Local News Archives

Legislation Would Upgrade MI 911 Systems

Legislation now before a state House committee is designed to update Michigan’s 911 system. State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan tells WSJM News the 911 system is quite old, and changes are badly needed to more effectively respond to modern cell phones and changes in technology.. ...Read Full Story

Home Rehab Partnership Could Come To Benton Harbor

Benton Harbor City Commissioners are looking at getting the city’s housing rehabilitation program up and running again, although they want it done right. At Tuesday’s meeting, they heard about a proposal to bring in the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency to administer a program run with federal dollars for home rehab. It’s been non-functional locally since 2011, said Community and Economic Development Director Stephanie Scott-Sims.. ...Read Full Story

State Grants Supporting Van Buren FIRST Robotics Teams

State grants totaling more than $31,000 are going to seven Van Buren County school districts for their FIRST Robotics teams. State Representative Beth Griffin announced the grants this week. She says they range in size from $2,500 to $6,500, and will go to school districts in South Haven, Bloomingdale, Mattawan, Paw Paw, Decatur, and Lawton. The Van Buren ISD is also getting one. Since 2014, Michigan has invested $12 million in FIRST Robotics teams. The world championships, planned for April, are expected to include nearly 60,000 students in Detroit. Griffin, a Mattawan Republican, says FIRST Robotics “teaches students life-long skills that will prepare them for jobs in the 21st century economy.”. ...Read Full Story

Wine Grape Conference Planned For Next Month

A conference set for next month in Benton Harbor will give prospective wine grape growers an idea of how to best go about the process. The Michigan State University Extension office will host the wine grape establishment conference, says the organization’s Joanne Davidhizar. She tells us the wine industry in the state is growing.. ...Read Full Story

State Task Force Releases Mental Health Report

The Michigan House has received a report from a task force that investigated mental health treatment over the past several months. The task force held meetings all over Michigan speaking with doctors, law enforcement, and advocates about how patients in need could be better served. Sitting on the panel was state Representative Mary Whiteford of Casco Township.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeshore Chamber Meeting This Coming Week

Set for next Monday is the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. To be held at Santinello’s in Stevensville, the meeting will provide guests with business networking opportunities, a dinner, and a business meeting. The keynote speaker will be the Cook nuclear power plant spokesperson Bill Schalk. He’ll talk about the status of the Cook Plant, the economic impact of Indiana Michigan Power in the community, along with volunteer engagement. The Lakeshore Chamber president will also will present an overview of chamber activities for 2017 while laying out the goals and objectives for 2018. The meeting will wrap up with the recognition of the 2017 Business of the Year and the 2017 Community Spirit Award. Anyone who wants to register for the annual meeting should contact the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.. ...Read Full Story

BH Man Reports Shots Fired At Vehicle

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is investigating a report of a shooting incident this past Wednesday. It tells us a 28-year-old man reported he’d been driving south in the 1100 block of Ogden when he spotted two men in the street, dressed in black and wearing masks. The victim told officers he stopped to let the men cross the street when one of them pulled out a gun and said something the victim couldn’t understand. The victim then sped off with one of the men firing several shots at his vehicle, hitting it. The victim, however, was not hurt. Police searched the area with a K9, finding evidence but not the suspects. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

Resolution Calls On Congress To Crack Down On Sanctuary Cities

Two resolutions urging the U.S. Senate to cut funding to sanctuary cities and to pass Kate’s Law have received approval from the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee. The resolutions from state Senators Tonya Schuitmaker and Patrick Colbeck were introduced back in September. Schuitmaker told WSJM News at the time cities that don’t cooperate with immigration laws aren’t yet a problem in Michigan, but they could be.. ...Read Full Story

EPA Targets Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo Properties

A couple of locations in southwest Michigan have been added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Sites Redevelopment Focus List. The office of Congressman Fred Upton tells us this means the EPA views those sites as having the greatest expected redevelopment and commercial potential. The sites are the Aircraft Components property in Benton Harbor and the Allied Paper-Kalamazoo River site in Kalamazoo. Upton says this is good news for Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo as it means “there is a clear priority to expedite work on these Superfund sites for the betterment of our economy and for commercial development.” The former Aircraft Components site in Benton Harbor was the location of various manufacturing activities from the 1910s to the 1950s. There is chemical contamination there. The site is located near North Shore Drive.. ...Read Full Story

Senior Services Of Van Buren County Seeks More Funding

As the number of senior citizens increases, so does the need for the funding of services. The same millage that has been on the ballot for over 20 years in South Haven will be on the ballot again this year, along with another proposal for an increase due to increased demand for services. Jennifer Carver with Senior Services of Van Buren County spoke with WSJM News about the need for funding.. ...Read Full Story

Royalton Twp Approved For Parks Grants

Royalton Township is the recipient of $300,000 in Michigan Department of Natural Resources grants for parks projects. The DNR this month announced two Land and Water Conservation Fund grants for the township, each for $150,000. One is for Bicentennial Park for the addition of new playground equipment and improved access to walkways. The other grant is for the development of a paved walkway, a parking lot, and a boardwalk at the Bacon School Road Nature Trail. The DNR says the Land and Water Conservation Fund is made up of federal dollars intended to improve recreational opportunities around the state. A total of more than $2.7 million in such grants were announced this month.. ...Read Full Story

Car/Pedestrian Accident Kills St. Joseph Man

St. Joseph Township Police are investigating a car/pedestrian accident that killed a man. Just before 8:00 Friday night, Officers were dispatched to the area of 245 West Napier.  When they arrived, they were advised that a westbound vehicle had struck a pedestrian who had been walking in the roadway. The victim, a 21 year old male from St. Joseph, was pronounced dead at the scene. There are no sidewalks along the roadway where the victim was walking and the accident remains under investigation. . ...Read Full Story

MSU Board Expresses Continued Support For President

From the Associated Press — Michigan State University’s board of trustees continues to support the school’s president amid growing calls for her resignation over the university’s handling of disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar. After a closed-door meeting Friday, trustees said Lou Anna Simon is the “right leader” for the university. The school has asked the state attorney to investigate facts of the case. The board’s president says the panel will act as information becomes available.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Training Academy Underway In Lansing

The 134th Michigan State Police Trooper Recruit School is now underway in Lansing. MSP Sergeant Michael McDonald tells WSJM News there are 149 prospective troopers now training Sunday through Friday each week from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. They do both physical training and classroom training. McDonald tells us new recruits come from all walks of life.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Animal Control Holding Rabies Shot Clinics

Berrien County Animal Control is planning some rabies shot clinics for pets over the next month or so. It tells us it will be at the Bertrand Township Fire Department in Buchanan this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. offering the shots. It’s $20 for a one-year rabies vaccination, $25 for a three-year vaccination, and $25 for the parvo-distemper combination shot. Additional clinics will be held at Berrien County Animal Control in Benton Township on Saturday, January 27 from 10 a.m. to noon, and then Saturday, February 10 from 10 to 12. The final rabies shot clinic will be Sunday, February 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Eau Claire Fire Department. Walk-ins will be welcome, and dog licenses will also be available at the clinics. Anyone with questions can call Berrien County Animal Control.. ...Read Full Story

Allegan County Trooper Named Trooper Of The Year

The Michigan State Police Trooper of the Year award has gone to Trooper Blaine Bachman of the Wayland Post in Allegan County. Michigan State Police announced the 2017 Trooper of the Year awards this week at a ceremony in Lansing. MSP Director Kriste Kibbey Etue said Trooper Bachman is “keenly aware of the needs of his fellow troopers and also works hard to make a positive difference in his community.” State police say Bachman was recognized for “excelling in looking past the traffic stop to identify serious crimes and close investigations with felony arrests.” The agency also says he’s a mentor to younger troopers. He’s been part of the force since 2014. Also this week, Motor Carrier Officer Christopher Russo of the Jackson Post was named the Motor Carrier of the Year. MSP says Etue commended him for outreach and planning.. ...Read Full Story

Pagel Talks Mental Health Report

State Representative Dave Pagel is expecting a recently-released report from the Michigan House CARES task force to lead to years of legislation designed to help the mentally ill. He tells WSJM News the mental health task force met all over Michigan this past summer looking at a variety of ways the issue could be addressed.. ...Read Full Story

Report Recommends Changes To Unemployment System

Michigan’s unemployment system is the worst in the region. At least, that’s the analysis of the Michigan League for Public Policy. It has released a report on the unemployment insurance system, finding Michigan pays benefits to the smallest number of workers and for the shortest amount of time. Report author Peter Ruark says some cite declining unemployment numbers as proof the system doesn’t need any improvement, but he thinks that sort of thinking is what has gotten the state into trouble in the past.. ...Read Full Story

New Manager At Cook Plant

There’s a new boss at the Cook nuclear power plant in Bridgman. Cook plant spokesperson Bill Schalk tells WSJM News Kelly Ferneau becomes the plant’s 16th manager since 1969, and the first woman in charge at Cook. Schalk says she has plenty of experience in nuclear power.. ...Read Full Story

Mattawan Food Pantry Gets Boost From Portage Company

The Mattawan Food Pantry has received a little extra boost thanks to the Wolverine Pipe Line Company. Lead pipeline controller Al Goodrich presented the food bank last month with a check for $1,600 to help families in need throughout the winter. Goodrich volunteers at the pantry and says he was inspired by its recent efforts to help a family that suffered a hardship when a member had a car accident. The $1,600 comes from the Wolverine Good Neighbor Grant Program, where money is used to fund good works in communities along Wolverine’s pipeline route running through Van Buren County. The Mattawan Area Food Pantry is located across the street from the Mattawan Community Church on Front Street. It supports about 180 families per month.. ...Read Full Story

Study: Overhaul Needed In How Michigan Funds Schools

From the Associated Press — A new study says the base cost to educate a regular K-12 student in Michigan is $9,590. That figure doesn’t include transportation, food or capital costs.The report released Wednesday was funded by foundations and school groups. It says traditional and charter public schools should be funded equally, and transportation costs should be funded at $973 per rider. The School Finance Research Collaborative – whose members also include former lawmakers – didn’t analyze how its proposals compare with existing funding. But the study suggests an overhaul is needed and says the base cost figure is the most important factor in new school-finance systems. Researchers say there’s been too much focus on “equity” in funding when costs vary drastically depending on the district’s size, students living in poverty and other factors.. ...Read Full Story

MSU To Allow White Nationalist To speak On Campus

From the Associated Press — Michigan State University has agreed to allow white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus during spring break. The deal signed Thursday says Spencer can appear on March 5. But he’ll be at the livestock pavilion auditorium, away from the heart of campus. Spencer ally Cameron Padgett must pay $1,650 and come up with at least $2 million in liability insurance. MSU will arrange for police. The deal settles a lawsuit that was filed after MSU last summer cited public safety and refused to rent space. Padgett said the school was violating free speech rights. Spencer popularized the term “alt-right” to refer to a fringe movement that’s a mix of white nationalist, white supremacist, anti-Semitic and anti-immigration beliefs. Under the deal, MSU is paying $27,400 for Padgett’s legal fees.. ...Read Full Story