3/2/2023: A troubled ambulance company

Thursday, March 2, 2023

High 42°/Low 32° Cloudy

A local ambulance company is struggling to keep itself staffed. That’s prompted three local governments to cancel their contracts. Also: Kalamazoo County is canceling its state of emergency declaration. But more bad weather is on the way. And a downtown mixed-use building is betting on more apartments.

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Portage, 2 townships drop struggling ambulance service

The City of Portage and the townships of Comstock and Texas have all changed the company they contract with for ambulance service. Previously, all three had contracted with the Portage-based Pride Care Ambulance. After weeks of conversations with company leaders, officials determined Pride Care wouldn’t be able to meet the terms of their contracts. Yesterday, the three governments announced they would contract instead with Life EMS.

Pride Care has suffered from a number of issues recently. WWMT reported in February that there had been rumors the company would have to shut down after several employees left. That didn’t come to pass, but Pride Care has still struggled with staffing. Grand Rapids-based Life EMS began providing emergency ambulance services in the three jurisdictions this morning. In a press release, the three governments said they have been consulting with county medical officials to ensure a smooth transition to the new service. Life EMS already contracts with several other local governments including the cities of Kalamazoo and Parchment and the townships of Oshtemo and Kalamazoo.

County ends local state of emergency

Last week, Kalamazoo County declared a local state of emergency as residents dealt with the aftermath of ice storms that knocked out power to almost 40% of the county. That emergency declaration is scheduled to end today. In a press release, the county announced that all essential services had returned to full operation. Consumers Energy reported that as of Wednesday morning just 29 houses in the county were still without power.

But there is another storm brewing. The National Weather Service predicts “a swath of 4-inch or more of wet snow” on Friday with wind gusts as high as 55 mph. While that could cause problems, county officials warn that the cold may pose a greater risk. Temperatures could dip into the single digits at night. If it becomes necessary, emergency warming shelters may be set up. Residents in need can find help by calling 211 or by visiting the website of Gryphon Place 211.

More News You Need To Know

Fewer offices, more apartments

A mixed-used building in downtown Kalamazoo has decided to forego adding more offices and add more apartments instead. The Exchange sits on West Michigan Avenue across from the Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites. The building opened in 2019 and the owners had intended to expand its commercial offerings. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened and demand for office space plummeted. MLive reports than only 60% of the building’s commercial space is currently occupied. That number shoots up to 100% if they decide to convert one floor to apartments instead.

The building already houses 131 apartments. The owners want to add another 21, effectively converting the building’s seventh floor entirely to residential use. The building was constructed with the assistance of the Michigan Strategic Fund Board, which approved $6.4 million in loans for the project in 2016. That board has approved the plan changes. The building consists of a mix of office, retail, and parking on the first two floors; parking on floors three through six; and apartments on floors eight through 14. The top floor features some office space as well as amenities for the building’s residents. [MLive]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

Musical Mayhem with Ms. Liz – Comstock Township Library
10:30AM 3/2

Excavate With Mary – Kalamazoo Public Library, Oshtemo
4:00PM 3/2

RAD Fest Screendance Preview – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
6:00PM 3/2

Adult African Diasporic Dance – Rootead
6:30PM 3/2

A Gift of History: Commemorating Lincoln’s Visit to Kalamazoo – Parchment Community Library
6:30PM 3/2

14th Annual Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival (RAD Fest) – Epic Center
3:30pm 3/3, 9am 3/4, 10am 3/5

Art Hop – Downtown Kalamazoo
5:00PM 3/3

Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival – Kalamazoo Valley Museum
5:30pm 3/3, 9:30am 3/4

Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 3/3

Food Not Bombs Benefit Show – Dormouse Theatre
6:00PM 3/3

Pitch Night – Startup Zoo
6:00PM 3/3

Breakin’ Ballet Live – Epic Center
6:00PM 3/3

Brothers Proper – Gull Lake Distilling Co.
6:00PM 3/3

Laser Cutters – Basic Principles and “Will It Cut?!” – Kzoo Makers
6:30PM 3/3

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington – With Stars in His Eyes – Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
7:00PM 3/3

The Rainbow Fish Musical – Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
7:30pm 3/3, 3/10; 2pm 3/4-5, 3/11-12; 10am 3/8-9

Pajamas with Chirp – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 3/3

K-Rock Presents: Winter Concert 2023 – K College, Welles Dining Hall
9:00PM 3/3

The Winter Craft Show – Kalamazoo County Expo Center
9am 3/4, 10am 3/5

“What’s New For 2023: Trees, Shrubs and Perennials” Seminar – Wedel’s Nursery
11:15AM 3/4

International Fly Fishing Film Festival – Presidential Brewing Co.
12:00PM 3/4

Kalamazoo Wine Not? – Fetzer Center
1:00PM 3/4

Kalamazoo County Regional Spelling Bee – Chenery Auditorium
1:00PM 3/4

Mind, Body & Spirits (indoor yoga) – Green Door Distilling Co.
2:00PM 3/4

A Father Daughter Dance – The Fountains Banquet Center
6:00PM 3/4

The Magic of Rob Lake – Miller Auditorium
7:30PM 3/4

Western Invitational Jazz Festival – WMU, Dalton Center
7:30PM 3/4

The 9th – Kalamazoo Philharmonia
7:30PM 3/4

Sounds of the Zoo Presents: The Rebel Eves – The Clover Room
8:00PM 3/4

David Ramirez & Dylan LeBlanc – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 3/4

Star Tissue wsg Mooch Globe – Papa Pete’s
8:00PM 3/4

See more upcoming events here.

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