State Rep. Matt Lori has offered his compliments to Rick Snyder for the governor’s budget proposal to invest more money in the state’s mental-health programs.
In a statement Wednesday after the release of the governor’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget, Lori said Michigan continues its comeback by investing in priorities to boost education, expand job creation, build stronger communities, improve mental and community health, and improve public safety.
Lori, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Community Health, said the budget recommendation is a starting point to continue the work of the past three years to produce a responsible, balanced spending plan well ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline.
Only four members of the Michigan Senate have so far said they’re in support of a new proposal to make the Michigan lawmakers part-time workers. In the meantime, the petition drive to put the part-time legislature question on the statewide ballot is getting underway. Thirty of the 38 members of the Senate have been contacted so far. Of the thirty, 17 are clearly against it and seven are undecided. The four yes votes are Republicans David Hildenbrand of Lowell, Joe Hune of Hamburg, Patrick Colbeck of Canton, and John Proos of St. Joseph. Proos has been a leader in the part-time effort. He argues that currently, 36 other states have some form of part time legislature. But critics say it will create an imbalance among the three branches of government, since the Governor and the Supreme Court will remain full time jobs. They say it simply limits the voice of the people who elect legislators (MRN)
Road commission boards in St. Joseph and Cass counties have agreed to a restructuring that will involve each entity being governed by their own manager.
During a joint meeting Jan. 29, current manager Christopher Bolt recommended each agency continue to collaborate on sharing services in accordance with an agreement reached in 2010. Bolt, however, said in the face of numerous and compelling issues, each agency demands attention and focus of a full-time manager.
A revised joint endeavor agreement was signed last month and the new structure was approved by both boards.
The Cass County Board has started a search for a new manager; Bolt will continue to lead both organizations as long as necessary, he said.
Three Rivers Mayor Tom Lowry said he has been informed the municipality has received three grants.
During last week’s city commission meeting, Lowry said the grants are in the combined amount of almost $7,500.
The first, a $750 award from the Dr. Pepper/Snapple group, will be used for expenses related to clean-up projects during the city’s Community Pride Day coming up in May.
A grant in the amount of $2,800 will allow for the hiring of additional help at Scidmore Park Petting Zoo. The funds will allow the zoo to extend its summer hours. The money, which requires a 25 percent match, was provided by the Three Rivers Area Community Foundation.
The Conservation Fund, through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will be earmarked toward the Three Rivers Farmers’ Market.
Lowry said the money will allow the market to help create a sustainable market, market training, state certification and equipment to accept payments other than cash.
Discussions regarding a potential sidewalk snow-removal ordinance in Three Rivers began Tuesday, when the Three Rivers City Commission explored the issue.
Mayor Tom Lowry said a final proposed ordinance could be several meetings away, but he said hearing that children are walking in the street to and from school because sidewalks are not shoveled by adjacent property owners is alarming.
The matter was brought to the commission’s attention Jan. 21 by Three Rivers Community Schools Board of Education member Waneta Truckey. The issue is most relevant to students who attend Hoppin and Andrews elementary schools, as they are neighborhood schools within the city limits.
City attorney Pat O’Malley presented commissioners with proposed language to consider in the form of an ordinance. Lowry advised commissioners to study the draft carefully and the matter would be brought before the commission at its Feb. 18 meeting.
On a related note, Commissioner Alison Haigh said she is concerned about piles of snow residents have accumulated at street corners, forcing motorists to creep their vehicles an unsafe distance into the roadway in order to look for oncoming traffic.
Some well-known names throughout St. Joseph County are preparing for a first-of-its-kind event in the name of a fundraiser for a child-welfare agency.
Eight couples are expected to take part in the inaugural Dancing With the St. Joseph County Stars event March 7 at Glen Oaks Community College’s Nora Hagen Theatre.
Organizers are trying to get word out early on, as the venue has a seating capacity of almost 300 and tickets are expected to sell out.
Linda Kline, representing the Child Abuse and Neglect agency of St. Joseph County, said the idea of a ballroom-dance competition involving local residents came from a brainstorming session.
The list of couples is subject to change, but for now participants are Deborah and Tadd Davis of Colon; Mendon attorney Christine Yancey and her husband, Charlie; Sturgis Director of Public Safety Geoff Smith and his wife, Stephanie; Constantine Township officials Mark and Marti Brown; Three Rivers City Manager Joe Bippus and his wife, Cheryl; Maria Oliveras and Jose Hernandez from Sturgis-based Centro VIDA; and Jessica and Matthew Mosher, from Three Rivers.
More details and ticket information may be found on the website dancingsjcstars.webs.com.