E. coli levels at South Bar Lake normal

EMPIRE — E. coli levels at South Bar Lake returned to normal after elevated numbers this week.

South Bar Lake E. Coli levels were found at 579 colonies per 100/ml, which means contact above the waist is not advised, according to the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department.

Re-sampling on Aug. 22 returned the waters to Level 1 — full body contact — on Friday, according to a health department statement.

Woman hospitalized after suicide attempt

TRAVERSE CITY — A woman was taken to the hospital after an apparent suicide attempt near Hickory Hills.

Traverse City Police Chief Jeff O’Brien said officers received a call that a woman had taken a large amount of pills. Law enforcement and emergency personnel responded to the scene and found the woman in the woods.

O’Brien said the woman was conscious and talking by the time emergency responders reached the hospital.

Picnic and games

TRAVERSE CITY — St. Andrews Society of Northwest Michigan hosts its Picnic and Highland Games from 1-3 p.m. Aug. 25 at Silver Lake Recreational Area. Listen to bagpipes and Celtic harps, and bring a dish to share for the potluck.

Community paddle

BELLAIRE — Paddle Antrim and Grass River Natural Area host a community paddle from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 28 at Willow Day Park. Paddlers must bring their water vessel and life jacket. All ages are welcome. More information: 231-533-8314.

Algae warning

KALKASKA — District Health Department No. 10 encourages residents to be cautious of dense algae populations while on Michigan lakes. Some algal blooms contain toxic organisms that can harm humans and pets. Symptoms include skin rash, asthma- or allergy-like reactions, difficulty breathing, dizziness, vomiting and more.

People should avoid direct contact with green or scummy waters, obey signs for public health advisories and beach closings and limit eating fish from algal bloom areas. More information: 888-217-3904.

GOP files second lawsuit challenging redistricting

LANSING — The Michigan Republican Party sued Thursday to block the formation of a commission to draw congressional and legislative lines in 2021, saying the voter-approved change is unconstitutional because there will be no reliable way to verify the panel’s political makeup.

The federal lawsuit, the second filed by Republicans in less than a month, seeks an injunction against Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, whose office is implementing the law. Others joining the newest challenge include GOP chairwoman Laura Cox, former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and state Rep. Hank Vaupel. The 2018 constitutional amendment requires that a randomly selected commission of four self-identified Democrats, four self-identified Republicans and five unaffiliated members draw political districts instead of the Legislature, starting in 2021. It is a bid to curtail gerrymandering in a state where the GOP has had one of the largest partisan legislative advantages in the country after controlling the once-a-decade process in 2011.

The suit alleges that the law “can, and likely will, result in a situation where those who do not represent (the party’s) interests are selected as Republican commissioners and, by implication, standard bearers of the political party.” It says that other states with an independent redistricting panel are different because they have party registration.

or the political parties are involved in determining their representatives on the commission.

Those excluded from serving on Michigan’s panel include people who currently are or have in the previous six years been elected partisan officials or candidates, their paid consultants or employees, legislative workers, lobbyists and their employees, or political

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