5/11/23: ‘They expect us to stop living our life?’

Thursday, May 11, 2023

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Northside residents are incensed at recommendations from state officials on dealing with toxic gas emissions. Also: Portage considers a permanent home for its farmers market. And the Kalamazoo Humane Society launches a program to provide free care for the pets most in need.

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A bigger farmers market in Portage

The city of Portage is hunting for a permanent location for its farmers market. Since 2016, the weekly event has been held in the parking lot of city hall. That worked well when it started out, but now it’s a hindrance. “None of my patients come to our farmers market,” said council member Lisa Brayton, who is also a dental hygienist. “They tell me all the time, they go to other locations because it’s a cluster to get in.”

Some council members are eager to get to work on a new venue. But others, such as Mayor Patricia Randall, say some forethought is in order. “I think we really need to define what it is we want in a farmers market,” she said. “There are infinite areas in the city where we can build this and people will come.” At the moment, there are four locations being looked at, with costs ranging from less than $2 million to over $6 million. That’s for a venue that only gets used once a week during the summer months. City leaders have decided to table the issue for now in order to get public input.

Portage approves budget

The Portage City Council last night approved its budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The plan is to keep things generally stable, but it does call for an increase in water and wastewater rates. Beginning July 1, Portage residents will notice a 5% increase in their water bills and an 8.5% increase in their wastewater bills. Overall, the city is seeing the benefits of rising property values. Those increases have led to larger revenues for the city, which will allow officials to spend more on infrastructure improvements as well as adding public safety and senior center staff.

More News You Need To Know

Northside residents balk at suggestions for dealing with toxic gas

A report released Monday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) laid the blame for foul odors on the Northside on two facilities: a factory belonging to Graphic Packaging International and a wastewater treatment plant belonging to the city of Kalamazoo. But the department’s recommendation for dealing with those odors – and the toxic gas that causes it – is drawing criticism for area residents. “So they expect us to stop living our life?” Deann Winfield told MLive. She was reacting to a recommendation that people avoid physical activities outdoors on days when the odor is bad. Winfield said that just isn’t an option for her or her family members.

The source of the odor is hydrogen sulfide. Long-term exposure to high levels of the gas can cause headaches and respiratory irritation. It can also aggravate asthma. Residents say it’s time to do something about the problem instead of just letting things continue as they are. “For too long, corporations like Graphic Packaging have been getting millions of dollars in economic incentives from the state of Michigan and the city of Kalamazoo and have experienced zero accountability for the harmful impacts we residents have experienced,” said Brandi Crawford, who used to live on the Northside and filed a lawsuit against Graphic Packaging.

A community town hall is scheduled for this evening to discuss the findings in the report. State officials will also take questions from the community. That is planned to begin at 5:30pm at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. [MLive]

Free care for low-income pet owners

The Kalamazoo Humane Society has announced an effort to help provide care to the pets of people who can least afford it. Dubbed VetReach Kalamazoo, the effort is run by volunteers and funded by grants. “Our team of dedicated volunteers is committed to providing affordable and accessible veterinary care to pet owners who otherwise might not be able to afford it,” said Outreach Coordinator Hannah Madill. The program provides free wellness checks and vaccine clinics, as well as discounted neutering services. It also provides safe housing for the pets of people escaping domestic violence. The project is still seeking volunteers to help run its services. You can find more information on its website. [Fox 17]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

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59th International Congress on Medieval Studies – WMU

Creative Wilderness w/Conrad Kaufman – Kalamazoo Nature Center
1:00PM 5/11

Cocktails with Clarence – Southwest Michigan First
4:30PM 5/11

Dr. James Jackson Presents: Clearing the Fog, Thriving w Long COVID – this is a bookstore | Bookbug
6:30PM 5/11

RCL Film Club: The Farewell – Richland Community Library
7:00PM 5/11

Jerome Ford and Darcy Wilkin – The Clover Room
7:30PM 5/11

Comedy Open Mic – Valhalla Kalamazoo
9:00PM 5/11

Road to Restoration Driver’s License Clinic – Mt. Zion Baptist Church
10:00AM 5/12

Documentary and Donuts: “The Grace Lee Project” – Portage District Library
10:00AM 5/12

How to Sew a Cloak with Erica – Richland Community Library
3:00PM 5/12

Cross Currents: East/West Woodblock Prints by Mary Brodbeck and Yoshisuke Funasaka – Kalamazoo Book Arts Center Gallery
5:30PM 5/12

Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 5/12

Artist Reception: Art Drawn From Nature II: Migration – Kalamazoo Nature Center
6:00PM 5/12

The Nightingale – Tye Chua Dance
6:00PM 5/12

Dylan Tolbert – The Distant Whistle Brewhouse
6:00PM 5/12

Celebrating My Legacy: The Ultimate Mother’s Day Experience – The Xperience
7:00PM 5/12

Barrelhouse Acoustic Blues – Green Door Distilling Co.
7:00PM 5/12

The Beer Garden Sessions ft. SWAMPBILLY – Presidential Brewing Co.
7:00PM 5/12

The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
7:30pm 5/12-13, 5/19-20; 2pm 5/14, 5/21

Sketch Show: Miss Communication – Dormouse Theatre
8:00PM 5/12

Santino Jones wsg Jessica Ivey – The Clover Room
8:00PM 5/12

G-Rex – Papa Pete’s
9:00PM 5/12

Paco Romane & Friends – Rugger’s Up & Under
9:00PM 5/12

Kalamazoo Indoor Flea Market – Kalamazoo County Parks and Expo Center
8:00AM 5/13

Field trip to Little Grand Canyon – Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones
8:30AM 5/13

Vicksburg Bike Rodeo – Kalamazoo Bike Week
9:00AM 5/13

Mother’s Day Vendor & Craft Show – Delta Hotel
9:00AM 5/13

Your Story! A Chronicle of Connection – Public Media Network
10:00AM 5/13

Kalamazoo Cycle Show – Kalamazoo Bike Week
10:00AM 5/13

Garden Installation 101 – Kalamazoo Nature Center
10:00AM 5/13

Electric Vehicle Q&A and Car Show – Kalamazoo Public Library, Oshtemo
10:30AM 5/13

Mamas, Muffins & Mimosas – Black Arts And Cultural Center
11:00AM 5/13

Plus Size Clothing Swap at Jerico – Jerico
12:00PM 5/13

Youth Dance Showcase – Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers
2:00PM 5/13

Drag Queen Bingo – 468 Urban Winery
5:30PM 5/13

“Local Favorite” Bill Johnson – The Distant Whistle Brewhouse
6:00PM 5/13

Sounds of the Zoo: Hail Your Highness + Antlerhead + Lucius Fox + Daisybox – Papa Pete’s
7:00PM 5/13

Sketch Show: Miss Communication – Dormouse Theatre
8:00PM 5/13

TOP PROM: The Annual 80’s Theme Prom – Final Gravity Brewing Co.
8:00PM 5/13

Public Observing Session – Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
9:00PM 5/13

HairMania | Glam Slam Spring Jam – The Dock At Bayview
9:00PM 5/13

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