Local News Archives

MSU To Allow White Nationalist To speak On Campus

From the Associated Press — Michigan State University has agreed to allow white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus during spring break. The deal signed Thursday says Spencer can appear on March 5. But he’ll be at the livestock pavilion auditorium, away from the heart of campus. Spencer ally Cameron Padgett must pay $1,650 and come up with at least $2 million in liability insurance. MSU will arrange for police. The deal settles a lawsuit that was filed after MSU last summer cited public safety and refused to rent space. Padgett said the school was violating free speech rights. Spencer popularized the term “alt-right” to refer to a fringe movement that’s a mix of white nationalist, white supremacist, anti-Semitic and anti-immigration beliefs. Under the deal, MSU is paying $27,400 for Padgett’s legal fees.. ...Read Full Story

Buchanan Thrill On The Hill Canceled

The winter Thrill on the Hill event in Buchanan has been canceled. The annual event features sledding down the big hill downtown on snow produced on site. The Buchanan Chamber of Commerce tells us Thrill on the Hill, which had been set for January 26 and 27, will not take place this year due to uncooperative weather. It goes on to say warm daytime and evening temperatures coupled with the rain in the forecast will make it impossible to make enough snow to provide a real thrill on Front Street. The chamber says it was a difficult decision to cancel the annual event, but have no fear. The summer Thrill on the Hill is still on with plenty of activities planned. The summer Thrill on the Hill is slated for August 2 through the 4th.. ...Read Full Story

MI Unemployment Rate Up Slightly In December

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s unemployment rate rose by one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.7 percent in December while the size of the state’s workforce grew by 12,000 people. Figures released Thursday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management
& Budget show Michigan’s December’s employment rate was six-tenths of a percentage point above the national rate of 4.1 percent but four-tenths of a percentage point below the state’s December 2016 rate of 5.1 percent. The December 2017 jobless rate was the highest recorded in the state since April. December also marked the fifth straight month that Michigan’s jobless rate increased. Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives Director Jason Palmer says Michigan’s jobless rate fell for an eighth straight year while
payroll jobs rose for a seventh consecutive year.. ...Read Full Story

Proposal To Seek More Funding For Van Buren Senior Services

As the number of senior citizens increases, so does the need for the funding of services. The same millage that has been on the ballot for over 20 years in South Haven will be on the ballot again this year, along with another proposal for an increase due to increased demand for services. Jennifer Carver of Van Buren Senior Services spoke with WSJM News about the need for funding.. ...Read Full Story

MI House Mental Health Task Force Releases Report

The Michigan House has received a report from a task force that investigated mental health treatment over the past several months. The task force held meetings all over Michigan speaking with doctors, law enforcement, and advocates about how patients in need could be better served. Sitting on the panel was state Representative Mary Whiteford of Casco Township.. ...Read Full Story

Pedestrian Killed In Berrien Township

A Hartford man is dead after being struck by a car in Berrien Township Thursday morning. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened on Old US-31 just north of Deans Hill Road around 7:20 a.m. Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene to find a passerby performing CPR on an unresponsive man who had been hit by a vehicle. The victim was taken to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph where he was pronounced dead. Police learned a vehicle driven by a 60-year-old Niles man had been northbound on Old US-31 and had just passed Deans Hill Road when the driver noticed something in the road. He tried to swerve, but was unable to avoid hitting 52-year-old Lee Hauweghen of Hartford. Police say Hauweghen was walking across the road when he was hit. The accident remains under investigation,. ...Read Full Story

Detroit Doesn’t Make List Of Possible 2nd Amazon HQ Sites

Detroit isn’t on Amazon’s list of cities under consideration for the online retail giant’s second headquarters. Seattle-based Amazon on Thursday named 20 cities that didn’t include the Motor City, which had submitted a proposal. Amazon plans to invest $5 billion in the new headquarters and could employ as many as 50,000 people in and around the city it chooses. Detroit’s proposal included office space in existing buildings, more space in projects under development and vacant land. Amazon had made clear that tax breaks and grants would be a big factor in its decision about where to locate the project. Mayor Mike Duggan picked Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert to lead the team pursuing Amazon. Duggan says Thursday that Detroit’s proposal “showed a clear vision for the future” of the city.. ...Read Full Story

EPA Designates Benton Harbor Property For Expedited Cleanup

A couple of locations in southwest Michigan have been added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Sites Redevelopment Focus List. The office of Congressman Fred Upton tells us this means the EPA views those sites as having the greatest expected redevelopment and commercial potential. The sites are the Aircraft Components property in Benton Harbor and the Allied Paper-Kalamazoo River site in Kalamazoo. Upton says this is good news for Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo as it means “there is a clear priority to expedite work on these Superfund sites for the betterment of our economy and for commercial development.” The former Aircraft Components site in Benton Harbor was the location of various manufacturing activities from the 1910s to the 1950s. There is chemical contamination there. The site is located near North Shore Drive.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate OKs Tax Cut That Goes Further Than Fix

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Senate has approved a tax cut that goes further than fixing an unintended consequence of the federal tax overhaul. A bill approved unanimously Wednesday and sent to the House would gradually raise Michigan’s personal tax exemption to $5,000, with future inflationary adjustments. That’s $700 more than what it will rise to currently, equating to an annual $30 tax cut per individual. The Senate also plans to vote next week to create a state tax credit for dependent care, such as caring for children or elderly parents. A couple with two dependents would save $490 a year. Governor Rick Snyder has proposed keeping intact and boosting Michigan’s personal tax exemption to offset unintended consequence of the federal tax cuts. But his administration has budgetary concerns with major tax cuts.. ...Read Full Story

Senate Committee Approves Resolution Opposing Sanctuary Cities

Two resolutions urging the U.S. Senate to cut funding to sanctuary cities and to pass Kate’s Law have received approval from the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee. The resolutions from state Senators Tonya Schuitmaker and Patrick Colbeck were introduced back in September. Schuitmaker told WSJM News at the time cities that don’t cooperate with immigration laws aren’t yet a problem in Michigan, but they could be.. ...Read Full Story

Saturday Evening Party Planned At Cass County Park

Set for this Saturday is the return of a popular winter event in Cass County. Parks Director Scott Wyman tells WSJM News they’re holding the 12th annual Discover Winter Nights at Dr. T.K. Lawless Park. Discover Winter Nights is a party held at the park featuring lighted tube sledding, star gazing, cross country skiing, mountain biking, and more.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigating Armed Home Invasion In Benton Township

The Benton Township Police Department is looking for a suspect following an armed home invasion on Wednesday afternoon. It happened in the 1300 block of Whispering Trail around 2:15. When officers arrived at the scene, they checked the home and found no suspect. The home’s resident told them he’d been sitting in the living room when the suspect came out of the basement brandishing a gun and demanding money. The victim said he was held there for “a lengthy period of time.” The victim was robbed of money, a cell phone, a tablet, and a bottle of liquor before the suspect left. Police say footprints found outside indicate the suspect ran off into the ravine, exiting on Peach Street from the woods. Police ask anyone with information on the crime to contact them.. ...Read Full Story

More Than $31,000 Going To Van Buren FIRST Robotics Teams

State grants totaling more than $31,000 are going to seven Van Buren County school districts for their FIRST Robotics teams. State Representative Beth Griffin announced the grants this week. She says they range in size from $2,500 to $6,500, and will go to school districts in South Haven, Bloomingdale, Mattawan, Paw Paw, Decatur, and Lawton. The Van Buren ISD is also getting one. Since 2014, Michigan has invested $12 million in FIRST Robotics teams. The world championships, planned for April, are expected to include nearly 60,000 students in Detroit. Griffin, a Mattawan Republican, says FIRST Robotics “teaches students life-long skills that will prepare them for jobs in the 21st century economy.”. ...Read Full Story

LMC Holds Privilege Walk For MLK Week

Students and others have had a chance to learn and think a little bit about privilege thanks to a program at Lake Michigan College this week. Wednesday brought a privilege walk at the college as part of LMC’s Martin Luther King week activities. Participants got in a line and each took steps forward or back depending on whether different life circumstances applied to them. LMC Diversity Consultant Danny Sledge told WSJM News it was all to illustrate a point.. ...Read Full Story

Police Arrest Two Following Chase In Van Buren County

Two suspects are facing charges following a chase in Van Buren and Kalamazoo counties on Tuesday morning. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us deputies tried to stop a vehicle for an obstructed license plate around 3 a.m. in Bloomingdale. The vehicle took off and a chase that took deputies into Kalamazoo County ensued. It was there that police used stop sticks to blow out the front tires of the car that was being chased. It kept going, but eventually, sheriff’s deputies were able to force the car to stop and break a window to reach the driver. They had to use a taser to get him to comply. Police learned the vehicle was stolen and the driver and its passenger had warrants out. 38-year-old Shawn Michael Newnum is now facing a variety of charges including fleeing and eluding. His bond has been set at $150,000. His passenger, 34-year-old Kristine Marie Jung, was found to have some meth on her. She’s charged with possession of meth, and her bond is set at $15,000.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Overrides Snyder Veto Of Tax Cut

From the Associated Press — For the first time in Governor Rick Snyder’s tenure, the Michigan Legislature has voted to override one of his vetoes. The Republican-led legislature voted Wednesday to support a tax cut for people who trade in their car for a new one. It is just the fourth veto override in Michigan in the last 67 years. In July, the Republican governor turned down legislation to accelerate the
sales tax break. He cited “additional financial strain” for the state and said the bills conflicted with a previous compromise to phase in tax relief for buyers of cars and RVs. But Republican and Democratic lawmakers say the tax cut would put money in people’s pockets and boost the auto industry. The Senate voted unanimously to override Snyder. The House voted 85-23 — more than the two-thirds needed.. ...Read Full Story

BH Commissioners Talk Home Rehab Program

Benton Harbor City Commissioners are looking at getting the city’s housing rehabilitation program up and running again, although they want it done right. At Tuesday’s meeting, they heard about a proposal to bring in the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency to administer a program run with federal dollars for home rehab. It’s been non-functional locally since 2011, said Community and Economic Development Director Stephanie Scott-Sims.. ...Read Full Story

Former Sports Doctor Sentencing Expected To Take Days

From the Associated Press — A gymnast has told a Michigan judge of her confusion and embarrassment at age 9 when a now-disgraced former sports doctor sexually abused her during a medical examination. Seventeen-year-old Jessica Thomashow said Tuesday that her coaches arranged for her to see Larry Nassar for a rib injury when she was 9. But “everything changed” in a back room, and “he touched the most innocent places on my body.” She described being confused and embarrassed, and said abuse occurred again when she was 12. She was among the first victims to speak at a four-day sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar. Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting females with his hands at his Michigan State University office, his home and a Lansing-area gymnastics club. He also worked for Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.. ...Read Full Story

New MSP Trooper Recruit School Underway

The 134th Michigan State Police Trooper Recruit School is now underway in Lansing. MSP Sergeant Michael McDonald tells WSJM News there are 149 prospective troopers now training Sunday through Friday each week from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. They do both physical training and classroom training. McDonald tells us new recruits come from all walks of life.. ...Read Full Story

2017 A Record Year For MI Lotto

The 2017 fiscal year was a record year for the Michigan Lottery. Spokesperson Jeff Holyfield tells WSJM News the lotto raised nearly $1 billion for the state’s schools. They reached $924 million, and they’ve got their eyes set on that $1 billion goal for 2018.. ...Read Full Story

New Four Winds Casino Opens In South Bend

The opening the Pokagon Band of Pottawatomi’s new casino in South Bend is being celebrated with local officials this week. Leaders of the Pokagon Band joined with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and others for a ceremony for Tuesday’s opening day of the Four Winds South Bend casino, which is now open to the public. It’s the first tribal casino in Indiana and joins three that the Pokagon Band owns in New Buffalo, Hartford, and Dowagiac. The tribe says the casino has 1,800 electronic gambling machines, four restaurants and three bars, and employs about 1,200 people. It’s on South Bend’s southwest side, near the U.S. 31-20 bypass. The new tribal casino won’t pay state taxes, giving it a business advantage over Indiana’s 13 existing casinos.. ...Read Full Story