Local News Archives

Repaving On I-94

A repaving project is about to get started on I-94 in Van Buren County. Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News  they’ll start the work on eastbound 94 between 56th Street and M-51 Monday. The work will continue through late August.. ...Read Full Story

Credit Union Helping Moms

Honor Credit Union is hoping customers will step forward to help out moms in need this spring. The credit union will have donation boxes set up at its locations throughout southwest Michigan through May 7 to collect essential care items for women, specifically moms, staying in local domestic abuse or homeless shelters. Two Men and a Truck will deliver all donations to partnering shelters around Mother’ Day as part of its Movers for Moms program. They’re taking things like soaps, hair styling products, shampoos, pillows, blankets, slippers, and other basic clothing items. Honor Credit Union has locations in Coloma, Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, Stevensville, Berrien Springs, and Niles. You can find out more about Movers for Moms right here.. ...Read Full Story

Electric Rate Hike Coming

The Michigan Public Service Commission has given approval to Indiana Michigan Power to raise its electric rates. MPSC spokesperson Nick Assendelft tells WSJM News I&M asked the state for permission to do so in May of last year. After consideration of many factors, the MPSC has given I&M the green light to increase rates by $49 million on its 128,000 Michigan customers.. ...Read Full Story

State Fights Unemployment ID Theft

The unemployment agency in Michigan is reminding businesses and individuals to beware of identity theft. Michigan Talent Investment Agency Deputy Director of Unemployment Insurance Michelle Beebe tells WSJM News recent data breeches have led to a jump in scammers trying to collect unemployment benefits using stolen identities.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead In Cass County Crash

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a fatal crash that occurred on Friday night. It tells us a Jeep Cherokee driven by 32-year-old Gary May of New Haven was northbound on Kessington Road in Mason Township around 10:30 p.m. when May lost control. The vehicle left the road and overturned several time, ejecting May. May was pronounced deceased at the
scene. Police say speed may have been a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Gets Castle Donation

Here’s something you’ve probably never heard before. The city of St. Joseph has accepted the donation of a castle. At Monday’s meeting, Marketing Director Susan Solon told city commissioners Turner Construction, the company doing work at Lakeland, approached her about making a donation to the city. With the launch date fast approaching for this year’s public art display, “The Magical Kingdom of St. Joseph,” she suggested they make a small castle to be displayed on State and Broad Street. Solon spoke more with WSJM News about the display.. ...Read Full Story

Watch Out For This Invasive Beetle

Everyone in southwest Michigan is being asked to keep their eyes open for an invasive insect that could pose a threat to trees. The Southwest by Southwest Corner CISMA’s Eleanor Serocki tells WSJM News it’s the Asian longhorn beetle, which still hasn’t shown up in Michigan. Serocki wants to keep it that way. The Asian longhorn beetle is about an inch long, black with white spots, and a long antenna. It leaves behind signs of its passing after burrowing into trees.. ...Read Full Story

Kinexus Saluted By National Group

Kinexus in Benton Harbor is a great place to work. So says The Nonprofit Times, a trade group representing non-profit organizations around the country. It’s selected Kinexus as one of its top 50 non-profits when it comes to the work environment. Kinexus Human Resources Vice President Jamie Quigno spoke with WSJM News.. ...Read Full Story

Coloma Wins Spirit Tournament

The Coloma Comets are the winners of state Senator John Proos’ annual Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament for 2018. They beat out the River Valley Mustangs in the final round of the tournament, which is a March Madness-like competition Proos tells WSJM News he holds each year to test the school spirit of communities throughout his district.. ...Read Full Story

Special Amtrak Trains For Tulip Time

Holland’s Tulip Time Festival this year will run May 5 through the May 13, and it’s expected to draw more than 500,000 thisyear. If you don’t want fight traffic and hunt for a parking space, Amtrak can help as they’re adding extra trains on May 5th and May 12th to Holland. MDOT’s Michael Frezell spoke with WSJM News about the option.. ...Read Full Story

Report Examines Cigarette Tax Evasion

A new report from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy takes a look at the rate of cigarette tax evasion, noting how common smuggling is largely depends on what a given state’s cigarette tax is. Fiscal Policy Analyst Michael LaFaive tells WSJM News most cigarette smuggling into Michigan comes from Indiana, where the tax is $1 per pack compared to Michigan’s $2 per pack. In the recent analysis, though, smuggling wasn’t rampant between the two states.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Time To Replace Line 5

Congressman Fred Upton says the recent leak of coolant into Lakes Huron and Michigan from an underwater line containing electric cables in the Straits of Mackinac is a sign Enbridge’s Line 5 needs to be replaced. Speaking with WSJM News this week, Upton said the coolant leak, caused by a vessel, only points to the risks of Line 5.. ...Read Full Story

Volunteers Cleaning Up Litter

The Michigan Department of Transportation is gearing up for this year’s first Adopt a Highway cleanup event this month. Spokesperson Dan Weingerten tells WSJM News all kinds of organizations throughout the state sign up to pick up trash along designated stretches of road via Adopt a Highway.. ...Read Full Story

State House Allows Parental Eavedropping

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s House wants to give parents free reign in listening to their children’s conversations. In a 105-3 vote, lawmakers passed the bill that adds parental exemptions to Michigan’s eavesdropping prohibition. Eavesdropping is defined as overhearing, recording, amplifying or transmitting conversations intended to be private. Under current Michigan law, snooping on a child’s phone could lead to a felony sentencing of up to two years of imprisonment. Supporters say parents should be allowed to monitor their children’s conversations until they turn 18 to best protect them. The bill would not allow parents to monitor such conversations with the child’s attorney, a custody investigator or, if there’s a reasonable fear of danger, the other parent.. ...Read Full Story

Zoo Asks For Change To State Law

Officials at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids are calling on the Michigan Legislature to amend the state’s current Large Carnivore Act. Zoo CEO Peter D’Arienzo tells Michigan News Network it currently prevents the breeding of animals over 35 pounds, like cats and bears. Last year, they had to send their male tigers to out-of-state zoos because of the law.. ...Read Full Story

Study Examines Food, Beverage Industry Growth

The food and beverage industry in southwest Michigan is showing very strong growth in a new study. Commissioned by Indiana Michigan Power, the study was done to help better plan for the utility’s responsibilities and also to help economic developers. I&M spokesperson Dave Bergsma tells WSJM News the craft beer industry has led the way in the growth of beverage producing in southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Drug Raid In Benton Harbor

No details have been released yet by Michigan State Police, but authorities from several police agencies raided a Benton Harbor home last night for a drug bust. A block of Catalpa near Colfax was blocked off by authorities last evening. WSJM News spoke to troopers at the scene last night, but they were not able to provide any information.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Bans Dog Breed Rules

From the Associated Press — No bans on pit bulls allowed, Michigan’s Senate says. The chamber voted 22-13 on Thursday to prohibit local governments from dictating breed-specific regulations on dogs. The legislation will benefit canines that are perceived as more aggressive — mostly pit bulls, but also Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Cane Corsos. About 30 local governments have some form of breed-specific ordinances, which supporters of the bill say encroaches on dog owners’ property rights. Targeting specific breeds is also not an effective approach to dog bite prevention, they say. A 2014 American Veterinary Medical Association report says pit bulls are not disproportionately dangerous. However, critics of the bill mention that pit bulls are behind most fatal dog bites. At least 20 states already prohibit such breed-specific policies. Michigan’s bill now heads to the House.. ...Read Full Story

Dispatchers Of The Year Saluted

Two people have been picked as Berrien County’s Dispatchers of the year. At Thursday’s Berrien County Commission meeting, the honor was given to Eric Ruth and Lanny Duffel. Ruth, who works for Niles Dispatch, handled a call last February about a Michigan State Police trooper who was attacked by a couple of brothers, one of whom was on a stolen motorcycle. Chikaming Township Police Chief Todd Taylor spoke about the incident.. ...Read Full Story

State Approves Electric Rate Hike

The Michigan Public Service Commission has given approval to Indiana Michigan Power to raise its electric rates. MPSC spokesperson Nick Assendelft tells WSJM News I&M asked the state for permission to do so in May of last year. After consideration of many factors, the MPSC has given I&M the green light to increase rates by $49 million on its 128,000 Michigan customers.. ...Read Full Story

Teen Facing Terrorism Charge

A teen from Berrien Township is facing a charge of terrorism due to a threat of violence. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office tells us the 15-year-old Berrien Springs High School student was taken to the Berrien County Juvenile Center following his arrest by Michigan State Police Wednesday. The prosecutor says while it is alleged a threat of violence was made, there was no information suggesting violence toward another or toward a school was imminent. The Juvenile Division of the Berrien County Family Court has accepted the Berrien County Prosecutor’s petition in the case, and the next court date for the teen has yet to be scheduled. The prosecutor tells us the incident was investigated by Michigan State Police, the Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Police Department, the FBI, and the Berrien County Violent Crimes Task Force.. ...Read Full Story

Police Confirm Identity Of Drowned Kayaker

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that a body found in the Paw Paw River this week is that of a missing kayaker. 35-year-old Cory Wright of Niles went missing while kayaking in the Paw Paw River near Watervliet in late February. The sheriff’s department and the Watervliet Fire Department maintained a search of the river from that point until this Tuesday when they found remains. An autopsy at Western Michigan University has determined the body is the missing kayaker. The report also showed there were no signs of foul play and it was an accidental drowning.. ...Read Full Story

BH Schools Forum Being Planned

A community forum for stakeholders in Benton Harbor Area Schools is in the works. At this week’s school board meeting, Lou Ann Vidmar, a union representative of district teachers, invited everyone to take part in a discussion about the future of the district. Vidmar told WSJM News there is concern the district isn’t making sufficient progress under its partnership agreement with the Michigan Department of Education.. ...Read Full Story

Governor: Lake Leak Caused By Vessel

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says twin oil pipelines beneath the waterway linking two of the Great Lakes apparently were damaged by the same vessel believed to have caused a recent 600-gallon coolant fluid leak from electric cables. Snyder said Wednesday that Enbridge Inc. had notified the state about the damage to its Line 5 pipes, saying it was minor and consisted of three small
dents. But the Republican governor said Michigan agencies want to make sure there’s no danger to the pipelines. They carry 23 million gallons of crude oil daily across the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Snyder also wants Enbridge to accelerate a study of ways to prevent anchor strikes and alternatives for replacing the submerged oil pipelines.. ...Read Full Story