Southwest Michigan Today: Wednesday September 12, 2018

Sep 12, 2018

2016 file photo of scene of Kalamazoo bicycle crash
Credit WMUK

Protestors will be able to stay in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park this week. A campaign targets chronic absenteeism in Battle Creek Schools. A sculpture inspired by the 2016 bicycle crash near Kalamazoo will be part of ArtPrize. 

(Kalamazoo Gazette) Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema says protestors will be allowed to continue camping in Bronson Park through the end of the week. The camp was set up in the park August 19th to protest proposed new rules and the city’s policies related to homelessness. Ritsema says the campers can remain this week, but the Kalamazoo Gazette reports that Ritsema says eventually the encampment will have to move. The city commission approved a motion Monday authorizing Ritsema to work on a number of the protestors’ concerns.

(Battle Creek Enquirer) Battle Creek Public School officials have launched a campaign to reduce chronic absenteeism. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that the district’s Challenge 5 campaign encourages students to miss fewer than five days of class during the school year. Superintendent Kim Carter told school board members during a meeting Monday night that more than a quarter of students missed more than 20 days of school during the first eight months of the 2017-18 school year.

(MPRN) Governor Rick Snyder says he has a team in place to turn around the state’s Child Protective Services. This is after an audit showed the program failed to follow multiple state requirements. Snyder called the audit’s findings, “unacceptable.” The team includes members from the Michigan State Police, the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, and Allegan County Child Protective Services.

(Detroit News) A new poll finds strong support for a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in Michigan, but an initiative to change how district lines are drawn for Congress and state Legislature faces greater uncertainty. The survey conducted for the Detroit News and Detroit Television station WDIV finds more than 56-percent of respondents say they support Proposal 1 to legalize marijuana, 38-percent are opposed and only six-percent were undecided. Proposal 2, which would appoint an independent commission to establish legislative districts, has support from 38-percent in the survey, 31-percent oppose and 31-percent are undecided. The survey conducted by the Lansing-based Glengariff Group has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

(MLive) A sculpture entered in this year's ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids honors victims of a bicycle crash near Kalamazoo in 2016. MLive says the sculpture called "Five" was created by Kathy Kreager of South Haven. Kreager says she was "compelled" to make it after hearing about the crash. Five bicyclists were killed and four others hurt when a pick-up truck hit them on North Westnedge Avenue in Cooper Township. The truck's driver will spend at least 40 years in prison. Kreager says she hopes her work will help promote bike safety. ArtPrize begins Sunday and runs through October 7th.

(WKAR) A new lawsuit alleges that Larry Nassar raped a Michigan State University field hockey player in 1992, and that when she reported the assault, then-MSU Athletics Director George Perles was involved in covering it up. According to the lawsuit, Erika Davis was 17 when her MSU field hockey coach at the time, Martha Ludwig, sent her to Nassar for treatment of a knee injury. The suit alleges that under the guise of treatment, Nassar drugged and raped her. Upon learning of the incident, Ludwig confronted Nassar and complained to Perles. Perles then allegedly forced her to resign and sign a non-disclosure agreement. Following the alleged rape, Davis became pregnant and later miscarried. Perles is currently is a member of the MSU Board of Trustees, first elected in 2006. He has not responded to media inquiries.

(WDET) There's a growing number of black bears in Michigan. And that means more opportunities for hunters. The state will have three bear hunting seasons. The first started Monday. The Department of Natural Resources says there are about 11,000 black bears in the Upper Peninsula and another 3,000 in the northern Lower Peninsula. Last year, hunters killed about 1,900 bears.