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  • Robert Lathers

Chamber of Commerce Hosts August Legislative Luncheon at Wagon Wheel

The Portland Area Chamber of Commerce held its monthly Legislative Luncheon at the Wagon Wheel on Monday, August 12th at noon. Approximately 20 participants listened to reports from Katherine Condon, District Director for Congressman Justin Amash; Seventh District Ionia County Commissioner Georgia Sharp; Ionia County Prosecutor Kyle Butler; and several area businesses including Tri-County Electric as well from Portland School Superintendent Will Heath and the Portland Chamber of Commerce staff. No legislators attended the luncheon due primarily to summer breaks following last week’s primary elections.

Ms. Katherine Condon from Congressman’s Amash’s office reported that the U.S. House is in recess until Labor Day. She indicated that Congressman Amash is concerned about the impact of the Trump Administration Tariffs on the District as well as paying close attention to the Immigration issues. She also reminded the attendees of the U.S. Military Academy appointment applications that are due on November 1st. The application process as well as application materials are available on the Congressman’s webpage at www.Amash.House.Gov. Ms. Condon also informed the group that there is a job opening for a District Representative in Congressman Amash’s Grand Rapids District Office. More information is available by emailing Ms. Condon at Katherine.Condon@Mail.House.Gov.

Ionia County Commissioner Georgia Sharp reported that the County Board of Commissioners are working on finalizing the County’s 2019 Budget. She also reported that the County has received funding from the State of Michigan to implement and maintain the County’s Public Defenders Office which will require three full time Defense Attorneys. The County must have staff hired by September 1, 2018 to comply with State requirements. Interviews for key positions began on Tuesday, August 14, 2018.

Finally, Kyle Butler, Ionia County Prosecutor reported on transition in his office. He has had three of his four full-time Assistant Prosecutors leave for other jobs in the last year. Mr. Butler, with 11 years of experience, has been pressed into a heavier caseload himself while he works to train and develop the new Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys. He is optimistic that the new staff will learn quickly to assure prompt service to all Court participants. Prosecutor Butler concluded by sharing that the new Judicial Annex at the Courthouse in Ionia will host a Dedication Ceremony on September 6, 2018. Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen J. Markman will be the honored guest. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the event.

Will Heath, Portland School Superintendent shared with the group that there is a TREMENDOUS need for Bus Drivers, Cleaners, and Support Staff. He also reported that Portland Public Schools has earned an A+ Bond Rating and has secured $12,000,000 at 3 ½ % interest.

The Luncheon concluded with a report from the Chamber of Commerce and a reminder that August 25th will be Red Mill Community Day. More information can be found at www.Mi.Portland.Org.

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