Local News Archives

Flooding Reported Around Berrien

With steady rain throughout much of Thursday afternoon, the Berrien County Road Department is advising drivers to watch out for flooding. It writes on its Facebook page, “‪Extreme caution when traveling lots of flooding in Berrien County, several roads underwater‬.” We have had reports of flooding around St. Joseph and St. Joseph Township. Do not try to drive through water-covered roads. Report flooded roads to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department at 269-983-7141.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Opposes Proos Bill

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has unanimously approved a resolution opposing legislation from state Senator John Proos that would exempt utility properties from personal property taxes. The bill is intended to reduce the cost of equipment upgrades from major utility companies, but county commissioners say it would hurt the bottom lines of municipalities. Berrien County Board of Commissioners Chair Jon Hinkelman told WSJM News the body wanted to send a message.. ...Read Full Story

Engler Apologizes For Kickback Comment

From the Associated Press — Michigan State University’s interim president is apologizing for emails in which he said a victim of former campus sports doctor Larry Nassar probably received a “kickback” from her plaintiff’s lawyer. John Engler issued a written statement Thursday, more than a week after media outlets reported on his email exchange with another university official. He says: “That was a big mistake. I was wrong. I apologize.” Engler says when he started as president in February, he never meant to have an adversarial relationship with some of Nassar’s victims. He says his speculation about Rachael Denhollander receiving kickbacks or referral fees “hurt her deeply,” and other survivors “suffered greatly.” Two university trustees have called on Engler to resign, but he says he’ll use his remaining time as interim president to implement reforms.. ...Read Full Story

Marketing Director Retiring

A change is coming to St. Joseph City Hall. City Marketing Director Susan Solon is retiring. She sent a message to friends this week announcing she’ll step down in August. That’ll be after one more summer packed with activities around St. Joe, many of which were organized by Solon. She’s known in the community as being behind the public art displays in the downtown area, the summer movies shown in the park, the city’s newsletter, and many other things. In the message posted at Moody on the Market, Solon writes, “it is time to breathe and smell the roses…” Many downtown merchants and leaders at St. Joseph Today say Solon will be missed.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Wave Study

The South Haven City Council is reviewing an Abonmarche study regarding waves on the Black River. High lake levels and winds are causing damage to boats docked at some marinas on the Black River. Harbormaster Kate Hosier spoke with WSJM News about the issue.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Signs State Budget For FY2019

Governor Snyder has made it official, enacting the next fiscal year’s budget months before the current one expires. He signed the spending plan this afternoon in Lansing. State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton is proud of what lawmakers and the governor’s office have accomplished.. ...Read Full Story

MSU Trustees Not Likely To Act On Ousting Engler

Members of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees are in the middle of a two-day closed door retreat leading up to tomorrow’s open meeting, and the status of interim President John Engler does not appear on either agenda. It would take five votes to oust Engler, but it will take 6 to put it on the agenda and observers say the votes are not there. Attorney Jamie White who represents some of the 130 survivors of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse who signed a letter calling for the trustees to act says there are a lot of better candidates.. ...Read Full Story

One Killed In Stevensville Crash

Michigan State Police are investigating a deadly crash this morning at the intersection of Linco and Red Arrow Highway in Stevensville. WSJM News has learned a man was driving westbound on Linco and went through the stop sign just before 6 a.m. and was broadsided on the driver’s door by a northbound vehicle, killing him. The driver of the vehicle on Red Arrow Highway wasn’t hurt. State police say at this point, they don’t know what caused the man to disregard the stop sign. The crash closed that intersection for a few hours this morning. Sources tell us the victim was on his way to work at the time.. ...Read Full Story

Family Dog’s Scent Helps Deputies Find Missing Toddler

A little boy is safely back with his family after scaring the daylights out of them. The two-year-old managed to open the front door at home on M-43 in Waverly Township and get out with the family’s year-old pit bull mix tagging along. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says having the dog with him is what helped them find the two after a massive search. One thing that was working against them was there was a two-hour gap from the time the boy had last been seen to when his mother realized he was gone. Sheriff’s department K-9 teams were called out and after footprints from the two were found, the police dogs were able to locate them about two miles from home. The child was fine other than having a lot of bug bites. No charges are expected, but the sheriff will submit reports to the prosecutor’s office and Child Protective Services.. ...Read Full Story

Radiothon To Fight Alzheimer’s Today

WSJM’s Ray Gustafson will be out at Woodland Terrace Senior Living in Niles from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Woodland Terrace Director Todd Dockerty tells WSJM News there is promising research into Alzheimer’s, but the fight is far from over.. ...Read Full Story

Planned Power Outage

If you live in St. Joseph, there’s a chance you may have a power outage Thursday. Indiana Michigan Power has been notifying customers of a planned maintenance outage that is supposed to go from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. That’s seven hours. It may be a bit long, but I&M tells us it’s needed to safely do the maintenance work. About 400 customers will be affected. 25 businesses will be affected. Anyone with questions can call the utility. The homes and businesses included in the outage can be found scattered around the area.. ...Read Full Story

BH Farmers Market Opens

This Wednesday brought the re-opening of the Benton Harbor Farmers Market. Held by the Berrien County Health Department, the market is intended to give Benton Harbor residents a place to purchase fresh fruits and veggies, says spokesperson Gillian Conrad.. ...Read Full Story

Child Support Division Releases Numbers

More than $250 million in back child support has been collected by the Michigan Attorney General’s office since it opened the Child Support Division in 2003. State Attorney General Bill Schuette tells us the focus of the Child Support Division is for parents who have the ability to pay child support but refuse to do so. For the Department of Attorney General to get involved with child support cases, there has to be at least $7,500 in back payments owed. When a case comes to the department, a 90-day investigation period begins. The state notes it has gone a far as to extradite a man from Alaska who owed more than $95,000 in child support in Michigan. You can find more information about the state’s Child Support Division right here.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Statement On Executive Order

Now that President Trump has signed an executive order ending the separation of detained illegal immigrants from their children at the U.S. and Mexico border, Congressman Fred Upton has issued a statement. He says, “Thank goodness this ugly practice is ending. As it should. Now we must re-double our efforts to fix a broken immigration system.” Upton told us this week action on immigration was likely in the U.S. House on Thursday. Upton had called the family separations “ugly and inhumane.” Earlier on Wednesday, before the president signed the executive order, Upton tweeted, “Mr. President, you can stop this madness. End the ugly family separation practice NOW.”. ...Read Full Story

Application For Marijuana Businesses

Benton Harbor is a step closer to having medical marijuana businesses registered in the city. At this week’s meeting, city commissioners approved the application that medical marijuana businesses will use when seeking permission to operate. Mayor Marcus Muhammad noted the applications come with a $5,000 fee.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Explains Bill To Cut Personal Property Tax For Utilities

The city of St. Joseph and Berrien County Board of Commissioners are among local governmental units concerned that a new bill sponsored by Senator John Proos of St. Joseph is going to hit their bottom lines. Proos has authored legislation to give a tax break to utilities on their transmission and distribution systems, as utilities were not included in the personal property tax repeal that passed several years ago for manufacturers and business. Proos tells us he’s talked with every member of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners about their concerns regarding the loss in tax revenues, and adds what’s been introduced will undergo changes.. ...Read Full Story

Existing Home Sales Down, Prices Up Sharply

The housing market in southwest Michigan is cooling off a bit, but it’s still red-hot for sellers because there still aren’t many homes on the market. Those that do go up are getting multiple offers within hours of being listed in some instances. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors says average selling prices jumped 20% from April to May and the median price shot up 44%. Sales numbers, however, are down 6% for the year compared to 2017 due to low inventory. The median price for May was just under $155,000, while the average price now stands at nearly $257,000. The local mortgage rate is also up, rising from 4.6% in April to 4.75% in May.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Summer Automation Academy

Lake Michigan College is trying out a new kind of summer jobs training program this year. Dean of Career Education Ken Flowers tells WSJM News Automation Engineering Pre-Apprentice Academy starts at the Hanson Tech Center Monday. It’s a seven-week summer academy to teach students about design and graphics, advanced cad techniques, industrial safety, robotics, and blueprint reading. The trick to this program is many of the students are sponsored by employers.. ...Read Full Story

WSJM Morning News – June 20, 2018

  • Congressman Fred Upton expects the U.S. House to take action on an immigration bill this Thursday.
  • Protesters gathered outside of Congressman Fred Upton’s office.
  • Those interested in starting a medical marijuana business in Benton Harbor now have a way to apply to the city for permission.
  • Michigan farmers are watching Capitol Hill closely over the next few weeks.
  • Lake Michigan College will launch a new kind of training program next week.
  • Coming up this Thursday will be a chance for everyone to help in the fight against Alzheimer’s by tuning into The Longest Day All-Day Broadcast.
  • The old Central Train Station in Detroit will be TRANSFORMED by Ford.
  • Federal highway safety officials have ordered a stop to a product that allows Tesla drivers to keep the autopilot function going for longer than intended.
. ...Read Full Story

Immigration Protest In St. Joseph

Congressman Fred Upton’s office in St. Joseph was the site of a protest Tuesday regarding immigration policy. Specifically, activists gathered to demand that Upton keep his word when it comes to fighting the Trump administration’s policy of separating detained illegal immigrants from their children. Protester Sandy Feldman told WSJM News they had a message for the St. Joe congressman.. ...Read Full Story

Alzheimer’s Radio-thon This Week

This Thursday will be the longest day if the year, and the Alzheimer’s Association is using it as a way to spread awareness and raise money. Michigan chapter spokesperson Samantha West tells WSJM News they want everyone to know the warning signs of Alzheimer’s. They’re different from normal, age-related forgetfulness.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks Immigration

Action on immigration reform is likely this Thursday in the U.S. House. So says Congressman Fred Upton, who issued a statement this week in opposition to the Trump administration policy of separating detained illegal immigrants from their children at the border. Upton told WSJM News he wants the practice ended.. ...Read Full Story

Bill On Businesses And Healthcare

A new bill in the Michigan Legislature is designed to shine a light on big companies that pay their workers so little they qualify for government-funded healthcare. House Bill 61-46, the Fair Share Health Care Disclosure Act, would require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to publish an annual list of the 50 companies with the most employees on Medicaid. State Representative Patrick Green says taxpayers end up footing the bill when companies skimp on workers.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Calls For Action To Stop Separation Of Families At Border

There are more voices calling on the White House to change course when it comes to separating children from their parents at the border with Mexico. Michigan Congressmen Fred Upton, Bill Huizenga and Dan Kildee issued statements slamming the “zero-tolerance” policy being enforced by the White House, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer is also calling on everyone in the state to put pressure on the U.S. House and Senate to come up with a new law.. ...Read Full Story

New Farm Bill Could Be Passed Soon

There is optimism in Michigan’s agriculture community that this year’s federal Farm Bill will be finished and on the desk of the President before the current law expires this fall. Michigan Farm Bureau national lobbyist John Kran says one important thing for farmers is having certainty.. ...Read Full Story

Ford Celebrates Purchase Of Detroit Train Station

From the Associated Press — Ford Motor Co. is celebrating its purchase of Detroit’s long vacant train depot that the company plans to redevelop for research and development of self-driving vehicles. The company’s executive chairman, Bill Ford, has used the Michigan Central depot as a backdrop while publicly laying out plans for the 105-year-old train station and surrounding neighborhood. On Tuesday, the automaker held a public event outside the 500,000-square-foot
(46,450-square-meter) building. Bill Ford said Tuesday that the company is reimagining mobility and “making a big bet on” its future with the investments. He says the depot and 17-story office tower will be redeveloped over the next four years.
The last passenger train left the station in 1988. A businessman purchased the building in the mid-1990s, but it remained empty and became blighted, exemplifying Detroit’s long decline from manufacturing powerhouse to bankruptcy.. ...Read Full Story

120 Nassar Survivors Want Engler Out

A letter signed by at least 120 survivors of former sports doctor Larry Nassar demands that Michigan State University’s governing board remove interim school president John Engler. The women and girls issued a statement Tuesday, days before the board of trustees’ next meeting. Engler, a former Michigan governor, is resisting pressure to resign after media reports that he sent emails to another university official criticizing lawyers for Nassar’s sexual assault survivors and suggesting the first woman to go public with her accusations, Kalamazoo native and Nashville, Tennessee attorney Rachael Denhollander, was probably getting a “kickback” from her attorney. In the statement, the “sister survivors” say that Engler “has only reinforced the culture of abuse at MSU.” They say survivors “should know they can raise their voice without being characterized as pawns too foolish to know they are manipulated.” Denhollander worked with Michigan lawmakers to craft several of the bills that resulted from the Nassar fallout.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Salutes Niki Harris

Benton Harbor singing sensation Niki Harris has been honored by the city commission. At Monday’s meeting, commissioners saluted Harris as Mayor Marcus Muhammad read off some of her accomplishments, noting she has worked with Madonna, Whitney Houston, and Prince.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Talks Budget

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have approved the 2018-2019 budget, sending the city into the next fiscal year with a surplus of about $22,000. At Monday’s meeting, City Manager Darwin Watson said the spending plan anticipates a little more than $7.9 million in revenue and just under that in expenditures. He noted pensions remain a major expense.. ...Read Full Story