Winter 2020

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FOCUS ON WESTWOOD

This is an attempt to do a newsletter type information section on the Web Page

Announce What Is Happening

The plan is to update as things happen, putting the newest news first and pushing the older more reference-type info, lower on the page.

Suggestions are welcome as we are just learning and want it to be of some value to the neighborhood.

As Information Is Added....

As topics grow, we will post the highlights here and then put a (Read More) spot to click to get the full information (Updated 02/17/2020)

census 2020 is coming

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Census 2020

2020 Census is Coming

The 2020 Census is more than a count. It's a chance to stand up—for the places you call home, and the people you call friends, and neighbors, and family.

Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire—online, by phone, or by mail.

From new clinics, to new schools, to new roads, the 2020 Census can help shape your community's future. The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.

The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

It's also in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.

Avoid census scams (02/14/2020)

Avoid Scams!

Avoiding Scams Online

Phishing is a criminal act in which someone tries to get your information by pretending to be an entity that you trust. Phishing emails often direct you to a website that looks real but is fake—and may be infected with malware.

It is important to know that the Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request your participation in the 2020 Census. Further, during the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask for:

  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your bank account or credit card numbers.
  • Money or donations.

In addition, the Census Bureau will not contact you on behalf of a political party.

Staying Safe at Home

If someone visits your home to collect a response for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:

  • First, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
  • If you still have questions about their identity, you can call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.

Reporting Suspected Fraud

If you suspect fraud, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. If it is determined that the visitor who came to your door does not work for the Census Bureau, contact your local police department.

census

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CENSUS 2020

Overall Timeline
Counting every person living in the United States is a massive undertaking, and efforts begin years in advance. Here's a look at some of the key dates along the way:

2020

  • January 21: The U.S. Census Bureau starts counting the population in remote Alaska. The count officially begins in the rural Alaskan village of Toksook Bay.
  • March 12 - 20: Households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail.  
  • March 30 - April 1: The Census Bureau will count people who are experiencing homelessness over these three days. As part of this process, the Census Bureau counts people in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food vans, on the streets, and at non-sheltered, outdoor locations such as tent encampments.
  • April 1: Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When you respond to the census, you'll tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.
  • April: Census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.
  • May - July: Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven't responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.
  • December: The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.

2021

  • March 31: By this date, the Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.

METRO MILLAGE

METRO MILLAGE REQUEST

 WHAT IS THE MILLAGE REQUEST? Voters will be asked to consider a millage of up to .90 mills for five years beginning in 2021 to support the Metro public bus transportation system. HOW IS PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FUNDED? An important component of public transportation is voter approved millages which currently represent 36% of Metro’s operating funds. Additional funds come from Federal Grants (10%), State Grants (34%), Fares (18%) and other sources (2%). HOW MUCH WILL THE MILLAGE COST A HOMEOWNER? The cost of the 0.90 millage request for a homeowner whose home has a taxable value of $50,000 ($100,000 market value) is approximately $45 a year ($0.12 per day). HOW WILL THE COMMUNITY BENEFIT? Both the economy and the quality of life for people in the greater Kalamazoo community benefit from reliable transportation. Metro operates seven days a week, providing an important mode of transportation for employers and their employees, seniors and students, including those with disabilities. The fixed route bus system, along with the county-wide Metro Connect system, gives everyone in Kalamazoo access to public transportation that is safe and reliable year round. Know the Facts Voters asked to consider millage to support Metro bus system in Kalamazoo area WHY ASK FOR A MILLAGE? Metro-provided surveys have shown that over 70% of Metro riders use the bus five or more days a week with 88% not having a vehicle available to access work, doctor appointments or shopping. The millage allows Metro to continue to provide a vital service to the entire community, making it so the service is here when needed. Rides were taken more than 2.8 million times last year. Even if you currently don’t use public transportation, it will be there when you do need it. Improved services will help people working later night hours and provide access to Sunday activities. WHO GETS TO VOTE? Voters in the cities of Kalamazoo, Parchment and Portage; the townships of Kalamazoo and Comstock (Precincts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7), as well as the eastern portion of Oshtemo Township (Precincts 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9), will be asked to approve the millage request on March 10, 2020. The millage, if approved, will replace the current 2015 millage which expires in 2020

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Neighborhood issues & information

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Movement On Project

(Updated 02/01/2020)

The project is starting to move with the old mattress store being leveled and some dirt hauled in to fill some spots. I don't have their construction schedule, but because of their opening celebrations, I would presume that they woild be looking to open in April or May.

There is a lot of excavating to be done for the drive-thru and parking, as well as the new north drive into/out of the Plaza.

The owners wanted a new  exit at the extreme north end of the property to have a left turn lane onto Drake Road.. 

Other store owners agree as that traffic would be rushing past the fronts of their stores to exit on Piccadilly  to exit back to West Main Street.

 

OLD KFC & more

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OLD KFC W. Main

The former Kentucky Fried Chicken (before that McDonalds) building at 2026 West Main is starting to under go some renovations. All the old ceiling and lighting is down and a dumpster is receiving stuff that's being removed. 

I have heard that it's going to be a "cafe" but have not been able to confirm that, nor learn their construction schedule.


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MDOT Plans For West Main Street On Hold Due to Lack of County Funding.

MDOT has been listening to residents input concerning M-43 (West Main Street) from Menards on the west to Drake Road on the east.

They have developed a short and longer range plan for the area to help safe traffic flow while understanding that traffic will continue to increase over the next few years, too.

It is a large plan so I'm providing a link to the presentation that was made last month. (Click Here)

Kalamazoo County is not interested in helping to fund this project so it is on hold


westwood christian reform church

Westwood Christian Reformed Church Looking to Hire Communications Director

The Westwood Christian Reformed Church at 620 Northampton is seeking a part-time Communications Director (10 hours/week). The Communications Director will partner with staff and ministry leaders to create, plan, and implement creative communication messages and strategies for church and community audiences. If you have questions or wish to submit your resume, contact Steve at WestwoodComDir@gmail.com.  A job description is available @ https://westwoodcrc.org  

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Removing Asphalt For Grass!

Grass has been planted to replace asphalt at the Westwood Christian Reformed Church!

The plan is to also remove the brick sign at West Main in favor of a much smaller one at the Church entrance.

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Spring Yard Clean-Ups

We are looking to help those in need of a Spring yard clean-up!

If you know of someone who can't do it on their own, contact wnakzoo@aol.com  with the address and we will contact them and see if we can't get the need matched with the free service.

Winter 2020

Boil Water Advisories

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If you see activity like this in your area, you might want to check for a boil water advisory for your street!    https://www.kalamazoocity.org/bwa


Westwood Map

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Westwood is part City and part Township so here is our latest version of a complete neighborhood map

More information:

Blight At West Main & Drake

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 BP station in Westwood Plaza:

The Westwood Neighborhood Association has filed a complaint again with the city as the building was open to casual entry - again. We also filed the same complaint with the leasing agent.

The building has been secured again.

We will be pushing harder on this if we can get help from store owners in the plaza.


 Talks continue with the owner to purchase and demolish, making room for a couple more stores east of the existing structure. Fingers still crossed on this one.  

Snow Plowing

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 Road Commission of Kalamazoo County: If you are having issues with your Township street not getting plowed, please contact the Road Commission of Kalamazoo County 

https://www.kalamazoocountyroads.com/contact.php

and email us. 

We are proposing a meeting to discuss and try to resolve past & present issues.

 

Pick-ups Not As Scheduled

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Updated 11/20/2019 

Republic Services: Again, we experienced a delay in the paid-for additional service for lawn waste: snow and large amounts of leaves caused Republic to just empty containers and not pick-up bags. Their thought was that it was already Thursday and the Township-wide leaf and brush pick-up would be the following week, so this would be ok.

My problem: Again, no communication. People upset and calling Republic and being told that the truck would be back the next day to get what they missed, when that information was already incorrect. 

 

If you are experiencing problems with Republic, please send us an e-mail. We want to cover all the problems we can when we meet with them.

Thank you.

other issues your association is following:

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Update on House Fire

The house fire a few months ago on Grand Prairie, is being sold.

Plans are to clear the site and build a new house and a small barn.

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Keep Storm Drains Clear

If you have storm water drains near your property please do your neighborhood a big service by keeping them clear of debris! Blocked drains cause street flooding and worse.

If the drains near you are clear and water back-ups are still occurring, contact us. We need to be sure that the drain commissioner is aware and working on these issues.  

downtown train crossings

Plan to help us get around blocked railroad crossings

The City of Kalamazoo plans to install flashing lights and detour signs to help motorists escape gridlock when a freight train blocks car traffic downtown, according  to a city manager working on the project.

The city's solution to the problem is to install several signs that will begin flashing when a train is passing through the downtown crossings. About 35 static detour signs will show drivers how to get around the train, according to a plan provided by Department of Public Works Assistant City Engineer Anthony Ladd. 

Sign installation is expected to begin this year with the system being operational by spring.  The system ties into the same equipment that is used to engage the crossing signals now.

The project is being funded by the Foundation For Excellence.. 

(Information from Kalamazoo Gazette)

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We want to hear from you!

Tell Us Your Special Skills

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Westwood is a great place to live, work and worship. We are a great community with neighbors who care about each other.

The neighborhood association would like to know what skills and interests each of you have so that we can connect you with events and no - obligation service opportunities as they come along.

Please fill out the following form to let us know more about you!  

(Click Here)


Do You See Needs?

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Not all the residents of Westwood are 100% self-sufficient. Some have un-met needs - maybe as simple as a ride to a doctor appointment of to pick-up groceries or prescriptions. There are agencies to help or maybe a neighbor might want to assist? 

Look around your neighborhood.

Help Knowing The Rules

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Some neighbors are not aware that burning leaves, trash or garbage is against the law in Westwood. The city and township have similar ordinances against open burning and trash barrel burning.

Do you still have neighbors breaking the law? If you can furnish some information, we can see that they receive notice of the ordinance, without involving the governing agencies - unless it continues. 

Tell Your Neighbors

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 Tell your neighbors about Westwood Neighborhood Association! They might be interested in the neighborhood, too!   

Imagine Kalamazoo 2025

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Kalamazoo has a project in which we are participating, called: IMAGINE KALAMAZOO 2025. 

We want to have YOU think about and communicate to us what you would like Westwood to look like in 2025! 

We welcome your comments at any time and plan some public events where people can express their insight. It's all about what you want to see!

Call or e-mail today! wnakzoo@aol.com

Report Defective Street Lights

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You can easily report defective or not working street lights. We have a link to the reporting site where you can report the exact location:

(Click Here)