Local News Archives

Drive Collects 10,000 Books

A recent book drive undertaken by the United Way of Southwestern Michigan collected more than 10,800 books for kids from kindergarten all the way through the 12th grade in Berrien and Cass counties. The United Way’s Julee Laurent tells WSJM News they set up collection boxes at businesses and other organizations throughout the region so folks could drop reading materials for kids in need. The United Way will now get them into the hands of kids who need them.. ...Read Full Story

State Awards Hepatitis Vaccine Grants

The Allegan County Health Department has received a $20,000 grant from the state to increase hepatitis A vaccinations. It tells us the money comes from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which set aside a total of $500,000 to help fight the state’s hepatitis A outbreak. 25 counties are receiving grants. The Allegan County Health Department tells us high-risk populations for acquiring hepatitis A, which is a liver disease, are individuals with histories of injection and non-injection drug use, the homeless, inmates, and men who have sex with men. The Allegan County Health Department tells us it will work with the Allegan County Jail, as well as other community agencies, to distribute the hep A vaccine. Anyone interested in getting the shot should call the Allegan County Health Department.. ...Read Full Story

Arrest Made In School Threat Case

An arrest has been in made in the case of a threat made this month to the Countryside Academy in Benton Township. The police department tells us officers were called to the charter high school on March 14 when a handwritten threat laced with racial language was found in a men’s room. That caused the school to be put on lockdown and then closed the following day. On Thursday of this week, the Benton Township Police Department arrested a 15-year-old boy for making the threat. He was placed at the Berrien County Juvenile Center on a charge of terrorism. Police have not said how they identified their suspect, and the investigation continues.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks School Safety

With hundreds of thousands of young people having held demonstrations around the country this past weekend, Congressman Fred Upton is hoping there can be some kind of gun legislation approved in Washington soon. He tells WSJM News he was out there talking with the kids protesting in St. Joseph on Saturday.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Raises Tuition

The Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees has approved a tuition hike. At a Tuesday meeting, the board voted to raise tuition for in-district students by 2% and out-of-district students by 5%. LMC leaders say increased operating expenses and expanding programs were the cause. Tuition for in-district will go up to $104 per contact hour. For out-of-district students, it will be $165 per contact hour, and for international students, it will be $242 per contact hour. LMC officials note it is still much cheaper to attend Lake Michigan College than most other higher education institutions in the state.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Family Dollar Robbery

Police are looking for a suspect in the robbery of the Family Dollar store in Benton Township Wednesday night. The Benton Township Police Department tells us it happened at the store in the 1,200 block of M-139 around 8:50 p.m. Employees say a man walked into the store, pointed a handgun at an employee, and demanded money. He made off with an undisclosed amount. Police say the suspect did fire a shot while in the store, but it didn’t hit anyone. There were no injuries in the robbery. A search of the area by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department with a K9 didn’t turn up anything. The suspect is described as a thin black male, about five foot seven. Anyone with information on the robbery should call the Benton Township Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Gun Class Sparks Backlash

From the Associated Press — A Michigan class that teaches residents how to build their own semi-automatic AR-15 rifles drew protests from gun control advocates following recent mass shootings involving the weapon. Organizers say the class held Tuesday in Marshall was planned months before the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people. The shooter used an AR-15. It’s the third year the Michigan program has been held at a veterans post, but the event received negative attention this year from protesters who said the timing and the idea of creating more guns is unwelcome. Resident Pam Daume says it’s “a slap in the face to the kids who have died.”
Chris Walden teaches the class. He says participants must undergo a background check and that the guns are registered and sold only to people who can legally own them.. ...Read Full Story

Engler Talks Student Safety

Michigan State University interim president John Engler speaking following charges against Dean William Strampel. Engler told Michigan News Network their focus is to create one of the safest, if not the safest campus environment when it comes to sexual misconduct.. ...Read Full Story

Chicago Joins Michigan To Fight Asian Carp

Chicago is supporting a federal plan to shield the Great Lakes from invasive Asian carp by strengthening defenses at a crucial Illinois choke point. The city has joined the Great Lakes Basin Partnership to Block Asian Carp, an initiative established this year. Other members include the states of Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin and the Canadian province of Ontario. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering a $275 million plan for new measures at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. Among them are electric fish barriers, water jets, noisemakers and other devices to prevent the carp from using Chicago-area waterways to reach Lake Michigan. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Chicago endorses the draft plan and will do its part to protect the lakes from invasive species.. ...Read Full Story

Stabenow Targets Drug Prices

Prescription drug prices must come down. That’s the message from Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is is introducing a three bill package to lower the cost of medicine. She told Michigan News Network there are more lobbyists in Washington for drug makers than any other industry.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Falls Behind

A surprising turn of events in the race for governor. Polling numbers from a MRG Michigan Survey show Democratic candidate Shri Thanedar is now leading Gretchen Whitmer by three points — 21 to 18%. Michigan News Network Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick told us more about the poll.. ...Read Full Story

Celebration Planned For Championship Team

A big celebration is in the works for the Benton Harbor High School boys basketball team. At 6 p.m. on Thursday, a parade will start at Benton Harbor City Hall, go down Pipestone Street, Union Avenue, and Empire Avenue to conclude at the high school parking lot. Benton Harbor Area Schools Interim Superintendent Patricia Robinson tells WSJM News everyone is proud of the Tigers for their state championship win on Saturday.. ...Read Full Story

Classes Canceled Again In Dowagiac

It’s another day off for students at Dowagiac Union Schools. The district will be shut down on Thursday due to threats received at the high school and the middle school on Tuesday. They remain under investigation. The Dowagiac Police Department tells us the culprit behind the middle school threat was identified and sent home with parents while the case if turned over to the prosecutor. There has been no word on whether the source of the threat at the high school has been identified. Classes at Dowagiac Union Schools remain closed for Thursday. The district is also closed for Friday, but that had been previously scheduled. Spring break is next week for the district.. ...Read Full Story

More Changes At BH Schools

Some big staff and building changes have been approved by the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education. At a Wednesday meeting, the board voted to notify five administrators, including the high school principal, their contracts aren’t being renewed. Acting Superintendent Patricia Robinson spoke with WSJM News.. ...Read Full Story

BH Teen Honored As Youth Of The Year

A 17-year-old who has been picked as the Michigan Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America says he thinks all kids with an interest should stop by the Benton Harbor club. Quincy Sulton is a junior at Benton Harbor High School who first went to the club when he was about 12 to play basketball. Ever since, he’s grown his involvement, now even working to teach drama and dance to younger kids who go. He tells WSJM News the club has enriched his life.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Talks Long Term Plans

Leaders at Southwestern Michigan College are thinking about the long term. The board of trustees held a nine hour meeting this week to take at look at SMC’s strengths, weaknesses, and threats. President David Mathews tells WSJM News one program on the horizon is a new bachelor’s program for students who want to be teachers.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joe Seeking Water Grant

The city of St. Joseph could get a state grant to help residents replace lead water lines near their homes. At Monday’s city commission meeting, St. Joe Public Works Director Tom MacDonald said there’s a new state program offering grants of up to $1 million to improve water quality. St. Joe could reach out to residents if it gets a grant.. ...Read Full Story

Transplant Symposium Underway

Encouraging minorities to sign up for organ donations. That’s one of the main topics at a transplant symposium happening at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit this week. It’s attracting transplant experts from around the country. Transplant Dr. Jason Denny says kidney transplants are needed because renal failure from hypertension and diabetes is a concern.. ...Read Full Story

Watervliet Citgo Station Robbed

Michigan State Police are looking for three men who robbed the Citgo station on M-140 in Watervliet just before midnight Tuesday night. One of the three had a gun and got money from the register, while the other two stole lottery tickets along with a customer’s cell phone. They took off in a dark colored sedan, which the victims say might have been a Pontiac. All three wore dark clothes, hoodies and masks. No other information on the suspects has been released. Anyone with information is urged to call Michigan State Police or 9-1-1.. ...Read Full Story

Charges Against Former Nassar Boss

From the Associated Press — A prosecutor says a Michigan State University official failed to supervise Larry Nassar at a critical time when the sports doctor was facing allegations of sexual misconduct in 2014. Bill Forsyth announced charges Tuesday against William Strampel, who was dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine until December. He’s accused of willful neglect of duty in his dealings with Nassar. He’s also charged with groping female medical students. Forsyth says the neglect-of-duty charges are “somewhat nebulous” or not as
well-defined as other crimes. He says there was a “lack of supervision” over Nassar when the doctor was ordered to have another person in the room during certain exams. Nassar is serving decades in prison for sexual abuse and possessing child pornography.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Schools Closed Due To Threat

Dowagiac Union Schools is closed for Wednesday due to threats found in two of the district’s buildings on Tuesday. One was found in a high school restroom, and the other in a middle school restroom. The district is closed for the day while the threats are investigated. In the case of the middle school, police found the student responsible, and turned the student over to parents. Police do not believe the threat was credible, and the case has been given to the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office for a review and juvenile petition into probate court.. ...Read Full Story

Winner Of Asian Carp Contest Announced

From the Associated Press — The state of Michigan has declared a winner in its contest to find new ideas for preventing Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes. The top award of $200,000 in the “Carp Tank” competition goes to Edem Tsikata, a software consultant at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He proposed using specially designed propellers to generate a wall of bubbles that the fish would find noisy and painful, causing them to turn away. Tsikata suggested installing the mechanism on a carp-infested Illinois river that could provide a pathway to Lake Michigan. Three other proposals also received cash awards. Scientists say if Asian carp become established in the Great Lakes, they could out-compete native species. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering stepped-up defenses at an Illinois navigation lock.. ...Read Full Story

Championship To Showcase Local Beer, Wine

When the Senior PGA Championship takes place this summer at Harbor Shores, lovers of fine wines and other beverages will have a chance to check of what’s made right here in southwest Michigan. The Southwest Michigan Tourism Council’s Makers Trail has set up what will be known as the Makers Trail 19th Hole between the 16th green and 17th tee at the golf course. That’s where you can sample locally-made products, including wine from Domaine Berrien Cellars. The winery’s Wally Maurer spoke with WSJM News about the opportunity.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Hoping For Parlak Decision

Congressman Fred Upton is waiting for the latest word on the fate of Ibrahim Parlak. The Kurdish immigrant has been fighting deportation to Turkey for years with Upton on his side. Upton tells WSJM News he went to a reception at Parlak’s restaurant in Harbert this past weekend, just days after an immigration judge in Detroit considered Parlak’s appeal to stay in the United States.. ...Read Full Story

City Holds Back On Parks Grant

The city of St. Joseph will hold off until next year to pursue a state grant for improvements at Whirlpool Centennial Park. At Monday’s meeting, the commission was asked to allow the public works department to seek a $111,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant for the work. The problem is that if the grant were to be approved this year, the city would have to come up with its roughly $260,000 match, and Mayor Michael Garey didn’t want to commit until the budget is done. He spoke with WSJM News about the issue.. ...Read Full Story

Soft Lockdown At Covert Schools

Everyone’s fine after Covert Public Schools went into a state of soft lockdown for most of Tuesday. The Covert Township Police Department tells us the decision to go into lockdown was made by the police chief and the Covert superintendent when a non-credible threat came in. Police say they investigated and found no one was in any real danger. Covert Township Police Chief Jay Allen tells us the students are safe. The lockdown went into effect around 9 a.m. Wednesday and ended when school let out. The Covert lockdown happened the same day Decatur Schools were closed due to a threat found in a restroom.. ...Read Full Story

Man Recovering After Being Shot By Arrow

Michigan State Police are looking for the archer who shot a man in the neck with an arrow in a wooded area in Almena Township, just before 1 pm Sunday. Investigators say 61-year-old Michael Downey was walking along a trail close to the eastern edge of Van Buren County near 28th Street when the arrow went through his neck. He was able to walk back to his car and drive to a nearby home where medical assistance was summoned and the police notified. Downey was rushed into surgery at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo and may need another surgery, but will recover. Authorities say had the arrow been just a couple of inches off, it could have killed him. Downey was wearing a hunting vest. MSP investigators are asking for anyone who may have information about who was in the woods on Sunday to give them a call.. ...Read Full Story