Local News Archives

Michigan Republicans Lose Another Senate Candidate

There’s one fewer Republican running for the U.S. Senate in Michigan. Former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young has exited the race. He announced on a Detroit radio station this morning that he is “suspending” his campaign for the GOP nomination because he wasn’t able to raise the money that he felt would be needed to successfully unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. Young is the third high-profile Republican to decide against trying to knock off Stabenow, along with Congressman Fred Upton and oil executive Lena Epstein, who headed up President Trump’s campaign in Michigan. Former Governor John Engler convinced Young to run, and he had the lead in polling done in November for the Republican nomination. His exit leaves Iraq War veteran John James and businessman Sandy Pensler as the top Republicans still in the race along with historic preservationist Bob Carr of Mackinac Island.. ...Read Full Story

Four Winds South Bend To Open This Month

From the Associated Press — A Native American tribe is set to open its first Indiana casino to join three it already operates in southwest Michigan. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi announced Tuesday that the Four Winds South Bend casino will open to the public
on January 16. It will be Indiana’s first tribal casino. The tribe says the casino will have about 1,800 games, four restaurants, three
bars and employ about 1,200 people. The new casino is on South Bend’s southwest side, near the U.S. 31/20 bypass. A study for the Casino Association of Indiana estimates the tribal casino will cut Indiana’s tax revenue by more $350 million in its first five years because
it will reduce business at the state’s other casinos and won’t pay state gambling taxes.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Up As New Year Starts

From the Associated Press — AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have gone up about 8 cents per gallon in the past week. The Dearborn-based auto club said Tuesday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.68 a gallon. That price is 16 cents more than at the same time a year ago. Michigan’s lowest average price was about $2.60 per gallon in the Marquette area. The highest was about $2.73 per gallon in the Jackson area. The Detroit-area’s average rose about 4 cents to $2.67 per gallon. AAA Michigan says the state has the country’s eighth most-expensive gasoline prices.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Issues Yearly Report

Congressman Fred Upton is maintaining that much was accomplished in Washington throughout 2017. His office has released a 2017 year in review report, which can be found on its website. Upton says, “2017 was a transformational year but my focus never wavered from local initiatives such as helping constituents with problems big and small, and on bipartisan policies that create jobs and improve our economy.” He then predicts both parties can work together throughout 2018 to solve problems everyone cares about. Among accomplishments Upton wants to highlight for last year are helping South Haven’s Jim McCloughan get a Medal of Honor, his role with the Fuel Economy Harmonization Act, a plan that’s designed to reduce manufacturing costs for cars, and the FDA Reauthorization Act. You can see Upton’s report right here.. ...Read Full Story

BH Public Safety Department Getting New Radios

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety will be getting some new radios. City Commissioners on Tuesday approved the purchase of 22 police radios at a cost of $31,500. A $25,000 grant pays for most of it, with Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis telling commissioners the extra money makes these replacements a lot easier.. ...Read Full Story

MI Lawmakers To Focus On Bike Safety This Year

From the Associated Press — In the capital of the U.S. auto industry, drivers have been slow to accept that more Americans are choosing bicycles over cars for commuting or for fun and exercise. Now Michigan is trying to make up for lost time by passing some of the nation’s strictest bike-safety regulations, including tough penalties on distracted drivers. While other states adopted bike-friendly safety laws in
recent years, Michigan steered clear of the trend and watched as more riders got killed by cars. If the proposals become law, Michigan cyclists would gain additional legal protections and motorists would have to wait for 5 feet of clearance before passing a bike – a wider berth than all but one other state. Cyclists say it is time for the state with the Motor City to change.. ...Read Full Story

Girls On The Run Taking 2018 Registrations

If you’re looking for an after school program for your daughter, one option is Girls on the Run. The southwest Michigan program is now taking registrations for its 2018 program. Girls on the Run Southwest Michigan Director Julie Boss tells us girls between the third and eighth grades can sign up to learn life skills and self-esteem, leading up to a 5K run in the spring.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeland’s First Baby Of 2018 Born In Niles

Southwest Michigan’s first baby of the year is Lillian Helton, born at Lakeland Hospital in Niles yesterday. According to Lakeland, she was born at 4:46 a.m. to Ciara Lamb and James Helton of Union. The little girl was eight pounds, eight ounces and 21 inches long. The Lakeland Auxiliary provided the family with a gift basket of baby items with a value of $100, as is their tradition. In the last fiscal year, 1,630 babies were born at Lakeland hospitals in St. Joseph and Niles.. ...Read Full Story

Pagel Reflects On 2017

2017 was a busy year for state Representative Dave Pagel. He tells WSJM News he looks back at the year and regards a failed House vote to eliminate the Michigan income tax as a significant moment. Pagel was one of the handful of Republicans who shot that idea down.. ...Read Full Story

New Laws Aim To Fight Opioid Abuse

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley this week signed legislation designed to fight the opioid epidemic in Michigan. State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan tells WSJM News one of the bills Calley signed Wednesday was her plan to have the Michigan Department of Education create an opioid curriculum for health classes in the state’s schools.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Hopes To Form Partnerships On More Projects

The Michigan Department of Transportation is pointing to a recent bridge project in St. Clair County as an example of how the agency could team up with local agencies and others to make road projects more efficient in the future. MDOT spokesperson Jocelyn Hall tells WSJM News the state agency helped the St. Clair County Road Commission find a new high-performance concrete project to use for joints on one of its bridges. The new concrete was produced by the University of Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

UPDATE: WB I-94 Reopens

Westbound I-94 is back open in Van Buren County between Decatur and Paw Paw. The highway had been shut down for a few hours Sunday afternoon due to a massive pileup involving as many as 50 vehicles. MDOT tells WSJM News the road reopened around 3:30 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

Massive Pileup Closes WB I-94 In Van Buren County

Westbound I-94 is closed in Van Buren County between exit 56 (Decatur/Dowagiac) and exit 60 (Paw Paw). Police have shut down the highway due to a massive pileup involving as many as 50 vehicles this afternoon. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department has activated its emergency operations center, and buses are being used by the Red Cross to help get stranded drivers out of the area. There are injuries reported, but there have not been any deaths as yet from the crash. Police are advising people who need to head west through that area to go Red Arrow Highway.. ...Read Full Story

Schuitmaker: Much Accomplished In 2017

2017 was a busy year for Michigan lawmakers, and each is now reflecting on what they feel were the biggest accomplishments. State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton tells WSJM News she is disappointed the Michigan House didn’t get auto insurance reform approved. Still, she’s hoping for something on that front in 2018, perhaps in the Senate. ...Read Full Story

No Missed Votes For SWM Lawmakers This Year

All of the state lawmakers who represent southwest Michigan get a gold star for perfect attendance in 2017. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has released its latest tally of missed votes for Michigan lawmakers, and the seven lawmakers who represent either Berrien, Cass, or Van Buren counties all missed zero votes this year. The Mackinac Center’s Jack McHugh tells WSJM News the group started watching lawmaker attendance in 2003.. ...Read Full Story

Disappointing News For Some Taxpayers

Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski is sending out a message to all property owners. He says you can’t pay next year’s property taxes right now in order to get a deduction that’s about to go away. Witkowski tells WSJM News his office and others have been hearing from folks trying to pay their taxes early. It has to do with a new cap of $10,000 on property tax deductions soon to take effect.. ...Read Full Story

AAA Offers Winter Vehicle Tips

AAA of Michigan has seen a 157% increase in calls for roadside assistance this past week with single digit or near-single digit temperatures around the state. Spokesperson Susan Hiltz tells WSJM News your car needs extra care when it’s this cold.. ...Read Full Story

Health Experts Advise Caution In Cold Temps

With this week’s dangerously cold weather, health experts are reminding everyone how avoid needing to make a trip to the emergency room. Lakeland Emergency Department Nurse Manager Kathy Effa tells WSJM News they do see a spike in visits when it’s this cold. One major cause is frostbite. Bundle up to avoid it.. ...Read Full Story