Local News Archives

MI Unemployment Rate Edges Up In August

From the Associated Press — State officials say Michigan’s unemployment rate rose by two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.9 percent for August even as the number of people in the workforce declined for the fourth straight month. Figures released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget show the state jobless rate is a full percentage point lower than the 4.9 percent rate from August 2016. Michigan’s unemployment rate remains lower than the national mark of 4.4 percent for August. The agency says Michigan’s workforce shrunk by 7,000 in August after dropping by 24,000 in July. Despite that decline, an additional 10,000 Michigan residents
were unemployed last month. The agency says the August jobless rate increase was the state’s first since February.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate Approves Certification Process For Specialty Courts

From the Associated Press — Bills advancing in Michigan’s legislature would require that special problem-solving courts receive state certification to operate. The courts are designed to address criminals’ underlying substance abuse or mental health issues so they do not reoffend. Policymakers say the legislation is needed so Michigan has a more consistent and effective approach for the courts and defendants. Under the bills approved unanimously by the Senate Tuesday, specialty courts would have to be certified by the State Court Administrative Office starting in January. The office currently offers recommendations, but the courts are under no mandate to adopt them. The legislation will go to the House for consideration next.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Maintain Current Blood Alcohol Limit In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Legislation moving forward in Michigan’s legislature would continue the state’s 0.08 blood-alcohol limit for drunken driving until 2023. The limit is set to return to 0.10 in 2018, putting federal funding at risk unless lawmakers act. Legislators first moved to the 0.08 blood-alcohol level in 2003 but have twice put a sunset provision in the law so the issue is revisited. The House approved the bills 106-1 Tuesday. The legislation next goes to the Senate for consideration. One of the sponsors, Republican Representative Klint Kesto of Commerce Township in Oakland County, says “our roads are becoming safer every year with the 0.08 standard” and allowing the limit to rise to 0.10 would send a “dangerous message.”. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Expand Farm To School Program

A program that helps connect more than 700,000 Michigan students to local farmers would get a big boost under new legislation. The Farm to School Act of 2017 would expand the existing USDA Farm to School Grant Program by improving access to local foods at schools. Maximilian Merrill with the National Farm to School Network tells us it’s a win-win as farmers will source their food to schools and students learn about agriculture.. ...Read Full Story

Safety Grant For BH Schools Leading To New Programs

A $2 million state grant awarded last year to Benton Harbor Area Schools for safety and gang prevention has been making a difference. On Tuesday, the board of education heard the grant has paid for suicide awareness training, a leadership skills program, and self-esteem and life skills training for girls. Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker tells WSJM News that’s just some of what the district managed to do in the first few months of having the funds at the end of the last school year.. ...Read Full Story

Seven Arrests In Cass County Stolen Property Case

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department has arrested seven suspects in a stolen property and meth case. It tells us deputies were sent out to a property in the 67,000 block of Hess Road Monday morning on a report of stolen property out of St. Joseph County, Indiana. The items had been taken in a breaking and entering. During their search, police say they found a large amount of stolen property along with a firearm, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Five women and two men were arrested at the house for possession of stolen property, drug offenses, and firearm violations. Their names have not yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

Bangor Arson Suspect Arrested

The suspect in a weekend break in and arson in Van Buren County has been caught. The Bangor Police Department tells us 21-year-old Dominick Wheeler was arrested in Allegan County with help from Michigan State Police. He’s accused of breaking into a laundromat, setting it on fire, and stealing money. Chief Tommy Simpson tells us Wheeler somehow managed to break free and escape from inside a police car after his arrest. He’s charged with arson, resisting police, and destruction of police property. Wheeler was also wanted on some outstanding warrants. Bond has been set at $250,000.. ...Read Full Story

State Police To Train For Tower Rescue Wednesday

There should be quite the sight to see in the Lansing area on Wednesday. Michigan State Police will have several public safety agencies on hand near its training academy in Diamondale for an exercise to save someone stranded on a communications tower. Dan Morgan, coordinator of the secondary complex tower training event, tells WSJM News your standard police and fire departments can’t help someone stuck on one of those huge towers.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Wants Answers On Line 5 Damage

The recent discovery of some damage to outer coating on Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac concerns Congressman Fred Upton. That’s why he’s asking Enbridge to write a report for Congress as soon as possible. Upton tells WSJM News he wants answers about the line’s safety,. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Guard Pulls Back Troopers Planned For Irma Response

From the Associated Press — The Michigan National Guard is pulling back troops being sent to Florida after being told they weren’t needed for Hurricane Irma recovery efforts. Some Michigan troops had already departed for Florida when a Guard official says the decision was made Tuesday to turn them around. Lieutenant Dawn Dancer says Florida officials decided they didn’t need additional guard troops from around the country. The Michigan Guard had planned to send about 1,000 members to Florida. Dancer says Michigan Guard leaders are monitoring Irma-related troubles in other states and will be ready to send troops elsewhere if needed.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Stabbing Suspects Arrested

A man and a woman are in the Cass County Jail for a stabbing last week. The two were arrested yesterday by Dowagiac Public Safety, and the victim is already out of the hospital. Authorities tell us the suspects are facing multiple felony assault and drug charges for the crime, and they believe Friday night’s stabbing was drug-related. They were called to Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital after the victim showed up with several stab wounds. The case is still under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Fennville Varsity Football Coach Put On Leave

Fennville varsity football coach Brian Sackett is on leave following an incident in the game against Coloma on Friday. Sackett is accused of grabbing a player by his collar and screaming at him for about 10 seconds according to a parent of the player. It happened after two Fennville players tackled a Coloma player, and then a shoving match ensued. Sackett then got in the face of his player. The coach has issued an apology, saying he should have handled the situation better. The district has issued a statement to television stations in Grand Rapids and the “Holland Sentinel” saying they’re “taking appropriate steps to investigate an alleged incident between a coach and a player from the September 8 football game in Coloma.” The Blackhawks are currently being guided by assistant coaches while Sackett is on leave.. ...Read Full Story

MI Congressman Not Seeking Re-Election

From the Associated Press — Republican Congressman Dave Trott of Michigan says he will not seek re-election. In a statement Monday, the two-term lawmaker says serving has been an honor but he has decided that the best course is “to spend more time with my family and return to the private sector.” The announcement comes on the heels of two other GOP retirements last week, with Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Dave Reichert of Washington state saying they will step down at the end of their terms. Trott represents a district west of Detroit. Democrats, in the minority, hope they have a shot at winning back control by capitalizing on the GOP retirements and open seats.. ...Read Full Story

Fight Over Fuel Rules Reignites

Environmental advocates are crying foul about an effort to undo new fuel efficiency standards to automobiles. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency held a meeting on its proposal to reconsider requirements that the U.S. car and light-truck fleet achieve an average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Carol Lee Rawn is the transportation director for the nonprofit group Ceres, and tells us the current standards are important for innovation.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Lottery Developing New Rewards Program

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Lottery is developing a new player rewards program that’s designed to make it easier to participate and earn free play. The lottery announced Monday that the program is expected to begin in early 2018. Updates will be based on feedback from lottery players who wanted more chances to earn free play without entering non-winning ticket codes online. Details will be announced later. People may sign up online to get email updates about the program. The lottery says players will have more chances to use points they have accumulated in their Players Club accounts before the current program ends. And players may continue to earn Players Club points by entering codes from non-winning tickets.. ...Read Full Story

Go Fund Me Campaign Launched For Family Of Boy Killed In Crash

A Go Fund Me campaign has been launched to help pay the funeral expenses for a 13-year-old boy killed in a Berrien County highway crash on Sunday. The Baroda-Lake Township Police Department tells us Osvaldo Leon of Elgin, Illinois was killed along with 32-year-old Francisco Valle-Lopez of Mexico in the Lake Township crash on I-94. It’s thought a blown tire may have been the cause. The Go Fund Me campaign to pay for Osvaldo Leon’s funeral service was launched Monday, and had raised more than $1,4000 of its $10,000 goal by late evening. You can find the Go Fund Me page right here. . ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Students Receive Positive M-STEP Results

Good news out of Bridgman Public Schools. The district tells us its students were among the top in the county across the subjects of math, science, social studies, and English on the latest M-STEP tests. The M-STEP is Michigan’s standardized test for students in several grades. According to the district, Bridgman students ranked in the top three Berrien County public school districts for each content area tested on the 2017 M-STEP. They were number one in Berrien County when it comes to Total Science Proficiency and Total Social Studies Proficiency. Superintendent Shane Peters tells us he’s proud of the hard work done by both students and staff.. ...Read Full Story

Cook Plant Unit 1 Refueling Outage Begins This Week

A refueling outage at the Cook nuclear power plant’s Unit 1 will begin this Wednesday. Cook plant spokesperson Bill Schalk tells WSJM News this will be the 27th refueling outage for the unit. Around 1,000 extra workers will be on hand at the Bridgman area plant for the next several months to conduct a variety of maintenance tasks.. ...Read Full Story

Syndicated Radio Host Glenn Haege Passes Away

A well-known syndicated radio host and columnist who you’ve probably heard right here on WSJM has passed away. Glenn Haege, the host of the Handyman Show, which airs on the weekend on WSJM, died Monday after a short battle with cancer. The Detroit News reports Haege hosted his weekly program on Detroit’s WJR radio for many years. It’s also a show that’s syndicated on more than 135 other stations. Haege’s producer told The Detroit News he was a “consummate radio professional who really cared a great deal about his audience.” Funeral arrangements for the handyman are still pending.. ...Read Full Story