4/14/23: A wave of overdoses

Friday, April 14, 2023

High 82°/Low 58° Sunny

A wave of drug overdoses has hit Kalamazoo over the past day and a half. Authorities are scrambling to find the source. Also: A man claiming to have a bomb was barricaded in WWMT’s lobby on Thursday. And a Michigan lawmaker says it’s high time the state flag got a redesign.

NowKalamazoo badge

Police investigating wave of drug overdoses

Since Wednesday afternoon, more than a dozen people have suffered from non-fatal drug overdoses and another six people have died. The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety said the overdoses may have been caused by fentanyl, though it may have been mixed in with other drugs. Medical Examiner Joyce deJong said the wave of overdoses is a significant increase from the usual number in Kalamazoo County. On average, the county sees about 1.5 drug overdoses each week. “We are working to rapidly identify the substances causing the deaths and are in close communication with health department officials and law enforcement to address this urgent issue and prevent any further loss of life,” she said.

Fentanyl is a particularly potent opioid that is often mixed in with other street drugs, usually without the user’s knowledge. Naloxone is a medication that can reverse opioid overdoses and is available for free from the COPE Network. The COPE Network can be reached by phone or text at (269) 568-3658 and (269) 568-3182. People struggling with drug addiction can also get help from Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health: (800) 781-0353.

NowKalamazoo Partner Event
Group of people laughing and chatting underneath the text "Eat. Drink. Give. Craft beer. Wine. Great food."

A fundraising gala supporting

logo for Gryphon Place

Friday, April 28, 2023 | 7-10PM
Girl Scouts Program & Training Center

It’s back! Eat Drink Give returns to bring hundreds of guests together to enjoy a memorable evening filled with food, drinks, music, and fun. This gala features tasty creations, an impressive selection of wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages for sampling, an awesome venue, fabulous raffle and auction prizes, and best of all — people who want to make a difference!

The funds raised at Eat Drink Give will support Gryphon Place’s local programs and services, including 2-1-1, suicide prevention, youth services, Restorative Practices and more. We know the last few years have been difficult for everyone, so the joy of celebrating and supporting our community is needed now more than ever. We hope to see you there!

For tickets and more information: www.gryphon.org/edg

More News You Need To Know

Bomb threat at WWMT

A man went into the offices of WWMT News Channel 3 yesterday afternoon saying he had a bomb in his backpack. The 36-year-old initially claimed to have a news tip, but staff barricaded him in the lobby of the building after he tried to force his way through a door. Police responded quickly, blocking off a section of Maple Street in Kalamazoo and evacuating the building.

The man eventually surrendered to police after they brought him food. A spokesperson for the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety said the man is from Greenville and has a history of mental illness. In the end, nobody was hurt and police determined there was no bomb. [WWMT]

Governor signs gun control bills

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed two bills that aim to tighten firearm security in Michigan. One bill requires gun owners to safely store their guns at home when there are minors present. Another expands the use of background checks to include private sales of long guns such as rifles and shotguns. “Gun violence is a scourge that is unique to this country, and that is why we are taking action,” said Whitmer during the signing ceremony. “We don’t have to live like this.”

Stricter gun laws have been a priority of Democratic lawmakers since they took control of the legislature this year, but they were fast-tracked after the deadly shootings on Michigan State University’s campus in February. Critics point out that neither law would have prevented that shooting. Lawmakers are also working on passing rules that would allow police to seize firearms from people deemed to be at a “significant risk” of harming themselves or others. [Bridge Michigan]

Does Michigan need a new flag?

A state lawmaker says it’s time for Michigan to ditch its old flag. The problem, according to state Rep. Phil Skaggs, D-East Grand Rapids, is that Michiganders don’t identify with the emblem of their state. “Michigan is a unique and special state, and we need to have a flag that itself is unique and special so that we can rally behind it,” he said. Case in point, you almost never see anybody flying the state flag. Meanwhile, folks in states with well-designed and easily identifiable flags fly them all over the place. Think Texas or New Mexico.

Michigan’s flag is simply just its coat of arms on a blue background. The coat of arms features three animals, a man with a long gun, and nine Latin words. It’s complicated and difficult to discern from a distance. Several other states are in the process of updating their flag designs. That includes Utah, which is converting its flag from one that looks a bit like Michigan’s to one featuring the state emblem, the beehive. Skaggs plans to introduce a bill to change the flag at the end of the month. [Capital News Service]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

Sponsored by

Lake Effect logo

Grand Rapids Comic-Con – Kalamazoo County Expo Center
12pm 4/14, 10am 4/15-16

Hip Hop with Speak It Forward – Kalamazoo Public Library, Alma Powell
3:30PM 4/14

Celebration of Community Poets – Kalamazoo Poetry Festival
6:00PM 4/14

Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 4/14

Sage Castleberry – The Distant Whistle Brewhouse
6:00PM 4/14

Live Music with Don Field – Presidential Brewing Co.
7:00PM 4/14

Tales and Tails of Star Clusters – Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
7:00PM 4/14

Trivia Night – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
7:00PM 4/14

Vinyl Tap – Comstock VFW
7:00PM 4/14

Weekend to Remember Marriage Retreat – Radisson Plaza Hotel
7:00PM 4/14

The Play That Goes Wrong – WMU, Shaw Theatre
7:30pm 4/14-15; 2pm 4/16

What To Send Up When It Goes Down – Face Off Theatre Co.
7:30pm 4/14-15, 2pm 4/16

Open Mic – Kalamazoo Poetry Festival
8:00PM 4/14

Shut Up & Write! – Water Street Coffee Joint (Oakland)
8:30AM 4/15

Earth Day 5K & Kids’ Raccoon Run – Kalamazoo Nature Center
9:00AM 4/15

Walk About Talk About Autism – Celery Flats
9:30AM 4/15

Seed Swap – Jerico
10:00AM 4/15

Workshop: Roses in Concrete – Kalamazoo Poetry Festival
10:00AM 4/15

Black Women and Black Mommas Matter Brunch – 2022 Fulford Street, Kalamazoo
11:00AM 4/15

Fancy Nancy Tea Party – Comstock Township Library
11am & 1pm 4/15

Kalamazoo Foodways Outdoor Festival – Kalamazoo Valley’s Food Innovation Center
11:00AM 4/15

Sip & Sample Vicksburg – Main St Pub of Vicksburg
12:00PM 4/15

Workshop: Planting Words of Hope – Kalamazoo Poetry Festival
12:00PM 4/15

Workshop: The Wild and Wonderful World of Weeds – Kalamazoo Poetry Festival
12:00PM 4/15

Dave Eggers visits and welcomes The Eyes and the Impossible – this is a bookstore | Bookbug
3:00PM 4/15

FINALE- Kalamazoo Poetry Festival – Kalamazoo Poetry Festival
6:00PM 4/15

Jeff Young – The Distant Whistle Brewhouse
6:00PM 4/15

Lucid Vibe Show – Old Dog Tavern
7:00PM 4/15

Sprung from the UnderGround – Douglass Community Association
7:00PM 4/15

Brahms: A Requiem to Hope – Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
7:30PM 4/15

Chelsea Handler: The Little Big Bitch Tour 2023 – Kalamazoo State Theatre
7:30PM 4/15

Brooklyn Charmers – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 4/15

Wiz Khalifa – Wings Event Center
8:00PM 4/15

Chaos – Papa Pete’s
9:00PM 4/15

Radar’s Red Arrow Acoustic Jam – VFW Post 1527 Red Arrow Post
1:00PM 4/16

Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
1:00PM 4/16

Kalamazoo Silent Day Party: Trap x Sing x Twerk Edition – Dormouse Theatre
2:00PM 4/16

BILLPLAY x Bear Witness Meet & Greet – Crossroads Mall
3:00PM 4/16

University Symphonic Band and University Concert Band – Miller Auditorium
3:00PM 4/16

Choral Showcase – WMU, Dalton Center
5:00PM 4/16

Latin Jazz Jam – JungleBird
6:00PM 4/16

Chelsea Handler: The Little Big Bitch Tour 2023 – Kalamazoo State Theatre
7:00PM 4/16

See more upcoming events here.

Suggest something to do: [email protected]

Thank you to the community institutions that support our work:

Your donation makes Kalamazoo a healthier community. Give for Kalamazoo.


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.