Local News Archives

Report Examines MI Gerrymandering

How big of a problem is gerrymandering in Michigan? According to a new report from the Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan, it’s a significant one. “Quantifying The Level of Gerrymandering In Michigan” finds the practice goes back to the 1800s as politicians drew districts in order to benefit their own parties. Research Associate Jordon Newton tells WSJM News one way to quantify gerrymandering is to look at the “efficiency gap,” which measures what percentage of votes in district are wasted.. ...Read Full Story

Helping Foster Kids Pay For College

When kids age out of foster care in Michigan, what do they do if they want to go to college? Fundraising efforts have been underway for the past several years through Fostering Futures to raise scholarship money for those who have aged out of foster care. Robin Lott is the executive director of the Michigan Education Trust and says 70% of kids who age out of foster care nationwide want to attend college.. ...Read Full Story

Prosecutor Appeals Resentencing

The re-sentencing of a man convicted of second degree murder in Berrien County nearly 40 years ago is being appealed by Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic. Michael Johnson was 17 when he pleaded guilty to the murder charge in the death of 16-year-old Sue Ellen Machemer. The two were classmates at Lakeshore High School. Johnson was sentenced to life in prison in 1980. A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down life without parole sentences for juveniles prompted Judge John Donahue last month to order a re-sentencing for Johnson, but Prosecutor Sepic says that ruling didn’t apply to Johnson’s case. He’s appealing to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Sepic writes the “reason this is important to other cases is that the natural extension of Judge Donahue’s decision is that any 17 year old — an adult for criminal law purposes in Michigan — convicted of any crime would have to be sentenced” using factors related to the Supreme Court case. He says “That is not what the United States Supreme Court requires.”. ...Read Full Story

Great Lakes Water Warning

From the Associated Press — It’s summer, but don’t be fooled — the Great Lakes are still dangerously cold. The U.S. Coast Guard says water temperatures below 77 degrees can quickly cause hypothermia for someone who falls from a boat. All five of the lakes are well below that mark. A sudden plunge into cold water can trigger a gasp reflex leading to inhalation of water and drowning. In addition to wearing life jackets, the Coast Guard says mariners should dress according to the temperature of the water, not the air. They also should file a float plan or at least inform others about where they’re going and when they expect to return.. ...Read Full Story

Advocates Slam Travel Ban Decision

Reaction is pouring in to the US Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s travel ban targeting mostly Muslim nations. Bill O’Keefe with Catholic Relief Services in Baltimore tells the Michigan News Network the decision is a ruling on the legality of the ban, but not on its morality.. ...Read Full Story

Clements Officially Off 6th District Ballot

Paul Clements will not be on the primary ballot next month when voters choose which Democrat will face Congressman Fred Upton in November. Clements has lost his legal challenges to state elections officials ruling he was nine signatures shy of the 1,000 needed to be on the ballot. The issue was voters signing nominating petitions but not clearly indicating if they lived in the city or the township in areas where the same name is shared, like Kalamazoo and St. Joseph. The Western Michigan University professor was the Democratic nominee in the 6th Congressional District in 2014 and 2016 and has endorsed the candidacy of Dr. Matt Longjohn ahead of the August primary.. ...Read Full Story

West MI Photo Contest

A photo contest is being held by the West Michigan Tourist Association as it prepares to put together its 2019 West Michigan Carefree Travel Guide. The association tells us it wants photos that depict the beauty of the region from all west Michigan residents. The photos can be of everything from Harbor Country to the Upper Peninsula. The first place winner will have their submission featured on the cover of the 2019 West Michigan Carefree Travel Guide. They’ll also get a free trip to Grand Rapids and other goodies. Second and third place will get their photos featured on the inside of the travel guide, and some tickets to attractions in Grand Rapids and Muskegon. You can find our more about the photo contest right here.. ...Read Full Story

New Apprenticeship Program

The new Michigan Apprenticeships Experience Sooner campaign kicked off Monday in Kalamazoo. Stephanie Beckhorn is the director of the Michigan Workforce Development Agency. She tells us the program is a collaboration between the state, education institutions, and businesses.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Commission Blasts Proos Utility Bill

A second local governmental unit is on record opposing a bill from state Senator John Proos to exempt utilities from paying personal property taxes on new equipment, including transmission lines and power generation devices like solar farms and windmills. The St. Joseph City Commission last night joined the Berrien County Commission in saying they don’t want the bill passed. Mayor Mike Garey says as it stands, the city will lose over $100,000.. ...Read Full Story