Kalamazoo

After criss-crossing the country for more than three decades, and spending 15 years as part of NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, Paula Poundstone has gone from Greyhound bus terminal cafeterias in the 1980s to the Comedy Hall of Fame. Now, she’s back in Michigan.

The American Goldfinch
Rodney Campbell

You might be aware that the Great Lakes region is a major migratory bird flyway.

What you might not know is that hundreds of millions of those birds will crash into windows and die.

Sarah Reding is part of a movement that’s trying to help reduce that problem. Reding is the vice president of conservation at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

Screenshot from GoFundMe

Just a few weeks after the Kalamazoo shooting, Gene Kopf, the father of a survivor of the tragedy, asked the Democratic presidential candidates in their debate in Flint on March 6 how they would make decrease gun violence in the country.

His daughter, Abigail Kopf, was shot in the head during a shooting rampage in Kalamazoo on Feb. 20. Though the four women she was with died that day, she is alive and recovering in the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids.

The seats in the gym at Muskegon Heights High School were packed for a "unity" game Wednesday night.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A high school basketball game in Muskegon Heights Wednesday night united two West Michigan communities dealing with violence.

Shelby High School was supposed to play Muskegon Heights, but Shelby pulled out, citing a shooting after a game in the Heights last month.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell
Kalamazoo Public Library

Kalamazoo has joined the list of American cities suddenly thrust into the spotlight because of a mass shooting that left six people dead and two wounded.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell tells us that the investigation is still ongoing and that he hopes to speak with the victims or their families. He has not had a chance to speak with the family of the alleged shooter.

Colorful used cars
Zelda Richardson

Authorities have charged Uber driver Jason Brian Dalton with six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, and eight firearms violations after a shooting spree in Kalamazoo Saturday.

Gunning down victims at random, Dalton allegedly drove from one target to another for nearly five hours. Dalton apparently picked up passengers in between the shootings.

Victims of a shooting spree are being mourned in Kalamazoo, Mich., where Jason Dalton, the man suspected of killing six people Saturday, was arraigned Monday. Police are trying to determine a motive for what seem to be random attacks.

A mugshot and RAP sheet of Jason Dalton, who police say went on a shooting spree that lasted for hours in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Saturday.
Kalamazoo Public Safety

The suspect in a mass shooting over the weekend in Kalamazoo is expected to be arraigned Monday.

Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Dept

Update 5:38 p.m.:

The suspect in the Kalamazoo shootings, Jason Dalton, picked up at least one group of Uber passengers after he allegedly shot six people and injured two.

NPR has spoken with an Uber rider who asked us to only use his middle name, Derek, because he's concerned about speaking publicly about this shooting investigation.

Kalamazoo College names new president

Jan 12, 2016
Kalamazoo College

Kalamazoo College has announced who will become the institution's 18th president.

Jorge Gonzalez will take over the role after current president Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran retires this summer.

Gonzalez is currently vice president of academic affairs and dean at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

He grew up in Mexico, where he earned an economics degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology.

Gonzalez said a year spent studying abroad at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was a "life-changing experience" that helped shape his educational values.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING

A pair of Lansing city council members won their re-election bids, as a third fell to a political newcomer.

Incumbent Carol Wood picked up the most votes for an at-large city council seat. Patricia Spitzley picked up the other at-large seat. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s not much on the ballot in Michigan tomorrow, but what is there is sparking controversy.

There are primaries for three state house seats.

The vacancies came as a result of a retirement, a resignation, and an expulsion. 

The Go Rounds

The Go Rounds have a new album out today. It’s called, “dont go not changin.” The album features layered vocals, a strong rhythm section, stylish guitar riffs and some recorded natural sound (think rain, birds, a crowd at a bar.)

Downtown Kalamazoo.
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


What would it be like if the people of a community saw their police officers not just in crisis or in response to a crime, but in relaxed, friendly settings around town each and every day?

And what if, instead of seeing people at their worst moments, officers got to enjoy pleasant, laid-back interactions with the community?

Courtesy photo / Kalamazoo Growlers

The flooded Kalamazoo River that winds around Homer Stryker Field forced the Growlers to cancel games over the weekend. The field was inundated with water Saturday morning.

“The outdoors truly got the best of Homer Stryker Field on Outdoorsman’s Night,” read a post on the Kalamazoo Growlers’ webpage published Saturday morning.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People living in Kalamazoo can hear what federal regulators have to say about a plan to secure an old landfill full of toxic material.

The Allied Site once served as a dumping ground for the paper mill industry. There’s 1.5 million cubic yards of wood pulp laced with toxic chemicals at the site.

Many in Kalamazoo want the pile completely removed, but there’s not enough money. The paper company that caused the pollution went bankrupt.

Hidden Kalamazoo

Jun 8, 2015
Michigan Municipal League / flickr.com

There are few things more enticing than going "behind the scenes" and getting to explore something that's normally off-limits.

Add to that the chance to connect with the past, and you can see why the upcoming "Hidden Kalamazoo" tour is on its way to being another sell-out.

James Allenspach

An on-line threat has shaken a west Michigan college campus.

Officials at Kalamazoo College are asking the FBI for help in investigating a threatening note posted on an online campus message board this week.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People living near a Superfund site in Kalamazoo seem to like the compromise cleanup plan posed by the city. About a hundred people came to the first public meeting Thursday night to learn more about the plan and to provide feedback.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Kalamazoo residents will get a chance to weigh in on a compromise plan for an old landfill that’s full of toxic material. The Allied Site once served as a dumping ground for the paper mill industry.

There’s 1.5 million cubic yards of wood pulp and waste laced with toxic chemicals at the site. Kalamazoo officials want it gone. But that’s too expensive.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The city of Kalamazoo wants federal regulators to consider a new option for an old landfill that's full of toxic material. The Allied Site served as a dumping ground for the paper mill industry for decades. No mills have operated on the site since the early 1980s.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Voters in Grand Rapids, Flint and Kalamazoo approved changes to their city charters.

Kalamazoo voters approved proposals that will change the way their mayor and city commissioners are elected. The mayor will be elected separately from the rest of the city commission and commissioners will serve longer terms.

Flint voters split on six proposed changes to the way their city runs. Voters rejected proposals to eliminate the city’s ombudsman office, the city’s civil service commission and several departments.   

Jacob Enos / Creative Commons

Some residents and business owners in Kalamazoo want tighter restrictions on where people can panhandle. The city says the proposed changes come in response to just a few people who are “aggressive and intrusive” around the Kalamazoo Mall and Bronson Park.

Tonight, commissioners will consider an amendment that outlines the “right to be left alone” – making it illegal to ask for spare change from anyone sitting outside on a restaurant patio or on a bench at a public park.

ACLU attorney Dan Korobkin believes a judge would find the amendment unconstitutional.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

While all the attention on the November election has centered on statewide races for governor and Congress, there are other issues on the ballot.

Voters in several Michigan cities are being asked to make changes to their city charters in next month’s election.

For example, Kalamazoo voters are being asked if they want to make major changes to their roughly century-old city charter.

Kalamazoo voters elect their city commissioners every two years. The top vote-getter serves as mayor.

Coban

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Police in Kalamazoo are testing body cameras that attach to officer uniforms to record video and audio.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports Saturday that Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley says cameras add a layer of transparency and he wants to make them standard equipment.

Hadley says that body cameras "make sense" and protect officers and the community.

MDCH

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Admissions to the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital are on hold while investigators examine allegations that patient rights were violated.

A spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Community Health tells the Kalamazoo Gazette that 17 hospital staff members have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. She says her department will continue looking into the allegations and respond with appropriate action.

She says although the hospital isn't currently admitting more patients, it will still take information for potential admissions.

Anders Beck (left) and Paul Hoffman
User: Greensky Bluegrass / facebook

During the summertime, music festivals take over forests and fields all across the state. 

Greensky Bluegrass is very familiar on Michigan's music scene. But the Kalamazoo-based band is also gaining national attention. 

"If Sorrows Swim," the latest album from Greensky Bluegrass, is released today. Stateside's Emily Fox recently sat down with two members of the band, mandolin player Paul Hoffman and dobro player Anders Beck. 

The title of Greensky Bluegrass' newest album was inspired after their mandolin player spent a little too much time listening to This American Life while on the road touring.

"Somewhere in the interview, there was a discussion like, what if we can't drown our sorrows ... And if just occurred to me as a very prolific thing. Isolated as the album title, if sorrows swim, it leaves the answer unknown. What if sorrows swim, then it's for you to decide what the answer might be," says Hoffman.

* Listen to the full story above.

Derek Jeter in 2009.
Keith Allison / Flickr

The New York Yankees are in town, and the player who has been a Yankee longer than any other is being celebrated by opposing fans.

Derek Jeter plans to retire from the game at the end of this season, and during what could be his last visit to Comerica Park, Michigan has come out to celebrate the player who grew up in Kalamazoo.

With Jeter in town, there's a lot being written about Jeter.

But Jim Baumbach at Newsday wrote a piece in 2012 that gives us a look at Jeter's path from Kalamazoo to the New York Yankees.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Police chiefs in Michigan are concerned that changes coming to the way the U.S. manages its broadcast spectrum may negatively affect their radio systems.

The Federal Communications Commission hopes to auction off part of the broadcast spectrum next year to meet growing demand for personal electronic devices.

The auction is expected to generate more than $20 billion dollars. 

In 2010, oil spilled into a creek near the Kalamazoo River from Enbridge Line 6b
Steve Carmody / 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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