Shelby Women sentenced in SNAP fraud

Cruz Gonzalez, and her daughter, Fabiola Garcia, of Shelby, Michigan, are convicted of food stamp fraud according to U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles.  Gonzalez was sentenced to 33 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Gordon J. Quist. Her daughter, Garcia, was sentenced to 20 months in prison. Both were ordered to pay restitution to the Department of Agriculture in the amount of $722,149, the total amount of the fraud between February 2008 and January 2014. The two conspired to defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, by illegally exchanging SNAP benefits for cash, cell phones, and other ineligible items at La Fortuna Carniceria in Shelby. U.S. Attorney Miles stated, “The federal government cannot tolerate the theft of federal program benefits meant to aid low income individuals meet daily nutritional needs. Such theft undermines the public’s confidence in the SNAP program and diminishes the government’s ability to provide food assistance to those citizens most in need.”

Gonzalez and Garcia were two of three conspirators charged and convicted in the conspiracy. The third, Gisela Mendoza, also a daughter of Gonzalez, was sentenced in November to six months in prison, two months of home detention, and restitution of an equal amount.

Keeping computer data safe

computer 767776 1920

How do we keep our data safe in the modern age? Andy Mazur, technical manager for Shelby based marketing firm Envigor, explains some of the most common mistakes people make when attempt to keep their computer data safe.

“One of the biggest ones is simple passwords. Using something that can be easily guessed by a program. A lot of hackers use a method called brute forcing.That's just a program that has a huge list of random names, letters, characters, and they just run through each of those trying to break into your account. Having a strong password, a strong password being something with uppercase, lowercase letters, numbers, a combination of that, will help prevent that.”


Andy Mazur also recommend people use caution when using the internet on an open wifi network such as freely through a business. “When you’re browsing on an open network, something not secure, where you don’t have to enter a password,  there are various ways to ensure to prevent your information from being stolen. For example, just making sure the website you’re browsing is encrypted. I’m sure you’ve seen the little green lock or the https in the web URL; that's always a good thing.”


A VPN Is also recommended for open networks. It allows users to connect to a private network and encrypts all the traffic between the networks, preventing from any nearby hackers from accessing your data through the open network.

He also recommends two factor authentication. “Instead of just typing in your password for your account, you type in your password and a secondary code. That code is usually sent via text or applications on your phone that can generate these numbers, Basically you're entering a password and a unique number that only your phone has access to.”

Andy Mazur recommends reaching out to your trusted technical support if you have questions about the best software for your computer.

Vanderwall reflects on first day in office

Curt VanderWall spent his first day in office yesterday.  He outlined his priorities for this session of the state House of Representatives.

“Top priorities are of course going to be education, the trades, brings skilled trade back into our school systems. Giving some of our young people an opportunity to have  career and family sustaining job without going to a 5 year college.”

Vanderwall also stressed the importance of remaining connected to his District. “One thing we started immediately after the election, of making sure were were continuing the same trend of being in each county. And we will continue that trend right on through. I love the 101st and everybody that’s there. I’m just so thankful to be able to represent what I think is the prettiest district in the state.”

Board of Commissioners fill vacancy and approve farmland

The Mason County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday. The meeting began with the approval of the minutes for the meetings of December 13, December 28 and January 3rd. The board went onto fill a vacancy on the Mason County Planning Commission by Mr. Frank Redmond Jr.

Branch township gained more farmland with the approval of Jacob Zwagermans application for farmland. The meeting concluded with an update from Commissioner Knizacky regarding the solid waste management plan. All 20 townships and villages have voted to approve the plan, which will now go onto the Department of Environmental Quality for review and approval before the next steps can occur.

City Council Honors firefighter and reviews water plant changes

The Ludington City Council met last night. The Mayor began the meeting by appointing standing committees of, Finance, Personnel, Rules and Resolutions, Public Safety and Utilities, and Cemetary, Parks and Recreation. Kathy Wincheski expressed gratitude to the mayor for taking in account the counselors requests for committee. The Police Pension board was not finalized as Gary Castonia is the only person on the Police Pension board at this time. Kathy Wincheski said she will no longer be serving on the zoning board of appeals as Corey Ricket will be the liaison moving forward. Gary Castonia was elected the 2017 mayor pro tem.

The council went onto thank Gary Lange for the his years of dedicated service as a firefighter and congratulated him on his retirement from the Ludington Fire department. The Mayor honored Gary Lange by presenting him with a key to the city. Lange thanked his wife, saying, “I couldn't have done it without her.” He went onto speak praises for the men he served with on the Ludington Fire department.

LCC 010917LCC 010917 2

A change order for the water plant was reviewed. The change order included additions and deduction made to the contract to reflect work that has become apparent since work started, such as a roof replacement. This change lead to a net impact increase of $69,052 to be taken from the contingency fund. Deadline to complete the work has been extended to May 24th

The city council concluded the meeting with two proposals to clean restrooms located at James St, Waterfront, Rotary park, Loomis St, and Copeyon Park. TNT had the lower bid and was approved as the janitorial services for the bathrooms.

Subscribe to this RSS feed