Local News Archives

70-Year-Old Smokestack Demolished In Muskegon

From the Associated Press — A 70-year-old smokestack on the site of a former paper mill in western Michigan has been demolished. The Muskegon Chronicle posted video of the implosion, which left behind rubble and cloud of dust Tuesday morning in Muskegon. The demolition of “Power House Stack No. 1” came amid concerns by city officials that it might collapse if left standing. Police set up a perimeter around the site to keep onlookers safe from asbestos-laden dust. The newspaper reports officials had determined it was too dangerous to remove asbestos from the smokestack before demolition. Another smokestack, the 72-year-old “recovery boiler chimney,” still stands at the former Sappi Paper Mill site. Crews will remove asbestos paint prior to demolition. Plans call for the site to be transformed into the Windward Pointe mixed-use development.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor School Board Fires Principal

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has fired the principal of the International Academy at Hull. Romel Bryant had only been principal since February, serving as that building’s fourth principal of the academic year. The district administration recommended the board fire Bryant at a meeting last week alleging he was insubordinate and did not follow professional development directives. Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker tells WSJM News that can’t be allowed.. ...Read Full Story

Man Recovering After Injury In Cass County Lake

An Illinois man is recovering after he was pulled from a Cass County lake on Tuesday. The sheriff’s department tells us 26-year-old Nicholas Younglove was at a family gathering on Diamond Lake in Calvin Township around 1:30 p.m. when he hit his head while diving into the water. Police say the water in that area is shallow and he hit the bottom. He was pulled from the water by family and taken to a hospital by ambulance. The case remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Court Tosses Out Class Action Suit Over Jobless Benefits Case

From the Associated Press — The Michigan appeals court has tossed a class-action lawsuit filed by people who were falsely accused of defrauding the unemployment benefits system by an automated computer program. A panel ruled 3-0 Tuesday that the three plaintiffs waited too long to sue, reversing the state Court of Claims. The case centers on whether the men were hurt when the Unemployment Insurance Agency incorrectly notified them of the fraud findings or when the state intercepted their tax refunds, garnished wages and forced repayment of unemployment benefits. Judges Michael Gadola, Patrick Meter and Karen Fort Hood said the trial court “did not properly consider when plaintiffs were harmed,” and the clock began ticking when they received notice of the fraud determinations.. ...Read Full Story

Local Police See Opioid Trend Continue

Following news last week that the state of Michigan saw a continued increase in opioid deaths last year, Michigan State Police in southwest Michigan tells us they’ve seen the trend locally. Although she doesn’t have exact numbers, MSP Lieutenant Melinda Logan tells WSJM News opioid abuse leading to death is all too familiar to local cops.. ...Read Full Story

BH Kids Take Part In Summer Activities Thanks To New Program

A new partnership between Benton Harbor Area Schools, the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club, and others is enabling children in Benton Harbor to take part in positive, educational activities this summer at three area parks. “Summer Impact” offers the young people a chance to play basketball, take drama and art classes, and get free meals. The YMCA’s Jerry Price tells us lots of kids come out to Hull, Broadway, and City Center Parks each day for the programs.. ...Read Full Story

CDC Awarding $12 Million To States To Fight Opioid Abuse

It’s just a drop in the bucket, but the Centers for Disease Control is awarding $12 million dollars to 23 states and the District of Columbia to fight opioid addiction. Michigan is one of them. Most of it will be spent setting up prevention programs and better ways to track overdoses. CDC blames doctors for over-prescribing the drugs. C. Dennis Simpson, of Western Michigan University,tells WKZO News doctors have already responded by prescribing fewer opioids and at lower doses.. ...Read Full Story

West Michigan Panel To Discuss Human Trafficking

From the Associated Press — Several community leaders in western Michigan are expected to participate in a panel discussion on human trafficking. The free event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School campus in Grand Rapids. Panelists are to include an FBI victim specialist, a consulting company owner who opened a human trafficking victims’ shelter for minors in Michigan, the founder of an organization that advances the cause of justice and securing human rights, and a Muskegon police officer who works with an outreach program that educates the community about human trafficking. The event is open to the public.. ...Read Full Story

Maker Of Driverless Shuttles Opens Plant In Michigan

From the Associated Press — A French maker of self-driving vehicles is opening its first U.S. manufacturing facility. Navya says it’s opening a 20,000-square-foot factory in Saline, Michigan, about 50 miles southwest of Detroit. The company plans to hire 50 workers and make 25 driverless shuttles at the plant before the end of this year. The factory is Navya’s first plant outside Europe. It’s close to the University of Michigan, which will begin testing Navya’s driverless shuttles on its campus this fall. Navya, which is based in Paris and Lyon, France, completed development of its low-speed, driverless shuttle in 2015. There are now 45 shuttles operating worldwide.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor To Seek City Income Tax

The city of Benton Harbor will ask voters in November to approve a local income tax to help pay for infrastructure repairs. At a Monday meeting, the vote was nearly unanimous to pursue a 1% city income tax from residents, and a 0.5% tax of the income non-residents earn in the city. Mayor Marcus Muhammad tells WSJM News the need is obvious.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeland Leader Named Chair Of State Hospital Association

Lakeland Health President and CEO Dr. Loren Hamel has been picked to be the chair of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, an industry group representing hospitals all across the state. Based in Lansing, the MHA advocates in Michigan and Washington, D.C. on behalf of healthcare providers. Hamel says he’s honored to lead its board, helping to direct policy. He began the position on July 1.. ...Read Full Story

M-140 Repaving Starts Next Week

A paving project is about to get started on M-140 in Berrien and Van Buren counties. It will be about ten miles of the road from South Haven to Watervliet. The Michigan Department of Transportation’s Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News traffic will remain open southbound, but there will be changes for northbound.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Joins National Driver Safety Campaign

The Michigan Department of Transportation is now part of a national campaign designed to reduce traffic fatalities. “Toward Zero Deaths” aims to let everyone know that 90% of fatal crashes occur because of a driver’s behavior. MDOT’s Jeff Cranson tells WSJM News there were more than a thousand traffic deaths in Michigan last year.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Looking For Jet Skiers Who Ran Over Geese

From the Associated Press — Michigan conservation officers are looking for two jet skiers who plowed into a flock of Canada geese, killing one and injuring others. The State Department of Natural Resources released a witness’ video Sunday that shows the two people circling around with their watercraft on Mona Lake and then running over a flock of geese. Officers say at least three geese were injured and one was killed on July 10.
They describe one jet ski as purple and the other white and yellow. The drivers are both described as Caucasian and one of them with long hair.
Lieutenant Gerald Thayer says it’s important that “justice is served.” The department says killing geese illegally is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $500.. ...Read Full Story

Children’s Area Of Kalamazoo Museum To Close For Reovations

From the Associated Press — A children’s play area at a museum in southwestern Michigan has closed during renovations of a nearby interactive science gallery. MLive reports the Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s Children’s Landscape will be closed until at least September. The play area isn’t changing but had to be closed due to its proximity to the science gallery. Museum director Bill McElhone says creating a pathway around the gallery would have taken up too much time. McElhone says the previous science gallery, Science in Motion, was becoming old and outdated. It was installed in 2001. The new installation has been in the works for the past four years. A committee of about 45 people decided to highlight the concept of innovation in the new exhibit.. ...Read Full Story

High Winds, Waves Spur Capsizing, Dropouts In Mackinac Race

From the Associated Press — Strong winds and waves have caused roughly two dozen boats to bow out of the annual 333-mile sailboat race from Chicago to Mackinac Island, Michigan. Race organizers say 29 boats have exited as of Sunday afternoon. That included Windquest, a decorated vessel owned by Amway heirs Dick and Doug DeVos.Another boat, the High Priority 2, capsized in the overnight hours of Saturday and Sunday. Race spokeswoman Tracy Gladden says four sailors were rescued by a boat launched from a U.S. Coast Guard cutter. Infinite Diversion, a 62-footer, was first to finish Sunday morning in the Cruising Division. That division left Chicago on Friday and the Racing Division fleet left Saturday. About 300 boats overall are competing. First held in 1898, it’s the oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world. Winners are determined based on a handicapping system.. ...Read Full Story

Section of Red Arrow Highway Dedicated To Fallen Troopers

Red Arrow Highway between US-12 and Union Pier has now officially been dedicated as the Trooper Charles Stark and Trooper Gary Rampy Memorial Highway. That’s after Berrien County Commissioners approved a resolution Thursday stating as much. Commissioner Ezra Scott helped to usher through the move to honor the two Michigan State Police troopers who were shot and killed by a drunk driving suspect the night of December 31, 1971. He told WSJM News it took loo long.. ...Read Full Story

Merger Formed Between Girls On The Run Chapters

Girls on the Run of Berrien County is merging with Girls on the Run of Van Buren-Cass-St. Joseph counties. Berrien Girls on the Run Director Julie Bos tells WSJM News the national program wanted to consolidate some chapters, so essentially, Berrien is taking over the other regional county operations. This will not affect next spring’s Girls on the Run event in Berrien Springs.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Youth Fair Starts Tomorrow

The 62nd annual Van Buren Youth Fair gets truly underway on Monday. Fair secretary Iris Swift tells WSJM News Monday’s events will include animal shows and a talent show. It’s also Armed Forces Day when veterans and military personnel get in for free. Tuesday brings the tractor pull. The fun doesn’t end there.. ...Read Full Story

Lieutenant Governor Defends Part Time Legislature Proposal

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is hitting back following claims his proposal for a part time state legislature is just a ploy to attract conservative support ahead of an expected gubernatorial campaign. He tells WKZO News he’s been calling for a part time legislature since 2009. Calley says the state could save a whole lot of money if lawmakers only worked for a portion of the year.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagon Fund Teams Up With Hartford Library To Encourage Reading

The Pokagon Fund is teaming up with the Hartford Library to attract more kids and also offer them a little fun. It tells us they’re launching the Hartford Public Library Card campaign. Between now and August 7, any children or parents that gets a new library card and borrows a book can get a free trip to the Potawatomi Zoo. The trip will be August 15. The goal is to register more than 75 new children with library cards. Anyone looking for more information can contact the Hartford Library.. ...Read Full Story

Meth Bust In Dowagiac

Three people are in the Cass County Jail after a drug bust in Dowagiac on Thursday. The sheriff’s department tells us they had a tip that someone was coming to the area from Kalamazoo and selling meth, and found that person’s car in a parking lot on North Front Street in Dowagiac. Surveillance video from inside a nearby store showed a Kalamazoo woman running into the bathroom when police got to her car, and she and two men were arrested when they walked out of the store. Detectives were called back to the store Friday along with the Dowagiac Department of Public Works when the toilet in the women’s bathroom stopped working, and they found a bag of meth and syringes clogging it up. That discovery is bringing extra charges of possession with intent to distribute meth against the 32-year-old woman. One of the other men was arrested on unrelated warrants. Police have not detailed the charges against the third person.. ...Read Full Story