Local News Archives

Upton Seeking Mental Health Funding

Congressman Fred Upton is pushing for more money for states next year to treat mental illness. He tells WSJM News he and some colleagues this week sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking for money set aside in the 21st Century Cures legislation to be set aside again next year.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Attempted ATM Theft

The St. Joseph Township Police Department is investigating a crime involving a local ATM that has international implications. The department tells us officers were called out to the United Federal Credit Union at 2580 South Cleveland around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday. There, they found and apprehended two suspects who had been trying to fraudulently get money out of the ATM. Police say both suspects, from Venezuela, have been involved in these types of crimes nationwide. They’re now lodged at the Berrien County Jail and the investigation continues.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Warns About Phone Scam

Southwestern Michigan College is telling everyone in the area not to fall for a phone scam that shows up on caller ID as the college. SMC tells us someone calls with a high pressure sales pitch for cruises with the ID indicating the caller is from the college. It’s not from the college. A Dowagiac women reported getting one of the calls this week and notified the college. SMC President David Mathews tells us SMC suspects “this is a number-masking technique used by unscrupulous telemarketers throughout the country. SMC is obviously not in the travel sales business.” If you get such a call, just hang up.. ...Read Full Story

Online Voter Registration Could Be Coming

From the Associated Press — Michiganders should be able to register to vote online, state senators say. The lawmakers voted 35-1 Thursday for five bills that would enact an electronic voter registration database operated through Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office.
Individuals electing to sign up this way must possess a valid driver’s license or official state ID card. Because driver’s license registration already exists online through the secretary of state’s website, supporters of the legislation say incorporating electronic registration in voting as well streamlines registration without compromising security. The lone dissenter, Senator Patrick Colbeck, a Republican from Canton Township, says past irregularities from the 2016 election make the stakes too high to add another potential point of entry for hackers.
The bills now head to the House, where similar bills already are under consideration.. ...Read Full Story

Students Demand Sen. Schuitmaker Apologize

State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker is being ripped by students in Allegan for her remarks about the national student demonstrations this week calling for gun law reforms and honoring the victims and survivors of the Parkland, Florida school massacre. Thirteen students attending Allegan High School and the Allegan Tech Center have released their letter to Schuitmaker, calling on the Lawton Republican to issue an apology for calling the demonstrations “a statement which solves nothing.” The senator also said she was “greatly disappointed” in the adults who encouraged their children to get involved in the national conversation. The Allegan students are demanding Schuitmaker not only publicly apologize, but cut her ties with the NRA. They accuse the senator of not listening to students, and they are promising to “take it to the polls in November.” Schuitmaker is seeking the Republican nomination for attorney general and is up against state House Speaker Tom Leonard.. ...Read Full Story

Warren Dunes Volunteer Day

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking for a few volunteers who would like to help remove invasive plants from Warren Dunes State Park this weekend. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. stewards of the park will work to protect the dunes by pulling out invasive shrubs like privet, honeysuckle, and Japanese barberry before they take over the habitat. Everyone who shows up is asked to dress for the weather and off-trail work. Volunteers should meet at the picnic area of the campground, which is on the left past the headquarters. Those who take part should show up at 10 a.m. Saturday.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Aims For Federal Flood Aid

Now that Governor Rick Snyder has approved a disaster declaration for 17 counties affected by flooding this month and last month, Congressman Fred Upton is hoping to get some federal relief for businesses that were hurt. He spoke with WSJM News about the flooding this week.. ...Read Full Story

Board President Reads Statement On Investigations

This week’s meeting of the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education brought a statement from School Board President Marletta Seats about the status of ongoing investigations. Seats read a prepared statement, saying parents have asked her for an update on school safety, along with the investigation into Superintendent Shelly Walker. She said the board is working with the Michigan Departments of Treasury and Education to be sure all is above board.. ...Read Full Story

Open House On Napier Plans

An open house will be held this month for Benton Harbor-area residents to hear about possible plans for improvements to Napier Avenue. The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission’s Ryan Fellows tells WSJM News a study is currently in the works for Napier between the St. Joseph River and I-94.. ...Read Full Story

Scholarships Announced For LMC

Lake Michigan College has announced the creation of four new scholarships for students. Offered through the Lake Michigan College Foundation, three of the funds will support students in advanced manufacturing, culinary management, and wine making. Another is for South Haven area women studying early childhood education, engineering, and life sciences. The new scholarships range in size from $500 to $1,500. They add to the LMC Foundation’s $600,000 in private scholarships available each year. Anyone interested in pursuing financial assistance for college via one of the LMC scholarships can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Griffin Seeking Re-Election

Now seeking a second term in the Michigan House representing Van Buren County is state Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan. She tells WSJM News she filed paperwork on Thursday to run for re-election. Griffin says it’s been a productive year since she took office, and wants more time to serve the 66th District.. ...Read Full Story

Engler Testifies About MSU

There was testimony in Lansing Thursday from John Engler, the president of Michigan State University. Following the school’s failed handling of complaints about sexual assault from former spots doctor Larry Nassar, the Michigan Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education asked questions about MSU Title Nine Department.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Threat Found At Countryside Academy

Classes were cancelled for Thursday at the Countryside Academy in Benton Township due to a threat found in a men’s room on Wednesday. The Benton Township Police Department tells WSJM News officers were called out to the high school on Meadowbrook Road shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday. That’s after a note containing threats to shoot up the school was found. Police say the note also contained racial overtones. Classes were cancelled on Thursday as a result. The Benton Township Police Department is working the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force on investigating the threat. Anyone with information on it is asked to contact Benton Township police.. ...Read Full Story

School Board Gets Update On Academic Progress

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has received an update on the academic progress of district students since the partnership agreement with the state went into effect. Acting Superintendent Patricia Robinson tells WSJM News there’s been some progress on reading scores, but they’re having trouble increasing math scores. A big part of the problem is the lack of certified math teachers.. ...Read Full Story

Water Meters, Fire Truck To Be Purchased By Benton Harbor With Grants

Benton Harbor is going to get a pair of grants totaling nearly $800,000 from the Michigan Department of Treasury. The money will be used for a new fire engine and to replace water meters in the city. Treasury is awarding over $5 million to 11 cities as part of the Financially Distressed Cities, Villages and Townships Grant Program. One grant for Benton Harbor is for $490,000 for the new fire engine, with the water meter grant coming in at $309,500. All of the other grants are going to Detroit suburbs, including Ecorse, Melvindale, Hamtramck and Harper Woods. Treasury says the grant pays for specific projects, services, or strategies that are geared toward helping local governments make strides toward financial stability.. ...Read Full Story

Report Looks At Bottled Water Sales

Bottled water sales in the United States are skyrocketing, but a new report looks at what is actually being sold to those customers. In “Take Back the Tap,” Food and Water Watch researchers look at the booming business of bottled water, which surpassed soda in sales in 2016. The group finds nearly 64% of bottled water comes from municipal taps, and that it cost almost two thousand times as much as tap water and four times as much as gasoline. Patty Lovera with Food and Water Watch tells us bottled water companies target demographics through advertising, especially immigrant communities.. ...Read Full Story

House Approves Bill For Veteran Services

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s first veteran fund has been approved by lawmakers in the state House. They voted 107-1 Wednesday to create the County Veteran Service Fund, which would deploy veteran service officers to each county to assist veterans in
adjusting to civilian life. Each county’s grant would consist of a base $25,000 amount and a per-capita total based on the veteran population. The fund would be established within the Department of Treasury, and the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency would operate the program’s distribution of grants. The bill proposes a $5 million appropriation and is sponsored by the state’s Department of Military and Veteran Affairs as well as multiple state and county level veteran agencies. The bill now heads to the Senate.. ...Read Full Story

Ice Arena Closes For The Season This Weekend

You’re running out of time to go skating at the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena in St. Joseph this winter. The city of St. Joe tells us the arena will be closing for the season this Sunday. As the closing approaches, the city will be offering special pricing of half price admission — or, $2.50 — and free skate rentals starting this Friday and running through Sunday. Plus, Twisted Dog Concessions will have specials going on for those hungry skaters looking for snacks. Open skate for this weekend will take place between noon and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon and 6 p.m. Sunday. Then, another season for the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena will wrap up.. ...Read Full Story

Drivers Get Grace Period For New Tabs

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office is praising the Michigan Legislature for approving the creation of a new 30-day grace period for drivers to affix their new license plate tabs when they renew their registration each year. Governor Rick Snyder signed the grace period into law this week. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says, thanks to the new rule, if you renew your registration online or at the last minute, you don’t have to worry about getting a ticket if you haven’t received your tab yet. Drivers who renew online will receive a receipt that can be shown to police officers to prove they have renewed their vehicle registration. Additionally, most law enforcement agencies can verify electronically if the vehicle’s plate has been renewed or is expired. Johnson testified in favor of the plan last year.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks School Safety And Protests

As students protested school violence across the country Wednesday, the U.S. House was voting to increase security in schools. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News the STOP School Violence Act had its vote, passing 407 to 10. It sets aside $75 million for school safety grants to train teachers and others. Upton says he has appreciated high school students getting involved in civics since the Parkland, Florida shootings.. ...Read Full Story

Resolution Salutes Women In Elected Office

The Michigan Senate this week approved a resolution co-sponsored by state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker to salute the women who hold elected office in the state. The resolution declares March 19, next Monday, as Women in Public Office Day. Schuitmaker, who is the second woman in the state’s history to serve as president pro tempore of the Senate, said she hopes the move will encourage more women to run for office. She tells us the number of women holding elected office in Michigan has been steadily increasing for several years, with 2018 being a major breakout year. She urges more young women to aspire to holding elected office so they can make a difference in their communities and in their state.. ...Read Full Story

Students Hold Walkouts At Local Schools

High school students at schools around southwest Michigan and the entire country have raised their voice to speak out against violence. At Lakeshore High School Wednesday morning, the kids walked out to chants of “enough is enough.” One of the walkout’s organizers, senior Anna, told WSJM News the recent school shootings in Parkland, Florida have resonated with students.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Leaders Talking 2018 Priorities

South Haven City Manager Brian Dissette is tasking the city council with addressing a list of priorities he gave to them at a meeting last night. The council members also added to the document, and Dissette says this is just the first step in deciding what the priorities are and what order they should be addressed.. ...Read Full Story