Local News Archives

Upton Applauds EPA Decision To Drop Water Rule

Congressman Fred Upton is applauding the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to withdraw a controversial rule. He tells WSJM News the EPA is dropping the Waters of the United States rule classifying ditches and standing water in farmers’ low-lying fields as federally regulated waterways. Upton tells us he’s heard from frustrated southwest Michigan farmers about this rule for years. He issued a statement this week saying he applauds “the EPA and the Trump administration for ditching this harmful rule once and for all.” Upton’s office notes the U.S. House in 2015 voted on a bipartisan basis to stop the rule.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Vetoes “Choose Life” License Plate

State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker is disappointed Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed a bill that would have created a “Choose Life” license plate in Michigan. The specialty plate created by Senate Bill 163 would have raised money for programs supported by Right to Life, which is an anti-abortion group. The governor says he vetoed the bill because he thought it would be inappropriate for the state to be delivering a political message with license plates. Senator Schuitmaker tells us the “voluntary license plate would have raised funds to provide resources and services for women facing an unexpected pregnancy.” She adds she’ll continue to advocate for pro-life policies and solutions.. ...Read Full Story

Buoy Deployed In Lake Michigan Off South Haven

The Van Buren County Board of Commissioners has given its thumbs up to a buoy stationed off South Haven in Lake Michigan. This week, the board approved spending $5,000 to help pay for the buoy provided by an Ann Arbor company. Van Buren County Administrator John Faul tells WSJM News the info it collects is available to the public.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Sheriff’s Deputy Receives Life Saving Award

A sergeant with the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department has been honored with a Life Saving Award for his role in helping a fellow officer who had a heart attack last month. The sheriff’s department tells us Sergeant Casey Davis was at a charity hockey game at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo on May 20 when a fellow officer from Grand Rapids collapsed in the locker room. Davis sprang into action, calling for an AED and starting chest compressions on Officer Bill Kelly. Kelly, who was just 20 months from retirement at the time, survived. Sergeant Davis received his Life Saving Award on Thursday.. ...Read Full Story

“Operation Dry Water” Underway This Weekend

This is the weekend for Operation Dry Water. That’s when law enforcement agencies across the country send out extra patrols on waterways to look for drunk boaters. Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Nathan Penning tells WSJM News they’re going to make contact with boaters throughout the holiday weekend to make sure everyone’s obeying the rules.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department K9 Passes Away

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is mourning the loss of one of its K9s. Vento passed away this week from natural causes. Vento had served the county for several years. The sheriff’s department tells us Vento was 13 years old. The department held a ceremony to officially relieve Vento of the K9’s duties. It says Vento “served Van Buren County with the utmost drive and enthusiasm.” It also wishes the K9 Godspeed.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Blue Star Highway Bridge Reopens

The Blue Star Highway bridge over the Black River just north of South Haven is back open. South Haven Area Emergency Services tells WSJM News the Michigan Department of Transportation opened up the bridge on Friday afternoon. Drivers have faced a major traffic reroute for several months as a result of work being down on the bridge. MDOT did a total reconstruction of it. The access to the Kal-Haven Trail in South Haven has now been reopened to its normal route. Aerial photos of the new bridge were taken this past weekend as the work was being finished.. ...Read Full Story

Invasive Species “Blitz” Planned For This Coming Week

Conservation groups from around southwest Michigan are planning an invasive species blitz for this weekend and next week. Eleanor Serocki, with the Van Buren County Conservation district, tells WSJM News events to educate boaters on how to avoid spreading invasive aquatic and plant species will be held in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties. She tells us invasive species can become a major problem for a body of water.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Seek Volunteers For Anti Drug Program

The Michigan State Police post in Niles is looking for volunteers to help run a program designed to assist people struggling with addiction and reduce drug demand. Michigan State Police have joined with nearly 200 other law enforcement agencies around the country in the Angel Program. Lieutenant Mike Dawson tells WSJM News it allows someone with a drug addiction to walk into a police department and ask for help without fear of arrest.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Criticizes Controversial Trump Tweet

Congressman Fred Upton is among those criticizing President Donald Trump’s controversial tweet this week about MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski. Trump made a remark about the Morning Joe co-host attacking her for her physical appearance. Many have called the president’s tweet an act of bullying. Congressman Upton tells WSJM News it was not a good moment for the president.. ...Read Full Story

Tires, Wheels Stolen From Benton Township Auto Dealer

A Benton Township car dealership has been hit by tire thieves. Management at Brookfield Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep tells WSJM News staff showed up Friday morning to find the wheels and tires had been removed from six Ram pick-ups. They estimate the damage to be at least $18,000. The dealership tells us it has been in Benton Township for five years now, and this is the first time they’ve ever had any such problem. They think the crooks are probably pros from outside the area, and say this crime does not reflect the community. In fact, this is the second time an auto dealership in west Michigan has had tires and wheels stolen off vehicles parked in the lot this month. It happened to a Ford dealership in Galesburg last week. Brookfield Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep tells us Benton Township police came out Friday morning and investigated the scene. Surveillance video is also being reviewed.. ...Read Full Story

Cherry Pit Spitting Championship Saturday

The 44th annual Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm’s International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship is tomorrow in Eau Claire. Qualifying will start at 10 a.m., with the championships starting at 1 in the afternoon. The farm’s Monica Teichman tells WSJM News the pits can often fly as far as 40 feet, and all the competitors work on developing unique styles.. ...Read Full Story

Deadline Saturday For Small Animal Registrations For BCYF

The Berrien County Youth Fair is still about a month and a half away, but for people planning to exhibit small animals, a deadline is looming tomorrow. Fair officials say small animals have to be registered by noon Saturday to be included in this year’s fair, which will be from August 14-19. Animals included in the deadline are cats, dogs, poultry, pocket pets, and rabbits, and exhibitor handbooks and registration forms are available on the fair’s website at bcyf.org. The deadline to register for the BCYF King and Queen and Prince and Princess contests is July 12, and for all other still exhibit areas, you have until August 1.. ...Read Full Story

Plenty Of Fireworks Shows Scheduled For This Weekend

Just about everyone loves a good fireworks show, and there are plenty of them planned for this weekend around southwest Michigan. The fun begins Friday with a show in Dowagiac. It’ll be at Russom Park. Saturday will bring fireworks shows at Diamond Lake in Cassopolis, Lions Park in Sister Lakes, and Hays Park in Watervliet. If you’re in the mood Monday for fireworks, they’ll have them at the American Legion in Baroda, New Buffalo Beach in New Buffalo, the Apple Festival Fairgrounds in Niles, Eagle Lake in Edwardsburg, and the north pier in South Haven. Finally, there will be shows on Tuesday, the Fourth of July, at the middle school in Berrien Springs, Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Silver Beach in St. Joseph, and at the high school in Decatur. All shows begin at dusk.. ...Read Full Story

Intensive Search Turns Up No Additional Asian Carp

From the Associated Press — Officials say an intensive search so far has turned up no additional Asian carp in a Chicago-area waterway system where one of the invasive fish recently was found. The discovery of a live silver carp June 22 about 9 miles from Lake Michigan raised fears that Asian carp might be evading an electric barrier meant to keep them out of the Great Lakes. It triggered a hunt by commercial fishers and crews with federal and state agencies using nets and devices that stun fish so they can be caught and examined. The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee says the search covers a 13-mile area and will continue through July 7. The silver carp has been sent to Southern Illinois University to determine its age and where it came from.. ...Read Full Story

Auto Insurance Rate Hike Takes Effect Saturday

Auto insurance costs are about to go up in Michigan. Insurance Alliance of Michigan spokesperson Lori Conarton tells WSJM News it’s because the cost every driver has to pay for unlimited medical benefits as required by the state’s insurance law are going up from $160 to $170. The alliance is calling for changes.. ...Read Full Story

State Releases Underwater Pipeline Study

From the Associated Press — Michigan officials have released a consulting firm’s draft report listing alternatives for dealing with twin oil pipelines beneath the waterway where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet. The state commissioned the report as environmental groups push to decommission the nearly 5-mile-long (section of Enbridge Inc.’s Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, which was laid in 1953. State Attorney General Bill Schuette endorsed a shutdown Thursday. The report by Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems Inc. lists six choices. Among them are continuing to operate the pipelines or removing them. Others include building a new pipeline that wouldn’t cross open Great Lakes waters; moving Line
5’s oil through other pipelines; using rail cars, trucks or barges to transport oil; or putting new pipelines in the straits that would run through a trench or tunnel. The report doesn’t endorse a particular alternative but analyzes each for technical and cost feasibility.. ...Read Full Story

Lt. Gov Talks Part-Time Legislature

There are 41 states with part-time state legislatures, and Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley thinks this state should be number 42. He joined WSJM’s Pat Moody to discuss his push for a constitutional amendment for that, and believes we will have better candidates for office as a result.. ...Read Full Story

New Principal Picked For Lincoln Elementary In SJ

St. Joseph’s Lincoln Elementary School has its next principal. In a message to parents and Lincoln staff, St. Joseph Public Schools Superintendent Ann Cardon says she has decided to transfer Brown Elementary Principal Craig Hubble to Lincoln to replace Mike Wagner, who died earlier this month. Cardon said the school needed someone “who can continue Mike’s good work,” and added staff and parents need someone capable of supporting them. She calls Hubble “the perfect person to pick up the torch and light the way back to normal – well as normal as we can make it.”. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Lifting Construction Restrictions For Holiday

The Michigan Department of Transportation says it will be lifting work zone restrictions at the majority of project sites statewide over the Independence Day weekend. That means smoother driving on Interstate 94 through southwest Michigan, but MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa says motorists will still need to be aware of a few lane shifts.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Calls For Immediate Asian Carp Action

State Senator John Proos is again calling on the federal government to take immediate action to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan. He has put forth countless resolutions in Lansing pushing for the separation of the Chicago River system from the lake and for Washington to release the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report on long-term solutions.. ...Read Full Story

Montreal Man Accused In Flint Airport Attack Denied Bond

A Canadian man accused of stabbing an airport police officer in Flint will remain in jail while his case proceeds. Joan Morgan, an attorney for Amor Ftouhi, didn’t object to the government’s request that he stay in jail. She told a federal judge Wednesday that the 49-year-old defendant from Montreal would be held by U.S. immigration authorities even if granted bond in the criminal case.. ...Read Full Story