Local News Archives

OutCenter Holiday Pride Concert Tomorrow

The OutCenter in Benton Harbor is hoping a large crowd turns out this Saturday for their annual holiday concert. The event will be held at the Heritage Museum in St. Joe, with the OutCenter’s Mary Jo Schnell telling WSJM News it’s all about welcoming one and all to enjoy the holiday spirit.. ...Read Full Story

Police Continue Investigation Into Officer-Involved Shooting

A woman who was injured in an officer-involved shooting in Mattawan Friday morning has been treated and released from a Kalamazoo hospital. Michigan State Police Lieutenant Chuck Christensen tells WSJM News the incident began around 8 a.m. near a Shell station. An officer with the Mattawan Police Department pulled over a vehicle that had been reported stolen out of Mattawan. At one point during the stop, the vehicle took off. That’s when the shots were fired. A female passenger in the vehicle was hit by shrapnel, Christensen says. All three of the vehicle’s occupants were found after a short search. The man who was driving was arrested. Christensen tells us none of the names are being released at this time. The case will be turned over to the Van Buren County Prosecutor’s office for a determination to be made about whether the shooting was justified. The incident prompted several local schools and daycare centers to be put on lockdown for a few hours Friday. Christensen tells us he won’t have more information to release until next Tuesday.. ...Read Full Story

State Making Changes To Campsite Reservation Fees

It might be easier to reserve a campsite in the state with some changes the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has made for reserving them. Starting November 1, you can reserve a camp site six months in advance, but if you cancel, there’s a $10 fee and that will go up the closer it gets to the date of the reservation. DNR parks and recreation chief Ron Olson tells Michigan News Network the changes are because the DNR has found cancellations were increasing.. ...Read Full Story

Man Killed By Train In Cassopolis

A Cassopolis man is dead after being hit by a train on Friday morning. The Cassopolis Police Department tells us it happened shortly after 5 a.m. at railroad tracks located at East State and Wolfe street. A northbound train struck the 63-year-old man. He was found by police about 50 yards from East State Street. An officer provided the man first aid until an ambulance arrived. He was taken to a hospital in Dowagiac where he died. The victim’s name has not yet been released. The Cassopolis Police Department was assisted at the scene by the Cass County Sheriff’s Department, Lifecare Ambulance, the Cass Central Fire Department, and CN Railroad Police.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Township Officer Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor

A Benton Township police officer’s job is currently under review after he entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of neglect of duty. Berrien County Prosecutor Mike Sepic tells WSJM News 30-year-old Robert Fuller was leaving the township on several occasions in 2016 for personal reasons to drive by the home of his ex-girlfriend as he tried to identify her new boyfriend. Sepic notes state law only allows police to leave their jurisdiction for “limited legitimate reasons,” and that doesn’t count. Fuller both entered the plea and was sentenced to pay a $575 fine yesterday. He won’t serve any jail time or be on probation.. ...Read Full Story

State Responding To Hepatitis A Outbreak

A significant outbreak in Hepatitis A cases in southeast Michigan has state and county health departments taking action. Macomb County Health Director Bill Ridella told Michigan News Network this week health agencies are reaching out to high risk groups with vaccinations that are 90% effective in preventing the liver virus.. ...Read Full Story

House Approves Funding For Opioid Test Program In Kalamazoo County

Kalamazoo County will be the site of a pilot program in Michigan to fight opioid abuse if the governor approves it. State Representative Brandt Iden tells WSJM News a supplemental budget bill sent to the governor this week includes $700,000 for Medicaid recipients to receive genetic tests in the county. The goal is to find indicators of a pr-disposition to an opioid addiction.. ...Read Full Story

New State Police Program To Test Some Drivers For Controlled Substances

Michigan State Police are launching a new pilot program to catch drivers under the influence of a controlled substance, and Berrien County is one of five counties picked to be a part. MSP First Lieutenant Jim Flegel tells WSJM News, as part of the new program, specially-trained officers known as Drug Recognition Experts will collect a saliva sample from someone suspected of impaired driving. The officers will have instruments to run a preliminary test for some substances.. ...Read Full Story

Legislatures Favors Calling Residents “Michiganders”

From the Associated Press — Are you a Michigander or a Michiganian? The state Legislature is weighing into the debate in favor of using the term Michigander. The House this week approved a 13-bill package related to modernizing laws related to historical markers. A portion of one bill defines resident of the state as Michiganders and removes references to the term Michiganians. The bills, which previously cleared the Senate, need only final Senate votes before heading to Governor Rick Snyder. He uses the term Michiganders.. ...Read Full Story

Veterans Reminded How To Apply For Benefits

With Veterans Day just around the corner, an upcoming event in Detroit aims to support and honor those who have served by connecting them with services and benefits they’re entitled to as veterans. AARP Michigan’s Melissa Seifert tells us many veterans may simply be unaware of some of the many benefits that are out there.. ...Read Full Story

House Bid Intensifies To Reduce Auto Insurance Rates

From the Associated Press — Efforts are heating up to pass legislation to reduce the cost of auto insurance in Michigan. Members of the Republican-controlled state House talked behind closed doors about bill amendments Thursday, and Detroit hospitals that oppose the
legislation warned of an “imminent” vote. Legislators could be in session into the night. The bill lets drivers opt out of a requirement to carry unlimited medical benefits through their auto insurance for crash injuries. The legislation seeks varying cuts in personal injury protection fees for motorists choosing less coverage. Supporters say the bill would help drivers who face the highest premiums in the
country. Opponents say it would lead to inadequate treatment for people with brain and other catastrophic injuries. Democrats are largely united against the bill. Some Republicans also are opposed.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Expected To Approach $3 Per Gallon Soon

Gas prices have spiked again and GasBuddy’s Patrick DeHaan is expecting we could be going up even more to around $3 per gallon in the coming days due to a growing list of problems between the well and the pump. He says it all started with Hurricane Harvey compressing maintenance schedules of refineries in the Midwest, which stayed online to make up for the loss of plants in the Gulf during the storms.. ...Read Full Story

MI Supreme Court Justice Approved For Federal Bench

From the Associated Press — Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen has been promoted to a federal appeals court. The U.S. Senate confirmed Larsen’s nomination Wednesday. President Donald Trump selected her for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The
Cincinnati-based court hears appeals from Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky. Larsen has made a remarkable rise in just two years. Governor Rick Snyder appointed her to the Michigan Supreme Court in 2015. She was elected by voters last year. She served on the faculty at University of Michigan law school and worked in the administration of President George W. Bush. Snyder will choose another justice when Larsen leaves the Michigan court.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Talks Youth Sports Concussion Law

State Senator John Proos tells us the latest anti-concussion legislation signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder will ensure coaches and volunteers with youth leagues are up to date on the latest science. The plan recently signed by Snyder requires those who work with student athletes to get concussion awareness training every three years, says Proos.. ...Read Full Story

Two Killed In Edwardsburg Crash

A deadly crash in Cass County is under investigation. Two people were killed when their pickup truck hit a utility pole in Edwardsburg around 8 p.m. last night. According to our reporting partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16, officers were having trouble last night identifying the two. The crash happened in the rain, and police are trying to figure out if that played a role or if alcohol may have been involved. Several homes in the area also lost power for several hours due to the crash on Elkhart Road north of Redfield Street.. ...Read Full Story

Four Winds South Bend Holding Another Job Fair

The new Four Winds Casino in South Bend is looking for even more new employees. That’s why they’re holding a job fair this week. On Friday, applicants for gaming technician and surveillance engineer positions are invited to stop by the Four Winds Human Resources office on West South Street in South Bend. The job fair will run from noon until 5 p.m. There will be another job fair on Monday, November 13 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. for those interested in food and beverage positions. Four Winds is hiring for a new location that is currently under construction. It’s expected to be finished early next year.. ...Read Full Story

Women’s Only Weekend Coming Up In South Haven

A Roaring 20s-themed series of events will be held next weekend in South Haven. The visitors bureau’s Scott Reinert tells WSJM News it’s time for Women’s Only Weekend from Thursday the 9th through Sunday the 12th. That’s when a variety of local businesses hold special events and sales to attract moms, daughters, and grandmas.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Clerk Talks Local Elections

Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler wants voters to be ready for next week’s elections. She tells WSJM News the Berrien County communities holding elections will be the cities of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, along with Chikaming Township and the Lakeshore school district. Those voters should know a few things.. ...Read Full Story

House Approves Recounts Only If Candidate Has Chance To Win

From the Associated Press — Political candidates could ask for a recount only if they have a reasonable chance of winning under legislation advancing in Michigan. The House approved the bill 98-10 Wednesday. It’s a response to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s recount request last year, even though she won just 1 percent of the vote. The legislation would codify a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling that said “aggrieved” candidates can ask for a recount only if they can allege a good faith belief that but for fraud or mistake, they would have had a reasonable chance of winning the election. The bill moves to the Senate for consideration next. Another bill that’s pending would make candidate pay more for a recount if they are down by more than 5 percentage points.. ...Read Full Story

Stabenow Slams Possible Tax Proposal

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow says the tax reform plan being considered by Washington Republicans will hurt working-class Michiganders. Stabenow spoke with Michigan News Network this week, telling them there’s one provision in the legislation that especially concerns her.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan To Let Marijuana Shops Stay Open

From the Associated Press — Certain medical marijuana businesses will be able to remain open in Michigan while seeking a state license required under a new regulatory system. The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory reversed course Wednesday after previously giving dispensaries until Dec. 15 to close to avoid potentially not receiving a license. The department and its Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation intend to issue emergency rules this month. To avoid facing an impediment to licensure, an applicant must be operating in a municipality that has adopted an authorizing ordinance before December 15. Patients and others had expressed outrage that businesses would be forced to close for months while awaiting a license. State regulator Andrew Brisbo says patients’ concerns about not being able to get their medicine played a “big factor” in the about-face.. ...Read Full Story

White Nationalist Asks To Speak At University Of Michigan

From the Associated Press — A University of Michigan spokesman says it will pay “close attention to the safety and security of our community” in considering a request by white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus. University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Tuesday that no decision has been made on Spencer’s request. Fitzgerald says a representative of Spencer’s National Policy Institute indicated there was flexibility with the speaking date. Michigan State University earlier this year turned down a request for Spencer to speak there. Spencer’s group has filed a lawsuit seeking to have that blockage overturned. Spencer’s group has also filed a lawsuit against Ohio State University, which also turned down a request for speaking space. Spencer participated in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to deadly violence in August.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmakers OK Budget Bill That Includes Vetoed Spending

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Michigan lawmakers have approved a $62.8 million supplemental budget bill that includes spending vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder months ago. The bill passed by the House Tuesday would restore about half of the $5 million in proposed general spending nixed by the Republican governor. An education budget bill already on Snyder’s desk includes another $1.2 million in spending he previously vetoed.. ...Read Full Story

Big Apartment Fire Displaces Niles Residents

Fire investigators are trying to figure out what sparked a massive three-alarm blaze at the North Niles Villa apartments on North 5th Street in Niles. The flames went through the roof in Building A of the complex last night, displacing residents of more than a dozen units. Niles Fire Chief Don Wise tells our reporting partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16 that in his more than three decades of fighting fires, this was among the worst he’s seen. The American Red Cross was on hand to help those people find shelter for the night. It’s believed the fire started in the attic, and investigators say it does not appear that the smoke detectors were working. One resident was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.. ...Read Full Story

Heritage Museum Welcomes New Director

A new director has come to the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph. Elizabeth Andrews, a St. Joe native, is taking over the position. She’s the replacement for Amy Zapal, who left the Heritage Museum early this year to lead St. Joseph Today. Andrews returns to the area from Ann Arbor where she’d most recently lived. She previously spent 17 years working for Berrien RESA, leading arts education around the county. The museum tells us Andrews “brings a passion for local history and culture, exuberance for learning and a deep commitment to philanthropy in the public and private sector.” It adds the new executive director will now lead efforts to increase technology-enhanced preservation of local artifacts and to increase the museum’s long-term sustainability.. ...Read Full Story

State Reports Increase In Cases Of Hepatitis A

Cases of Hepatitis A are on the rise in the state, prompting the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to activate its Community Health Emergency Coordination Center. Department Spokesperson Angela Minicuci tells Michigan News Network that will provide more help to healthcare providers and facilities. Many of the hepatitis A cases are associated with those who have a history of substance use, people in transient living conditions, those in jails, and healthcare workers.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor High School To Be Added To State Partnership Agreement

Some additional schools in Benton Harbor will be forming partnership agreements with the Michigan Department of Education in order to stay open. The department announced Tuesday Benton Harbor High School and the Mildred C. Wells Preparatory Academy have been added to the list. Their persistently-low test scores have caused them to be identified by the state as in need of extra intervention.. ...Read Full Story

MI Lawmakers Approve Supplemental Spending Bill

From the Associated Press — Michigan lawmakers have approved a $62.8 million supplemental budget bill that includes spending vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder months ago. The bill passed by the House Tuesday would restore about half of the $5 million in proposed general spending nixed by the Republican governor. An education budget bill already on Snyder’s desk includes another $1.2 million in spending he previously vetoed. Lawmakers say Snyder is now on board after reconsidering. Added back in is $150,000 to train grocers and others to prepare and clean equipment used to serve draft beer. A law expanded the type of businesses that can let customers fill growlers for consumption off-site. There’s also $280,000 for a Muskegon charter school and $700,000 for a study on the potential of genomic testing to improve opioid prescribing practices.. ...Read Full Story

Fire Destroys Berrien Center Home

A more than 100 year old farm house is a total loss following a fire in Berrien Center Monday night. Eau Claire Fire Chief Norman Carl tells WSJM News the fire was reported at a home on Painter School Road near M-62 around 9:15 p.m. One member of the family woke up and got the rest of the family out. Responding fire departments were from Eau Claire, Sodus Township, Indian Lake, and Pokagon Township. A preliminary investigation finds the cause of the fire was likely a wood-burning stove, although the fire marshal is working to determine the official cause. Carl says no one was hurt in the blaze. He says the house was fully involved when firefighters arrived and there was no saving it. The family is staying with relatives. Firefighters were at the scene as late as 3 a.m. because of heavy winds that re-ignited the flames.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Officer Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor

The employment status of a Benton Harbor public safety officer remains up in the air following his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of neglect of duty. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office says 36-year-old Reginald Gee has been sentenced to paying fines and court costs of $535 and won’t serve any jail time or probation, but the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is still working through its own investigation. Gee had reported finding a stolen vehicle at Wings and Things on East Main street in Benton Harbor early in the morning of September 14, and called to have it towed. However, further investigation found there was someone in the car that he knew, and Gee had a conversation with that person before calling in the discovery of the 2003 Honda Element. That person is still under investigation, and charges remain possible. Gee entered a guilty plea on Monday, and was sentenced the same day.. ...Read Full Story

Vandalia Man Hurt In Rollover Crash

A Vandalia man is recovering from minor injuries after crashing his car in Cass County. The sheriff’s department says alcohol was a factor, but did not indicate what the blood-alcohol level was for 57-year-old Leland Scott when he rolled his vehicle on Old 205 near Cassopolis Road just after 10:30 last night. He was not wearing a seat belt and was taken by ambulance to Elkhart General Hospital in Indiana for treatment. Deputies tell us Scott failed to navigate a curve, causing his vehicle to leave the road and roll.. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw To Patch Briggs Mill Dam Breach

The Village of Paw Paw will spend $225,000 to patch a breach in the Briggs Mill Dam with an earthen dam and an emergency spillway. A consultant presented five options to the Village Council Monday night, for both temporary and long term repair. The concrete dam was 113-years-old when it breached during a record rainfall just over two weeks ago. The consultant says he can have it fixed before the end of the year.. ...Read Full Story

Meth Charges In Watervliet Township

Police say one man is facing charges as part of a crystal meth investigation in Berrien County. The Southwest Enforcement Team tells us it arrested 39-year-old Manowar Ahmed Jones last Thursday in Watervliet Township. Officers say they seized about a half ounce of meth and several ounces of marijuana. That followed a three week investigation into crystal meth distribution. Police say the suspect tried to destroy some meth he had on him as the arrest was being made, but officers were able to wrestle it away from him. Charges in the case include delivery of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, resisting and obstructing police, and destruction of evidence.. ...Read Full Story

Lest We Forget To Host Veterans Day Ceremony

When Veterans Day is marked this November in St. Joseph, the ceremony will be held in a new venue and with a new host. Lest We Forget’s Hank Richmond tells us the annual ceremony previously organized by a Korean War veterans group in St. Joe has been handed over to his organization. So, Veterans Day will be marked on Saturday, November 11 at the Whitcomb.. ...Read Full Story

Health Experts Urge Moderate Halloween Candy Consumption

As you prepare to send your young ones out for a night on the town of trick or treating, the American Heart Association is reminding you to practice a little moderation with the candy consumption. The group’s Stacy Sawyer tells us while a few days of increased sugar intake around Halloween might not be a make or break for long-term health, the much larger problem is general sugar consumption in the United States.. ...Read Full Story

Democrats To Unveil New Wage Theft Legislation

Bills to prevent wage theft will soon be introduced in the Michigan legislature. A report from the Economic Policy Institute earlier this year found Michigan workers across all demographic groups are losing $429 million every year as a result of wage theft. Lauren Rosen of Hazel Park told Michigan News Network this week she used to work for a restaurant in downtown Detroit that would not give workers their tips.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Adding New Safety Features To SWM Roads

New safety features are being added to roads around southwest Michigan, and you may not even notice them. The Michigan Department of Transportation’s Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News the agency has identified areas where cars are more likely to leave their lanes, and it’s started adding features to help protect drivers.. ...Read Full Story