2/10/2023: LGBTQ+ group threatened by YouTube mob

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Friday, February 10, 2023

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A Kalamazoo LGBTQ+ resource center is under attack after being targeted by a right wing YouTuber. Also: KPS may have a small pool of candidates to choose from as it searches for a new superintendent. And WMU’s new student center won’t be ready until summer.

News You Need To Know

OutFront threatened due to right wing YouTuber

The LGBTQ+ resource center OutFront has been inundated with threatening messages since a right wing YouTube channel targeted it in a video. A video posted on Jan. 11 by the YouTube channel TheQuartering features a TikTok video made by OutFront offering free gender-affirming products. The host of TheQuartering, right wing provocateur Jeremy Hambly, calls the group “predatory” and suggests the person in the OutFront video should be in prison. That was enough to prompt his followers to send hundreds of emails and voice messages to OutFront threatening violence.

OutFront Executive Director Tracy Hall told MLive that they’ve received roughly 250 calls, emails, and messages. Most are just hateful, but many contain veiled or explicit threats of violence. Hall said they’ve turned over many of the messages to the FBI. A spokesperson for Kalamazoo Public Safety said they have increased patrols outside the group’s office. Hall said the situation just exemplifies how important OutFront is. “We see how it impacts people from younger middle-schoolers, to high-schoolers, on the way up to our seniors, our elder community, but it is a reminder. It’s a reminder of why our organization and every organization who does this work is needed,” she said. [MLive]

KPS may have small pool of superintendent candidates

The Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education may have fewer superintendent candidates to choose from than they did the last time they did a search. That last search was conducted in 2020 and turned up former superintendent Rita Raichoudhuri. Raichoudhuri resigned abruptly in December. Things are a little different this time around, Greg Sieszputowski from the Michigan Association of School Boards told board members yesterday. “I’ve had districts that would, five or six years ago, have been a landing spot for anybody looking to have a great home and a great district and a great salary,” he said. “The numbers are just shrinking.”

A number of factors are contributing to that shrinking number of potential candidates. Michigan attracts few out-of-state candidates due to things like inflation and rising housing costs. Michigan has also seen a lot of administrative turnover during the past few years. Sieszputowski said that out of 508 school districts in the state, there have been 300 superintendent changes over the past three years. Many of those are due to retirements, which means there are more first-time superintendents coming up these days. Despite all that, trustees said they are optimistic. They still intend to pick a new superintendent by June 1. [MLive]

WMU student center opening pushed to July

Those waiting for the grand opening of Western Michigan University’s new student center will have to wait a little longer. The facility was originally slated to open last summer, but construction problems and supply chain issues forced crews to delay the opening, first to January and now to July. The $60 million student center is meant to replace the Bernhard Center, which has been in operation since 1957. Once the new center is up and running, the Bernhard Center will be demolished. The new student center will feature a number of amenities, including restaurants, lounges, and study rooms. WMU plans to host a grand opening over the summer, but also a celebration in the fall once students have returned to campus. [WWMT]

NowKalamazoo Partner Event
Sounds of the Zoo and Raising Hope logos

A Benefit Concert for The Tiny House Pilot Project

The Skeletones | Samuel Nalangira | Headband Henny
Thursday, Feb. 16
6:30pm @ Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
10 | 21+

A night of live music in the Bell’s Back Room raising money for the Tiny Houses of HOPE Pilot Project, an affordable housing project in Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood. It’s part of an ongoing series by Sounds of the Zoo to increase visibility of local artists and the music scene.

Members of the band The Skeletones pose with their instruments
The Skeletones
Samuel Nalangira plays a stringed instrument and sings into a microphone
Samuel Nalangira
Headband Henny performing with his backup band
Headband Henny

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

Author Hop: Local Book Sale, Live Music, Prize Drawing – Portage District Library
5:00PM 2/10

Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 2/10

Green Door Distillery Tour – Green Door Distilling Co.
6:00PM 2/10

Emma Rey Duo – Green Door Distilling Co.
7:00PM 2/10

Valentine’s Trivia Night – Bell’s Eccentric Café
7:00PM 2/10

The Great Leap – Farmers Alley Theatre
7:30pm 2/10-11, 2pm 2/12

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

First Date – Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
7:30pm 2/10-11, 2/17-18; 2pm 2/12, 2/19

Sean Miller – Final Gravity Brewing Co.
8:00PM 2/10

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre & Tournament of Chivalry – Kalamazoo county Expo Center
9:00AM 2/11

Valentine’s Day Vendor & Craft Show – Delta Hotel Conference Center
9:30AM 2/11

Your Story: A Chronicle of Connection – Public Media Network
10:00AM 2/11

Art Detectives: Ablaze with Color – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
10:30AM 2/11

IceBURG Festival – Vicksburg Area Chamber of Commerce
6:00PM 2/11

Dooley Live – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 2/11

Date At The State – State Theatre
6:00PM 2/11

Bluegrass Power – Old Dog Tavern
7:00PM 2/11

Lamb of God – Miller Auditorium
7:30PM 2/11

“Symphony of Brotherhood” Cabaret – Kalamazoo Children’s Chorus
8:30PM 2/11

Online Viewing Session – Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
9:00PM 2/11

Kleinstuck Preserve Volunteer Day – YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo
10:00AM 2/12

Mall City Harmonizers – Parchment Community Library
1:30PM 2/12

Southwest Michigan Makers Network Meetup – Kzoo Makers
3:00PM 2/12

See more upcoming events here.

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