Kalamazoo County

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

The Democrats on the Kalamazoo County Board have yet to close the rift that opened when one member helped elect a Republican as chair.

Democrat Stephanie Moore’s vote for Republican Dale Shugars cost her party the top seat on a commission where they hold a narrow majority. After her vote for Shugars, Moore was elected as the board’s vice-chair with no support from the other Democrats.

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

A high rate of sexually transmitted infections isn’t just a health problem. It’s also bad news for the local economy. That’s according to Kalamazoo County’s new public health director Jim Rutherford, who started the job at the end of December.

Rutherford, who previously led Calhoun County's health department, says Kalamazoo County has reason to be worried about its STI numbers. According to the county's data, Kalamazoo has the state’s second-highest rate of gonorrhea and chlamydia infections in Michigan. 

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

While the Kalamazoo County Board has a slight Democratic majority, it’s elected Republican Commissioner Dale Shugars as its next leader.

The board’s five Republicans voted for Shugars. But it was Democrat Stephanie Moore who tipped the vote in his favor. Moore was then elected as the board’s vice-chair without support from the other Democrats, who voted for Commissioner Julie Rogers but fell one vote short.

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Kalamazoo County is looking into the possibility of creating a countywide ID program. On Tuesday commissioners voted 10-1 to create a task force to study the idea.

Supporters say it would give people who lack a state ID a way to access services from banking to borrowing from the library.

“You need it for daily life, every aspect of our lives. Not having an ID is almost like not having a name,” Yazmin Fuentes told the board on Tuesday.

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

The future home of the health department, the county's high mortality rate among African-American infants and Administrator Moored's contract were also on the commission's agenda Tuesday.

Kalamazoo County voters must decide whether unified 911 dispatch is worth a few extra dollars on their phone bills.

On Tuesday commissioners voted 8-3 to put the question on the ballot in May. If it passes, residents would pay as much as $2.30 per month per phone toward consolidated dispatch.