Local News Archives

Group Calls For Juvenile Justice Reforms

Legislation is currently proposed in the Michigan House that would raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18, rather than 17. Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Advocacy Tom Hickson tells us 17-year-olds are still developing and more inclined to risky, impulsive behaviors. He say it’s not right to treat them like adults in the justice system.. ...Read Full Story

Sheriff’s Department Wins Two Awards

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is the recipient of a couple of awards from Assisted Patrol, a company that makes police equipment. Chief Deputy Robert Boyce tells us the sheriff’s department submitted some ideas for a contest seeking new law enforcement investigative techniques.. ...Read Full Story

Covert Schools Food Program

Covert Public Schools has announced the sponsorship of the Summer Food Service for Children. Free meals will be made available to children 18 years of age and under or those up to 26 years of age who are enrolled in an educational program for the disabled that’s recognized by a state or local education agency. Covert’s Director of Communications Brittany Millan spoke with WSJM News about the program.. ...Read Full Story

Reactions To Prevailing Wage Vote

Lawmakers from Michigan are reacting to the state legislature’s vote on Wednesday to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law. The 1965 statute requires that higher “prevailing” wages be paid to construction workers on state-financed projects. Following the repeal vote on Wednesday, state Representative Dave Pagel of Berrien Springs issued a statement saying while he believes “construction workers from the various trades should receive fair and competitive wages,” he does “not believe that state government should artificially inflate those wages over free-market forces.” He feels the repeal is a plus. On the other side is U.S. Senator Gary Peters, who says the repeal will “not only hurt hardworking Michiganders who deserve decent pay for a job well done, it also threatens our public safety.” Peters says at a time when the state faces a shortage of skilled trades workers, the move will only make things worse. He pledges to work to protect a similar federal law.. ...Read Full Story

Life Rings Now Installed

City leaders in St. Joseph are hoping the north pier will be a little safer now that 12 life rings to help prevent drownings have been installed. City Manager John Hodgson tells WSJM News the rings come with throw bags and 90 foot ropes. A video explaining how to use the rings may be produced.. ...Read Full Story

Grand Opening Planned For Animal Shelter

The grand opening for the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan’s new animal shelter will be this Saturday. Humane Society Executive Director Jill Svoboda tells WSJM News it’s been a long journey to get the $2 million Yeager Family Pet Shelter on M-139 in Royalton Township built. The animals and staff have spent the past few weeks moving in.. ...Read Full Story

Orchards Mall Auction Delayed

The auction of the Orchards Mall in Benton Township is being delayed. It was supposed to have been held online this week, but is now scheduled for next Wednesday, June 13. No reason has been given for the delay. WSJM News has reached out to the real estate firm representing mall owner Michael Kohan, but has not yet received a reply. The opening bid for the property remains $750,000, and the initial goal was to sell the mall and the land it’s on for around $2.5 million. Kohan has narrowly escaped foreclosure by Berrien County the past two years for not paying the property taxes. Those have been paid on the deadline in both years, and he’s still several years behind on those payments.. ...Read Full Story

School Board Talks Graduation

With graduation set for this Friday, leaders at Benton Harbor Area Schools are hoping to ensure some students who are just a half credit away from the diploma requirements are still allowed to walk the field with their class. At Tuesday’s work session, the board of education heard from the distraught parents of one senior who is a half credit away. They just found out she can’t walk with the class. Trustee Joseph Taylor wondered if she could do so if she signed up for summer school first.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Repeals Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Law

The Michigan Legislature has voted mostly along party lines in both the House and Senate to repeal a decades-old law that guarantees higher “prevailing” wages for construction workers on state-financed projects. Governor Snyder opposes the bill, but is unable to veto it because it was initiated through a ballot drive. Michigan has become the fifth conservative-led state to annul its prevailing wage law since 2015. Republicans say the law costs taxpayers more when school construction and other government projects could be done for less money. Democrats, union contractors and others say the repeal initiative is an attack on workers and the 1965 law ensures they are paid fairly and quality work is done.. ...Read Full Story

Journeyman Distillery Facing Cease And Desist Order

One of the area’s top spirits makers is in danger of being shuttered, but there is hope. Three Oaks Village Manager Mike Greene tells WSJM News they are trying to resolve issues with Journeyman Distillery over the wastewater discharge. Journeyman has been given a cease and desist order that takes effect Friday, but Greene says he’s been in contact with the village council about it.. ...Read Full Story

Police Looking For Hit-And-Run Driver In Dowagiac

Authorities in Dowagiac are looking for a car involved in a hit-and-run around 10:30 Tuesday night. A 20-year-old man was hit as he and three others were walking along M-51 against oncoming traffic. Another driver stopped to help, and none of the other three were hurt. Police are looking for a dark-colored, mid-sized sedan that kept going north. The man who was hit is hospitalized at Borgess Lee Memorial in Dowagiac, and investigators say the extent of his injuries aren’t known.. ...Read Full Story

New Map Of MI Forests

From the Associated Press — A newly developed online map provides information about how Michigan’s state forests are managed. The Department of Natural Resources says the map makes it easier to learn about timber sales, prescribed burns and other activities. Users can navigate on the map or simply type in an address to find out what activities are planned or underway in areas of interest. The DNR manages 4 million acres of state forest. It has a crew of geographers and data managers who provide up-to-date information on forest health, wildlife populations and more. The current map highlights activities planned for 2020. Next year forestry staff will work on actions for 2021. You can find the map right here.. ...Read Full Story

Senate Considering Nassar Bills

The state Senate has before it a package of sexual assault bills prompted by the Larry Nassar scandal at Michigan State University. Some had been modified by the House, and Representative Klint Kesto told Michigan News Network he’s calling on the Senate to approve the bills and send them to Governor Snyder.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews University Shutting Down Dairy Operations

The focus of the operations of the Andrews University Farm is changing. The Board of Trustees voted this week to close down the farm’s dairy operations by the summer of 2019. Senior vice president for financial administration Lawrence Schalk tells us that due to low milk prices, the operation has been losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.. ...Read Full Story

School Board Discipline Policy

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education will be asked next week to approve a policy giving the district more control over which students are allowed to enroll. Interim Superintendent Patricia Robinson tells WSJM News an issue has arisen with an influx of kids following February’s student could.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Cottage Walk This Month

Tickets are now available for South Haven’s annual Cottage Walk. SHOUT for South Haven’s Sue Cunningham tells WSJM News the booster organization has held the walks on the last Saturday of every June for 23 years now. This year’s event will give walkers a chance to tour five homes in locations all over South Haven.. ...Read Full Story

Krasl Public Art

The Krasl Art Center will be installing a new sculpture in Benton Harbor’s Arts District this week as part of the center’s Biennial Sculpture Invitational. Krasl Deputy Director Tammy Miller tells WSJM News “Eve’s Awareness” by Terry Hewlett replaces “Eve and the Serpent,” a sculpture that’s being removed due to complaints. The new one is more family friendly.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Remains Opposed To Trump Tariffs

Congressman Fred Upton continues to speak out against the tariff increases on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union announced by President Trump. He says while Presidents have the authority to take that action, it’s especially unfair to impose the tariff on Canada.. ...Read Full Story

State To Close Another Prison In 2019

The state plans to close another prison next year. Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz says the closure comes as crime in the state and the prison population continue to dwindle. It’s not yet clear which prison will close. Jobs will be lost, but he predicts not many.. ...Read Full Story

Voters To Decide Marijuana Legalization

From the Associated Press — Michigan voters will decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. A citizen-initiated measure wasn’t approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature before a 40-day deadline passed Tuesday. That means the ballot initiative will get a public vote in November. Michigan has allowed medical-marijuana use for nearly a decade. If the ballot measure is successful, Michigan would become the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana. The proposal would allow people age 21 or older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana outside their home and grow up to 12 plants at home. A 10 percent excise tax on marijuana would be assessed at the retail level. The Michigan Senate leader wanted legislators to pass the bill to make it easier to change later, but support was lacking in the. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Approves Recreational Projects

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder has approved nearly $50 million in spending to boost public recreation statewide.
The $49.9 million for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund enacted Monday will go to 34 land acquisition projects and 97 development projects . It includes $12.5 million to buy up to 372 acres surrounded by Ludington State Park. Among the state or local development projects are trails, parks, canoe and kayak launches, playgrounds and splash pads across Michigan. About $45 million in matching funds will be provided locally. Also Monday, Snyder signed legislation establishing a five-member group to advise the Natural Resources Trust Fund Board on annual spending recommendations. The fund consists of royalties paid by oil and gas companies
that buy and lease state-owned mineral rights.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Approves Recreational Projects

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder has approved nearly $50 million in spending to boost public recreation statewide.
The $49.9 million for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund enacted Monday will go to 34 land acquisition projects and 97 development projects . It includes $12.5 million to buy up to 372 acres surrounded by Ludington State Park. Among the state or local development projects are trails, parks, canoe and kayak launches, playgrounds and splash pads across Michigan. About $45 million in matching funds will be provided locally. Also Monday, Snyder signed legislation establishing a five-member group to advise the Natural Resources Trust Fund Board on annual spending recommendations. The fund consists of royalties paid by oil and gas companies
that buy and lease state-owned mineral rights.. ...Read Full Story

Water Protest In Lansing

A protest took place Monday at the state capitol in Lansing, staged by hundreds of poor people, clergy, and others regarding water issues in Michigan. The Reverend-Dr. Liz Theoharis is co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. She spoke with Michigan News Network about the protest.. ...Read Full Story

Water Protest In Lansing

A protest took place Monday at the state capitol in Lansing, staged by hundreds of poor people, clergy, and others regarding water issues in Michigan. The Reverend-Dr. Liz Theoharis is co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. She spoke with Michigan News Network about the protest.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Poised To Repeal Prevailing Wage Law

From the Associated Press — A 53-year-old Michigan law that guarantees higher “prevailing” wages for construction workers on state-financed projects could soon be nullified. The Republican-controlled Legislature this week is poised to repeal the statute, which would make Michigan the fifth state to annul its prevailing wage law since 2015. Though GOP Governor Rick Snyder opposes the bill, it is veto-proof because it was initiated through a ballot drive by nonunion contractors. Conservatives say repealing the law would save taxpayers money. On the other side are union contractors, Democrats and others who say the 1965 statute ensures that workers are paid fairly and that quality work is done on schools, fire stations and other public works projects. They are pressing Republicans to let the legislation proceed to the November ballot.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Poised To Repeal Prevailing Wage Law

From the Associated Press — A 53-year-old Michigan law that guarantees higher “prevailing” wages for construction workers on state-financed projects could soon be nullified. The Republican-controlled Legislature this week is poised to repeal the statute, which would make Michigan the fifth state to annul its prevailing wage law since 2015. Though GOP Governor Rick Snyder opposes the bill, it is veto-proof because it was initiated through a ballot drive by nonunion contractors. Conservatives say repealing the law would save taxpayers money. On the other side are union contractors, Democrats and others who say the 1965 statute ensures that workers are paid fairly and that quality work is done on schools, fire stations and other public works projects. They are pressing Republicans to let the legislation proceed to the November ballot.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Approves Demolitions

Eight buildings, most of them houses, will be torn down in Benton Harbor this year following Monday’s city commission approval of the 2018 Berrien County Land Bank demolition list. None of the houses are occupied, and Mayor Marcus Muhammad described them as eyesores. He said tearing them down is in the interest of the city.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Approves Demolitions

Eight buildings, most of them houses, will be torn down in Benton Harbor this year following Monday’s city commission approval of the 2018 Berrien County Land Bank demolition list. None of the houses are occupied, and Mayor Marcus Muhammad described them as eyesores. He said tearing them down is in the interest of the city.. ...Read Full Story