Local News Archives

New Site For Ox Creek Improvement Plan

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission is hoping to attract public interest in its efforts to improve the Ox Creek Watershed. It tells us a new website has been launched specifically for the Ox Creek Watershed Improvement Plan, which outlines steps being taken to improve the water quality, a vision for development of the area, resources, and contact information. The Ox Creek Watershed is in Benton Township around the general area of the Orchards Mall. It flows into the Paw Paw River, and is part of the far west section of the larger St. Joseph River Watershed. The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission tells us its plan focuses on a revitalized Orchards Mall with mixed use developments and public gathering spaces. The plan is intended to deal with pollution. You can find out more at the new project website, SustainOxCreek.org.. ...Read Full Story

What’s Next For Van Buren County Roads

With the failure this week of a road millage in Van Buren County, it’s back to the drawing board for the road commission. The body had asked voters for an additional three mills for 12 years to fix up the county’s roads. That would have generated more than $10 million per year. Van Buren County Road Commission Engineer-Manager Larry Hummel tells WSJM News the talks now begin on what to do next.. ...Read Full Story

New Principals At Niles Schools

A couple of new principals have been hired at Niles Community Schools. Superintendent Dan Applegate tells us the district has hired Jeron Blood as the new Ballard Elementary principal and Jennifer Shabazz as the principal of Northside Child Development Center. Blood has previously served as the assistant principal and associate principal at Edison Middle School in the Unit 4 School District of Champaign, Illinois. Shabazz joins the Niles Community Schools from the South Bend Community School Corporation where was the assistant principal at Brown Intermediate Center. Blood says he looks forward to working collaboratively with the Ballard Elementary teachers and staff, and contributing to a positive learning environment. Shabazz says she wants to support the needs of teachers, staff, and families. Applegate says the district is excited to welcome both.. ...Read Full Story

Ford Celebrates 10 Millionth Mustang

From the Associated Press — Ford Motor Co. marked the production of the 10 millionth Mustang with celebrations at the automaker’s headquarters and at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant where the iconic sports car is made. A parade of Mustangs from 1964 to the present day rolled into the HQ’s parking lot in Dearborn, Michigan, Wednesday morning before making the 30-minute drive – complete with police escort – to the Flat Rock complex. There, the cars were organized into a configuration that spelled out, “10,000,000.” The commas were represented by the first Mustang produced and the 10 millionth, a 2019 Wimbledon White GT V8 six-speed manual convertible. Mustang is the best-selling sports car of the last 50 years in the U.S. and the world’s top-selling sports car for three years in a row.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Praises PFAS Response

The local response to the PFAS contamination in Parchment and Cooper Township in Kalamazoo County is getting high marks from Congressman Fred Upton. He tells WSJM News when the harmful chemical was detected at high levels in the water there, the locals acted quickly to solve several problems.. ...Read Full Story

New Short-Term Rental Ordinance Approved In Casco Twp

Voters in Allegan County’s Casco Township have approved a zoning ordinance referendum for short-term rentals by a vote of 517-407. The ordinance regulates vacation rental home owners and address some of the concerns of residents in Casco Township. Owners of vacation rentals need to register their properties and pay a $200 fee, or face a fine. There will also be limits on the number of guests that can stay in the rental home, and those renters must follow the township’s noise ordinance. The approved ordinance also sets up a home inspection program and requires homeowners to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The township already has a 24 hour hotline for short-term rental complaints.. ...Read Full Story

Brad Paquette Wins 78th District House GOP Primary

A Niles teacher and Upper Peninsula native is the choice of Republicans for the state House in the 78th District. Brad Paquette won Tuesday’s primary and tells WSJM News he has many of the same ideas as a lot of candidates in wanting to get roads fixed and reform no-fault auto insurance to make it more affordable, but his classroom experience also has him wanting to make changes to the education system to get more people interested in being in front of students.. ...Read Full Story

Rep. LaSata Defeats Rep. Pagel In 21st Senate Primary

The matchup is set in the race to succeed term-limited Senator John Proos in the 21st state Senate District. After just one term in the House, Republican Representative Kim LaSata decided to make a run for the Senate, and defeated fellow Representative Dave Pagel in yesterday’s primary. WSJM News asked her about why she chose to shoot for the upper chamber now instead of running for two more terms in the House.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Voters Consider Proposals

In addition to political races going on Tuesday, Van Buren County voters in several communities were asked to approve ballot proposals. Biggest among them was a countywide road proposal. The Van Buren County Road Commission asked voters for an additional three mills for 12 years, and they were shot down. Van Buren County voters rejected the request for more funding. Elsewhere, a variety of local proposals for things from roads to senior services were approved. Most of them were renewals. Voters in Hamilton Township did say no to a senior services proposal by a narrow margin. Mattawan Schools also had a ballot proposal, asking voters for .45 mills over 20 years. The purpose was to seek $19 million for facility improvements. Voters said yes. They also approved the district’s request for a millage renewal.. ...Read Full Story

Longjohn To Face Upton In November

We now know who will face Congressman Fred Upton in November. Coming out on top of the Democratic primary on Tuesday was Kalamazoo County doctor Matt Longjohn. He told WSJM News when launching his campaign that he decided to run because he has the experience as a doctor and former public health official to reform the nation’s healthcare system. He said Tuesday night he thinks he has a serious chance of defeating Upton.. ...Read Full Story

Nesbitt Wins GOP Primary In 26th Senate District

Former state Representative Aric Nesbitt has another win under his belt. He defeated two challengers for the Republican nomination in the 26th state Senate District, as Senator Tonya Schuitmaker is term-limited. Nesbitt called for party unity in the fall and recapped the accomplishments of the Legislature while he was in the House.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Voters Approve Most Proposals

Berrien County voters have green-lighted nearly all the local proposals on the ballot on Tuesday. Many were millage renewals for schools and public safety. A bond proposal to build a new fire station in Baroda Township is the only one that appeared to have lost as of early this morning, going down by just 16 votes, with 324 no and 308 yes. A new millage is going to be levied on Lincoln Township residents for the next decade to operate, maintain and equip the township library. The operating millage for the North Berrien Historical Society was also approved in the city of Coloma and the townships of Bainbridge, Coloma, Hagar and Watervliet.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Hears About Harbor Study

An ongoing study on the future development of the riverfront in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor will result in some workshops to seek public input next month. At this week’s Benton Harbor City Commission meeting, commissioners heard from Don Carpenter, a consultant working on the Twin Cities Harbor Visioning Charrette. It’s a grant-funded effort to plan for riverfront development in a sustainable way.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Updates Traffic Website

The Michigan Department of Transportation has updated its Drive website to be more user friendly. Spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News MDOT recently discontinued the MI Drive phone app, and redesigned the website to work better with mobile devices.. ...Read Full Story

Parchment To Receive Kalamazoo Water

An agreement has been finalized so residents of the city of Parchment and Cooper Township who are dealing with chemical contamination in their water will get clean water. The Kalamazoo City Commission and the Parchment City Commission approved an agreement Monday for Kalamazoo to provide a year’s worth of water to Parchment’s water system, which also serves parts of Cooper Township. Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell says local, state and federal agencies came together to help.. ...Read Full Story

One Arrested In Vandalia Shooting

Somebody shot up a house in Vandalia Monday evening, and got caught a short time later. According to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, a suspect fired several shots at a home in the 17-thousand-800 block of State Street around 6:45 last night. Nobody was shot, and the suspect was caught by police a short time later. Deputies were helped out by Pokagon Tribal Police and troopers from the Michigan State Police. They aren’t saying what prompted the shooting, and have not released any information on the suspect, pending that person’s arraignment.. ...Read Full Story

Police Night Out Tonight

Tonight brings 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

U.S. House, Senate Candidates To Be Decided Today

Congressman Fred Upton is running unopposed on the Republican primary ballot today for another term in the U.S. House, but there are four Democrats vying to be his opponent in November. Voters in the 6th District will pick from David Benac, Rich Eicholz, George Franklin, and Dr. Matt Longjohn. None of the four has previously held elected office.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Talks Medical Marijuana Applications

Applications to open a medical marijuana business in Benton Harbor will become available on September 1. That’s following a Monday meeting of the city commission. The commission previously had set the application date about a month later, but a shift in state rules prompted bumping the local dates up. Commissioner Mary Alice Adams on Monday pushed for an even earlier date, but Mayor Marcus Muhammad didn’t want to overwhelm city staff.. ...Read Full Story

World’s Longest Garage Sale This Weekend

Preparations are underway for what’s called Michigan’s Longest Garage Sale. Set for this weekend, the US 12 Heritage Trail Garage Sale is a series of sales taking place all the way from New Buffalo to Detroit. The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission’s Chris Martin helps to organize the event and spoke with WSJM News about it.. ...Read Full Story

Blind Voters May Struggle With New Machines

From the Associated Press — New voting machines in Michigan may cause problems for residents with a visual disability.
The Detroit Free Press reports that Tuesday’s primary will feature $40 million of new equipment that replaced aging voting machines. Blind voters in the state have used AutoMark Voter Assist Terminals for more than a decade. The terminals have a touch screen and a keypad with Braille. Most Michigan counties will now use Dominion Voting Systems. The equipment
doesn’t have keypads with Braille and feature verbal instructions that can be difficult for a blind person to follow. Fred Woodhams is a spokesman for the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office. He says the device is federally certified and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A 2015 survey estimates that about 221,000 Michigan residents have a visual
disability.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Today Unveils New Mural

A brand new 14 by 12 foot mural has been painted on the outside brick wall of the St. Joseph Welcome Center downtown. St. Joseph Today’s Amy Zapal tells WSJM News the organization hired Houston-based artist Anat Ronen to spruce up the alley wall that faces Main Street. The mural was finished on Friday.. ...Read Full Story

Resort Community Eliminates ‘Christian Persuasion’ Bylaw

From the Associated Press — Members of a northern Michigan resort community have eliminated a bylaw being challenged in court that requires homeowners to be of “Christian persuasion.” The Petoskey News-Review reports members of the Bay View Association voted 69% to 31% Saturday to strike down the decades-old requirement. A newly adopted rule states applicants for membership must support the Bay View mission and “respect the principles of the United Methodist Church.” It eliminates a requirement that applicants submit a letter of recommendation from their pastor or church leader. A group of residents have filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the rule, alleging it violates the First Amendment. The U.S. Department of Federal Housing
notified the associated in May that it failed to prove it’s exempt from a law prohibiting discrimination.. ...Read Full Story

Plenty Of Races To Decide In Tuesday’s Primary

There is plenty to be decided tomorrow at the ballot box. Along with state races for governor and the U.S. Senate primary, Berrien County voters are choosing candidates for the state House, state Senate, and county commission along with the Democratic race for Congress. In the races for state House in the 79th District, five Republicans and two Democrats are running. The Republicans are Joann DeMeulenaere, Bruce Gorenflo, Maria Moen, Troy Rolling and Pauline Wendzel. On the Democratic side, Joey Andrews faces Marletta Seats. The seat is currently held by Representative Kim LaSata, who is trying to make the jump to the state Senate after less than one term in the House. She faces fellow state Representative Dave Pagel in the Republican primary in the 21st District. Southern Berrien County voters have six Republicans to choose from in the primary to succeed Pagel, who is term limited. They are Steve Bury, Dana Daniels, Daniel Hinkle, David Mann, Brad Paquette and Kelly Priede. Only one Democrat in the race, so Dean Hill will be on the ballot in November.. ...Read Full Story

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.
. ...Read Full Story