Local News Archives

Plan To Lock Up Opioids


A plan to require that Schedule II controlled substances be placed in special lockable bottles when they’re prescribed to patients in Michigan is before a state House committee. State Representative Joe Bellino of Monroe tells WSJM News the technology is available.. ...Read Full Story

Universities Team Up To Fight Opioids In Detroit


From the Associated Press — The University of Michigan and Harvard University are teaming up to tackle poverty and opioid addiction in Detroit. The schools announced Wednesday they will work with the city to identify steps to improve low-income residents’ livelihoods. The effort pairs Michigan’s ongoing Poverty Solutions Initiative with Harvard’s statistical and
computational research into forces influencing economic success or failure. The universities also will share what they and other experts know about the opioid epidemic and plan national summits in the Detroit and Boston areas. University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel says he called Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, who grew up in Pontiac near Detroit, after
learning of Bacow’s interest in working on national problems. They discussed areas of potential collaboration, and poverty and opioids rose to the top of their lists.. ...Read Full Story

Life Expectancy Report


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services hopes to use a new report on U.S. life expectancy to help guide health policy. Spokesperson Bob Wheaton tells WSJM News the data from the U.S. Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project has made it possible for the first time to examine neighborhood by neighborhood life expectancy. He says the numbers can vary wildly in small areas.. ...Read Full Story

Library Offers Tutoring


Sometimes it can be difficult for kids to get after school help with homework, especially if both parents are working. Now, the Van Buren District Library is offering help to students of all ages with live one to one help from professional tutors online. Anyone with a valid Van Buren District Library card can access the learning suite online. If you have access to the internet, go to VBDL.org. Downloads of apps for smartphones and tablets are available as well. The offering comes from The Princeton Review with real-time tutoring from educators that are credentialed and vetted. The program also provides self-study tools and tutoring is available from three to ten daily. For more information, visit VBDL.org or call your local Van Buren District Library.. ...Read Full Story

Four Shot In Three Shootings Overnight In Benton Harbor


Four people are hospitalized, with one critically wounded, after several overnight shootings in the city of Benton Harbor. According to Deputy Public Safety Director Michael Clark, the first shooting happened in the 1000 block of Bishop around 11:40 pm when a 28-year-old man was shot in the leg. Six minutes later, officers were sent to the emergency room at Lakeland when a 29-year-old man showed up with a gunshot wound suffered in the 1000 block of Jennings. In a statement, Clark notes that man suffered serious injuries. As officers were on the scenes of those incidents, they heard shots fired at 12:30 am in the 600 block of Empire, finding two men who had been shot several times. One of those victims is in critical condition. Police have seized three long guns and a handgun, but have no information on any suspects. It’s not known if the three shootings are related.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Twp Park Improvements To Be Unveiled


A ribbon cutting will be held this month to mark the opening of a new feature at Lake Township Park in Bridgman. Township Treasurer Bob Clark tells WSJM News a renovation project two years in the making for the disc golf course is wrapping up. The disc golf course originally built in 2004 has expanded thanks to the 2016 purchase of ten acres next door. Clark says this expanded court will be a big improvement over the old one.. ...Read Full Story

Volunteers Needed For Lakes Cleanups This Weekend


This Saturday will bring the biggest effort to clean up Great Lakes of the year. Alliance for the Great Lakes spokesperson Jennifer Caddick tells WSJM News hundreds of beach cleanups are being held throughout the Great Lakes region, and everyone’s welcome to show up. The Alliance for the Great Lakes cleanup made a big difference last year. ...Read Full Story

Plenty Going On At BH Schools


It’s been a busy time at Benton Harbor Area Schools. At a Tuesday meeting, CEO Robert Herrera told the board of education about some of the things being done as the new school year gets underway. Among them are a couple of online learning programs to help students with credit recovery. Herrera told WSJM News this is the first year Benton Harbor Area Schools has applied for a state Seat Time Waiver to have online learning.. ...Read Full Story

Bear Hunt Getting Underway


From the Associated Press — Bear hunting season is getting under way in Michigan. Opening dates and hunting periods depend on location. The season began Monday in the Upper Peninsula. It starts Thursday in some parts of the Lower Peninsula
and Sunday in others. Officials say 7,140 licenses were available this year. Over half of Michigan is open to regulated bear hunting. Officials say scientific indicators and public input help determine how many bears can be killed. Wildlife management specialist Kevin Swanson of the state Department of Natural Resources says hunting is an important part of making sure Michigan has a healthy bear population with suitable habitat. The state’s black bear population is estimated at 14,000 adults, including nearly 11,000 in the Upper Peninsula and nearly 3,000 in the northern Lower Peninsula.. ...Read Full Story

Naloxone Training Tomorrow In Niles


There will be a training session on the use of anti-overdose drug Naloxone on Wednesday in Niles. To be led by Nancy King with Families Against Narcotics, the event will give everyone a chance to get a better understanding of opioid addiction. King tells WSJM News efforts to spread awareness and get more Naloxone into the community have helped, and at a critical time.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Now A Judge


Berrien County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Smith is moving to the other side of the courtroom. Governor Snyder has appointed her to the 2nd Circuit Court for the county, filling the judicial vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Scott Schofield. Smith has been with the prosecutor’s office for over 20 years and had been the Chief Assistant Prosecutor since 2013. She is also on the Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force and serves on the Board of Directors for the Southwest Michigan Children’s Assessment Center and the Lakeshore Youth Baseball and Softball Association. Smith lives in Stevensville and will serve the remainder of Schofield’s term through 2020. She can run for the office in November of that year.. ...Read Full Story

Polls Give Whitmer Big Leads Over Schuette In Gubernatorial Race


One Republican consultant and pollster says the question is not if Democrat Gretchen Whitmer will win the governor’s race in November, but will she have a double-digit margin of victory. John Yob’s Strategic National polling firm gives Whitmer a 10% lead right now over Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette, 49-to-39%. Another new poll released this week by the Glengariff Group for “The Detroit News” and WDIV-TV shows Whitmer with an even bigger lead, 49.8% to 36.1% with just 10% undecided and 2.3% backing Libertarian Party candidate Bill Gelineau.. ...Read Full Story

Proposals For Marijuana Operators


Benton Harbor is now taking applications for medical marijuana businesses seeking to operate in the city. In a notice put out this week, the city says those proposals could be for any medical marijuana business currently legal under Michigan law. That would include grow facilities, processors, provisioning centers, safety compliance facilities, or transporters. The Benton Harbor City Commission late last year voted to allow up to 25 such businesses in the community. In order to qualify for permission, an operator must provide the city with information on their knowledge and experience, their understanding of the law, and how they intend to operate their facility as an “integrated part of the community.” The applications come with a $5,000 fee, and must be turned into the clerk’s office by the end of business on October 1. So far, NoBo Partners out of Colorado has pursued the former Alreco Metals property, paying a deposit of $20,000 to the Berrien County Land Bank for the foreclosed parcel.. ...Read Full Story

Consulting Firm Hired To Help Plot Future Of Downtown St. Joseph


A Chicago-based consulting firm headed up by a St. Joseph native will tackle shaping the future of the city’s downtown. Houseal Lavigne Associates was hired by the city commission Monday to begin the study. The firm is led by John Houseal, who says growing up here helps him fully understand the unique needs of the city when it comes to figuring out the best way to address the needs of the entire community.. ...Read Full Story

Proos STEM Bill Signing


State Senator John Proos is pleased to see some STEM education legislation he sponsored received its final, ceremonial signing by the governor. Last Thursday, Proos tells WSJM News he invited local students and educators to Lansing for the signing of bills that would create a special STEM certification on the transcripts of high school students.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Seeks New Marina


The city of South Haven is taking steps to acquire another marina. City Manager Brian Dissette tells WSJM News the city council last week voted to send a grant application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund for assistance in buying All Seasons Marine along the Black River.. ...Read Full Story

Report Recommends Payday Lender Regulations


A new report sheds light on the dangers of payday loans, prompting consumer advocates to call for new regulations in Michigan. Community Economic Development Association of Michigan Senior Policy Specialist Jessica AcMoody tells us by charging annual percentage rates equivalent to 340%, payday lenders cost Michiganders more than $94 million in 2016 alone. She says these loans target the vulnerable.. ...Read Full Story

BH 9/11 Ceremony Tuesday


A memorial service to remember the victims of terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 will take place Tuesday at the Resiliency Plaza in downtown Benton Harbor. The plaza is located right across the street from Benton Harbor City Hall, and is the site of a 500 pound steel beam taken from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Hosting Tuesday’s memorial will be Berrien County Strong – Community In Action. They plan a wreath laying at 12:15 p.m. and to have some featured guests, including local leaders, the honor guard, and first responders. The ceremony will also include a moment of silence. Tuesday is the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.. ...Read Full Story

Charges In Fatal Highway Crash


A Coloma woman is facing charges over a drunk driving crash early Sunday morning that resulted in the death of an Ontario, Canada woman. The Benton Township Police Department tells us it happend around 3:15 a.m. near the 33 mile marker of eastbound I-94. Upon arrival, first responders found 33-year-old Erum Nazir injured. They performed CPR and took her to Lakeland Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Police learned Nazir had been a passenger in a minivan that had been struck in the rear by a Mustang driven by 32-year-old Amber Garton of Coloma. Garton’s blood alcohol level was later determined to be .21%, well above the legal limit. She was taken to the Berrien County Jail on a charge of operating while intoxicated, causing death.. ...Read Full Story

Drug Raid Nets Three Arrests In Dowagiac


Three people are in the Cass County Jail on drug charges, and warrants are being sought for several others. The sheriff’s department raided a home in the 200 block of East High Street in Dowagiac Monday based on suspicion of meth dealing and arrested a 28-year-old woman, a 30-year-old woman, and a 21-year-old man. All three are facing possession with intent to deliver charges, while he is also charged with possession of stolen firearm. Police found a pistol reported stolen out of Mishawaka during the search, and also seized more than 2.5 ounces of meth, over an ounce of ecstasy, an undisclosed amount of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. No names have yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Gas Prices Go Up Post-Labor Day


We’re paying 6¢ more per gallon on average this week than last. Triple-A Michigan says its weekly survey found the average price for regular is just under $2.93 a gallon. The jump follows an increase to nearly $3 a gallon right after Labor Day last week. There is a wide swing between the highest and lowest averages in Michigan, with Ann Arbor drivers paying $2.96 on average and the price in Traverse City coming in at $2.76. In Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, the auto club says our average is $2.90, a rise of 9¢ from last week. According to GasBuddy, South Haven’s prices range from $2.79 to $2.89 to start the week. No Van Buren County stations are included in Triple-A’s weekly price survey.. ...Read Full Story

Republican Lt. Gov Nominee’s Home Destroyed In Fire


The suburban Grand Rapids home of Republican lieutenant governor nominee Lisa Posthumus Lyons is believed to be a total loss after a Sunday afternoon fire. Authorities say it started in the garage and spread to the rest of the house. At this point, there is no indication the fire was intentionally set, but investigators will be on scene today to look for clues as to the origin of the blaze. Attorney General Bill Schuette, who picked Lyons as his running mate, said in a statement the family is looking for somewhere to stay.. ...Read Full Story

Dems Slam Schuette Over 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

BH Street Project


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

Part Of Red Arrow Highway Dedicated For Fallen Trooper


Red Arrow Highway between Glenlord and Hilltop roads is now known as the Trooper Robert J. Mihalik Memorial Highway. A dedication was held Sunday afternoon at Eagle Technologies to remember Mihalik on the 34-year anniversary of his death in the line of duty. His widow, Carol Mihalik, was among the family members who spoke, thanking state Representative Kim LaSata for getting the resolution passed and Assistant Niles MSP Post Commander Mindy Logan for her work to honor her husband.. ...Read Full Story

State Drops Conviction Box From Job Applications


From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says the state will no longer ask job applicants and people seeking certain occupational licenses to check a box if they have been convicted of a felony. The governor on Friday announced that the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has removed the box from occupational and construction code
licensing applications. He also will sign an executive order directing state departments and agencies to remove the felony question box from applications for state employment. Snyder is encouraging private employers to follow suit. The box will remain for applications for fields where state law precludes former felons from being licensed, primarily in health care. Snyder told The Associated Press that helping people coming out of prison or jail succeed is a “win for all of us.”. ...Read Full Story

Runs For Special Olympics Underway


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

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