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New director of operations

May 12, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

Three Rivers Community Schools has lost its director of operations, as Steve Lucas took a job with the Cass County Road Commission.

Lucas will become managing director of the Cass County Road Commission. He is stepping into a job previously held by Christopher Bolt, who was splitting the task with St. Joseph County.

A 20-year school district employee, Lucas’ last day in Three Rivers was Friday.

Drunk drivers decrease

May 9, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

Motor-vehicle offenses, including the number of drunken drivers, decreased in St. Joseph County last year compared to 2012.

District Court Judge Jeff Middleton provided details during his annual report Tuesday before the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners. His news, however, came with a caveat, as Middleton said he suspects the decrease was the result of fewer law-enforcement officials on the roads than in years past.

District Court fielded 163 new cases of operating while intoxicated in 2013. That figure was down from 203 in 2012 and 200 in 2011. Overall, the court handled 7,671 new misdemeanor and civil traffic cases last year. That marks a substantial decrease from 9,086 in 2012 and 10,415 in 2011.

Middleton, who is up for re-election and is running unopposed for a six-year term in the August primary, also elaborated on sobriety court. He said 25 participants in 2013 successfully completed the comprehensive program.

The court collected more than $1.4 million in fees last year.

Package to fund repairs

May 9, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

State Rep. Matt Lori on Thursday commended House approval of a legislative package to fund repairs to Michigan’s transportation system.

He called the action a good first step toward a sustainable solution.

Lori voted in favor of the bills that will dedicate $450 million to help fix the state’s transportation system.

The increased funding would go into effect in 2015. Its source comes from an increase in permit fees and fines for overweight or oversized trucks.

Other components of the bills include dedicating sales-tax revenue not earmarked for schools or local governments to the fund, expanding the competitive-bidding process for road and bridge projects to ensure efficient funding, and late fees for vehicle registration as an additional source of funding.

The bills are on their way to the Senate for consideration.

Register of Deeds annual report

May 8, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

In addition to providing an annual report as register of deeds, county clerk Pattie Bender presented county commissioners a summary of her department’s operations in 2013.

Bender, who will mark her 44-year anniversary as a courthouse employee later this month, said her department’s revenue report showed collections in circuit and juvenile courts were down in 2013 compared to 2012.

She said her department is looking into a locating service in an effort to contact some of the people who owe, collectively, millions of dollars between the county, state and victim fees, Bender said.

Other figures she noted include an increase in birth certificates, from 668 in 2012 to 736 in 2013; an upturn in deaths recorded, 494 to 497; more marriage applications, 408 to 467; a sizable jump in pistol permits issued, 576 to 931; and more passport applications, 298 to 348.

She estimated there are more than 6,000 CCW license holders in the county, a figure she estimated in response to a question posed by commissioner Al Balog.

In all, the clerk’s office collected $334,371 in general-fund revenues in 2013, an increase of more than $27,000 from 2012.

Two-part request from voters

May 7, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

The August primary ballot in St. Joseph County will be a bit more crowded following action Tuesday by the county’s board of commissioners.

The St. Joseph County Road Commission will present to voters a two-part request. The first asks for renewal of 1 mill for a 10-year period. The current mill has been in place a decade and expires at the end of the year. If approved, the renewal would generate about $1.9 million annually and continue to provide the Centreville-based agency a critical source of funding to maintain county roads.

In the face of declining help from the state and greater expenses in maintaining roadways, the road commission board decided to seek an additional 2 mills. That request, too, is a for a 10-year period. If approved, it would generate more than $3.8 million annually.

By protocol, both requests had to be approved by the county commission. Its members voted unanimously in support of the two measures.

Road commission engineer manager Christopher Bolt said the agency over the past 10 years has lost $2.5 million in funding, while costs continue to rise.

Bolt said he met earlier in the day with city managers Mike Hughes from Sturgis and Joe Bippus from Three Rivers to discuss road-related issues in and around the cities, as well as some type of a strategy.

Governor Snyder visit

May 1, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder visited Armstrong International Monday, addressing area business leaders and key Armstrong personnel.

Snyder focused on the state of the economy in Michigan during his one-hour visit and speech.

Snyder cited the importance of education, deteriorating roads, health care and creating more jobs as areas of consideration moving forward in his role as governor.

He also commended Armstrong International for its long and successful history over the past 114 years.

Snyder’s stop at Armstrong International was one of five on the day, as he also spent time in Marshall, Coldwater, Niles and Kalamazoo.

David Casterline, Corporate Director of Communications at Armstrong International called Governor Snyder’s visit a tremendous honor for the company.

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