Local News Archives

Upton Opposing Cuts To National Institutes Of Health

Congressman Fred Upton is calling on the director of the Office of Management and Budget to express opposition to large cuts proposed for the National Institutes of Health. Upton has co-authored a letter with Colorado Democrat Diana DeGette praising the NIH for the work it does to research diseases. They write the NIH “saves millions of lives every year making the basic discoveries that allow businesses to develop new treatments, medications, and cures for patients.” They also cite the economic benefits of having a well-funded NIH. Just last year, Upton and DeGette worked together on securing passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which boosted funding to the NIH. President Trump’s proposed federal budget would slash the NIH’s funding by $5.8 billion, or 20%.. ...Read Full Story

U.P. Prosecutor Won’t File Charges In Sexting Probe Involving Hundreds

From the Associated Press — An Upper Peninsula prosecutor says he won’t file charges following an investigation into the exchange of sexually explicit images among hundreds of high school students. Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wiese announced Tuesday that
exchanging the images via social media could be considered criminal but did not warrant the filing of charges. Wiese says he’s confident that “parents and school officials will give this matter the attention it deserves.” He says school officials, students and parents have cooperated in the investigation by surrendering phones and other electronic devices so the explicit material could be removed. Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Jay Peterson tells The Marquette Mining Journal  the investigation grew to include hundreds of students from six Marquette County school districts.. ...Read Full Story

State Pilot Program

Governor Snyder and M-DOT Director Kirk Steudle are introducing a pilot program that he hopes will help the state get better at fixing infrastructure. The plan is to coordinate all the departments that works on roads, sewers, broadband and energy. Snyder says the program will help in areas like the flooding last September.. ...Read Full Story

BH City Commissioners Salute Blues And R&B Fest

This July will bring the 20th anniversary of the Old School Blues and R&B Fest at Jean Klock Park, and city commissioners have saluted its organizers. On Monday, they heard from festival promoter Lee Kirsky, who updated them on the plans for this year. Kirsky told WSJM News the spirit of the blues fest has always been the same.. ...Read Full Story

White House Targets MI Congressman

A tweet from White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino, Jr. is urging the primary defeat of Congressman Justin Amash, who is a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus criticized by the president. Oakland University Political Science Department Chair Dave Dulio tells Michigan News Network this latest situation doesn’t help the president.. ...Read Full Story

Cedar Point Hiring 5,000 Summer Workers

If you are looking for a fun way to spend your summer, Cedar Point amusement park is hiring 5,000 people. On top of getting paid for the experience, associates receive free admission to both Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores Water Park, along with free tickets for friends and family. Spokesperson Kristy Bacni tells Michigan News Network the amusement park is a great place to work.. ...Read Full Story

BH Commissioners Set Goals For City Manager

A list of goals for the city manager this year has been approved by Benton Harbor City Commissioners. On Monday night, they identified the most pressing priorities as potholes, the sewer and drain lines, and dead trees. They want an immediate plan for dealing with those problems. Mayor Marcus Muhammad told WSJM News he aims for 2017 to be a year of action.. ...Read Full Story

State Recognizing Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning is using the month of April to spread awareness to drivers about the dangers of being distracted behind the wheel. Spokesperson Anne Readett tells WSJM News the numbers for distracted driving crashes are probably grossly underreported because people are reluctant to volunteer such information to police. However, she warns everyone that when you’re driving, your focus should be on the road.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Chamber Hoping To Attract Hotel Developer

A push is being made to get a hotel for the Bridgman area. Calli Berg, with the Greater Bridgman Area Chamber of Commerce, tells WSJM News they’ve conducted a study and found the area could support a hotel with up to 85 rooms. Not only could tourists use it, but the Cook plant would be well-served, as it routinely brings in thousands of contractors. Berg is now hoping to court developers.. ...Read Full Story

Consumers Energy Warns About Carbon Monoxide Risks

You should have a carbon monoxide detector in your home and make sure your furnace is operating properly. That’s what Debra Dodd, of Consumers Energy, says following the death of a 13-year-old boy over the weekend from carbon monoxide poisoning in Niles. Several others were injured when a fire inspector says a pool heater at the Quality Inn and Suites had improper ventilation. Dodd tells Michigan News Network there are several symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Teen Charged In Sexual Assault Of Letter Carrier

A 16-year-old boy from Benton Harbor is charged with kidnapping in the sexual assault of a postal worker on Friday. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office tells WSJM News the female letter carrier was delivering mail in the area of McAllister Street around noon when the teen allegedly dragged her off to the side of his home and assaulted her. He then went back inside. Benton Harbor Public Safety officers found him there not long after. The teen is now in the Berrien County Juvenile Detention Center with bond set at $150,000. In addition to kidnapping, he’s charged with second degree criminal sexual conduct. If charged as an adult, kidnapping comes with a penalty of up to life in prison.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead In Fiery Allegan County Crash

One man is dead following a fiery crash in Allegan County Sunday. The sheriff’s department tells us deputies were called out to an area near 138th Avenue and 24th Street in Dorr Township shortly after midnight. Initially, the report was about a loud bonfire, but while deputies were still on their way, they got another call telling them it was, in fact, a vehicle on fire. Once firefighters put out the blaze, the victim was found inside. He’s been identified as Robert Miklusicak. Police determined he failed to stop for a stop sign at the T-intersection of 138th Avenue. The vehicle then left the road, hit a tree, and flipped several times. Police are still investigating other circumstances of the crash.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Up This Week

Gas prices have risen to start out the week. AAA estimates the average price around Michigan is $2.45 per gallon, an increase over last week of 15 cents. Gas Buddy’s Patrick DeHaan tells WKZO News crude prices have been rising.. ...Read Full Story

Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail Improvements Planned

From the Associated Press — Officials in northern Indiana are working to raise money to pave a gap in a recreational trail extending to the Michigan state line. The South Bend Tribune reports that the public can donate on May 9 as part of Give Local, where local charities are vying for dollars. The Bike Michiana Coalition has pledged to match up to $15,000 of whatever is donated to a St. Joseph County, Indiana, parks fund on that day. The newspaper says county officials also could give up to $225,000 in tourism funding to extend the trail. Both efforts would fill some of the final gaps in the 34-mile-long Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail that follows the St. Joseph River from Mishawaka, Indiana, to Niles, Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

National Work Zone Awareness Week

It’s the time of year when construction crews and orange barrels spring into action, and that means driving through work zones. Last year in Michigan, there were 4,908 work zone crashes and 17 people lost their lives. Most of those crashes were preventable. Today kicks off National Work Zone Awareness Week, where safety agencies across the nation join forces in an effort to increase awareness about the importance of work zone safety. This year’s theme for National Work Zone Awareness Week is “Work zone safety is in your hands.” They are asking you to show your support by wearing orange this Wednesday, April 5.. ...Read Full Story

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Michigan motorists are reminded that One Text or Call Could Wreck It All during national Distracted Driving Awareness Month. For the first time, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning is supporting distracted driving enforcement activity for more than 170 law enforcement agencies receiving federal traffic safety funds. Nationally, officers will be stepping up enforcement April 6-10. Director Michael Prince tells our newsroom that many law enforcement agencies recognize that distracted driving is a serious concern in their communities and that it is vital that drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. According to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center, there were 7,516 crashes in Michigan during 2015 involving distracted driving, resulting in 28 fatalities and 3,472 injuries. Cell phones were involved in 753 crashes, with three fatalities and 377 injuries.. ...Read Full Story

Strong First Quarter For St. Joseph Today

It’s been a busy first quarter for St. Joseph Today. This past week, Executive Director Amy Zapal gave her quarterly report to city commissioners, saying the St. Joe Welcome Center has had nearly 3,000 visitors this year. She also went over the events the organization’s had the past three months. Zapal tells WSJM News as more activities are held downtown, even in the winter, the area sees more visitors overall.. ...Read Full Story

New LMC President Starts This Month

The new president at Lake Michigan College will start on April 10. That’s according to LMC Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Michael Lindley. He tells us Dr. Trevor Kubatzke, who’s coming to southwest Michigan from Milwaukee Area Technical College, has already moved to buy a house in the area. Lindley says Kubatzke is a good fit and has experience with a lot of the things LMC is doing.. ...Read Full Story

Rotary Mentorship Program Gets National Attention

A mentorship program started by the Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor has been such a success that it’s become a model for chapters all around the world. Jackie Huie, the CEO of Johnson Rauhoff, tells us she helped get the program rolling around 2007, when the Rotary started reaching out to professionals in all sorts fields to ask if they’d chat with high school students from St. Joseph. Since then, they’ve expanded to districts all over the area, and about 400 kids have taken part.. ...Read Full Story

West MI Craft Brewers Hail Report On Industry Growth

The Brewer’s Association, a group that promotes the interests of craft brewers around the country, has released new numbers showing continued growth for the industry. It says craft brewers increased production by 6% over the last year and now represent about 12% of the overall beer market. The news is being hailed by Paw Paw Beverage Distributors, which distributes Bell’s, Paw Paw Brewing, and Dark Horse, among others. Brand manager Tom McDonald says he thinks the state’s industry is well-poised for further growth. Michigan boasts more than 200 breweries and brewpubs, making it the fifth largest beer producer in the country.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Holding Organ Donor Registry Drive This Week

Lake Michigan College will be holding an organ donor registration drive next week. LMC Director of Registered Dental Assisting Julie Uribe tells WSJM News the dental assisting program wanted to get more people signed up to donate in honor of Brenda L. Dickey, of Buchanan. She was an instructor at the dental assisting department who died this year when her body rejected an organ transplant.. ...Read Full Story

“Autism Speaks” 5K Planned At Andrews University

Andrews University is planning a special 5K run to raise awareness and funds for an organization that works with autistic children. The Autism Speaks 5K is set for Sunday, April 16, and they’re taking registrations now. Autism Speaks is a group founded in 2005 by grandparents of a child with autism. It’s dedicated to finding autism solutions and sponsoring research. It also does outreach on behalf of autistic kids. Proceeds from ticket sales to the run at Andrews will go to the non-profit. Anyone interested in signing up can do so right here. It’s $10 for students and $15 for everyone else.. ...Read Full Story

Day Of Action To Call For Healthcare Reform Planned For Next Week

With the failure last week of the GOP’s American Health Care Act, the debate over how to fix the healthcare system rages on. A national day of action calling for an end to for-profit solutions, including Obamacare, is set for April 8 when Congress goes on recess. Glenn Pearson, former president of Physicians for a National Health Program, says a single payer, not-for-profit healthcare system would be focused on care.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department: Make It An Alcohol Free Weekend

The Berrien County Health Department is hoping to spread a message about alcohol abuse throughout the month of April. It’s working with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence to make April Alcohol Awareness Month. The theme this year is “Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery.” The goal is to raise awareness about the causes of alcoholism and the ways it can be treated. The health department wants to focus much of the education effort on young people, teaching them about the dangers of excessive drinking. The health department also wants to kick the whole thing off with an Alcohol Free Weekend this weekend. It asks parents and other adults to not drink from March 31 to April 2 to show young people you don’t need booze to have a good time.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Signs Sweeping Criminal Justice Reforms

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a sweeping package of criminal justice reforms championed by state Senator John Proos. The legislation includes programs to help ex-cons find jobs when they’re released, new partnerships between the corrections department and outside groups to train prisoners, and more ways to help probationers avoid getting locked up. Senator Proos tells WSJM News the plan will make a big difference with several reforms.. ...Read Full Story

Orchards Mall Avoids Foreclosure

The owners of the Orchards Mall have bought themselves another year. The 2014 property taxes on the mall in Benton Township were due on Friday, and Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells us they paid them. His office received a check for a little more than $141,000. Witkowski tells us the mall has paid for 2014, but still owes its 2015 and 2016 taxes. Still, the mall won’t be foreclosed this year.. ...Read Full Story

House GOP Campaign Committee Misplaces More Than $100,000

From the Associated Press — A campaign finance watchdog and a radio network report that a Republican campaign committee lost track of more than $100,000 in the last election cycle. The Michigan Public Radio Network says Friday that its investigation with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network found the House Republican Campaign Committee is facing fines and questions about what happened to the money.
Stu Sandler, a consultant for the committee, says an attorney and an audit team have been hired and the secretary of state’s office has been notified. Sandler says whatever happened to the money was under previous leadership led by then-House Speaker Kevin Cotter. Cotter’s working with auditors. The committee will file updated reports. House Republicans maintained their 63-47 majority in the election.. ...Read Full Story

Judge Denies Motion On Murder Charges In Kalamazoo Bicyclists’ Deaths

From the Associated Press — A driver accused of killing five bicyclists and injuring four others in Kalamazoo County will stand trial on second-degree murder charges. A judge has denied Charles Pickett Jr.’s motion to reverse an earlier ruling that allowed the murder charges. The judge also denied Pickett’s efforts to suppress statements he made to police about the crash. The nine bicyclists were struck June 7, 2016, by a pickup along a rural road in Cooper Township. Pickett also is charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing death and causing serious injury.A state police scientist has said Pickett’s blood tests after the crash revealed drugs, including painkillers and methamphetamine.
An April 24 trial is scheduled.The Associated Press left messages Thursday seeking comment from Pickett’s attorneys.. ...Read Full Story

Two West MI Cities In The Running For USA Today’s Best Small Midwestern Town

A couple of Michigan cities are in the running for the title of USA Today’s Best Small Midwestern Town. We’ve told you Saugatuck is one of them, but let’s not forget Charlevoix. The town way up along the Lake Michigan coast north of Traverse City is known for its scenic views of the water, says Amanda Wilkin, with the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Charlevoix.. ...Read Full Story

Rotary Mentor Program Making In Big Difference For Local Youths

A mentorship program started by the Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor has been such a success that it’s become a model for chapters all around the world. Jackie Huie, the CEO of Johnson Rauhoff, tells us she helped get the program rolling around 2007, when the Rotary started reaching out to professionals in all sorts fields to ask if they’d chat with high school students from St. Joseph. Since then, they’ve expanded to districts all over the area, and about 400 kids have taken part.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Holding Open House For New Maker Lab This Weekend

Lake Michigan College is anxious to show off its new Fab Lab this weekend. The Fab Lab is an open access digital fabrication studio and collaborative workshop featuring all sorts of state-of-the-art equipment for makers. Manager Andrea Oleniczak tells WSJM News you can sign up to use it. She wants folks to come out this weekend to see the Fab Lab for themselves.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Would Allow MI Residents To Warm Up Their Cars On Private Property

A bill moving through the Michigan House of Representatives would allow residents to warm up their cars while parked in private drive-ways unattended. Sponsor state Representative Holly Hughes tells Michigan News Network she’s heard from people statewide outraged to hear of a man who was ticketed for leaving his car running. The plan is designed to prevent situations like that.. ...Read Full Story

Lawyer Who Posted Anti-Gay Rants Loses MI Law License

From the Associated Press — A former lawyer with the state of Michigan has lost his law license in a misconduct case related to his public hostility for a gay student leader at the University of Michigan. Andrew Shirvell’s disbarment was ordered Thursday by a panel at the Attorney
Discipline Board. He can appeal to the full board. Shirvell was an assistant attorney general. He was fired in 2010 after criticizing Christopher Armstrong on an anti-gay blog, on Facebook and during visits to the Ann Arbor campus. Shirvell said he was exercising free-speech rights. But the panel at the discipline board says his motive was “dishonest or selfish,” not simply careless. A message seeking comment was left with his attorney. In a separate matter, a jury in 2012 ordered Shirvell to pay $4.5 million to Armstrong.. ...Read Full Story

Speedier Tax Cut For Car Buyers Approved By MI Senate

From the Associated Press — Michigan senators have voted to more quickly phase in a tax break for people who trade in their car for a new one.
A 2013 law lets buyers subtract some of the value of their trade-in from the purchase price of a new vehicle for tax purposes. The change is being phased in until 2039. The Republican-controlled Senate unanimously approved legislation Wednesday to accelerate the phase-in of the tax cut 10 years sooner, by 2029. Supporters say the law helped boost auto sales and buyers deserve a bigger tax break earlier. The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency says Michigan could lose nearly $18 million in tax revenue in year two. Michigan has a 6 percent sales tax. The bill goes to the House.. ...Read Full Story

Infection From Local Water Park

A Mother is claiming her son developed a painful skin infection after visiting a popular indoor water park. Alexis McCalla has posted on Social Medea that her son caught a bacterial infection during a visit to Surfari Joe’s in Watervliet. McCalla says her son returned home with a suspicious rash. McCalla says doctors explained that her seven-year-old suffered a chemical burn that developed into a bacterial infection. McCalla shared the incident in a Facebook post that quickly went viral, prompting many others to share their concerns and describing similar illnesses they say occurred after visiting the water park. Surfari Joe’s says they are in accordance with state and health department laws and resources.. ...Read Full Story