Local News Archives

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

United Way Collecting Books For Kids

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

Republican Running For MI House In 79th District

There is now a Republican in the race for Michigan House in the 79th District. The seat currently held by state Representative Kim LaSata is up for grabs because LaSata is instead running for the state Senate this year. Republican Troy Rolling of Benton Township tells WSJM News he’s jumped into the race because he’s got the background to fill the spot. Rolling tells us state government needs to ensure young people have real job skills by the time they finish high school He knows there’s a talent shortage facing businesses.. ...Read Full Story

Spring Forward This Weekend

It’s time to spring forward this weekend. Michigan State Police tell us the time to move your clocks ahead one hour will be 2 a.m. Sunday. Due to everyone losing an hour of sleep with the time change, state police ask all drivers to take extra care going into the next week. Also, the time change is a good opportunity to review your own safety precautions at home. Michigan State Police say you can double check your emergency kit, making sure it has enough water and food for 72 hours, medicine, flashlights, and batteries. The state fire marshal also tells everyone the time change is when you should switch out your smoke and carbon monoxide batteries. You can get more Daylight Saving Time tips at Michigan.gov/MIReady.. ...Read Full Story

World War II Presentation At Maritime Museum Next Week

Lake Michigan played a critical role in training Navy pilots during World War Two, and as part of the Michigan Maritime Museum’s Lecture Series, that’s going to be discussed next week. Troy Thrash, President and CEO of Air Zoo Aerospace and Museum, will present “Air Zoo-Restoring the Past, Igniting the Future” next Wednesday. He’ll be talking about restoring aircraft that have been at the bottom of Lake Michigan. Ashley Demming from the Michigan Maritime Museum spoke with WSJM News about the engagement.. ...Read Full Story

Multi-Agency Flood Relief Center Opens

A multi-agency flood relief center is being set up in Niles for the next few days to help distribute flood cleanup supplies. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us agencies including Berrien County Office of Emergency Management, the city of Niles, the Salvation Army of Niles, the United Way of Southwest Michigan, Team Rubicon, and the Red Cross of Southwest Michigan will come together for the effort. Starting this Friday, March 9 and running through Monday, March 12, the agencies will be at the First Presbyterian Church on South Fourth Street in Niles to give out flood cleanup supplies and hand out information. Anyone looking for more information can call the church at 683-7600.. ...Read Full Story

FIRST Robotics Competition Underway In SJ

It’s quite the scene at St. Joseph High School this Friday and Saturday as a FIRST Robotics competition featuring 40 teams takes place. St. Joseph High School Principal Greg Blomgren tells WSJM News the St. Joe team, the Average Joes, is hosting the event where kids design and build robots to manipulate blocks in specific ways.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Job Fair Next Week

Southwestern Michigan College will host more than 60 employers from Michigan and Indiana for a jobs fair this month. Set for next Wednesday, the Internship and Career Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the student activity center on the Dowagiac campus. SMC tells us the job fair comes as employers nationwide are planning to hire 4% more new graduates from the class of 2018 as compared to last year. The companies on hand for next week’s SMC job fair include banks, manufacturers, social service agencies, healthcare providers, and others. To attend, all you have to do is show up to SMC on Wednesday, March 14. To find out more, look right here.. ...Read Full Story

House: Defendants Must Listen To Victim Impact Statements

From the Associated Press — Defendants in Michigan would be compelled to listen to victim impact statements under legislation that has moved through the House. The House passed the bill 105-2 Thursday in honor of the late Rebekah Bletsch, a 36-year-old who was murdered in 2014 while jogging on a western Michigan road. In December Bletsch’s convicted murderer, Jeffrey Willis, spurred further
outrage for walking out of her family’s victim impact statements while blowing a kiss. The proposed law would amend the state’s William Van Regenmorter Crime Victim’s Rights Act with an amendatory law in Bletsch’s name requiring the defendant’s presence during the sentencing hearing. The bill is now proceeding to the Senate.. ...Read Full Story

First Time Hunters Urged To Enroll In Safety Course

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is inviting new hunters to sign up for safety classes. All first-time hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1960, must successfully complete a safety course. Cpl. Dave Painter of the DNR’s Recreational Safety, Education and Enforcement Section says newcomers to the sport shouldn’t wait until the last minute to sign up, especially if they’re considering a springtime hunt. Hunter education courses teach responsibility, ethics, firearm safety, wildlife conservation and identification, game care, survival and first aid. Courses are offered across the state throughout the year, although most are conducted from August through October. The typical course includes two to five sessions, with a total class time of 10-12 hours. They’re usually conducted at outdoor clubs, schools, police stations and camps.. ...Read Full Story

Allegan County Announces School Safety Plan

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

United Way Looks To Next Stage Of Flood Response

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is looking at the next stage of flood recovery. It put out word Thursday many families displaced by the flooding are returning to their homes and identifying what kind of help they need to recover. Right now, they’re sorting through belongings and deciding what can be salvaged and what needs to be replaced. The United Way tells us people who want to donate clothing, bedding, and other household items they might want to do so at Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Michigan because Goodwill is providing $100 vouchers to all flood victims. The United Way is also anticipating a need for beds, mattresses, sofas, and appliances. The United Way says it will keep the public informed as it enters phase two of property clean up and gets into the last few homes. You can find the United Way of Southwest Michigan’s disaster relief fund to help those in need right here.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Charged In Fatal Fire

A South Bend, Indiana woman is now facing a charge of murder in a Van Buren County fire that killed a woman last year. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us the body of 31-year-old Jessica Lynn True was found in a Decatur home following a fire in November. Police determined at the time the fire was an arson. Taken into custody this week was 27-year-old Nina Levenhagen. She was arraigned on Wednesday on a charge of felony murder and bond was set at $5 million. Arrested in the case last month was 32-year-old Glenn Russell Tett, Jr. also of South Bend. Police tell us the investigation into the Decatur fire continues.. ...Read Full Story

MI Unemployment Rate Flat In January

From the Associated press — Michigan’s unemployment rate in January was unchanged from the 4.7 percent rate recorded in December.
Figures released Thursday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget show Michigan’s January jobless rate was six-tenths of a percentage point above the national rate of 4.1 percent but three-tenths of a percentage point below the state’s January 2016 rate of 5.0 percent. The agency says total employment declined by 3,000 while the number of unemployed Michiganders rose by 1,000 for a net impact of a minor reduction in the state’s January workforce. Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives Director Jason Palmer says newly revised data from the annual revision process for Michigan show that the state’s jobless rate was unchanged at 4.7 percent from September through January.. ...Read Full Story

Suspected Prowler Presumed Drowned

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team is searching Muskrat Lake for the body of a prowling suspect who is presumed to have drowned. Deputies were called to a home on 2nd Avenue shortly after 10 last night on a report of someone trying to break into a vehicle and a garage and peeking into windows. They followed footprints, but the suspect saw the officers and ran off. He was later seen about 100 yards offshore in a sinking canoe, yelling for help. By the time deputies were able to get into the water, he had gone under and the Dive team wasn’t able to find him due to darkness last night. They’re trying again today.. ...Read Full Story

Record Month For OK2Say Tip Line

February saw more tips sent in to the state’s OK2Say tip line than any month before. Michigan Attorney General’s office spokesperson Andrea Bitely tells us the tip line was created in 2014 for students to have a way to report troubling or dangerous situations in their schools.. ...Read Full Story

State Shuts Down Funeral Home For Unsanitary Conditions

From the Associated Press — The state has shut down a northern Michigan funeral home after an inspection found unsanitary conditions in an embalming room, human cremated remains stored alongside those of animals and other violations. Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs office says Wednesday that the mortuary science establishment license of the Charles G. Parks Funeral Home in
Petoskey has been suspended. The suspension becomes effective Friday. The individual mortuary science license of owner Charles Guy Parks, Jr. also was suspended. The state says embalmed bodies also were found in an unrefrigerated garage and that at least $4,935 for prepaid funeral goods or services was not put into escrow. Parks told The Associated Press Wednesday that he had no comment on the license suspensions or the state investigation. Petoskey is northeast of Traverse City.. ...Read Full Story

BH Trustee Appointed To RESA Board

The newest member of the Berrien RESA Board of Education is Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education Trustee Martha Momany. The RESA Board tells us it appointed her this week to serve a term that runs out in June of next year. Momany replaces RESA Trustee Tom Fanning, who resigned last month due to an injury. The RESA Board cited Martha Momany’s experience on the Benton Harbor School Board that includes having served as the president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary over more than nine years of service.. ...Read Full Story

I&M Brings Smart Thermostat Program To MI

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

New $700,000 Challenge Grant For Humane Society

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