The Michigan Department of Transportation has issued a press release regarding potholes caused by sub-zero temperatures and near-record snowfall.
MDOT officials said weather conditions are leading directly to severe potholes across the state, putting further strain on pavement and the efforts MDOT crews have put forth filling potholes during the various freeze-thaw cycles.
The extreme pothole season on top of this winter’s heavy snowfall is taking its toll on the department’s maintenance budget, MDOT officials said.
The agency’s maintenance budget for this winter is $88 million, based on the five-year winter average. Due to the severe winter weather, it is expecting to exceed that budget by about $40 million.
The public is encouraged to report potholes they find on state roads to a link on the MDOT website.
Thirty-five people took advantage of a free ride home New Year’s Eve and early New Year’s Day in St. Joseph County.
Thanks to the St. Joseph County Transportation Authority and a number of sponsors, the fifth New Year’s Eve Free Ride Home program saw a 13 percent increase in ridership from a year ago, when it attracted 31 participants.
The service started at 10 p.m. Tuesday and concluded at 4 a.m. Wednesday. CTA officials said 20 rides were provided by the bus designated for the Three Rivers area, while 15 people boarded the bus operating in the Sturgis area.
The most-popular pickup locations were the American Legions and Elks lodges in Three Rives and Sturgis, the In-Between bar and restaurant in White Pigeon Township, Paisano’s in Three Rivers and Cowboy Up in Mendon Township.
Past ridership numbers were 31 last year, 36 in 2011, 22 in 2009 and a record 37 in 2008. The service was not offered in 2010.
This year’s sponsors were Hackenberg-Schreiber Insurance; State Farm – Mary Beth Fluery Agency; Farm Bureau – Austin Cooper Agency; the In-Between; Three Rivers Elks; and Broadway North.
St. Joseph County’s 2014 fiscal-year budget was approved by the five-member St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Tuesday.
More than $16.7 million was set aside for county operations in 2014, an increase of more than $1.6 million from the amended 2013 fiscal year budget of $15.1 million.
Joni Smith, St. Joseph County’s director of finance, said in addition, the county has budgeted a transfer from the general-fund fund balance of $2 million to the county’s Building Improvement and Replacement fund.
The transfer, she said, is to set up a reserve to address the future facility needs in the county.
A review of the 2014 financial allocations show almost $2.3 million to the sheriff’s department, $2.2 million to the jail and turnkey, and $1 million to District Court. The allocations are increases from 2013 in all three cases.
The County’s appropriation to the road commission has increased from $70,000 to $191,000 for 2014. Smith said that is the only significant change in appropriations to outside agencies or organizations.
A 36-year-old Sturgis man with four outstanding warrants was arrested Monday following a brief vehicle pursuit in Sturgis.
State police said an attempt was made to stop the man at Fawn River and South Nottawa roads in Sturgis Township for an equipment violation.
The man failed to stop and drove into the Sturgis city limits, where he exited his vehicle on a dead-end street. The man fled on foot but was caught a short time later.
The suspect, whose name was not released, was charged with fleeing and eluding, resisting and obstruction and third offense driving on a suspended license.
His warrants were from St. Joseph and Branch counties and were for failure to appear, and misdemeanor and felony larceny.
Adams Excavating will provide snow-removal and plowing services for St. Joseph County again this winter.
The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners last week renewed a contract for the winter services at the courthouse parking lot, the parks building and animal-control parking lot, and the sheriff’s department/central dispatch parking lot.
Scott Adams, a Centreville resident, will provide his services when accumulation has reached two inches or more, according to terms of the independent-contractor agreement. The contract is in effect through April 15.
Adams will be required to have lots cleared by 7:30 a.m. in the event of overnight snow.
Adams will be paid $375 per snow-clearing/plowing incident.
The contract was awarded to Adams, as no other bids for the job were submitted.
No longer would you see rusted out and unreadable license plates from Michigan under a bill signed into law Tuesday by Governor Rick Snyder. The measure requires drivers to get a new license plate every ten years at a cost of 5 dollars. It will take effect in 2015 and ban plates issued from 2005 and before from being renewed. Republican Senator Tom Casperson of Escanaba sponsored the legislation. He says when license plates are allowed to get rusty police cannot identify a car as easily. The measure would also require the Secretary of State to study a potential move to digitally printed license plates. (MRN)