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Battle Creek, Michigan

Battle Creek is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, in northwest Calhoun County, at the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers. It is the principal city of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Calhoun county. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 53,364.

Battle Creek, known as the "Cereal City", is the world headquarters of Kellogg Company, founded by Will Keith Kellogg in 1906, whose brother, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, invented cold breakfast cereal as an alternative to the traditional meat-based breakfast. It is also the home of Post Cereals, which was part of General Foods Corporation at one time, and is now part of Kraft Foods.

Battle Creek was featured in the T.C. Boyle novel The Road to Wellville and the movie of the same name.

In 1982, voters approved merging Battle Creek Township with the city of Battle Creek, under pressure from Kellogg Company, which threatened to move its headquarters away from Battle Creek if the city and township did not merge.

Battle Creek is currently the 3rd largest city in Michigan, by area, after Detroit and Grand Rapids.

Name origin

According to popular and commonly accepted accounts, the name "Battle Creek" had its origin in a skirmish between a government land survey party led by Colonel John Mullett and two Indians. According to various accounts, while Mullett and his group were surveying an area several miles from the present city in the winter of 1823-1824, the work of survey party was interrupted by Native Americans. Two members of the party, who remained at the camp, were attacked by two Indians, reportedly attempting to steal the party's provisions. During the fight, shots were fired from a rifle, and the two white men subdued the Indians, inflicting a serious injury to one of the them. The survey party promptly left the area and did not return until June 1824, after Governor Cass had settled the issue with the Indians. Due to this incident, the nearby stream was called the Battle Creek River. The river was formerly known by the Native American name of Waupakisco, to which some attribute a folk etymology for the name. By this account, the name Waupakisco or Waupokisco was a reference to an earlier battle fought between Native American tribes before the arrival of white settlers. However, Virgil J. Vogel establishes that this native term had "nothing to do with blood or battle".

Geography and climate

  • According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 43.7 square miles (113.1 km²), of which, 42.8 square miles (110.9 km²) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.2 km²) of it (1.92%) is water, making Battle Creek the third largest city in Michigan by area, and one of only three incorporated municipalities in the state over 40 sq mi in size. Of this area, part of the Fort Custer Army National Guard Base/Industrial Park takes up or approximately 10.6% of the total land area of the city.
  • After Battle Creek Township merged into the city of Battle Creek in 1983, the city's declining population rose by nearly 18,000 new residents, but the city continues to decline in population.
  • Battle Creek is considered to be part of Central Michigan.

Culture

Print media

  • The local daily newspaper is the Battle Creek Enquirer, owned and operated by Gannett Company
  • The Battle Creek Shopper is a weekly publication that provides classified adds as well as community news.
  • Scene Magazine is a monthly publication that provides community information.
  • Senior Times is a monthly publication providing community information for seniors.

Festivals

Events

In 2010 Battle Creek will host the eighth edition of the International H.K.D Games.

Sports Teams

The Battle Creek Knights are a charter member of the International Basketball League (IBL). They went 21-0 during the league's first season in 2005 and won the championship. The team's home is Kellogg Arena.

The Battle Creek Bombers, a member of the Northwoods League began play in 2007. The team's home is C.O. Brown Stadium.

The Battle Creek Revolution of the All American Hockey Association will play its inaugural season in 2008-2009. The team's home is The Rink Ice Arena.

The Battle Creek Blaze is a not-for-profit semi-professional football team that plays traditional American football (NFL rules) and is a member of the USFA. The team benefits the Lance Armstrong Foundation as well earns funds to promote cancer awareness.

Former Sports Teams

The Michigan Battle Cats/Battle Creek Yankees/Southwest Michigan Devil Rays were a Class A minor league baseball team that played in the Midwest League through 2006. The team's home was C.O. Brown Stadium.

The Battle Creek Crunch, were a member of the Great Lakes Indoor Football League (GLIFL),that began play in 2006. They played only one season in Battle Creek before ceasing operations due to financial trouble. The team's home was Kellogg Arena.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 53,364 people, 21,348 households, and 13,363 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,246.0 per square mile (481.1/km²). There were 23,525 housing units at an average density of 549.3/sq mi (212.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.65% White, 17.80% black or African American, 1.94% Asian, 0.77% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.11% from other races, and 2.72% from two or more races. 4.64% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 21,348 households out of which 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.2% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.

In 1982 at the insistence of the Kellogg Company, the city annexed Battle Creek Township, nearly doubling the city's population. Kellogg's even went so far as to threaten moving their headquarters if the annexation failed to occur.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,491, and the median income for a family was $43,564. Males had a median income of $36,838 versus $26,429 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,424. About 10.7% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.5% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over.

Government

The City of Battle Creek has a commission/manager form of government. Cities that follow this plan of government have an elected commission (or council) that appoints a professionally trained and experienced manager to administer the day-to-day operations of the city and to make recommendations to the city commission. Battle Creek also appoints a City Attorney, who provides legal counsel to the City Manager and City Commission.

The City Commission makes all policy decisions, including review, revision and final approval of the annual budget, which is proposed annually by the City Manager. The City Manager serves as an "at-will" employee and he works under an employment contract with the commission. All other city employees, with the exception of the City Attorney’s staff, are under the supervision of the City Manager.

There are five ward commissioners. Residents cast votes for a ward representative, who must live within the area they are representing, as well as for four at-large commissioners. These candidates may live anywhere in the city. All commissioners serve two-year terms and all terms begin and end at the same election. The next commission election will be fall of 2009.

Each November, the commission holds a special meeting to decide which commissioners serve as Mayor and Vice Mayor for the next year. The Mayor presides over the commission meetings and appoints commissioners and residents to special committees. He may also form special committees to explore community challenges or potential policies. The Vice Mayor stands in if the Mayor is unavailable.

Education

Colleges and universities

Public school districts

  • Battle Creek Public Schools
  • Harper Creek Schools
  • Lakeview School District
  • Pennfield Schools

High schools (public)

High schools (private)

Secondary schools

  • Battle Creek Area Mathematics and Science Center, an accelerated secondary school that focuses primarily on math and science education.

Points of interest

Fort Custer Army National Guard Base

Founded in 1917, Camp Custer, as it was then known, began construction. Over the next decades it would serve as a training ground for WWI, WWII and the Korean War. The base was closed in 1964. A large part of the base later became the Fort Custer Industrial Park in the late 1970s. This industrial Park contains more than 90 different companies. The United States Government still owns the land, but it is now administered and managed by the state of Michigan. The base, which is still mostly vacant, wooded land takes up a sizable portion of Battle Creek's land area. The part of the base in Battle Creek that is now the industrial park measures in area, which is approximately 10.6% of the city's area. A much larger part of the base lies in Kalamazoo County.

Major Businesses

Transportation

Battle Creek is situated on I-94.

Major highways

Interstates

Michigan State Trunklines

Aviation

Kalamazoo's Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport serves Battle Creek. Locally, W. K. Kellogg Regional Airport serves the general aviation needs of the community. The airport is also home to Western Michigan University's College of Aviation and the Michigan Air National Guard's 110th Fighter Wing which flies the A-10 and O/A-10 aircraft.

Notable persons

Sister cities

Battle Creek has city partnerships with the following cities:

Battle Creek's official Sister City is Takasaki, Japan, a relationship that is more than 25 years old. Takasaki later established Sister City relationships with Santo Andre, Brazil; Chengde, China; Pilsen, Czech Republic and, in 2006, Muntinlupa City, the Philippines. These cities take turns hosting an environmental conference each year to allow technical and administrative staff to share ideas and projects for addressing environmental concerns.

Battle Creek and Takasaki also organize junior high and high school student and teacher exchanges each summer.

References

External links

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