Local News Archives

New Oversight Following MSU Scandal

The impact of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal that rocked Michigan State University is being felt at all of the state’s public universities. State Representative Kim LaSata of Berrien County chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education. She says the budget for higher education for the next fiscal year expands Title IX oversight.. ...Read Full Story

Open House For Palisades

The public is invited to an open house planned for the Palisades nuclear power plant next week. Palisades owner Entergy tells us the informational open house will be held Wednesday at the Palisades Emergency Operations Facility and Joint Information Center on Main Street in Benton Harbor. On hand will be engineers and other officials from Palisades who can discuss various aspects of plant operations and answer questions. The open house will begin with an hour-long poster board session featuring Palisades experts, followed by a formal presentation, and then a public question and answer session. Next Wednesday’s open house will be from 5 to 7 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

Strong Ford Sales

Ford posted a strong sales report for August, led by booming sales of the Lincoln Navigator and Ford F-150 pick up. Auto analyst John McElroy told Michigan News Network this week sales were up just over 4% overall.. ...Read Full Story

Road Group Talks Work Stoppage

Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association VP Mike Nystrom says the employer’s group is continuing to insist that the Operating Engineers union ratify the industry’s labor contract proposal before road and bridge projects will continue.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Day Of Action Coming Up

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is now signing up volunteers for its annual “Rake a Difference” Day of Action for Seniors. The organization’s Julee Laurent tells WSJM News that’s the day when hundreds of volunteers fan out across Berrien and Cass counties to rake leaves and clean gutters for senior citizens.. ...Read Full Story

New Clinic Groundbreaking

Ground will be broken this coming week on a new health clinic in Niles. The Cassopolis Family Clinic Network tells us the new $8.5 million Niles Community Health Center will be 31,500 square feet with more than 20 exam rooms. It’ll be located at the site of the former Eastgate Shopping Plaza on Oak Street. The new Niles Community Health Center will replace a smaller facility located on St. Joseph Street. The new location is expected to double the current capacity. It will offer physician services, OBGYN services, and behavioral health. The ground breaking will be Wednesday at 9 a.m. It’s hoped the new clinic will be up and running in the fall of 2019.. ...Read Full Story

Body Found In River

Michigan State Police are investigating after a body was pulled from the St. Joseph River near Niles Saturday morning. It was spotted by two fishermen. The body of the white middle age male was found just before 11 a.m. in Bertrand Township. Police have not determined the man’s identity, and say tests will be performed.. ...Read Full Story

Straight Party Voting Ban Takes Effect In November

From the Associated Press — The U.S. Supreme Court won’t intervene in a dispute over Michigan’s ban on straight-party voting. The court turned down an appeal Friday, which means the ban will go into effect in the November election. Voters can’t use a single mark to quickly pick all candidates of a single party. A Detroit federal judge said the ban violated the rights of black voters. But an appeals court this week suspended that decision and said the ruling likely will be overturned. The Supreme Court rejected an appeal, although justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg wanted to hear it. The Republican-controlled Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder eliminated straight-party voting, saying people should study candidates instead of simply choosing a party.. ...Read Full Story

Man Revived From Overdose At Crash Scene

An Elkhart, Indiana man had to be revived with the use of Naloxone following a crash in Cass County on Friday. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened just before 3 p.m. on M-60 and Calvin Center Road in Penn Township. Officers arrived to the scene of a crash and learned a 33-year-old Marcellus man had been eastbound on M-60 when a vehicle driven by the 29-year-old Elkhart man failed to stop at the stop sign on Calvin Center Road and pulled out in front of him. The crash resulted in minor injuries to some of the passengers involved. However, the Elkhart man passed out in the driver seat shortly after fire personnel arrived on scene and had to be revived using Narcan and CPR. He admitted to using heroin prior to passing out. The man was taken by ambulance to Elkhart General Hospital for treatment. The case remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Police Mental Health Training Planned

Police officers from all over Michigan will be in New Buffalo this month for training on mental health crisis intervention. Riverwood Center Jail Diversion Supervisor Gretchen Carlson tells WSJM News the training teach those who work with the criminal justice system on how to handle situations involving the mentally ill.. ...Read Full Story

BH Home Repair Program

There’s plenty going on lately at the Benton Harbor Community and Economic Development Department. This week, city commissioners learned more about the HUD-funded home rehabilitation program, now back in action. Community Development Director Stephanie Scott-Sims told them it pays for home repairs for low and moderate income property owners.. ...Read Full Story

Dune Tour Today

Preserve the Dunes is offering a special tour of a Berrien County lakeshore park today. President Marcy Hamilton tells WSJM News an expert from the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy will present information on the environment on this Saturday’s tour of Hagar Township Park and Beach.. ...Read Full Story

Sheriff’s Department Donates Vehicle To ISD

The criminal justice program at the Van Buren Intermediate School District has received the donation of a patrol vehicle from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department. It says the vehicle is a 2012 Chevy Impala that was recently taken out of service on a change over. The ISD says with the unit, students will be able to learn traffic stops, vehicle positioning at scenes, and patrol tactics. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us it’s “nice to be able to donate this unit knowing it’ll be put to great use for future police officers.”. ...Read Full Story

Presentation On Territorial Road History

Coming up next week at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph will be a presentation on Territorial Road and its history. The museum’s Jennifer Richmond-Ananbeh tells WSJM News local teacher and historian Chuck Jager will talk about his experience riding a bicycle all along the route through Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Court Proceeding For Dowagiac Shooting Suspect

The preliminary hearing for a man accused of a fatal shooting outside of a bar in Dowagiac this summer will be next week. The Cass County Prosecutor’s office tells us 24-year-old Rolandis Russell faces a total of eight charges, including first degree murder, assault with intent to murder, and felony firearm. His preliminary hearing, which had been set for Monday, has been moved to Wednesday. The prosecutor says Russell shot and killed 42-year-old Fabian Wesaw following a fight at the Beeson Street Bar in the early morning hours of July 29. Testimony from witnesses is expected to be heard at the preliminary hearing. Russell faces life in prison if convicted on the murder charge.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Sealant Work Next Week

The city of St. Joseph will begin applying sealant to some local streets next Thursday. City Engineer Tim Zebell tells WSJM News the sealant application is a new technique being used by the city to extend the life of some pavement. It will make the road smoother and give the road a uniform black appearance.. ...Read Full Story

False Alarm At Eau Claire High School

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after dispatch got a call about student with a gun at Eau Claire High School on Friday. The information turned out to be untrue. The sheriff’s department tells us the call to dispatch came in around 3:55 p.m. with a male caller saying a teenage male was in the high school restroom with a rifle. The caller did not identify himself and stated his phone was losing power. Responding police searched the building and determined there was not anyone there with a firearm and that no one was injured. In the meantime, students and staff were escorted out of the building so that parents were able to make contact with their children. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it’s now working to identify the unknown caller. Anyone with information as to the identity of that person is asked to call (269) 983-3060. The sheriff’s department has issued the following statement.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Praises Parole Reforms

A plan that will require the state parole board to make objective decisions when considering releasing a prisoner has been approved by the Michigan Senate. State Senator John Proos tells us it will take into account the training a prisoner has completed while incarcerated, and will require that denial of parole for a prisoner who has a high probability of parole, as determined by the guidelines, “must be for a substantial and compelling objective reason.”. ...Read Full Story

Upton Campaign Announces Debates, Forums

Dr. Matt Longjohn had sought six debates with Congressman Fred Upton ahead of the November election, but the incumbent Republican from St. Joseph has so far agreed to just two. Those will both be in mid-October in Kalamazoo on WWMT NewsChannel 3 and on AM 590 WKZO radio. Upton’s camp tells us he will take part in two forums in Berrien County on October 8 hosted by several educational groups and October 18 in South Haven, hosted by the American Association of University Women of Michigan. He will also be on ABC 57’s “Your Voice Your Vote” series on September 11 and NPR affiliate WMUK in Kalamazoo on September 19. Upton has already taken part in Grand Rapids PBS affiliate WGVU’s “Decision 2018” series.. ...Read Full Story

Huge Donation To MSU

Michigan State University has accepted a huge donation from real estate developer Edward J. Minskoff, a 1962 graduate of the school. MSU interim president John Engler says the university’s business school pavilion will bear his name.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead In Allegan County Fire

From the Associated Press — Police in Allegan County say a woman has been found dead after potential rescuers were unable to enter her burning home. The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department says the woman was unable to exit the home after it caught fire about 10 a.m. Thursday. It says a deputy and a neighbor tried to enter the home to rescue her but were driven back by smoke and fire. The department says the woman was found dead after the fire was extinguished. Her name hasn’t been released. The cause of the fire hasn’t yet been determined.. ...Read Full Story

Democrats Slam Wage Move

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon says Republicans in the Michigan Legislature are making a mistake by planning to gut a proposal to raise the minimum wage. The legislature on Wednesday approved the ballot measure to make the minimum wage $12 per hour and require paid sick time. Dillon told Michael Patrick Shiels this week he’s not fooled.. ...Read Full Story

“Rake A Difference” Day Coming Up

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is now signing up volunteers for its annual “Rake a Difference” Day of Action for Seniors. The organization’s Julee Laurent tells WSJM News that’s the day when hundreds of volunteers fan out across Berrien and Cass counties to rake leaves and clean gutters for senior citizens.. ...Read Full Story

Democrats Take Issue With Schuette’s Non-Stance On ACA Lawsuit

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is being criticized by Democrats for not taking a stand on a lawsuit brought by 20 Republican attorneys general and the governors of Maine and Missouri against the federal government over the Affordable Care Act. The suit, Texas v. United States, is seeking a preliminary injunction to shut down the ACA until courts decide if the individual mandate that requires everyone have health insurance is constitutional.. ...Read Full Story

U.S. House Subcommittee Discusses PFAS Contamination

A U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee panel is diving into drinking water issues regarding the suspected carcinogen PFAS. Congressman Fred Upton joined the Subcommittee on Environment for the hearing Thursday and outlined the situation in the city of Parchment and Cooper Township in Kalamazoo County this summer when extremely high levels of PFAS were discovered in the drinking water.. ...Read Full Story

Amway Co-Founder, GR Philanthropist Richard DeVos Dies At 92

A west Michigan business titan has died. Richard DeVos, the co-founder of Amway, owner of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, and father-in-law of U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, was 92. A family spokesman says he died at his home in Ada, just east of Grand Rapids. The cause of his death Thursday was complications from an infection. DeVos was preceded in death by his wife, Helen, last October. They had four children, 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His name is on several buildings in the Grand Rapids area, including DeVos Performance Hall and Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus. He and Jay Van Andel created Amway in their basements in 1959. His son, Dick DeVos, ran unsuccessfully for governor of Michigan in 2006 and the family is very involved in supporting Republican political candidates and conservative causes.. ...Read Full Story

Law Enforcement Torch Runs

Hundreds of law enforcement officers from all over Michigan will be taking part in torch runs for the Special Olympics starting this weekend. Special Olympics spokesperson Aaron Mills tells WSJM News the organization is the official non-profit of police throughout the state, receiving more than $1 million each year thanks to law enforcement fundraisers. The torch runs are part of those efforts.. ...Read Full Story

Hagar Twp Dune Tour Saturday

Preserve the Dunes is offering a special tour of a Berrien County lakeshore park this weekend. President Marcy Hamilton tells WSJM News an expert from the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy will present information on the environment on this Saturday’s tour of Hagar Township Park and Beach.. ...Read Full Story

New Health Clinic Coming To Niles

Ground will be broken next week on a new health clinic in Niles. The Cassopolis Family Clinic Network tells us the new $8.5 million Niles Community Health Center will be 31,500 square feet with more than 20 exam rooms. It’ll be located at the site of the former Eastgate Shopping Plaza on Oak Street. The new Niles Community Health Center will replace a smaller facility located on St. Joseph Street. The new location is expected to double the current capacity. It will offer physician services, OBGYN services, and behavioral health. The ground breaking will be next Wednesday at 9 a.m. It’s hoped the new clinic will be up and running in the fall of 2019.. ...Read Full Story

Child Murder Under Investigation

Michigan State Police are investigating the murder of a child in Van Buren County. They tell us troopers out of the Paw Paw post were sent to a home in Almena Township on Tuesday on a report of a child not breathing. There, they learned the three-year-old girl had been with her step mother when she was found unresponsive. 31-year-old Kate George of Paw Paw is now charged with felony murder based on torture and first degree child abuse in the death of the three-year-old. The Michigan State Police Crime Lab was on scene at the home until the early morning hours of Wednesday as part of the investigation, and George was arraigned on Wednesday. There were two other children in the home who were removed by Child Protective Services, and they’re described as being in good health. State police say the investigation continues.. ...Read Full Story

Street Rebuild Planned For Benton Harbor

The city of Benton Harbor is going to repave the streets surrounding a housing project this year. Community and Economic Development Director Stephanie Scott-Sims tells WSJM News Buss Avenue and Sickle Street in the area of what’s commonly known as the Buss Project will be rebuilt. This project using HUD Community Development Block Grant funding is years in the making.. ...Read Full Story

Five Area Road Projects Could Be Stopped By Lockout

The lockout of some 2,000 union road construction workers is likely to impact several projects in southwest Michigan. The Michigan Department of Transportation tells WSJM News the labor stoppage initiated by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, or MITA, might shut down three projects on I-94. Two are in Berrien County with one being repaving between Three Oaks Road and Red Arrow Highway and the other being a repaving from M-239 and Kruger Road. In Van Buren County, work is halted on a repaving of I-94 west of County Road 365. The two other projects that are stopped are on US-12 in Edwardsburg in Cass County and M-40 south of M-60 along Bair Lake. MITA locked out the union engineers on Tuesday as their contract had expired in June. Both sides blame each other, and MDOT officials say they’re caught in the middle. Department spokesman Nick Schirripa tells us they don’t know yet what the local impact will be.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Talks MSU And Sex Abuse

The impact of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal that rocked Michigan State University is being felt at all of the state’s public universities. State Representative Kim LaSata of Berrien County chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education. She says the budget for higher education for the next fiscal year expands Title IX oversight.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Hears About Home Rehab Program

There’s plenty going on lately at the Benton Harbor Community Development Department. This week, city commissioners learned more about the HUD-funded home rehabilitation program, now back in action. Community Development Director Stephanie Scott-Sims told them it pays for home repairs for low and moderate income property owners.. ...Read Full Story

Minimum Wage Group Vows Fight

From the Associated Press — Organizers of a ballot initiative that would raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $12 an hour say they will sue if the Republican-led Legislature adopts the proposal but then weakens it later in the year. One Fair Wage lawyer Mark Brewer said Tuesday at a Capitol news conference that the move would be unconstitutional. He says lawmakers can only adopt the measure _ making it law _ or reject it, in which case it would go on the November ballot. Legislators also could propose an alternative to appear on the ballot alongside the proposal. The Legislature returns Wednesday from a summer break. Republicans are expected to discuss using the unprecedented strategy for both the minimum wage initiative and a separate citizens’ initiative that would require employers to provide paid sick leave.. ...Read Full Story

Mental Health Crisis Training This Month

Police officers from all over Michigan will be in New Buffalo this month for training on mental health crisis intervention. Riverwood Center Jail Diversion Supervisor Gretchen Carlson tells WSJM News the training teach those who work with the criminal justice system on how to handle situations involving the mentally ill.. ...Read Full Story

Thousands Take Part In Labor Day Bridge Walk

From the Associated Press — Tens of thousands of people participated in the traditional Labor Day walk across the Mackinac Bridge. Organizers made changes to the 61st annual event and allowed to begin from either end of the bridge connecting Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas. Participants could turn around after 21/2 miles or make a full 10-mile lap between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. Axel Anderson of Linden, Michigan, said he had made the bridge crossing at least 25 times and was looking forward to a “fun challenge” and doing the full double crossing. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder led walkers onto the bridge for his final time as governor. Snyder says he beat his previous best time by crossing the bridge in just over 54 minutes. Organizers estimated at least 25,000 people took part Monday.. ...Read Full Story

Lightning Eyed As Cause Of Dowagiac House Fire

A family’s home in Dowagiac is badly damaged after a fire ripped through it Monday night. Dowagiac Deputy Fire Chief Robert Smith says lightning may be to blame for starting the blaze in the 200 block of Bradley Street. The family had just moved in a few days earlier and were not home when it happened. Firefighters were called to the home just after 9 p.m. and found the flames shooting out of three sides of the second floor and the attic. Neighbors called 9-1-1 after seeing smoke coming out the windows, but investigators believe it had been burning for awhile before being noticed. The homeowner was not insured.. ...Read Full Story

2,000 Road Workers Locked Out In Contract Dispute

Some road projects underway in Michigan are coming to a halt today because of a labor dispute between the construction companies and the labor groups that do the work. But, it’s a lockout and not a strike. The Michigan Infrastructure Transportation Association, MITA, calls it a “defensive lockout” and blames Operating Engineers Local 324 for having to take the action. Union spokesman Dan McKernan says it didn’t have to happen.. ...Read Full Story

Study Looks At LMC Economic Impact

The Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees this week heard the results of an economic impact study on the college. Susan Hackett, a consultant with EMSI, a labor market analysis firm, said a look at 2016 and 2017 data for southwest Michigan showed LMC resulted in added regional income of more than $170 million when you consider the higher earnings for graduates, ripple effects, and direct employees. Hacket told WSJM News there are also the “social savings” of having a college.. ...Read Full Story

Al-Van Humane Society Golf Outing Planned

The Al-Van Humane Society is now selling tickets for its big Par for Paws Fundraiser. The event will be held next Sunday. The golf event is set to include a 1 p.m. shotgun start, followed by a dinner and awards. Teams of four can register, or singles and doubles can be added to other teams for play. The cost is $90 per person or $360 for a team of four. The day includes 18 holes of golf, a cart, dinner, and access to some prizes. All of the money raised goes to the Al-Van Humane Society, the no-kill animal shelter in South Haven. You can find out more at Al-Van.org.. ...Read Full Story

Voters To Consider Gerrymandering Proposal

Katy Fahey started the Voters Not Politicians anti-gerrymandering ballot initiative on Facebook, attracted thousands of volunteers and then also beat a legal challenge from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce to get it on the November ballot. If voters approve it, Fahey says one political party will no longer be able to draw political districts that give their party an unfair advantage.. ...Read Full Story

Police School Safety Reminder

With students in most Michigan school districts heading back to school this week, Michigan State Police are reminding everyone to take extra steps to be safe. MSP Trooper Kellie Shaffer with the Paw Paw post tells WSJM News kids who walk to school or the bus stop need to be reminded of the few things by their parents.. ...Read Full Story

Indiana Woman Killed In Drunk Driving Crash In Van Buren County

Charges are pending against a 21-year-old Detroit man for a deadly single-car crash in Van Buren County over Labor Day weekend. The sheriff’s department says he crashed a 2016 Chevy Malibu around 8:30 Sunday evening in Waverly Township when he went off the road and crashed into a ditch on 28th Avenue west of 44th Street. She was trapped in the car, unconscious and bleeding heavily when first responders arrived. She was airlifted to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, where she died from those injuries. Police don’t believe she was wearing a seat belt. The driver’s blood-alcohol level has not been released, and no names have yet been made public.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Road Commission Trying Millage Again

Van Buren County voters will be asked again in November to approve a local road millage request. Road Commission Engineer-Manager Larry Hummel tells us they made a slight change to the language in the question to clarify that the money collected by each local government will stay there if approved. They’re seeking an additional three mills for 12 years.. ...Read Full Story

Honor Flight This Month

Set for September 15 is the next Talons Out Honor Flight. Talons Out is an organization that provides free trips to Washington, D.C. for veterans of the Korean War and World War II so they can see their war memorials. The group’s Bobbie Bradley tells WSJM News they’ve been doing this since 2013.. ...Read Full Story

State: Get The Flu Shot Now

This is a good time to start planning to get a flu vaccine. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Bob Wheaton tells WSJM News it may seem a bit early, but a recent rash of flu cases stemming from a mail carriers conference in Grand Rapids shows the flu can become a problem anytime. He says the flu vaccine is widely available.. ...Read Full Story

State Facing Teacher Shortage

It’s not just nursing and skilled trades in Michigan where there is a shortage of new, qualified people coming into the field. School administrators around the state say they’re feeling the pinch, too, as there aren’t as many new teachers coming out of college as there were a decade ago. Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Michael Rice tells WKZO News there is a shortage in several areas, most notably math and science.. ...Read Full Story

Five Rescued On Paw Paw River

Five people ranging in age from 14 to 69 are safe after a water rescue on the Paw Paw River in Watervliet. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Marine Division was sent to the area along with several other law enforcement agencies just after 2:30 Sunday afternoon on a report of two missing tubers. During the search, they came across three kayakers and tubers who needed to be rescued because they had fallen out of their kayak and tubes. The first responders also found the missing tubers, who were 14 and 15 from Kalamazoo, and reunited them with their parents. The other three were a 46-year-old Chicago man along with a 67-year-old woman and a 69-year-old man, both from Eau Claire. A North Berrien Fire Department first responder overturned in a kayak during the rescue, but was able to get out of the water on his own.. ...Read Full Story

Website Shares Traffic Information

The Michigan Department of Transportation continues to roll out traffic cameras along highways across the state. A glance at Michigan.gov/Drive will show you clusters of traffic cams all over heavily driven areas. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News some cameras were taken down for a while.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Construction Update

Buildings at Lake Michigan College will soon look a lot different as $40 million in construction is underway right now at the Benton Township campus. LMC Director of Facilities Sara VanderVeen tells WSJM News they’re just now wrapping up phase one of a $33 million renovation project at the main building.. ...Read Full Story

Red Arrow Reconstruction Starts This Month

You may have noticed that Red Arrow Highway is not in the best shape south of Bridgman in Berrien County, and at least part of that is about to change. Berrien County Road Department Director Jason Latham tells WSJM News they’re going to reconstruct two miles of Red Arrow Highway, from the south end of Bridgman to Browntown Road, starting just after Labor Day.. ...Read Full Story