Southwest Michigan Today: Thursday August 1, 2019

Aug 1, 2019

State Capitol - file photo
Credit Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

The Michigan Court of Appeals says the state has short changed local governments in Michigan. A former aide to the Trump White House is running for state House in the district that includes Portage. Michigan gets poor grades for fighting cancer.

(MPRN) The Michigan Court of Appeals says that the state violated an amendment to the Michigan Constitution. The Headlee Amendment lays out some rules for how the state funds local governments. The state has to spend a certain amount of money on local governments every year. There were several issues – including what the state could count toward that spending minimum. The court said the state cannot count money for things the state requires those local governments to do. However, the state can count money paid to local school districts and charter schools. All this could have an impact on the state’s budget. It’s currently under development in the state Legislature.

(Kalamazoo Gazette) A former White House aide is running for state House in the district that includes Portage. Bronwyn Haltom grew up in Oshtemo Township. She returned to Southwest Michigan after working in the Trump administration. The Kalamazoo Gazette says Haltom is running for the 61st district seat currently held by fellow Republican Brandt Iden. He can’t for re-election to the House because of term limits. One Democrat, Kalamazoo County Commissioner Christine Morse, has announced that she is running for the state House seat.

(MPRN) Ten Democrats showcased their plans to create jobs and ensure clean water as part of a televised presidential debate Wednesday night in Detroit. This was the second group of hopefuls to appear in the CNN-sponsored Democratic debates in Detroit’s Fox Theater. The candidates also discussed the auto industry and election laws and security in Michigan. 

Economic development agency Battle Creek Unlimited has extended the contract of its CEO. BCU says its board approved the extension for Joe Sobierlaski through June of 2022. Sobierlaski has worked for Battle Creek Unlimited since December of 2015. He became interim CEO in July of 2016, and had the interim removed his title in October of that year. The chairman of Battle Creek Unlimited’s board credits Sobierlaski with several successful initiatives, and delivering on the non-profit agency’s strategic plan.

(Interlochen Public Radio) The American Cancer Society says Michigan is in the bottom-half of U.S. states for cancer prevention. A report from the ACS gave the state failing grades for tobacco prevention, healthcare access and tanning bed regulations. According to the American Cancer Society over 58,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in Michigan this year.

(Michigan Radio) Michigan’s orange barrel season may be a little longer this year. Heavy equipment operators went on strike yesterday. The strike affects dozens of construction projects across the state. A union spokesman says they have been working without a contract with an Indiana company for a year. The company accuses the union of refusing to attempt to negotiate a fair deal.

(WCMU) Birds in four Michigan counties have tested positive for the West Nile virus. Mosquitoes can spread the disease from birds to people. The State Department of Health and Human Services says people in Otsego, Bay, Gladwin, and Saginaw counties should be careful when they're outdoors. The department says there haven't been any human cases of West Nile in Michigan reported so far this year. But more than a hundred people got the disease last year, and nine died. Experts say the best way to avoid the virus is to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves to prevent mosquito bites.

In baseball, Kalamazoo failed to score for the second straight night and lost at Traverse City Wednesday 8-0. The Growlers host Rockford Thursday night at Homer Stryker Field to begin a two game series. Kalamazoo holds a four game lead over the Rivets for the final playoff spot in the Northwoods League Great Lakes East Division.

Battle Creek fell behind 8-0 and lost at Rockford Wednesday night 8-5. The Bombers will host Madison Thursday night to begin a two game series at C.O. Brown Stadium.