Local News Archives

MDOT Aims To Reduce Wrong-Way Crashes On Highways

The Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan State Police are teaming up to reduce the number of people who drive onto the wrong ramp and cause high speed head-on crashes that usually result in fatalities. MDOT Traffic Safety Engineer Josh Carey tells us they will be improving signage on ramps, installing cameras that will detect wrong way drivers earlier and posting alerts on highway information signs.. ...Read Full Story

January Is School Board Recognition Month

January is School Board Recognition Month, and Berrien RESA Superintendent Kevin Ivers is calling on everyone to salute their school board. Ivers tells WSJM News school board members put in countless hours of work attending meetings and training just so they can help ensure the children of their community receive a quality education.. ...Read Full Story

Seats Named President Of BH School Board

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education starts off a new year with a new president. Marletta Seats was picked for the post at the board’s re-organizational meeting Tuesday. Seats told WSJM News the new board leadership aims to continue following the district’s partnership agreement with the state.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Court To Celebrate Swift And Sure Graduations This Week

The Van Buren County Trial Court is set to graduate eight enrollees from the Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program this Thursday. Van Buren County Specialty Courts Administrator Rachel Lindley tells WSJM News Swift and Sure is a way to help an offender avoid jail time while turning their life around through intense probation. She notes going through the program can be tough.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Public Works Reduces Energy Consumption

The St. Joseph Department of Public Works has been able to save thousands of dollars in recent years thanks to work done to increase energy efficiency. Public Works Director Tom MacDonald told city commissioners this week the department has switched to LED lighting and fixed problems with its heating system. That’s led to more than $4,000 in rebates from AEP and Michigan Gas. He tells WSJM  News commissioners voted to allow the work a few years ago.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Sees December Jump In Flu Cases

The explosion in flu cases reported in some parts of the United States this winter hasn’t quite come to Michigan, although flue cases have been up. Berrien County Health Department spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News there was a jump in local flu cases toward the end of December. Still, the state is still doing better than many others.. ...Read Full Story

BH Police Identify Weekend Murder Victim

Police have identified the victim of a weekend murder in Benton Harbor. Public Safety Chief Dan McGimnnis tells WSJM News 38-year-old Novena P. Mathis of Benton Harbor was found dead in her car on at Hayward Wells Apartments on Sunday. The suspect, 38-year-old William “Coonie” Edwards of Benton Harbor, was quickly identified and arrested in Kalamazoo later. A warrant for open murder and some gun charges has been authorized against him, and he’s still being held in Kalamazoo County. McGinnis tells us Mathis and Edwards had been in a relationship for about 20 years and shared two children. He adds there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship. An autopsy performed on Mathis Tuesday confirmed the cause of death as a gunshot.. ...Read Full Story

Edwardsburg Woman Killed In Crash

A 40-year-old Edwardsburg woman is dead after crashing her vehicle into a tree in Jefferson Township in Cass County. The sheriff’s department tells WSJM News Jennifer Johnson was killed just before 7 last night in the crash on Calvin Hill Street near North Shore Drive. Investigators say she lost control of the car on an icy road and was the only one in the vehicle. Johnson had not been drinking, and was wearing her seat belt. The crash is still under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Judge: Lawmakers Can Be Questioned About Straight-Party Voting Ban

From the Associated Press — A federal judge says some Michigan lawmakers must sit for interviews about a law that bans straight-party voting. The questions will be limited to what they might have said about their motives to people outside their offices. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub says communications between lawmakers and their staff are protected. The depositions are part of a lawsuit. Straight-party voting means making a single mark on a ballot to pick candidates of one party. Critics of the ban say it violates the rights of black voters in urban areas who typically vote for Democrats. A judge suspended the law in 2016, but the litigation is ongoing. Majzoub’s decision affects Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, Senator Marty Knollenberg, Sen. David Robertson, Rep. Michael McCready, and former Rep. Lisa
Lyons.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Moves To Boost Personal State Tax Exemption

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder’s administration is proposing legislation so taxpayers can continue claiming Michigan’s personal exemption in the wake of the federal tax overhaul, and also is calling for a large state exemption increase. The plan was first unveiled Monday by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, who is running for governor. The administration has warned that state taxes will rise if nothing is done. Calley tells The Associated Press that while 98% of the potential tax increase is because of how Michigan’s exemptions are linked to the U.S. tax code, Michigan’s personal exemption should be raised to address other issues such as the elimination of deductions for moving expenses. Calley says the “simplest, most fair answer” to protect people is to increase Michigan’s $4,000 personal exemption to $4,500 by 2021.. ...Read Full Story

Minimum Wage Push Continues In 2018

Michigan rang in 2018 with a 35 cent hike to the minimum wage, but some say that doesn’t go far enough and want voters to have the final word. This week marked the last of three scheduled increases under a law passed in 2014, taking the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour. The group Michigan One Fair Wage is circulating petitions to put a measure on the November ballot to raise it to $12 an hour by 2022. Alicia Renee Farris chairs the campaign and tells us the state’s lowest earners still need more money.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Showing Off New Tech This Week

With the annual Consumer Electronics Show underway in Las Vegas this week, Whirlpool is showing off some new tech. The appliance maker tells us it’s using the event to showcase its Apple Watch and Honeywell thermometer compatibility. Whirlpool says starting this year, its smart and connected appliances will be controllable with the Apple Watch. You can also use the wrist device to check the status of an appliance. That’s including ovens, washers, and dryers. Additionally, this year Whirlpool is rolling out a new collaboration with Honeywell that will enable customers to connect smart appliances to Honeywell’s line of connected thermostats. That means remote management of their appliance operating modes and energy outputs. Whirlpool Vice President of Brand and Strategy in North America Brett Dibkey says the company’s “consumers are sophisticated and expect their appliances to work smarter, not harder.”. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Woman Wins $1 Million In Lottery

A Berrien County woman is the latest big-time lottery winner in Michigan. The Michigan lottery tells us the 65-year-old has chosen to remain anonymous after she won $1 million from a scratch-off last week. She picked up her prize money on Friday, opting to take a lump sum payment of $634,500 instead of a 30 year annuity. The woman bought her winning Triple Millions instant ticket at the Exit 76 Auto Truck Plaza in Byron Center. She told the Michigan Lotto she’s been playing lottery games for years and still can’t believe she really won. She plans to pay bills, donate to her church, buy a brand new car, and then save the remainder of the money.. ...Read Full Story

Missing Woman Found Dead In Benton Harbor

A woman who was reported missing in Benton Harbor over the weekend has been found dead, and police suspect foul play. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety tells us a young woman was reported by family as missing on Sunday. Police later found her vehicle and body outside the Hayward Wells apartment complex in Benton Harbor. A suspect was quickly identified, and he was later arrested in Kalamazoo on unrelated charges. A warrant request is pending in Berrien County for open murder, and an autopsy is planned on the victim for Tuesday. Police have not released the victim’s name.. ...Read Full Story

Statewide Gas Price Average Falls 6¢

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have declined by about 6¢ per gallon in the past week. The Dearborn-based auto club says late Sunday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.63 per gallon. Michigan’s lowest average price was about $2.55 per gallon in the Bay City, Midland and Saginaw areas. The highest was about $2.66 per gallon in the Jackson area. We’re at $2.64 in the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph area, down 5¢ in the past week.. ...Read Full Story