Local News Archives

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

Niles-Buchanan Relay For Life Today

The Niles-Buchanan Relay for Life is today. From 10 a.m. to midnight, teams will take it in turns to either walk or run around the track at Niles High School to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Relay organizer Mike Megyesy tells WSJM News there will be more than 20 teams.. ...Read Full Story

Advocacy Groups Praise State Budget

Governor Rick Snyder signed the new state budget on Friday. It’s a plan some analysts describe as both promising and concerning. Rachel Richards, with the Michigan League for Public Policy, tells us the $56.5 half billion state budget includes several measures to help the state’s most vulnerable residents. They include extending the “heat and eat” program and more funding for the “Double Up Food Bucks” program, both of which increase access to healthy foods. Richards adds the budget also improves child-care assistance, by increasing eligibility and raising payments to providers.. ...Read Full Story

One Charged In Child Porn Case

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department has made an arrest in a child pornography case. It tells us it searched a home in the 13,000 block of US 12 in Union on Monday and found a computer containing pictures it believes are child porn. The search was conducted after the department got a tip. Police also say they also found methamphetamine in the home. A 44-year-old man has been arrested and faces charges of possession of child pornography, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of meth with intent to deliver. His name has not yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

Opioid Deaths Continue To Rise In Michigan

The number of drug overdose deaths skyrocketed in Michigan last year. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says 1,689 people died from opioid-related overdoses in 2016, up from 1,275 in 2015. Health Department spokeswoman Jennifer Eisner told Michigan News Network there is one key factor in the increase.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Youth Fair Gets In Full Swing Monday

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

One Arrested In Benton Twp Drug Bust

One person is facing charges following a drug bust in Benton Township this week. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us the Southwest Enforcement Team searched a home in the 1,200 block of Parkway Drive on Thursday. It was the culmination of an eight month investigation into the distribution of marijuana and cocaine. Officers say they seized more than six ounces of marijuana, ammunition, several prescription opioid medications, a vehicle, and $500 in cash. Information on the suspect has not been released. The Southwest Enforcement Team is made up of law enforcement agencies from all over southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Former West MI Golf Course Turns Into Hilly Grassland

From the Associated Press — A former golf course in western Michigan has transformed into hilly grassland for hikers to walk through and for nature to thrive. The Grand Rapids Press reports that the Blandford Nature Center officially opened The Highlands to the public in Grand Rapids Thursday. The trail was formerly known as the Highlands Golf Club and is now considered an extension to the nature center.
The nature center acquired the more than 120-acre former golf course in February in partnership with Land Conservancy of West Michigan and has nearly doubled the size of the center. Blandford President Jason Meyer says that The Highlands’ hilly terrain is different from the original nature center and allows for more access to winter activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Signs State Budget

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder has signed a $56.5 billion budget, capping months of work with lawmakers on the state’s next spending plan. The Republican governor signed the bills Friday in Grand Rapids, at a career tech center run by the Kent Intermediate School District. He says the budget includes record spending on K-12 schools, including a big boost for at-risk students and to buy equipment for career and technical education programs. Snyder says the budget “will make a difference” in people’s lives. The plan includes a $35 million deposit into a state infrastructure fund, more spending on roads and bridges, and extra debt payments as part of an agreement to steer more newly hired school employees into a 401(k)-only retirement plan.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan To Steer New School Workers Into 401(k)-Only Plan

Governor Snyder has signed into law a plan to steer more newly hired school employees into a 401(k)-only retirement benefit instead of one with a pension. Republicans say Thursday’s move will prevent future underfunding, while teachers unions worry the measure could ultimately lead to closing the pension system entirely to new hires. Starting February 1, new school workers will be automatically enrolled in a 401(k)-only plan like what state employees receive. They could opt out and instead pay more of their salary toward a pension than current school workers do, assuming more of the risk of underfunding. New school employees have qualified for both a pension and a small 401(k)-type plan since 2010. It’s unknown how many new hires will take just the 401(k). Currently, 20% do.. ...Read Full Story