Southwest Michigan Today: Friday June 8, 2018

Jun 8, 2018

Calhoun County reports an outbreak of whooping cough. Several businesses that were about to get a medical marijuana license will have to wait. Electrical meters catch fire in Battle Creek. A proposed tax bill raises concerns over municipal government funding. A distillery in Three Oaks faces a cease and desist order because of waste water disposal. A WMU long jumper comes up short of qualifying for the NCAA finals. 

Health officials have declared an outbreak of whooping cough in Calhoun County. The local health department has diagnosed seven cases of the disease. At least one patient does not appear to  have had close contact with other infected people. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that whooping cough is especially dangerous for pregnant women and infants. Public Health Department Medical Director William Nettleton says that people with symptoms such as episodes of violent coughing should stay away from public spaces and family gatherings.

Several medical marijuana businesses that expected to get licenses from the state on Monday will have to wait another month, after the state agency in charge of issuing those licenses cancelled a meeting on Friday. The Detroit Free Press reports that’s because two members of the board could not be there. Department of Licensing and Regulation spokesperson David Harns declined to say which members those were. The businesses that had been poised to get a license include growing and transporting operations and an Ann Arbor dispensary.

Firefighters in say they’re not sure why two electrical meters in a Battle Creek neighborhood caught fire today. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports the first fire was discovered this morning at a home on Oaklawn Drive. As crews worked on that meter, they found another one aflame on the same block. No one was injured in either case. Consumers Energy was expected to spend several hours making repairs in the area.

A bill in the Michigan senate would exempt new utility distribution lines and storage equipment from property taxes. A bill analysis shows that as utilities replace infrastructure more of that infrastructure would be property tax exempt - creating holes in state and municipal funding. Groups in opposition to the bill say it will leave already cash strapped municipalities unable to pay for basic services. Republican State Senator John Proos of St. Joseph is a bill sponsor. He says utility infrastructure development costs usually fall on ratepayers and his bill would protect them. Proos says those costs can’t be put on utilities because it would “destabilize reliability.” (WCMU

The Village of Three Oaks has issued a cease and desist order to a distillery over waste water disposal. The village says Journeyman Distillery has until next Friday to comply. There is a council meeting on Wednesday where the issue is scheduled to be addressed. The waste water system in the village is several ponds that hold the waste. They are scheduled to be dredged this fall. They have not been dredged since they were put in, in the 1970s. This issue is also about an ordinance backed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The owner of Journeyman Distillery says he doesn’t understand why the waste water issues are being pinned on his business. Bill Welter says Journeyman is willing to work with the village and other companies to address the water problems. (WVPE

Western Michigan University sophomore Gabrielle Collins fell short of qualifying for the long jump finals at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon. Collins’ longest jump Thursday night was 19 feet three and a half inches. The top nine jumpers advanced to the finals.

In baseball, Kalamazoo remains undefeated on the road this season. The Growlers won at Kenosha 7-5 in 11 innings. Kalamazoo will host Green Bay for a two game series beginning Friday night at Homer Stryker Field.

Battle Creek lost at Wisconsin Rapids 9-4. The Bombers have lost five of their last six games, and will play at Madison Friday night.