Local News Archives

Nesbitt To Hold Veterans Workshop This Month

State Representative Aric Nesbitt is planning another veterans roundtable. The event, set to take place on October 10 at the Paw Paw American Legion, will be a chance for southwest Michigan veterans to come out and speak with Nesbitt about their needs and concerns. Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director James Redford will be the guest speaker, offering information on services to vets that the state offers. The program will run from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.. ...Read Full Story

Mosiac Planning Some Moves In Benton Harbor

The Mosaic Christian Community Development Association is seeking the public’s help as it works to find a new home for its resale shop and Harbor Shine Lawn Care. The non-profit has announced a goal to raise $850,000 to relocate the store and lawn care service, as well as the Jobs for Life Program, from Main Street over to 200 Paw Paw Avenue. That property used to house the city of Benton Harbor’s Business Growth Center. Mosaic says using 200 Paw Paw will give it more space for its jobs training programs. It’s also looking to relocate Cafe Mosaic, but hasn’t announced details yet.. ...Read Full Story

BH Schools Workshop Planned For Next Week

The public is being invited to offer its thoughts about how security could be improved at Benton Harbor Area Schools. A forum is planned for next Thursday at the central administration building on Pipestone for folks to come and give some input. The district is looking for the feedback as it prepares to seek a $2 million security and gang prevention grant from the Michigan Department of Education. Next Thursday’s workshop will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Based on the input they get, district leaders will put together a prioritized list of what the community feels is most important for students.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Residents Spooked By Clown Posts On Facebook

Police in South Haven aren’t laughing after getting several reports of some clowning around this week. The police department tells WSJM News people have been reporting somebody on Facebook posting pictures of Pennywise the clown from Stephen King’s It and intimating that he’s in different areas of the city. The account has since been disabled, and the messages are gone. The supposed clown never made any threats, but he apparently spooked a few people into calling police. The department says if you do see someone dressed as a clown hanging around town and it strikes you as suspicious, give them a call at 637-5151.. ...Read Full Story

Upton To Receive Manufacturing Award

The National Association of Manufacturers plans to salute Congressman Fred Upton with an award on Monday. He’ll be appearing at the Bosch plant in Stevensville to get the National Association of Manufacturers Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence. The NAM says it’s for supporting legislation and policies that would benefit manufacturing companies. The National Association of Manufacturers gives out the award every two years to members of the House who vote in support of their interests. It says Upton has a lifetime record of doing so 90% of the time.. ...Read Full Story

Trump Oregon Director Shifts Focus To Michigan

The Oregon state director for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is shifting his efforts to Michigan. Jacob Daniels, a Creswell attorney, tells the Bulletin that he moved to Michigan because Trump is bulking up staff in the most competitive states. Trump made big promises on the campaign trail in Oregon, saying he was going to become the first Republican to win there since 1984. He now appears to be
withdrawing from the Pacific Northwest to focus on Colorado and swing states in the Midwest. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s website doesn’t show any planned visits to Oregon. Daniels says he’s not aware of any plans for Trump or his vice presidential pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, to visit Oregon but says a visit isn’t out the question.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Springs Woman Seriously Injured When Hit By Car

A Berrien Springs woman is recovering from serious injuries at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo after she was hit by a car Thursday night. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it happened around 7 p.m. on Old US 31 near Deans Hill in Berrien Township. 50-year-old Sandra Gaston was walking near the entrance to Shamrock Park when she was hit by a Chevy Cavalier. She was badly injured. The driver, 45-year-old James Gaston, of Berrien Springs, was arrested on charges of driving on a suspended license and operating while intoxicated. Police say he’d been backing the car up when the accident happened.. ...Read Full Story

Archery Deer Season Starts Saturday

Hunters will be out with their bow and arrows for the start of archery deer season in Michigan on Saturday. Chad Stewart is a deer management specialist with the state Department of Natural Resources and admits it’s not as big of a deal as firearms deer season, which start November 15. Still, he says bow hunters harvested more than 110,000 deer last year, and says “it’s a huge recreational opportunity for our hunters.”. ...Read Full Story

“Baby Kate” Murder Trial Underway In Ludington

A high-profile murder trial five years in the works is now underway in Ludington. Sean Phillips is charged with murder in the death of his four-and-a-half month old daughter, Katherine, in 2011. She quickly became known around West Michigan as “Baby Kate.” The girl’s mother, Ariel Courtland, testified as the trial opened on Thursday and said Phillips wanted her to get an abortion.. ...Read Full Story

Lawrence Couple Pleads Guilty In Animal Neglect Case

Guilty pleas for a Lawrence Township couple in an animal cruelty case. Donald Smith and Melissa Copen reached a plea deal with Van Buren County prosecutors on Thursday, and won’t be allowed to keep their animals. They’ll avoid jail if they complete their probation. Animal control officers and sheriff’s deputies took 108 dogs, six cats and a horse from their home in June. The conditions inside the home were described by Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler as horrendous. She said this summer in an interview with WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids after the animals were seized that they weren’t mistreated and her and her husband got overwhelmed while trying to start an animal rescue program.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Deer Dies From EHD

(St. Joseph, MI – AP) – A deer in southwestern Michigan has died from a disease that killed more than 12,000 in the state in 2012. The Department of Natural Resources says it has confirmed a deer death in Berrien County linked to EHD, a viral disease that is transmitted by a fly. No cases were reported in Michigan in 2014 or 2015. Wildlife biologist and pathologist Tom Cooley believes the dry, hot weather this summer may have played a role in the return of EHD. The disease has been around for decades in many areas of the U.S. The DNR says sick deer lose appetite and fear of humans and often are found unconscious near water. There is no evidence that humans can catch the virus.. ...Read Full Story

Clinton Leads Trump In Michigan By 7% In New Poll

A new poll shows Hillary Clinton with seven-percentage-point lead in the presidential race in Michigan. She has 42% support, compared to 35% for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, 9% for Libertarian Gary Johnson, and 3% for the Green Party’s Jill Stein. The poll was done for “The Detroit News” and WDIV-TV in Detroit. There are still 9% of voters who say they’re undecided. The survey was taken after Monday night’s debate between Clinton and Trump, with 57% saying Clinton is qualified for the Oval Office and 62.5% believing Trump is not qualified. That is up slightly from a poll in August.. ...Read Full Story

Cafe Mosaic Willing To Work With Men Who Robbed Customer This Week

The doors of Benton Harbor’s Cafe Mosaic are could still be open to two young men who snatched a woman’s purse from the business this week. Cafe Manager Gabrielle Engle tells WSJM News the two went in there Tuesday, asking about the Jobs for Life program. They waited a few minutes and then took off with a lady’s purse. Engle says the management has met and decided those are just the kind of folks Cafe Mosaic tries to help.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Working To Enroll Former ITT Tech Students

Southwestern Michigan College is continuing to work with students of ITT Technical Institute now that ITT Tech has ceased all operations. The for-profit chain of schools abruptly shut down this month, and SMC reached out to students right away offering help. SMC Vice President of Enrollment Mike O’Brien tells us a workshop the college held on the 14th attracted 20 nursing students from ITT Tech, along with about a dozen technology and business students. Some came from as far away as Chicago, desperate to find a way to transfer some of their credits. O’Brien says a few were just months from graduation, and SMC is working with the state licensing authority to see if any of their credits can transfer. SMC is hoping to have some of those ITT Tech students enrolled in the spring.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Deputies Honored By MADD

Two Van Buren County sheriff’s deputies have been honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for their efforts to keep the roads safe. The sheriff’s department tells our newsroom Deputy Brian Matthews and Deputy Eric Calhoun were recognized at a celebration in Mount Pleasant Thursday. Both are assigned as secondary road deputies specifically dedicated to road enforcement. Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler says they’re instrumental in keeping the county safe.. ...Read Full Story

Improved Safety Rating For South Haven Area Emergency Services

People who live in the service area of South Haven Area Emergency Services could see their insurance ratings go down, thanks to an improved safety rating granted this week to the agency. Emergency services says the Insurance Service Office, or ISO, issues ratings to fire departments throughout the country based on the effectiveness of their services, and it’s now bumped up the rating for the South Haven area. That could mean lower insurance rates, as an area’s ISO rating affects premiums. Local property owners are urged to call their insurance companies to ask that the new ISO rating be reflected on their bill.. ...Read Full Story

Man Rowing Across Lake Michigan For Fight Against Childhood Cancer

An Illinois man plans to leave from St. Joseph this Sunday to row across Lake Michigan raising funds for research into childhood cancer, and on Thursday, he was honored for his effort. Jacob Beckley Was at the St. Joe Junior Rowing School with state Senator John Proos, who presented him with a recent resolution proclaiming September as Michigan Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.. ...Read Full Story

Bangor Police Investigating Suspicious Death

Police in Bangor are investigating what they say is a suspicious death this week. Police Chief Tommy Simpson tells WSJM news 32-year-old Brandon Zantello was found dead Tuesday morning in his apartment on Arlington Street. So far, investigators have learned Zantello had some guests over the previous night, and got into a fight with a 19-year-old man. At this point, police don’t think Zantello died as a result of the fight, as witnesses tell them Zantello was still conscious when they left, but they’re investigating the death as suspicious. Interviews continue to be held in the case, and police are waiting on toxicology results. That will take about six weeks.. ...Read Full Story

Hunting Season Expected To Be Better This Year

Last winter’s relatively mild temperatures are offering hope that this year’s deer hunting season will see improvements from last year. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources on Thursday released its 2016 Michigan Deer Hunting Prospects report. The report notes that the 2015 season, while seeing a drop in hunter numbers, ended with a slight increase in harvest from 2014. Hunting success decreased in the Upper Peninsula while increasing across the entire Lower Peninsula. Michigan saw severe, prolonged winters in 2012, 2013 and 2014, so numbers are
expected to be down in the coming years in the U.P. The reports notes the mild winter last year, however, offers hope hunters may experience slightly better success this year. Details about the 2016 hunt are posted on the state’s website.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Mother Convicted In Death Of 4-Year-Old

A jury in southwestern Michigan has convicted a woman of murder in the death of her daughter on the girl’s fourth birthday. On the witness stand, Daveeta Walker denied abusing her children. She says she told police a different story about “whooping” Kharisma Richardson because she felt threatened. Walker was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder and other crimes. She’ll spend her life in prison. Kharisma was found dead in March. Walker says she picked up her daughter to wish her a happy birthday and “noticed her feeling funny.” She says the child
was in someone else’s care the previous night. There were scars, bruises and burns on Kharisma. Her death was due to complications from multiple injuries. Assistant prosecutor Michael Stein says Walker had an “absolute disregard” for Kharisma.. ...Read Full Story

Arrest Made In Deadly Crash In Royalton Twp

A South Bend man is in jail in connection with a deadly crash in Royalton Township earlier this month. You may remember the crash killed 36-year-old Jason Ransom of Niles when two vehicles collided on Scottdale Road near Rockey Weed Road on September 17. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says 36-year-old Walter Davis the Second of South Bend was arrested Wednesday. He is facing several charges including failing to stop at an accident causing death. Davis ran off from the scene before police arrived.. ...Read Full Story

Free Pet Adoption Events Next Month

The Bissell Pet Foundation is planning to hold yet another Empty the Shelters event next month. That’s when the animal welfare group will pay for the cost of adopting an animal at more than 50 shelters around Michigan for a day. Spokesperson Holly Kroeze tells WSJM News that’s after a successful date back in May.. ...Read Full Story

Youth Perception Of Marijuana Dangers Decreasing

Teens around the US may be using marijuana a little less, but they also don’t recognize the health risks it poses. That’s according to new data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Kerri Teachout, with the Berrien County Health Department, tells WSJM News that’s a problem because marijuana is bad for a developing teen.. ...Read Full Story

Cornerstone Chamber Award Created In Honor Of Pat Moody

Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce will give out a couple of brand new awards when it holds its 2017 Business Recognition Event in February, and one of them is named after Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s own Pat Moody. The Pat Moody Award and the Young Business Leader of the Year Award are the new ones Cornerstone has added to the mix. Cornerstone says the Pat Moody Award, created in Moody’s honor, will go to a business or individual that has staying power, provides great customer service, and is involved in the community. Members will be voting in the awards throughout October. The Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce represents 700 businesses.. ...Read Full Story

Galien Receives Antique Fire Truck

The community of Galien has been reunited with an antique fire truck it once owned and then sold to a Calhoun County town. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports, Tuesday, the Galien’s fire chief picked up the 1919 Chevrolet truck from Burlington. The Burlington Fire Department bought it from Galien’s fire department in 1942 and used it for about six years. Since retiring the truck, Burlington would occasionally use it in events like parades. Now that it’s given the truck back to Galien, it will still be allowed use of it upon request. Galien got the truck new in 1919, and got a whole $250 for it when it was sold to Burlington.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan AG: Failing Schools Could Close This Year

Michigan’s attorney general says the state may close persistently low-performing public schools in Detroit before the end of this academic year if they were among the lowest-achieving for the preceding three years. Republican legislative leaders earlier this month asked Republican Attorney
General Bill Schuette to weigh in because Republican Governor Rick Snyder interpreted a law rescuing the Detroit district from debt to mean the State School Reform/Redesign Officer cannot close any district school until 2019. Schuette’s office Wednesday released an official opinion, which is legally binding on state agencies and officers unless reversed by a court. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and House Speaker Kevin Cotter had said the law’s “plain language” authorized Detroit school closures by the end of this school year and to say otherwise ignored legislative intent.. ...Read Full Story

Congress Reaches Deal On Flint Water Assistance

Congressional leaders appear to have broken a stalemate over the Flint, Michigan, water crisis – clearing the way for a spending bill to keep the government running until December. The spending bill also would provide long-delayed money to fight Zika. An aide to House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi says Pelosi and House Speaker Paul Ryan have an agreement on a first step for aid to address Flint’s lead-tainted water. The agreement promises to provide $170 million to help Flint and other cities with water emergencies – and that pledge of assistance would be part of a water projects bill. The deal between Democrat Pelosi and Republican Ryan holds the promise of freeing up the short-term spending measure. That bill had failed to advance in the Senate on Tuesday.. ...Read Full Story

New Poll Gives Clinton 5-Point Lead In Michigan

A new poll shows Democrat Hillary Clinton with a five-point lead over Republican Donald Trump in the presidential race in Michigan. The survey was taken before Monday night’s debate between the two by Target Insyght for MIRS News and lobbying firm Governmental Consultant Services. Clinton has 46% of the vote, while Trump has 41% and Libertarian Gary Johnson trails far behind in third with 8%. Only 3% of those polled say they’re still undecided.. ...Read Full Story

FEMA Conducting National Test Today

At 2:20 this afternoon, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will perform a national test of its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. It’s the first time an official national test has been conducted – and FEMA’s Wade Witmer says most will find it very similar to the regular monthly test.. ...Read Full Story

Arguments This Week In Suit Over Clean Power Plan

Oral arguments are this week in a federal case challenging the legality of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and recent research shows how the carbon reduction regulations would benefit industry in Michigan and other states. James Clift, Policy Director for the Michigan Environmental Council, says manufactures have seen the benefits of the state’s own energy efficiency program.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County K9 Finds Domestic Violence Suspect

A K9 for the Cass County Sheriff’s Department is getting the credit for the capture of a domestic violence suspect this week. Deputies were called out to a home along Elbow Lake Street in Porter Township Monday night on a report of an assault. By the time they got there, the suspect had already run off. The sheriff’s department brought in K9 Faust, who was able to find the man hiding in a ditch in the woods about a half mile away. He was taken to the Cass County Jail. Faust is a 3-year-old Dutch Shepard who has worked for the department since July.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder OKs Extending Benefits To Families Of Fallen First Responders

The surviving family members of Michigan first responders who die in the line of duty will qualify for up to five years of state-paid health insurance under legislation signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. Snyder says in a statement Tuesday that the move is “unquestionably the right thing to do.” Survivors of fallen first responders currently can get a one-time $25,000 payment. The law sponsored by Republican Senator Wayne Schmidt, of Traverse Cit,y applies to  survivors of fallen police officers, firefighters and publicly employed paramedics and is retroactive to October 2015. Providing the health coverage could cost the state up to $400,000 a year, according to legislative fiscal projections.. ...Read Full Story

Joique Bell To Play For The Chicago Bears

Joique Bell will be playing for the Chicago Bears. Word came Tuesday the Benton Harbor native has been picked up by the struggling Bears ahead of their game on Sunday against the Lions. Bell, a running back, was released from the Lions this year. He heads to Chicago to take the place of Jeremy Langford, a former Michigan State tailback, who is out with an injury. The 30-year-old Bell played for the Lions from 2011 to 2015.. ...Read Full Story

Panel Declines To Add Eye Condition To Medical Marijuana List

An advisory panel is recommending that an eye disease not be added to the conditions that qualify for medical marijuana in Michigan. Only one of six members on the review panel was in favor Tuesday. The petition was filed by Melba Velez Ortiz, a professor at Grand Valley State
University. She wants to add retinitis pigmentosa to the marijuana list. It’s an inherited disease that greatly affects the retina and can lead to night blindness and loss of vision. Ortiz says there’s research showing marijuana can slow down the disease. In 2008, Michigan voters approved marijuana for the side effects of cancer and a few other illnesses. Only one condition, post-traumatic stress disorder, has been added.. ...Read Full Story

Have Auto Sales Peaked?

Another indication that auto sales may have hit a peak. The latest sales forecast from J.D. Power and L.M.C. Automotive predicts September sales are expected to drop slightly from a year ago. Jeff Schuster with L.M.C Automotive says this is more of the same.. ...Read Full Story

Children Subject Of Amber Alert Found Dead, Mother Arrested

(Elkhart, IN – AP) – Two Indiana children who were the subject of an Amber Alert have been found dead and their mother has been arrested on murder charges. Elkhart police say they believe the two children found dead on Monday afternoon were seven-year-old Liliana Hernandez and six-year-old Rene Pasztor. They had been the subject of an Amber Alert earlier in the day warning that their mother may have abducted them.. ...Read Full Story

Report: MI Women Earn 74% Of Men’s Wages

A new report says women working full time were paid 80% of what men were paid in 2015. At the current pay disparity rate, women should be making the same as men for the same job in 2059. Marilyn Watkins, policy director at the Economic Opportunity Institute, says Massachusetts this summer passed one of the strongest equal-pay laws in the country, making sure companies pay equally for comparable jobs and job requirements.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Commission On Board With Lakeland Expansion

A $160 million expansion to Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph is moving forward following a Monday meeting of the St. Joseph City Commission. Commissioners granted planned unit development status to the Lakeland Medical Center Pavilion from Lakeland Facilities Director Dan Bacchiocchi, who said the addition will improve things for patients.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Police Make Three Drug Arrests

The Dowagiac Department of Public Safety says its K9 unit helped lead to the arrest of three drug suspects over the weekend. Also, officers busted someone with a stolen automatic handgun. The busy weekend started around 10 p.m. Friday when officers pulled a woman over on Ashland Street and the K9 found crack in the car. The driver was arrested. Then on Saturday night, the K9 struck again and found crack in another vehicle with stolen plates parked on North Paul Street. That led to another arrest. On Sunday night, the K9 once again found drugs, this time meth, in a car stopped on East Prairie Ronde Street. That driver was arrested, as well. Finally, the stolen gun was found in a home on Amerihost Drive when a domestic assault call came in. That suspect is in the Cass County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Man Charged After Fire Led To Marijuana Discovery

Several charges have been filed against a Niles Township man following a fire at his home last week which led to the discovery of marijuana growing there. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office says 34-year-old Luther Borders is charged with second degree child abuse and manufacturing marijuana, among other things. Due to a previous drug conviction, he could get up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Firefighters were called to Borders’ home on Stateline Road last Tuesday. Later on, police determined the fire was caused by some equipment Borders was using as part of a THC extraction lab. That’s led to the drug charges. He’s charged with child abuse because two children were in the home at the time. Borders was arraigned Monday and bond was set at $25,000.. ...Read Full Story

Jury Selection This Week In Baby Kate Case

Jury selection is taking place for the trial of a northern Michigan man charged with murder in the disappearance of his infant daughter.
Katherine Phillips, known as “Baby Kate,” disappeared in 2011 in the Ludington area. Defense lawyer David Glancy tells the Ludington Daily News that a defense offer for Sean Phillips to plead guilty to manslaughter was rejected. Jury selection took place Monday and the trial is expected to take three weeks. Phillips is serving a 10-year prison sentence for unlawful imprisonment in Kate’s disappearance. A year ago, the Michigan appeals court said the murder charge could go forward, even if a body hadn’t been found. The court said Phillips’ correspondence with Kate’s mother and other evidence was sufficient to show that the girl’s death was a crime.. ...Read Full Story