Schuette Partners with National Attorney General Association to Host Overdose Death Investigation Training for Local prosecutors and Law Enforcement
Yesterday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette partnered with the National Attorneys General Association to offer training on issues related to the investigation and prosecution of deaths resulting from opioid overdoses. More than 75 individuals from prosecutor and law enforcement offices around the state attended the training held at the Michigan Department of Attorney Generals Lansing office. The day long presentation covered topics such as investigating overdose deaths, best practice for multi-agency investigations, the role of a medical examiner in overdose deaths and how to better approach investigating overdose cases. The training was sponsored by Attorney General Schuette and National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute (NAGTRI). NAGTRI is the training and research branch of the National Association of Attorneys General. Its mission is to provide high-quality, responsive, innovative training to state and territory attorney general offices. Presenters included Assistant Attorney General (AAG) William Rollstin who over sees the newly created Drug Interdiction Unit in the Michigan Department of Attorney General and AAG Daniel Magee who works on the Drug Interdiction Unit. Other presenters included personnel from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, the Memphis (Tennessee) Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Eaton County (Michigan) Medical Examiner’s Office.
Reminder About Vaccinations Before Children Go Back to School
Back-to-school preparations require more than just pencils and backpacks, as doctors are reminding parents and caregivers to talk over vaccinations before school bells ring. Dr. Pamela Rockwell is the medical director of Dominos Farms Family Medicine and an immunization expert who sits on two vaccine advisory committees for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She knows these can be difficult decisions for parents, and says that’s why it’s important to have a close relationship with a health expert who can help sort fact from fiction. Some parents don’t vaccinate children for religious reasons; others because of concerns about potential health problems associated with some vaccines. Michigan law now requires parents to meet personally with health officials before opting out of vaccinating children for philosophical reasons. Along with the required school shots, topics to bring up with doctors include teen vaccinations for H-P-V, and seasonal flu vaccines.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Set To Begin
This year, area law enforcement agencies are partnering with the Office of Highway Safety Planning to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives. The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from Aug. 17-Sept. 3. During this period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk driving. Increased state and national messages about the dangers of driving impaired, coupled with enforcement and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving on the nation’s roadways.
Michigan Community Service Commission to host listening tour
The Michigan Community Service Commission is hosting a Volunteer Michigan Tour, visiting each region in the state to explore ways to expand service and volunteerism in communities across Michigan. The listening tour will allow community leaders to share thoughts on how volunteers and national service can help address the state’s biggest issues. Participants will discuss community challenges and ways to improve the quality of life for residents. Contributors also will explore methods to collaborate and share resources. The input gathered from the tour will help shape the future of Michigan volunteerism and national service as participants will generate ideas to include in a new State Service Plan.
Muskegon: Aug. 27 – 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Muskegon Innovation Hub, 200 Viridian Drive
Grand Rapids: Sept. 25 – 2 to 4 p.m. at Grand Valley State University, Kirkhof Center – Grand River Room, 10670 S Campus Dr.
Newaygo: Sept. 27 – 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Camp Newaygo, 5333 S Centerline Road
Traverse City: Oct. 3 – 9 to 11 a.m. at the Hagerty Conference Center at Northwestern Michigan College, 715 E. Front St.
Midland: Oct. 11 – 9 to 11 a.m. at the Midland Center for the Arts, 1801 W. St. Andrews Road
Gaylord: Oct. 17 – 9 to 11 a.m. at Gaylord City Hall, 305 E Main St.
Marquette: Oct. 18 – 2 to 3 p.m. at Northern Michigan University, University Center, 1401 Presque Isle Ave.
East Lansing: Oct. 23 – 9 to 11 a.m. at Michigan State University, Kellogg Center, 219 S. Harrison Road
Ann Arbor: Oct. 24 – 9 to 11 a.m. at United Way of Washtenaw County, 2305 Platt Road
Kalamazoo area: Oct. 30 – 1 to 3 p.m. at the Scotts Community Center, 8450 36th St.
Detroit: Nov. 1 – 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Detroit PAL, 1680 Michigan Ave.
Flint: Nov. 8 – 9 to 11 a.m. at the Flint Farmer’s Market, 300 E. 1st St.
For more information and to register to attend, visit Michigan.gov/volunteer.
University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor Receives High Praise
University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor came in at #5 on U.S. News & World Report’s “2018-19 Best Hospitals Honor Roll and Medical Specialties Rankings”. According to the report the ranks are based on hospital performance in 16 areas of complex specialty care and also rates hospitals in nine bellwether procedures and conditions such as heart bypass, hip and knee replacement, heart failure and lung cancer surgery. Hospitals received points if they were nationally ranked in one of the 16 specialties and if they were rated “high performing” in the nine procedures and conditions.
DNA confirms that “John Doe” buried in Georgia in 1979 is missing 15-year-old Andrew Jackson Greer from Addison, Mich.
On Feb. 12, 1979, 15-year-old Andrew Jackson Greer left Addison High School and failed to return home. Greer’s whereabouts have been unknown for the past 39 plus years. The case remained cold after early investigations by the Michigan State Police in 1979 and the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department in 2000. The cold case was re-opened in 2014 and with developments in technology and resources, the mystery of Andrew’s whereabouts has finally been solved. A forensic analyst from the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas yesterday confirmed that DNA from a “John Doe,” who was buried in a pauper’s grave in Macon, Ga. in 1979, matches Greer’s DNA. In December 2017, a retired Bibb County Sheriff’s Department deputy made the connection between the “John Doe” and Greer. The retired deputy notified MSP detectives, who then traveled to Macon, Ga. in April 2018 to exhume the body of “John Doe.” With the assistance of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Department, Macon District Attorney’s Office and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, detectives were able to successfully recover the body to send for additional testing. A DNA sample was taken from “John Doe” at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and sent to the Center for Human Identification for comparison. The results concluded that it was 1.9 trillion times more likely that the DNA from “John Doe” was that of Greer than not. Together, the DNA results and police reports conclude they are one in the same. All indications are that Greer ran away from home on Feb. 12, 1979, and was killed when he was struck by a semi-truck while hitchhiking down I-75 near Macon, Ga. on Feb. 14, 1979. Greer’s identity has been a mystery to Georgia authorities until now, and the Michigan State Police had no information on his whereabouts until the connection was made in December 2017. Arrangements are currently being made to bring Greer’s body back to Michigan.
Drunk driving mobilization starts August 17th
The final mobilization of Fiscal Year 2018 is set to kick off in mid-August. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, a statewide crackdown, runs from Aug. 17 through Sept. 3. With support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), state and local law enforcement agencies will be showing zero tolerance in an effort to save lives. The enforcement period includes the Labor Day holiday weekend. Last year, there were a total of 10 fatal crashes during the three-day-holiday weekend, with four of those being alcohol-involved, including two motorcyclists. For all of 2017 in Michigan, 359 people died in 320 alcohol involved traffic crashes. That’s the highest number of fatalities from alcohol-involved crashes since 2006.
Over $6 Million Recovered through the Michigan Life Insurance and Annuity Search Service (LIAS)
Yesterday, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced that it has helped consumers recover over $6.3 million in lost or missing death benefits since launching its free Life Insurance Annuity Search Service (LIAS) in 2016. LIAS was created to help beneficiaries, executors, legal representatives, or members of a deceased person’s family find a life insurance policy or annuity contract of a deceased loved one. In addition to the $6.3 million in recoveries, DIFS also reports that during the last two years over 2,000 requests have been submitted to insurance companies participating in LIAS. The program has helped match over 1,400 policies.
Update On Sunday Morning’s Portage Stabbing
On Sunday, August 12, 2018 at approximately 11:00 a.m., the second stabbing suspect was arrested in the city of Kalamazoo by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. The 36 year old Kalamazoo man was lodged in the Kalamazoo County Jail. The victims, ages 38 and 36, reside in Kalamazoo. Charging requests will be submitted to the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office on Monday. Emilio Gallardo age 23 of Kalamazoo was charged with assault with intent to commit murder, which carries a sentence of any number of years up to life in prison. He is also being held as a parole absconder. His bond was set at $100,000. Jose Prieto age 36 of Kalamazoo was charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, less than the crime of murder, a 10 year felony. His bond was set at $50,000.
M-40 repaving in Jones starts Wednesday
MDOT will be resurfacing one-tenth of a mile of M-40 near Bair Lake starting Wednesday, Aug. 15th to Friday, Sept. 14th. Single-lane closures under flag control with a total closure and detour Aug. 20-31. During the total closure, a detour will be posted on Harvey Street, Wood Lake Road, and Bair Lake Road for local traffic. Truck traffic will be detoured on M-60 and US-12. The new surface will extend the life of the road, improve ride quality and increase safety.
Financing model framework announced for Section 298 Initiative
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced yesterday that a consensus has been reached by the 298 Leadership Group on the framework for a financial model that will support the pilots involved in the Section 298 Initiative. The 298 Leadership Group consists of health plan executives and Community Mental Health Services Programs (CMHSP) executive directors from the pilot sites across Michigan. The new financial model will involve Medicaid health plans purchasing administrative services from the CMHSPs to keep care closest to the community, along with a mixture of capitation and fee-for-service payment for the actual delivery of care. The pilot program mandates that any financial benefits from this agreed-upon model be reinvested into the services and supports for these individuals in the counties where the savings occurs. The Leadership Group has created a sub-workgroup to fully develop the structure for the payment model based on services and unique populations included. Part of the sub-workgroup’s goal is to ensure the public’s interest is being represented through oversight and accountability. This financial model will be implemented across all three pilot sites located in Genesee, Saginaw, Muskegon, Lake, Oceana, and Mason counties and supports the overall goal of fully integrating the Medicaid-funded physical health and behavioral health benefits in Michigan for a minimum of two years. Further updates will be shared as progress is made towards the implementing the pilots. For more information about the Section 298 Initiative, visit www.michigan.gov/stakeholder298.
State Treasurer: Sales Tax to be Collected from Out-of-State Online Retailers
Following a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, State Treasurer Nick Khouri announced a change to the state’s sales tax administration that will require many mail order and online retailers located outside of Michigan to pay the 6 percent sales tax on taxable sales into this state. Shoppers were previously required to track and annually self-report uncollected taxes from mail order and online retailers physically located outside of Michigan. Today’s announcement allows for the more efficient collection of the sales tax by collecting from businesses rather than individuals. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a more than 30-year precedent in South Dakota v. Wayfair, allowing the Michigan Department of Treasury to collect sales tax from retailers physically located outside the state if the retailer exceeds $100,000 in sales or 200 or more transactions in Michigan within the previous calendar year. Under the state Treasury Department’s new administrative requirement, all applicable mail order and online retailers physically located outside of Michigan must pay state sales tax and file tax returns for taxable sales made after Sept. 30, 2018. The state Treasury Department estimates more than $200 million in additional state revenues will be collected annually under the new sales tax rule. Individuals and businesses can learn more about Michigan’s sales tax requirements at www.michigan.gov/taxes. Additional information will be posted as it becomes available on the website.
Schuette Releases July OK2SAY Numbers, Encourages Schools to Sign Up for Fall Presentations
With the start of a new school year quickly approaching, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is reminding students, parents, and teachers to continue using OK2SAY. The student safety program has been a great success — even in the summer months. In June and July, OK2SAY received 510 tips.
The highest number of tips for July are as follows:
Suicide Threat – 61
Cyberbullying – 15
Self-harm – 12
Threats – 12
The total number of tips since OK2SAY launched in September 2014 has reached almost 15,000. Tips are submitted across 30 categories, with most tips reporting bullying, suicide threats, “other” (e.g., anxiety, depression, harassment, and stress), self harm, and drugs. OK2SAY is starting off the school year with a new and improved website offering a new streamlined look and easier viewing for Michigan residents looking to find out more about OK2SAY or to schedule a presentation in their community.
The Attorney General offers free programming for K-12th grade students, parents, guardians, and community leaders. To date, nearly two million Michigan citizens have attended a presentation.
Students in K-5th grade receive age-appropriate instruction from the Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative (CSI), a national award-winning program and feeder program for OK2SAY. Students in 6th-12th grade receive dynamic OK2SAY student safety programming.
Adults can learn about our programs and how to host them by attending our Community Seminar or Program Overview. Scheduling is fast and easy on the OK2SAY website.
So far, presentations are scheduled in 162 schools in 26 counties for the 2018-2019 school year. But it’s not too late, there is room for more presentations. If your school is interested in hosting an OK2SAY/CSI presentation, sign up today on the OK2SAY website.
Students, teachers, parents, school officials, friends, and neighbors can submit tips if they are aware of a threat in school. Tips can be submitted though any of the following ways:
Call: 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729)
Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)
Mobile App: Google Play, iTunes
Cass County Treasurer Appointment Committee Accepting Applications
The Cass County Treasurer Appointment Committee announces it is currently accepting applications for their consideration. The Committee is comprised of the Probate Judge Susan L. Dobrich, County Clerk Monica McMichael, and Prosecuting Attorney Victor Fitz is authorized by statute to fill the vacancy left by the untimely death of Linda Pruett. The appointment is for the remainder of the current term ending December 31, 2020. The Committee is requesting candidates send a resume and cover letter describing the applicant’s specific qualifications for the appointment, and the reason they believe they should be appointed Treasurer. The resume and cover letter should be addressed to the Cass County Clerk, Monica McMichael, Cass County Administration Building, 120 N. Broadway, Cassopolis, MI 49031 no later than 4:00 p.m. on August 31, 2018. Applicants should be at least 18 years of age and registered to vote in Cass County, or be prepared to move to Cass County on appointment. Desired experience could include managing a small staff, managing an office budget, familiarity with real estate matters, and accounting background. The committee will be conducting background checks on candidates. The annual salary of the Treasurer’s position has been established by the Board of County Commissioners as $64,737. The position also offers health and retirement benefits.
Insurance Innovation Hotline Launching in Michigan
The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced the establishment of an insurance innovation hotline and dedicated email address designed to encourage companies, agents, and insurance startups, or “InsurTechs”, to interact with the department early in the development of new products. Innovators are encouraged to submit ideas via email to DIFS-Innovate@michigan.gov. Ideas can also be discussed by calling the hotline number at (517) 284-8666. For more information about DIFS or the services provided, please visit the website at www.michigan.gov/difs, follow them on Twitter or “Like” them on Facebook.
1st Annual Rock the Ribs Fundraiser for the Humane Society
The 1st annual Rock The Ribs Fundraiser charity event for the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan on Saturday was a fun filled day of great food, music, beer and spirits, vendor shopping, silent auction, and a cornhole tournament. Check out our WHFB Facebook and Twitter pages for great photos and video from Saturday’s 1st annual Rock The Ribs Fundraiser at the D.A.N.K in Benton Harbor!
US-12 total closure for railroad crossing reconstruction in Edwardsburg through August 24th
There will be a total closure of US-12 for railroad crossing reconstruction between M-62 and Cass Street in Edwardsburg, Cass County, through Friday, Aug. 24. A detour will be posted on May Street and Conrad Road. This closure is part of the US-12 repaving project in Edwardsburg.
Two Adults Stabbed in Portage
On Sunday, August 12, at approximately 1:20 a.m. the Portage Department of Public Safety responded to a stabbing in the parking lot at the Renaissance Banquet Hall, 3750 E. Kilgore Road. Two adults had been stabbed and were transported to Bronson Hospital by Pride Ambulance where they were treated and later released. A 24 year old suspect was taken into custody and lodged at the Kalamazoo County Jail. A second stabbing suspect is being sought. The victims and suspects were at a private party of approximately 200 people at the Renaissance hall when the incident occurred. At this time, detectives are investigating a motive for the stabbing. The second stabbing suspect was arrested in the city of Kalamazoo by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. The 26 year old Kalamazoo man was lodged in the Kalamazoo County Jail. The victims, ages 38 and 36, reside in Kalamazoo. Charging requests will be submitted to the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office on Monday. Anyone with information is asked to call the Portage Department of Public Safety at 329-4567 or Silent Observer at 343-2100, www.kalamazoosilentobserver.com
Natural Resources Commission approves deer regulations related to chronic wasting disease
At Friday’s meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in Lansing, the commission approved a series of deer hunting regulations aimed at slowing the spread of chronic wasting disease. The action came after months of commission members and Department of Natural Resources staff hearing from hunters, residents and others interested in the long-term health of the state’s deer population, and a thorough review of the best available science on chronic wasting disease. CWD is a fatal neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in cervids – deer, elk and moose. The disease attacks the brains of infected animals and produces small lesions that result in death. There is no cure; once an animal is infected, it will die. The disease first was discovered in Michigan in a free-ranging deer in May 2015. To date, more than 31,000 deer in Michigan have been tested for chronic wasting disease, and CWD has been confirmed in 60 free-ranging deer in six Michigan counties: Clinton, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm.
The approved deer hunting regulations, which will be in effect for the 2018 deer seasons unless noted otherwise, include:
- A statewide ban on the use of all natural cervid urine-based lures and attractants, except for lures that are approved by the Archery Trade Association.
- An immediate ban on baiting and feeding in the 16-county area identified as the CWD Management Zone. This area includes Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa and Shiawassee counties.
- A ban on baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula, effective Jan. 31, 2019, with an exception to this ban for hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements. The start date on this regulation is intended to allow bait producers and retailers time to adjust to the new rule.
- Effective immediately in the CWD Management Zone and four-county bovine tuberculosis area (in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties), hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements can now use 2 gallons of single-bite bait, such as shelled corn, during the Liberty and Independence hunts.
- Allowance of all legal firearms to be used in muzzleloader season in the CWD Management Zone.
- A purchase limit of 10 private-land antlerless licenses per hunter in the CWD Management Zone.
- Restrictions on deer carcass movement in the five-county CWD Core Area (Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm and Newaygo counties) and the CWD Management Zone.
- Antlerless options on deer licenses/combo licenses during firearms seasons in the five-county CWD Core Area.
- Expansion of early and late antlerless seasons in select counties.
- Changes to regulations regarding wildlife rehabilitators.
In addition, the commission asked the DNR to move forward with:
- An experimental mandatory antler point restriction regulation in a five-county CWD Core Area, including Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm and Newaygo counties. The restriction would begin in 2019, provided a survey of hunters shows support for the requirement and specific department guidelines are met. This is intended as a tool to evaluate the effects of antler point restrictions on the spread and prevalence of CWD, along with deer population reduction.
- A hunter-submitted proposal for mandatory antler point restrictions in Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac, St. Clair and Lapeer counties. If hunter surveys support this regulation and specific department guidelines are met, it would be implemented in 2019.
More information about these regulations also will be posted next week to the michigan.gov/cwd website.
Structure Fire In Portage
Friday, the Portage Department of Public Safety was dispatched to the 8000 block of Newells Lane for a structure fire at 1 PM. The first arriving up unit reported a two story residential structure with fire showing from one side of the building. Crews were able to extinguish the fire within twenty minutes of the dispatch. The structure was under construction at the time of the fire. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Portage Fire Marshal. No injuries were reported during the incident and the fire damage was estimated at $30,000.
Influenza A H1N2 variant identified by CDC in Michigan residents with exposure to swine
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reporting that Influenza A (H1N2)v has been identified as the strain that sickened two attendees of the Fowlerville Family Fair following exposure to swine. Respiratory samples from ill individuals were sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for additional testing, after initially testing positive for Influenza A at the MDHHS Laboratory last week. This H1N2v strain is similar to the viruses currently circulating in swine. These are among the first influenza A (H1N2)v virus infections identified in the U.S. in 2018. Two additional cases have been identified in California. None of the patients were hospitalized, and all are recovering from their illness. No human-to-human transmission has been identified to date. Investigation of additional ill fair attendees is ongoing. Since reporting of novel influenza A viruses began nationally in 2005, only 17 human infections of influenza A (H1N2)v – including these two Michigan cases – have been reported to CDC. Swine influenza is a respiratory disease in pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that regularly circulate among swine. Swine influenza viruses do not usually infect humans, but human infections have been reported. People cannot get swine influenza from eating properly prepared pork or handling pork products – only from contact with an ill pig. The fair took place July 23-28, and several pigs from the fair tested positive for swine influenza on July 27. Symptoms of swine influenza in people are similar to the seasonal flu and can include fever, cough, runny nose, and sometimes body aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. On rare occasions, swine influenza in humans can lead to severe diseases, such as pneumonia or death. Those at higher risk of developing complications if they get swine influenza include children younger than five years of age, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women and people with certain chronic health issues, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems and neurological conditions. Currently, there is no vaccine for swine influenza, and the seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against it. However, antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu and Relenza, are effective in treating swine influenza. Early treatment works best and may be especially important for people with a high-risk condition. For more information on minimizing the transmission of illness at livestock exhibitions, visit the USDA website. For more information on swine influenza, visit the CDC website.
M-40 repaving in Jones starts Wednesday
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be resurfacing one-tenth of a mile of M-40 near Bair Lake starting Wednesday, Aug. 15th to Friday, Sept. 14th. Single-lane closures under flag control with a total closure and detour Aug. 20-31. During the total closure, a detour will be posted on Harvey Street, Wood Lake Road, and Bair Lake Road for local traffic. Truck traffic will be detoured on M-60 and US-12. The new surface will extend the life of the road, improve ride quality and increase safety.
Two vehicle injury crash in Kalamazoo County
Michigan State Police Paw Paw Post are investigating a two vehicle injury crash that occurred on southbound US-131 near B Ave, Alamo Twp, Kalamazoo County. The crash occurred on Thursday, at approximately 1:43AM. The crash occurred when the driver of a southbound passenger vehicle struck another southbound passenger vehicle from behind. The at-fault vehicle then struck the guardrail and rolled over. The two occupants of the front vehicle were not injured. The driver of the at-fault vehicle fled the scene on foot but was located nearby. The driver was transported to Bronson Hospital for treatment and evaluation. Alcohol is believed to be a factor. The crash is still under investigation. Troopers were assisted on scene by the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department and the Alamo Township Fire Department.
Home Invasion Arrest Made In Dowagiac
The Dowagiac Police Department reports that officers arrested a subject for Home Invasion First Degree, Domestic Violence and other charges early this morning. At approximately 5:15 A.M. on August 9th, Dowagiac Police were dispatched to the 200 Block of Dewey St. in Dowagiac for a male subject breaking into a residence. Officers arrived and located the suspect standing on the front porch of the residence and detained him while they investigated further. Officers were advised that the male subject is an acquaintance of the female resident of the house. She advised that the suspect had been at the residence and was told to leave as he was intoxicated and becoming disruptive. The suspect assaulted the female resident by choking her before leaving the residence. A short time later he began yelling at the victim from outside and kicked in the front door of the residence and came back inside. During this time the victim’s dogs attacked the suspect in defense of her causing minor injuries to the suspect. The victim, a 27 year old Dowagiac resident, sustained minor injuries and did not seek medical attention. The suspect was treated for minor injuries at Borgess/Lee Memorial Hospital and released. While being transported to the jail the suspect attempted to get out of his handcuffs and had to be restrained by police. The suspect continued to resist being handcuffed and was eventually re-secured in the patrol vehicle. Officers arrested the male suspect, a 32 year old Dowagiac man for Home Invasion First Degree, Domestic Violence, and Resisting and Obstructing Police. The suspect was lodged at the Cass County Jail on the above listed charges. All charges are pending authorization from the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office. The name of the suspect is being withheld pending his arraignment in Cass County 4th District Court.
Michigan responds to maintain Bridge Card transactions at farmers markets as one provider ends service
State, local and federal agencies are working to ensure that public food assistance clients can continue to use their Bridge Cards at farmers markets and farm stands after one provider that processes these transactions at a number of locations announced ending those services. The vendor, Novo Dia Group of Texas, now expects to continue offering its Mobile Market+ applications at farmers markets until Feb. 28, 2019 – seven months later than the originally announced July 31, 2018, ending date. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) and Fair Food Network said that with the additional time, any potential lapses in the ability of farmers markets to accept food assistance Bridge Cards should be minimized or eliminated for most or all farmers markets. It was announced last month that Novo Dia Group, a major provider of mobile Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) technology at farmers markets and farm stands, would discontinue those services. This left many markets and local, state, and national agencies that work with those markets needing to act to find alternative methods for processing EBT payments. In an effort to avoid a lapse in the purchasing ability of food assistance clients at farmers markets and farm stands, the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs announced that it would help support Novo Dia Group’s operation through Aug. 31. On July 27, the State of New York in partnership with the New York Farmers Market Federation announced a six-month agreement with the Novo Dia Group to continue operating nationwide without any service disruption through February 2019. This support, while temporary, provides markets and farm stands additional time to transition to new equipment. An estimated 50 of the more than 160 Michigan farmers markets that accept Bridge Cards for food assistance purchases use the Novo Dia Mobile Market+ application. About 35 farmers and farm stands use this technology for their individual businesses. In 2017 at least 47,000 SNAP transactions were processed at Michigan farmers markets, totaling at least $600,000 in sales. This allowed thousands of Michigan families to access healthy food and benefited local farmers who sell their products at farmers markets. Less than 20 percent of these sales and transactions were processed with Mobile Market+ equipment. Access to this equipment made significant progress in Michigan last year when the state Legislature committed state funding for free wireless point-of-sale devices for markets and farmers accepting SNAP Bridge Cards. These devices and service are provided by Conduent, Inc., and Merchant Source, Inc., through a contract with MDHHS. Markets and farmers utilizing this equipment should contact MIFMA as soon as possible, if they have not done so already, at 517-432-3381 to discuss alternative options. Many markets and farm stands, including Eastern Market in Detroit, the Flint Farmers Market will not be impacted by this issue as they have either already transitioned to the free wireless point-of-sale service contracted through MDHHS or process Bridge Card transactions with other providers. To find a farmers market that accepts Bridge Cards, visit the Find a Farmers Market feature at www.mifma.org/findafarmersmarket.
New Reports Show Increase in Immigrant Entrepreneurs
While the immigration debate tops national headlines, immigrant entrepreneurs are busy strengthening Michigan communities, according to a new report. The Michigan League for Public Policy report says immigrants account for 12-percent of business owners in the state, and 20-percent of Main Street business owners. These are smaller-sized, local-oriented stores and services, that report author Victoria Crouse says are important to the fabric of Michigan. The report says immigrants represent seven percent of Michigan’s workforce, and immigrant-owned businesses account for 12-percent of total business earnings in the state. And Crouse says immigrants are almost twice as likely as U-S-born residents to become entrepreneurs.
Sixteen million dollars in federal grants available to public and nonprofit groups to provide crime victim services
Local organizations across the state will be able to apply for $16 million in federal grants to provide services for sexual assault victims, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced yesterday. The MDHHS Division of Victim Services has posted its fifth Request for Proposals (RFPs) for Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding. The division is accepting proposals from organizations to provide comprehensive sexual assault services such as 24-hour crisis intervention, supportive counseling or culturally specific needs. Organizations can also provide enhanced sexual assault services including OB/GYN care, legal assistance, therapy and advocacy. A Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is another option organizations can propose. SARTs coordinate and improve local response to sexual assault through multidisciplinary collaboration with advocates; health care providers; law enforcement officials; prosecutors; forensic scientists; sex offender management professionals; and probation, corrections and parole officers. SARTs typically provide specialized and comprehensive services, continuity of care for victims, enhanced evidence collection and increased public safety. MDHHS will award three-year U.S. Department of Justice grants ranging from $50,000 to $1.5 million. Questions about the RFP can be emailed to MDHHS-CVSC-VOCA-GRANTS@michigan.gov and must be submitted by Aug. 20 by 5 p.m. The deadline for proposals is Sept. 12 by 3 p.m. Applicant agencies must be public or nonprofit organizations – including faith-based entities and American Indian tribes – that provide direct services to crime victims. The purpose of the funding is to respond to the immediate needs of crime victims, reduce psychological consequences of victimization and help restore victims’ sense of dignity and self-esteem. For more information or to apply, visit the MI E-Grams website and select the “About EGrAMS” link on the left panel to access the Crime Victims Agreement training manual. The RFP is located under “Legal and Policy Affairs” in the Current Grants section. For more information about Michigan’s Division of Victim Services, visit Michigan.gov/crimevictims.
DNR Area Fishing Report
In St. Joseph, though salmon fishing was slow, some were still caught well past 100 feet of water. Lake trout were caught in 90 feet. Perch fishing remains slow with only a few caught in 50 to 60 feet. Pier anglers caught catfish and freshwater drum. South Haven had slow salmon and steelhead action as the fish seem to be scattered and very deep. Lake trout were caught in 100 feet. Perch fishing was inconsistent however on the good days anglers were taking a fair to good number of fish in about 60 feet. The action was very good one day and poor the next. Pier anglers caught lots of freshwater drum.
Van Buren County Office of Domestic Preparedness seeking Licensed amateur radio operators
One of the prime uses of Amateur Radio is to provide a pool of emergency communications personnel that can be called upon in a time of need. For many reasons, Amateur Radio operators are needed. RACES is sponsored by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) a division of Homeland Security and is administered by a local, county, or state civil defense agency responsible for disaster services. This civil defense agency is typically an emergency services or emergency management organization, sometimes within another agency such as police or fire. Traditional RACES operations involve emergency message handling on Amateur Radio Service frequencies. These operations typically involve messages between critical locations such as hospitals, emergency services, emergency shelters, and any other locations where communication is needed. Van Buren County is seeking licensed amateur radio operators who have an interest in helping the citizens of Van Buren County in a time of need and to help fulfill this public service obligation. If interested and wish for more information about the RACES program contact Lt. Bob Kirk at 269-657-7786 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan Primary Election Wrap-Up
Michigan residents took to the polls on Tuesday to vote in Michigan’s primary election, where a number of key state and federal nominations were at stake. Gretchen Whitmer, a former leader in the Michigan State Senate, captured the Democratic nomination for governor Tuesday night over Abdul El-Sayed and will face off against the state’s Republican attorney general, Bill Schuette, who earned the nod defeating Brian Calley and Patrick Colbeck. In Berrien County, the governor’s race on both sides reflected the state-wide results. The Republican nominee in the state House race for the 79th District in Berrien County is Pauline Wendzel. Wendzel will take on Democrat Joey Andrews in the November election to succeed Representative Kim LaSata, who vacated the seat as she will be running for the state Senate in the 21st District. Wendzel had just over 2 times the amount of votes over her closest competitor Maria Moen while Andrews won over Maria Seats by nearly 800 votes. Kim LaSata earned the Republican nomination for Michigan’s 21st Senate District over Dave Pagel. Ian Haight is running unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination and will face LaSata during the Tuesday, Nov. 6th general election. Kalamazoo County doctor Matt Longjohn will face Congressman Fred Upton in November after winning the 6th District Democratic primary on Tuesday. A bond proposal to build a new fire station in Baroda Township failed receiving 324 no votes and 308 yes votes. Voters approved the Cass County 9-1-1 millage renewal by a wide margin. Over 4,700 people voted for the renewal and roughly 1,500 voted against the renewal. In Kalamazoo County, a nearly $20 million bond proposal to raze old buildings at Mattawan Consolidated Schools was successfully supported by voters on Tuesday. The $19.1 million bond will be used to demolish two vacant buildings, renovate another building and provide other district-wide building maintenance. The school plans to tear down the Early Elementary and Center buildings as well as renovate portions of the Later Elementary building. Kalamazoo County voters approved a property tax by a wide margin on Tuesday that will help pay for services for older adults. The proposal for a senior millage passed with nearly 67 percent of the vote.