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Sunday, January 20, 2013
Portage looks to move forward after Perry trouble BY JULIE MACK JMACK1@MLIVE.COM
PORTAGE — Portage Central High School’s vaunted theater program is in the midst of rehearsals for “Beauty and the Beast.” Portage Northern High School is getting ready for Winterfest. Students at Woodland Elementary are raising money this week for research into food allergies. TherecentdramainthePortage Public Schools Administration
Building might be getting the lion’s share of attention from outside the district these days, but underneath the turmoil at the top is a Ric Perry school district that remains one of the best in the region, PPS ofﬁcials said. “I’ve watched the events unfold here over the last four, ﬁve years, and I’ve seen what
appears to be turmoil and chaos” involving the school board and top administration, acting Superintendent Rob Olsen said Thursday. “But at the classroom level, teachers are teaching, and kids are learning. ... The gears are moving very well. “There are concerns about how the district is being perceived,” Olsen said, “but from the standpoint of teachers and students, those concerns are fleeting; they’re too busy. ... SEE PERRY, A2
SCHOOL HR DIRECTOR IDENTIFIED AS CO-WORKER IN ‘INAPPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIP’ BY JULIE MACK JMACK1@MLIVE.COM
PORTAGE — Portage Public Schools’ director of human resources is the employee allegedly involved in an “inappropriate relationship” with Ric Perry, who
resigned Monday as Portage school superintendent, according to people with direct knowledge of the school board’s investi- Patricia gation into the Koeze
matter. They conﬁrm the investigation focused on Perry’s relationship with Patricia Koeze, former superintendent of West Ottawa Public Schools, whom Perry hired in fall 2011 as a consultant and then named Portage human SEE PORTAGE, A2
Southwest Michigan marked by Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago BY JULIE MACK JMACK1@MLIVE.COM
KALAMAZOO — It was the spring of 1837, and Henry Montague was a 19-year-old from Massachusetts who had just taken up residence in the pioneer village that would eventually become the city of Kalamazoo. As Montague recalled in an interview seven decades later, one night he was at a town meeting in the village schoolhouse, at the corner of what is now South Street and Farmer’s Alley in downtown Kalamazoo, when a man came to the door and beckoned for him. “There’s a man out here with a load of Negroes who wants to see you,” the man said. Montague stepped out and saw three African-Americans, accompanied by “a strongly built man garbed in the long coat and huge hat of the Quakers.” The AfricanAmericans were runaway slaves from Alabama, and the Quaker needed Montague’s help in transporting them to Galesburg, then on to Canada and freedom. That group is considered to be the ﬁrst fugitive slaves to go SEE ERA, A11 MARK BUGNASKI | MLIVE.COM PHOTO ILLUSTRATION
The residence of Dr. Nathan Thomas, located on Cass Street in Schoolcraft, was a station for the Underground Railroad for 20 years. Thomas, a Quaker abolitionist, opened his home and provided sanctuary for 1,000 to 1,500 escaping slaves.
Video game developer S2 Games taking business to the next level BY URSULA ZERILLI UZERILLI@MLIVE.COM
PORTAGE — Billboards with bananas, which have recently appeared alongside busy roads, are S2 Games’ way of letting the community know a globallyknown video game developer is creating virtual worlds from the Kalamazoo area. But the seven-year-old company, which has grown exponentially in the past two years thanks to a popular “Heroes
of Newerth” or “HoN” battlearena PC-computer game, isn’t monkeying around when it comes to business. Besides approaching the release for an updated version of its best-known game, the company plans to expand globally and technologically with a new mobile phone division in 2013. “I wanted to let Kalamazoo know that there is a company in town that makes video games. I think there’s value to that
because it’s a massive, $57-billion industry,” said 35-year-old Marc DeForest, the company’s founder and CEO. “Everyone is playing and talking about video games, and there are not a lot of people in Michigan making them.” The first expansion took place in 2012, when the company hired 49 employees, doubling what is now a 90-person staff composed mostly of males in their mid-20s. More than half of those
employees — with job titles sucj as graphic designers, 2-D illustrating artists, animators, programmers and content managers — work in Portage, but a 16-person art team is based in California, where Jesse Hayes, a founder and the director of art, is located. The billboards are a play on the company’s logo, the face of a cartoon gorilla, which is etched on the glass-paned front doors of the S2 Games new corporate suite, which is
covered in portraits of video game heroes. Two weeks ago, the company moved its headquarters from Oshtemo Township into an 18,000-square-foot space in the Portage Trade Centre, a location highly visible from Interstate 94 near the South Westnedge Avenue exit. The move was less about needing space and more about taking the company to the next level. “When the game first saw
the light of day it had a good following,” DeForest said. “It’s more popular today than it has ever been, and that is extremely impressive after two years. We have 2.5 million active users.” HoN, which is available for free online, is a fantasy game where multiple players with avatars team up for arena-style battles. Each player creates a customized hero with various skills or powers. W h i l e Ho N h a s b e e n SEE GAMES, A8
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PERRY SUPERINTENDENT CONTROVERSY ‘ISN’T AFFECTING THE KIDS’ CONTINUED FROM A1
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Outside (the administration building), everything is working.” Kevin Hoffer, a Portage parent who ran for school board in 2010, agreed. “We have a great staff,” he said. “From a day-to-day perspective, (the recent controversy) isn’t affecting the kids.” Inside the administration building may be another matter, as Olsen is now picking up the pieces of yet another implosion in the district’s leadership. Olsen came to Portage in the summer of 2011 in the aftermath of one of those blow-ups. He had just retired as superintendent of Sturgis Public Schools and became a part-time administrator for Portage to help restructure its leadership team after a months-long public battle between the school board and then-Superintendent Marsha Wells that ended with Wells’ ouster. Just as the school community was beginning to heal, another controversy broke out last fall with allegations that Ric Perry, Wells’ successor, was having an “inappropriate relationship” with a co-worker, who recently has been identiﬁed as the district’s human resources director, Patricia Koeze. In December, the board suspended Perry and named Olsen acting superintendent. On Monday, Perry resigned, as the board made clear it was moving to terminate his employment.
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resources director a year ago. Tom Zahrt, Koeze’s predecessor as Portage’s HR director, was among those interviewed in the investigation, and he said it centered on Perry’s relationship with Koeze, as did another person involved in the investigation who asked not to be named. This week, WWMT-TV Newschannel 3 reported that unnamed school board members identiﬁed the woman as a human resources employee hired by Perry. Koeze is the only Portage employee who ﬁts that description. Eric VerHey, president of Portage Education Association, was interviewed as part of the board investigation. He would not conﬁrm that Koeze was a focus, but did say the investigator’s questions went beyond an alleged affair and
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Obituaries begin on C3. For more information, go to MLive. com.
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indicated concerns about a potential abuse of “district time and money.” “That was very clear,” VerHey said. Although Perry, 57, was forced out by the school board, Koeze remains in her job. Her contract runs through June 2014 and her salary this school year is $107,302. Koeze, 47, has not responded to requests by MLive/ Kalamazoo Gazette for comment. Perry and Portage school board President Bo Snyder declined to comment, citing the ongoing legal dispute between Perry and the board. The school board appointed Perry interim superintendent in June 2011 and awarded him a two-year contract as superintendent in March 2012. Perry initially hired Koeze as a consultant in December 2011. After that, he:
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A major difference between the Wells and Perry situations is that, in the latter, the community is much less divided. Two years ago, the school board, staff and community divided into camps, one supporting Wells and the other supporting the board. With Perry, in a MLive/ Kalamazoo Gazette online poll posted Tuesday, less than 15 percent of respondents indicated they thought Perry has been unfairly forced out. “From my perspective, we did what we needed to do,” Hoffer said in regard to Perry, adding that the board “did a better job than that last board (with Wells.) It was cleaner, more concise, more deliberate,” he said. Eric VerHey, president of the Portage Education Association, the union for PPS teachers, also said there was much less divisiveness this time around, suggesting one reason for that is board has presented a united front. While VerHey said he “doesn’t have all the information” to know whether the board made the right decision in forcing out Perry, the fact that they decided quickly and unanimously to seek termination of his contract “speaks for itself.” VerHey added that morale among teachers is “very, very low, but the reason for that has far less to do with the superintendent and board issues and much more to do” with the
state’s recent actions affecting K-12 education, including funding cuts, changes in the tenure law and making Michigan a right-to-work state, which undermines the PEA. Still, he isn’t happy about the resources spent on leadership changes. “From the standpoint of a labor leader, every time I walk in the door, (administration) is telling me about the money they don’t have,” he said. “But when it comes to something like this, they free up the purse strings. Maybe it’s the best thing,” but it still rankles, VerHey said of the associated costs. The Portage school board spent $319,328 to buy out Wells’ contract and for legal fees related to the situation. Perry has not received a ﬁnancial settlement, but his case is headed to arbitration and the board commissioned a law firm to conduct an investigation. Debbie Rude, a former Portage parent and former director of Parents for Public Schools of Greater Kalamazoo, also laments the time and money “wasted” in recent years as a result of dealing with leadership issues. Rude supported both the ouster of Wells and Perry but said the board prolonged the problem in appointing Perry as Wells’ successor. “I just wish we could get onto the issue of what would make for a really good superintendent for Portage Public Schools,” said Rude, who recently moved to Chicago.
With the dust beginning to settle on the Perry controversy, the mantra from Olsen and other Portage ofﬁcials is the need to look forward. “What has played out over the last few months is very unfortunate, but we’re looking forward to what lies ahead,” board President Bo Snyder said. The biggest, most immediate task is ﬁnding a new, permanent superintendent. Olsen said he is not looking to stay in the top job past July 1, and the board already has hired a ﬁrm to conduct a national search for a new administrative chief. “Our biggest challenge is doing the search the right way and getting the best candidate for the job,” Snyder said. That said, Olsen said he has no intention of being a “placeholder” superintendent from now until July. “My job for the next six months is to keep the district moving and improving,” he said. “I’m not a placeholder. I’m not that kind of person. I want to keep us growing.” One of his goals is to work on the board’s relationship with the administration, which has been contentious for years. Wells and Perry both had complaints about micromanagement by trustees, while some trustees have contended that district administrators are too resistant to board input. “I really want to strengthen the district’s governance/leadership model,” Olsen said, by
helping the board ﬁgure out the right balance between oversight and micromanagement. “The board needs to focus on policies and procedures and evaluating the job that I’m doing,” Olsen said. “They need to help with what direction to take. But from that point, they need to be a support base.” Snyder is hopeful that Olsen, who worked in six other districts and had a successful, 13-year stint as superintendent in Sturgis, will “role model some of the qualities we want to see in a superintendent and help us become a better board of trustees.” Another goal is to rebuild the community’s trust, Olsen said. “Given events, some people may have a hard time trusting in the district’s leadership,” Olsen said. “We want to assure people that we’re moving forward, that the district is in good hands and that we’re most focused on learning opportunities for kids. “The most important thing is the teaching that’s going on in classrooms, and that’s going ﬁne.” Olsen said it’s also important for the public to recognize that despite the upheavals in leadership, the district has continued to move forward in the past few years. “It’s not like it’s been yearslong dysfunction,” Olsen said. “It’s a case of moving forward, then something happens, moving forward and something happens again.”
PORTAGE KOEZE MAINTAINS JOB IN MIDST OF ALLEGATIONS
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Kalamazoo (Joldersma & Klein Funeral Home) HARMAN Irene L., 97, of Kendall (GOBLES CHAPEL, D.L. Miller Funeral Home) HARRINGTON Bette K., 71, of Richland (Joldersma & Klein Funeral Home) HASTINGS Josephine, 93, of Kalamazoo (Redmond Funeral Home) KRIESE Susan M., 65, of Kalamazoo (Gordens Funeral Residence) KROES Keith E., 86, of Delton (Williams-Gores Funeral Home) KUIPER Zelma M., 103, of Kalamazoo (Langeland Family Funeral Home) LARSON John H., 76, formerly of Allegan (Pine Rest Funeral Home) McFETERS Brian J., 51, of Coldwater NYLAND Wayne C., 70, of Crown Point, IN (Geisen Funeral Home) OISTEN, Barbara J., 71, of Kalamazoo (Redmond Funeral Home) PEARSON Kelene K., 51, of Pine Lake (Winkel Funeral Home) P E R RY Ja m e s , 8 8 , o f Kalamazoo (Redmond Funeral Home) PETERSON Owen V., 88, formerly of Kalamazoo SMIT Jeffrey J., 50, of Richland (Langeland Family Funeral Homes) STONE Barbara, of Bonita Springs, FL VANWELDEN Larry W., 61, of Gobles (BLOOMINGDALE CHAPEL, D. L. Miller Funeral Home) WEAVER Lena, 81 YONKER Joyce L., 77, of Kalamazoo (Joldersma and Klein Funeral Home)
§ Hired her as human resources director, although her experience is in curriculum and instruction. Zarht said the appointment was made against his recommendation. § Authorized additional payments to Koeze as a consultant after she became a salaried employee Feb. 1, 2012. The district cut checks for $6,000 for ﬁve days of work, according to records obtained by MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette through the Freedom of Information Act. On four of the five days, Koeze received both her salary and her consultant’s fee, despite Perry’s assurance that her salary would be docked on days she worked as a consultant, documents show. § Increased Koeze’s salary from $91,000 to $107,302, a 17.6 percent increase. § Granted her a two-year contract, contrary to the district’s practice to initially give a one-year contract to administrators new to the district. Koeze was the only new administrator hired last year given a two-year contract, the district has conﬁrmed. Koeze was West Ottawa superintendent from 2007 to 2011 and had a salary of $205,000 when she left in the summer of 2011 to take a position directing an International Baccalaureate program in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. A few days before her departure, Koeze was arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence in an incident involving her husband. She told authorities that she had been drinking the day of the arrest, according to the Holland Sentinel. The case was dismissed in January 2012, according to the Ottawa County prosecutor’s ofﬁce. Koeze ﬁled for divorce from her husband in December 2011. The divorce is still pending, according to Ottawa County
Koeze hired by Portage
In fall 2011, Koeze stayed in West Michigan instead of going to Abu Dhabi. She was working as an educational consultant when she was hired by Portage Public Schools to develop a new evaluation system for teachers and administrators. Koeze was paid $1,200 a day by Portage schools, with the money coming from a federal Title II grant, and she worked for 10.5 days in December 2011 and January 2012, according to records obtained through FOIA. On Feb. 1, Koeze was named interim human resources director, replacing Zahrt, who took a job with the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Services Agency. She began receiving a weekly salary of $1,750 as a contracted employee, plus health and dental beneﬁts. Her hiring raised eyebrows among some Portage residents who questioned her qualiﬁcations to run a human resources department. Some also said it seemed hypocritical to hire an HR director who had been recently arrested for domestic assault in an incident that involved drinking, when only months before the district had reassigned a teacher and an administrator involved in high-proﬁle drunken-driving cases. “I expressed two concerns” about Koeze’s appointment, said Debbie Rude, a former Portage parent and former director of Parents for Public Schools for Greater Kalamazoo. “It was very clear to me that she was not qualiﬁed, and she had these personal issues. ... Is that the person we want running our human resources department?” Rude, who recently moved to Chicago, also expressed concerns to school board members that Koeze was “wasting” the district’s time and money by developing new tools and
forms for teacher evaluations versus using a well-vetted, offthe-shelf model readily available to educators. At the time, Perry maintained the district was very lucky to get someone of Koeze’s caliber. “We have a thorough vetting process for new employees, and are fortunate to attract an administrator of Dr. Koeze’s standing,” Perry said at a Feb. 13, 2012, school board meeting. “Dr. Koeze’s mix of educational administration and human resources experience makes her a perfect ﬁt for this position.”
Koeze was named permanent human resources director effective June 18, 2012, at a salary of $91,000, personnel records show. But her pay was bumped to $107,302 with a two-year contract that went into effect July 1, 2012. As with Perry, Koeze’s contract contains a “morality clause” that allows for termination of her employment if she has engaged in “moral turpitude, misconduct, dishonesty, fraud, insubordination, incompetency.” At a Dec. 14 special meeting, the board suspended Perry and started the process to terminate him for contract violations. Perry continues to maintain that his actions have not violated board or district polices. When submitting his resignation Monday, he said he was doing so “under protest.” “I own my part in this,” Perry said Monday, but added: “I’m looking forward to arbitration.” Zahrt said the Perry controversy “is unfortunate, but it shouldn’t reflect on the district.” “There are a lot of really, really good teachers and administrators and support staff in Portage Public Schools,” Zahrt said. “It really is one of the best districts around.”
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SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2013 A3
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‘You can feel the excitement’ AREA RESIDENTS ATTEND PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION EVENTS
BY FRITZ KLUG FKLUG@MLIVE.COM
KALAMAZOO — While many people attending President Barack Obama’s second inauguration won’t arrive in Washington, D.C., until sometime this weekend, one Kalamazoo woman has been in the Capitol city since Wednesday. “It’s amazing,” Carla Campbell-Jackson said on Thursday. “You can feel the excitement on every corner.” Campbell-Jackson, a vicepresident of the Metropolitan Kalamazoo Branch of the NAACP, is volunteering for the ofﬁcial Inaugural Ball, one of the two balls the Obamas will attend Monday night. Before moving to Kalamazoo three years ago, CampbellJackson lived in Illinois and knew Obama when he was a state senator. She was at the speech when he announced his candidacy for president and also attended his ﬁrst presidential inauguration in 2009. This second inauguration, she said, feels more meaningful than 2009. With the ﬁght to get health care reform passed in Congress and “all he had to endure leading up to the election, it’s more heartfelt now,” she said. “It is important we come out and support (him).”
Sheriff’s deputy charged with stealing prescription drug ALLEGED THEFT OCCURRED ON DUTY BY REX HALL JR. RHALL2@MLIVE.COM
Carla Campbell-Jackson, right, her son, Bradley Ross Jackson, center, and husband, Kevin Jackson, in Washington D.C. this week for President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Campbell-Jackson said she is excited her 6-year-old son, Bradley will get to see the inauguration. She hopes it allows him to “realize he can do great things.” Other Kalamazoo-area residents attending the inauguration include Kalamazoo County Administrator Peter Battani, Portage Mayor Pete Strazdas and Kalamazoo County
Commissioner John Taylor. Congressman Fred Upton’s office has given some 200 tickets out to people in the 6th Congressional District of Michigan. “It is a wonderful opportunity for any American to celebrate our democratic process and witness U.S. history in the making,” Upton said in a statement. “A presidential inauguration is
one of those truly unique experiences that you will treasure for a lifetime.” Strazdas, a Republican, said he is excited to attend the inauguration and that it’s something he’s always wanted to do. “At the end of the the day, the national election did not turn out the way I wanted to ... (but) I’m still respectful to the president of the United States.”
CENTREVILLE — A longtime St. Joseph County sheriff’s deputy accused of stealing a prescription pain reliever from the county jail while he was on duty has been charged with two felonies, prosecutors conﬁrmed Thursday. Stephen Thomas Morris, 39, of Fulton, is charged with two counts of larceny in a building, Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said. Fitz’s office was assigned to handle the case against Morris by the Michigan Attorney General because Morris is a sheriff’s deputy in St. Joseph County. Fitz said the charges against Morris, who is free on bond, stem from the theft of Tramadol, a prescription pain reliever, from the county jail Jan. 9. Fitz said his ofﬁce authorized
the charges against Morris on Jan. 11. Larceny in a building is punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a $5,000 ﬁne. The case was investigated by the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Ofﬁce. County Sheriff Brad Balk said Morris, who currently is assigned to work in the county jail, has been placed on administrative leave without pay pending the case’s outcome. “We’re very sad that it happened, and I won’t tolerate anything that’s illegal; and we stepped up to the plate, and I think we did a good job of investigating it,” Balk said Thursday. St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough said Morris has waived a probable-cause hearing on evidence against him in the case that was scheduled for next week, and the case will be bound over to the county’s circuit court for trial.
We’re very sad that it happened, and I won’t tolerate anything that’s illegal.” — County Sheriff Brad Balk
Attorney: Billboard proposal heads to City Commission Ric Perry seeking financial damages BY EMILY MONACELLI EMONACEL@MLIVE.COM
BY JULIE MACK JMACK1@MLIVE.COM
PORTAGE — Ric Perry, who resigned Monday as superintendent of Portage Public Schools, is hoping that an impartial arbitrator will award him damages for breach of contract, but recognizes reinstatement to his job is highly unlikely, his attorney said. Christopher Morris, a Kalamazoo lawyer who is representing Perry, said that he ﬁled a demand for arbitration on Thursday on Perry’s behalf, alleging that the Portage school board unfairly forced him to resign. The case was filed with the American Arbitration Association. “We are seeking damages through arbitration for breach of contract,” Morris wrote in an email to Mlive/Kalamazoo Gazette. “An arbitrator can order reinstatement of employment (most commonly for union members); however, that is a very uncommon occurrence for administrative and particularly top administrative positions.” Perry was facing a due-process hearing over allegations that he had an “inappropriate relationship” with a co-worker. On Monday, he announced that he decided to resign under protest, waive the hearing, and take the contract dispute straight to arbitration. “The arbitration process is conﬁdential,” Morris added. “A neutral arbitrator will determine all factual issues through that process. The arbitrator will then decide if there has been a breach of contract by either party. “There has been no ‘settlement’ between the parties, only an agreement to proceed with the neutral arbitration process called for under the original contract.”
KALAMAZOO — A proposal to turn static billboard faces into digital ones in four high-proﬁle Kalamazoo locations has prompted city staff to request the Kalamazoo City Commission instead stop billboard activity for six months. Staff will ask commissioners at their Tuesday meeting to issue a moratorium on structural changes to billboards in Kalamazoo. The six-month moratorium on “internally illuminated off-premises signs” would allow city staff to study LED billboards and recommend changes to the city’s zoning ordinance that address size, brightness, “sequencing of changing copy” and where those signs should be located, City Planner Andrea Augustine said in a memo to commissioners. “We had a speciﬁc request from citizens to place a moratorium on signs,” said Jeff Chamberlain, head of the city’s community planning and development department. “It deserved an answer and, in this case, we said, “Yeah, that is an appropriate tool.” But a representative of Adams Outdoor Advertising, the company proposing to digitize four billboards along the west, south and east gateways into town, as well as at a prominent site on Portage Street downtown, says the moratorium should not apply to the company’s proposal because it was submitted before the moratorium was proposed. Adams is seeking variances to convert the four existing static billboards to billboards with light-emitting diode faces and in return proposes to take down 10 billboard structures in Kalamazoo’s Eastside and Edison neighborhoods. Members of the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals tabled the decision after lengthy discussion in December about one particular billboard — at 111 Portage St., above Olde Peninsula Brewpub overlooking East Michigan Avenue downtown. Jeannine Dodson, general manager of Adams Outdoor Advertising, said the proposed moratorium was “pretty shocking” to company ofﬁcials, who had been in contact with city staff for at least a year about
its variance application to the zoning board. “The whole concept behind that was to put together something that made sense for the community, the residents and Adams Outdoor Advertising,” Dodson said of discussions with city staff. Dodson said Adams mailed notices of their proposal to residents near the sites. She disputes comments made at zoning board meeting by residents that digital billboards create unsafe environments and trafﬁc hazards. Dodson points out that state regulations prohibit billboards from ﬂashing or scrolling, and ads must be presented for a minimum of six seconds. She said digital billboards also must have a light sensor that regulates their brightness. “We’d like to continue work with city leaders to ﬁnd something that would work that would ease concerns and still be able to proceed with the project,” Dodson said. On the argument that digital billboards would cause blight in the city, Dodson said she “couldn’t disagree more.” “To me, that would be like suggesting our laptops, our iPhones and our iPads are a blight on society,” she said. “This is kind of just where technology and the world is going.” Adams owns seven billboards with digital faces in the Kalamazoo area, including along South Westnedge Avenue, U.S. 131, Sprinkle Road and Gull Road. Dodson said about 120 billboards exist in the city, and Adams is looking to convert “a few percentage points of the total inventory, and not building new ones.” D ow n tow n K a l a m a zo o Inc.’s Board of Directors, the Downtown Development Area Citizens Advisory Council and the DKI Marketing Committee have seen a proposal to convert the Portage Street billboards to a digital display but decided not to take a position because “this is not the type of matter that we typically address,” DKI President Steve Deisler said in a letter to Adams. Several of Adams’ private and nonproﬁt advertising clients have submitted letters in support of their proposal.
Other permits for billboards
If the city commission
Adams Outdoor Advertising is seeking variances from the Kalamazoo Zoning Board of appeals to convert the billboard on top of Olde Peninsula Brew Pub into a digital billboard.
chooses not to impose a moratorium, even if the city’s zoning board rejects Adams’ variance requests, Adams hopes to be allowed to convert other billboards in the city to LED faces. The company has submitted a separate proposal to the city to upgrade four static billboards in two locations — near the intersection of Stadium Drive and Rambling Road and at West Main Street and Drake Road — that in 2004 were granted variances by the city. “We believe and understand in communicating with the city that those locations are legal for us to convert to digital under the ordinance,” Dodson said. She said the company believes those those billboards should be considered conforming uses because they previously received variances. “Because they are an allowed use, that makes those four billboards different from any other billboard in the city,” Augustine said. Chamberlain said, however, he has asked his staff to review the variances granted in 2004 to see if that would allow them to be converted to digital billboards today. That action still is under review. If the moratorium were approved, it would halt all activity on those sign permits too, Chamberlain and Augustine said.
“It stops the progress for us to be able to modernize our billboard market,” Dodson said.
Adams’ application has drawn passionate debate about how billboards affect safety, distracted driving and property values. If the city commission does issue a moratorium, Chamberlain said, “One thing we’re going to look at objectively are what are the facts versus what are people’s concerns, and try to address people’s concerns the best we can. But we ought to have it based on actual data.” Augustine noted that the city can’t zone for perception or ambiance. But it can account in zoning regulations for secondary effects, including light trespass and negative effects on property values. “There are certain things that are so subjective that there’s no way to zone for,” Augustine said. The bottom line, Chamberlain said, is that the city will look at placement, size and operating regulations. Ofﬁcials will hold discussions with people in the industry, businesses and citizens, he said, to ﬁnd: “What do people feel is the best answer for Kalamazoo?” Chamberlain said city staff will recommend that a
“relatively small” group made up of citizens, business and industry experts work with city staff, while making all of their results and input public. Augustine said that work will involve “a thorough review” of studies related to billboards. Gail Walter, who is among a group of Kalamazoo residents who have banded together against the LED billboard proposal, said the moratorium is “a wise idea.” The group has submitted information on digital billboards to the city for consideration, including examples of several studies and articles about other communities’ experiences with LED billboards. Some residents have appealed to the city commission to take a look at what is on the books. “There obviously needs to be some assessment and thoughtful consideration on the impact that LED signs will have on Kalamazoo,” Walter said. She said just granting variances for billboards is a haphazard approach to the issue. While the goal of advertising is to affect motions and actions, LED billboards magnify this because they disconnect people with their sense of place,” Walter contends. “Billboards and especially LED billboards really come down to quality of life,” she said, “and who we choose to allow inﬂuence on our quality of life.”
A4 SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2013
Hundreds flock downtown for Kalamazoo Chili Cook-off NICHOLAS GRENKE NGRENKE@MLIVE.COM
KALAMAZOO — Hundreds of people packed the Kalamazoo Mall and Michigan Avenue on Saturday, some carrying plastic spoons from stop to stop, as they sampled chili at some three dozen restaurants, stores and other locations during the Kalamazoo Chili Cookoff. “It’s fun, I only wish it could go on a little longer,” Mike McKeon, of Kalamazoo, said as he stood outside the Mall Plaza with his family. It was the second year he made it downtown for the annual event, which ran from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. “We want to hit more places with less standing in line this year,” McKeon said. Lines more than 40 people deep formed outside locations such as The Union Cabaret & Grille and Radisson Plaza
Hotel & Suites. “It’s a fun thing to do as a family,” said 12-year-old Devin Pritt who came down from Muskegon to enjoy the day with McKeon and other family members. Ruth and Wayne Pushie decided not to stop at Tacos Bob’s in the Kalamazoo Mall because last year the chili there was too spicy for their taste. “It’ll clear up your sinuses if you’ve got a cold,” Ruth Pushie said. Unseasonably warm temperatures in the 40s and a lack of precipitation made for a comfortable day to sample chili, both hot and mild. “It’s a perfect day for people to get downtown,” Ruth Pushie said. “Last year the weather was great too, but it was more chilly. It’s great this year, no pun intended.” Lester Coleman, who was working at Taco Bob’s, was warning customers that their chili was hot, and joked that the owner Bob Ketteman was in better shape this year because he had to carry more peppers to mix in the stew.
“I’ve been working at Bob’s for three years. It’s one of the top 10 days I’ve had at work,” Coleman said. By the Mall Plaza near one of the chili cook-off voting booths there was a mitten tree in the shape of Michigan where people could donate gloves and mittens. Some people stopped to string up mittens for the less fortunate before partaking in chili tasting. Candace Faistenhammer was helping kids decorate cookies in the Mall Plaza. “It’s more geared to the kids because the adults come for the chili,” Faistenhammer said. Jennifer Wozniak was enjoying tasting the different chili recipes, but took time to help decorate cookies with her children, 5-year-old Louis, and 7-year-old Anna. “I only like mom’s chili,” said Anna as she decorated a sugar cookie with candy eyes and a gummy worm smiley face. On West Michigan Avenue, Dean Hauck, owner of the Michigan News Agency, had to run out to a store for a minute to grab more spoons to share
her “Uno dos tres” chili. “We seem to be the first stop,” Hauck said. “I make the same chili each year and it’s very popular with people.” Hauck said she was working hard on her chili Friday night, chopping up onions and opening more than 20 cans of beans. “It took about ﬁve hours,” she said of the cooking time for her well-traveled family recipe. Sarah Lindsay, who works at the Rx Optical in Jackson, traveled to the downtown Kalamazoo location to help serve up two types of chili — a white chicken chili as well as a spicy kicking chili. “It’s a great downtown event. We won a company contest and love to share the recipe with the community,” Lindsay said. People could vote for their favorite chili in categories of retail stores and restaurants. Nature Connection, of Kalamazoo, won in the retailer category and Mangia Mangia Italian Ristorante won among the restaurants. Nature Connection won the overall People’s Choice award.
Dems not optimistic political climate will improve after Snyder’s address BY MELISSA ANDERS MANDERS@MLIVE.COM
More funding for roads
Both parties want to see more funding go to roads. Snyder called for some sort of increase in registration fees, but didn’t offer details. Democrats want to make sure revenues are raised in a manner that’s shields middle-
“He certainly paid plenty of lip service to bipartisanship, but the proof’s in the pudding.” — Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills
Chili warmed up the winter day during Kalamazoo’s Chili Cook-Off on Saturday..Thirty five local businesses put forth their best chili recipe for the tasting.
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Gov. Rick Snyder gives his State of the State speech in the House Chamber at the Capitol in Lansing on Wednesday.
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LANSING — Democratic lawmakers are still mad at Gov. Rick Snyder for pushing through right-to-work legislation and criticized the Republican governor for not focusing enough on education or helping middle class, working families in his third State of the State address. Snyder on Wednesday did not speciﬁcally mention right to work, but called for lawmakers to work together and said he hopes to avoid the divisiveness that tainted the lame duck session last year. Republican leaders kept a positive tone as they reacted to the speech with highlights of Snyder’s accomplishments and support for his efforts to revitalize the state economy. Democrats aren’t optimistic that relationships or the political climate under Snyder will improve. “He certainly paid plenty of lip service to bipartisanship, but the proof’s in the pudding,” said House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills. “And the governor’s actions these past two years have been all about ramming through legislation along party line votes, depending on Republicans only, without listening to the ideas that the Democratic caucuses in both the Senate and House have offered the governor and his staff repeatedly, without reaching out to us, without any willingness to compromise.” Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, focused on education in her remarks following the governor’s address. “As a mom, but more importantly as a policy maker, who knows the key to turning our economy around in the short term and most importantly in the long term is an investment in education, I was extremely disappointed to see the governor spending so little time talking about that critical component to our economy and to our people,” Whitmer said. Snyder did talk about a few things that the Democrats also have prioritized, such as mental health and early childhood education, but Democrats are skeptical as to whether Snyder’s solutions will mesh with their agenda.
class and working families from most of the burden, such as taxing corporations for road improvements or placing higher registration fees depending on the cost of the vehicle. Rep. Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills, suggested a fuel tax surcharge on international and out-of-state truckers. House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, said roads are an issue the state needs to tackle, but would not say if he was behind Snyder¹s call for an increase in user fee to pay for it. “I think our taxpayers are the last place we should look, but I think we have to solve this problem,” Bolger said. He said the state should look at its own budget before raising user fees. “Every dollar we spend was a dollar ﬁrst earned by a hardworking taxpayer,” Bolger said. “I think we need to respect that and I think we need to look internally if we can ﬁnd the resources to improve our roads. But make no mistake, we must solve this problem.” Democrats say they’re happy to see Snyder supporting online voter registration and noreason absentee ballot voting. They weren’t as positive about his mention of ethics and elections transparency. “I found it really pretty offensive and almost laughable when the governor talked about transparency and ethics and good government, when we’ve never seen an executive do such an about face in the 11th hour in a lame duck session, literally locking people out of the Capitol, not permitting people to have a voice, or the full debate that we’re required to,” Whitmer said. Republican leaders focused on Snyder’s plan to continue fostering a healthy economy. “I look forward to more indepth conversations with the Governor about roads and infrastructure, education, especially a focus on early childhood education, a greater focus on meeting the needs of our veterans and a continued concerted effort to make government more efﬁcient and more citizen-friendly,” Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, said in a statement. Bolger asked that if people remember just one thing from the speech, it should be that lawmakers are committed to working together to continue “a measurable track record of success for the people we serve.”
Right-to-work legislation still a sore issue for minority leaders
JAMES BUCK | FOR MLIVE.COM
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Police: CMU kidnap suspect used BB gun MOUNT PLEASANT — The weapon Eric L. Ramsey used to kidnap a Central Michigan University student was a BB gun, Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski said. State police Lt. Derrick Ca r ro l l sa i d the metal BB gun looked real because it resembled a Eric Ramsey Glock .45-caliber handgun. Troopers from the Michigan State Police post in Gaylord are handling the investigation involving the weapon. Carroll said he does not know where Ramsey obtained the gun. At 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Ramsey abducted a female CMU student, who is from the Grand Rapids area, at gunpoint in the Student Activity Center parking lot on the south side of CMU’s campus.
He took her to a residence in Isabella County and bound and raped her, then forced her back into the vehicle, police said. Ramsey told the victim he was going to kill her, and she escaped by jumping out of the moving vehicle on South Mission, breaking her arm. She ran to a home, where a teen and his siblings sheltered her as Ramsey pounded on the door. Ramsey, who has a criminal record, then ﬂed north, leading troopers and county sheriff’s deputies through a chase in Ostego and Crawford counties. Ramsey rammed a Michigan State Trooper, rendering the ofﬁcer’s car inoperable, then COLLEEN HARRISON | MLIVE.COM got the victim’s Ford Escape stuck in the snow. The parking lot of the CMU Student Activity Center was Ramsey then stole a city where a student was abducted at gunpoint by Eric Ramsey of Gaylord Ford F-350 series around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. sanitation truck and, in another chase, rammed another after the two vehicles were family members after the kidtrooper and a Crawford County entangled. napping and sexual assault, podeputy. The victim was safe with lice said early Thursday. The deputy went to the cab of the truck and fatally shot Ramsey, who still was armed,
Flu outbreak shows signs of lessening BY ANTHONY SMIGIEL ASMIGIEL@MLIVE.COM
KALAMAZOO — It’s only a one-week trend, but the ﬂu season in Southwest Michigan — one of the most intense in the past decade — seems to be on the downturn, health ofﬁcials said Friday. Linda Vail, director/health officer for the Kalamazoo County Health and Human Services Department, said Friday that it’s too early to know for sure if the number of cases will continue to go down, but hospitals reported far less ﬂu activity this week than the week before. “Things seem to be settling down and going in the other direction,” Vail said. The peak of the season appears to have passed about four to six weeks before normal, Vail said. She said this has been one of the worst ﬂu seasons in the past decade, not counting the 2009-10 season that included the H1N1 outbreak. People who are sick should stay home, drink plenty of ﬂuids and take medication to control fever. Health ofﬁcials also advise people to wash their hands often and cover coughs and sneezes. Vail said it’s never too late to get a ﬂu shot. “Until the flu season has passed completely, it’s always worth it to get the ﬂu shot if you haven’t had the ﬂu yet,” she said. Bill Clegg, emergency physician at Borgess Medical Center’s Emergency and Trauma Center, agreed that the peak of the season appears to be behind us, but said getting a ﬂu shot is still beneﬁcial. “Inﬂuenza, even for a healthy person, can make them feel like they’ve just been smashed by a truck,” Clegg said. Borgess Staffing Solutions held a clinic to provide 275 free ﬂu vaccines Friday. The clinic began at 7 a.m., but people were waiting in line at 6:15 a.m., and nurses provided 397 ﬂu vaccines to people at the Borgess Health & Fitness Center. Val Bauer, director of Borgess Staff Solutions, estimated she received about 40 phone calls this week asking about the ﬂu vaccine, much closer to the normal amount of inquiries. The American Red Cross is seeing a lower than expected turnout at some scheduled blood drives because donors have been sick and had to cancel appointments. “The Red Cross urges healthy donors to keep their appointments to donate blood in the coming weeks,” said Jim Flickema, CEO of the Great Lakes Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross, in a news release. “If they fall ill, we encourage them to try and ﬁnd someone healthy to donate in their place.” People who aren’t feeling well on the day of their donation will be turned away. Anyone who has the ﬂu should wait until they no longer have ﬂu symptoms and have recovered completely before attempting
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to donate blood. People can donate after receiving the ﬂu vaccine if they are symptom free. Neither the ﬂu shot nor the intranasal form of the ﬂu vaccine are cause for a blood donation deferral. The Red Cross has more than 30 blood drives in Southwest Michigan scheduled over the next month, which started Saturday at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Portage and includes a blood drive starting Monday at Westwood United Methodist Church in Kalamazoo. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood. org for more information.
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A6 SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2013
In case you missed it
$2M endowment ‘life-changing’ Popke donation to fund new college scholarships for Otsego High School students BY JULIE MACK JMACK1@MLIVE.COM
OTSEGO — Numerous Otsego High School seniors could be getting college scholarships this year through a new scholarship program funded by a $2 million endowment from a former Otsego school parent, Otsego Public Schools ofﬁcials announced Tuesday. The money comes from the estate of Emil “Bud” Popke Jr. of Kalamazoo, who died in May at age 86. Popke had a 30-year career in radio broadcasting and owned WYYY-AM when it was Kalamazoo’s most popular rock station in the 1970s. His two younger sons, Jeff and Jon, graduated from Otsego High School in the 1980s. Otsego officials say there will be approximately $65,000 available for scholarships for each of the next three years. Scholarship recipients will receive a minimum of $1,500, and there will be a mix of one-time and renewable awards. “The number of recipients and scholarship amounts has not been decided,” said a news release issued by the district Tuesday. “That may be a yearly decision based on the applications received.” Otsego High School graduates about 170 students a year, and about 40 percent go onto a four-year college and 30 percent enroll in a community college the fall after graduation, school officials said. The release said students will need a grade-point average of least 2.75 to qualify for the scholarship program, and ﬁnancial need will be taken into account in awarding money. There is a five-member committee that will oversee the allocation, which will be administered by the Allegan County Community Foundation. “What a gift,” Otsego Superintendent Denny Patzer said. “This has the capability not only to make a difference but to have a lasting impact. This creates a possibility for students who, in the past, may have thought they would not be eligible or would not qualify for a scholarship,” he said. Because it is an endowed scholarship program, the fund will be in existence in perpetuity. After the ﬁrst three years, scholarships will be dependent on the growth of the fund, which is projected to generate $60,000 to $75,000 each year. “It really is life-changing,” Theresa Bray, executive director of the Allegan County Community Foundation, said in the release. “It takes that ﬁnancial obstacle away. Students can focus on their studies and keep moving ahead with their dreams and goals and don’t have to worry about whether they’re able to stay in school or not.” The endowment has been in the works for about six years, the release said. Popke’s attorney said Popke and his
sister, Ruth, had agreed the inheritance they received from their mother would go toward a schola rs h i p f u n d . R u t h P o p k e Emil d i e d s eve ra l Popke years ago, the release said. The scholarship application process includes ﬁlling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which is a universal form used to determine ﬁnancial-aid needs for college. Information on the new scholarship program, filling out the FAFSA and other scholarship programs available through the Allegan County Community Foundation will be provided at a meeting for Otsego parents and students at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at Otsego High School.
THE WEEK IN BRIEF
Pot plants seized, two charged
COLOMA — After a fivemonth investigation, police in Berrien County have seized more than 200 marijuana plants and arrested two suspects in connection with the drug activity. The Berrien County Sheriff Office’s Narcotics Unit, along with the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, executed a search warrant Tuesday morning at a warehouse building at 127 E. Center St. in Coloma. They also searched a residence in the 4700 block of Paw Paw Lake Road in connection with the drug activity. Officers seized 206 marijuana plants in the search. Police say each plant is capable of producing $1,000 worth of the drug. They also found processed marijuana at the residence on Paw Paw Lake Road with a street value of $1,000. Arrested in connection with the
marijuana grow operation were Dennis Dickson, 66, of Coloma Township and Emily Jacobs, also 66, from Coloma Township. Dickson has been charged with manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and maintaining a drug house. Jacobs has been charged with maintaining a drug house. They are lodged at Berrien County Jail, awaiting their arraignments.
Separate murder trials
KALAMAZOO — The two men charged with murder in the homicide of Robert Medema will face separate trials. Kalamazoo County Circuit Court Judge J. Richardson Johnson on Friday ordered separate trials for Antonio Livingston, 21, and John Aguilar, 52, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said. Medema, the longtime owner of The Emporium antiques store, was found dead inside his Oakland Drive home Aug. 11. Police said Medema
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‘Best for vets’
KALAMAZOO — Military Times EDGE magazine has included Western Michigan University on its 2013 “Best for Vets” list of colleges and universities. WMU is ranked No. 49 among the 650 schools rated and is the only Michigan four-year school on the list. WMU also was included on Military Advanced Education’s list of “military friendly” schools and also was included in G.I. Jobs magazine’s list. In April, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs located a VetSuccess on Campus
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Fine jewelry specials are only available at stores that carry fine jewelry. " REG. & ORIG. PRICES ARE OFFERING PRICES AND SAVINGS MAY NOT BE BASED ON ACTUAL SALES. SOME ORIG. PRICES NOT IN EFFECT DURING THE PAST 90 DAYS. SUPER WEEKEND SALE & CLEARANCE PRICES IN EFFECT NOW-1/21/2013. *Intermediate price reductions may have been taken. Jewelry photo may be enlarged or enhanced to show detail. Fine jewelry at select stores, log on to macys.com for locations. Almost all gemstones have been treated to enhance their beauty & require special care, log on to macys.com/gemstones or ask your sales professional. Specials & clearance items are available while supplies last. Extra savings taken off of already reduced prices; “special” prices reflect extra savings. Advertised merchandise may not be carried at your local Macy’s and selection may vary by store. Prices and merchandise may differ at macys.com. Electriics & luggage items carry mfr’s warranties; to obtain a mfrs. warranty before purchasing, visit a store or write: Macy’s Warranty Dept., PO Box 1026, Maryland Heights, MO 63043 attn: Consumer warranties. ! Enter the WebID in the search box at macys.com to order. N2120033. OPEN A MACY’S ACCOUNT FOR EXTRA 15% SAVINGS THE FIRST 2 DAYS WITH MORE REWARDS TO COME. Macy’s credit card is available subject to credit approval; new account savings valid the day your account is opened and the next day; excludes services, select licensed departments, gift cards, restaurants, gourmet food and wine. On furniture, mattresses and rugs/floor coverings, the new account savings is limited to $100; application must qualify for immediate approval to receive extra savings; employees not eligible. 4549871-02
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SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2013 A7
Friends of Historic East Campus ask WMU trustees to halt demolition KALAMAZOO— The Friends of Historic East Campus, a group of alumni and locals dedicated to preserving the historic nature of Western Michigan University’s birthplace, has sent a letter to the WMU Board of Trustees ofﬁcially opposing the university’s plans to raze buildings. WMU in December announced plans to borrow $15 million to renovate East Hall into an alumni center, a dollar amount excluding the proposed demolitions of North, West Halls and the Speech and Hearing Center and the north and south annexes of East Hall. Some 25 people dismayed by the university’s plans to demolish what they consider the most historic and aesthetically-pleasing campus structures begged FOHEC members to be bold at a meeting in December. The group met again on Friday, where they approved sending a letter, drafted by an appointed committee, stating their position on the
university’s plans. “We’re asking them to let us know why they think it would cheaper to tear the buildings down,” said FOHEC Chair David Brose. “We think the reuse for an alumni center is great but tearing down the other buildings doesn’t make sense. We are suggesting they put together a much more public committee to ﬁnd a reuse, while maintaining the buildings for the next three years. We don’t think the university should give up.” Brose said the group will share the notice with the public after trustees have received the letter. He says the message should not come as a surprise to the community or trustees, as Brose and others have been vocal about opposing the demolitions. The group also is connecting with various business and community groups for support. Brose said FOHEC members also are planning on speaking at the next WMU Board of Trustees meeting Feb. 27.
New 2013 ES350
*36 month 10,000 mile/ year lease. $3499 due at signing including $190 doc fee, 6% state tax, plate and title and $700 acq fee. Payment plus tax. Security deposit waived. Tier 1+ credit. Mdl# 9000. In stock vehicles only. Sale ends 1/31/13.
East Hall, above, West Hall, left, and North Hall, above right,are among the buildings on the East Campus of Western Michigan University to be demolished. or renovated.
*36 month 10,000 mile/ year lease. $3750 due at signing including $190 doc fee, 6% state tax, plate and title and $700 acq fee. Payment plus tax. Security deposit waived. Tier 1+ credit. Mdl#9420 with prem pkg no blind spot. In stock vehicles only. Sale ends 1/31/13.
New 2012 $ CT200h
249 per mo***
*24 month 10,000 mile/ year lease. $2099 due at signing including $190 doc fee, 6% state tax, plate and title and $700 acq fee. Payment plus tax. Security deposit waived. Tier 1+ credit. Must qualify for $1000 college grad through LFS. In stock vehicles only. Mdl#9907. Sale ends 1/31/13.
5575 PENNSYLVANIA AVE 800-539-8748
590 AUTO MALL DR 866-645-3987
BY URSULA ZERILLI UZERILLI@MLIVE.COM
Log on and Save • Se Habla Español • HOURS M & Th 9-9 T,W,F 9-6 Sat. 10-5
Abused dogs on the mend; owner sentenced BY NICHOLAS GRENKE NGRENKE@MLIVE.COM
PAW PAW — A woman who chained up two dogs with little food and no water in September was ﬁned $1,220 and sentenced to six months probation and ﬁve days in jail Friday. Brandi Espinosa, of Paw Paw Township, can choose to work a weekend on the Van Buren County Sheriff ’s Ofﬁce work crew instead of serving the ﬁve days in jail, according to a news release from the sheriff’s ofﬁce. The dogs that were abused, meanwhile, have recovered, the sheriff ’s ofﬁce said. “B oth dogs have been checked out and found to be in excellent health, also friendly and energetic,” the release said. The pit bull mixes have been kept by the Van Buren County Sheriff ’s Ofﬁce’s Animal Control Division since they were found Sept. 26 at Espinosa’s residence. They were transferred Friday to the Humane Society of
Southwest Michigan in Benton Harbor for possible adoption. “They’re both very good dogs,” Sgt. David Walker of the sheriff’s ofﬁce said. “I have a feeling they’ll be gone in a few days.” Walker said the dogs, who have gained healthy weight, couldn’t be adopted into new homes until the court disposition of Espinosa’s case was completed. Espinosa was sentenced Friday on animal abandonment and cruelty charges under terms of a plea agreement reached with the county prosecutor’s ofﬁce. Numerous people called inquiring about adopting the dogs shortly after they were found in September. The sheriff ’s office urged people to contact the Humane Society of Southwest Michigan at 269-927-3303 for adoption information. Dogs and cats also are available for adoption at the Van Buren County Animal Control website or by calling 269-621-4624.
TEXAS TOWNSHIP ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS VARIANCE APPLICATION AND PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE TO:
THE RESIDENTS AND PROPERTY OWNERS OF THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF TEXAS, KALAMAZOO COUNTY, MICHIGAN, AND ANY OTHER INTERESTED PERSONS:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Texas Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing and meeting on February 5, 2013, commencing at 6:00 p.m. at the Texas Charter Township Hall, 7110 West Q Avenue, within the Township. PLEASE TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that the item(s) to be considered at said meeting are as follows: 1.
The request of Central Tile Realty, LLC for a variance from the 20% maximum lot coverage in order to permit the construction of two additional accessory storage buildings, each measuring approximately 175’ by 20’8” in the vacant southwest portion of the combined parcels located at 5180 South 9th Street within the Township. The proposed new storage buildings will add 7,280 square feet of space and will increase the lot coverage percentage from the existing 25.7% to a proposed 29.7%. Access to and any additional trafﬁc created by the new buildings will be from Financial Parkway and not from 9th Street.
Such other and additional business that shall come before the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Anyone interested in reviewing the application for the above or the Township Zoning Ordinance may examine a copy of the same at the Texas Charter Township Hall during regular business hours of regular business days hereafter until the time of said meeting and may further examine the same at said public hearing/meeting. The Township Zoning Ordinance is also accessible via internet at www.texastownship.org. Written comments will be received from any interested persons concerning the foregoing by the Texas Charter Township Clerk at the Township Hall at any time during regular business hours up to the date of the hearing and may be further received by the Zoning Board of Appeals at the hearing. All interested persons are invited to be present at the aforesaid time and place. Texas Charter Township will provide necessary reasonable auxiliary aids and services, such as signers for the hearing impaired and audio tapes of printed material being considered at the hearing, to individuals with disabilities at the hearing upon four (4) days’ notice to the Texas Charter Township Clerk. Individuals with disabilities requiring auxiliary aids or services should contact the Texas Charter Township Clerk at the address or telephone number listed below. TEXAS CHARTER TOWNSHIP ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS By: Clare Todd, Secretary 7110 West Q Avenue Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009 (269) 375-1591
KALAMAZOO 5030 W. Main Street (Maple Hill Mall)
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A8 SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2013
S2 Games CEO Marc DeForest in the conference room of the companies new home at the Portage Trade Centre.
GAMES PORTAGE COMPANY EXPECTS GROWTH
CONTINUED FROM A1
updated various times, and HoN 3.0 will be released “very soon,” DeForest says the business model is where adaptation has been most crucial. The game originally cost users $30 to play, but in an effort to stay competitive with free online games, the pay wall was removed in May 2012. S2 Games altered the pay model a few times. The company proﬁts by charging real money for the virtual currency that players use in the game to pay for cosmetic upgrades to their account to enhance the quality of the game. DeForest says HoN is considered one of the most popular computer games in Thailand, and the company continues to see growth in Southeast Asia, where it has already has regional partners for marketing. S2 Games just cemented a new partnership in China, which has the largest population of gamers and currently does not have access to the game, DeForest said. “By the end of this year, we’ll be up and running in China, and that has massive potential,”
he said. “Life is about expectation management, so I don’t want to set too lofty goals, but I do expect growth and we’re going be happy with whatever it will be. It will be more than what we have now.” S2 also is looking to establish a mobile division, which will be a subsidiary of S2 Games called iGames, a company DeForest has owned since 2002, before the age of the smartphone. He believes mobile games have huge potential to bridge the gap between casual and experienced gamers. “We’re all really passionate about mobile gaming,” he said. “This isn’t going to stop our investment or growth for the PC, but in the future, a lot of things revolve around the accessibility of a tablet.” DeForest already is accepting applications for a 12-person mobile division, and he hopes some of those hires will be local people. While he remains mum on the details, DeForest conﬁrmed that a team is working on developing a new mystical, “lorecentric” game. Besides being the CEO of S2
Games, a father of three and a husband, DeForest is also known in the HoN gamer world as “Maliken,” an avatar wellknown in the HoN world. “My wife could attest to this — my favorite game of all time is HoN, and that’s not just lip service,” he said. “When new games come out I try them, but I can’t help wanting to play HoN.” DeForest will discuss the release of the HoN 3.0, the new mobile division, and his hopes for the future of technology businesses in Kalamazoo at 2 p.m. Tuesday during a MLive/ Kalamazoo Gazette live chat.
“I do expect growth and we’re going to be happy with whatever it will be. It will be more than what we have now.” — Marc DeForest, S2 Games CEO 4549446-02
The Star (Sharing Time And Resources) Awards pay tribute to individuals and groups in our community who donate their time and talents in service to others.
Nominate a community volunteer before January 31.
Visit volunteerkalamazoo.org to make a nomination online or download a nomination form. Printed forms may be submitted by mail: Volunteer Kalamazoo, 709-A South Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007, or by fax: 269.382.8362. All names of volunteer individuals, groups and managers nominated will be featured in a future edition of the Kalamazoo Gazette. The awards will be presented during a breakfast ceremony at Chenery Auditorium on Wednesday, April 24.
Complete details: volunteerkalamazoo.org or call 382-8350 4528217-01
SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2013 A9
NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
Jon Ikeda, chief designer Acura Design Studio, speaks at media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Tuesday.
BLING IS THE THING
AUTO SHOW OFFERS SOPHISTICATED ACCESSORIES FOR EVERDAY CARS BY JEFF KAROUB THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ETROIT — Headlights, grilles and other doodads are stepping up and popping out on cars. Car bling is proliferating, from daytime running lights that go up the hood of the new Cadillac ATS to a wide, bold grille on the Ford Fusion to engraving within the lamps of the new Corvette and Ford Transit. It is inexpensive but distinctive, providing automotive eye candy that can even boost gas mileage or improve safety. Bling isn’t new, but advancements in technology and design are allowing automakers to do more of it and move it from luxury cars into the mainstream. “You’ve got form and function with the beauty,” said IHS Automotive analyst Rebecca Lindland. The adornments are on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opened to the public Saturday:
Mom never advised looking into lights, but peering into the lamps of certain vehicles offers some aesthetic rewards: Tiny engravings are appearing inside, like ﬁgures in a snow globe. Headlights in the splashy new Corvette feature the brand’s crossed-ﬂag logo, and the utilitarian Ford Transit offers Ford’s Blue Oval logo contained in a seven-sided shape. Likewise, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee features a vintage miniature Jeep silhouette and the phrase “Since 1941,” referring to the year Jeeps began rolling out. IHS Automotive’s Lindland says it’s intriguing that designers are “laying this kind of jewelry in just that small spot” — in the process attracting buyers and providing recognition on the road.
Line of sight
Distinctive lights abound, but a prime example graces the front of the new Cadillac ATS,
a sport sedan. The car’s daytime running lights go up the top of the fender along the hood line. They help contribute to an overall design that is angular and edgy. Those lights are helping Cadillac set itself apart from competitors, says Consumer Reports lead car tester Jake Fisher. Osram Automotive supplies lighting components for the ATS and other Cadillacs. David Hulick, the company’s global marketing director of solid state lighting, says the ATS beneﬁts from hidden LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, which offer an “intense, white appearance” that can’t be duplicated with traditional bulbs. Hulick says getting more out of illumination was the impetus behind the ﬁrst automotive use of LEDs in exterior lighting: a mid-1990s Ford Thunderbird. He says that model used “super-red LEDs with a neon look” — something that also “couldn’t be achieved with traditional technology.” The rear end of the new Corvette Stingray is displayed after
Hot off the grille
Ford is heating up its grilles, particularly its Fusion model. The Fusion jettisoned the old, bulky shutters that go back years and embraced a wide, bold grille with numerous thin blades. Consumer Reports’ Fisher says the grille helps the midsize family sedan “evoke the looks of an Aston Martin” — adding to the mystique and brand identity without adding to the bottom line. Ford hopes to ﬁnally surpass Toyota Camry’s sales with the new Fusion, helped by a more aggressive-looking trapezoidal grille. There are other grilles providing artistic thrills: When the light hits it just right, the angular brushed-metal grille of Hyundai’s new luxury concept car shows off at least a dozen small inverted triangles that appear behind horizontal bars. The wide-mouth grille has a bunch of tiny holes, and the angles reﬂect light. It’s just one of many new styling cues on the HCD-14 Genesis, which Hyundai says is the direction it will take the next generation of its luxury cars, the Genesis and Equus.
The eyes have it
The tail lamps on the highperformance version of the
its unveiling in Detroit on Jan. 13.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee are tinted black, giving it an ominous look. Ralph Gilles, a Chrysler design leader, noted the lamps are “kind of like death.” “They look like they’re really staring at you. If you look at them, they’re all dark inside. You can’t even see the lens,” Gilles said. He says it’s the first time Chrysler has done such headlamps. The vehicle, he added, “can pretty much be sinister if you want it to.” He says designers wanted to create something unique that “owners will love.” The headlights on Land Rover’s small SUV — the Range Rover Evoque — also give that vehicle “a bit more of the sinister look,” according to Lindland. The slim lamp also represents an advance in functionality. “The great thing with lighting technology is that you can actually have a very narrow light and still have a tremendous amount of road illumination,” she said.
When it comes to headlights, there’s bling, and then there’s the king of bling. The Acura RLX’s headlights look like a crystal chandelier,
courtesy of a horizontal collection of lenses and LED light that has been split and directed in a beam pattern, according to Hulick of Osram Automotive. He says Acura’s lights are a great example of a vehicle being simultaneously eye-catching and illuminating with the help of LEDs. “Lighting, in my opinion, has replaced chrome as the jewelry on the car.”
The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup has a practical feature that breaks up the boring horizontal view of the bumper. There are two steps that make it easy to climb into the bed to fetch tools or tie down a load. The steps are set into the corner of the bumpers and even have treads to stop work shoes from slipping. The always-ready steps could give GM an advantage over other automakers in an increasingly competitive pickup market, especially with buyers who constantly are going in and out of the truck bed. — AP Auto Writer Tom Krisher and Associated Press Bentley Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Schreiber unveils writer David Runk contributed the GT Speed Convertible during the North American to this report. International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday.
A10 SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2013
ß GRADUATION ß ENGAGEMENT ß WEDDING ß ANNIVERSARY ß NEW BABY ß BIRTHDAY ß GENERATIONS ß SPECIAL OCCASION Place your your anno oun ncement at at Place announcement mlive.com/celebrations
SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2013 A11
ERA ABOLITIONISM HAD GREAT EFFECT IN KALAMAZOO CONTINUED FROM A1
through Kalamazoo, but they would be far from the last. For the next quarter-century — until the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago this month — slavery and the abolitionist movement were among the most divisive issues in Southwest Michigan as well as the rest of the country. It’s an era back in the news as the result of a conﬂuence of events: The Emancipation Proclamation anniversary; the box-ofﬁce success of “Lincoln” and “Django Unchained,” two Oscar-nominated movies about slavery, and Monday’s inauguration kicking off the second term of the ﬁrst African-American president — coincidentally to be held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. While slavery is most associated with the South, local historians say there’s no question that the issue had a substantial impact on residents in the Kalamazoo area, both politically and personally. “Anti-slavery sentiment made its mark on the life and activity in Kalamazoo from the time of the arrival of the very ﬁrst white settlers,” said a 1929 story in the Kalamazoo Gazette. “While slavery had a few vociferous champions here, there existed in the community the sharp divergence of opinion that was to later plunge the nation into Civil War.” In fact, some historians say it was two incidents in Southwest Michigan that inspired the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, setting in place the course of events that led to the war.
Slavery was banned from Michigan with the passage of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, which prohibited slavery in territories governed by the ordinance. When Michigan became a state in 1937, a prohibition against slavery was put in the state constitution. The new state drew outspoken abolitionists such as Montague, who later became a steward of what is now the
Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital; Hugh Shafter, the Galesburg resident who took in the runaway slaves from Montague; Isaac Pierce, a pioneer in Climax; and Dr. Nathan Thomas, Kalamazoo County’s ﬁrst practicing physician, who lived in Schoolcraft. Kalamazoo, Calhoun and Cass counties were among the most active areas in Michigan for harboring escaped slaves. It’s estimated that 1,000 to 1,500 runaway slaves went through Kalamazoo County via the Underground Railroad between 1840 and 1860. Local anecdotes from that era are numerous. There was the slave who, while going through the Underground Railroad in Battle Creek, happened on the daughter she hadn’t seen in 10 years. There were the two Leonidas boys who went into a horse barn only to ﬁnd two African-Americans sleeping on the hay; the barn’s owner, Dr. John Walker, made the boys take an oath of secrecy and gave them a lecture on the evils of slavery. There was the time that a group of 45 slaves showed up at the Thomas home in Schoolcraft. One of the more interesting stories is that of Dorothy Butler, who was a 7-year-old slave in Kentucky when her mother, Nellie, overhead their slave owner talking about selling Dorothy and her older sister on the New Orleans slave market. Emulating a scene from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Nellie Butler convinced a man to row her family across the Ohio River and they headed north, ending up in Schoolcraft. Although most slaves went to Canada for fear of being captured and returned, the Butler family stayed, and Dorothy Butler went on to work as a servant in “some of the ﬁnest homes in Kalamazoo,” according to her obituary. She was still living in Schoolcraft when she died in 1932 at age 78.
On the political front, the abolition movement went from being a fringe view decried as
radical and extreme to one embraced by the political mainstream. Although abolitionists were among the ﬁrst settlers, their views were not warmly received at ﬁrst. One example: During an 1838 meeting of abolitionists at Alamo’s Congregational Church, a mob came in and “threw red pepper in the stove and set dogs ﬁghting in the pews,” Montague recalled in a 1906 interview. In that same interview, Montague recalled sitting at a Kalamazoo tavern the night before an abolitionist was to speak. At the next table, he overheard “a prominent woman offer to give her pillows if the men would tar and feather the speaker.” But over time, more and more Kalamazoo-area residents began to oppose slavery. In 1837, Montague was a political radical; in 1854, Kalamazoo residents elected him to the state Senate. Epaphroditus Ransom, the only Kalamazoo resident to be elected governor, was governor as the Crosswhite case was heating up, and he publicly sided with the antislavery activists. It’s no coincidence that Abraham Lincoln came to Kalamazoo in his only visit to Michigan, and in that 1856 appearance, he talked about the evils of slavery. A year before the Emancipation Proclamation, 167 Schoolcraft residents signed a petition calling for the abolishment of slavery. Two months later, such a resolution was approved in the Michigan Legislature. When the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted on Jan. 1, 1863, both U.S. senators from Michigan were Radical Republicans who were ardent opponents of slavery. One was Chandler, the Detroit businessman who paid the ﬁne in the Crosswhite case. The other was Jacob Howard, who helped draft both the 13th and 14th Amendments, which ended slavery and gave African-American men the right to vote.
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The World Of...
Sunday, January 27, 3pm Chenery Auditorium Join the KSO and music director, Raymond Harvey as they explore the life and vibrant music of Italian composer Ottorino Respighi. This entertaining journey will take you through the various stages of Respighi’s colorful life and uncover his thoughts, influences and what inspired some of the greatest pieces of classical music repertoire. Program Ancient Airs and Dances: Set 1 Trittico Botticelliano Quartetto Dorico Gli uccelli (The Birds)
(269) 387-2300 www.KalamazooSymphony.com 4537573-01
A12 SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2013
Is Michigan gay friendly?
ADVOCATES ENCOURAGED BY CHANGING ATTITUDES, BUT SEEK FAIRNESS FIRST BY JONATHAN OOSTING JOOSTING@MLIVE.COM
LANSING — Doak Bloss loves Michigan, and he loves his job. But because he also loves Gerardo Ascheri, his same-sex partner of 19 years, he is considering leaving the state to ﬁnd other work. As a longtime coordinator for the Ingham County Health Department, Bloss has been able to provide Ascheri with health insurance beneﬁts for the past several years. But Ascheri, a self-employed piano teacher who takes medication for high blood pressure, was forced off the county health plan at the beginning of the year following implementation of a state law prohibiting non-university public entities from extending benefits to the domestic partners of their employees. “I spoke with my boss,” Bloss said. “I love her, but I told her that because of this, I might have to consider leaving. If I could ﬁnd a position where I could get insurance for Gerardo, I might take it even though I would just hate giving up this job.” Bloss and Ascheri are plaintiffs in an ongoing federal lawsuit challenging Michigan’s Public Employee Domestic Partner Benefit Restriction Act, which was approved by the legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in late 2011. They argue that the law is discriminatory in nature because it speciﬁcally denies gay couples the same beneﬁts afforded their colleagues. “If we could marry like heterosexual couples, we wouldn’t have to do this,” said Bloss, explaining that his partner is now paying a $500 monthly premium for private health coverage that includes a $5,000 deductible. “Beyond the material costs, it’s a lack of security. Does Michigan not want us to live here? That’s really hard.”
Domestic partnership benefits
By denying domestic partnership benefits for most public employees, Michigan has positioned itself as one of the least gay-friendly states in the country, according to Jay Kaplan, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan who is representing Bloss and other clients in the federal suit. “Clearly this is a discriminatory law,” Kaplan said. “There is no other state that has a law like this. Michigan stands alone.” Gary Glenn, president of the American Families Association of Michigan, expects a successful appeal at the state Supreme Court. He co-authored the voter-approved constitutional amendment that effectively banned same-sex unions in Michigan, and he believes that heterosexual marriage is a “foundational building block of society” that should not be tampered with. “Tax-funded beneﬁts for the husbands and wives of state employees reﬂects the state’s vested interest in promoting marriage between a man and a
woman,” said Glenn. “The state has no similar interest in promoting relationships which intentionally deny children either a mother or a father and have no proven beneﬁt to society.” Advocates, however, argue that Michigan could attract a more talented workforce by openly extending beneﬁts to the partners of gay and lesbian employees who work for cities, counties or the state. Louis Padnos Iron and Metal Company of Holland ﬁled an amicus brief in the federal case arguing that the beneﬁts ban for public entities hurts private companies by diluting the state’s overall talent pool. While he is not aware of any specific data on the issue, Michigan State University economics professor Charles Ballard said that “openness to different people and new ideas is a hallmark of successful economies,” noting the famous example of South and North Korea, which have taken decidedly different paths since splitting in 1948. “How much that is the case in this particular instance with gays and lesbians, I don’t know,” Ballard said. “But there’s no question that societies that are open tend to do much better.” Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals have ﬂourished around the country in communities that welcome them, according to David Garcia, executive director of Afﬁrmations in Ferndale, the state’s largest LGBT organization. And many businesses looking to attract the best and the brightest, he said, have realized this. “When the governor ran for office, he pledged to run the state like a business,” said Garcia. “Most major Fortune 500 companies offer domestic partnership beneﬁts, they don’t make new rules taking them away.”
The country appears to be warming up to gay marriage, and Michigan is no exception. Voters in three states — Maine, Maryland and Washington — last year approved ballot initiatives allowing gay couples to marry, joining six other states, along with Washington D.C., that recognize same-sex marriages as the result of either legislative action or court decisions. Illinois may soon follow suit. In a recent State of the State Survey, 56 percent of Michigan respondents voiced support for gay marriage. An even larger majority — 64 percent — said they support civil unions, which would afford many of the same rights outside the religious tradition of marriage. “When you compare that to attitudes on other social issues, that seems to be a fairly rapid change,” said Ballard, who directs the quarterly survey. The Michigan State survey indicated a strong relationship between education and acceptance. Sixty-three percent of respondents with at least some college education said they support gay marriage, compared to
only 26 percent of those who had never been to college. That relationship is consistent with national data, according to Ballard, who noted that seven of the states that allow gay marriage, along with Washington D.C., rank amongst the 12 most highly educated jurisdictions in the nation. While they are encouraged by those numbers, gay and lesbians in Michigan harbor few illusions that they will be able to marry in this state any time soon. After all, they point out, it was little more than eight years ago that 59 percent of Michigan voters approved a constitutional amendment that effectively banned gay marriage and civil unions. “I think Michigan has been so behind on this that I don’t see us all of a sudden becoming some kind of leader,” said Jay Berkow, a theatre professor at Western Michigan University who has advocated for civil unions as a more likely alternative. “That may change, and that may be pessimistic, but right now it certainly isn’t going to happen through the legislature here.” Practical Political Polling, a Lansing-based ﬁrm run by recently retired Democratic Ingham County Commissioner Mark Grebner, conducted a specialized ballot-based poll in 2009 and determined that Michigan voters were not prepared to repeal the state’s gay-marriage ban. Glenn, who co-authored the 2004 ballot proposal, said he is conﬁdent that is still the case. Some LGBT advocates hold out hope that the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear two gay marriage cases later this year, could rule that samesex couples have a constitutional and fundamental right to wed. But a broad ruling is unlikely, according to Mae Kuykendall, a law professor at Michigan State University, who expects
the conservative-majority court to narrow any ruling in some capacity. Even if they are unable to marry any time soon, gays and lesbians in Michigan say they have seen a decided shift in public acceptance and awareness, even among religious institutions. “As I see it, the Christian community and our society as a whole is coming to frame the morality (of same-sex relationships) in a new way,” said the Rev. Jim Lucas, chaplain of Gays in Faith Together, a West Michigan organization dedicated to educating local churches and supporting congregants. “It’s becoming clear that we as a society and Christian community have been treating gay people unjustly in ways that have been really harmful to them and their families.”
While they would welcome same-sex marriage, LGBT advocates have set their sights on more immediate goals, such as fairness in the workplace and housing market. Democratic state Sen. Rebekkah Warren of Ann Arbor is leading a push to update Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which does not currently prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. She is poised to reintroduce legislation that stalled in committee last session. “To me, it’s really a basic issue of fairness,” she said. “The Elliot-Larsen Act protects against discrimination on gender, race, religion and a lot of other things. But right now, it’s completely legal under Michigan law to discriminate against people because of who
they love.” While Warren said she is optimistic that her bill could advance this year, she acknowledged that it failed to ﬁnd widespread support last session. Separately, Republican state Rep. Tom McMillan of Rochester introduced a bill that would have prohibited municipalities from adding to their local ordinances any “protected class” not already included in Elliott-Larsen. It too stalled in committee. More than two dozen Michigan municipalities now have ordinances in place prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, according to Garcia, who last year organized a 100-day rotating hunger strike at Affirmations designed to raise awareness about several issues facing the LGBT community.
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SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2013 A13
5 Facebook privacy settings you need to check now KIM
missed it. That’s OK; it’s easy to ﬁnd. When you’re logged into Facebook, you will notice a new lock icon in the top tool bar. Clicking on that brings up the new Privacy Shortcuts menu, where you can manage the big three privacy concerns: Who can see my stuff? Who can contact me? How do I stop someone from bothering me? Without dropping what you’re doing and navigating somewhere else, you can quickly block (unfriend) someone, verify that only friends are seeing your posts, ﬁlter how you receive messages and control who can send you friend requests. This drop-down menu also provides a shortcut to your Activity Log, where you can review your past activity. And
you can use the new Request and Removal tool to ask friends to take down pictures of you. The Privacy Shortcuts area is an improvement, but there are other important settings buried away that still need attention. To access these, click on “See More Settings” in the Privacy Shortcuts menu. (This is the same as clicking on the gear icon next to it and choosing Privacy Settings.) Under Privacy, check the answer to the all-important “Who can look me up?” You probably don’t want that set to Everyone! I recommend Friends at least. You probably don’t want search engines ﬁnding your Facebook proﬁle, either. I’d make sure that option is turned off. If you regularly log in to websites with your Facebook account, you might be surprised by how many apps have access to your proﬁle. Some apps may also have permission to make posts on
Dates announced for the 2013 Kalamazoo County Fair Fair Advisory Council will manage this year’s event for first time BY FRITZ KLUG FKLUG@MLIVE.COM
KALAMAZOO — The Kalamazoo County Fair will be held from Aug. 5 to 10. “This year’s Fair will offer a variety of new family entertainment, 4-H exhibits and agricultural education,” according to a news release. “An event schedule and additional
news will be coming soon.” This will be the first time the fair will be managed under the new Fair Advisory Council. The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners voted in October to shift control from a 14-person board appointed by the Kalamazoo County Agricultural Society to a ninemember board appointed by the commissioners. When Kalamazoo County Parks Director Dave Rachowicz announced the proposal for the new fair management, he said there are safety, facility and marketing concerns with the current fair.
Rachowicz proposed to the county board to scale back the fair and return the focus to agriculture and youth. Any decision on removing grandstand entertainment or carnival rides, however, would be decided by the new fair board. Supporters of the previous fair organization were concerned that the switch would keep current volunteers away from helping. The new board is working on hiring a part-time fair coordinator. The coordinator is expected to be selected this month and will begin in early February, according to the news release.
your behalf. Modify these settings or remove apps you no longer use by going to Apps>>Apps You Use. The “Apps others use” and “Instant personalization” subheadings also need attention. You likely allow most of your friends to see your birthday, hometown and other personal data. “Apps other use” controls whether apps that your friends use can also grab that information. I recommend that you uncheck all the boxes. “Instant personalization” allows information you’ve made public on Facebook to be used by partner sites, such as TripAdvisor and Yelp, to customize your experience. If your goal is to share less, disable it. Finally, make a pit stop under the Ads setting. Change “Third Party Sites” and “Ads & Friends” to No One from the two dropdown menus. If these options are set to “Only my friends,” Facebook can pair your name and proﬁle picture with a paid ad and show it to your friends. You don’t want that. Spend a few minutes covering these bases, and you should have a safe and secure 2013 on the No. 1 social network. By the way, you can join me at facebook.com/ kimkomando.
Curating your facebook news feed, and other personalizations can be burdensome process, but the result is less tabloid magazine, more personal messages and cute pictures from people who are actually your friends. Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. To get the podcast, watch the show or find
the station nearest you, visit: http://www.komando.com/listen. To subscribe to Kim’s free email newsletters, sign-up at: http://www. komando.com/newsletters.
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This haunting, heartfelt musical brings touchingly to life both the delightfully eccentric aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Once among the brightest names in the pre-Camelot social register, these two women become East Hampton’s most notorious recluses, living in a dilapidated 28 room mansion. Set in two eras, in 1941 when the estate was in its prime and in 1973 when it was reduced to squalor, this fascinating musical tells the alternately hilarious and heartbreaking story of two indomitable women, Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter “Little” Edie. [RECOMMENDED 14+] MATURE THEMES & MUSICAL LYRICS production sponsors:
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acebook is a fabulous way to connect with friends and family. Of course, Facebook is also a spectacular way to embarrass yourself. And it happens almost every day. Users post personal photos and intimate status updates that they think only a few friends will see. Then the posts get broadcast to friends of friends or — worse — everyone. Anyone can be surprised by an episode of oversharing if they’re not paying attention — even Randi Zuckerberg, a former Facebook executive and sister of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Last month, she posted a family photo intended for friends but didn’t choose the right privacy setting. A friend of another Zuckerberg sister grabbed it and posted it on Twitter. Fortunately, Facebook has a new tool to help simplify your privacy settings. In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you probably also
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Bank of America ATMs will stay in area Four machines will remain in city after local branches leave BY AL JONES AJONES5@MLIVE.COM
KALAMAZOO — Along with its commercial and business banking office in downtown Kalamazoo and other cities, Bank of America will continue to have four automated teller machines in Greater Kalamazoo after it divests itself of retail bank branches here. As it works to streamline operations and sell off or close about 750 banks (an effort that started last year), Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America will sell 24 retail branches to Indiana-based Old National Bancorp. But Matthew B. Elliott, market executive for global commercial banking for Bank of America, said even after the Old National transaction is complete later this year, BOA will continued to have some automated teller machines here. Here is a list of the automated teller machines that Bank of America will continue to have in Southwest Michigan:
‘Dog Whisperer’ coming in March BY YVONNE ZIPP YZIPP@MLIVE.COM
KALAMAZOO — Cesar Millan, bestselling author and TV star, will be coming to Wings Stadium in March. Millan, whose former TV show, “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan,” made him a household name, will appear at 4 p.m. March 3, the stadium announced in a news release. He will be joined by his “right-hand dog, Junior,” the release said, and the event will include live demonstrations with various dogs and an audience Q&A. Millan is perhaps the most famous pet-training authority in America. He also has attracted controversy for his methods, which
critics have characterized as unnecessarily harsh. The author of The New York Times best-seller “Cesar’s Way” also has a new TV series, “Leader of the Pack,” and a new book, “A Short Guide to a Happy Dog,” both out this month. Tickets, which will be $36 to $48, go on sale at the Wings Stadium ticket office starting Jan. 25. They also will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, including www. ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000. A limited number of VIP tickets, which will include a post-show meet and greet, will be available for $84. There is a special group rate for parties of 10 or more.
Cesar Millan and his dog, Junior, will appear at Wings Stadium on March 3. Tickets go on sale Jan. 25.
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§ 605 N. West Ave., Jackson (CVS Pharmacy) § 414 S. Main St., Brooklyn (CVS Pharmacy) Elliott said Bank of America will continue to have retail branches in the Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, Holland and Lansing areas. The commercial banking locations that Bank of America will maintain include a BOA ofﬁce at 200 W. Michigan Ave., on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Rose Street in downtown Kalamazoo, and commercial ofﬁces BOA has in Battle Creek, Niles, Grand Rapids, Holland and Lansing, Elliott said.
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KALAMAZOO — An argument between two men on West Paterson Street led to a stabbing Friday afternoon, Kalamazoo police said. The suspect, whose name has not been released, told Kalamazoo Public Safety ofﬁcers that he acted out of self defense and believed there was an imminent threat when he stabbed a man just before noon in the 300 block of West Paterson on the city’s north side, Assistant Chief Brian Uridge said. Uridge said the man who was stabbed suffered injuries that were not life threatening. The suspect, meanwhile, has been detained and police are continuing to investigate the incident.