Local News Archives

Police Look For Missing Benton Harbor Girl

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is looking for a 15-year-old girl reported missing this week. The department tells us Anna Mae Taylor was last seen at her home around 12:20 p.m. Wednesday. She was reported missing by her mother. She is believed to be wearing blue jeans with holes in them and grey leggings underneath, a grey T-shirt, and a blue Pelle-Pelle jacket with a fur lined collar. Anna has a pierced nose and a long black and blond weave in her hair with two earrings in the tops of her ears. She also wears a gold cross necklace. Anna is described as being about four feet eleven inches tall and 112 pounds with brown eyes. Benton Harbor Public Safety says it’s investigating the case as suspicious. Anyone with information on Anna’s location is asked to contact the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety at 269-927-0293.. ...Read Full Story

GLRI Funding Restored In Budget

Funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative appears safe. President Trump wanted to cut that spending from $300 million to $30 million, but the GLRI is fully funded in a deal struck by U.S. House and Senate leaders. They hope to start voting as soon as today on a sweeping $1.3 trillion budget bill that substantially boosts military and domestic spending. A stopgap measure may be needed to ensure federal offices don’t shut down at midnight Friday when funding for the government expires. The White House says President Donald Trump backs the legislation, though he grumbled in a tweet, “Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.”. ...Read Full Story

Deadline Approaching For Pokagon Fund Grants

The deadline to apply for a Pokagon Fund grant this year is fast approaching. The fund tells us organizations looking for its support have until April 15 to get their paperwork in. To be qualified, an organization must be classified as 501(c)3 of the IRS or a public school. Since 2007, the Pokagon Fund has given out grants to community projects focused on education, the arts, recreation, environment, health, and other areas using a portion of Four Winds Casino revenues. Since its inception, the fund has given out more than $22 million. You can find out more about Pokagon Fund grants at its website.. ...Read Full Story

Municipal League Hoping For More Female Managers

Just 16% of Michigan’s municipal managers are women when women represent 50% of the population. That’s why the Michigan Municipal League is launching the 16-50 Project to draw more women to those management positions in local government. The League’s Emily Kieliszewski told Michigan News Network this week they plan to do it by removing barriers for women, and professional development.. ...Read Full Story

World Water Day Today

Folks from all ends of the state are being called upon to raise their voices for clean water. World Water Day is Thursday, and a coalition of organizations is rallying in the capital city to show elected leaders that affordable and protected water is a priority in Michigan. Shannon Abbott with the Grand Rapids Water Protectors says from Flint to the Straits of Mackinac and beyond, water contamination has been largely ignored by state officials.. ...Read Full Story

Bangor Schools Closed Due To Threat

Bangor Public Schools will be closed on Thursday due to a threat found written on one of the stalls in a restroom. Bangor Interim Superintendent Lynn Johnson says in a letter to parents a custodian found the threat after school was dismissed Wednesday. Johnson says the situation is being investigated by police, and as a precaution, classes will be cancelled Thursday, March 22. Johnson adds the school district is “consistently working to prevent any acts of violence in our schools. We have strong working relationships with all local, county and state police departments, and take all threats seriously.”. ...Read Full Story

Part Of Road Renamed For Trooper

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation from state Representative Kim LaSata to rename a stretch of Red Arrow Highway in Berrien County in honor of a fallen state police trooper. She tells WSJM News Red Arrow Highway between Glenlord and Hilltop Roads will now be called the Trooper Robert J. Mihalik Memorial Highway.. ...Read Full Story

Final Eight In School Spirit Tournament

State Senator John Proos is congratulating the schools left in his annual Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament. He announced the Elite 8 this week, telling WSJM News we’re now down to Michigan Lutheran versus Lake Michigan Catholic, River Valley versus Grace Christian, Berrien Springs versus Coloma, and Edwardsburg versus Marcellus. They’re competing in a bracket-style tournament to prove their school spirit by sending Proos photo evidence they’re the best.. ...Read Full Story

Unemployment Edges Up

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s unemployment rate edged upward to 4.8% in February. Figures released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget show Michigan’s jobless rate last month rose from 4.7% in January. It was seven-tenths of a percentage point above the national rate of 4.1 percent in February and unchanged from the state’s February 2017 rate of 4.8 percent. The agency says total employment was essentially unchanged over the month while the number of unemployed increased by 1,000.The February jobless rate increase was Michigan’s first since a minor uptick recorded in September. Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives Director Jason Palmer says the number of jobs statewide increasing by 16,000 over the first two
months of the year.. ...Read Full Story

House Approves Bike Passing Bill

From the Associated Press — A bill advancing in Michigan’s Legislature would require drivers to allow 3 feet (0.9 meters) of clearance while passing a bike, unless it’s impracticable. Wednesday’s 98-10 vote in the House comes after months of hearings and behind-the-scenes work. Michigan is among 11 states with no “safe passing” law, and bicyclists have been pushing lawmakers to act as more riders are killed by
motorists. As introduced, the legislation would have required 5 feet (1.5 meters) of clearance. But the House settled on a 3-foot distance.
Another bill approved 105-2 would mandate teen drivers receive at least one hour of instruction on laws pertaining to bicycles, motorcycles and other “vulnerable” roadway users including pedestrians. The legislation next moves to the Senate, where a 5-foot passing distance has
been proposed.. ...Read Full Story

Home Sales Slightly Down

The latest housing numbers are out from the Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors, and they show the regional market slightly sluggish in February. The association’s Alan Jeffries tells WSJM News the number of units sold in February was down by three from February of 2017.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Dowagiac Shooting

The Dowagiac Police Department is investigating a Wednesday shooting. It tells us officers were called to a home in the 300 block of Pokagon Street shortly before 11 a.m. when a woman called 911 to report she shot her boyfriend during a fight. Arriving officers found the 49-year-old man had been shot twice in the lower legs. He told police his girlfriend shot him with a handgun during an argument. He was taken to South Bend Memorial hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. Officers seized the gun, and the 31-year-old woman was arrested on charges of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm. The names are being withheld pending arraignment.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Leaders Set Priorities

The South Haven City Council has its priorities for the upcoming fiscal year following a meeting this week. The top three priorities for the year are development of “missing middle” housing options, economic development, infrastructure repairs. South Haven Mayor Scott Smith told WSJM News how the priorities list is put together.. ...Read Full Story

Lt. Gov. To Snag Endorsement

Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Calley is expected to be officially endorsed by Governor Rick Snyder. Calley, who has been lieutenant governor alongside Snyder for more than seven years, will host the governor at a campaign event today in the Detroit suburb of Southfield. The pending endorsement is no surprise, but it could give Calley a lift among Republican voters. When Calley launched his campaign in November, Snyder touted him as a “wonderful partner” and was the special guest at a Calley campaign fundraiser. Snyder cannot run a third time because of term limits. Other Republicans running to succeed Snyder include Attorney General Bill Schuette, state Senator Patrick Colbeck and Dr. Jim Hines. Four Democrats are running. The primary election is in August.. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw Suspect Previously Questioned By FBI

The 15-year-old Paw Paw High School student facing charges for threatening a school shooting had been questioned by area police and the FBI last month. His parents say school officials also evaluated him, but did not believe him to be a threat. The teen’s stepdad says his son, however, had been relentlessly bullied and that only increased after he was caught drawing a bomb.. ...Read Full Story

Check Your School’s Financial Health

A new website has been launched by the state of Michigan Treasury Department to make financial information about public school districts available to parents. Treasury spokesperson Ron Leix tells WSJM News the site is easy to use, breaking down the state on a map, district by district.. ...Read Full Story

Blue Ice Forms Up North

This is quite a sight in northern Michigan. Blue ice is piled 20 feet high along the shores of Mackinaw City. Jamie Mersch is the executive director of the Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce and told Michigan News Network this week the ice has boosted winter tourism.. ...Read Full Story

Softball Team Collecting Equipment

A new effort is underway to collect equipment for the Benton Harbor Tigers girls softball team. Benton Harbor Area Schools Varsity Softball Coach Chris Glisson tells us he started the collection drive to get all sorts of equipment when he realized his players were under-equipped.. ...Read Full Story

Coalition Talks Suicide Prevention

A meeting held at the Berrien County Health Department Tuesday aimed to spread the message that 911 is the number to call when a loved one is feeling suicidal. Berrien County Suicide Prevention Coalition founder Trent Watford told WSJM News 911 will connect someone who needs help with resources available.. ...Read Full Story

Shoreline Protection Bill Signed

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation from state Representative Kim LaSata intended to strengthen a program for the clean-up of waterways in the state. LaSata tells WSJM News confusion was created several years ago when the Michigan Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality were combined. After they separated, it was not clear which one was to run the Adopt-a-River and Adopt-a-Shoreline programs.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Approves Road Money

Another $175 million dollars in road funding has been signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. That’s on top of the the $600 million already allotted by state lawmakers. Michigan News Network Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick tells us the additional funding may be little consolation for drivers with flat tires and broken axles from all this winter’s potholes.. ...Read Full Story

Commissioners Agree To No-Wake Zone Request

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources can now hold a hearing on extending the no-wake zone in the St. Joseph River in the area of St. Joe and Benton Harbor. That’s because Benton Harbor City Commissioners on Monday agreed to let the DNR move forward. City Manager Darwin Watson told WSJM News people with boats at Pier 1000 asked that the no-wake zone be extended.. ...Read Full Story

Soft Lockdown At Eau Claire Middle, High School

Eau Claire Public Schools put one of its buildings on a soft lockdown Tuesday due to a possible threat. Parents received a message telling them the middle school-high school was placed on a soft lockdown due to a message found in a restroom. A Facebook post from the school district says the school “found graffiti in a bathroom stall at the high school. The local and county police have been notified and are on site. We are taking every precaution to keep students and faculty safe. At this time, there are no immediate concerns. If there are any questions or concerns, please contact the school offices.” Police are investigating.. ...Read Full Story

Names Released In Deadly Crash

More details are now public regarding a deadly crash between three vehicles on M-139 in Oronoko Township. The Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Police Department says 61-year-old Karen Johns of Eau Claire was killed in the crash Monday morning. Investigators tell WSJM News Johns was northbound on M-139 when her car was hit by a northbound pickup driven by 17-year-old Riley Haygood of Berrien Springs, pushing her into the southbound lanes and into the path of a Ford Transit Van carrying seven people. The van’s driver suffered minor injuries, and several passengers were treated by paramedics at the scene. Police are still trying to determine what caused Haygood to hit Johns’ vehicle to start the crash.. ...Read Full Story

Website Shows School Finances

From the Associated Press — The fiscal health of each public school in Michigan now can be viewed on a new website. The Michigan Treasury department says the MI School Financials Dashboard is easy to use and provides visual financial data about local and intermediate school districts and public academies. It also features data on revenues and expenditures, enrollment and per-pupil
funding. Schools are required to report such data to the Center for Educational Performance and Information. Last year, the state Treasury department made public the MI Community Dashboard which highlights financial data reported annually by counties, cities, villages and townships in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story