Local News Archives

Police Investigate Fatal Hit And Run Near Paw Paw

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a fatal hit and run reported on Monday. Sheriff’s deputies were called out to the scene on M-43 east of 37th Street near Paw Paw around 8:30 a.m. A driver had stopped to help a dog that was sitting by the side of the road when the victim was discovered. The victim has been identified as 25-year-old Keaton Dorman. Police say he was lying in the ditch on the north-side of M-43. Deputies determined he’d been walking his dog the previous night when he was struck by a vehicle. The approximate time for the hit and run is sometime between 12 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Monday. Police say evidence at the scene has shown them the vehicle involved was a tan Ford model. It should have heavy damage on its passenger side. Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Secretary Of State Reminds Voters About New Election Equipment

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is reminding everyone there will be local elections in the coming month. The date is set at November 7. Johnson tells us many voters will be using brand new voting machines this time around, so they may want to familiarize themselves with the new technology. That new equipment will be in use in 49 Michigan counties, including Berrien. Specifically, they’ll be rolled out in the Stevensville, Benton Harbor, and St. Joseph areas.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Gas Prices Fall About 7¢

We’re not paying as much to fill up to start the week. In the area, Triple-A Michigan says the average gas price for the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph region is down 9¢ a gallon from last week to $2.50. Statewide, we’re averaging $2.51, down about 7¢. The auto club says the Saginaw-Bay City-Midland area has the state’s lowest prices at $2.43, while the most expensive gas is in the Upper Peninsula in Marquette at $2.58. South Haven, which is not included in AAA’s survey, has gas prices at most stations at $2.38 and $2.39, with GasBuddy spotters noting one station is as high as $2.49. AAA says Michigan is 21st in the nation for the most expensive gas price.. ...Read Full Story

New Law Bans Local Soda Taxes

From the Associated Press — Municipalities in Michigan will be prohibited from levying local taxes on food and beverages under a bill signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. The Republican governor OK’d the measure Thursday after it recently won overwhelming legislative approval. No local governments in Michigan are considering an excise tax on sugary and artificially sweetened beverages. But business groups and others that lobbied for the law pointed to soda taxes in Philadelphia and the Chicago area as reason enough to move quickly. Health advocates opposed the bill. Cook County, Illinois, recently repealed its tax due to a backlash.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Slightly Scales Back Tech Center Plans

St. Joseph City Commissioners have approved a new Industrial Facilities Exemption Certificate for Whirlpool as it moves forward with its plans to invest in the tech center on Upton Drive. Rob Cleveland of Cornerstone Alliance tells WSJM News a new tax abatement certificate was needed because Whirlpool has reduced the cost of the project from about $35 to $25 million.. ...Read Full Story

MI House Votes To Strengthen Prenuptial Agreements

From the Associated Press — The Michigan House has approved legislation to clarify the enforcement of prenuptial agreements due to concerns that an appellate court ruling could lead judges to invalidate prenups because assets aren’t apportioned equally. The bill was approved 63-43 Thursday, with majority Republicans in support and Democrats opposed. The legislation would add instances when a prenuptial contract is unenforceable. They would include cases of fraud, duress or mistake, or if financial information is hidden from a party before signing.Courts could not enforce a prenup if its terms are “unconscionable.” Supporters worry that without the bill, judges could disregard a contract and apply a “standard of living” test to distribute marital property. Critics worry it would prevent judges from fairly looking at the totality of circumstances.The bill moves to the Senate.. ...Read Full Story

State Salutes LMC For Work With Veterans

Lake Michigan College has been recognized by the Michigan Veterans’ Affairs Agency for its work to attract and accommodate veterans. It’s been named a gold-level Veteran Friendly School. LMC Vice President of Student Engagement Barbara Craig tells WSJM News the college does a variety of things to be welcoming to those who have served in the military.. ...Read Full Story

Economic Development Groups Question BH Income Tax Proposal

Benton Harbor-based employment and economic development organizations Kinexus and Cornerstone Alliance both have their concerns about the city’s proposal for a local income tax. Representatives of both groups chatted with WSJM’s Pat Moody this week about the ballot proposal. Kinexus CEO Todd Gustafson said he does understand the need for infrastructure work in Benton Harbor.. ...Read Full Story

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