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(SANILAC COUNTY) -- Hard economic times have fallen on Thumb area residents. With the holiday season fast approaching, hundreds of families are still in need of assistance with putting a meal on the table. Sanilac County Department of Human Services Community Relations Coordinator Misty Wojnarowicz (wor-naro-witz) says a total of 943 individuals signed up for help with a Thanksgiving dinner this year and the needs of 200 families have still not been met. The large numbers are the result of cuts to the state's food stamp program. Sanilac County has 3,467 households receiving food stamps and each one has been affected by the cut in funding for food. Wojnarowicz says monetary donations only are being accepted at the DHS office in Sandusky. The same amount of Sanilac County residents have signed up for the Holiday Wish Program with more applications submitted weekly. The deadline is December 4. Residents wishing to help with a donation or interested in making the holiday a little brighter for a local family, should contact Misty Wojnarowicz at 810-648-3860.

Thursday, 14 November 2013 10:19

High winds at Mackinac Bridge prompt caution

MACKINAW CITY, Mich. (AP) - High winds at the Mackinac Bridge are prompting officials to escort some taller or larger vehicles across the span. The wind escort notice was in effect Thursday morning at the five-mile span connecting Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas. The high-profile vehicles covered by the notice include pickup trucks with campers; cars with small boats, bicycles or luggage attached to the roof; moving trucks; any vehicle pulling a boat; semi-trucks with enclosed trailers; and all trailers with side walls over 2 feet in height.

(PORT HURON) -- St. Clair County Drug Task Force officers arrested six people Tuesday night following a drug raid in the 2600 block of 24th Street at around 10 p.m. The search warrant was the result of an ongoing narcotics investigation involving the sale of crack cocaine and heroin in the Port Huron Township area. During the raid, officers seized $1,000 worth of crack cocaine, heroin valued at $2,000, marijuana, over $150 in cash, and prescription drugs. The three men and three women ranging in age from 20-37 from Port Huron, Port Huron Township, Detroit and Pontiac remain lodged in the St. Clair County jail on several drug-related charges. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013 10:13

Farmers can get loan help after hail storms

(AREA) -- Farmers in 20 Michigan counties that had damage from severe hail storms earlier this year are eligible for emergency loans. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan announced the support Wednesday involving loans from the Farm Service Agency. The hail storms took place between June 10 and August 2. Farmers in the affected counties will have about eight months to apply for emergency loans. Huron, Jackson, Saginaw and Washtenaw counties were all designated as primary disaster counties. Sixteen were named contiguous disaster counties and are eligible for the same aid. Those are the counties of Bay, Calhoun, Eaton, Genesee, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Lenawee, Livingston, Midland, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, Shiawassee, Tuscola and Wayne.

(PORT HURON) -- The Fort Gratiot Light Station is looking a lot like Christmas. The light station is open, lit up and decorated with wreaths and garland for Port Huron Museum's Countdown to Christmas. The countdown runs through December 15. It includes entertainment, crafts and candlelight tours at the station. The light station also features 24-inch Christmas trees decorated by volunteers. The trees will be sold in a silent auction to benefit the restoration of the light station.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:32

Selfridge air base cited for 8 safety violations

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Selfridge Air National Guard Base has been issued eight notices for unsafe or unhealthy working conditions, including an amputee hazard violation. The U.S. Labor Department says Tuesday in a release that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the notices following an inspection at the base, located northeast of Detroit in Harrison Township. Selfridge is home to the Michigan Air National Guard and employs 790 people. Federal officials say the base previously was cited for inadequate machine guarding to protect workers from amputation. The base also failed to conduct annual inspections of energy control procedures and failed to develop specific procedures to control hazardous energy. Base spokesman Sgt. Dan Heaton says he has not seen the report but adds that the safety of personnel is taken "very seriously."

(AREA) -- Marysville resident, Miss Heather Kendrick, 19, was crowned as the 2014 Miss Sanilac County Sunday night at the Firebird Theatre in Sandusky. Miss Kendrick currently attends the University of Michigan and is pursuing a Bachelors Degree in music. Nine women were vying for the title, which has been held for the past year by Miss Erin Jenkinson of Burton. The other finalists were 22-year old Saginaw resident Melissa Greve, 21-year old Alison Warchol of Roseville, Alexis Moore, 20, of Essexville, 21-year old Danika Katnik of Howell, 23-year old Melissa Keith of Wixom, Jodi Beckman, 21, of Shelby, 19-year old Victoria Schick of St. Clair Shores, and 20-year old Charlotte Squires of Britton. Kendrick advances to the Miss Michigan Pageant, which is a preliminary to the Miss America Organization.

Also Sunday evening, 16-year old Columbiaville resident Rebekah Hemingway was crowned 2014 Miss Sanilac County Outstanding Teen. She is the daughter of Cynthia and Mark Hemingway and is an 11th grader at Faith Baptist School. The title was held by Samantha Orchard of Sandusky. First runner up was 13-year old Cherokee Johnson of Peck and second runner up was 13-year old Jenevieve Pyerk of Fort Gratiot. The other contestants were 16-year old Rachael Roff of Sandusky, Morgan Robbins, 15, of Bridgman, 13-year old Emily Cross of Carsonville, 16-year old Sarah Ward of St. Johns, and  Emily Morris, 14, of Sandusky.

(KINDE) -- A 19-year-old Kinde man has been formally charged after being taken into custody last Friday afternoon when Huron County Sheriff's deputies and DNR officers made an undercover buy of a firearm. Authorities were tipped off from a posting on Facebook. According to Sheriff Kelly Hanson, the suspect, a convicted felon, was lured by undercover agents to make the transaction at Wilcox Park in Bad Axe. Officers purchased a 12-gauge shotgun from the suspect, which led to a search warrant being issued for the suspect's home. Officers found another 12-gauge shotgun at the residence, which belonged to the suspect. Devin Spicer was charged with two 5-year felony counts of possessing a firearm while being a convicted felon. He was released after posting a $5,000 bond. Earlier this fall, Spicer was convicted of larceny of a building and also for his part in a countywide breaking and entering spree that took place back in 2012.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:29

Large fire guts building in downtown Lapeer

(LAPEER) -- A large fire in downtown Lapeer's historic business district has gutted a building that includes apartments and led to damage at an adjacent theater. No injuries were reported following the blaze, which started around 7 p.m. Tuesday. Officials say around two dozen people living in the apartments were displaced by the fire. The cause wasn't immediately known. Assistant Fire Chief of Lapeer Fire and Rescue James Muxlow says that the fire started in one of the apartments, located above retail space. He said the fire spread quickly, but crews from several departments were able to contain the blaze. Mayor William Sprague says the PIX Theatre had smoke and water damage. Several buildings were threatened by the fire Tuesday. State Representative Kevin Daley of Lum stated that he intents to work with Lapeer and local officials to ensure that they have the resources necessary to help rebuild and return life to normal for everyone in Lapeer as soon as possible.

The City of Lapeer and Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the Lapeer, Imlay City, Metamora, Oxford, Davison, Elba and Deerfield Fire Departments for their efforts fighting the fire. A big thanks also goes to the local businesses that supported the firefighters as they worked through the night.

Lapeer Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Neda Payne says that Peddlers Place and Diamond Optical are serving as drop off points for items needed by those displaced by the fire including two air mattresses, girls size 4-5 clothes, men's medium and large shirts, women's small and extra small sized clothes, mens 32-34 pants, bedding and other basic needs. St. Matthews Anglican Church will be holding a Community Prayer Service Wednesday at 7 p.m. and will have a "Community Clothes Closet" open for those in need from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The church is located at 220 Nepessing Street in Lapeer.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF HOLLY SMITH

(SANILAC COUNTY) -- The Sanilac County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday afternoon and approved the 2014 budget. The proposed budget for the 2014 General Fund is $13,760,886. That's an increase of 6.9 percent from the 2013 appropriated budget level. There will be a public hearing Tuesday, December 10th at 2:30 p.m. in the commissioner's chambers.  The adopted legislation does allow modifications to the budget after the public hearing. In other business, the commissioners appointed Brenda Sanford to the county's Pension Plan board and Kristi Bender as the TPOAM Representative. Both positions are three year terms. Board members also honored Joyce Pagel for her years of service to the county. Joyce is retiring after 35 years working in the 73A District Court.