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Remembering the ‘goofy little Italian’ Father Jake Foglio
Celebrating spooky season safely during COVID-19
Former MSU football chaplain Father Jake Foglio died Monday, Oct. 5 at the age of 91.
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Remembering the ‘goofy little Italian’ Father Jake Foglio By Joe Dandron firstname.lastname@example.org At times in our lives, we run across people who have an inexplicable impact on whoever they meet. Catholic Priest, MSU faculty member and former MSU football chaplain, Father Jake Foglio, was exactly that person for many. Foglio, who worked at St. John’s Catholic Church in East Lansing, died Monday, Oct. 5 at age 91. His funeral service was held on Oct. 12. “He was ridiculously funny, he was holy and kind and thoughtful,” Father Joe Krupp, who served as a chaplain with Foglio for the MSU football team during Mark Dantonio’s tenure, said. “And was one of those rare people who was very smart and very humble. That’s a combo you don’t often encounter.” Like many former MSU football players and people who encountered him, Krupp remembers Foglio for what he was: a stout, old, Italian man who had a voice that boomed seemingly from the heavens that he spoke so often about. He served in and around the MSU and the East Lansing community for more than 40 years. He was a mentor, confidante, and “father to many,” Krupp said. Even on the football field, at practices and in a church, the guy who was hidden behind the piles of lineman and linebackers on the MSU sideline was a leader of faith in the East Lansing community. “He never met a stranger,” former director
Father Jake Foglio at the football spring game on April 1, 2017. Photo Courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications.
of personnel and player development Dino Folino said. “If he opened his shirt, his heart (would’ve) come out.” The impact he had was wide-reaching well beyond his short arms. It touched not only the hearts of those in Mid-Michigan and East Lansing but coaches and athletes alike in the MSU football program.
‘HE WAS TOUGH’
Foglio was born to an Italian family in New Rochelle, New York on March 23, 1929. Foglio, the last name, might give that away. He started out at Southwest Missouri State College, then went to Michigan State University in 1948. He graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications to begin working in radio broadcasting. His first job was at WTVB
in Coldwater, Michigan. His life changed suddenly in the early ’50s however, as the United States was thrust into the Korean War, one that was against the then-perceived threat of communism. A man who largely lived his life to preach peace was drafted into the United States Marine Corps where he served until 1953 in the Atlantic Ocean. “He was tough now,” Folino said, remembering the arguments and fiery attitude of Foglio. In 1970, Foglio’s path reached to how many know him today: He became an ordained Roman Catholic Priest after attending Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, where he originally graduated from in 1957. “You could go back and talk to guys who played in the 60s and they’ll talk about him like he was their best friend,” Folino said, who became a part of the MSU football program in 1988. Foglio served as the Spartan team priest for more than 50 years. Starting at the end of Duffy Daughtery’s tenure, he worked under former Spartan head coaches Daughtery, Denny Stolz, Darryl Rogers, Muddy Waters, George Perles, Nick Saban, Bobby Williams, Morris Watts, John L. Smith and Mark Dantonio for a total of 48 seasons with the program.
‘HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN UNCLE JAKE?’
“Man, how do you explain uncle Jake?” Krupp said, in a broken voice. “He was a teacher, he was a priest, he was an uncle, he was a brother, he was all those things ... he was a boxing instructor for the Marines.” “You sat down with him for an hour … and he’d
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S POT L I G H T talk your ear off,” Krupp said. “He would. But if you started talking about your pain, he would shut right down and hone in. You know what I’m saying? It was kind of badass to sit there and watch this man that truly could talk your ear off, but when you had a need, he stopped and he became laser-focused.” Oftentimes, clergymen and priests are seen as just that, especially for young people in college, but for Krupp and others, Foglio was so much more than that. He was a friend, Krupp said. “Father Jake was great, definitely a mentor,” former Spartan offensive lineman Travis Jackson said. “Someone that was always around that you could count on for good advice and we always had great talks with him. I think the best way to put it ... he brings light into your life.” As a priest, Krupp said, you often put on a front. The toughness Foglio, who Krupp says was “cut” into his late 70s from the years of boxing, exemplified was what inspired him. “I believe in God, I mean right, obviously? He showed me what that looks like,” Krupp said. “When we try to be like God in everyday world, he showed me what that looks like … there was a point in 2011 where I was low, man, I had a lot going on in my life and it was tough. When you preach you keep that stiff upper lip for everyone else but nobody knew I was struggling and I saw him and I just poured out my heart.” “He just started praying for me,” Krupp said. “That’s what he would’ve done … that goofy little Italian.”
‘HOLY CRAP, WHO IS THIS GUY?’
A talented high school football prospect and practicing Catholic, Tyler O’Connor grew up a Notre Dame fan. When O’Connor led the Spartans, who were No. 12 in the country on that cool September evening in 2016, to a 36-28 road win at then No.
Father Jake Foglio with an MSU player at the 2017 Holiday Bowl. Photo Courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications.
18 Notre Dame in one of the first and probably most important starts of his collegiate career — he ran to find Foglio. “My favorite picture of all time from playing at Michigan State is a picture of him and I after the Notre Dame game,” O’Connor said. “It was just kind of like an interesting kind of twist and someone got a great picture of us after that game. That's my favorite picture to this day of me when I played at Michigan State.” That favorite photo is of an embrace between two men of faith, one who quarterbacked a team that had just come off an appearance in the Col-
lege Football Playoff — that then went 3-9 in one of Dantonio’s final seasons. O’Connor threw for 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions that season. The other was a man who was there through the good and the bad — the ups and downs of playing a constantly maligned position at one of the highest levels. O’Connor leaned on him, not just in that photo, but always, he said. “Thinking of tough times, my senior year wasn’t all sunshine and daisies and roses, right? It was not pretty,” O’Connor said. “On Sundays when we would have our film review and stuff like that he came in after team meetings when everyone was kind of done and heading home for the night. (Then) we would sit back and talk for a little bit, there was no one else around … he stayed late and not that I ever begged him to but he was always (available).” Even as he dwarfed in size next to some of the best athletes in the midwest, Foglio’s impact on O’Connor and others proved to not judge someone for their physical appearance. “He could muster up some strength in his voice,” O’Connor said. “Like the guys giving the pump up speeches before the games and he’s an 80-year-old or something guy at the time and he’d hit you in the chest with his fist that he used to box with and it’d hit you and you’d be like, ‘Holy crap, who is this guy?’” A voice that boomed above the crack of helmets and screams of coaches is not easy to forget. “He was just always around,” Former walk-on MSU football player John Jakubik said. “Just one of the presences that when he’s there you feel it, didn’t speak a whole lot. (A) really small man, but just one of them cats that when they speak you sit up straight, you listen ... soak it all up.”
AN IMPACT BEYOND HIS LIFETIME
Foglio had a well-documented relationship with Dantonio, MSU men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo and his alma mater: MSU. The short “goofy little Italian” as Krupp called him, even gave a commencement address in 2001. Foglio’s prominence extends beyond his life, with the Foglio Chair of Spirituality in the MSU College of Arts & Letters that was established in 2018. Its purpose is to leave something behind. As he departs those who loved and cared about him, his legacy remains with the endowment that helps fund faculty positions at the university. “It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Father Jake Foglio, a man of great faith who cared so much not only for Michigan State University,” Izzo said in a statement. “But for our students and our student-athletes, especially our football team, during my years here. He was a person who you could confide in, and who cared for you and your well-being, regardless of who you were. He loved you before you even got a chance to know him. He was as real as they come.” That realness is what formed the relationships that so many reminisce on. Krupp, who was extremely close with Foglio, always had him there for his own struggles in his lowest moments. “The big thing for me is, I believe Jesus was the son of God and that God took flesh and walked among us … we call that incarnational, right?” Krupp said. “That literally means taking on flesh. I think that's what Uncle Jake did, I think he put flesh on God for a lot of people.” He wasn’t perfect, Krupp said, but he was the example that many strived for in his life. From the Thanksgiving dinners at the Folino’s to his final breath. “I miss the old man,” Krupp said.
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A giant skeleton greets people walking around downtown Kalamazoo to celebrate SkeleTour, an annual event held in October. Photo by Lauren DeMay
By Jack Armstrong email@example.com The leaves are changing and houses are decorated with fake skeletons and spiders, it’s the spookiest time of the year. This year, Halloween will undoubtedly look different with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but East Lansing residents can still look forward to a safe and fun Halloween. City officials acknowledged in an Oct. 9 press release that traditional trick-or-treating is one of the higher-risk Halloween activities and encouraged community members to consider safer ways to celebrate Halloween. “I know a lot of folks may be concerned about having bunches of strangers come up to their door, so we want to let them know that it’s okay, if you choose to not participate,” City Council Member Lisa Babcock said. “We respect that decision.” Trick-or-treaters are urged to wear a mask (a costume mask does not count) and to practice social distancing, according to the release. Participating homeowners are encouraged to use duct tape to mark six-foot lines in front of their homes and leading to the front door, and to position a disinfected distribution table between themselves and trick-or-treaters. The release also suggests that homeowners that do not feel comfortable distributing candy should keep their porch lights off. For residents who aren’t comfortable trickor-treating amid COVID-19, the city will be hosting other Halloween activities. In replacement of East Lansing’s annual Great Pumpkin Walk, the East Lansing Downtown Management Board will be hosting the Great Pumpkin Photo Contest. “Pumpkin Walk is such a special East Lansing event ... and because of COVID, unfortunately, we just don’t think we can do it safely,” Babcock said. “So we wanted to do something that gave at least the feel of Pumpkin Walk.” City officials announced the contest in a press release on Oct. 14. “Community members are invited to submit up to five photos taken of their family, roommates and/or animal pals in costume (with pumpkins) for a chance to win a prepaid Visa gift card and/or a downtown East Lansing parking voucher,” the release said. Photos may be taken anywhere, but the top prize will be rewarded to the best photo taken in Downtown East Lansing. “There will also be a Great Pumpkin Selfie 6
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Halloween decor in East Lansing on Oct. 18. Photo by Annie Barker
Station at the East Lansing Farmers Market on Oct. 18 and Oct. 25 for those looking for a perfect fall photo scene for their submissions,” the release said. City officials hope that this new activity will encourage community members to get into the Halloween spirit while still remaining safe. In addition to Halloween guidelines, the release reminds participants to wear a mask at all times when visiting downtown. More information on the photo contest can be found on City of East Lansing’s website. The Center for Disease Control, or CDC, website also features a list of low-risk Halloween activities, such as carving pumpkins with members of your household or doing the same outdoors with friends at a safe distance. CDC also suggests a Halloween movie night with people you live with. Halloween movie fans can also host a virtual movie night or with friends and family using websites like Scener, which allows users to stream movies and TV shows in a virtual room together. Decorating the living space, hosting a virtual costume contest and admiring Halloween decorations are also classified as low-risk. A Halloween-themed scavenger hunt that takes participants past decorated houses is considered a safe option as well, according to CDC guidelines. Babcock said that there is one safety tip that is extremely important during the holiday season. “Don’t get between me and the chocolate,” she said. TUES DAY, O CTO B ER 20, 2020
S PORTS/CI T Y
A look into Michigan State athletics’ COVID-19 data
New ELPD Chief Kim Johnson gives insight, shares goals for the department
By Eli McKown firstname.lastname@example.org
By Hannah Brock email@example.com
Since welcoming athletes back on to campus for voluntary practices June 15, Michigan State athletics has conducted more than 2,660 COVID-19 clinical polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests on athletes and staff members, with 151 total positive tests, according to the latest release on Oct. 16. Across MSU student athletes, there is a 5.7% positivity rate, According to the Food and Drug Administration, PCR tests are the nasal swab diagnostic tests that detect the virus’s genetic material. This is separate from antigen tests, which detect the virus’s specific proteins on its surface. Both tests are generally taken if a person has an active COVID-19 infection, whether it’s symptomatic or asymptomatic. Big Ten football and hockey began antigen testing six times a week as well as cardiac screening. Michigan State’s reported data up to this point reflects both athletes and staff in all sports participating in on-campus training. During the Michigan State football team’s quarantine in late July, athletes and staff went through “surveillance testing” after finding four staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Their following release leaves the exact amount of staff tested during the surveillance testing unclear, using the words “more than 100 staff members” to identify those that had been tested since June 15. The week of Aug. 7-14 was similarly worded with “more than 250 tests” given to staff and athletes, leaving the exact number unclear. The first four weeks of reporting included the exact number of athletes tested, but not the exact number of staff tested, only that no staff member tested positive. Michigan State athletics confirms all 148 positive tests in the press releases, but the total confirmed number of tests administered excludes 73 tests. MSU Athletic Department spokesperson Matt Larson confirmed that the total number of tests from the latest release are accurate. For the Big Ten, team positivity rate is one of the most important factors in determining whether practices or games can be held in a given week for football and now hockey. In their extensive COVID-19 guidelines, a team positivity rate — athletes only — of more than 5% and a population positivity rate — players and staff — of more than7.5% would require a minimum seven-day postponement of team activities and games, or until positivity rates improve.
Newly appointed East Lansing Police Department, or ELPD, Chief Kim Johnson said he hopes to focus on the community as he begins his position. Johnson started as chief Oct. 5. His first goal was getting to know the command staff. “That was my first priority because I believe in a team concept,” Johnson said. “We can only do so much with how far the team takes us. And I can’t do it alone.” Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Michigan State. After graduating, he began working at ELPD in 1982 and stayed with the department and retired as a captain in 2012. Johnson returned to MSU during his time with ELPD to get a master’s degree in adult education. “With everything going on in the community, I still had an interest in police work, and the police chief job opened up here in East Lansing,” Johnson said. “I went ahead and I applied for the chief job. I was very fortunate to return this week as their police chief.” Additionally, Johnson wants to connect ELPD officers with the community on a more proactive basis. He hopes the community and police can get to know each other better. “We cannot demand trust from anybody, so we have to prove who we are,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, these relationships are proactive in nature.”
Photo courtesy of MSU Athletics
In July, team activities for MSU football already were halted after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19, and later turned into 20 total cases across MSU athletics. When the general student population began to return to Michigan State, cases within athletics rose again in early September, peaking at 46 cases from Sept. 7-14 and 32 cases the following week. While Big Ten football and hockey will begin antigen testing six-days a week instead of the PCR tests mentioned above, men’s and women’s basketball as well as volleyball are currently participating in Michigan State’s COVID-19 Early Detection Program five times a week. Students at Michigan State currently can only utilize the program once a week at maximum. Athletes in those three programs who are recommended for more clinical diagnostic testing will receive a PCR test. Michigan State will also conduct weekly surveillance testing going forward with the other sports outside of football, men’s and women’s basketball, hockey and volleyball. Approximately 5% of those athletes will be randomly selected each week for testing. Any athletes experiencing symptoms will have access to a test. With the Big Ten football season starting Oct. 24, there is no room for bye weeks to supplement a possible postponement. The near-daily antigen testing will be a crucial component in keeping COVID-19 from derailing football games in the Big Ten.
Kim Johnson ELPD Chief of Police on October 13. Photo by Lauren DeMay
The areas that Johnson plans for more community outreach include neighborhood watch, student rental districts, local business and religious congregations. Specific plans or events haven’t been arranged due to Johnson just beginning his position. However, community outreach is a critical priority for him. “We’re going to engage as much as possible and make sure we hear what the community’s saying about what their needs are,” Johnson said. Recently, ELPD decided to hire two social workers within its police force. Johnson said they will help the department connect to the community in different venues. ELPD came under fire last February following excessive force investigations. In a deleted Facebook post, Uwimana Gasito said ELPD assaulted him while he was recording the officers, whom he believed were unlawfully arresting his friend. Following a brief investigation, ELPD found the investigation to have inconclusive evidence
later that month. ELPD sent an internal investigation to Michigan State police on March 11 for a potential criminal investigation. However, the state police exonerated the officer involved in the case just two months later, in May. Data requested by the East Lansing City Council revealed disproportionate officerinitiated contacts based on race. Johnson said ELPD has been completing training in response. Johnson said he plans to continue diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, but said he can only look forward with his position. In the upcoming weeks, he said he will attend diversity, equity and inclusion discussions alongside ELPD officers and staff. Leading up to the first East Lansing Study Committee on an Independent Police Oversight Commission meeting, Johnson said the concept is new to him. “Any input that we can gather from either commissions or committees or the public or whatever else, we’re always going to be open to listening, and maybe implement things that may work for us,” Johnson said. As Johnson begins his role as police chief, he asks for patience. He also added what needs to be changed: Will. “Things don’t change overnight,” Johnson said. “We’re planning on engaging the community, and I just ask people to be patient. Hopefully, they’ll see some results in months and years to come.”
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