Local News Archives

UPDATE: WB I-94 Reopens

Westbound I-94 is back open in Van Buren County between Decatur and Paw Paw. The highway had been shut down for a few hours Sunday afternoon due to a massive pileup involving as many as 50 vehicles. MDOT tells WSJM News the road reopened around 3:30 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

Massive Pileup Closes WB I-94 In Van Buren County

Westbound I-94 is closed in Van Buren County between exit 56 (Decatur/Dowagiac) and exit 60 (Paw Paw). Police have shut down the highway due to a massive pileup involving as many as 50 vehicles this afternoon. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department has activated its emergency operations center, and buses are being used by the Red Cross to help get stranded drivers out of the area. There are injuries reported, but there have not been any deaths as yet from the crash. Police are advising people who need to head west through that area to go Red Arrow Highway.. ...Read Full Story

Schuitmaker: Much Accomplished In 2017

2017 was a busy year for Michigan lawmakers, and each is now reflecting on what they feel were the biggest accomplishments. State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton tells WSJM News she is disappointed the Michigan House didn’t get auto insurance reform approved. Still, she’s hoping for something on that front in 2018, perhaps in the Senate. ...Read Full Story

No Missed Votes For SWM Lawmakers This Year

All of the state lawmakers who represent southwest Michigan get a gold star for perfect attendance in 2017. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has released its latest tally of missed votes for Michigan lawmakers, and the seven lawmakers who represent either Berrien, Cass, or Van Buren counties all missed zero votes this year. The Mackinac Center’s Jack McHugh tells WSJM News the group started watching lawmaker attendance in 2003.. ...Read Full Story

Disappointing News For Some Taxpayers

Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski is sending out a message to all property owners. He says you can’t pay next year’s property taxes right now in order to get a deduction that’s about to go away. Witkowski tells WSJM News his office and others have been hearing from folks trying to pay their taxes early. It has to do with a new cap of $10,000 on property tax deductions soon to take effect.. ...Read Full Story

AAA Offers Winter Vehicle Tips

AAA of Michigan has seen a 157% increase in calls for roadside assistance this past week with single digit or near-single digit temperatures around the state. Spokesperson Susan Hiltz tells WSJM News your car needs extra care when it’s this cold.. ...Read Full Story

Health Experts Advise Caution In Cold Temps

With this week’s dangerously cold weather, health experts are reminding everyone how avoid needing to make a trip to the emergency room. Lakeland Emergency Department Nurse Manager Kathy Effa tells WSJM News they do see a spike in visits when it’s this cold. One major cause is frostbite. Bundle up to avoid it.. ...Read Full Story

State Taking Donations For Foster Children Scholarship Fund

If you’re felling generous now that the holidays are over, the Michigan Department of Treasury is recommending you consider the gift of a college education for a young person just coming out of the foster system. Michigan Education Trust Executive Director Robin Lott tells WSJM News the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund provides scholarships for in-state colleges and universities to foster kids who are aging out. It’s been helping foster youths since 2012.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County 4H Announces Awards

The Berrien County 4H program has held its annual Member and Leader Recognition Program, honoring individuals who have worked with the 4H recently and for the long-term. At the banquet last month, Janice Gruss of Benton Harbor and Robert Lausch of St. Joseph were named the 2017 Berrien County Outstanding 4-H Leaders. 4H tells us Gruss has been a leader in the Countrysiders 4H Club for 18 years, educating young people in projects that include the arts and crafts, clowning, leathercraft, and cake decorating. Lausch has been a 4H leader for more 20 years working with youth in woodworking.. ...Read Full Story

Police Offer Safety Tips For Going On Ice

Police are reminding southwest Michigan residents how to be safe on ice this winter. Van Buren County Sheriff Dan Abbott tells WSJM News ice has to be five inches thick to hold the weight of a person and eight inches thick for a snowmobile or ATV. He also notes you can now buy low-profile flotation vests you can wear under or over your coat when out on the ice.. ...Read Full Story

Calley Talks Gubernatorial Race

Next year, Michigan’s gubernatorial election will have the nation watching. That’s according to Republican candidate and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley. Michigan News Network asked him this week if he would welcome an endorsement from President Donald Trump.. ...Read Full Story

Curious Kids Discovery Zone To Close For Renovations

The Curious Kids Museum in St. Joseph will be closing down its Discovery Zone this month for some renovations. The museum tells us the Discovery Zone located in the Silver Beach Center on Broad Street will be closed to refinish the floors from January 8 through January 21. During that time, all Discovery Zone memberships will be honored at Curious Kids Museum. Additionally, the Silver Beach Carousel will be closed during the same period for carousel maintenance. Anyone with questions can call the Curious Kids Museum at 983-2543.. ...Read Full Story

New Child Care Standards Approved For Michigan

Child care workers will need to pass criminal background checks and day care facilities will see increased inspections under legislation signed by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley this week. State Senator John Proos tells WSJM News the new laws qualify Michigan to continue receiving $4 million in federal funding.. ...Read Full Story

Fresh Snow Leads To Crashes Around West Michigan

From the Associated Press — Authorities say perhaps 20 vehicles were involved in a pileup that closed a section of a southwestern Michigan highway as fresh snowfall snarled travel in much of the state. The Friday afternoon pileup on U.S. 31 near Muskegon included several sliding into each other and others going off the roadway. Information about the extent of any injuries wasn’t immediately available.
Semitrailer crashes on Friday temporarily closed U.S. 131 in both directions between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings issued for areas in the Upper Peninsula, where up to 15 inches of lake effect snow is possible. The weather service says Muskegon had more than 9 inches of fresh snow on Friday. Up to 6 inches of more snow was forecast for southwestern Michigan. There have also been several crashes on I-94 around berrien and Van Buren counties.. ...Read Full Story

Fewer MI Police Officers Killed In Line Of Duty This Year

The number of police officers killed in the line of duty took a drastic dip across the nation this year, and also right here in Michigan. National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Craig Floyd told Michigan News Network four officers were killed on the job here in Michigan in 2017. That’s nearly half the seven who died last year. Nationwide, 128 officers were killed in the line of duty, down 10% over last year and lowest number since 2013.. ...Read Full Story

Contractor Fined For Fatal Collapse Of West Michigan Arena

From the Associated Press — A demolition company is facing a $101,000 state fine for safety violations found after a worker was killed at a western Michigan arena. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration found five violations by Grand Rapids-based X-Treme Demolition Inc. related to the August 1 collapse at the Holland Civic Center which killed 38-year-old Ruben Gomez-Vazques of Grand Rapids and injured another worker. The Holland Sentinel and Mlive.com reported Thursday the contractor was cited Nov. 28 for violations including improper fall protection and not having the floor supported. Authorities say the workers were using a sledgehammer and jackhammer to remove concrete stairs when the floor collapsed from underneath them. Gomez-Vazques was trapped under concrete debris and died at the scene.Officials from X-Treme Demolition didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.. ...Read Full Story

Perfect Attendance For SWM Lawmakers In 2017

All of the state lawmakers who represent southwest Michigan get a gold star for perfect attendance in 2017. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has released its latest tally of missed votes for Michigan lawmakers, and the seven lawmakers who represent either Berrien, Cass, or Van Buren counties all missed zero votes this year. The Mackinac Center’s Jack McHugh tells WSJM News the group started watching lawmaker attendance in 2003.. ...Read Full Story