why's that

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

You don’t need a green thumb to notice that Kalamazoo is full of greenhouses.

“And they aren’t small ones. They’re very, very large,” says listener Barbara Bott.

They grow bedding plants – flowers and vegetables for home gardens. Barbara wants to know: why so many? Why here?


Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Two and a half stories underground at First Congregational Church in Kalamazoo, in a room filled with the din of air handlers, Pastor Nathan Dannison points into a recess in the wall.

“On the shelf up here you can still see some resources and materials from the Office of Civil Defense. Those are water canisters that store fresh drinking water,” he says.

That’s because, while it now serves as utility space, fifty years ago this room was intended to shelter people from the fallout of a nuclear attack.


John Todd / John Todd Collection, Portage District Library

Rosamond Robbert lived in Dublin and London, then moved to the US in the 1970s. When she got to Southwest Michigan, she wondered: why are Kalamazoo and Portage separate cities?

“Both with own taxes as far as I knew, both with their own rules, both with a board of governors and everything. And why’s that? They’re so teeny-weeny,” she says.


Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

This "Why's That?" story originally aired in August 2016. 

Years ago when Julie Allen’s son was in a stroller, she’d take him for walks on South Westnedge Avenue. That’s when a building set well back from the road caught her attention.

“I probably walked by it four or five times before I actually noticed the house,” she says.

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

If you’ve heard of Western Michigan University’s particle accelerator, you might have also heard that it’s a secret machine involved in double-secret research. The directors of the lab say that's completely untrue, though it is true that you should not stand next to the machine during some experiments. At a moment that posed no risk, "Why's That?" and mechanical engineering student Peter Grohs saw the facilities up close.


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