Local News Archives

State Senate Bill Would Outlaw “Redskins” Nickname

A state senator from Traverse City is seeking to end the controversy over the use of the Redskins nickname by schools. The school board in Paw Paw earlier this year voted to keep the nickname in place, and Saranac schools also still use it. North of Grand Rapids, Belding recently changed its nickname from Redskins to the Black Knights. Senator Wayne Schmidt says his bill was crafted with the help of the five Native American tribes in his district, and adds it’s time for the use of a nickname considered by Native Americans to be “particularly offensive” to go away for good. The bill was introduced last Thursday and is now in committee.. ...Read Full Story

Name Released In Galien Train Death

The death of a 21-year-old Galien man is being investigated by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies tell WSJM News Christopher Herman was hit by a train around 10:30 Saturday night on Main Street near Elgin Street in the village of Galien. Herman was pronounced dead at the scene. Details about the circumstances of the accident have not been released.. ...Read Full Story

New Partnership Aims To Help Older Workers Find Jobs

A new collaborative aims to connect businesses in Michigan with skilled, experienced older workers. “Experience for Hire” is working to find candidates to help fill the 100,000 unfilled jobs in the state. AARP Michigan is part of the initiative, and State Director Paula Cunningham tells us the program can interview a screened pool of applicants who require little training, are open to flexible schedules and often aren’t seeking additional job benefits beyond earning money.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Community Foundation Announces $130,000 In Scholarships

The Berrien Community Foundation has announced $130,000 in scholarships. It held its 17th annual scholarship celebration Thursday announcing the awards with a birthday party theme as this is the 65th birthday for the Berrien Community Foundation. Specifically this year, it is celebrating 47 new scholars plus 42 renewed scholarships. In its history, the Berrien Community Foundation has awarded more than $2.4 million in scholarships. It’s also encouraging students interested in pursuing a scholarship for next year to apply now. You can find out everything you need to know at BerrienCommunity.org/Scholar.. ...Read Full Story

Schuitmaker Legislation Aims To Prevent Prescription Abuse

The Michigan Senate has approved legislation setting up new standards for doctors and pharmacies that prescribe and dispense certain prescription drugs that could be abused. State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker tells WSJM News her legislation requires the state’s prescription drug database to be checked before someone is given a Schedule 2 through Schedule 5 level drug.. ...Read Full Story

Man Killed By Train In Galien

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death of a 22-year-old man who was hit by a train Saturday night in Galien. It happened around 10:30 p.m., and the man was pronounced dead at the scene. His family has been notified, but the man’s name has not been released. Police have also not released anything about the circumstances of the accident, other than it happened on Main Street near Elgin Street in the Village of Galien.. ...Read Full Story

Sears Hometown Store At Orchards Mall Closing

There’s been another blow to the Orchards Mall in Benton Township. The Sears Hometown Store is closing. It’s posted a message on its Facebook page announcing a going out of business sale. The sale will run through July 24, and the store says everything must go. The Sears Hometown Store is the remnant of what used to be a full-service Sears department store at the Orchards Mall. The departure of the Hometown location creates another empty space at the struggling Orchards Mall, and that’s not all. Also closing is the Kids on Stage performance center. Its owner has announced he decided it’s time to move on.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Community Foundation Announces $14,000 In Grants

The South Haven Community Foundation has awarded $14,000 in grants to local non-profits. The money will be used to make facility improvements, provide summer programming for children in need, fund mentoring programs, and host music and speaking performances. The goal is to enhance the living experience in the South Haven area. This year’s grant recipients include the Historical Association of South Haven, the South Haven Center for the Arts, Youth Development Company, Junior Achievement, the City of South Haven, and the Al-Van Humane Society. All of the recipients have been invited to a gift distribution reception set for next Tuesday. Since 1996, the South Haven Community Foundation has awarded more than $250,000 to local organizations.. ...Read Full Story

Southwest Michigan Home Sales Slow Down In May

Southwest Michigan’s housing market slowed down a little during the month of May. After April saw a record-setting number of homes sold in the region, May saw sales slip about 4% from the previous year. However, prices continued to rise and the total dollar volume from homes moved was also up. The number of homes sold in southwest Michigan during the month of May this year was down to 341 from 357 last May. However, the average selling price from May of last year was up 8%, while dollar volume was up 3%. The Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors tells WSJM News a good sign is that the percentage of foreclosed homes continued to trend down in May. Only 6% of the homes sold during the month were bank-owned.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Teaming Up With Krasl Art Center For Recycling Program

The city of St. Joseph and the Krasl Art Center are teaming up to offer a recycling program for this summer’s Krasl Art Fair and the Fourth of July celebrations. Since the two events will essentially be back to back this year, the two thought it would be a good time to launch their recycling partnership. During the Fourth of July, the city will install about 35 recycling bins throughout the downtown, and then they’ll be moved over to the bluff for the Krasl Art Fair on July 9. St. Joseph City Manager John Hodgson tells WSJM News the Krasl and the city have talked about a recycling partnership for years, and this summer will give them a chance to see how it works out.. ...Read Full Story

Graduation Today For 157 Students At Michigan Career and Technical Institute

157 students will graduate this weekend from a state academy that teaches job skills to the disabled. The Michigan Career and Technical Institute, located in Plainwell, was started in 1944 to train World War II veterans. In the years since, it’s switched to helping the disabled find work. That’s according to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Bob Wheaton, who spoke with WSJM News.. ...Read Full Story

Police Release Name Of Boy Killed In Wednesday Landscaping Accident

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department has identified a 6-year-old boy who was killed in a landscaping accident this week. It tells us Holden High, of Dowagiac, died when he fell off a skid loader he was riding in. The incident occurred Wednesday on property in the 19,000 block of Dewey Lake Street in Volinia Township. A 55-year-old family friend from Three Rivers was operating the skid loader when the boy fell out and the machine partially rolled on to him. The boy was pronounced dead later at Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac.. ...Read Full Story

Great Lakes Alliance: Action Needed Now On Asian Carp

A live Asian carp has been found closer to Lake Michigan than ever before. Jennifer Caddick, with the Alliance for the Great Lakes, tells WSJM News one was found Thursday at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. First, she says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to get a better handle on its electric barrier currently keeping the fish at bay. Second, she says it’s up to the Trump administration to take bold action.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Series Of Business Break Ins

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a series of business break-ins spanning two states. It tells us, within the past month, there have been about six breaking and entering incidents involving liquor stores and gas stations. The thieves steal cash from each location. The stores have all been in Berrien County and St. Joseph County, Indiana. Anyone with information on the crimes is asked to contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-342-STOP. Information that leads to an arrest could mean a $1,000 reward.. ...Read Full Story

Major I-94 Work In Kalamazoo This Weekend

The Michigan Department of Transportation says drivers in Kalamazoo can expect to see several closures on I-94 throughout the weekend. A bridge seal project was scheduled for last weekend, but was delayed by stormy weather. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa told WKZO News drivers will need to be alert with several areas affected.. ...Read Full Story

Man Busted With $150,000 Worth Of Crystal Meth In Lake Township

A Montana man is in the Berrien County Jail after being caught with a large amount of crystal meth in Lake Township. The Baroda-Lake Township Police Department tells WSJM News an officer stopped a van for a cracked windshield on eastbound I-94 Friday afternoon. The driver told the officer he was headed from California to Lansing. He also gave permission for the van to be searched. That’s when the officer found ten one-pound containers of crystal meth. The drugs are worth an estimated $150,000. The 52-year-old driver of the van was arrested on a charge of possession with intent to deliver crystal meth.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Makes Case For Michigan During Europe Trade Trip

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder says a major automotive supplier could expand its operations in Michigan and an Italian biotech company is considering Michigan as a place to which to locate in the U.S. Snyder is wrapping up a weeklong trade trip to Europe. He met with business executives in France, Germany and Italy – both to touch base with those whose companies already have a presence in Michigan and to explore potential new opportunities. Snyder told The Associated Press in a phone interview Friday that he is focused partly on selling Michigan as a destination for the aerospace industry. He declined to identify companies that could add jobs in the state, but says his
meetings were productive. He plans to return to Germany in September for an auto show.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Introduces Plan To Help Young Offenders Graduate, Clear Their Records

Legislation has been introduced by state Senator John Proos to help young people get themselves back on track after they’ve become caughtup in the criminal justice system. He tells WSJM News the plan would let juvenile offenders enroll in the Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy. It’s a residency program in Battle Creek where those who have dropped out can get their diploma and even college credit. Proos tells us, under his bill, if a young person completes the camp, he or she can have their crimes expunged from their record.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Deputy Receives Award For Work With Vulnerable Adults

Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy Kelly Laesch has been honored with the 2017 Elder Justice Good Neighbor Award. She got the accolade Wednesday at the annual Elder Justice and At-Risk Adult Resource Project’s summit in Mount Pleasant. Laesch was nominated by the Berrien and Cass County Departments of Health and Human Services for her work helping Adult Protective Services. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us Laesch routinely works with vulnerable adults, and has developed a special way of communicating with them. She also runs the Project Lifesaver Program.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Pleased With New State Budget

State Representative Kim LaSata tells WSJM News the new state budget, approved by lawmakers this week, puts Michigan in a good position for the future. She says it pays down debt while reducing long-term obligations. LaSata adds it also increases support for law enforcement.. ...Read Full Story

Police Look For Suspect In Thursday Morning Chase

Police are looking for a suspect who led them on a highway chase in Berrien County Thursday morning. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News a Baroda-Lake Township officer tried to pull over a vehicle on westbound I-94 around 5 a.m. near John Beers Road. The vehicle didn’t stop and continued all the way into Indiana, where the chase was ended for safety reasons. Police tell us the vehicle had been involved in break-ins throughout Calhoun, Van Buren, and Kalamazoo Counties. It was later found abandoned in the area of Cleveland and Glendora Roads. Anyone with information should reach out to the sheriff’s department.. ...Read Full Story

More Information Released On Child Killed In Farm Accident

More information has been released on a child who was killed Wednesday in a Cass County farming accident. The sheriff’s department tells us it happened at a farm in the 19,000 block of Dewey Lake Street in Volonia Township. The 6-year-old boy had been with two other children riding a short distance down the driveway in a Skid Steer front-end loader that was being used to do some landscaping. The boy fell out and was partially run over by the loader. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The sheriff’s department tells us it is not releasing his name out of respect for the family.. ...Read Full Story

State Senate Approves Budget

From the Associated Press — A $56.7 billion state budget is headed toward Governor Rick Snyder’s desk after the Republican-led Senate gave it final approval on mostly party-line votes. The bills approved Thursday include more money for K-12 schools, universities and community colleges. There is less for prison spending and environmental cleanup. Republicans say the budget includes record spending on K-12 education, money to train new state troopers and addresses debt in the teacher retirement system. Democrats say while the plan is better than one adopted earlier by GOP lawmakers, money used to steer newly hired school employees into a 401(k)-only retirement benefit should have been used to repair deteriorating roads and bridges.. ...Read Full Story