Local News Archives

Man Dies In Niles Area Roll Over Crash

Michigan State Police are investigating a fatal crash which occurred Thursday afternoon on US-31 near Niles. MSP tells us officers arrived on scene to find a single vehicle that had rolled over. The driver was trapped inside, and the Bertrand Township Fire Department had to get him out. The man, 71-year-old James Panos, of Martinsville, Indiana, went into cardiac arrest while being extricated. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police are still working to determine what caused the crash.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo County Approves New ID Card Program

From the Associated Press — Kalamazoo County has decided to create an identification card program for residents who lack documents needed to get a state ID. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports the county Board of Commissioners’ 6-5 vote Wednesday was split along party lines, but the Democratic majority approved a resolution creating the program. The resolution authorizes an initial budget of $60,000 to begin the program in
January. It also creates an advisory board that would report to the Board of Commissioners. The program will ensure an estimated 27,000 residents without a state-issued ID still have access to government and commercial services. Residents would be required to prove their residency status with several documents. However, state and federal programs may not recognize the ID.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan AG: Schools With Native American Nicknames Can’t Lose State Aid

From the Associated Press — Attorney General Bill Schuette says the Michigan school superintendent doesn’t have authority to cut off tax dollars to districts with American Indian mascots or logos. Schuette’s opinion was sought by state Rep. Tim Kelly, a Republican from Saginaw County.
Critics of schools with Indian mascots say they create a hostile environment and are culturally insensitive. But supporters say they’re signs of respect. In an opinion dated Monday, Schuette says state law lists specific grounds for a superintendent to stop state aid to a school district, but having an Indian mascot isn’t among them. In March, Superintendent Brian Whiston proposed cutting up to 10 percent of a district’s annual payments if he had authority. In Paw Paw, the school board in February voted to keep the Redskins nickname.. ...Read Full Story

Double Murder Suspect Found Competent

There is some movement in a Berrien County double murder case. The “Herald-Palladium” reports Alex Perez has been found competent for trial after several months of treatment. He is accused of killing Renee Mitchell and her father, John, in their Hagar Township home in January 2016, and trying to flee to California with his two children he had with her. Perez and the children were found in Colorado the next day after a nationwide Amber Alert was issued. He is charged with two counts of premeditated first-degree murder and faces life in prison without parole if convicted. Perez is due in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing and is being held on five-million-dollars bond in the Berrien County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

Concerns About Possible Water Rule Changes

The public comment period on the Trump administration’s proposal to repeal and replace the Clean Water Rule is expected to begin this week. The move would reverse pollution protections for streams and wetlands that supply one third of the nation’s drinking water. Jan Goldman-Carter, with the National Wildlife Federation, tells us a majority of the nation’s stream miles and wetland acres are at stake.. ...Read Full Story

Group Aims to Create Park Celebrating Italian Culture In Benton Harbor

An effort is underway to spruce up an area of Benton Harbor that used to be known as Little Italy. Al DiBrito, of St. Joseph, tells WSJM News the plan is to turn land near Territorial and 2nd Street into a park celebrating Italian culture. He told city commissioners this week about its history as an Italian neighborhood, and outlined what he has in mind for the park property.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Planning Major Expansion Of Nursing Program

An effort is underway to expand Southwestern Michigan College’s nursing program. The college plans to update the nursing instruction building with the latest technology and also double its size. The $9.6 million initiative is in response a shortage of nurses in the region. SMC says the goal is to increase nursing program enrollment by 40%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting 19% job growth for registered nurses by 2022, and more than 1 million job openings in the field. SMC’s nursing expansion is expected to be finished by the state of classes in the fall of 2018.. ...Read Full Story

Five Arrested In Two BH Drug Raids

Five people are facing charges following a couple of drug raids in Benton Harbor in recent days. First, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us the Southwest Michigan Enforcement Team searched a home in the 1,300 block of Union Avenue on Friday and found crack, two handguns, and evidence of drug trafficking. 48-year-old Margaret Casnave and 33-year-old Marcus Willis were arrested on charges of possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine and maintaining a drug house. They were taken to the Berrien County Jail. The second drug bust happened Wednesday morning in the 800 block of East High Street in Benton Harbor. Three people were arrested when officers found two pounds of marijuana and three handguns. The names of the suspects, who are also accused of drug trafficking, have not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Company Looking To Build Solar Farm In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Huron County is developing a solar energy ordinance after a renewable energy company said it wants to build about a dozen solar farms in the area. MLive reports California-based Cypress Creek Renewables has been pitching the idea to county residents in the county at the northern tip of Michigan’s Thumb region. Cypress Creek Director of Development Casey May says the company hopes to build the farms “in a staggered fashion” between late 2018 and 2020. Each solar farm is about 20 to 25 acres. Huron County Board Chairman Sami Khoury says the board adopted a one-year moratorium on solar farm development to give commissioners time to approve an ordinance. Khoury says “this way they just don’t put them wherever.” May says the farms would provide power throughout the county.. ...Read Full Story

Gobles Man Killed In Personal Water Craft Accident

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a deadly personal water craft accident on Magician Lake. They tell WSJM News 28-year-old Derek Jackson of Gobles hit a wave and was thrown off the water craft, and it then hit him after he landed in the water. He was pronounced dead after being airlifted to South Bend Memorial Hospital. The coroner’s office in St. Joseph County, Indiana has ruled Jackson’s death a drowning. Police say he was wearing a life jacket, but there was no alcohol involved in the incident. It happened just after 5 p.m. yesterday.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Holding Pesticide Collection Event

If you have pesticides you need to get rid of, you’re in luck. On July 26, Berrien County will hold a pesticide collection event in Benton Township. However, you have to register in advance, and the deadline is July 12. Berrien County Parks Department Environmental Property Manager Jill Adams tells our newsroom they hold these events each year. She says it’s much better to drop off such chemicals at the event than it is to throw the chemicals away.. ...Read Full Story

Celebrate Bridgman Begins Wednesday

This is the week to Celebrate Bridgman. Mayor Hannah Anderson tells WSJM News the city is holding a series of events throughout the week, Wednesday through Sunday. Everything kicks off with a walk from the library to Weko Beach on Wednesday. Thursday brings the Curious Kids Show and then the dances start.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Man in Jail After Pursuit

A South Haven man remains in jail after a Police pursuit. About 11:20 Monday night, troopers from the Michigan State Police Paw Paw Post attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation on Gull Road near Sprinkle Road in Comstock Township. The vehicle fled and a pursuit continued into the City of Kalamazoo. While travelling West on West North Street, the suspect vehicle ran a red light at South Park Street and crashed into a passenger vehicle that was travelling North on North Park Street. The driver of the suspect vehicle is a 27 year old South Haven man and he alone in his vehicle. He was treated for injuries at Bronson Hospital and is currently being held in the Kalamazoo County Jail. Upon arrest, Troopers found the suspect had multiple warrants for his arrest, a suspended driver’s license and was in possession of open intoxicants and marijuana at the time of the crash. The suspect’s name is being withheld pending arraignment. The 3 occupants of the other vehicle the suspect hit were transported to Bronson Hospital where they were treated for their injuries. The crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

How To Properly Display Your Flag

This Fourth of July, many Americans are showing their patriotic spirit by flying the Stars and Stripes, and they’re being asked to keep flag etiquette in mind. Mark Sutton, with the American Legion Department of Michigan, tells us the American flag should be respected because it represents freedom, democracy, and the values of a nation that many have fought to defend.. ...Read Full Story

Car vs Motorcycle Accident

A man and a woman remain in the hospital after the motorcycle they were riding on collided with a car early Tuesday morning. Around 12:15am Berrien County Deputies located a car vs. motorcycle accident on M-63 near Central Avenue in Hagar Township. Authorities reports the couple from the motorcycle received severe injuries and were transported to Lakeland Hospital. They also say they were not wearing helmets. The driver of the car was not injured. Alcohol and speed are believed to be factors in the accident. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Crash Investigation Team is still investigating this incident.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan: No Personal Data Will Be Given To Trump Commission

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s secretary of state says she will comply with some requests for voter information from President Donald Trump’s voting commission, but personal data won’t be released. Ruth Johnson posted a response on Facebook on Monday, five days after the commission said it was asking states for information, including partial Social Security numbers and dates of birth. Birth years are fair game, but Johnson says Michigan law puts a shield on Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. She says some basic voter information has been public for decades, including registrations and election participation history. Trump’s national commission was formed to investigate allegations of U.S. election fraud. Michigan found that at least 31 people voted twice last fall, although their names haven’t been released.. ...Read Full Story

New Editions Of Michigan Duck Stamp And Prints Released

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Duck Hunters Association and the state Department of Natural Resources are introducing the 2017 collector’s edition Michigan duck stamp and prints. The Michigan Waterfowl Stamp Program was established in 1976 and has become popular with hunters, conservationists and collectors around the nation. Proceeds from the stamp sales are used for projects that help conserve wetlands and other waterfowl habitat. This year’s duck stamp features a pair of northern shovelers, painted by wildlife artist Guy Crittenden of Richmond, Virginia. People interested in buying limited-edition prints and collector’s edition stamps can learn more at www.michigan.gov/waterfowl .. ...Read Full Story