Local News Archives

BH City Manager’s Contract Terminated; Role Unclear

As they work to reach a new contract with City Manager Darwin Watson, Benton Harbor City Commissioners have voted to terminate his old contract. At a Monday meeting, the vote was unanimous to end the contract originally reached in February of 2016. It expired in February of this year, and had been extended month-to-month before the city commission approved an new contract in October. However, Watson has not signed that new contract. City Commission Personnel and Finance Committee Chair Edward Isom told us the commission’s move Monday night was needed as the body seeks to negotiate a new agreement with Watson, and that he remains the city manager. Watson, for his part, told us he has “no idea” if he’s still the city manager. Isom told us the next step is to work out kinks in the October agreement and move forward with Watson as city manager.. ...Read Full Story

Ground Broken On New Women’s Prison

Ground has been broken at the state’s women prison in Ypsilanti for a new vocational center. This marks construction of the third  of what are known as “vocational villages” in the state — the first for a women’s prison. Heidi Washington is the director of the Michigan Department of Corrections and talked with Michigan News Network about the program.. ...Read Full Story

Short-Term Rental Rules Approved

An amendment to the short-term rental ordinance has been approved by the South Haven City Council. At Monday’s meeting, the vote was four to two to update the rules that govern homes that are rented out to vacationers by their owners. City Manager Brian Dissette tells WSJM News the new amended ordinance establishes two types of short term rentals. The first is personal STRs.. ...Read Full Story

City Officials Talk Lead Testing

City officials in Benton Harbor are still waiting on results from water tests after elevated levels of lead were found in eight of 35 homes recently tested. At Monday’s city commission meeting, City Manager Darwin Watson said comparing Benton Harbor to Flint is incorrect because the issue in Benton Harbor is not a city-wide problem caused by changes to the water system itself.. ...Read Full Story

Strong Retail Season Expected

This holiday shopping season is expected to be a good one for retailers. Meagan Holland of the Michigan Retailers Association tells Michigan News Network the organization does a monthly survey in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago, and it has some telling signs.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Pushes Medicaid Legislation

New legislation from Congressman Fred Upton is designed to protect senior citizens from being impoverished due to medical problems. He and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell have introduced the Protecting Married Seniors from Impoverishment Act. It would extend spousal protections for Medicaid beneficiaries receiving long-term care. Upton’s office tells us Medicaid includes protections to prevent a spouse from depleting all their financial resources due to a significant others’ long-term care needs. However, in order to maintain Medicaid eligibility, beneficiaries with a family member needing long-term care may need to “spend down” their resources. That could bankrupt them. The new plan would extend spousal impoverishment protections for Medicaid beneficiaries receiving long-term care to prevent that from being necessary. You can read the full legislation here.. ...Read Full Story

GOP Seeks Last Ditch Law Changes

From the Associated Press — With their grip on power set to loosen come January, Republicans in several states are considering last-ditch laws to weaken Democrats and advance a conservative agenda. Michigan Republicans want to water down a minimum wage law they approved before the election so it would not go to voters and now be easier to amend. Republicans in neighboring Wisconsin are looking to dilute Democrat Tony Evers’ power before he takes over for Gov. Scott Walker. And in North Carolina, Republicans may hash out the requirements of a new voter ID law before they lose their legislative supermajorities. Republicans downplay the tactics. But some of the steps they’re expected to take will almost surely be challenged in court, and critics say such maneuvers undermine the will of people who voted for change.. ...Read Full Story

MSU Offers Housing For Substance Abuse Recovery

From the Associated Press — Michigan State University has joined a list of universities nationally that provide on-campus housing to students in recovery from substance abuse disorders. The East Lansing school says its Collegiate Recovery Community is in a residence hall on the north side of campus. A resident assistant, intercultural aid and peer recovery specialist also live in the hall and provide support to
the students. Officials say students must abstain from drugs and alcohol to be eligible for recovery housing. They add the housing is important because college stresses can threaten recovery. Features include individualized recovery planning, sober social events, community service opportunities and life skills workshops. The university says it’s the first in Michigan to offer such housing. It follows others such as Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers.. ...Read Full Story