In Michigan, the seven Democrats in the U.S. House voted for and all seven Republicans voted against President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package early Saturday, in a rush to both boost COVID-19 vaccine funding and get legislation to the president’s desk before unemployment benefits expire in mid-March. The package, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, passed 219-212.

A proposed wastewater treatment plant under consideration by the Village of Mattawan is under fire from a range of critics. Recent village meetings have seen lengthy public comment periods, during which village residents and residents of nearby areas have largely voiced opposition to the plant. Currently, the Village pumps its wastewater to the Kalamazoo treatment system. However, village officials say a six-mile portion of the “forcemain” which connects the two systems requires considerable work to remain in operation.

One of the St. Joseph County Road Commission’s (SJCRC) leading staff recently received the top award in the state for a rural road engineer. At a regular SJCRC meeting Wednesday morning, board members learned that Assistant Director and Engineer Garrett Myland received the “Rural Engineer of the Year” award from the County Road Association of Michigan (CRA). An award also goes to the “Urban Engineer of the Year,” but for the “Rural” title, Myland won over engineers in similar positions all around the state.

Three Rivers City Commissioners Clayton Lyczynski and Alison Haigh questioned whether Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority Chair Andrew George should be reappointed during Tuesday’s commission meeting. Lyczynski cited George’s involvement in a suit filed against the city concerning a petition to place a marijuana ordinance on last November’s ballot, questioning George’s “integrity” and “desire to do what’s best for the city.”

The Kalamazoo City Commission voted unanimously Monday to withdraw from Southwest Michigan First’s “Council of 100” partnership, before City Commissioner Erin Knott passed a motion to also withdraw $10,000 in annual funding to the agency over former state House Speaker Lee Chatfield’s anti-LGBTQ views. Chatfield was recently named CEO of the Kalamazoo-based economic development agency.

The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners discussed the possibility of returning to in-person meetings after Tuesday’s virtual meeting was interrupted by internet trolls in a practice called “Zoombombing” or “Zoom raiding.” Unidentified persons briefly hurled racist and homophobic epithets at commissioners and those in attendance before Chairperson Dennis Allen temporarily stopped the meeting.

The U.S. had a mental health professional shortage before the pandemic, and Southwest Michigan was no exception. Every county in Southwest Michigan had been designated as a mental health professionals shortage area by the Healthcare Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.