Local News Archives

Rape Aggression Defense Training Classes Scheduled

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is now signing up students for its spring round of Rape Aggression Defense training. RAD is a personal defense course for women designed to revolve around awareness, prevention, risk reduction, and avoidance. The department tells us it’s not a martial arts program, but a simple self-defense class designed for anyone. The classes are free and come in the form of 3 evening sessions totaling 12 hours. All of the classes must be finished to get the RAD certification. The training is open to anyone age 16 or older. You can find out more and sign up by contacting the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. The number is 269-983-7141, extension 7715. The sessions will be held in Benton Township in April and New Buffalo Township in May.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Calls Special Elections To Replace Conyers

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has scheduled a special election to fill the congressional seat left open by longtime Rep. John Conyers’ resignation amid sexual harassment allegations. The elections will be held in August and November – concurrently with regular primary and general elections. The governor said Friday that his decision gives  potential candidates time to make a decision and avoids additional taxpayer costs of holding the special election earlier. The filing deadline is April 24. Those already planning to run include state Sen. Ian Conyers, a grandson of John Conyers’ brother; and state Sen. Coleman Young II, the son of a former Detroit mayor. The 88-year-old John Conyers first was elected in 1964.. ...Read Full Story

Sheriff’s Department Provides Honor Guard For World War II Hero’s Remains

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department will be on hand Monday when a World War II hero is laid to rest in St. Joseph. Chief Deputy Robert Boyce tells WSJM News an honor guard from the sheriff’s department spent Thursday escorting the remains of Navy Airman Albert “Bud” Rybarczyk from Grand Rapids to St. Joe. His remains were found in a plane in the south Pacific in 2014. Boyce tells us the sheriff’s department accompanied Rybarczyk to Starks and Menchinger Funeral Home Thursday.. ...Read Full Story

Two Arrested In Niles Meth Bust

Two people are facing charges following a Niles Township meth bust on Thursday. The Southwest Enforcement Team tells us officers raided a home as part of an investigation into the distribution of crystal methamphetamine. They say they seized several grams of crystal methamphetamine and other items related to narcotics trafficking. A 28-year-old man and a 30-year-old man were arrested for transporting and selling crystal methamphetamine from the South Bend area to the Niles area. Both suspects also had outstanding warrants. The Southwest Enforcement Team is made up of law enforcement agencies from all over southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Health Advocates Cry Foul As CHIP Funding Dwindles

Pressure is being applied to Congress as funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program — or, CHIP — remains in limbo. Families USA Director of Medicaid Initiatives Dee Mahan tells WSJM News CHIP provides coverage to kids whose families don’t qualify for other aid, but who still can’t afford insurance. It offers care targeted to the needs of children. Congress failed to renew CHIP’s funding more than 2 years ago.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Approves Settlement With Former President

The Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees has approved a settlement with former LMC President Jennifer Spielvogel. In a 4 to 3 vote Thursday night, the board moved forward a plan that could bring Spielvogel’s wrongful termination lawsuit to an end. LMC Board of Trustees President Michael Lindley told WSJM News the split vote was no surprise, given the nature of the issue. He says it’s natural some trustees would have concerns.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Welcomes SJ Students To Lansing

State lawmakers on Wednesday welcomed students from all over Michigan to the capitol in Lansing for the 17th Annual Student Technology Showcase. Among the schools on hand was Upton Middle School in St. Joseph, invited by state Senator John Proos. He tells WSJM News the kids showed off an exhibit called “That Moment When: A Facebook Comment Led to Celebrity Connections Beyond the Classroom.”. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Talks About Amended Municipal Pension Reforms

Police and firefighter unions have chalked up a huge win in a legislative battle over municipal retiree pensions. State lawmakers made changes to the controversial legislation early this morning, and the bills have won initial approval in the House and Senate. State Representative Kim LaSata went from a “no” to a “yes” with the changes.. ...Read Full Story

Meeting Next Month On Future Of SJ Recycling Center

A meeting planned for next month could help determine the future of a recycling center in St. Joseph. The Jackie Taglia Recycling Center on Broad Street in front of the St. Joseph City Public Works Department opened in the late 1980s through a partnership between United for Survival and the city of St. Joseph. The Boy Scouts help to coordinate the work that’s done there, but the Boy Scouts will end that role this coming March. So, a public meeting will be held on January 18 at the Rose Center on Church Street in St. Joseph. Groups and individuals who may have interest in taking on the management of the recycling service are encouraged to attend the meeting. Mark your calendars now.. ...Read Full Story

UPDATE – I-94 Reopens In Van Buren County

Interstate 94 is back open after being shut down between Paw Paw and Mattawan in both directions for more than two hours this morning due to a 32-car pileup. Michigan State Police tell WSJM News there were some injuries, but none are believed to be life threatening. Tow trucks were able to get all the torn-up vehicles off the road so it could reopen shortly after 11 a.m. Ice and snow on the roads have made for a tricky commute throughout southwest Michigan since early this morning.. ...Read Full Story

I-94 Closed Between Paw Paw And Mattawan

Interstate 94 is closed in both directions between Paw Paw and Mattawan. Michigan State Police tell our newsroom there are 32 vehicles that were involved in a pileup, and the highway is expected to remain closed until noon at the earliest. There are some injuries, but police don’t believe any of those are life-threatening. Troopers are urging people to stay off I-94 in Van Buren County for the time being. Roads throughout southwest Michigan are slick with the morning’s snowfall, and we’ve heard reports of multiple crashes and slide-offs all over the area.. ...Read Full Story

More Cases Of Chronic Wasting Disease Found During Deer Hunt

From the Associated Press — Officials say a number of deer believed to have been infected with chronic wasting disease were found during Michigan’s recently completed firearms hunting season. The latest cases bring the tally of confirmed or suspected infections in the state to 30 whitetail deer since 2015. The state Department of Natural Resources encourages hunters to bring their deer to check stations. It says several thousand samples await testing by Michigan State University, so the number of chronic wasting disease cases still could rise.
The infected deer have turned up in Clinton, Ingham, Kent and Montcalm counties. The DNR has established a “core and management zone” where the disease has been detected. All deer taken by hunters in that area must be checked, while feeding and baiting deer there are prohibited.. ...Read Full Story

Homelessness In Michigan Trending Down

Homelessness in Michigan is drastically down since 2010. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Regional Administrator James Cunningham tells WSJM News homelessness in Michigan has dropped 2.9% since last year and 30% since 2010. One reason is HUD’s relatively recent strategy of working with local non-profits to identify folks in need of housing and getting them into housing quickly.. ...Read Full Story

Police Issue Warning About Fake $100 Bills

Police in St. Joseph continue to warn everyone about some fake currency that’s been duping some local businesses. The department of public safety says the fake $100 bills have shown up in St. Joe, Bridgman, Niles, and South Bend. The department has posted a photo of the suspect passing them on its Facebook page, and we have it at WSJM.com. Bridgman police tell us the fake bills are actually $10 bills done up to look like $100 bills. You can tell if you’ve got a fake by holding the bill into the light and reading what’s written on its security strip. It’s tiny print, but it should say 100 and not 10. Also, the watermark on the bill will show Alexander Hamilton and not Ben Franklin if it’s fake. The large portrait on the bill, however, will show Franklin. Police say it’s up to the clerk handling the money to pay extra attention.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Opposing Municipal Pension Reform Plan

State Representative Kim LaSata has come out against a municipal pension reform plan backed by Governor Rick Snyder. She tells WSJM News the rising costs of health care, pensions, and other benefits for retirees from local governments are unsustainable with estimated unfunded future costs approaching $20 billion across Michigan. However, she says this problem should not be fixed in a way that could threaten the pensions of police and fire personnel.. ...Read Full Story

Griffin Bill Aims To Speed Up Broadband Development In Michigan

A plan from state Representative Beth Griffin to stream line the approval process for broadband expansion programs around the state has been approved by a House committee. The House Communications and Technology Committee on Tuesday advanced the bill. Griffin tells us, currently, county road commissions have jurisdiction over rights-of-way and require permits, inspections, and project reviews due to the close proximity of lines and mains underground. Right-of-way permit requirements vary widely from county to county, creating what Griffin says it an arduous process for telecommunication providers. Her proposal creates state standards for clearing the rights. The Mattawan Republican tells us she hears from constituents all of the time about the need for more broadband in the district.. ...Read Full Story