Local News Archives

Andrews Named One Of The Nation’s Most Diverse Universities

Andrews University in Berrien Springs has been named one of the country’s most ethnically diverse national universities. In the 2018 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, Andrews shares the top spot with the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Andrews tells us it has seen a great deal of diversification in the past ten years, coming in second on U.S. News’ list last year. Andrews University President Andrea Luxton says the school is proud of its new distinction, adding Andrews is also “proud to be recognized as the 11th ranked national university for schools with the most international students.” You can find the full U.S News rankings right here.. ...Read Full Story

HUD Awarding $280,000 To Pokagon Band

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced $880,000 in grants to Native American tribes around the country to improve housing conditions and stimulate development. Among the recipients in this latest round of grants is the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi in Dowagiac, receiving $280,000. The awards are part of HUD’s Indian Community Development Block Grant Program, which is a national program that supports community development and affordable housing. It could include new housing developments, or upgrades to existing housing. Specifically, the Pokagons are going to use their grant to fund construction of waterlines and a well system for a housing development. The water line will also provide new service to the Rodgers Lake Campus near Dowagiac.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Jazz Festival This Weekend

A first-of-its-kind event is planned for this weekend in South Haven. Scott Reinert with the South Haven-Van Buren County Convention and Visitors Bureau tells WSJM News they’re holding a jazz festival. Musicians from around the region are slated to be on hand Friday and Saturday nights.. ...Read Full Story

Representative Whiteford To Hold Auto Insurance Town Hall

There will be a town hall meeting Monday night held by state Representative Mary Whiteford of South Haven to talk about reforming Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance system. She tells WSJM News that Michigan is “the most expensive state in the country (for auto insurance). It’s unacceptable, and we need to do something now.” Her forum will be at 6 p.m. Monday at Fillmore Township Hall, just south of Holland on M-40. For years, lawmakers have been trying to address the high cost of auto insurance due to Michigan’s unique no-fault system, with no luck. There are several plans being floated around Lansing now, giving some in the Capitol hope that at least a small change could be on the way. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and House Speaker Tom Leonard are working together on a plan to mandate a 30% drop in premiums, but even if that passes the House, Senate Republican leaders say it’s dead on arrival in the upper chamber.. ...Read Full Story

Maryland Attempted Murder Suspect Arrested In SWMI

A man wanted for attempted murder in Maryland is awaiting arraignment in the Cass County Jail on several charges including resisting and obstructing police. The Ontwa Township Edwardsburg Police Department says an officer pulled over a motorcycle for an expired plate on Tuesday, and learned after 90 minutes of questioning the driver had a warrant from Maryland. The man gave several fake names during that time period. He’s also facing charges locally of driving without a license and without insurance.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Orders Flags Lowered To Half Staff For MI Marine

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s governor is asking that flags around the state be lowered to half-staff Friday in honor of a Marine from southeastern Michigan who died during training. Governor Rick Snyder’s office says flags will be lowered at all state buildings and within the state Capitol complex in Lansing on the day of the funeral for Marine Pfc. Michael Giannattasio. Military officials say the 22-year-old from the Macomb County village of Armada was found unresponsive Aug. 30 at California’s Camp Pendleton. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Giannattasio’s death remains under investigation. Tiffany-Young and Hauss Funeral Home says Giannattasio graduated from La Salette Academy in Olivet, Illinois, in 2014 and attended Macomb Community College before enlisting in the Marines. His funeral Mass will be Friday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ray Township.. ...Read Full Story

Man Dies Following Allegan County Police Chase

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a fatal crash on Wednesday. It tells us the crash happened on northbound US-131 near 135th Avenue around 10:25 p.m. An Allegan County Sheriff’s deputy was northbound on 131 when he spotted a pick-up swerving all over the road. He pulled it over, but as the deputy was walking toward the truck to talk to the driver, the truck took off again. A short northbound chase then started. The pick-up crashed south of 142nd Avenue, hitting the cable barriers and rolling over several times on the opposite side of the highway. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say he was not wearing his seat belt and alcohol was involved. Police have not released his name.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan State Police To Hold Recruitment Seminar This Month

Michigan State Police are planning to hold a recruitment seminar in Dowagiac this month. The informational gathering will be Saturday, September 30 at the Southwestern Community College Student Activity Center. The seminar will feature information on what sorts of jobs Michigan State Police personnel do. On hand will be troopers, supervisors, and command officers to answer questions, and the event will be free to attend. Michigan State Police tell us they’re looking to beef up their ranks, and they want diversity. You have to be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, a good driving record and credit history, and no felonies. Starting salary with state police at the recruit school is $44,000 with a $7,8000 raise after one year. If you’re interested in attending the seminar, you need to send an RSVP e-mail to Trooper Kellie Shaffer at Shafferk@michigan.gov. You can also find out more at Michigan.gov/MSPJobs.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Jobless Rate Increases Slightly

State officials say Michigan’s unemployment rate rose by two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.9% for August, even as the number of people in the workforce declined for the fourth straight month. Figures from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget show the state jobless rate is a full percentage point lower than the 4.9% rate from August 2016. Michigan’s unemployment rate remains lower than the national mark of 4.4% for August.. ...Read Full Story

Red Cross Training Sessions Set

Red Cross chapters in Southwest Michigan are planning one-day “Zero to Hero” training sessions over the next month, because they know they will be sending volunteers south for some time to come. The first will be at the Berrien County Chapter this Sunday. Kalamazoo’s Chapter will host volunteer trainees a week from Friday, the 22nd. Battle Creek will hold one at the First United Methodist Church on September 30th. Allegan residents can get the training at the First Baptist Church on October 6th.. ...Read Full Story

Report Looks At Time Wasted Because Of Smart Phones

A new survey shows people are wasting a lot of time at work doing personal business and using their phones. The Office Team survey shows younger workers between 18 and 34 rack up 70 minutes on their mobile devices every day while they’re on the job, according to spokesperson Anne Shupe, who spoke with Michigan News Network about the survey.. ...Read Full Story

MI Realtors Helping Hurricane Recovery Effort In Texas

Another organization giving its time to help those following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey is real estate company Keller Williams. The company’s Jeff Glover tells Michigan News Network they have their annual convention in Austin at this time every year, but instead, they are helping with recovery efforts in Houston. He says the sights are difficult to see.. ...Read Full Story

Army Corps Taking Public Input On Asian Carp Plan

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is hoping the public will offer its input to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as it takes comments on the Brandon Road lock and dam study. That study was recently released with several recommendations for preventing the spread of the Asian carp into the Great Lakes, says the DNR’s Tammy Newcomb. She tells WSJM News the report focuses on that one shipping location in Joliet, Illinois.. ...Read Full Story

Two Arraigned In Dowagiac Stabbing

The two suspects in a Dowagiac stabbing last Friday have been arraigned. The Dowagiac Department of Public Safety tells us Joshua Procter and Autumn Parsons are facing 12 charges in the case. They include assault with intent to murder, armed robbery, and lying to a police officer. The department says the two were arrested this week in a case that investigators believe was drug-related. The stabbing victim has already been released. Joshua Procter is charged as a habitual offender with bond set at $250,000. Parsons is being held on $100,000 bond.. ...Read Full Story

MI Unemployment Rate Edges Up In August

From the Associated Press — State officials say Michigan’s unemployment rate rose by two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.9 percent for August even as the number of people in the workforce declined for the fourth straight month. Figures released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget show the state jobless rate is a full percentage point lower than the 4.9 percent rate from August 2016. Michigan’s unemployment rate remains lower than the national mark of 4.4 percent for August. The agency says Michigan’s workforce shrunk by 7,000 in August after dropping by 24,000 in July. Despite that decline, an additional 10,000 Michigan residents
were unemployed last month. The agency says the August jobless rate increase was the state’s first since February.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate Approves Certification Process For Specialty Courts

From the Associated Press — Bills advancing in Michigan’s legislature would require that special problem-solving courts receive state certification to operate. The courts are designed to address criminals’ underlying substance abuse or mental health issues so they do not reoffend. Policymakers say the legislation is needed so Michigan has a more consistent and effective approach for the courts and defendants. Under the bills approved unanimously by the Senate Tuesday, specialty courts would have to be certified by the State Court Administrative Office starting in January. The office currently offers recommendations, but the courts are under no mandate to adopt them. The legislation will go to the House for consideration next.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Maintain Current Blood Alcohol Limit In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Legislation moving forward in Michigan’s legislature would continue the state’s 0.08 blood-alcohol limit for drunken driving until 2023. The limit is set to return to 0.10 in 2018, putting federal funding at risk unless lawmakers act. Legislators first moved to the 0.08 blood-alcohol level in 2003 but have twice put a sunset provision in the law so the issue is revisited. The House approved the bills 106-1 Tuesday. The legislation next goes to the Senate for consideration. One of the sponsors, Republican Representative Klint Kesto of Commerce Township in Oakland County, says “our roads are becoming safer every year with the 0.08 standard” and allowing the limit to rise to 0.10 would send a “dangerous message.”. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Expand Farm To School Program

A program that helps connect more than 700,000 Michigan students to local farmers would get a big boost under new legislation. The Farm to School Act of 2017 would expand the existing USDA Farm to School Grant Program by improving access to local foods at schools. Maximilian Merrill with the National Farm to School Network tells us it’s a win-win as farmers will source their food to schools and students learn about agriculture.. ...Read Full Story

Safety Grant For BH Schools Leading To New Programs

A $2 million state grant awarded last year to Benton Harbor Area Schools for safety and gang prevention has been making a difference. On Tuesday, the board of education heard the grant has paid for suicide awareness training, a leadership skills program, and self-esteem and life skills training for girls. Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker tells WSJM News that’s just some of what the district managed to do in the first few months of having the funds at the end of the last school year.. ...Read Full Story

Seven Arrests In Cass County Stolen Property Case

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department has arrested seven suspects in a stolen property and meth case. It tells us deputies were sent out to a property in the 67,000 block of Hess Road Monday morning on a report of stolen property out of St. Joseph County, Indiana. The items had been taken in a breaking and entering. During their search, police say they found a large amount of stolen property along with a firearm, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Five women and two men were arrested at the house for possession of stolen property, drug offenses, and firearm violations. Their names have not yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

Bangor Arson Suspect Arrested

The suspect in a weekend break in and arson in Van Buren County has been caught. The Bangor Police Department tells us 21-year-old Dominick Wheeler was arrested in Allegan County with help from Michigan State Police. He’s accused of breaking into a laundromat, setting it on fire, and stealing money. Chief Tommy Simpson tells us Wheeler somehow managed to break free and escape from inside a police car after his arrest. He’s charged with arson, resisting police, and destruction of police property. Wheeler was also wanted on some outstanding warrants. Bond has been set at $250,000.. ...Read Full Story

State Police To Train For Tower Rescue Wednesday

There should be quite the sight to see in the Lansing area on Wednesday. Michigan State Police will have several public safety agencies on hand near its training academy in Diamondale for an exercise to save someone stranded on a communications tower. Dan Morgan, coordinator of the secondary complex tower training event, tells WSJM News your standard police and fire departments can’t help someone stuck on one of those huge towers.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Wants Answers On Line 5 Damage

The recent discovery of some damage to outer coating on Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac concerns Congressman Fred Upton. That’s why he’s asking Enbridge to write a report for Congress as soon as possible. Upton tells WSJM News he wants answers about the line’s safety,. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Guard Pulls Back Troopers Planned For Irma Response

From the Associated Press — The Michigan National Guard is pulling back troops being sent to Florida after being told they weren’t needed for Hurricane Irma recovery efforts. Some Michigan troops had already departed for Florida when a Guard official says the decision was made Tuesday to turn them around. Lieutenant Dawn Dancer says Florida officials decided they didn’t need additional guard troops from around the country. The Michigan Guard had planned to send about 1,000 members to Florida. Dancer says Michigan Guard leaders are monitoring Irma-related troubles in other states and will be ready to send troops elsewhere if needed.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Stabbing Suspects Arrested

A man and a woman are in the Cass County Jail for a stabbing last week. The two were arrested yesterday by Dowagiac Public Safety, and the victim is already out of the hospital. Authorities tell us the suspects are facing multiple felony assault and drug charges for the crime, and they believe Friday night’s stabbing was drug-related. They were called to Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital after the victim showed up with several stab wounds. The case is still under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Fennville Varsity Football Coach Put On Leave

Fennville varsity football coach Brian Sackett is on leave following an incident in the game against Coloma on Friday. Sackett is accused of grabbing a player by his collar and screaming at him for about 10 seconds according to a parent of the player. It happened after two Fennville players tackled a Coloma player, and then a shoving match ensued. Sackett then got in the face of his player. The coach has issued an apology, saying he should have handled the situation better. The district has issued a statement to television stations in Grand Rapids and the “Holland Sentinel” saying they’re “taking appropriate steps to investigate an alleged incident between a coach and a player from the September 8 football game in Coloma.” The Blackhawks are currently being guided by assistant coaches while Sackett is on leave.. ...Read Full Story

MI Congressman Not Seeking Re-Election

From the Associated Press — Republican Congressman Dave Trott of Michigan says he will not seek re-election. In a statement Monday, the two-term lawmaker says serving has been an honor but he has decided that the best course is “to spend more time with my family and return to the private sector.” The announcement comes on the heels of two other GOP retirements last week, with Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Dave Reichert of Washington state saying they will step down at the end of their terms. Trott represents a district west of Detroit. Democrats, in the minority, hope they have a shot at winning back control by capitalizing on the GOP retirements and open seats.. ...Read Full Story

Fight Over Fuel Rules Reignites

Environmental advocates are crying foul about an effort to undo new fuel efficiency standards to automobiles. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency held a meeting on its proposal to reconsider requirements that the U.S. car and light-truck fleet achieve an average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Carol Lee Rawn is the transportation director for the nonprofit group Ceres, and tells us the current standards are important for innovation.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Lottery Developing New Rewards Program

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Lottery is developing a new player rewards program that’s designed to make it easier to participate and earn free play. The lottery announced Monday that the program is expected to begin in early 2018. Updates will be based on feedback from lottery players who wanted more chances to earn free play without entering non-winning ticket codes online. Details will be announced later. People may sign up online to get email updates about the program. The lottery says players will have more chances to use points they have accumulated in their Players Club accounts before the current program ends. And players may continue to earn Players Club points by entering codes from non-winning tickets.. ...Read Full Story

Go Fund Me Campaign Launched For Family Of Boy Killed In Crash

A Go Fund Me campaign has been launched to help pay the funeral expenses for a 13-year-old boy killed in a Berrien County highway crash on Sunday. The Baroda-Lake Township Police Department tells us Osvaldo Leon of Elgin, Illinois was killed along with 32-year-old Francisco Valle-Lopez of Mexico in the Lake Township crash on I-94. It’s thought a blown tire may have been the cause. The Go Fund Me campaign to pay for Osvaldo Leon’s funeral service was launched Monday, and had raised more than $1,4000 of its $10,000 goal by late evening. You can find the Go Fund Me page right here. . ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Students Receive Positive M-STEP Results

Good news out of Bridgman Public Schools. The district tells us its students were among the top in the county across the subjects of math, science, social studies, and English on the latest M-STEP tests. The M-STEP is Michigan’s standardized test for students in several grades. According to the district, Bridgman students ranked in the top three Berrien County public school districts for each content area tested on the 2017 M-STEP. They were number one in Berrien County when it comes to Total Science Proficiency and Total Social Studies Proficiency. Superintendent Shane Peters tells us he’s proud of the hard work done by both students and staff.. ...Read Full Story

Cook Plant Unit 1 Refueling Outage Begins This Week

A refueling outage at the Cook nuclear power plant’s Unit 1 will begin this Wednesday. Cook plant spokesperson Bill Schalk tells WSJM News this will be the 27th refueling outage for the unit. Around 1,000 extra workers will be on hand at the Bridgman area plant for the next several months to conduct a variety of maintenance tasks.. ...Read Full Story

Syndicated Radio Host Glenn Haege Passes Away

A well-known syndicated radio host and columnist who you’ve probably heard right here on WSJM has passed away. Glenn Haege, the host of the Handyman Show, which airs on the weekend on WSJM, died Monday after a short battle with cancer. The Detroit News reports Haege hosted his weekly program on Detroit’s WJR radio for many years. It’s also a show that’s syndicated on more than 135 other stations. Haege’s producer told The Detroit News he was a “consummate radio professional who really cared a great deal about his audience.” Funeral arrangements for the handyman are still pending.. ...Read Full Story

AAA Michigan: Statewide Average Gas Prices Up 7¢

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 7¢ per gallon in the past week as the effects of hurricanes on fuel supplies are felt. The Dearborn-based auto club says early Monday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.69 per gallon. That’s about 48
cents more than at the same point last year. Gas prices climbed last week during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which cut U.S. refining capacity, and in anticipation of Hurricane Irma’s impact. The lowest average price in Michigan was about $2.66 per gallon in the Detroit area. The highest was about $2.76 per gallon in the Traverse City area. Locally in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, the prices rose about 9¢ to average $2.70. AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.. ...Read Full Story

Three Oaks Gas Station Robbed

Police are looking for a man who robbed the Speedway gas station on West Ash Street in Three Oaks early Monday morning. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us a white man walked in around 4:30 am and ordered the cashier to give him all the money from the register. He got away on foot and a sheriff’s department K-9 was unable to track him. The suspect is about 5’3″ and 180 pounds, and was wearing a tan shirt and a neon green and yellow baseball hat. If he had a weapon, it wasn’t used during the robbery, which is still being investigated. Anyone with information is urged to call the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Blue Star Highway Construction To Start This Month

The Van Buren County Road Commission is about to start a major project on Blue Star Highway. It tells us crews will be working on Blue Star from Phoenix Road to Baseline Road in South Haven Township starting on Monday, September 18. They’re doing milling and resurfacing work, along with guardrail upgrades and the construction of a bike path. Phase 1 of the work will mean the closure of the outermost northbound and southbound lanes through October 18. At that time, Phase 2 will start, meaning the closure of the inner northbound and southbound lanes. The project is expected to be finished on November 1. The $513,000 project is being paid for with a combination of federal and local funds. The Van Buren County Road Commission’s share of the cost is $325,000.. ...Read Full Story

Two Killed, Five Hurt In I-94 Crash

A blown tire may be to blame for a crash that killed two people and injured five others on Interstate 94 in Lake Township just before 3 p.m. Sunday. The Baroda-Lake Township Police Department tells WSJM News 13-year-old Osvaldo Leon and 32-year-old Francisco Valle-Lopez were pronounced dead at the scene. Both were passengers in a vehicle driven by 38-year-old Raul Leon, who was taken to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph along with three other passengers: 17-year-old Osiris Leon, four-year-old Osmiry Leon, and 15-year-old Oscar Leon. A fifth person, 33-year-old Alma Leon, was flown to South Bend Memorial Hospital. She and Valle-Lopez were visiting from Guerrero, Mexico, while the others were from Elgin, Illinois. The single-vehicle crash closed westbound I-94 between the 22 and 16 mile markers for about three hours on Sunday, with traffic sent on to Red Arrow Highway. The crash is still being investigated.. ...Read Full Story