Local News Archives

St. Joseph City Commission To Talk Vacancy Tonight

The nine applicants for the open slot on the St. Joseph City Commission will be narrowed down tonight. The commission has a special meeting planned for 6 p.m. at City Hall to go through the applications and resumes for the seat vacated by the resignation of Chris Heugel. Two former commissioners, Fran Chickering and Mary Goff, declined to be appointed to the open seat after they lost their reelection bids in November. Former deputy public safety director Al DiBrito contended last week that he should get the nod having finished behind Chickering and Goff in the election, but the commission decided to take applications. DiBrito is among the nine who has applied. The commission will decide tonight who to interview, and plans are to have a new commissioner appointed for next Monday’s regular meeting.. ...Read Full Story

OutCenter Starting Groups For Moms

A new focus at the OutCenter in Benton Harbor — moms. OutCenter Director Mary Jo Schnell tells WSJM News the last presidential election brought a lot of mothers through the OutCenter’s doors, concerned about trends they were seeing with how people are treating each other. They worry about their LGBTQ kids. Now, they’ve set up two initiatives. First, there’s Moms are IN at the OutCenter.. ...Read Full Story

RESA Program Gets National Recognition

A Berrien RESA program aimed at helping the parents of small children better guide the development of their young ones has received national recognition. The Parents as Teachers program engages the parents of kids ages 3 and under to get personally involved in the educational development of their children, says RESA’s Kerenda Applebey. She spoke with WSJM News about the program.. ...Read Full Story

MI Experiencing Slight Christmas Tree Shortage

A Christmas tree shortage may be felt slightly in Michigan this year. About ten years ago, there was a surplus of trees but fewer people were buying them because of the depressed economy. So, growers planted fewer trees, and because it takes ten years for a tree to fully grow, the fallout wasn’t felt until this year. That’s according to Amy Start, executive director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association.. ...Read Full Story

Net Neutrality Repeal Expected This Month

Using the internet could soon be a different experience. With the FCC all but certain to eliminate protections requiring internet users to be granted equal access to all content, Lake Michigan College computer information systems instructor Jay Keeler tells WSJM News one scenario is that you’ll signing up for internet the way you sign up for TV.. ...Read Full Story

Police Remind Holiday Shoppers To Be Cautious

Holiday shopping time is now, and police say you need to keep your guard up to avoid thieves. Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Kelly Laesch tells WSJM News you should have a plan if you get separated with your buddy, park in well-lit areas, and don’t leave packages sitting out in the open in your car.. ...Read Full Story

Secretary Of State Reaching Out To Older Drivers

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office is asking everyone to make sure the older drivers in their lives have all of the resources they need to stay safe on the road. Next week is Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, and Secretary of State spokesperson Fred Woodhams tells WSJM News those older drivers need to consider a few things.. ...Read Full Story

Workshops Planned To Discuss New BH Income Tax

Coming up this month will be a couple of workshops organized by Cornerstone Alliance to get business owners up to speed on how to handle Benton Harbor’s new city income tax. The tax approved by voters in November will be 1% for workers and businesses based in the city. Cornerstone’s Rob Cleveland tells us he wants to make sure affected businesses know what to do.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Program Sending Holiday Letters To Military Overseas

Serving the country overseas is especially difficult this time of year. That’s why the Sons of the American Legion, Squadron 49 in South Haven wants to help. They’ve started what they’re calling the Letters from Candyland campaign. All that is asked of you is to write a letter or send a donation. Steve Hamilton of the American Legion spoke with WSJM News about the program.. ...Read Full Story

Silverdome Implosion Set For Tomorrow

A send-off for the Silverdome is planned for this weekend. Come Sunday morning, demo crews will implode what’s left of the old stadium that was the site for many a Lions game, along with other iconic events including the Super Bowl, countless concerts, WrestleMania, and a mass by Pope John Paul in 1987. Pontiac Mayor Diedre Waterman told Michigan News Network  the demo has been the talk of her town this past week.. ...Read Full Story

Big Brothers, Big Sisters Honors Volunteers

Some volunteers for Big Brothers, Big Sisters Berrien and Cass have been saluted by the organization with Outstanding Service Awards. At the group’s annual gala this month, Big Brothers, Big Sisters Berrien and Cass Director Jenny Miner tells WSJM News they named Dr. Anjana Gupta and Daniel Gearhart as the Bigs of the Year at an event November 18. Each has gone the extra mile to help a young person improve their life. Miner tells us you don’t have a to be a hero to be a big.. ...Read Full Story

Six Berrien Communities Sign On To State Development Program

Cornerstone Alliance is hoping six Berrien County communities that recently signed on to a state development program will now be more attractive to business as a result. Cornerstone’s Stacey Stephens tells WSJM News the MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities Initiative lays out some best practices for communities to follow when preparing for development. Now joined on to get certified are Benton Harbor, Niles, St. Joseph, Watervliet, Baroda, and Stevensville. The idea is to create some uniformity so businesses are more comfortable with expanding into the participating communities.. ...Read Full Story

Bears In The Air Takes Off

South Bend International Airport is now collecting Teddy bears for its annual Bears in the Air campaign. The campaign started Friday, and on Tuesday, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was among the local officials to stop by to contribute. He told WSJM News holding such a drive at an airport sends a message to visitors.. ...Read Full Story

State Police To Focus On Commercial Trucks Next Week

Michigan State Police are once again putting an extra emphasis on commercial vehicles with a new enhanced enforcement period don I-94. MSP tells us, starting Monday, motor carrier officers will join officers from the Indiana State Police, Illinois State Police, and Ohio State Highway Patrol in a coordinated enforcement operation dubbed “Eyes on 94.” They aim to reduce commercial vehicle crashes on the highway. Motor carrier officers will focus on violations by commercial vehicles that are most likely to contribute to a crash, which include speeding, following too close, improper passing, distracted driving, and improper lane use. If you’re a semi-truck driver, remember to be on your best behavior because Michigan State Police will have their eye on you through December 8.. ...Read Full Story

Kids Count Report Examines Children Well-Being In Michigan

The Michigan League for Public Policy has released some new Kids Count data. Kids Count is a report done each year by the Annie E. Casey Foundation on how children are doing economically around the country. The league for public policy uses it to draft Michigan recommendations. Kids Count in Michigan Project Director at the Michigan League for Public Policy Alicia Guevara Warren tells us this year’s report had some striking statistics.. ...Read Full Story

New Michigan State Police Troopers Coming To SWM

There are some new Michigan State Police troopers coming to southwest Michigan. State Police graduated their 133rd Trooper Recruit School this week, announcing the locations to which all 127 graduates will be sent. Paw Paw-based Michigan State Police Lieutenant Dale Hinz tells WSJM News the Niles post is getting five new troopers, and the Paw Paw post is getting 8 more. He says adding eight new members to the staff will require some adjustments.. ...Read Full Story

Huge Piece Of Palisades Equipment Passes Through SWM

If you happened to notice a convoy of police, electric crews, and a huge flatbed truck moving through your town this week, it was likely some equipment headed to the Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert Township. The plant recently ordered a spare transformer. It’s 500 tons and it arrived from Spain at the Lafarge Dock in St. Joe on Tuesday. The equipment left St Joe late Wednesday night, and it continued its journey Thursday night after being parked at Roadside Park in Hager Township for about a day. The equipment can only be moved at about 5 miles per hour. Palisades tells us acquiring the transformer is another example of its continued investment into the plant despite plans to close it in 2022.. ...Read Full Story

Scream Park Announces Yearly Charitable Donations

The Niles Scream Park has ended another season by giving out more than $110,000 to non-profits all over the region. The attraction itself is a non-profit, and the more then 400 volunteers who worked there this Halloween season have made their picks for which charities it will support. Park Secretary Kellie Welch spoke with WSJM News.. ...Read Full Story

Police Identify Watervliet Woman Killed In Friday Crash

A Watervliet woman is dead following a crash with a semi in Hartford Township Friday morning. Michigan State Police tells us it happened around 7:30 a.m. on County Road 687 at 66th Avenue. 68-year-old Deborah Baier of Watervliet was eastbound on 66th Avenue when she ran the stop sign at County Road 687, hitting a semi that was southbound on that road. Baier was pronounced dead at the scene. Her two minor children, who were passengers in the van, were transported to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo where they were treated for minor injuries. The driver of the semi was not hurt. The crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Light Up The Bluff Tonight In Downtown st. Joseph

Tonight is the night. They’ll light up the bluff starting at 6 p.m. You’ll hear the St. Joseph High School Choir -sing for about a half hour, and then the city says one million lights will be flicked on for the winter. The downtown event has been a tradition for 11 years now. After the lighting of the bluff, St. Joe Today’s Amy Zapal tells us they’ll have live mannequins downtown.. ...Read Full Story

General Motors Planning To Launch self-Driving Cars In 2019

From the Associated Press — General Motors expects to have autonomous vehicles working commercially in big cities sometime in 2019.
The company made the prediction Thursday in slides posted on its website ahead of an investor presentation. The company says that based on its current rate of change, it expects “commercial launch at scale” in heavily traveled urban environments in 2019. The slides mention delivery and carrying passengers. GM’s Cruise Automation unit is currently testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles with human backup drivers in San Francisco, Detroit and Phoenix with plans to test in Manhattan next year. Presumably the backup driver would be removed at the time of the commercial launch.The slides say that GM is focused on deploying self-driving vehicles safely but say the company is in the lead vs rival companies.. ...Read Full Story