Local News Archives

State Working To Determine Elk Population

How many elk are in Michigan? That’s what the Michigan DNR is attempting to find out with an elk count over the next week in northeast northern Michigan. 2018 is also the 100th anniversary of elk in the state. The DNR’s Katie Keen spoke with Michigan News Network about the history of Michigan’s elk population.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Pleased With Revenue Estimate

State Representative Kim LaSata is pleased with this year’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference, which is the first economic forecast of the year for the Michigan legislature. She tells us steady, sustainable economic growth will continue based on information presented to the House and Senate Appropriations committees during the recent conference. The report was compiled by the House and Senate Fiscal agencies and the state budget director. It predicts Michigan’s recovery from the recession earlier this decade will continue. LaSata says a “conservative approach to budgeting and diligence in cutting unnecessary spending has resulted in a vigorous economy that is creating jobs and improving the quality of life for Michigan families.” She adds the information presented to the conference will help state lawmakers prepare the next budget.. ...Read Full Story

School Boards Being Recognized Throughout January

January is School Board Recognition Month, and Berrien RESA Superintendent Kevin Ivers is calling on everyone to salute their school board. Ivers tells WSJM News school board members put in countless hours of work attending meetings and training just so they can help ensure the children of their community receive a quality education.. ...Read Full Story

Pagel Announces Grant For Chikaming Township Park

State Representative Dave Pagel is applauding a Michigan Department of Natural Resources grant that’s been announced for Chikaming Township. He tells us Harbert Park will get some work thanks to the $56,000 Recreation Passport from the DNR. The money will be used in the development of a parking lot expansion, the creation of concrete walkways, and to build a fishing and viewing platform. State Rep Pagel tells us the project “is an example of how good projects can be accomplished when we work together.”. ...Read Full Story

Upton Expects CHIP Funding Soon

Congressman Fred Upton is expecting quick approval of a plan to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program — or, CHIP — for five more years. Congress went home for the holidays without extending the life of the program that provides healthcare to about nine million children. Now that it’s back, Upton tells WSJM News action will be very soon.. ...Read Full Story

Swift And Sure Probation Graduation Next Week

The Van Buren County Trial Court is set to graduate eight enrollees from the Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program this Thursday. Van Buren County Specialty Courts Administrator Rachel Lindley tells WSJM News Swift and Sure is a way to help an offender avoid jail time while turning their life around through intense probation. She notes going through the program can be tough.. ...Read Full Story

Pscholka Stepping Down From Budget Director Post

State Budget Director Al Pscholka is resigning next month and will be replaced by Governor Rick Snyder’s strategy director. The Republican governor announced the change Friday, effective February 28. Pscholka, a former state representative from Berrien County who became budget director a year ago, says he wants to pursue unspecified opportunities in southwest Michigan and to spend more time with his family. He will stay on to help finalize and release the next proposed budget in February. Governor Snyder calls Pscholka an “outstanding addition to our team.”. ...Read Full Story

MI Lawmakers To Get More Anti-Sexual Harassment Training

From the ASsociated Press — The Michigan Legislature is mandating more frequent sexual harassment training amid the national reckoning with sexual misconduct. Until now, lawmakers were required to receive anti-harassment training after they were first elected to the House or Senate. Starting next week in the Senate and in February in the House, all legislators and staff will be required to attend training once a year. The Legislature so far has not seen lawmakers publicly accused by name of sexual misconduct like in other statehouses across the country. But some prominent political figures, including gubernatorial candidate and former legislative leader Gretchen Whitmer, have detailed inappropriate behavior they attribute in part to a “locker room” culture in the male-dominated Capitol.
They say women are reluctant to come forward.. ...Read Full Story

AG Recommends 40 To 125 Years For Former Sports Doctor

From the Associated Press — The Michigan attorney general’s office has asked a judge to sentence a disgraced Michigan sports doctor to 40 to 125 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting seven girls. The office filed its sentencing memorandum Wednesday for 54-year-old Larry Nassar ahead of a sentencing hearing beginning next week in Ingham County. He faces a minimum sentence of 25 years.
The Lansing State Journal reports that Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis wrote in the filing that Nassar for decades preyed upon unknowing victims at every turn and at every opportunity,” including at USA Gymnastics training facilities. A message seeking comment was left for one of Nassar’s attorneys. A federal judge in December sentenced Nassar to 60 years in prison for three child pornography convictions. Nassar is appealing that sentence.. ...Read Full Story

MI House Approves Bill To Name Road For Fallen Trooper

The Michigan House has approved legislation from state Representative Kim LaSata to re-name part of Red Arrow Highway in Berrien County after a fallen state police trooper. She tells us under her bill, Red Arrow between Glenlord and Hilltop roads will be called the Trooper Robert J. Mihalik Memorial Highway. Mihalik was shot and killed on September 9, 1984 while arresting a suspect for failing to pay for gas at a Shoreham area station.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Comments On Congressional Retirements

There is a wave this year of members of the U.S. House and Senate deciding they will not seek re-election. Congressman Fred Upton had weighed running for the Senate instead of the House, but recently decided to go after a 15th two-year term instead. He tells us he’s not too shocked by the number of colleagues deciding they’re done.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan DNR Doing Elk Count

How many elk are in Michigan? That’s what the Michigan DNR is attempting to find out with an elk count over the next week in northeast northern Michigan. 2018 is also the 100th anniversary of elk in the state. The DNR’s Katie Keen spoke with Michigan News Network about the history of Michigan’s elk population.. ...Read Full Story

Report Calls For Improvements To MI Unemployment System

The Michigan League for Public Policy is calling for several changes to the state’s unemployment insurance system. League Policy Analyst Peter Ruark tells WSJM News the maximum benefit hasn’t been raised since 2002, low-income workers don’t even qualify for help, and the legislature in 2011 reduced the amount of time someone could receive benefits.. ...Read Full Story

Anti-Prevailing Wage Group May Be Short On Signatures Again

From the Associated Press — A group pushing to repeal Michigan’s law that requires higher “prevailing” wages on state-financed construction projects may be short signatures – again. The state elections bureau said Tuesday that of 535 signatures sampled, 370
are valid. That’s shy of the 373 required by a statistical model. Officials will next pull a larger sample of 4,000 signatures to review.
A ballot committee backed by the nonunion Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan says it turned in more than 380,000 signatures for the veto-proof legislation. About 252,000 signatures must be valid. The group’s previous repeal push in 2015 faltered due to invalid signatures gathered by paid circulators. The group’s leader, Jeff Wiggins, says the initial sample shows there are 10,000 more signatures than needed and he’s confident the number will grow.. ...Read Full Story

Indiana Men Busted For Breaking-And-Entering

Two Indiana men are in the Cass County Jail awaiting breaking and entering charges. The sheriff’s department tells WSJM News they were called out to help Silver Creek Township police for a possible burglary in progress in the 31-thousand block of Magician Lake Terrace. Police had noticed a suspicious vehicle and a house that had been broken into around 2:30 this morning, and the sheriff’s department called for K9 officer Faust to track the two. They were hiding in the nearby woods. One man is 26 and from Michigan City, while the other is 29 and from Elkhart. Their names are being withheld until they’re arraigned.. ...Read Full Story

Man Rescued From St. Joseph River

A man is hospitalized after falling on the ice under the Bi-Centennial Bridge on Main Street overnight between St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. The U.S. Coast Guard had to go into the water in cold water ice rescue suits to help rescue the man. The St. Joseph Firefighters Local 1670 says on Facebook the incident happened overnight, but no details have been released as to how the man got onto the ice on the St. Joseph River to begin with. The Coast Guard used a stokes basket to bring the man to shore, and Medic 1 rushed him to the hospital. There’s no word on his condition.. ...Read Full Story

Small Waterway Cleanup Grants Available To MI Communities

From the Associated Press — Officials plan to divide $25,000 into small grants to support local river, stream and creek cleanups in Michigan. The state Department of Environmental Quality and Great Lakes Commission are offering the grants to local governments, which can partner with nonprofit groups or other volunteers to do the work. Local recipients must match at least 25 percent of the funding.
Michigan’s Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup Program is supported by fees from the sale of specialty water quality protection license plates. The deadline to apply for the grants is Feb. 20. The grant application package is available online. Decisions are expected in early May.. ...Read Full Story

Heart Of Cook Grant Applications Now Available

Applications for the Heart of Cook grants are now available. The Berrien Community Foundation tells us Heart of Cook is a program funded by Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook nuclear plant to help non-profit programs in southwest Michigan and northwest Indiana. Educational projects, human services programs that support families, and environmental protection and preservation projects are the focus areas for Heart of Cook. The grant review committee, comprised of Cook plant employees, gives special consideration to projects that involve I&M staff. The program is administered by the Berrien Community Foundation, and applications are available at its website. The deadline to apply is February 9. Last year, the Heart of Cook program gave out more than $52,000 to 36 non-profits. You can find the webpage to apply right here.. ...Read Full Story