants that is often a hub of gameday activity) are all present on the street. Walking through College Avenue on gameday is one of the best ways to experience Rutgers campus, Aaron Breitman, Rutgers University alumnus and Managing Editor of Rutgers’ SB Nation site, On the Banks, said. 

“You hear the chatter and the energy hits you,” Breitman said.

Conveniently, near the library on College Avenue is Deiner Park, which has a bridge across the Raritan River to the stadium.

Right around the corner from College Avenue are a few iconic campus stops; the Kirkpatrick Chapel and Zimmerli Art Museum. The chapel, constructed in the 1800s, is a popular destination for weddings in the area (especially among Rutgers alumni) and one of the oldest surviving buildings. The Zimmerli Art Museum is one of the largest university museums in the country.

The Bar and Tailgating Scene

With a noon kickoff, those looking to tailgate are going to have to get up bright and early to pregame for the matchup. The lots open up at 7 a.m.

“The big joke used to be that everyone would tailgate and then not go into the game,” Breitman said. “Even when they were bad, there was a good tailgating vibe. It’s definitely a fun environment.”

But with an improving team and homecoming in town, Michigan State fans and students heading to the game should prepare for a raucous environment before and during the game.

If you are looking to celebrate (or forget) the results of the game, there are plenty of bars just off of campus in New Brunswick. 

“In terms of total package, like location and people, there are two major bars at Rutgers,” Dylan McCoy, a journalism senior at Rutgers and Associate Sports Director at The Daily Targum. “Old Queens Tavern and the Scarlet Pub,”

The bars are across the street from each other. 

The Food

Is there a better way to start or end gameday than with all your daily calories stuffed into a single hoagie bun — aptly named the “fat sandwich”? 

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One of the most iconic gameday foods in New Brunswick is the fat sandwich, which is essentially everything but the kitchen sink stuffed onto a hoagie bun. 

“It’s basically a bunch of bar food on a sandwich,” McCoy said.

Everything from mozzarella sticks to mac and cheese is on the sandwiches found on the menu of RU Hungry. While there are various iterations of the sandwich, nearly every version is adorned with a handful of french fries.

Also, if you’re in the mood to punish yourself, there is an open challenge to consume five fat sandwiches in 45 minutes. Win, and you get your own fat sandwich creation featured on the menu. 

Food trucks are an essential part of the food scene on gameday, lining up the road on Scarlet Knight Way near the tailgating lots. RU Hungry began as a food truck back in the 70s. Stuff Yer Face is another quintessential restaurant for Rutgers students, providing stromboli and a wide variety of beers. 

Also, being an east coast school, a discussion of the food at Rutgers would be incomplete without mentioning pizza.

“The pizza in New Jersey is the best in the country. 100 percent,” McCoy said.

There are plenty of options around town, many of which focus on delivering that classic east thin-crust style slice that is iconic in the region.

“If you’re not from the east coast, most of the places will stand out,” Breitman said. 

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The Michigan State football travel guide: Rutgers University


The undefeated Michigan State Spartans return to the road this Saturday to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on the east coast. 

Making your way to New Jersey to see the game in person? We have got you covered with a guide on the best sights, eateries and bars on and near the campus of Rutgers University.

A Historic Campus

Rutgers University is not only the oldest college in the Big Ten, it is one of the oldest in the country. Founded in 1766, the university now consists of five campuses stretching through Piscataway and New Brunswick. 

Rutgers holds the unique title of the “birthplace of college football”. Right on College Avenue is a statue commemorating the first-ever college football game between New Jersey (which eventually became Princeton) and Rutgers.

The statue is a central aspect of a gameday tradition called “the Scarlet Walk”. As the players arrive off the bus, they make sure to touch the statue on their way to the SHI Stadium as fans and the band cheer them on. 

The statue is one of many sights present on or near College Avenue, as the street strikes through the heart of campus.

Historic buildings, the student center, the main dining hall, the library and “the yard” (an open field on campus lined with restaurants that is often a hub of gameday activity) are all present on the street. Walking through College Avenue on gameday is one of the best ways to experience Rutgers campus, Aaron Breitman, Rutgers University alumnus and Managing Editor of Rutgers’ SB Nation site, On the Banks, said. 

“You hear the chatter and the energy hits you,” Breitman said.

Conveniently, near the library on College Avenue is Deiner Park, which has a bridge across the Raritan River to the stadium.

Right around the corner from College Avenue are a few iconic campus stops; the Kirkpatrick Chapel and Zimmerli Art Museum. The chapel, constructed in the 1800s, is a popular destination for weddings in the area (especially among Rutgers alumni) and one of the oldest surviving buildings. The Zimmerli Art Museum is one of the largest university museums in the country.

The Bar and Tailgating Scene

With a noon kickoff, those looking to tailgate are going to have to get up bright and early to pregame for the matchup. The lots open up at 7 a.m.

“The big joke used to be that everyone would tailgate and then not go into the game,” Breitman said. “Even when they were bad, there was a good tailgating vibe. It’s definitely a fun environment.”

But with an improving team and homecoming in town, Michigan State fans and students heading to the game should prepare for a raucous environment before and during the game.

If you are looking to celebrate (or forget) the results of the game, there are plenty of bars just off of campus in New Brunswick. 

“In terms of total package, like location and people, there are two major bars at Rutgers,” Dylan McCoy, a journalism senior at Rutgers and Associate Sports Director at The Daily Targum. “Old Queens Tavern and the Scarlet Pub,”

The bars are across the street from each other. 

The Food

Is there a better way to start or end gameday than with all your daily calories stuffed into a single hoagie bun — aptly named the “fat sandwich”? 

Do you want the news without having to hunt for it?
Sign up for our morning s’newsletter. It’s everything your friends are talking about and then some. And it’s free!

One of the most iconic gameday foods in New Brunswick is the fat sandwich, which is essentially everything but the kitchen sink stuffed onto a hoagie bun. 

“It’s basically a bunch of bar food on a sandwich,” McCoy said.

Everything from mozzarella sticks to mac and cheese is on the sandwiches found on the menu of RU Hungry. While there are various iterations of the sandwich, nearly every version is adorned with a handful of french fries.

Also, if you’re in the mood to punish yourself, there is an open challenge to consume five fat sandwiches in 45 minutes. Win, and you get your own fat sandwich creation featured on the menu. 

Food trucks are an essential part of the food scene on gameday, lining up the road on Scarlet Knight Way near the tailgating lots. RU Hungry began as a food truck back in the 70s. Stuff Yer Face is another quintessential restaurant for Rutgers students, providing stromboli and a wide variety of beers. 

Also, being an east coast school, a discussion of the food at Rutgers would be incomplete without mentioning pizza.

“The pizza in New Jersey is the best in the country. 100 percent,” McCoy said.

There are plenty of options around town, many of which focus on delivering that classic east thin-crust style slice that is iconic in the region.

“If you’re not from the east coast, most of the places will stand out,” Breitman said. 

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Former Michigan State Basketball Player Anthony Ianni Wants New Book To Motivate And Educate


Anthony Ianni’s first grade class had a good week. His teacher was so proud of the work the students completed and of how well they behaved that she exclaimed she was “living on cloud nine.”

If that is where Ianni’s teacher was living, well, there certainly had to be such a thing. So Ianni wandered over to a window and looked skyward in search of where his teacher lived.

Which cloud was it? How does she get up there? Is there a large stairway leading to it? Why are other kids laughing at me?

In his book, Centered, due to be released in early September, Ianni provides many such examples of his struggles as a child on the autism spectrum. Through it all, though, he had dreams that he was determined to turn into reality.

And he did.

The former Michigan State basketball player, MSU graduate, husband, father of two young boys and motivational speaker triumphed over many obstacles to fulfill his dreams when virtually every medical professional gave a young Ianni nary a chance of even attending college. 

“I want to give people the hope and inspiration that they are looking for,” said Ianni of his book, co-written with Rob Keast. “I want my story to be the underdog story that today’s generation can read and look up to.”

Ianni’s mother, Jamie, still has piles of paperwork from his Individualized Education Plan (IEP), or behavior evaluation reports submitted by specialists. Excerpts from these reports are sprinkled throughout the book and a couple of them get into a level of detail that might cause Ianni some discomfort even today. However, such details need to be revealed in order to potentially help parents going through a situation similar to what his parents went through. 

“There were some things I did as a kid that I am not very proud of,” he said. “Sometimes I get embarrassed whenever my mother brings them up because they were not my favorite memories as a youth. However, parents who read the evaluations could find them very impactful. The same for educators as well. With my IEPs, they will see where I was at five, six or seven years old and the process of getting to where I am now. That can give them hope for their son, daughter or student.”

To that extent, it was not just about how Ianni’s parents coped, but teachers and athletic coaches as well. Through his experiences Ianni knows what can work and what might not work when it comes to receiving instruction in a given setting. In his case, the basketball court was a safe haven and a place where he wanted to realize many of his dreams. He also had to have people believe in him.

“My book may not only be an inspirational tool for a lot of people, but it can also be an educational thing for coaches, teachers and administrators,” said the 32-year-old Ianni, who walked on and was a center for the Spartans after playing two seasons at Grand Valley State. “In whatever sport it might be, coaches may have a young man or a young woman on their team and they are trying to find ways to help them. They can read what (Michigan State coach) Tom Izzo did for me, what my (Okemos, Mich.) high school coach, Dan Stolz, did for me and what my AAU coach, Anthony Stuckey, did for me. They can learn from this and apply it (within their coaching structure).”

Ianni, who was first Division I basketball player known to be on the spectrum, does not want the book to be solely about autism. Sure, being on the spectrum is at the core of who he is. But so are the many things Ianni has accomplished. Hence, the book was written with several other qualities in mind.

“The one thing I loved about doing this book is that it was not just written for a particular audience,” he said. “Rather, it is a book for many audiences and that is what excites me. It is not just a book about autism. It is a sports book, a motivational book, an inspirational story and an underdog story.”

The underdog was a champ on May 5, 2012. That was the day Ianni graduated from Michigan State with a degree in sociology. Each anniversary of that date he posts a graduation photo on his Twitter account.

“In my mind, it was a historical moment,” he said. “It is something that people told my family would never happen, would never be done. After all the things that were said about me during my youth, I received a degree from one of the nation’s top universities.”

Alas, that was only the beginning. Since talking to forbes.com a little more than two years ago about overcoming the many obstacles he faced since he was a toddler, Ianni has continued tirelessly in his effort to spread awareness and education in the hope of ramping up acceptance for those on the spectrum.

Prior to the pandemic-related shutdown, Ianni’s calendar was full of speaking engagements, whether it was students, non-profits or autism-related conferences and summits.

The pandemic put a temporary halt to the physical travel, but not his message. Like many others, Ianni turned to Zoom and connected with various groups two to three times per month. He plans to resume traveling in mid-to-late August.

“I am fired up about it,” he said of resuming in-person engagements. “I am itching to get back out there to do my presentations. The one thing I have always gotten out of doing in-person presentations is the interactions with students, educators and administrators. I feed off that live energy.”

There are many more things Ianni desires to accomplish as a speaker and author. As such, the book may prove to be the tip of the iceberg.

Centered is just the start,” he said. “I am really excited to see what else is in store.”

As for progress that is being made on the autism awareness front, Ianni is pleased with much of what he has seen, though plenty more needs to be done.

“We are getting there,” he said. “There is still a lot of work to be done and in the end I hope to be part of that process in any way possible.”

He already has.



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Traveling Exhibit on Puppeteer Jim Henson Coming to Michigan | Michigan News


DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — A traveling exhibit about the legendary puppeteer Jim Henson is coming to Michigan starting next month.

The exhibit called “The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” will open at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn from June 5 to September 6.

The interactive display will delve into his work on “The Muppets,” “Sesame Street,” “Fraggle Rock,” and “Labyrinth.” It’ll feature puppets, scripts, storyboard and costumes. Henson died in 1990.

“This exhibition explores Henson’s unique contributions to the moving image, and how he and a talented team of designers, performers, and writers created an unparalleled body of work that continues to delight and inspire people of all ages,” said a news release from the museum.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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9 Best Beaches In Michigan


The Great Lakes surround both of Michigan’s peninsulas, and Michigan has the most freshwater coastline of any state in the United States. It is only second to Alaska in the total miles of shoreline. No matter where you are in Michigan, one of the Great Lakes is within 85 miles. Add to that more than 11,000 inland lakes, and you’re never more than six miles from a body of water. That means Michigan has a lot of beaches to choose from. 

The best time to visit Michigan’s shores is during summer, when the weather is warm. If you plan to go swimming, it takes significantly warmer weather for the Great Lakes’ water to heat up.

Choosing just nine beaches in Michigan is especially difficult because we have so many. I selected a variety throughout the state, both on the Great Lakes and inland lakes. No matter if you’re looking for a secluded niche or a party atmosphere, you’ll find just the beach you’re looking for in Michigan.

1. Munising: Sand Point Beach

Located four miles northeast of Munising, on Lake Superior and the Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Sand Point Beach features white sand and crystal-clear water. The beach is largely undeveloped, so you’ll find the beach relatively uncrowded. We enjoy watching the beautiful Great Lakes sunsets at Sand Point Beach.

Pro Tip: If you want to view the entire Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, the Pictured Rocks Cruises departing from the Michigan City Dock in Munising are a great way to do that. It’s 32 miles round trip, and the cruise that includes Spray Falls takes just over two hours.

Beach at Petoskey State Park, Michigan.
Cassidy Cooper

2. Petoskey: Petoskey State Park

Situated on the north end of Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan, Petoskey State Park sits on 303 acres and offers one mile of beautiful beach that’s a mix of sand and stones. My family of rockhounds has found this to be one of Michigan’s best places to search for the Petoskey stone, the Michigan state stone. Petoskey stones are fossilized coral that predates humans by millions of years. If you aren’t up for the hunt, local gift shops feature the stone smoothed and polished.

Pro Tip: Wet Petoskey stones are easier to spot than dry ones, so take along a spray water bottle to spot the rocks more easily.

Depot Beach playground, Charlevoix, Michigan.
The playground at Depot Beach in Charlevoix, Michigan (Photo Credit: Amy Piper)

3. Charlevoix: Lake Charlevoix Beaches

Charlevoix, located between Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan, features beaches on both the great lake an inland lake. The water on Lake Charlevoix is warmer than the water in Lake Michigan, so you may prefer to try either Ferry Beach or Depot Beach on Lake Charlevoix.

Ferry Beach is a sandy beach with a swimming area. Add to your water play with stand-up paddle boarding rentals and a boat launch for those who enjoy boating. This beach features a picnic pavilion, concessions, and restrooms.

Depot Beach, named for the historic train depot on the property, is a reminder of a bygone era when visitors arrived by train. The park has a sandy beach with a covered pavilion, picnic areas, and grills. The park also offers a playground, volleyball net, and restrooms.

Pro Tip: If you prefer upscale hotels over camping, the newly redesigned Hotel Earl in downtown Charlevoix makes the perfect place to rest your head after a day at the beach. Many of the original features designed by the hotel’s namesake and original architect, Earl Young, are still in place, including the stunning stone fireplace. These authentic details add to the original charm of this luxury boutique hotel.

Ludington State Park Beach House, Michigan.
Ludington State Park

4. Ludington: Stearns Park Beach And Ludington State Park Beach

Centrally located within walking distance of downtown, publications consistently rate Stearns Park Beach as one of the top beaches in Michigan. Stearns Park Beach features a half-mile of sugar-sand beach along Lake Michigan’s shoreline. This free city beach offers many amenities, like water sport rentals, sand volleyball courts, a bathhouse, food concessions, picnic tables, and grills. Adjacent to the beach, you’ll find a mini-golf course, shuffleboard courts, and a skate park. Another fun thing to do here is exploring the walkable pier to see the Ludington North Breakwater Light, a historic lighthouse voted one of the top 10 lighthouses in the United States.

It was just too difficult to choose which beach was the best in Ludington, so I didn’t. Ludington State Park Beach is a bit calmer than Stearns. While you’ll need to drive to this beach if you’re staying downtown, Ludington State Park Beach has seven miles of Lake Michigan coastline fringed by grassy dunes. If you prefer a more spacious beach with a restroom and concessions nearby, you’ll want to check out the expansive Lake Michigan beach area past the state park check-in booth.

Pro Tip: On the fourth Thursday of the summer months, take a blanket to Stearns Park Beach and hang out for an evening of free entertainment. Sunset Beach Bonfires offers music, bonfires, and sunsets.

5. Mears: Silver Lake Sand Dunes

With 2,000 acres of dunes that include a 450-acre scramble area, Silver Lake Dunes offers the best dune off-roading in Michigan. You can take your own off-road vehicle (ORV) with the proper permits or rent a dune buggy or ORV for a day on the dunes. If you’re a bit hesitant about cruising the dunes by driving yourself, try a 40-minute tour with Mac Wood’s Dune Rides so that you can sit back and enjoy the ride.

Pro Tip: Silver Lake Sand Dunes open season is April 1 through October 31. Open season is when ORVs are allowed on the dunes.

Grand Haven City Beach and Pier.
Lydia Margaret / Shutterstock.com

6. Grand Haven: Grand Haven City Beach

Grand Haven City Beach sits between Grand Haven State Park beach and a beachside restaurant called The Noto’s at the Bilmar. This sandy beach along Lake Michigan has limited free parking and no entrance fee. It’s an excellent beach for dog owners who want to walk Rover.

Grand Haven sponsors an annual Sand Sculpture Contest at Grand Haven City Beach. For 40 years, this event has offered locals and tourists opportunities to create everything from sophisticated sandcastles to slippery swimmers and sharks. But rest assured, you won’t find any sharks in the Great Lakes.

Pro Tip: Memorial Day through Labor Day, dogs are welcome on a leash before 11:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m. The rest of the year, they’re allowed on a leash anytime.

7. Holland: Holland State Park Beach

Located on the Lake Michigan coastline, Holland State Park features sugar-sand beaches perfect for building detailed sandcastles. Be sure to finish the day at the beach by watching the flaming orange-yellow sunset over Lake Michigan.

Holland State Park includes lots of Great Lakes nautical fun. The lighthouse, affectionately known as Big Red, is Michigan’s most photographed lighthouse. Sometimes during the summer, you can take a tour of Big Red. If you want to add Great Lakes fishing to your vacation fun, the beach boat launches make that possible too.

Pro Tip: Visitors to Michigan state parks need a Recreation Passport; you can buy one at the park for a fee. This passport will get you into more than 100 Michigan state parks.

FotoKina / Shutterstock.com

8. Saugatuck: Oval Beach

Located on Opal Drive off Perryman Street, Oval Beach, ranked as one of the top 25 beaches globally, features soft silvery sands. MTV rated this Lake Michigan beach as one of the top five beaches in the nation, so it should be on your bucket list. Oval Beach offers many amenities, such as restrooms, a concession stand, grills and picnic tables, and playgrounds.

For those who enjoy an active lifestyle, one way to reach Oval Beach is via Mount Baldhead. First, start in Saugatuck and cross the Kalamazoo River by a historic hand-pulled ferry. Then climb the 302 wooden steps to the top of Mount Baldy, where you can see the towns of Douglas and Saugatuck. Finally, descend to the beach with grassy sand. Entering in this manner solves any issues with parking capacity or fees. 

Pro Tip: Be aware that the parking lot may reach capacity during the summer months, and you may need to wait for parking. You can also hike, bike, or walk in, which will save you the parking fee (around $6).

Tammy Chesney / Shutterstock.com

9. St. Joseph: Silver Beach

Located at the St. Joseph River entrance, Silver Beach County Park features a wide beach on Lake Michigan. Of the park’s 2,450 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline, they have about 1,600 feet for a public swimming area. The star attraction at Silver Beach is the carousel, with its two chariots and 48 unique figures. Choose your favorite figure and ride with the music under 1,000 twinkle lights. Explore some of the local shops or take a walk on the pier.

Sitting about 200 yards off Lake Michigan’s beach, Silver Beach Pizza in St. Joseph offers pizza fashioned from dough that’s made from scratch daily. Favorite pizzas include the Carousel, a nod to the carousel over the tracks, and the Garlic Greek. Your grandkids will adore that the train stops at the adjoining train station.

Silver Beach is in a country park, not a Michigan State Park. The Michigan State Park Recreation Passport will not provide admission to Silver Beach; you will need to pay the associated county park fees.

Pro Tip: Don’t confuse Silver Lake State Park and Silver Beach, as they are at opposite ends of the state. Silver Lake State Park is in Mears, to the north, while Silver Beach is in St. Joseph, to the south.

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