Local News Archives

Secretary Of State Calls Into Question New Ballot Drive Law

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s new secretary of state is calling into question the constitutionality of a Republican-enacted law that makes it harder to initiate ballot drives. Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, sought a formal opinion Tuesday from Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel. Such opinions, while not the same as legal rulings, are considered to bind state agencies unless reversed by a court. The law, which was enacted in December’s lame-duck session, imposes a geographical-based requirement on signature collection. No more than 15 percent of signatures can come from a single congressional district. Benson says she is concerned the law violates people’s constitutional rights by “adding new burdens and restrictions on the process” of circulating initiative, referendum and constitutional amendment petitions. Nessel could limit the law’s effect, though a court fight could be likely.. ...Read Full Story

Study: Michigan Ranks Last In School Funding Growth

Despite claims from some that under former Governor Rick Snyder the state was putting more money than ever into education, a newly-released study finds no other state tightened its education spending more than Michigan did over a 20-year period. Michigan State University said Wednesday that the state ranked dead last in total education revenue growth between 1995 and 2015.. ...Read Full Story

One Killed In Head-On Cass County Crash

One person is dead and two others are hospitalized in South Bend after a head-on crash County’s Milton Township. According to the sheriff’s department, 52-year-old Joseph Johnson of Niles died at the scene. He was a passenger in a car driven by 31-year-old Ryon Koth of Niles that crossed over into oncoming traffic on US 12 just before 6 pm Tuesday. His car hit two other vehicles. Koth and one of the other drivers, 26-year-old Victoria Mallard of South Bend, were rushed by ambulance to South Bend Memorial Hospital. The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but it did happen after freezing rain began causing plenty of problems on the roads throughout southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Cornerstone Chamber Plans Breakfast With Elected Officials

Set for next week is a breakfast intended to acquaint members of the Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce with their representatives in Lansing and Washington. The “Meet Your Elected Officials” breakfast will be Monday at The Hilton Garden Inn in Benton Harbor. On hand will be state Senator Kim LaSata, 79th District state Representative Pauline Wendzel, 78th District state Representative Brad Paquette, and Mike Ryan, the district director for Congressman Fred Upton. Cornerstone Chamber’s Chris Heugel tells us the forum is a chance for members to interact with their officials, especially with so many of them being freshman in Lansing this year. He says they may hold more such events moving forward. The breakfast will allow each official a time for an introduction, followed by a Q and A session. It’s nearly all booked up. It will be free for members of the Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce.. ...Read Full Story

City Receives Clean Audit

The city of Benton Harbor has received a clean, unmodified audit for the most recent fiscal year. At Tuesday’s meeting, city commissioners were told the latest audit carries the highest possible rating and that no deficiencies or weaknesses were found. The city’s fund balance has gone up by more than $800,000, largely because of the new income tax. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said the strong audit, plus income tax money coming in, could enable even bigger infrastructure projects to come.. ...Read Full Story

Addiction Center Now Open

A new treatment center for people struggling with an addition is open in southwest Michigan. Carol’s Hope is a non-profit operated by the Community Healing Center. It’s a free resource for those in need to get access to treatment. Recovery coach Melinda tells WSJM News the idea is to help overcome confusion and fear that comes with seeking treatment.. ...Read Full Story

Community Action Agency Advisory To Those Receiving Food Aid

As the partial federal government shutdown continues, there’s concern among the 1.2 million Michigan residents who get food assistance about what’s going to happen next month. The state started loading Bridge cards on Saturday for early payments to cover February. Yvonne Vidt of the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency warns those who get food aid not to spend their money for February now.. ...Read Full Story