Features

Longform On the Ground Kalamazoo Can Do Kitchen

A can-do spirit is helping Can-Do Kalamazoo and its small business users to expand their horizons

Moving from Can-Do Kitchen to Can-Do Kalamazoo is more than a name change. The nonprofit organization that started 14 years ago as an incubator for food-based businesses is now focused on growing and scaling businesses of all kinds. And it is set to expand into a new location in 2023.

Feature Story On the Ground Battle Creek Cask and Kettle

Coffee and alcohol, a winning combination for Battle Creek startup

A business that creates a K-POD that becomes a hot drink with alcohol has been growing in Battle Creek since it launched in 2018. Now Cask & Kettle is selling 600,000 K-PODS annually and is closing in this year on just over $1 million in annual sales.

Feature Story Housing Solutions: Abbey42 Apartment Complex

Huge new apartment complex may open in fourth quarter of 2023 in Kalamazoo County

The Abbey42 apartment complex is a $64.6 million, multi-family housing development that has been in the works in Pavilion Township in Kalamazoo County since 2018, and it includes the construction of 11 buildings with a total of 344 living units.

Feature Story On the Ground Battle Creek ZEMR Family Farms

Growing a business, a family affair for one Battle Creek family

Four years ago a honey collecting venture turned into a U-pick flower farming enterprise for the Laupps, a Battle Creek Family. Now more than one million flowers including 500 zinnias are growing at the ZEMR Family Farms.

Feature Story Lucia Rios at work

5 reasons why employers should hire more people with disabilities

The unemployment rate for working-age persons with disabilities is at least twice that of those without disabilities. Let’s fix that.

Feature Story Beyond26 have helped these 6 clients find work they like. (Beyond26)

6 perfect matches: Finding the right job for workers with disabilities lets them thrive

People with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to those without a disability. Beyond26 is one of several organizations trying to change that. Their clients share their success stories. 

Longform On the Ground Battle Creek Congolese Community

Congolese refugees find opportunities in Battle Creek. They hope for broader recognition locally.

Battle Creek is now home to more than 100 former refugees, including 20 families. In January, Battle Creek’s NAACP branch began an initiative to make resources and services readily available to members of the city’s Congolese community on an ongoing basis.

Longform Housing solutions Habitat

Kalamazoo Habitat for Humanity: Success comes with each house they build

Four COVID-delayed houses are back on track and four families are scheduled to move in later this year. 

Longform On the Ground Battle Creek Color the Creek

Painting the town: Color the Creek is back

Up to 10 large murals by local, regional, and national artists will be painted throughout the week as part of the sixth celebration of Color the Creek.

Longform Housing Solutions

Local Kalamazoo landlords pressured by inflation also feel pressure to provide affordable housing

A group of  Kalamazoo landlords talk about their role in creating and maintaining affordable housing in an economic environment where their costs are rising.

Feature Story Benjamin's Hope friends enjoying the accessible swing set at the Park Township campus.

Mother finds accessible play space to accommodate the entire family

Jess Ronne found a play space where her son Lucas, who is autistic, could come along with his siblings. The accessible playground and barn at Benjamin’s Hope in Holland is a place designed for those with disabilities but welcomes everyone.

Longform On the Ground Kalamazoo new bike lanes

A work in progress: City of Kalamazoo takes a big step in guiding how we roll

The City of Kalamazoo has begun to transform major arterial roads into city streets. We hear from traffic engineer Dennis Randolph and City Planner Christina Anderson about the how and why, and go for a ride with transportation engineer/non-motorized activist Dustin Black to get the pros and cons of the new Westnedge and Park.

Longform OTG Kalamazoo National Night Out 2022

Neighbors come together for fun and information during National Night Out in Kalamazoo

Pamphlets, fliers, business cards, and lots of information about community projects, city services, educational opportunities, job opportunities, civic affairs, and human services was available Tuesday in Kalamazoo’s core neighborhoods.

Longform ON the Ground Battle Creek Choir camp

Annual church camp in Battle Creek: Give them a week and they'll create a musical

Now in its 27th year, choir camp at First Congregational Church in Battle Creek this year features “Table for Five…Thousand”, a musical that tells the story of the Loaves and Fishes miracle that appears in the Bible's New Testament.

Longform HOUSING SOLUTIONS

Kalamazoo County board hears a new plan to address a critical need for more housing

High construction costs, low rates of construction, increased demand from a growing population, and housing costs that are increasing faster than wages, all contribute to the shortage and to affordability issues in Kalamazoo, according to the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Feature Story On the Ground Battle Creek Connection

Connecting virtually, supported locally: Website delivers workforce resources in B.C.

Connect Battle Creek is a centralized workforce hub for Battle Creek where job seekers can find the resources they need to get or keep a good job. Employers can find ways to address workforce challenges so that their workers can have a positive work experience. And community organizations can list their services so that people who need them can find them.  

Feature Story On the Ground Milwood New President of Neighborhood Association

Kalamazoo's Milwood Neighborhood has a new leader and a new name

The lead organization for Milwood residents has been renamed after operating for more than 28 years as the Milwood Neighborhood Watch. The organization is being re-branded as the Milwood Neighborhood Association to send a message that it is more than a neighborhood watch.

Feature Story On the Ground Kalamazoo National Night Out

National Night Out 2022 is set to be a great time for Kalamazoo neighbors to check in

Resident associations in the Northside Neighborhood, Eastside Neighborhood, Vine and Edison neighborhoods will bring people together on Aug. 2, by hosting free, casual, family-friendly activities.

Feature Story To help people better understand the challenges faced by those with disabilities, the United Ways in Michigan have launched the 21-Day Disability Equity Challenge. 

United Ways, Disability Network partner for Disability Equity Challenge

To help people better understand the challenges faced by those with disabilities, the United Ways in Michigan have launched the 21-Day Disability Equity Challenge. 

Longform On the Ground Calhoun County Millage renewal

Calhoun County millage renewal votes put elder healthcare and Veterans services front and center

Maintaining or expanding the capacity to provide medical care for Calhoun County’s elderly population and ensuring that veterans in the county have access to the services they need are the focus of two separate millage renewal proposals on the Aug. 2 ballot.

Battle Creek

A call for foster families

There's a need for more foster care homes in Calhoun County, especially for youth who identify as LGBTQ+.  A mom who has fostered more than 30 children talks about why her family keeps opening their home. For the full story, click hereFor more stories, please visit here.
 
 

Kalamazoo

Home of her own

At one point, in a one-bedroom apartment on Vine Street Kathy White had seven kids living in that one-bedroom apartment. Her family members had nowhere else to live and so she took the in. After 50 years sharing her home with so many family members, she now has her own space. Many local residents double-up because the housing market makes it hard to find affordable housing.  Read the full story here. Read more stories here.