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Southwest Michigan Today: Friday July 26, 2019

Turn 2 Foundation and Kalamazoo Public Schools

Derek Jeter’s foundation will pay to renovate baseball and softball fields at Kalamazoo Central High School. A one-time Benton Harbor City Manager is returning to the job on an interim basis. The cost of a rescue at Sleeping Bear Dunes goes up. 

The foundation started by former New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter is paying to renovate the baseball and softball fields at Kalamazoo Central High School. The Turn 2 Foundation will fund the project, which the Kalamazoo Public School district says will cost three-point-two million dollars. Plans call for reorienting the fields, new seating, dugouts and synthetic turf at the Derek Jeter Field Complex. In 2011, it was re-named for the 1992 K-Central graduate. KPS says it will open the project for bids this fall. Construction is scheduled to begin at the end of the 2020 baseball and softball seasons. The renovations are tentatively scheduled to be completed in late spring of 2021.

(Kalamazoo GazetteTeachers at an elementary school in Vicksburg say they’re worried about air quality in the building, though tests seem to show it’s not bad enough to cause illness. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that a group of about thirty staff members has hired a lawyer to press their concerns about conditions at Sunset Lake Elementary School. Staff members allege that poor air quality caused in part by mold has played a role in reproductive health problems, migraines and other illnesses among people who work at the school. Vicksburg schools superintendent Keevin O’Neill says the district has done extensive environmental testing and failed to find a contaminant. One firm did high levels of carbon dioxide, enough that it could make staff members uncomfortable. The district plans to rip out carpets at Sunset Lake over the summer. Federal health experts are planning to visit the school in the fall.

(St. Joseph Benton Harbor Herald-Palladium) A former Benton Harbor City Manager is returning to that job on an interim basis. The St. Joseph Benton Harbor Herald Palladium reports that the Benton Harbor City Commission approved hiring Ellis Mitchell during a special meeting last night. He previously served as manager from 1983 to 87. The commission fired Darwin Watson earlier this week. Mayor Marcus Mohammad opposed the firing and hired Watson as chief of staff and public works director while serving as interim city manager for the last few days.

(WCMU) High water levels have caused high rescue costs at Sleeping Bear Dunes. is chief of the Glen Lake Fire Department Chief Brian Ferguson says the problem is the dune’s beach has vanished. Hesays rescues used to be performed by ATV along the lakeshore, but since the beach has disappeared, rescuers have had to resort to a complex operation involving rope and pulleys. That’s caused the cost of a rescue to jump from under $700 to more than $2,000. And the person rescued is responsible for the fee.

(WNMU) High water levels on the Great Lakes are making breakwaters and other such structures more dangerous. David Wright with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says breakwaters were designed as navigation aids—not for public access—and have tripping hazards. Wright also cautions the public against diving from breakwaters. He says wave action during high water levels can produce strong and deadly rip currents.

In baseball, Kalamazoo lost to Traverse City 4-3 in 10 innings. The Growlers and the Pit Spitters will wrap up their two game series tonight at Homer Stryker Field.

Battle Creek has lost four straight after a 5-0 defeat at Kenosha Thursday night. The Bombers were held to four hits. They will play the Kingfish again Frida night.