In March 2020, the pandemic hit Michigan, bringing upheaval to schools. When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer closed schools buildings that month due to the climbing number of COVID-19 cases, districts across the state scrambled to craft a plan to meet students’ needs virtually. Over the last year, the pandemic has highlighted the inequities the struggling, underfunded Partnership schools face while they work to make ends meet during this current school year.

A proposed wastewater treatment plant under consideration by the Village of Mattawan is under fire from a range of critics. Recent village meetings have seen lengthy public comment periods, during which village residents and residents of nearby areas have largely voiced opposition to the plant. Currently, the Village pumps its wastewater to the Kalamazoo treatment system. However, village officials say a six-mile portion of the “forcemain” which connects the two systems requires considerable work to remain in operation.

The U.S. had a mental health professional shortage before the pandemic, and Southwest Michigan was no exception. Every county in Southwest Michigan had been designated as a mental health professionals shortage area by the Healthcare Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

WSV’s Beca Welty writes, “February in southwest Michigan might seem like an impossible time to enjoy your favorite meal on the deck of your ideal restaurant, but Martell’s in Kalamazoo has transformed that dream into a reality. Like a few of their sister restaurants in the Millennium group, Martell’s has installed cozy igloos for outdoor dining, and I was one of the lucky few to indulge in the experience.”

A major overhaul is in the works for a document that helps set the future character of downtown Kalamazoo. At a regular meeting of the Kalamazoo City Commission this past Monday, City Planner Christina Anderson detailed proposed changes to the city code that will introduce a concept called form-based zoning to the city. A public hearing on the proposed changes is scheduled to take place this coming Monday, November 2.

“Nine years ago, my family and I said our final goodbyes to our home on East Street in Three Rivers and moved into the big world beyond the triple ripples. Well actually, we moved up to Portage, which I suppose isn’t really that big or that far away, but the move was the closing of one chapter of our lives and the beginning of another. We lived in TR for over 12 years, years that were undoubtedly some of the happiest of my life.”

Summer is well underway. With some pandemic restrictions still in place and local cases climbing, cabin fever remains a reality for many. For St. Joseph County residents seeking activities that follow the rules and precautions, outdoor recreational opportunities provide a wide range of viable and safe options. Watershed Voice has compiled a basic list of places for outdoor activities both locally and in other Michigan locales within an hour and a half of Three Rivers.