City Commission Shows Support for Washington Writers’ Academy & Woodward School

At its regular meeting on Monday, February 20, the Kalamazoo City Commission adopted Resolution 17-3, “in support of keeping open Washington Writers’ Academy and the Woodward School for Technology and Research”.

The two elementary schools were recently among 38 Michigan schools identified as low performing by the State School Reform Office (SRO). The SRO has the authority to close schools that remain on the list for three years.

Resolution 17-3 notes the strong support showed within the community to keep these two schools open, and also notes recent improvement grants that have been received, renovations of the two facilities, and a history of improvement within Kalamazoo Public Schools. Three schools previously included on the priority list were removed this year, and a recent report by the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and Kalamazoo Public Schools data both show improvements in student achievement.

You can read the resolution and a letter from Mayor Hopewell to the School Reform Office here.

Dearborn Ave Water Repair, Boil Water Advisory

The City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Services has scheduled a water infrastructure repair near the intersection of Dearborn Avenue and Cooper Avenue, City of Kalamazoo. A precautionary boil water advisory is being issued in cooperation with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department for all water intended for drinking within the affected area due to a temporary pressure loss that will occur within the water main during the repair.  The affected area is as follows:

Dearborn Avenue – Dearborn Avenue between Wallace to the west and Lum Avenue to the east, including certain street intersection areas between Wallace and Lum.

It is anticipated that the work will be completed on Wednesday, February 22.

This advisory is precautionary only; there have not been any confirmed tests showing bacteria present in the water main at the location of the break.  Initial sampling results will be available within 24 hours of its collection and the final set within 48 hours. It is expected that the work will be completed on February 15 and the advisory will be lifted within 72 hours.

Municipal water customers in the affected area may boil their tap water for 2 minutes prior to use for drinking. No special precautionary measures are necessary for water used for personal hygiene.

 

Contacts:      City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Services
                        269-337-8737

                        Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department
                        Environmental Health Director
                        269-373-5337

Lifting of the Pleasant Ave Precautionary Boil Water Advisory

As of Saturday, February 18, 2017, at 1:15 p.m., the precautionary boil water advisory issued February 16, 2017 has been lifted by the City of Kalamazoo, in cooperation with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department. Citizens in the affected area can now use City water for consumption as well as all other purposes. Bacteriological sampling within the affected area verified that the water is safe to drink. The affected area is as follows:

Pleasant Avenue – North side and south side of street between Duke Street to the west and S. Westnedge Avenue to the east, including the Pleasant Avenue Apartments. The affected area does not include Pembrook Street.

The understanding and cooperation of affected residents, businesses and institutions is much appreciated.

City Leaders Seek Resident Opinion through Community-wide Survey

The City of Kalamazoo is asking residents to participate in The National Citizen Survey™ (The NCS™), a survey designed to provide a baseline of how the city government is serving residents, to gauge perceptions of the city and to make comparisons with peer cities.

A random and scientific sample of 1,500 households will receive invitations to participate in the mail and their confidential responses will be weighted and analyzed. The NCS™ will be administered at periodic intervals in the future to track progress towards goals.

The survey centers on community livability and includes questions about the quality of life in the community, local policies, demographics, rating of local government services and resident use of services. The survey includes questions directly related to the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 community visioning process, which will allow the results of Imagine Kalamazoo to be compared to a statistically significant survey sample.

“The NCS will provide another valuable source of community input as we begin drafting a new Master Plan and Strategic Vision later this year,” said City Manager Jim Ritsema. “As we shift from planning to action, the NCS will also provide benchmarks, allow us to track progress, and make comparisons to other communities.”

Community members are encouraged to visit www.imaginekalamazoo.com to learn more about Imagine Kalamazoo 2025, stay connected to the process, and find opportunities to get involved.

The NCS™ was developed by National Research Center, Inc. in partnership with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) in 2001 to provide cities with a low-cost, high-quality method to conduct research. It has been used in more than 350 jurisdictions across 46 states and is endorsed by both the ICMA and the National League of Cities.

Pembrook St/Pleasant Ave Water Main Break, Boil Water Advisory

The City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Services is repairing a water main break near the intersection of Pleasant Avenue and Pembrook Street, City of Kalamazoo.  A precautionary boil water advisory is being issued in cooperation with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department for all water intended for drinking within the affected area due to a pressure loss within the water main.  The affected area is as follows:

Pleasant Avenue – North side and south side of street between Duke Street to the west and S. Westnedge Avenue to the east, including the Pleasant Avenue Apartments.  The affected area does not include Pembrook Street.

This advisory is precautionary only; there have not been any confirmed tests showing bacteria present in the water main at the location of the break.  Initial sampling results will be available within 24 hours of its collection and the final set within 48 hours. It is expected that the advisory will be lifted within 72 hours.

Municipal water customers in the affected area may boil their tap water for 2 minutes prior to use for drinking.  No special precautionary measures are necessary for water used for personal hygiene.

Contact:

City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Services
269-337-8737

Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department
Environmental Health Director
269-373-5337

Call If You Can, Text If You Can’t: Text-to-911 Now Available in Kalamazoo County

As of Wednesday, February 15th all emergency dispatch centers in Kalamazoo County have gone-live with Text-to-911.

This service will provide cell phone users in Kalamazoo County the ability to text 911 in an emergency situation.  Although text is available, a voice call is still the preferred method of communication if possible. Call if you can, text if you can’t!

Text-to-911 has been in the works since early fall of 2016 and is a collaboration of all Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). The PSAPs are currently working together to establish a consolidated dispatch center.

Millview Avenue Water Infrastructure Repair & Boil Water Advisory

The City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Services has scheduled a water infrastructure repair on Millview Avenue, City of Kalamazoo. A precautionary boil water advisory is being issued in cooperation with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department for all water intended for drinking within the affected area due to a temporary pressure loss that will occur within the water main during the repair.  The affected area is as follows:

Millview Avenue – All of Millview Avenue between S. Rose Street to the west and S. Burdick Street to the east (does not include Hillsdale Place);

Outlook Street – All of Outlook Street from Millview Avenue to the north, and Inkster Avenue to the south.

This advisory is precautionary only; there have not been any confirmed tests showing bacteria present in the water main at the location of the break.  Initial sampling results will be available within 24 hours of its collection and the final set within 48 hours. It is expected that the work will be completed on February 15 and the advisory will be lifted within 72 hours.

Municipal water customers in the affected area may boil their tap water for 2 minutes prior to use for drinking. No special precautionary measures are necessary for water used for personal hygiene.

Contacts:       

City of Kalamazoo
Department of Public Services
269-337-8146

Kalamazoo County
Health and Community Services Department
Environmental Health Director
269-373-5337

Lifting of Morgan Street Boil Water Advisory

As of Wednesday, February 8, 2017, at 2:30 p.m., the precautionary boil water advisory issued February 6, 2017 has been lifted by the City of Kalamazoo, in cooperation with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department. Citizens in the affected area can now use City water for consumption as well as all other purposes. Bacteriological sampling within the affected area verified that the water is safe to drink. The affected area is as follows:

Morgan Street – All of Morgan Street between Cambridge Drive to the north and E. Cork Street to the south;

  • Cork Street – From Cameron Street to the west, to Fulford Street to the east;
  • Cambridge Drive – Limited to the south side of the intersection at Morgan Street; and
  • Sheridan Drive – Limited to the intersection at Morgan Street

The understanding and cooperation of affected residents, businesses and institutions is much appreciated.

 

Contacts:      City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Services
                        269-337-8146

                        Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department
                        Environmental Health Director
                        269-373-5337

City Commission Reaffirms its Commitment to Maintain a Welcoming Community

On March 21, 2016 the Kalamazoo City Commission issued a proclamation affirming that the City of Kalamazoo is a Welcoming Community and respects the innate dignity of all people.

The proclamation resolves, “…that the City of Kalamazoo is affirmed as a place where all foreign-born and native-born Americans can live, work, and play together; share in each other’s customs and ideals, and appreciate and promote cultural diversity. We urge residents and stakeholders of the Kalamazoo community to join with the efforts and spirit of the Welcoming Michigan Initiative and others to join in lifting up the City of Kalamazoo as a welcoming environment for all.”

Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema added, “Many people from across the globe come to Kalamazoo to work, learn, or make it their home and our entire community benefits from this diversity and cultural exchange. It creates opportunities to learn from the experiences of others and enriches life in the City. We want to continue to encourage these contributions to our community.”

Recent actions by the federal government have spurred a vigorous national debate about the enforcement of immigration law in the United States and have prompted questions from many community members about how these actions will affect our community and local law enforcement. The impact of these actions in the City of Kalamazoo was a topic of discussion during the February 6, 2017 City Commission meeting.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety General Order G-40 identifies procedures regarding contact with undocumented immigrants. This policy was revised in 2009 and has been in effect since that time. The policy states:

  • Kalamazoo Public Safety Officers lack jurisdiction in the enforcement of Federal immigration and naturalization laws.  Kalamazoo Public Safety Officers shall not arrest or detain anyone solely suspected of being an illegal alien, unless working in conjunction with federal agencies who have requested the assistance of KDPS. Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Officers may seek information on immigration status if they are assisting Federal Agencies in the investigation of a criminal offense, or when immigration status is relevant to the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense.
  • Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Officers are prohibited from soliciting information status from persons who are seeking police services or is the victim of  or witness to a crime.

The January 25 Executive Order by the Trump Administration, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to only use existing authority to enter into voluntary agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies to perform immigration enforcement duties. The decision by KDPS to cooperate with Federal authorities on a suspected undocumented person(s) would be centered on public safety risk and not merely on someone’s “status”.  This is the long-standing position of KDPS and it is not impacted by this Executive Order.

“We want our operations and policies to engender trust within the community and not have certain communities live in fear of the police,” said Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley. “If certain communities fear the police it inherently makes them less safe, makes KDPS officers less safe and makes this community less safe. These policies are in the best interest of public safety and in the spirit of the City’s efforts to foster a welcoming community.”

Following the discussion of this issue at the February 6 City Commission meeting, Vice Mayor Don Cooney voiced his support for efforts to preserve Kalamazoo a welcoming city. “I was so proud to be one of over a thousand people who stood in that park yesterday in the freezing cold for more than two hours to declare that Kalamazoo is a welcoming city,” he said, referring to the Rally Against Islamophobia and for Muslim, Immigrant, and Refugee Rights held in Bronson Park on February 5. “That’s the message that we’re sending to the world”

City Commission Explores Foundation For Excellence at January Work Session

The Kalamazoo City Commission convened on January 23 to examine how projects and programs will be selected for funding by the Foundation For Excellence. City officials presented a clearer definition of what the term “aspirational” means in relation to potential FFE programs, and demonstrated how proposals will be evaluated. A scoring process takes into account each project or proposal’s impact on community results, as well as other attributes such as the portion of the community served, community partnerships involved, and the readiness of the project/program for implementation. The priorities of the City Commission also are a factor; proposals that align with their prioritized community results will be favored in the selection process.

With 2017 being the first year of the Foundation For Excellence, the selection process for projects and programs is being created as plans are made for this year. A draft summary of potential goals was provided at the January 23 work session which draws on the input obtained through the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 process. A variety of goals are included in the draft such as increasing the quantity of affordable housing, creating safer streets through traffic calming, improving and encouraging non-motorized commuting, expanding opportunities for youth employment & career exploration, and increasing community policing efforts.

The City Commission will continue discussing the Foundation For Excellence at their annual retreat on Saturday, March 4 at 8:30 a.m. in the Governing Board Room at Metro Transit (530 N Rose St). During the retreat proposed 2017 projects and programs will be presented, and the Commission will discuss 2017 priorities.

You can view the presentation slides here and the draft of potential Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 goals here.