Local News Archives

State Police Cracking On I-94 Drivers

You can expect to see more Michigan State Police troopers on patrol on I-94 this spring and summer, all the way from the Indiana border to Wayne County. As traffic crashes on I-94 went up last year, MSP Fifth District Commander Captain Kyle Bowman told Michigan News Network this week they’ll be looking for distracted driving, aggressive driving , and drivers who follow too closely.. ...Read Full Story

Peters Makes Open Internet Appeal

An effort is underway in the United States Senate to block the FCC from implementing its repeal of net neutrality protections, and Senator Gary Peters of Michigan is a part of it. Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Peters said it’s necessary that Americans have access to open internet so they can compete with the rest of the world.. ...Read Full Story

AARP Grants For Cities

With the nation facing an aging population, many communities are examining ways to become places where people of all ages can thrive. Now, cities and towns in Michigan ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work on livability projects have an opportunity to get some financial help. Mark Hornbeck with AARP Michigan tells us the AARP Community Challenge is offering grants for innovative improvement ideas that will allow all residents to make the most out of where they live.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Praises Veterans Office

State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan is hailing word that Van Buren County has now hired a veterans services officer. She’s been behind legislation to create grant programs for counties to have full-time staff that work to connect veterans with services that can help them.. ...Read Full Story

GOP Gubernatorial Candidates In Michigan Hold 1st Debate

Republicans running for Michigan governor have made their cases to voters in their first debate. Attorney General Bill Schuette emphasized his endorsement from President Donald Trump and his plans to cut taxes and auto insurance rates during a Wednesday night debate hosted by WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids. Rival Brian Calley touts Michigan’s economic gains during his time as lieutenant governor and calls Schuette a “career politician.”. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Short-Term Rental Moratorium

The South Haven City Council has approved a six month moratorium on new short-term rentals in Wards 1 and 2. Those wards consist of the southern portion of the city along the lakeshore and the eastern portion of the city south of the Black River. City staff will not accept or process applications for new rentals in Wards 1 and 2. Mayor Scott Smith tells us the city has been gathering data about what’s working and what needs improving under the current ordinance. Year-round residents have expressed displeasure over noise levels, parked cars blocking emergency vehicle access, and the behavior of some of the people renting houses short-term in the city. Short term rentals have long been a controversy in South Haven. The six-month moratorium on them was approved on Monday by the South Haven City Council.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Talks “Kayak Tax”

State Representative Kim LaSata is among the Michigan lawmakers calling on the Michigan State Waterways Commission to drop plans for a tax on small watercraft like canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. She tells WSJM News the House overwhelmingly voted this week for a resolution opposing the move.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Company Saluted For Energy Efficiency

A check for $50,000 will be presented this week to Kay Manufacturing in St. Joseph by Indiana Michigan Power for Kay’s efforts to become more energy efficient. Kay Manufacturing President Brian Pelke tells WSJM News the company has invested $115,000 in installing LED lighting in its 120,000 square foot facility.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews Team Helps In Puerto Rico

A group of 20 Andrews University faculty, staff, students, and graduates have returned from a trip to Puerto Rico to help provide mental health services there following Hurricane Maria. Andrews Associate Professor of Psychology Melissa Ponce-Rodas tells WSJM News following natural disasters, mental health issues do arise.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeshore Leaders Look Ahead

There is still work ahead for leaders at Lakeshore Public Schools after this week’s failure of a bond proposal. Voters rejected the $21 million bond on Tuesday on a vote of 2,300 to 1,907. Lakeshore Superintendent Phil Freeman tells WSJM News the need for building improvements and new technology is still there.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Speaker Series Tomorrow

“Why Our Political Is Behaving So Oddly” is the topic South Haven Speaker Series guest Phil Power address on Thursday, May 10th at the Lake Michigan College South Haven campus. Speaker Series Board President Mark Odland tells WSJM News Power is the founder of the Center for Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

House Opposes “Kayak Tax”

It doesn’t look like you’re going to be forced to pay any fees to register paddle boards, canoes, and kayaks with the state. The Michigan House has voted overwhelmingly to oppose the so-called “kayak tax” floated by the Michigan State Waterways Commission. Representative Curt VanderWall of Ludington sponsored the resolution, which received bipartisan support.. ...Read Full Story

Roadside Park Arson Under Investigation

An arson at the Flowing Wells Roadside Park in Bainbridge Township is under investigation. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News someone noticed the bathrooms at the park on fire around 10 p.m. last Friday and called 9-1-1. The sheriff’s office and Fire Marshall’s Division of the Michigan State Police determined the fire had been intentionally set, and a reward is being offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. At this point, authorities have not identified any suspects. The roadside park and the structures on the property are owned by the Michigan Department of Transportation.. ...Read Full Story

State Police To Target Dangerous Driving On I-94

Michigan State Police plan to target dangerous driving behaviors of motorists using Interstate 94 between the Indiana state line and Wayne County in southeastern Michigan. More troopers will be assigned to patrol the highway during the spring and summer, focusing on distracted and aggressive driving, following too closely, improper lane use and excessive speed.. ...Read Full Story

Treasurer Reminds Homeonwers Of Tax Program

If you’re behind on your taxes, Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski wants you to know a state program to help pay them off is still available. Last year, Witkowski and other treasurers promoted the Step Forward Michigan program. It was offering $35 million in no-interest loans around the state to homeowners who needed some help. Witkowski tells WSJM News there’s still plenty of money available.. ...Read Full Story

Mackinac Conference This Month

1,700 business leaders and politicians will attend the Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island later this month. Highlights include a keynote speech from former Speaker of the House John Boehner and a governor’s debate between the top three candidates from each party. Ray Telang is the Mackinac Policy Conference Policy Chair and told Michigan News Network beyond the programs, networking is important.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Election Results

Voters headed to the polls on Tuesday is some communities around Berrien County, in all cases deciding school funding. The biggest was a bond for Lakeshore Public Schools, which voters rejected. The vote was 2,300 no to 1,907 yes. The district was seeking $21 million in bonds for building improvements, the purchase of equipment, and work on athletic facilities and playgrounds. Now, it’s back to the drawing board.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Election Results

A couple of Van Buren County communities held elections on Tuesday. In South Haven, voters were asked to renew the operating millage for South Haven Public Schools. It accounts for more than 42% of the district’s operating revenue, and voters approved it. There was also a city council election in Bangor, but it was uncontested. Elected to the city council were Fred Hicks and Steven Lowder.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Approves Medical Marijuana Rules

Medical Marijuana is a step closer to coming to Benton Harbor. At a Monday meeting, the city commission approved updated zoning rules recommended by the planning commission that will permit up to 25 medical marijuana facilities in the city. The commission also approved a resolution in support for the sale of the vacant Alreco Metals property to medical marijuana outfit the Harvest Group. Harvest Group has offered the Berrien County Land Bank more than $400,000 for the foreclosed 11 acre property to produce medical marijuana there. It’s said its plans would mean $7 million in investment and between 150 and 200 jobs. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News the land bank can now act more quickly to approve the Alreco sale to Harvest.. ...Read Full Story

More Testimony On Nassar Legislation

Victims of Larry Nassar are at the state capitol this week to testify in favor of new child protection legislation. Former diver Sterling Riethman from Kalamazoo was abused by Nassar at his MSU clinic. She testified on Tuesday that many girls don’t report the abuse until later in life.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Public Safety Plans This Summer

St. Joseph City Commissioners and the public have been updated by Public Safety Director Brian Uridge on plans to better police the community this summer. Last summer, St. Joe Public Safety changed traffic patterns to reduce congestion while making more parking spaces available, and this summer will bring a return to many of those practices. Uridge also said at Monday’s city commission meeting there will be more community engagement from police this summer.. ...Read Full Story

Reward Increased For Murder Suspect

The reward for information leading to the arrest of Benton Harbor murder suspect Antwan “Tank” Mims has been doubled from $10,000 to $20,000. At a press conference Tuesday, Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis said Mims is the main suspect in the shooting deaths of Michael Johnson and Cortez Miller on March 25.. ...Read Full Story

New Hot Dog Seller For Lions Park

There will be another vendor selling hot dogs at a St. Joseph summer attraction this year. On Monday, the St. Joseph City Commission gave its thumbs up to Myles Hambley to have a hot dog cart at Lions Park Beach. He told commissioners he plans to keep it simple, serving a few different types of dogs to beach goers along with a few other treats. Lions Beach is one of five locations where the city allows things like hot dog carts to be located in the summer months, and there was a vacancy there. Also Monday, the commission voted to allow Scoot Joe’s to put up a 20 by 30 foot tent on its property to protect a fleet of bicycles the places rents out in the summer.. ...Read Full Story

Voters Heading To Polls In Parts Of SWMI

There are school elections in a few areas of southwest Michigan today. In Van Buren County, school millage requests are on the ballot in Coloma, Dowagiac, South Haven, and Watervliet, while the city of Bangor is also holding elections today for its city council. In Berrien County, Lakeshore Public Schools have a bond proposal before voters. The district says a “yes” vote would keep the current millage rate of 4.2 mills in place over the next 20 years, bringing in $21 million for the district. If the proposal fails, the rate will decrease this year by about 1.3 mills. Polls are open until 8 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

Orchards Mall Up For Auction

The Orchards Mall is up for sale. WSJM News has learned the owner of the mall is auctioning it off through a Farmington Hills-based company, with a starting bid of $750,000. The auction is scheduled to be held from June 4-6. The Orchards Mall has a 45% occupancy rate and has been in various states of disrepair for years, with former tenants complaining about the electricity being shut off at times and the heating and air conditioning system not working in several stores. The mall’s current owner is also behind on property taxes to Berrien County, and has narrowly avoided foreclosure the past two years. Details of the auction can be found here.. ...Read Full Story

Cancer Claims State Superintendent Brian Whiston

Michigan State Superintendent Brian Whiston has died at the age of 56 from cancer. Whiston had begun a long-term medical leave from the Michigan Department of Education on Friday on the advice of his doctors, and had announced he would be stepping away to fight the illness in March. He revealed he was battling cancer at a State Board of Education meeting in January. Prior to taking the job as the state’s top educator, Whiston had been the superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools and was a lobbyist of Oakland Schools. In announcing his leave Friday, Whiston said Chief Deputy Superintendent Sheila Alles would be running the Department of Education in his absence.. ...Read Full Story

EPA Tests Water At MI Tannery

From the Associated Press — Federal environmental officials are resuming an investigation into contamination at a former tannery in western Michigan five years after the Environmental Protection Agency left the site under state control. The Grand Rapids Press reports that the EPA says new testing will begin this month at the former manufacturing site where Wolverine World Wide used chemicals
to waterproof shoe leather. The EPA has requested Wolverine conduct extensive soil and groundwater sampling across the Rockford property. The site has been open to the community and used as a space for events since 2010. Recent testing found extremely high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances at the site. But the EPA is focusing its probe on other contaminants as well. Wolverine says it’s working with regulators and expects to begin fieldwork this summer.. ...Read Full Story