Local News Archives

Gas Prices Rising Again

Gas prices have spiked again in the Great Lakes States. GasBuddy.com says a couple of factors are at work and a third could make the situation even worse. Analyst Patrick DeHaan says a pair of regional refineries have slowed production and that has put a crimp in the supply chain.. ...Read Full Story

Secretary Of Education To Visit Michigan Friday

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. has plans to visit Michigan on Friday to discuss the importance of exposing students to manufacturing careers and to highlight school-based health programs. The Detroit Free Press  reports his first stop in Warren will include a discussion with student apprentices at manufacturing
company Proper Tooling’s plastic-injection molding facility. The visit will coincide with Manufacturing Day, an annual celebration of modern manufacturing. King is then scheduled to host a conversation about school-based health services at Northwestern High School in Flint. King first Michigan visit doesn’t include a stop in Detroit. But King says he’s monitoring the city’s school system and remains concerned about low academic performance, an increase in poor-performing charter schools and potential school closures without clear plans for quality alternatives for students.. ...Read Full Story

Restored South Haven Lighthouse To Be Unveiled

The Historical Association of South Haven will unveil the exterior of the city’s lighthouse Friday morning at 9:30. Since early September, work has been done to restore the sentinel, and it’s been surrounded by scaffolding and covered in plastic for the past month. Crews removed roughly 10 coats of paint, made needed repairs, and then put 52 gallons of red paint on. The $300,000 project was funded by the community-wide “Save The Light” initiative sponsored by the Historical Association of South Haven, and was helped by a Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grant of $60,000. Mihm Enterprises of Hamilton, which also did the work on the St. Joseph lighthouse, restored the structure in South Haven. It will be formally re-dedicated in the spring.. ...Read Full Story

Clinton Jumps To Big Lead In Michigan

A new poll shows Michigan might not be a battleground state, after all. EPIC-MRA finds Hillary Clinton has regained an 11-point lead over Republican Donald Trump following their first debate and is now up 43% to 32%, with 10% saying they are backing Libertarian Gary Johnson. 12% are undecided. The poll was done for “The Detroit Free Press” and WXYZ-TV. In a head-to-head poll between Clinton and Trump, she leads 46% to 36%. In the four-way race with Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein involved, Trump has lost 3% support since September 15, Clinton has picked up 5%, Johnson has held steady, and Stein’s three-percent support is down by a point.. ...Read Full Story

Detroit Halloween Display Depicts Real Life Tragedies

A Detroit woman says she hopes a display in her front yard this Halloween season will shine light on real-life horrors. MLive reports Larethia Haddon has placed six dummies in her front yard portraying police shootings, slain children, the Flint water crisis and other tragedies.
Last year, Haddon shocked passersby and caused calls to police when she placed a single dummy face-down in her yard, realistically depicting a dead body. Haddon says she wants to encourage critical thinking on the issues this year. Haddon says her 5- and 10-year-old grandchildren inspired the idea when they told her they weren’t afraid of the boogeyman or monsters, but of what’s happening in the world today. Haddon says she sets up the yard by 9 a.m. every day and takes it down when the sun begins setting.. ...Read Full Story

Haunted St. Joseph Tour Set For This Month

The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph will be offering a haunted tour of the city this month. Saturday, October 15 will be the day for a guided walking tour of the downtown, and then a ride over to the city cemetery. Museum Curator Tracy Gierada tells WSJM News they’ll share spooky tales of the area.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Signs Police Officer Standards Into Law

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation sponsored by state senator Tonya Schuitmaker designed to tighten the standards for police officers around Michigan. Schuitmaker tells WSJM News it gives the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards — or MCOLES — the ability to revoke a cop’s certification under more conditions. That was in response to an incident involving a deputy in Van Buren County.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Winemakers Expecting A Good Year

Wineries in southwest Michigan are hard at work harvesting their grapes for the next vintage this month, and they’re feeling pretty good about how it’s going to turn out. Mike Merchant, the wine maker at Tabor Hills, tells WSJM News the crop is a big improvement over other recent years.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo County Tree Trimmer Killed In Fall

A 49-year-old man has died after falling from a tree-trimming bucket truck in southwest Michigan. The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department says Wednesday that Ronald Lee Phillips tumbled 50 feet to the ground Monday outside a home in Schoolcraft Township, south of Grand Rapids. The sheriff’s office says it appears that part of a tree that was being removed fell in an unexpected way, causing Phillips to fall. Phillips, of Three Rivers, was not wearing a safety harness.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan AG Charging Man With Threatening Cops Online

A Detroit man has been charged with making threats on Facebook against police officers. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Detroit’s police chief announced charges Wednesday against Nheru Littleton. They say he used social media in July to encourage the killing of white officers after the fatal shooting of five officers in Dallas. Detroit Chief James Craig says a threat against an officer is a “threat against our entire community.” The 40-year-old Littleton is charged with using a computer to commit a crime and making a threat of terrorism. The status of his court appearance in Trenton and identity of his lawyer weren’t immediately known. In August, Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy had declined to file charges, citing evidence problems and other issues.. ...Read Full Story

“Coffee With A Cop” This Friday In Buchanan

Everyone’s invited to head out to the Union Coffee House in Buchanan this Friday for Coffee with a Cop. It’s a program of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department to better engage the public. They’ll have officers there ready to chat with people about whatever’s on their minds. Deputy Kelly Laesch tells WSJM Nwws folks talk about a bunch of things.. ...Read Full Story

Police: Facebook Threats Were Unrelated

Police don’t think incidents in South Haven and Covert involving teens making threats while posing as clowns on Facebook are related. Two teens were identified by police as having threatened others, but Covert Township Police Chief Jay Allen tells WSJM News they were separate incidents. The Covert threat was reported Saturday.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Offering Flu Shots This Month

It’s getting to be the time of year when you should be thinking about getting a flu shot. Gillian Conrad, with the Berrien County Health Department, tells WSJM News everyone six months old and up should get vaccinated. Although the nasal spray isn’t being recommended this year, she says it’s no big deal to get a shot.. ...Read Full Story

Man Completes Rowboat Trip Across Lake Michigan

Jacob Beckley is safe in Chicago after a nearly 24 hour trip across Lake Michigan in a rowboat to raise money to fight childhood cancer. Beckley left St. Joseph Monday morning, followed by a spotter boat in case of trouble, and he made it to his destination early Tuesday. His goal was to raise $25,000 for Lurie Children’s Hospital, of Chicago, and as of Tuesday afternoon, he’d raised more than $18,000. Beckley originally meant to leave St. Joseph Sunday night, but fog forced him to reschedule for Monday. On his Row4ACure Facebook page, Beckley posted a message Tuesday morning saying he made it safely to shore, adding, “Right now I have no muscles.” He rowed about 65 miles during his trip across the lake. You can find out more at Row4ACure.com.. ...Read Full Story

Paralyzed Brothers Receive Custom Van Thanks To Donations

A group of strangers touched by the story of two paralyzed brothers has given them a customized minivan. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that 26-year-old Matthew and 24-year-old Adam Chaffee, who were paralyzed in two separate accidents, received the $80,000 vehicle Monday from a Grand Rapids-area couple, a Grand Haven man and pastors in East Jordan. The group worked with Grand Rapids-based Clock Mobility, a company that specializes in handicapped-accessible vans, to create the vehicle for the brothers’ needs. Matt became a paraplegic after a November 2014 motorcycle crash. Adam was living with and taking care of his brother in Kalamazoo when he became injured in a lake accident in July 2015. He is now a quadriplegic. The brothers have also been the recipients of an online fundraising site that has paid for medical bills and some living expenses.. ...Read Full Story

Paul Clements Hoping To Ride Clinton’s Coattails To Win Over Upton

The polls show Hillary Clinton with a solid lead against Donald Trump in Michigan, and there are candidates who hope that translates down the length of the ballot. One of those is Democratic congressional candidate Paul Clements, who is trying for a second straight election to unseat Congressman Fred Upton. He’s hoping the unpopularity of Trump at the top of the Republican ticket resonates in other races.. ...Read Full Story

School Districts Across Michigan Gear Up For Fall Count Day

(AP) – School districts across Michigan are encouraging students to be in the classroom for Count Day. Wednesday is the first Count Day of the school year, with 90% of state funding at stake based on how many students attend classes. It’s particularly crucial for the state’s school districts with deficits and declining enrollments. A second Count Day is February 8.. ...Read Full Story

Credit Unions Becoming More Popular In Michigan

Credit union membership in Michigan is continuing to rise,with it now at about 5 million, or roughly half the population. Philip Heinlen, CEO of Northwest Consumers Federal Credit Union, says people are bound to look for alternatives to big banks after headlines like the recent Wells Fargo scandal. Bank workers issued credit cards without customers’ consent to meet company sales goals.. ...Read Full Story

BH City Commission Opposing Sale Of 200 Paw Paw

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad is leading the charge as city commissioners oppose the possible sale of property at 200 Paw Paw Avenue. Monday night, the commission approved a resolution from Muhammad saying the property can’t be sold because it was acquired with federal grant money. Muhammad tells WSJM News authorization given to City Manager Darwin Watson by former Emergency Manager Tony Saunders to sell 200 Paw Paw without the city commission’s approval was wrong.. ...Read Full Story

Clown-Related Facebook Threat Rattles Covert Schools

A 15-year-old from South Haven is in hot water after allegedly making threats to Covert Schools while posing as a clown on Facebook. On Monday, officers were sent to the district’s schools after the threat was discovered Saturday. They were able to determine it was not credible, and their suspect was found not long after. The case will be turned over to the prosecutor. Covert Schools Superintendent Bobbi Morehead tells us she decided to use Monday’s incident as a “teachable moment,” and have instructors talk with the kids about being responsible on the internet. Meanwhile, similar clown-related incidents have been reported in South Haven and Benton Harbor. City Manager Darwin Watson says you should report any funny business to the police.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County K9 Helps Make Another Bust

Cass County Sheriff’s Department K9 Faust has done it again, nabbing another criminal suspect. The department tells our newsroom deputies were checking out a home in Howard Township last Friday, looking for a person who had skipped parole. Faust was on scene and helped locate not only the suspect, but also some meth. The man is now in the Cass County Jail. Faust is a 3-year old Dutch Shepard who has worked for the department since July.. ...Read Full Story

Illinois Man Begins Row Across Lake Michigan

An Illinois man has embarked on a quest to row across Lake Michigan to raise money for the fight against childhood cancer. Jacob Beckley tried to leave Sunday night, but had to turn around after about a mile due to thick fog. He then relaunched Monday morning. State Senator John Proos was on hand for the departure, telling WSJM News he’s a big supporter of Beckley’s cause.. ...Read Full Story

AAA Michigan: Statewide Average Gas Prices Rise 6¢

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 6¢ per gallon in the past week. The Dearborn-based auto club says the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.24 per gallon on Sunday. That’s about 29¢ less than it was at the same point last year. The lowest average price was about $2.15 per gallon in the Traverse City area, while the highest average was about $2.28 per gallon in the Ann Arbor area. Our average in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph is a penny higher than Traverse City at $2.16, giving us the second-lowest prices in the state. Our price at the pump is up a dime compared to last week. AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.. ...Read Full Story

Wrong Way Driver Stopped On I-94

Michigan State Police avoided a potential tragedy on I-94 overnight when a wrong-way driver was spotted heading west in the eastbound lanes near 9th Street in Kalamazoo County. Troopers were able to stop all traffic on the highway near Paw Paw around 12:30 a.m. and managed to get the driver off the highway before she crashed into anyone. She is a 63-year-old from Portage who was arrested for a second drunk driving offense, possessing dangerous drugs, and reckless driving. The woman is now in the Van Buren County Jail awaiting arraignment. Her name has not been released. No one was hurt.. ...Read Full Story

Deadly Crash In Van Buren County

An 18-year-old man from Holly has died after a single-vehicle crash in Decatur on Saturday. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says a 15-year-old boy from Paw Paw remains hospitalized at Kalamazoo’s Bronson Hospital for his injuries. The older teen crashed his car on 36th Street just north of 96th Avenue at 1:30 Saturday afternoon, and both teens were trapped in the vehicle. The driver was airlifted to Kalamazoo, where he later died. No names have yet been released, and police haven’t put out more information as yet on the details of the accident.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Bridge Project Starts Monday

A major construction project is about to get underway on a bridge in South Haven, and it could affect your commute well into next year. Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells us they’re replacing the bridge beams and deck on Blue Star Highway over the Black River. They’re also doing some work under the bridge.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Millage On The Ballot Next Month

Lake Michigan College is making a push in support of its millage proposal set to appear on November’s ballot. LMC President Dr. Bob Harrison tells WSJM News they’re asking for .48 mills for 10 years for improvements. He says the money generated would mean a variety of improvements.. ...Read Full Story

Court Finds Mom’s Drug Use During Pregnancy Not An Abuse Crime

The Michigan appeals court says the state’s child abuse law doesn’t apply to unborn babies. The court threw out the conviction of a woman who used methamphetamine during her pregnancy. Melissa Jones’ son weighed less than 4 pounds despite being delivered at full term in Sturgis in St. Joseph County. In a 3-0 decision released Friday, the court says Michigan law refers to acts that harm a “child” but not a fetus. The court says Jones’ prenatal drug use is not a crime under that law. The 30-year-old Jones was sentenced to at least three years in prison in 2015.. ...Read Full Story

Man Plans To Row Across Lake MI To Fight 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

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