State Roundup

Mount Pleasant
Nearly 200 tickets issued during welcome weekend

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) - Nearly 200 people were ticketed by police and 22 arrested during student Welcome Weekend at Central Michigan University.

Between Thursday and Sunday, 56 people were cited for being minors in possession of alcohol, according to and The Morning Sun in Mount Pleasant.

Another 107 tickets were issued for open intoxicants, nine for nuisance party-hosting, seven for resisting arrest and two for drug possession.

Welcome Weekend is the start of the school year at Central Michigan and has gained a reputation for rowdiness in student neighborhoods around the school. About 27,000 students attended the school last year.

Some partiers tossed beer bottles at police Friday and Saturday, Mount Pleasant Police Public Information Officer Jeff Browne told The Morning Sun.

He told that about half the people he dealt with weren't from Mount Pleasant or had any affiliation with Central Michigan.

"They were here with a friend at CMU to party, or they were here because they heard this was the place to party," Browne said.

Some Central Michigan sorority and fraternity members volunteered to remove trash left along city streets by the partiers.

Emma Drummond, a Sigma Sigma Sigma member, helped fill bags with cigarette butts, crumpled plastic cups, broken glass and other trash.

"This year the parties felt safer, police were keeping control of the crowds without ending the fun," said Drummond, 20.


School districts get downgraded credit ratings

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the credit ratings of more than three dozen Michigan school districts this year.

Falling revenue and rising costs are behind the downgrades at the 43 districts, The Detroit News reported Monday.

Credit downgrades can raise the cost of borrowing money.

Among the districts receiving downgrades are Detroit Schools, Lenawee County's Morenci Area Schools and Oakland County's Farmington Schools.

"Michigan school districts don't have revenue-raising flexibility and many are losing enrollment, which has a direct impact on revenues," said David Jacobson, a spokesman for Moody's Investors Service.

Michigan law prohibits districts from raising property taxes for operating funds over 18 mills on non-homestead properties.

Many districts have cut spending, laid off teachers and other staff and gotten rid of some school programs.

At Morenci Area Schools, enrollment has dropped by about 120 students over the past five years. General fund revenue is projected at about $6.4 million for the upcoming academic year. It started the year with a general fund balance of just over $285,000.

The credit downgrade reflects the district's declining enrollment and static state funding, Morenci Superintendent Mike McAran said.

Detroit Public Schools has been under the auspices of a state emergency manager for several years and has about $483 million in debt. The district's enrollment was once well above 100,000 students, but now is about 47,000.

Former state superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan wrote earlier this year in a report to education appropriation subcommittees as he was leaving his post that cash needs could force Detroit Schools to refinance even more debt.

Only Oakland County's Oak Park Schools saw a credit rating upgrade from Moody's. Enrollment is up by about 3,400 students over the past five years. The district also has a $2.6 million general fund after seeing a $5.5 million deficit three years ago.

Benton Harbor
Custodial firm files suit against school district

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) - A company is suing Benton Harbor Area Schools for what it says are unpaid custodial services.

WOOD-TV reports Monday that Sodexo Management Inc. is seeking more than $2.7 million from the financially struggling district in southwestern Michigan.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court.

Maryland-based Sodexo says it first contracted with the schools in 2011 and set up a 5-year plan in 2013 for the district to pay off $500,000 in past due bills.

The company ended its contract with the district last October.

The district and state forged a consent agreement last year after Gov. Rick Snyder determined there was a financial emergency.

Lodge for sale for $1.5M has beach, rooms and chapel

GLENN, Mich. (AP) - The Sunset Lodge, with its Lake Michigan beach and even a chapel, is on the market for $1.5 million, more than 100 years after the Episcopal Church in Chicago opened it for single women and girls.

Lynette Colmey and her late husband, Tom, purchased the property in Glenn in Allegan County in 1994. It has attracted families, corporate retreats and even high school football teams. There are enough beds for 45 people.

"We've enjoyed sharing it in that way and would love to see it used in the future as a place for people to retreat and refresh," Colmey told The Grand Rapids Press.

The property comes with 252 feet of Lake Michigan beach, 50 miles southwest of Grand Rapids. The lodge opened in 1903 with guests arriving by boat from Chicago.

Real estate agent Nancy Stewart said a buyer would find some "deferred maintenance" projects.

A rustic two-story chapel with pews for 50 people is on the grounds. It has been used for religious services and weddings.

Published: Tue, Sep 01, 2015