A potential misdemeanor charge against St. Joseph County Commissioner Don Eaton will be decided by Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz.
The neighboring county was chosen Friday by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office to review the case. Eaton is an elected official and, following protocol, the matter must be delegated outside the county he represents.
The case against Eaton stems from a late-night incident July 29 at the Sturgis Applebee’s, where Eaton said he briefly had a pistol in his pocket. He said he grabbed the pistol from inside his truck and returned to the restaurant’s bar area to retrieve his wallet and keys.
The 52-year-old Eaton, who is in his third year as a county commissioner, faces a charge of possession of a firearm while intoxicated.
Cass County officials said Fitz will likely receive the report this week. A time frame regarding when he renders an opinion is not known.
Charges of violating a permit related to a concealed pistol license could be imposed on a member of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners.
Second District Commissioner Don Eaton could be charged with a misdemeanor related to an incident that originated July 29 at the Sturgis Applebee’s restaurant.
Eaton, 53, said he retrieved from his vehicle a pistol as a precautionary measure after a trio of members in his party at a late-night gathering was harassed by a group of four men in the restaurant’s bar area.
A Burr Oak Township resident, Eaton said he then decided to leave and went back into the restaurant to retrieve his wallet and phone. As police had arrived in response to a complaint about the situation, Eaton voluntarily took a preliminary breath test, which confirmed his blood-alcohol level was in excess of 0.08 percent.
As a result, Eaton was in violation of being in possession of a firearm while legally intoxicated.
Prosecutor John McDonough said he forwarded the case to the state Attorney General’s office, which will designate a different county prosecutor to review the situation and decide whether charges should be filed.
Eaton was elected to the commission in 2010 and was unopposed in his bid for re-election two years later. Eaton represents Park, Mendon, Leonidas, Colon and Burr Oak townships.
St. Joseph County’s Board of Commissioners last week agreed to a modification regarding its lease agreement with renters at the Meyer Broadway Park house.
Tenants Dan and Sarah Hershberger have requested use of an attached, two-car garage known as Dimmick Lodge. The Hershbergers said they wish to park their vehicles inside the structure, and have offered to pay an additional $100 a month for the opportunity.
After finding out Dimmick Lodge has been leased for public use only 29 times in the past five years thanks to improvements at the north end of the park, commissioners granted the request. One condition, however, calls for removing vehicles from the garage on occasions when Dimmick Lodge is reserved for use.
The congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Three Rivers-Centreville will be a part of a milestone service Sunday, August 11.
The Three Rivers-based church is observing its 175th anniversary with a variety of observances. The first is the 11 a.m. service Sunday, August 11.
Then, an open house is set for Sept. 28, when historic artifacts and documents will be available for public viewing. The event also includes a gathering at Lafayette Park.
On Sept. 29, the 10 a.m. worship service will include previous pastors.
The church is at 320 N. Main St.
Members of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a resolution honoring the 175-year milestone.
Members of the Animal Rescue Fund of St. Joseph County have appealed to county officials for greater enforcement of animal-abuse and cruelty cases.
During Tuesday’s St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners meeting, three members of the agency brought to the attention of commissioners a pair of situations in the county where abuse and cruelty had been documented.
Cheryl Strohm , LeeAnn Farmer and Allison Glismann said the cases are in White Pigeon and Lockport townships.
But Tom Miller, the county’s animal control officer, responded to the claims, saying the concerns have been addressed and information about the cases were exaggerated. He said the department has investigated the situation and a couple of the dogs were voluntarily relinquished by the owners.
Following protocol, commissioners did not respond to comments, which were yielded during the citizen-comment portion of the meeting.
Members of the St. Joseph County Commission on Aging have agreed to urge the county’s board of commissioners to move forward with plans for a proposed senior center in Sturgis.
During their meeting last week, COA board members discussed the proposed Sturgis location and agreed it is needed as a replacement for the current facility on North Jefferson Street.
County Commissioner Allen Balog, who serves as the county liaison to the COA board, indicated he would report the request to his peers.
The county board doesn’t meet again until Aug. 6