Local News Archives

More Money Now Being Raised For Michigan Roads

The new year will mean more money for Michigan roads. Starting today, a license fee increase and increases in fuel taxes are in effect. County Road Association of Michigan Director Denise Donahue tells WSJM News that will mean $460 million more for roads this year, and $1.2 billion per year once all of the increases are fully implemented in five years. She says the state fell far behind in raising money for road maintenance a long time ago.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Officials Tightening Standards For Amber Alerts

Michigan State Police officials say they are changing the criteria for issuing Amber Alerts. Effective now, the emergency response system that disseminates information about missing children will only be used for child abductions. All Amber Alerts will receive a Wireless Emergency Alert, which pushes the notifications to mobile devices and interrupts broadcasts. Amber Alerts had been authorized for missing children with severe mental or physical disabilities who wandered away and could not care for themselves. Cases that don’t meet the new standards will be eligible for what’s called an Endangered Missing Advisory. Those notifications are sent to area broadcast and print media but not as wireless alerts. Officials say the changes help ensure that credible, useful information gets out to the public in the most critical cases.. ...Read Full Story

Body Found At Lincoln Township Beach

Police are investigating after a body was found Sunday along a beach in Lincoln Township. It was found at Glenlord Beach around 2 p.m. At the scene were the Lincoln Township Police and Fire Departments, as well as Michigan State Police. They are not offering further information just yet, and won’t comment on whether the body is that of a man reported missing Saturday after his SUV was found off the bluff in St. Joseph. We’ll have more information as soon as it becomes available.. ...Read Full Story

Annual Banned Word List Released

You, sir, (or ma’am): Focus, if you will, on a historic, on fleek listicle containing words nominated for bigly banishment. But don’t convene a town hall meeting or get your dandruff up in the echo chamber over them. Northern Michigan’s Lake Superior State University on Saturday released its 42nd annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse
and General Uselessness.The tongue-in-cheek, non-binding list comes from suggestions to the Sault Ste. Marie school. It includes “you, sir,” ”focus,” ”town hall meeting,” ”historic,” ”echo chamber,” “on fleek,” ”bigly,” ”listicle” and “get your
dandruff up,” seemingly a substitute for “dander,” its hair and skin kin. “Bigly” also made Merriam-Webster’s Top 10 for 2016. President-elect Donald Trump was fond this year of saying “big league” but making it sound like “bigly.”. ...Read Full Story

Lakeland Welcomes First Baby Of The Year

The BirthPlace at Lakeland Hospital in Niles has welcomed southwest Michigan’s first baby of 2017. April Jacobs, of Dowagiac, is the proud new mother of daughter Addison Jacobs. Baby Jacobs was born at at 4:12 a.m. on Sunday, weighing in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces and measuring 19 inches long. In keeping with their annual tradition of celebrating the first baby of the year, the Lakeland Auxiliary provided the family with a gift basket full of baby items valued at $100. Lakeland Health says it delivered 1,540 babies in its St. Joseph and Niles hospitals in the last fiscal year.
. ...Read Full Story

Three Oaks Drill Team Heading To Washington For Inaugural Parade

A group from Three Oaks is preparing to take the trip of their lives, as they’ve been invited to walk in the presidential inaugural parade next month. On January 20, President Donald Trump will watch as the Mid America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team proceeds past them for the celebration. Captain Debbie Dunphy tells us she applied for the inaugural parade in 2008, but the group was still too new back then to have enough on its resume. This time around, though, things were different. She says it’s still hard to believe they got selected.. ...Read Full Story

SUV Pulled From Below Bluff Belongs To Missing Man

The search is on for a missing man 38-year-old man. St. Joseph Public Safety officers pulled the wrecked SUV belonging to Dilbag Singh from below the bluff in the 3000 block of Lakeshore Drive Saturday afternoon. Singh had been reported missing Friday night, and his vehicle was found around 11 a.m. the next day. He is 5’6″ with a medium build and a full beard and mustache. When he was last seen, Singh was wearing a white coat, blue jeans, and white shoes. Police told WSJM News on the scene after the SUV was pulled up that there was no one inside the vehicle. The U.S. Coast Guard also searched the immediate area along the shoreline and in Lake Michigan with a helicopter Saturday afternoon.. ...Read Full Story

New Law Creates Procedure For Approving Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

One bit of work that Michigan lawmakers managed to get done in 2016 was a reform of the state’s medical marijuana laws. Under the plan that has now been signed by the governor, medical marijuana dispensaries will get a legal framework to set up shop, and even edibles will become legal. State Representative Mike Callton was behind the plan. He says marijuana will become a billion dollar industry in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Police Officer Fatalities Up In 2016

2016 was a tough year for the law enforcement profession with the number of officers killed in the line of duty spiking at 135 nationwide. Craig Floyd, the CEO at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, says there were more ambush style attacks this year than in previous years.. ...Read Full Story

More Than 22 Million Pounds Of Plastic Polluting The great Lakes

Plastic accounts for approximately 80% of the litter on the shorelines of the Great Lakes, and a new study uses math to determine where it’s coming from. Matthew Hoffman, with the Rochester Institute of Technology and an author of the report, tells us 22 million pounds of plastic winds up in the Great Lakes each year. He says the recent banning of microbeads hasn’t made much of a difference.. ...Read Full Story

Deputy Sheriff Charged After Firearm Discharges In MI School

Authorities say a Bay County sheriff’s deputy assigned as a school resource officer at Bay City’s Western High School was testing his back up weapon in an empty classroom when it discharged. Tuscola County Prosector Mark Reene says the 38-caliber bullet went through a wall into an adjoining and ricocheted three times, flying over the heads of some 30 students and hitting a teacher in her neck. Reene calls it a case of divine intervention no one was seriously injured or killed.. ...Read Full Story

Home Damaged By Fire In Bangor

A home in Bangor has suffered some heavy damage, following a fire Friday morning. South Haven Area Emergency Services tells us firefighters were called to the home on Cemetery Road about 11:40 a.m. They found flames coming out of the attic. Fire departments at the scene included Bangor, Columbia Township, and Covert Township. The cause of the fire is under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Firefighters Rescue Dog From West MI Lake

Three Michigan firefighters used rope and their wits to rescue a 90-pound retriever that fell through the ice about 100 yards from shore on a western Michigan lake. Wearing ice rescue gear and tethered together, they carefully walked onto White Lake in Muskegon County’s Whitehall and hauled the dog to safety. White Lake Fire Chief Gregory Holman said the dog was unable to drag itself from the hole in the ice and was in distress when firefighters reached it Wednesday morning. Holman said his firefighters will do their “best to rescue” a “family pet, like a dog.” The 14-year-old dog was given to an area shelter and its owner was later located. Shelter owner Lana Carson said the dog “kind of wandered off and found itself on the ice.”. ...Read Full Story

Calvin College Speaker Series Kicks Off Next Week

Church history, the 2016 presidential campaign and closing technology’s gender gap are among the planned topics during a month long speaker series at Calvin College. The western Michigan school’s January Series kicks off Wednesday with “500
Years Later: Why the Reformation Still Matters.” Presenting will be Karin Maag, director of the college’s H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies. Renowned presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin on January 17 will deliver “How Did We Get Here? A Historical Perspective on Our Wild 2016 Election.” Organizers say Goodwin will share her hope that’s based on the U.S. political system’s survival through many decades and troubling times. Girls Who Code founder and CEO Reshma Saujani speaks January 9 on “Closing the Gender Gap in Technology.” Fifteen presentations are planned overall.. ...Read Full Story

Three Oaks Rodeo Drill Team To Take Part In Inaugural Parade

A group from Three Oaks is preparing to take the trip of their lives, as they’ve been invited to walk in the presidential inaugural parade next month. On January 20, President Donald Trump will watch as the Mid America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team proceeds past them for the celebration. Captain Debbie Dunphy tells us she applied for the inaugural parade in 2008, but the group was still too new back then to have enough on its resume. This time around, though, things were different. She says it’s still hard to believe they got selected.. ...Read Full Story

MI Traffic Fatalities Up In 2016

Michigan State Police say traffic fatalities are up this year. As of December 6, the state has had 987 deaths on the road. Michigan State Police Lieutenant Michael Shaw tells us distracted driving is a big reason. He says it’s time for folks to start paying attention to the road.. ...Read Full Story

West MI Meijer Fires Employees For Sharing Woman’s Photos

The Meijer supermarket chain says it’s fired some employees who shared a Michigan couple’s photo card announcing their pregnancy. A Meijer spokesman declined to say how many workers were fired at its Plainwell store. But the company says its photo department workers “are required to adhere to a strict confidentiality policy.” A Plainwell couple says the incident ruined their big surprise. 23-year-old Jordan Areaux tells WWMT-TV she brought photos to the  store for printing into a Christmas card announcing she’s pregnant with “the first grandbaby in our family.” Areaux says she was angry when she received a text with a screenshot of her planned announcement. She says she went to high school with some of the photo lab workers, who took photos of her photos and began texting them around.. ...Read Full Story

New Law Limits When Children Can Be Restrained In School

Michigan public schools will be banned from physically restraining or secluding students except in emergencies under legislation signed Thursday by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley. The laws require the state Department of Education to develop a state policy on seclusion and restraint that is consistent with the bills. Local school boards will have to create their own corresponding policies by the start of the 2017-28 academic year. Calley, an advocate for the disabled, signed the legislation at an “inclusion” rally at the Troy Community Center. Seclusion and restraint methods are disproportionately used on students with disabilities. If school officials do resort to seclusion or restraint methods, they would have to report it to administrators and parents. Calley has said Michigan lags other states because it has no rules or reporting requirements.. ...Read Full Story

One Killed In New Buffalo Bus Crash

One person is dead following a bus crash in New Buffalo Township Thursday morning. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us 65-year-old Edmund Hillman, the driver of the Four Winds Casino bus, was killed when the vehicle went off Maudlin Road and hit a tree about 9:45 a.m. Hillman was the only one in the bus, and no other vehicles were involved. The crash happened about a quarter mile from the south entrance to the casino, and police think the driver may have been having a medical issue. The crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Calley Signs Bill To Require CPR Instruction In Grades 7-12

Michigan schools will have to provide CPR instruction under legislation signed by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley. The law enacted this week takes effect in the next academic year. The measure requires that schools provide instruction in CPR and the use of defibrillators at least one time between grades 7 and 12. The instruction can be for hands-only CPR, a simpler type of training that does not require certification or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. To meet the requirement, schools can incorporate the training into an existing health class that students must take to graduate. Health advocates say the law is a simple way to have more CPR-trained lifesavers in Michigan. Calley signed the bill because Governor Rick Snyder is vacationing out of state.. ...Read Full Story

Substitute Shortage Challenges Michigan Schools

Schools in Michigan are struggling to cope when teachers are absent because of an increasing shortage of substitute teachers in the state. Macomb Intermediate School District chief academic officer Judy Pritchett told the Detroit Free Press that the shortage is “a symptom of a much bigger problem” and that it reflects a decline in the number of people pursuing teaching as a full-time career. Wayne-Westland district Superintendent Michele Harmala says the state must look at why students aren’t going into education. EDUStaff, a company that provides staffing, including substitute teachers, to more than 300 school districts statewide, has put up about 40 billboards on Michigan highways, hoping to lure potential teachers into subbing.. ...Read Full Story

How To Pick End Of Year Charities

Americans made almost $260 billion in charitable donations in 2014, but it’s not always easy to tell which charities are on the up and up. One expert says there’s plenty of help online and by phone to help you make a decision. Attorney Beverly Salhanick tells us it’s easy to check if a non-profit is really legitimate.. ...Read Full Story

Police Offer Tips On Post Christmas Safety

Now that Christmas has passed, police remind everyone of a few things they can do to prevent themselves from becoming post-holiday victims. For one thing, burglars might be paying attention to the boxes you leave out on the curb, so if you got an expensive gift, don’t advertise it. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey adds you should take other steps with your trash.. ...Read Full Story

Nesbitt Finishes Six Years In House With No Missed Votes

State Representative Aric Nesbitt has closed out his six years in Lansing with a perfect attendance record. His office says the last session has wrapped up with Nesbitt not missing a single vote in all three terms that he’s represented the 66th House District. In all, Nesbitt took part in 4,123 votes since January of 2011. He says he had an obligation to serve the communities in Van Buren and Kalamazoo counties that elected him. He tells us one of the most important things to come up in the House during his time there was a landmark energy policy just approved. Nesbitt isn’t the only southwest Michigan lawmaker to miss no votes during his six years in Lansing recently. We reported last week that state Representative Al Pscholka also had a perfect voting record.. ...Read Full Story

Township Supervisor Moves To Remain On Berrien Road Commission

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners is not happy with Bainbridge Township Supervisor Bill Hodge. Hodge was recently sworn in to serve in the township position, which according to the county board, means he’s no longer eligible to sit on the road commission. So, the county board this month declared Hodge’s road commission seat vacant. Now, Hodge has asked the Berrien County Trial Court to issue an injunction on that decision so he can remain on the road commission. The county board Wednesday issued a statement saying Michigan law prevents someone from serving in two such posts. Administration Committee Chair R. McKinley Elliott says, in the past 30 years, he can’t think of any elected or appointed official who “faced the potential of violating the Incompatible Offices Act that did not take the necessary steps to remedy that situation.” The matter will be decided by a judge January 12.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Cities Now Barred From Banning Plastic Bags

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has signed legislation to prohibit Michigan communities from regulating plastic shopping bags. The law approved Wednesday takes effect in 90 days. It bans municipalities from regulating, prohibiting or adding fees to the use or sale of “auxiliary containers” – reusable or single-use bags, cups, bottles or other packaging from stores and restaurants. More than 150 municipalities across the country have banned the environmentally unfriendly plastic bags or charged fees. Washtenaw County has OK’d a 10-cent fee on disposable grocery bags and was expected to begin enforcing it in April, but the Republican-sponsored law pre-empts local ordinances. Critics had called for a veto, saying residents deserve a say in business operations in their communities. Calley signed the bill because the Republican governor is vacationing out of
state.. ...Read Full Story

Grand Rapids Police Cars Being Equipped With Defibrillators

The Grand Rapids Police Department is equipping its police cruisers with automated external defibrillators in an effort to save
lives. The western Michigan city on Tuesday announced the installation of 75 defibrillators in every cruiser. The devices are the same as those in fire and emergency medical services vehicles. Officials say police officers will be in a better position to deal with a cardiac arrest if they are the first to arrive. The devices only deliver a shock to a patient if equipment advises a user to do so.. ...Read Full Story

New House Leader Interested In Prisoner Mental Health

The next leader of the Michigan House says he wants to bring experts together to discuss mental health treatment. The number of mentally ill prisoners in the prison system has grown 14 percent since 2012 to roughly 9,400. Tom Leonard of DeWitt, who soon will become House speaker, says “early intervention” for people with mental illness saves money
and can keep the public safe. The Detroit News reports that many mentally ill inmates cost an average of $95,000 to house at a special prison in Whitmore Lake. Leonard, a Republican, says he doesn’t have a “silver bullet.” He wants to hear from experts.
Corrections Department spokesman Chris Gautz says there’s been a slow but steady increase in treating mentally ill prisoners.. ...Read Full Story

Hunters Have Until Saturday To Apply For Pure Michigan Hunt

Michigan hunters have until Saturday to apply to win one of three prized state hunting packages. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources randomly selects three winners every year for the Pure Michigan Hunt . The hunt includes licenses for elk,
bear, spring and fall turkey, anterless deer and a first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area. Winners also receive prizes like crossbows, rifles, guided hunts and cameras. Applications cost $5 and are available online or where hunting licenses are
sold. There’s no limit to the number of applications that can be purchased. Non-residents can enter too but they won’t receive the elk license because elk hunting is limited to Michigan residents only.. ...Read Full Story

DNA Helps ID Michigan Man Who Died In Arkansas In 1989

Michigan State Police say a man who died along an Arkansas highway in 1989 has been identified as a long-missing Battle Creek man. Charles Cornell was 30 when he was last seen by relatives in 1986. They filed a police report this year after State Police suggested they do so. Cornell’s mother and sister then submitted their DNA, which was entered in a national database of unidentified remains. Their DNA determined that a man fatally struck by a semi-truck in Arkansas in 1989 was Cornell. They learned of the match Tuesday. Photos, medical and dental records and fingerprints remained on file in Arkansas, but the cases weren’t linked until Cornell’s relatives submitted DNA. Detective-Sgt. Sarah Krebs says it’s important for families of missing people to get their DNA on file.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Praises Hunting Bills

You can count state Senator John Proos as among the lawmakers in favor of a couple of hunting bills approved during the last session. The first bill requires the DNR to create an app that would let hunters display their licenses via smart phone. Proos tells us that could affect a lot of people in southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Drill Team Heading To Washington For Inaugural Parade

A group from Michigan has received a big honor. For the 3rd consecutive presidential inauguration, Michigan’s Multi-Jurisdictional Mounted Police Drill Team and Color Guard will perform in the Inaugural Parade. The Parade theme is We the People: Our American Journey. That’s something the group took into consideration when filing an application to participate, says co-founder Lorenzo Veal.. ...Read Full Story

Nesbitt Named House Member Of The Year By News Agency

State Representative Aric Nesbitt has received another distinction as he prepares to leave office. The Lawton Republican has been named the MIRS News House Member of the Year. MIRS, or the Michigan Information and Research Service, is an online publication for Lansing insiders. It’s picked Nesbitt for the honor due to his work on a energy policy that was just approved by the governor. Nesbitt tells our our newsroom it’s an honor to be saluted by MIRS, which he calls a “respected news organization.” Other accomplishments he says he’s proud of in the last six years include making technical education more available, hosting veterans workshops in Van Buren County, and protecting gun rights. Nesbitt leaves office soon due to term limits.. ...Read Full Story

Detroit Police Lift Ban On Beards

Detroit police have the right to remain bearded- to a point. The department’s rule banning beards has been lifted. A new policy allows officers to sport trimmed beards and goatees. City police had been allowed only neatly trimmed mustaches, though officers could seek approval to grow a beard if they had a skin condition. The lightly mustachioed Chief James Craig tells the Detroit Free Press for a story Sunday there’s no need to keep a rule that has “no bearing on how good they would do on the job.” Craig says another rule change allows female officers to wear one pair of stud earrings on the job. The chief says he would consider extending that rule change to men “if a lot of people made enough noise.”. ...Read Full Story

Mackinac Bridge Reopens After Falling Ice Causes Closure

Mackinac Bridge authorities say they have reopened the span connecting Michigan’s two peninsulas after falling ice forced a temporary closure. Bridge officials said Monday that weather conditions have improved and they have given the all clear to resume traffic in both directions. Earlier in the day, all lanes had been closed because ice was falling from the cables and
towers. The nearly five-mile span crosses the waterway where lakes Huron and Michigan meet.. ...Read Full Story

UPDATE — Sisters Killed In Weesaw Township Crash

Two sisters from Chicago are dead following a crash in Weesaw Township Sunday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened at Warren Woods and Cleveland roads around 4 p.m. when the driver of a sedan ran a stop sign and the car was hit by a pick-up. Two passengers in the sedan were killed, and they’ve been identified as 37-year-old Bre Anne Sutherland, and 41-year-old Laurel Ashley Sutherland. Both are from Chicago. The driver of the car, a 66-year-old man from the Niles area, was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Two other passengers and the driver of the pick-up were also taken to the hospital. The crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Two Killed In Weesaw Township Crash

Two women are dead and a man from Howard Township is being treated for what police say are life-threatening injuries after a crash in Weesaw Township Monday afternoon. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says the man was driving a Chevrolet sedan when he went through a stop sign at Warren Woods and Cleveland roads shortly after 4 p.m., and was hit by a Dodge pickup. The two women killed were back seat passengers in the Chevy. Deputies say one was a 41-year-old from Illinois, while the other was a 37-year-old from Howard Township. Both drivers and two other passengers in the sedan are being treated at South Bend Memorial Hospital. Deputies tell our newsroom it doesn’t appear weather or road conditions were factors in the crash. Whether other issues like alcohol, drugs, or a medical issue were involved remains under investigation. No names have yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

Report: High Tax Rate Leads To More Cigarette Smuggling

A new report from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy takes a look at the prevalence of cigarette smuggling and finds the higher your state’s cigarette taxes are, the more likely smokes are being sneaked in from states with lower taxes. Police Director Michael LaFaive tells WSJM News the amount of illegal cigarettes brought into Michigan has been going down as other states raise the tax and we don’t.. ...Read Full Story