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Kalamazoo

Motor Corps and Canteen volunteers from the Detroit chapter of the American Red Cross, taking a break from delivering supplies to influenza victims.
NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION

Today on Stateside, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Bill Gelineau says he would cut Medicaid costs by rewarding young women for not getting pregnant before age 23. Plus, 100 years ago, the world’s deadliest flu pandemic hit Michigan and killed roughly 19,000 people.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Shelter leader responds to complaints from homeless Kalamazoo residents in ongoing protests

Bryce Huffman

Update: 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 19

Kalamazoo police officers arrived at Bronson Park this morning to clear the park of homeless people and protestors.

The city imposed a deadline of 7 p.m. Tuesday night for homeless campers to leave the park.

Some people have been arrested, including city commissioner Shannon Sykes.

Jacob Enos / Creative Commons

The city of Kalamazoo says it will disperse a group of homeless protesters who've been occupying a downtown park, starting Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m.

child coloring with crayons
Unsplash / Aaron Burden

Today on Stateside, we hear from Kalamazoo’s city manager about the response to protests over homelessness in the city. Plus, parents aren’t the only ones with long lists of school supplies to buy before the year starts—teachers are spending their own money on classroom essentials, too.

City manager addresses protests over homelessness in Kalamazoo

 Reimund Holzhey mugshot
Courtesy of Michigan History Center

Today on Stateside, after a contentious city council meeting, Kalamazoo is moving to meet the demands of homeless protestors camped out in a downtown park. Plus, nationally-recognized teacher Matinga Ragatz talks about why she thinks school reform is hurting, not helping, students.

Kalamazoo, MI

A conflict between Kalamazoo and a group of homeless people has entered its third week.

Some people have been camping in downtown Bronson Park to protest the lack of shelter space and a long-term plan to help people find permanent housing.

The city tried to get them to move to two other places, but both were rejected, because of concerns about lack of safety or shade, among other reasons.

Jim Ritsema is Kalamazoo's city manager.  He says the protesters are violating a city ordinance by staying overnight in a park.

Kalamazoo, MI

The city of Kalamazoo has struck a deal with a group of homeless protesters who were refusing to leave a downtown park.

Derek Smith
Sarah Leeson / Michigan Radio

When you think of a mandolin, you may think of Europe during the Renaissance or bluegrass music from the South. But it turns out the mandolin actually has roots right here in Michigan.

This past weekend, mandolin enthusiasts descended on Marshall, Michigan for the Marshall Mandolin Summit. Visitors spent the weekend sharing their love for the instrument and learning under world-renowned mandolin players like Don Julin, author of Mandolin for Dummiesand Mike Marshall (no relation to the town).

Jim Roberts / National Register of Historic Places

The board of the Native American Heritage Fund (NAHF) recently convened to approve its first ever grant recipients.

The grants will go towards defraying the costs of projects to remove imagery offensive to Native Americans in Battle Creek, Belding, and Kalamazoo.

MDEQ map
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

In response to concerns about groundwater contamination, the city of Kalamazoo told Richland Township residents Wednesday night it could extend its water system to the township. 

This map shows areas of concern in the Oscoda area.  PFAs has been slowly spreading for the former U.S. Air Force base for decades.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Several Michigan members of Congress are sending a letter to the Trump administration requesting stronger safeguards for dangerous chemicals in drinking water.

A recent Harvard study found six million Americans are drinking water contaminated with a group of chemicals,  per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, better known as PFAS.

The chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of liver damage and pregnancy problems, among other health issues.

narcan kit
zamboni-man / FLICKR - https://flic.kr/p/mjCzqS

The opioid epidemic reaches every corner of life in our state.

That includes libraries, where administrators and staff are figuring out the best response if a patron appears to be under the influence of drugs, or potentially experiencing an opioid overdose.

Kalamazoo Ladies Library reading room
Courtesy of the Kalamazoo Ladies Library

The nation's oldest documented structure built for women, by women, was a lending library right here in Michigan. 

The Kalamazoo Ladies Library Association (LLA), loosely formed in 1852, has been holding meetings in its historic red brick Venetian Gothic style building since 1879.

Marge Kars, a former president of the organization, joined Stateside to talk about its history as the city’s first lending library.

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Voters went to the polls yesterday in several cities across the state, including Jackson, Kalamazoo and Kalkaska.

Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Doug Tribou discuss the results.

Man in bike gear standing with bike
Photo by Chris Fry Gobble/Courtesy of Paul Gobble

In June 2016, a group of cyclists known as the Chain Gang went out for their weekly ride in Kalamazoo County. About 20 minutes later in Cooper Township, a pickup truck plowed into the group, killing five riders. In Kalamazoo County Court on Tuesday, a jury convicted the driver, Charles Pickett, Jr., of second-degree murder. Pickett was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash.

Charles Pickett Jr.
Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office

A jury in Kalamazoo found Charles Pickett Jr. guilty of second-degree murder today. 

The Battle Creek man was under the influence of depressants when he crashed his pickup truck into nine cyclists in June 2016. Five died and four were injured a result of the crash. 

Pickett, who knowingly consumed a handful of pills hours before the crash, could spend the rest of his life in prison, but he has yet to be sentenced. 

Gavel
Joe Gratz / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The trial for the Battle Creek man who allegedly hit and killed five cyclists with his pickup truck continued today. One witness says he was struggling mentally on the day of the incident.

Charles Pickett Jr. currently faces five counts of second degree murder for the June 2016 accident which left five dead and four injured. Pickett is accused of driving under the influence of muscle relaxers at the time of the crash.

cyclists on road
pxhere

In June 2016, a group of cyclists known as the Chain Gang headed out for a ride in Kalamazoo County. About 20 minutes later in Cooper Township, a pickup truck plowed into the group, killing five of the riders.

Yesterday, the criminal trial for the driver of that truck, Charles Pickett, Jr. began.

Michigan Radio’s Bryce Huffman is covering the trial. He spoke with Morning Edition host Doug Tribou.

The city of Kalamazoo
Mxobe

The city of Kalamazoo has made headlines with its unique Kalamazoo Promise: anonymous donors pledging to pay up to 100 percent of college tuition for the kids who graduate from the city's public schools.

Here comes another effort: Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo. The vision? Turn Kalamazoo into a community where no adult or child is left behind because of poverty or inequality of opportunity.

The Fountain of the Pioneers in 1940
Mamie L. Austin / Kalamazoo Public Library

Kalamazoo's Fountain of the Pioneers will be removed later this year.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports the Kalamazoo City Commission voted 5-1 early Tuesday following a city commission meeting that began Monday night on the future of the Bronson Park fountain.  

SCREENGRAB - NEWS4JAX / WWW.NEWS4JAX.COM

After 17 students were killed in a Florida school last week, some high school students in Kalamazoo decided they needed to do something.

Under the banner of “Students Fighting Guns Since Adults Won’t,” eight students drafted a petition and put it up on Change.org, a popular petition website.

user: jdurham / morguefile

The Kalamazoo Public Schools are closed until Monday.

The district is calling off school today and Friday because of widespread illness among students and staff.

A message on the district website says that people are experiencing "flu, flu-like, or gastrointestinal symptoms" and the schools will be cleaned before they re-open next week.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Some West Michigan residents are being advised to keep their water running this winter.

Kalamazoo and Muskegon Heights issued frozen water advisories this week.

There are lead service lines in older communities across Michigan. Because of their age and population size, it’s fair to say the bulk of Michigan’s lead service lines are in cities in Southeast Michigan.

I spent a lot of time trying to determine which Detroit suburbs have lead service lines and how many. I wanted to see how far out into the suburbs lead was found in underground water pipes.

It was relatively easy (albeit an expensive FOIA bill near $2000 for these "public documents") to track down which communities were testing lead lines. But figuring out how many lead pipes were in each community is nearly impossible.

Jim Roberts / National Register of Historic Places

Officials in Kalamazoo have agreed to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day, but the city hasn't decided what to do with a statue that some say celebrates the forced removal of Native Americans.

Charles Pickett Jr.
Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office

The Michigan Court of Appeals will not hear an appeal of second-degree murder charges against a man involved in a fatal bicycle crash last year.

Chief Clerk Jerome Zimmer wrote July 28 that Charles Pickett Jr.'s leave to appeal was denied "for failure to persuade the Court of the need for immediate appellate review."

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Kalamazoo is the latest Michigan city to look to expand medical marijuana offerings.

The city will have two public meetings next week to discuss proposed ordinance changes that would allow commercial medical marijuana shops in some parts of town. The changes are allowed under a set of state laws passed last year

Clyde Robinson is the city attorney.

"None of this has been adopted yet by the city commission," he says. "So we’re looking for input into what we’re going to be recommending to the city commission."

Kalamazoo
Public domain

Kalamazoo County plans to issue its own local ID cards starting next year. County commissioners narrowly approved the plan Wednesday.

The county estimates 27,000 residents currently don't have photo IDs. Many business and community leaders back the plan to create new local ID cards for county residents. But others opposed the plan because the cards could be available to some undocumented immigrants.  

County Commissioner John Gisler was one of those opposed. He says he doesn’t agree with current immigration law.

Bicylists
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

It’s been almost a year since one of the nation’s worst bicycling accidents. A pickup truck driver struck nine people riding just north of Kalamazoo on June 7. Five of the friends in the “chain gang” were killed.

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