Local News Archives

Chikaming Twp Officer Undergoes Surgeries After Being Hit On I-94

Chikaming Township Police Chief Todd Taylor says Officer David Wyman has had to undergo several surgeries after being hit by a car around 9:30 Sunday night after a traffic stop on Interstate 94. It happened near the 12 mile marker in the eastbound lanes when a 67-year-old man hit Wyman and then hit the back end of his patrol car. Chief Taylor says Wyman is in stable condition at Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph and is recovering. The extent of his injuries has not been released. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the crash, and Taylor notes details will be released later. Those are likely to include possible charges against the driver who hit the officer.. ...Read Full Story

Police Identify Man Killed In Cass County Crash

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department has identified the man killed in a crash in Penn Township Monday morning. Authorities say 34-year-old Russell Jett Jr. of Kalamazoo died when his vehicle went off the road on Decatur Road near Shurte Street and hit a tree. Jett was on his way to Cassopolis at the time. He was wearing his seat belt, and police say alcohol and drugs did not play roles in the crash.. ...Read Full Story

New Poll Puts Upton 2nd In GOP Primary Field For U.S. Senate

New polling data shows almost half of the Republicans in Michigan haven’t yet made up their mind in a GOP primary for the U.S. Senate. They’ve still got plenty of time ahead of the primary next year, but polling by Target Insyght puts Congressman Fred Upton second in the race. Political newcomer John James, who is calling himself a “conservative outsider” has the lead with 24%, followed by Upton at 19% and former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young at 7%. “Other” candidates are supported by 5% of those polled, while 45% are still undecided. James has been releasing daily videos to speak directly to voters, while Upton has not made a decision on whether to run for the U.S. Senate or seek re-election to the U.S. House. Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow is seeking re-election to the Senate. Singer Kid Rock said recently he was not serious when he teased a possible run against Stabenow as a Republican, and admitted that was a promotional stunt for his new album.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Signs Bill Setting Requirements For Specialty Courts

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder has signed bills to 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 re-offend.
Supporters say the legislation is needed so Michigan has a more consistent and effective approach for the courts and defendants. Under legislation signed Monday, specialty courts – including drug, sobriety, mental health and veteran’s treatment courts – will 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.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph’s Dickinson Stadium To Get Artificial Turf

When the St. Joe Bears step out on the field of Dickinson Stadium to open the 2018 regular season, the football team will not be playing on the normal natural grass that’s been in place since the stadium was redone in 2003. A gift from Steve and Elizabeth Upton will pay for artificial turf to be installed, and St. Joseph Superintendent Ann Cardon tells WSJM News it will be in place before the first football practice next summer. The high school boys and girls soccer teams will also be able to return to playing games at the high school with the new playing surface after spending more than a quarter-century at Upton Middle School. St. Joseph will become the fourth high school in Berrien County with artificial turf, and the sixth in the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference. In a statement, Steve Upton said he and his wife are proud to help with the improvement and are “excited to improve the facilities at the high school and this will benefit all area student athletes for years to come.”. ...Read Full Story

Treasurer Talks Retail Closings

Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski sees a trend that will probably continue when he considers the upcoming closure of the Benton Harbor Target store. He tells us the store’s closing is the result of a general decline in shopping at brick and mortar retailers. As far as the Benton Harbor Target’s tax contribution to the county, Witkowski says not a whole lot is being lost. In 2007, the Target paid $131,000, but last year it paid $59,000. However, Witkowski can see a bigger problem being caused as more retailers close.. ...Read Full Story

Delay In SJ Blighted Property Decision

It could be a year before the battle over a blighted property on Niles Avenue in St. Joseph is resolved. St Joe City Commissioners Monday heard from City Attorney Laurie Schmidt that the owner of the home at 1015 Niles — the house with the tarp on its roof — has filed an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Berrien County Circuit Court last month ruled in favor of a city demolition order on the house, which inspectors have said is unlivable. However, the owner had one more place to turn and the state appeals court was it. The city attorney said that owner filed the appeal on the day of the deadline. Now, she says it could be as long as a year before the appeals court makes a decision. She told commissioners it might be quicker, but “realistically, the court of appeals does take a long time.” Meanwhile, some other properties the city has fought to clean up have seen progress. Schmidt said a home at 517 Archer was demolished last week, has a new owner, and there will be a new home built there in the spring. As for other homes on Hoyt Street and Wayne Street, she said they’re about halfway fixed.. ...Read Full Story

New St. Joseph Commissioners Sworn In, Garey Remains Mayor

The new St. Joseph City Commissioners have been seated. Following their wins in elections last week, Laura Goos and Peggy Getty were sworn in Monday night, along with the re-elected Michael Garey. Goos, a newcomer, told WSJM News her first task is to learn. After that, she wants to engage more of the public. She hit the ground running Monday, being appointed mayor pro tem.. ...Read Full Story

AEP Donates To Lake Michigan College Project

A renovation project planned by Lake Michigan College for the Mendel Center’s Grand Upton Hall will have some support from the American Electric Power Foundation. AEP’s Bill Downey tells WSJM News the foundation has been a partner with Lake Michigan College for many years, and that’s it’s giving a $50,000 grant to the LMC project.. ...Read Full Story

Stuff A Truck Food Drive Underway

This is the week to stuff a truck. 97-5 Y Country’s Matt Malone is among the radio personalities manning the microphone at Roger’s Food Land in St. Joseph for the annual Stuff a Truck drive. Malone tells WSJM News they’re collecting food and other products for the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency.. ...Read Full Story

Attorney General: Lawmakers Can’t Change Natural Resources Fund

From the Associated Press — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the Legislature cannot fund projects from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund that have not been recommended by the fund. In an opinion released Monday and dated November 3, Schuette also says lawmakers lack the authority to require the fund to spend a mandated amount of development funds on a specific type of development.
The opinion was issued in response to questions from a state senator and the director of the state Department of Natural Resources.
The fund consists of royalties paid by oil and gas companies for mineral rights. Earlier this year, the Republican-led Senate tried to add an additional $7.7 million in spending for 43 more projects on top of 114 recommended by the fund’s board.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead In Cass County Crash

A Kalamazoo man is dead following a crash in Cass County Monday morning. The sheriff’s department tells us the 34-year-old was driving a vehicle that left the road and hit a tree around 10:45 a.m. It happened on Decatur Road near Shurte Street in Penn Township. Police say the vehicle went across two lanes of traffic before hitting the tree. The circumstances are under investigation. The name of the victim has not yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

Chikaming Twp Police Officer Struck By Vehicle

An officer for the Chikaming Township Police Department is recovering after he was hit by a vehicle along I-94 on Sunday night. Chikaming Township Police Chief Todd Taylor tells WSJM News Officer David Wyman was at the scene of a vehicle in a ditch near eastbound miles marker 12 around 9:30 p.m. when it happened. Just as Wyman was preparing the clear the scene, he was hit by a vehicle driven by a 67-year-old man. Wyman was struck outside of his patrol car. After that, the other vehicle hit the rear end of Wyman’s patrol car. Chief Taylor tells us Officer Wyman was taken to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph. He’s in stable condition. Wyman has been a police officer for six years, and has been with the Chikaming Township Police Department for three months. The Berrien County Sheriff’s department is handling the investigation into Sunday’s incident.. ...Read Full Story

Man Killed in Pokagon Township

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an accident that killed an Elkhart man. The Sheriff’s Office received a call of a subject on the roadway on M51 near Pokagon Highway in Pokagon Township last night. A few minutes later they received another call that a person had been hit by a car. Deputies responded and found that 53 year old Howard Payton, had been fatally struck by a vehicle. The driver, who’s name is not being released at this time due to the fact that she is a minor, was traveling on M51 when this collision happened. She was treated and released by the ambulance on scene. She was wearing her seat belt. At this time, it is unknown if drugs or alcohol may have been a factor. This case remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Utility Reminds Residents Of Home Heating Aid Options

Consumers Energy is reminding everyone there’s no need to struggle with heating bills this winter. The utility’s Whitney Skeans tells us there are a variety of places to turn for home heating help. Also, the utility offers payment plans in the winter. Skeans tells WSJM News another way to deal with heating your home in the winter is to take steps to reduce usage.. ...Read Full Story

New SJ Commissioners To Be Seated Tomorrow

There were some surprises in this week’s St. Joseph city elections. Two incumbents — Fran Chickering and Mary Goff — lost out to two newcomers, Peggy Getty and Laura Goos. Mayor Mike Garey tells WSJM News that kind of change doesn’t happen often, but he looks forward to working with the new commissioners.. ...Read Full Story

AAA Calls For Extra Fall Caution

Now that we’ve changed our clocks for the season, many people will be driving home from work in the dark. That’s why AAA of Michigan wants drivers to be extra alert. Spokesperson Susan Hiltz tells WSJM News 3 in 10 drivers report having driven when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open in the past 30 days. She says now is a time to use common sense. ...Read Full Story

Health Department: Sign Up For Insurance Now

The Berrien County Health Department is hoping everyone in need of health insurance will use this open enrollment period to apply for coverage. Health department spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News the Affordable Care Act is still in place, along with its subsidies and mandate. The health department will help you.. ...Read Full Story

State Fire Marshal Drafts Statewide Risk Reduction Plan

Consumers Energy is reminding everyone there’s no need to struggle with heating bills this winter. The utility’s Whitney Skeans tells us there are a variety of places to turn for home heating help. Also, the utility offers payment plans in the winter. Skeans tells WSJM News another way to deal with heating your home in the winter is to take steps to reduce usage.. ...Read Full Story