Before we plunge into 2018 it is always fun to take a look back at the previous year and see what Southwest Michigan Second Wave stories were favorites. This year we asked the reporters who wrote them to reflect a bit on the pieces. We hope you enjoy this look at the top 10 stories of 2017.
10. MARK WEDEL | THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017
How bike friendly is Kalamazoo, anyway?
In May, the League of American Bicyclists awarded Kalamazoo a bronze rating as a bike-friendly community, For more on this click here
9.RYAN BOLDREY | THURSDAY, AUGUST 03, 2017
Something’s brewing in Kalamazoo: Independent coffee scene continues to grow, thrive
As Kalamazoo's coffee scene continues to explode, there may be no new shop in the coffee community doing as much as Walnut & Park. The Vine locale not only serves up great coffee but, through its partnership with the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program, offers plenty of second chances as well, allowing people working to get back on their feet an opportunity to do an honest day's work and give them the skills they need to succeed in life.
8. KATHI VALEII | THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2017
How anti-racism teams are transforming the workplace in Kalamazoo
It was encouraging to see some local organizations taking some really proactive steps to ensure that their orgs are equitable places for their employees and their patrons.
7. THERESA COTY O'NEIL | THURSDAY, APRIL 06, 2017
Kalamazoo lays groundwork for expanding awareness and care of childhood trauma issues
What impressed me when writing this article was how forward-thinking and dedicated the members of this task force were to creating sustainable, meaningful and community-wide change in regards to understanding childhood trauma and helping to build resiliency in those affected by it.
6. MARK WEDEL | THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2017
Neighborhoods get a lift from investors who take on worst of the worst houses
I got a really good response to this, simply because people like to see an entrepreneur make an old house livable rather than see it torn down.
5. JANE PARIKH | THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2017
Unconventional dining options attract willing patrons at Umami Ramen in Battle Creek
4. MARK WEDEL | THURSDAY, JULY 13, 2017
Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation: Kalamazoo gets funding to challenge racism
Thanks to the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the city's many social justice organizations, Kalamazoo was able to hit the TRHT ground running with WKKF's funding.
3. KATHI VALEII | THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2017
The debate about Native mascots gets heated in Paw Paw
Considering national trends and public perceptions about native mascots, the outcome of the Board's vote on keeping the Paw Paw mascot was surprising.
2. ZINTA AISTARS | THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017
New spot for dining: Redtail 412 Soars in Allegan
I wrote the story about Allegan's wonderful new fine dining at Redtail 412 because, as a relatively new member of the larger Allegan County community (beginning year 7!), I've gotten quite fond of that small town on the river. Like many small towns, Allegan has struggled to bring in and sustain new businesses, and I long to see it become a vital downtown again. Getting the word out about our downtown growth is something I can do to contribute. I'm very pleased to see Redtail 412 open its doors, and almost a year later, I am pleased to see the restaurant thriving, adding on a breakfast and lunch menu, and continue to draw in new customers.
ESA COTY-O'NEIL | THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017
Battle Creek is ahead of the curve in addressing childhood trauma
Speaking with people behind the scenes who are not only in touch with the needs of their communities, but are also dedicated to making changes that are humane and impactful, was moving and inspiring.
Some of the other stories that were a big hit with readers during 2017 were written in previous years. Mark Wedel’s story on the hard to eradicate Japanese Knotweed has been a top read story since it was published in 2016. His story on the Top 10 rides for bike trail enthusiasts has been a hit since it published in July 2015.
Two development new stories by managing editor Kathy Jennings also drew a lot of attention during 2017. One was about Zoetis plans to invest in Kalamazoo and Portage. The second was about the opening of an escape room in downtown Kalamazoo as the national trend in entertainment cntinued to grow across the region.
Kathy Jennings is the managing editor of Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave. She is a freelance writer and editor.