Local News Archives

Dowagiac Man To Be Honored At Christmas Parade

The annual Candle-light Christmas Parade in Dowagiac is set for next month, and a local man who’s done a lot to collect money for the needy will be honored with a spot as its grand marshal. Jim Allen has headed up the Feed the Hungry campaign in Dowagiac since 2010, helping to raise more than $75,000 in that time. He’ll be in unit 3 during the December 2 event, riding in a limo. Organizers say that during November and December each year, Allen can be seen going door to door to local businesses drumming up support, and they just wanted to thank him. The Candle-light Christmas Parade steps off at 7 p.m. on Friday December 2 at Front and Main Streets. The day will also feature the annual tree-lighting ceremony.. ...Read Full Story

Six Trucks Stuffed So Far By Y Country Crew

This are going well for the 97-5 Y Country radio crew this week. They’ve been hanging out at Roger’s foodland in St. Joseph collecting food donations as part of the 20th annual Stuff a Truck drive, and so far have filled six trucks with items for the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency. That’s not to mention the more than $3,100 they’ve raised. However, it’s not over. The crew will be there again live Friday and Saturday taking donations from folks. Just stop by between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, or between 8 and 10 a.m. Saturday to give. Food pantries could use the help this time of year.. ...Read Full Story

Economists Project Tight US Labor Market

Economists at the University of Michigan say in an annual forecast that they think the U.S. unemployment rate will stay below 5 percent next year. Five researchers at the university’s Department of Economics put out the report Thursday. They say they found a tightening U.S. labor market with a national economy forecast to add 3.7 million more jobs over the next two years. That’s a slower pace than over the last two years. But they say the predicted falling unemployment rate should help part-time workers who want full-time jobs. The researchers say they believe new light vehicle sales may have peaked and will slow gradually. They say that’s because their analysis found young adults own fewer vehicles because they can’t afford to own detached single-family homes.. ...Read Full Story

Police, Citizen Forum Held In Benton Harbor

Police departments in southwest Michigan are hoping to build a sense of trust and mutual understanding with citizens. That’s why a forum organized by Advocates And Leaders For Police And Community Trust — or, ALPACT — was held Thursday night in Benton Harbor. Retired Michigan State Police Captain Harold Love gave a presentation on the long-term stresses police officers face.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Wire Thefts In Allegan County

Police could use your help in figuring out who stole as much as $15,000 worth of wire from two businesses in Allegan County. The thefts happened in late October, and then again very recently. Both were at rural-area businesses about five miles from Allegan. The suspect drove a quad to get to them and made off with heavy gauge electrical wire. Police think the person must have knowledge of how electrical systems work, and say the stolen wire is about 2 inches thick with the copper core being about a half inch. Scrappers should watch out for it. Anyone with information on the suspect is responsible should call the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Report: More Pregnant Women Smoking In Michigan

Women in Michigan are smoking while pregnant at a higher rate than just a few years ago. The Michigan League for Public Policy released data Thursday showing an 18% jump in pregnancy smoking since 2008. The organization’s Alicia Guevara Warren tells us efforts to prevent smoking need to be boosted among pregnant women and the young.. ...Read Full Story

SJHS Thanks Veterans

St. Joseph High School is saluting area veterans. For the third year, the school’s Student Senate has held their annual veterans breakfast to say thank you around the Veterans Day holiday. Mia Altholz is the Student Senate President and talked to WSJM News about the meaning of the event.. ...Read Full Story

Kate Upton Tweets Disgust At Cy Young Award Vote

The winner of this season’s American League Cy Young Award is former Detroit Tiger Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox. Porcello led the American League in wins with 22 wins. There are a lot of fans upset by the vote, notably the supermodel girlfriend of Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander. St. Joseph native Kate Upton took to Twitter to rip the Baseball Writers of America for Verlander’s second-place finish, saying quote “Hey MLB I thought I was the only one who could (expletive deleted) Justin Verlander” and noting he had the most first-place votes. To add more salt to the wound for Detroit fans, the National League Cy Young winner was another former Tiger, Washington’s Max Scherzer.. ...Read Full Story

MI Newspapers Continue Struggling

Media companies continue being squeezed by declining readership and ad revenues. Michigan News Network Business Editor Murray Feldman says newspapers have lost a third of their readers in the past three years, as more adults are getting their news off the web.. ...Read Full Story

Jesse Jackson Urges More Accessible Voting During MI Visit

The Rev. Jesse Jackson says voting needs to be more accessible for Americans in future elections. His comments came Wednesday in Ann Arbor, where he’s being honored at the University of Michigan for his decades of fighting for civil rights. Jackson, who campaigned in Michigan several times for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, says making it easier to vote is important in promoting bottom-up change. The Detroit News reports Jackson says: “It’s the tug of war for the soul of America.” Jackson also noted the polarization of the presidential campaign that led to Republican Donald Trump being elected president, calling it “straight-out racist, xenophobic, misogynist.” Jackson is delivering the keynote address Wednesday afternoon at Rackham Auditorium during a series of events at the university in his honor.. ...Read Full Story

Class Action Flint Lawsuit To Be Decided Locally

A class-action lawsuit potentially affecting tens of thousands of people in the Flint water disaster will go to a local court, not miles away to federal court. A federal appeals court made the decision Wednesday, affirming a ruling by a federal judge in Ann Arbor. An engineering company, Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, is being sued over its work at the Flint water treatment plant. Residents accuse the company of failing to
ensure that the plant would be equipped to treat Flint River water for corrosion. The corrosive water caused lead to leach from old plumbing and fixtures, contaminating Flint’s water supply. Lockwood, Andrews denies that it’s responsible for the problem. In a 2-1 decision, the appeals court says it’s a “local controversy” that belongs in Genesee County.. ...Read Full Story

Lt. Governor Signs Mental Health Legislation

Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has signed legislation he says provides people facing mental health issues with access to intervention and treatment earlier. The bill enacted Wednesday updates “Kevin’s Law,” a series of underutilized laws passed in 2004 that authorized courts and community mental health agencies to use assistant outpatient treatment programs instead of hospitalization for people who don’t comply with prescribed treatment. The legislation, which takes effect in February, will let a family member petition for involuntary treatment earlier. It makes people’s impaired judgment a factor in determining if they should receive involuntary treatment, and not just their behavior. Calley says expanded treatment options “will help address the root cause of the problem while also reducing many avoidable law enforcement situations.”. ...Read Full Story

Crews Raise 3 Ton Anchor From Detroit River After 60 Years

The anchor of a once-mighty Great Lakes steamship is back above water for the first time in six decades. Crews raised the Greater Detroit’s anchor, all 6,000 pounds of it, on Tuesday. Three divers from the Great Lakes Maritime Institute braved the 47-degree water temperature, descending 20 feet to the bottom of the Detroit River and attaching cables to the massive hunk of metal. A barge fitted with a crane then hauled it
up. Once cleaned and restored, the anchor will be displayed at the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority downtown. After commercial airline travel and modern freeways ended the usefulness of luxury steamships, the 536-foot Greater Detroit was scrapped and its anchor cut.
The sidewheel steamer was towed to Lake St. Clair where it was burned in 1956 prior to being scrapped.. ...Read Full Story

Pedestrian Killed By Semi In Niles Twp

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police are investigating a fatal crash between a semi and a pedestrian in Niles Township. 71-year-old Connie Brown was hit and killed while crossing South 11th Street near Stateline Road shortly before 9 last night. Police say there are no street lights in the area, and Brown was wearing dark clothing. The truck that hit her was hauling mail from Detroit to South Bend and was driven by a suburban Detroit man.. ...Read Full Story

Retired City Employee Announces Candidacy For South Haven Mayor

A longtime employee of the city of South Haven has announced he’s running for mayor. Paul VandenBosch tells us he wants to be mayor so he can continue utility reconstruction, implement rental regulations, and provide better customer service. VandenBosche, who is retired, has previously served as South Haven’s assistant city manager, and a harbormaster. He tells our newsroom his goal is to be responsive to the city’s citizens.. ...Read Full Story

Upton’s Office Holding Holidays For Heroes Card Drive

It’s time once again to help make the holidays a little better for the military. Congressman Fred Upton’s office is holding yet another Holidays for Heroes greeting card drive. Between now and December 2, anyone can send or drop off a holiday card at Upton’s offices in St. Joseph or Kalamazoo, and they’ll make sure it gets to a soldier. Schools around the Sixth District have also been invited to make cards. The Red Cross, which will deliver the cards, asks that they not have any glitter or other objects attached, and it also asks that senders don’t write their full names on them. You can find out more about Holidays for Heroes here.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Gets First Committee Assignment

State Representative-elect Kim LaSata now has one of her committee assignments. New state House Speaker Tom Leonard this week told LaSata that she’s one of two freshman lawmakers to be assigned to the Committee on Committees for the 2017-2018 legislative term. The Committee on Committees is responsible for nominating representatives to committee memberships. LaSata says she’s humbled to have been picked to be one of the few freshmen with a say on who serves where. House Speaker-elect Leonard says LaSata’s “energy and sound judgement” give him the utmost confidence she’ll do a good job.. ...Read Full Story

200 Pigs Get Loose After Allegan County Crash

Authorities say that about 200 pigs got loose after a truck heading to Indiana was involved in a crash on a foggy southwestern Michigan roadway.
Bob Dykhuis tells The Holland Sentinel that the tractor-trailer owned by Dykhuis Farms Inc. was carrying about 2,000 young pigs when it crashed Tuesday morning in Allegan County’s Manlius Township. There were no immediate reports of injuries to people, but the newspaper says
10-20 pigs were killed. Dykhuis says it’s a “difficult situation.” Two other vehicles were involved in the crash, which left the bottom level of the trailer open and allowed pigs to escape. Fire crews, Dykhuis Farms staff and area residents worked together to round up the pigs.. ...Read Full Story

Justice Denies Michigan Appeal To Halt Sex Offender Ruling

A U.S. Supreme Court justice has rejected Michigan’s request to halt a lower court decision that found the state unconstitutionally put additional restrictions on sex offenders long after their convictions. Justice Elena Kagan denied Tuesday the emergency appeal for a stay. In August, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said changes to Michigan law in 2006 and 2011, which included retroactively restricting sex offenders’ movements near schools, penalize offenders as “moral lepers.” The appeals court denied Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s request to block the decision during appeal. So did Kagan. Schuette’s office couldn’t immediately be reached to comment.Michigan has the country’s fourth-largest sex offender list, with more than 42,000 registrants. Michigan prohibits all registrants from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of school property.. ...Read Full Story

Suspended Officer Who Displayed Confederate Battle Flag Resigns

A Northern Michigan police officer suspended after flying a Confederate battle flag from his pickup during a political rally has resigned. Traverse City Manager Marty Colburn says Michael Peters turned in his resignation Monday evening. Colburn says Peters apologized to the community and “for the stain he put on the city” and its police department. Colburn says he believes Peters’ apology was sincere.. ...Read Full Story

MI LGBT Groups Concerned Following Trump Win

Advocates for the rights of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender predict there will be challenges under the coming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, but also believe important past legal gains are fairly secure. Hayley Gorenberg, general counsel at Lambda Legal, tells us Trump could appoint an anti-marriage equality Supreme Court justice. However, Gorenberg says replacing Aontonin Scalia with such a justice wouldn’t change anything.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagon Fund Aims To Help Stuff Food Pantries

The Pokagon Fund has announced it’s supporting several south Berrien County food banks this winter. It notes that since its inception in 2007, the fund has given out more than $600,000 to 25 organizations that feed people in the region. Groups being supported by the Pokagon Fund this year are Meals on Wheels of Southwest Michigan, Senior Nutrition Services, Feeding America West Michigan, Blessings in a Backpack, A.C.T.I.O.N. Dowagiac, St. Margaret’s House, and the Harbor Country Rotary. With the winter and Thanksgiving approaching, many southwest Michigan charities are now raising money to help people out. It’s estimated that one in five Harbor Country families will need food assistance this year.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County K9 Helps Catch Domestic Violence Suspect

A Cass County Sheriff’s Department K9 has once again gotten his man. The department tells us deputies were called out to a home in LaGrange Township Sunday night on a report of a domestic assault. They got there and learned the suspect had run off. So, K9 Faust was brought in, and a search of some nearby woods began. After about going about 1.7 miles, Faust found the 31-year-old Cassopolis man hiding in some brush. He was taken to jail on a domestic violence charge, while his alleged victim was taken to a hospital. Faust is a 3-year-old Dutch Shepard who has worked for the department since July.. ...Read Full Story

I&M Warns About The Latest Scams

Customers of Indiana Michigan Power are being warned about the latest scammers out on the prowl. I&M spokesperson Erica Putt tells WSJM News some people have been getting calls or visits from individuals claiming to be with the company and demanding payment immediately. I&M wouldn’t do that.. ...Read Full Story

Man Shot in Berrien Springs Break-In

An Oronoko Township man is expected to fully recover after police say he was shot last week during a break-in to his home. The Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Police Department was called out to 221 East Snow Road around 10:20 a.m. Friday when Travis Donnell Eidsness reported he’d been shot in the shoulder. When they got there, police were told three black males had appeared at the front door asking to use the phone. After a short conversation, one of the men pulled a handgun and there was a struggle. That’s when Eidsness was shot. He ran to a neighbor’s house while the suspects all took off. Police are still looking for the suspects. They don’t believe the attack was random, telling us it looks like the suspects specifically targeted that home.. ...Read Full Story

ESPN’s College GameDay Coming To WMU

There are just two undefeated football teams left in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision – Alabama and Western Michigan. The Crimson Tide remain ranked number-one in the AP poll and the “USA Today”/Amway Coaches Poll, while WMU isn’t getting the same amount of respect from the voters yet. The Broncos are 14th in the latest AP poll and 21st in the coaches poll. ESPN, however, will recognize the outstanding season by the Broncos this weekend. The network will broadcast its flagship “College GameDay” program on Saturday from Kalamazoo at 9 a.m. at Sangren Pedestrian Mall on campus. Fans are encouraged to start showing up around 6 a.m. for the program. WMU hosts Buffalo on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., with the game to be televised on ESPNU.. ...Read Full Story

Traverse City Officer Suspended Ater Diving With Confederate Fag

A northern Michigan police officer has been suspended with pay after he was seen off-duty driving a pickup truck bearing a Confederate battle flag around a group protesting Republican Donald Trump’s election as President. Traverse City police Chief Jeff O’Brien announced Michael Peters’ suspension Sunday after earlier saying an internal investigation was to start Monday to see if departmental rules were broken.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Puts Completion Of US-31 Into 5-Year Plan

The Michigan Department of Transportation has added the completion of the US-31 corridor to its five year construction plan. State Representative Al Pscholka has been working on getting MDOT to commit to the project for years, and tells us he’s relieved US-31 will finally be connected to I-94. He’s always asked about it.. ...Read Full Story

Flint Posts Water Shutoff Notices On Commercial Properties

Flint says water shut-off notices are being posted by city employees on commercial properties with past-due utility accounts. Friday’s efforts follow months of work by the city to obtain payment on commercial water and sewer accounts with high outstanding balances. It’s part of
a state requirement to maintain water credits being provided amid Flint’s crisis with lead-tainted drinking water. Flint says police officers will accompany those posting notices. The notices are being put up at a number of locations in Flint, including apartment complexes. The city says some owners of apartment buildings have been collecting rent, which includes utility fees, but they haven’t been paying the city for sewer and water service. Representatives from the Red Cross and United Way will be available next week to offer assistance, if needed.. ...Read Full Story

Y-Country Stuff A Truck Food Drive Next Week

It’s time once again for 97-5 Y-Country’s Stuff a Truck food drive. The week-long effort starts Monday, and it’ll have Y-Country staff broadcasting live from Roger’s Foodland in St. Joseph alongside a 23-foot truck, stuffing it with things people donate. Y-Country’s Matt Malone tells WSJM News it’s the 20th year for the drive.. ...Read Full Story

Firearm Deer Season Starts Tuesday

Firearm deer hunting season starts Tuesday, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reminding those who plan to head out into the woods to be safe. It’s issued a quick list of tips to be sure this hunting season is a successful one. First, it’s telling hunters to treat every firearm as though it’s loaded. Keep the safety on until you’re ready to fire and never point the muzzle toward anyone. Also, use a safety harness if you’re up in a tree blind, make sure someone knows just where you’re going to be, and have a cell phone with you. The DNR adds that camouflage hunter orange is legal provided 50% of the pattern is hunter orange. Meanwhile, utility companies remind hunters their property is off limits. You can get the DNR’s app, MI-Hunt, that’ll tip you off to good hunting spots around the state.. ...Read Full Story

Adoption Day To Be Celebrated In Van Buren County

The van Buren County Circuit Court will hold a special ceremony this month to mark Adoption Day. At 10 a.m. on Tuesday the 22nd, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman will be on hand to oversee some adoption confirmations at the court. There are about 13,000 children in the Michigan foster care system, with around 2,400 seeking adoption. Each year, Adoption Day is held around the state to recognize their plight and to celebrate those families that choose to adopt. Anyone interested in signing up to be a foster home can call the Van Buren County Department of Health and Human Services.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Road Commission Marks 100 Years

The Van Buren County Road Commission has marked its 100th birthday. The agency was founded in 1916 under a 1912 state law calling for uniformity in road standards statewide, and it’s changed quite a lot since then. The road commission welcomed the public to a party last week where it showed off historical photographs, and let people put their hand print on a special 100th anniversary plow. The road commission started out with just one employee, and today has about 50 who care for more than 1,3000 miles of road. Leaders are thanking all of the friends and family who came out to the birthday celebration.. ...Read Full Story