Why's That?

Second Friday of the month at 6:44 am, 8:44 am and 5:44 pm

Why's That? explores the things in Southwest Michigan – people, places, names  – that spark your curiosity. We want to know what makes you wonder when you're out and about. 

Maybe it's a question you've had for years, or maybe it's just come up. Perhaps it rests on a subtle observation, like this one about ABC streets in Kalamazoo. Or maybe you just saw something, found it strange, and wanted to know more about it. That's what happened in "A Tiny Park with a Tragic Story."

From train signals to watersheds, from unusual houses to water hardness, we hope you'll let us know what in Southwest Michigan makes you ask "Why's That?" It could be the start of a great radio story.

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Bonnie Nye does not love driving on Interstate 94. In fact, now that she's not commuting, the retired nurse from Lawton says she avoids that road "like the plague." But she does have a question about it. 


Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

A piece of art that has stood for decades in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park is set to come down. Some criticize the Fountain of the Pioneers, as it’s known, as offensive and even racist. It features a "settler" figure who stands head and shoulders above a man in a headdress. In his left hand, the pioneer holds a long, thin object.


Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy

Cooper is a common name, but it turns up in Kalamazoo even more than you might expect. There’s Cooper Township; Cooper Avenue in Kalamazoo Township; Cooper’s Island in Schoolcraft. Folk singer Joel Mabus has played the Cooper’s Glen music festival, which used to be held at the Glen at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

“And then 10 years ago or more it moved to wintertime festival. They hold it down at the hotel downtown. And they kept using the name Cooper’s Glen, and me and a few other people said, ‘why are you keeping that name?”


Kalamazoo Public Library

We have talked about all kinds of names on “Why’s That?” - from the Gearhart rail yard to the Teapot Dome crossing to Westnedge Avenue. And one name in Southwest Michigan begs for exploration.


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.


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