2/24/2023: A state of emergency
The Daily News and Events Roundup
For those who live, work, and play in Kalamazoo County
Friday, February 24, 2023
High 29°/Low 23° Partly sunny
Kalamazoo city and county officials have declared a state of emergency following ice storms that downed trees and cut off power throughout much of the county. Also: The Red Cross has opened a warming center for those still dealing with power outages. And it’s getting harder and harder for local governments in Michigan to find and keep qualified employees.
Kzoo leaders declare state of emergency
Ice storms over the past two days have prompted officials to declare a local state of emergency in Kalamazoo County. The declaration comes from the governments of both Kalamazoo County and the City of Kalamazoo and opens up the possibility of aid from state and federal agencies. As of Thursday morning, nearly 40% of county households were without power, according to Consumers Energy, and downed trees had blocked off many roads. “The City’s available resources to fully respond and recover have been exhausted, which is causing significant strain on our community’s ability to respond safely during this time,” reads a statement from city and county leaders.
The statement urges residents to be safe, especially as the weather continues to cause damage throughout the region. Sunny weather on Friday could provide a reprieve, but cold temperatures are expected to continue through the day potentially making life difficult for those still without power. Consumers Energy said it has hundreds of crews working around the clock to restore power. It has drawn workers from as far away as Kentucky and Virginia to get things back up and running. Nonetheless, the company estimates some residents may not have power again until early next week.
Red Cross opens warming shelter
The American Red Cross has opened a 24-hour warming shelter for people still dealing with power outages throughout Kalamazoo County. Consumers Energy estimates that as much as 40% of county households had their electricity knocked out by ice storms that swept through the region on Wednesday and Thursday. The shelter opened Thursday afternoon at the Douglass Community Association on West Paterson Street in Kalamazoo. The Red Cross said it will provide cots, food, and water, but encourages people to bring their own bedding and things to keep their kids entertained.
Another organization will have a day shelter open for people who need to get out of the cold on Friday. The Kalamazoo Coalition for the Homeless will run a day shelter from noon to 5pm at the Salvation Army on South Burdick Street in Kalamazoo.
More News You Need To Know
Local governments struggle to find workers
A new survey shows that most local governments around the state are having a hard time finding and keeping employees. The Michigan Public Policy Survey asked local governments to rate their top concerns. They found that 60% point to difficulties with finding qualified employees. Pay rates may be to blame. “Nearly a third say that their pay rates are still too low given what their employees need or deserve,” Debra Horner, the senior program manager behind the survey, told Michigan Radio. That’s despite pay rates that that have slowly increased since before the pandemic.
Another factor is also worrying local governments: harassment. Public employees in some jurisdictions have been routinely harassed over things like pandemic policies and voting procedures over the past few years. “Places where local leaders say that jurisdiction personnel have recently experienced harassment, 79% of those are saying employee recruitment is a problem,” said Horner. [Michigan Radio]
Things To Do In Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo Restaurant Week – Downtown Kalamazoo
Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
Trivia & Soul Food – Black Arts & Cultural Center
Bear Tracks Music – Green Door Distilling Co.
Jurassic Park in Concert – Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
Something Rotten! – Center Stage Theatre
7pm 2/24-25, 2pm 2/25-26
The Mountaintop – Kalamazoo College, Nelda K. Balch Playhouse
7:30pm 2/24-25, 2pm 2/26
Museum – WMU, Richmond Center for Visual Arts
7:30pm 2/24-25; 1pm 2/26; 4pm 2/26
Peter George – Final Gravity Brewing Co.
Ebony Vision: Celebrating 20 Years – WMU, Dalton Center
8pm 2/24-25, 2pm 2/25
Up and Under’s Up and Comers – Rugger’s Up & Under
Garage Sale Art Fair – Kalamazoo County Expo Center
Birding Basics: Fundamentals of Bird Identification – Ayurvedic Wellness Center
“Planting For & WITH Future Generations” Class – Wedel’s Nursery
Spring Swap Meet – Jerico
Locating Identity in the Abstract: An Artmaking Workshop with Maya James – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
2023 Choreography Showcase – Tye Chua Dance
1pm & 5pm 2/25
Up in the Air: The Unique Adaptations of Birds Registration – Kalamazoo Nature Center
Returning & Reskilling: Wilderness Cooking & Fire Building – Kalamazoo Nature Center
“The Sinking Ships Tour” Sleep Signals – Papa Pete’s
“Local Favorite” Bill Johnson – The Distant Whistle Brewhouse
Secrets to Die For – A Murder Mystery Event – Gilbert and Ivy
Fascinating Rhythm – Chenery Auditorium
Darcy Wilkin Whatzit Hour feat. Lillian Werbin – Dormouse Theatre
Mighty Big Rig w/ LVRS and Basic Comfort – Bell’s Eccentric Café
Portage Winter Blast Half Marathon, 10k and 5k – Loy Norrix High School
Louie’s 17th Annual Charity Gumbo Cook-off & Crawfish Boil – Louie’s Trophy House
Voctave – Miller Auditorium
See more upcoming events here.
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