3/27/23: Foul odor complaints expand

Monday, March 27, 2023

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The West Main Hill neighborhood is concerned that the smell in their area is the same plaguing the Northside neighborhood in the city of Kalamazoo. Also: 187 years of county deeds and other documents are being digitized to preserve them. And, a new position is supposed to help coordinate county efforts to prepare for a warming climate.

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More Kalamazoo neighborhoods complain of foul odors

Residents on Kalamazoo’s northeast side aren’t the only ones complaining about a smell that is causing concerns for potential health risks as well. West Main Hill residents are telling the Kalamazoo City Commission that an unpleasant smell has gotten worse lately.

They suspect it’s Graphic Packaging International’s factory in the adjacent Northside neighborhood and are frightened for their kids. Residents in that neighborhood have pleaded with local and state officials for more than a decade to take their odor and health concerns concentrated in the area more seriously. Studies are being conducted and a report that is looking at the paper company as well as the city’s nearby wastewater treatment plant is expected soon.

Vice Mayor Don Cooney says the city should make solving the issue a higher priority and take action as soon as the culprit is identified. Commissioner Jeanne Hess says those the conclusion of the scientists conducting the study should guide all actions. Despite a recent increase in investment in the Northside neighborhood, there is a history of racism in policymaking in majority Black neighborhoods, from marginalizing the concerns raised by residents to housing and banking discrimination in a practice called “redlining.”

Kalamazoo County begins massive digitization of records

County Clerk and Register of Deeds Meredith Place says a $600,000 project to digitize documents has begun. Land records dating back to 1836, shortly after settlers began building in the area and Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, had been written by hand into 1,500 books.

Those documents are now at risk because of age, and the originals and microfilm copies are being scanned under a contract with US Imaging for digital preservation. Place said the records from 1969 to 1985 have been completed. When finished, she said, the records will be better preserved and easier for staff and the public to access.

More News You Need To Know

Climate crisis gets county coordinator

Kalamazoo County will use a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to hire a Climate Sustainability Coordinator, nearly four years after the county formally declared a “climate emergency” in 2019. The work will focus on local actions to reduce the impact on climate change, including an action plan, as well as projects to protect against the impact of a warming climate such as extreme weather that led to recent power outages, according to the job description approved by the Kalamazoo County Commission last week. [MLive]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

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Visible Mending Workshop – Climate Emergency Month
11:00AM 3/27

Ripple Effects of Wolf Restoration in Isle Royale National Park – Audubon Society of Kalamazoo
7:00PM 3/27

More Than a Pretty Face: The Power of Portraits – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
12:00PM 3/28

Green Drinks- Sustainable Business on the Kalamazoo Mall – Kalamazoo State Theatre
5:00PM 3/28

Board Game Night – Main Street Pub, West Main
6:00PM 3/29

Local Author Spotlight: Ted Vadella – Kalamazoo Public Library, Central
6:30PM 3/29

Paul Clements Presentation: Ethics & Politics of Global Climate Justice – Climate Emergency Month
7:00PM 3/29

See more upcoming events here.

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