2/17/2023: Could the community benefit from a new arena?

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The Daily News and Events Roundup

For those who live, work, and play in Kalamazoo County

Friday, February 17, 2023

High 28°/Low 20° Partly sunny

Discussions around the construction of an events center in downtown Kalamazoo are very secretive. But county officials say plans could include provisions meant to benefit the community. Also: Democratic state lawmakers have introduced almost a dozen gun control bills in the wake of Monday’s mass shooting at MSU. And two county townships are getting new leaders.

NowKalamazoo Partner Event

Baklava to Benefit Earthquake Victims

Channon Mondoux standing in a kitchen

We told you a few weeks ago that our Kzoo Kitchens writer, chef, and food historian Channon Mondoux was heading back to Turkey to continue her research into the traditional recipes of baklava.

On her itinerary are parts of southwest Turkey, to learn in real time about recipes that have been passed down by generations. This region is now trying to recover from the devastating earthquake that struck earlier this month.

Mondoux along with Amo Mazen of Bab El Salam Restaurant will be selling her custom baked baklavas to raise recovery funds, which she will deliver in person.

The types of baklava available include one recipe that originates in the historical Karaman region, where the earthquake hit:

  • Vegan with Apricot Jam
  • Almost with Orange Flower Water
  • Walnut with Honey
  • Baklava Ve Karaman (Green Lentil, Honey, and Pistachio)

Fundraiser for Earthquake Victims

February 18, 2023
Bab El Salam Restaurant
129 W Centre Ave in Portage

baklava cut into a star pattern

More News You Need To Know

Arena discussions could include community benefit agreement

Plans to build an events center in downtown Kalamazoo are still in their infancy and tightly guarded, but officials say they’ve discussed including a community benefits agreement in negotiations. A community benefits agreement is a way of getting developers to sign on to do something to lessen the impact of their project. Kalamazoo County Vice Chair Tami Rey told MLive that meetings held at Southwest Michigan First last year included the idea. “I just want to make sure it doesn’t have an impact of the people in District 1,” she said. That district includes four blocks of land where the arena could be built.

So far there are no details of what such an agreement could include. Discussions held last year were invitation-only and not open to the public. Even county officials are in the dark about certain details. “We don’t even know who the developer is,” said County Administrator Kevin Catlin. What we do know is that a county tax could fund part of the project. That’s thanks to a law passed in 2020 that allows some counties to institute a tax on hospitality to fund projects like this. [MLive]

State lawmakers introduce gun legislation in the wake of MSU shootings

Gun control legislation has already been in the works for some time, but state lawmakers are moving quickly following the Monday mass shooting at Michigan State University. Democratic leaders in the state Senate on Thursday introduced nearly a dozen bills meant to tighten gun regulation. They include provisions for universal background checks for gun purchases, requirements for gun owners to store guns safely, and red flag rules that would allow judges to confiscate guns from people who pose a risk to themselves or others.

A day after the shootings at MSU, state Democrats announced that they were fast tracking gun legislation. But Republican lawmakers could be an obstacle to passing them into law. Democrats have a slim majority in the state legislature and may need Republican votes to pass these rules. [Bridge Michigan]

Leadership changing in two county townships

Two townships in Kalamazoo County have or will have new leadership soon. Texas Township has a new superintendent for the first time in more than a decade. And Oshtemo Township’s supervisor has announced she will step down after 15 years.

On Wednesday, the Texas Township Board of Trustees approved a contract with Erik Wilson to become superintendent. Wilson has been the city manager of Plainwell since 2002. He comes to Texas Township with more than 20 years of experience managing local governments. His initial contract will last three years and will pay him $130,000 per year.

On Tuesday, Oshtemo Township Supervisor Libby Heiny-Cogswell announced she will resign effective May 1. She cited personal reasons for the decision. In Oshtemo, the supervisor is elected. Heiny-Cogswell’s term runs through 2024. She said she would be interested in sticking around in certain roles in a part-time capacity. She specifically mentioned sharing the job of parks director. [MLive, MLive]

NowKalamazoo Partner Event
Sounds of the Zoo logo

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

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.

John Hayes sitting with a guitar
John Hayes
Musician Daisybox with a microphone

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo Restaurant Week – Downtown Kalamazoo

Vintage + Handmade Pop-Up Market – Louie’s Trophy House
5:00PM 2/17

Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 2/17

Jon Hayes “Between You & Me” Album Release Show – The Clover Room
6:30PM 2/17

Brian McClure – The Thirsty Hound
6:30PM 2/17

Gull Lake Community Schools Piano Concert by Pierre & Sophie van der Westhuizen – Gull Lake Center for the Fine Arts
7:00PM 2/17

The Incantations and The Whiskey Charmers – Old Dog Tavern
7:00PM 2/17

Bob Wallis – Live Music – Presidential Brewing Co.
7:00PM 2/17

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
8:00PM 2/17

The Moody Coyotes – Final Gravity Brewing Co.
8:00PM 2/17

Comedy Showcase – Dave’s Bar
8:00PM 2/17

Creative Wilderness Day Retrea – Kalamazoo Nature Center
8:30AM 2/18

Shipshewana on the Road – Kalamazoo county Expo Center
9am 2/18, 10am 2/19

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo – Kalamazoo county Expo Center
10am 2/18-19

UPROOTED: Journey of Jazz Dance – Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers
2/18 2:00 PM

Community Concert: Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra – Portage District Library
3:00PM 2/18

Baklava Fundraiser for the People of Turkey and Syria – Bab El Salam Restaurant
6:30PM 2/18

February Freeze Out – Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
7:00PM 2/18

3 of a Kind – Hilton Garden Inn
7:00PM 2/18

Char Jones Music – Green Door Distilling Co.
7:00PM 2/18

Echoes of Pink Floyd – Bell’s Eccentric Café
8:00PM 2/18

Dried Flower Arrangement Workshop – PFC Grocery & Deli
1:00PM 2/19

The Peking Acrobats featuring The Shanghai Circus – Miller Auditorium
3:00PM 2/19

Paths to Dignity Concert – Chenery Auditorium
4:00PM 2/19

Cooking Class: Brunching & Munching – PFC Grocery & Deli
4:00PM 2/19

Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association Winter Blues Series – Rugger’s Up and Under
4:00PM 2/19

See more upcoming events here.

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