3/7/2023: Cleaning up after the storm

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

High 44°/Low 28° Cloudy

Kalamazoo is still cleaning up after the ice storms a little over a week ago. Also: Portage schools will provide free meals to low income students through the end of the year. And a free health clinic has plans to open in Kalamazoo soon.

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Kzoo still dealing with ice storm aftermath

The cleanup continues throughout Kalamazoo County following ice storms that swept through the region a little over a week ago. Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema gave city leaders an update during last night’s city commission meeting. He said the city has spent about half a million dollars so far, though that number is expected to go up. Crews have hauled away roughly 900 truckloads of debris. That too is expected to increase as they continue to clear up brush that homeowners have deposited at their curbs.

Ritsema said it was all hands on deck during and immediately after the storms as employees worked around the clock to deal with power outages and downed tree limbs. The city even brought on extra staff, including seven people who came down from Grand Rapids with equipment to help out. Of particular concern was the city’s water and wastewater systems, which also serve several surrounding communities. Ritsema said they deployed generators to keep the pumps working. “And our staff had to manually go to each of those sites and monitor them and make sure generators were working. We never once missed a beat,” he said.

More News You Need To Know

Free meals for Portage students

Thanks to an unexpected budget surplus, all low-income students at Portage Public Schools will receive free breakfast and lunch through the end of the school year. The PPS school board approved the move at its meeting last week. Previously, students who qualified as economically disadvantaged could have their costs reduced or waived through a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Just over 28% of Portage’s student body qualifies for the free meals. That’s 2,417 students enrolled this year, according to data from Michigan’s Center for Educational Performance and Information. The money for the program comes from an unexpectedly large reimbursement from the USDA. The district can determine how to use the excess funds, though it can’t be used for students who don’t qualify for free or reduced price meals. [MLive]

Free health clinic to launch in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo hasn’t had a free health care clinic since the Free Clinic of Kalamazoo closed down over a decade ago. That’s expected to change in April when the Helping Hands Wellness Center opens in downtown Kalamazoo. The center will provide free non-emergency care to people who don’t have insurance. That could include everything from basic medical assessments to lab services and wound care.

The new medical clinic will set up shop on North Rose Street between the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and the Kalamazoo Transportation Center. That puts it in close proximity to many people who can use their help as well as other services geared toward the same populations. In particular, the clinic will be just blocks away from where Integrated Services of Kalamazoo plans to open a 24/7 mental health urgent care clinic. That’s expected to open by mid-summer. Helping Hands is being funded entirely through grants and private donations. Its first six years of operation are already fully paid for. “To me, this is a profound reminder of what a community that cares looks like. When people see a need and come together to respond to it,” Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson told MLive. [MLive]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

Rookie Detectives: Lots of Dots – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
10:00AM 3/7

All the Reasons Why I Love Lucy – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
12:00PM 3/7

Quarterly Downtown Business Townhall – The Catalyst Center
2:00PM 3/7

Code with Ada – Kalamazoo Public Library, Oshtemo
4:00PM 3/7

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

Phil Allen: A Search for Meaning – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
10:00AM 3/8

“The Right to Read” documentary screening – Right to Literacy Collaborative
5:30PM 3/8

Board Game Night – Main Street Pub, West Main
6:00PM 3/8

Theodore Roosevelt: A Literary Life – Richland Community Library
6:00PM 3/8

Acoustic Roulette with Dean Madonia – ThunderBird Kalamazoo
7:00PM 3/8

Moon Hooch – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 3/8

MIX Pop-Up – Kalamazoo State Theatre
4:30PM 3/9

Anne Capps & a Badass Band of Women – The Clover Room
7:00PM 3/9

Becoming Dr. Ruth – Farmers Alley Theatre
7:30pm 3/9-11, 3/16-18; 2pm 3/18

Karaoke – Shakespeare’s Pub
8:30PM 3/9

Comedy Open Mic – Valhalla Kalamazoo
9:00PM 3/9

See more upcoming events here.

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