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Revenue Sharing Wins Big In 2019

Posted on: June 18th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments


Sen. John Proos on Thursday highlighted that the more than $22.5 million increase in local revenue sharing in the fiscal year 2019 state budget will mean that communities in the 21st Senate District will receive nearly $10 million more than they did 10 years ago. According to the nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency, from fiscal year 2010 to the new FY 2019 budget, revenue sharing has increased by 48.6 percent in Berrien County, 58.6 percent in Cass County and 22.9 percent in St. Joseph County. This includes the combined revenue sharing for each county government and the eligible city, village and township governments in each county.

Warm Weather Tips From The Michigan State Police

Posted on: June 18th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

As temperatures start to rise, the Michigan State Police is reminding Michiganders that a hot vehicle can be deadly. Prevent an accidental heatstroke death by keeping these safety tips in mind: Never leave your child alone in a car. Place your bag, briefcase or something else you’re sure to need in the backseat so you’ll notice your child. Ask your child care center to call you if your child doesn’t arrive on time. Write yourself a note and place it where you’ll see it when you leave the vehicle. Babies and children sometimes sleep so peacefully that we forget they are there. For more information and safety tips about preventing child heatstroke deaths, visit safekids.org/heatstroke

Schuette: Michigan to Receive $3 Million from Citibank for Manipulating Interest Rates

Posted on: June 18th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

     On Friday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced a $100 million-dollar settlement with Citibank for fraudulent conduct involving the manipulation of U.S. Dollar (USD) LIBOR, of which Michigan will receive $3 Million. LIBOR, or London Interbank Offered Rate, is a benchmark interest rate that affects financial instruments worth trillions of dollars and has a widespread impact on global markets and consumers. This investigation has been conducted by 42 State Attorneys General offices, led by the Office of the Attorney General of New York. The State Attorneys General allege that Citibank misrepresented the integrity of the LIBOR benchmark to state and local governmental, not-for-profit, private, and institutional trading counterparties, and as a result of its fraudulent conduct, made millions in unjust gains. Proceeds from the $100 million settlement will be distributed to governmental entities and non-profit corporations that entered into swaps and other financial contracts with Citibank. Citibank is the third of several USD-LIBOR-setting banks under investigation by the State Attorneys General to resolve the claims against it. With the Citibank settlement, the States have collected $420 million in payments from the three banks, almost all of which will be distributed to state and local government entities and not for profits that have been harmed by these banks’ wrongful conduct. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Citibank will continue to cooperate with the States’ ongoing investigation. The Attorney General’s Office benefits from the information and evidence provided by corporations that timely cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigations. Such cooperation can facilitate civil enforcement efforts, including the distribution of funds to victims of the offense. Many other states are joining Michigan. The investigation into the conduct of other USD LIBOR-setting banks is ongoing.

Berrien County Register of Deeds Killed In Crash

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

Berrien County Register of Deeds Lori Jarvis was tragically killed in a single-car accident on Thursday at approximately 10:00 a.m. She has served the citizens of Berrien County since January 2001. The Register of Deeds office at the Berrien County Administration Center closed early on Thursday, June 14th and will remain closed on Friday, June 15th. Additional closures of that office will be announced as they are determined and will be released as soon as possible. In accordance with policy ADM-1280, the flags at all county facilities will be flown at half-staff beginning Friday, June 15 and shall remain so until interment. The County Administration Center stated, “We ask that the citizens of Berrien County keep the Jarvis family in their thoughts and prayers”.

Bill Finalized To Help Michigan Students Earn Jobs

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

The Michigan Legislature on Tuesday finalized Sen. John Proos’ legislation to ensure students are provided with important career information and get a leg up on earning a job in a high-skilled career or continuing their education. Senate Bill 343 would require school districts and public school academies to provide students with the most recent available analysis of in-demand occupations for the economic forecast region in which the school or public school academy is located. The bill would allow the in-demand careers information to be emailed to students. Residents can see the current “Hot Jobs” outlook for Southwest Michigan by clicking here. This information is compiled on an annual basis by the Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Outlooks for all of Michigan’s 10 prosperity regions are available at www.milmi.org/research/regional-hot-jobs-for-2024. SB 344 would allow Michigan students to receive a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) certification on their diploma or transcript as an incentive for taking additional STEM courses. To earn the certification, students would need to complete at least six credits in mathematics, at least six credits in science, at least a half credit featuring significant coursework involving technology, and at least a half credit featuring significant coursework involving engineering. The bills now head to the governor to be signed.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor Director Participates in National Leadership Summit

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

     Liji Hanny, Director of Operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor, has been selected to participate in a year-long leadership development program called the Leadership Summit Executive Development Program in partnership with the Harvard Business School. Hanny is the first Club leader chosen nationally who is not a chief executive officer. The program will begin June 17, 2018 at Harvard University with a collaborative educational experience designed by Harvard Business School Executive Education and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor Director Participates in National Leadership Summit to drive transformational impact nationally and at the local Club level, BGCA teamed up with the preeminent leadership development institution in the world, Harvard Business School. Together, the organizations established a leadership development experience designed to supercharge the capabilities of local CEOs, raise the organization’s collective leadership abilities and solve the most pressing challenges facing Clubs. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor is one of more than 4,000 local Clubs worldwide that serve over four million boys and girls. The extremely selective leadership program is designed exclusively for high performing Boys & Girls Club organizations. Participants will undergo an intense experience designed to solve organization-wide challenges and to help each local organization reach its unique goals. After the session, the group will work together to implement strategies discussed. For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor or to schedule an interview, contact Sherri Ulleg at 269.363.4806 or sulleg@bgcbh.org.

Upgrades Coming To Michigan Voting Equipment

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson recently detailed how new voting equipment, $11 million in new federal security grants and the extensive preparations her office has made will better protect Michigan’s elections system for the 2018 election cycle. The August 7th primary will be the first statewide election in which every city and township will use all new voting equipment that includes optical-scan ballot tabulators, accessible voting devices for voters with disabilities, and election-management and reporting software. New upgrades include:
-Next-generation voting equipment
-$11.2 million in election security grants
-An upgraded Qualified Voter File system
-Strengthened relations with state and federal law-enforcement and homeland-security agencies.
-Expanded cybersecurity training for local election officials.
-Post-election audits that now include ballot validation.

DNR- Wolf Survey Shows Healthy Wolf Population In U.P

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division officials said yesterday that the state’s wolf population has remained relatively stable over the past four wolf surveys, the most recent of which occurred this past winter. DNR wildlife biologists estimate there was a minimum of 662 wolves found among 139 packs across the Upper Peninsula this past winter. The 2016 minimum population estimate was 618 wolves. Fifteen more wolf packs were found during this past winter’s survey than in 2016, but pack size has decreased slightly and now averages less than five wolves. The survey was conducted from December through April, before wolves had produced pups, and when the population is at its lowest point in the annual cycle. The wolf survey is completed by DNR Wildlife Division and U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services staff who search specific survey areas for wolf tracks and other signs of wolf activity, such as territorial marking or indications of breeding. In 2017-2018, approximately 63 percent of the Upper Peninsula was surveyed. After wolves returned naturally to the U.P. through migration from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario in the 1980s, the population rebounded remarkably over time. The pronounced long-term increase in wolf abundance is evident, despite human cause-specific mortality, such as poaching. However, over the past few years, Michigan’s minimum estimate has hovered between 600 and 700 wolves, which could be indicative of a stabilizing population. Since the winter of 1993-94, combined wolf numbers in Michigan and Wisconsin have surpassed 100, meeting federally established goals for population recovery. The Michigan recovery goal of a minimum sustainable population of 200 wolves for five consecutive years was achieved in 2004. Wolves in Michigan remain a federally-protected species which may only be killed legally in defense of human life.

Federal Funding Could Bring More Public Shooting Ranges To Michigan

Posted on: June 14th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments


     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently approved a total of $1.25 million over a five-year period for the Department of Natural Resources to provide up to 75 percent of funding for improvements to partner shooting ranges throughout Michigan. The DNR received these additional federal funds via the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (Pittman-Robertson Act), through which hunters and sport shooters who purchase firearms, ammunition, archery equipment or hunting licenses help fund wildlife management, habitat improvement, hunter education and shooting ranges in Michigan. The federal funds will be available to partner shooting ranges around the state to improve, expand or develop archery and firearm range facilities. Entities selected by the DNR for funding must provide the needed 25-percent matching funds for their project. The initial phase includes a project in the western Upper Peninsula and one in the northern Lower Peninsula. Michigan Technological University in Houghton will upgrade the HVAC system at its existing indoor shooting range, improvements that will create a safe, fun indoor facility open to students and the public. The grant awarded to Ogemaw Hills Sportsmen Association will enable the club to develop an archery park in West Branch. Improvements will include upgrades to existing buildings to create an indoor archery range, classroom and clubhouse as well as outdoor archery opportunities. For more information about the DNR’s statewide partner range grant and the selection process, contact Lori Burford at 989-600-9114. To learn more about the DNR’s shooting ranges, other ranges around the state and the shooting sports, visit michigan.gov/shootingranges.

Weekly Fishing Report

Posted on: June 14th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

     In St. Joseph, boat anglers targeting salmon reported slower fishing but some decent size Chinook were caught in 120 feet or more. The more consistent fishing was found in around 100 feet. Coho and lake trout were also caught. Pier anglers caught steelhead on shrimp but the action was slow. Catfish are hitting on stink baits and freshwater drum were caught on spoons. In South Haven, anglers caught a mix of Chinook and lake trout in 100 to 120 feet with spoons and meat rigs. Pier anglers caught steelhead when floating shrimp under a bobber. Freshwater drum were caught on small tube jigs. This report was courtesy of the Michigan DNR

First West Nile Virus Activity Of 2018 Detected In Michigan

Posted on: June 14th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

Now that warmer weather is here, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reminding residents that the best way to protect against West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses is to prevent mosquito bites. The first West Nile virus activity for the state was recently confirmed in mosquitos collected in late May in Saginaw County. People who work in outdoor occupations or like to spend time outdoors are at increased risk for West Nile virus infection from mosquito bites. Adults 60 years old and older have the highest risk of severe illness caused by West Nile virus. West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people who contract the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. As summer temperatures rise, mosquitoes and the virus develop more quickly so it is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites as the weather warms. Symptoms of West Nile virus include a high fever, confusion, muscle weakness and a severe headache. More serious complications include neurological illnesses, such as meningitis and encephalitis. Last year, 40 residents were diagnosed with West Nile virus in Michigan with one death reported. Nationally, there were 2,002 human cases of the virus and 121 deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:
-Use EPA-registered insect repellents with one of the following ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol and 20undecanone. Follow the label instructions and apply as directed. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
-Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
-When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, light colored long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Dress young children in clothing that covers their arms and legs and cover cribs, strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
-Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Use bed nets when sleeping outdoors or in conditions with no window screens.
-Once a week, eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding around your home, including water in bird baths, abandoned swimming pools, wading pools, old tires and any other object holding water.
For information about West Nile virus activity in Michigan and to report sick or dead birds, visit Michigan.gov/westnile. Additional information can be found at Cdc.gov/westnile.

Police Are Warning Residents In Berrien County Of New Phone Scam

Posted on: June 14th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments


     The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office would like residents to be aware of a possible fraud / phone scam technique. A Coloma resident received a phone call around 08:00 am on Tuesday. Her caller ID displayed (269-983-7111). This number returns to the Berrien County Court. A male subject identified himself as being from the civil department and asked to meet her at her home so he could serve her legal papers. The unidentified male provided a toll free number and wanted the resident to call it so they could avoid serving the paperwork. If you receive a similar call, avoid giving any personal information over the phone. Hang up and contact your local law enforcement agency. Today, sophisticated scams can clone recognized phone numbers.

Proos: Finalized 2019 Budget Builds On Success

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments


     Sen. John Proos on Tuesday supported a finalized fiscal year 2019 state budget that increases investments in key priorities, including educating Michigan students and improving the roads. The education budget invests nearly $14.8 billion in K-12 education, which includes a foundation allowance increase of between $120 and $240 per pupil and a $1.3 billion contribution into the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) to control costs, reduce debt and meet the needs of current retired teachers. “The state of our roads remains a top priority in Southwest Michigan, and this budget dedicates an extra $330 million into fixing the roads,” Proos said. “This will bring our total new investment in our roads to $2.4 billion since 2017.” Proos said that the budget also builds on the success of the recent criminal justice reforms. “We continue to work to solve the difficult challenge of preparing our prison population for a productive return to society and not a return to crime,” Proos said. “The result of our reforms has been reduced recidivism and prison costs as well as safer communities and better outcomes”.

Canadian Owner and Michigan- Based Energy Company Charged with 21 Felonies in $2 Million Generator Investment Scam

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

     Yesterday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette charged John Von Stach and VSP North America each with one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20-year felony, and 20 counts of obtaining money by false pretenses. The charges stem from allegations that Von Stach, through his company, scammed multiple investors out of millions of dollars in a solar powered generator scam. Von Stach, a Canadian resident, was arrested on Friday, June 8, 2018 upon entering Michigan from Canada. He and his company were arraigned on Monday, June 11, 2018 before the Honorable Peter J. Versluis in the 59th District Court. Bond was set at $1.5 Million cash or surety. Von Stach is also required to stay in the state of Michigan and surrender his passport. The next court appearance is scheduled for June 19, 2018.

Students In 16 School Districts Receiving Summer Food Assistance

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

To ensure children have access to well-balanced meals throughout the summer, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Education, is participating in the 2018 Summer EBT for Children (SEBTC) program. Funded through a grant from the U.S Department of Agriculture, the program helps WIC-eligible families feed their children nutritious meals during the summer months when school meals are not readily available. Eligible students from 16 school districts throughout the state will receive $30 of nutritious food per month for the three months of summer. The program began June 1 and benefits expire Sept. 3, 2018.

Alpena Public Schools
Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District
Clare-Gladwin Intermediate School District
Copper County Intermediate School District
Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District
Detroit Public Schools
Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District
Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District
Genesee Intermediate School District
Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District
Grand Rapids Public Schools
Kentwood Public Schools
Marquette-Alger Intermediate School District
Menominee Intermediate School District
Midland County Educational Service Agency
Tuscola Intermediate School District

SEBTC Bridge Cards and program materials have been mailed directly to families selected to participate. The card comes pre-loaded with a food package that families can redeem in any WIC-authorized store. The food package contains nutritious items such as milk, eggs and fresh fruits and vegetables. For more information about the SEBTC program, visit Sebtc-mi.com, or contact the SEBTC help desk at 888-265-3291.

June 9th-16th Is Michigan’s Boating Week

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

It’s Michigan Boating Week June 9-16. Since our state is home to some of the best freshwater resources in the world, it’s no wonder that the Great Lakes State offers stellar boating opportunities. Take this boating-inspired week as your cue and tackle that maintenance project you have meaning to tick off your list, hitch up your boating trailer, throw on your roof rack, find some time to finalize your summer boating plans or share your love of boating with those friends you keep meaning to invite for a special day out on the water. Visit michigan.gov/boating to learn more.

Volunteer With The DNR

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

Help the DNR restore natural ecosystems at volunteer stewardship workdays, taking place at a handful of state parks in southern Michigan throughout June. Volunteers help with everything from collecting native seeds and removing invasive species to conducting plant and animal surveys. -Southwest Michigan workday locations include: 

-Warren Woods State Park – June 16

-Van Buren State Park – June 16

-Fort Custer Recreation Area – June 16

-Warren Dunes State Park – June 23

-Saugatuck Dunes State Park – June 23

-Fort Custer Recreation Area – June 30

More information about volunteer stewardship workdays, including a calendar of opportunities, is available at michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers. To register, please complete and submit the stewardship volunteer registration form

One Injured In SUV Roll-Over

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

Today Sheriff Richard Behnke reported that deputies of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office responded to a one vehicle traffic crash near Mason St and Gordon Rd. in Mason Township. Investigation of the crash showed that a SUV, driven by 49 year old Stacey Garritano  of Cassopolis, was east bound on Mason St. when she lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree. The vehicle then overturned and came to rest on its side in the roadway. Ms. Garritano was transported to St. Joseph Memorial Hospita.  Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash and seatbelt use is unknown at this time. Assisting on scene were SEPSA Ambulance, SEPSA Fire Department, and the Michigan State Police. The crash remains under investigation.

Sen. Proos Supports Auto Insurance Reform-Michigan Highest Premium In The Country Once Again

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

Sen. John Proos on Thursday voted for Senate reforms to the Michigan auto no-fault insurance law. In a July 2017 report by insure.com, Michigan was named the most expensive state for car insurance for the fourth consecutive year. Michigan’s average premium is $2,394, which is over 80 percent more than the national average of $1,318. The average premium paid by Indiana drivers is $1,021. Senate Bill 1014 would make reforms to Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance law. It would create a new authority within the attorney general’s office to help investigate and reduce auto insurance fraud and cap benefits for people who have never paid into the no-fault system. SB 787 would allow Michigan residents age 65 or older the option to choose a capped auto-insurance policy. Seniors who opt for the limited coverage would see their catastrophic claims assessment drastically reduced. Medicare would cover remaining medical expenses after the $50,000 limit is reached.

Hopkins Elementary Goes On Lockdown After Man Waving A Gun Is Arrested One Block Away.

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments


     In an update to a story WHFB has been following, on June 7th Three Rivers police were dispatched to a report of a man with a gun at North Main Street and Portage. The caller said the man had a handgun, but was simply carrying it. Officers were not able to locate the man. Less than 2 hours later, St. Joseph County Central Dispatch received multiple calls of a subject matching the description from earlier. This time the subject was waving the gun around and pointing it at cars and houses. Thanks to the assistance of residents in the area, officers located the subject and the firearm. Officers requested that during the search Hoppin Elementary School go into lockdown as the incident was a block away from the school. Officers were in constant contact with the school. The suspect, 30 year old Kyle Longacre of Three Rivers was arraigned on one count of carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent and habitual offender 4th offense.

Updated Cass County Road Closures Due To Weekend Rain

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

In Cass County, the following roads are closed from the 6 plus inches of rain in a short amount of time causing road or culvert failure over the weekend: 
-Oil City from Davis Lk St to Ashton 
-Mt Zion from Stewart to Calvin Ctr 
-Cassopolis from Crooked Creek to Osborn 
-Mason St from Calvin Ctr to Tharp Lk 
-Bulhand from Lamb to Calvin Ctr 1 lane closed 
-Roads previously closed and continue to be closed due to prior flooding: 
-Carter Lake St from Birch to Baldwin Prairie 
-Wade Road from Chain Lk to Mt Zion 
-McKenzie St from Lawrence to Goff Lk 
-Water over the Road Signs Posted: 
-Davis Lk from Lane to Ashton 
-North Shore from Davis Lk to Calvin Hill 
-Chapel Hill from Tharp Lk to Calvin Ctr 
-Tharp Lk from Chapel Hill to Hawks St 

     More rain is being forecasted for the coming days and weeks so similar flooding activity is expected if rain totals are substantial. The traveling public is urged to you caution during upcoming rain events and anticipate water over the road in these area in particular 
or any other areas that are known to commonly flood during excessive rain. Attempting to cross areas where water stands more than a couple inches deep or is running over the road can cause damage to the roadway due to washouts and sink holes in the gravel under the pavement. This can be dangerous. Several people were stranded over the weekend and had to be rescued. In situations such as these you are recommended to turn around and find an alternate route whenever possible.

Allegan County Deputies Honored With Awards

Posted on: June 11th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

Two Allegan County Sheriff’s Deputies Deputies were honored with awards at the 2018 Mothers Against Drunk Driving (Michigan) Lifesavers Award Luncheon last week in Mt. Pleasant. Deputy Ryan Gerke received an award for his nomination as one of the Outstanding Deputies in Michigan. Deputy Kyle Baker received an award as the Outstanding Rookie Deputy of the Year in Michigan. Deputy Gerke led the Sheriff’s Office with 41 Drunk Driving arrests last year. Deputy Baker was second with 37 Drunk Driving arrests last year.

Open house for M-43 property acquisition in Bangor and City Council Meeting

Posted on: June 11th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is holding an open house to discuss the purchase a small piece of a public recreational property at M-43 (Monroe Street) and Center Street (County Road 681) in Bangor, Van Buren County Monday, June 18 from 6-7 p.m. Residents and business owners are welcome. Accommodations can be made for persons with disabilities and limited English speaking ability. Large print materials, auxiliary aids or the services of interpreters, signers, or readers available upon request. Please call 517-373-9534 to request at least seven days before meeting date. MDOT is planning to resurface M-43 through the city of Bangor from the west city limit to east of M-40. Construction is planned for 2019. As part of the project, MDOT will need to purchase about 600 square feet of right of way from Cliff Charles Park on the northwest corner of M-43 at Center Street to accommodate sidewalk ramp upgrades and future traffic signal work. The park will remain open during construction. People are encouraged to visit with MDOT staff to learn more about the planned work and provide input. Following the open house, MDOT will be participating in the Bangor City Council meeting beginning at 7 p.m.

Senate Approves Auto Insurance Reforms

Posted on: June 11th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker on Friday applauded Senate passage of several reforms to the state’s no-fault auto insurance system. Michigan is one of 12 states that currently operate under a no-fault system of automobile insurance. Under the current system, a driver’s own insurance company covers all accident-related medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who caused the accident. Because of this, all motorists in the state are legally required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which pays for an individual’s medical expenses resulting from injuries sustained in an auto accident. There are, however, many reasons for Michigan’s high rates. Michigan’s unique uncapped benefits, fraud and increasing health care costs are just a few examples. Senate Bill 1014 would address the rampant fraudulent activity within the system by creating the Michigan Automobile Insurance Fraud Authority within the attorney general’s office. The authority’s primary operation would be investigating insurance fraud, which according to the Insurance Institute of Michigan is estimated to be about $400 million per year. The bill would also make changes to attendant care, setting limits on the amount that could be paid to family and household members to help protect against inflated costs. Coverage for the first 56 hours of attendant care provided in a week would be limited to a reasonable and customary amount, and coverage of care in excess of 56 hours would be limited to $15 an hour. Included in the package is legislation that would allow Michigan residents age 65 or older the option to choose a capped auto-insurance policy. SB 787 would set the cap at $50,000 and personal insurance or Medicare would cover remaining medical expenses from an automobile accident after the $50,000 limit is reached. Seniors who opted for the limited coverage would see their catastrophic claims assessment drastically reduced. Seniors would also have the option to remain in the current no-fault system. SBs 787 and 1014 have been sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

St Joe Police Respond To Suicidal Man Barricaded In His Home

Posted on: June 8th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

On June 8th, 2018 at 7:35am officers of the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety responded to the 800 block of Wolcott on the report of a barricaded suicidal subject.

Upon arrival, officers received information that the subject had cut a gas line in the house along with pouring gasoline throughout the entire home. Nearby residents were evacuated and several neighboring residents were asked to shelter in place.

Negotiations immediately began and continued for approximately 2 hours. The suspect eventually lit the house on fire while face timing the negotiator.

A team of fire fighters and officers armed with less lethal munitions, made emergency entry into the house while the negotiator gave the subject instructions on how to safely evacuate. The subject refused to evacuate and was eventually saved by the initial entry team. He was conscious and alert and was transported to Lakeland hospital for evaluation.

This was an excellent example of cooperation and coordination between numerous law enforcement agencies and fire departments.

Schuette Visits Cadillac Public Schools to Unveil New OK2SAY Student Ambassador Initiative

Posted on: June 8th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today joined Cadillac Superintendent Julie Brown and Paul Liebenow of the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association at Mackinaw Trail Middle School in Cadillac to talk about his new OK2SAY Student Ambassador Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to help students bring kindness, inclusion, and awareness activities and ideas into schools in Michigan.

The Student Ambassador Initiative is a pledge that students can take to commit to being a leader in their school, to make school a place where all students feel safe and know that OK2SAY is there when they do not. The goal is to encourage students to set an example to their fellow classmates to treat everyone with respect, encourage kindness and understanding.

The OK2SAY website has resources for students who wish to act as student ambassadors, including OK2SAY specific activities to share at school, as well as ideas of how to fight bullying and be more inclusive with student peers.

May 2018 OK2SAY TIPS

In May 2018, OK2SAY technicians received 707 tips for Michigan students bringing the total number of tips for 2018 to 3,453. Total OK2SAY tips from September 2014 through the end of May reached 14,187. May 2018 was the second busiest month in program history with only March 2018 receiving more tips. 

The top tip categories were as follows:

  • Suicide Threats (186);
  • Bullying (129);
  • Drugs (77);
  • Other (eg., anxiety, stress, depression, harassment) (41); and
  • Self-harm (47).


In-school Programming: Thirty-one specialized OK2SAY presenters visit schools around the state to encourage students to step up, speak out, and report anything that threatens their safety or the safety of others.

  • Confidential Reporting: State law protects the confidentiality of the reporter’s identity. The identity of the reporting party will not be disclosed to local law enforcement, school officials, or the person about whom a tip is offered, unless the reporter voluntarily chooses to disclose his or her identity. If the reporter is a minor, the parent or guardian must also consent.
  • Comprehensive Technology: Anyone can confidentially submit tips 24/7 using any of the five tip methods detailed below. Multi-media attachments like photos, videos, and links to additional information are encouraged.
  • Coordinated Intervention: Upon receipt of a tip, specially trained OK2SAY technicians at the Michigan State Police screen and forward tips to an appropriate responding agency including: local law enforcement, schools, local community mental health organizations, or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Accountability: Each responding organization is asked to complete an Outcome Report detailing the nature of the tip, how the tip was handled, and whether the tip situation was resolved or requires ongoing attention. This provides local entities an opportunity to illustrate that student safety threats are tracked and taken seriously.

The 2016 Annual Report details the types and numbers of tips handled throughout the year. The 2017 Annual Report will be released later this month.


OK2SAY encourages confidential tips on criminal activities or potential harm directed at students, school employees, and schools. Tips can be submitted through the following ways:

Call: 8-555-OK2SAY, 855-565-2729

Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)

Email: ok2say@mi.gov

OK2SAY website: ok2say.com

OK2SAY Mobile App: Available for download in app stores for iPhone and Android.

Adopt A Cop Makes Its Way To Cass County At Lybrook Elementary

Posted on: June 8th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

      Sheriff Richard J Behnke reports that his office will be participating in the closing ceremony of the 2018 school year partnership program between the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Berrien Counties Lybrook Elementary School on Friday June 8th. 

     This program was developed by 1st grade teacher Kelly Severin in 2016 when she asked to “adopt a cop”, Cass County Sheriff’s Deputy TK Graves and her K9 partner Nellie. With the support of Cass Counties Sheriff Richard Behnke, and Berrien Counties Sheriff Paul Bailey, Severin and Graves have worked to further develop the program, which is now in its second successful year. The program works to bridge the gap between Law Enforcement and kids at a young age so they have positive interaction with Law Enforcement and might see it as what they want to be when they grow up. 
     Graves expanded the program this year to 50 second graders at Marcellus Elementary in Cass County, and it was also piloted to Deputy Jackie Harris and her K9 partner Xenia in Branch County (Sheriff John Pollack) this year. Harris and Xenia ended up being adopted by 250 students at Jefferson Elementary School, which praised its success. The Deputies bring along their affectionate Bloodhounds and a new safety friend each month, such as 911 Dispatch, Animal Control, Fire and Ambulance, as well as other K9’s, to teach a safety lesson and learn who the friends in their community are. On Friday June 8th there will be a parade for the students and they will be treated to a short program honoring their service.

New State Police Deputy Director Named

Posted on: June 8th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

Michigan State Police (MSP) Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue is pleased to announce the promotion of Capt. Chris Kelenske to lieutenant colonel and commander of the Specialized Services Bureau. Kelenske replaces Lt. Col. Gary Gorski who has retired. In his new position, Kelenske will serve as one of the department’s four deputy directors and as a member of the department’s Executive Council. As commander of the Specialized Services Bureau, Kelenske is responsible for managing the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division and Intelligence Operations Division. Prior to his promotion, Kelenske served as captain and commander of the MSP Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor. He oversaw statewide management and coordination for all disasters and emergencies for the State of Michigan and coordinated with private, public, non-profit stakeholders on emergency management and homeland security strategies. A native of the Muskegon area, he and his family live in Holt.

One Injured In Truck/Tree Crash In Cass County

Posted on: June 8th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

     According to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, officers responded to a single vehicle traffic crash on Wednesday afternoon. The crash occurred on Hampshire Rd. west of Wilbur Hill Rd. in Cass County’s Pokagon Township. Investigation showed that the driver of a Ford F150 pick-up, Patrick Allen (26 yrs of Dowagiac) fell asleep at the wheel. The truck left the roadway and struck a tree. Allen was transported to Borgess Lee Hospital via PrideCare ambulance. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash and Allen was wearing a seatbelt. The crash remains under investigation.

New Buffalo Police Seeking Part-Time Administrative Assistant

Posted on: June 8th, 2018 by webdesign No Comments

     The New Buffalo Police Department is seeking qualified applicants for a part-time position of Administrative Assistant (up to 28-30 hours per week). The job would include performing a wide variety of general secretarial and administrative support activities, working closely with the Chief of Police and officers. Some specific duties include maintaining security and confidentiality of records, generating analytical and statistical reports, typing and proofreading reports, letters, ordering supplies and services. Applicants must have excellent interpersonal and customer service skills and have the ability to handle confidential information in a professional manner. Candidates also must be proficient with general office equipment, including computers, software, telephone, calculator, shredder, copier, and laminator. They must have an excellent knowledge of the English language, including spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and must be able to meet deadlines and file documents and reports as necessary. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and at least 3 years of administrative support or customer service experience and proficient in Microsoft Office. Please submit a resume to the City of New Buffalo, 224 W. Buffalo Street, New Buffalo, MI 49117 Attn: Clerk by June 22, 2018. For the full job description go to www.cityofnewbuffalo.org/employment.asp The City of New Buffalo is an equal opportunity employer