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jackson county

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Jackson County voters are being warned they could lose some of their county parks, unless voters OK a new millage on August 7th.  

Jackson County maintains 17 parks and a ten-mile-long scenic bike trail.   

But county Parks Director Jeff Hovarter says past budget cuts have reduced needed maintenance.

He says, without the $2 million a year the millage on the August ballot would provide, the alternative is “rightsizing our park system.”  Hovarter says that may involve closing some parks, selling others to developers or transferring parks to townships.

U.S. Supreme Court

Members of Jackson County’s Board of Commissioners will officially be allowed to lead prayers at public meetings. That’s after the Supreme Court denied a request to review the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ previous decision, which ruled in favor of the county.  

The plaintiff, Peter Bormuth, is a self-proclaimed Pagan and Animist. He argues that commissioner-led Christian prayers violate the First Amendment.

Orange construction barrels
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A massive $110 million road construction project kicks off Monday on a nine mile stretch of I-94 in the Jackson area.

The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to reconstruct 1.4 miles of freeway between Lansing Avenue and Elm Road, resurface 3.5 miles between Lansing Avenue and M-60, and resurface four miles between Elm Road and Sargent Road.

There are also plans to redesign the I-94/Cooper Street interchange and replace a bridge that runs over the Grand River.

Brooklyn, past and present
Village of Brooklyn

Cities, towns, and villages across Michigan are struggling to provide basic services, like road maintenance. Local budgets face reduced revenue sharing from the state and are also limited in how much money they can generate through taxes, a result of the Headlee Amendment of 1978.

Steven Rand
Jackson County Sheriff / https://www.co.jackson.mi.us

Jackson County's sheriff is losing his job benefits by unanimous vote of the County Board of Commissioners.

That's because he did not resign by a May 1 deadline set by the Board because of offensive comments he made about women and minorities.

"We have publicly and officially condemned the conduct of the sheriff and do not believe that it is in Jackson County's best interest for him to remain," said Board Chairman James Shotwell.

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Officials in Jackson County are asking Gov. Rick Snyder to remove their sheriff from office over insulting remarks about women and minorities.

A letter was sent Friday by the county's Board of Commissioners. Chairman Steve Shotwell Jr. says Sheriff Steven Rand's conduct is a "threat to the core values of the community."

Tommy Schuette
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This month a lot of people in Jackson County were shocked by accusations that their sheriff, Steven Rand, is a “multi-faceted bigot.” 

That was among a number of complaints in a federal lawsuit filed against the sheriff.

The Sheriff has apologized for his comments, but yesterday the Jackson County Board called for his resignation and added that if he doesn’t resign, then the governor should remove him. 

Lessenberry on gun control, police discrimination

Feb 21, 2018
AR 15 in carrier case
Photo by Zachary Newton from Pexels / https://www.pexels.com/photo-license/

Since the massacre at a school in Parkman, Florida, Michigan schools have been responding to threats in their communities. Students in Kalamazoo drafted a petition about gun legislation that quickly got tens of thousands of signatures.

Michigan Radio's senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry joined "Morning Edition" host Doug Tribou to discuss gun control and school safety. 


scales of justice
North Charleston / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A federal lawsuit alleges that a Michigan sheriff made insulting remarks against blacks, women and Hispanics and mocked a lieutenant for his work-related hearing loss.

Jackson County Lt. Tommy Schuette filed a federal lawsuit against the county and Sheriff Steven Rand on Monday. The lawsuit states that many of Rand's derogatory comments were recorded.

The Ambassador Bridge
cmh2315fl / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge scored a big victory this week. The Canadian government has finally given the Detroit International Bridge Company permission to build a new bridge next to the Ambassador, just a couple of miles upriver from the site of the publicly funded Gordie Howe International Bridge project. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about hurdles the DIBC still needs to clear before the new span can move forward.  

Christian Cross
Waiting For The Word / Flickr CC /

A federal appeals court is siding with a Michigan county in a dispute over Christian prayers at public meetings.

It ruled the practice by Jackson County commissioners of starting their meetings with Christian-only prayers does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

The case was heard by the entire 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding the opinion of a Detroit federal judge in a 9-6 decision Wednesday.

James Shotwell is chairman of the Board of Commissioners. He says the commissioners just happen to be Christian, and aren't favoring one faith over any others.

Downtown Jackson, Michigan.
user hor Criticalthinker / Wikimedia Commons

DETROIT (AP) - A full federal appeals court will consider whether a Michigan county's tradition of Christian-only prayers at public meetings violates the U.S. Constitution.

The order on Monday by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacates a ruling earlier this month by a three-judge panel of the court that said prayers by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners were unconstitutional. In that 2-1 decision, the court ruled in favor of a Jackson County resident who was offended after he began attending county commissioner meetings in 2013 to discuss environmental issues.

Oklahoma Dept of Corrections

James Francis Rapp spent six years as a teacher and wrestling coach at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson during the 1980’s. 

It was during that time that prosecutors allege the former Catholic priest sexually assaulted several young boys. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

JACKSON – A fresh wave of snow has fallen on much of Michigan over the weekend, but for once the worst of the weather is elsewhere in the region as CMS Energy Corp. dispatches dozens of its employees to help with a severe ice storm expected to hit Kentucky.

Slippery streets and highways have caused numerous accidents in Michigan, including one in which a car hit a state police patrol car handling an earlier accident on Interstate 696 in Southfield.

WWJ-AM says the trooper escaped injury in the crash. Traffic was halted on eastbound I-696.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Consumers Energy is suspending plans to start building a $700 million power plant in Genesee County.

The utility announced today it will instead buy an existing Jackson County power plant for $155 million.

“You know, frankly, we can look out our windows at our headquarters at Consumers Energy, look east, and see the steam when that plant is operating, which is quite often,” says Dan Bishop, a Consumers spokesman.

The Jackson County power plant has been generating electricity for a decade. As a merchant power plant, it sold electricity on the wholesale market.