Local News Archives

Andrews Professor Saluted For Participation In Nobel-Winning Project

An Andrews University physics professor is being saluted by the institution for her work as part of a scientific collaboration that has now won a Nobel Prize. It was announced this week the Nobel Prize in Physics this year is going to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory — or LIGO — Scientific Collaboration. Part of that collaboration is Tiffany Summerscales who works for Andrews. She, along with her students, represented Andrews University as one of 103 academic institutions in 18 countries that make up the LIGO collaboration. Andrews tells us three of that project’s leaders, professors out of MIT and Caltech, are the specific named recipients of the Nobel Prize. In announcing the award this week, the Royal Swedish Academy called LIGO’s work “a discovery that shook the world.” The LIGO team proved an Albert Einstein theory about gravitational waves.. ...Read Full Story

MI Supreme Court To Hear Berrien Gun Range Appeal

The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal to a ruling in the long-drawn out lawsuit over a Berrien County Sheriff’s Department gun range in Coloma Township. It relates to a September of 2016 decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals that shut down the gun range. This case has been going on for more than 10 years. Residents near the gun range say it’s too loud and it’s not properly zoned. The state Supreme Court will consider whether the Michigan County Commissioners Act can be interpreted to mean the sheriff’s department’s need to train at the site trumps the local zoning ordinance. The Michigan Supreme court has invited groups including the Michigan Sheriffs Association and the Michigan Municipal League to file briefs in the case. It has not indicated a date for any court proceedings.. ...Read Full Story

Treasurer: Legislation Cracks Down On Homestead Tax Loophole

Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski is pleased to learn legislation from state Representatives Dave Pagel and Kim LaSata cracking down on second homeowners who exploit a tax loophole has passed. The plan closes a loophole that allows for an out-of-state resident with a second home in Michigan to claim that second home is a homestead, lowering their property taxes. It also enables the owners of rental properties to claim those parcels as their homestead. Witkowski tells WSJM News his office is always tracking those people down and having to fight them at the tax tribunal level.. ...Read Full Story

Missing Berrien County Woman Found Dead

The Lincoln Township Police Department says a woman reported missing this week has been found dead. 57-year-old Anna Hyszczak went missing on Tuesday afternoon. Family found her bicycle leaning against a fence post in the 5,600 block of Notre Dame Avenue near John Beers Road in some woods along an old driveway. They called police when their own search didn’t locate her. That led to another search involving police, firefighters, K9s, and a thermal imaging helicopter at one point. Lincoln Township Police Chief Gary Soper tells us Hyszczak’s body was found Wednesday around 4:30 p.m. in the water at North Lake in the Grand Mere area, not far from where she had gone missing. The body was spotted by a kayaker. Police do not suspect foul play, and the investigation is ongoing.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate Approves Ban On Local Food, Beverage Taxes

From the Associated Press — Legislation advancing in Michigan would prohibit municipalities from levying a tax on food and drinks.
Supporters of the bill approved 31-5 in the Republican-led Senate Wednesday want to prevent local taxes on soda and other unhealthy items. Such taxation isn’t under consideration at the local level in Michigan. But advocates of the legislation say it’s needed to pre-empt potential local taxes after municipalities such as Philadelphia and Cook County, which includes Chicago, enacted a tax on sugary and artificially sweetened beverages. The bill next goes to the GOP-controlled House, where a similar measure could be voted on as early as later Wednesday. Some Democrats who opposed the legislation noted that no Michigan cities are considering food and soda taxes, but Michigan should not restrict their ability to address financial problems.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Hoping For Auto Insurance Reform Soon

State Senator John Proos is hoping the latest effort to reform Michigan’s auto insurance system will be successful. He tells WSJM News testimony has been taken this week over in the House for a plan to remove a requirement that all auto policies in Michigan have unlimited coverage for catastrophic injuries.. ...Read Full Story

Western Michigan University Suspends Dorm Replacement Program

From the Associated Press — Initial planning to replace a dozen residence halls over a decade at Western Michigan University has been suspended. Spokeswoman Cheryl Roland said Wednesday that officials at the Kalamazoo school have decided to focus on other development priorities. She says the efforts, which had been exploratory and never firm, would have started with demolition and construction of four dorms as early as next year. The university sought input last month from students and faculty last month on
what to include and architects were consulted. Overall costs had not been determined.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Applauds Krasl Crowdfunding Effort

State Representative Kim LaSata has thrown her support behind a crowdfunding effort recently launched by the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph. Krasl is looking to raise $50,000 by December 1 to receive a matching grant through Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative. That grant and the money raised would be used for an improvement project at Krasl. It would mean the installation of a winding sidewalk, a plaza, and gathering areas. In addition to the MEDC matching funds, all contributions to the campaign will be quadrupled thanks to additional matching grants from the Frederick S. Upton Foundation and 1st Source Bank Foundation. Representative LaSata says she’s excited about the effort to “revitalize downtown St. Joseph and promote the arts.” You can find Krasl’s fundraising page right here.. ...Read Full Story

BH School Leaders Anxious To Learn Student Count Numbers

Student attendance is a major concern for Benton Harbor Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker this week. She tells WSJM News Wednesday is Student Count Day and they need as many kids as they can get. State funding depends on it. She tells us there are a lot of kids who start out the school year at other districts and then wind up back at Benton Harbor later. When that happens, Benton Harbor still loses out on per-pupil funding.. ...Read Full Story

Lincoln Township Police Search For Missing Woman

The Lincoln Township Police Department is looking for a missing woman. In a Facebook post, it says 57-year-old Anna Hyszczak went missing Tuesday. She was last seen around 2 p.m. in the area of John Beers Road and Notre Dame Avenue. Police say she was wearing a blue hospital shirt and black shorts. Lincoln Township police are concerned for her safety, and ask anyone with information on her location to contact them.. ...Read Full Story

MI House Targets Cops Who Job Hop To Escape Misconduct Allegations

From the Associated Press — Legislation approved in Michigan aims to stop police misconduct from being kept a secret when officers apply for a new job at another department. The bill won approval 105-2 on Tuesday in the House after clearing the Senate earlier this year. It would require law enforcement agencies to keep records of the reasons for and circumstances surrounding any officer’s employment separation. The officer would have to sign a waiver allowing a prospective employer to ask for the records. The department could not hire the officer unless it receives the records. The bill sponsor, Republican Senator Rick Jones, says he wants to stop “gypsy cops” from hopping from job to job after being accused of misconduct. Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign the legislation.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Orders Flags Lowered To Honor Las Vegas Victims

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder is calling for U.S. and Michigan flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. The governor on Monday encouraged residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations to display the flags at half-staff through sunset on Friday. In a statement, Snyder asked Michiganders to pray for those injured and those fighting for their lives. At least 58 people died when a gunman on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel-casino rained heavy fire down on a crowd of over 22,000 at an outdoor country music festival. At least 515 people were injured.. ...Read Full Story

Supreme Court Declines To Hear Challenge To Emergency Manager Law

From the Associated Press — The Supreme Court won’t take up a challenge to a Michigan law that allows the state to temporarily take away local officials’ authority during financial crises and appoint an emergency manager. The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear the case. Voters and elected officials were challenging a state law that says that to rescue financially stressed cities and school districts the state can reassign the governing powers of local officials to a state-appointed emergency manager. An emergency manager was in place during the water crisis in Flint. Those bringing the lawsuit said emergency managers have been appointed in a high number of areas with large African-American populations but not in similar areas with majority white populations. Lower courts said lawsuit was brought under a federal law that didn’t apply.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Las Vegas Attack “Almost Defies Words”

Congressman Fred Upton says he joins the rest of the nation when he sends his deepest condolences to those affected by Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. In a statement issued Monday, Upton writes he and his wife woke up to the news on Monday, seeing “stunning images of victims being mowed down.” He says it “almost defies words.” Upton also thanked all of the first responders who helped at the scene. At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 were injured in the massacre. It’s the nation’s deadliest mass shooting.. ...Read Full Story

Supreme Court Rejects MI Sex Offender Registry Case

From the Associated Press — The Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s ruling that said significant changes to Michigan’s sex offender registry law could not be applied retroactively. Michigan asked the high court to take up the issue after a 2016 federal appeals court ruling, but the Supreme Court declined in an order Monday. The appeals court said that retroactively applying the changes to people already on
the list would unconstitutionally increase punishments after offenders’ convictions. Michigan said it changed its law in response to a 2006 federal law that sets minimum standards for registries. States that fail to follow those minimum standards can lose federal law-enforcement funds. Michigan argued that the case was important to all states trying to comply with federal law.. ...Read Full Story