Local News Archives

Legislation Encourages More Lawmaker Transparency

Michigan House members have introduced a public records proposal they say will increase transparency. The package of bills would subject the governor and lawmakers to public records requests. This will be the second attempt to get the bills passed in the Senate after overwhelming approval from the House last year. Kalamazoo County Republican Representative Brandt Iden is among the sponsors.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Settles Lawsuit Over False Unemployment Fraud Accusations

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency has settled a lawsuit in which it was sued for using an automated computer system that falsely accused thousands of people of fraud. The suit was dismissed Thursday by U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland under an agreement between the state and the plaintiffs. The state says the deal codifies practices put in place after it ceased what’s known as “auto-adjudications” in 2015. The United Auto Workers union, Sugar Law Center and individuals accused of fraud didn’t seek financial damages.
Lawyer David Blanchard says Michigan will implement safeguards to ensure claimants are notified of accusations and can respond. He says the state for too long denied the problem, but his clients are “heartened” by new leadership acknowledging the problem. Another lawsuit seeking financial damages is ongoing in state courts.. ...Read Full Story

Auto Sales Fall In January

From the Associated Press — U.S. auto sales are expected to have fallen in January after ending last year at a record high. General Motors’ sales fell 3.8 percent from last January, while Ford’s sales were down 1 percent. Nissan’s sales rose 6 percent thanks to strong truck and SUV sales. Other automakers report sales later Wednesday. ALG, an automotive forecasting firm, predicts overall sales will be down 1.5
percent from last January to 1.1 million. January is typically the weakest month of the year for U.S. auto sales, as winter weather and holiday debts keep buyers away from car dealerships. This year, the hangover could be even more acute, since a strong December capped off
a record year for the industry. U.S. auto sales totaled 17.55 million last year.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Juvenile Lifer Eligible For Parole After 38 Years

From the Associated Press — A Kalamazoo man originally sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile is now eligible for parole after serving 38 years for a 1979 slaying. MLive reports that in a resentencing Tuesday, a circuit court judge sentenced 55-year-old Anthony Jones to 30 to 60 years and gave him credit for more than 38 years served. Jones was sentenced by the judge in February 2012 to life in prison with the possibility of parole, but changes in state Legislature relating to sentencing juveniles convicted of homicides allowed Jones to have the opportunity to be resentenced.
Jones both planned and participated in the robbery of a Kalamazoo store January 4, 1979, where he struck the store owner but fled the scene before another teenager fatally shot the man. Jones was originally sentenced to life without parole for felony murder.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Snyder To Address Business Recognition Breakfast

Governor Snyder will deliver the keynote address next week at the Business Recognition Breakfast of Cornerstone Alliance and Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce. He is expected to talk about the benefits of doing business in Michigan during his speech. In a statement, Cornerstone Alliance President Rob Cleveland says Michigan has become a top state for attracting and expanding businesses thanks to Snyder, and adds they welcome him to the area “as we celebrate the innovation, growth, and success of Berrien County businesses who produce world-class products and services.. ...Read Full Story

Fatal Crash In Cass County

A 29-year-old Niles man is dead after a two-car crash in Cass County’s Howard Township. Michigan State Police say Chad Pond was driving at a high speed on Barron Lake Road around 7 last night when he tried to pass another car. The vehicles made contact, sending Pond’s car out of control and off the road, where it overturned. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and was wearing a seat belt. Troopers say at this point, they don’t know if alcohol or drugs were factors and the crash is still under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Open Internet Advocates Concerned About Possible FCC Moves

With a new presidential administration comes the possibility that internet service providers will no longer have to provide the same level of service to all the websites that people visit. Net neutrality has only been an FCC policy for two years, and President Donald Trump’s new FCC chair, Ajit Pai, is an opponent. Marty Newell, with the Rural Broadband Policy Group, tells us the nation’s history in treating telephone service as a utility illustrates the importance of regulating common carriers.. ...Read Full Story