Around Michigan & State Government

Several Flint commmunity leaders said Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette has a record of ignoring the people of Flint.

They spoke at a press conference Wednesday organized by the Michigan Democratic Party.

According to Chris Martin, pastor of the Cathedral of Faith Church in Flint, Schuette ignored 15 complaints in 2015 from residents reporting bad water quality in Flint.

Martin said complaints about bad water and health problems had fallen on deaf ears in Flint. 

The office of the Auditor General testified Thursday in front of a house oversight committee on their audit of the state’s Child Protective Services. 

The audit was released earlier this month. It found a pattern of failures to meet state requirements, including that CPS had not conducted criminal history background checks in more than 50% of cases. 

Today on Stateside, we hear from a Michigan soybean farmer on how President Trump's escalating trade war with China is projected to affect the state's agriculture producers. Plus, Stateside's education commentator Matinga Ragatz weighs in on the teacher shortage crisis facing Michigan schools. 

Governor Rick Snyder still can’t build a bridge between a union and a construction trade association to end a roadwork stoppage across the state.

Wikimedia commons

Former top-level state officials with the Snyder, Engler, and Milliken administrations are among a group of Republicans and independents publicly endorsing Democrat Gretchen Whitmer for governor.

Morgan Springer

It could be a competitive race for Michigan’s 104th house seat this coming election. The district covers Grand Traverse County. Republicans have held this seat firmly for at least 20 years.

A northern Michigan lawmaker says he will not participate in any debates or forums before the election. Larry Inman (R-Traverse City) withdrew from a League of Women Voters forum scheduled for October 8.

In an email, Inman’s campaign manager Ashleigh Ackerman said they’re disappointed they couldn’t make it work out, but the Grand Traverse County representative doesn't have the time in his schedule. 

"Our campaign offered to do a written questionnaire, which would be easily available to those that would not be able to attend a forum," she said.

Emmet County

Emmet County Commissioner Betsy White lost by one vote in the Republican primary. GOP nominee Izzy Lyman got 223 votes to White's 222.

After she lost the primary, White says her first reaction was to just let it rest, but then she thought, 'my work is not done.' She's been a commissioner since 2016.

One of Michigan’s top Republican lawmakers has been fined for bringing an unregistered gun to the airport. Rep. Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) was caught with the gun at the Pellston Regional Airport in July. 

On August 21, the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office charged Chatfield with a civil infraction. The following day, Chatfield paid a $250 fine. He could not be reached for comment but has said on Facebook that bringing the gun to the airport was an accident. He called it an “inexcusable mistake.”

A top-ranking Republican in Michigan’s House will be issued a civil infraction for bringing an unregistered gun to the airport in July.

Representative Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) was stopped in the security line at Pellston Regional Airport when he brought the gun there in July. He apologized, saying he made an "inexcusable mistake" when he accidentally brought the gun to the aiport. He also said he had thought his gun was registered.

UNOFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS: Updated 8/8/18 10:30 a.m:

Governor: 

Republican: Bill Schuette

Democrat: Gretchen Whitmer

Libertarian: Bill Gelineau

Grand Traverse County is doing a better job of funding retirement plans for its employees, according to a new report from the Municipal Employees Retirement System, or MERS.

MERS is an independent organization that invests retirement funds for Michigan municipalities.

Grand Traverse County

Nate Alger is the new Grand Traverse County administrator. On Wednesday, the county board of commissioners unanimously approved Alger’s contract. Alger is expected to sign the contract with a starting salary of $124,000 and a start date of July 1.

 

Alger takes over a county that is dealing with instability as it tackles pension debt, suicides in the jail and employee dissatisfaction. Alger says stagnant pay and reduced benefits have caused some animosity with employees in the past, but he plans to work on that.

David Cassleman

Republican Carolyn Cater spent a dozen years working on ships in the Great Lakes. Cater was once a coal-passer on the S.S. Badger, spending her time shoveling coal into the ship’s boilers.

Cater is now running for Michigan’s 101st state House District seat, which runs from Ludington to Northport.


Whitewater Township

The Whitewater Township board has rejected a plan to allow short-term rentals. The proposal would have allowed residents to build new structures on their lots and rent them out on websites like AirBnb.

The idea came from the township planning commission but it was met with resistance from the community. Residents circulated a petition against the plan and presented it to the board at a meeting Tuesday night.

Google Maps

The argument over short-term rentals has come to Whitewater township. The township’s planning commission wants to relax zoning rules so new rentals can be built on existing residential lots.

Under a new proposal, residents who own at least 30,000 square feet of land could build a second structure on their property. The new structure could be up to 1,200 square feet in size.

The proposal would allow homeowners to rent their new structures on websites like AirBnB.

But township supervisor Ron Popp says it’s a bad idea.

Grand Traverse County

Grand Traverse County commissioners have picked a local law enforcement official to lead the county. This morning they voted four to three to offer Nate Alger the county administrator job.

Michigan’s top prosecutor is on board with proposed changes to how the state parole board determines if an inmate can be released from prison.

 

Michigan is offering $50 million as start-up money for upgrading the Soo locks in the Upper Penisula. 

 

It’s part of a budget deal between Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders. They announced the earmark at a conference on Mackinac Island this week.  

 

Snyder says there’s only one lock that can handle the largest freighters traveling on the Great Lakes. 

Grand Traverse County

The search for Grand Traverse County’s next leader is down to two candidates. County commissioners will choose between a local law enforcement officer and a former state representative from Bay City.

The commission has been searching for a new administrator since the surprise resignation of Vicki Uppal in January. With the help of a consulting firm, the commission has named two finalists for the job – Nate Alger and Thomas Hickner.

Branislav Ondrasik

Michigan State University has reached a half-billion dollar settlement with victims of Larry Nassar. Nassar is the former MSU sports medicine doctor who sexually assaulted hundreds of women over decades – and called it treatment.  

 


Grand Traverse County

Leaders in Grand Traverse County will wait until a new administrator is hired before they decide how to spend a budget surplus.

The county’s finance director says there’s about an extra $8 million in the budget. The money comes from increased property tax revenue and unforeseen savings in employee health care and the removal of the Boardman River dam.

Lawmakers says there’s no doubt that Michigan State University failed to protect its students from Larry Nassar. He’s the former MSU sports doctor who sexually assaulted patients for years under the guise of treatment.

A state House inquiry into the school released its findings Thursday.

Lawmakers say Nassar was able to exploit multiple loopholes in MSU’s policies. The House inquiry also found that the school botched an internal investigation into Nassar arising from a complaint about his “treatment” in 2014.

The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether police officers illegally searched the backpack of a passenger in a stopped vehicle. The passenger says officers should have first asked his permission.

Larry Mead was riding in a vehicle stopped for an expired plate. The driver gave permission for police to search the vehicle, where Mead left his backpack. The officers found methamphetamine in the backpack.

Inmates sent to prison as children can sue the state over sexual abuse and other alleged misconduct, under a ruling from the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit claims minors aged 13 to 17 who were sent to prison were beaten and sexually abused by adult inmates and prison staff. The state tried to get the lawsuit dismissed under a 1999 amendment to Michigan’s civil rights act that barred legal actions filed by inmates under that law.

The court struck that down.

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