At least 19 wolves have been killed during Michigan’s wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. The state Department of Natural Resources updated the results Wednesday morning. It says five wolves were killed in the far western U.P., 11 in central counties and three in the eastern U.P. The wolf season started on November 15th and runs through December, unless 43 are killed before the end of the year. It’s the first hunt in Michigan since the wolf was placed on the endangered species list nearly 40 years ago. A total of 1,200 people are licensed to participate with firearm, crossbow or bow and arrow. Before the hunt, the DNR estimated the state’s wolf population at 658. (AP)
St. Joseph County’s 2014 fiscal-year budget was approved by the five-member St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Tuesday.
More than $16.7 million was set aside for county operations in 2014, an increase of more than $1.6 million from the amended 2013 fiscal year budget of $15.1 million.
Joni Smith, St. Joseph County’s director of finance, said in addition, the county has budgeted a transfer from the general-fund fund balance of $2 million to the county’s Building Improvement and Replacement fund.
The transfer, she said, is to set up a reserve to address the future facility needs in the county.
A review of the 2014 financial allocations show almost $2.3 million to the sheriff’s department, $2.2 million to the jail and turnkey, and $1 million to District Court. The allocations are increases from 2013 in all three cases.
The County’s appropriation to the road commission has increased from $70,000 to $191,000 for 2014. Smith said that is the only significant change in appropriations to outside agencies or organizations.
A variety of Christmas-related celebrations are taking place over the next three days throughout St. Joseph County.
In Constantine, the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony takes place at 6 o’clock tonight.
The village is also staging its Fourth of July fireworks fundraiser dinner tonight at Meeks Mill. Dinner settings are at 5 o’clock, 6:30 and 7:30.
Also in Constantine Saturday, downtown stores will feature a Christmas scavenger hunt 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Santa and reindeer will be at Shelby Park from 11 a.m. until 2. Prospective participants are advised to bring their own cameras.
Christmas in Colon takes place Friday, when a downtown parade starts at 6 p.m. Santa and carolers will be at the Colon Community Park at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Centreville Downtown Development Authority has announced Santa will be coming to Centreville at 7 p.m. Saturday. The village’s Christmas tree lighting will occur at the same time in the courtyard gazebo.
A riding lawnmower and several other items were reported stolen Tuesday from a container storage in Sturgis Township.
State police said the lock on a container located in the 68000 block of White School Road was cut sometime between Oct. 28 and Nov. 29. In addition to the XMARK brand mower, four tires and a vehicle engine were stolen from the site.
St. Joseph County administrator Pat Yoder will shed his “interim” label at the start of the year.
Yoder, a 65-year-old Sturgis resident, was given a one-year contract Tuesday to serve as the full-fledged county administrator. He has been serving in an interim basis since April, following the January retirement of Judy West-Wing.
Yoder will receive a $105,000 base salary for the year. In addition, terms of his employment starting Jan. 1 include full benefits, a $500-per-month car allowance and five weeks of vacation. Unused vacation days can be rolled over into the following year or paid out upon the end of his employment.
Commissioner Allen Balog said he and board chairman John Dobberteen met with Yoder last week and reviewed feedback yielded by the five-member board regarding Yoder’s nine-month performance. With everyone’s input, Balog said, the commission agreed to extend an offer to stay on as administrator in a permanent capacity.
The village of White Pigeon is seeking donations to help with the purchase of new Christmas decorations in 2014.
The fundraising effort is being spearheaded by village council Trustee Shireen Cline. She said the village decided to end a three-year tradition and not hire a company that installed and took down rented decorations. The rental and service was about $1,300 a year.
For 2013, Cline said, the village instead will decorate its downtown area with 20- to 25-year-old decorations it owns.
Cline said she would like to order new decorations in the first quarter of 2014 to qualify for a discounted, off-season rate.