5/12/23: A new leader

Friday, May 13, 2023

High 76°/Low 59° Clouds & rain

KPS has picked a new superintendent. Also: A doctor weighs in on the state’s recommendations for how neighbors can deal with toxic emissions on the Northside. And Kalamazoo’s schools are planning to hire somebody to field complaints about the district.

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KPS picks new superintendent

The new superintendent of the Kalamazoo Public Schools will be Dr. Darrin Slade. The KPS Board of Education picked Slade yesterday from a field of three top candidates. Slade will come to Kalamazoo from Hazelwood, Mo. where he is the deputy superintendent of the public schools.

Board members ultimately felt Slade had the best track record of prompting educational improvements. “Specifically, student achievement dramatically improved in every faculty that he led,” said board Vice President Jermaine Jackson. After some discussion, the final vote on who to pick for superintendent was unanimous. The district will now negotiate a contract with Slade before making his appointment official. The goal is to have Slade in office by July 1.

Editor’s Note: Yesterday, we published a story about Portage’s new budget. We stated the city council approved the budget. A reader pointed out the board did not approve the budget. The budget will go to a final vote on May 23.

We also published a story indicating that a public meeting to review the findings a state report on toxic gas emissions on the Northside was scheduled yesterday evening. A reader pointed out that was incorrect. The meeting will be held next Thursday, May 18 beginning at 5:30pm at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

More News You Need To Know

Doctor: State health recommendations for Northside residents insufficient

In a report released Monday, state health officials recommended that people at risk of harmful effects from hydrogen sulfide should stay indoors when air quality is bad. Residents of Kalamazoo’s Northside, where high levels of the toxic gas have been measured, are critical of that advice. So is Dr. David Ansell, the senior vice president for community health equity at Rush Medical University Center in Chicago. He told WMUK that advice doesn’t solve the underlying issue. “The solution in Flint wasn’t to say to families and children ‘don’t drink the water.’ Just like it’s here, you can’t tell people, ‘well don’t breathe the air,'” he said.

The real solution is to get to the root of what’s causing these toxic gas emissions and eliminate it. The emissions are coming from a factory owned by Graphic Packaging International and from Kalamazoo’s wastewater treatment plant. Both are in Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood. The city’s Director of Public Services James Baker said they are working on improving things. That includes building a dedicated pipeline to transport wastewater between the two facilities. Baker told WMUK the various remediation efforts combine to make things better. “And with odors, if we smell something, we’re not done yet. Right? So, each one of these solutions helps,” he said. [WMUK]

KPS to hire official to field parent complaints

The Kalamazoo Public Schools has fielded a lot of complaints from members of the public lately. “Our secretary has been documenting a lot of those concerns and complaints that parents have,” KPS Board of Education Vice President Jermaine Jackson told MLive. The district now plans to take that task off the secretary’s plate by hiring a ombudsman to do the job full time.

The idea of setting up an Office of the Ombudsman has been discussed for years, according to Trustee Patti Sholler-Barber. But it was explicitly recommended in January by a committee formed after the resignation of the former superintendent and the firing of another administrator. The proposal was formally approved by the board on May 4. So far there is no budget or timeline for actually hiring someone to fill the role. [MLive]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

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59th International Congress on Medieval Studies – WMU

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

Mother’s Day Brunch – Miller Auditorium
11:30AM 5/14

Vintage and Handmade Marketplace – Vintage in the Zoo
12:00PM 5/14

Southwest Michigan Makers Network meetup – Kzoo Makers
3:00PM 5/14

Sunday Professional Blues Jam – Old Dog Tavern
5/14 6:00 PM

Mother’s Day Celebration event – Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan
6:30PM 5/14

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