Local News Archives

MI Panel Holds Off On LGBT Discrimination Declaration For Now

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is holding off for now on deciding whether to declare that discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing and public accommodations is already unlawful under state law. The commission met Monday to consider the request after two months of public feedback. The interpretive statement, if issued, would say discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is a form of sex discrimination outlawed under Michigan’s 1976 civil rights law. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights says the commission voted to table to request from LGBT rights group Equality Michigan. An assistant attorney general told the commission the legislature, not the commission, should address changes in state law. The commission is asking Attorney General Bill Schuette for a formal opinion on its authority.. ...Read Full Story

Dave Ramsey Speaks To Economic Club Of Southwestern Michigan

What every business needs to be successful. That was the focus of financial guru Dave Ramsey’s address to the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Tuesday night. Dave’s five principles — have good leadership, care about people, follow sound financial practices, maintain unity, and remember your higher calling. That means, Dave said, remembering what drives you to produce that widget in the first place.. ...Read Full Story

Humane Society Receives More Hurricane Dogs

The Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan is currently housing a large number of dogs shipped in from shelters located in areas affected by the recent hurricanes. Director Jill Svoboda tells WSJM News they received six early last week, and then 27 more on Friday. The shelter now has more dogs than usual.. ...Read Full Story

Police Believe Bridgman Man Shot Wife, Then Self

Police have released an update on two suspicious deaths discovered over the weekend in Bridgman. 63-year-old Donald Ackerman and 67-year-old Pamela Ackerman were found dead on Saturday in their Baldwin Road home, both from gunshot wounds. Autopsies were done on the two this week, and Bridgman police tell us they’ve found Pamela Ackerman was shot in the head twice, while Donald Ackerman was shot in the head once. Investigators believe Donald Ackerman shot his wife before turning the gun on himself. Police say no further information will be released at this time.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Student Hit By Vehicle Outside School

A Niles High School student is being treated for injuries after he was hit by a vehicle near the school on Tuesday. The Niles Police Department tells us it happened around 7:15 a.m. at the intersection of 14th Street and Eagle. The 16-year-old student was crossing Eagle Street headed to school when he was hit by an eastbound vehicle driven by a 46-year-old man. The student was taken to Memorial Hospital, and police say they don’t know his condition. They say neither alcohol nor speed were factors. The incident remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan DNR Adopts 5-Year Plan To Manage State Park System

There is a new five-year strategy for managing Michigan’s parks and recreation system. The Department of Natural Resources says the plan was developed through discussions with other state agencies and groups representing various public interests. The DNR manages 103 state parks and recreation areas that together occupy more than 300,000 acres. The parks and recreation division also oversees the state’s boating program, the state motorized and non-motorized trails system and 138 state forest campgrounds. Division chief Ron Olson says the plan will be a compass that guides the division in acquiring, protecting and preserving natural and cultural resources while providing access for recreation and education. The plan is available online at http://www.michigan.gov/prdstrategicplans. ...Read Full Story

Report: Upton “90% There” On Senate Run

If a report by Lansing-based MIRSNews is accurate, there is something to the rumors about Congressman Fred Upton looking at a run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow. MIRS is citing a source close to Upton as saying he’s “90% there” and is “very seriously looking” at challenging Stabenow. Upton has repeatedly told WSJM News he’s concentrating on the job at hand in the U.S. House. Another Republican source is telling MIRS that Upton’s moderate record won’t work with the more conservative GOP base in the state following the election of Donald Trump as President, even with Trump’s approval rating in the state at a very low level. Former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young Jr. and John James are the current Republican field for the Senate after Lena Epstein withdrew to run for the U.S. House yesterday.. ...Read Full Story

Pipeline Board: Let Campus Evaluate Line 5

From the Associated Press — An advisory group is recommending that Michigan universities analyze the worst-case scenario of an oil pipeline failure in the Straits of Mackinac. The effort would be led by Michigan Tech University, which would collaborate with experts at other universities. The recommendation was made Monday by the state Pipeline Safety Advisory Board, which includes high-ranking members of Governor Rick Snyder’s administration. A contractor was fired by the state in June because of a conflict of interest with Enbridge Energy, owner of Line 5. Line 5 carries nearly 23 million gallons of light crude oil and liquefied natural gas daily. It runs across Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula before entering the Straits of Mackinac, where it divides into two lines, then continues to refineries in Sarnia, Ontario.. ...Read Full Story

BH City Commissioners Table Paw Paw River Pedestrian Bridge Request

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have tabled a Harbor Shores request for an easement amendment to allow for a new pedestrian bridge to be installed across the Paw Paw River. At a Monday meeting, the commission was told the $1 million bridge from the Harbor Village neighborhood by Harbor Shores to the city of St. Joseph would enable people to walk and ride bikes all throughout the two cities. Commissioner Mary Alice Adams wanted more details.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien RESA Festival Of Families This Weekend

Set for this weekend is the Berrien RESA Festival of Families. RESA spokesperson Karen Heath tells WSJM News the fifth annual event will feature information on all of the services offered to kids around Berrien County. On hand will be groups like the Boys and Girls Club, the Red Cross, and the Berrien County Health department. There’s also some fun.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Animal Shelter Housing Dogs From Florida

If you’re looking for a new animal friend, then the Van Buren County Animal Control Shelter is the place for you this week. Through Saturday, they’re holding a special adoption event thanks to the Bissell Pet Foundation. Animal Control’s Kasey Murphy tells WSJM News the shelter now has a large number of dogs flown up from Florida following Hurricane Irma.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Lottery Tickets With 4 Zeroes Are Worth $5,000

From the Associated Press — When are four zeroes worth $5,000? When four zeroes are the winning numbers in a Michigan lottery drawing. Officials say 1,079 players had winning tickets in Michigan’s Sunday evening Daily 4 game. Each ticket is worth $5,000. It’s the first time that four zeroes were drawn in the game, which has been played since 1981. Each play costs a dollar. The Daily 4 game is played twice a day every day.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Signs Bill To Fix Ballots After Clerk Errors

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation allowing communities to fix ballots where candidates missed the state filing deadline because of incorrect information from local clerks. Snyder on Monday signed the bill to extend the filing deadline for city office elections in 2017, ensuring mayoral and city council candidates will be on the ballot. The bill had been passed by the legislature after issues with candidates in at least four communities. Errors were found in Sault Ste. Marie, Tecumseh, Bessemer, and Lake Angelus. Under the legislation, clerks who give out erroneous dates would be required to undergo training and their municipalities are subject to fines.. ...Read Full Story

Realtors Association Funding New Park Area

The Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors is making a difference in St. Joseph Township by paying for the creation of a new park. Association Executive Alan Jeffries tells WSJM News the group as received a $4,000 Grant from the National Association of Realtors as part of the Placemaking program. It’s designed to help local chapters make an impact.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Gas Prices Tumble 15¢

Michigan’s average gas price is down 15¢ from last week, which Triple-A says is the second-largest drop in the country. The average stands at $2.54, which is up 44¢ from this time a year ago. In Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, the auto club says we’re paying 14¢ less than last week at $2.56. The most expensive gas is up in the U.P. in Marquette at $2.66, while Grand Rapids and Saginaw have the lowest prices at $2.49. According to GasBuddy, South Haven prices are between $2.43 and $2.49. Triple-A says the market seems to have stabilized following the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which drove up prices over the past several weeks.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews Named Top University For Diversity

Andrews University in Berrien Springs has been named one of the country’s most ethnically diverse national universities. In the 2018 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, Andrews shares the top spot with the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Andrews tells us it has seen a great deal of diversification in the past ten years, coming in second on U.S. News’ list last year. Andrews University President Andrea Luxton says the school is proud of its new distinction, adding Andrews is also “proud to be recognized as the 11th ranked national university for schools with the most international students.” You can find the full U.S News rankings right here.. ...Read Full Story

Pharmacist In Deadly Meningitis Outbreak Heading To Trial

A Massachusetts pharmacist who oversaw the rooms where tainted drugs that caused a deadly meningitis outbreak were made is heading to trial. Glenn Chin was supervisory pharmacist at the now-closed New England Compounding Center in Framingham. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of all counts of second-degree murder under federal racketeering law. Chin heads to trial Tuesday on charges in the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 76 people and sickened hundreds of others. Experts say prosecutors have a stronger case against him than they did against pharmacy co-founder Barry Cadden, who was given a nine-year prison sentence in June. Chin ran the so-called clean rooms where steroid injections were made. He’s accused of failing to properly sterilize the drugs, among other things. Southwest Michigan was hit hard by the tainted steroids five years ago, with several people injured or killed as a result of the injections.. ...Read Full Story

Sunrise Rotary Planning Pumpkin Run For Next Week

The Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary is planning its seventh annual Pumpkin 5 and 10K Walk and Run for next week. The event will be Saturday, September 16 at the Renaissance Athletic Club in Benton Harbor. The proceeds from those who take part will go to the Books for Kids Reading Program, which distributes books to Benton Harbor Area Schools. During 2016, that group distributed more than 1,600 readers to kids in kindergarten through third grade. It’s $25 to register now, and $30 to register the day of the race. You can find out about registering at SunriseRotaryPumpkinFest.org.. ...Read Full Story

Trump Tweets Endorsement Of Schuette For Michigan Governor

President Donald Trump has endorsed Attorney General Bill Schuette for governor of Michigan. Trump said in a tweet Saturday that Schuette, who launched a bid for governor on Tuesday, would be fantastic. The President also says: “I am bringing back your jobs and Bill will help.” Schuette has promised to be a “jobs governor” who would cut income taxes and high auto insurance premiums. He is best known for his investigation of lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint. His probe led to criminal charges against 15 current and former government officials. Schuette is the best-known candidate in the Republican primary to succeed Republican Governor Rick Snyder, who is term limited. Several Democrats are also running for governor in 2018. Trump’s tweet misspelled Schuette’s last name, calling him “Shuette.”. ...Read Full Story

WMU planning Major Replacement Project For Residence Halls

From the Associated Press — Western Michigan University is planning to replace 12 residence halls on campus. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that university officials sought input from students and faculty Thursday on what to include in the new residence halls. The
forum was the first of three meetings the project’s design and planning team will hold. Students asked for amenities such as recreational rooms, computer labs, snack bars and outdoor game areas. They emphasized the importance of air conditioning and larger rooms, and expressed concerns about affordability and environmental impact. Officials hope to replace all the halls in the next decade. One of the projects will demolish the Harrison/Stinson halls and Eldridge/Fox halls. Officials say construction on the replacement buildings will start spring 2018 and is expected to be completed by the 2020-21 academic year.. ...Read Full Story