Local News Archives

Berrien Health Department Offers Help To Quit Smoking

The Berrien County Health Department is once again offering a Freedom from Smoking program. Developed by the American Lung Association, Freedom from Smoking will be led by a certified facilitator who will go over a step-by-step plan for kicking the habit. It’s all about adopting a different lifestyle, and the program uses techniques proven to work in many cases. The seven-week program is held on Tuesdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. starting next Tuesday and running through August 1. It’s $10. Anyone interested in signing up can do so by calling the Berrien County Health Department.. ...Read Full Story

BH School Board Votes To Keep Coach Elliot Uzelac

Elliot Uzelac will remain the head football coach at Benton Harbor High School. The board of education voted Thursday night to keep him in the position, while also reprimanding him and ordering cultural sensitivity training for all coaches after some controversy last month involving a text Coach Uzelac wrote about a student. Remarking on a picture of the student posing in front of a hot rod with a stack of cash, the coach asked, “How much drugs did he sell to rent that?” He apologized, and trustees are willing to move on. Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker spoke with WSJM News abut the school board’s decision.. ...Read Full Story

Burglary Suspects Caught In Breedsville

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us it was able to nab a couple of home break-in suspects last week after they were reported in the act. It happened last Thursday in Breedsville. Someone called police about an active home invasion. and when deputies showed up, they were told the two suspects had run off into the woods. A K9 was brought in and the two were caught. All of the items they stole were returned to their owner. The suspects are Robert Dellin Taylor and a juvenile. Taylor has been arraigned on a home invasion charge and is free on bond.. ...Read Full Story

More Information Released On Couple Charged In Courthouse Incident

A couple from Wyoming, Michigan remains in the Berrien County Jail facing a variety of charges after an incident involving a gun at the courthouse in St. Joseph this week. 40-year-old Arnelda Jackson and 37-year-old Molly Jackson tried to run when a gun in the woman’s purse was found by the court x-rays. They were arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon, resisting and obstructing, and tampering with evidence, among other things. Arnelda Jackson is also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. They could get up to five years in prison. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office tells us the couple was at the courthouse because the man faced a charge of possession of counterfeit money. That case has been delayed. A preliminary exam for the gun incident is now scheduled for both suspects on June 9.. ...Read Full Story

Many Indiana Toll Road Drivers Seeing Big Rate Increase

If you’ve got an E-ZPass transponder, you’re not saving any money on the Indiana Toll Road starting today compared to using cash. Big increases are taking effect with the expiration of a state subsidy from the state’s lease of the highway more than a decade ago. The new rates taking effect Thursday will see cars, pickup trucks and motorcycles with electronic transponders being charged more than double previous levels. Drivers with E-ZPass transponders now will pay $10.52 to travel the Toll Road’s full length, up from $4.65.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder: Schools, Municipalities Need Resolution Of Budget

Governor Snyder says the state budget should be resolved soon because K-12 school districts and many municipalities start their fiscal year three months before the state does. The Republican governor told The Associated Press on Wednesday that a stalemate between him and GOP legislative leaders who want to close the pension system to newly hired teachers not only threatens a six-year streak of completing Michigan’s spending plan by early June. He says further delay would “make it challenging” for schools and local governments that rely on state funding and must plan for their fiscal years that begin July 1. Top Republicans cut Snyder out when setting “target” spending. They want to move new school employees from a hybrid pension/401(k) plan to a 401(k)-only system, which Snyder opposes.. ...Read Full Story

Lieutenant Governor Calling For Part-Time Legislature

From the Associated Press — Likely gubernatorial candidate Brian Calley is leading a ballot drive to make Michigan’s Legislature part-time.
The Republican lieutenant governor announced the Clean MI Government proposal Tuesday. It would amend the constitution to limit lawmakers to meeting no more than 90 consecutive calendar days a year. They currently are in session off and on throughout the year.
The proposal would cut legislators’ pay by more than half so it’s commensurate with an average teacher’s compensation and based on how many days they’re in session compared with the number of school days. Calley says lawmakers, who make nearly $72,000 annually, are paid the
fourth-most in the country. He says having a part-time Legislature would leave “plenty of time to do the state’s business. There will just be less time for procrastination.”. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw Secretary Of State Office Moving

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office in Paw Paw is relocating. The SOS tells us the office on East Michigan Avenue will be shut down from June 12 to June 16. The office is moving to the 32,000 block of Red Arrow Highway. The new place will have a 24 hour self-serve station for license plate renewals, along with public restrooms, a larger parking area, and other conveniences for customers. While the office is closed, customers can go to the Secretary of State locations in Kalamazoo or Allegan.. ...Read Full Story

Police Look For Driver Involved In Hit & Run

Police are looking for the driver of a vehicle involved in a hit and run in Cass County Wednesday. The sheriff’s department tells us it happened on US-12 west of M-217 around noon. The 19-year-old driver of a motorcycle struck the rear of a beige four-door Ford vehicle with Michigan plates. He called police, but the Ford took off. The motorcyclist told police the driver was a woman. He suffered minor injuries. Police ask anyone with information on the identity of the other driver to call the Cass County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Proos STEM Education Plan Approved By Committee

Legislation designed to encourage young people in Michigan to study STEM subjects has moved forward in the Michigan Senate. State Senator John Proos tells WSJM News the plan would require schools to provide students with the latest regional economic outlook report so they can know which fields are in need of the most workers.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Attorney General Announces New Anti-Opioid Team

A new law enforcement team designed to help fight the opioid epidemic has been formed by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. Spokesperson Andrea Bitely tells WSJM News the team will be focused on catching traffickers, dealers, and doctors who prescribe too many opioids. She notes the opioid issue is of particular significance in southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Two Facing Charges Over Cass County Dog Attack

Two people are facing charges over a Cass County dog attack. The prosecutor’s office tells us three people were injured on or around April 9 in Calvin Township when a dog bit them. The dog’s two owners are facing charges of failure to vaccinate, failure to license, interfering with law enforcement, and having a dog at large. Their names have not been released. The two are expected to turn themselves in this week.. ...Read Full Story

Police Look For Suspects In Theft Of Bertrand Township Construction Equipment

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is looking for suspects in the theft of some construction equipment in Bertrand Township this month. It tells us the crime happened in the 1,700 block of Mayflower Road the morning of May 19. Someone broke into a Selge Construction trailer and took a Trimble laser system worth as much as $40,000. Crimestoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.  You can reach them at at 1-800-342-STOP.. ...Read Full Story

Man Saved From Cass County Lake After Boat Capsizes

A Benton Harbor man is recovering after his boat capsized on a lake in Cass County Wednesday. The sheriff’s department tells us deputies were called out to Dewey Lake around 10:30 a.m. on a report of a man clinging to the side of a capsized boat and yelling for help. A police officer and a neighbor were able to help reach the man. 69-year-old James Britanyak told sheriff’s deputies he’d been fishing when his boat started taking on water. He tried making it back to shore but didn’t have enough time. He was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac for treatment.. ...Read Full Story

Man Killed By Train In Hartford

One man is dead after being hit by a train in Hartford Wednesday morning. It happened about 8:40 a.m. near Main and Railroad Streets. Hartford Police Chief Tessa Beltran tells WSJM News the victim may not have known a train was approaching as he walked along the tracks.. ...Read Full Story

General Motors Testing “Connected Cars”

General Motors is encouraged by some new experiments in what are known as connected cars. The automaker has been working in Macomb County to wire some stoplights near its company’s Tech Center so that they send information to Cadillac test cars. Steve Martin, with Cadillac, told Michigan News Network early test results are positive.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Treasurer Preparing To Reimburse Communities For Unpaid Taxes

The office of Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski is about to send out checks to local governments across the county to help them make up for the revenue they didn’t get this year due to delinquent taxpayers. He tells WSJM News it’s his job then to pursue those unpaid taxes, as it is for treasurers in every county of Michigan. Witkowski notes some communities have more delinquent taxpayers than others.. ...Read Full Story

July Event To Raise Money For Bridgman Schools

Registrations are now being taken for a new sand sculpting event planned for Weko Beach in Bridgman this summer. Organizer Kim Fenech tells WSJM News she and a friend wanted to help raise money to expand the STEM program at FC Reed Middle School. So, Building Bridgman was born. She says the city and school are helping.. ...Read Full Story

Stevensville Highway Ramps To Close This Week

The I-94 ramps to and from John Beers Road/Grand Mere Road in Stevensville are about to be closed. The Michigan Department of Transportation tells us on Thursday, it will close those ramps — at exit 22 — for a construction project. Anyone who needs to get on or off the highway in the area will have to use exit 23 on to Red Arrow Highway by the Meijer. The ramps will remain closed through June 15.. ...Read Full Story