Michigan News

Monday, March 27, 2017

Bellino bill would help certain retired police, fire personnel

State Rep. Joe Bellino, R-Monroe, has introduced legislation aimed at income tax relief to certain retired police and firefighters who are not covered by Social Security. This plan would bring them more in line with other retirees. Rep. Bellino's bill is aimed at Michigan public safety professionals who were born after 1952 but were retired before 2013. The bill would provide an increased tax deduction for retirement or pension benefits from government employment not covered by Social Security. Bellino's bill would allow these retirees to claim the same sort of income tax deductions already allowed for retirees covered by Social Security. A similar fix for retirees born before 1953 and not covered by Social Security became part of Michigan law a few years ago. The difference in taxation has been an issue since Michigan adopted broad tax reforms in 2011.
Monroe Evening News

Cascade Township fire chief retires, deputy chief axed after firefighters’ scandal

Cascade Township Fire Chief John Sigg has retired and Deputy Fire Chief John Shipley has been terminated following two criminal cases filed against two other firefighters. Sigg announced his retirement Friday, March 24 and had been with the department for 29 years. He became chief in 2001. Township officials also today terminated Shipley from the deputy chief's position. He was a part-paid worker while Sigg was full-time. Former firefighters Clem Bell, 51, and Steven Drake, 32, both were charged earlier this year on counts of child sexually abusive activity and using a computer to commit a crime.

Summerfield firefighters to undergo physicals, drug tests

Summerfield Township volunteer firefighters will soon have to undergo mandatory physicals and drug screening as a condition of employment. On Monday night, the township board voted 5-0 in favor of the mandatory physicals and drug-screening tests for all firefighters. Representatives from the St. Vincent Mercy Occupational Health Department in Toledo will provide the service, Supervisor John Chandler said. A mobile van from the department will come directly to the fire hall on Saline St. and perform the physicals. The department will contact fire Chief Nick Lucas to arrange dates and times. There will be a June 1 deadline to have the tests done, Mr. Chandler said Wednesday. The board also voted to increase compensation for the firefighters $5 a call for all who pass the physicals and drug tests. There are 28 members on the force, he said.
Monroe Evening News

St. Clair County firefighters get new pagers, a squeeze on some department budgets

Fire departments countywide will be switching to a new paging system the morning of April 3. The pagers are used to alert on-call firefighters to emergencies. Because the current system was nearing the end of its life, the county began researching technology upgrades last year and decided to switch from the current VHF paging system to an 800 megahertz fire paging system. While most fire departments are eager to switch over the upgraded technology, some smaller fire departments in St. Clair County expressed concerns about cost.
Port Huron Times Herald

Gilead Township: Arson suspected in abandoned school fire

A quick call from a neighbor and action by fire fighters saved the historic old brick school building at the corner of South Snow Prairie and Southern roads Saturday night. A man driving by spotted the smoke and some flames coming from the abandon building around 8 p.m. The Bronson Fire Department responded with mutual aid from Lakeland Fire Department. According to BFD Deputy Fire Chief Ken Stutzman, "arson is the probable cause and Michigan State Police will be investigating." The old school, with an arch over the door reading "1908 District School No. 3," had been used for housing sheep in past years. Old straw burning on the first-floor sent smoke billowing out back windows, but there was minimal damage.
Branch County/Coldwater Daily Reporter

Friday, March 24, 2017

Woman sentenced for her role in Detroit firefighter’s 2015 murder

A woman who was involved in the beating of a Detroit firefighter to death was sentenced Friday morning. Nicole O'Neill, 33, was the third person sentenced for Dave Madrigal's murder. She pleaded guilty to second degree murder earlier this year and will be sentenced before Judge Paul Cusick at 9 a.m. Friday. The 59-year-old Detroit firefighters was killed in his home on Vaughn Street in December 2015. Police said an upstairs bedroom at Madrigal's home had been ransacked and a safe was missing. Timmy Soto, 32, Nicole O'Neill, 33, and 19-year-old Christian Rasnick all originally were charged with felony murder, armed robbery, arson and larceny. After Madrigal's murder and the home's ransacking, Soto and Rasnick stole Madrigal's SUV, drove it to an alley and set it on fire, prosecutors said.
WDIV-TV NBC 4 Detroit

Fife Lake Township Votes To Leave Grand Traverse Rural Fire Department

“It would be very beneficial to Fife Lake Township to go out on their own,” said Nicole Gibson, resident of Fife Lake. Another township has decided to leave the Grand Traverse Rural Fire Department. It's a decision Fife Lake Township has been actively weighing for the last six weeks. Green Lake, Blair, Grant and Long Lake have already left the department. Decisions that haven't come easily, but ones that board members believe is in the best interest of their communities. “We feel we can do this, not with an easy process, but with a process that is thought out,” said Linda Forwerck, Fife Lake Township Supervisor. Fife Lake Township board members unanimously voted to withdraw from Grand Traverse Rural Fire. A decision that did not come lightly.
WWTV-TV 9&10 News

Man: ’I didn’t murder nobody’ in Detroit fire that killed 5

A man accused of setting a fire that killed five people in Detroit is denying the allegations and will be examined to determine whether he understands the murder charges against him. Henry Johnson appeared in court Thursday and said: "I didn't murder nobody." Five men died and others were injured in an apartment building fire on March 8. Police have said an argument preceded the fire, which was fueled by extraordinary wind gusts. Only one of the five victims has been identified so far. The medical examiner's office is awaiting DNA or dental records. The 55-year-old Johnson is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree arson.
Midland Daily News

Highland Park needs public’s help after fire truck burns in blaze

A fire truck destroyed by fire. It started in the engine and quickly consumed the rig after the crew returned from a run in Highland Park earlier this month. The city has three fire trucks to cover city limits that stretch less than 3 square miles. But one fire would change that - as they were leaving a scene a likely mechanical problem sidelined their 100-foot ladder truck. Then this happened. "Once we opened the doors and it got oxygen it started fueling itself and then got on the radio and called for help," said Fire Chief Kevin Coney said. 'But the truck was totally engulfed." Being down a truck is a big blow for the department - especially since a new one costs at least $1 million a lofty price tag for a department who just last year gained a third engine.
WBJK-TV MyFox Detroit 2

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