why's that

A wooded roadside with a couple of road signs and piles of chipped wood are visible in the picture.
Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Sheila Marie Everett lives in Paw Paw and commutes to Portage, and recently, she noticed that crews were clearing trees along I-94. “And chipping them and sort of leaving the wood there and the logs were stacking up, and I wondered how much tree removal was going on and why and where was the wood going,” she said.

We will answer those questions – but first, we’ll hear some intriguing ideas for the future of a busy, if not always beloved, interstate.

A black and white aerial photo shows buildings, a rail line, part of a neighborhood, but also an area with what look like white rectangles, which were the east side sludge pits.
Courtesy photo / City of Kalamazoo

In 1968, or just before, the air began to stink on Kalamazoo’s east side.

The smell was so bad that people could hardly bear it, said Jim VanderRoest, who lived on Arthur Avenue near East Main Street and was about 12 at the time. “It was just a putrid odor, and it permeated the whole neighborhood,” he said.

looking up a concrete stem at a large, wide, pale-blue metal circular object
Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

In the spring, two large objects began to take shape by southbound US-131 between I-94 and Stadium Drive in Kalamazoo: a concrete tube and a sort of dish next to it.

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Though Michigan is best known for its peninsulas, this story begins with an island: a strip of land off Riverview Drive that is surrounded by the City of Kalamazoo but is not part of it.

In a mural, a woman wearing a yellow crown and gray robe holds a green, white and red flag and in the other hand, a lit torch with a snake wrapped around.
Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Dea Mulolli is a PhD student at Western Michigan University. She was walking through the student union, the Bernhard Center, when she met another Dea – one who’s always around the building.