5/26/23: New contract, more money

Friday, May 26, 2023

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KPS approved a contract with its new superintendent and it comes with more money than the last one. Also: Police are hunting for the women who abandoned another woman in the woods last month. And next week’s Scripps National Spelling Bee will include a newby speller from Kalamazoo.

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KPS approves new superintendent contract

The Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education approved a contract with the district’s new superintendent last night. The three-year agreement includes things like expectations, dispute resolution, and termination provisions, as well as salary details. When Dr. Darrin Slade starts work in July, he will be making $230,000 per year. That’s a bit higher than the previous superintendent was making, according to board President TiAnna Harrison. “The last superintendent didn’t have his education or experience. It’s giving him what he deserves,” she said. Former superintendent Rita Raichoudhuri was paid $223,000 per year when she signed on in 2020.

The new contract includes the same benefits package and retirement plan as other administrators in the district. It also includes up to $15,000 for moving expenses and an $800 a month allowance for transportation. Slade will officially take the reins July 1, but he’ll begin orientation before then. The district will pay him per diem for that period.

More News You Need To Know

Police searching for women who abandoned ‘living Jane Doe’

Takai Crute, 22, was found wandering around the Al Sabo Land Preserve on April 20, alone and unresponsive. Crute had no identification and couldn’t communicate, so officials labeled her a “living Jane Doe” while they sought tips leading to her identity. Now, police are looking for two women who they suspect abandoned Crute in the woods to fend for herself.

Michigan State Police say witnesses saw Crute exit a bus near Kalamazoo Valley Community College with two other women and head into the nature preserve. One of the women is identified as Crute’s mother, Angela Crute. The other woman is unknown. If found, the two women could be charged with vulnerable adult abuse. [MLive]

No more Chicago pizza in Portage

A pizzeria known for its Chicago style pizza will be closing its doors for good this weekend. The owners of Chicago Style Pizza in Portage announced that Sunday will be the restaurant’s last day.

The pizza place has been a constant presence in Portage since Jack and Cindy Taylor opened it in 1979. Shortly before he died in 2019, Jack Taylor passed the restaurant to his three daughters. They’ve continued to run the place while still working their regular jobs. Jennifer Taylor told MLive that it’s just too difficult to manage, especially with rising costs and staffing issues. “We bleed pizza sauce, so this was a hard decision for us,” she said. “If all of us could afford to quit our jobs and run the pizza place, we’d do it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately that’s not the case.” [MLive]

From newby speller to national stage

Clara Mervak was not one of those people with a dream of participating in a national spelling bee. In fact, the Kalamazoo fifth-grader hadn’t even considered it last fall when her school offered spelling bee prep to students. She signed up and that set a series of events in motion. Those events ended with her winning a regional spelling bee, ensuring her a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. next week.

At the national bee, Mervak will compete against 231 students from all over the country. Many of them have been prepping for this for a long time. “It’s good motivation for me,” Mervak told Fox 17. “But it’s also very nerve-wracking because all of these kids have been studying for years.” The preliminary rounds of the spelling bee begin next Tuesday. You can watch the whole thing live on ION Plus or Bounce XL. [Fox 17]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

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West MI Apple Blossom Cluster Dog Show – Kalamazoo County Expo Center
8AM 5/26-29

Friday at the Flats – Celery Flats Park
4:30PM 5/26

Portage Craft Market – Celery Flats Park
4:30PM 5/26

Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 5/26

The Beer Garden Sessions ft. Megan Rae Band! – Presidential Brewing Co.
7:00PM 5/26

Emily Braden – Jazz at the Crawlspace
7:30PM 5/26

Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Shepherd Kings – Dormouse Theatre
8:00PM 5/26

Fenne Lily & Christian Lee Hutson w/ Work Wife – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 5/26

Rummage Sale at Jerico – Jerico
8:00AM 5/27

Bullet Journal Blast – Kalamazoo Public Library, Oshtemo
10:30AM 5/27

Fly-In: C-47 “Hairless Joe” – Air Zoo
11:00AM 5/27

Neighborhood Block Party – Vicksburg Village Watch
4:00PM 5/27

The Gilmore: Renée Fleming & Evgeny Kissin in Concert – Chenery Auditorium
8:00PM 5/27

Venus & the First Quarter Moon – Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
9:00PM 5/27

Radicle Night @ The Xperience – Rootead
9:00PM 5/27

Outfront Kalamazoo Presents: All Ages Drag Show – Dormouse Theatre
1:00PM 5/28

Southwest Michigan Makers Network meetup – Kzoo Makers
3:00PM 5/28

Sunday Professional Blues Jam! – Old Dog Tavern
6:00PM 5/28

Mattawan Memorial Day Car Show – Freightliner of Kalamazoo
9:00AM 5/29

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