The Upjohn Institute for Employment Research is predicting employment growth of more than 2%  in West Michigan this year and next. 

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Western Michigan will host Cleveland State in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament Wednesday at University Arena. The Vikings (18-14) finished third in the Horizon League this season. They lost to eventual champion Valparaiso in the Horizon League tournament semifinals. (Kalamazoo Gazette)

READING – Avenging a loss from the night before, the Reading Royals defeated the Kalamazoo Wings 6-1 Sunday afternoon at the Santander Arena. (K-Wings news release)

The Western Michigan hockey season came to an end Sunday with a 4-0 loss to Miami in Oxford, Ohio in the deciding third game of the NCHC tournament first round series. The Broncos finish the season 14-18-5. It is their first losing season since 2009-10, when they went 8-20-8. (Kalamazoo Gazette)

The city of Battle Creek has added a new police station and repaving airport runways and taxiways to its wish list of projects for the next six years. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing next week to discuss the latest Capital Improvement Program, which proposes $194.3 million worth of projects over six years. The early version adds about $72 million in new improvements. It will ultimately go to the City Commission for its approval. (Battle Creek Enquirer)

MARSHALL – Construction of an experimental law enforcement building is ahead of schedule and coming in under original cost estimates. “More weather like this and we will be looking good,” Andy Kinloch said Friday afternoon. Kinloch is project manager for Clark Construction Co. of Lansing, which is building the Marshall Regional Law Enforcement Center. (Battle Creek Enquirer)

Hours after acquiring Mike Wallace in a trade from the Miami Dolphins, the Minnesota Vikings announced Saturday that they released veteran receiver Greg Jennings. The 31-year-old Jennings, who caught 59 passes for 742 yards and six touchdowns in 2014, was set to earn $8.9 million in 2015. With Wallace in the fold along with Cordarrelle Patterson, Charles Johnson and Jarius Wright, Jennings was expendable. (Yahoo Sports)


(MPRN-Undated) Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) says Republicans are getting ready with replacement plans in case the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a key provision of Obamacare. 


Reading isn’t just about picking up a great novel. It’s about being able to fill out a job application or a medical form. It’s about helping your children with a homework assignment or enjoying a bedtime story together. It’s about creating a grocery list and following a recipe—or just enjoying a game of Scrabble with friends.

AlbertHerring / Wikimedia Commons

Many colleges require students to take general education classes to expand their horizons beyond their majors. Higher education expert Paul Gaston says that's excellent. But he adds that there's more to a good “gen-ed” program than throwing subjects at students and telling them to get to work.

Gaston will lead several workshops Thursday March 19 at Western Michigan University. He’ll also give a public talk, “One Word Behind Student Centered Curricula (It’s not ‘Plastics’),” Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Fetzer Center.

Robbie Feinberg

In the peak of summer, South Haven’s 37-foot ruby-red lighthouse looks downright stoic, overlooking Lake Michigan from its perch at the end of the city's pier. It's a visage that's become a symbol of the town, leading to an ambitious crowd-funding campaign to save it.


The Michigan Festival of Sacred Music has provided Juilliard-trained hometown talent Brandon Ridenour with an opportunity to premiere new works this Sunday. The new compositions include a seven-song cycle based on Edgar Allan Poe's writings, called Sacred Space. 

Two reporters who were served subpoenas by the state Attorney General's office got a call from the boss himself Thursday to apologize. Attorney General Bill Schuette said he called Michigan Radio talk show host Cynthia Canty and Huffington Post political reporter Dana Liebelson Thursday to apologize for the subpoenas, which were ultimately withdrawn, and to say the mistake won't happen again. (Detroit Free Press)

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Waterfront Film Festival will be a part of ArtPrize 2015 and won't return to South Haven this summer. ArtPrize 2015 is launching "ArtPrize Tonight," a new, after-hours series of performance and film including "ArtPrize OnScreen" organized by Waterfront Film Festival as part of the seventh annual art exhibition in Grand Rapids. Due to the new partnership, Waterfront Film Festival will not hold its festival in South Haven, which had been slated for June 11-14, said Hopwood DePree, co-founder of Waterfront Film Festival. (MLive)

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The Western Michigan men's basketball season lives on as the Broncos have accepted a bid to play in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and will host a first round game Wednesday. (Kalamazoo Gazette)

KALAMAZOO, MI -- More students are graduating on time from Kalamazoo Public Schools, according to new state data, but the district continues to lag behind state averages. Data for the Class of 2014 shows that 69 percent of students who entered ninth grade in fall 2010 graduated on time four years later, while 13 percent dropped out and most of the remaining 18 percent were still in school. (Kalamazoo Gazette)

Kevin Lavery, WKAR

(MPRN-Lansing) Gov. Rick Snyder has taken direct control over the state office tasked with monitoring Michigan’s worst performing schools. The elected state Board of Education previously had control over the state School Reform Office. 


(MPRN-Lansing) A group of activists says 2016 is the year to legalize marijuana in Michigan. The group says it will launch a petition drive this year. 


(MPRN-Lansing) Governor Rick Snyder is joining the debate as the Legislature embarks on the first major re-write of Michigan’s energy policy in many years. He will deliver a speech on the topic in metro Detroit. 

Meredith Shipman got a decent look at a potential tying 3-point shot with five seconds remaining in the game, but it didn't fall and the Western Michigan women's basketball team's MAC tournament run came to an end with a 63-60 loss to Buffalo Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. (Kalamazoo Gazette)

Courtesy Belfast Gin

For a Celtic band, St. Patrick’s day can be a blessing and a curse. You’ve got the raucous audiences ready to sing along. But it also means performing songs over and over and over, from dawn until dusk. Kalamazoo band Belfast Gin knows it well. This year, they’re pulling a double-header, heading from a morning show in Battle Creek directly to Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo. It's a challenge, but the band says it's worth it.


A scene from 'Jack Pork' by Donna Hoke. From left to right: Katrina Beedle, Dan Lafferty, and Ben Hooper
Queer Theatre Kalamazoo

CORRECTION: The original story said Edith Fisher was a playwright. She is actually a poet, not a playwright.  

Fancy Pants Theater and Queer Theatre Kalamazoo have teamed up for #LadyFest—a show featuring short plays, monologues, and a few poems—all under the themes of gender equality and femininity. 

WMUK engineer Martin Klemm takes an award for WMUK at the MAB Awards ceremony
Gordon Bolar

WMUK took home five Michigan Association of Broadcasters' Broadcast Excellence Awards for public radio stations. The station also received three merit awards.


(Lansing-MPRN) Many Democrats are attacking comments made on the House floor on Wednesday they say are derogatory toward the LGBT community. “Even California – the land of fruits and nuts – has deregulated this industry,” said state Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville), who was speaking about a bill he sponsored related to installing residential stairway chairlifts. 


On this Edition of WestSouthwest, State Representative Dave Maturen discusses roads and other issues. And the featured speaker for this year's ISAAC Banquest the Reverend John C. Welch. 


Carlos Osorio/AP / The Associated Press

State Representative Dave Maturen says it would not be helpful for lawmakers to start working on an alternative road funding proposal. The Republican whose district includes parts of Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties says if voters reject the ballot proposal to increase the sales tax on May 5th, roads will remain a major issue in Michigan. 


The featured speaker for this year's ISAAC Banquet in Kalamazoo says the "Pittsburgh Promise" and similar programs create "wonderful opportunities." But the Reverend John C. Welch says challenges remain for poorer families to take full advantage of free college. 

LANSING -- The Michigan State Board of Education has whittled down the field of candidates to just three after interviews of six semifinalists on Tuesday and Wednesday. Vickie Markavitch, superintendent of Oakland Schools, Scott Menzel, superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, and Brian Whiston, superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools are the three finalists. Marshall Superintendent Randy Davis was among the others interviewed. (MLive)

LANSING, MI -- The state's unemployment rate in January clocked in at 6.3 percent, down a tenth of a percentage from December's rate of 6.4 percent. The numbers come from the Department of Technology Management and Budget, which tracks the state's unemployment numbers over time. The January 2015 unemployment rate was significantly lower than the unemployment rate in January 2014, which was 7.9 percent. (MLive)

Western Michigan had no answer for Akron's shooting Wednesday night as the Broncos fell to the Zips, 58-45, in the second round of the MAC tournament at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. (Kalamazoo Gazette)