Local News Archives

Sick Leave Advocates Gearing Up For New Ballot Proposal

From the Associated Press — Advocates of paid sick leave are planning to launch a 2020 ballot drive if a new law is gutted by Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature. MI Time to Care filed petition language Monday, days after the Senate voted to significantly scale back paid sick time requirements due to take effect in March. The GOP-led House will hold a hearing Tuesday. Majority Republicans approved sick leave and minimum wage ballot initiatives before the election to make it easier to change them. Critics say the move would be unconstitutional. It is unclear if Republican Governor Rick Snyder will OK the bills. But if he does and legal challenges are unsuccessful, sick leave advocates know that if they gather enough signatures for 2020, Democratic Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer will not join GOP legislators in gutting it.. ...Read Full Story

State Surplus Store To Open

From the Associated Press — The state’s Surplus Store in Lansing is opening for one day for walk-ins interested in computers, phones, cameras, jewelry and other items. Those items and other property like sporting goods, musical equipment and tools will be available from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Some items were seized by police, voluntarily surrendered at airports, or were surplus from public colleges and government agencies. Michigan’s Technology, Management & Budget department collects and makes the items available for purchase through the surplus store that normally operates only online.. ...Read Full Story

Human Trafficking Victims Recovered In SWMI

Five human trafficking victims have been identified and rescued by Michigan State Police and the Kalamazoo Area Human Trafficking Task Force. MSP says 20 people were targeted as potential victims during the weekend initiative in southwest Michigan. The investigation is ongoing to find and recover other potential victims. Police have not said where the five who were saved had been located, or if any arrests have yet been made.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Gas Prices Fall Under $2 Per Gallon

South Haven’s gas prices have fallen under the $2 per gallon mark according to GasBuddy. Triple A Michigan’s weekly survey of gas stations around the state finds the average has tumbled another 12¢ a gallon to $2.28, with the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area having the second-lowest average at $2.15 behind the $2.13 average for the Grand Rapids-Holland-Muskegon and Jackson markets. South Haven is not included in the auto club’s research. GasBuddy says the lowest price in the state as of Monday morning was $1.75 at three stations in Mason, just south of Lansing. The Triple A average is the lowest it’s been statewide since July 2017 and the average driver is now spending $13 less on each full-tank fill-up than when prices peaked for the year in May.. ...Read Full Story

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available For Van Buren, Allegan Counties

Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, aquaculture businesses and some private nonprofits in several west Michigan counties are now eligible for low-interest economic injury disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The affected area includes Van Buren and Allegan counties, and comes as the result of a USDA disaster declaration for heavy rains that soaked the area from May 9 through June 4 of this year. The loan can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.5% for private nonprofit organizations and 3.61% for small businesses with terms up to 30 years. The SBA will determine eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity, and its financial resources. Applications are available online at disasterloan.sba.gov.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Looks To Extend Medicaid Protections For Seniors

Legislation backed by Congressman Fred Upton is designed to protect senior citizens from being impoverished due to medical problems. He tells WSJM News the Protecting Married Seniors from Impoverishment Act would extend spousal protections for Medicaid beneficiaries receiving long-term care. Upton says pre-existing protections are currently set to expire.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Receives Committee Assignment

State Senator-elect Kim LaSata has been named to the Senate Committee on Committees for the 2019-2020 legislative term. LaSata is one of three freshman senators to be picked for the five-person panel, and this is her first committee assignment since being elected to the Michigan Senator for the 21st District this November. LaSata also served on the House Committee on Committees in her first year as a state representative during the 2017-2018 legislative term. The Committee on Committees is a temporary body that hands out committee assignments to lawmakers for the coming year. LaSata tells us she’s “humbled to have been chosen to serve in this important position,” and she thanked Majority Leader-elect Mike Shirkey for choosing her.. ...Read Full Story

Plainwell Man Killed In Weekend Crash In Bloomingdale Twp

A crash late Saturday night or early Sunday morning in Bloomingdale Township has claimed the life of a 30-year-old Plainwell man. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department was called just before 8:30 Sunday morning to the 12-thousand block of County Road 665 where they found the wreckage and the man still inside the car. Deputies say it appears he was wearing his seat belt, but went off the road and hit several trees while rolling the car. The vehicle was badly damaged, and investigators found a large debris field from the crash. The man’s name has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Teens Hurt In St. Joseph Crash

Two 16-year-olds from Berrien County are recovering after being hurt in a crash in the city of St. Joseph Saturday night. The driver hit a tree on Botham Avenue east of Thayer near First Church of God, with both needing to be freed by the Jaws of Life used by St. Joseph Public Safety and the Lincoln Township Fire Department. The two were taken a few blocks away to Spectrum Health Lakeland to be treated for their injuries, and are expected to recover. Drugs and alcohol are not believed to have been factors in the crash, but authorities don’t know yet what caused the 16-year-old to lose control.. ...Read Full Story