Local News Archives

MDOT Doing Several Bridge Projects In Berrien

A whole lot of bridge work is about to get started in Berrien County. Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News MDOT will be doing repairs on the bridges going over I-94 at M-239, Kruger Road, Lakeside Road, Maudlin Road, and Union Pier Road starting this Thursday. There’s a reason why all are being done at the same time.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Talks Flooding

State and federal leaders from southwest Michigan are waiting for Governor Rick Snyder to accept Berrien County’s disaster declaration following this month’s floods. State Senator John Proos tells WSJM News he toured Berrien Springs and Niles this past week and was convinced the Berrien County Board of Commissioners was justified in declaring that disaster.. ...Read Full Story

Humane Society Move Coming Soon

It’s almost moving day for the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan. Director Jill Svoboda tells WSJM News the new shelter in Royalton Township is pretty much ready, and they’re just waiting for a green light from the township to move in, which could come in a few weeks. She tells us the new facility was very much needed.. ...Read Full Story

CMU Shooting Suspect Apprehended

From the Associated Press — A 19-year-old Central Michigan University student suspected of killing his parents at a campus dormitory on Friday has been apprehended. He was found early Saturday following a search that included more than 100 police officers. James Eric Davis Jr. was arrested after someone saw him on a train passing through the north end of campus shortly after midnight, according to a release posted on Central Michigan University’s website. CMU President George E. Ross thanked the campus, community, and police who he said “came together to keep each other safe and apprehend the suspect.” The shooting on Friday sent the university into lockdown for the day.. ...Read Full Story

Man Struck By Vehicle In Lawton

A Lawton man was taken to a hospital in critical condition after being struck by a vehicle on Friday. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News sheriff’s deputies were called to M-40 just south of 72nd Avenue around 12:45 p.m. They found a 2011 Chevy Cruze driven by Sarah Romeo was northbound on M-40 when 39-year-old Harley Streeter walked into the road. Romeo’s vehicle struck Streeter. Deputies learned Streeter had just left his workplace to go to lunch when he was hit. He was taken to a hospital in Kalamazoo. Police say Romeo and Streeter are in a dating relationship.. ...Read Full Story

Report: State Didn’t Notify Residents About Unsafe Fish

From the Associated Press — A television station has found that Michigan officials didn’t immediately inform residents about unsafe levels of chemicals in fish. WOOD-TV reports that the state began testing fish from Freska Lake in September after residents raised concerns.
The lake is near a site where Wolverine World Wide buried per- and polyfluoroalkyl sludge for years. Studies suggest that PFAS affect fetal
development, disrupt hormonal functions, damage fertility and immune systems, and boost the risk of cancer. A November email acquired by the TV station through a records request says there were problematic levels of PFAS in the lake’s bluegill and cautions limiting consumption to two meals a month. Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Angela Minicuci says the agency decided to wait to release the results this spring through their Eat Safe Fish guide.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Action On Gun Control Could Happen

It’s possible Congress will approve some gun control measures following the nation’s most recent mass shooting, this time at a high school in Florida on Valentine’s Day. That’s the thought of Congressman Fred Upton, who tells us the bipartisan “Problem Solvers” have talked about the issue this past week. Upton spoke with students from Parkland High School in Florida on Tuesday, and told WSJM News later the talk about gun control is serious.. ...Read Full Story

MI Lawmaker Pleads Guilty In Fake Employee Scheme

From the Associated Press — A Michigan lawmaker charged with putting a no-show employee on the public payroll has pleaded guilty, resigned from office and faces up to a year in prison. Senator Bert Johnson, a Democrat from Highland Park, must repay $23,000 to the
state of Michigan. He will be sentenced on August 7. After pleading guilty Friday to conspiring to steal money, he resigned. He was
accused of putting Glynis Thornton on his payroll in order to repay $14,000 in loans from her. Federal investigators say Thornton did no work but collected $23,000. Thornton cooperated with investigators after getting caught in a separate corruption case involving bribes for a Detroit school principal. U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider says public officials “cannot treat the people’s money as their own.”. ...Read Full Story

Flood Relief Fund Raises More Than $20,000

Southwest Michigan residents are proving to be caring when it comes to their neighbors. The United Way of Southwest Michigan tells WSJM News the disaster relief fund it set up last week to help out folks affected by floods this month has already raised more than $20,000. That’s in just about five days. United Way’s Anna Murphy tells WSJM News the money will be used for a variety of needs.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Auction This Weekend

This weekend will bring an opportunity to snag some sweet deals, thanks to the Lake Michigan College Foundation’s 28th annual Winners Circle Benefit Auction. LMC Foundation Director Mary Clem tells WSJM News the Saturday auction raises money for scholarships at LMC. Organizations and businesses from all over southwest Michigan offer up goodies to be bought.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Launches Book Drive

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is running a children’s book drive all throughout this month. The organization’s Julee Laurent tells WSJM News they’ve got book drive stations in businesses and other locations all over Berrien and Cass counties, hoping to gather 5,000 of books by the start of spring break.. ...Read Full Story

Police Providing Escorts At CMU Following Shooting

From the Associated Press — Police say they’re starting to escort students and staff from buildings at Central Michigan University while they continue to search for a young man accused of killing two people. School President George Ross says Friday is a “tragic day” for Central Michigan. Police are searching for 19-year-old James Eric Davis Jr. of Plainfield, Illinois. Police declined to confirm news reports that the two victims shot at a residence hall were Davis’ parents. Parents who were traveling to the Mount Pleasant, Michigan, campus to pick up students for spring break were told to go to a local hotel instead. A basketball game between Central Michigan and rival Western Michigan was postponed.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Aims To Improve End Of Life Care

New legislation from state Representative Kim LaSata is designed to make it easier for people suffering from a terminal illness to get the pain medications they need. With all kinds of new restrictions in place for opioids, LaSata’s measure would exempt hospice care providers from having to get a Michigan Automated Prescription System report on a patient before giving them a controlled substance. The law requiring doctors to get a MAPS report before filling out those prescriptions was passed last year, but LaSata says that rule was intended to prevent doctor shopping. LaSata says she believes it shouldn’t pertain to hospice providers giving end-of-life care. LaSata tells us the state shouldn’t interfere in the delicate task of providing comfort for the terminally ill. Her bill is now before a state House committee.. ...Read Full Story

LATEST: Two Killed In CMU Shooting

Two people have been killed in a shooting in a dorm on the campus of Central Michigan University. According to campus officials, neither are students. CMU has canceled all classes for today, and the campus is on lockdown as the shooter remains on the loose. He is 19-year-old James Eric Davis Jr., a black male who was last seen wearing mustard-colored pants and a blue hoodie. The shootings happened this morning on the fourth floor of Campbell Hall, and the incident is believed to have started with a “domestic situation” according to the university.. ...Read Full Story

Update: Two Shot On Central Michigan Campus

Michigan State Police are confirming that two people have been shot on the Central Michigan University campus in Mount Pleasant today. The suspect is still at large, and the campus is on lockdown. According to the city of Mt. Pleasant’s Twitter account, the suspect is black, 19-years-old, about 5-feet-9 and wearing yellow jeans and a blue hoodie. Classes have been canceled on what was the last day of school before spring break at CMU. The extent of the injuries to the victims shot at the Campbell Hall dormitory has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Shots Fired On CMU Campus

The Central Michigan University campus is on lockdown and classes are canceled due to shots being fired on campus. Campus police say shots were reportedly fired inside a residence hall, and CMLife says no arrests have been made as of 10 a.m. A text alert to students says shots were fired near the fourth floor of Campbell Hall. University police were telling students to stay away from the building just after 9 a.m. Students are being told to shelter in place.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Approves Elimination Of Driver Fees

From the Associated Press — Rick Snyder has signed into law a plan to forgive outstanding extra fees owed by drivers for certain traffic infractions and to speed up the elimination of newly assessed fees. Newly assessed fees were supposed to end in October 2019. But now they will go away this coming October under legislation enacted Thursday. The Michigan Department of Treasury will no longer collect outstanding fees after September 30. Hundreds of thousands of motorists face the debt totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Drivers also can have their license reinstated quickly. The reinstatement fee is being eliminated for those who license was suspended due to nonpayment of the driver “responsibility” fees.. ...Read Full Story

Murder Investigation Near South Haven

Few details have been released, but Van Buren County sheriff’s deputies are investigating the shooting death of a man in a mobile home park outside of South Haven. They were dispatched to the scene of the homicide in the Port of Call West Mobile Home Park at about 9 pm Thursday. All that’s been made known about the victim is that he’s a man in his 40s. The suspected gunman left the scene and remains at large.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Community Foundation Launches New Endowments

Three new endowments have been created for the South Haven area to enhance the community culturally well into the future. The South Haven Community Foundation tells us it’s teaming up with the Al-Van Humane Society, the Historical Association of South Haven, and the South Haven Center for the Arts to launch three new endowment funds for each of those organizations so they can continue their missions. Anyone who wants to donate to one of the endowments can go to the South Haven Community Foundation’s website. The South Haven Community Foundation was established in 1996 with the goal of enriching the community in the areas of education, economic development, and the arts. To date, it’s awarded more than $250,000 to local groups.. ...Read Full Story

School Board Separates Manager Position Into Two

As an accounting firm moves in to take over the job of serving as the district’s finance director, the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has voted to break up one job into two. At a Wednesday meeting, School Board President Marletta Seats said the post of chief operating officer and chief financial officer have been combined into one since this past fall. Rehmann-Robson of Grand Rapids will be the new CFO.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Aims To Connect Patients With Mental Health Treatment

The Michigan House this week approved a package of five bills intended to improve mental health treatment in the state, and one of them was from state Representative Mary Whiteford of Casco Township to create a psychiatric bed registry. The system would be used by healthcare professionals to access for real-time information about the availability of in-patient beds. Whiteford says her bill came out of the Michigan House mental health task force which met around the state last year.. ...Read Full Story

Animal Control Taking Care Of Pets From Flood Areas

Berrien County Animal Control has been busy the last couple of weeks due to the flooding. It’s been Animal Control’s job to round up pets in evacuated areas and then hold on to them until their owners can reconnect. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us any pet owners ready to pick up Fido or Bowser can contact animal control. For now, Berrien County Animal Control is providing the displaced flood victims with Starter Pet Packs. For dogs, they include food, dishes, a collar, and a leash. For cats, they include a litterbox, litter, cat food, bowls, a collar, and a carrier if needed. Also, at this time, Berrien County Animal Control needs donations of pet items. They include things like dishes, blankets, paper towels, kitty litter and dish soap. Anything you can give will be appreciated. You can reach Berrien County Animal Control at (269) 927-5648.. ...Read Full Story

Officials Give Flood Recovery Update

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department’s initial estimate for flood damages is about $3.5 million, but the number will go up as some roads in Royalton Township still can’t be accessed. Several agencies responding to floods gave the public an update Thursday. Anthony Meyaard with the Berrien County Equalization Department gave some numbers.. ...Read Full Story

State House Approves Broadband Expansion Bill

The Michigan House has approved a bill from state Representative Beth Griffin intended to expand access to broadband internet in rural areas. The Mattawan Republican tells WSJM News her plan, approved Wednesday, would put a cap on fees that can be charged by road commissions for right-of-way access for broadband companies.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Promotes OK2Say Tip Line

State Senator John Proos is putting the word out to young people in southwest Michigan about the Michigan Attorney General’s OK2Say tip line. Proos tells WSJM News it’s an anonymous way someone can report a potentially-dangerous situation in their school. He notes OK2Say is especially relevant right now given all of the talk about school shootings.. ...Read Full Story

Volunteers Sought For Berrien Springs Cleanup

Residents of a mobile home community in Berrien Springs evacuated last week due to flooding will get some help cleaning up their properties this weekend. Volunteers will descend on the River Springs Estates mobile home community Saturday and Sunday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us folks who want to help out are welcome to come down to the Berrien Springs water treatment plant those two days after registering in advance. People who show up will be provided with gloves and protective masks and also some safety training prior to the cleanups. Lunch will be taken care of by the Salvation Army. Everyone who volunteers needs to register in advance at the United Way of Southwest Michigan’s website. You can register right here. The cleanup events will be Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Remember — you have to register in advance at the website of the United Way of Southwest Michigan. Click the above link if you are interested.. ...Read Full Story