Local News Archives

MI Lawmakers To Focus On Bike Safety This Year

From the Associated Press — In the capital of the U.S. auto industry, drivers have been slow to accept that more Americans are choosing bicycles over cars for commuting or for fun and exercise. Now Michigan is trying to make up for lost time by passing some of the nation’s strictest bike-safety regulations, including tough penalties on distracted drivers. While other states adopted bike-friendly safety laws in
recent years, Michigan steered clear of the trend and watched as more riders got killed by cars. If the proposals become law, Michigan cyclists would gain additional legal protections and motorists would have to wait for 5 feet of clearance before passing a bike – a wider berth than all but one other state. Cyclists say it is time for the state with the Motor City to change.. ...Read Full Story

Girls On The Run Taking 2018 Registrations

If you’re looking for an after school program for your daughter, one option is Girls on the Run. The southwest Michigan program is now taking registrations for its 2018 program. Girls on the Run Southwest Michigan Director Julie Boss tells us girls between the third and eighth grades can sign up to learn life skills and self-esteem, leading up to a 5K run in the spring.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeland’s First Baby Of 2018 Born In Niles

Southwest Michigan’s first baby of the year is Lillian Helton, born at Lakeland Hospital in Niles yesterday. According to Lakeland, she was born at 4:46 a.m. to Ciara Lamb and James Helton of Union. The little girl was eight pounds, eight ounces and 21 inches long. The Lakeland Auxiliary provided the family with a gift basket of baby items with a value of $100, as is their tradition. In the last fiscal year, 1,630 babies were born at Lakeland hospitals in St. Joseph and Niles.. ...Read Full Story

Pagel Reflects On 2017

2017 was a busy year for state Representative Dave Pagel. He tells WSJM News he looks back at the year and regards a failed House vote to eliminate the Michigan income tax as a significant moment. Pagel was one of the handful of Republicans who shot that idea down.. ...Read Full Story

New Laws Aim To Fight Opioid Abuse

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley this week signed legislation designed to fight the opioid epidemic in Michigan. State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan tells WSJM News one of the bills Calley signed Wednesday was her plan to have the Michigan Department of Education create an opioid curriculum for health classes in the state’s schools.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Hopes To Form Partnerships On More Projects

The Michigan Department of Transportation is pointing to a recent bridge project in St. Clair County as an example of how the agency could team up with local agencies and others to make road projects more efficient in the future. MDOT spokesperson Jocelyn Hall tells WSJM News the state agency helped the St. Clair County Road Commission find a new high-performance concrete project to use for joints on one of its bridges. The new concrete was produced by the University of Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

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