SW Michigan Today: Thursday, August 16

Aug 16, 2018

GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Schuette and his pick for lieutenant-governor, Lisa Posthumus Lyons
Credit Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Parchment changes its schedule and location for bottled water pickup; murders and nonfatal shootings are down so far this year in Kalamazoo; a trustee from Battle Creek Public Schools wants to attend meetings by phone from Italy, and more.

Kalamazoo County health officials say progress is being made in Parchment's PFAS crisis. But they say an advisory against drinking the city's tap water remains in effect. Tests late last month found high levels of chemicals called PFASes in Parchment's water system. The advisory also affects some residents in Cooper Township. Work is underway to connect Parchment to Kalamazoo's water system. The results of the latest round of water tests are expected on Monday. Parchment will not distribute bottled water Friday August 17. On Saturday, pickup moves to a new location, the Haven Reformed Church at 5350 North Sprinkle Road. Water will be available at the church Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 7 in the afternoon.

(Kalamazoo Gazette) Both murders and nonfatal shootings are down in the City of Kalamazoo, according to the Department of Public Safety. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports the city has had three murders so far this year, while eight murders had taken place by August of 2017. Four years ago the city had nearly 50 nonfatal shootings. That number dropped to 20 in each of the last two years. It’s at 14 so far this year. The Department of Safety has reached out to violent groups to encourage nonviolent behavior in recent years. Officials say the drop in crime shows that campaign is working.

(MPRN) Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has chosen Lisa Posthumus Lyons as his running mate for the November election. Schuette is the Republican nominee for governor. If he wins, Lyons will be the state’s next lieutenant-governor. Schuette is a supporter of President Donald Trump and spent part of the primary accusing fellow candidates of not supporting the president enough. Lyons reversed her support for Trump during the 2016 election, saying he had not earned her respect or her vote. But, now, Lyons says she supports Trump and his policies. Lyons is a former state representative who's now Kent County's clerk. The Democratic nominee for governor, Gretchen Whitmer, hasn't announced who her running mate will be.

(Battle Creek Enquirer) Battle Creek's new fire chief is a native of the Cereal City. He's Brian Sturdivant, who is currently the deputy fire chief in Petersburg, Virginia. Battle Creek City Manager Rebecca Fleury announced Sturdivant's hiring on Wednesday. He'll replace former Battle Creek fire chief Dave Schmaltz who resigned earlier this year. Sturdivant has also worked at fire departments in California, Georgia, and Arizona. During his public presentation, Sturdivant, who's African-American, said increasing the department's diversity is a high priority.

(Battle Creek Enquirer) A trustee on Battle Creek's school board could soon be sitting in on meetings by phone - from Europe. Jacqueline Slaby will leave for a year-long stay in Italy next week. The school board may decide on August 27th if it will approve Slaby's request to attend meetings by phone while she's gone. Not all of her fellow trustees like the idea. One suggested that she resign and run to get her seat back in 2020. Others say they're concerned about setting a precedent. Slaby says current communication technology makes being at meetings in person less necessary.

(MLive) The federal government is suing Allegan County's intermediate school district over sexual harassment. The Justice Department filed the suit Wednesday. It says the Allegan Area Educational Service Agency didn't do anough about harassment and abuse complaints by two teachers. The complaints involved the former principal of Hillside Behavior and Learning Center. Jonathan Garcia was convicted of sexual assault in 2016. The district says it suspended Garcia after he was charged. But the Justice Department says it knew about the complaints two years before that.

(Kalamazoo Gazette) One of Kalamazoo's three public high schools has a new look. Outside panels on the walls of Loy Norrix are now a darker shade of blue. They replaced the older, turquiose panels. New windows have also been installed. Money for the project came out of a $62-million bond issue that voters approved in 2013. School district officials say the renovation project started last year and will be mostly complete by the time classes begin after Labor Day. They say the work makes the building more energy efficient, and that the new look more closely matches Loy Norrix's school colors.

(Kalamazoo Gazette) The City of Portage is getting ready to launch a fundraising campaign for its new community and senior center. City Council members hope to get at least $1.5 million dollars in donations. The planned $5.5-million project would replace the current center near the Portage District Library. The new center would have more than four times the space of the current building. City Council members agreed to spend $75,000 on the fundraising campaign Tuesday.

(Detroit Free Press) The City of Marshall is getting a big medical marijuana growing operation. The Detroit Free Press says developers expect the facility to create about 400 jobs in the area. The operation by Michigan Pure Med will take up about 20 acres in an industrial park. It will include 250,000 square feet of greenhouse space. But the project still needs to get a state license. Groundbreaking for the project is expected soon.

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