9/18/23: Downtown crashes down

Accidents on Michigan Ave. are way down since traffic changes went into effect. Also: A former K Township fire chief is suing over his firing. And a high school food drive has broken records.

Monday, September 18, 2023

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Accidents on Michigan Ave. are way down since traffic changes went into effect. Also: A former K Township fire chief is suing over his firing. And a high school food drive has broken records.

News You Need To Know

Downtown crashes decline 33%

The number of car crashes on Michigan Avenue has declined by 33% since the city implemented lane changes on the roadway. That’s according to an official post from the city on Facebook. At the same time, the average amount of time it takes to traverse the downtown section of road has increased slightly – by roughly 26 seconds. “We’ll keep tracking the data, but it’s a promising start as we continue working to make our downtown more inviting and our streets safer for everyone,” reads the post.

City crews are working on narrowing certain downtown streets and adding bike lanes as part of its “Streets for All” initiative. It’s meant to encourage drivers to slow down and be more attentive as they travel through the city center. The effort has also drawn criticism from some residents who say the narrower streets are confusing and the bike lanes are a waste of space. [WWMT]

Former K Twp fire chief sues over ‘sham’ investigation

The former fire chief of Kalamazoo Township has filed a federal lawsuit against the township alleging he was wrongfully terminated. David Obreiter was fired along with former battalion chief Matt Mulac about a year ago. An official investigation found they mishandled an allegation of harassment by a former employee. In the suit, Obreiter called the township’s investigation a “sham” with a predetermined outcome.

Obreiter and Mulac were fired by Township Manager Dexter Mitchell, who is himself the subject of an investigation. Mitchell is currently on administrative leave after he allegedly recorded a closed meeting between attorneys and the township board. [MLive]

High school food drive shatters records

Students at Kalamazoo Central High School collected a lot of food for Kalamazoo’s Loaves and Fishes food pantry last week. At the end of Friday’s food drive, crews loaded up 27,386 pounds of food. That’s almost double what the school collected during the entire football season last year.

The so-called Frenzy Food Drive is sponsored by WOOD TV8 as part of competitive effort to support the food pantry. Besides supporting a good cause, the school’s aim was to surpass the 12,500 pounds of food collected by Forest Hills Northern High School in Grand Rapids two weeks ago. Employees at Loaves and Fishes were astonished by the support. “It can be really tough to just mobilize and get something together (like this food drive),” said associate director Greta Faworski. “This is wonderful because it’s kind of unexpected.” [WOOD]

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Check out our new Things To Do In Kalamazoo calendar.

Monarch Tagging with the Michigan Butterfly Network – Kalamazoo Nature Center
9/19, 01:00 PM

Barry Ross, Violin and Terry Lower, Jazz Piano – Martell’s
9/19, 05:30 PM

Celtics and Classics – The Thirsty Hound
9/19, 06:30 PM

Jammin’ In Kalamazoo | Musical Storyboook Concert – Chenery Auditorium
9/19, 06:30 PM

Trivia night – Shakespeare’s Pub
9/19, 07:00 PM

Bird Banding Up Close – Kalamazoo Nature Center
9/20, 08:00 AM

Book Discussion: The Trackers – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
9/20, 02:00 PM

Family Literacy Days – Kalamazoo Literacy Council
9/20, 05:00 PM

Thyroid Balancing with Ayruveda – People’s Church
9/20, 06:00 PM

Board Game Night – Main Street Pub, West Main
9/20, 06:00 PM

Acoustic Roulette with Dean Madonia – ThunderBird Kalamazoo
9/20, 07:00 PM

Out of Favor Boys – O’Duffy’s Pub
9/20, 07:00 PM

Karaoke – Shakespeare’s Pub
9/20, 08:30 PM

Mug Club Comedy Night – Final Gravity Brewing Co.
9/20, 08:30 PM

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