Southwest Michigan Today: Thursday October 11, 2018

Oct 11, 2018

Jennifer Lord of Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers, is an attorney for the plaintiffs suing the state over false charges of unemployment fraud
Credit Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

A Kalamazoo County Commissioner resigns after moving out of his district. The state Supreme Court hears arguments about a lawsuit over people falsely accused of unemployment fraud. A federal agency files suit over age discrimination at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital. 

(Kalamazoo Gazette) Kalamazoo County Commissioner Kevin Wordelman has resigned. The Democrat was not running for re-election this year, but he stepped down after moving out of the second district he was elected to serve. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports Wordleman closed on his new home September 24th and changed his voter registration two days later. The county commission will have to revisit action taken during its October second meeting where Wordleman voted on the county budget and other matters. The board has until October 26th to name a replacement for Wordelman or the seat will remain empty through the end of the year.

(MPRN) Tens of thousands of people were falsely accused of cheating on their unemployment benefits. The state took money from their tax refund or ordered them to re-pay benefits. That was after a problem with the state’s automated system. The Michigan Supreme Court will decide if a lawsuit against the state for the false fraud accusations can go forward. The state argues that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit after their property was taken away, not when they first got notice of the fraud accusation. A lawyer for the plaintiffs says if the case goes forward, anywhere between 20 to 40 thousand people could join the lawsuit.

(Gongwer News Service) Federal officials say the state is guilty of age discrimination at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital. The Gongwer News Service says that's according to a federal lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It says a hospital administrator in his 30's refused to hire one woman and forced another to resign. Both were in their 50's. The State Department of Health and Human Services says it won't comment on the lawsuit. The EEOC says it tried and failed to settle the case out-of-court.

(WNMU) An Upper Peninsula town is suing the Michigan Department of Corrections for shutting down the Ojibway Correctional Facility. The Supervisor of Marenisco Township, in Gogebic County says the MDOC was prejudiced and didn’t follow proper procedure according to state appropriations bills. Township officials are hoping the judge files an injunction against the closure and Ojibway eventually reopens.

(Michigan Radio) Activists gathered in Flint Wednesday to mark “Imagine a Day without Water” day. They point to the Flint water crisis…Detroit residents struggling to pay water bills and the growing PFAS problem across Michigan as reasons why state leaders in Lansing need to do more to make sure everyone has safe drinking water.

(MPRN) Ford Motor Company stock fell to a six-year low this week. The Detroit Three automakers all spent part of the day Wednesday with their stock in freefall on the news that Ford’s holdings were the lowest since 2012. Michelle Krebs is an executive analyst with Auto Trader. She says the auto industry is due for a market correction after several strong years after the recession. She does NOT see the dip as a forecast for another recession.

(WNMU) A program that trains emergency responders in rural areas of Michigan faces an uncertain future. EMS conference Executive Director Bob Struck says the state stopped funding the event a couple of years ago. But Struck says the conference is critical to rural emergency responders. The conference has survived with funding from other sources. But Struck says the future of that funding is now in question.