Local News Archives

Niles Man Charged With Selling Heroin

A Niles man is facing drug charges after police say he sold heroin to an undercover officer. The Niles Police Department tells WSJM News 29-year-old Daqone Williams was under investigation for possible crack and heroin distribution in the area. They and the Cass County Sheriff’s Department teamed up for a month-long operation in which the heroin sale allegedly took place. Williams was arrested this week after a search of his home that police say turned up heroin, crack, and marijuana. They tell us the drugs have a street value of about $8,000. Williams was arraigned Wednesday with bond set at $20,000.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Planning For Major Infrastructure Work

A whole lot of infrastructure work is needed in St. Joseph, and at a Wednesday meeting, city leaders spoke with residents to find out what work they consider the most pressing. Engineering consultant Shawn Keough tells WSJM News residents have to offer input because the dozens of projects likely in the next several years won’t be cheap.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate Votes To Allow Dogs On Restaurant Patios

From the Associated Press — Patrons could bring their dogs along while eating in outdoor areas of restaurants under a bill advancing in the Michigan Legislature. State law generally prohibits live animals at restaurants. The legislation was approved 32-6 by the Senate on Wednesday and sent to the House for consideration. The bill would allow dogs on restaurant patios under certain circumstances. Dogs would have to be leashed and couldn’t pass through the restaurant interior or sit in chairs or on customers’ laps. Patios would have to be free of dog hair. Surfaces contaminated by dog waste would have to be disinfected immediately. The legislation wouldn’t require restaurant owners to allow dogs, and local
communities could pass ordinances prohibiting dogs on restaurant patios.. ...Read Full Story

Former BH Superintendent Bound Over For Trial

Former Benton Harbor Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Leonard Seawood will go to trial in August for embezzlement. At a preliminary exam Wednesday, Berrien County Judge Donna Howard found there was enough evidence Seawood knowingly presented falsified documents to members of the school board and the district’s HR office when submitting for reimbursement of unused vacation days. Seawood’s accused of getting about $41,000 he wasn’t supposed to be paid under his contract. The judge found probable cause to let Seawood be bound over. His attorney, Keith Lynch, said they were disappointed, telling us they’re confident a jury knows how hard Seawood worked for the community will find him not guilty. Seawood will be tried starting August 1.. ...Read Full Story

Stabenow Vows To Protect Great Lakes Funding

President Donald Trump’s administration says state and local governments should pay for cleanups of the Great Lakes and other iconic waterways. The proposed federal budget for 2018 would eliminate $427 million for regional water restoration initiatives. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan told Michigan News Network the money is vital for the environment.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Senate OKs Big Changes To Natural Resources Fund

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Senate has approved significant changes in how the state buys and improves land for public recreation. Legislation passed 24-14 Wednesday by the Republican-controlled chamber would empower the Legislature to have more say in decisions that largely are made by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board. Another bill would spend nearly $8 million more on projects this year than recommended. Senators say the state should spend more from the fund. Governor Rick Snyder’s administration is opposed to the bill, saying it is an unconstitutional overreach. Attorney General Bill Schuette has been asked to weigh in with a legal opinion. The fund consists of royalties paid by companies to drill for oil and natural gas on state property and is used to buy and improve land for public recreation.. ...Read Full Story

MI House Approves Bill On Handling Of Police Body Cam Footage

From the Associated Press — Michigan lawmakers are looking to create guidelines for body camera footage obtained by law enforcement officers. The state House passed a bill Tuesday that would require police departments to have written policies on using body cameras and maintaining and handling recordings. It would prohibit certain footage from being obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Republican Representative Jim Runestad of White Lake is sponsoring the bill and says there are hardly any rules on how departments should handle footage. Lisa McGraw, public affairs manager for the Michigan Press Association, opposes the legislation and says the footage should be made available to the public because if there is an instance of an officer behaving inappropriately, the public should know. The legislation passed unanimously and now goes to the Senate.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Some Proposed Budget Cuts Are “Non-Starters”

President Trump’s budget proposal is facing opposition from Congressman Fred Upton. He tells us many of the cuts the president lays out in his official budget, released Thursday, are “non-starters.” They include big cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the National Institutes of Health. Upton issued a statement Wednesday saying, “the president’s budget proposal is just that: a proposal.” He adds he will “continue to advocate for common-sense budgeting that reels in spending, makes government more accountable, but also properly funds essential programs the most vulnerable amongst us depend on.” Upton notes the budgeting process will continue all summer. The plan current in place runs out September 30.. ...Read Full Story

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