Local News Archives

U Of M Team Looking At Benton Harbor Issues

A team from the University of Michigan has spent the past year studying problems faced by the city of Benton Harbor and how they could be addressed. At a Monday meeting, members of U of M’s Urban Collaboratory gave the public an update on their progress. The Collaboratory’s Jerome Lynch told WSJM News one focus is the Ox Creek watershed, which is affected by runoff. The team has put sensors into the creek to study the issue and believes simple valves in existing infrastructure like dams could be used to control how much runoff winds up in the creek and when, along with how polluted it is.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Wants To Expunge Marijuana Convictions

A state lawmaker says it’s time to expunge the records of Michigan residents convicted if minor marijuana related offenses. State Representative Sheldon Neeley of Flint told Michigan News Network now that voters have approved a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana, he’s anticipating his bill will move forward in Lansing. He also says Governor Rick Snyder has indicated support, assuming the plan makes it through the legislature.. ...Read Full Story

Teacher In Hot Water For Throwing Chair

A teacher for the Benton Harbor Charter School Academy is facing charges for throwing a chair in his class. Our reporting partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16 report 49-year-old Thomas Barnes of St. Joseph grabbed the chair some rowdy students were kicking and threw it. No one was hurt, although the chair did hit one girl in the leg. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office now says Barnes is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, which is a four-year felony. He’s due in court on Friday, and he has been fired.. ...Read Full Story

Unemployment Offices Offering Earlier Hours

From the Associated Press — The state’s Unemployment Insurance offices are adjusting their hours as part of an effort to better serve the public. The Talent Investment Agency says office hours in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Saginaw are being adjusted based upon feedback that earlier hours are more in demand. Talent Investment Agency Director Wanda M. Stokes says in a statement that the changes will help offer “the best chance for benefit service and reemployment success.” The new office hours of operation now will be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. Details are posted online. All other local offices are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

Post Election, Women Look To Keep Up The Momentum

There were big election wins for women in Michigan last week with the positions of governor, attorney general, and secretary of state all going to female candidates. Additionally, Michigan will have five women in the U.S. House come January, while female candidates in other states also ran and won at higher rates. Can the momentum continue into 2020? Louisiana State University professor Nichole Bauer tells us that’s the hope, noting women of color fared especially well this year.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Down Sharply Over Past Month

AAA Michigan says average gas prices statewide are down 10¢ in the past week to about $2.61 per gallon amid continued lower oil prices. The Dearborn-based auto club says the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline is about 15¢ less per gallon than the same point last year. AAA says Michigan gas prices are at the lowest level since March after dropping 33¢ a gallon in the past month. In Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, we have the second-lowest average price in the state at $2.52, with only Grand Rapids lower at $2.47. South Haven’s prices are as low as $2.39 according to GasBuddy, but that area is not included in AAA’s price survey.. ...Read Full Story

Senator-Elect Nesbitt Lands Leadership Post In Return To Legislature

The return to the Legislature of a veteran politician from southwest Michigan will come with a leadership role. Aric Nesbitt, the Senator-elect in the 26th District that covers Van Buren and Allegan counties and part of Kent County, will serve as the President Pro Tem of the Senate in the upcoming term. During his full six years in the House, Nesbitt was the Majority Floor Leader in his final term and chaired the Committee on Energy. He will take over for Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, who is term limited, in January following last week’s election. After being term-limited out of the House, Nesbitt served for about a year as the director of the Michigan Lottery before stepping down to launch his Senate bid.. ...Read Full Story

Deer Poaching Charges Likely For Three Bloomingdale Men

Charges are pending against three Bloomingdale men for poaching. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department was called to the area around 41st Street and 24th Avenue in Bloomingdale around 11 pm Sunday when someone saw a truck in the area and someone inside shining a light into the fields along with hearing a gunshot. The three were in the process of dressing the deer in the driveway of a home when deputies pulled up, and determined the suspects had used the lighting to lure the deer and shoot it, several days ahead of the start of firearms deer season on Thursday. The Department of Natural Resources has confiscated both the deer and the rifle used to kill it. Likely charges against the men, two of whom are 20 and one is 21, include hunting without a license and hunting after hours. No names have yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

Successful State Food Drive

The annual Harvest Gathering food drive run by the Michigan Attorney General’s office is being described as a success this year. AG spokesperson Megan Hawthorne tells us Attorney General Bill Schuette started the Harvest Gathering in 1991 when he was the state agriculture director. As part of the effort, the Michigan Secretary of State collects food and money through its branch offices.. ...Read Full Story

Transportation Study Workshop Planned

A study on the future of transportation in the St. Joseph and Benton Harbor areas will be discussed at an open house this coming week. “Principles in Motion” is the new Long Range Transportation Plan for the area. It’s been put together by the Twin Cities Area Transportation Study, or TwinCATS. TwinCATS tells us the study uses the input of local officials while setting transportation goals and looking at how to spend federal money. The plan is intended to serve as a blueprint for transportation over the next 25 years in the Twin Cities area. An open house for everyone to see what’s in it and chat with planners will be held this coming Tuesday. It will be at the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission office in Benton Harbor from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can learn more about the transportation plan right here.. ...Read Full Story