Local News Archives

South Haven Leaders Discussing Top 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

State Announces Lead Control Grants

From the Associated Press — Nearly $4 million in grants to expand lead hazard control services to homes where someone is enrolled in Medicaid has been awarded to two Michigan communities and an agency that serves several counties. The state Health and Human Services department says Battle Creek and Grand Rapids each are getting $1.5 million. About $962,000 is going to the Human
Development Commission for Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac and Lapeer counties. Inspections, risk assessment, removal of lead-based paint from eligible residences, and removal of plumbing and service lines deemed to be lead hazards are among the services that can receive funding. Funding also can be used to temporarily relocate residents during lead abatement. Activities must be completed by September 30. The funding was provided through Michigan’s Children’s Health Insurance Program.. ...Read Full Story

MI Universities Seek Delay On Nassar-Inspired Bills

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s 15 public universities are asking the Michigan Legislature to delay voting on bills inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case, expressing concern about measures that would retroactively extend the time victims would have to file lawsuits and remove an immunity defense for governmental agencies. The Senate may vote this week on the legislation backed by victims of the imprisoned former doctor at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. The Michigan Association of State Universities wrote a letter to lawmakers Monday. The universities say several bills would have a “profound impact” and encourage the filing of a “significant number” of lawsuits against schools, churches, governments and organizations. People sexually abused as children generally have until their 19th birthdays to sue. Under the legislation, those abused as children in 1993 or later could sue until their 48th birthdays.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Commission Signs Off On Krasl Work

St. Joseph City Commissioners have given the green light to the Krasl Art Center as it seeks an improvement project for its grounds to attract more visitors. At a Monday meeting, the commission signed off on a Planned Unit Development request for Krasl as it pursues more than $1.4 million in work. Krasl’s Julia Gourley told WSJM News they’ll add a commissioned sculpture along with some other features.. ...Read Full Story

National Weather Service Offering Spotter Classes

Warmer weather’s return also means the threat of severe weather here in southwest Michigan, and to prepare for that possibility, the Van Buren County Office of Domestic Preparedness conducted a training session for some 50 volunteer weather spotters from across the county at Paw Paw High School over the weekend. Jim Maczko, a meteorologist from the Grand Rapids National Weather Service Office, led the session. He told WSJM News that even with all of today’s technology, information provided by boots on the ground is the most valuable.. ...Read Full Story

$1.5 Million In Loans Announced For Affordable Housing

Congressman Fred Upton has announced a couple of affordable housing loans for communities in Van Buren County. His office tells us a total of $1.55 million is coming to the county from the United States Department of Agriculture. A $775,000 Rural Development low-interest loan is going to Lawrence Downs in Lawrence to be used to rehabilitate the inside and outside of a 48-unit family rental property. Also, a $775,000 loan will go to Decatur Downs in Decatur to acquire and rehabilitate a 48-unit family project with 31 units eligible for assistance on paying rental fees. Congressman Upton tells us the USDA loans will directly help southwest Michigan families, adding “Affordable housing is critical for those looking to put down roots in our region.”. ...Read Full Story

Soybean Farmers Urged To Help Protect Honeybees

A major endeavor is under way to educate soybean farmers about helping save honeybees. The Honey Bee Health Coalition this month unveiled a management plan for growers. Adam Dolezal, assistant professor at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, did the research for the report. He told us several factors have led to massive bee die-offs, including pesticide use and loss of habitat.. ...Read Full Story

State Identifies City With Unfunded Liabilities

The Michigan Department of Treasury has released its preliminary list of municipalities with underfunded retirement liabilities, and Benton Harbor makes an appearance. Treasury spokesperson Ron Leix tells WSJM News a new state law requiring local units of government to report underfunded benefits is now being implemented. More than 110 out of 490 local units of government have been identified as having an underfunded pension or healthcare plan, or both.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Approves Disaster Declaration

Governor Rick Snyder has approved a disaster declaration for 17 counties affected by recent flooding in Michigan, including Berrien County. Snyder’s move Monday opens up the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund to local governments for clean-up. The disaster declaration came just as damage assessments for areas affected by flooding were completed. By declaring a state of disaster, Snyder has made available all state resources for the disaster areas. The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to coordinate with local agencies beyond what has already been done. Through the state disaster fund, local governments in the declared counties can apply for grants to receive reimbursement for response costs up to $100,000, or 10% of their previous year’s operating budget. You can read the full disaster declaration right here.. ...Read Full Story

Deadline Approaching For Flood Cleanup Help

The deadline is approaching to apply for disaster clean up help from Team Rubicon. The volunteer service run by veterans announced this week it would provide damage assessments, muckout operations, and debris removal around Berrien County for free to those affected by flooding. Team Rubicon will take applications for that help through Saturday, March 18. After that date, homeowners will have to pay for such services through a contractor. You can call 211 for information on flood cleanup assistance. You can reach Team Rubicon at 269-224-0310.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Discusses Talent Plan With WSJM

$100 million is the price tag for Governor Snyder’s ambitious plan to expand job training programs for all ages. Called the “Marshall Plan for Talent,” he tells WSJM News the reaction has been positive from lawmakers so far since he announced the initiative in South Haven last month.. ...Read Full Story

Allegan Deputies To Patrol Schools

A new program is being launched in Allegan County to have sheriff’s deputies spend more time in local schools in an effort to improve security. State Representative Mary Whiteford tells WSJM News it was the idea of Sheriff Frank Baker. He pitched it at a meeting last week with superintendents and Whiteford present. She says it will be good for the kids concerned in light of recent events.. ...Read Full Story

Red Cross Closes Berrien Springs Shelter

The American Red Cross has closed its last flood shelter. The organization closed its shelter shelter in Berrien Springs at the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Sunday after moving there from Berrien Springs Middle School last week when classes resumed. Red Cross officials say despite closing all shelters, they are still working to help the families who were displaced by last month’s floods. Disaster assessment work has been wrapped up, and the organization is now working with government and community partners to assure all families whose homes were destroyed or damaged have been identified.. ...Read Full Story

Top Consumer Complaints Released

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has released his office’s annual list of the top consumer complaints for the past year. Complaints about credit and finance companies led the way in 2017. Schuette says the complaints were about debt collection, credit repair, payday lending, and mortgage brokering. Those finance companies have led the AG’s list of top consumer complaints since 2006. Coming in second for 2017 were personal service providers, with Schuette telling us the jump is directly because of the large number of complaints against west Michigan-based gym chain Family Fitness. Closing out the top five are complaints about telecommunications and cable companies, motor vehicles, and online purchases. The attorney general’s office tells you can make a complaint about a business rip-off at the AG’s website.. ...Read Full Story

A look At MI Population Growth

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Michigan’s population grew 0.4% from April 2010 to July 2016. That’s a slower rate than other nearby states. Western Michigan University Economics Professor Susan Pozo tells WSJM News a reason could be the mix of jobs in Michigan. She says the population numbers show how mobile the U.S. economy is becoming for recent graduates.. ...Read Full Story

Proos School Spirit Tournament Underway

It’s time once again for state Senator John Proos’ Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament. Proos tells WSJM News it’s a way for communities throughout his district to demonstrate their support for the local high school, with last year’s winner being Watervliet. Proos asks schools across the district to send him photos showing how they’re filled with pride.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Lays Out 2018 Construction Plans

The Michigan Department of Transportation has released its 2018 construction map. Spokesperson Jeff Cranson tells WSJM News the map can help drivers plan their routes ahead of the busy construction season to avoid being stuck in work zones. He says the fiscal year 2018 capital highway program investment is more than $1.6 billion, which still isn’t enough to address all of Michigan’s road needs.. ...Read Full Story

Health Officials Urge Emergency Preparedness

The Berrien County Health Department says now is the time to make sure you and your family are prepared for a disaster. Spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News the recent flooding has been proof of that. First, she recommends everyone have an easily moveable emergency kit in case they have to clear out quickly.. ...Read Full Story

Pscholka Working For Kinexus

Former state Representative Al Pscholka has found a new job. He’s working at Kinexus as the Vice President of Public Relations and Government Affairs. That role will have the Stevensville-based Pscholka working with government leaders relating to the mission of Kinexus. Kinexus spokesperson Mary Morphey tells us they’re thrilled to have Pscholka on board.. ...Read Full Story

School Safety Legislation Expected Soon

The first federal legislation inspired by last month’s school massacre in Parkland, Florida could get a vote in the U.S. House next week. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News he’s been a co-chair of the Working Group on Response to Parkland Shooting which is part of the bi-partisan group calling itself the Problem Solvers. He says next week’s legislation will not include gun control measures.. ...Read Full Story

Domestic Violence Awareness Campaign Underway

The Safe Shelter for Domestic Violence in Benton Harbor has launched a social media campaign to get regular people thinking about whether someone they know could be a victim of abuse. Safe Shelter’s Tiffany Griffin tells WSJM News “#IsItYourSister” will go on all month, spreading around examples of what the emotional and mental side of abuse looks like.. ...Read Full Story