3/21/2023: Countering youth violence

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

High 52°/Low 39° Sunny then rainy

Violence is on the decline in Kalamazoo, but efforts are still underway to get it lower. Also: Millions of Michiganders will have to reapply for Medicaid for the first time in three years. And what is a Whatzit Hour?

Best Writing in Michigan – Part 1

Screenshot of article titled "Finding Peace During War"

Finding Peace During War, our story about two enemies in Kalamazoo who put down their guns and started to mentor youth to follow in their footsteps, won third place in the Michigan Press Association’s Better News Contest. (The Detroit Free Press won first and second place.)

We also won four other awards in the annual Better News Contest. Find out what we won.

NowKalamazoo badge

Violent crime on the decline in Kzoo

Violent crime is trending downward so far this year, though it is still higher than it was before the pandemic. The Kalamazoo City Commission has made it a goal to reduce violent crime, especially among juveniles, by 50% this year. The city is off to a good start, according to Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) Assistant Chief David Juday. “As of last week Monday, violent crime has decreased by 16%. Assaults with firearms were currently down 32% year to date,” he said during a commission meeting last night.

Juday told commissioners that KDPS’s strategy is to identify young people who are repeat offenders and steer them into intervention programs. For some young people that’s not enough, which is why they have something called the Bridging Opportunities program. That program partners youths with KDPS officers who check in on them periodically while also giving the kids community activities to fill their free time over the summer months. “These kids are what I would consider just maybe a little bit more than at risk,” said Juday. “They’ve been offenders in some of the programs. They’re also involved in the juvenile court system.” Commissioners last night approved spending on other programs meant to keep young people off the streets over the summer. That includes sports leagues and summer jobs programs. All together, the programs have been shown to be effective at turning youths away from violence.

More News You Need To Know

Millions of Michiganders must reapply for Medicaid

For the first time since the pandemic started, Michiganders will have to reapply for Medicaid in order to continue to have medical coverage. The problem is that millions of Michiganders may not know they need to reapply or may have trouble going through the multiple steps needed to make it happen. Some people may not realize they are no longer covered until their prescription refills or medical care are denied. “Many people — potentially hundreds of thousands of people — could lose coverage in this time period,” University of Michigan Assistant Professor Dr. Renuka Tipirneni told the Detroit Free Press.

Why is this happening? During the pandemic, Congress passed legislation that required state Medicaid programs keep people enrolled until the COVID-19 public health emergency was over. That designation officially ends in May, but Congress again passed legislation, this time to allow states to begin the renewal process April 1. States get to decide exactly how that will happen. In Michigan, people will get a three-month renewal period based on when their coverage would expire. For example, people who need to renew in August will get a letter in June. However, much has changed in three years. Some people may have moved in that time and failed to update their information with the state. Others may no longer qualify for the program due to income limits. About 3 million people in Michigan are covered by some form of Medicaid. Even if a fraction of that struggle to go through the steps to renew, that’s still thousands of people who will lose their medical coverage. [Detroit Free Press]

Whatzit? It’s Darcy Wilkin’s own kind of show

Sometimes there are conversations. Sometimes there’s storytelling. Music plays a big part. But there’s always something unique about the Darcy Wilkin Whatzit Hour. The semi-regular live show at Kalamazoo’s Dormouse Theatre typically features two performers: Wilkin and a special guest. What happens between the beginning and end can go just about anywhere. “I don’t really have a set script for the way everything goes, and it’s been different every time,” Wilkin told Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave.

Wilkin is a well-known quantity in Kalamazoo. The host of WMUK’s weekly bluegrass show Grassroots and a member of popular Americana band The Cornfed Girls, Wilkin is practically a local celebrity. The Whatzit Hour launched last year as venues sought to get people to come back out to events. Wilkin says the purpose is to highlight local and regional musicians as well as to have a good time. “It’s neat to see people who don’t always play alone, play alone. I like that,” she said. The next installment of the Whatzit Hour is this Saturday and will feature rock musician Ron Casebeer. [Second Wave]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

Brought to you by

Doja logo

Kirk Newman Art School Residents – Part I – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
12:00PM 3/21

Keynote Speaker: Representative Rashida Tlaib – Climate Emergency Month
4:00PM 3/21

Wall Repairs Workshop – Community Homeworks
6:00PM 3/21

Environmental Ethics Talk: Is Ignoring Climate Change Akin to Mass Murder? – Climate Emergency Month
6:00PM 3/21

Blackjack 101 – Viva Fajita
7:00PM 3/21

Lettuce – Unify Tour WSG Nigel Hall – Kalamazoo State Theatre
7:30PM 3/21

The Upjohn Family Legacy and W.E. Upjohn Institute – W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
12:00PM 3/22

Jeff Kodish: The Environmental Protection Agency vs. Big Oil – Climate Emergency Month
4:00PM 3/22

Board Game Night – Main Street Pub, West Main
6:00PM 3/22

A History of the Washington Square Branch Library – Kalamazoo Public Library, Washington Square
6:30PM 3/22

Get On the Map: Be Part of the Homegrown National Park – Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones
7:00PM 3/22

3 of a Kind – Hilton Garden Inn
7:00PM 3/22

Barrelhouse Acoustic Blues – O’Duffy’s Pub
7:00PM 3/22

Indoor Plant Magic – Climate Emergency Month
10:00AM 3/23

Immanuel Wilkins Master Class – WMU, Dalton Center
2:00PM 3/23

Immanuel Wilkins Presentation – Douglass Community Association
5:30PM 3/23

What the Lady Bears Were Doing: Women, Music and the 1950s – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
6:00PM 3/23

KalaSalon: My Idea – A Guide to Bring Your Vision to Light – Green Door Distilling Co.
6:30PM 3/23

Twin Apocalyptic Threats: The Nexus Between the Climate Crisis and Nuclear Weapons – Climate Emergency Month
7:00PM 3/23

Southwestern Michigan Vocal Festival – Miller Auditorium
7:00PM 3/23

On The Town – WMU, Williams Theatre
7:30pm 3/23-25; 2pm 3/26

Becoming Dr. Ruth – Farmers Alley Theatre
7:30pm 3/23-25; 2pm 3/26

Karaoke – Shakespeare’s Pub
8:30PM 3/23

See more upcoming events here.

Suggest something to do: [email protected]

Thank you to the community institutions that support our work:

Dear reader,

If you find value in this newsletter, please consider contributing. NowKalamazoo is independent and locally owned. Your donation goes to the costs of paying professional, local journalists.

Thank you,
Ben Lando
Founder and Publisher of NowKalamazoo


Support NowKalamazoo for free: Forward this email to others who value community news coverage.

Newsletter Signup

Sign up to get our daily news and events roundup in your email every weekday morning.