Southwest Michigan Today: Wednesday July 3, 2019

Jul 3, 2019

Credit Andy Robins / WMUK

Benton Harbor’s School Board rejects a state school improvement plan. Kalamazoo County’s Prosecutor drops more than 250 marijuana possession cases. A state grant program aims to bring high speed internet to rural areas.

(St. Joseph Benton Harbor Herald-Palladium) Benton Harbor’s School Board has voted to reject a state improvement plan. The proposal released last week required boosting academic achievement and reducing the district’s debt. It would have kept Benton Harbor High School open for at least the next year, state officials had earlier proposed shutting the high school down. The St. Joseph Benton Harbor Herald-Palladium says the school board voted unanimously last night to reject the proposal. Board Secretary Patricia Rush says trustees did not agree to the deal as the state announced last week. A spokeswoman for Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the plan was developed with input from school board members and district attorneys. Tiffany Brown describes last night’s vote as “a setback for Benton Harbor students, parents and the community.”

(Kalamazoo Gazette) Kalamazoo County's prosecutor says he's dropping 275 marijuana possession cases. The Kalamazoo Gazette says Jeff Getting calls that a matter of "fairness" since Michigan voters legalized recreational marijuana use last fall. Getting says the cases involve activity that would not have been illegal if the new law had been in effect at the time. But he says the County will still pursue cases involving the sale of marijuana, which is still illegal. The state is still working on rules for businesses that want to sell recreational pot.

(MPRN) A state grant program is trying to get internet companies interested in offering high-speed services in rural Michigan. One estimate says Michigan could be missing out on $2.5-billion in economic activity due to the lack of broadband in rural areas. Pam Matelski directs the grant program AND says there are about 368,000 households in rural Michigan that can’t get affordable high-speed internet. She says the grants won’t get service to every part of the state. But she says they might get more providers interested in trying.

The state says Consumers Energy needs to improve the way it handles emergencies with its natural gas distribution system. The order Tuesday comes after an explosion and fire at a gas compressor station in Macomb County last January. That caused a severe shortage of natural gas statewide during one of the coldest weeks in recent years. The State Public Service Commission says Consumers Energy must take several steps to prevent that from happening again. They include developing a new incident action plan and re-evaluating its command systems.

(Michigan Radio) Protesters marched Tuesday outside of Congresswoman Debbie Dingell's office in Ypsilanti. They met to call for action by Congress to close immigrant detention centers and end family separation practices. A representative with Dingell's office says the Congresswoman plans to take a trip to the southern border sometime in the next month.

In baseball, Battle Creek lost to Traverse City 7-1 Tuesday night in the final game of the first half of the Northwoods League season. The Bombers will host Kalamazoo Wednesday night. The Growlers game with Kenosha Tuesday night was suspended in the fourth inning due to the rain with the Kingfish leading 1-0. The game will be completed as part of a double header on July 11th.