Governor urges calm in tense Benton Harbor; no rioting overnight

Published 7:48 am Thursday, June 19, 2003

By Staff
LANSING -- Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm and Col. Tadarial Sturdivant, Michigan State Police director, said Wednesday they stand ready to provide any further assistance needed to bring recent civil unrest in Benton Harbor to an end.
They joined local law enforcement and community officials in urging calm in the community.
Sturdivant and representatives of the governor's senior staff were in Benton Harbor June 18 to meet with local law enforcement and to support their efforts.
Michigan State Police provided approximately 130 state police personnel to assist local law enforcement on Tuesday night.
The state police increased their presence Wednesday to a total of 150 officers who were on hand to quell any violence that may erupt.
Among the state police units are uniform patrol officers, canine units, aviation officers and the state police command vehicle.
Granholm said she has not declared a state of emergency -- nor has one been requested.
Under Public Act 302, during times of great public crisis, disaster, rioting, catastrophe or similar public emergency within the state or reasonable apprehension of immediate danger thereof, when public safety is imperiled, either upon application of the mayor of a city, sheriff of a county, the commissioner (director) of the Michigan State Police, or upon his/her own volition, the governor may proclaim a state of emergency and designate the area involved.
Following such proclamation or declaration, the governor may promulgate such reasonable orders, rules and regulations as deemed necessary to protect life and property or to bring the emergency situation within the affected area under control.
Business activities
continuing in BH
While the unrest of the last few nights in Benton Harbor is a serious situation, the foundation for the community that has been built over the last several years remains intact and will serve as a catalyst to bring people together.
A number of activities in Benton Harbor continue, according to Jeff Noel, Cornerstone Alliance president.
Businesses are open and operating. Work on redevelopment projects, such as the Fidelity Building near City Hall, continue.
The Coming Home, Coming Together jazz concert, scheduled for the City Center area Sunday, will take place.
The message of the concert is to bring people together from diverse backgrounds for an evening of fun and music.
As the area's economic development organization, the staff and investors of Cornerstone Alliance will be meeting with officials from the City of Benton Harbor and other community groups. "We will participate and organize our stakeholder groups to be part of the healing process that will make the community stronger in the long run," Noel said.
Cornerstone Alliance is a non-profit, investor driven, community and economic development organization focusing on tax- and job-base creation, with an emphasis on socially and economically distressed areas, facilitating change through partnerships within the communities comprised of the cities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, Benton Charter Township, St. Joseph Charter Township, Lincoln Charter Township and Royalton Township.