Local News Archives

Congressional Art Contest Underway

Congressman Fred Upton has announced the 2018 Congressional Art Competition, open to high school artists throughout the Sixth Congressional District. The winner will have his or her piece hang in the U.S. Capitol for a year along with the winners of the award from Congressional districts across the country. Plus, the winner and a guest will get to go to Washington, D.C. to attend a reception. Upton’s office tells us the arts are a vital part of southwest Michigan’s diverse community. You can find the rules and the entry forms for the Congressional Art Competition at Upton’s website. Last year’s winner was Cami Hoogstraten of Otsego who submitted a digital drawing of a Native American Dancer.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Budget Work

If you think planning a family budget is difficult and time consuming, imagine trying to budget for a city. That’s what South Haven City Manager and staff are working on right now. City Manager Brian Dissette spoke with WSJM News this week about the process.. ...Read Full Story

Take Back The Tap

Bottled water sales in the United States are skyrocketing, but a new report looks at what is actually being sold to those customers. In “Take Back the Tap,” Food and Water Watch researchers look at the booming business of bottled water, which surpassed soda in sales in 2016. The group finds nearly 64% of bottled water comes from municipal taps, and that it cost almost two thousand times as much as tap water and four times as much as gasoline. Patty Lovera with Food and Water Watch tells us bottled water companies target demographics through advertising, especially immigrant communities.. ...Read Full Story

School Leaders Talk Security

Benton Harbor School leaders continue to think about improving security. At a Tuesday meeting, the board of education heard from Acting Superintendent Patricia Robinson the district’s metal detectors are almost repaired, with six door units now operational. There are also upgrades in the works to the security cameras. Trustee Joseph Taylor told WSJM News he wants metal detectors working quickly, especially in light of the recent tragedy in Florida.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Explores Changes To Prison Food Service

State Senator John Proos has some new ideas for prison food service. That’s after Governor Rick Snyder recently proposed moving away from having private companies provide it. Proos tells WSJM News he’s put together a Senate workgroup to explore training non-violent prisoners to prepare and serve meals at Michigan Department of Corrections facilities.. ...Read Full Story

Jon Cox; With Respect 03/18/18

John’s guest this week is Professor John Cox of Hope College. He is one of the world recognized experts on William Shakespeare. In this show, followed by a sequel next week, they talk about Shakespeare’s life and career in the days of Good Queen Bess. . ...Read Full Story

Changes Coming To Krasl

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 meeting this past week, the commission signed off on a Planned Unit Development request for Krasl as it pursues thework. Krasl’s Julia Gourley told WSJM News they’ll add a commissioned sculpture along with some other features.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Talks “Marshall Plan” For Jobs

$100 million is the price tag for Governor Rick 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

Municipal Group Calls For Infrastructure Funding

The head Michigan’s association of local governments says Uncle Sam needs to dig deeper to help fix our roads. Dan Gilmartin of the Michigan Municipal League told Michigan News Network this week at least an extra billion dollars would help, but it doesn’t cover the need for a mass transit system, which is becoming more and more of a need by businesses coming to Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks School Safety

As students protested school violence across the country Wednesday, the U.S. House was voting to increase security in schools. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News the STOP School Violence Act had its vote, passing 407 to 10. It sets aside $75 million for school safety grants to train teachers and others. Upton says he has appreciated high school students getting involved in civics since the Parkland, Florida shootings.. ...Read Full Story

School Officials Get Academics Update

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has received an update on the academic progress of district students since the partnership agreement with the state went into effect. Acting Superintendent Patricia Robinson tells WSJM News there’s been some progress on reading scores, but they’re having trouble increasing math scores. A big part of the problem is the lack of certified math teachers.. ...Read Full Story

Update Planned For War Monument

Changes are coming to the World War I monument along the bluff in downtown St. Joseph. At a meeting this week, the city commission approved moving the plaque listing area World War I soldiers to a more prominent spot at the doughboy statue. It’s currently in the back, often obscured by vegetation. Now, it will be encased in concrete to the side of the statue. They’re also adding a U.S. flag to the monument. A representative of the parks advisory board told commissioners about it Monday.. ...Read Full Story

Humane Society Gets Challenge Grant

A new $700,000 challenge grant has been announced to help the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan as it prepares to move into its new facility. Humane Society Director Jill Svoboda tells WSJM News the Yeager family, longtime supporters, will match donations, dollar for dollar, to both the organization’s capital fund for the new shelter and its endowment.. ...Read Full Story

Dem Throws Hat In Ring For Senate

There’s a Democrat running for the Michigan Senate in the 26th District. That’s the district currently represented by state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, covering Van Buren and Allegan counties and part of Kent County. Garnet Lewis is a former Northern Michigan University Trustee and current member of the Saugatuck Planning Commission. She tells WSJM News she was inspired to get back into politics following the election of President Trump.. ...Read Full Story

Calley Launches First TV Ad

From the Associated Press — Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Calley is launching a campaign ad that will run for nearly three weeks on network and cable TV stations. The 30-second ad begins airing Friday. It makes Calley, the state’s lieutenant governor, the second Republican to run ads. Dr. Jim Hines has also aired some ads. Calley’s ad shows him jogging through a town, with more people gradually joining in. He says Michigan’s conservative reforms have led to the creation of more than 500,000 jobs. Calley says the job is not finished, though, and “we’re just getting started.” Calley is among four main Republicans running for governor. Attorney General Bill Schuette is seen as the front-runner, with the primary five months away.. ...Read Full Story

State Does Cyber Security Audit

From the Associated Press — Auditors have flagged the state of Michigan for gaps that could increase the risk of its computer network being hacked. An audit released Friday made 14 findings, including five that are “material” – the most serious. The Office of the Auditor General says the Department of Technology, Management and Budget did not do enough to ensure that only authorized devices access the IT network and did not fully implement an effective process for managing updates to operating systems. Auditors also say conducted an exercise in which nearly one-fifth of 5,000 state employee randomly sample clicked on a “phishing” email and entered their credentials.
A state spokesman says it has already begun to implement many of the auditors’ recommendations, and the data in the state’s network is “safe and secure.”. ...Read Full Story

Smart Thermostat Program Brought To Michigan

A program that brings smart thermostats to southwest Michigan is now available for all customers of Indiana Michigan power. I&M spokesperson Tracy Warner tells us IM Home allows you to install an app on your phone that lets you control your home heat remotely. The app also watches your energy usage and takes steps to reduce it at times when you won’t notice.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Seeking Mental Health Funding

Congressman Fred Upton is pushing for more money for states next year to treat mental illness. He tells WSJM News he and some colleagues this week sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking for money set aside in the 21st Century Cures legislation to be set aside again next year.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Attempted ATM Theft

The St. Joseph Township Police Department is investigating a crime involving a local ATM that has international implications. The department tells us officers were called out to the United Federal Credit Union at 2580 South Cleveland around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday. There, they found and apprehended two suspects who had been trying to fraudulently get money out of the ATM. Police say both suspects, from Venezuela, have been involved in these types of crimes nationwide. They’re now lodged at the Berrien County Jail and the investigation continues.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Warns About Phone Scam

Southwestern Michigan College is telling everyone in the area not to fall for a phone scam that shows up on caller ID as the college. SMC tells us someone calls with a high pressure sales pitch for cruises with the ID indicating the caller is from the college. It’s not from the college. A Dowagiac women reported getting one of the calls this week and notified the college. SMC President David Mathews tells us SMC suspects “this is a number-masking technique used by unscrupulous telemarketers throughout the country. SMC is obviously not in the travel sales business.” If you get such a call, just hang up.. ...Read Full Story

Online Voter Registration Could Be Coming

From the Associated Press — Michiganders should be able to register to vote online, state senators say. The lawmakers voted 35-1 Thursday for five bills that would enact an electronic voter registration database operated through Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office.
Individuals electing to sign up this way must possess a valid driver’s license or official state ID card. Because driver’s license registration already exists online through the secretary of state’s website, supporters of the legislation say incorporating electronic registration in voting as well streamlines registration without compromising security. The lone dissenter, Senator Patrick Colbeck, a Republican from Canton Township, says past irregularities from the 2016 election make the stakes too high to add another potential point of entry for hackers.
The bills now head to the House, where similar bills already are under consideration.. ...Read Full Story

Students Demand Sen. Schuitmaker Apologize

State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker is being ripped by students in Allegan for her remarks about the national student demonstrations this week calling for gun law reforms and honoring the victims and survivors of the Parkland, Florida school massacre. Thirteen students attending Allegan High School and the Allegan Tech Center have released their letter to Schuitmaker, calling on the Lawton Republican to issue an apology for calling the demonstrations “a statement which solves nothing.” The senator also said she was “greatly disappointed” in the adults who encouraged their children to get involved in the national conversation. The Allegan students are demanding Schuitmaker not only publicly apologize, but cut her ties with the NRA. They accuse the senator of not listening to students, and they are promising to “take it to the polls in November.” Schuitmaker is seeking the Republican nomination for attorney general and is up against state House Speaker Tom Leonard.. ...Read Full Story

Warren Dunes Volunteer Day

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking for a few volunteers who would like to help remove invasive plants from Warren Dunes State Park this weekend. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. stewards of the park will work to protect the dunes by pulling out invasive shrubs like privet, honeysuckle, and Japanese barberry before they take over the habitat. Everyone who shows up is asked to dress for the weather and off-trail work. Volunteers should meet at the picnic area of the campground, which is on the left past the headquarters. Those who take part should show up at 10 a.m. Saturday.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Aims For Federal Flood Aid

Now that Governor Rick Snyder has approved a disaster declaration for 17 counties affected by flooding this month and last month, Congressman Fred Upton is hoping to get some federal relief for businesses that were hurt. He spoke with WSJM News about the flooding this week.. ...Read Full Story