Local News Archives

State Rep Pleased With PFAS Testing Results

State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan is relieved to see the results of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team’s PFAS testing around Michigan. MPART, as it’s commonly known, released its screening results late last week, showing 90% of water supplies in the state tested for no PFAS. However, that still leaves 10%. That’s why Griffin tells WSJM News she’s introducing legislation to extend MPART.. ...Read Full Story

Asphalt Work Approved For Napier

Some asphalt resurfacing is coming to Napier Avenue in Berrien County. At this week’s meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners, the work in two areas was approved. First will be Napier from the Bainbridge and Benton Township line east to Morgan Road, and the second part will be from 625 feet east of Blue Creek to the Bainbridge and Benton Township line. The county board signed off on the asphalt resurfacing, traffic controls, and related work to be done by the Berrien County Road Department Thursday. The total cost of the project will be $620,000, although the county’s share will only be $22,000. Federal funds will contribute to the project, which has the approval of the Michigan Department of Transportation.. ...Read Full Story

Officials Testing Samples From Lake Michigan After Sighting Of Possible Algae Bloom

The Berrien County Health Department is working with the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to investigate a greenish patch that was reported on the surface of Lake Michigan off St. Joseph this week. Berrien County Health Department spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News while there were some concerns it could be an algae bloom, that’s not thought to be likely.. ...Read Full Story

Michiganders Urged to Fight For Lower Prescription Costs

The rising cost of prescription drug prices continues to make headlines, and Michiganders are encouraged to help find solutions. AARP Michigan is hosting two upcoming Prescription Drug Community Conversations next Monday. AARP Associate State Director for Communications Mark Hornbeck explains that the annual average cost of a brand-name drug has more than tripled over the past decade, outpacing inflation by roughly 400%.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Treasurer: County Speeding Ticket Money For Libraries Up 32%

If you’ve ever wondered where the money you pay for a speeding ticket goes, Cass County Treasurer Hope Anderson has the answer. She says county treasurers distribute the money collected to public libraries. This year, her office has distributed nearly $200,000, up 32% from last year. Anderson says most of the money has gone to the Cass County Public Library. Penal fines going to libraries has been part of the Michigan Constitution since Michigan became a state in 1835.. ...Read Full Story

Coloma Priest Facing Charges For 2013 Binding Of Teen Boy

A Coloma priest is facing serious charges that would require him to be a registered sex offender if found guilty. Attorney General Dana Nessel is charging 57-year-old Father Brian Stanley with false imprisonment for allegedly holding a teenage boy against his will in the janitor’s room of St. Margaret’s Church in Otsego in 2013. The teen was wrapped in Saran wrap and masking tape, with the tape going over his eyes and mouth, and left alone in the room for more than an hour before the priest let him go. Nessel says the charge comes from information seized from all seven Michigan diocese last October, and says Archdiocese records indicate Stanley had a history of similar conduct for decades with binding materials. She says that conduct is a sexually motivated crime. Nessel says her team is going through millions of pages of documents seized last year, and expects to charge more clergy members.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagons Donate More Than 800 Backpacks Filled With School Supplies

More than 800 backpacks filled with school supplies have been donated to schools around southwest Michigan and northern Indiana by the Pokagon Band of Pottawatomi. The Pokagons tell us employees at the Four Winds Casinos contributed to the giveaway with a voluntary payroll deduction, raising more than $6,000. The casinos then chipped in another $5,000. In total, they gave out 816 backpacks, each stuffed with pencils, markers, pens, crayons, notebooks, and scissors. Four Winds Casinos COO Frank Freedman says the employees have always risen to the occasion when it comes to helping the community.. ...Read Full Story

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Holds Meeting On Palisades’ Decommissioning

The Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert Township only has about three years remaining to be producing electricity for west Michigan before Entergy shuts it down for good. With the upcoming decommissioning of the plant, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent several officials to Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center Wednesday night to discuss the procedure and get feedback from area residents. The NRC’s Bruce Watson explained to WSJM News that decommissioning is a lengthy process.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks NAFTA Replacement

With Vice President Mike Pence in Michigan this week to address the Economic Club of Detroit, he urged the state’s congressional delegation to support the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, intended to replace NAFTA. We asked Congressman Fred Upton what he thinks of the USMCA. He tells WSJM News he believes it’s a plus.. ...Read Full Story

Healthy Home Fair Coming Up In Hartford

The Van Buren Conservation District is planning the second annual Healthy Home Fair in Hartford for next month. The district’s Erin Fuller tells us last year’s event went well and they’re hoping to do even better this year. The fair will be held at Ely Park On September 12 from 3 to 6 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Library Put Out Survey

A survey has been put online by the St. Joseph Library as it seeks to improve services. Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library Director Stephanie Masin tells WSJM News they want to use the information obtained from the survey to better plan for the future as more varied services are offered.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Planning Variable Speed Signs For Van Buren County

The Michigan Department of Transportation is planning to install new signs along I-94 in Van Buren County to warn drivers of conditions that should make them slow down. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News the current MDOT five year plan calls for those variable speed signs in 2023. The signs will warn drivers about poor weather conditions, for example.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Arrested After Roughly 20-Mile Wrong-Way Drive On I-94

Drivers heading east on I-94 in Van Buren County had some terrifying moments Tuesday night when an SUV was headed west in their lanes for just over 20 miles. Paw Paw and Mattawan police began chasing 47-year-old Ida King shortly before 10 p.m. after dispatch received several 911 calls of a wrong-way driver going west on the highway, starting at the Mattawan exit. King’s vehicle finally came to a stop after Pokagon Tribal Police put out stop sticks near Hartford, and three of her tires blew out. No other vehicles were hit according to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department. King was found to be drunk and had several warrants for her arrest out of mid-Michigan, including one for child neglect in Eaton County. She is locked up in the Van Buren County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

Senator Nesbitt Wants To Wipe Out Michigan’s Income Tax

There is a proposal in the works in the state Senate to do away with Michigan’s income tax.  Senator Aric Nesbitt of Lawton is behind the idea to zero out the 4.25% income tax by reducing it by a tenth of a percent over the course of several decades. Nesbitt tells WSJM News the state functioned just fine without an income tax until it was enacted in the 1960s, and looks at other states such as Texas, Nevada and Florida where the state economies are growing and residents do not have an income tax.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven HS Principal Named Superintendent In Iron Mountain

Another area educator is moving on to a new post. South Haven High School principal Jerry Sardina has been selected as the new superintendent of the Iron Mountain School District in the Upper Peninsula. Sardina was selected Monday night in a unanimous vote by the school board after two interviews. Contract negotiations are underway. South Haven Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Schooley tells WSJM News they wish Sardina well and says he will remain on site for about the next two or three weeks, but acknowledges the timing for the district is “not ideal.” Schooley says assistant principal Ryan Williamson will take over for the time being.. ...Read Full Story

Troy Family Rescued Off Coast Of South Haven

A suburban Detroit family is safely back on land after their rented jetskis capsized in Lake Michigan off the coast of South Haven. A nearby sailboat helped pluck an adult male and a child from the water, and South Haven Area Emergency Services responders rescued another child and an adult woman. The family from Troy was several hundred yards from shore off South Beach when their rented vessels overturned. One child is being treated at Bronson-South Haven Hospital, while the other three had no injuries. The incident happened at 11:30 this morning.. ...Read Full Story

Federal Officials Holding Forum On Palisades Decommissioning Tonight At LMC’s Mendel Center

It’s pretty short notice, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a forum tonight regarding the decommissioning of the Palisades nuclear power plant following it’s planned closure in 2022. The public meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the Mendel Center on the campus of Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor. Decommissioning the plant involves finding permanent storage for spent nuclear fuel, the safe shutdown of the facility and the removal of major components like the reactor vessel, steam generators, pumps, valves, and large piping systems and will take several years.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Conducting Internal Search For Next President

Southwestern Michigan College needs a new president, and it’s going to start by looking within. At a meeting this week of the SMC Board of Trustees, the vote was six to one to do an internal search for a new president. That’s as Dr. David Mathews plans to retire at the end of this year. Mathews has been SMC president since July of 2001. SMC Board of Trustees Chair Thomas Jerdon tells us he thinks they’ve already got some qualified candidates right there on campus, and the college knows them better than it could get to know anyone from a one hour interview. Also, he says SMC wants to be upwardly mobile. The board directed that the position of president be posted as soon as possible for internal candidates, with the application period closing in time for materials to be available to it by the September meeting. Jerdon also invited the public to come to the September 16 session to offer its input. Jerdon said hiring a firm to do a national search would be a good Plan B if the internal search doesn’t work out.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Backs Water Legislation

A package of legislation intended to make Michigan water supplies safer has been introduced in the state Senate. One bill in the package would require periodic testing of water for lead at child care facilities, colleges and universities, hospitals, nursing homes, and adult care facilities. That bill is from state Senator Kim LaSata, who tells us it and the others in the package would “build upon the investment and action that have already been taken to improve and protect the quality of our water.” Other bills in the new plan would create the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Commission to study environmental threats of lead poisoning, establish a lead and copper analysis report at least one year prior to any change in a water source, reform the emergency manager law into a three-person financial management team, and require lead service line disclosure statements in all rental contracts. The bills are all in response to recent water issues Michigan has seen, from the Flint water crisis to PFAS showing up in Parchment. The bills, which have House companions, are now before various Senate committees.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Expects Discussion On Gun Legislation Soon

With the most recent mass shootings still on everyone’s mind, Congressman Fred Upton is expecting the U.S. House to talk about legislation to reduce gun violence when it gets back to work next month. He tells us he’s hoping to see the House Judiciary Committee take up the Jake Laird Act. It provides grants to states to encourage them to implement red flag laws, enabling police to take someone’s guns for a specified period when that person is thought to be a danger to themselves or others.. ...Read Full Story

BH Schools Seeks Community Input On State Proposal

A survey has been put online by Benton Harbor Area Schools asking the community for feedback regarding the state’s latest proposal to improve the district. This is following a presentation last week by the Michigan Department of Treasury to the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education. Treasury proposed that a Community Engagement and Advisory Committee consisting of various local stakeholders and education leaders be established to assess the school district and then draft a list of recommendations. The committee will have six months to put together its report. The board of education was asked to approve a resolution in support of the idea, perhaps at a meeting in September. In the meantime, the school district has put its survey and an electronic copy of the state proposal up at BHAS.org. The survey asks people for feedback and suggestions for improvement. The district asks everyone to have their input in by August 28.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Updates Rules

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have updated the rules that govern their meetings. At a Monday session, the body updated its rules on the recommendation of the legislative committee. Commissioner Sharon Henderson said the amendments have been in the works for several months. In fact, they were tabled by the commission a few months ago before being brought back Monday.. ...Read Full Story

Second-Degree Murder Charges Filed In Deadly Buchanan Crash

A Buchanan man is facing four charges of second-degree murder for a crash this month that killed four people. Berrien County Prosecutor Mike Sepic says in addition to those, 54-year-old Dub Collins is also facing drunk driving charges and a charge of driving on a suspended license. Collins is accused of blowing through a stop sign at a high speed at the intersection of Miller Road and Main Street on Friday, August 2 and plowing into a 2000 Honda Accord driven by 66-year-old Robert Klint of Sawyer. Along with Klint, his three passengers were all pronounced dead at the scene. They were his 60-year-old wife, Melissa, their 22-year-old daughter, Landyn, and Melissa’s 52-year-old brother, Kent Williamson of Virginia.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Expected To Start Work On I-196 BL Road Diet This Fall

The I-196 Business Loop in South Haven, also known as Broadway and LaGrange avenues, has been the topic of a proposed road diet by city officials for about two years. The road is owned and maintained by the Michigan Department of Transportation, which means the city can’t do anything with it until getting the state’s approval. South Haven City Manager Brian Dissette says they’re about to get the green light.. ...Read Full Story

Kinexus Group Officials Praise State’s Going Pro Job Training Program

You may have seen billboards featuring the phrase “Going Pro” and wondered what it is. It’s the rebranding by the Whitmer administration of the job training program launched by the state under former Governor Rick Snyder seeking to help companies hire and train new workers. It’s worked very well under both administrations according to officials with Kinexus in Benton Harbor. Kinexus Group vice president of public relations and government affairs Al Pscholka says last year, almost four dozen companies in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties received $2.1 million in awards from the program.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Council Approves Plan To Address Dunkley Ave Flooding

Those living along Dunkley Avenue or who have to drive along it in South Haven will be getting some relief fairly soon. The City Council this week was given four options to deal with the flooding issue due to high water levels in Lake Michigan and the Black River, the most expensive costing more than $400,000. The City Council will go with a $20,000 remedy according to City Manager Brian Dissette.. ...Read Full Story

After Amash Dumped Trump, His District May Do Same To Him

From the Associated Press — Justin Amash has left the Republican Party over his opposition to President Donald Trump, and Democrats are celebrating. The Michigan congressman’s departure means a three-way race in his politically shifting Grand Rapids-area district, giving Democrats fresh hope for picking up his a seat. Amash is also flirting with another way to wound Trump – by running for president as a Libertarian. More than 200,000 Michigan voters supported a third-party candidate in 2016, when Trump won the state by just over 10,000 votes Amash was the first Republican on Capitol Hill to say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings. Amash’s is another cautionary tale for GOP lawmakers who consider opposing Trump. Those who do quickly find it’s a lonely place to be, and may mean the end of a political career.. ...Read Full Story