Local News Archives

Berrien RESA Festival Of Families This Weekend

Set for this weekend is the Berrien RESA Festival of Families. RESA spokesperson Karen Heath tells WSJM News the fifth annual event will feature information on all of the services offered to kids around Berrien County. On hand will be groups like the Boys and Girls Club, the Red Cross, and the Berrien County Health department. There’s also some fun.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Animal Shelter Housing Dogs From Florida

If you’re looking for a new animal friend, then the Van Buren County Animal Control Shelter is the place for you this week. Through Saturday, they’re holding a special adoption event thanks to the Bissell Pet Foundation. Animal Control’s Kasey Murphy tells WSJM News the shelter now has a large number of dogs flown up from Florida following Hurricane Irma.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Lottery Tickets With 4 Zeroes Are Worth $5,000

From the Associated Press — When are four zeroes worth $5,000? When four zeroes are the winning numbers in a Michigan lottery drawing. Officials say 1,079 players had winning tickets in Michigan’s Sunday evening Daily 4 game. Each ticket is worth $5,000. It’s the first time that four zeroes were drawn in the game, which has been played since 1981. Each play costs a dollar. The Daily 4 game is played twice a day every day.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Signs Bill To Fix Ballots After Clerk Errors

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation allowing communities to fix ballots where candidates missed the state filing deadline because of incorrect information from local clerks. Snyder on Monday signed the bill to extend the filing deadline for city office elections in 2017, ensuring mayoral and city council candidates will be on the ballot. The bill had been passed by the legislature after issues with candidates in at least four communities. Errors were found in Sault Ste. Marie, Tecumseh, Bessemer, and Lake Angelus. Under the legislation, clerks who give out erroneous dates would be required to undergo training and their municipalities are subject to fines.. ...Read Full Story

Realtors Association Funding New Park Area

The Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors is making a difference in St. Joseph Township by paying for the creation of a new park. Association Executive Alan Jeffries tells WSJM News the group as received a $4,000 Grant from the National Association of Realtors as part of the Placemaking program. It’s designed to help local chapters make an impact.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Gas Prices Tumble 15¢

Michigan’s average gas price is down 15¢ from last week, which Triple-A says is the second-largest drop in the country. The average stands at $2.54, which is up 44¢ from this time a year ago. In Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, the auto club says we’re paying 14¢ less than last week at $2.56. The most expensive gas is up in the U.P. in Marquette at $2.66, while Grand Rapids and Saginaw have the lowest prices at $2.49. According to GasBuddy, South Haven prices are between $2.43 and $2.49. Triple-A says the market seems to have stabilized following the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which drove up prices over the past several weeks.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews Named Top University For Diversity

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

Pharmacist In Deadly Meningitis Outbreak Heading To Trial

A Massachusetts pharmacist who oversaw the rooms where tainted drugs that caused a deadly meningitis outbreak were made is heading to trial. Glenn Chin was supervisory pharmacist at the now-closed New England Compounding Center in Framingham. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of all counts of second-degree murder under federal racketeering law. Chin heads to trial Tuesday on charges in the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 76 people and sickened hundreds of others. Experts say prosecutors have a stronger case against him than they did against pharmacy co-founder Barry Cadden, who was given a nine-year prison sentence in June. Chin ran the so-called clean rooms where steroid injections were made. He’s accused of failing to properly sterilize the drugs, among other things. Southwest Michigan was hit hard by the tainted steroids five years ago, with several people injured or killed as a result of the injections.. ...Read Full Story

Sunrise Rotary Planning Pumpkin Run For Next Week

The Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary is planning its seventh annual Pumpkin 5 and 10K Walk and Run for next week. The event will be Saturday, September 16 at the Renaissance Athletic Club in Benton Harbor. The proceeds from those who take part will go to the Books for Kids Reading Program, which distributes books to Benton Harbor Area Schools. During 2016, that group distributed more than 1,600 readers to kids in kindergarten through third grade. It’s $25 to register now, and $30 to register the day of the race. You can find out about registering at SunriseRotaryPumpkinFest.org.. ...Read Full Story

Trump Tweets Endorsement Of Schuette For Michigan Governor

President Donald Trump has endorsed Attorney General Bill Schuette for governor of Michigan. Trump said in a tweet Saturday that Schuette, who launched a bid for governor on Tuesday, would be fantastic. The President also says: “I am bringing back your jobs and Bill will help.” Schuette has promised to be a “jobs governor” who would cut income taxes and high auto insurance premiums. He is best known for his investigation of lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint. His probe led to criminal charges against 15 current and former government officials. Schuette is the best-known candidate in the Republican primary to succeed Republican Governor Rick Snyder, who is term limited. Several Democrats are also running for governor in 2018. Trump’s tweet misspelled Schuette’s last name, calling him “Shuette.”. ...Read Full Story

WMU planning Major Replacement Project For Residence Halls

From the Associated Press — Western Michigan University is planning to replace 12 residence halls on campus. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that university officials sought input from students and faculty Thursday on what to include in the new residence halls. The
forum was the first of three meetings the project’s design and planning team will hold. Students asked for amenities such as recreational rooms, computer labs, snack bars and outdoor game areas. They emphasized the importance of air conditioning and larger rooms, and expressed concerns about affordability and environmental impact. Officials hope to replace all the halls in the next decade. One of the projects will demolish the Harrison/Stinson halls and Eldridge/Fox halls. Officials say construction on the replacement buildings will start spring 2018 and is expected to be completed by the 2020-21 academic year.. ...Read Full Story

Public Input Sought Regarding Asian Carp Report

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

Stabenow Pushes “Buy American” Bill For U.S. Military

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow has introduced amendments to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to ensure the military buys American. The Democrat tells WKZO News the Department of Defense uses a loophole that allows federal agencies to circumvent “Buy American” requirements if the products they’re buying are being used overseas. The primary amendment in her package would change that and would directly benefit more than 100,000 Michigan workers connected to the national defense industry.. ...Read Full Story

BH Safety Grant Making A Difference

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

Major Health Insurer Planning To Leave Federal Market

From the Associated Press — One of nine Michigan insurers planning to sell health insurance on the federal marketplace in 2018 no longer will do so. Health Alliance Plan said Friday the move affects about 9,100 people. It says it’s leaving because of uncertainties related to premium stabilization programs, enforcement of the requirement to have insurance and not knowing if the Trump administration will continue funding cost-sharing subsidies. The insurer says it’s prepared to re-enter the government market “if and when the individual market stabilizes.” The announcement came the same day a Michigan congressman announced that groups helping enroll people for coverage have been notified of substantial federal funding cuts. Democratic Congressman Sander Levin calls the cuts “absolutely devastating” and says they’re the latest example of the Trump administration seeking to “sabotage” the health law.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigating Two Deaths In Bridgman

Police in Bridgman are investigating what they believe may have been a murder-suicide discovered on Saturday afternoon. The city police department tells us an officer was dispatched to a home in the 9,700 block of Baldwin Road shortly before 1 p.m. for a welfare check. Inside the home, the officer found 63-year-old Donald Ackerman and 67-year-old Pamela Ackerman dead. Both had gunshot wounds. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department has been called in to help with the investigation. Autopsies are planned for the next few days.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph, Lincoln Township Form Automatic Aid Agreement

The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety and the Lincoln Township Fire Department now have an automatic aid agreement in place. St. Joe Public Safety Director Brian Uridge tells WSJM News Lincoln Township will automatically send out a truck to the city every time there’s a fire reported. St. Joe will do the same for the township when a commercial property is involved.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks New Priorities For Congress

Congressman Fred Upton sees a few immediate priorities for Congress now that it’s back to work. He tells WSJM News getting all of the needed spending measures in place has to be done by the end of the week, and then there’s tax reform. He’s just waiting for details from the Trump administration on its ideas.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Doctor Believes U.S. Ready For First Muslim Governor

From the Associated Press — Perhaps no state has embraced the political outsider as much as Michigan, where a venture capitalist won the last two governor’s elections and a real estate baron carried the presidential vote. But Abdul El-Sayed, a 32-year-old liberal doctor in Detroit, is putting that affinity for newcomers to the test – by mounting a surprisingly robust bid to become the nation’s first Muslim governor. Democratic leaders are stunned by the sudden emergence of El-Sayed, a former Rhodes scholar who served as Detroit public health director, in the primary field after he quickly raised $1 million. He is one of four viable Democrats and, for now, three Republicans in a race that his party considers a must-win to re-establish itself after eight years of GOP control of state government.. ...Read Full Story

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