A longtime Three Rivers city employee and community icon has passed away.
Ken Baker, who served in a variety of roles for the municipality, died Tuesday evening following a long battle with kidney cancer. He was 71.
Baker started his career with the city as a patrol officer for the Three Rivers Police Department. He was later promoted to sergeant and spent the last three years of his 24-year law-enforcement career as chief.
He would then serve as acting city manager before his peer from the police department, Joe Bippus, took over the post full-time.
Baker subsequently spent six years as a city commissioner and in 2011, was appointed mayor for the year after Allen Balog left to serve as a county commissioner.
Funeral arrangements for Baker, who was the grand marshal of the 2013 Three Rivers Water Festival parade, are pending.
Tom Lowry will serve two more years as mayor of Three Rivers, as he defeated Larry Nichols in Tuesday’s general election.
Lowry, 57, topped the 58-year-old Nichols, 268 votes to 206. Over the course of two tenures, Lowry has served as mayor for 14 years.
Meanwhile, Linda Gearhart won the commissioner-at-large position Tuesday and will start a two-year term to the seven-member board later this month.
The 65-year-old Gearhart topped Larry Matson, 288 to 164.
Matson, 70, has served on two different occasions as an appointed commissioner.
Commissioners Jared Hoffmaster and Diane Lee Haley-Clay were unopposed for two-year terms.
Centreville Public Schools will see $12.8 million worth of improvements over the next decade, as its voters on Tuesday approved a 2.95-mill increase request.
The vote was 351 in favor to 226 opposed. As a result, the district will start improvements at its elementary and jr./sr. high buildings next year as part of a three-phase plan that will also see the purchase of new buses and a full technology upgrade.
Board of education president Dave Peterson said the public’s endorsement of the request is appreciated and the district will make good use of the money to repair and replace an aging infrastructure in its two buildings.
A write-in candidate for the Sturgis City Commission topped an incumbent during Tuesday’s general election.
Precinct 2 commissioner Karen Stephens fell short in her attempt to serve two more years, as she was beaten by Charles Huber, 39 to 15.
Four other candidates in Sturgis ran unopposed and will return to the nine-member city commission.
A Kalamazoo Democrat is jumping into the race for Michigan’s 6th Congressional district in 2014. Paul Clements is planning a tour of the entire district on Saturday, including stops in Buchanan, Benton Harbor, Cassopolis and Union Pier. He calls himself an “independent Democrat” on his campaign website and says Congressman Fred Upton has become “part of the problem” after 26 years in Washington, DC. Upton is also facing another Tea Party challenge from the far right of the Republican Party in the primary election next year after defeating Jack Hoogendyk in 2012. Clements is a political science professor at Western Michigan University, received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a masters and doctorate in public policy from Princeton. While calling Kalamazoo home, Clements was born in Texas and spent his childhood in Hong Kong and India as his father worked as a Methodist church social worker. (MRN)
State Rep. Matt Lori and state Sen. Rebekah Warren, of Ann Arbor, introduced resolutions Thursday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s signing of the Community Mental Health Act.
In February, Lori and Warren were appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Mental Health and Wellness Commission, and the two have been working to identify and address gaps in mental-health-care access, to evaluate the quality of mental-health-care services across the state and to develop comprehensive policy recommendations to address these issues.
Lori said the recommendations will be presented to the governor in December and passed on to the Michigan Department of Community Health for use in improving the state’s mental-health system.
The Community Mental Health Act allowed for the creation of community mental health centers, which drastically altered the delivery of mental-health services across the United States. Michigan now has 46 different Community Mental Health services programs providing assistance to residents in all 83 counties.