Local News Archives

Home Winterization Demonstration Monday

The Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency is working to help Benton Harbor-area residents prepare for the coming cold weather by showing them how winterize their homes. The agency’s Sandra Clank tells WSJM News they’ll do a demonstration Monday at a home in Benton Harbor. She adds teaching people how to winterize can help them be self-sufficient.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Opposing Short-Term Rental Legislation

St. Joseph City Commissioners have heard from state Representative Kim LaSata on the question of short-term rentals. It’s been a hot button issue for the commission since legislation was introduced in the state House and Senate to remove the authority of local governments to regulate short-term rentals. LaSata at a meeting this past week told commissioners she’s against the bill, and supports local control. She said short-term rental regulation is a simple matter of quality of life.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Calls For Additional Anti-Opioid Funding

President Donald Trump’s declaration of an opioid public health emergency this week is supported by Congressman Fred Upton. He tells WSJM News opioid addiction and overdoses affect every community across the country, including southwest Michigan. Upton tells us he attended some committee hearings this week on the subject.. ...Read Full Story

Haunted Walking Tours This Weekend In St. Joseph

Coming up this Sunday will be some haunted walking tours of downtown St. Joseph. Tracy Gierada with the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center tells WSJM News they’re going to start at Bear Park at State and Market Street at 1 p.m. Sunday. Participants will be taken around the area to learn the spooky aspect of local history.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Receiving $3 Million In Federal Funds

Lake Michigan College has been awarded $3 million in federal grants to help students. LMC is the only Michigan community college selected by a U.S. Department of Education to receive the Title III Strengthening Institutions grant in this latest round of funding. The college tells us the grant is designed to help educational institutions improve outcomes for academically under-prepared and low-income students. Only seven colleges received the grant out of 103 institutions that applied nationwide this year. . ...Read Full Story

New Law Helps Gas Stations Fix Leaky Tanks

From the Associated Press — Rick Snyder has signed legislation so Michigan spends more to reimburse gas station owners to clean up their leaky, environmentally risky fuel tanks. The Republican-backed measure, which was opposed by Democrats, creates a program allowing gas station operators to be reimbursed for addressing leaks from underground petroleum tanks discovered and reported before late December
2014. They currently can be reimbursed for leaks discovered after that point. Critics say Michigan’s first responsibility is cleaning up known threats at abandoned gas stations – not helping owners of sites already cleaned up. Supporters counter Michigan has surplus revenue that’s accumulating more quickly than can be spent solely on orphan sites. The law signed Thursday also lets a fund be used to reimburse local
governments for costs to address contaminates spilled on roads.. ...Read Full Story

Verizon Testing 5G Speeds In Michigan

Ann Arbor has been chosen as the site for Verizon to test its new 5G technology in Michigan. The tests are taking place this week. Verizon’s 5G bus is giving city leaders, automakers, and researchers a a firsthand look at how 5G works on various platforms. Verizon’s Steve Van Dinter spoke with Michigan News Network about the development.. ...Read Full Story

Box Factory To Offer Makers Market

Coming soon to the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph will be a maker’s market. The Box Factory’s Cara Garnett tells WSJM News southwest Michigan has all kinds of creators who make artisan products. This market will give you a chance to see what they have to offer and pick some of those things up.. ...Read Full Story

Court Sides With City Over Blighted Home

A judge has ruled in favor of the city of St. Joseph in the ongoing fight over a blighted property on Niles Avenue. At Monday’s meeting, the city attorney informed commissioners a judge has sided with a city panel’s decision that the dilapidated house at 1015 Niles Avenue be demolished. You may know the house as the one near the AT&T store that’s had a tarp on the roof for quite a long time. The city has been seeking the blighted home’s demolition for most of the year after local inspectors determined it to be unlivable. Now that the Berrien County Circuit Court has found in the city’s favor, there is a 21 day appeal period. If that happens, it would be before the Michigan Court of Appeals. The city’s attorney told commissioners she has not yet heard of an appeal being filed, though. She also said repair work continues on other blighted homes on Wayne and Hoyt Street owned by the same person.. ...Read Full Story

Cornerstone Chamber Opposing BH Income Tax Proposal

You can add the Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce to the list of organizations opposed to Benton Harbor’s income tax proposal. The chamber’s Chris Heugel tells us the board has passed a resolution officially opposing the tax. He says the board does not think it’s what Benton Harbor needs right now. Huegel tells us, “Our members drive jobs in this community and they have said that an income tax is detrimental to their operations and hinders their ability to grow and hire more individuals.”. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Signs Bill Requiring More Concussion Training For Coaches

From the Associated Press — Coaches and others involved in youth sports will have to complete concussion awareness training at least once every three years under legislation signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. The law enacted Thursday takes effect in 90 days. It updates 2012 concussion laws that require a concussion protocol for youth athletes and an awareness program for coaches, volunteers and others.
A new requirement says concussion training must be completed once every three years, unless the state Department of Health and Human Services recommends more frequent training. The state will have to periodically review the training program and make recommendations.
The law also clarifies that universities and colleges do not need to secure parental waivers for students participating in intramural sports.. ...Read Full Story

Feds Recommend Additional Action To Protect MI Drinking Water

From the Associated Press — Federal regulators say Michigan should increase funding and staffing of its Department of Environmental Quality and take other steps to ensure its drinking water is safe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made the recommendations Thursday in a report evaluating the state’s overall performance but emphasizing the situation in Flint, where residents were exposed to lead-contaminated water for at least 18 months. EPA says its review found numerous deficiencies in how Michigan operates its drinking water program. Among them were inadequate electronic data management and a “notable failure” to carry out its rule on lead and copper pollution. The report covers the period from October 2013 through September 2015, when the Flint crisis was at its height. Michigan officials say they’ve already dealt with many of the problems EPA identified.. ...Read Full Story

Schuitmaker Drafting Plan To Protect Rape Victims From Losing Partial Custody

State Senator Tonya Schutmaker is working on new legislation in response to a recent situation in Sanilac County in which a man convicted of rape was briefly awarded joint custody of a child. Schuitmaker tells WSJM News the mother of a child conceived through that rape almost partially lost custody because she applied for public assistance, triggering a paternity action. Shuitmaker says her plan will prevent those situations.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Doctor Pleads To Opioid Charges

A St. Joseph podiatrist could get up to 20 years in prison on some opioid-related charges. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office tells WSJM News Dr. Craig Sherwood pleaded no contest on Thursday to ten felony charges. They are five counts of diverting opioids and five counts of healthcare fraud. The prosecutor tells us Sherwood between 2014 and 2016 wrote prescriptions in the names of family members who were not his patients. He’s also accused of writing opioid prescriptions to his patients and encouraging them to bring back any unused portions to him. Many of those prescriptions were paid for by private insurance. The prosecutor does note the Southwest Michigan Enforcement Team investigation did not find evidence Sherwood sold any of those drugs. He’s now in the process of giving up his DEA license, which authorizes him to write prescriptions. Sherwood is free on bond and awaiting sentencing on December 11.. ...Read Full Story

Police Look For Three Oaks Robbery Suspect

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is looking for an armed robbery suspect. The department tells WSJM News the robbery happened at a Speedway station in Three Oaks on September 11. A white male walked into the store about 4:30 a.m. and demanded the clerk give him money. The suspect made off on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. Anyone with information that leads to his arrest could receive an award of up to $1,000. You can contact police via Crimestoppers at 1-800-342-STOP.. ...Read Full Story

Schuette Has $2.3 Million, Whitmer $1.5 Million For Governor’s Race

From the Associated Press — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette raised $1.2 million in the last three months and has $2.3 million cash on hand across two campaign accounts. The attorney general, who is considered the front-runner in the GOP field,
reported the fundraising haul before Wednesday’s campaign finance deadline. He raised $705,000 since entering the race in September.
Other Republican candidates are state Senator Patrick Colbeck and Dr. Jim Hines. Hines gave his campaign $75,000, bringing his total self-funding to $513,000. Democrat Shri Thanedar on Tuesday reported giving his own campaign $2.7 million, bringing his total self-funding to nearly $6 million. Democratic front-runner Gretchen Whitmer raised at least $768,000 in the last quarter and has $1.5 million. Democrat Abdul El-Sayed has $900,000 in the bank after raising $612,000.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Votes To Repeal Beer Keg Tag Law

From the Associated Press — Michigan lawmakers are giving up on a law that requires beer kegs to be sold with tags that can identify who bought them. The state House voted unanimously to repeal the 2010 law Wednesday, months after senators did the same. The bill should reach Governor Rick Snyder soon. The beer industry and retailers say the law, which aims to curb “keggers” that attract underage drinkers, has encouraged partiers to buy hard liquor or cases of beer instead. Stores complain the law is expensive and burdensome. Key buyers have to sign a receipt containing their name, address, telephone number and driver’s license or state I.D. card number. Retailers attach a tag on
each keg and record the tag number. The keg deposit isn’t returned unless the tag remains on the keg.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Experiences Sewer Overflow

The city of South Haven says approximately 70,000 gallons of wastewater flowed into a storm drain and the Black River this week due to heavy rain. The sanitary sewer overflow began Tuesday morning and was over by about 10:30 p.m. the same day. The overflow occurred because the city’s wastewater collection system couldn’t handle the deluge of water that hit it due to the weather. The city tells us staff continue to monitor the situation and will file reports with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The city is currently constructing new interceptor sewers, a new main pump station, and an equalization basin to address these kinds of situations. That $11 million project is expected to be largely finished by the end of the year.. ...Read Full Story