5/18/23: More info, not solutions

Thursday, May 18, 2023

High 71°/Low 50° Sunny

Members of the public will get to hear directly from state experts about toxic gas emissions that have plagued Kalamazoo’s Northside for decades. But don’t expect solutions, just explanations. Also: A decade of downtown construction is now underway. And a local high school choir wants “to know what love is.”

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More details, not solutions to come out of pollution town hall

Kalamazoo residents will have a chance to find out more about toxic gas emissions on the city’s Northside during a public meeting tonight. The town hall will feature representatives from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). That’s the agency that last week released a long-awaited report on the effects of hydrogen sulfide emissions on neighborhood residents.

The key takeaway of that report is that long-term exposure to hydrogen sulfide is harmful to public health, and that two Northside facilities are sources of that chemical. One of those facilities, a factory belonging to Graphic Packaging International, has been repeatedly cited by the state for gas emissions. Kory Groetsch, the environmental public health director at MDHHS, said efforts to reduce hydrogen sulfide emissions from the factory is outside the scope of tonight’s meeting. “As far as the regulation of the company, that is between the regulator, which is (the department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy) and the company. And they’re working … together to address these concerns,” he said. The meeting is scheduled for 5:30pm at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

More News You Need To Know

A decade of road work

Construction projects on downtown Kalamazoo’s roadways are expected to take from eight to ten years to reach completion. But the end result of all that work will be a safer, more vibrant, and more easily navigable downtown. At least that’s city planners’ hope.

The primary focus of downtown construction projects is the conversion of several one-way streets to two-way traffic, though there will be other work done as well. Work began this month to resurface and narrow Michigan Avenue. It will continue next year with the conversion of Kalamazoo Avenue to two-way traffic, followed by the conversion of Michigan Avenue in 2026. South Street, Lovell Street, and Main Street will all also be converted in the coming years. Work is expected to wrap up by 2033. The city will reveal plans for the first leg of that construction – the Kalamazoo Avenue conversion – during open houses over the next two weeks. [MLive]

No discrimination against people for abortions

People in Michigan cannot be fired for having an abortion. That’s the result of legislation signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday. The new rules added abortion as a medical condition protected from unequal treatment under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. “No one in Michigan should face discrimination because they exercised their constitutional rights, including their right to reproductive freedom by having an abortion,” said Whitmer.

Republicans and anti-abortion activists were predictably opposed to the move. “Many Christians and adherents to other religions would be forced to choose between shutting down their businesses and shutting down their beliefs,” said Rep. Josh Schriver, R-Oxford, during floor debate. This is the second time the Democratic-led legislature has amended civil rights rules this year. In March, they added LGBTQ+ protections as well. [Bridge Michigan]

Local choir to sing with Foreigner

When Foreigner lead singer Kelly Hansen belts out the chorus of “I Want to Know What Love is” at Wings Stadium on Friday, he’ll be joined by some familiar local voices. That’s because members of the Portage Northern High School choir will accompany the band during their stop in Kalamazoo. The choir beat out other area schools in a competition to perform with the band. The competition was put on by WRKR and saw PNHS closely edge out the Pennfield High School choir from Battle Creek. Foreigner has performed with other school choirs on the song in a project to promote music education. “Music, we feel, is just part of a well-rounded education and life experience and we’re just trying to keep those music programs alive,” keyboardist Michael Bluestein told MLive. The show begins at 8pm Friday. [MLive]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

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Kalamazoo Bike Week – Various

Portage Planting Days – Portage District Library
9AM 5/18-19

Growing Your Business Beyond 6 Figures – Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition
9:00AM 5/18

Guardians of Michigan with Lynn Houghton and Jeff Morrison – Kalamazoo Public Library, Central
4:00PM 5/18

Rock-N-Roll into Summer! Family Resource Night – Kalamazoo Farmers Market
5:30PM 5/18

KalaSalon: YOU Can Build It! Coming Out of the Woodwork with The Dapper Hammer – Green Door Distilling Co.
6:30PM 5/18

Stulberg Spring Soiree – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
6:30PM 5/18

An Evening of Sound – KP (Fit)ness
6:30PM 5/18

Canuck Club – Final Gravity Brewing Co.
7:00PM 5/18

The Kettle Belles – O’Duffy’s Pub
7:00PM 5/18

Next To Normal – Kalamazoo College, Balch Playhouse
7:30PM 5/18-20, 2PM 5/21

Punk Rock Vinyl Night – Apoptosis Brewing Co.
7:30PM 5/18

Larry McCray wsg Out of Favor Boys – Rugger’s Up and Under
8:00PM 5/18

Hip Hop with Speak It Forward – Kalamazoo Public Library, Alma Powell
3:30PM 5/19

Bronson Park Outdoor Art Show Opening Celebration – Kalamazoo Public Schools
4:00PM 5/19

N. Burdick Street Block Party – 300 Block of Burdick St.
4:00PM 5/19

5:01 Ditch Friday – JungleBird
5:00PM 5/19

Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 5/19

Larry Fleet Live with special guest Drew Parker – Kalamazoo State Theatre
7:00PM 5/19

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

Hot and Delicious Improv Show – Dormouse Theatre
7:30PM 5/19

Bach Prize Award Night – Stulberg International
7:30PM 5/19

Desmond Jones & Jordan Hamilton w/ Pajaro Negro – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 5/19

Out of Favor Boys – Old Dog Tavern
8:00PM 5/19

Little Worlds: Spring Concert of Dance – Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers
8:00PM 5/19-20, 2PM 5/21

Foreigner wsg. Cage Willis – Wings Event Center
8:00PM 5/19

Kalamazoo Bike Week: Mayor’s Ride – Bicentennial Park
9:00AM 5/20

77th Kalamazoo Antique Toy Show – Kalamazoo County Parks and Expo Center
9:00AM 5/20

Kalamazoo River Guardians – Kalamazoo Nature Center
9:00AM 5/20

RCL Spring Book Sale – Richland Community Library
10:00AM 5/20

Wild Ones Community Native Plant Sale – PFC Market
10:00AM 5/20

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo – Kalamazoo County Expo Center
10:00AM 5/20

Music in the Arb at KNC – Kalamazoo Nature Center
10:30AM 5/20

Asylum Lake Preserve Spring Celebration – Asylum Lake Preservation Association
12:00PM 5/20

What Do We Owe Our Local Environment? – The Kalamazoo Lyceum
2:00PM 5/20

Michigan Salvage: The Fiction of Bonnie Jo Campbell – Kalamazoo Public Library, Central
2:00PM 5/20

Concert For Critters – Richland Community Hall
5:00PM 5/20

Night For The Nations – Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan
6:00PM 5/20

Live Music with Griff Paws, Elliot Venis & Dom Lee – Green Door Distilling Co.
7:00PM 5/20

Darcy Wilkin Whatzit Hour feat. Ron Casebeer – Dormouse Theatre
7:30PM 5/20

Masterworks Season Finale – Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
7:30PM 5/20

Celebrating Shania! with special guest Lexi Adams – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 5/20

Lanterns on the Lake – Ramona Park
8:00PM 5/20

Kat and the Bluetones – The Sugar Bowl Bar and Grill
8:00PM 5/20

Karaoke – Louie’s Trophy House
9:00PM 5/20

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