Local News Archives

Perrigo Foundation Donates $260,000 To Allegan Projects

The city of Allegan has received a couple of donations from the Perrigo Foundation totaling $260,000. At Monday night’s Allegan City Council meeting, City Manager Joel Dye shared details of the Perrigo gifts. The Foundation is donating $130,000 to build a new splash pad on the site of a former parking lot, and $130,000 to the Allegan District Library. The Perrigo Splash Pad will be part of an ongoing project at Downtown Riverfront Park and will contain places for kids and families to play. The library donation will be used for the new Perrigo Learning Lab for children and the Perrigo STREAM Lab for teens. Perrigo’s Tom Farrington says the drug maker’s “history is intertwined with Allegan’s history.” Allegan is where Perrigo was founded in 1887.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Talks 2018 Priorities In State Of The State Address

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder has touted Michigan’s economic and fiscal gains under his watch, saying his tenure has had “huge ups and downs” but Michigan is better shape today than before he took office. In his eighth and final State of the State address Tuesday night, the Republican governor recapped many past initiatives but said he has an ambitious agenda for his last year in office with a focus on infrastructure and the environment. He told a joint session of the Legislature that next week he will unveil five major policy initiatives related to rural broadband access, recycling, Asian carp in the Great Lakes, water infrastructure and the replacement of money that has dried up for environmental cleanup. And in February, he will detail a “Marshall Plan” for developing talent. A fight is shaping up with the GOP-led Legislature on cutting individual taxes, which Snyder opposes for budgetary reasons.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Shooting In Niles

The Niles Police Department is investigating a Monday night shooting. It tells us officers were sent to the 600 block of Howard Street around 10 p.m. and learned a 35-year-old woman had been shot once in the hand. The injury wasn’t life-threatening, and the woman was taken to a hospital for treatment. Police tell us they do not have a suspect and only know the shooter was wearing a mask and dark clothing. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Niles Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Master Plan Could Be Drafted For Downtown St. Joseph

The city of St. Joseph could draft a master plan specific to the downtown area. At this week’s city commission meeting, Mayor Mike Garey said the state is encouraging cities to come up with plans to vitalize their downtowns. Garey told WSJM News this could be a very long process, with everything starting at a meeting, possibly in March.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Man Arraigned In Shooting Death

The arraignment has been held for a Benton Harbor man charged in the shooting death of a Benton Harbor woman this month. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office tells WSJM News 37-year-old William Dawun Edwards is charged with open murder in the death of 38-year-old Novena Mathis. It’s alleged Edwards shot Mathis while the two were sitting in a vehicle outside Hayward Wells Apartments on January 7. Mathis is the mother of Edwards’ children. After the shooting, the prosecutor says Edwards fled to Kalamazoo. Edwards was arrested there after a confrontation with his mother. Edwards was charged with some drug offenses in Kalamazoo County and bond in that case was set at $50,000. At his arraignment in Berrien County on Monday, no bond was set. Edwards is due back in court on January 31.. ...Read Full Story

Car Crashes Into Trees

Van Buren County Deputies say it took them an hour and a half to free a man suspected of using drugs from his car, after he crashed the black Lincoln sedan in the 20,000 block of 27th Street in Pine Grove Township at late Monday afternoon. Crews dispatched to the scene found the luxury car on its side in a cluster of trees, the driver trapped inside the wreck. Once they pried and cut him out of the car, they loaded him on board a Life Ambulance for the Trip to Bronson E.R. They found drug paraphernalia in the vehicle and will order blood tests.. ...Read Full Story

Doctor Who Came To U.S. As Child Held By Immigration Authorities

From the Associated Press — A Michigan doctor who came to the U.S. from Poland as a young child has been jailed after being taken from his home by immigration agents. WOOD-TV and MLive.com report Lukasz Niec was arrested last Tuesday and is being detained at a county jail. The 43-year-old legal U.S. resident works at a Kalamazoo hospital. The Associated Press sent an email Monday seeking comment from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. An automatic response said the agency’s public affairs employees weren’t working because of the government shutdown. Niec has two misdemeanor convictions from high school: malicious destruction of property and receiving stolen goods. His wife says he pleaded guilty and was told the convictions wouldn’t be used in a deportation. Niec came from Poland to the Detroit area when he was about 5.. ...Read Full Story

West Michigan Sports Boost

West Michigan’s economy has been getting a huge boost from the youth and amateur sports industry. 76 events last year generated over $61 million. President of the West Michigan Sports Commission Mike Guswiler says they are working with one advantage.. ...Read Full Story

$25,000 Given To Fernwood Trail Project

A walking trail improvement project at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve has received the support of Lakeland Health to the tune of $25,000. The funds were awarded from the Lakeland Health Community Wellness Endowment, established in 2014 to help sponsor local organizations that promote community health. So far, that endowment has awarded more than $500,000 to different projects. Fernwood Director Carol Line says the Lakeland grant will enable Fernwood to improve its trails, expand and enhance its signage, and strengthen existing wellness programs. The next round of Lakeland Community Wellness Endowment grants will be awarded in March.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Expanding Partnership With Faith-Based Groups

Michigan State Police have announced they’re looking for volunteers to join the CAUTION initiative. CAUTION stands for Community Action United Team in Our Neighborhood, and it’s a partnership between the MSP and faith groups working to increase trust and communication between law enforcement and residents. The program was started in 2012 in Flint, and later expanded to communities including Benton Harbor. In 2018, the plan is to expand it to all 30 Michigan State Police posts. CAUTION members meet regularly with post personnel to encourage dialog and information-sharing. They can also be activated to respond alongside law enforcement at crime scenes to ease tensions and provide emotional support to residents. The CAUTION volunteers receive training on community relations and security. Anyone interested in signing up for CAUTION in southwest Michigan can contact the Niles or Paw Paw MSP posts.. ...Read Full Story

Senate Approves Proos Plan For MI Wine Council

The Michigan Senate has approved legislation to revise the makeup of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and update its name. State Senator John Proos tells WSJM News his plan would change the name of the council to the Michigan Craft Beverage Council. Under the bills, the number of members on the council would be reduced from 12 to 10 and would include representatives from breweries and distilleries. Proos says the state group promoting Michigan’s wine industry should also promote beers and other beverages.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT: Track Improvements Have Sped Up Amtrak Routes

The Michigan Department of Transportation says work it did between 2012 and 2016 to upgrade rail lines has resulted in faster traveling times for two Amtrak routes in the state. Spokesperson Michael Frezell tells WSJM News the Wolverine and Blue Water lines are now shorter thanks to the work MDOT did after buying a portion of their tracks.. ...Read Full Story

Car Shot On I-96 In West Michigan

A shooting incident was reported on I-96 in west Michigan early Monday morning. Michigan State Police Lieutenant Chris McIntire told Michigan News Network a vehicle was shot at on I-96 eastbound in Grand Rapids Township at about 4:30 a.m. It hit a driver’s door. How’s the driver?. ...Read Full Story

Former Sports Doctor To Hear More Victim Testimony

From the Associated Press — More young women and girls who say they were assaulted by a Michigan sports doctor are due in court for a fifth day to make victim statements before he is sentenced. Larry Nassar sat in the witness chair last week as more than 80 women and
girls described the impact of being assaulted by him. Nassar has admitted molesting athletes during treatment when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. Roughly 100 victims are expected to make statements or have them read in court during the marathon sentencing hearing that resumes Monday in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography crimes. He faces a minimum prison sentence of 25 to 40 years in the molestation case.. ...Read Full Story

Armed Robbery at South Haven Gas Station

Police in South Haven are looking for two suspects involved in an armed robbery. The robbery occurred at the Shell station at Broadway and Superior in South Haven just after 7:00 a.m. Monday morning. The suspects are described as two black men, one in their early 30s, the other between 30 and 40. One of the suspects was wearing dark jeans with a black hooded sweatshirt and covered his face with a dark blue handkerchief, the other was wearing dark jeans and a black jacket with a white hood, covering his face with a Spider-Man mask. Police say both men were armed with semiautomatic handguns. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the South Haven Police Department at 269-637-5151.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Upgrade MI 911 Systems

Legislation now before a state House committee is designed to update Michigan’s 911 system. State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan tells WSJM News the 911 system is quite old, and changes are badly needed to more effectively respond to modern cell phones and changes in technology.. ...Read Full Story

Home Rehab Partnership Could Come To Benton Harbor

Benton Harbor City Commissioners are looking at getting the city’s housing rehabilitation program up and running again, although they want it done right. At Tuesday’s meeting, they heard about a proposal to bring in the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency to administer a program run with federal dollars for home rehab. It’s been non-functional locally since 2011, said Community and Economic Development Director Stephanie Scott-Sims.. ...Read Full Story

State Grants Supporting Van Buren FIRST Robotics Teams

State grants totaling more than $31,000 are going to seven Van Buren County school districts for their FIRST Robotics teams. State Representative Beth Griffin announced the grants this week. She says they range in size from $2,500 to $6,500, and will go to school districts in South Haven, Bloomingdale, Mattawan, Paw Paw, Decatur, and Lawton. The Van Buren ISD is also getting one. Since 2014, Michigan has invested $12 million in FIRST Robotics teams. The world championships, planned for April, are expected to include nearly 60,000 students in Detroit. Griffin, a Mattawan Republican, says FIRST Robotics “teaches students life-long skills that will prepare them for jobs in the 21st century economy.”. ...Read Full Story

Wine Grape Conference Planned For Next Month

A conference set for next month in Benton Harbor will give prospective wine grape growers an idea of how to best go about the process. The Michigan State University Extension office will host the wine grape establishment conference, says the organization’s Joanne Davidhizar. She tells us the wine industry in the state is growing.. ...Read Full Story

State Task Force Releases Mental Health Report

The Michigan House has received a report from a task force that investigated mental health treatment over the past several months. The task force held meetings all over Michigan speaking with doctors, law enforcement, and advocates about how patients in need could be better served. Sitting on the panel was state Representative Mary Whiteford of Casco Township.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeshore Chamber Meeting This Coming Week

Set for next Monday is the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. To be held at Santinello’s in Stevensville, the meeting will provide guests with business networking opportunities, a dinner, and a business meeting. The keynote speaker will be the Cook nuclear power plant spokesperson Bill Schalk. He’ll talk about the status of the Cook Plant, the economic impact of Indiana Michigan Power in the community, along with volunteer engagement. The Lakeshore Chamber president will also will present an overview of chamber activities for 2017 while laying out the goals and objectives for 2018. The meeting will wrap up with the recognition of the 2017 Business of the Year and the 2017 Community Spirit Award. Anyone who wants to register for the annual meeting should contact the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.. ...Read Full Story

BH Man Reports Shots Fired At Vehicle

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is investigating a report of a shooting incident this past Wednesday. It tells us a 28-year-old man reported he’d been driving south in the 1100 block of Ogden when he spotted two men in the street, dressed in black and wearing masks. The victim told officers he stopped to let the men cross the street when one of them pulled out a gun and said something the victim couldn’t understand. The victim then sped off with one of the men firing several shots at his vehicle, hitting it. The victim, however, was not hurt. Police searched the area with a K9, finding evidence but not the suspects. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

Resolution Calls On Congress To Crack Down On Sanctuary Cities

Two resolutions urging the U.S. Senate to cut funding to sanctuary cities and to pass Kate’s Law have received approval from the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee. The resolutions from state Senators Tonya Schuitmaker and Patrick Colbeck were introduced back in September. Schuitmaker told WSJM News at the time cities that don’t cooperate with immigration laws aren’t yet a problem in Michigan, but they could be.. ...Read Full Story

EPA Targets Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo Properties

A couple of locations in southwest Michigan have been added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Sites Redevelopment Focus List. The office of Congressman Fred Upton tells us this means the EPA views those sites as having the greatest expected redevelopment and commercial potential. The sites are the Aircraft Components property in Benton Harbor and the Allied Paper-Kalamazoo River site in Kalamazoo. Upton says this is good news for Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo as it means “there is a clear priority to expedite work on these Superfund sites for the betterment of our economy and for commercial development.” The former Aircraft Components site in Benton Harbor was the location of various manufacturing activities from the 1910s to the 1950s. There is chemical contamination there. The site is located near North Shore Drive.. ...Read Full Story

Senior Services Of Van Buren County Seeks More Funding

As the number of senior citizens increases, so does the need for the funding of services. The same millage that has been on the ballot for over 20 years in South Haven will be on the ballot again this year, along with another proposal for an increase due to increased demand for services. Jennifer Carver with Senior Services of Van Buren County spoke with WSJM News about the need for funding.. ...Read Full Story

Royalton Twp Approved For Parks Grants

Royalton Township is the recipient of $300,000 in Michigan Department of Natural Resources grants for parks projects. The DNR this month announced two Land and Water Conservation Fund grants for the township, each for $150,000. One is for Bicentennial Park for the addition of new playground equipment and improved access to walkways. The other grant is for the development of a paved walkway, a parking lot, and a boardwalk at the Bacon School Road Nature Trail. The DNR says the Land and Water Conservation Fund is made up of federal dollars intended to improve recreational opportunities around the state. A total of more than $2.7 million in such grants were announced this month.. ...Read Full Story

Car/Pedestrian Accident Kills St. Joseph Man

St. Joseph Township Police are investigating a car/pedestrian accident that killed a man. Just before 8:00 Friday night, Officers were dispatched to the area of 245 West Napier.  When they arrived, they were advised that a westbound vehicle had struck a pedestrian who had been walking in the roadway. The victim, a 21 year old male from St. Joseph, was pronounced dead at the scene. There are no sidewalks along the roadway where the victim was walking and the accident remains under investigation. . ...Read Full Story

MSU Board Expresses Continued Support For President

From the Associated Press — Michigan State University’s board of trustees continues to support the school’s president amid growing calls for her resignation over the university’s handling of disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar. After a closed-door meeting Friday, trustees said Lou Anna Simon is the “right leader” for the university. The school has asked the state attorney to investigate facts of the case. The board’s president says the panel will act as information becomes available.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Training Academy Underway In Lansing

The 134th Michigan State Police Trooper Recruit School is now underway in Lansing. MSP Sergeant Michael McDonald tells WSJM News there are 149 prospective troopers now training Sunday through Friday each week from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. They do both physical training and classroom training. McDonald tells us new recruits come from all walks of life.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Animal Control Holding Rabies Shot Clinics

Berrien County Animal Control is planning some rabies shot clinics for pets over the next month or so. It tells us it will be at the Bertrand Township Fire Department in Buchanan this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. offering the shots. It’s $20 for a one-year rabies vaccination, $25 for a three-year vaccination, and $25 for the parvo-distemper combination shot. Additional clinics will be held at Berrien County Animal Control in Benton Township on Saturday, January 27 from 10 a.m. to noon, and then Saturday, February 10 from 10 to 12. The final rabies shot clinic will be Sunday, February 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Eau Claire Fire Department. Walk-ins will be welcome, and dog licenses will also be available at the clinics. Anyone with questions can call Berrien County Animal Control.. ...Read Full Story

Allegan County Trooper Named Trooper Of The Year

The Michigan State Police Trooper of the Year award has gone to Trooper Blaine Bachman of the Wayland Post in Allegan County. Michigan State Police announced the 2017 Trooper of the Year awards this week at a ceremony in Lansing. MSP Director Kriste Kibbey Etue said Trooper Bachman is “keenly aware of the needs of his fellow troopers and also works hard to make a positive difference in his community.” State police say Bachman was recognized for “excelling in looking past the traffic stop to identify serious crimes and close investigations with felony arrests.” The agency also says he’s a mentor to younger troopers. He’s been part of the force since 2014. Also this week, Motor Carrier Officer Christopher Russo of the Jackson Post was named the Motor Carrier of the Year. MSP says Etue commended him for outreach and planning.. ...Read Full Story

Pagel Talks Mental Health Report

State Representative Dave Pagel is expecting a recently-released report from the Michigan House CARES task force to lead to years of legislation designed to help the mentally ill. He tells WSJM News the mental health task force met all over Michigan this past summer looking at a variety of ways the issue could be addressed.. ...Read Full Story

Report Recommends Changes To Unemployment System

Michigan’s unemployment system is the worst in the region. At least, that’s the analysis of the Michigan League for Public Policy. It has released a report on the unemployment insurance system, finding Michigan pays benefits to the smallest number of workers and for the shortest amount of time. Report author Peter Ruark says some cite declining unemployment numbers as proof the system doesn’t need any improvement, but he thinks that sort of thinking is what has gotten the state into trouble in the past.. ...Read Full Story

New Manager At Cook Plant

There’s a new boss at the Cook nuclear power plant in Bridgman. Cook plant spokesperson Bill Schalk tells WSJM News Kelly Ferneau becomes the plant’s 16th manager since 1969, and the first woman in charge at Cook. Schalk says she has plenty of experience in nuclear power.. ...Read Full Story

Mattawan Food Pantry Gets Boost From Portage Company

The Mattawan Food Pantry has received a little extra boost thanks to the Wolverine Pipe Line Company. Lead pipeline controller Al Goodrich presented the food bank last month with a check for $1,600 to help families in need throughout the winter. Goodrich volunteers at the pantry and says he was inspired by its recent efforts to help a family that suffered a hardship when a member had a car accident. The $1,600 comes from the Wolverine Good Neighbor Grant Program, where money is used to fund good works in communities along Wolverine’s pipeline route running through Van Buren County. The Mattawan Area Food Pantry is located across the street from the Mattawan Community Church on Front Street. It supports about 180 families per month.. ...Read Full Story

Study: Overhaul Needed In How Michigan Funds Schools

From the Associated Press — A new study says the base cost to educate a regular K-12 student in Michigan is $9,590. That figure doesn’t include transportation, food or capital costs.The report released Wednesday was funded by foundations and school groups. It says traditional and charter public schools should be funded equally, and transportation costs should be funded at $973 per rider. The School Finance Research Collaborative – whose members also include former lawmakers – didn’t analyze how its proposals compare with existing funding. But the study suggests an overhaul is needed and says the base cost figure is the most important factor in new school-finance systems. Researchers say there’s been too much focus on “equity” in funding when costs vary drastically depending on the district’s size, students living in poverty and other factors.. ...Read Full Story

MSU To Allow White Nationalist To speak On Campus

From the Associated Press — Michigan State University has agreed to allow white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus during spring break. The deal signed Thursday says Spencer can appear on March 5. But he’ll be at the livestock pavilion auditorium, away from the heart of campus. Spencer ally Cameron Padgett must pay $1,650 and come up with at least $2 million in liability insurance. MSU will arrange for police. The deal settles a lawsuit that was filed after MSU last summer cited public safety and refused to rent space. Padgett said the school was violating free speech rights. Spencer popularized the term “alt-right” to refer to a fringe movement that’s a mix of white nationalist, white supremacist, anti-Semitic and anti-immigration beliefs. Under the deal, MSU is paying $27,400 for Padgett’s legal fees.. ...Read Full Story

Buchanan Thrill On The Hill Canceled

The winter Thrill on the Hill event in Buchanan has been canceled. The annual event features sledding down the big hill downtown on snow produced on site. The Buchanan Chamber of Commerce tells us Thrill on the Hill, which had been set for January 26 and 27, will not take place this year due to uncooperative weather. It goes on to say warm daytime and evening temperatures coupled with the rain in the forecast will make it impossible to make enough snow to provide a real thrill on Front Street. The chamber says it was a difficult decision to cancel the annual event, but have no fear. The summer Thrill on the Hill is still on with plenty of activities planned. The summer Thrill on the Hill is slated for August 2 through the 4th.. ...Read Full Story

MI Unemployment Rate Up Slightly In December

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s unemployment rate rose by one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.7 percent in December while the size of the state’s workforce grew by 12,000 people. Figures released Thursday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management
& Budget show Michigan’s December’s employment rate was six-tenths of a percentage point above the national rate of 4.1 percent but four-tenths of a percentage point below the state’s December 2016 rate of 5.1 percent. The December 2017 jobless rate was the highest recorded in the state since April. December also marked the fifth straight month that Michigan’s jobless rate increased. Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives Director Jason Palmer says Michigan’s jobless rate fell for an eighth straight year while
payroll jobs rose for a seventh consecutive year.. ...Read Full Story

Proposal To Seek More Funding For Van Buren Senior Services

As the number of senior citizens increases, so does the need for the funding of services. The same millage that has been on the ballot for over 20 years in South Haven will be on the ballot again this year, along with another proposal for an increase due to increased demand for services. Jennifer Carver of Van Buren Senior Services spoke with WSJM News about the need for funding.. ...Read Full Story

MI House Mental Health Task Force Releases Report

The Michigan House has received a report from a task force that investigated mental health treatment over the past several months. The task force held meetings all over Michigan speaking with doctors, law enforcement, and advocates about how patients in need could be better served. Sitting on the panel was state Representative Mary Whiteford of Casco Township.. ...Read Full Story