Southwest Michigan Today: Thursday April 18, 2019

Apr 18, 2019

Western Michigan University President Edward Montgomery - file photo
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK-FM

WMU’s president is elected to a prestigious academy. Kalamazoo County gets a large federal grant to help reduce infant mortality. A new task force will look at who’s in Michigan jails and why. 

Western Michigan University President Edward Montgomery has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The class of 200 announced Wednesday also includes former First Lady Michelle Obama. The academy recognizes outstanding achievements in academia, the arts, business, government and public affairs. Montgomery, who became Western’s ninth president in 2017, is a nationally renowned labor economist. His career has included posts in higher education and both the Clinton and Obama administrations.

Kalamazoo County has won a big grant for its "Healthy Babies" program. It will get more than five million dollars over five years from the federal Health Resources Service Administration. The money will go to the county's Healthy Babies Healthy Start program. It tries to reduce infant mortality rates, especially among minority residents. The program is part of the larger Cradle Kalamazoo initiative.

(MPRN) A new task force will explore who is in Michigan’s jails and why they’re there. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Wednesday. The order creates a bipartisan team to review the jail and court data collected from Michigan counties. Then the task force will use the information to look for improvements to the system and make recommendations to the Legislature.

(Interlochen Public Radio) Governor Gretchen Whitmer is reportedly considering a tunnel for an oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. In a written statement to Interlochen Public Radio Governor Whitmer says she’s committed to protecting the Great Lakes and removing the Line five oil pipelines as soon as possible. But in an interview with the Detroit News on Monday she says a tunnel for a new pipeline is still an option. Under a deal struck last year Enbridge Energy was allowed to build a tunnel for a new pipeline. But the Michigan Attorney General found that unconstitutional and the Governor stopped all construction on it. In a statement Enbridge says they believe the pipeline is the best way to protect the Great Lakes and meet the energy needs of the state.

Michigan’s unemployment rate was unchanged last month, remaining at four-percent in March. The Department of Technology, Management and Budget says the seasonally adjusted jobless rate is four-tenths of a percent lower than it was in March of 2018. Michigan’s jobless rate of four-percent is slightly higher than the national average which was at three-point-eight percent last month.

(WCMU) A lawsuit filed earlier this week on behalf of a Catholic adoption agency alleges a new requirement that adoption and foster care agencies work with same-sex couples is discriminatory. In a settlement agreement last month the Attorney General Dana Nessel said the state would not contract with agencies that don’t allow same-sex couples to adopt. Nick Reaves is an attorney representing the St. Vincent Catholic Charities, which is bringing the suit. He says “The abrupt change in position of the state definitely seems like a targeted attempt to shut down a successful agency because of their religious beliefs.” The state is expected to officially file a response to the suit within a month.

Western Michigan University has announced future home and home football series with Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The Broncos will host the Orange at Waldo Stadium on September 26, 2020, and will play at Syracuse in September of 2023. Western will travel to Pittsburgh for a game in September of 2021. The Panthers will come to Waldo Stadium for a game with the Broncos in 2022. Western will open the 2019 football season when they host Monmouth at Waldo Stadium on August 31st.

In softball, Western Michigan jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but Valparaiso scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 4-3 walk-off win over the Broncos. Western will host Bowling Green for a three game series beginning tomorrow.

In hockey, Kalamazoo now trails its first round playoff series two games to one after a 4-1 loss Wednesday night to Cincinnati. The K-Wings and the Cyclones will play game four of their best of seven series Friday night at the Wings Event Centre.