2/1/2023: Seeking Portage school board applicants

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Portage Public Schools is looking for someone to replace a retiring school board trustee. Also: A Kalamazoo bookstore has been condemned. And Michigan’s presidential primary could move up the calendar next year.

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Portage schools seeking board applicants

Portage Public Schools is seeking applicants to fill a vacancy on the Board of Education. They need someone to fill out the term of Trustee Kurt Droppers who retired after eight years on the board. The winning candidate will serve out the remainder of Droppers’ term, which expires at the end of 2024. Applicants must be over 18 and a resident and registered voter in the Portage Public Schools district. They can apply online. The deadline for applications is Feb. 10th at 3pm. If all goes as planned the board hopes to have the new trustee sworn in before the end of the month.

More News You Need To Know

Kzoo bookstore condemned

A nearly 50-year-old bookstore has been condemned due to fire hazards, according the City of Kalamazoo. The Bicentennial Bookshop on Westnedge Avenue in Kalamazoo’s Vine Neighborhood has been closed since mid-January with a condemned sign on the door. The used bookseller has been in operation since 1975 – a product of Vaughn Baber and local historian Larry Massie. It’s been run by Vaughn’s son Michael Baber since his father passed away in 2019. MLive reported in 2010 that around 80% of the store’s business comes from online sales, but the store still got a fair amount of foot traffic. Michael Baber couldn’t be reached for comment about his plans for the future. [MLive]

Portage changes poverty measures to increase tax relief

The Portage City Council has changed poverty guidelines in order to offer more tax relief to homeowners in the city. State law allows homeowners to apply to have their property taxes waived if they’re living in poverty. Federal poverty guidelines define that as, for example, a family of three making less than $23,030 per year. The city council has boosted that to qualify households making up to 120% of those federal guidelines. That means a family of three making less than $27,636 per year could qualify for a property tax exemption.

According to recent census data, 7.84% of Portage residents live below the federal poverty rate. There’s no data for how many additional people could qualify for relief under the new rules. Councilmember Chris Burns cheered the new rules. “Boy, I think it’s cool, because we are being more generous than the federal guidelines require of us,” he said. Portage homeowners can apply for the exemption using a form on the city’s website. [MLive]

Michigan’s presidential primary set to move up

The Democrat-led state legislature on Tuesday approved a plan to move the state’s presidential primary up to Feb. 27. That would put Michigan’s contest ahead of many other states’ and thus raise its importance in the presidential selection process. It could also damage Michigan Republicans. Republican National Committee rules forbid the state from holding its primary before March 1. The RNC could punish Michigan by cutting its delegate count by 90%. Those rules do not apply to the Democratic primary.

The move could still come too late to affect the date for next year’s primaries. The proposal needed a super-majority in the Senate in order to take effect immediately – Republicans unanimously rejected the measure. But a parliamentary procedure could still enact it in time for 2024. If the state legislature adjourns by Nov. 29, the new primary date would go into effect. The legislature usually works through December. [Bridge Michigan]

NowKalamazoo Partner Event
Junior CEO Pop-Up Shop for Youth Entrepreneurs
Parent/Kidpreneur workshop (15-20 minutes): How to brand your business on a budget
Free admission to the public
Feb. 4 11am to 1pm
The Space
320 E. Michigan Ave. Suite 101
Sponsored by NowKalamazoo

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

Introduction to Racial Healing (virtual) – Kalamazoo Public Library
1:30PM 2/1

Books and Beers – The Distant Whistle Brewhouse
5:30PM 2/1

High Blue Sky – O’Duffy’s Pub
6:00PM 2/1

Chris Clayton – Trak Houz Bar and Grill
6:00PM 2/2

Karaoke – Shakespeare’s Pub
8:30PM 2/2

Coffee and Civics – Southwest Michigan First
8:30AM 2/3

59th Annual KAARC Winter Auto Swap Meet – Kalamazoo County Expo Center
2pm 2/3, 8am 2/4

Black History Month – Exhibit Opening Night – Black Arts & Cultural Center
5:00PM 2/3

Art Showing: Portage High School Art Inspired by 2023 CommuniTeen Read – Bookbug & this is a bookstore
5:00PM 2/3

Pitch Night – Startup Zoo
6:00PM 2/3

The Incantations – The Distant Whistle Brewhouse
6:00PM 2/3

Carry the Love: Western Michigan University – WMU, Kanley Chapel
7:00PM 2/3

Clybourne Park – Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
7:30pm 2/3-4, 2/10-11; 2pm 2/5, 2/12

Thunderstruck – Bell’s Eccentric Café
8:00PM 2/3

Out of Favor Boys – Final Gravity Brewing Co.
8:00PM 2/3

AJ LaPorte – Louie’s Trophy House
9:00PM 2/3

See more upcoming events here.

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