Local News Archives

Experts Recommend Buying Local Christmas Trees

This is the time of year when people bring more greenery into their homes, but the Van Buren Conservation District is warning that those wreaths and trees can bring with them a whole host of unwanted guests. The district tells us forest pests that can hurt native tree species can enter the state on Christmas trees. In order to stop the spread of these insects, the Van Buren Conservation District encourages everyone to buy this year’s tree from local tree farms or dealers. Insects like the balsam woolly adelgid or fungi like spruce decline can get into the state on imported plants. That’s why buying local can help. Anyone with questions should call the Van Buren Conservation District.. ...Read Full Story

MOSIAC Grant To Be Announced

A “significant grant” is set to be announced Monday morning by MOSIAC and the AEP Foundation. MOSIAC executive director Ric Pawloski tells WSJM News the grant will help to launch a new housing initiative by the organization. No other details are being revealed until the announcement.. ...Read Full Story

Extra State Police Patrols Continue

Set for this weekend is another Michigan State Police Operation CARE. That’s Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts. Michigan State Police Special Lieutenant Jim Flegel tells WSJM News extra patrols will be out on the state’s highways in all 83 counties watching out for bad behavior.. ...Read Full Story

Hagar Twp Slated To Get New Park

Hagar Township is getting a new park thanks to a state grant. Township Supervisor Iggy DiMaggio tells WSJM News the township has been approved for $300,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resource Trust Fund for next year to build a new kayak launch on the Paw Paw River on property off Coloma Road. It used to be a landfill.. ...Read Full Story

Attorney General Asks Army Corps To Take Action On Asian Carp

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and two other state attorneys general have sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking more to be done to stop the Asian carp. Specifically, they’re asking for a physical barrier to be installed in the Chicago shipping canals to stop the Asian carp from getting into Lake Michigan. AG spokesperson Megan Hawthorne tells WSJM News this follows the recent release of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam study.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Blood Asks For Holiday Donations

Michigan Blood is hoping you’ll take a moment to make a donation this holiday season. The organization tells us it’s offering folks a special incentive to give. From December 21 through January 2, anyone who donates at one of Michigan Blood’s main donor centers will receive a $10 Meijer or Speedway gift card while supplies last. That means donors can save lives while getting a stocking stuffer for someone special in their life. It just so happens that Michigan Blood has a donation center in St. Joseph. It’s on Cleveland Avenue near the bowling alley. A drive is also taking place at Michigan Blood in St. Joe on Wednesday, December 27 from noon to 7 p.m. One in every seven people entering the hospital needs blood, and Michigan Blood tells us it provides blood products to more than 60 hospitals across the state.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Commission Applicant Forum Set For Monday

St. Joseph City Commissioners now have an action plan for filling a vacancy on the body. At this Monday’s meeting, they approved a schedule for a public forum next Monday when the public can question 8 applicants for a 2 year vacancy. The meeting starts at 5:30, there will be a break at 6:30, and then more questions. At 7:55, commissioners will talk among themselves about who to appoint. Mayor Mike Garey spoke with WSJM News about the plan.. ...Read Full Story

Plan To Allow Online Gambling In Michigan

Some forms of internet gambling would be allowed in Michigan under legislation that cleared a state House committee this week. The plan from state Representative Brandt Iden allows internet-based gaming only through casinos currently operating in Michigan. Iden says people are already gambling online, only on sites based overseas.. ...Read Full Story

Judge Blocks License Suspensions For Poor Due To Unpaid Fines

From the Associated Press — A federal judge is blocking the state of Michigan from suspending driver’s licenses of people who say they can’t afford to pay traffic fines. U.S. District Judge Linda Parker on Thursday issued a preliminary injunction, writing that there’s “a strong likelihood” that those who sued will show that the law violates the right to due process. Secretary of state spokesman Fred Woodhams says in an email the office is reviewing the judge’s opinion and believes Michigan’s traffic safety laws “are equally applied to all drivers.”
The lawsuit filed by Equal Justice Under Law, a civil rights group, accuses the secretary of state of running a “wealth-based” scheme in which people too poor to pay fines are having licenses suspended. Arguments are expected later on whether to permanently block the practice.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagons To Distribute Holiday Meals Next Week

The Pokagon Band of Pottawatomi and the Four Winds Casinos are once again preparing to provide holiday food baskets to needy families in the region. This time, the Pokagons will distribute 455 meals to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana in South Bend. The delivery day is slated to be Tuesday. Volunteers from Four Winds Casinos and the Pokagon Band will distribute the food baskets, each with the items needed to prepare a holiday meal including a frozen ham, to families in need. The distribution of the meals in South Bend is part of 1,200 total meals packaged and distributed by Four Winds during the holiday season. This distribution follows the more than 1,000 meals given out during Thanksgiving week. The volunteers will drop off the Christmas donation at noon on Tuesday.. ...Read Full Story

New Legislation Aims To Prevent Opioid Abuse

State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker says obtaining opioids for the purposes of abuse will be harder to do in Michigan thanks to new legislation now headed to the governor. The Senate this week concurred with a House bill that requires all prescribers of Schedule 2 through Schedule 5 controlled substances to review a Michigan Automated Prescription System report prior to issuing that prescription. Schuitmaker spoke with WSJM News about the legislation this week.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Commissioners Receive 2017 Coastal Study

St. Joseph City Commissioners are keeping their eye on the community’s coastal areas. In 2012, the commission voted to do periodic coastal studies to monitor water levels on Lake Michigan and beach erosion. Commissioners Monday heard the results of the 2017 study from Colin Hassenger of Edgewater Resources. He told WSJM News it is helpful for local governments to have a handle on shoreline issues.. ...Read Full Story

Consumers Energy Tips On Winter Savings

Now that the freezing weather is here, utilities around Michigan are reminding residents how they can keep themselves safe and also maybe save a little on their home heating bills. Consumers Energy’s Brian Wheeler tells WSJM News you’ve got to protect yourself against carbon monoxide in the winter.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Talks State Parks Grants

State Senator John Proos is praising the recent announcement of this year’s Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants. The trust fund awards grants to communities throughout Michigan each year for parks projects. Proos tells WSJM News the money it gives out does not include any tax dollars.. ...Read Full Story

Former BH Superintendent Found Guilty

Former Benton Harbor Area Schools Superintendent Leonard Seawood has been found guilty on all counts in his embezzlement trial. Seawood is accused of stealing more than $40,000 from the district by taking payouts for unused vacation days. The trial this week included testimony from several current and former school board officials, along with Seawood himself. He maintains he received authorization for the vacation payouts. School board officials say Seawood was not straightforward about it. He was fired from the district last year following a lengthy suspension and investigation by Michigan State Police. The jury returned its verdict of guilty on counts of embezzlement and obtaining money under false pretenses this morning  after a day of deliberations. WNDU reports sentencing will be January 29. Seawood could get up to 15 years in prison.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Rotary To Ring Bells For Salvation Army

Coming soon to South Haven will be an annual holiday tradition. The Salvation Army bell ringers will be out in force. The South Haven Rotary tells us its volunteers ring the bells and will be out and about on December 23. You can stop by the Golden Brown Bakery and Walmart beginning at 7 a.m. and throughout the day to drop a couple of bucks in their red canisters. The South Haven Rotary has rung the bell for the Salvation Army every year since 1982. Last year, generous shoppers around South Haven donated more than $1,500 to the Salvation Army via the Rotary.. ...Read Full Story

BH School Board Talks Security, Discipline

Recent troubles involving discipline and student safety at Benton Harbor Area Schools have prompted the board of education to order up a review of security and the use of a grant. At a Thursday meeting, the board heard from parents concerned about recent videos on social media depicting student fights. Trustee Marletta Seats addressed that.. ...Read Full Story