Local News Archives

Michigan Increases Solid Waste Intake

Last year, the state of Michigan increased its intake of solid waste, or trash, by 3.1% over 2016. That’s a somewhat projected figure, according to Tiffany Brown with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. She spoke with Michigan News Network about the state’s recycling goals.. ...Read Full Story

Report: Sexual Assault Even More Prevalent Off-Campus

Michigan State University and others have been in the spotlight with high-profile cases of sexual assault. A new report doesn’t dispute the big problems on campus, but it makes the point that women who don’t attend college are at even greater risk. The six-year study found that one in four women will experience “forced intercourse” by age 44. Researcher Bill Axinn, a University of Michigan professor, says there’s no question it’s deeply disturbing that the risk of sexual assault is as high as 20% per year for undergraduates.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Stocks 830,000 Fish

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources stocked the state’s inland lakes with more than 830,000 fish in the fall of 2017. The numbers were released on Monday, and DNR Fish Production Manager Ed Eisch tells WSJM News the species dropped into Michigan lakes include trout, salmon, and walleye. He notes the state has been stocking lakes with fish since the late 1800s.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Welcomes News Of Prison Closure

State Senator John Proos says the planned closure of a state prison this spring in Muskegon is a sign that efforts to reduce crime and prevent repeat offenses among inmates are working. He tells WSJM News the March shuttering of the West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon will save millions of dollars.. ...Read Full Story

New Location Selected For Summer Wine Festival

This year’s Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival will be held in a different venue. Traditionally, the event has been held each summer at Weko Beach in Bridgman, but the Michigan Tourism Council tells us it’s being moved this year to Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer to accommodate bigger crowds as the event grows. The date remains the same. The event has always been the third Saturday in June, with this year’s date falls on Saturday, June 16. Organizers tell us the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival brings all of the wineries of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail together in one location for guests to sample wines. That includes southwest Michigan wineries like Contessa Wine Cellars, St. Julian Winery, and Lemon Creek Winery. Moving the festival to Warren Dunes this summer will also give attendees a chance to go exploring the dunes. Tickets are already on sale, and you can find out more at LakeMichiganWineFest.com.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Housing Market Shows Continued Improvement

The southwest Michigan housing market finished 2017 continuing to sizzle. According to the latest numbers from the Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors, 2017 home sales in the region were up 4% over 2016. However, the market did slightly slow down in December, with monthly sales slipping 7% from December of the previous year. The assocation tells us housing inventory in December slipped to an all-time low, falling to a 4.4 months supply of houses for sale the final month of 2017. When comparing 2017 to 2016 as a whole, the average selling price in the region was up 9%, and the average price in just December of 2017 was up a whopping 16% over December of the previous year. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors tells us it enters 2018 excited to be well past the recession. The group adds in its latest report, it’s “been a long road back from the 2006, the previous peak year.”. ...Read Full Story

Girls On The Run Gets Upton Foundation Grant

Girls on the Run is the recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Frederick S. Upton Foundation. Girls in the Run is a program that works with girls in the third through the eighth grades, teaching them proper health and life practices while helping them develop a strong sense of self-worth. It all culminates in a 5 K run each spring. The organization tells us the $5,000 grant aligns with the Frederick S. Upton Foundation’s mission “To Love Our Community.” Girls on the Run Southwest Michigan anticipates hosting 60 sites with 105 teams serving 1,400 girls during the 2018 spring season. Anyone who wants to know more about the organization can go to GOTRSWMI.org.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks Legislation To Protect Athletes

Congressman Fred Upton is hailing this week’s House passage of legislation designed to protect athletes from sexual predators. He tells us the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 passed 406 to 3 on Monday. Upton says the Larry Nassar scandal is an example of what can go wrong in an athletic program.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Sheriff To Offer Severe Weather Spotting Class

Coming up this spring in Van Buren County will be another round of Skywarn severe weather training. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us the class will be held at Paw Paw High School on March 9. Anyone who attends can learn how to become a weather spotter. A representative of the National Weather Service will be on hand to teach the class. Everyone’s welcome to the event. Anyone with questions can contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department’s Office of Domestic Preparedness at 269-657-7786.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Selling Tiny House

How would you like to live in a 102 square foot house? Lake Michigan College is offering you chance to get one. It tells us in addition to the annual Winner’s Circle Benefit Auction set for March 3, the Lake Michigan College Foundation is now accepting bids online for a fully-functional tiny house built by students a few years ago as they learned about sustainable construction practices. The house is on a 7 by 14 foot trailer, and is built according to plans from Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. It comes equipped with a full kitchen, bathroom, loft/bedroom, and living room. Bids on the tiny house begin at $1,000, and should be submitted through LakeMichiganCollege.edu/Auction. Bidding ends the same time as the Winner’s Circle Benefit Auction, which is 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 3.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren, Cass Flu Shot Clinics Next Week

The Van Buren and Cass District Health Department is planning some flu shot clinics for next week in Hartford and Dowagiac. Van Buren and Cass Medical Director Larry Wile tells WSJM News it’s pretty late in the season to get the flu vaccine, but the shot is still recommended. It may only be 30% effective, but Wise says it can reduce the severity of symptoms.. ...Read Full Story

Fatal Snowmobile Crash

A woman is dead following a snowmobile crash in Hagar Township. Just after 1:30 Saturday morning first responders were dispatched to a wooded area in the 4700 Block of Carmody Road for a reported single unit snowmobile crash. When they arrived, they were guided to the deceased body of a 43 year old female from Owosso. Initial investigations suggest the female passenger was ejected from the snowmobile and received a fatal head injury. A 41 year old Owosso man was the driver of the snowmobile and he received serious injuries to his back and pelvis. He was transported to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo and is listed in serious but stable condition. Both the driver and passenger were not wearing helmets. Police say a preliminary investigation suggests alcohol may have been a contributing factor. The investigation is ongoing and names are being withheld pending family notification.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Faculty Begins To Unionize

Faculty at Southwestern Michigan College have some extra work to do now that they have voted to unionize. In a vote tallied Friday, SMC’s 58 full-time employees opted to sign up with the Michigan Education Association. The MEA’s David Crimm told WSJM News what’s next.. ...Read Full Story

I&M Staff Helping Out In Puerto Rico

Nine linemen from Indiana Michigan Power will be working 12 to 16 hours per day, seven days a week for the next month. That’s because they’re in Puerto Rico helping to restore power following September’s hurricane. I&M spokesperson Schnee Garrett tells WSJM News they’re in a hard-to-reach place.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Doctor’s Office Raided

A doctor’s office in South Haven has been raided by the Southwest Enforcement Team. Officers searched the unnamed office in the city Thursday. Police tell us the initial investigation indicated normal prescription practices involving scheduled narcotics were possibly not being followed, so a judge granted the Southwest Enforcement Team a search warrant. The DEA’s Drug Diversion Unit and Southwest Enforcement Team detectives are now sifting through documents they seized. No criminal charges have been sought at this point, as this investigation still continues. The name of the doctor has not been released pending a review by the prosecutor.. ...Read Full Story

Teen Arrested After Chase With Police

A 17-year-old girl from Benton Harbor is facing charges after a chase with police in Niles this week. The Niles Police Department tells us deputies with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department were called to the Walmart on South 11th Street in Niles Township around 5 p.m. Thursday on a report of shoplifting in progress. When they arrived, they spotted the suspect running through the parking lot away from Walmart loss prevention officers. She got into a 2006 Mercury and took off. The Mercury hit three parked vehicles as the suspect pulled out into South 11th Street. She didn’t stop for the sheriff’s deputies when they turned on their lights. A chase ensued and ended when the Mercury crashed into another vehicle on Ontario Road. That’s when the 17-year-old suspect gave up. She’s now facing charges of retail fraud, reckless driving, and fleeing and eluding.. ...Read Full Story

FIRST Robotics Students Head To Lansing

Some FIRST Robotics students from Berrien County testified this week in the Michigan Senate about legislation co-sponsored by state Senator John Proos to require better vision testing for students in the state. Members of the CW Tech Robotarians, a FIRST Robotics team that includes kids from Coloma, Watervliet, and Lake Michigan Catholic, were there Wednesday. They and their coach talked about a CW Tech robotics teammate who was diagnosed with an eye disorder that makes it difficult to read. The students who testified this week were in support of Senate Bill 411, which would require a comprehensive eye and vision exam for a child who fails their already-required grade school vision screening. Proos tells us catching and treating vision problems in children early can help improve their academic performance.. ...Read Full Story

Lineup Announced For South Haven Speaker Series

The next lineup of the South Haven Speaker Series has been announced. Speaker Series President Mark Odland tells WSJM News the first engagement will be this April when Hope College Associate Professor of History Fred Johnson speaks about the struggles of black Americans. The following month, former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer will stop by.. ...Read Full Story

I-94 Back Open Following Pileup

Michigan State Police are investigating a multi-vehicle crash on westbound I-94 near Hartford Friday morning. It happened around 9:20 a.m. during periods of heavy lake effect snow. The crash involved 17 semis and 12 passenger cars, and an exact number of injuries is still being determined. At least one individual was pinned in his vehicle for a short period of time.. ...Read Full Story

Judge Won’t Punish Dad Who Charged At Nassar

From the Associated Press — A judge says there’s “no way” she’ll punish a father of three victims of Larry Nassar after the dad tried to attack the former sports doctor in a Michigan courtroom. Randall Margraves apologized Friday, a few hours after he charged toward Nassar
during a sentencing hearing in Eaton County, Michigan. Judge Janice Cunningham says a punishment isn’t appropriate based on the crimes committed by Nassar and the anguish felt by families. But she also says it’s wrong to “combat assault with assault.” Cunningham could have given Margraves a jail sentence or fine as she considered whether to hold him in contempt of court. Nassar must listen to scores of victims before he’s sentenced next week for sexual assault. He’s admitted molesting young gymnasts. He’s already been sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison in another county.. ...Read Full Story

New App Connects Residents With Federal Benefits

A new mobile app has been released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for those who use the Women, Infants and Children program. Spokesperson Lynn Sutfin tells WSJM News the WIC app will make it easier for potential and current clients to access benefits, schedule appointments, and find other program information. She says WIC has about 235,000 clients in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

AAA Issues Big Game Safety Reminder

With Super Bowl Sunday this weekend, AAA of Michigan is asking all sports fans to remember the dangers of driving drunk. Spokesperson Gary Bubar tells WSJM News it’s your responsibility to arrange for a ride if you’re consuming alcohol. There are also responsibilities for those who throw parties.. ...Read Full Story

BH Target Closing Soon

You’re running out of time to visit the Target store in Benton Harbor. The location’s final day of business is this Saturday. At 10 p.m. it will shut down for good. Target announced back in November it was shuttering the store, along with another one in Kansas. The shelves have been getting empty as the closing date approaches. The Target closing isn’t the only big retailer shutting down in that area of Benton Township. We learned this week the Carson’s at the Orchards Mall will close in the next 12 weeks or so.. ...Read Full Story

Community Leaders Address Safety Concerns At Thursday Meeting

Students, parents, and community groups are being asked to help Benton Harbor Area Schools address concerns about discipline and safety. It was a packed house Thursday at McCoy’s Memorial Church of God In Christ for a town hall where Superintendent Shelly Walker outlined ideas for maintaining order. They include the creation of safe zones within the schools, the establishment of offsite alternative programming, and a new effort to listen to students. School Board President Marletta Seats told WSJM News that’s not all.. ...Read Full Story

Scientists Studying Meteor That Landed In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Scientists at Chicago’s Field Museum are studying a piece of the meteor that broke apart earlier this month over Michigan. The meteorite, the size of a peach pit, arrived Wednesday. NASA scientists say the 6-foot-wide meteor broke apart about 20 miles over Earth on Jan. 16. It created a bright light and what sounded like thunder in the sky. Museum associate curator Philipp Heck believes the meteorite came from an asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Meteorite hunter Robert Ward found it on a snow-covered lake near Hamburg, Michigan, and donated it to the Field Museum. A meteoroid is a small chunk of asteroid or comet. When it enters Earth’s atmosphere it becomes a meteor, fireball or shooting star. The pieces of rock that hit the ground are meteorites.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Real Estate Market Ends 2017 Strong

The southwest Michigan housing market finished 2017 continuing to sizzle. According to the latest numbers from the Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors, 2017 home sales in the region were up 4% over 2016. However, the market did slightly slow down in December, with monthly sales slipping 7% from December of the previous year. The assocation tells us housing inventory in December slipped to an all-time low, falling to a 4.4 months supply of houses for sale the final month of 2017. When comparing 2017 to 2016 as a whole, the average selling price in the region was up 9%, and the average price in just December of 2017 was up a whopping 16% over December of the previous year. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors tells us it enters 2018 excited to be well past the recession. The group adds in its latest report, it’s “been a long road back from the 2006, the previous peak year.”. ...Read Full Story

MI Township Officials Apologize To Nassar Victim

From ABC News — A public apology to a victim of former sports doctor Larry Nassar from Meridian Township officials on Thursday. They say they didn’t believe then 17-year-old Brianne Randall-Gay in 2004 when she reported Nassar sexually assaulted her during a visit for a back problem. The police department took a complaint from her, but didn’t seek criminal charges after Nassar told them he’d performed a legitimate procedure. An emotional Meridian Township Manager Frank Walsh apologized to Randall-Gay and her family, vowing to improve.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joe Today Announces Chili Tour Winners

The winners of this past weekend’s St. Joseph Today Downtown Chili Tour have been announced. Taking home the Chili Pepper Award — determined by a panel of judges — was the St. Joseph High School Culinary Team. Their entry was titled, “Netflix and Chili,” and it was featured at Caffe Tosi for last Friday’s chili tour. The high school culinary team was comprised of students Logan Borah, Daniel Okonski and Ali Koehler. Meanwhile, Bistro on the Boulevard Sous Chef James Galbraith won the People’s Choice Award for his “Kimchi(li)” served at Baroda Founders Tasting Room. For the fourth year in a row, the St. Joe Today Chili Tour also featured a charitable give back through a $2 suggested participation donation. A portion of those proceeds will be donated to the Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Michigan College To Auction Off Tiny House

How would you like to live in a 102 square foot house? Lake Michigan College is offering you chance to get one. It tells us in addition to the annual Winner’s Circle Benefit Auction set for March 3, the Lake Michigan College Foundation is now accepting bids online for a fully-functional tiny house built by students a few years ago as they learned about sustainable construction practices. The house is on a 7 by 14 foot trailer, and is built according to plans from Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. It comes equipped with a full kitchen, bathroom, loft/bedroom, and living room. Bids on the tiny house begin at $1,000, and should be submitted through LakeMichiganCollege.edu/Auction. Bidding ends the same time as the Winner’s Circle Benefit Auction, which is 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 3.. ...Read Full Story

Environmentalists Slam Snyder For Pipeline Decision

A coalition working to protect the Great Lakes says Governor Rick Snyder has sidestepped leadership on a major water issue by refusing to shut down the oil pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits. Last month, the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board urged the governor to temporarily shut down Enbridge Line 5 until it can be inspected for gaps and repaired. Snyder rejected that proposal this week, saying it could cause a propane shortage. Sean McBrearty, with the coalition Oil and Water Don’t Mix, says the state is delaying the inevitable.. ...Read Full Story

Bar To Get Diversity Training Over MLK Day Gift

From the Associated Press — A Michigan bar will undergo mandatory diversity and sensitivity training following an incident involving a watermelon on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Lansing State Journal reports that a biracial employee of Darb’s Tavern and Eatery in Mason received a watermelon from her co-workers and boss on MLK Day. Kelly Martin Aimery, the employee’s mother, posted on Facebook saying the words “Happy 1/2 MLK” and “Happy black day” were written on the watermelon. The bar’s owner and manager Rob Hearit issued a statement Monday that said the action was mean to be a “friendly joke” but was in “poor taste and offensive.” Hearit says he will undergo diversity and sensitivity training along with his staff. Aimery declined to comment to the newspaper. Her daughter couldn’t be reached for comment.. ...Read Full Story

Carson’s Store At Orchards Mall Closing

The Carson’s store in the Orchards Mall is closing. Carson’s owner The Bon Ton Stores announced this week the closing of 47 of its retail locations in 2018. The Benton Township Carson’s is one of two Michigan stores that will be shuttered as Bon Ton seeks to enact a “comprehensive turnaround plan.” The other Michigan store is an Elder Beerman in Adrian. According to Moody on the Market, the local Carson’s closure will occur sometime within the next 12 weeks.. ...Read Full Story

Summer Wine Festival Moving To Sawyer

This year’s Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival will be held in a different venue. Traditionally, the event has been held each summer at Weko Beach in Bridgman, but the Michigan Tourism Council tells us it’s being moved this year to Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer to accommodate bigger crowds as the event grows. The date remains the same. The event has always been the third Saturday in June, with this year’s date falls on Saturday, June 16. Organizers tell us the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival brings all of the wineries of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail together in one location for guests to sample wines. That includes southwest Michigan wineries like Contessa Wine Cellars, St. Julian Winery, and Lemon Creek Winery. Moving the festival to Warren Dunes this summer will also give attendees a chance to go exploring the dunes. Tickets are already on sale, and you can find out more at LakeMichiganWineFest.com.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Making Local Cuts

Whirlpool has been hit with layoffs this week. The company hasn’t released exact numbers, but a spokesperson says the cuts are due to an effort to reduce costs this year by $150 million. In a statement to Moody on the Market, the representative said the cuts were coming in multiple forms in ways that “touch all of our regions.” He also said when jobs were involved, all employees were being treated “fairly and with respect throughout the process.” Whirlpool notes it still has around 4,000 employees in the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph areas.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Wants Higher Landfill Fee For Cleanup Programs

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder wants to boost Michigan’s fee for taking waste to landfills and use the revenue to clean up contaminated sites and fund other environmental protection programs. Snyder said Tuesday his plan is a replacement for the Clean Michigan Initiative, a bond issue approved by voters in 1998 that generated $675 million but is expected to dry up this year. He wants to raise the landfill dumping fee from 36 cents per ton to $4.75 per ton, which would generate $79 million a year. The Republican governor says other Midwestern states charge as much as $13 per ton for landfill waste disposal. In addition to restoring thousands of polluted industrial sites, the fee increase would provide grants to encourage more recycling and water quality monitoring, along with state park infrastructure improvements.. ...Read Full Story

Proos: Prison Closing A Good Sign

State Senator John Proos says the planned closure of a state prison this spring in Muskegon is a sign that efforts to reduce crime and prevent repeat offenses among inmates are working. He tells WSJM News the March shuttering of the West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon will save millions of dollars.. ...Read Full Story

Upton On Board Virginia Train Crash

No serious injuries to members of Congress who were on a train headed to a retreat Wednesday. On board that train was Congressman Fred Upton and his wife Amey. In a tweet sent out around noon, Upton says, “The train carrying GOP members to our retreat had a collision. Amey and I are both OK. Docs and security on board are helping secure the scene.” CNN is reporting there were only bumps and bruises for members of Congress aboard the train. The Amtrak was on its way to a retreat in West Virginia when it hit a truck in Virginia. One person in the truck is reported as dead.. ...Read Full Story

Board To Consider Petitions Of Anti-Prevailing Wage Group

From the Associated Press — A group pushing to repeal Michigan’s law that requires higher “prevailing” wages on state-financed construction projects wants the state to certify its petitions without pulling a larger sample to review. The Board of State Canvassers will meet Tuesday to discuss the request. Earlier this month, the elections bureau said it would move to a second stage of sampling because of 535 signatures reviewed, 370 were valid. That is just shy of the 373 required by a statistical model to automatically be recommended for
approval. A ballot committee backed by the nonunion Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan says it turned in more than 380,000 signatures for the veto-proof legislation. About 252,000 signatures must be valid. The elections bureau says Protecting Michigan Taxpayers’ request to bypass the larger sample is “unprecedented.”. ...Read Full Story

Gymnastics Doctor To Return To Court For Another Sentence

From the Associated Press — The sports doctor accused of sexually assaulting more than 150 women and girls will be confronted again this week by scores of victims. Larry Nassar faces another prison sentence for molesting gymnasts, this time at an elite Michigan club run by an Olympic coach. Judge Janice Cunningham set aside three days for roughly 60 people who want to confront Nassar or have their statement read in court. The event could unfold much the same as a hearing last week in another county that ended with Nassar getting sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison. The practice of allowing accusers to speak even if they are not tied directly to a case has raised questions about fairness. But Nassar agreed to allow the statements as part of a guilty plea.. ...Read Full Story

Fox News Visits South Haven Bakery

Golden Brown Bakery President Dave Braschler is overall satisfied with Tuesday’s Fox News visit to his South Haven location. A reporter from Fox stopped by to get the thoughts of customers on President Trump. Although word of the visit prompted some protesters to show up, Braschler tells WSJM News they were well-behaved.. ...Read Full Story

Official: Engler To Be Named Interim MSU President

From the Associated Press –A high-ranking Michigan State University official involved in the board of trustees’ plan says former Governor John Engler will be named interim president. The official told The Associated Press that the board will vote to hire Engler on Wednesday amid the fallout over sexual assaults committed by former school sports doctor Larry Nassar. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the decision had not been publicly announced. President Lou Anna Simon resigned last week, and the board named Bill Beekman as acting president. Engler, a Michigan State graduate, served as Michigan’s Republican governor from 1990 through 2002. He will lead the school as it confronts civil lawsuits filed by more than 100 women and girls, and investigations by the state attorney general, the NCAA and Congress.. ...Read Full Story