Hesperia Man Going to Trial for Arson

The former Hesperia councilman accused of arson is scheduled for  a jury trial. In April of last year, 32-year-old David Sean Pates, was found to be a suspect in the burning down of Hesperia House... a restaurant Pates co-owns. He is expected to stand trial April 8th, on charges of third-degree arson and preparing to burn real property. He faces ten years in prison. Investigators deemed two fires, within the restaurant, as not naturally occurring. The restaurant has been closed since the incident.

Jim Riffle Leaving Mason County Clerk Position

Yesterday, MOM news reported that county clerk Jim Riffle is leaving his post on March 31.  He will replace drain commissioner David Hassenbank who has held that position for many years.  The appointment of a new county clerk will be made by circuit court judge Susan Sniegowski.  She tells WMOM that she first must review the relevant statutes before posting a job description. While a county clerk appointment is rare, it is not unprecedented in Mason County. 

More Snow Days in Michigan Schools

Michigan lawmakers are considering increasing the number of snow days in schools. The bill was introduced earlier this month by Cadillac Representative Phil Potvin. Currently, schools are allowed six snow days before they have to make up the missed time. Potvin suggests raising that number to nine days because safety is paramount. In the last school year, there was an average of 9 1/2 school days missed.

Sean Michael Phillips Appeals Reinstatement of Murder Charges

Sean Michael Phillips appeals the reinstatement of murder charges against him in the Baby Kate case. Mlive reports an appeal was filed on Tuesday. In September, of last year, Judge Peter Wadel said there wasn't enough evidence to go to trial. Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola and the Attorney General's Office appealed the ruling and in December, Judge Richard Cooper, overturned the original ruling... allowing them to continue to pursue charges of open murder against Phillips. Phillips has been serving his prison sentence of unlawful imprisonment of his daughter, since 2012.  

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