Feature Story Scenes from Z Acres

Planting the Z flag: One writer finds her version of home

On this birthdate of our nation's freedom, maybe you, too,  have dreams of finding your own version of independence and home. As the child of Latvian immigrants, Zinta Aistars never felt quite at home. Until she discovered a remote 10 acres with a 'writer's cottage.' Twelve years ago, she found Z Acres. And hasn't looked back.

Longform Series Teaser: Green Burial. Artist's comment: "A body transferring energy back into nature, back to the stars, and roots of dandelions releasing seeds."

Green burial: An eco-friendly option increasingly embraced by families and faith communities

Considering a green (or natural) burial for yourself or a loved one? An eco-friendly burial is a way of caring for the dead that minimizes environmental impact. Learn what is involved, about local initiatives, and how faith communities provide support.

Feature Story BIPOC Tech

Battle Creek is ground zero to change complexion of the region’s tech sector

 “The exponential growth of electric vehicles, hydrogen vehicles, and semiconductor industry investments provides underserved populations an opportunity to leapfrog into higher-paying careers, and solidify African American economic freedom for decades.”

Feature Story County HOusing

County's Housing for All building momentum in Kalamazoo

Approved in 2020, the Kalamazoo County Homes for All Millage was a historic gesture by voters to increase housing affordability in the area. What's been the progress so far? County Housing Director Mary Balkema recently gave a rundown of past, present, and future projects.

Feature Story Kalamazoo County Land Bank

After years of planning, Eastside Square condominiums set to open in Kalamazoo

Long-awaited Eastside Square, a mixed-use housing and commercial development on East Main conceived of by residents in partnership with the Kalamazoo County Land Bank, is complete and ready for occupancy. 

Feature Story Binder Park Zoo

Day Trippers and Staycationers: A wealth of fun options for families in the Cereal City

With the holiday weekend approaching, there's a lot to be said for staying close to home. In the first of this summer series focused on touring Calhoun County, we share fun family things to do in Battle Creek. Next up: new and old ways to learn about Cereal City's rich history.  

Longform The Inclusive Health Care Taskforce hosted an information and resource fair on June 13.

Michigan coalition works to address health disparities for older adults

A broad coalition of Michigan organizations has come together to address health disparities that affect Michigan's rapidly growing population of older adults.

Partner Content OUCARES day camps create a space where autistic kids don’t feel judged, gain some independence from parents, and interact with peers.

Summertime is “a time of possibilities” and challenges for autistic kids and adults

Summer break creates opportunities for fun and family adventures along with the challenges of changing routines.

Longform Molly Brouwer, infant and family specialist; Bethany Vukusic, Maternal Infant Health Program team su

How public health cares for Michigan's infants and new parents

Michigan’s state and local public health systems make great efforts to ensure that expectant mothers and infants get the best start possible.

Feature Story Devin DuMond KCAD, Assistant Professor, Digital Art & Design | Illustration Program

KCAD educator and artist Devin DuMond paints path for public art

Devin DuMond's dual roles as an artist and educator underscore their commitment to nurturing talent while leaving a lasting impact on the community through public art.

Feature Story Children enjoy a fresh and nutritious meal with local produce, inspired by culinary professionals.

How 10 Cents a Meal brings healthy food to more Michigan kids

The Michigan program supplements the food service programs’ budgets for fresh produce, encouraging a greater menu variety and healthier eating habits for kids statewide. 

Longform Two sisters

Siblings without rivalry: Two sisters reunite by running community-driven Kalamazoo businesses

There's the story. And then there's the story behind the story. Zinta Aistars uncovers a moving tale of how two community-positive entrepreneurs (who happen to be sisters) took very different paths in life — that ultimately converged in their hometown of Kalamazoo.

Feature Story UnSilenced

Breaking her silence to help other victims of sex trafficking in Battle Creek

“We build a rapport and connect them to services they need. It’s not so much about education. It’s about awareness and doing street outreach to connect with victims. As they pursue recovery we want them to know they’re not walking that journey alone,”

Feature Story Drama Mamas Kalamazoo Central

Amplifying the arts: Drama Mamas fundraising to make sure K Central stage voices are heard

"Can you hear us NOW?" Drama Mamas (Papas and rising student stars, too) are raising money to purchase microphones to make sure that Kalamazoo Central High School cast members have their stage voices heard.

Longform Washtenaw County CMH reception

Connecting to mental health services is as simple as picking up a phone

For Michiganders who are looking for answers on mental health care or are having a mental health crisis, help is only a phone call away.

Feature Story BC Housing

Foundation for housing equity in Battle Creek to be created with community

A recent gathering of housing advocates in Battle Creek focused on systemic inequities and how to address them. The discussion is part of work that will culminate in the building of a housing equity plan for the community.

Feature Story Sacred Earth

Refugia: How to find and create places of shelter during the climate crisis

“The refugia model calls us to look for the seed of life where we are, concentrate on protecting and nurturing a few good things, letting what is good and beautiful grow and connect and spread."

Feature Story Juneteenth

Juneteenth celebration in Battle Creek educates and inspires

"I think about the day that 250,000 slaves learned they were free and how they celebrated. Juneteenth is a day to be able to reflect on those struggles and how people persevered, how they’ve been innovative, and how they built this country. This is America’s history and I think all people should know it."

Feature Story Kalamazoo Pride

Coming out to come together: One writer's evolving appreciation of Kalamazoo Pride

Writer Casey Grooten attended this year's Kalamazoo Pride as the new Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Poetry Festival. While volunteering at the KPF booth, they learned a few things about themselves — and about what Pride has come to mean to them. 

Feature Story Father's Day

The Ultimate Guide to Being a Dad: Kalamazoo Edition

To honor Father's Day, Al Jones (a father of five himself!) speaks to a cross-section of Kalamazoo men about the rigors and joys of being a dad.

Battle Creek

Battle Creek's Washington Heights reaching new heights in affordable housing stock

“We have demonstrated that we’ll do what we say we’re going to do. Some of the barriers we’ve had to overcome we’ve looked at as opportunities. These new homes will be an opportunity for residents to create generational wealth and go from renter-ship to homeownership.” For the full story, click hereFor more stories, please visit here.


Beyond belief: How faith communities are lighting the way on climate change

In this first installment of our Sacred Earth series, we speak with Dr. Cybelle Shattuck, whose combined interests in sustainability and religion have helped her identify how faith institutions engage, support, and undertake earth care. Read the full story here. Read more stories here.