Local News Archives

Non-Profit Seeks Permission To Open South Bend Abortion Clinic

From the Associated Press — An Austin, Texas-based nonprofit has applied for a state license to open a non-surgical abortion clinic in South Bend. The South Bend Tribune reported Friday that the clinic operated by the Whole Woman’s Health Alliance would offer abortion medication that women would take in the presence of a physician, then take medication at home one or two days later and return to the clinic to confirm their pregnancy had been terminated. Indiana State Health Department spokeswoman Jeni O’Malley said the clinic’s
application is being reviewed. Currently, the nearest abortion providers to South Bend are in Merrillville and Kalamazoo, Michigan. A South Bend abortion clinic closed in late 2015. St. Joseph County Right to Life and Indiana Right to Life are encouraging supporters to voice their opposition to the proposed clinic.. ...Read Full Story

SJ City Commission Hears About Summer Safety Results

St. Joseph Public Safety Director Brian Uridge is pleased with how his department’s summer safety strategy worked. Now, he wants to improve it for next year. At this week’s city commission meeting, Uridge said the plan for this past summer was mostly met with positive reviews. His department implemented it after a series of meetings ahead of the summer. Uridge told WSJM News folks liked the more than 50 new parking spaces at Lions Beach Park created by making the upper drive one-way.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Receiving Several Grants For Specialty Courts

Van Buren County has received word that it’s getting several large grants for its specialty courts. First of all, it’s been awarded $715,000 for the Drug Treatment Court, the Family Treatment Court, the Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program, the Adult and Youth Recovery Courts, and the Sobriety Court. The money comes in grants from the State Court Administrative Office for 2018. Additionally, the county has been awarded a 5 year, $1.9 million grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to enhance its Family Treatment Court. Plus, Van Buren County has received word it’s getting a grant of just under $400,000 for its Drug Treatment Court from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Van Buren County has several specialty courts. They’re designed to help some offenders avoid prison while addressing the root cause of their crimes. News of the grants came this past week.. ...Read Full Story

Report Gun Ownership In Detroit Lower Than In Rural Areas

From the Associated Press — Michigan State Police statistics show that the area surrounding metropolitan Detroit has some of the lowest per capita legal handgun ownership in the state. Police statistics from Oct. 2 show that rates for approved concealed pistol licenses were 68 firearms per every 1,000 residents in Macomb, 62 in Wayne and 61 in Oakland County. The area is often maligned for its level of violence.
A Detroit Free Press analysis found those rates were nearly half the rate of legal gun ownership of more rural parts of Michigan, such as Alcona, Keweenaw and Montmorency counties. Those counties tallied approved licenses rates of 122, 119 and 114 per 1,000 residents, respectively. Lawmakers recently debated the issue of gun ownership while considering legislation that would allow lawful gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit or training.. ...Read Full Story

EPA Signs Off On $46 Million Plan To Clean Kalamazoo River

From the Associated Press — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has signed off on a five-year, $46 million plan to clean up a stretch of the Kalamazoo River that’s contaminated from past paper production. The project will cover nearly 2 miles of the river between Plainwell and Otsego City Dam. The Otsego dam will be removed as part of the work. The plans are part of ongoing efforts to clean up the 80-mile Allied Paper/Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site, which has been listed on the agency’s National Priorities List since 1990. Plans also are in the works to redevelop the Allied Paper site. A main concern for the EPA is PCBs leftover from industrial processes at paper mills that began operating along the river in the 1950s.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Mayor Talks Income Tax

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad says something must be done to deal with the city’s crumbling streets, and his suggestion is voters approve a new city income tax. A tax of 1% for residents and 0.5% for non-residents who work in the city will appear on next month’s ballot. Muhammad tells WSJM News the city comes nowhere close to generating enough revenue to fix streets, alleys, and sidewalks as things stand now.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Leaders Fighting Short-Term Rental Bills

St. Joseph City Commissioners are hoping residents make their voices heard to state lawmakers when it comes to new zoning legislation. A plan in the state House and Senate would strip a community’s ability to restrict short-term rentals. St. Joe Commissioners Monday night warned such a plan, if passed, would mean out of control summer vacation homes in town, something they’ve worked to avoid for years. City Commissioner Jeff Richards said neighborhoods sit empty for half the year when that happens, and schools suffer.. ...Read Full Story

Kinexus Calls For End To Driver Responsibility Fees

Kinexus is now among the groups on record hoping to see an end to Michigan’s Driver Responsibility fees. Testifying in the state House this week about a bill that would do away with them was Kinexus Senior Director of Innovation Duane Berger. He tells WSJM News Kinexus has seen many southwest Michigan workers get hit with the fees, be unable to pay them, and then lose their license.. ...Read Full Story

WSJM Sports Anchor To Be Honored Today

WSJM’s own sports anchor Phil McDonald is receiving a special honor. He’s been picked to be inducted into the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan’s Hall of Honor for his nearly 30 years of local sports broadcasting. Phil tells WSJM News it’s wonderful to be recognized and to work at an organization committed to sports.. ...Read Full Story

SJ City Commission Vacancy To Be Filled After Elections

A vacancy on the St. Joseph City Commission will remain just that until after the elections next month. City commissioners this week said a post left empty with the resignation of former member Chris Heugel should be filled by the new commission which will be seated after the election. Although that leaves more than a month with a vacancy, the sitting commission said the folks who wind up serving on the board next month should get to pick Heugel’s replacement. Applications will be taken at that time. Heugel resigned last month because he moved to the township. His term runs through 2019. The city commission election is November 7.. ...Read Full Story

Mi Combat Center Tests Positive For Contamination

From the Associated Press — A combat center in northern Michigan has become the third military installation in the state to test positive for contaminated groundwater. Captain Brian Blumline says preliminary results came in this week for tests conducted at five locations at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center earlier this year. He says all the sites showed elevated levels of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctyl sulfonate.The contaminants are from fire-fighting foam that used to be involved in training at the base. Blumline urges the public to attend an informational meeting at the base next week. He says state environmental and health agencies will provide updates on
what steps will be taken moving forward. Contamination has been found at Camp Grayling and the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Hopes To Empty Its Shelter Tomorrow

This Saturday will bring another Bissell Pet Foundation Empty the Shelter event. That’s when the Grand Rapids-based Bissell will pay the adoption fees for animals at shelters all over the state. Taking part is the Cass County Animal Shelter in Cassopolis. Director Ron Butts tells WSJM News they’ve got lots of critters who need homes.. ...Read Full Story

State Releases List Of HeartSafe Schools

The state of Michigan this week recognized 125 schools for achieving HeartSafe status. Under a program of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, schools in Michigan can be certified for having taken the right steps to be prepared for cardiac arrest on their grounds. In order to get HeartSafe status, the schools must have an AED on site and have trained their staff in its use. Included on the list of Heartsafe Schools are every major school in Van Buren County, thanks to an effort by the Van Buren ISD. They’ve been on the list since 2014. As for Berrien County, only the Benton Harbor Charter School Academy and the Blossomland Learning Center are on the list. You can find the list of all the state’s HeartSafe schools right here.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Cracking Down On Unsafe Commercial Drivers

Michigan State Police are making an extra effort to bust unsafe commercial drivers in the coming week. “Operation Safe Driver Week” is sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and is a national partnership between government and professional groups. State police are putting an extra effort into making sure commercial truck drivers are safe. The goal is to decrease the number of deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses and passenger vehicles due to unsafe behaviors like speeding and distracted and aggressive driving. The extra patrols start this Sunday and run for one week. State police tell us the goal is to reach zero traffic crash deaths. You can find out more at TowardZeroDeaths.org.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Hoping For DACA Replacement Soon

Congressman Fred Upton is still holding out hope legislation to replace the DACA program can be approved within the time frame established by President Donald Trump. He told Michigan’s Big Show he was in Kalamazoo this week to hear from young people personally affected by Trump’s decision to end DACA.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Rename Part Of Red Arrow Highway For Fallen Trooper

State Representative Kim LaSata has introduced legislation to rename part of Red Arrow Highway in Berrien County after a fallen police officer. Her office tells WSJM News Michigan State Police Trooper Robert J. Mihalik was killed in the line of duty on September 9, 1984. He’d been arresting a suspect for failing to pay for gas at a Shoreham area station when he was shot. Representative LaSata’s bill would rename Red Arrow between Glenlord and Hilltop roads the Trooper Robert J. Mihalik Memorial Highway. It’s been introduced to the Michigan House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Mihalik was the 38th Michigan State Police trooper to be killed in the line of duty.. ...Read Full Story

Grand Junction Man Convicted Of 14 Charges

A Grand Junction man who hates the government, allegedly wrote threatening letters to local judges, and confronted a Michigan State Police trooper with a shotgun when the detective came to ask about the letters has now been found guilty on 14 felony counts for a 15-hour long armed standoff with police. Hundreds of rounds were exchanged during the stand-off between police and Jason Kohlhoff, but no one was hit. Kohlhoff took the stand to testify why he felt justified in having a gunfight with police. He could get up to life in prison when he is sentenced for attempted murder.. ...Read Full Story

West Michigan Breweries Raise $45,000 To Fight Hunger

An effort made this September by breweries across the region to raise money for Feeding America West Michigan has resulted in $45,000 going to fight hunger. Feeding America West Michigan’s Sean Little tells WSJM News Hops Against Hunger involved dozens of brewers who held fundraisers, sometimes for one day and sometimes for several. He notes hunger is a major problem here in west Michigan.. ...Read Full Story