Southwest Michigan Today: Wednesday July 11, 2018

Jul 11, 2018

Jason Dalton - file photo
Credit Robbie Feinberg/WMUK

The Michigan Court of Appeals considers whether statements by accussed Kalamazoo shooter Jason Dalton should be heard at trial. WMU stays "neutral" for now on a new arena in downtown Kalamazoo. A new study shows economic benefit of land banks in Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties. 

(MLive) Kalamazoo's 2016 mass-shooting landed at the Michigan Court of Appeals Tuesday. MLive says Jason Dalton’s attorney argued that Dalton’s statements to police should not be admissible in court. Dalton is accused of shooting six people to death and severely wounding two others while he was a driver for Uber. Prosecutors say Dalton's statements should go to a jury because of a public safety exception in the Miranda Rule. The Michigan Supreme Court ordered the Appeals Court to consider the issue earlier this year. Dalton's trial can't start until it's settled.

(Kalamazoo Gazette) Western Michigan University officials say they're staying "neutral" in the renewed debate over a proposed arena in downtown Kalamazoo. But the Kalamazoo Gazette says some university trustees have supported the idea. Ron Kitchens is the head of Southwest Michigan First, the economic development agency behind the new plan for the tax-funded project. And Trustee Ken Miller supported an earlier proposal that was rejected eight years ago. Western owns some of the land that could be used for the event center. A university spokesman says it's waiting for the community to make a decision on the issue.

(WDET) About 4,300 residents in eight states and Ontario say they support creating safeguards for the Great Lakes. The International Joint Commission which oversees water issues between the U.S. and Canada sponsored a survey about the Lakes. The Commission found that 88 percent of respondents said they believe it’s essential to protect the Great Lakes from dangers such as pollution and invasive species. The poll also shows 80 percent of those surveyed say it’s important for individuals to help protect the Great Lakes. About 20 percent of the people surveyed say state or federal governments should be responsible for the health of the waterways.

(Michigan Radio) All refugee children under the age of 5 in the care of Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids have been reunited with their families. The agency will not disclose how many kids that is. These children were separated from their parents at the U.S. border as a result of the zero-tolerance immigration policy. A U.S. district judge ruled last month that all children under 5 had to be reconnected with their families by Tuesday. Children aged 5 through 17 are supposed to be reunited by July 26th.

(MPRN) For the first time in Michigan history, Libertarian candidates for governor will be on the August primary ballot. That’s because the party got enough Michigan votes in the 2016 election to put the party on the primary ballot.

One candidate is Bill Gelineau. His platform includes allowing for assisted suicide, reducing the state’s spending cap, and legalizing marijuana. The other candidate, John Tatar’s, major issues include ending gerrymandering, creating a part-time Legislature, and getting rid of smart meters.

The two candidates will debate Wednesday night at 7:00pm at the Seidman College of Business on Grand Valley State University’s Downtown Campus. It will likely be the last face-to-face debate between the candidates. 

A group that represents land banks in Michigan says the programs have been a big success in Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties. Land banks take over abandoned or tax-foreclosed properties and clear them for redevelopment. The Michigan Association of Land Banks says Kalamazoo County's program has generated $20-million since 2009 and helped create 270 jobs. It says the Calhoun County Land Bank put over $6-million back into the community and created 87 jobs since 2011.

In baseball, Kalamazoo beat Battle Creek Tuesday night 9-2 at C.O. Brown Stadium. The Growlers and the Bombers will wrap up their two game series Wednesday night at Homer Stryker Field in Kalamazoo.