Feature Story Bike routes

Bicycle safety is a Kalamazoo priority – but how to choose the safest route?

Expanded trails and added bike lanes have been part of the push for cyclist safety in the Kalamazoo community. Still, getting from Point A to Point B can pose challenges, especially for those who are traveling with children. Avid cyclist and SW Second Wave Writer Mark Wedel speaks to local road-savvy bicyclists and shares some resources for choosing the safest routes.

Feature Story Ida Byrd-Hill

Battle Creek is part of a regional initiative to increase access to tech jobs for African Americans

The West Michigan African American Tech Readiness Collaborative is a group of 30 organizations seeking to increase African American representation in high-paying tech jobs, many of which don't require a four-year degree. Ida Byrd-Hill, CEO of Automation Works and initiative founder, says she believes West Michigan could become a major tech innovation hub.

Feature Story Battle Creek History App

Battle Creek history in the palm of your hand

"Battle Creek has more history per square mile than any other city" in the United States, says often-quoted Mary Butler, who was a well-respected Battle Creek historian. Now residents and visitors can hold some of that history in the palm of their hands by way of a newly-launched app called "Tours of Battle Creek" – just in time for some Memorial Day hometown touring!

Longform Voices of Youth BC 3

Voices of Youth: Clothing challenges for some LGBTQIA+ folx – and one teen's solution

Nonbinary, trans, and genderfluid people can find it challenging when shopping for clothes. Their shapes and body types may not conform to typical gender shapes and sizes. This Voices of Youth writer explains the difference between 'gender identity' and 'gender expression,' looks at some needs and challenges facing fashion choices for trans and gender-fluid folx, and creates her own trans clothing designs that accommodate differences in body shape and size.

Longform Racial Bias

Voices of Youth: Standards for beauty, race, and more inspired teen’s artistic examination

With thoughtfulness and artistry, a Battle Creek teen explores the impact of societal expectations. This multi-media project incorporates both artwork and poetry to consider essential questions related to cultural norms around topics of race, gender, class, beauty standards, and more.

Partner Content A Farmers Market Food Navigator assists shoppers at the Muskegon Farmers Market.

Michigan Fitness Foundation connects families to farmers and fresh, locally grown food

Michigan Fitness Foundation has been working with Michigan farmers and farmers market managers to reduce barriers to accessing fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables for families on tight budgets. 

Longform Bearcat Advantage

Battle Creek Bearcats receive key college advantage

“Today, I’m introducing you to a new scholarship program we’re calling the Bearcat Advantage,” said Kimberly Carter, Superintendent of Battle Creek Public Schools in a surprise announcement to a student-packed auditorium this Wednesday. “It will cover up to 100 percent of your college tuition and fees. . . Starting with the class of 2023 we will pay for your college education. This is your bridge and all you have to do is walk over it.”

Longform Youth Justice Fellows

Kalamazoo's Youth Juvenile Justice Fellows seeking reform in Lansing and D.C.

Kalamazoo's Youth Juvenile Justice Fellowship program supports the development of youth advocates in the community, as well as a vision to create an alternative to youth incarceration in Kalamazoo. Southwest Michigan Second Wave's Mark Wedel speaks to a family who was impacted by an inequitable response when their son was nine, a situation which inspired them to get involved in advocating for juvenile justice reform.

Longform Battle Creek H.S. Anti-gun Rally

After senior's death, Battle Creek Central students seek to S.A.V.E. peers from gun violence

“When it comes to gun violence and violence in general, there are still going to be people out there who want to hurt others," says Marshall Murdick, a senior, who is helping launch a Battle Creek Central H.S. chapter of Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Promise Club. "We want to make sure our classmates are O.K. and at least have one friend out there so they will do better in life.”  

Longform Part of the Inside Out Project includes the natural decomposition of the photographs. The photos, especially with foot traffic, are intended to last any where from one week to three months.

Photo Essay: Kalamazoo Public Schools turn Inside Out for All-district Art Fair

Mandy Clearwaters, an art teacher at Winchell Elementary, had a vision to bring Inside Out, an international portrait project devised by French-artist JR, to Kalamazoo Public Schools. With the theme "We are Kalamazoo artists," over 1,000 black and white portraits line the inner sidewalks of Bronson Park as part of Kalamazoo Public School's All-district Art Fair Friday. Check out Fran Dwight's photo essay!

Longform Battle Creek Voices of Youth 3

Voices of Youth: Fast fashion's environmental impacts inspired teen's 'Packing Dress'

Voices of Youth Battle Creek artist and writer Kayanna Smith is a Lakeview High School budding clothes designer and journalist. She wanted to research what sort of impact easily-ordered, affordable 'fast fashion' has on the environment – and what might be some alternatives. She also wanted to express the concept through design. So out of packaging materials, she created a fashionable Plastic Patchwork Packing Dress. Check it out!  

Longform Voices of Youth BC 3

Voices of Youth: Teens promote mental health support, dispel myths through art and writing

Stigma and cost are two main reasons young people don't reach out for the mental health support they might need. Battle Creek siblings Logan Stevens, 17, and Kai Stevens, 15, were inspired to collaborate on an art and writing project that encourages their peers to find the type of therapy that suits them as an impactful form of self-care.

Partner Content A family enjoys jump roping along the Lansing River Trail.

Rec-Connect™ makes fitness fun for everyone

Across the state, Michigan Fitness Foundation’s Rec-Connect™ demonstration series is being used in communities to inspire and empower people to engage regularly in physical activity.

Partner Content U.S. Supreme Court Decision confirms rights of people with disabilities including those living with autism.

Autism Alliance of Michigan celebrates Supreme Court decision

U.S. Supreme Court Decision confirms rights of people with disabilities including those living with autism  

Feature Story The Community Mental Health Association of Michigan (CMHA) is the state association representing and advocating for Michigan’s public mental health system and those served by this system.

Community Mental Health Association of Michigan study shows integrated care is growing

A recent study by the Center of Healthcare Integration and Innovation shows that integrated care in Michigan’s public mental health system has not only grown in the last six years but that the initiatives are diverse and available in rural, suburban, and urban committees.

Feature Story Athletes attending their first year have a set schedule to try everything the SEC offers. For those who return in subsequent years, the young athletes get to customize their schedule.

Sports Education Camp can be life-changing for athletes who are blind, low-vision

Now in its 33rd year, the Michigan Blind Athletic Association’s Sports Education Camp, which will be held this month at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, teaches youth basic adaptive sports skills and activities.

Feature Story Campus Pointe Mall

Local leaders meet to discuss solutions for gun violence, crowds at Kalamazoo's Campus Pointe Mall

Since November, two young men have died in separate incidents that involved exchanges of gunfire at the Campus Pointe Mall. Public safety are receiving increasing calls to manage unruly crowds and nuisance partying there. Local leaders, police, and business owners gathered May 8 to address the issues and brainstorm solutions to increase safety.

Longform Brenda Hunt

Brenda Hunt says it's time to step back as leader of the Battle Creek Community Foundation

Raised on a potato farm, Brenda Hunt grew up comfortable on a tractor cultivating the fields. She brought that skill for cultivation to her position as CEO of the Battle Creek Community Foundation, but after 30 impactful years, she says she's ready to step down. And return – at least in part – to the tractor (which she still loves to ride) and her family farm.

Longform KNAC

Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition goes big to grow home

The Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition has launched an $11 million fundraising campaign to preserve and renovate the 167-year-old First Baptist Church, which it now owns. Started five years ago, KNAC's mission is to create an inclusive, collaborative, affordable space for artists, nonprofits, and start-ups. "I believe a shared story of Kalamazoo is evolving," says KNAC Board Director Dann Sytsma, "and a shared space like KNAC can be an agent for that positive change."

Longform Sunight Gardens

A new prescription for good health at Farmacy in Battle Creek

Among the mantras at Batlle Creek's Sunlight Garden is "Food is medicine." Now you can get your prescription for fresh produce filled at Farmacy, located at the two-acre urban farm, 245 N. Kendall Ave. Farmacy, which will feature affordable, local organic produce, eggs, and wholesome snacks, will be accepting Double Up Bucks and other programs, and seeks to dispel the myth that healthy food is more expensive.


Kalamazoo Streets 101: Where we've been, where we're headed

Street changes are coming to Kalamazoo, even if some of us are still in denial. Second Wave's streetwise Mark Wedel helps unpack what to expect. Downtown streets aren't the cause of every problem, says Dennis Randolph, City of Kalamazoo Traffic Engineer, but "they are the backbone, the framework of the community. So you need to do something with the transportation network if you're going to help the community as a whole." For the full story, click hereFor more stories, please visit here.

Battle Creek

Southwest Michigan's North Country Trail offers local access to a national treasure

Did you know that Southwest Michigan hosts 114 miles of an eight-state national scenic trail? The North Country Trail, managed by the local Chief Noonday Chapter, is a quiet, local treasure. Read the full story here. Read more stories here.