Local News Archives

MI Attorney General Launches New Anti-Meth Campaign

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has launched a new campaign to raise awareness about laws concerning the purchase of meth ingredients. His office says the practice of buying cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine and then giving it to someone else so they can make meth — known as “smurfing” — is illegal. Schuette was joined this week by state Senator John Proos to push the anti-smurfing campaign. Proos, as the sponsor of the initial legislation that enacted the National Precursor Log Exchange, says he’s pleased to be part of the effort. The hope is that a combination of the NPLEx system and anti-smurfing legislation will help to fight the spread of meth in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Blossomtime Parade Award Winners Announced

The 111th Blossomtime Grand Floral Parade has been held in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, and the float awards have already been announced. The theme for this year’s parade was “If It Starts With ‘B,’ It Must Be Blossomtime.” Below is the list of awards.
Sweepstakes Award — Blooming Beauties, out of Berrien Springs. ...Read Full Story

Man Killed While Cutting Down Tree In Cass County

An 83-year-old man is dead following a tree cutting accident in Cass County. The sheriff’s department tells us it happened in the 12,000 block of Old 112 in Porter Township around 2 p.m. Friday. 83-year-old Gordon Jackson had been cutting down a tree when it broke free and hit him. Jackson was dead when deputies arrived at the scene. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by the Porter Township Fire Department and the SEPSA Ambulance Service.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Tea Party Leader Talks GOP Healthcare Bill

Some southwest Michigan conservatives are not pleased with the healthcare bill approved this week by the U.S. House of Representatives. Van-Kal Tea Party Patriots Chair Gene Clem tells WSJM News they got together Thursday, and he doesn’t recall one member supporting the plan. The problem, he tells us, is that it keeps the government involved in healthcare, rather than letting the free market sort it all out. He says the House GOP dropped the ball on the issue of healthcare reform. ...Read Full Story

Kellogg Foundation Gives $51 Million To Battle Creek Schools

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is giving $51 million to public schools in its hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan. The five-year infusion announced Friday is aimed at tackling low academic performance that has been linked to longstanding racial inequality and segregation. The grant from the foundation started by its namesake breakfast cereal maker ranks among the largest to a public K-12 school system. The money will go toward hiring academic and social support staff, offering a free pre-kindergarten summer transition program and creating a behavior plan with alternatives to suspensions, among other things.The gift comes after the January release of a study highlighting decades of racial disparities. The city has a population of about 50,000 that’s roughly 70% white, 18% black, and 7% Hispanic or Latino.. ...Read Full Story

Saturday Event To Focus On Missing Persons Cases In Michigan

Police and the public will gather Saturday near Detroit to talk about missing persons cases. This is the seventh annual “Missing in Michigan” gathering, and on hand will be representatives of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Michigan State Police Detective Sergeant Sarah Krebs tells WSJM News the day is all about spreading awareness and honoring those how have been lost.. ...Read Full Story

New Playground Equipment To Be Unveiled At Lions Park Beach

Set to be unveiled this Saturday at Lions Park Beach in St. Joseph will be more than $100,000 worth of new playground equipment. The city worked with the Lions Club to make the purchase possible, and it will be dedicated at 12:30 p.m. On hand will be members of the Lions Club, the owner of the Great Lakes Recreation Company, St. Joe Mayor Mike Garey, and a representative of the Lincoln Elementary School Student Council. Kids at the Lincoln School helped the city pick the new equipment. It’s designed to resemble the St. Joseph lighthouses. Everyone’s welcome to come and check out the new features.. ...Read Full Story

Lawsuit Challenges MI Driver’s License Suspensions

From the Associated Press — The state of Michigan is being sued in a bid to restore the driver’s licenses of people who say they can’t afford to pay traffic fines. A lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court says the secretary of state is running a “wealth-based” scheme in which people too poor to pay fines are having their licenses suspended. The lawsuit says a traffic violation can cause a “downward spiral” of lost opportunities for jobs and education. The lawsuit says the state doesn’t distinguish between people who are intentionally skipping fines and others who can’t pay. Kitia Harris, a 25-year-old Detroit woman, says her license was suspended when she couldn’t afford a $150 ticket in Ferndale. In response, the secretary of state office says it’s following Michigan law. The lawsuit was filed by Equal Justice Under Law, a civil rights group.. ...Read Full Story

MI Republicans Reaching Out To Hispanic Voters

From the Associated Press — The Republican Party is looking to reach out to Hispanic business owners and leaders in Michigan. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel met with Hispanic business owners at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce on Friday. McDaniels says they are having a broad discussion on tax policy, health care and how the Republican Party can engage more with Hispanic communities. Michigan GOP Chairman Ron Weiser also attended the event along with various Hispanic community members from Michigan. McDaniels noted that the day was to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and Mexican-American heritage in the U.S. She says conversations also must take place with Hispanics in states such as Nevada and Arizona, which have large numbers of Mexican-Americans.. ...Read Full Story

Schuette, Proos Look To Cut Meth Production

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Senator John Proos of St. Joseph have launched a campaign to stop meth production in Michigan. Schuette announced the effort Thursday to stop “smurfing.” That’s when meth producers pay others to buy over-the-counter medicine used to make the drug. A news release says 8,744 boxes of cold and allergy medicine were blocked from sale in 2016 after being flagged suspicious. Schuette says meth use has greatly affected the state and he wants to crack down on people participating in the system.. ...Read Full Story

Palisades Meeting Monday In Lawrence

If you want more information about the expected closure next May of the Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert, you’re being encouraged to attend one of two meetings on Monday in Lawrence. Both are being held by the Michigan Public Service Commission at the Van Buren Conference Center on South Paw Paw Street. The first is from 3 to 5 p.m., followed by a second with the same material being presented from 6 to 8 p.m. Consumers Energy has decided to end its agreement to buy the power generated from the plant in 2018, and Palisades is slated to be shut down a year from now. Two MPSC commissioners and the commission chairman will be at both meetings.. ...Read Full Story

Blossomtime Parade Saturday

This year’s Blossomtime Grand Floral Parade is tomorrow in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. The two-and-a-half mile parade starts at 1 p.m. at Main and Pearl streets in St. Joe and ends at Main and 5th streets in Benton Harbor. This year’s theme is “If It Starts With ‘B,’ It Must Be Blossomtime.” Bundle up, as the high is only expected to be around 55 tomorrow. The Youth Parade at St. Joseph High School was canceled yesterday due to the weather, and won’t be rescheduled. You’re also being reminded that you can’t put out anything to mark your spot along the parade route before 6 a.m. In St. Joseph, Lake Boulevard will be closed along with the drawbridge over the river, Niles Avenue from 1st Avenue to Main Street, and Main Street will also be closed from 1st Avenue to where it merges with Niles. This is the 111th year for the event.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate Approves Budget Bills

From the Associated Press — Local communities and public universities would receive about 2% more in state funding next fiscal year under Senate-passed budget bills that leave out Gov. Rick Snyder’s request for additional money for infrastructure and Flint emergency reserve funds.
The Republican-led chamber finished approving 16 spending bills Thursday. Now the Legislature and Snyder will resolve differences in coming weeks, with GOP legislative leaders pushing to potentially use hundreds of millions of uncommitted funds to help close the pension system to newly hired teachers. Many bills won overwhelmingly support Thursday. But Democrats and some Republicans opposed a higher education plan that would give 15 public universities an overall 1.8% funding increase – below what Snyder wants. Critics say five schools’ funding would remain below levels from seven years ago.. ...Read Full Story

Millage Celebration To Be Held At BH High School Next Week

A celebration is planned at Benton Harbor High School next week for residents and supporters of the school district to mark passage of the critical sinking fund millage this week, as well as the new partnership agreement with the state. Everyone is welcome to come to the library next Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. to meet Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker. The sinking fund millage was approved by voters Tuesday. It allows for building maintenance and repairs throughout the district, generating about $1.3 million per year. Dr. Walker says its passage is a positive sign the district is moving in the right direction. She adds it’s an honor to be part of the community.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Receives Bids For Jail Work

An improvement project at the Berrien County Jail is coming together now that the board of commissioners has received bids for the work. Their next task is to settle on the final plan. It could include security equipment, kitchen upgrades, and storage. County Administrator Bill Wolf tells WSJM News the intake area of the jail, in particular, needs upgrades.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Joins Colleagues In Voting For New Healthcare Bill

Congressman Fred Upton has joined his colleagues in approving the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. He came out in support of the plan this week after introducing an amendment setting aside money to help those with preexisting conditions who might be hit with higher premiums. Upton tells us Obamacare is broken and something needs to be done. He points to some counties across the country where insurance providers have pulled out of the federal healthcare marketplace, adding premiums here in Michigan have gone up by nearly 17%. He calls the new GOP plan a first step in the right direction. Among other things, it aims to expand access to health savings accounts, establish a transition period for those who will lose Medicaid, and continue monthly tax credits for poor Americans who can’t afford insurance on their own. The plan narrowly passed the House Thursday.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Sheriff Talks Consolidated 911 Plan

Kalamazoo County law enforcement officials will keep trying to convince voters of the need for a new consolidated 911 dispatch system following this week’s failure of a ballot proposal that would have created one. Sheriff Richard Fuller tells WKZO News the pro campaign’s message wasn’t clear enough, and voters probably did like the idea of increasing their monthly 911 surcharge from 42 cents to $2.30.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate OKs $25.5B Health And Human Services Plan

The Michigan Senate has approved a $25.5 billion health and human services budget that would spend less than what Governor Snyder has proposed. Majority Republicans say trimming the Republican governor’s plan would make room as they push for changing the teacher retirement system so newly hired employees qualify solely for a 401(k) and not a pension. They say important services are still funded.. ...Read Full Story

Work Underway On I-196 In South Haven

The Michigan Department of Transportation is advising drivers of some work coming up on I-196 in Van Buren County. It tells us there will be lane closures on I-196 at Blue Star Highway in South Haven all the way through June 9. They started this week. MDOT is adding right turn lanes on the I-196 Business Loop, and also widening the shoulders. One lane of I-196 will remain open in each direction while the work is going on.. ...Read Full Story