Local News Archives

Report Examines Benefits Of Girls On The Run

A new report takes a look at how Girls on the Run affects the young ladies who take part, finding the program has long-term benefits for them. Girls on the Run Southwest Michigan Director Julie Bos tells WSJM News the organization caught up with individuals who took part in Girls on the Run all over the country.. ...Read Full Story

State Panel Allows Three Petition Drives To Move Forward

From the Associated Press — The Michigan elections board has cleared three more groups to proceed with drives to put statewide proposals on the 2018 ballot. Advocates of empowering an independent commission to draw congressional and legislative districts had the form of their petition approved Thursday by the Board of State Canvassers. The legislature and governor currently handle redistricting, drawing complaints that the process is too partisan. The board also approved petition forms for groups wanting to guarantee paid sick leave for employees and to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Another marijuana legalization initiative is well underway. Unlike that one, the new proposal would not tax the drug. Activists must now gather hundreds of thousands of valid voter signatures in a six-month window to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.. ...Read Full Story

Police Looking For Suspect In Benton Harbor Shooting Death

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety has identified a suspect in a fatal shooting which occurred on Tuesday night. It tells WSJM News it’s looking for Davion Turner in the shooting of 32-year-old Nathaniel Lee at the River Terrace apartment complex in the city. Turner, the suspect, is described as being about 5’11 and 150 pounds. He also has his hair in braids. He’s to be regarded as armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

Democratic Primary Candidate Focusing On Environment

Bernie Sanders is a big inspiration for a Michigan young Democrat running for political office. 24-year-old Eponine Garrod is seeking the party’s nomination for the Sixth District congressional seat next year. She tells WSJM News she became politically active thanks to Bernie Sanders. Then she got fired up by Donald Trump. She wants to replace Congressman Fred Upton and tells us environmental issues are her biggest priorities.. ...Read Full Story

Man Killed By Amtrak Train In Lawton

An investigation is underway into the death of a man in his 20s in Lawton. He was hit and killed by a westbound Amtrak train around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday a bit west of Main Street. Police are trying to figure out what the man was doing on Amtrak property when he was killed. The accident caused the Chicago-bound train to be parked in Lawton for a few hours last night.. ...Read Full Story

Spraying For Invasive Species To Take Place Next Week In VB County

The Van Buren County Road Commission is letting the public know about some spraying for invasive species that will be going on next month. Starting Labor Day, a firm out of Zeeland will perform herbicide spraying along primary and local roads around the county. The goal is to protect the line of sight along the roads. The road commission tells us spraying will not take place in urban areas, or along orchards and grape vineyards. Nor will it be done near certified organic farms that have been registered on the Michigan Specialty Crop Site Registry. The invasive species they’re going after include the Japanese knotweed.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Kayaks In U.P. To Promote Tourism

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder has kayaked around Grand Island in Lake Superior to promote tourism. Snyder began a tour of the Upper Peninsula on Tuesday by paddling near Munising and later visiting the Pictured Rocks Interpretive Center. He says he and other
officials went under an arch and into a “beautiful” cave, calling the experience “pure Michigan.” He told reporters he saw three eagles in one tree alone. Officials are focused on promoting Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and other popular tourism spots as a destination other times of the year — not just summer. Later, Snyder promoted professional trades instruction programs at a high school in Ishpeming. His U.P. tour will continue Wednesday in Marquette, Kingsford, and Hermansville.. ...Read Full Story

Now The Time To Apply For Home Heating Credit

Although summer is still in full swing, now is the time to think about heating your home this winter. That’s because tax credits are still available to help residents of modest means stay warm. Whitney Skeans with Consumers Energy tells us even if your income doesn’t require you to file taxes, you may still qualify for the credit.. ...Read Full Story

Campaign Aims To Increase Michigan Vaccinations

A new campaign is aiming to convince Michigan parents to get their kids vaccinated ahead of the new school year. A coalition which includes the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is hoping everyone goes to the “I Vaccinate” website. Andrea Poole, a spokesperson with the campaign, tells us too many parents aren’t getting their kids fully vaccinated.. ...Read Full Story

1st Source Bank Donates $100,000 To Lakeland Pavilion Project

There’s been another big donation to Lakeland Medical Center’s new pavilion project. 1st Source Bank has given $100,000 to the project. Specifically, it’s in support of two new private glass-enclosed meeting rooms to be located in the courtyard cafe on the second floor. The bank says the donation represents its commitment to the community. So far, the community has donated more than $4.9 million to the Lakeland pavilion project. The plan is to put in a new five-story structure to feature medical and surgical suites, a short stay unit, imaging centers, an intensive care unit, and education and community rooms. Lakeland is putting a total of $160 million into the overall project, which also includes a new main entrance to the facility with a focus on amenities for visitors. The goal is to be finished around 2020.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Comments On White Supremacist Groups

Following controversy over President Trump’s comments this week about a white supremacist rally in Virginia, Congressman Fred Upton has issued a statement that does not mention Trump, but appears to rebuke him. On Facebook Tuesday night, Upton wrote, “There are no ‘very fine’ white supremacists. I join with many others in denouncing this sort of unacceptable racism and bigotry and condemning white supremacy, neo-Nazi, and KKK groups…” Upton then goes on to say his father fought Nazis in the Battle of the Bulge, and “that kind of evil and hatred must be stamped out.” President Trump has been under fire from many since statements on Tuesday in which he defended some of the rally’s attendees, and also placed blame for Saturday’s violence on “both sides.”. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Lowers Requirements For English Proficiency Test

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Department of Education has announced it will reduce the overall score students need to receive on an English-proficiency test after an earlier change made it more difficult for students to transition out of English learner status. MLive reports that educators and school districts in the state had expressed concern over the WIDA ACCESS test’s rigorous scoring system after less than 1
percent of Michigan students reached the minimum score during the 2016-17 school year. Data from the department says typically between 13 and 15 percent of the state’s more than 97,000 English language learners receive an overall score high enough to transition. In addition to a minimum score on the test, students must demonstrate proficiency on state reading assessments in order to transition.. ...Read Full Story

32-Year-Old Killed In Benton Harbor Shooting

A murder investigation is underway in Benton Harbor. The city’s public safety department tells WSJM News a 32-year-old Benton Harbor man was shot to death overnight, dying of his gunshot wounds at Lakeland Hospital. Officers were called to the River Terrace apartment complex around 11:45 for a shooting. Several people have been questioned, but no arrests have been made as yet. The name of the victim is being withheld until Benton Harbor Public Safety is able to get in touch with his family. The circumstances surrounding the shooting also aren’t being made public.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Youth Fair Continues All Week

The Berrien County Youth Fair continues through the rest of the week in Berrien Springs. Fair Director Karen Klug tells WSJM News they had more than 18,000 come out for the first official day on Monday. Tuesday was Kids Day featuring a circus, and Wednesday will feature the country music sensations the Brothers Osborne. Looking ahead to Thursday…. ...Read Full Story

More Than $45,000 Raised By Alzheimer’s Walk

More than $45,000 has been raised to fight Alzheimer’s thanks to a walk held in St. Joseph over the weekend. More than 400 people showed up to Riverview Park on Saturday for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Kristin Burt, Walk Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Great Lakes Chapter, tells us the event was “incredible,” adding she was inspired to see so many people come together for the cause. In Michigan alone, more than 180,000 people live with the disease. You can find out more, and make a donation, at Alz.org/Walk.. ...Read Full Story

Appeal In St. Joseph Rundown House Case Continues

St. Joseph City Commissioners have gotten an update on a rundown house along Niles Avenue that was ordered demolished several months ago. On Monday, the city attorney told commissioners both sides have now filed their briefs in an appeal of the demolition order. This concerns a home at 1015 Niles, right by Hoyt Street. The house started generating complaints due to a large tarp that’s been draped over the roof for more than a year. City inspectors later determined the home is so dilapidated it needs to come down. The property owner appealed with the Berrien Circuit Court. He now has two weeks to respond to the city’s latest brief. It will likely be a few months before the court responds. Both sides have asked for a hearing in the case.. ...Read Full Story

Grand Rapids Police Investigating Swastika Flag Hung From Overpass

From the Associated Press — The Grand Rapids Police Department is asking for the public’s help with identifying a man who hung an American flag with a swastika painted on it from an overpass over Interstate 196. Police say officers were called to the overpass before 7 a.m. Monday on a
report of a man who was seen hanging the flag from the overpass. Officers removed the flag about 10 minutes later just after arriving on the
scene. Police say the suspect is described as a male in his 20s with black hair and wearing a leather jacket. He was seen walking in the grass down toward the highway.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Pursuing Different Tax Designation For Tech Center Upgrades

Whirlpool is slightly changing one aspect of its St. Joseph Tech Center renovation plans. On Monday, city commissioners heard from Cornerstone Alliance’s Rob Cleveland that the appliance maker is now asking that its tech center property be designated as an industrial development district, as opposed to the previous commercial rehabilitation district. Cleveland told WSJM News it’s related to taxes, but otherwise, the plans for $35 million in work at the tech center don’t change.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Man Charged In Connection With Wife’s Death

The husband of a Niles woman shot and killed on Sunday at her home has now been charged with homicide in the case. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us 49-year-old John Lewis remains at the Berrien County Jail. He called police Sunday evening to report his wife, 55-year-old Carla Jean Lewis, had been shot when two suspects broke into their home on Lawndale Avenue. He also said they took off in her car. The sheriff’s department tells us the car is still missing, and they’re asking anyone with information on its location to contact them. They also say anyone found in that vehicle should be considered armed and dangerous. The plate number is CMY 3721, and the vehicle is a 2008 Mazda CX-9. It is pictured above. No additional details on the case are yet being released. John Lewis will be arraigned on Wednesday.. ...Read Full Story

Motorcyclist Hurt In South Haven Twp Crash

A Bangor motorcyclist is being treated at Bronson Hospital South Haven after a crash with an SUV. South Haven police tell us it happened near the Park Meadow apartments on M-43 in South Haven Township just before 5 p.m. Monday. The 67-year-old man who was on the motorcycle was not wearing a helmet and suffered “obvious” head wounds according to authorities. The two people in the SUV were not hurt. The investigation is ongoing, but so far shows the motorcyclist was going the wrong way, heading east in the westbound lanes.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Deputies Receive Corrections Training

A couple of Berrien County Sheriff’s deputies have received their training to be corrections officers. Deputies Kristin Robbins and Miranda Bailey just finished their training academy at Olivet College. There, they learned about things like custody and security, defensive tactics, first aid, suicide awareness, fire safety, and interpersonal communications. The academy is certified by the Michigan Sheriffs Coordinating and Training Council, and the sheriff’s department tells us it provides deputies with the skills needed to maintain a safe and secure jail. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey congratulated his newly-trained corrections deputies.. ...Read Full Story

MI Students Go On Freedom Ride To Civil Rights Sites

Nearly 30 students from Oakland and Wayne counties are visiting southern historical sites of the civil rights movement this week as part of a Freedom Ride. It’s a week-long journey to sites in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Memphis, and Louisville. Barbara Tally is founder of the Martin Luther King Junior Task Force in Southfield, which is coordinating the trip. She spoke with Michigan News Network about the struggle for civil rights.. ...Read Full Story

Effort To Strengthen Section Of Eroded Bluff Moving Forward

There’s been some movement on shoring up the bluff in St. Joseph in an area where there have been concerns about a possible collapse. Early this year, city commissioners were alerted to erosion along the bluff in the area of 2405 Old Lakeshore. That’s right by some CSX Railroad tracks. It took a while, but St. Joseph City Manager John Hodgson tells WSJM News the railroad has applied for permits from the state and feds to get lay some large rocks down below to strengthen the bluff.. ...Read Full Story