Local News Archives

Van Buren Road Commission To Spray For Brush This Summer

The Van Buren County Road Commission is letting property owners know it’s about to start spraying for brush and weeds along county right of ways. The commission has hired a Zeeland company to do the spraying so visibility for drivers is maintained. The areas to be sprayed will include bridge approaches and overpasses, guardrail sections, and intersections. The county notes there will not be spraying done near orchards, vineyards, or farms. Anyone who wants to get their property excluded from the program affected can call the road commission. The spraying starts on May 10, and will wrap up September 17.. ...Read Full Story

Demolition Of St. Joseph House Remains On Track

The demolition of a blighted home in St. Joseph remains on track. At a hearing this week, the city’s Property Maintenance Board of Appeals upheld a previous order that the structure at Niles Avenue near Hoyt Street be torn down. The home, which has had a tarp on its roof since last spring, has been the subject of complaints from neighbors for several months. City inspectors ordered it to be torn down in February after doing an inspection and finding the entire structure to be badly damaged. The owner then appealed. However, the city now tells us the Property Maintenance Board of Appeals ruled against him Thursday. The home is scheduled for demolition in 45 days. The matter is still being appealed in court.. ...Read Full Story

Flash Flood Watch Tonight Through Monday Morning

Two to four inches of rain are expected for our area tonight through Monday. This is prompting a FLASH FLOOD WATCH from this evening through Monday morning for Berrien and Cass Counties. Periods of heavy rainfall are expected tonight through Sunday night. In addition to potential flooding of streets and roads in flood prone areas, area rivers and streams are also likely to experience flooding as well. A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Stay with News/Talk 94.9 WSJM for updated forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

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WMU Holding Commencement Today

Western Michigan University will hand out more than 2,600 degrees this Saturday during its spring commencement ceremonies. It’s the last time President Dr. John Dunn will hand out diplomas before his summer retirement. He tells WKZO News it’s an honor.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Drug Take Back Event His Saturday

If you’ve got a bunch of old pills sitting in your medicine cabinet, Michigan State Police are offering you a way to do some spring cleaning this weekend. Just stop by any post and drop off unwanted medications, no questions asked. The MSP’s Lori Dougovito tells WSJM News they team up with the DEA a couple times a year for takebacks.. ...Read Full Story

Pet Oxygen Masks Donated To Van Buren County Fire Departments

Six pet oxygen masks have been donated to Van Buren County fire departments. This week, Invisible Fence of Western Michigan gave the masks to South Haven Area Emergency Services, along with the Bangor, Columbia, and Covert Township Fire Departments. South Haven Area Emergency Services tells WSJM News the donations were in response to an incident just last month in which the department was able to save a semi-conscious dog from a house fire. For that rescue, firefighters did not have the specially-fitted masks, but now they’ll be better equipped. More than 18,200 pet oxygen masks have been donated by Invisible Fence to fire departments across the country.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Enable MI Students To Pursue STEM Certification

New legislation aims to create incentives for Michigan students to study math and science while giving them guidance when choosing their careers. State Senator John Proos tells WSJM News his plan would allow a student to receive a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — or, STEM — certification. It also would require Michigan schools to provide students with the latest career outlook pamphlet for their economic region. Proos tells us, that way, they can choose wisely.. ...Read Full Story

Pscholka To Be Honored At LMC Commencement Next Week

Former state Representative and current Michigan Budget Director Al Pscholka will be honored next week at Lake Michigan College’s commencement ceremony. LMC is graduating 514 students that day and also handing out alumni awards. The Distinguished Service Award is going to Pscholka. LMC is saluting him for helping to support the college’s mission, as he does in one of its promotional videos.. ...Read Full Story

Watervliet Wins Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament

The winners of this year’s Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament are the Watervliet Panthers. The contest is held each year by state Senator John Proos. His office takes photo submissions from different schools within his district, asking them all to show off how they have the most pride. Proos pits the schools against each other in a bracket-style competition which goes on for several weeks, March Madness style. The Watervliet Panthers came out on top in the final round, over the Marcellus Wildcats, this year. Proos tells us he’s thrilled by the response the tournament got. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Bicyclist Clipped By Semi In Cass County

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after a bicyclist was clipped by a semi Friday morning. It says deputies were called out to Lakeland Hospital in Niles when a 22-year-old man showed up seeking treatment. He said he’d been riding his bike to work along M-60 between Yankee Street and Reum Road in Howard Township around 5 a.m. when he was hit by the tractor-trailer. He continued on to work, and from there was sent to the hospital to seek treatment. His injuries were not life-threatening. Police have not identified the semi that hit him.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Signs Letter Asking EPA Not To Close Chicago Office

Congressman Fred Upton has joined with his colleagues in the Michigan delegation in signing a letter to the chief administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asking that the Chicago office of the EPA not be shut down. They say the rumored EPA office closure would threaten the Great Lakes, pointing to the office’s proximity to Lake Michigan. They also list some of the threats faced by the Great Lakes, including the spread of the Asian carp, and say continued vigilance is needed to keep them healthy. A total of 8 Michigan representatives have signed the letter.. ...Read Full Story

One Killed In I-94 Crash Near Coloma

One person is dead following a three-vehicle crash on I-94 near Coloma on Friday afternoon. It happened shortly after 1:30 in the eastbound lanes of the highway near mile marker 37. Coloma police tell us the crash involved two semis and a pick-up. The driver of the pick-up was killed. The drivers of the semis were not hurt. The Michigan State Police Crash Reconstruction Team is still investigating the cause of the crash. None of the names of the drivers have been released.. ...Read Full Story

Three Trials To Be Held For Man Accused Of West MI Murders

From the Associated Press — A judge has turned down a prosecutor’s request to hold one trial for a western Michigan man who is accused of killing two women and abducting a teen in three separate incidents. Muskegon County Judge William Marietti says the three cases have common
threads. But he said Friday that one trial would require “significant mental gymnastics” for jurors as they consider the evidence. Jeffrey Willis is charged with killing a gas station clerk in 2013 and a jogger in 2014. A teenager escaped his van and went to police last year. Defense attorney Brian Hosticka argued that the three incidents are “completely separate.” Nick Winberg, father of the slain jogger, Rebekah Bletsch, says he supports separate trials. He wants a “clean, crisp trial” in his daughter’s case.. ...Read Full Story

Free Pet Adoption Event This Weekend

If you’re looking for a new pet, there’s another Empty the Shelters Day this Saturday at shelters throughout Michigan. It’s sponsored by the Bissell Pet Foundation, who’s paying the adoption fees at about 65 shelters including the Al-Van Humane Society in South Haven, Van Buren County Animal Control in Hartford, and Cass County Animal Control in Cassopolis. Cathy Bissell is the founder of the foundation.. ...Read Full Story

House Approves Bill Banning Party Names, Logos On Ballots

From the Associated Press — Names and logos of political parties no longer would be allowed on election ballots under two bills approved by Michigan’s state House. The legislation passed Thursday in Lansing and now heads to the GOP-controlled state Senate. Opponents of the current bills say party logos are necessary to help some voters identify the political parties of candidates appearing on election ballots. The two bills are sponsored by Republican Representatives Hank Vaupel of Fowlerville and Edward Canfield of Sebewaing. The bills were introduced last session to address a Senate bill that would have eliminated straight-ticket voting in Michigan. The Senate bill was signed into law in 2015 by Gov. Rick Snyder but later blocked by a federal district judge ahead of the 2016 November election.. ...Read Full Story

Murder Investigation In Benton Harbor

A murder investigation is underway in Benton Harbor. 37-year-old Tavaris Brummette was found badly wounded by gunshots in the Heyward Wells apartment complex this morning around 12:30 by public safety officers, and he died after being taken to Lakeland in St. Joseph. Several people have been interviewed by police, but no suspects have yet been identified. Authorities have not indicated what may have led to the shooting, and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone who has information is urged to call Benton Harbor Public Safety or Crime Stoppers.. ...Read Full Story

MI legislature Approves Funding For Flint Water Crisis

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Legislature is sending Flint $100 million in federal funding to address the water crisis. Then-President Barack Obama and Congress approved the aid in December. State lawmakers voted Thursday to officially pass the money along to Flint. The federal funding requires a $20 million state match, which will be provided from funding already authorized last year. The new money will be used to replace corroded pipes that leached lead and to update aging water mains and infrastructure. Water meters will be replaced and
an engineering study will be done. This week marked the three-year anniversary of the city’s fateful switch to using the Flint River for municipal water while under state management. Residents are still using water filters or bottled water.. ...Read Full Story

Stevensville Manufacturer To Receive State Expansion Grant

A Stevensville-based manufacturer is getting a $135,000 Michigan Business Development Program grant to help with an expansion project. State Senator John Proos tells WSJM News Falcon Lakeside Manufacturing will invest $1.8 million in Berrien County. He thinks it serves the state well to work with businesses that might otherwise expand across the border instead.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Charged In Dowagiac Knife Attack

A Kalamazoo woman is in the Cass County Jail following a knife attack on her boyfriend at Southwestern Michigan College Thursday. The Dowagiac Police Department tells us officers were sent out to the dorms at SMC around 11:30 a.m. on a report that a woman was trying to stab herself. They got there and found a 20-year-old man who told them his girlfriend cut him while he was trying to get a knife away from her. Officers found the woman in her dorm and arrested her, while the victim was treated by EMTs. The 18-year-old woman was taken to a hospital to be checked out and then to the jail. She’s charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence. Her name has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

House Votes To Change Charity Gambling Rules Following Crackdown

From the Associated Press — A bill advancing in Michigan’s Legislature would change regulations in the charitable gambling industry after backlash over a state crackdown that charities say has restricted their fundraising. The legislation , approved 100-9 Thursday by the House, relates to casino-style events where nonprofits split cash proceeds with poker rooms that run their Texas Hold ‘Em and other fundraisers.
The bill would rescind rules and require the Gaming Control Board to implement new ones consistent with the legislation. The sponsor, Rep. Tom Barrett, says the agency has overstepped. The agency – given oversight of charitable gambling by Governor Rick Snyder – opposes the bill. It says it would limit its discretion to deny licenses and raise a limit on chips sold. The bill goes to the Senate.. ...Read Full Story

West MI Cow Tests Positive For Bovine Tuberculosis

From the Associated Press — Authorities say bovine tuberculosis has been found in a cow in a small beef herd in western Michigan’s Lake County. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said Wednesday the infected, 3-year-old cow had been imported from an infected herd in Franklin County, Indiana, before that herd tested positive for bovine TB. The cow was euthanized. The agency says a three-mile surveillance area has been established around the affected farm in Lake County. Farms within the area will have six months to complete bovine TB testing. Indiana last year found two beef herds and one white-tailed deer positive for bovine TB, all within Franklin County in that state’s southeastern corner. Indiana and Michigan are among five states dealing with infected herds, along with New Mexico, South Dakota and Texas.. ...Read Full Story

State Police To Collect Prescription Drugs This Weekend

Michigan State Police will be holding another drug takeback event this weekend. Posts all over Michigan, including those in Paw Paw and Niles, will take part. State police team up with the Drug Enforcement Agency on the effort each spring, asking folks to stop by and drop off their unused and unwanted prescription medications so they can be safely disposed, rather than winding up in the ground water or in the wrong hands. During a one-day effort in October, MSP posts collected a total of 871 pounds of prescription drugs. The drop-off event this Saturday will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Just stop by any post and anonymously drop off any pills you have.. ...Read Full Story

Study: Lake Michigan Has Plenty Of Food For Asian Carp

(Traverse City, MI – AP) – A federal study says the most feared types of Asian carp would find plenty of food if they reached Lake Michigan. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey used computer models to estimate the lake’s suitability for bighead and silver carp. They have advanced up the Illinois River, which is linked to Lake Michigan by other waterways. Government agencies are using electric barriers and other strategies to block their path to the lake, where it’s feared the carp would out-compete many native species. Using satellite imagery, the scientists found that nearshore and bay areas of Lake Michigan have plenty of algae, the carps’ food of choice. Study leader Karl Anderson says that means if the carp reach the lake, they’ll likely congregate in coastal areas, where human activity is heaviest.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Sheriff’s Department Names Deputy Of The Year

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department has announced its Deputy of the Year. Deputy Angela Baggett was picked by her collegues for the honor this time around. The department tells us Baggett goes above and beyond the call of duty when doing regular road patrols, and is admired by her co-workers for her work ethic. Baggett is one of the top complaint takers at the sheriff’s department, and also one of the lead instructors of the Rape Aggression Defense, or RAD, program. The sheriff’s department cites Baggett’s work to help talk someone out of suicide as a notable accomplishment in the past year.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Praises Education Budget

State Representative Kim LaSata is praising the state House Appropriations Committee for approving a school budget this week. She tells us the plan includes increased funding for K-12 education and higher ed. LaSata is a chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education and says they worked hard to craft a spending plan the focuses on the future of Michigan’s university students. Among other things, the plan passed this week by Appropriations includes a 2.3% increase for the state’s public universities, an increase of more than $100 per student for K-12 schools, and $129 million to help at-risk students. Legislative Republicans have tasked themselves with getting a new state budget approved by June.. ...Read Full Story

Plans In The Works For New LMC Wine Facility

Plans are being drafted for the new headquarters of Lake Michigan College’s wine making program. LMC Vice President of Administrative Services Anne Erdman tells WSJM News they’re putting up a whole new building behind the Mendel Center to house the growing wine program. Exact details are still being hammered out.. ...Read Full Story

Senator Stabenow Presses For Report On Asian Carp

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow continues to press the Trump administration to release a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan on keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Following a bipartisan and bicameral meeting yesterday, Michigan’s senior U.S. senator called the White House suppression of the report “deeply irresponsible.” Stabenow says the plan needs to be made public and acted on quickly to separate the Chicago River system and the Illinois River from Lake Michigan, as the invasive carp are getting closer every year to the lake. The Corps report was due to be released in February, but has been indefinitely delayed by President Trump.. ...Read Full Story

Grand Rapids-Based Founders Brewery Opening Detroit Taproom

From the Associated Press — A brewer that’s based in western Michigan is planning to open a second taproom on the other side of the state.
Founders Brewing Co. announced Tuesday that it plans to open a fully-operational brewery and retail taproom north of downtown Detroit.
Plans call for construction starting this summer on the 14,000-square-foot building, with a grand opening targeted for this winter. Grand Rapids-based Founders has partnered with Midtown Detroit Inc. and Invest Detroit on the development project.. ...Read Full Story

Two-State Chase Ends In Cass County Arrest

A police chase that started in Indiana and ended in Cass County has an Elkhart man facing fleeing and eluding charges, likely in both his state and Michigan. The 37-year-old was arrested shortly before 1 a.m. today in Cass County by Elkhart County deputies. Investigators with the Cass County Sheriff’s Department haven’t said what started the chase other than the man was wanted on outstanding warrants. The suspect is in jail in Cassopolis awaiting arraignment, and two women who were in his car were questioned and released.. ...Read Full Story

MI Supreme Court Considering Driveway Drunk Driving Case

Should your own driveway count as an area in which to be convicted of drunk driving? That’s what the Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments about this week. The court was considering the case of a Northville man, Gino Rea, who was arrested after he drove his car out of his garage and back into it while drunk. A prosecutor says the driveway is considered open for traffic, but Rea’s attorney, Camilla Barkovic, disagrees.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeland Ranked Among Top 15 Health Systems

Lakeland Health has been named one of the 15 best small health systems in the nation. The distinction comes courtesy of Truven Health Analytics, a provider of information to health systems around the country. Lakeland was also recognized by Truven as a top 100 hospital in 2014. The top 15 study from this year looked at 337 health systems and nearly 2,300 hospitals. It than ranked the top 15 overall based on patient outcomes, the process of care, extended outcomes, efficiency, and the patient experience. It said Lakeland offers shorter emergency wait times, fewer in-hospital deaths, fewer complications, and shorter hospital stays than average. The winning hospitals were announced in the April 24th edition of Modern Healthcare magazine. You can learn more right here.. ...Read Full Story

New LMC President Settling Into Position

Dr. Trevor Kubatzke is settling into his new role as the president of Lake Michigan College. He started about two weeks ago, and has been meeting with staff, the students, and the community ever since. Looking to the summer, Kubatzke tells WSJM News he wants to set some goals with the board of trustees.. ...Read Full Story

House OKs Shielding Privacy Of Parents Who Surrender Newborns

From the Associated Press — Legislation advancing in Michigan would protect the confidentiality of parents who give up their newborn by leaving the child at a hospital or with emergency responders. The Safe Delivery of Newborns Law, enacted in 2000, lets parents surrender a
newborn who’s no more than 72 hours old. The bill approved unanimously by the House Tuesday would keep intact birth certificate requirements for hospitals. But if a newborn is surrendered under the baby drop-off law, parents would be listed as “unknown” and the child as
“Baby Doe.” Supporters say the legislation would guarantee anonymity to parents and stop them from leaving newborns in public restrooms and dumpsters. The law has led to 175 newborns being surrendered. Senators will next consider the bill.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Misses Expectations For First Quarter

Revenue was up in the first quarter for Whirlpool, but the world’s largest appliance maker missed Wall Street expectations when it somes to earnings per share at $2.50. The Benton Harbor-based company revised its full-year earnings guidance down, also falling under the expectations of analysts. Whirlpool released its earnings report Monday evening after the market closed, showing revenue growth of around 4% with the full-year earnings pressured by what it calls “temporary integration challenges” in the Europe-Middle East-Asia region.. ...Read Full Story

Two Arrested In Cass County Marijuana Bust

Two people are facing charges following a drug raid in Cass County Monday. The sheriff’s department tells us it searched a home in the 60,000 block of Conrad Road in Howard Township on suspicion marijuana was growing there. Officers searched three buildings, and say they found marijuana, marijuana paraphernalia, and a marijuana grow operation. The sheriff’s department tells us it was not being conducted within the guidelines provided in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and was therefore illegal. A 62-year-old man and a 56-year-old man were both arrested, and now they’re facing drug charges. Their names have not been released.. ...Read Full Story

State Lifts Weight Restrictions

In a sign of the changing season, the Michigan Department of Transportation has lifted all seasonal weight restrictions on state roads. The restrictions were implemented in February when the weather started to get warmer. Now, it’s been warm long enough to make lifting them possible. Weight restrictions are placed on large trucks, ensuring they don’t exceed certain weights and cause major damage to the roads. MDOT may have lifted weight restrictions, but county road commissions set their own for non-state roads. Anyone looking for more information can check out Michigan.gov/Truckers.. ...Read Full Story