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Southwest Michigan Today: Wednesday July 31, 2019

Michigan State University campus photo from Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

A lawsuit seeks to block a new redistricting commission in Michigan. A Kalamazoo organization formed to address racial disparities in infant mortality has its first CEO. Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon will retire. 

(MPRN) Republican opponents of Michigan’s new independent redistricting commission are back in court. Last November, voters said “yes” to a measure that created the Michigan Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw Michigan’s political district lines. It was a long battle to even get on the ballot – ending when the Michigan Supreme Court said the measure had to be put in front of voters. Now Republican lawmakers and activists have filed another lawsuit. They say the commission is unconstitutional. That’s because people with political ties – like paid employees of elected officials and family members of registered lobbyists - can’t serve on the commission. But supporters of the commission said this is a last-ditch effort by Republicans to keep power they would lose if the commission is implemented. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement, “My office will stay focused on engaging the public and encouraging full participation in a transparent application and random selection process for this commission, which has the opportunity to map Michigan’s future.” Attorney General Dana Nessel said on Twitter that her office will “VIGOROUSLY” defend the legality of the commission.

A Kalamazoo organization formed to reduce infant mortality has named a new leader. Cradle Kalamazoo says it has hired Dionne Bowens as its first executive director. She was most recently executive director of the Muskegon-Oceana Community Action Partnership. Kalamazoo’s infant mortality rate for black babies is more than four times higher than it is for white infants. Cradle Kalamazoo was formed because of that disparity, which has long been one of the largest in the state.

(MPRN) A large crowd was on hand outside Detroit’s Fox Theater to demonstrate and greet the Democratic presidential candidates who showed up for the first of two nights of debates. Many of the people chanted slogans and held signs to support a favorite candidate or cause. There were people both supporting and protesting the progressive “Green New Deal” that’s been embraced by many of the candidates. Ten candidates were on the stage Tuesday night, another ten will be on stage Wednesday night at the Fox Theater.

(WKAR) Michigan State University says former president Lou Anna Simon will retire next month. Simon resigned as president in January of last year after former physician Larry Nassar was sentenced for sexually abusing women under his care at MSU. At that time Simon returned to a tenured faculty position. This fall, a judge will decide if Simon will go to trial on charges related to the Nassar scandal. As part of her retirement terms, Simon will earn $2.4-million and other benefits.

Western Michigan University has named Pat Ferschweiler Associate Head Hockey Coach. Bronco Head Coach Andy Murray announced Tuesday that Ferschweiler is returning to Western after spending the last four years as an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings, he also spent a season as assistant coach for the Grand Rapids Griffins. Ferschweiler played for the Broncos from 1990 to ‘93, and was first hired as an assistant at Western by current Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill in 2010.

Western Michigan University will open the men’s basketball season November 6th with a home game against McNeese State. The Broncos' non-conference schedule was released Tuesday. It includes a game against Michigan State December 29th or 30th in East Lansing. The contest against the Spartans marks the fourth straight season that Western has played a team coming off an appearance in the final four of the NCAA tournament. The Broncos’ non-conference schedule also includes home games against Mississippi Valley State, Alma College, Oakland, Youngstown State and Aquinas College. Western will also play on the road at Milwaukee, Mississippi, Manhattan and Oklahoma State.

In baseball, Battle Creek snapped a seven game losing streak with a 9-8 win at Rockford Tuesday night. The Bombers took the lead for good with four runs in the sixth inning. The two teams will play again tonight.

Kalamazoo lost at Traverse City Tuesday night 6-0. The Growlers three game winning streak ended despite two more hits than the Pit-Spitters. The two teams will play again Wednesday night.

Image from Wikimedia Commons