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Southwest Michigan Today: Monday July 22, 2019

Road construction - file photo by WMUK

State health officials investigate illnesses in Southwest Michigan possibly linked to food contamination. Lots of Michiganders lost power over the weekend, but they shouldn't count on getting a credit from their utility. The Transportation Department’s new five-year plan doesn’t count on new revenue. A Kalamazoo County Commissioner announces her campaign for state House. Golfers at a high-profile club in Manistee County have been hitting balls into Lake Michigan for years, according to a newspaper investigation.

The state and local health officials are looking into an outbreak of cyclosporiasis in southwestern Michigan. It's a gastro-intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite. Outbreaks are usually caused by contaminated produce. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says there have been eight confirmed cases of the disease in southwest Michigan since late last month. And there could be at least 14 more. The state says some of the cases involve people who ate at a restaurant in South Haven. But it says the contamination of food by the parasite usually happens before it arrives at restaurants or distribution centers and is hard to wash off.

(Michigan Radio) It appears few Michiganders who spent the weekend without electricity will be able to apply for a credit on their next utility bill. More than 600 thousand D-T-E and Consumers Energy customers spent part of the past few days in the dark after strong storms knocked out their power. State law says utility customers who were without power for 16 or more hours are entitled to a 25 dollar credit. But both utilities are calling this weekend’s wild weather a ‘catastrophic event’...cutting off electricity to more than ten percent of their customers. That means customers will have to be in the dark for 120 hours to qualify for the credit. Few customers are expected to reach that threshold. 

(MPRN) The state Department of Transportation has released its annual road repair plan for the public to review. This is the state’s five-year rolling plan on where the need for road repair and maintenance is most urgent. A spokesman for the transportation department says the plan does not take into account Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request to the Legislature for more road funding. The Democratic governor has called for a 45-cent increase in the fuel tax to pay for road improvements. The Legislature’s Republican leaders say they are looking for other ways to raise the money needed to fix Michigan’s roads.

Kalamazoo County Commissioner Christine Morse is launching a campaign for state House. The Democrat will run next year for the 61st district seat currently held by Republican Brandt Iden. He cannot run for re-election due to term limits. Morse is in her first term on the Kalamazoo County Commission. The 61st district includes most of the city of Portage, as well as several surrounding townships.

(Detroit Free PressPatrons at the nationally-renowned Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club in Manistee County have been deliberately hitting golf balls into Lake Michigan for years. That’s according to an investigation by the Detroit Free Press, which reports that until recently, the Arcadia Bluffs website encouraged golfers to aim for the Lake on a course that overlooks it. A diver hired by the newspaper found hundreds of balls offshore near the club. Besides plastic, golf balls can contain zinc and other metals. Their presence in Lake Michigan raises questions about littering and water pollution. Arcadia Bluffs president William Shriver says the language on the course’s website was “outdated” and that Arcadia Bluffs does not want its customers to hit golf balls into the Lake.

Consumers Energy says customers that lost power because of weekend storms should have service back by Tuesday. About 220,000 customers lost power at some point over the weekend. Consumer Energy’s outage map has updated information.

(Michigan Radio) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will speak Monday morning at the NAACP annual convention in Detroit. Many top Democrats plan to appear at the civil rights group’s convention this week…including presidential candidates. President Trump declined an invitation to address the NAACP convention.

In baseball, Battle Creek rallied from a three run deficit for a three run victory, 8-5 at Kokomo Sunday. The Bombers will host Kenosha Monday night at C.O. Brown Stadium to begin a two game series.

Kalamazoo took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning at Kenosha, but three runs by the Kingfish gave them a 4-3 over the Growlers Sunday. Kalamazoo has lost six straight and will begin a two game series at Rockford Monday night.