Local News Archives

Michigan Gets Nearly $400,000 In Settlement With Target

From the Associated Press — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state will receive nearly $400,000 from an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corporation to resolve a multi-state probe into the discounter’s pre-Christmas data breach in 2013. Target’s breach affected more than 41 million customer payment card accounts and exposed contact information for more than 60 million customers. The breach
forced Target to overhaul its security system. The company offered free credit reports for potentially affected shoppers. The settlement requires Target to maintain appropriate encryption policies and take other security steps. Schuette said Tuesday in a statement that the state’s proceeds from the settlement will go to its general fund. The settlement involves 47 states and the District of Columbia.. ...Read Full Story

No Serious Injuries After West MI School Evacuated

From the Associated Press — About 20 students and staff members at a western Michigan school have been treated for breathing problems caused by an unknown irritant. The Muskegon Chronicle and WOOD-TV report hazardous materials teams were inside Muskegon Catholic Central on Tuesday trying to determine the cause of the irritant. Classes have been cancelled for the day. Authorities say there is no evidence of foul play, and those treated at and released from hospitals weren’t considered to be critical. Reported symptoms included shortness of breath, coughing and chest tightness. Michigan Catholic Central President Ken Rasp said he could feel something in his throat that made him want to sneeze. About 450 people were in the school at the time of the evacuation. Air samples were expected to be sent to a laboratory for testing.. ...Read Full Story

Protests In Kalamazoo Over Paw Paw Team Name

The controversy over the “Redskins” nickname for Paw Paw Public Schools isn’t going away, despite the school board voting to keep it in place earlier this year. The high school’s varsity baseball team was met by protesters yesterday at Kalamazoo Central High School, with about two dozen people chanting “change the mascot,” “Redskin means murder,” and more at the ballgame. Kalamazoo Public Schools put out a statement saying they did not announce the team mascot of “Redskins” because the name is offensive to some students. Supporters of the “Redskins” moniker called it “sad” that people would protest a high school baseball game.. ...Read Full Story

Humane Society To Break Ground On New Shelter Next Month

Ground will be broken on the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan’s new shelter in Royalton Township next month. Board President Don Blackmond tells WSJM News they have raised more than $1.2 million of the $2 million shelter goal, enough to get started on construction and to finance the rest. He says the campaign for a new shelter has been a success.. ...Read Full Story

Drivers Warned About Hilltop/Washington Avenue Traffic Shift

Drivers are being advised to avoid the intersection of Hilltop Road and Washington Avenue in St. Joseph while construction work wraps up. The city and several other entities are working to resurface Hilltop and replace water pipes. The contractor, Wightman and Associates, tells us current traffic shifts on Hilltop, which have involved lane closures, will continue until the project can be completed all the way to Washington. Access to some driveways in the area will be occasionally closed, and the Hilltop/Washington traffic signal has been converted into a four-way stop. Drivers should avoid the area when possible.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Businesswoman Running For U.S. Senate

From the Associated Press — Republican businesswoman Lena Epstein is running for U.S. Senate in Michigan. In her announcement Monday, the 35-year-old said Michigan is ready for another outsider with business experience after helping elect Donald Trump president. Epstein is a third-generation co-owner of Vesco Oil Corporation, a large distributor of automotive and industrial lubricants based in the Detroit suburb of
Southfield. The political newcomer has not held elective office but was a co-chair of Trump’s Michigan campaign. She says in a statement that “politicians have failed us” and she will “take the fight directly to” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat who is expected to seek a fourth term in 2018 and who coasted to re-election in 2006 and 2012. Epstein is the first Republican to enter the Senate race.. ...Read Full Story

MI Democrats Introduce “Healthcare Bill Of Rights”

From the Associated Press — Democrats in Michigan’s Legislature are speaking out against Republican-backed health care legislation approved by the U.S. House. Lawmakers on Monday introduced a proposed “Michigan Health Care Bill of Rights” resolution and held news conference in five cities. The measure would aim to block parts of the proposed plan like the “age tax” and to protect people with pre-existing conditions.
House Minority Leader Sam Singh of East Lansing says millions of people would lose health coverage and costs for seniors would go up under the bill now being considered in the U.S. Senate. State Democrats plan to hammer on the issue often _ including by fighting Medicaid cuts _ and want to get GOP legislators to say where they stand on the federal legislation. The Legislature is controlled by Republicans.. ...Read Full Story

Scientists To Release Sterile Lampreys Into Michigan Waterways

From the Associated Press — Scientists will release sterile sea lampreys into several Michigan rivers in the continuing quest to control the aquatic parasites that threaten fish in the Great Lakes region. Crews this month will put about 4,000 sterile males into the Pigeon, Sturgeon and Maple rivers in the northern Lower Peninsula. The idea is to drastically outnumber the small population of fertile males and reduce their odds of mating successfully with females. Eel-like sea lampreys attach themselves to fish with a suction-cup mouth and feed on the hosts’ body fluids.
The sterile lampreys have passed the point in their life cycle when they would feed. Scientists have reduced the Great Lakes lamprey population with a specially designed poison, but it’s expensive. If the sterile-male plan works, fewer lampricide river treatments will be needed.. ...Read Full Story

Suspected Drug Dealers From Indiana Busted In Bangor

Two suspected drug dealers from Elkhart, Indiana planning to attend a music festival near Bangor ended up in the Van Buren County Jail instead after they were discovered to have about 100 Ecstasy pills and methamphetamine in their car. Van Buren County deputies stopped their car for a traffic violation along C.R. 687 in a rural area in Bangor Township at about 7:30 Saturday evening. The driver of the vehicle was not arrested.. ...Read Full Story

Ford CEO Mark Fields Out

Ford Motor Company is replacing its chief executive. Mark Fields is retiring amid pressure based on the company’s stock price according to anonymous sources familiar with the situation. During the 56-year old’s three-year tenure, shares dropped 40%. Former Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett is said to be assuming Fields’ job. Over the last year, Hackett has overseen Ford’s subsidiary which works on autonomous vehicles.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Would Allow Horse Race Betting Via Smart Phone

Legislation now in the Michigan House would allow state residents to place bets on horse races through their smart phones. State Representative Dan Lauwers, of Brockway Township, tells Michael Patrick Shiels there are 20 states in which you’re allowed to place a horse track bet on your phone instead of having to wait in line. The plan would also wagers on out-of-state races. A vote was expected Thursday, but House Speaker Tom Leonard tells MIRS News some representatives still had questions. They’re hoping to get answers to those questions over the weekend.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Crack Down On Theft Of Veterans Grave Markers

A plan from state Senator John Proos to put the hammer down on those who steal veterans grave markers has cleared a committee. Proos tells us his plan would make it a felony to steal a veteran grave marker with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, depending on its value. He adds the measure would apply broadly, including antique stores and scrap dealers who would melt down the markers for the metal. It was approved this week by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and appears to be headed for full Senate passage.. ...Read Full Story

Two Facing Drug Charges After Van Buren County Traffic Stop

Two people are facing drug charges following a traffic stop in Van Buren County Friday. The sheriff’s department tells us deputies stopped a vehicle in the area of County Road 687 and County Road 376 in Bangor Township around 7:30 p.m. They did a search and say they found more than 100 ecstasy pills. Police believe the pills were being transported from Indiana to an outdoor music festival in Bangor Township. Deputies also found a small amount of suspected methamphetamine on one passenger. Two of the three people in the vehicle are now facing drug charges. Police have not released the names of the suspects. Both are from Elkhart, Indiana.. ...Read Full Story

Comcast To Hold Hiring Event For New BH Store

Comcast needs employees for its new Benton Township XFinity store, and there will be a special gathering this month to help it find them. The company tells us there will be a hiring event at the Holiday Inn Express in St. Joseph May 30. On hand will be Comcast managers and reps who can answer questions about working for them, as well as applications. Comcast tells us you should apply in advance at Jobs.Comcast.com. The May 30 hiring event will be from 2 to 4 p.m. The full and part-time employees it’s hiring will work at the new office in the Fairplain Plaza. It’s replacing the Comcast office in downtown Benton Harbor.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan GOP Lincoln Tribute Dinner Today

The chairperson of the Republican National Committee will headline the 122nd annual Lincoln Tribute Dinner this weekend. It’s a familiar face and a familiar name. Former Michigan Republican Party Chairperson Ronna Romney McDaniel, the niece of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the granddaughter of former Governor George Romney, will deliver the keynote address Saturday at the Gull Lake Country Club. That’s according to Kalamazoo County GOP Chairperson Scott McGraw, who spoke with WKZO News about the dinner.. ...Read Full Story

West Nile Virus Found In Michigan

West Nile virus has been identified in Michigan. It’s in a turkey found in Barry County, and two crows. One was in Kalamazoo County and the other was in Saginaw County. Jennifer Eisner, with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spoke with Michigan News Network about the virus.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Road Commission Issues Summer Construction Map

A summer construction map has been released by the Berrien County Road Commission. Engineer Brian Berndt tells WSJM News big projects this year include the replacement of a culvert on Territorial Road over Blue Creek. That $1 million project should be finished by July 4. There’s plenty of other work going on in the next few months, and Berndt asks drivers to take it easy.. ...Read Full Story

BBQ, Blues And Bluegrass Festival Saturday

Set for this Saturday is a day of barbecue, blues, and bluegrass in St. Joseph. Thousands are expected to head down to Whirlpool Centennial Park for the annual BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival. The headliner is Jonny Lang, and also on hand will be the Steeldrivers, the Marcus King Band, and the Lil’ Smokies. The event is rain or shine, and tickets are still on sale. You can get them at the St. Joseph Welcome Center downtown or at the door. You can find out more at StJoeToday.com.. ...Read Full Story

GOP Leaders Call Off Budget Talks With Snyder Over Teacher Pension Dispute

From the Associated Press — Republican legislative leaders have canceled budget talks with Governor Rick Snyder’s administration due to their dispute with the governor over switching new teachers away from a pension into a 401(k) retirement plan. Snyder opposes closing the pension system to newly hired school employees. The move to cancel a Friday meeting between top lawmakers and Snyder’s budget director could put at risk a quick resolution of the next budget, which Snyder and the GOP-led Legislature like to finish in early June. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and House Speaker Tom Leonard want to see progress on talks over the teacher retirement system before resuming budget
negotiations.. ...Read Full Story