Southwest Michigan Today: Friday May 3, 2019

May 3, 2019

Downtown Kalamazoo from Prospect Hill at Western Michigan University - file photo
Credit WMUK

Legislation forgiving some snow days from this past winter is headed to the governor. Enbridge still hasn’t released a report on last year’s anchor strike on the Line 5 oil pipelines. A new name for Battle Creek’s Heritage Tower. 

(MPRN) Michigan students are a signature away from getting four snow days forgiven after a brutal winter left some schools closed for weeks. The state Senate sent the bill to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk Thursday. This comes after a dust-up between Republicans and Democrats on details of the bill. Earlier this week, Democrats prevented the bill from getting immediate effect – which would have effectively killed the bill. Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) said he’s still disappointed the bill did not include a guarantee that hourly workers will be compensated for the forgiven days. Ananich says Democrats voted on the best option available. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said the legislation is a good move for schools trying to finalize their calendars.

(Kalamazoo Gazette) Major changes could be coming for "education for employment" programs in the Kalamazoo area. The Kalamazoo Gazette says the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency announced the move this week. It says the changes will help high schools train students for careers in areas that don't need a four-year degree. There's a state-wide shortage of qualified workers in those fields. Among other things, KRESA says it plans to build a new career center to make the program more centralized. The plan still needs to be approved by KRESA's Board.

(Interlochen Public Radio) Last August Enbridge Energy said they would release information to the public on an anchor strike to the Line 5 oil pipelines. But now over eight months later… Enbridge hasn’t released it. The Line 5 oil pipelines were struck by an anchor last year. At a hearing in Traverse City last August Enbridge’s VP committed to releasing all information they had on it. As of yet… they haven’t done that. The company said in a statement that they’re waiting for the US Coast Guard to finish their investigation on the strike. But a member of the Coast Guard’s Prevention division says they’re not stopping Enbridge from releasing anything. The Coast Guard says their investigation in its final stages and could be published in the next few months.

(Battle Creek Enquirer) Battle Creek’s Heritage Tower is getting a new name. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that MDH Development, which is renovating the downtown building says it will be called “The Milton.” Lead developer Mark Harmsen says the name stems from Battle Creek’s rich history. The Village of Milton was founded in 1833, the settlement became the city of Battle Creek in the 1850’s. The $34-million redevelopment will include 85 residential units, along with office and retail space.

(Michigan Radio) Michigan’s medical marijuana dispensaries will no longer be able to buy and sell untested cannabis products from caregivers. Now, the centers will only be able to purchase cannabis products from licensed growers and processors. Centers will be allowed to dispense marijuana products they purchased from caregivers before April 30th…but only with patient consent.

(WCMU) Michigan residents would be allowed to reserve state campsites two weeks before anyone else under new legislation in the state house. Supporters of the legislation say it’s only fair that Michigan taxpayers have first pick of state campsites. Campsites can be reserved six months in advance and bill sponsors say during peak weekends, choice campgrounds can fill up in minutes. State Representative Steven Johnson is behind the measure. He said his constituents raised concerns about campsites going to out of state residents. Johnson said the legislation has support from representatives on both sides of the aisle. The Republican lawmakers says he is currently working with the DNR to figure out how the system would work.