The state of Michigan is providing a credit to help low-income, working families offset home-heating expenses this winter.
State Rep. Matt Lori said homeowners and renters alike may qualify for the credit even if they do not owe any Michigan income tax and do not file an income tax for 2013. And unlike most tax credits, which need to be claimed on tax forms before April 15, the home-heating credit can be filed as late as Sept. 30.
Residents who pay their heating bills themselves receive the credit in the form of an energy voucher, which then must be submitted to their heat provider. Renters who have heat included in their rent receive a check for half their credit amount, while recipients of the Family Independence Program have their credit sent directly to the heat provider.
The credit is based on total household resources, the number of exemptions claimed and the actual home heating costs.
Lori said those interested in filing for a home heating credit can find out where to receive assistance at www.michiganfreetaxhelp.org or by calling 2-1-1.
The University of Notre Dame is raising undergraduate tuition by 3.8 percent to more than $46,000 next school year. The school says the percentage increase is the same as in recent years. With average room and board rates of more than $13,000, total student charges for 2014-15 will be about $59,500. Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John Jenkins, thanked parents in a letter for their investment in the university. Jenkins also wrote that while surveys show college graduates earn more than those with high school degrees, the education is more important than simply for earnings potential. He says students are shaped in “profound ways” and exposed to myriad experiences that help them to become educated, ethical leaders. (AP)
Six people were hurt in a huge 40-vehicle pile-up on Interstate 94 in Van Buren County that resulted in the highway being shut down for several hours Monday night. The crash involved about 20 semi trucks and happened during the evening commute as heavy snow fell throughout the area. The Interstate re-opened after the wreckage was finally cleared-up around 3:30 Tuesday morning. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s office says it was a jack-knifed semi that started the mess, west of Paw Paw. (MRN)
Supporters of boosting the hourly minimum wage in Michigan want to put a bigger proposed increase before voters than previously announced, organizers of the effort said Monday. The Raise Michigan campaign said it now wants to raise the minimum wage from $7.40 per hour to $10.10 per hour by January 2017. The campaign previously had submitted proposed ballot language to increase it to $9.50 per hour by January 2016. In a statement, the campaign said there is “strong public support” for the idea. “This proposal gives people who work hard … a better chance to escape poverty, and allows businesses more time to adjust to the proposal,” Raise Michigan said. The Michigan Board of Canvassers plans to review the petition at its meeting Wednesday, the group said. If approved, supporters of Raise Michigan say they plan to collect 258,000 valid signatures from Michigan voters needed to put the proposal on the November ballot. Critics say raising the minimum wage would hurt the economy. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who is up for re-election, has said increasing the wage could have negative consequences. Michigan’s GOP-led Legislature hasn’t embraced the idea of raising the state’s minimum wage above $7.40. A full-time worker making $9.50 per hour earns $19,760 annually — right at the federal poverty level for a family of three this year. A worker making $10.10 per hour over the same time period would earn just more than $21,000 a year. Michigan’s minimum wage is slightly higher than the $7.25 federal minimum. (AP)
Due to abnormally low temps Lockport Township Water Department is asking its customers to please leave your water running in one faucet of your home to prevent freezing of your service line until further notice. Lockport Township Water Department will review the next quarterly billing for increased usages and apply credits as necessary. If you have an emergency please contact Jennifer Ransbottom, Director of Utility Management Services at Jones Petrie Rafinski — 574-849-0004.
More than 75 people participated last weekend in Camp Fort Hill’s inaugural Winter Adventure program.
The three-hour event Saturday allowed participants to cross-country ski, snow shoe, enjoy a campfire, chili, soup and grilled-cheese sandwiches. Also, a birds of prey demonstration was out on by Lake Milton Raptor Education Center of Union.
Dave Ludders, camp manager, said the inaugural event was staged based on an exceptional turnout to the camp’s fall open house. He said organizers would have been pleased if even 25 people attended Saturday.
As a result of the response, Camp Fort Hill officials are likely going to plan a second annual Winter Adventure in 2015.