Local News Archives

Teen Killed When Tree Falls On Truck

A 16-year-old from Lansing is dead after a falling tree hit the pick-up he was riding in Wednesday morning in Cass County. The sheriff’s department says the pick-up was northbound on M-40 in Newberg Township around 6:30 a.m. when the tree fell on to the truck’s cab. The truck then left the road and hit some trees. The driver of the truck, 52-year-old Michael Rinehart, of Lansing, was taken to a hospital to be treated for his injuries, while the passenger, 16-year-old Nicholas Hewitt, was pronounced dead at the scene. Both were wearing seat belts, and the crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Police: Missing Man Drowned

The death of a man whose body was found at a Lincoln Township beach on Sunday has been ruled a drowning. 38-year-old Dilbag Singh was reported missing to the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety on Friday. The next day, his SUV was found crashed off the bluff along Lakeshore Drive. Then, Singh’s body was found Sunday afternoon at Glenlord Beach near Stevensville. St. Joseph Public Safety says a coroner has determined Singh drowned. They say it could take several weeks for toxicology results to come in.. ...Read Full Story

10-Year-Old Killed In MI Skiing Accident

A 10-year-old Illinois girl injured in a New Year’s Day skiing accident in northern Michigan has died. Officials at Crystal Mountain, a ski resort in Michigan’s Benzie County, released a statement on Tuesday saying the accident was Sunday around 2 p.m. during a group ski lesson on an intermediate trail. Officials say the girl was skiing ahead of the class when it appears she lost control and struck a tree. She was wearing a helmet. The girl was transported to a Grand Rapids hospital where she died from her injuries on Monday. Her name has not been released. The girl was visiting from Illinois with her family.. ...Read Full Story

BH Commissioners Talk Economic Development With Cornerstone Alliance

Cornerstone Alliance is planning a busy 2017. CEO Rob Cleveland addressed Benton Harbor City Commissioners Tuesday, telling them the organization helped bring $50 million in investment to Berrien County in the last three years. Commissioners wanted to know what’s coming for Benton Harbor. Cleveland said plenty, noting all of the industrial property in the area. He told WSJM News  later, work just started Tuesday on the next batch of projects.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Woman Sentenced In Death Of Infant Daughter

A Kalamazoo woman has been sentenced in the 2014 death of her infant daughter. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that 23-year-old Tekia Wright was sentenced Monday. Kalamazoo County Circuit Court Judge Pamela Lightvoet sentenced Wright
to 28 months to 15 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections. Her 11-month daughter, Gabrielle, died on June 13, 2014. Prosecutors allege Wright left her daughter alone for hours that night. Court documents say the child was dehydrated among other things. A pathologist couldn’t determine the infant’s cause of death. Wright pleaded guilty last month to involuntary manslaughter. In the plea deal, second-degree child abuse charges were dropped. Wright’s attorney, Becket Jones, asked the judge to consider a one-year sentence. He’s said Wright was possibly dealing with postpartum and mental issues at the time.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Appliances Get CES Awards

Whirlpool has earned six new awards for its appliances. The Consumer Electronics Show’s 2017 Innovation Awards go to Whirlpool appliances for sustainability, among other things. The new Zera Food Recycler, the 2-in-1 Over the Range Microwave Convection Oven, the French Door-within-Door Refrigerator, and the Whirlpool Smart All-in-One Care Washer and Dryer Combo also took honors. Brett Dibkey, the vice president of integrated business units at Whirlpool, says the team was excited to show off the new appliances at CES this year, promising to deliver what he called “Whirlpool Corporation’s promise of purposeful innovation.”. ...Read Full Story

Ford Investing $700 Million In MI Plant

Ford President and CEO Mark Fields says the automaker will invest $700 million to expand its Flat Rock Assembly Plant, instead of spending $1.6 billion on a new plant in Mexico. Flat Rock Assembly will be equipped to build new electric vehicles, and will move forward with a wireless charging pilot program.. ...Read Full Story

Democrat Files Paperwork To Run For Governor

Gretchen Whitmer, a former Democratic legislative leader and interim county prosecutor, is running for Michigan governor in 2018. Whitmer filed the paperwork Tuesday. She’s the first person to announce her candidacy for the open seat. Second-term Republican Governor Rick Snyder can’t run again due to term limits. In an email to supporters, Whitmer says she’s “no stranger to fights” and Michigan “can do better. We deserve better.” She says Michigan leaders for too long “have been content to manage our decline.” Whitmer, who lives in East Lansing and is 45 years old, was a lawmaker from 2001 through 2014. Most recently, she served as Ingham County’s interim prosecutor. Another potential Democratic candidate, Congressman Dan Kildee, of Flint Township, says he’ll decide whether to run in coming months.. ...Read Full Story

Trump Slams General Motors On Twitter

In another tweet targeting a U.S. company, President-elect Donald Trump is threatening to slap a tax on General Motors for importing compact cars to the U.S. from Mexico. But GM makes the vast majority of compact Chevrolet Cruzes in Lordstown, Ohio, near Cleveland. Trump tweeted early Tuesday that GM is sending Mexican-made Cruzes to the U.S. tax-free. He told GM to stop or pay a big border tax. GM saw the tweet and is formulating a response. Shares of GM fell 0.4 percent to $34.70 in premarket trading after the tweet. Last year Trump threatened to tax Ford, which plans to shift production of the compact Focus to Mexico. Jobs at the U.S. factory that makes Focuses would be preserved because the plant would get a new pickup and SUV.. ...Read Full Story

Cook Nuclear’s Unit 2 Back In Service After Refueling, Maintenance

Unit 2 of the Cook Nuclear Plant is back in service after an 89-day refueling and maintenance outage. The outage was longer than normal due to the replacement of the main turbine and the inspection and replacement of baffle bolts, which support internal components of the reactor vessel. Cook officials say the $250 million turbine replacement project has been in the works for over five years, and they were aware the work would make the outage last longer. The life cycle maintenance work done over the past three months includes 114 upgrade and replacement projects as part of the 20-year operating license extension granted to the facility by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2005.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Minimum Wage Rises

The start of the year means more money for Michigan’s lowest paid workers. The minimum wage has gone from $8.50 to $8.90 an hour, effective January 1. The wage will go up again on January 1, 2018 to $9.25, with future increases tied to the rate of inflation.. ...Read Full Story

Report Looks At Plastic Pollution In The Great Lakes

Environmental groups are hoping a New Year’s resolution for 2017 will be to keep the Great Lakes cleaner. A report by Rochester Institute of Technology estimates 22 million pounds of plastic ends up in the water every year. Lead author Matthew Hoffman says this study is the first picture of the true scale of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes.. ...Read Full Story

Auto Sales Expected To Be Up For 2016

Auto sales have been up slightly in 2016. J.D. Power is now predicting the year will end with sales up by about 5,000 vehicles in the U.S. That’s a 0.03% increase. Bill Crowder, with Signature Automotive Group, tells WSJM News he, too, has seen sales up. However, for him, they’ve been up 15% in 2016. He’s also feeling good about 2017.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Family Dollar Robbed

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is investigating the armed robbery of a Family Dollar store on Pipestone Street on Monday. It says a black male with his face covered walked into the store in the morning hours flashing a gun and demanding cash. He was able to get away with a small amount. The suspect is described as having a medium build, standing about 5’10. Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call Benton Harbor Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

Coast Guard: Don’t Shine Laser Pointers At Us

Everyone is being reminded not to shine laser pointers at Coast Guard vessels. A man in Washington state just last week was fined $9,500 for doing just that. Coast Guard Petty Officer Matt Huber, with the St. Joseph station, tells WSJM News there’s a whole procedure for staff when a laser pointer is shined at them.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate New Year’s Eve Shooting In Benton Harbor

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is investigating a shooting reported in the early morning hours of Saturday. They say it happened in the parking lot of Smokes Lounger at 250 North Fair Street. The victim, a 31-year-old man, suffered a serious but non life-threatening injury, and he’s expected to recover. The shooting remains under investigation, and anyone with information is asked to call Benton Harbor Public Safety at 927-0293.. ...Read Full Story

More Money Now Being Raised For Michigan Roads

The new year will mean more money for Michigan roads. Starting today, a license fee increase and increases in fuel taxes are in effect. County Road Association of Michigan Director Denise Donahue tells WSJM News that will mean $460 million more for roads this year, and $1.2 billion per year once all of the increases are fully implemented in five years. She says the state fell far behind in raising money for road maintenance a long time ago.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Officials Tightening Standards For Amber Alerts

Michigan State Police officials say they are changing the criteria for issuing Amber Alerts. Effective now, the emergency response system that disseminates information about missing children will only be used for child abductions. All Amber Alerts will receive a Wireless Emergency Alert, which pushes the notifications to mobile devices and interrupts broadcasts. Amber Alerts had been authorized for missing children with severe mental or physical disabilities who wandered away and could not care for themselves. Cases that don’t meet the new standards will be eligible for what’s called an Endangered Missing Advisory. Those notifications are sent to area broadcast and print media but not as wireless alerts. Officials say the changes help ensure that credible, useful information gets out to the public in the most critical cases.. ...Read Full Story

Body Found At Lincoln Township Beach

Police are investigating after a body was found Sunday along a beach in Lincoln Township. It was found at Glenlord Beach around 2 p.m. At the scene were the Lincoln Township Police and Fire Departments, as well as Michigan State Police. They are not offering further information just yet, and won’t comment on whether the body is that of a man reported missing Saturday after his SUV was found off the bluff in St. Joseph. We’ll have more information as soon as it becomes available.. ...Read Full Story

Annual Banned Word List Released

You, sir, (or ma’am): Focus, if you will, on a historic, on fleek listicle containing words nominated for bigly banishment. But don’t convene a town hall meeting or get your dandruff up in the echo chamber over them. Northern Michigan’s Lake Superior State University on Saturday released its 42nd annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse
and General Uselessness.The tongue-in-cheek, non-binding list comes from suggestions to the Sault Ste. Marie school. It includes “you, sir,” ”focus,” ”town hall meeting,” ”historic,” ”echo chamber,” “on fleek,” ”bigly,” ”listicle” and “get your
dandruff up,” seemingly a substitute for “dander,” its hair and skin kin. “Bigly” also made Merriam-Webster’s Top 10 for 2016. President-elect Donald Trump was fond this year of saying “big league” but making it sound like “bigly.”. ...Read Full Story

Lakeland Welcomes First Baby Of The Year

The BirthPlace at Lakeland Hospital in Niles has welcomed southwest Michigan’s first baby of 2017. April Jacobs, of Dowagiac, is the proud new mother of daughter Addison Jacobs. Baby Jacobs was born at at 4:12 a.m. on Sunday, weighing in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces and measuring 19 inches long. In keeping with their annual tradition of celebrating the first baby of the year, the Lakeland Auxiliary provided the family with a gift basket full of baby items valued at $100. Lakeland Health says it delivered 1,540 babies in its St. Joseph and Niles hospitals in the last fiscal year.
. ...Read Full Story

Three Oaks Drill Team Heading To Washington For Inaugural Parade

A group from Three Oaks is preparing to take the trip of their lives, as they’ve been invited to walk in the presidential inaugural parade next month. On January 20, President Donald Trump will watch as the Mid America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team proceeds past them for the celebration. Captain Debbie Dunphy tells us she applied for the inaugural parade in 2008, but the group was still too new back then to have enough on its resume. This time around, though, things were different. She says it’s still hard to believe they got selected.. ...Read Full Story

SUV Pulled From Below Bluff Belongs To Missing Man

The search is on for a missing man 38-year-old man. St. Joseph Public Safety officers pulled the wrecked SUV belonging to Dilbag Singh from below the bluff in the 3000 block of Lakeshore Drive Saturday afternoon. Singh had been reported missing Friday night, and his vehicle was found around 11 a.m. the next day. He is 5’6″ with a medium build and a full beard and mustache. When he was last seen, Singh was wearing a white coat, blue jeans, and white shoes. Police told WSJM News on the scene after the SUV was pulled up that there was no one inside the vehicle. The U.S. Coast Guard also searched the immediate area along the shoreline and in Lake Michigan with a helicopter Saturday afternoon.. ...Read Full Story

New Law Creates Procedure For Approving Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

One bit of work that Michigan lawmakers managed to get done in 2016 was a reform of the state’s medical marijuana laws. Under the plan that has now been signed by the governor, medical marijuana dispensaries will get a legal framework to set up shop, and even edibles will become legal. State Representative Mike Callton was behind the plan. He says marijuana will become a billion dollar industry in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Police Officer Fatalities Up In 2016

2016 was a tough year for the law enforcement profession with the number of officers killed in the line of duty spiking at 135 nationwide. Craig Floyd, the CEO at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, says there were more ambush style attacks this year than in previous years.. ...Read Full Story

More Than 22 Million Pounds Of Plastic Polluting The great Lakes

Plastic accounts for approximately 80% of the litter on the shorelines of the Great Lakes, and a new study uses math to determine where it’s coming from. Matthew Hoffman, with the Rochester Institute of Technology and an author of the report, tells us 22 million pounds of plastic winds up in the Great Lakes each year. He says the recent banning of microbeads hasn’t made much of a difference.. ...Read Full Story

Deputy Sheriff Charged After Firearm Discharges In MI School

Authorities say a Bay County sheriff’s deputy assigned as a school resource officer at Bay City’s Western High School was testing his back up weapon in an empty classroom when it discharged. Tuscola County Prosector Mark Reene says the 38-caliber bullet went through a wall into an adjoining and ricocheted three times, flying over the heads of some 30 students and hitting a teacher in her neck. Reene calls it a case of divine intervention no one was seriously injured or killed.. ...Read Full Story

Home Damaged By Fire In Bangor

A home in Bangor has suffered some heavy damage, following a fire Friday morning. South Haven Area Emergency Services tells us firefighters were called to the home on Cemetery Road about 11:40 a.m. They found flames coming out of the attic. Fire departments at the scene included Bangor, Columbia Township, and Covert Township. The cause of the fire is under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Firefighters Rescue Dog From West MI Lake

Three Michigan firefighters used rope and their wits to rescue a 90-pound retriever that fell through the ice about 100 yards from shore on a western Michigan lake. Wearing ice rescue gear and tethered together, they carefully walked onto White Lake in Muskegon County’s Whitehall and hauled the dog to safety. White Lake Fire Chief Gregory Holman said the dog was unable to drag itself from the hole in the ice and was in distress when firefighters reached it Wednesday morning. Holman said his firefighters will do their “best to rescue” a “family pet, like a dog.” The 14-year-old dog was given to an area shelter and its owner was later located. Shelter owner Lana Carson said the dog “kind of wandered off and found itself on the ice.”. ...Read Full Story

Calvin College Speaker Series Kicks Off Next Week

Church history, the 2016 presidential campaign and closing technology’s gender gap are among the planned topics during a month long speaker series at Calvin College. The western Michigan school’s January Series kicks off Wednesday with “500
Years Later: Why the Reformation Still Matters.” Presenting will be Karin Maag, director of the college’s H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies. Renowned presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin on January 17 will deliver “How Did We Get Here? A Historical Perspective on Our Wild 2016 Election.” Organizers say Goodwin will share her hope that’s based on the U.S. political system’s survival through many decades and troubling times. Girls Who Code founder and CEO Reshma Saujani speaks January 9 on “Closing the Gender Gap in Technology.” Fifteen presentations are planned overall.. ...Read Full Story

Three Oaks Rodeo Drill Team To Take Part In Inaugural Parade

A group from Three Oaks is preparing to take the trip of their lives, as they’ve been invited to walk in the presidential inaugural parade next month. On January 20, President Donald Trump will watch as the Mid America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team proceeds past them for the celebration. Captain Debbie Dunphy tells us she applied for the inaugural parade in 2008, but the group was still too new back then to have enough on its resume. This time around, though, things were different. She says it’s still hard to believe they got selected.. ...Read Full Story

MI Traffic Fatalities Up In 2016

Michigan State Police say traffic fatalities are up this year. As of December 6, the state has had 987 deaths on the road. Michigan State Police Lieutenant Michael Shaw tells us distracted driving is a big reason. He says it’s time for folks to start paying attention to the road.. ...Read Full Story

West MI Meijer Fires Employees For Sharing Woman’s Photos

The Meijer supermarket chain says it’s fired some employees who shared a Michigan couple’s photo card announcing their pregnancy. A Meijer spokesman declined to say how many workers were fired at its Plainwell store. But the company says its photo department workers “are required to adhere to a strict confidentiality policy.” A Plainwell couple says the incident ruined their big surprise. 23-year-old Jordan Areaux tells WWMT-TV she brought photos to the  store for printing into a Christmas card announcing she’s pregnant with “the first grandbaby in our family.” Areaux says she was angry when she received a text with a screenshot of her planned announcement. She says she went to high school with some of the photo lab workers, who took photos of her photos and began texting them around.. ...Read Full Story

New Law Limits When Children Can Be Restrained In School

Michigan public schools will be banned from physically restraining or secluding students except in emergencies under legislation signed Thursday by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley. The laws require the state Department of Education to develop a state policy on seclusion and restraint that is consistent with the bills. Local school boards will have to create their own corresponding policies by the start of the 2017-28 academic year. Calley, an advocate for the disabled, signed the legislation at an “inclusion” rally at the Troy Community Center. Seclusion and restraint methods are disproportionately used on students with disabilities. If school officials do resort to seclusion or restraint methods, they would have to report it to administrators and parents. Calley has said Michigan lags other states because it has no rules or reporting requirements.. ...Read Full Story

One Killed In New Buffalo Bus Crash

One person is dead following a bus crash in New Buffalo Township Thursday morning. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us 65-year-old Edmund Hillman, the driver of the Four Winds Casino bus, was killed when the vehicle went off Maudlin Road and hit a tree about 9:45 a.m. Hillman was the only one in the bus, and no other vehicles were involved. The crash happened about a quarter mile from the south entrance to the casino, and police think the driver may have been having a medical issue. The crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Calley Signs Bill To Require CPR Instruction In Grades 7-12

Michigan schools will have to provide CPR instruction under legislation signed by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley. The law enacted this week takes effect in the next academic year. The measure requires that schools provide instruction in CPR and the use of defibrillators at least one time between grades 7 and 12. The instruction can be for hands-only CPR, a simpler type of training that does not require certification or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. To meet the requirement, schools can incorporate the training into an existing health class that students must take to graduate. Health advocates say the law is a simple way to have more CPR-trained lifesavers in Michigan. Calley signed the bill because Governor Rick Snyder is vacationing out of state.. ...Read Full Story

Substitute Shortage Challenges Michigan Schools

Schools in Michigan are struggling to cope when teachers are absent because of an increasing shortage of substitute teachers in the state. Macomb Intermediate School District chief academic officer Judy Pritchett told the Detroit Free Press that the shortage is “a symptom of a much bigger problem” and that it reflects a decline in the number of people pursuing teaching as a full-time career. Wayne-Westland district Superintendent Michele Harmala says the state must look at why students aren’t going into education. EDUStaff, a company that provides staffing, including substitute teachers, to more than 300 school districts statewide, has put up about 40 billboards on Michigan highways, hoping to lure potential teachers into subbing.. ...Read Full Story

How To Pick End Of Year Charities

Americans made almost $260 billion in charitable donations in 2014, but it’s not always easy to tell which charities are on the up and up. One expert says there’s plenty of help online and by phone to help you make a decision. Attorney Beverly Salhanick tells us it’s easy to check if a non-profit is really legitimate.. ...Read Full Story

Police Offer Tips On Post Christmas Safety

Now that Christmas has passed, police remind everyone of a few things they can do to prevent themselves from becoming post-holiday victims. For one thing, burglars might be paying attention to the boxes you leave out on the curb, so if you got an expensive gift, don’t advertise it. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey adds you should take other steps with your trash.. ...Read Full Story

Nesbitt Finishes Six Years In House With No Missed Votes

State Representative Aric Nesbitt has closed out his six years in Lansing with a perfect attendance record. His office says the last session has wrapped up with Nesbitt not missing a single vote in all three terms that he’s represented the 66th House District. In all, Nesbitt took part in 4,123 votes since January of 2011. He says he had an obligation to serve the communities in Van Buren and Kalamazoo counties that elected him. He tells us one of the most important things to come up in the House during his time there was a landmark energy policy just approved. Nesbitt isn’t the only southwest Michigan lawmaker to miss no votes during his six years in Lansing recently. We reported last week that state Representative Al Pscholka also had a perfect voting record.. ...Read Full Story

Township Supervisor Moves To Remain On Berrien Road Commission

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners is not happy with Bainbridge Township Supervisor Bill Hodge. Hodge was recently sworn in to serve in the township position, which according to the county board, means he’s no longer eligible to sit on the road commission. So, the county board this month declared Hodge’s road commission seat vacant. Now, Hodge has asked the Berrien County Trial Court to issue an injunction on that decision so he can remain on the road commission. The county board Wednesday issued a statement saying Michigan law prevents someone from serving in two such posts. Administration Committee Chair R. McKinley Elliott says, in the past 30 years, he can’t think of any elected or appointed official who “faced the potential of violating the Incompatible Offices Act that did not take the necessary steps to remedy that situation.” The matter will be decided by a judge January 12.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Cities Now Barred From Banning Plastic Bags

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has signed legislation to prohibit Michigan communities from regulating plastic shopping bags. The law approved Wednesday takes effect in 90 days. It bans municipalities from regulating, prohibiting or adding fees to the use or sale of “auxiliary containers” – reusable or single-use bags, cups, bottles or other packaging from stores and restaurants. More than 150 municipalities across the country have banned the environmentally unfriendly plastic bags or charged fees. Washtenaw County has OK’d a 10-cent fee on disposable grocery bags and was expected to begin enforcing it in April, but the Republican-sponsored law pre-empts local ordinances. Critics had called for a veto, saying residents deserve a say in business operations in their communities. Calley signed the bill because the Republican governor is vacationing out of
state.. ...Read Full Story