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Bicyclists bonded as ‘Chain Gang’ before crash that killed 5

They called themselves “The Chain Gang” — a group of bicyclists drawn together by zest for their sport, physical fitness and love of the outdoors whose day trip in the southwestern Michigan countryside ended tragically as a pickup truck plowed into them, killing five and injuring four others. Stunned biking enthusiasts joined relatives and friends of the riders Wednesday in …

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Commissioners make fund-balance designation changes

Some minor but important changes to the county’s fund-balance designations were made by commissioners Tuesday. Finance director Joni Smith said one of the two moves provides assurance that the county won’t have to borrow money when treasurer Judie Ratering conducts the annual delinquent-tax process. The delinquent-tax process needs $6 million every year to cash flow itself, Smith said, so keeping …

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Water Festival armbands on sale

Organizers of the Three Rivers Water Festival said an opportunity to save money on armbands for rides at next week’s event is available for another week. Rides and games require tickets purchased at the midway site in the West City parking lot at a cost of $18 per person. Advanced sales for the armband tickets are available for $15 until …

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No license needed for free fishing weekend

State Rep. Aaron Miller said this coming Saturday and Sunday is Free Fishing Weekend in Michigan, and he urges people to join by casting a line in a local lake, pond or river. Miller said the Michigan Department of Natural Resources waives all fishing-license fees during Free Fishing Weekend so residents and out-of-staters alike can experience the joy of fishing …

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County commission to field millage request

The 2015 annual audit and a county millage-rate request are among the items of new business to be fielded this afternoon by the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners. Other matters before the commission include a request for a new position for community corrections, a request to establish an online survey and fund-balance designations. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. …

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Miller votes against repealing insurance company tax credit

State Rep. Aaron Miller has called on the Legislature to put the brakes on repealing an $80 million car-insurance-industry tax credit until reform takes place to lower insurance rates. Miller last week voted against House Bills 5457 and 5458, which repeal an inadvertent tax credit given to insurance companies in legislation signed into law in 2012. Miller said he wants …

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