No Child Left Behind

Published 1:33 pm Friday, January 21, 2005

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS - The Department of Veterans Benefits expended $7.973 million in Cass County in the fiscal year ended Sept. 20, 2003.
County veterans and their families received $3.689 million in compensation and pension benefits.
The Veterans Administration (VA), which has a regional office in Detroit, expended an additional $249,000 for benefits and training for disabled veterans.
Insurance and indemnities accounted for $325,000 disbursed.
Director Keith J. Thompson said last May Cass County had 5,335 veterans, including five of the 15 commissioners.
Four-year county Veterans Affairs Director Frederick W. Leet, a former county commissioner from Howard Township, operates in Suite 215 across the hall from the county board's chamber in the 1899 courthouse. His office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Wednesday.
Services Leet provides include address changes, Agent Orange claims, burial allowances, death pensions, dependency and indemnity compensation, disability pensions, education assistance, home loan guarantees, hospitalization, insurance, medical treatment, pharmacy, substance abuse and veteran counseling.
Leet can be reached by phone at 269/445-4472.
A van runs Tuesdays and Fridays to the Battle Creek VA facility.
Commissioner Carl Higley, R-Edwardsburg, commented, "We've seen such a change in Veterans Affairs since Fred's been there. I want to compliment him on the service. A lot of times the veterans are forgotten."
In other Jan. 20 business, commissioners approved Higley's $17,000 budget transfer for the grant-funded purchase of five in-car digital video recording systems.
Cass County participates in two federal IV-D child support enforcement grants. The county is reimbursed for costs which can be attributed to the grants. Costs are spelled out in a service plan prepared by Maximus Inc. of Bay City. Commissioners approved Cathy Goodenough's motion for Maximus to prepare the plan at a cost not to exceed $14,000, which is the same as in previous years. County Administrator Terry Proctor recommended a one-year agreement.
Dowagiac Commissioner John Cureton offered agreements to implement the 2004 supplemental survey and remonumentation grant, including $1,733 for Surveyor Roger Stephenson; $4,500 (five corners), The Abonmarche Group; $7,200 (eight corners), Marbach, Brady and Weaver; $3,600 (four corners), Wightman Petrie Inc.; $6,300 (seven corners), Stephenson Land Surveying; and $5,400 (six corners), Wightman and Associates Inc.
For the benefit of the four new commissioners, Proctor explained that several years ago registers of deeds convinced the Legislature that Michigan needed to be remonumented by surveying to locate the corners that form boundaries.
Commissioner Gordon Bickel, R-Porter Township, introduced a motion to amend Board Committee Rule II. Chairman Bob Wagel doesn't see a need any longer to appoint a Legislative Liaison standing committee or to appoint a commissioner to be responsible for health and human services, physical and economic development, law and courts or administration and finance. Claims is the lone exception made.