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

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Kalamazoo Schools Superintendent Michael Rice says despite many “headwinds” the Kalamazoo district has been able to increase graduation rates. Rice says those challenges have included a reduction in “inflation adjusted funding” and a more difficult Michigan Merit Curriculum. Rice says it’s hard to know how much the increase in graduation rates is due to the Kalamazoo Promise, but he says it is a factor. 

Rice has been Kalamazoo Superintendent for the last 12 years, but he will soon become state Superintendent of Public Instruction in Michigan. The state Board of Education picked Rice for the job earlier this month.


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When Kalamazoo Schools Superintendent Michael Rice takes on the job of State Superintendent he will tasked with the job of improving education in the state. Western Michigan University Professor of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology Brett Geier says Rice is up to the challenge. 

Geier was a teacher, principal and Superintendent of Bloomingdale Public Schools, before he became a professor. He says Rice is very intelligent, a good listener and understands the challenges and dynamics of public education. Geier says Rice will be a champion and advocate for marginalized student populations.


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Jud Hoff says watching kids play baseball in the Miracle League you can see the “Joy and glee on their faces.” He wants to bring a new field and the opportunity for disabled kids to play baseball to Southwest Michigan. 

Hoff is one of the owners of the Dome Sports Center in Schoolcraft, and president of the board of the Southwest Michigan Miracle League. A $1.1-million fundraising campaign is starting to bring a custom designed field in Schoolcraft. It will allow young people with disabilities to play baseball. A fundraising event is being held Saturday May 11th at the Dome Sports Center. Note: In an earlier version of this story, Jud Hoff's name was misspelled, we apologize for the error. 


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South Haven is now called “the blueberry capital of the world.” Tom Renner says in the early 1900’s, the town was known for growing pears. In the 1950’s he says it was peaches. Renner says agriculture has been an important part of South Haven over the last 150 years. 

A celebration to mark South Haven’s incorporation as a township is being held Friday May 10th at Stanley Johnston Park. It will include free food, entertainment and activities for children. Renner is a member of the Sesquicentennial Planning Group. A long-time resident of South Haven, he was part of the Centennial Planning Group in 1969. 


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When Tunde Wey makes you a meal, he wants you to enjoy the food, of course. What is less usual is that the New Orleans-based chef also wants his diners to think about power, who has it, who does not and how to change the status quo. And now Wey has a plan for lowering Kalamazoo’s persistently high rate of black infant mortality.


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