WestSouthwest

Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

For five years, the Hidden Kalamazoo tour offered a different take on the history of the city’s downtown. It took people to storage areas, to basements and old apartments. They weren’t traditional historic sites, but they offered clues about how life has changed over the last 150 years.

 

  

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Western Michigan University Geography Professor Jay Emerson says a drone that costs $1,000 can get pictures and video. However, he says analyzing that data and making maps from it is much more expensive.


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Upjohn Institute for Employment Research Economist Evan Mast says allowing more expensive housing construction in a city can have a “ripple effect” that eventually makes it more affordable for middle income and working class residents. In his working paper, The Effect of New Market Rate Construction on the Low-Income Housing Market, Mast says allowing new high priced developments sets off a chain. As people move out of units with cheaper rates, those open up to renters who can pay a little more than where they live now. 


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What was life like in a colonial fort in southwest Michigan 300 years ago? Archaeologists from Western Michigan University are trying to find out. They and local volunteers have been digging at the site of Fort Saint Joseph in Niles since 2002.

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The Director of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium says ideally there would be lifeguards on Great Lakes beaches, but he says in places where they aren’t on duty, people have to be extra vigilant to prevent drowning.

Jamie Racklyeft says many local governments don’t want to hire lifeguards because of liability. He says municipal leaders are afraid that they can be sued if they post lifeguards at a beach and something happens. But Racklyeft says a sign that says “no lifeguard on duty” doesn’t save anybody, and he says it's no guarantee to prevent legal action. “If you’re going to get sued, and anybody can get sued for anything, it’s a matter of whether you win or not. But wouldn’t you rather get sued for trying to help than for doing nothing?”


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