2/27/2023: Getting the power back on
The Daily News and Events Roundup
For those who live, work, and play in Kalamazoo County
Monday, February 27, 2023
High 43°/Low 36° Rain
By now, most people in Kalamazoo County should have their power back on. But it’ll be weeks before things really get back to normal following last week’s ice storms. Also: Are there ways we can avoid these kinds of power outages in the future? And a long-lost recording of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech at WMU popped up in a strange place.
News You Need To Know
Most power back on in Kzoo County
Consumers Energy said over the weekend that power should be restored to most homes in Kalamazoo County by Sunday. Nearly 40% of customers in the county lost electricity during the ice storms that swept through the area last week. The utility company said 87% of those customers were back online by Sunday morning. A spokesperson told WWMT that they expect to have the rest up and running by today.
The storms caused massive damage in Kalamazoo County as frozen trees collapsed under the weight of the ice. The cities of Portage and Kalamazoo issued state of emergency declarations late last week. Both cities are also offering to pick up downed tree debris over the next few weeks. Kalamazoo city residents can pile any amount of debris on curb lawns and crews will pick them up throughout the week. The City of Portage is running things a little differently. Brush and tree limbs should be between 4 and 6 feet long and limbs must be less than 3 inches in diameter. Crews will pick up debris from curb lawns one street at a time beginning next Monday and running through the week of March 20. [WWMT, MLive]
Mass outages highlight Michigan’s power grid problems
Should Michigan begin burying its power lines? That’s one of the possible solutions being considered following last week’s ice storms that knocked out electricity to tens of thousands of homes and businesses. As climate change worsens, Michigan is likely to see more – and more severe – storms in the coming years. Running power lines underground is just one way utilities could prevent future power outages. However, it’s an expensive solution. Utility officials estimate it can cost as much as $1.3 million per mile to run power lines underground in urban areas. It also increases the cost of line maintenance and shortens the life of those lines.
A more cost-effective preventive measure is to simply remove tree limbs around existing power lines. Utility officials have said they are already looking at ramping up tree trimming as a means to “harden” the grid. Finally, homeowners could take steps to ensure uninterrupted power by installing rooftop solar panels. Those come with their own installation and maintenance costs, and there are limits to how much power can be sent back to the grid. [Michigan Radio, MLive]
Long lost recording of MLK speech found in grocery store
Nearly 60 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. came to Kalamazoo. It was just four months after his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington D.C. and just a few weeks after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. About 2,000 people gathered at Western Michigan University’s Read Fieldhouse on Dec. 18, 1963 to hear the famed civil rights leader in a speech that was also broadcast live on WMUK. The station recorded and rebroadcast the speech several times over the years. Then, one day, the tape went missing. “To this day, I do not know what happened to the tape, it just disappeared,” Garrard Macleod told MLive. He was the program manager at WMUK at the time and said it’s possible the tape got lost in the shuffle when the station relocated in 1973.
A recording of that speech resurfaced some years later. It’s not the original – it’s likely something someone recorded off the radio. Macleod said he received a call from Phillip Novess, who worked at a local recording studio. Novess’s grandfather owned a grocery store on the city’s east side and would sometimes take trades from people who couldn’t afford groceries. That’s how he came across a 5-inch reel of tape with King’s speech on it. “I could hardly believe it. I thought it was lost forever,” said Macleod. That tape has been digitized, but due to copyright issues it can only be listened to in person at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center at WMU. The university does have a transcript of the speech, along with a Q&A with King, on its website. [MLive]
Things To Do In Kalamazoo
Make and Take Macrame Air Plant Wall Hanging – Evergreen Macrame
Invasive Jumping Worms, Citizen Science in Bumble Bee Surveys, Native Seeding – Audubon Society of Kalamazoo
“Women’s Work” in the 1950s: Nine Branches on a Feminist Tree (virtual) – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Drink the Wild: An Evening with Author Angie Jackson – Richland Community Library
Open Mic with THE DOC! – Old Dog Tavern
Kelly J Baptist Author Visit – Kalamazoo Public Library, Oshtemo
Writing Poetry with Mrs. Pero – Richland Community Library
Vegan Cooking Workshop – Climate Emergency Month
Keynote speaker: Bill McKibben – Climate Emergency Month
Board Game Night – Main Street Pub, West Main
Keith Hall Trio w/ Matthew Fries & Carlo De Rosa – The Clover Room
The Black Opry – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
See more upcoming events here.
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