Local News Archives

General Motors Planning To Launch self-Driving Cars In 2019

From the Associated Press — General Motors expects to have autonomous vehicles working commercially in big cities sometime in 2019.
The company made the prediction Thursday in slides posted on its website ahead of an investor presentation. The company says that based on its current rate of change, it expects “commercial launch at scale” in heavily traveled urban environments in 2019. The slides mention delivery and carrying passengers. GM’s Cruise Automation unit is currently testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles with human backup drivers in San Francisco, Detroit and Phoenix with plans to test in Manhattan next year. Presumably the backup driver would be removed at the time of the commercial launch.The slides say that GM is focused on deploying self-driving vehicles safely but say the company is in the lead vs rival companies.. ...Read Full Story

One Killed In Hartford Crash

A crash between a passenger vehicle and a semi has killed one adult and injured two kids in Van Buren County. It happened around 7:30 a.m. near the intersection of County Road 678 and 66th Avenue in Hartford. The driver of the passenger vehicle was killed, but authorities haven’t released information yet about that person’s identity. The injuries suffered by the kids have also not been revealed. What caused the crash is still under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

New OutCenter Programs Focus On Moms

A new focus at the OutCenter in Benton Harbor — moms. OutCenter Director Mary Jo Schnell tells WSJM News the last presidential election brought a lot of mothers through the OutCenter’s doors, concerned about trends they were seeing with how people are treating each other. They worry about their LGBTQ kids. Now, they’ve set up two initiatives. First, there’s Moms are IN at the OutCenter.. ...Read Full Story

Fire, Murder Investigation In Decatur

The FBI and the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department are looking for answers in an arson in Decatur that killed a 31-year-old woman. Sheriff Dan Abbott says the victim is believed to be the woman who was renting the home in the 200 block of West St. Marys Street. They were called to the home for the fire around 8 a.m. Thursday and found the body once the flames were put out. No arrests have been made, and Abbott says they’re trying to find several people for questioning.. ...Read Full Story

Police, Firefighters Opposing Municipal Pension Bills

From the Associated Press — Police and firefighters are opposing newly introduced legislation that would force municipalities to address underfunded pension and retiree health care plans. A coalition of unionized police officers, firefighters and police and fire chiefs said Thursday it had “some agreement” with Republican legislative leaders on conceptual issues, but the bills as introduced go “beyond those concepts.” The unions and groups say letting the state impose benefit changes is contrary to recommendations made by a task force created by Governor Rick Snyder. Majority Republicans say many communities are adequately addressing their unfunded liabilities or are taking steps to do so, but some are not and risk going into bankruptcy. They say the bills are designed to ensure municipalities are acting because retirement costs are eating into 20 percent of budgets in many places.. ...Read Full Story

Stevensville Company Announces Expansion

A plastic injection mold company in Stevensville has announced a major expansion. Dura Mold, which also produces die casts, is investing $1.4 million in an 8,000 square foot addition. It’s expected to create 7 new jobs. The announcement comes after the Lake Township Board of Trustees this week approved a tax abatement for the work. Cornerstone Alliance helped Dura Mold in seeking it. Cornerstone’s Greg Vaughn tells us Dura Mold is a good example of a Berrien County business that’s thriving. The expansion to Dura Mold’s facility on Linco Road is expected to be finished by March of next year.. ...Read Full Story

Cornerstone Alliance To Hold Workshops On BH Income Tax

Coming up this month will be a couple of workshops organized by Cornerstone Alliance to get business owners up to speed on how to handle Benton Harbor’s new city income tax. The tax approved by voters in November will be 1% for workers and businesses based in the city. Cornerstone’s Rob Cleveland tells us he wants to make sure affected businesses know what to do.. ...Read Full Story

Man Dies In Bainbridge Farming Accident

Michigan State Police are investigating a farming death in Bainbridge Township. Troopers say first responders were sent to a cut cornfield in the 9,400 block of Territorial Road around 7:20 p.m. on Wednesday and found the body of 62-year-old Rafael Alonzo Zarate of Watervliet. Police believe Zarate had been chopping the remaining corn stubble in the field with a brush hog when he got off the tractor. For unknown reasons, he then reached across the power takeoff portion of the brush hog, got his clothing wrapped in the PTO, and was pulled into the machine. Zarate was alone at the time. Co-workers called police. State police say he’d been last seen Wednesday morning, so they haven’t yet determined what time the incident happened.. ...Read Full Story

Police Tips On Safe Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping time is now, and police say you need to keep your guard up to avoid thieves. Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Kelly Laesch tells WSJM News you should have a plan if you get separated with your buddy, park in well-lit areas, and don’t leave packages sitting out in the open in your car.. ...Read Full Story

Police, Firefighters Rally Over Pensions

From the Associated Press — Hundreds of police and firefighters have rallied at Michigan’s Capitol in a show of force against pending legislation they fear could lead to cuts in retiree benefits. Bills haven’t been introduced, and Republican Governor Rick Snyder and legislative leaders continue to meet. But police officers and firefighters are in Lansing Wednesday to push lawmakers to not curtail retiree health benefits. Republicans are concerned about $10.1 billion in unfunded liabilities for municipal retiree health care. Public safety officers agree it’s a problem, but say legislators should stick with consensus recommendations included in a task force report – not potentially interfere with collectively bargained contracts. A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof says the state should
provide a “pathway” to resolve unfunded liabilities locally – through increased revenue or benefit changes.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Hurt In Car-Pedestrian Accident In Van Buren County

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a crash between a car and a pedestrian in Arlington Township. It happened around 5:30 last night in the 57-thousand block of 48th Avenue when a Kalamazoo woman was taking a client from Beacon Specialized Living for a walk and was hit by a Chevy Impala driven by a woman from Hartford. The driver told police she didn’t see the two until it was too late, as there are no street lights in the area. The victim is 24-years-old and was sent to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo for treatment of head and back injuries. Just how badly she was hurt hasn’t been released, however, deputies say she was breathing but unresponsive when the arrived. The client and the driver were not hurt.. ...Read Full Story

U Of M Students Walk Out Over Possible Spencer Speech

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel has said his administration has not made a decision yet about whether to allow white supremacist Richard Spencer to speak on campus. Schlissel did say he would meet with Spencer’s group, the National Policy Institute, before making that decision. That prompted a walkout Wednesday afternoon of about 300 to 400 students who ended up on the steps of the union. Kwi-aun Saum with the Stop Spencer Campaign spoke with Michigan News Network.. ...Read Full Story

Attorney General Issues Brochure On Safe Holiday Giving

The Michigan Attorney General’s office is reminding everyone to be careful about where they give their charitable donations this Christmas season. The AG’s office tells us it has released its annual Giving Wisely brochure, a resource that aims to help Michigan donors make wise charitable gifts. The Michigan Nonprofit Association, Council of Michigan Foundations, and the Michigan Association of United Ways all work with the attorney general on putting the brochure together. It contains information on how people can protect themselves while making donations online and to be wary of aggressive fundraising phone calls. You can find the new brochure right here.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Announces Plans For Park Development

The city of South Haven has its eye on a new recreational development. The city manager’s office tells us the South Haven Area Recreation Authority Board has settled on a new location for the long-proposed South Haven Area Recreational Park, or SHARP. The city started planning for the large gathering place and recreation spot as far back as 2006. The first site the city identified for it, located in Casco Township, proved to be too problematic. Now, the recreation authority has settled on a 40 acre parcel in South Haven Township. Located at 75327 14th Avenue, the plan now is to buy the property and establish the SHARP there. It will feature a community gathering spot, baseball fields, softball fields, walking paths, and soccer fields. The city will use proceeds from the sale of the old 96 acre parcel in Casco Township and a $300,000 state grant to make the project happen. The goal is to have the funds next year.. ...Read Full Story

State Receives Millions In Skilled Trades Funding

Millions of dollars in grant money coming to Michigan will be used to help help the state develop talent and companies to fill thousand of jobs. The Skilled Trades Training Fund ensures residents have continued access to training for in-demand skills and that employers continue creating opportunities for skilled workers. Talent Investment Agency Director Wanda Stokes spoke with Michigan News Network about the funding.. ...Read Full Story

RESA Program Receives National Recognition

A Berrien RESA program aimed at helping the parents of small children better guide the development of their young ones has received national recognition. The Parents as Teachers program engages the parents of kids ages 3 and under to get personally involved in the educational development of their children, says RESA’s Kerenda Applebey. She spoke with WSJM News about the program.. ...Read Full Story

Six Berrien Communities Sign On To MEDC Program

Cornerstone Alliance is hoping six Berrien County communities that recently signed on to a state development program will make themselves even more attractive to business. Cornerstone’s Stacey Stephens tells WSJM News the MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities Initiative lays out some best practices for communities to follow when preparing for development. Now joined on to get certified are Benton Harbor, Niles, St. Joseph, Watervliet, Baroda, and Stevensville. The idea is to create some uniformity so businesses are more comfortable with expanding into the participating communities.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Scream Park Donates $110,000 To Non-Profits

The Niles Scream Park has ended another season by giving out more than $110,000 to non-profits all over the region. The attraction itself is a non-profit, and the more then 400 volunteers who worked there this Halloween season have made their picks for which charities it will support. Park Secretary Kellie Welch spoke with WSJM News.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Morning Crash In Bertrand Twp

A crash which police believe may have been alcohol-related is under investigation in Berrien County. The sheriff’s department tells us deputies were called out to US-12 near Mayflower Road in Bertrand Township around 10 a.m. Wednesday. They learned a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire driven by a 24-year-old man from the Niles area had attempted to pass a trash hauler as they headed west on US-12. The Sunfire sideswiped the garbage truck, crossed the centerline, and then crashed head-on into an oncoming 2013 Chevrolet. The driver of the Sunfire was taken to Memorial Hospital in South Bend with serious but non life-threatening injuries. The driver of the Chevrolet was treated for minor injuries at the scene and released, and the driver of the garbage hauler was not hurt. Police say they do believe alcohol was involved in the crash They’ll forward their report on to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s office when it’s complete.. ...Read Full Story

Agency Says US, Canada Fall Short On Great Lakes Protection

From the Associated Press — A joint U.S.-Canadian agency says untreated sewage releases, chemical pollution and algae blooms show that the two nations have a long way to go to meet their pledge to clean up the Great Lakes. The International Joint Commission on Tuesday released its first progress report since the two countries approved an updated version of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 2012.
It credits them with moving forward on the cleanup of sites contaminated by industrial pollution and setting targets for reducing hosphorus runoff into Lake Erie that causes explosive growth of toxic algae. But it says those targets aren’t enforced. And it faults both countries for
failing to keep drinking water and sewage treatment facilities in good condition. The report also says agencies are behind on identifying new contaminants such as fire retardants.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Approved To Ban Ousted Lawmakers From Running For New Seats

From the Associated Press — The Michigan legislature has voted to prohibit a lawmaker who resigns or who has been expelled from office from running in the special election to fill the seat. The bill cleared the Senate on a 35-3 vote Wednesday after winning House approval earlier this year. It is a response to former Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat running in special elections to finish the remainder of their terms in 2015. He had resigned and she had been expelled after being accused of misusing state resources to try to cover up their extramarital affair. They lost the special elections. Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign the legislation when it reaches his desk.. ...Read Full Story

Aide: Pelosi Pressing Conyers To Resign

(Washington, DC – AP) – A senior Democratic aide says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been putting pressure on Congressman John Conyers of Detroit to resign from the chamber. The aide also says members of the Congressional Black Caucus have laid out arguments to the Michigan Democrat about why he should resign but have acknowledged that it’s his decision. The 88-year-old Conyers faces allegations that he’s sexually harassed employees. Conyers has denied the accusations.. ...Read Full Story

Net Neutrality Repeal Expected To Affect Consumers

Using the internet could soon be a different experience. With the FCC all but certain to eliminate protections requiring internet users to be granted equal access to all content, Lake Michigan College computer information systems instructor Jay Keeler tells WSJM News one scenario is that you’ll signing up for internet the way you sign up for TV.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Wants All Lead Pipes Replaced Within 20 Years

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration is planning to require the replacement of every underground lead service pipe in Michigan within 20 years while delaying by four years a deadline to implement the nation’s toughest lead limit for drinking water in the wake of the Flint lead crisis. Under draft rules environmental regulators want to finalize next year, Michigan’s “action level” for lead in drinking water would gradually drop to 10 parts per billion by 2024. The current federal threshold is 15 parts per billion.. ...Read Full Story

City Grants Extension To Jefferson Lofts Project

The St. Joseph City Commission has approved a one year extension for the Planned Unit Development designation for the Jefferson Lofts project. Jefferson Lofts is a condominium development within the former Jefferson School on South State Street. The project has been inching toward completion for the past year after getting several starts and stops over the years. This week, commissioners were told by the project’s developer five units are still being finished, and a few finishing touches are still needed for some of the landscaping. The developer  expects to have Jefferson Lofts totally completed by the end of 2018. The commission granted him the approval. The Planned Unit Development for Jefferson Lofts was first granted in 2006. The current developer’s application was approved in 2014, and it was granted a one-year extension in December of 2016. This last extension is expected to be the last one needed.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Student Chili Cook-Off This Friday

Lake Michigan College is planning a high school chili cook-off. The Napier Avenue campus in Benton Township will host student chili chefs from 17 local high schools for the competition this Friday. The schools include Benton Harbor High School, Kalamazoo RESA, St. Joseph High School, and Dowagiac High School. Each of the 17 participating teams will cook a chili recipe on site which will be judged by a panel of industry professionals including LMC’s chef instructor. Awards will be presented to the first through fifth place teams, and 14 students will have their online portfolios judged for professionalism and appeal to potential employers. This Friday’s event will be the ninth annual Lake Michigan College Chili Cook-Off.. ...Read Full Story

Cook Plant Refueling Outage Ends

Unit 1 of the Cook nuclear power plant is now back online. Cook plant spokesperson Bill Schalk tells WSJM News its refueling outage, started September 13, ended on Tuesday morning. This outage took a little longer than usual, thanks to extra work done on the unit’s baffle bolts. There was a lot of activity at the plant these past few months.. ...Read Full Story

Work Requirements For Food Assistance Reinstated In Ten Counties

The state of Michigan has expanded work requirements for some individuals who receive food assistance. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday notified about 16,000 people who will be potentially affected by the change. It’s taking effect in Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Clinton, Eaton, Grand Traverse, Ingham, Ionia, Kalamazoo, and Livingston counties. Able-bodied adults without dependents in the 10 counties have a three-month federal time limit for receiving food assistance benefits without meeting the reinstated work requirements. Those requirements state a recipient must work for an average of 20 hours per week, take an average of 20 hours of training per week, or work for a community service organization to continue receiving food aid. The federal rules are being applied to the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is run by the state health department.. ...Read Full Story

Bears In The Air Campaign Kicks Off

South Bend International Airport is now collecting Teddy bears for its annual Bears in the Air campaign. The campaign started Friday, and on Tuesday, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was among the local officials to stop by to contribute. He told WSJM News holding such a drive at an airport sends a message to visitors.. ...Read Full Story

Big Brothers, Big Sisters Honors Local Volunteers

Some volunteers for Big Brothers, Big Sisters Berrien and Cass have been saluted by the organization with Outstanding Service Awards. At the group’s annual gala this month, Big Brothers, Big Sisters Berrien and Cass Director Jenny Miner tells WSJM News they named Dr. Anjana Gupta and Daniel Gearhart as the Bigs of the Year. Each has gone the extra mile to help a young person improve their life. Miner tells us you don’t have a to be a hero to be a big.. ...Read Full Story

Police Warn Of Rash Of Burglaries In Benton Harbor

Police are looking for some break-in suspects in Benton Harbor. The department of public safety tells WSJM News there’s been a rash of burglaries in the Jefferson Hill area. It’s identified two persons of interest. They are Deandre Shon Taylor and James Z. Griffin. A $500 reward is being offered for information that leads to arrests in the case. The department of public safety also notes this is the time of year when home break-ins increase. It reminds everyone to lock their doors and arm their houses with a security system. Anyone with information on the Jefferson Hill break-ins is asked to call Benton Harbor Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

Light Up The Bluff Set For Friday

Coming up this Friday, the city of St. Joseph will light up the bluff. The St. Joe High School Choir will be on hand to perform at 6 p.m. when folks gather to see one million Christmas lights turned on for the season. That’s according to St. Joe Marketing Director Susan Solon, who spoke with WSJM News about the festivities.. ...Read Full Story

Senators Complain About Slow Pace Of Asian Carp Study

A group of U.S. senators is urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers not to fall behind on a study of how a key waterway chokepoint could be used to keep Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. The corps is considering ways to strengthen defenses against the invasive carp at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. An August report estimated the upgrades could cost $275 million and take until 2025 to finish.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Lt. Governor Calley Running For Governor

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has his sight set on the top job. He is launching his campaign for governor today, vowing to continue an economic rebound that has resulted in the addition of more than a half million jobs in Michigan. Calley touts the Michigan unemployment rate at a 17-year low this year and says the state leads the Midwest in job creation, ranks sixth nationally and is first in new manufacturing jobs.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Online Auction This Week

Now that the dust is settling from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, the United Way of Southwest Michigan is hoping folks will take a moment to give. It’s declared today to be Giving Tuesday, says the United Way’s Ryan Cheevers. He spoke with WSJM News about what is planned.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Now Testing Some Drivers For Drug Impairment

From the Associated Press — Michigan State Police officers are conducting roadside saliva tests on suspected drug-impaired motorists as part of a program spurring questions about the tests’ accuracy. State Police Special First Lieutenant Jim Flegel tells the South Bend Tribune that the program uses a portable saliva-testing device that can tell officers if a driver has certain drugs in his system, such as marijuana or opiates. Michigan Medical Marijuana Association president Michael Komorn says he’s concerned about the tests’ accuracy and the program’s experimental nature. The $150,000 program is called the Preliminary Oral Fluid Analysis. Flegel says it aims to combat an increase in fatal crashes caused by drug-impaired drivers. He says officers must have a reason to suspect impairment before testing a driver. The program is currently being used in five Michigan counties: Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Announces New Line 5 Safety Agreement

From the Associated Press — Michigan officials and Enbridge Inc. have set a deadline of August 15, 2018, to determine the future of twin oil pipelines beneath the waterway where Lakes Huron and Michigan converge. The date is part of an agreement announced Monday amid rising concerns about the safety of Enbridge’s Line 5, which extends across northern Wisconsin and Michigan on its way to Sarnia, Ontario. A 5-mile segment rests on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. Valerie Brader of the Michigan Agency for Energy says if the two sides can’t agree by the deadline, the state will “take another path” that could include shutting down the line. But she said the state will consider other alternatives, including routing the underwater segment through a tunnel. Enbridge will evaluate three tunnel options by next June.. ...Read Full Story

Levin Endorses George Franklin For Congress In Sixth District

U.S. Senator Carl Levin has weighed in on the race for Congress in Michigan’s Sixth District. The Democrat from Detroit has endorsed George Franklin in his party’s primary for the district. George Franklin is one of six Democrats vying to face off against Congressman Fred Upton next year. He’s the most recent Democrat to announce a candidacy. In his endorsement issued Monday, Senator Levin says he’s worked with George Franklin for years, adding Franklin will “deliver on job creation, ensuring safe workplaces, supporting strong schools, and guaranteeing every family has access to affordable, quality health care.” Franklin worked as a lobbyist for Kellogg before starting his own consulting business. He lives in Glenn, and Senator Levin joined Franklin at a fundraiser in Kalamazoo Monday night. Also in the Democratic race to run against Fred Upton are David Benac, Paul Clements, Eponine Garrod, Rich Eichholz, and Matt Longjohn.. ...Read Full Story

Allegan K9 To Receive Bullet Protective Vest

A K9 for the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a donation from a non-profit organization. Lajki the dog is getting that extra protection from Vested Interest, a group that gets safety gear for police dogs all over the country. It’s previously helped out the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department. Lajki’s vest is paid for by an anonymous sponsor and will be embroidered with the sentiment, “This gift of protection provided by Vested Interest in K9s, Incorporated.” The K9 officer is expected to receive the donation in 8 or 9 weeks. K9 Lajki is a two-year-old German Shepard from Poland, and has been with Allegan County Sheriff’s Department since February of 2017.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph City Commission Receives Nine Applications For Open Spot

The city of St. Joseph has received nine applications from residents interested in filling a vacancy on the city commission. The term, left empty when former Commissioner Chris Huegel resigned this fall, still has two years on it. Mayor Mike Garey tells WSJM News commissioners decided Monday to ask the nine applicants for more information on themselves and their resumes.. ...Read Full Story

Wahmhoff Farms Ships Out Nearly 800 Christmas Trees To Troops

787 Christmas trees have been loaded up and shipped out to a military base in Florida as part of this year’s Trees for the Troops program at Wahmhoff Farms in Gobles. The nursery has taken part in Trees for the Troops each Christmas season since 2006. The farm’s Betsy Wahmhoff-Perales tells WSJM News it just feels right to send a Christmas gift to the families of those who serve.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Police Warn About Counterfeit Money

The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety is warning the public about some fake currency that’s been reported circulating in the community. In a Facebook message, the department says there have been complaints from local businesses recently. The Secret Service has offered a few tips to know if you’re dealing with funny money. First, it says you can hold a bill up to the light to look for a hologram of the face image on the bill. Both images should match. Second, it says you can look at the bill through a light to see a thin vertical strip containing text that spells out that bill’s denomination. The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety tells us store clerks and others who handle money should be especially vigilant.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Accidentally Shot In Pipestone Twp

An 18-year-old Pipestone Township resident is in the hospital in critical condition after being accidentally shot on Sunday night. Michigan State Police tell us it happened around 10 p.m. in the 5,000 block of Old Pipestone Road. 18-year-old Delaney Nicole Flagel was unloading her vehicle after a day of hunting when a rifle was accidentally dropped causing it to discharge a round into her chest. Arriving troopers found her lying on the ground near her vehicle. She was brought to Lakeland Hospital in critical condition. Police say alcohol was not a factor in the incident.. ...Read Full Story

Trees For Troops Loading Today

Christmas trees will be sent to soldiers around the world from Gobles today. Wahmhoff Farms Nursery will load up semi trucks for their annual Trees For Troops event at 10 this morning. The trees will be shipped to Hurlburt Field at the US Air Force Auxiliary Base in Okaloosa County, Florida. Last year, the trees were shipped to Fort Benning, Georgia.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Continue Decline

Our gas prices in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph are down 12¢ a gallon from last week to $2.45, but we’re not the lowest in the state. Triple-A Michigan says statewide, prices fell 10¢ from last Monday to mark two straight weeks of a drop of at least a dime. The state average is $2.53. The lowest prices in Michigan are in Saginaw, where the average is $2.39. For the fourth straight week, Ann Arbor has the highest prices in the state at $2.61. South Haven is not covered by Triple-A’s survey, but GasBuddy spotters are finding regular as low as $2.14 at most stations, with a high of $2.19 at Village XPress and $2.29 at the Marathon in Grand Junction.. ...Read Full Story

Conyers Gives Up Judiciary Post Amid Sex Harassment Probe

Congressman John Conyers is giving up his leadership position as top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. The decision by the Detroit lawmaker comes ahead of a congressional probe into allegations of sexual harassment made against him. Conyers says he doesn’t want the allegations to undermine his colleagues in the Democratic caucus or those who serve on the Judiciary committee or in the House in general.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Accidentally Shoots Self

Michigan State Police are investigating what they’re calling an accidental shooting in Eau Claire. An 18-year-old woman shot herself in the 5000 block of Old Pipestone Road Sunday night. Our reporting partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16 say the shooting happened before 10:30 p.m., and no other details have been released including the victim’s name and her condition.. ...Read Full Story

Vaccine Waivers Up In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Vaccine waiver rates for school-age children have increased slightly in Michigan. The Detroit News reports that Department of Health and Human Services data shows 3.2% of kindergartners and seventh-graders received immunization waivers in 2016 compared to 3.1% the year before. The immunization rate was 4.8% in 2014. Since 2015, the state has required parents to attend educational sessions if they want to delay or decline immunizations for diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio,
diphtheria, hepatitis B and chickenpox. The newspaper reports that schools are required to report the immunization status of kindergarten, seventh-grade and transferring students. The state says there were 7,657 fewer waivers reported from schools in 2015 compared to the year before. Michigan allows waivers for medical reasons and on religious and philosophical grounds.. ...Read Full Story

Applications Sought For BH Income Tax Committee

The city of Benton Harbor is now taking applications from residents interested in serving on the new City Income Tax Oversight Committee. The body will determine how revenue from the city’s new income tax will be spent each year. It’s estimated that could be more than $2.5 million yearly. The deadline to apply to be on the City Income Tax Oversight Committee is Wednesday, December 27 at 5 p.m. Applications must be dropped off at the Benton Harbor City Clerk’s office, located at city hall. Anyone with questions should call.. ...Read Full Story