Kalamazoo

Stateside
11:11 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Cleanup continues four years after the Enbridge Energy oil spill in Michigan

Credit Steve Carmondy / Michigan Radio

This week marks four years since a pipeline operated by Enbridge Energy burst. It was a segment of Line 6B located just downstream from the pump station in Marshall.

The result? More than 1,000,000 gallons of oil have been recovered from Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

Michigan Radio's West Michigan reporter Lindsey Smith and The Environment Report’s Rebecca Williams joined Stateside to talk about the effects of the spill four years later.

The spill affected about 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River, from Marshall downstream close to Kalamazoo. The bulk of the oil has been cleaned up. Smith said the river is still useable; you can swim, fish, and do other things that you could do before the spill. 

However, cleanup is still going on. The EPA is dredging Morrow Lake this summer and there are still areas of the river that are closed. Williams said there might always be some oil left in the area.

“What agencies here in Michigan have said is that you often don’t want to take all the oil out of sensitive habitats because you could end up doing more damage,” Williams said.

Smith said the dredging process can be very invasive and hurt a lot of habitats. After the ordered dredging is over, there will be more passive collection, that won’t be as harsh on the environment.

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Education
7:20 pm
Sat June 14, 2014

House speaker's dad to join Western Michigan University board

James Bolger earned a master's degree in public administration from Western Michigan.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed House Speaker Jase Bolger's father to serve on the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees.

James Bolger is a retired Michigan State Police official who lives in Whitehall. The Kalamazoo Gazette says he'll fill the seat vacated when Trustee Michelle Crumm resigned.

Bolger will complete Crumm's eight-year term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

Bolger earned a master's degree in public administration from Western Michigan.

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Arts & Culture
6:13 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Catholic Church advises parishioners in Kalamazoo to avoid ordination of female priest

Only men can be ordained priests in the Catholic Church.
Ryan Basilio Creative Commons

Leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo are warning parishioners not to take part in an ordination ceremony this weekend, because the person being ordained is a woman.

In a weekly newsletter, Bishop Paul Bradley reminded parishioners who take part that they will be kicked out of the church. Those who witness what he called the “simulation” ceremony must confess before receiving sacraments of the church. The Diocese did not return requests for comment on this story.

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Arts & Culture
12:01 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Artpod on writers, good stories, and blind luck

Keillor talks with Michigan Radio about his new book.

Today on Artpod, we're talking with writers: how they stop being terrible and start being good.

How they start with their own weirdness and turn it into talent.

And how Midwest writers can take anything - learning how to make fudge or throwing tomatoes at their sister's butt - and turn it into a great story.  

First, we'll hear from Garrison Keillor, who's celebrating 40 years of "A Prairie Home Companion" and the release of his new book of essays, poetry and memoir.

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Arts & Culture
4:19 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Kalamazoo deemed a literary hot spot

The Michigan News Agency is an independent bookstore in downtown that helps to promote the work of local authors.
Credit user: Kevin Martini / Flickr

What city would get your vote as one of Michigan's literary hot spots? 

Writer Anna Clark would give her vote to Kalamazoo. Her recent story in the Detroit Free Press is titled Kalamazoo quietly emerging as a literary hot spot.

She joined us today to tell us why. 

Listen to the full interview above. 

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Stateside
4:46 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Gilmore International Keyboard Festival underway

Gilmore Festival posters.
Credit Gilmore Festival / Facebook

Even though life took him in a somewhat different direction, Irving S. Gilmore has turned Kalamazoo into a place that truly celebrates piano music.

The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival is in full swing and runs till May 10.

Dan Gustin, the director of the Gilmore, joined us today.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Business
12:50 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Kalamazoo may be indirectly affected by proposed merger of 2 giant drug companies

Pfizer confirmed this week that it wants to merge or combine operations with British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A proposed $100 billion merger of two giant drug companies may have an impact on thousands of people in Michigan.

Pfizer confirmed it’s talking with Britain's AstraZeneca about merging or combining their operations.

Pfizer employs about 2,300 people in Michigan, most of them in Kalamazoo County.

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Politics & Government
4:38 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Number of Kalamazoo traffic stops cut by half after racial profiling study released

Inventorchris Creative Commons

Kalamazoo Public Safety officers are making dramatically fewer traffic stops. Chief Jeff Hadley says the data reflect a change in the department’s strategies.

Back in September, the Kalamazoo police department released a study that showed, among other things, that African-American drivers were almost twice as likely as Caucasian drivers to get pulled over in the city.

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Environment & Science
9:11 am
Thu February 20, 2014

EPA says decision about Kalamazoo’s ‘Mount PCB’ will come this summer

Many residents can see the 80-acre, fenced-off Allied site from their backyards in Kalamazoo.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency hopes to select a cleanup plan by this summer for an old landfill site in Kalamazoo that's full of toxic material.

The Allied site served as a dumping ground for the paper mill industry for decades. There are 1.5 million cubic yards of material at the site laced with polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCBs. Some neighbors have dubbed it Mount PCB.

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Health
5:22 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

More than 300 in Kalamazoo high school to be tested for tuberculosis

TB skin test
CDC wikimedia commons

Health officials in Kalamazoo are trying to ease parents’ concerns over a recent case of tuberculosis. A high school student tested positive for the bacterial infection last week.

“It sounds scary, but it’s not that scary,” said Linda Vail, director of the Kalamazoo County Health Department.

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Stateside
4:26 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

One Michigan family's journey with autism

user blwphotography Flickr

What can a parent do to reach an autistic child, to forge some path through the barrier of autism spectrum disorder – a path that might somehow lead to greater understanding of that child’s mind, heart and soul?

An interview with Bruce Mills, professor of English at Kalamazoo College.

That challenge is facing more and more families in America.

In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control found that one in 150 school-age children had been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder. By 2008, that figure was one in 88 – an increase of 78%.

Consider more recent figures from a different government agency: the National Center for Health Statistics estimates that today, one out of every 50 school-age kids has the condition.

The experts tell us these higher numbers may not be so much a matter of more kids having ASD, but rather that health officials are getting better at counting those who do.

But behind all the statistics are the day-to-day stories of families coping with the often crushing challenge of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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Politics & Government
12:47 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

Kalamazoo leaders vote on a new city budget Monday

Kalamazoo City Commission chambers (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

On Monday, the Kalamazoo City Commission is scheduled to vote on its city budget.

The budget plan commissioners will vote on reflects Kalamazoo’s basic problem: rising legacy costs.

Much of the more than $2 million budget gap is due to the increasing costs of retiree health care.

The budget covers much of the gap with one-time funding. That means a longer term solution will have to be found.

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Stateside
4:57 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Two men from Kalamazoo write and perform 'The Michigan Poem'

Kirk Latimer and Gabriel Giron performing "The Michigan Poem."
Facebook

(Editor's note: This interview was first broadcast on October 28th, 2013)

Take poetry and the spoken word.

Mix in two stories of redemption.

Stir in a meeting at a Poetry Slam.

And top it with a poem about Michigan.

Do all of that, and you have Kinetic Affect. They are a spoken-word performing duo from Kalamazoo. And maybe you've seen their performance of "The Michigan Poem" making its way around the web: their straight from the heart poem about what it means to be from Michigan.

The Kinetic Affect duo Kirk Latimer and Gabriel Giron joined us today from Kalamazoo.

Listen to the full interview above.

Business
4:13 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

American-US Airways merger could affect Michigan air travelers

American Airlines (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan air travelers could see some changes with the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.

The merger creating the world's largest airline became official today.  But the new American Airlines has relatively few flights flying into and out of six Michigan airports.   

Michael Conway is a spokesman for Detroit Metro Airport.  He says the newly merged airline carries only about 6.6% of passengers flying out of Detroit.

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Environment & Science
11:46 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Federal regulators say PCB cleanup in Kalamazoo River gaining momentum

Portage Creek in November 2013 after EPA dredged and refilled sections that were contaminated by PCBs.
Paul Ruesch Environmental Protection Agency

People in Kalamazoo won’t have to wait much longer for a federal decision about what to do with an old landfill site that's full of toxic material.

The Allied site is where a paper mill dumped waste for decades. The pile is laced with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). They can cause cancer and other health effects, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Politics & Government
8:37 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Kalamazoo's early retirement offers save city roughly $7 million

Monday night's city commission meeting was more of a party with balloons, munchies and cake.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The city government in Kalamazoo is working through the final stages of a major transition.

Kalamazoo is wrapping up an early retirement incentive it first offered city workers a couple years ago.

“I think we will be affected by this early retirement initiative for a long time to come,” Mayor Bobby Hopewell said.

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Environment & Science
1:55 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

PCB cleanup in Portage Creek in Kalamazoo finishing under budget, ahead of schedule

EPA workers have dredge and refilled sections of Portage Creek in downtown Kalamazoo that were contaminated by PCBs. Soon the water will be rerouted through the creek.
Paul Ruesch Environmental Protection Agency

For decades, paper mills dumped waste into the Kalamazoo River. Some of it had polychlorinated biphenyls; or PCBs. People can be exposed to PCBs by eating fish from the Kalamazoo River. PCBs can cause cancer, and other health problems.

Workers are wrapping up a project to remove toxic chemicals from Portage Creek near downtown Kalamazoo.

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Business
3:46 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

Bell's Brewery coming to Grand Rapids airport

Bell's Eccentric Cafe in downtown Kalamazoo
Credit bellsbeer.com

A popular Kalamazoo craft beer brewer will open a location soon in the Grand Rapids area.

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Politics & Government
8:25 am
Thu August 22, 2013

In this morning’s news: Detroit primary recount, ACLU suit, and the Occupiers

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

State of Michigan will re-count Detroit ballots
A state election panel will be tasked with certifying the results from the Detroit mayoral primary.  This comes after the Wayne County election board refused to certify the votes.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports that the county will have to pay the costs of having the state re-tabulate the ballots. 

FBI may continue to use demographic information
A federal appeals court has sided with the FBI in a case about racial and ethnic mapping.  The Detroit chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit against the FBI because it refuses to share information about its use of demographic data in investigations.  Michigan Radio’s Rina Miller reports that “a federal appeals court says the FBI is allowed to withhold some information so that criminals and terrorists don't know what the bureau is looking into.”

Occupy comes to Kalamazoo
The Occupy movement is back in Michigan this week.  Activists from around the country will take over a park in downtown Kalamazoo to bring attention to issues ranging from the economy to racism.  Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reports that “unlike other Occupy events, the activists say no one will be sleeping overnight in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park.”

Stateside
5:48 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

The best Gibson guitars were made by the 'Kalamazoo Gals'

The 1944 Gibson workforce.
Dr. John Thomas

An interview with Dr. John Thomas and Kalamazoo Gal Irene Stearns.

The “Banner” Gibson guitar is considered one of the finest acoustic guitars ever made.

Over 9,000 of these Banners were carefully built during World War II.

But Gibson company records show the company had shifted to producing goods for the war effort and not instruments, and most of the men who made those Gibsons at the headquarters in Kalamazoo were off fighting the war.

So who made these guitars that are still prized 70 years later?

That question and his love of guitars drove Connecticut law professor Dr. John Thomas to discover the remarkable answer, which he turned into a book called “Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Women and Gibson’s Banner Guitars of World War Two.”

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