Michigan to Possibly End its Film Office in Budget Cutbacks.

Michigan may say goodbye to the big screen for awhile. A bill was drafted by the Senate Government Operations Committee on Tuesday that threatens the future of big budget feature films shot in Michigan.
The bill, originally part of initiative that wanted to cut back incentives that were granted to movie studios for working in Michigan, is now cutting the Michigan Film Office entirely.
It should be noted that every single state has a Film Office. Some distribute credits for films among other jobs.
In Michigan, it distributes credits and maintains a directory of everything. Things like lists of companies to caterers for out-of-state producers. The office also helps small Michigan towns prepare for film crews and will review scripts for producers to see what Michigan locations might be good places to film.
In fiscal year 2016, it's slated to be a $653,800 line item that funds just six employees. 
From fiscal year 2015 to 2016, film incentives went from $50 million to a proposed $6 million. If this bill passes, that amount would dwindle to nothing, and the office would shut its doors in 2017.
The argument is that if we cant compete with big incentives we really wouldn’t  be competing at all. 
Jenell Leonard, director of the Michigan Film Office, issued the following statement:
"Our goal all along has been to attract film projects and foster growth for Michigan's creative industries. We're in transition, life without incentives. Part of the transition has been to reach out to the Michigan film industry and translate feedback into a strategic plan. We've done that. The plan promotes the film industry in key public-private partnerships. There has been a film office in Michigan since 1979, and every state has one for a reason."

Motion to Disqualify "Baby Kate" Judge Denied

As the latest development in the Baby Kate case, a motion to disqualify Judge Wadel was denied yesterday by the 49th Circuit Court. As the preliminary judge, Wadel determined there was insufficient evidence to charge Sean Phillips with Kate's murder. That ruling has since been overturned, but Wadel was reappointed to be the trial judge after moving from district to circuit court.
Assistant Attorney General Donna Pendergast and Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola represented the people of Michigan, presenting a long argument to the court claiming an "appearance of impropriety" if Wadel were to serve as the trial judge. Pendergast argued that Wadel's appointment is contrary to the checks and balance system and that he will be unable to review his own previous ruling without bias.
The defendant's claim was simply that there was no concrete legal evidence worthy of Wadel's disqualification. The court ruled in favor of the defendant, citing multiple examples of state, county, and federal law proving that any persons "perception of impropriety" is not enough to overcome a judge's presumed impartiality. Wadel will serve as the trial judge.

Journey Closing its Doors

Journey School will be closing its doors for the 2015 school year and very possibly forever.  The plan is now for students to join their respective districts until the opening of the new "Gateway to Success"  building in 2016. Andrea Lange expressed  concern for students and teachers but open the doors for them to possibly join LASD and MCCS so they can continue on the same programs that have been implemented for them.  "Our first concern is the students" said Jeff Mount Superintendent of MCCS.  Jamie Bandstra  stated that the new "G2S" building would focus on project based learning for students and that the Journey students would be taken into consideration when it opens in 2016.

Lund to be Honored With Celebration and a New Home Today

A dedication ceremony is scheduled for Eric Lund today. Eric will be moving into his new home that was made possible by Lund was severely injured by a roadside bomb explosion while fighting with the Army National guard in Afghanistan, in May of 2012, costing him his arms and other serious injuries.

The Patriot Guard Riders are scheduled to gather at Home Depot and then ride to Jebavy Drive for the ceremony.

Jebavy Drive between Jagger Road and Decker Road will be closed for the event, possibly from about 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The ceremony, scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday, will include Lee Greenwood singing his Grammy Award-winning song “God Bless the USA.”

Also Vietnam War veteran Rick Plummer, U.S. Reps. Bill Huizenga and Dan Benishek, state Sen. Darwin Booher and state Rep. Ray Franz are expected to attend the event and may speak.





Journey School May be Seeing Big Changes

Ludington school superintendent Andrea Large and Mason county central schools superintendent Jeff Mount are expected to meet with parents and students this morning at the Journey school.  The official word on the future of the local alternative school will be disclosed.  The Journey School was set to be merged into the Gateway to Success charter school this fall.  The opening of the so called "G 2 S" building has been delayed until 2016.  Both superintendents are expected to contact WMOM once the official word of Journey's future has been given to the parents, students and teachers.

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