Local News Archives

City To Pursue Parks Grant Next Year

The city of St. Joseph will hold off until next year to pursue a state grant for improvements at Whirlpool Centennial Park. At Monday’s meeting, the commission was asked to allow the public works department to seek a $111,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant for the work. The problem is that if the grant were to be approved this year, the city would have to come up with its roughly $260,000 match, and Mayor Michael Garey didn’t want to commit until the budget is done. He spoke with WSJM News about the issue.. ...Read Full Story

Youth Of The Year Speaks With WSJM

A 17-year-old who has been picked as the Michigan Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America says he thinks all kids with an interest should stop by the Benton Harbor club. Quincy Sulton is a junior at Benton Harbor High School who first went to the club when he was about 12 to play basketball. Ever since, he’s grown his involvement, now even working to teach drama and dance to younger kids who go. He tells WSJM News the club has enriched his life.. ...Read Full Story

PGA To Showcase Local Wine, Beer

When the Senior PGA Championship takes place this summer at Harbor Shores, lovers of fine wines and other beverages will have a chance to check of what’s made right here in southwest Michigan. The Southwest Michigan Tourism Council’s Makers Trail has set up what will be known as the Makers Trail 19th Hole between the 16th green and 17th tee at the golf course. That’s where you can sample locally-made products, including wine from Domaine Berrien Cellars. The winery’s Wally Maurer spoke with WSJM News about the opportunity.. ...Read Full Story

School Spirit Contest Winding Down

We’re down to the final four in state Senator John Proos’ annual Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament. Each year, Proos asks students throughout his district to submit photographic evidence of their school spirit to his social media accounts. He told WSJM News more.. ...Read Full Story

Parks Department Hiring Summer Help

The Berrien County Parks Department is preparing for a busy summer, and it’s looking for some help. Parks Director Brian Bailey tells WSJM News they need the usual lifeguards for Silver Beach, but also staff to do a wide variety of temporary work at all of the other county parks like Love Creek and Rocky Gap.. ...Read Full Story

Hannah Rossner; With Respect 04/01/18

John’s guest this week is Hannah Rossner, a Bridgman native who has taken her passion for movie making to the West Coast. She has made her own movie which they discuss and now is credited on a Stephen Spielberg soon-to-be-hit, which has just opened around the country. They talk about her love for movies and innovative thinking. . ...Read Full Story

Pure Michigan Benefits Quesioned

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has taken another shot at the Pure Michigan tourism advertising campaign. Mackinac Center Policy Analyst Michael LaFaive tells WSJM News a Michigan Auditor General review found more than $13 million in state tax dollars were excluded from the return-on-investment calculations made by the state’s tourism consultant for Pure Michigan in 2016. The Mackinac Center views the Pure Michigan program as not worth it.. ...Read Full Story

Parlak Decision Could Come Soon

Congressman Fred Upton is waiting for the latest word on the fate of Ibrahim Parlak. The Kurdish immigrant has been fighting deportation to Turkey for years with Upton on his side. Upton tells WSJM News he went to a reception at Parlak’s restaurant in Harbert this past weekend, just days after an immigration judge in Detroit considered Parlak’s appeal to stay in the United States.. ...Read Full Story

Senator Aims To Reduce Drug Prices

Prescription drug prices must come down. That’s the message from Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is is introducing a three bill package to lower the cost of medicine. She told Michigan News Network there are more lobbyists in Washington for drug makers than any other industry.. ...Read Full Story

State Announces Asian Carp Winner

From the Associated Press — The state of Michigan has declared a winner in its contest to find new ideas for preventing Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes. The top award of $200,000 in the “Carp Tank” competition goes to Edem Tsikata, a software consultant at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He proposed using specially designed propellers to generate a wall of bubbles that the fish would find noisy and painful, causing them to turn away. Tsikata suggested installing the mechanism on a carp-infested Illinois river that could provide a pathway to Lake Michigan. Three other proposals also received cash awards. Scientists say if Asian carp become established in the Great Lakes, they could out-compete native species. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering stepped-up defenses at an Illinois navigation lock.. ...Read Full Story

List Of Under 40 Go-Getters Released

The first ever 40 Under 40 list has been released, and it includes a cross section of southwest Michigan’s best and brightest go-getters under the age of 40. Announced on Monday’s Moody in the Morning show, the 40 Under 40 represent the future of the region in a new program just started by Moody on the Market and Mid-West Family Broadcasting. The United Way’s Charlotte Becker told WSJM News the 40 Under 40 come from the world of big business, small business, non-profits, and community groups.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Aims To Encourage Craft Brewers

State Senator John Proos has introduced legislation designed to provide relief to small distillers who use Michigan-grown grain. He tells WSJM News his plan would change how liquor sales are handled in the state by reducing Michigan Liquor Control Commission markup prices for small distillers that use at least 40% of Michigan-grown grain.. ...Read Full Story

City Signals Life Ring Support

St. Joseph City Commissioners have indicated their support for installing life rings along the north pier. At Monday’s meeting, the city commission instructed the city manager to work out a maintenance agreement with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department for life rings to be installed at the pier. The sheriff’s department has said it could use its manpower to check the rings daily if the city installs them. St. Joe Mayor Michael Garey spoke with WSJM News about the proposal.. ...Read Full Story

Local Grower On State Panel

A local fruit grower has been picked by Governor Rick Snyder to sit on the Michigan Tree Fruit Commission. Herb Teichman, owner of the Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire, will be on that body created in 2014. Teichman’s appointment to the commission was announced by the governor last week. Also announced for Michigan Tree Fruit Commission will be James Nugent of Suttons Bay and Christopher Kropf of Lowell. Members will serve three-year terms expiring March 1, 2021. The appointments must be approved by the Michigan Senate. The governor says, “I thank these individuals for their commitment to enhance Michigan’s tree fruit industry.”. ...Read Full Story

Pokagons Giving Out Easter Meals

To celebrate Easter, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi’s Four Winds Casinos have announced the donation of about 1,000 meals to people in need around southwest Michigan and northern Indiana. The Pokagons tell us many of the meals will be delivered through Feeding America, and each one includes a whole ham, green beans, corn, potatoes, and lemon bread. Feeding America will distribute the Four Winds donations to food pantries, meal programs, and senior centers in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties in southwest Michigan, and in northern Indiana, Feeding America will distribute the Easter meals to soup kitchens and food pantries throughout St. Joseph County. Pokagon Elders are also receiving meals. Pokagon Chairman John Warren tells us the Pokagons are proud to work with Feeding America to help people out in an area where the band has lived for hundreds of years.. ...Read Full Story

Dunes Cleanup Events Tomorrow

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is planning some clean-up events at west Michigan state parks this Saturday, and it could use some volunteers. Specifically, it tells us those who show up will be removing invasive plant species from dune areas. The work will be taking place on Saturday, March 31 at Saugatuck Dunes State Park and Warren Dunes State Park. Volunteers are invited to stop by at 10 a.m. to work through 1 p.m. at both parks. They will be removing honeysuckle, Japanese barberry and other invasive shrubs that threaten the dunes. In each case, volunteers are reminded to dress for outdoor work. Volunteers can show up to either state park at 10 a.m. on the 31st and go to the parking area.. ...Read Full Story

IRS Paycheck Calculator Released

With new tax laws now in place, the Internal Revenue Service wants to make sure everyone is paying the right amount in taxes from their paychecks. Spokesperson Alejandra Castro Nunez tells WSJM News they have an online service that enables you to check if you are taking the right amount out.. ...Read Full Story

Free Nicotine Replacement Products

Michigan’s Tobacco Quit Line is giving away free nicotine gum, patches, and lozenges through May 31. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services tells us all new enrollees in the quit smoking service can get a two-week supply. The tobacco quit line is open 24 hours a day seven days a week, and calling will put you in contact with a coach who can talk about quitting smoking. The quit line is available for people of all ages, but you have to be at least 18 to get the free nicotine replacement products. The number to call is 1-800-QUIT NOW, or 1-800-784-8669. Health officials say using nicotine replacement therapy greatly increases someone’s chances to quitting smoking successfully. You can find more information right here.. ...Read Full Story

Auto Insurance Costs Going Up

Auto insurance rates are going up in Michigan in July. The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association is raising the fee it charges every driver for catastrophic health care by $22. State Representative Peter Lucido of Macomb County told Michigan News Network that means drivers are now paying $192 a year to the association, the highest the fee has ever been.. ...Read Full Story

Statewide Tornado Drill Next Month

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is inviting all area residents to take part in a statewide tornado drill next month. It tells us Governor Rick Snyder has declared April 8 through April 14 as Severe Weather Awareness Week, and the statewide tornado drill will be at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11. Businesses, organizations, families and individuals are encouraged to take part. Van Buren County Director of Domestic Preparedness Lieutenant Robert Kirk tells us tornadoes develop quickly with little or no warning. That’s why he says it’s important for everyone to know what to do when one does occur. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us the best course of action in tornado conditions is to know lowest place to take cover, go under something sturdy, and keep a close eye on the latest weather reports. Families are also encouraged to do regular tornado drills. You can find more emergency preparedness information right here.. ...Read Full Story

Cancer Center Gets Big Boost

From the Associated Press — The University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor has been gifted $150 million to boost research. University regents are expected Thursday to approve renaming the facility the Rogel Cancer Center after Richard and Susan Rogel. The school says the gift is one of the largest to the university. It is expected to help attract and support researchers from around the world and provide grants to teams developing new approaches and technologies to advance early cancer detection, monitoring and treatment. Endowed professorships and scholarships also will be created. Richard Rogel is president of investment firm Tomay Inc. He graduated in 1970 from the university’s business school. His wife, Susan, is on the steering committee of the Victors for Michigan National Campaign Leadership Board.. ...Read Full Story

A Changing Story At BHAS

Information given to WSJM News and other media outlets this week by the acting superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools about a resolution approved by the school board to not renew the contracts of five administrators was wrong. Patricia Robinson told the “Herald Palladium” yesterday that what the board actually approved was a resolution to consider not renewing the contracts, and a final vote will happen on April 17. Robinson told us Wednesday that financial issues were prompting the district to eliminate the job of assistant principal at the Arts and Communications Academy, which remains factual, and also post the other jobs. That is not actually the case, and WSJM News has reached out to Robinson for further clarification. At this point, we have not received a response.. ...Read Full Story

Woman, Boyfriend Convicted In Daughter’s Death

From the Associated Press — A woman and her boyfriend have been convicted in the death of her 4-year-old daughter, who was found wrapped in blankets and duct tape at their Kalamazoo home. A jury convicted Matthew Longenecker Wednesday of first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse in the asphyxiation death of Desaray Thompson. A separate jury found Kelly Ballinger guilty of involuntary manslaughter and first-degree child abuse in her daughter’s July death. They both were convicted of possession of meth. Authorities say the couple restrained Desaray with blankets and duct tape the night she died, including a blanket placed over her face. A medical examiner says there was evidence of past abuse, such as bruising, cuts and likely a skull fracture. Ballinger’s sentencing is scheduled for April 30 and Longenecker’s for May 7.. ...Read Full Story

AAA Warns About Distracted Driving

Almost 90% of drivers are worried about distracted driving. A new survey by AAA finding that it’s the top concern among drivers. That’s even more so than drunk driving and aggressive driving. Susan Hiltz is a spokesperson for AAA Michigan. She spoke with Michigan News Network about the issue.. ...Read Full Story

One Arrest In Meth Bust

One man is facing charges following a meth bust in Cass County this week. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department tells us its drug enforcement team searched a home in the 70,000 block of Kenmoore Drive in Ontwa Township Wednesday. It was aided by the Ontwa Township Edwardsburg Police Department. During the search, officers found methamphetamine, marijuana, and meth paraphernalia. A 41-year-old man from Goshen, Indiana was arrested. His name is being held pending arraignment in the Cass County District Court. Police say they were aided in their search by Cass County Sheriff’s Department K9 Faust, along with Cass County Animal Control. Anyone with information on drug activity in the area is asked to report it to Crimestoppers.. ...Read Full Story