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House passes pension tax bill

The Michigan House this week approved State Rep. Aaron Miller’s bill protecting surviving spouses from penalties related to the state’s pension tax. Miller said the goal is to make sure a surviving spouse is not burdened with higher taxes when their older partner passes away. He said it’s the right thing to do so seniors aren’t saddled with higher and …

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Colon considers selling property for store development

Colon’s municipal officials are reconsidering a plan to sell a piece of village-owned property on which a Dollar General would like to develop a store. During a village council special meeting Tuesday, nearly a dozen people urged the seven-member panel to table the matter and hold off on selling the parcel at 210 W. South St., referred to as “the …

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Police searching for theft suspect

The Schoolcraft Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect and vehicle in a larceny from a local business. Chief Bryan Campbell said the incident occurred at 12:10 p.m. Friday in the 400 block of East Lyon Street, where a white male, described as being in his mid-40s to early 50s, entered the business. There was …

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County commission approves severance packages

St. Joseph County’s board of commissioners on Tuesday approved a letter of understanding that will allow it to offer severance packages to employees expected to be laid off. County administrator Teresa Doehring said the county’s financial situation warrants a look at every possible option it can exercise to save money. She said the 2018 budget was approved with a $1.6 million gap. …

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Dual enrollment legislation signed

Students of school districts along state borders will have more dual enrollment education options after Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed into law legislation by State Rep. Aaron Miller. The new law amends the Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act with the stipulation that the out-of-state post-secondary education and dual enrollment school must be within 20 miles of the shared border for students …

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Man arrested after fleeing police

A 29-year-old White Pigeon man is in the St. Joseph County Jail after fleeing from police late Friday night. White Pigeon police attempted to stop a vehicle at U.S. 12 and U.S. 131 for a traffic violation. The driver refused to stop and drove from the crossroads at a high rate of speed. The chase ended when the vehicle rolled …

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County unemployment unchanged

December’s unemployment rate in St. Joseph County remained unchanged from the previous month. The monthly labor-market analysis by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget showed the county’s 3.6 percent December unemployment rate was the same as November’s figure. St. Joseph County was below the state unemployment average, which was 4.4 percent in December. The agency said overall, seasonal …

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Miller testifies on teaching certifications

State Rep. Aaron Miller last week testified on the need for teachers to focus on classroom instruction and quality, not trying to complete a requirement for professional certification. Teachers are currently issued a standard or provisional teaching certificate, commonly given to recent college graduates, with a professional teaching certificate issued to instructors with more than three years classroom experience, over …

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Branch crash kills one, injures two others

One man is dead and two people were injured Friday in a crash on U.S. 12 west of Snow Prairie Road in Branch County’s Bethel Township. Identity of those involved have not been released, pending family notification. Branch County Undersheriff Keith Eichler said a driver of Ford Fiesta had stopped on U.S. 12 to turn left into the Sprung Lake mobile …

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Hepatitis A outbreak in Michigan

Although many health officials are focused on the flu, Michigan is in the midst of a serious Hepatitis A outbreak, said Rebecca Burns, health officer at Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Health Agency. The state’s case count as of Jan. 24 was 715 confirmed cases with 582 hospitalizations and 24 deaths. One case has been reported in Hillsdale. The concern with the Michigan …

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