Local News Archives

BH Schools Hosting Literacy Event

Officials at Benton Harbor Area Schools are planning a new push to promote literacy. Communications Director Amy Nichols tells WSJM News “We Welcome Literacy” is a community event set for October 8 at the high school. On hand will be Dr. Patricia Edwards and Dr. Susan Piazza, experts on literacy education who will talk with parents about engaging the children in reading and learning.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Sentenced In Fatal Crash

From the Associated Press — A 22-year-old woman has been sentenced to 11/2 to 15 years behind bars for a crash into an icy southwestern Michigan lake that killed her boyfriend, who was a passenger in the SUV she was driving. The Herald Palladium reports Tara Smith learned her punishment Monday in Van Buren County Circuit after earlier pleading guilty to operating under the influence causing death. Twenty-two-year-old Jezreel Wallace of Bangor Township was pronounced dead at a
hospital following the December crash into School Section Lake in Bangor Township. Police have said Smith was able to escape from the vehicle and swim to land. She sought help at a nearby home. An investigation determined that the SUV overshot the end of a dead-end road, went onto the ice-covered lake and broke through the ice.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata, Haight To Appear At Candidate Forums

Two candidate forums featuring the Republican and Democratic candidates for the Michigan Senate in the 21st District are set for next month. State Representative Kim LaSata has announced she’ll be at a Berrien RESA Candidate Forum on Monday, October 8. That event will be at 8 a.m. at the Administrative Center at Berrien RESA in Berrien Springs. The other event will be the Niles New Tech Candidate Forum on Friday, October 26. That’ll be at 5 p.m. at the Niles Library. LaSata’s announcement comes following criticism from the League of Women Voters that LaSata has declined to take part in debates. Democrat Ian Haight, LaSata’s opponent, tells us he will also be at both events, although he would prefer traditional debates. Haight tells us the formats of the forums won’t allow for very detailed answers. Haight and LaSata are running to replace state Senator John Proos, who can’t run again due to term limits.. ...Read Full Story

Treasurers Work Together To Investigate Homestead Fraud

A partnership that allows the Berrien County Treasurer’s Office help its counterparts in Van Buren County catch fraudulent homestead claims will continue for another three years. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News his office lends its staff to the Van Buren County Treasurer’s Office to investigate incidents of property owners claiming a vacation or rental property as their home to get out of taxes. There are a few ways to catch them.. ...Read Full Story

Poll Finds Wide Support For Immediate Asian Carp Protections

An overwhelming number of residents of Great Lakes state support immediate action to build structural protections to keep Asian carp out of the lakes. The survey commissioned by the Great Lakes Partnership to Block Asian Carp asked people in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin about their understanding of the threat posed by the fish. Over 90% believe it’s important to immediately take steps to block the Great Lakes from the carp, and over 70% support a “fair share” funding proposal, and over 80% support having Michigan pay the share of any state that can’t pay its own portion to block Asian carp. Governor Snyder says in a statement the poll results “clearly demonstrate that Great Lakes residents understand that the time to act on Asian carp is now.”. ...Read Full Story

Governor Snyder: No Deal In Sight To End Road Construction Lockout

There is still no solution to the now three-week-long lockout of union heavy equipment operators by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association. Governor Snyder gave an update on the labor impasse today after his first face-to-face talks with both MITA and Operating Engineers Local 324, and says both sides are still far apart on even a short-term solution. He says he’s keeping several options open.. ...Read Full Story

Rail Safety Week

This week is Rail Safety Week in Michigan when everyone is reminded to follow the rules of railroad tracks. Sam Crowl with Michigan Operation Lifesaver tells WSJM News they’re holding events all week following a proclamation by the governor. Crowl says everyone should know what to do if they get stuck on a crossing. Look for the Emergency Notification System sign.. ...Read Full Story

Man Injured When Car Hits Tree

A Dowagiac man is recovering from injuries sustained on Monday afternoon when he crashed his car into a tree in Cass County. The sheriff’s department tells us the crash happened around 2:20 on Brownville Street west of Diamond View Road in Jefferson Township. Arriving officers learned the driver, 31-year-old Matthew Bixby, was westbound on Brownville when he became drowsy and lost control of the car. It left the road and hit a dead tree. After the impact, the top of the tree broke off and landed on the roof of the car. Bixby was injured, but turned down medical treatment at the scene. Police say he was wearing a seatbelt, and alcohol was not involved. Bixby was later taken by private vehicle to a hospital. The crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Armed Robbery In Benton Harbor

Two suspects are in custody following the robbery of a cell phone store in Benton Harbor on Monday. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety tells us it responded to the armed robbery at the Boost Mobile location at 957 Pipestone Street around 1 p.m. A male and female had gone into the store with the male flashing a handgun and demanding money from the register. The clerk complied, and the two suspects ran off with an undisclosed amount of cash. Thanks to store surveillance footage, police were able to identify the suspects. The 37-year-old male and 17-year-old female were in custody within a few hours. Police say they have not recovered the weapon. Benton Harbor Public Safety was assisted in the investigation by Michigan State Police.. ...Read Full Story