2/15/2023: Merged fire and police in K Twp?
The Daily News and Events Roundup
For those who live, work, and play in Kalamazoo County
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
High 51°/Low 33° Cloudy
Kalamazoo Township is considering merging its fire and police departments after months of turmoil over fire chief firings. Also: A controversial housing development can move forward after a vote by Texas Township leaders. And Portage schools has a new trustee.
News You Need To Know
K Township considering merging fire and police
Leaders in Kalamazoo Township are thinking about merging the township’s fire and police departments into one unified entity. It wouldn’t be an unprecedented move – the cities of Kalamazoo and Portage both have unified public safety departments. But the suggestion comes as Kalamazoo Township wrestles with questions over the management of its fire department. The township hasn’t had anybody permanently in charge of its fire department since Chief David Obreiter was fired in September. In fact, the township hasn’t even sought candidates to fill the position.
The idea of merging fire and police departments came up for discussion during a Monday Board of Trustees work session, but it’s not a new concept. Police Chief Bryan Ergang told the board he’s had conversations with other leaders about it. He said it could be a solution to some of the discord of the past few months. “We’ve kind of spun around and done nothing for several months and without pointing fingers, we see there are a multitude of issues with how we are offering public safety,” he said. Ergang would be a likely candidate to run a unified department, at least on an interim basis. Before that happens, the township board would have to vote on the move during a regular meeting. [MLive]
Controversial Texas Twp development moves forward
Texas Township trustees on Monday voted unanimously to rezone 25 acres of farm land so it can be developed into housing. Schafer Development, LLC, wants to build 166 high-end townhome-style apartments on a property known as Tozer farm south of West N Avenue. The neighbors aren’t happy about that. The township hall was packed Monday night with people opposed to the development. “I feel like we’re being pushed out of our house which is really sad for our family,” said Lisa Thompson, who lives next door to the proposed development. Other speakers complained about the potential for increased traffic.
At the same time, township officials say they are concerned about the lack of housing in the county. Township Supervisor Nick Loeks pointed to the passage of a county millage to address that shortage. “They are actively looking for places to put more houses and units, regardless of the price level,” he said. Trustees rezoned the land to allow multi-family residences. It’s conditional, though. If the developer doesn’t break ground within 18 months, the zoning reverts back to single-family housing. [MLive]
New trustee appointed to Portage school board
Keith Crowell has been appointed to the Portage Public Schools Board of Education. He replaces Kurt Droppers, who retired at the end of January. Crowell isn’t new to the board. He was previously appointed in 2021, then ran for a regular position last year. He lost that election, coming in fifth place.
Crowell’s appointment wasn’t unanimous. Two board members, Kimberly Larson and Emily Crawford, voted against it. They said they wanted more information on the ten candidates who applied for the board, but they weren’t opposed to Crowell specifically. [MLive]
Jon Hayes “Between You & Me” Album Release Show
Jon Hayes | Daisybox
Friday, Feb. 17
6:30pm @ The Clover Room
$10 adv. | $15 at the door
Things To Do In Kalamazoo
“Recipe for a Perfect Wife” by Karma Brown – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
February Chamber Connect – Old Burdick’s Bar & Grill
Board Game Night – Main Street Pub, West Main
Trivia Night at the Bookstore – this is a bookstore
Out of Favor Boys – O’Duffy’s Pub
Crys Matthews w/ Faith Quashie – Bell’s Eccentric Café
Kalamazoo Restaurant Week – Downtown Kalamazoo
Another Evening with Amy Grant – Radisson Plaza Hotel
Adult African Diasporic Dance – Rootead
Sounds of the Zoo and Hope Thru Navigation Presents A Black History Month Benefit Concert for The Tiny House Pilot Project – Bell’s Eccentric Café
Kettle Belles – O’Duffy’s Pub
Karaoke – Shakespeare’s Pub
Vintage + Handmade Pop-Up Market – Louie’s Trophy House
Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
Jon Hayes “Between You & Me” Album Release Show – The Clover Room
Brian McClure – The Thirsty Hound
Gull Lake Community Schools Piano Concert by Pierre & Sophie van der Westhuizen – Gull Lake Center for the Fine Arts
The Incantations and The Whiskey Charmers – Old Dog Tavern
Bob Wallis – Live Music – Presidential Brewing Co.
First Date – Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
7:30pm 2/17-18; 2pm 2/19
Museum – WMU, Richmond Center for Visual Arts
7:30pm 2/17-18, 2/24-25; 1pm 2/19, 2/26; 4pm 2/19, 2026
Cats – Miller Auditorium
7:30pm 2/17-18, 2pm 2/18
Echoes of Pink Floyd – Bell’s Eccentric Café
The Moody Coyotes – Final Gravity Brewing Co.
Comedy Showcase – Dave’s Bar
See more upcoming events here.
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