Local News Archives

Justice Denies Michigan Appeal To Halt Sex Offender Ruling

A U.S. Supreme Court justice has rejected Michigan’s request to halt a lower court decision that found the state unconstitutionally put additional restrictions on sex offenders long after their convictions. Justice Elena Kagan denied Tuesday the emergency appeal for a stay. In August, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said changes to Michigan law in 2006 and 2011, which included retroactively restricting sex offenders’ movements near schools, penalize offenders as “moral lepers.” The appeals court denied Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s request to block the decision during appeal. So did Kagan. Schuette’s office couldn’t immediately be reached to comment.Michigan has the country’s fourth-largest sex offender list, with more than 42,000 registrants. Michigan prohibits all registrants from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of school property.. ...Read Full Story

Suspended Officer Who Displayed Confederate Battle Flag Resigns

A Northern Michigan police officer suspended after flying a Confederate battle flag from his pickup during a political rally has resigned. Traverse City Manager Marty Colburn says Michael Peters turned in his resignation Monday evening. Colburn says Peters apologized to the community and “for the stain he put on the city” and its police department. Colburn says he believes Peters’ apology was sincere.. ...Read Full Story

MI LGBT Groups Concerned Following Trump Win

Advocates for the rights of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender predict there will be challenges under the coming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, but also believe important past legal gains are fairly secure. Hayley Gorenberg, general counsel at Lambda Legal, tells us Trump could appoint an anti-marriage equality Supreme Court justice. However, Gorenberg says replacing Aontonin Scalia with such a justice wouldn’t change anything.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagon Fund Aims To Help Stuff Food Pantries

The Pokagon Fund has announced it’s supporting several south Berrien County food banks this winter. It notes that since its inception in 2007, the fund has given out more than $600,000 to 25 organizations that feed people in the region. Groups being supported by the Pokagon Fund this year are Meals on Wheels of Southwest Michigan, Senior Nutrition Services, Feeding America West Michigan, Blessings in a Backpack, A.C.T.I.O.N. Dowagiac, St. Margaret’s House, and the Harbor Country Rotary. With the winter and Thanksgiving approaching, many southwest Michigan charities are now raising money to help people out. It’s estimated that one in five Harbor Country families will need food assistance this year.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County K9 Helps Catch Domestic Violence Suspect

A Cass County Sheriff’s Department K9 has once again gotten his man. The department tells us deputies were called out to a home in LaGrange Township Sunday night on a report of a domestic assault. They got there and learned the suspect had run off. So, K9 Faust was brought in, and a search of some nearby woods began. After about going about 1.7 miles, Faust found the 31-year-old Cassopolis man hiding in some brush. He was taken to jail on a domestic violence charge, while his alleged victim was taken to a hospital. Faust is a 3-year-old Dutch Shepard who has worked for the department since July.. ...Read Full Story

I&M Warns About The Latest Scams

Customers of Indiana Michigan Power are being warned about the latest scammers out on the prowl. I&M spokesperson Erica Putt tells WSJM News some people have been getting calls or visits from individuals claiming to be with the company and demanding payment immediately. I&M wouldn’t do that.. ...Read Full Story

Man Shot in Berrien Springs Break-In

An Oronoko Township man is expected to fully recover after police say he was shot last week during a break-in to his home. The Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Police Department was called out to 221 East Snow Road around 10:20 a.m. Friday when Travis Donnell Eidsness reported he’d been shot in the shoulder. When they got there, police were told three black males had appeared at the front door asking to use the phone. After a short conversation, one of the men pulled a handgun and there was a struggle. That’s when Eidsness was shot. He ran to a neighbor’s house while the suspects all took off. Police are still looking for the suspects. They don’t believe the attack was random, telling us it looks like the suspects specifically targeted that home.. ...Read Full Story

ESPN’s College GameDay Coming To WMU

There are just two undefeated football teams left in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision – Alabama and Western Michigan. The Crimson Tide remain ranked number-one in the AP poll and the “USA Today”/Amway Coaches Poll, while WMU isn’t getting the same amount of respect from the voters yet. The Broncos are 14th in the latest AP poll and 21st in the coaches poll. ESPN, however, will recognize the outstanding season by the Broncos this weekend. The network will broadcast its flagship “College GameDay” program on Saturday from Kalamazoo at 9 a.m. at Sangren Pedestrian Mall on campus. Fans are encouraged to start showing up around 6 a.m. for the program. WMU hosts Buffalo on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., with the game to be televised on ESPNU.. ...Read Full Story

Traverse City Officer Suspended Ater Diving With Confederate Fag

A northern Michigan police officer has been suspended with pay after he was seen off-duty driving a pickup truck bearing a Confederate battle flag around a group protesting Republican Donald Trump’s election as President. Traverse City police Chief Jeff O’Brien announced Michael Peters’ suspension Sunday after earlier saying an internal investigation was to start Monday to see if departmental rules were broken.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Puts Completion Of US-31 Into 5-Year Plan

The Michigan Department of Transportation has added the completion of the US-31 corridor to its five year construction plan. State Representative Al Pscholka has been working on getting MDOT to commit to the project for years, and tells us he’s relieved US-31 will finally be connected to I-94. He’s always asked about it.. ...Read Full Story

Flint Posts Water Shutoff Notices On Commercial Properties

Flint says water shut-off notices are being posted by city employees on commercial properties with past-due utility accounts. Friday’s efforts follow months of work by the city to obtain payment on commercial water and sewer accounts with high outstanding balances. It’s part of
a state requirement to maintain water credits being provided amid Flint’s crisis with lead-tainted drinking water. Flint says police officers will accompany those posting notices. The notices are being put up at a number of locations in Flint, including apartment complexes. The city says some owners of apartment buildings have been collecting rent, which includes utility fees, but they haven’t been paying the city for sewer and water service. Representatives from the Red Cross and United Way will be available next week to offer assistance, if needed.. ...Read Full Story

Y-Country Stuff A Truck Food Drive Next Week

It’s time once again for 97-5 Y-Country’s Stuff a Truck food drive. The week-long effort starts Monday, and it’ll have Y-Country staff broadcasting live from Roger’s Foodland in St. Joseph alongside a 23-foot truck, stuffing it with things people donate. Y-Country’s Matt Malone tells WSJM News it’s the 20th year for the drive.. ...Read Full Story

Firearm Deer Season Starts Tuesday

Firearm deer hunting season starts Tuesday, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reminding those who plan to head out into the woods to be safe. It’s issued a quick list of tips to be sure this hunting season is a successful one. First, it’s telling hunters to treat every firearm as though it’s loaded. Keep the safety on until you’re ready to fire and never point the muzzle toward anyone. Also, use a safety harness if you’re up in a tree blind, make sure someone knows just where you’re going to be, and have a cell phone with you. The DNR adds that camouflage hunter orange is legal provided 50% of the pattern is hunter orange. Meanwhile, utility companies remind hunters their property is off limits. You can get the DNR’s app, MI-Hunt, that’ll tip you off to good hunting spots around the state.. ...Read Full Story

Adoption Day To Be Celebrated In Van Buren County

The van Buren County Circuit Court will hold a special ceremony this month to mark Adoption Day. At 10 a.m. on Tuesday the 22nd, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman will be on hand to oversee some adoption confirmations at the court. There are about 13,000 children in the Michigan foster care system, with around 2,400 seeking adoption. Each year, Adoption Day is held around the state to recognize their plight and to celebrate those families that choose to adopt. Anyone interested in signing up to be a foster home can call the Van Buren County Department of Health and Human Services.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Road Commission Marks 100 Years

The Van Buren County Road Commission has marked its 100th birthday. The agency was founded in 1916 under a 1912 state law calling for uniformity in road standards statewide, and it’s changed quite a lot since then. The road commission welcomed the public to a party last week where it showed off historical photographs, and let people put their hand print on a special 100th anniversary plow. The road commission started out with just one employee, and today has about 50 who care for more than 1,3000 miles of road. Leaders are thanking all of the friends and family who came out to the birthday celebration.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate Approves Energy Policy

The Michigan senate has approved a long-awaited energy policy. State Representative Aric Nesbitt, of Lawton, is the chair of the House Committee on Energy Policy, and has led the charge on the package. He tells WSJM News the plan is about making sure the state relies on a wide array of energy sources.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigating Rash Of Thefts From Cars

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is working to solve a wave of thefts from parked cars. It says the reports of items being stolen from vehicles have come in all month long from Berrien, Buchanan, Watervliet, Hagar, and Royalton Townships. There’s been about 40 of them. In most of the cases, the vehicles were unlocked, and the thefts happened overnight. Police remind you to lock your car doors and not to leave anything valuable inside the car overnight. If you see anything suspicious, call police.. ...Read Full Story

Crash Backs Up I-94

Emergency crews are now working to clear the scene of a crash on eastbound I-94 that has backed up the road all the way from I-196 to Benton Harbor. Berrien County Central Dispatch tells us the call came in around 4:40 p.m. Friday when one semi hit another. There were no injuries. Michigan State Police are investigating.. ...Read Full Story

Hundreds Around Michigan Protest Election Results

Hundreds of people gathered at Michigan State University to protest hateful political rhetoric and promote unity following the presidential election. The East Lansing event Thursday was organized by the MSU College Democrats as a way to come together after the election. Organizers say it wasn’t intended as a protest against President-elect Donald Trump. As the crowd dispersed, some protesters gathered at the MSU Union. The Lansing State Journal reports police locked the building’s doors to keep people from staying inside. No arrests were reported. In Grand Rapids on Thursday night, hundreds of anti-Trump protesters marched through downtown. And in Detroit, hundreds marched from Wayne State University to protest Trump’s election. It was the second day of postelection protests in Michigan. On Wednesday, protesters rallied in Detroit and Ann Arbor.. ...Read Full Story

Two Bicyclists Hospitalized After Hit-And-Run Crash Near Kalamazoo

Authorities say two bicyclists have been taken to a hospital with injuries following a hit-and-run crash near Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department says a pickup truck hit the bicyclists on Thursday night in Alamo Township. The department says the two injured bicyclists were among four bicyclists involved. Injuries were described as non-life-threatening. Investigators say the truck has front passenger-side damage. Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s department. In June, a motorist plowed into a group of bicyclists with his pickup truck, killing five and injuring four, in Kalamazoo County’s Cooper Township, which is nearby. On Monday, a judge ordered Charles Pickett Jr. to trial on second-degree murder charges in that case.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan, Flint Ordered To Make Home Water Deliveries

A federal judge has ordered the state of Michigan and the city of Flint to deliver bottled water to lead-tainted homes under certain conditions. Judge David Lawson granted an injunction Thursday sought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Natural Resources Defense Council. They’ve argued that many residents can’t get to water distribution sites or have other challenges. Flint residents are urged to use bottled water or filtered tap water while the city’s water system heals from lead contamination. Corrosive water from the Flint River wasn’t treated properly for 18 months. Flint has free water distribution sites, but the judge says some residents still “are encountering great difficulty.” Lawson says home delivery isn’t required if officials verify that a filter has been properly installed and maintained. Residents also can decline delivery.. ...Read Full Story

Medal Of Honor Possible For South Haven Man

A South Haven man is in line to receive the nation’s highest military honor for his acts of heroism during the Vietnam War. Congressman Fred Upton and Michigan’s U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters have introduced legislation to make James “Doc” McCloughan eligible for the Medal of Honor. He is credited with saving the lives of 10 members of his platoon during the Battle of Nui Yon Hill from May 13-15, 1969. In a statement, Upton says McCloughan is “no doubt” an American hero, and his recognition is long overdue. Medal of Honor recipients must be honored within five years of their actions, but the Defense Department has recently recommended the recognition for the South Haven native. During his service, McCloughan was highly decorated and received multiple honors that include the Combat Medical Badge, two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars with “V” device for valor, and more.. ...Read Full Story

Doctors Remind Michiganders Of Diabetes Dangers

During this National Diabetes Awareness Month, doctors are reminding everyone of the warning signs of the disease, as well as how you can avoid it. Vascular surgeon Dr. Gary Gibbons tells our newsroom 29 million Americans have diabetes, including almost 800,000 in Michigan. Lifestyle choices can affect whether you get it.. ...Read Full Story

Many Perks Offered To Veterans Tomorrow

Friday is Veterans Day, and there will be plenty of chances for Berrien County vets to receive a special thank you. Martin’s Supermarkets, for example, are serving up free meals to veterans from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Just head over to the Martin’s deli and you’ll get fried chicken. The Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo also has something planned, as veterans and one guest each can get a 50% discount on meals at the buffet. Applebee’s, Chili’s, and Texas Corral are offering free meals for veterans, while IHOP has free stacks of red, white, and blue pancakes. If you’re a veteran, or just someone looking to take a veteran out for lunch or dinner, you can call ahead and find most places have some kind of a deal. In all cases, it’s important to remember to bring along proof of military service.. ...Read Full Story

Edmund Fitzgerald Remembered Today

The Great Lakes area is remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald tragedy, 41 years after the boat sank amid a furious storm on Lake Superior. The Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City is one of several places that held a memorial today. For good reason, says academy superintendent Jerry Achenbach, who’s spent his career on the water.. ...Read Full Story

MI companies On Trade Mission To China

Several Michigan companies, including the Michigan Blueberry Growers and Naturipe out of Grand Junction are introducing themselves to China this week. Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams is leading her first food and agriculture trade mission to the country with the goal of the introducing Michigan companies to the ever growing and expanding Chinese market. Adams says Michigan already has a good relationship with China.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Still Lots To Do Before Lame Duck Ends

There may have just been a big election, but that’s no reason for Congress to step away from its responsibilities. That’s the belief of Congressman Fred Upton, who tells WSJM News one of the big things to be done in the lame duck session is the final approval of his 21st Century Cures legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that will happen.. ...Read Full Story

BH City Commissioners Approve Budget Amendment

A $65,000 budget amendment sought by Benton Harbor City Manager Darwin Watson has been approved by the city commission. At Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Duane Seats wanted to know how there could have been a $65,000 underestimation for what would be needed by police for overtime. He opposed the amendment saying someone should take responsibility. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said the adjustment had to be approved.. ...Read Full Story

Chikaming Twp Culvert Work All Finished

The $1.4 million replacement of a culvert on Red Arrow Highway in Berrien County is now done. The Berrien County Road Commission this week celebrated with a ribbon cutting. The project to replace the nearly 80-year-old culvert near Cherry Beach Road in Chikaming Township began in August. It was originally slated to start in April, but local businesses complained it would damage the busy tourist season. So, the road commission agreed to the delay. The work meant the closure of Red Arrow Highway between Three Oaks Road and Warren Woods Road for several months. Traffic in the area is now back to normal.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Health Systems Becoming Part Of Bronson

South Haven Health Systems will now be called Bronson South Haven. That’s after voters this week approved making SHHS part of Bronson Healthcare. The move is designed to make the South Haven entity better able to provide care to patients in the long term. The South Haven Health Systems Board of Trustees announced its plans with Bronson back in April, but it had to clear voter approval. This week, that happened with 89% of the public voting yes. SHHS President Joanne Schroeder says the move will ensure “strong, local healthcare for our community for years to come.” The transition will take effect on January 1.. ...Read Full Story

GM Cutting About 2,000 MI Jobs

General Motors is cutting shifts at two plants, eliminating about two thousand jobs. The Lansing Grand River Plant builds Camaros and Cadillacs. The Lordstown plant makes the Chevy Cruze small car. AutoTrader analyst Michelle Krebs says this comes as sales of those products have been declining.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Ready To Work With Trump

Governor Snyder says he’ll be working to improve Michigan’s relationship with the White House under a Donald Trump presidency. Snyder points out that Trump and Hillary Clinton made numerous stops here during the campaign. And he expects jobs to part of that conversation with president-elect Trump.. ...Read Full Story

Voters Approve LMC Millage Request

Voters have approved Lake Michigan College’s millage request. It was a close one, but in the end, the millage passed by about 680 votes. LMC President Dr. Bob Harrison tells WSJM News it’s gratifying to get the public’s support. Now that the money is secured, detailed planning for building improvements and course offerings begins.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Congratulates Trump

Congressman Fred Upton has congratulated President-elect Donald Trump. The St. Joseph Republican stayed out of the race for president, not endorsing Trump. However, following Trump’s surprise and decisive victory Tuesday Upton issued a statement saying that he’s willing and able to work with whoever was elected. Upton also says the voters “have clearly spoken,” adding it’s time to put divisiveness behind and work toward common goals.. ...Read Full Story