Local News Archives

Mixed Reaction In MI to DeVos Appointment

The selection of Betsy Devos to serve as the next U.S Secretary of Education is getting mixed reactions around Michigan. Among those on board with the appointment are Grand Rapids Schools Superintendent Theresa Weatherall and Congressman Bill Huizenga, who say Devos has been a supporter of education.. ...Read Full Story

Christmas In The Village Next Week In Stevensville

The village of Stevensville is gearing up to celebrate Christmas. Its annual Christmas in the Village event is set for next Saturday, December 3. The day will feature crafts, food, Santa, the Lakeshore Lancers Band, and a whole lot more. Santa can be found at the village hall starting at 3 p.m. and there, he’ll take pictures with the kids. The children will also get a free goodie bag and a map for a special goodie hunt. There will also be a photo booth set up next door at the village garage, which will serve for the day as a magical Christmas display. Village leaders invite everyone to come by with the kiddies for some cookie decorating and ornament making. Christmas in the Village will run from 3 to 6 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

Group Seeking Funds To Open Sojourner Truth Museum

A non-profit which wants to open a museum honoring the accomplishments of famed abolitionist Sojourner Truth is hoping to raise $150,000 to purchase Fremont Elementary School in Battle Creek. The Sojourner Truth Museum Foundation published a GoFundMe page Thursday. Truth had long history in Battle Creek. The former slave moved there in 1857, six years after delivering her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech in Ohio. That speech still sees frequent performances to this day. Battle Creek Public Schools closed Fremont in June, citing declining enrollment. The foundation wants to open the museum by 2019.. ...Read Full Story

Wahmhoff Farms To Load Trees For Troops Monday

It’s almost time once again for Wahmhoff Farms in Gobles to load up a truck with Michigan-grown Christmas trees to be sent to military personnel. Since 2005, more than 176,000 free trees have been sent to soldiers through the Trees for Troops program around the country. At 10 a.m. Monday, Wahmhoff Farms will pack up their shipment for the year. The trees are being sent to Fort Benning, Georgia this time around. Volunteers of all kinds are welcome to come out to the farm to help with the loading event. They’ll also have donuts and cider for all the folks who help. You can find out more about Trees for Troops at TreesForTroops.org.. ...Read Full Story

Sensors To Measure “Fan Quakes” At Michigan-Ohio State Game

Ohio Stadium is sure to be rocking on Saturday when the rival Ohio State and Michigan football teams take the field. Geologists will find out just how much. They’ve planted sensors around the stadium this year to measure the seismic activity created by fans. Ohio State and Miami University professors teamed up with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to devise the “FanQuakes Magnitude Scale.” It converts the
shaking coming from fans into the perceived magnitude of a naturally occurring earthquake. So far this season, the biggest quake came after Curtis Samuel’s touchdown catch at the beginning of the second half against Nebraska. The shaking lasted over two minutes and reached a FanQuake Magnitude of 5.2. Researchers say they’re expecting fans at Saturday’s game to “take it to another level.”. ...Read Full Story

Slain MI Police Officer Had SWM Ties

A Wayne State University Police Officer shot and killed in the line of duty this week was originally from Kalamazoo County. Officer Colin Rose is a native of Richland, where his parents still live. Friends of his family there have been passing out blue light bulbs for homeowners to put in their front porch lights as a salute to Rose. Family friend Tim Sampey says the 29-year-old had a warm personality.. ...Read Full Story

MI Shoppers Split Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is giving Black Friday a run for its money in Michigan. AAA’s latest Consumer Pulse survey shows the top shopping day this year for Michiganders will be Monday, when 48% of respondents said they’d try to snag a deal. 47% said Black Friday. As AAA’s Susan Hiltz tells WSJM  News, either way, this is a good time for retailers.. ...Read Full Story

Powerball Jackpot Now More Than $400 Million

If you’re feeling lucky, then you may want to buy a Powerball ticket this Saturday. The jackpot has now climbed to $403 million, which is the 13th largest lotto jackpot in U.S. history. To win that money, all you have to do is match all five numbers, plus the Powerball. Of course, the odds aren’t exactly in your favor. The chances of actually getting all five numbers plus the ball are 1 in more than 292 million. If someone wins this Saturday, they’ll have the option of collecting their money over 30 years, or all at once in a lump sum payment of about $250 million. You can get your ticket through 9:59 p.m. Saturday.. ...Read Full Story

McDonald’s Donating 1,000 Christmas Trees To Detroit Families

McDonald’s restaurant owners are donating 1,000 live Christmas trees to Detroit-area families. Five hundred trees, tree stands and gift cards will be given at a private event Saturday morning to families pre-selected by area churches. The remaining trees will be available from 1-3 p.m. on a first-come basis at the McDonald’s on Eight Mile Road near Woodward Avenue. The trees are 5 feet tall to 6 feet tall. Event organizers say Detroit-area McDonald’s restaurant owners also have donated turkeys, hats and scarfs, school supplies and other items to families in need as part of their support for the community.. ...Read Full Story

School Bus Crash Injuries Uncommon In Berrien County

This week’s school bus crash in Tennessee that killed six students may have parents wondering if their kids are safe on their routes to school each day. A look at crash data from Michigan State Police shows WSJM News that school bus injuries are somewhat uncommon in Berrien County. In 2015, there were 18 crashes involving school buses around the county, with no fatalities. Most of them happened on local roads. Since 2010, Berrien County has had 101 school bus crashes, none with fatalities, and with 32 injuries total. Statewide, one person was killed in a crash involving a school bus last year. It was in Wayne County. In total, there were 910 school bus crashes in Michigan in 2015, according to Michigan State Police.. ...Read Full Story

Moon Rock Coming To West MI Museum

A moon rock from the 1971 Apollo 15 mission is coming to a western Michigan museum. The rock will be displayed starting Monday at Calvin College’s Bruce Dice Mineralogical Museum in Grand Rapids. A reception will be held at the museum Monday night. It will remain in the museum until Feb. 16, 2017. The rock is on loan. Museum director Renee Sparks says the lunar sample is “not a very exciting rock, but something truly beyond value.”. ...Read Full Story

Edwardsburg Official Resigns Over Conflict Of Interest

A township official from southern Michigan who faced conflict of interest allegations has resigned from a local board. The South Bend Tribune reports Frank LaPierre recently resigned as chairman of Ontwa Township’s wastewater board. Edwardsburg businessman Robert J. Donnelly had publicly criticized LaPierre for being board chairman while working for an engineering firm the township contracts with for consulting and wastewater system work. LaPierre claimed Donnelly had threatened him, but Donnelly denies that allegation. Police investigated allegations Donnelly had threatened LaPierre and others but did not recommend that prosecutors pursue charges. LaPierre’s resignation letter cites a growing workload but also says disruptions created by some individuals had “made it, not only uncomfortable, but impractical to participate in a secure and safe environment.”. ...Read Full Story

State Waives Park Fee For Black Friday

Here’s a Black Friday deal that won’t cost a dime: free entry to Michigan state parks if you don’t have the annual recreation passport. The state is waiving fees Friday at 103 state parks and recreation areas and 138 rustic campgrounds. Parks chief Ron Olson says a hike “is the perfect way to
burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories.” The Department of Natural Resources is joining a national effort to get people outside on the day after the holiday. It was started last year by outdoor recreation retailer REI.. ...Read Full Story

Homeless West MI Man Finds New Home

A homeless man who was ordered to tear down a shanty in the Grand Rapids area has found a new home — with a piano. John Foster Bentley tells WOOD-TV that he’s been “overwhelmed” by the kindness of others. A business owner, Mike Rose, heard about Bentley’s ordeal and said he could live in one of his rental homes in exchange for fixing it up. Bentley built a shanty on public land in Wyoming, a Grand Rapids suburb. He was ordered to tear it down by Thanksgiving. Bentley got offers of food and shelter after the TV station reported about the order. The 53-year-old says he’s a former factory worker who doesn’t have a job.. ...Read Full Story

Study Looks At Healthcare Needs Around SWM

A year-long study done by Lakeland Health has given us a sense of what communities need to help residents live healthy, and also what folks around southwest Michigan are concerned about. The 2016-2019 Community Health Needs Assessment took about a year to compile, and points to several things weighing on the public’s mind, says Lakeland’s Dr. Lynn Todman.. ...Read Full Story

Chronic Wasting Disease Suspected In MI Deer

State wildlife regulators say another deer in southern Michigan may have been found with chronic wasting disease. The Department of Natural Resources says a hunter shot the 1 1/2 -year-old buck last week in Clinton County’s Eagle Township and took it to a check station. Preliminary tests came back positive for chronic wasting disease. A federal lab in Iowa is studying the carcass to see if the diagnosis was accurate. If so,
this would be the ninth free-ranging deer in Michigan to test positive for the fatal disease. DNR biologist Chad Fedewa says the find underscores the importance of taking deer killed during this month’s firearms hunting season to stations for examinations. The checks are mandatory in the Core CWD Area, which includes 17 townships in Ingham, Clinton, Shiawassee and Eaton counties.. ...Read Full Story

Break-In, Robbery Under Investigation In Buchanan

Police could use the public’s help in solving a break-in and robbery in Buchanan this week. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us it was reported about 7 p.m. Tuesday at a home on East Glendora Road. Deputies were told a woman came home to find a man there. He demanded her purse and then took off. It’s not known if he had a vehicle. Police say the suspect is described as about 55 or 60 years old, around 5’10, and with light brown and grey hair. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 983-7111.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Home Sales Down Slightly In October

Southwest Michigan’s housing market has been strong throughout 2016, although sales took a bit of a breather in the month of October. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors’ Philip Amodeo tells WSJM News sales for the month were down 6% from October of 2016. However, the year as a whole remains strong.. ...Read Full Story

MI Election Official: Recount Unlikely To Change Anythng

New questions have been raised about the presidential election count. So, could there really be a recount in Michigan? J Alex Halderman at the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security is among those raising the alarm about possible tampering here and in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Chris Thomas, of the Michigan Department of Elections, casts doubt on any fraud here, though.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Sheriff’s Department Warns About Fundraising Scam

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is warning everyone about a new scam. It says it’s gotten reports of well-dressed young men, ages about 16 to 22, hanging around the parking lots of some Benton Township area shopping centers, claiming to be selling candy bars to raise money for the Tigers football team or the Boys and Girls Club. They will sometimes say they don’t have change to get bigger donations. Both Benton Harbor High School and the Boys and Girls Club have told the sheriff’s department they’re not currently holding any such fundraisers. The department has also gotten a tip the scammers come up from Indiana. It asks folks to report any suspicious activity they see while out and about shopping.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Wants Phone Makers To Lock Drivers Out Of Most Apps

The government wants smartphone makers to lock out most apps when the phone is being used by someone driving a car. The voluntary guidelines unveiled Wednesday are designed to reduce crashes caused by drivers distracted by phones. The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration also wants automakers to make infotainment systems easy to pair with smartphones. Traffic deaths spiked 10.4 percent in the first six months of this year. That followed a 7.2 percent increase in 2015. The agency says 10 percent of fatal crashes last year involved distracted drivers. Drivers could still make calls but the phones and automaker systems would lock out the ability to enter text. Internet browsing, video not related to driving, text from books and photos also would be locked out. Navigation systems would be permitted.. ...Read Full Story

Court Finds 2014 Michigan Wolf Hunt Unconstitutional

A Michigan appeals court has found that the state’s 2014 wolf hunt was unconstitutional and the law allowing it should be struck down. The Detroit Free Press reports a three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals made the unanimous ruling in an opinion released Wednesday. The judges found that a provision of the law that allows for free military hunting, fishing and trapping licenses isn’t connected to the law’s object of providing for scientific management of wildlife habitats. The judge said that violates a clause in the Michigan constitution that says
the object of a law must be expressed in its title. The ruling is in favor of the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected and overturns an earlier ruling from the Michigan Court of Claims.. ...Read Full Story

Man Hospitalized After Catching On Fire

A man is being treated at South Bend Memorial Hospital after being found “covered in smoke” and lying on the ground in Niles Township. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened around 8:20 pm Tuesday at Birchcrest Estates in the 2300 block of East Main Street. They were called to the scene on a report of a man on fire. There are no details regarding his condition, identity, or what was happening when he caught on fire.. ...Read Full Story

Wounded Wayne State University Police Officer Dies

A Wayne State University police officer has died after being shot in the head while on patrol near the school’s campus in Detroit. The university announced Officer Collin Rose’s death Wednesday evening in a news release. Detroit police Sgt. Michael Woody confirmed the 29-year-old Rose
died about 5:45 p.m. Rose was shot Tuesday night in Detroit’s Woodbridge Estates neighborhood after radioing in that he was about to speak to someone about possible thefts from vehicles in the area. A suspect was arrested Tuesday night, but has not been charged. Rose, a five-year campus police veteran, had been released from surgery earlier Wednesday. University President M. Roy Wilson said Rose is the only Wayne State officer to “fall in the line of duty.”. ...Read Full Story

NCAA Hits Notre Dame – Irish Have To Forfeit 21 Wins

The NCAA has ordered Notre Dame to vacate all 21 victories from the 2012-13 seasons because of academic misconduct. A former trainer was found to have done substantial course work for two players and impermissibly helped six others. Among the forfeited wins are a 12-0 run that vaulted the Fighting Irish into the national title game against Alabama. Notre Dame says it will appeal. University president Reverend John Jenkins says the NCAA has never before vacated the records of a school that had no involvement in the underlying academic misconduct. The Division I Committee on Infractions panel put Notre Dame on probation for a year and ordered a $5,000 fine, penalties the school agreed with.. ...Read Full Story

Wayne State University Police Officer Shot In Detroit

A Wayne State University police officer who was shot in the head while on patrol near campus has been released from surgery, and authorities said they were interrogating a man about the attack. The officer was identified as 29-year-old Collin Rose, a five-year veteran of the department who works in the canine unit. Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Rose was on duty Tuesday evening when he radioed to say he was investigating possible thefts of navigation systems from vehicles and was about to speak to someone. Officers who arrived on the scene found the officer injured on the ground, Craig said.. ...Read Full Story

MI House To Pay $515,000 Settlement Over Firing Of Aides

The Michigan House of Representatives will pay $515,000 in a settlement with two former legislative aides who alleged they were wrongfully fired and publicly humiliated after reporting two lawmakers’ extramarital affair and other misconduct. An agreement released Tuesday says Keith Allard and Benjamin Graham will be paid about $170,000 each. Their lawyer’s firm will receive $175,000. The men sued nearly a year ago, saying they alerted House Speaker Kevin Cotter’s office about their two married Republican bosses’ affair, but it was covered up at the behest of ex-Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. Gamrat was expelled from office, and Courser resigned. In a joint statement, Cotter and the plaintiffs say the settlement “is in the best interest of everyone, including the House as an institution and the Michigan taxpayers.”. ...Read Full Story

Three Berrien Co. Deputies Complete Corrections Officer Academy

Berrien County has graduated three new corrections deputies. They just finished a four-week corrections officer training program at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, studying a variety of disciplines for jail officers. Those include custody and security, defensive tactics, first aid, suicide awareness, and communications. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey congratulated all three, saying they’ll help to safely manage the county jail population. Deputies Erik House, Kenyon Ellison and Amanda Scurek are all now ready to be jail guards.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Names Legislative Director

State Representative-elect Kim LaSata has started putting together her Lansing team. She’s hired Bridgman native Arthur Havlicek to serve as her legislative director. LaSata says that Havlicek brings an understanding of the legislature and the district to her team. Havlicek is a Lake Michigan Catholic and Grand Valley State graduate who has spent the least few years working for various legislators around the state. LaSata was just elected this month to serve as state Rep for the 79th District. She’ll replace state Representative Al Pscholka when he leaves office at the end of the year due to term limits.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Celebrates New Autonomous Vehicle Testing Facility

Developers have broken ground on what is billed as a world-class testing facility in Michigan for driverless vehicles. Governor Snyder and other officials attended a Monday groundbreaking for the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti Township. The facility will be located at the site of a former General Motors plant. It’s also where B-24 bombers were made during World War II.. ...Read Full Story

MI Lottery Contributes $889 Million To School Aid Fund

Michigan Lottery officials say nearly $889 million will be contributed the state’s School Aid Fund in 2016, a year after it contributed a record of $795.5 million. MLive reports that lottery officials said in a news release Monday that its 2016 performance made it the fastest growing lottery in the U.S. Officials said the lottery had its most successful year as a result of record-setting jackpots for Powerball and instant lottery games reporting double-digit growth. The state has paid out more than $1 billion in winnings this year. Each dollar in tickets sold contributed 29 cents to the School Aid Fund, 59 cents to prizes for players, 9 cents to commissions for vendors and retailers, and 3 cents to the Lottery’s ongoing operations and administrative costs.. ...Read Full Story

Couple Sentenced To Probation In Animal Hoarding Case

It was a case of animal hoarding in Van Buren County. Now the couple charged with animal neglect and cruelty for keeping over 100 dogs in their small home in Lawrence Township will get the help they need. Rather than jail, Melissa Copen and Donald Smith have been given two years on probation. During that period, they must not keep any pets in their home and have to seek psychiatric treatment for their hoarding syndrome, and do community service. Their home was raided and condemned in June after authorities got a look at what had happened. The animals were all seized, cleaned up, given shots and given away to new homes. The couple said they just wanted to help out animals that had nowhere else to go and it got out of hand.. ...Read Full Story

Report: Foster Kids Need More Emotional Support

A new report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation says child welfare agencies need to focus on helping foster parents meet the emotional needs of children in their care. Denise Goodman, a child welfare consultant, tells us kids in foster care are facing some real emotional difficulties. She says agencies should be sharing information not only about the responsibilities of parenting, but also the rewards of working with a child in need.. ...Read Full Story

“Groceries To Go” Coming To Martin’s In Stevensville

You’ll now be able to do your grocery shopping online or through an app at the Stevensville Martin’s store. The supermarket chain has announced it’s expanding its Groceries to Go program to that store after a successful launch in a couple of Indiana locations. With Groceries to Go, you can pick out all of the items on your shopping list online, and then Martin’s staff will collect and bundle them for you. Then, you just show up and pick them up. It’s $4.99 to use the service. You can check it out at MartinsGroceriesToGo.com, or get the app.. ...Read Full Story

Police Developing Leads In Berrien Springs Area Shooting

The leads are trickling in for Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township police in a break-in and shooting case that happened this month. The department tells us on the morning of November 11, three men got into a struggle with a man at his home on East Snow Road. He was shot in the process, and they took off in a white Ford Focus. The victim is recovering, and since the crime, police say they’ve held several interviews in the case, with more to come. Anyone with information is asked to contact Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township police at 471-2813. Police say they have reason to think the victim was targeted for a specific reason.. ...Read Full Story

No Injuries In Crash Involving St. Joseph School Bus

Everyone’s OK following a crash between a school bus and an SUV in St. Joseph Township Monday morning. Police tell us it happened at the intersection of Niles Avenue and Lincoln just before 8 a.m. A northbound bus on Niles with six St Joseph elementary kids on board was turning left on to Lincoln when the southbound SUV came through the intersection and they collided. The driver of the bus, a 72-year-old woman from Bridgman, was found to be at fault in the crash. The driver of the SUV, a 28-year-old St. Joseph woman who is nine months pregnant, was taken by ambulance to Lakeland Hospital to be checked out, and police say she’ll be fine. None of the kids were hurt, and the scene was cleared by 8:30.. ...Read Full Story

Samaritans Credited With Saving Driver From Tanker Fire

A Benton Harbor man is expected to recover after he suffered minor injuries when the tanker truck he was driving rolled over early Monday and caught on fire near South Haven. 45-year-old Michael Bennett was on the I-196 ramp to Pullman Road when the crash occurred. When the tanker caught fire, three men who happened by managed to drag Bennett to safety. One of them, Jeff Hunter, from Gaylord, tells WSJM News that Bennett was still conscious, and when he told the other three he’d been hauling gasoline, the men pulled him as far away from the wreck as they could. The other two Samaritans have been identified as Shawn Crittendon and Chad Edgington. Hunter says it’s good they were all there.. ...Read Full Story

BH School Board Trustee Steps Down

Benton Harbor School Board Trustee James Turner has stepped down. He sent an e-mail to the board this week offering his resignation, effective immediately. Turner says he’s moving out of the country. The board now has to find his replacement, and will take letters of interest through the end of the business day December 6. The letters can be sent to or dropped off at the central administration building on Pipestone. The board hopes to begin screening for a pick by December 15. Turner has served on the board for about two years, and Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker says it’s been an honor and a privilege to work with him.. ...Read Full Story

MSU Student Files Hacked

Any one who has worked for Michigan State University since 1970 or attended classes since 1991 wil be offered credit monitoring and identity theft services after someone hacked their system. They are fairly certain that about 450 had their files hacked, as many as 400,000 may have been compromised.. ...Read Full Story

Fire Prevention Group Urges Thanksgiving Caution

Fire prevention group ESCAPE is issuing some guidelines for folks ahead of Thanksgiving to help make sure the holiday is safe for everyone. The organization’s Mike McLeieer tells us it’s important to not get distracted from your work in the kitchen once the stove and oven are on. Also, he recommends cleaning the oven.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Blood Implements New Protections Against Zika

Michigan Blood is taking new steps to help prevent the spread of the Zika virus. The organization announced Monday it’s going to test all blood donations for the mosquito-borne illness. It’s working with an Indiana company to do so. That means things will change a little bit for donors. Michigan Blood says they’ll now have to be at least 112 pounds, instead of the previous 110, because an extra tube of blood will be taken for testing. Also, no one will be deferred if they’ve been to a Zika risk area, which could mean a 2% decrease in deferred donors. The changes took effect Friday, and Michigan Blood tells us they’re all about patient safety.. ...Read Full Story

Ground Broken On Autonomous Vehicle Testing Facility

Developers have broken ground on what is billed as a world-class testing facility in Michigan for driverless vehicles. Governor Rick Snyder and other officials attended a Monday groundbreaking for the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti Township. The facility will be located
at the site of a former General Motors plant. It’s also where B-24 bombers were made during World War II. Snyder says the facility “will put Michigan at the forefront of the autonomous movement.” Willow Run Arsenal of Democracy Landholdings Limited Partnership recently
bought the property, paving the way for construction. The center plans to open in December 2017. It will be available for use by private industry, government, standards bodies and academia. Companies will be able to lease office space, garages and other amenities.. ...Read Full Story

Semi Driver Hospitalized After Tanker Rolls, Catches Fire

The quick response of other semi drivers is being credited with saving the life of a gasoline tanker driver this morning in South Haven. Police say they pulled the man to safety after he was thrown from his rig when it overturned on the ramp at Exit 26 for Pullman Road shortly after 3 a.m. The tanker caught fire and was allowed to burn itself out by South Haven Area Emergency Services. The driver is now being treated at South Haven Community Hospital. There is no word on his condition or where he is from. The fire shut down northbound I-196 for about two hours this morning.. ...Read Full Story