3/9/2023: K Twp hiring new fire chief

Thursday, March 9, 2023

High 43°/Low 30° Cloudy

Kalamazoo Township is in the process of hiring a new fire chief six months after it fired the last one. Also: Galesburg is working on setting up its own police department. And Michigan lawmakers have added LGBTQ+ protections to state law.

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News You Need To Know

K Twp in negotiation with new fire chief

Kalamazoo Township is on its way to having a new fire chief. During a special meeting yesterday, township trustees voted unanimously to enter into contract negotiations with the township’s current Battalion Chief Jairus Baird. The fire department is currently being run by Deputy Fire Chief Michael Wiedemann, but he declined to take over the role permanently.

Kalamazoo Township has been without a permanent fire chief since September of last year. That was when Township Manager Dexter Mitchell fired Chief David Obreiter and Battalion Chief Matt Mulac over a mishandled harassment investigation. The two have claimed they were fired unfairly and have sought to get their jobs back. Township officials have considered that, as well as other methods to bring order back to the fire department. That includes the idea of combining the township’s fire and police departments into one, as the cities of Kalamazoo and Portage have done. That’s something that could still be considered, but is on hold for now. [MLive]

Galesburg to form new police department

The City of Galesburg is on its way to having its own police department for the first time in several years. At the moment, the city is patrolled by a Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s deputy for 40 hours per week. City Manager Sarah Joshi told WWMT they would like to increase service to 60 hours per week, but the sheriff’s office doesn’t have the capacity. Instead, the city plans to hire a full-time chief of police, a full-time officer, and a part-time administrative assistant.

There is still some question over how the city will pay for the new department. During a meeting on March 6, council members discussed raising taxes to fund the it, rather than pulling money from the city’s general fund. That subject could be decided in an upcoming election. There is also controversy over who the city will pick to lead the new department. Among those in the running is Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Officer Jeffery Crouse, who was charged with drunken driving in 2017. [WWMT]

A public meeting about roundabouts

People in the vicinity of Parkview Avenue in Oshtemo are invited to an informational meeting today to learn more about two roundabouts to be built in their area. The work is set to begin on March 20 on the intersections of Parkview Avenue at 11th and 12th streets. The $1.9 million project is expected to wrap up in mid-August.

Officials say the construction of roundabouts is meant to make those intersections safer. The plans come after complaints from the community about drivers in the area as well as studies showing high traffic congestion and risky driving at those intersections. The informational meeting will be held at the 12th Street Baptist Church this evening beginning at 6pm. A recording will be posted later at the Kalamazoo County Road Commission’s website. [MLive]

Michigan lawmakers ban LGBTQ+ discrimination

The Democrat-led Michigan legislature on Wednesday passed bills adding LGBTQ+ people to the list of classes of people protected from discrimination under the Eliot Larson Civil Rights Act. Both bills passed largely along party lines, though eight Republicans crossed party lines to vote in favor of the them. Republicans introduced amendments to include religious exemptions but those were shot down. [Michigan Radio]

Michigan House votes to repeal Right-to-Work

The Democrat-led state House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to repeal so-called Right-to-Work rules. A 2012 law prohibits unions from requiring everyone who works in a union workplace to pay union dues. The rule change has been a major priority for Democrats since taking control of the state legislature two months ago. The legislation now heads to the state Senate where it’s expected to pass along party lines. [Bridge Michigan]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

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

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

Documentary and Donuts: “For Sama” – Portage District Library
10:00AM 3/10

Kalamazoo Home & Garden Expo – Kalamazoo County Expo Center
12pm 3/10, 10am 3/11, 11am 3/12

Hip Hop with Speak It Forward – Kalamazoo Public Library, Alma Powell
3:30PM 3/10

Board Game Night – this is a bookstore | Bookbug
5:00PM 3/10

Skinny Hodge – The Distant Whistle Brewhouse
6:00PM 3/10

Alano Club Kalamazoo Comedy Show Fundraiser – Alano Club
6:30PM 3/10

OCD/C with Van Go Go – Rugger’s Up and Under
7:00PM 3/10

Hot and Delicious Improv Show – Dormouse Theatre
7:30PM 3/10

Maple Sugar Festival – Kalamazoo Nature Center
9:00AM 3/11

Your Story: A Chronicle of Connection – Public Media Network
10:00AM 3/11

Tribute Hike to Chief Noonday Grave – NCTA Chief Noonday Chapter
10:00AM 3/11

Youth Symposium- Overcoming Obstacles – Hillside Middle School
10:00AM 3/11

Rose Street Poetry Club – Kalamazoo Public Library, Central
10:00AM 3/11

Art Detectives: A Life Made By Hand – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
10:30AM 3/11

St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Downtown Kalamazoo
11:00AM 3/11

Hooley for Healing – Rugger’s Up and Under
11:00AM 3/11

Syntax: An Evening of Visual Music – Dormouse Theatre
7:00PM 3/11

Carrie Newcomer – First Presbyterian Church
7:00PM 3/11

An Evening With May Erlewine – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 3/11

See more upcoming events here.

Suggest something to do: [email protected]

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