Local news produced by our reporters here at WMUK

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. 

File photo of Governor Rick Snyder signing criminal justice reform bills into law during event in Kalamazoo

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation into law designed to reform Michigan’s criminal justice system.

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.