Local News Archives

Lakeshore Schools Could Seek Improvement Bond

Lakeshore Schools could be pursuing another improvement bond. Superintendent Phil Freeman tells WSJM News he’s proposing a more than $20 million bond for next year to complete upgrades proposed in a 2012 facilities study. The work would include reconstructed parking lots, door replacements, and lighting updates at the elementary and middle school buildings. Also, there’s some work needed at the high school.. ...Read Full Story

Police Seek Two In Cloning Of St. Joseph Woman’s Credit Card

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department could use your help in finding the people responsible for stealing a St. Joseph woman’s identify. It says on March 28, St. Joseph Public Safety responded to a complain about illegal use of the woman’s credit card. A cloned card was used by two suspects at several Walmart stores around west Michigan. Police have released surveillance photos of the suspects, which you can see above. The sheriff’s department tells us if you can identify the suspects, Crimestoppers could pay you up to $1,000. The number is 1-800-342-STOP.. ...Read Full Story

17-Year-Old Arraigned In Shooting Of St. Joseph Man

A 17-year-old is facing several charges in the shooting of a St. Joseph man over the weekend. The Cass County Prosecutor’s office tells WSJM News Dakota Matthew Stanley was arraigned this week on charges of assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm, and assault with a dangerous weapon. He’s accused of shooting 33-year-old Thomas Lewallen on Sunday morning following a dispute between Lewallen and his wife at a home in Milton Township. The prosecutor says Stanley intervened in that fight, shooting Lewallen once. Lewallen was taken to a hospital for treatment, while Stanley was arrested. At his arraignment Monday, Stanley’s bond was set at $200,000.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Votes To Help Identify People With Special Needs

From the Associated Press — Legislation designed to help identify lost or injured people with special needs will soon reach Governor Rick Snyder. Michigan allows for the fingerprinting of children under age 17 if parents or guardians request it. The legislature voted Wednesday to let parents and guardians of those who have special needs to ask law enforcement for fingerprints and photos to be taken. Supporters say the move would assist law enforcement in reuniting families when those with special needs are scared or unable to identify themselves. A sponsor,
Republican Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, says the caregivers would pay the state police for the extra cost of fingerprinting and taking photos. The bills won unanimous approval and will be enrolled Thursday.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan State Police Celebrate 100 Years

From the Associated Press — In 100 years, the Michigan State Police has gone from being a temporary wartime emergency force of 300 men to a full-service law enforcement agency with nearly 10 times more employees. The agency marked its centennial Wednesday at the Capitol building in Lansing. Visitors saw displays about the state police’s history. Governor Rick Snyder and other top officials thanked troopers at a reception.
The agency’s roots originated in World War I, when then-Gov. Albert Sleeper created the Michigan State Troops Permanent Force for domestic security. Snyder says the mission remains the same despite technological advances, increased diversity and other changes within the state police. He says it’s “about helping people” and “keeping people safe.” The agency last year rendered aid in about 43,000 traffic crashes and made
nearly 73,000 arrests.. ...Read Full Story

Teen Accused Of Raping Postal Worker Waives Hearing

A 16-year-old charged with sexually assaulting a postal worker as she was delivering mail on his street in Benton Harbor last month remains behind bars on $125,000 bond. He is currently facing charges in juvenile court, but the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office wants him on trial as an adult. If that happens and he’s found guilty of a kidnapping charge, he faces a sentence of life in prison. The assault happened around noon on March 31, and he’s accused of dragging her into the side yard of his house and raping her.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Announces Final Round Of SWM Spirit Tournament

It’s now down to the final two in state Senator John Proos’ Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament. Each year, Proos asks schools across his district to send him photos showing how they are filled with pride. Proos then pits the different schools up against each other in a bracket-style tournament. The Final Four battles this year were between Watervliet, and Michigan Lutheran and Marcellus and Centreville. Coming out on top to be in the final round are Watervliet and Marcellus. They’ve got about a week left to show Proos which has the most spirit.. ...Read Full Story

Suspect Arraigned In Allegan County Standoff

The suspect in an Easter standoff in Allegan County has been arraigned. The sheriff’s department tells us 27-year-old Michael John Vanderberg is charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm over the incident. Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home in Otsego Township on Easter morning on a report of a man with a gun. When they got there, two people came out of the home, but the suspect remained inside. The sheriff’s department had to bring in the SWAT team, which eventually convinced him to come out. Vanderberg remains in the Allegan County Jail with bond set at $10,000.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Opposing Possible EPA Office Closure

The possible closure of the Environmental Protection Agency office in Chicago is being opposed by Congressman Fred Upton. He tells WSJM News the EPA is expected to get major cuts in the next federal budget, but he doesn’t think shuttering the office that serves the Great Lakes is a smart move. He’s finding partners who agree.. ...Read Full Story

Flint Mayor Wants To Avoid Water Switch After Lead Crisis

From the Associated Press — Flint’s mayor is recommending that the Michigan city continue getting its drinking water from a regional system, following a crisis that left the supply contaminated with lead. Karen Weaver’s announcement Tuesday to stay with the Great Lakes Water
Authority is a reversal. Last year, she said the city of 100,000 residents would stick with a plan to draw from a new pipeline to Lake Huron that is in the testing phase. But she reevaluated that decision as a condition of Flint receiving $100 million in federal funding to address the man-made disaster. Weaver says switching water sources again is too risky and more expensive. Flint returned to the Detroit-area system in 2015 after it was discovered Flint River water was not treated to reduce lead pipe corrosion for 18 months.. ...Read Full Story

Series Of Protests To Call For Income Tax Cut

From the Associated Press — A conservative group is organizing six protests across Michigan to criticize a dozen House Republicans who voted against cutting the state’s income tax. The Michigan Conservative Coalition said it was holding rallies Tuesday at six post offices to coincide with the tax filing deadline. The protests were scheduled in Birmingham, Mount Clemens, Novi, Holland, Traverse City, and Hudsonville — areas represented by some of the Republicans who voted no. Legislation narrowly defeated in the GOP-led House in February would have lowered the 4.25 percent income tax to 4.05 percent and potentially more. Michigan Conservative Coalition President Rosanne Ponkowski calls Republicans
who voted no the “dirty dozen.” They have said they were being fiscally responsible because lawmakers had not identified spending cuts to offset the lost tax revenue.. ...Read Full Story

Man Sought in Cleveland Facebook Killing is Dead

Pennsylvania State Police say the suspect in the random killing of a Cleveland retiree posted on Facebook has shot and killed himself after a brief pursuit. State police say Steve Stephens was spotted Tuesday morning by state police in Erie County, in the state’s northwest corner. Authorities say police tried to pull Stephens over and, after a brief pursuit, he shot and killed himself. Stephens was wanted on an aggravated murder charge in the shooting death of a 74-year-old retired man in Cleveland on Sunday. He posted video of that shooting on Facebook.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Trending Lower

We’re getting a break at the gas pump right before an expected spike for summertime. Triple-A Michigan’s Susan Hiltz says the statewide average is $2.50, down 6¢ from last week, and we’re paying $2.47 in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph.. ...Read Full Story

This Is Severe Weather Awareness Week

Prepare now for severe weather. That’s the underlying message to Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week, which started on Sunday. This has not been a normal spring, however, as we’ve already had tornadoes in the state. National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Marino admits it’s an unusual year so far.. ...Read Full Story

Five Area Robotics Teams Heading To World Championship

Five – count ’em – five teams from the Sunset Coast Robotics Alliance are headed to St. Louis, Missouri for the World FIRST Championship April 26-29. St. Joseph’s Average Joes team is headed to St. Louis for the fourth straight year, while Berrien Springs Team 3452 – the GreengineerZ, are going for the second consecutive year. Three are going to Missouri for the first time in the history of their programs. Those are Paw Paw Robotics Team 5462, Cassopolis RoboRangers Team 4325, and Team 4237, which is Team Lance-A-Bot. The five qualified based on their performances over the weekend at the Michigan State Championship at Saginaw Valley State University.. ...Read Full Story

Sleepy Drive Runs Off Road

Driving while sleepy is almost as dangerous as driving drunk. Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke tells WSJM News his office was called to a personal injury crash on Barron Lake Road in Howard Township just after 12:30 Sunday morning. Behnke reports 29-year-old Tiffany Hisler of Dowagiac stated she was southbound on Barron Lake Road when she fell asleep. She ran off the roadway striking multiple mailboxes and a utility pole. She was transported by ambulance to Memorial Hospital in South Bend for further treatment of her injuries. He says she was wearing her safety belt and alcohol is not believed to be a factor and the crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Shooting in Benton Township Sends One to Hospital

A shooting Saturday night sends a Benton Township woman to the hospital. Police were called to the scene in the 11-hundred block of Highland just before 11:00 Saturday night in reference to a shooting. They report Courtney Arent with a gunshot wound to her left chest area. Police tell WSJM News she was walking in the Blossom Acres Housing area where she witnessed a verbal disturbance and heard gunshots. She quickly fled the area and realized she had been shot. She was taken to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph for non-life threatening injuries. No one has been identified in the incident and anyone with information are asked to contact the Benton Township Police Department or Crimestoppers.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Man Shot in Milton Township

A St. Joseph man is recovering after being shot Sunday morning in Milton Township. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News that the shooting took place just after 6:00am on Kline Road. 911 operators received an emergency call, indicating a man had been shot. When they arrived, they found 33-year-old Thomas Lewallen laying on the porch with a signal gunshot wound. They report the incident happened after an argument escalated between Lewallen and his wife, when another 17-year-old suspect intervened and shot Lewallen. Officers were able to locate the suspect and he is being held in the Cass County Jail. His name has not been released. Lewallen was transported to South Bend Memorial Hospital for treatment. They report alcohol did play a factor and the incident remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

“White Boy Rick” Gets Hearing Before Michigan Parole Board

The Michigan Parole Board will hold a public hearing on whether to release a Detroit-area drug dealer who has been in prison for 29 years for crimes when he was a teen. The board voted Friday to proceed to the hearing for Richard Wershe, who is better known in Detroit as “White Boy Rick.” The 47-year-old old, who was interviewed by the board chairman in February, is serving a life sentence with occasional opportunities for parole.. ...Read Full Story

#GivingTuesday Successful For Lakeland

#GivingTuesday is giving a financial boost to Lakeland Health’s Marie Yeager Cancer Center. According to Lakeland, $14,000 was raised during the global day of giving for the center from the southwest Michigan community. The Cancer Center provides patients with access to comprehensive cancer care including the latest in technology, highly-qualified medical professionals, and skilled partner physicians. Available programs and services focus on cancer prevention, detection, treatment, education, and support to help provide the best possible quality of life for the residents of southwest Michigan. According to the 2016 Cancer Care Report, a total of 914 cases were treated at Lakeland Health in 2015 with the top three most common cancer sites being female breast with 154, 126 cases of prostate, and 122 cases of lung cancer.. ...Read Full Story

UPDATE: Missing Autistic Paw Paw Teen Found Dead

Michigan State Police say a missing 18-year-old Paw Paw High School senior with autism has been found dead. Shawn Capaccio was reported missing after disappearing Thursday morning around 6. Troopers saw him in an area near his home around noon Friday, but weren’t able to make contact with him. Capaccio’s body was found just before 3 p.m. in a wooded area in Paw Paw Township. Foul play is not suspected, but there is no indication of how the young man died. After his first sighting, police said his family did not believe he was in danger.. ...Read Full Story