Local News Archives

State Releases Underwater Pipeline Study


From the Associated Press — Michigan officials have released a consulting firm’s draft report listing alternatives for dealing with twin oil pipelines beneath the waterway where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet. The state commissioned the report as environmental groups push to decommission the nearly 5-mile-long (section of Enbridge Inc.’s Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, which was laid in 1953. State Attorney General Bill Schuette endorsed a shutdown Thursday. The report by Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems Inc. lists six choices. Among them are continuing to operate the pipelines or removing them. Others include building a new pipeline that wouldn’t cross open Great Lakes waters; moving Line
5’s oil through other pipelines; using rail cars, trucks or barges to transport oil; or putting new pipelines in the straits that would run through a trench or tunnel. The report doesn’t endorse a particular alternative but analyzes each for technical and cost feasibility.. ...Read Full Story

Lt. Gov Talks Part-Time Legislature


There are 41 states with part-time state legislatures, and Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley thinks this state should be number 42. He joined WSJM’s Pat Moody to discuss his push for a constitutional amendment for that, and believes we will have better candidates for office as a result.. ...Read Full Story

New Principal Picked For Lincoln Elementary In SJ


St. Joseph’s Lincoln Elementary School has its next principal. In a message to parents and Lincoln staff, St. Joseph Public Schools Superintendent Ann Cardon says she has decided to transfer Brown Elementary Principal Craig Hubble to Lincoln to replace Mike Wagner, who died earlier this month. Cardon said the school needed someone “who can continue Mike’s good work,” and added staff and parents need someone capable of supporting them. She calls Hubble “the perfect person to pick up the torch and light the way back to normal – well as normal as we can make it.”. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Lifting Construction Restrictions For Holiday


The Michigan Department of Transportation says it will be lifting work zone restrictions at the majority of project sites statewide over the Independence Day weekend. That means smoother driving on Interstate 94 through southwest Michigan, but MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa says motorists will still need to be aware of a few lane shifts.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Calls For Immediate Asian Carp Action


State Senator John Proos is again calling on the federal government to take immediate action to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan. He has put forth countless resolutions in Lansing pushing for the separation of the Chicago River system from the lake and for Washington to release the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report on long-term solutions.. ...Read Full Story

Montreal Man Accused In Flint Airport Attack Denied Bond


A Canadian man accused of stabbing an airport police officer in Flint will remain in jail while his case proceeds. Joan Morgan, an attorney for Amor Ftouhi, didn’t object to the government’s request that he stay in jail. She told a federal judge Wednesday that the 49-year-old defendant from Montreal would be held by U.S. immigration authorities even if granted bond in the criminal case.. ...Read Full Story

Draft Ordinance For Medical Marijuana In Buchanan


A draft ordinance to allow medical marijuana businesses to operate in Buchanan is now available for people to review at City Hall. The city commission began discussions on the proposal this week, with the planning commission recommending up to 15 permits for growers and five permits for processors, transporters, provision centers, and safety compliance facilities. State law is allowing for local control of the businesses next year. City Manager Bill Marx told the commission they have time to make sure they get it right, and there’s no need to rush a vote. As Buchanan weighs allowing the medical weed business, Benton Harbor city commissioners were urged recently by the sheriff and county prosecutor to not adopt ordinances for marijuana in their city.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Commission Approves Dead Tree Removals


The city of St. Joseph will be removing some dead ash trees from a couple of ravine areas this summer. Monday night, the city commission approved the parks department’s request to take out more than 30 trees from a ravine area between Wolcott and Niles Avenue, and an area near Mohawk and Greenwood. The parks department says the dead trees pose a risk to nearby houses. They have to hire a firm to do the work at a cost of about $26,000. Also this week, the city approved the planting of nearly 50 new trees around town. That work will run about $15,000.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Sheriff Boosting Security At Silver Beach On Fourth Of July


The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department will have its eye on you this Fourth of July weekend at Silver Beach. Sheriff Paul Bailey addressed St. Joseph City Commissioners Monday to assure them his department and St. Joseph Public Safety are working closely together to keep it safe. Bailey told WSJM News he’ll have a lot of uniformed deputies and deputies in plain clothes roaming the beach all day and until everyone leaves.. ...Read Full Story

BH School Board Selects New Trustee


There will soon be a new face on the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education. It’s Margaret Gast, who was picked Tuesday to fill the vacancy created with the resignation of Elnora Gavin. Gast — no relation to Harry Gast — told WSJM News she wants to see the district returned to how she remembers it in the 1960s. She also views the partnership agreement with the state as both constrictive and an opportunity.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph City Manager Gets Positive Review


St. Joseph City Commissioners are pleased with the performance of City Manager John Hodgson. This week, the commission held a closed session review for Hodgson. When they came out, they granted him a 1.5% pay increase. In his review, they rated Hodgson as “excellent” in every category. No other changes were made to Hodgson’s contract. The city commission promoted Hodgson to the position of city manager in the spring of 2015.. ...Read Full Story

State Approves Incentives For Amazon To Add 1,600 jobs


From the Associated Press — Online retailer Amazon.com plans to create 1,600 jobs in Michigan by opening a “fulfillment center” in the Detroit area. The Michigan Strategic Fund Board on Tuesday approved a $5 million grant for Amazon to spend up to $140 million on the new facility in Romulus. It’s the second time in six months that the state has authorized an incentive for Amazon, which also plans to open a fulfillment center in Livonia with 1,000 jobs. The company has 277 employees in the state now. For the new project in Romulus, the state incentive will help Amazon offset some costs for “substantial” road and other infrastructure improvements, according to a memo prepared by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The jobs are related to “general warehousing and storage,” the memo says.. ...Read Full Story

Man Killed In Workplace Accident In Niles


A workplace death is under investigation in Niles. Shortly after 5 this morning, Niles police say 64-year-old Dennis Kobb was run over by the rear wheels of a semi while moving an empty trailer from the loading dock at Paragon Industries in the 18-hundred block of Terminal Road. They say it appears he may have fallen from the cab of the truck and got caught under the tires. Kobb was pronounced dead at the scene.. ...Read Full Story

Horizon Bank Switches From National Bank To Indiana State Status


Horizon Bancorp, the owner of Horizon Bank, has announced a bit of a change for the institution which it says will result in savings. It’s converted Horizon Bank from a national bank to an Indiana state-chartered non-member bank. While the move is unlikely to affect customers, the Horizon Bancorp tells us it will mean savings of about $430,000 per year, along with efficiency, and aligning the bank’s interests with other Midwest states where it does business. The change was effective Friday.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Man Wins $208,000 In Michigan Lottery


Earlier this month it was a Bridgman woman who won $300,000 from a Michigan Lottery scratch off. Now, it’s a Niles man who has won $208,000 from the Fantasy 5 game. The Michigan Lottery tells us 59-year-old Stanley Bolle is looking forward to paying off debt with his winnings. He picked up his winning Fantasy 5 ticket at the Phillips 66 gas station on South 11th Street in Niles last week and matched five numbers. One other person also did so, and they split the total $416,000 jackpot. Bolle tells the Michigan Lotto he buys a ticket twice a week, and could “barely move” when he checked out the winning numbers and saw he matched all five. In addition to paying off some bills, he’s planning to use the winnings for some home repairs and to take his wife on a trip.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder: Change Graduation Requirements To Boost Career Tech Ed


From the Associated Press — Michigan’s high school graduation requirements would include a mandatory career readiness course under recommendations announced by Governor Rick Snyder. Snyder on Monday urged lawmakers to change the graduation requirements, known
as the Michigan Merit Curriculum, to make them more flexible and to mandate that a career exploration/job skills class be completed in seventh or eighth grade. He also says computer science should count as meeting a foreign language requirement and students should be able to meet health and physical education requirements by completing career health programs. Snyder says the proposed “career pathway” changes are among a number of ways the state could better help students train for jobs in the trades and other in-demand sectors. He also wants to boost career counseling and to expand career and technical education.. ...Read Full Story

Two Arrested In TN For Murders Of Decatur Teens


Two Decatur teenagers allegedly went to Knoxville, Tennessee last week to make a deal for some high-grade marijuana, and didn’t come home alive. Police in Knoxville say 18-year-olds Sergio Rivera and Jaleon Morris were shot and killed in a car last Thursday. Two people, 15-year-old Rico Cook and Deon Nolbert, have been arrested on murder, attempted murder, and armed robbery charges, and Cook is charged as an adult. A 16-year-old from Knoxville was also shot and wounded in the drug deal gone bad.. ...Read Full Story

State Senate Bill Would Outlaw “Redskins” Nickname


A state senator from Traverse City is seeking to end the controversy over the use of the Redskins nickname by schools. The school board in Paw Paw earlier this year voted to keep the nickname in place, and Saranac schools also still use it. North of Grand Rapids, Belding recently changed its nickname from Redskins to the Black Knights. Senator Wayne Schmidt says his bill was crafted with the help of the five Native American tribes in his district, and adds it’s time for the use of a nickname considered by Native Americans to be “particularly offensive” to go away for good. The bill was introduced last Thursday and is now in committee.. ...Read Full Story

Name Released In Galien Train Death


The death of a 21-year-old Galien man is being investigated by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies tell WSJM News Christopher Herman was hit by a train around 10:30 Saturday night on Main Street near Elgin Street in the village of Galien. Herman was pronounced dead at the scene. Details about the circumstances of the accident have not been released.. ...Read Full Story

New Partnership Aims To Help Older Workers Find Jobs


A new collaborative aims to connect businesses in Michigan with skilled, experienced older workers. “Experience for Hire” is working to find candidates to help fill the 100,000 unfilled jobs in the state. AARP Michigan is part of the initiative, and State Director Paula Cunningham tells us the program can interview a screened pool of applicants who require little training, are open to flexible schedules and often aren’t seeking additional job benefits beyond earning money.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Community Foundation Announces $130,000 In Scholarships


The Berrien Community Foundation has announced $130,000 in scholarships. It held its 17th annual scholarship celebration Thursday announcing the awards with a birthday party theme as this is the 65th birthday for the Berrien Community Foundation. Specifically this year, it is celebrating 47 new scholars plus 42 renewed scholarships. In its history, the Berrien Community Foundation has awarded more than $2.4 million in scholarships. It’s also encouraging students interested in pursuing a scholarship for next year to apply now. You can find out everything you need to know at BerrienCommunity.org/Scholar.. ...Read Full Story

Schuitmaker Legislation Aims To Prevent Prescription Abuse


The Michigan Senate has approved legislation setting up new standards for doctors and pharmacies that prescribe and dispense certain prescription drugs that could be abused. State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker tells WSJM News her legislation requires the state’s prescription drug database to be checked before someone is given a Schedule 2 through Schedule 5 level drug.. ...Read Full Story

Man Killed By Train In Galien


The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death of a 22-year-old man who was hit by a train Saturday night in Galien. It happened around 10:30 p.m., and the man was pronounced dead at the scene. His family has been notified, but the man’s name has not been released. Police have also not released anything about the circumstances of the accident, other than it happened on Main Street near Elgin Street in the Village of Galien.. ...Read Full Story

Sears Hometown Store At Orchards Mall Closing


There’s been another blow to the Orchards Mall in Benton Township. The Sears Hometown Store is closing. It’s posted a message on its Facebook page announcing a going out of business sale. The sale will run through July 24, and the store says everything must go. The Sears Hometown Store is the remnant of what used to be a full-service Sears department store at the Orchards Mall. The departure of the Hometown location creates another empty space at the struggling Orchards Mall, and that’s not all. Also closing is the Kids on Stage performance center. Its owner has announced he decided it’s time to move on.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Community Foundation Announces $14,000 In Grants


The South Haven Community Foundation has awarded $14,000 in grants to local non-profits. The money will be used to make facility improvements, provide summer programming for children in need, fund mentoring programs, and host music and speaking performances. The goal is to enhance the living experience in the South Haven area. This year’s grant recipients include the Historical Association of South Haven, the South Haven Center for the Arts, Youth Development Company, Junior Achievement, the City of South Haven, and the Al-Van Humane Society. All of the recipients have been invited to a gift distribution reception set for next Tuesday. Since 1996, the South Haven Community Foundation has awarded more than $250,000 to local organizations.. ...Read Full Story

Southwest Michigan Home Sales Slow Down In May


Southwest Michigan’s housing market slowed down a little during the month of May. After April saw a record-setting number of homes sold in the region, May saw sales slip about 4% from the previous year. However, prices continued to rise and the total dollar volume from homes moved was also up. The number of homes sold in southwest Michigan during the month of May this year was down to 341 from 357 last May. However, the average selling price from May of last year was up 8%, while dollar volume was up 3%. The Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors tells WSJM News a good sign is that the percentage of foreclosed homes continued to trend down in May. Only 6% of the homes sold during the month were bank-owned.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Teaming Up With Krasl Art Center For Recycling Program


The city of St. Joseph and the Krasl Art Center are teaming up to offer a recycling program for this summer’s Krasl Art Fair and the Fourth of July celebrations. Since the two events will essentially be back to back this year, the two thought it would be a good time to launch their recycling partnership. During the Fourth of July, the city will install about 35 recycling bins throughout the downtown, and then they’ll be moved over to the bluff for the Krasl Art Fair on July 9. St. Joseph City Manager John Hodgson tells WSJM News the Krasl and the city have talked about a recycling partnership for years, and this summer will give them a chance to see how it works out.. ...Read Full Story

Graduation Today For 157 Students At Michigan Career and Technical Institute


157 students will graduate this weekend from a state academy that teaches job skills to the disabled. The Michigan Career and Technical Institute, located in Plainwell, was started in 1944 to train World War II veterans. In the years since, it’s switched to helping the disabled find work. That’s according to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Bob Wheaton, who spoke with WSJM News.. ...Read Full Story

Police Release Name Of Boy Killed In Wednesday Landscaping Accident


The Cass County Sheriff’s Department has identified a 6-year-old boy who was killed in a landscaping accident this week. It tells us Holden High, of Dowagiac, died when he fell off a skid loader he was riding in. The incident occurred Wednesday on property in the 19,000 block of Dewey Lake Street in Volinia Township. A 55-year-old family friend from Three Rivers was operating the skid loader when the boy fell out and the machine partially rolled on to him. The boy was pronounced dead later at Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac.. ...Read Full Story

Great Lakes Alliance: Action Needed Now On Asian Carp


A live Asian carp has been found closer to Lake Michigan than ever before. Jennifer Caddick, with the Alliance for the Great Lakes, tells WSJM News one was found Thursday at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. First, she says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to get a better handle on its electric barrier currently keeping the fish at bay. Second, she says it’s up to the Trump administration to take bold action.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Series Of Business Break Ins


The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a series of business break-ins spanning two states. It tells us, within the past month, there have been about six breaking and entering incidents involving liquor stores and gas stations. The thieves steal cash from each location. The stores have all been in Berrien County and St. Joseph County, Indiana. Anyone with information on the crimes is asked to contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-342-STOP. Information that leads to an arrest could mean a $1,000 reward.. ...Read Full Story

Major I-94 Work In Kalamazoo This Weekend


The Michigan Department of Transportation says drivers in Kalamazoo can expect to see several closures on I-94 throughout the weekend. A bridge seal project was scheduled for last weekend, but was delayed by stormy weather. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa told WKZO News drivers will need to be alert with several areas affected.. ...Read Full Story

Man Busted With $150,000 Worth Of Crystal Meth In Lake Township


A Montana man is in the Berrien County Jail after being caught with a large amount of crystal meth in Lake Township. The Baroda-Lake Township Police Department tells WSJM News an officer stopped a van for a cracked windshield on eastbound I-94 Friday afternoon. The driver told the officer he was headed from California to Lansing. He also gave permission for the van to be searched. That’s when the officer found ten one-pound containers of crystal meth. The drugs are worth an estimated $150,000. The 52-year-old driver of the van was arrested on a charge of possession with intent to deliver crystal meth.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Makes Case For Michigan During Europe Trade Trip


From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder says a major automotive supplier could expand its operations in Michigan and an Italian biotech company is considering Michigan as a place to which to locate in the U.S. Snyder is wrapping up a weeklong trade trip to Europe. He met with business executives in France, Germany and Italy – both to touch base with those whose companies already have a presence in Michigan and to explore potential new opportunities. Snyder told The Associated Press in a phone interview Friday that he is focused partly on selling Michigan as a destination for the aerospace industry. He declined to identify companies that could add jobs in the state, but says his
meetings were productive. He plans to return to Germany in September for an auto show.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Introduces Plan To Help Young Offenders Graduate, Clear Their Records


Legislation has been introduced by state Senator John Proos to help young people get themselves back on track after they’ve become caughtup in the criminal justice system. He tells WSJM News the plan would let juvenile offenders enroll in the Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy. It’s a residency program in Battle Creek where those who have dropped out can get their diploma and even college credit. Proos tells us, under his bill, if a young person completes the camp, he or she can have their crimes expunged from their record.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Deputy Receives Award For Work With Vulnerable Adults


Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy Kelly Laesch has been honored with the 2017 Elder Justice Good Neighbor Award. She got the accolade Wednesday at the annual Elder Justice and At-Risk Adult Resource Project’s summit in Mount Pleasant. Laesch was nominated by the Berrien and Cass County Departments of Health and Human Services for her work helping Adult Protective Services. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us Laesch routinely works with vulnerable adults, and has developed a special way of communicating with them. She also runs the Project Lifesaver Program.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Pleased With New State Budget

State Representative Kim LaSata tells WSJM News the new state budget, approved by lawmakers this week, puts Michigan in a good position for the future. She says it pays down debt while reducing long-term obligations. LaSata adds it also increases support for law enforcement.. ...Read Full Story

Police Look For Suspect In Thursday Morning Chase


Police are looking for a suspect who led them on a highway chase in Berrien County Thursday morning. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News a Baroda-Lake Township officer tried to pull over a vehicle on westbound I-94 around 5 a.m. near John Beers Road. The vehicle didn’t stop and continued all the way into Indiana, where the chase was ended for safety reasons. Police tell us the vehicle had been involved in break-ins throughout Calhoun, Van Buren, and Kalamazoo Counties. It was later found abandoned in the area of Cleveland and Glendora Roads. Anyone with information should reach out to the sheriff’s department.. ...Read Full Story

More Information Released On Child Killed In Farm Accident


More information has been released on a child who was killed Wednesday in a Cass County farming accident. The sheriff’s department tells us it happened at a farm in the 19,000 block of Dewey Lake Street in Volonia Township. The 6-year-old boy had been with two other children riding a short distance down the driveway in a Skid Steer front-end loader that was being used to do some landscaping. The boy fell out and was partially run over by the loader. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The sheriff’s department tells us it is not releasing his name out of respect for the family.. ...Read Full Story

State Senate Approves Budget


From the Associated Press — A $56.7 billion state budget is headed toward Governor Rick Snyder’s desk after the Republican-led Senate gave it final approval on mostly party-line votes. The bills approved Thursday include more money for K-12 schools, universities and community colleges. There is less for prison spending and environmental cleanup. Republicans say the budget includes record spending on K-12 education, money to train new state troopers and addresses debt in the teacher retirement system. Democrats say while the plan is better than one adopted earlier by GOP lawmakers, money used to steer newly hired school employees into a 401(k)-only retirement benefit should have been used to repair deteriorating roads and bridges.. ...Read Full Story