Sehvilla Mann

Local Government/Education Reporter

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

The State of Michigan is poised to approve new standards for public defense lawyers. Those rules will apply to all counties including Kalamazoo.

For a long time counties have set their own standards. But that’s led to claims that some courts have fallen short of their duty to provide effective counsel.

Right now in Kalamazoo the district and circuit courts handle public defense, but as the county considers the new state requirements it could create a separate public defender’s office.

Commissioner Julie Rogers is among those who thinks that might be the way to go.

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

All seven commissioners voted against allowing drinking on “pedal pubs," at least for now; Kalamazoo’s summer youth programs are getting a big boost; Burdick Street will soon have bike lanes; and if your car is seized in a drug bust and you want it back, you'll have to pay a fee.

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Carl Bussema, who turns 93 in May, remembers things about Kalamazoo most of us only know as history.

Bussema, who grew up on G Avenue north of the city, studied at Central High School, now Chenery Auditorium. He worked a few months at the Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Company. His grandparents on one side farmed celery – and their native language was Dutch.

He also served in the army in Europe in the last year of World War II. At one point Bussema was assigned to the Netherlands, his grandparents’ homeland. 

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Ever since the City of Kalamazoo received a $70 million private donation last year, leaders have said they want to use some of the money to fight poverty – a major issue in a city where 36 percent of children are poor.

Those leaders have also said it would take a while to work out the details. On Monday commissioners got a start, with a three-hour discussion on how to move from ideas to concrete steps in the “Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo” initiative.

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

​The Trump administration’s proposed federal budget poses a serious threat to the environment locally and globally, two elected representatives and a Western Michigan University political science professor say.

60th House District Representative Jon Hoadley of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo City Commissioner Shannon Sykes who’s also with the League of Conservation Voters, and WMU’s Paul Clements spoke at the Northside Association for Community Development Monday.