A Michigan legislator has announced a bill to require gas stations and convenience stores that stay open between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to have two employees working or to install security cameras. The bill unveiled Monday in western Michigan comes after the April disappearance of a 26-year-old woman from her job at a Norton Shores gas station. Jessica Heeringa’s mother and law enforcement attended the news conference. Heeringa disappeared before she was set to close the station. Police say there was no indication of a robbery. Democratic Rep. Collene LaMonte of Montague detailed her bill that could be called “Jessica’s Law.” The gas station had no security cameras, leaving authorities without potential clues. (AP)
Nearly 1,500 jobs and $53.8 million in new, private investment were announced in St. Joseph County in 2013.
The figures were included in the Southwest Michigan First 2013 annual report presented by Ken Jones last week before the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners. The 12-month period marks the first full calendar year the St. Joseph County Economic Development Corporation has operated under the umbrella of Southwest Michigan First.
He noted that 15 of 16 company announcements in 2013 were expansions.
Jones recapped each of the 16 company announcements, led by Burr Oak Tool’s 120,000-square-foot expansion in Sturgis. He also noted Merehow Industries, which announced 46 new manufacturing jobs in White Pigeon. The company decided to relocate from Bristol, Ind.
Looking ahead, Jones said 16 proposals are moving forward, though not all will develop into bona fide projects. Nonetheless, the 16 proposals would equate to more than 800 jobs and $122 million in investment.
Jones reminded the board of money the EDC has set aside to hire a consultant to help certify shovel-ready sites in St. Joseph County, which would allow a company to come in and go right to work on a new facility, he said.
The consultant is looking at a 40-acre site in Three Rivers.
A 22-year-old Elkhart man has pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of the owner of a northern Indiana convenience store and an employee. Richard Gross pleaded guilty Monday moments before his trial was scheduled to begin. He admitted taking part in a Sept. 5 robbery at Saleh’s Market east of downtown Elkhart, where 55-year-old Jagtar Bhatti and 20-year-old Pawan Singh were shot and killed. Gross faces up to 130 years in prison when he is sentenced by Judge Terry Shewmaker on March 14. Another man, Kevin Moore, also was charged with two counts of murder in the robbery. He is scheduled to go on trial Feb. 3. (AP)
The St. Joseph County Conservation District has announced a forestry workshop it is sponsoring this week.
The event is 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday and features two keynote speakers: Ben Schram, forestry assistance program coordinator with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Jeff Steinkraus, consulting forester.
The focus of the workshop will center on qualified forestry, conservation forestry planning and a new component on what is called the reLEAF program.
Prospective participants are asked to RSVP by phoning 467-6336, ext. 6
The program takes place at the St. Joseph County Intermediate School District.
Troopers from the Michigan State Police detachment in White Pigeon were called Friday to A-1 Storage Unit in Sturgis Township regarding break-ins to several units.
The incidents occurred between 5:30 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday in the 68000 block of White School Road.
Three Rivers Community Schools Superintendent Roger Rathburn has announced he plans to run for state representative next year.
The 51-year-old Rathburn, who is retiring in June following a 13-year tenure as superintendent in Three Rivers, will seek the 59th District State House seat currently held by Matt Lori. Lori, who will begin his sixth and final year as state rep in January, is term-limited and unable to run again.
Rathburn said he planned to retire to seek other opportunities, preferably in the arena of education. But after being approached by a number of county residents, Rathburn said his interest in the state representative’s position grew in its appeal.
To date, John Bippus is the only other candidate to declare his plans to run for the seat.
The 59th District covers St. Joseph County and all but a small pocket of Cass County.