Local News Archives

Speculation Heating Up Around Area Republicans For 2018

With the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference underway on Mackinac Island, speculation is ramping up about the future for several southwest Michigan members of the GOP. There are now multiple reports that Congressman Fred Upton is seriously weighing a run for the U.S. Senate next year, fueled by a new logo on invitations to a reception on the island with “Upton 2018” over the outline of the state of Michigan and new online ads with the line “let’s win Michigan in 2018!” On Twitter, Jonathan Oosting of “The Detroit News” reports Senator John Proos is eyeing Upton’s 6th District seat if the incumbent goes for the Senate. Proos tells WSJM News he doesn’t yet have anything on the record to say on that speculation. Chad Livengood of “Crain’s Detroit Business” also reports there are Republicans who will be trying to talk former state Representative and current Michigan Lottery Commissioner Aric Nesbitt into running for Upton’s seat as well.. ...Read Full Story

New Poll Looks At Race For Governor

New polling results have been released regarding the race for governor. If the Republican primary were held today, MRG Polling Firm says Bill Schuette would garner 33% of the vote, others significantly less. Michigan News Network Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick tells us there’s a front runner among Democrats.. ...Read Full Story

Young Dreamers Hoping For DACA Replacement

The clock is ticking on Congress to approve a replacement for DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It’s enabled nearly 800,000 illegal immigrants brought into this country as children to work and avoid the fear of deportation to countries that, in some cases, they don’t even know. DACA has affected immigrants right here in Berrien County, including “Estela” and Luz. Each is from Mexico and each is 20 years old. WSJM News spoke with them and learned Estela has applied for DACA and is waiting to be approved. She’s been in the United States since she was six years old, and tells us she doesn’t know what would happen if she were sent back to Mexico.. ...Read Full Story

Baby Whose Mother Chose Giving Birth Over Chemo Has Died

From the Associated Press — A relative says the baby born of a Michigan woman who chose to forego chemotherapy to give birth to the child has died. Sonya Nelson says her niece, Life Lynn DeKlyen, died Wednesday evening at University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. Life’s mother, Carrie DeKlyen, died September 9, three days after giving birth to her sixth child. Relatives say Life had been doing better than expected after being born prematurely at 1 pound 4 ounces. Nelson tells The Associated Press the baby had good and bad days at the hospital, but “took a turn for the worse” this week. Nelson says “we don’t have any answers,” but that “maybe Carrie needed her.”
Carrie DeKlyen declined the brain cancer treatment, because it would have meant ending her pregnancy.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Waiting For Approval Of Tax, Court Security Bills

With Michigan lawmakers back at work, state Representative Kim LaSata is waiting to see her first pieces of legislation pass the Senate. First, she has a plan to close a loophole allowing vacation homeowners in Michigan to claim the homestead exemption on their Michigan property even if they’re already claiming their other property as a homestead in another state. LaSata tells WSJM News her other bill has to do with court security.. ...Read Full Story

New Effort Begins To Raise MI Minimum Wage

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers is green-lighting a ballot initiative that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2022. Alicia Renee Farris is the Michigan Campaign chair for the group One Fair Wage. She told Michigan News Network that even though the Michigan Chamber of Commerce opposes the plan, there are some who think it’s a good idea.. ...Read Full Story

Elkhart Man Arrested After Cass County Search

A 24-year-old Elkhart, Indiana man is in the Cass County Jail after speeding off from a traffic stop in Penn Township. The sheriff’s department says he was pulled over for going 96-miles-an-hour on Decatur Road near Kelsey Lake Street, and then ran away during the stop. Cass County K9 Faust and handler Deputy Nevins tracked the suspect for nearly three-and-a-half miles through woods and corn fields before canceling the chase due to heat exhaustion concerns for the dog last evening. The suspect was found just north of Cassopolis a short time later and was jailed after first being treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration at Dowagiac Lee Memorial Hospital. He’ll be charged with fleeing and eluding, resisting police, possession of a firearm, and driving without a license.. ...Read Full Story

Appeals Court Denies Kalamazoo Massacre Suspect Request

The Michigan appeals court won’t review a judge’s decision about evidence in the case of a man charged with killing six people in the Kalamazoo area. Jason Dalton’s attorney had asked the court to look at a decision about Dalton’s statements to police. Prosecutor Jeff Getting says the appeals court turned down the request Monday. The appeal had delayed Dalton’s trial, which was supposed to start in June. He now has eight weeks to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to intervene. Dalton is charged with murder and attempted murder. Police have quoted him as saying a “devil figure” on Uber’s app was controlling him on the night of the shootings in February 2016.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Sued After Gay Couples Rejected For Adoption

From the Associated Press — The American Civil Liberties Union says Michigan is illegally allowing faith-based groups to reject gay couples who want to adopt kids or become foster parents. Michigan pays groups such as Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services to place children with families. The ACLU filed a lawsuit Wednesday, saying Michigan is violating the U.S. Constitution by allowing the groups to use a religious test to carry out public services. ACLU attorney Jay Kaplan says those services should be based on what’s best for kids, not religious beliefs. The Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law in 2015 that says child-placement agencies aren’t required to provide services that conflict with their beliefs. It was signed before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Michigan College Seeking Lease For WMU Building

Lake Michigan College is seeking the lease for the Western Michigan University building on its Napier Avenue campus. The board of trustees Wednesday voted to move forward on a request to transfer a long-term lease agreement with the state of Michigan to LMC at a cost of $2.7 million. LMC President Dr. Trevor Kubatzke tells WSJM News WMU will still hold the same programs there, but this gives LMC a place to expand some of its own programs.. ...Read Full Story

Police Looking For Home Invasion Suspect In Cass County

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is looking for a home invasion suspect who managed to get away from them on Wednesday morning. Officers were called out to a home on Daily Road near Pokagon Highway in LaGrange Township around 8:30 a.m. The suspects had run from the home and taken off in a Ford Taurus. When a sheriff’s deputy tried to pull it over, the suspects drove off into a corn field. Police set up a perimeter, and soon caught one of the suspects on foot with the help of K9 Faust. The other suspect was tracked to a drainage area, but police and their K9s couldn’t find him. Police believe he could be in the Howard Township area, and describe him as a white male, about 200 pounds, six feet tall, with brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact the Cass County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Community Foundation Announces New Scholarship For Low-Income Students

A new scholarship for low-income students has been announced by the Berrien Community Foundation. President Lisa Cripps-Downey closed out Wednesday’s annual meeting by unveiling the Trefz Family Scholarship, based on a $500,000 endowment. Cripps-Downey told WSJM News it’s all thanks to a trust a woman named Josephine Trefz created when she sold some land which is now part of Lincoln Township Park.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Area Emergency Services Acquires New Fire Truck

South Haven Area Emergency Services has received a brand new truck. A 75-foot ladder truck made by Spencer Manufacturing of South Haven was delivered this week. It replaces the department’s 50-foot ladder truck that’s 31 years old. South Haven Emergency Services tells us the new truck is powered by a 500-horse power Cummins engine. Other goodies include a 1,200 gallon poly water tank and a 20 gallon foam cell allowing for foam to be used on some fires. A poly body on the unit removes the concern of rust, and an eight kilowatt generator means portable lighting can be run at fire scenes. The new truck cost about $846,000. The community will have a chance to see the new ladder during the department’s Fire Safety Fun Night, which is set for October 12 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Station 3 on Blue Star Highway.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Fall Festival This Weekend

The spirit of the fall is being celebrated this weekend in St. Joseph. It’s time for the annual Fall Festival downtown on Friday and Saturday. St. Joe Today’s Amy Zapal tells WSJM News there will be family fun all day Saturday, followed by the wine festival at 4 p.m. That includes the public art auction.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Commission Limits State Union Bargaining Rights

A Michigan panel is prohibiting 35,000 state employees from bargaining on seniority and other provisions related to the handling of layoffs, transfers and overtime. The Civil Service Commission’s move Wednesday is being condemned by unions as another conservative-led political attack against organized labor. Ron Bieber is the president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. He spoke with the Michigan News Network about the commission’s decision.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Signs Super PAC Legislation

From the Associated Press — Rick Snyder has quickly signed into law contentious regulations for independent expenditure committees whose footprint in elections has grown since U.S. Supreme Court decisions seven years ago. Democrats and campaign-finance watchdogs opposed the Republican-sponsored legislation, partly for letting candidates solicit unlimited donations for super PACs backing their campaigns. But the Republican governor says the bills signed Wednesday _ a day after lawmakers OK’d them _ give the secretary of state “clear statutory authority” to regulate independent expenditure committees with reporting requirements and enforcement penalties. He cites confusion over the 2010 Citizens United ruling’s effect on Michigan law. Snyder says the law now aligns with federal decisions protecting free-speech rights. Critics say the law improperly lets super PACs running ads use the same attorney that a candidate committee employs.. ...Read Full Story

FGM Doctor To Be Freed Pending Trial In Detroit

A Detroit-area doctor charged with performing genital mutilation on girls in a Muslim sect will be released from jail as she awaits trial. A judge on Tuesday was persuaded to grant bond to Dr. Jumana Nagarwala after supporters pledged to pay more than $4 million if she flees the country. Federal Judge Bernard Friedman called it a “very comprehensive package.” Nagarwala has been in custody since her arrest in April, and it will be a few days more before she’s released. She must wear an electronic tether. Nagarwala denies any crime and says she performed a religious custom on girls from her Muslim sect. Eight people have been charged, including two Minnesota mothers and the owner of a Detroit-area clinic where the alleged procedures occurred after hours. The bond is believed to be the largest ever posted in federal court in Detroit.. ...Read Full Story

Correction, Retraction To A Wednesday Morning Story

This morning, we gave an update to a story we had last week regarding a motorcycle crash in Hagar Township that badly injured Alan Hatten of Watervliet. In that story, we erroneously reported that Mr. Hatten had passed away from his injuries. Our story was based on information that we have since learned was not accurate, and we have retracted the story. Our newsroom is reaching out to several Berrien County agencies for an update on his condition. Please accept our sincere apologies for the story.. ...Read Full Story

MI Panel Holds Off On LGBT Discrimination Declaration For Now

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is holding off for now on deciding whether to declare that discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing and public accommodations is already unlawful under state law. The commission met Monday to consider the request after two months of public feedback. The interpretive statement, if issued, would say discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is a form of sex discrimination outlawed under Michigan’s 1976 civil rights law. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights says the commission voted to table to request from LGBT rights group Equality Michigan. An assistant attorney general told the commission the legislature, not the commission, should address changes in state law. The commission is asking Attorney General Bill Schuette for a formal opinion on its authority.. ...Read Full Story

Dave Ramsey Speaks To Economic Club Of Southwestern Michigan

What every business needs to be successful. That was the focus of financial guru Dave Ramsey’s address to the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Tuesday night. Dave’s five principles — have good leadership, care about people, follow sound financial practices, maintain unity, and remember your higher calling. That means, Dave said, remembering what drives you to produce that widget in the first place.. ...Read Full Story

Humane Society Receives More Hurricane Dogs

The Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan is currently housing a large number of dogs shipped in from shelters located in areas affected by the recent hurricanes. Director Jill Svoboda tells WSJM News they received six early last week, and then 27 more on Friday. The shelter now has more dogs than usual.. ...Read Full Story