Southwest Michigan Today For Friday January 5, 2018

Jan 5, 2018

Unemployment rates in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek were up in November, compared to 2016. A WMU survey finds graduates are doing well after earning their degree. Lake Michigan College pays a settlement to its former president and her attorneys. 

Unemployment rates in the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek labor markets were up in November, compared to the same period a year ago. The seasonally unadjusted jobless rates released yesterday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget show the jobless rate in the Kalamazoo Metropolitan Service Area was 3.9% in November, up three-tenths of a percent for Kalamazoo and Van Buren Counties from the same period of 2016. The Battle Creek labor market’s unemployment rate was 4.4% in November, six-tenths of percent higher than it was in Calhoun County a year ago.

Western Michigan University says its graduates are doing well after graduation. The university says nine of every ten students who graduated in the last academic year either have jobs, are in graduate school, or are in the military. More than three-quarters of graduates with jobs work full-time in Michigan. University officials say 85% of recent graduates in the workforce have positions that are related to their degree. And 88% say they like their jobs. The figures are from a survey of recent Western graduates.

Lake Michigan College is paying its former president and her attorneys $145,000 as part of a settlement agreement. Jennifer Spielvogel was fired in May of 2016, four months after she started as president of the community college, which has campuses in Berrien and Van Buren Counties. At the time, board members cited allegations of unauthorized spending and unprofessional behavior. Spielvogel filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in June of 2016. The St. Joseph Benton Harbor Herald Palladium says documents it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that Lake Michigan College is paying $95,000 of the settlement, the rest will come from an insurance pool.

Kalamazoo County’s Public Housing Commission is buying a shelter for women in recovery from addiction and their children. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that the commission agreed to buy the 132 year old Bethany House on South Rose Street in Kalamazoo. Bethany non-profit Housing Corporation owned the house and leased it to Community Healing Centers. But the lease was terminated in February because of the cost of repairs. About a dozen women and children are currently staying at Bethany House.

Michigan’s Congressional delegation is making another push for the Defense Department to select Battle Creek for a missile defense project. The Battle Creek Enquirer says a new letter prepared by Congressman Fred Upton, and Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters was signed by the other 12 House members from the state. The letter sent to the director of the missile defense agency cites recent threats from North Korea as a reason to go ahead with the project. Michigan’s Congressional delegation says the existing infrastructure at the Fort Custer Training Center makes it a good site for the project. It would include 60 missiles that don’t have warheads, but are designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles.

There wasn’t much ice cover on the Great Lakes the last two winters. That changed with this month’s deep freeze. Ice is expected to cover almost 90-percent of Lake Erie, the shallowest of the lakes, by the end of the week. The cold and ice have affected shipping in the region, as Elizabeth Miller reports for Great Lakes Today.