Southwest Michigan Today: Tuesday July 16, 2019

Jul 16, 2019

Kalamazoo City Hall - file photo
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

A report finds state corrections department workers face high risks of depression and PTSD symptoms. A Kalamazoo City Commission resolution calls for allowing undocumented residents to get driver’s licenses. Some Michigan hospitals report low blood supplies.

(MPRN) Employees at the Michigan Department of Corrections face a higher chance of Major Depressive Disorder than first responders and other high stress jobs. That’s according to a new report released Monday. The study found that about one in four MDOC employees would meet criteria for PTSD if they were screened. The department received money from the state Legislature last year for the study. Everyone, from corrections officers to administrative staff, was asked to fill out an anonymous survey. Abut 3,500 employees filled out the survey. Employees said being assaulted, not getting enough time off, and having problems with superiors are some of the reasons for their depression. One employee is cited in the report saying, “I’m more stressed than I’ve ever been and don’t know how much more I can take before I just snap.”

(Kalamazoo Gazette) Kalamazoo City Commissioners have approved a resolution asking the state Legislature to change state law and allow undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license. The Kalamazoo Gazette says the commission approved the resolution during its meeting Monday night. Supporters of the change say that without a driver’s license undocumented people are in danger of being separated from their families when they go to work and school. 13 states currently allow undocumented residents to get a driver’s license.

(Interlochen Public Radio) Blood supplies at some Michigan hospitals are dangerously low. Spectrum Health which has hospitals in west Michigan, including one in Hastings, says its reserve is down 84 percent. It’s so low blood banks are issuing an emergency call for donors. Blood centers say more people on vacation, not donating and hospitals also using more blood could account for the shortage. Versiti Blood Center of Michigan has issued an urgent call for donations. 

(MPRN) The ACLU is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit. The lawsuit says a school district’s policy that’s supposed to protect LGBTQ students from harassment violates religious freedom and free speech rights. The lawsuit was filed by parents in the Williamston Community School District. They say their children are entitled to a free public education that does not challenge their Christian faith. They say the school policy that’s supposed to protect LGBTQ students from harassment and discrimination does not protect their kids from the same thing. Jay Kaplan with the ACLU of Michigan says it is possible to protect free speech and religious freedom rights without subjecting LGBTQ students to fear and harassment in school.

(MLive) A lawsuit filed by a former lawmaker against the State House has been dismissed. MLive says a federal judge tossed the case involving former state representative Todd Courser Monday. Courser sued after he resigned from the House in 2015. That followed an attempted cover-up of an extramarital affair with former representative Cindy Gamrat of Plainwell. Courser said House officials engaged in a conspiracy to force his resignation but the judge says there's no evidence to support that. Gamrat was expelled by the House and later filed her own lawsuit, which was also thrown out-of-court. Courser and Gamrat - both Republicans - were accused of misusing public resources to hide their affair.

(Kalamazoo Gazette) Kalamazoo City Commissioners say violence is not the answer after a string of shootings in the city over the last two weeks. Mayor Bobby Hopewell and Commissioners Eric Cunningham and Patrese Griffin all spoke of the violence during Monday night’s city commission meeting. Two of the shooting were fatal. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that 33 year old Shequita Lewis was shot and killed Monday afternoon. She ran for Kalamazoo County Commission in 2018. 21 year old Dontae Lawrence died on Friday of a gunshot wound. Mayor Hopewell says “we need to be thinking about how to make our communities better.”

Western Michigan University has promoted assistant women’s soccer coach Sammy Boateng to interim head coach a month before a new season is set to begin. On Friday, Western’s athletic department announced the firing of head women’s soccer coach Sarah Stanczyk, but did not give any other details. Boateng joined the Broncos in March as an assistant coach. He was named interim head coach Monday.