Features

Longform Orchestra Rouh

Kalamazoo Middle Eastern music groups connect cultures and people

Bahar Ensemble and its educational youth group Orchestra Rouh have made Middle Eastern music one of the many sounds of Kalamazoo's community. After going virtual over the pandemic, both gear up for a busy 2023.

Longform Safe Place

Survivors of sex trafficking have a S.A.F.E. Place to go for support

Michigan ranks among the top 10 states for rates of human trafficking.January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. On the Ground Battle Creek Project Editor Jane Parikh takes a close look at myths, risks, local resources, and supports to raise awareness of this issue. Please Note: This story contains description of scenes of abuse that are not suitable for some readers. Reader discretion is advised.

Feature Story Downpayment Assistance

Downpayment Assistance in Kalamazoo expands to help more people buy homes

As the affordable housing crisis continues, some Kalamazoo organizations are finding new ways to provide downpayment assistance to help first-time home buyers purchase a new home.

Feature Story Housing

Kalamazoo County Housing Millage portal opens for creative new solutions

In a move to consolidate housing funding requests for housing, the Kalamazoo County Housing's AmpliFund Portal is seeking to become a one-stop funding source for ARPA and county resources.

Feature Story From left: Dennis Young, Tom Sikkema and Melinda Young.

Ride YourWay fills niche for wheelchair-accessible transportation service in West Michigan

Last year demand for Ride YourWay grew nearly ten-fold. The company now has seven wheelchair-accessible vans and one ambulatory sedan to serve clients from Muskegon to Kalamazoo.

Development News “It is estimated that 7,750 new housing units are needed to appropriately house the new households forming or looking to locate in the county," says Board of Commissioners Chair John Taylor.

Application window opens for grants to renovate and build housing in Kalamazoo County

“It is estimated that 7,750 new housing units are needed to appropriately house the new households forming or looking to locate in the county," says Board of Commissioners Chair John Taylor.

Feature Story Kelli Scott

Calhoun County Administrator Kelli Scott looks ahead to 2023

Calhoun County Administrator/Controller Kelli Scott looks beyond some of the setbacks and challenges brought on by the pandemic to the county’s goals for the horizon: broadband, transportation, housing, and more.

Feature Story Michigan musician Kait Rose

Kait Rose, one “Bad Mother,” making her voice heard throughout West Michigan

Michigan musician Kait Rose is becoming more comfortable with herself and her music and expanding her horizons in 2023 with The Band of Thorns.

Longform Kimberly Holley

Holley makes history as City of Battle Creek's first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officer

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work is not “all roses and daisies,” but the City of Battle Creek’s first DEI Officer Kimberly Holley is prepared to create a garden of opportunity all can enjoy.

Longform Bahai List

Kalamazoo Bahá'ís encourage Meaningful Conversations to promote spiritual growth, community action

As part of a monthly series, Faith in Action, sponsored by the Fetzer Institute, Southwest Michigan Second Wave speaks with Kalamazoo area Bahá’í about their online series, Meaningful Conversations, and the value of spiritual inquiry as a basis for community transformation.

Feature Story Jacqueline Slaby

Kalamazoo’s neighborhood activator plans to be very active this year

Kalamazoo's Neighborhood Activator Jacqueline Slaby is taking her title seriously by activating city current neighborhood plans and seeking to include new neighborhood plans, like Stuart and Westwood.

Feature Story Kevin Caitlin

2023 outlook: Local leaders hope to tackle three of Kalamazoo's toughest problems

As 2023 gets underway, Kalamazoo leaders have some hopes and plans for the community and a common vision for housing, safety, and equity.

Feature Story Aerial Hull Flats

Public servants may get first dibs as Emma Jean Hull Flats in Benton Harbor begin pre-leasing units

A Whirlpool Corporation housing initiative named after Benton Harbor’s former mayor, The Emma Jean Hull Flats, a Whirlpool Corporation housing initiative named after Benton Harbor’s former mayor, are available to rent for Hometown Heroes first – teachers, police officers, firefighters and others who serve the city. And applications are open now.

Feature Story Artful House

West Michigan design leadership: Discover impressive opportunities

Three impressive West Michigan design leaders share their perspectives on the opportunities for design in our area. Tara McCrackin, Marjorie Simmons, and Frances Close are all inspired by innovation.

Feature Story On the Ground Battle Creek Rebecca Fleury

Battle Creek City Manager talks 2023 priorities

Battle Creek City Manager Rebecca Fleury reflects on the continued pandemic impact of 2022 on the city, while expressing optimism about plans to enhance technology, advance DEI work, expand housing and opportunities, and engage residents in city planning.

Feature Story Steelcase is making an impact on a global scale, helping better the world through furthering work on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and driving social innovation from its headquarters in West Michigan.

Design as an 'inescapable' part of life in West Michigan and where you can find it

The world of design involves hard and soft skills, hands-on creativity and abstract vision. Here's how design is defined by the individuals who are doing the work in West Michigan.

Feature Story Eastman kids and grandkids hamming it up for the camera.

Foster care fosters hope for Michigan’s most vulnerable children

Michigan's community mental health agencies, CMHs, provide mental health care for the roughly 10,000 children in Michigan’s foster care system. Here is how Genesee Health Systems and Sanilac County CMH are working hard to help foster children in their counties thrive.

Longform Berrien County Health Officer Guy Miller, Corewell Health South Medical Group and Continued Care Vice President Melinda Gruber, and Region IV Area Agency on Aging CEO Christine Vanlandingham at the Berrien County Health Department.

Here's how a collaboration in Southwest Michigan helped older adults avoid hospitalization for COVID

Health care providers repackaged existing community services that enabled older adults to stay in their homes if they came down with COVID, or return home more quickly if they were hospitalized.

Longform SLD student Rayla in a tutoring session.

For some first through fourth graders reading is hard, but SLD's multi-sensory approach helps

Kalamazoo Youth Literacy Program SLD Read Seeks Tutors to help new young readers feel like school belongs to them, too. “Working with kids, you get more back than you give them,” says one tutor, calling it “a feel-good hour.”

Longform 2022 Annual Round-Up

It's time for our annual round-up

What were 2022’s most-read Southwest Michigan Second Wave’s stories? Read on to find out what you might have missed.

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.