Local News Archives

Invasive Species Threaten Great Lakes King Salmon Population


From the Associated Press — King salmon has helped create a multibillion-dollar sport fishery in the Great Lakes, but ripple effects of invasive species have left the fish’s future less certain. The Detroit Free Press reports that the king, or chinook, salmon was first transplanted into the Great Lakes about 50 years ago. The species led a turnaround in the area’s fishery, helping create a $7 billion economic impact. But the spread of invasive zebra and quagga mussels has led to steep population declines of another species that serves as the salmon’s almost exclusive diet. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reducing its salmon stocking to regain balance between predator and prey. Stocking is when fish are raised in a hatchery and released into the lake to increase the existing population.. ...Read Full Story

Flood Watch This Afternoon and Tomorrow


The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids has issued a Flood Watch for this afternoon through Tuesday morning. The affected areas include Van Buren, Allegan and Ottawa counties. One to three inches of rain is expected with some areas receiving over five inches. Much of the watch area recently received significant rainfall and any addtional rain could overwhelm local drainage systems.. ...Read Full Story

Shots Fired in Dowagiac Apartment Complex


One man is in custody after hiding from Police in his Dowagiac apartment and fired a shot into the ceiling. Around 9:30 Sunday Night, Police responded to the Eagle’s Wood apartments in Dowagiac after receiving reports of a man yelling and waving a handgun. The man ran inside his apartment once police arrived. Police then report hearing a gunshot from inside the apartment where the man’s sister, as well as three kids, were as well. Police cleared the area, and made contact with the man’s wife, who was able to convince him to come outside and surrender. Once inside the apartment, Police found several more weapons. No one was hurt and the gunman is now in custody, and Police believe the man had been drinking. Dowagiac Police arrested the 34 year old Dowagiac resident on charges of Assault With A Deadly Weapon, Resisting & Obstructing Police, and Possession of a Firearm While Intoxicated.. ...Read Full Story

The Importance of Children Getting A Flu Shot


The importance of vaccinating children during flu season is on the rise. Every year thousands of kids are hospitalized and some die due to the flu. Doctors say during the past flu season, over 100 kids in Michigan died and 80% of those kids were not vaccinated. It’s recommended everyone 6 months of age and older to get the flu shot. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children get vaccinated by the end of October, as it takes two weeks for the shot to take effect.. ...Read Full Story

Fatal Farm Accident in Silver Creek Township


A Benton Harbor man is dead as a result of a fatal farm accident. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office was called to Dixon Street in Silver Creek Township around 5:45 Saturday night. They report 69-year-old Roger Molter, from Benton Harbor, was parking a cherry picker in the barn for the winter. While he was re-positioning the equipment, he ended up pinning himself between the cherry picker and the wall, causing his death. Molter was discovered in the barn by a family member, and emergency medical services were called. Molter was pronounced dead at the scene.. ...Read Full Story

Child His By Bus In Dowagiac


A 12-year-old from Dowagiac is being treated for severe head trauma after he was smacked by the rearview window of a passing bus. The middle school student was struck as he walked home from school, taken to a local hospital and then airlifted to Bronson Methodist in Kalamazoo for emergency surgery. His name and condition have not been released. The Driver of the Dowagiac Dart, a local municipal transport, will be investigated but police say, alcohol was not a factor and it appears to have just been a terrible accident.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan State Police Director Punishment


The punishment for Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue wasn’t enough — that’s the message from activists delivering 85-thousand petition signatures to the governor’s office calling for her removal. State Representative Leslie Love, a Detroit Democrat, says the signatures were collected nationwide…. ...Read Full Story

12-Year-Old Boy Hit/Injured by Bus


A 12-year-old boy received serious injuries after he was hit by a Dial-A-Ride bus in Dowagiac. Police were dispatched to the 600 block of Riverside Drive in Dowagiac around 2:45 Friday afternoon to find the victim, a 12 year old male Dowagiac Middle School student.  Witnesses report that the Dial-A-Ride bus was travelling south on Riverside Drive when the boy ran in front of the bus and was struck.  He was transported to Borgess/Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac. He was later airlifted to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo with serious injuries.  His condition is unknown at this time. The crash remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact the Dowagiac Police Department at (269) 782-9743. . ...Read Full Story

Snyder Talks Punishment For MSP Director


Following a remark she shared on social media, which called NFL players that kneel during the national anthem “anti-American degenerates,” Michigan State Police Director Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue received a five-day suspension of pay on Thursday from Governor Rick Snyder. But she will stay on the job, working without pay.. ...Read Full Story

Four Winds Employees Raise Money For Hurricane Relief


A total of $25,000 is going to the American Red Cross from Four Winds Casinos. Of that, $10,400 came from 275 employees who chose to donate through payroll deductions, and the casinos put in the rest. The fundraiser was created by employees to help out the victims of Hurricanes Henry, Irma, and Maria. Pokagon Band Chairman John P. Warren notes in a statement that the areas affected by the storms are home to many Native Americans, and it’s their duty as fellow tribal citizens to support them and others as they’re facing a crisis. He says employees were eager to help when the hurricanes hit.. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw River County Park Moves Forward


The Berrien County Parks Commission is getting ready to start working on a new park in Watervliet. Paw Paw River County Park has been in the works for awhile, and parks director Brian Bailey tells WSJM News the plan is to have it open by early August. Bailey says it will be a trailhead for the Paw Paw River Water Trail.. ...Read Full Story

MSP Director Docked Pay For Facebook Post On NFL Protests


The director of the Michigan State Police will lose five days of pay for sharing a Facebook post that called NFL players who kneel during the national anthem “anti-American degenerates.” Governor Snyder announced the decision Thursday. He says Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue still must work while her salary is suspended for five days. The governor says he has “full faith” in Etue’s leadership. On September 24, Etue shared a meme on her personal Facebook page that called NFL players who kneel during the national anthem “millionaire ingrates who hate America.” She has apologized but hasn’t publicly explained why she shared it. Some black lawmakers want her fired. Snyder says it’s time to “find common ground rather than rehash past mistakes.”. ...Read Full Story

BHAS Pausing Plan To Sell Properties


The pause button is being hit by the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board on trying to sell some properties. The district is in the middle of a facilities usage study, which officials say might result in new buildings on land owned by BHAS. The board is working with GMB Architects + Engineers on the study as they consider their options and await a final facility assessment report. GMB has told board members that building new schools might wind up being as or more cost efficient compared to remodeling existing buildings. The board is now looking at the option of constructing new buildings in the city limits on its land, and has asked the Michigan Department of Treasury for permission to hold off on the real estate plan until any decision on new schools can be made.. ...Read Full Story

Jobs For Michigan’s Graduates Expanding At BH High School


The number of students being served by the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program at Benton Harbor High School is being doubled this year thanks to a partnership with Youth Solutions. The expansion means 100 students, roughly 15% of the total school population, is now able to receive targeted employability skills training that’s aimed at helping kids successfully transition to the workforce when they graduate high school. Students from 9th through 12th grades are eligible, and they will be formally inducted into the program next Friday at 9 a.m. State Representative Kim LaSata is slated to be the event’s keynote speaker. Kinexus started the JMG program at Benton Harbor High School in 2008, and for the past three years, 100% of the seniors taking part have graduated, with 97% moving on to positive outcomes that include jobs, college, or military service.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Launches Text-To-911


Van Buren County’s Central Dispatch can now accept text messages sent to 9-1-1. The Text-to-911 service will work from anywhere in Van Buren County, and it’s been being tested since early May. All four major wireless carriers were finally brought into the system late last month after the first provider went live with the program in May, followed by two more in mid-June. The sheriff’s department says calls are still preferred, but in the event that’s not possible, they can now take in texts. They also are reminding people it’s only for emergencies, and it can’t be used in a group text message. The system is also not equipped to handle photos or video.. ...Read Full Story

Private Marina Draws Opposition


A plan to build a private marina and nearly 40 home sites near Saugatuck Dunes State Park is drawing opposition from area residents and environmentalists. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality held a hearing Tuesday night at Saugatuck High School. The Grand Rapids Press reports that of the more than 45 people who spoke during the two-and-a-half-hour hearing only one spoke in favor of the project. The 300-acre property once belonged to oil tycoon Aubrey McClendon, who proposed large-scale development before his death last year. Its new owner is moving ahead with development plans. The DEQ’s public comment period ends Oct. 27th. DEQ and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits are required to remove sand and build the marina off the Kalamazoo River where it meets Lake Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Mi-Journey and WSJM News Host ‘Suicide Prevention Town Hall’


Ray Gustafson of WSJM News moderated a special Suicide Prevention Town Hall held Tuesday (October 17) at the Mi-Journey Drop-In Center, featuring panelists from the community. The event aired live on News/Talk 94.9 WSJM and sister station ROCK 107 WIRX along with Facebook live without commercial interruption to shed light on the troubling statistics and stories of loss, and movement forward for those in need of help.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Income Tax Up For Vote


The Benton Harbor City Commission is being urged by some in the area to get busy getting the word out regarding the income tax proposal on the November ballot. At Monday’s commission meeting, activist Ed Pinkney of Benton Township said city leaders haven’t done a good job yet.. ...Read Full Story

Over 2,100 Pets Adopted In Latest BISSELL Pet Foundation Event


It was touted as the largest BISSELL Pet Foundation “Empty The Shelters” event to date, and it delivered this past weekend. Foundation founder Cathy Bissell tells WSJM News that overall, more than 21-hundred pets were adopted, with her organization paying the adoption fees throughout Michigan and in select shelters in Chicago, upstate New York, and Kentucky. As for the numbers in our area, Bissell says the Al-Van Humane Society in Van Buren County did 24 adoptions in two locations in South Haven and Grand Rapids.. ...Read Full Story

United Federal Credit Union Expanding To South Bend


United Federal Credit Union is getting ready to expand. The credit union broke ground yesterday for its first branch in South Bend. It will be the first of six new branches in St. Joseph County, Indiana. The new location will be at the northeast corner of Ireland Road and Lafayette Boulevard on the south side of South Bend, and another will get under construction at Main Street and Edison Lakes Parkway in Mishawaka later this month. Locations for the other four branches, set to be open over the next four years, have not been selected as yet.. ...Read Full Story

Second Indiana Man Sentenced For State Trooper Attack


An Indiana man accused in an attack on a Michigan State Police trooper has been sentenced to 15 to 50 years in prison. 19-year-old Travis Wise of Middlebury was sentenced Monday for assault with intent to murder in a Berrien County courtroom. Police say Trooper Garry Guild was chasing a stolen motorcycle February 20 in Berrien County near the Indiana state line. Wise’s half brother, Michael Barber of Mishawaka, charged Guild after crashing the motorcycle. Police say Wise then pulled up and joined in attacking Guild. Two motorists stopped the men, allowing the officer to arrest his attackers. Barber was earlier convicted and sentenced to at least 14 years behind bars. Wise pleaded no contest last month.. ...Read Full Story

Two Hospitalized After South Haven Boat Fire


Two people are being treated at South Haven Hospital after the boat they were on caught fire in Lake Michigan off the coast of South Haven. It happened just before 4 p.m. Monday near north beach, and South Haven Area Emergency Services says the two were rescued by another boater who was nearby. They were taken to the hospital by ambulance. A SHAES fireboat put out the flames, and the U.S. Coast Guard responded from St. Joseph as well. No cause for the fire has been determined.. ...Read Full Story

Still No Decision On Senate Run By Fred Upton


Congressman Fred Upton says he will make a decision soon whether or not he will run for Congress next year, or take a gamble at trying to unseat Senator Debbie Stabenow. The St. Joseph Republican has a lot to consider, as pundits believe his chances are better if he stays in the 6th District U.S. House seat, where he also has seniority. Republican pollsters think Stabenow is vulnerable but GOP strategist Greg McNeilly thinks Upton has name recognition problems statewide.. ...Read Full Story

WSJM, WIRX, MIJourney Holding Suicide Prevention Town Hall


Rock 107 WIRX and News/Talk 94.9 WSJM will be airing a town hall forum Tuesday night regarding suicide prevention. Anna Magdalena-Christensen is with MIJourney in Benton Township, and is hosting the event at their offices at M-139 and Nickerson at 6 p.m. She says the idea for the forum was spawned by the recent suicide of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, and talked to us about the goal of the event.. ...Read Full Story

Rep. LaSata Signs On To Constitutional Amendment For Budget


A resolution in the state House which would mandate in the Michigan Constitution that the budget be done and sent to the governor by July 1 is now co-sponsored by Berrien County Representative Kim LaSata. The Bainbridge Township Republican signed on Monday as a co-sponsor of House Resolution X, moving up the deadline for the budget from the start of the fiscal year on October 1. In a statement, LaSata says she’s seen the frustrations of not knowing the state budget firsthand as a teacher when it comes to trying to plan for the next year. Under Governor Snyder, it’s not been a problem, as the budget has been finished and signed into law by July 1 every year. However, a decade ago, state government shut down in October 2007 due to a stalemate in Lansing. If two-thirds of the House and Senate vote yes, it will be on the November 2018 ballot. Lawmakers won’t get paid for every day past July 1 that they fail to have a budget agreement in place.. ...Read Full Story

Sewer Overflow In South Haven


The heavy rain over the weekend has resulted in a sanitary sewer overflow into the Black River in South Haven. The city’s department of public works says between 10,000 and 13,000 gallons of diluted wastewater overflowed into the storm drain and then the river. The situation is being monitored by city staff, and reports will be filed with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Van Buren County Health Department. South Haven is currently building new interceptor sewers, a new main pump station, and an equalization basin to address the overflows that happen on occasion on Dunkley Avenue, some 300 feet north of Dyckman Avenue and upstream from the Main Lift Station.. ...Read Full Story

Dam Breached In Paw Paw


Southwestern Michigan authorities say a dam in the village of Paw Paw has breached following heavy rainfall. Paw Paw officials say that after the breach was discovered around 5 a.m. Sunday, crews were summoned to open an additional spillway. Officials don’t believe the dam breach poses a threat to residents or properties. Officials say crews will evaluate the dam and make recommendations to ensure its future stability. Authorities had been checking the dam periodically throughout Saturday due to heavy rainfall. The pedestrian bridge over the dam, which separates Briggs Pond and Maple Lake, has been closed.. ...Read Full Story

Non-Profit Seeks Permission To Open South Bend Abortion Clinic


From the Associated Press — An Austin, Texas-based nonprofit has applied for a state license to open a non-surgical abortion clinic in South Bend. The South Bend Tribune reported Friday that the clinic operated by the Whole Woman’s Health Alliance would offer abortion medication that women would take in the presence of a physician, then take medication at home one or two days later and return to the clinic to confirm their pregnancy had been terminated. Indiana State Health Department spokeswoman Jeni O’Malley said the clinic’s
application is being reviewed. Currently, the nearest abortion providers to South Bend are in Merrillville and Kalamazoo, Michigan. A South Bend abortion clinic closed in late 2015. St. Joseph County Right to Life and Indiana Right to Life are encouraging supporters to voice their opposition to the proposed clinic.. ...Read Full Story

SJ City Commission Hears About Summer Safety Results


St. Joseph Public Safety Director Brian Uridge is pleased with how his department’s summer safety strategy worked. Now, he wants to improve it for next year. At this week’s city commission meeting, Uridge said the plan for this past summer was mostly met with positive reviews. His department implemented it after a series of meetings ahead of the summer. Uridge told WSJM News folks liked the more than 50 new parking spaces at Lions Beach Park created by making the upper drive one-way.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Receiving Several Grants For Specialty Courts


Van Buren County has received word that it’s getting several large grants for its specialty courts. First of all, it’s been awarded $715,000 for the Drug Treatment Court, the Family Treatment Court, the Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program, the Adult and Youth Recovery Courts, and the Sobriety Court. The money comes in grants from the State Court Administrative Office for 2018. Additionally, the county has been awarded a 5 year, $1.9 million grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to enhance its Family Treatment Court. Plus, Van Buren County has received word it’s getting a grant of just under $400,000 for its Drug Treatment Court from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Van Buren County has several specialty courts. They’re designed to help some offenders avoid prison while addressing the root cause of their crimes. News of the grants came this past week.. ...Read Full Story

Report Gun Ownership In Detroit Lower Than In Rural Areas


From the Associated Press — Michigan State Police statistics show that the area surrounding metropolitan Detroit has some of the lowest per capita legal handgun ownership in the state. Police statistics from Oct. 2 show that rates for approved concealed pistol licenses were 68 firearms per every 1,000 residents in Macomb, 62 in Wayne and 61 in Oakland County. The area is often maligned for its level of violence.
A Detroit Free Press analysis found those rates were nearly half the rate of legal gun ownership of more rural parts of Michigan, such as Alcona, Keweenaw and Montmorency counties. Those counties tallied approved licenses rates of 122, 119 and 114 per 1,000 residents, respectively. Lawmakers recently debated the issue of gun ownership while considering legislation that would allow lawful gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit or training.. ...Read Full Story

EPA Signs Off On $46 Million Plan To Clean Kalamazoo River


From the Associated Press — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has signed off on a five-year, $46 million plan to clean up a stretch of the Kalamazoo River that’s contaminated from past paper production. The project will cover nearly 2 miles of the river between Plainwell and Otsego City Dam. The Otsego dam will be removed as part of the work. The plans are part of ongoing efforts to clean up the 80-mile Allied Paper/Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site, which has been listed on the agency’s National Priorities List since 1990. Plans also are in the works to redevelop the Allied Paper site. A main concern for the EPA is PCBs leftover from industrial processes at paper mills that began operating along the river in the 1950s.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Mayor Talks Income Tax


Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad says something must be done to deal with the city’s crumbling streets, and his suggestion is voters approve a new city income tax. A tax of 1% for residents and 0.5% for non-residents who work in the city will appear on next month’s ballot. Muhammad tells WSJM News the city comes nowhere close to generating enough revenue to fix streets, alleys, and sidewalks as things stand now.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Leaders Fighting Short-Term Rental Bills


St. Joseph City Commissioners are hoping residents make their voices heard to state lawmakers when it comes to new zoning legislation. A plan in the state House and Senate would strip a community’s ability to restrict short-term rentals. St. Joe Commissioners Monday night warned such a plan, if passed, would mean out of control summer vacation homes in town, something they’ve worked to avoid for years. City Commissioner Jeff Richards said neighborhoods sit empty for half the year when that happens, and schools suffer.. ...Read Full Story

Kinexus Calls For End To Driver Responsibility Fees


Kinexus is now among the groups on record hoping to see an end to Michigan’s Driver Responsibility fees. Testifying in the state House this week about a bill that would do away with them was Kinexus Senior Director of Innovation Duane Berger. He tells WSJM News Kinexus has seen many southwest Michigan workers get hit with the fees, be unable to pay them, and then lose their license.. ...Read Full Story

WSJM Sports Anchor To Be Honored Today


WSJM’s own sports anchor Phil McDonald is receiving a special honor. He’s been picked to be inducted into the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan’s Hall of Honor for his nearly 30 years of local sports broadcasting. Phil tells WSJM News it’s wonderful to be recognized and to work at an organization committed to sports.. ...Read Full Story

SJ City Commission Vacancy To Be Filled After Elections


A vacancy on the St. Joseph City Commission will remain just that until after the elections next month. City commissioners this week said a post left empty with the resignation of former member Chris Heugel should be filled by the new commission which will be seated after the election. Although that leaves more than a month with a vacancy, the sitting commission said the folks who wind up serving on the board next month should get to pick Heugel’s replacement. Applications will be taken at that time. Heugel resigned last month because he moved to the township. His term runs through 2019. The city commission election is November 7.. ...Read Full Story

Mi Combat Center Tests Positive For Contamination


From the Associated Press — A combat center in northern Michigan has become the third military installation in the state to test positive for contaminated groundwater. Captain Brian Blumline says preliminary results came in this week for tests conducted at five locations at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center earlier this year. He says all the sites showed elevated levels of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctyl sulfonate.The contaminants are from fire-fighting foam that used to be involved in training at the base. Blumline urges the public to attend an informational meeting at the base next week. He says state environmental and health agencies will provide updates on
what steps will be taken moving forward. Contamination has been found at Camp Grayling and the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story