The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency is reporting the third death in the tri-county area this season due to complications from influenza.
This is the second death of a St. Joseph County resident, though the death of the elderly man occurred in an out-of-county facility.
In each of the three cases, there were underlying conditions that may have been the root of the problem, and it is unknown if any of the three people had received a flu shot this season.
Health Officer Steve Todd said some years, the agency sees the peak of the flu season hit in March and April. While it has seen some decreases in flu reports, the tri-county region is not out of the woods yet.
He said the deaths serve to remind the importance of vaccination.
Details regarding the latest victim’s age were not made available.
A county parks system featuring larger parcels with greater, natural-resource-based recreational opportunities was identified as a major component of the St. Joseph County Parks and Recreation Department newly developed master plan.
John Pence, director of the agency, presented a summary of the five-year plan to members of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Tuesday. He said instead of operating numerous smaller parks that provide limited recreational attractions, the larger concept incorporating lakes and rivers appears to be in demand.
The top goals identified in the plan focus of the development and enhancement of existing parks and facilities, acquisition of additional park lands, and the development of canoeing and kayaking sites along the county’s many streams and rivers, Pence said.
Pence said other projects identified in the plan include developing indoor facilities for public use at Rawson’s King Mill and Meyer Broadway Park; installing a bridge, boardwalks and additional trails at Timm County Park; and development of the 36-acre Feek property on Olney Road in Leonidas Township.
A resolution to adopt the five-year plan was approved unanimously.
The village of Constantine was awarded a grant in excess of $240,000 Friday from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
During a ceremony at the village office, municipal leaders accepted the money awarded as part of a Downtown Infrastructure Grant. The $242,000 gift was contingent on an $80,000 match from the village.
Village Manager Mark Honeysett said the funds will help pay for a 34-space parking lot downtown, new lighting and a number of other amenities to enhance Constantine’s downtown area.
Constantine was one of 14 communities in the state to receive grants from the EDC. A total of $7 million was available from the Lansing agency.
Work is expected to start later in the spring and conclude in September.
State Sen. Bruce Caswell announced he will not seek re-election later this year.
The 64-year-old Caswell said his tenure will end Dec. 31. He took over the position from Cameron Brown starting in January 2011.
Caswell, a retired superintendent of Pittsford Area Schools, had turned in his petition to run again. However, Caswell said he will withdraw his petition and let someone new step in to the seat.
The 16th State Senate District will be redrawn in 2015 to exclude St. Joseph and Lenawee counties, but add Jackson County. It currently includes and will continue to take in Branch and Hillsdale counties.
Concerns about the city’s recommendation to leave a trickle of water running as a precaution against frozen pipes were expressed during last week’s Three Rivers City Commission meeting.
Residents Jim Everett and Helen Dettmar asked Mayor Tom Lowry and commissioners if residents who adhere to the request would be given a break on their water bills.
City manager Joe Bippus said the billing department would make average adjustments for people who do leave water running. Bippus said people who have either been following or plan to abide by the request should visit the city’s finance department.
Lowry suggested the city consider taking the average of the prior three, four or six billing cycles. He clarified that the city will consider the rate adjustment only if a homeowner has, in fact, left water running and their bill is greater than usual.
Three Rivers city officials have approved the sale of a house that is part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
During last week’s city commission meeting, final approval was given for the sale of the residence at 516 Eighth St. for $86,000.
Mayor Tom Lowry said the sale marks the third residence constructed by the city and sold through the NSP program.
City Manager Joe Bippus indicated the NSP grants have been exhausted, though he was encouraged to stay abreast of any potential grants in the future.