Southwest Michigan Today: Wednesday June 6, 2018

Jun 6, 2018

The Kellogg Foundation establishes a fund to help small business in Battle Creek. A former WMU trustee and economic development official will be honored by the Japanese government. Improvements at Portage Central High School mean no July 4th fireworks there this year. 

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation says $10-million will help start a fund for small business loans in Battle Creek. The foundation says the fund will provide capital and start up assistance for entrepreneurs. The Kellogg Foundation is contributing the first $1-million to the fund, and will make a two to one match for other contributions up to $10-million. The fund is inspired by the BC Vision community effort launched by the Kellogg Foundation, which has identified small business development and creating quality jobs as a top priority for Battle Creek.

The issue of marijuana legalization in Michigan will go to the ballot. Voters will decide if Michigan should allow recreational marijuana use in November. Tuesday was the last day for the state Legislature to take up the issue. The Board of State Canvassers certified a petition a little over a month ago that would regulate marijuana similar to alcohol. Both the House and Senate would have to pass the measure, but the House refused to vote.

Improvements at Portage Central High School are putting a crimp in July Fourth celebrations. The Kalamazoo Gazette says the annual fireworks display at McCamly Field is off this year. That's because the old football stadium is being demolished to make way for a new one. The fireworks sponsored by the Portage Rotary Club draw up to 10,000 spectators. The Rotary Club says it wants to resume the Fourth of July display once work on the new stadium is finished.

A state lawmaker says he plans to introduce a bill to legalize growing commercial hemp. Currently growing hemp for commercial purposes is illegal. Lawmakers say it was lumped in with marijuana despite having none of the same drug like effects. Republican Representative Dan Lauwers says he doesn’t support marijuana legalization but he thinks the state is unnecessarily missing out on the hemp market. He says a bill to legalize hemp growing will be introduced within the next few weeks. (WCMU

Former Western Michigan University trustee Jim Hettinger has won honors from the government of Japan. The Battle Creek Enquirer says he'll receive the “Order of the Rising Sun." Japanese officials say Hettinger is being honored for helping companies from Japan and promoting relations between it and the United States. Hettinger was the head of economic development agency Battle Creek Unlimited for 30 years before he retired in 2009. Battle Creek is home to Japanese manufacturer Denso and has a sister city in Japan. Hettinger will receive the honor from Japan's Consulate General later this month.

In baseball, Kalamazoo lost to Madison Tuesday 7-1. The Mallards swept the two game series from the Growlers at Homer Stryker Field. Kalamazoo begins a new two game series at Kenosha Wednesday night.

Three Battle Creek pitchers held Lakeshore to three hits, but the Chinooks got the victory Tuesday night 2-1 at C.O. Brown Stadium. The Bombers begin a two game series at Wisconsin Rapids Wednesday night.