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Sheriff looking to fill positions

March 18, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

The St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department is looking to fill a full-time position following a retirement and two resignations.

County commissioners earlier this month approved a request to fill the position to help offset the resignation of road patrol officer Dru Carney. In addition, patrol officer Terry Baker has resigned and Pete VanCamp retired Friday.

In other personnel news at the county, a roster of new hires features Ross Truckey as abuse/neglect specialist, Renea Edson as COA in-home services assistant, Jay Woehymer as part-time transportation and Luke Pickens as COA sub driver.

Landline legislation passes the House

March 12, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

Legislation that could make it easier for telephone companies to end landline service has been approved by the Michigan House of Representatives. The bill removes the role of the Michigan Public Service Commission in any effort by a phone company in abandoning a local exchange. Instead, the bill leaves the regulatory role up to the Federal Communications Commission. The Senate-approved proposal does include language that requires some sort of voice lines to be available, as well as 911-service, before a local exchange is discontinued by a phone company. The measure, which would go into effect in 2017, now goes back to the Michigan Senate for concurrence on amendments.  (MRN)

A good year for tourism

March 10, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

Researchers at Michigan State University say tourism spending in Michigan was strong in 2013 and is poised for another robust year in 2014. Dan McCole and Sarah Nicholls, of MSU’s Department of Community Sustainability presented their annual report today (Monday) at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference in Traverse City. The MSU researchers say factors fueling the upswing include an improving economy, several national tourism trends and the success of the state’s Pure Michigan advertising campaign both nationally and internationally. McCole predicts tourism spending, as measured by hotel and motel tax receipts, will increase 4.5 percent in 2014 after experiencing a 4 percent bump in 2013 and 6 percent increase in 2012. Hotel occupancy increased nearly 2 percent last year and car traffic on the state’s international bridges and tunnels was also up. According to Nicholls, awareness of Michigan as a tourism destination continues to rise. She notes that nearly all of the additional $4 million allocated to the state’s Pure Michigan campaign for 2013-14 is being spent on advertising in Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and China. The MSU researchers say tourism spending was strong last year despite the fact temperatures were 9 percent cooler compared to 2012 and visits to the state’s national parks were down. Helping the cause were lower gas prices and positive news coverage such as Mackinaw City ranking as the top tourist town for families and Grand Rapids being voted Beer City USA for 2013.  (MRN)

Home construction will be good

March 10, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

The Home Builders Association of Michigan is confident in its prediction of another good year for residential home construction. There was a 28-percent year-to-year increase for single-family home permits in the state for 2013. And it’s predicted that there will be a 20-percent jump this year when all is said and done. Hillan Homes President Patrick Raye says his business is the best it has ever been, although he says a shortage of qualified contractors could potentially restrain growth. Bob Filka of the Home Builders Association of Michigan says his group has asked lawmakers in Lansing to assist students who want to enter the skilled-trades. The industry estimates that 60-thousand people left the construction field during the last recession and it is pushing for legislation that will help students who are on the skilled-trades track, to graduate.  (MRN)

“Community Conversation” in Sturgis

March 10, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

A number of local and statewide issues will be discussed Tuesday during a “Community Conversation” in Sturgis.

The 90-minute program starts at 11:30 a.m. at Sturges-Young Auditorium and is hosted by the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with The Center for Michigan.

Organizers said the event looks to offer a forum for community members to discuss pressing issues facing their state and area.

Registration is requested and may be done by phoning the Sturgis Chamber, at 651-5758.

Resell that concert ticket

February 27, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

It would be legal to re-sell game or concert tickets above face value, under a measure approved by the Michigan House on Thursday. Current law prohibits selling above face value without the written consent of the event operator and the venue operator. The measure, which now goes to the senate, repeals that 1931 law, and opens the door to what many critics call “scalping.” There is no federal law against selling above face value. Free market groups support the bill. House Republican Tim Kelly of Saginaw Township, the sponsor, says once you buy a ticket, you should be able to re-sell it at any price you like. Venue operators, and artists like Kid Rock, have opposed the measure. And at least one artists management company told lawmakers last month that some performers won’t come to Michigan if the bill becomes law. Supporters of the current law have also said that it protects consumers by prohibiting exorbitant prices for tickets that were originally bought up in huge blocks by scalpers.  (MRN)

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