Southwest Michigan Today For Friday December 1, 2017

Dec 1, 2017

A new report shows a tightening labor market in West Michigan. Portage weighs regulations on medical marijuana businesses. WMU women's basketball gets a win in its first home game of the season. 

October unemployment rates in the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek labor markets were up slightly from a year ago. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget says the October jobless rate in the Kalamazoo Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Kalamazoo and Van Buren Counties was 4.1%, up a tenth of a percent from a year ago. Unemployment in the Battle Creek MSA was 4.6%, three tenths of a percent higher than Calhoun County’s jobless rate was in October of 2016.

A new report shows that the job market in West Michigan continues to tighten. The latest Business Outlook from the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research finds little change in total employment, although the unemployment rate dropped. The analysis of the region’s economy finds that job gains are concentrated in leisure and hospitality, manufacturing and government. While employment declines were reported in education and health and the professional and business services sector.

The city of Portage plans to have rules and zoning in place for medical marijuana businesses by early next year. The city council discussed proposals during a special meeting yesterday for ordinance amendments, and regulations on medical marijuana related businesses. The Kalamazoo Gazette says the Portage City Council’s schedule calls for the application period for pre-qualified candidates in mid-February. The state plans to issue licenses for medical marijuana related businesses in mid-December.

A woman accusing Congressman John Conyers of sexual misconduct is speaking out in media interviews. Marion Brown is Conyers’ former deputy chief of staff. She settled a complaint against Conyers in 2015. Brown says Conyers' legacy as a civil rights icon does not excuse his behavior. Brown spoke with Stephen Henderson on WDET’s Detroit Today. Conyers’ attorney continues to deny any wrongdoing. Meanwhile three Democrats in Michigan’s Congressional delegation, Dan Kildee, Sander Levin and Debbie Dingell have called on Conyers to resign.

A group opposed to legalizing marijuana in Michigan has formed to fight a proposal that could be on next year’s statewide ballot. The Detroit Free Press reports that Healthy and Productive Michigan formed this week. They are the second group launched to oppose the legalization of marijuana in Michigan. The Committee to Keep Pot out of Neighborhoods and Schools started in May. The group Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol says it turned in 365,000 signatures last week for their proposal that would legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults. More than 252,000 valid signatures from registered voters are needed to send the proposal to the Legislature. At that point, lawmakers could enact the law, or let it go on the statewide ballot.

Western Michigan won its first home game of the women’s basketball season, 86-37 over Olivet. Breanna Mobley led the Broncos with 21 points. Western has split their first eight games of the season. The Broncos will play at Michigan State on Sunday.