Local News Archives

LMC Student Chili Cook-Off This Friday

Lake Michigan College is planning a high school chili cook-off. The Napier Avenue campus in Benton Township will host student chili chefs from 17 local high schools for the competition this Friday. The schools include Benton Harbor High School, Kalamazoo RESA, St. Joseph High School, and Dowagiac High School. Each of the 17 participating teams will cook a chili recipe on site which will be judged by a panel of industry professionals including LMC’s chef instructor. Awards will be presented to the first through fifth place teams, and 14 students will have their online portfolios judged for professionalism and appeal to potential employers. This Friday’s event will be the ninth annual Lake Michigan College Chili Cook-Off.. ...Read Full Story

Cook Plant Refueling Outage Ends

Unit 1 of the Cook nuclear power plant is now back online. Cook plant spokesperson Bill Schalk tells WSJM News its refueling outage, started September 13, ended on Tuesday morning. This outage took a little longer than usual, thanks to extra work done on the unit’s baffle bolts. There was a lot of activity at the plant these past few months.. ...Read Full Story

Work Requirements For Food Assistance Reinstated In Ten Counties

The state of Michigan has expanded work requirements for some individuals who receive food assistance. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday notified about 16,000 people who will be potentially affected by the change. It’s taking effect in Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Clinton, Eaton, Grand Traverse, Ingham, Ionia, Kalamazoo, and Livingston counties. Able-bodied adults without dependents in the 10 counties have a three-month federal time limit for receiving food assistance benefits without meeting the reinstated work requirements. Those requirements state a recipient must work for an average of 20 hours per week, take an average of 20 hours of training per week, or work for a community service organization to continue receiving food aid. The federal rules are being applied to the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is run by the state health department.. ...Read Full Story

Bears In The Air Campaign Kicks 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

Big Brothers, Big Sisters Honors Local 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. 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

Police Warn Of Rash Of Burglaries In Benton Harbor

Police are looking for some break-in suspects in Benton Harbor. The department of public safety tells WSJM News there’s been a rash of burglaries in the Jefferson Hill area. It’s identified two persons of interest. They are Deandre Shon Taylor and James Z. Griffin. A $500 reward is being offered for information that leads to arrests in the case. The department of public safety also notes this is the time of year when home break-ins increase. It reminds everyone to lock their doors and arm their houses with a security system. Anyone with information on the Jefferson Hill break-ins is asked to call Benton Harbor Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

Light Up The Bluff Set For Friday

Coming up this Friday, the city of St. Joseph will light up the bluff. The St. Joe High School Choir will be on hand to perform at 6 p.m. when folks gather to see one million Christmas lights turned on for the season. That’s according to St. Joe Marketing Director Susan Solon, who spoke with WSJM News about the festivities.. ...Read Full Story

Senators Complain About Slow Pace Of Asian Carp Study

A group of U.S. senators is urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers not to fall behind on a study of how a key waterway chokepoint could be used to keep Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. The corps is considering ways to strengthen defenses against the invasive carp at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. An August report estimated the upgrades could cost $275 million and take until 2025 to finish.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Lt. Governor Calley Running For Governor

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has his sight set on the top job. He is launching his campaign for governor today, vowing to continue an economic rebound that has resulted in the addition of more than a half million jobs in Michigan. Calley touts the Michigan unemployment rate at a 17-year low this year and says the state leads the Midwest in job creation, ranks sixth nationally and is first in new manufacturing jobs.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Online Auction This Week

Now that the dust is settling from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, the United Way of Southwest Michigan is hoping folks will take a moment to give. It’s declared today to be Giving Tuesday, says the United Way’s Ryan Cheevers. He spoke with WSJM News about what is planned.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Now Testing Some Drivers For Drug Impairment

From the Associated Press — Michigan State Police officers are conducting roadside saliva tests on suspected drug-impaired motorists as part of a program spurring questions about the tests’ accuracy. State Police Special First Lieutenant Jim Flegel tells the South Bend Tribune that the program uses a portable saliva-testing device that can tell officers if a driver has certain drugs in his system, such as marijuana or opiates. Michigan Medical Marijuana Association president Michael Komorn says he’s concerned about the tests’ accuracy and the program’s experimental nature. The $150,000 program is called the Preliminary Oral Fluid Analysis. Flegel says it aims to combat an increase in fatal crashes caused by drug-impaired drivers. He says officers must have a reason to suspect impairment before testing a driver. The program is currently being used in five Michigan counties: Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Announces New Line 5 Safety Agreement

From the Associated Press — Michigan officials and Enbridge Inc. have set a deadline of August 15, 2018, to determine the future of twin oil pipelines beneath the waterway where Lakes Huron and Michigan converge. The date is part of an agreement announced Monday amid rising concerns about the safety of Enbridge’s Line 5, which extends across northern Wisconsin and Michigan on its way to Sarnia, Ontario. A 5-mile segment rests on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. Valerie Brader of the Michigan Agency for Energy says if the two sides can’t agree by the deadline, the state will “take another path” that could include shutting down the line. But she said the state will consider other alternatives, including routing the underwater segment through a tunnel. Enbridge will evaluate three tunnel options by next June.. ...Read Full Story

Levin Endorses George Franklin For Congress In Sixth District

U.S. Senator Carl Levin has weighed in on the race for Congress in Michigan’s Sixth District. The Democrat from Detroit has endorsed George Franklin in his party’s primary for the district. George Franklin is one of six Democrats vying to face off against Congressman Fred Upton next year. He’s the most recent Democrat to announce a candidacy. In his endorsement issued Monday, Senator Levin says he’s worked with George Franklin for years, adding Franklin will “deliver on job creation, ensuring safe workplaces, supporting strong schools, and guaranteeing every family has access to affordable, quality health care.” Franklin worked as a lobbyist for Kellogg before starting his own consulting business. He lives in Glenn, and Senator Levin joined Franklin at a fundraiser in Kalamazoo Monday night. Also in the Democratic race to run against Fred Upton are David Benac, Paul Clements, Eponine Garrod, Rich Eichholz, and Matt Longjohn.. ...Read Full Story

Allegan K9 To Receive Bullet Protective Vest

A K9 for the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a donation from a non-profit organization. Lajki the dog is getting that extra protection from Vested Interest, a group that gets safety gear for police dogs all over the country. It’s previously helped out the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department. Lajki’s vest is paid for by an anonymous sponsor and will be embroidered with the sentiment, “This gift of protection provided by Vested Interest in K9s, Incorporated.” The K9 officer is expected to receive the donation in 8 or 9 weeks. K9 Lajki is a two-year-old German Shepard from Poland, and has been with Allegan County Sheriff’s Department since February of 2017.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph City Commission Receives Nine Applications For Open Spot

The city of St. Joseph has received nine applications from residents interested in filling a vacancy on the city commission. The term, left empty when former Commissioner Chris Huegel resigned this fall, still has two years on it. Mayor Mike Garey tells WSJM News commissioners decided Monday to ask the nine applicants for more information on themselves and their resumes.. ...Read Full Story

Wahmhoff Farms Ships Out Nearly 800 Christmas Trees To Troops

787 Christmas trees have been loaded up and shipped out to a military base in Florida as part of this year’s Trees for the Troops program at Wahmhoff Farms in Gobles. The nursery has taken part in Trees for the Troops each Christmas season since 2006. The farm’s Betsy Wahmhoff-Perales tells WSJM News it just feels right to send a Christmas gift to the families of those who serve.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Police Warn About Counterfeit Money

The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety is warning the public about some fake currency that’s been reported circulating in the community. In a Facebook message, the department says there have been complaints from local businesses recently. The Secret Service has offered a few tips to know if you’re dealing with funny money. First, it says you can hold a bill up to the light to look for a hologram of the face image on the bill. Both images should match. Second, it says you can look at the bill through a light to see a thin vertical strip containing text that spells out that bill’s denomination. The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety tells us store clerks and others who handle money should be especially vigilant.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Accidentally Shot In Pipestone Twp

An 18-year-old Pipestone Township resident is in the hospital in critical condition after being accidentally shot on Sunday night. Michigan State Police tell us it happened around 10 p.m. in the 5,000 block of Old Pipestone Road. 18-year-old Delaney Nicole Flagel was unloading her vehicle after a day of hunting when a rifle was accidentally dropped causing it to discharge a round into her chest. Arriving troopers found her lying on the ground near her vehicle. She was brought to Lakeland Hospital in critical condition. Police say alcohol was not a factor in the incident.. ...Read Full Story

Trees For Troops Loading Today

Christmas trees will be sent to soldiers around the world from Gobles today. Wahmhoff Farms Nursery will load up semi trucks for their annual Trees For Troops event at 10 this morning. The trees will be shipped to Hurlburt Field at the US Air Force Auxiliary Base in Okaloosa County, Florida. Last year, the trees were shipped to Fort Benning, Georgia.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Continue Decline

Our gas prices in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph are down 12¢ a gallon from last week to $2.45, but we’re not the lowest in the state. Triple-A Michigan says statewide, prices fell 10¢ from last Monday to mark two straight weeks of a drop of at least a dime. The state average is $2.53. The lowest prices in Michigan are in Saginaw, where the average is $2.39. For the fourth straight week, Ann Arbor has the highest prices in the state at $2.61. South Haven is not covered by Triple-A’s survey, but GasBuddy spotters are finding regular as low as $2.14 at most stations, with a high of $2.19 at Village XPress and $2.29 at the Marathon in Grand Junction.. ...Read Full Story

Conyers Gives Up Judiciary Post Amid Sex Harassment Probe

Congressman John Conyers is giving up his leadership position as top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. The decision by the Detroit lawmaker comes ahead of a congressional probe into allegations of sexual harassment made against him. Conyers says he doesn’t want the allegations to undermine his colleagues in the Democratic caucus or those who serve on the Judiciary committee or in the House in general.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Accidentally Shoots Self

Michigan State Police are investigating what they’re calling an accidental shooting in Eau Claire. An 18-year-old woman shot herself in the 5000 block of Old Pipestone Road Sunday night. Our reporting partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16 say the shooting happened before 10:30 p.m., and no other details have been released including the victim’s name and her condition.. ...Read Full Story

Vaccine Waivers Up In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Vaccine waiver rates for school-age children have increased slightly in Michigan. The Detroit News reports that Department of Health and Human Services data shows 3.2% of kindergartners and seventh-graders received immunization waivers in 2016 compared to 3.1% the year before. The immunization rate was 4.8% in 2014. Since 2015, the state has required parents to attend educational sessions if they want to delay or decline immunizations for diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio,
diphtheria, hepatitis B and chickenpox. The newspaper reports that schools are required to report the immunization status of kindergarten, seventh-grade and transferring students. The state says there were 7,657 fewer waivers reported from schools in 2015 compared to the year before. Michigan allows waivers for medical reasons and on religious and philosophical grounds.. ...Read Full Story

Applications Sought For BH Income Tax Committee

The city of Benton Harbor is now taking applications from residents interested in serving on the new City Income Tax Oversight Committee. The body will determine how revenue from the city’s new income tax will be spent each year. It’s estimated that could be more than $2.5 million yearly. The deadline to apply to be on the City Income Tax Oversight Committee is Wednesday, December 27 at 5 p.m. Applications must be dropped off at the Benton Harbor City Clerk’s office, located at city hall. Anyone with questions should call.. ...Read Full Story

Komen Michigan Working On New Cancer Pilot Program

A new pilot program will be launched next year to help keep women in the loop regarding the breast cancer services available in Michigan. Komen Michigan’s Erica Bills tells WSJM News the organization has been selected to work with several agencies of the Michigan Breast and Cervical Cancer Control and Navigation Program on a Breast Cancer Toolkit. She says there are many programs in place to prevent and treat breast cancer, and the more people know, the better.. ...Read Full Story