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Michigan’s annual average unemployment rate falls in 2015

The state says Michigan’s annual average unemployment rate fell in 2015, marking the sixth straight yearly decline. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget said Wednesday that the preliminary annual average unemployment rate was 5.4 percent last year, down from the 2014 annual rate of 7.3 percent. The 2015 measure was slightly above the 5.3 percent national annual rate. …

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New round in lawsuit over woman’s death from power line

The family of a Battle Creek woman who was killed by a downed power line has won a crucial court decision in a lawsuit against Consumers Energy. The Michigan appeals court says it was “reasonably foreseeable” that an injury could occur from failing to inspect a power line in a residential area. The court overturned a decision by a Calhoun …

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Constantine residents voice concern over assault weapon ban consideration

Nearly two dozen people voiced an opinion Monday on the Constantine Village Council’s recent discussion about consideration of a ban on assault weapons. In December, president Pat Weiss distributed two articles about federal assault weapons to the council. Weiss said her intention was not to pass a law, but never said anything about banning assault weapons. The council took no …

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Commissioners renew contracts

St. Joseph County’s board of commissioners renewed contracts with three high-ranking employees Tuesday. The County administrator’s contract was extended through 2016. J. Patrick Yoder, 67, joined the county in April 2013. His new contract includes a 2 percent raise, which gives him a base salary of nearly $118,000 annually. Finance director Joni Smith, 53, agreed to a one-year contract renewal. …

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Boil water order remains in White Pigeon

Despite the hope for a clean reading, White Pigeon village officials on Wednesday said a boil-water notice must remain in effect village-wide. Municipal officials had notified residents Jan. 7 that the presence of coliform bacteria had been detected in the water supply. Since then, they have been urging residents to boil water before use or use bottled water. White Pigeon …

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Michigan man pleads no contest in ex-wife’s shooting death

In this photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, Jimmy Leon Trasher, 75, of Texas Township, appears in court in Kalamazoo, Mich. Thrasher, accused of fatally shooting his ex-wife at their western Michigan home in May 2015, pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and felony firearm use. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 16. (Chelsea Purgahn/Kalamazoo Gazette-MLive Media Group via AP) LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; LOCAL RADIO OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

A 75-year-old man accused of fatally shooting his ex-wife at their western Michigan home has pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and felony firearm use. Jimmy L. Thrasher entered his plea Tuesday in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court. His attorney told the judge that Thrasher decided to plead no contest since he’s unable to recall the events that led to the …

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