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News Briefs

Forum on jail, COA is Wednesday

A Barry County community forum to discuss a potential millage election in August will begom at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at Thornapple Valley Church, 2750 S. M-43 Highway, Hastings.

The public is invited to attend and take part in a discussion about the current state of the county jail and Commission on Aging buildings.

The forum, which will be hosted by the county board of commissioners, will be facilitated by TowerPinkster of Kalamazoo.

Information will be provided, questions will be answered and public input will be sought.

More information about this event can be obtained by calling 269-945-1284.


Great Decisions program returning next month


Anyone who hears accounts of international events they don’t fully understand or wonders about the location of countries involved may be interested in the upcoming Great Decisions program.

The two-month class will take a look at eight of the most significant and critical issues facing America. The topics for 2019 will include climate change; India, Pakistan and the Kashmir region; Red Sea security; modern slavery and human trafficking; U.S. relations with the Northern Triangle of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala; China's Road into Latin America; The Philippines and U.S. relations; Artificial intelligence and data.

The local discussion group is one of nearly 20 in Michigan and hundreds throughout the United States and across the world.

A soft-cover book, which provides background, relevant facts, present and future policy options and impartial analyses written by independent experts, is available for purchase. Attendees read the assigned article prior to each meeting to gain background information and prepare for discussion. Along with taking part in discussions, participants will watch a video sharing multiple viewpoints on the week’s topic.

Consensus is not an aim of the program. Instead, the class is designed to help individuals better understand complex issues.

The group will meet 1:30-3:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Feb. 4 through March 24, at Hastings Public Library. Regular attendance is encouraged but not required.

The meetings are free; the only cost is for the soft-bound book.

Anyone seeking additional information or wishing to order the book may call Marge, 269-948-2368, or email Carole,, by Thursday, Jan. 23.

Additional topic information can be found on the Foreign Policy Association’s website,

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