Local News Archives

Snyder Urges Congress To Protect Young Immigrants

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is urging Congress to act quickly to authorize and clarify the status of immigrants brought into the country illegally as children since President Donald Trump is phasing out a program that protects them from deportation. The Republican governor said Tuesday many people are “working toward success” under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and Congress should act “for the certainty of their future.” The Trump administration is giving Congress six months to develop a legislative fix before it stops renewing permits for people already covered. The program was created by former President Barack Obama and benefits 6,430 people in Michigan. The Michigan Democratic Party says Trump’s actions are “cruel” because the immigrants “were brought to this country through no fault of their own.”. ...Read Full Story

Toddler Killed In Cass County Accident

A two-year-old girl is dead after being hit by a vehicle this week in Cass County. The sheriff’s department tells us it happened around 7 p.m. Monday in the 20,000 block of Old 205 in Mason Township. It occurred during a family birthday party when a 64-year-old woman was pulling into the driveway and struck the toddler who has been indentified as Nayla Ryans of Elkhart. Family tried CPR on the child, but she was pronounced dead at Memorial Hospital in South Bend. Police say the woman whose vehicle hit the child is cooperating with them. The incident remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Police Looking For Suspect Behind Fraudulent Check Scam

Michigan State Police are investigating a rash of fraudulent checks being deposited at United Federal Credit Union locations around west Michigan. Troopers from the Niles MSP post tell WSJM News the fraudulent activity has been going on since December of last year and has happened at the UFCU branches in Niles, Stevensville, Benton Harbor, and Holland. A suspect described by state police as “a heavy set black female wearing sun glasses” will deposit a check in an ATM on a Friday night so the funds can be drawn over the weekend before business hours on Monday. The woman does take steps to conceal her face, but we have surveillance photos posted in this story. Police say no United Federal Credit Union accounts have been jeopardized.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Shooting Spree Victim Going Back To School

The mother of the youngest survivor of an Uber driver’s alleged shooting rampage in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is returning to school part-time. Vickie Kopf tells WOOD-TV 15-year-old Abigail Kopf will attend Harper Creek High School in Battle Creek for two to three hours per day, possibly five days per week. Abigail was in seventh grade when Uber driver Jason Dalton allegedly shot her and seven other people in February 2016. She and another woman were the only victims to survive. Kopf says her daughter suffers severe headaches. Part of Abigail’s skull has been replaced with a plate because of damage from a gunshot wound. Kopf says Abigail will have a personal assistant with her at all times to ensure she has all of the support she needs.. ...Read Full Story

West Michigan Drug Operation Busted

The break-up of a drug ring operating in Benton Harbor and Grand Rapids over the weekend has resulted in 18 arrests, with four suspects still at large. Authorities seized about a million dollars cash, 30 kilograms of heroin and cocaine, several pounds of marijuana, a bullet-proof vest, four handguns and an assault rifle. The bust also left one suspect in critical condition with a gunshot wound. DEA agents and the Kent County Tactical Unit executed warrants at the Burton’s Landing Apartment Complex in Grand Rapids at about 4 am Sunday. The drugs were reportedly smuggled on board a tractor trailer that drove to west Michigan from California. The officer who shot one of the suspects has been put on administrative leave while a routine shooting review is conducted. The suspects could face 20 to life if convicted on the federal counts.. ...Read Full Story

Big Waves Topple Small Boat In South Haven

Despite warnings that the water was going to be rough over Labor Day, there were still people who braved it. In one instance in South Haven, it could have had some unpleasant results. A small Zodiac boat got flipped in the channel Monday, but the two people aboard were able to get back on top of the capsized boat and get it over to the side. Emergency crews from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department and South Haven Fire Department were called to the scene just after 11:30 a.m. and within 10 minutes had cleared the scene with no injuries. We do have a small craft advisory through late tonight for Lake Michigan from the Indiana border north past South Haven.. ...Read Full Story

Former Roseland Councilman Dies In St. Joseph

One of the loudest opponents to the CVS Pharmacy in St. Joseph is dead at the age of 65. David Snyder and his wife, Dorothy, moved to St. Joseph a few years ago after having served on the Roseland Town Council near South Bend. The two made up two-thirds of that council, and Snyder was arrested in 2007 for battery of a police officer for an incident with the town marshal after he was ejected from a meeting. The charges were later dropped. Once moving to St. Joseph, he waged a bitter fight in vain against the pharmacy being built at Niles and Napier, often extending St. Joseph City Commission meetings by hours. Snyder died from complications of multiple sclerosis and is survived by his wife, two sons, parents and siblings.. ...Read Full Story

Four Rescued When Sailboat Capsizes Near Warren Dunes

The Lake Township Fire Department and the US Coast Guard had to go to the aid of four boaters whose vessel capsized about 500 yards from shore off the coast of Warren Dunes State Park yesterday. The fire department’s marine unit had rescued the four by the time the Coast Guard arrived from St. Joseph and a helicopter from Muskegon got to the area. The Coast Guard says thankfully, all four were wearing life jackets and no one was hurt. The owner of the 16-foot sailboat is trying to salvage the craft according to the Coast Guard. The incident happened just after 9 a.m. Monday in choppy waters.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Rise Due To Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey gets the blame for a big 16¢ jump in Michigan’s average gas price, and Triple-A says more price hikes could be coming in the next week. The auto club is warning prices could jump another dime to 20¢ a gallon due to Harvey. The statewide average is now $2.62 a gallon, with our prices in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph up 16¢ to $2.60. The state’s lowest prices are in the Saginaw/Bay City/Midland area at $2.57, and the Upper Peninsula has the highest prices at $2.69 in Marquette. Van Buren County stations aren’t included in Triple-A’s survey, but GasBuddy spotters are reporting South Haven prices at $2.57, with one station in Paw Paw as low as $2.47 this morning.. ...Read Full Story

Infrastructure Work Starts Tomorrow In South Haven

Infrastructure work gets underway next week in South Haven. Specifically, crews will be working to install new sewer and water lines, along with improvements to roads and parking areas on Black River Street. The city tells us the project will require occasional utility shutoffs throughout the next several months, but any residents or businesses to be affected will get notices. During construction, the road will be closed to through traffic with temporary access arranged for nearby businesses and homes. Work starts Tuesday and will be done next spring.. ...Read Full Story

5K Run To Benefit Police This Month

A new event is coming up in St. Joseph to raise money for police causes around Michigan. St. Joseph City Commissioners last week approved the Back the Blue 5K for Riverview Park on September 9. Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Roger Johnson tells us this run will raise money for MI-COPS.. ...Read Full Story

Doctors Urge Parents To Talk Vaccinations

Back to school time means time to make sure you kids have all of their vaccines. Dr. Pamela Rockwell sits on two vaccine advisory committees for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and tells us it’s helpful to have a close relationship with a health professional who knows the facts. She adds many parents these days have been reluctant to get their kids all of their shots.. ...Read Full Story

Toddler Killed in Mason Township

A birthday party turned tragic in Mason Township. At 7:00 Sunday night, the Cass County Sheriff’s Department report a two-year-old was struck and killed in the 20000 block of Old 205. They report the family was having a birthday party at the residence. A family member was pulling into the driveway when a two-year-old child was struck by the vehicle. The vehicle continued down the driveway running the child over. Family members began doing CPR until EMS arrived to take over. The child was transported to Memorial Hospital in South Bend and was pronounced dead. The driver of the vehicle is currently cooperating with law enforcement. Information about the driver and the child are being with held at this time pending family notifications. Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor in the crash and the case remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Railroad Waiting For approval On Bluff Re-Enforcement Plan

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now seeking public comment on CSX Railroad’s plans to shore up the bluff in St. Joseph in the area of 2405 Old Lakeshore. That’s where residents have reported significant bluff erosion in the past year. This week, St. Joe City Manager John Hodgson told commissioners CSX is anxious to get to work on installing some large rocks along the Lake Michigan shoreline down below to strengthen the bluff. The erosion and possible collapse of the area puts its nearby tracks in danger. Hodgson says the railroad is waiting for the comment period to end and hoping authorities fast track the approval of its plans. If so, something could be installed there by the end of October.. ...Read Full Story

Reconstruction, Repaving Planned For Wallace Avenue In St. Joseph

Residents along Wallace Avenue in St. Joseph will lose some of their parking, but at least their street will get reconstructed. That’s after St. Joseph City Commissioners this past week voted to proceed with a Wallace plan which will mean no more parking between Stadium and Lakeshore. The city had to go with that option because it’s required to put in a ten-foot path along the street for bikes. If it didn’t, the project would lose $460,000 in federal funding. Commissioner Mary Goff said the plan isn’t perfect.. ...Read Full Story

Still Time To Check Out The Nina And The Pinta In South Haven

The Nina and the Pinta are now docked at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven. At least, replicas are. WSJM News caught up with Kat, a crew member. She sailed into South Haven from Muskegon Wednesday and told us a bit about the vessels. For example, aboard the Nina, Kat told us the replicas are almost the size of the real ships Christopher Columbus sailed in 1492.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT And Private Foundation Team Up For Expansion Of Cable Guardrails

A new public-private partnership is resulting in the addition of new cable guardrails to a stretch on I-96 in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Transportation’s Jeff Cranson tells WSJM News the Mitchel Kiefer Foundation was founded by a General Motors executive who lost his son in a car crash on the highway. It’s working with MDOT to pay for about 1.7 miles of cable rail in Ingham County.. ...Read Full Story

Premiums In Michigan’s Individual Market May Rise 28%

From the Associated Press — People buying their own health insurance on Michigan’s individual market could see the sticker price of premiums rise by nearly 28% on average next year if President Donald Trump follows through on his threat to cut billions of dollars in payments to insurers. Companies’ sky-high rate requests – which assume the cost-sharing reductions will occur – were made public by the state Friday. Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Patrick McPharlin says he’s hopeful insurers will be allowed to change to a lower set of rates if the state receives a commitment that the cost-sharing payments will be made. The average 28% premium increase across ten insurers doesn’t factor in federal tax credits that about 80% of customers receive to offset the cost.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Leaders Remain Vocal On Short Term Rental Legislation

St. Joseph City Commissioners continue to keep their eye on legislation introduced in the Michigan Senate that they say would remove local authority to regulate short-term rental properties. Back in May, the commission expressed its opposition to the idea, and Mayor Mike Garey said at a meeting this week the body needs to remain vocal. He said the plan is intended to back the real estate lobby, and would prevent local authorities from making their own rules.. ...Read Full Story

September Is Emergency Preparedness Month

Everyone around Michigan is encouraged to make sure they’re properly prepared to deal with emergency situations as part of the state’s Preparedness Month. Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Chris Kelenske tells WSJM News folks need to think in advance about how they’d get through a disaster. For example, you should have an emergency kit.. ...Read Full Story

Two Drug Busts This Week In Berrien County

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us two people have been arrested in a couple of separate drug busts which took place this past week around the Benton Harbor area. The first bust happened Monday in the 300 block of Walnut Avenue in Benton Township. The Southwest Enforcement Team says it searched a home and seized several grams of crack, a quarter pound of marijuana, a hand gun, and several hundred dollars. One man was arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, maintaining a drug house, possession of a firearm by a felon, and felony firearms.
The other drug bust happened on Wednesday in Benton Harbor at a home in the 1,000 block of East Main Street. Police say they seized an ounce of cocaine, a half ounce of crack, a half ounce of heroin, and several hundred dollars. One man was arrested in that bust and charged with six felony offenses. The Southwest Enforcement Team is made up of several law enforcement agencies from all over southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story