Local News Archives

Secretary Of State On Voting Rules

When you cast your ballot today, the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office is reminding you to stick to just Republicans, Democrats, or Libertarians. Spokesman Fred Woodhams says any ballot with more than one party selected will be tossed out and you’ll have to vote again.. ...Read Full Story

WSJM Morning News – August 6, 2018

  • Cornerstone Alliance is making an aggressive push to bring more retailers to Benton Township. 
  • Some Berrien County Commissioners have had a chance to see the county’s newest park firsthand. 
  • Rick Snyder has toured a water system project in a city near Kalamazoo. 
  • Two men are facing charges following two separate drug raids in Benton Harbor. 
  • Two men in their 50s are recovering with just minor injuries after a plane crash in Dowagiac this weekend. 
  • Two people are dead after a string of water rescues Sunday. 
  • The fraud trial of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort begins its second week Monday.
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Successful County Land Auction

This year’s summer auction of property tax-foreclosed properties by Berrien County is one of the most successful ever in terms of selling parcels of land that had homes or vacant businesses. Treasurer Bret Witkowski says they had a first during the Tuesday morning auction.. ...Read Full Story

First Ever Allegan County Night Out

Next Tuesday is the National Night Out and the first ever held in Allegan County. You’re invited to Saugatuck’s Coghlin Park Tuesday, August 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. for food and drink, giveaways, and demonstrations of fire district and safety equipment. The Saugatuck-Douglas Convention and Visitors Bureau will be sponsoring a free parking shuttle bus. It will run between Saugatuck High School and Coghlin Park from 5:30 to 8:30. More information available at Saugatuck’s City Hall and on Facebook.. ...Read Full Story

Minor Injuries In Dowagiac Plane Crash

Two men in their 50s are recovering with just minor injuries after a plane crash in Dowagiac this weekend. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the Saturday evening incident, which happened around 7 p.m. The 54-year-old pilot was treated at the scene, while his 51-year-old passenger was taken to Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital. He was treated and released from there. The plane was taking off when it crashed at Dowagiac Municipal Airport.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Seeks Chemical Ban

Michigan’s latest water crisis is coming from a chemical used in manufacturing, fire suppression foam, and other uses. PFAS has turned up in wells north of Grand Rapids, near Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek, and most recently, rendered the city of Parchment’s water system unusable in Kalamazoo County. State Representative Peter Lucido of Macomb County wants an immediate ban on the substance enacted. He spoke with Michigan News Network about it.. ...Read Full Story

New Buchanan Credit Union

Banking will get a little more convenient for Honor Credit Union members in Buchanan next year, as currently their closest branches are in Niles and Berrien Springs. The financial institution is announcing plans to open a branch in the city at 117 North Red Bud Trail in early 2019. The branch will be within walking distance to many restaurants and shops in Buchanan, and will open up across from the Duck Pond and Lehman’s Farm House. The building is currently being designed. Berrien Springs branch manager Karol Behrle will be the manager of the new location in her hometown. In a statement, Honor Credit Union CEO Scott McFarland said “Buchanan has been a great community partner of Honor’s for years.” He adds, “we are excited to bring the increased convenience of a local branch to our Buchanan members and look forward to getting to know new friends in this growing community.” Honor Credit Union has been a supported the Buchanan community through providing volunteers for the annual Thrill On The Hill events, sponsoring floor hockey teams, and supporting the Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce. The credit union has over 80,000 members in the state. The Buchanan branch will be its 25th in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Endorsement For Nesbitt

State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker has endorsed Aric Nesbitt in the race for Michigan Senate in the 26th District. Schuitmaker currently occupies that post and is being term-limited out of office. She tells WSJM News Nesbitt, a former state representative and head of the Michigan Lottery, is right for southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Police: Watch Out For Phone Scam

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is warning the public about the latest phone scam. It tells us it has been hearing from residents who have been called by someone claiming to be working for the sheriff’s department. The caller tells the intended victim they owe money for warrants and will be arrested if they don’t pay up. The caller ID on the phone will show a true sheriff’s office number and the scammer will even tell the victim to check the internet for the number, but the sheriff’s department said it’s fake. The scammers are spoofing the number. Police advise the public not to fall for the scam and to just hang up.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Proposing New House Rules

A new effort is being launched by a bi-partisan group in Congress to get some procedural rules changed so more can get done. Spearheaded by the Problem Solvers group, Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News the “Break the Gridlock” campaign aims to implement new rules when the next Speaker is chosen. He said the changes are a bit “Inside Baseball,” but gave us some examples.. ...Read Full Story

Voters To Decide Gerrymandering Proposal

We will get to vote on a constitutional change regarding how congressional and state legislative districts are drawn. The Michigan Supreme Court issued a ruling around 10:30 Tuesday night dismissing a lawsuit challenging the ballot proposal from Voters Not Politicians to take the responsibility of drawing the districts out of the hands of lawmakers. The lawsuit contended the proposal made too many changes to the state Constitution, and would create a new branch of government, but the state’s highest court disagreed. Katey Fahey is the executive director of the grassroots group that worked to get the measure before voters, and is very relieved.. ...Read Full Story

Slow Home Construction

Housing permits for single family home construction have increased nearly 4% in Michigan during the first half of this year, but production is not meeting the demand. Bob Filka is the CEO of the Home Builders Association of Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Watching For PFAS

With the state of emergency declared this past weekend in Kalamazoo County for PFAS in the drinking water in the city of Parchment and Cooper Township along with the discovery of the chemicals in northern Kent County, the Battle Creek area, and near Selfridge Air National Guard Base in suburban Detroit, is it a problem here? We put that question to Gillian Conrad of the Berrien County Health Department.. ...Read Full Story

Police Night Out Tuesday

Tuesday will bring the 35th annual Police National Night Out as local police departments look to mingle with the public and establish good relations. St. Joseph Township Police Officer Rick Knapp tells WSJM News there will be a gathering at St. Joseph’s Riverview Park featuring demonstrations for the public.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Drug Busts

Two men are facing charges following two separate drug raids in Benton Harbor in the past two weeks. The Southwest Enforcement Team tells us it raided a home in the 200 block of Hull Street on Tuesday, July 31 following a month-long investigation. There, officers say they found about 50 grams of crack cocaine and powder cocaine. A 32-year-old man was arrested on drug charges. The second raid was at a home in the 800 block of Superior Street this Thursday. Police say they found cocaine packaged for sale and distribution, a shotgun, and a possibly stolen handgun. A 44-year-old man was arrested on drug and gun charges. The Southwest Enforcement Team says the two cases are not related.. ...Read Full Story

Franklin On Campaign Tour

Michigan Sixth District candidate for Congress George Franklin is making one final push to drum up support for his primary candidacy with a tour this weekend. Franklin, seeking the Democratic nomination to take on Congressman Fred Upton in November, kicked off the tour in Three Rivers on Thursday. On Friday, it took him to Kalamazoo and Paw Paw, while he planned to appear in St. Joseph Saturday. Franklin’s St. Joe stop will be at downtown Chalk the Block festivities at 301 State Street near the St. Joseph Welcome Center from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Also Saturday, he’ll stop by Cassopolis. On Sunday, Franklin plans to be at the Coloma Open Air Market from 2 to 3, and Watervliet from 3 to 5, where he’ll be canvassing. Another St. Joseph visit and a South Haven visit are planned for Monday. Franklin worked as a lobbyist for Kellogg before starting his own consulting business. Also in the running for the Sixth District Democratic nomination are David Benac, Rich Eichholz, and Matt Longjohn. The primary will be Tuesday.. ...Read Full Story

Cornerstone Seeking New Retailers

Cornerstone Alliance is making an aggressive push to bring more retailers to Benton Township. Cornerstone President Rob Cleveland tells WSJM News the group has hired The Retail Coach, a national retail recruitment and development firm, hoping to get some spaces filled along M-139 between I-94 and Napier Avenue.. ...Read Full Story

Police: Dog Attack Report Was False

The Bridgman Police Department has closed its investigation into a reported dog attack on a child and says the story was not true. Early this week, the department on Facebook asked for the public’s help in identifying the owner of a dog that allegedly bit a 3-year-old boy on the face. The child’s father told police a woman had been walking the dog Sunday night along Lake Street near Toth Street and allowed his son to pet it. That’s when the bite supposedly happened. On Thursday, Bridgman police posted an update on the situation, saying the location and description of the woman and dog involved were false. Officers say they have located the real dog and its owner. The department is now submitting its report on the investigation to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office for a possible charge of filing a false police report. The department thanked the public for coming forward with tips in the investigation.. ...Read Full Story

New Berrien Park Almost Finished

Berrien County’s newest park is close to opening to the public. Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey tells WSJM News he took some county commissioners on a tour of Paw Paw River County Park in Watervliet this week. That’s after a 90 foot pedestrian bridge was completed late last month to help people reach a 9 acre island in the river.. ...Read Full Story

Dog Flu Reported In Six Counties

From the Associated Press — Michigan officials are warning dog owners to keep their pets at home if they’re sick to prevent the spread of canine influenza. The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development said Thursday that 49 cases of dog flu have been confirmed in six Lower Peninsula counties since July 13, compared with nine cases during all of 2017. The six counties are Huron, Kent, Macomb, Oakland, Ottawa, and Wayne. The agency says dog flu is highly contagious. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, coughing, and nasal and/or eye discharge. Most cases of canine influenza are mild, and dogs usually recover within two to three weeks. However, more severe cases can occur. More information is available online .. ...Read Full Story

Interim Berrien County Public Defender Named

Berrien County officials are looking for a new chief public defender and the county commission has approved assigning chief assistant public defender Christopher Renna to head up the department on an interim basis. Renna will assume that role officially on August 5, taking over for Carl Macpherson, who is leaving to return to Oregon and says he is interested in getting the job permanently.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County To Share Employee With Cass On Transportation

Berrien County will be helping out Cass County on managing transportation services. After tabling a resolution to allow county transportation and planning coordinator Evan Smith to work one day a week for Cass County last week, commissioners voted 11-1 to approve the assistance. Berrien County Administrator Bill Wolf says Cass County will pay $33,000 a year for the help.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Hopes To Avoid Shutdown

Congressman Fred Upton isn’t terribly concerned there will be a government shut down this fall. President Trump has threatened one if he doesn’t get his border wall, but Upton tells WSJM News the spending plan outlined by the House provides something else.. ...Read Full Story

AMBER Alert Over, GR Boy Found Safe In Benton Harbor

An AMBER Alert that was issued Thursday for a one-year-old Grand Rapids boy is over. Grand Rapids police say Miquis Jenkins has been found safe in Benton Harbor this afternoon after allegedly being taken by his 19-year-old babysitter yesterday. Officers are working on getting the child back to his family. GRPD says the babysitter, Iyesha Gibbs, has also been found in Benton Harbor and will be taken to Grand Rapids to be questioned.. ...Read Full Story

Attorney For Suspected Mass Murderer Confident In Miranda Rights Ruling

Defense attorney Anastase Markou is confident a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling regarding accused Kalamazoo mass murderer Jason Dalton is going to stand. The appeals court this week ruled Dalton’s statements to police are inadmissible at trial because officers repeatedly ignored his request for an attorney. Markou said the claim by police that they didn’t allow an attorney to be present due to a danger to the public and the fear there were other victims isn’t valid in this case.. ...Read Full Story

Lt. Gov. Calley, Democrats Accuse AG Schuette Of Breaking Law

Democrats and at least one Republican are claiming the state’s highest law enforcement officer may have broken the law, and they have the email to prove it. The Detroit Free Press broke the latest angle to the story that Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley brought up in a debate this summer, and he’s using it to try to chip away at Attorney General Bill Schuette’s lead before next week’s primary. The emails show that the Attorney General asked over a dozen staff members to do political work on state time in 2015. Calley claims he has never seen anything like it.. ...Read Full Story