Local News Archives

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

Berrien Health Department Honors Pscholka

The Berrien County Health Department has honored former state Representative Al Pscholka with its Friend of Health Award. The department bestowed the award on Pscholka Wednesday at its headquarters in Benton Township. Pscholka said six years in Lansing have taught him the issues that really matter are the life and death ones.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Now Willing To Support Healthcare Legislation

Congressman Fred Upton has backed off in his opposition to the Republican healthcare bill. After meeting with President Donald Trump Wednesday morning, Upton said he’s flipping his position after introducing a new amendment to the legislation designed to help those with preexisting conditions pay for their coverage if it becomes more expensive. Upton told WSJM News Tuesday he would not back the GOP plan because it allowed states to decide whether those with preexisting conditions should pay more for coverage. However, under the new deal reached Wednesday, Upton’s amendment will set aside $8 billion to help those patients with such costs. The House Rules Committee is expected to consider Upton’s amendment Thursday.. ...Read Full Story

Coloma Man Charged In Shooting Of Girlfriend’s Ex

A Coloma man has been charged with open murder in the shooting death of an Eau Claire man this week. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office tells WSJM News 37-year-old Nicholaus Kling was shot in the chest three times during a confrontation with 22-year-old Derrick Bailey at the intersection of Red Arrow Highway and Benton Center Road in Benton Township Monday. The vehicle Bailey had been riding in was being driven by his girlfriend, and the prosecutor tells us Kling, the victim, was the woman’s ex. Bailey was arrested at the scene following the shooting. He’s now in the Berrien County Jail with bond set at $250,000. He’s due back in court May 12 for a preliminary exam hearing.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo To Remove Lead Water Pipes

From the Associated Press — More than 200 lead water pipes will be removed from a southwest Michigan city this summer. MLive reports the Kalamazoo City Commission approved a nearly $850,000 construction contract on Monday with Rieth-Riley Construction Co. to replace the
lines. The city’s 2017 Water Capital Improvement Budget will fund the service line replacement project. Public Services Director James Baker says Kalamazoo plans to replace almost 500 lead service lines during the 2017 construction season. Baker says on average the city has removed 100 lead pipes per year. Many of the lead lines are located in the northeastern part of the city and in the city’s oldest neighborhoods. The city collected lead and copper monitoring data a year early in response to public concern over the Flint water system lead problem.. ...Read Full Story

Upton To Meet With Trump On Healthcare

Congressman Fred Upton’s opposition to the current Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has gotten the attention of the White House. CNN is reporting the southwest Michigan congressman and Congressman Billy Long of Missouri will meet today with President Trump about their current stance of voting “no” on the bill as it is. Long says the President wants to negotiate how pre-existing conditions will be covered. Upton has put forth an amendment to the bill that would put millions of dollars toward helping people with pre-existing conditions pay for their insurance. He tells WSJM News that he currently cannot support what his party has come up with right now.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Traffic Deaths Continued Rise In 2016

Officials say Michigan traffic deaths rose 10% last year as drug-impaired, bicyclist and motorcyclist traffic deaths increased. The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning noted Wednesday that it’s the second consecutive year to show a 10% increase. They rose from 963 in 2015 to 1,064 in 2016 according to numbers from the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Courthouse, Jail Proposal Destroyed

Landslide. Van Buren County voters have told county leaders in no uncertain terms they do not want to pay more taxes to renovate the jail and court buildings. The 20-year millage proposal was destroyed by nearly 3,000 votes, with 4,795 no votes and just 1,884 voting yes. As far as other proposals in Van Buren County, voters said yes to a park proposal in Bangor and a library proposal in both the city and township of South Haven. The county-wide proposal for the jail and courthouse only passed in two precincts in the city of South Haven. The other 31 precincts were resoundingly against it.. ...Read Full Story

House Approves Legislation Allowing Drivers To Warm Up Cars On Private Property

From the Associated Press — Legislation advancing in Michigan aims to let residents legally leave a vehicle running unattended on private property. The bill, approved 77-30 by the House Tuesday, was proposed after a Detroit-area man was ticketed $128 for leaving a car running in his driveway as the vehicle warmed up. A state rules requires people to stop the engine and remove the ignition key before letting a vehicle stand unattended. The bill would keep the prohibition in place only for vehicles parked on public streets. The sponsor, Republican Representative Holly Hughes, says warming up or cooling down a car is common practice. The legislation goes to the Senate. It’s opposed by cities and others who say it would make it easier to steal cars.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Schools Sinking Fund Renewal Approved By Voters

A victory for Benton Harbor Area Schools as its sinking fund millage was renewed by voters Tuesday. The sinking fund is a millage that generates about $1.3 million per year for the district to handle building maintenance and repairs. District officials told us its renewal was essential. Elsewhere in Berrien County Tuesday, a sinking fund for Buchanan Community Schools was rejected. It would have generated about $285,000 a year for the district. Voters in Galien Township were also in a mood to say no, rejecting an operating millage by 20 votes. Finally, New Buffalo Township voters approved a public safety millage. Turnout in the communities holding elections was less than 10%.. ...Read Full Story

Comcast Opening Store In Benton Township

Coming soon to Benton Township will be a full service Comcast Xfinity store. Comcast is closing down its Benton Harbor office to make way for the new retail location where you’ll be able to do all of the things you do at the current place, and then some. The company tells us the new store, to be located at Fairplain Plaza, will have demo areas where you can try out all of their products. The store, set to open at the end of the summer, will have 15 employees. Comcast is planning an event to find those employees. It’ll be May 30 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express in St. Joseph. Anyone interested should RSVP to Sean_JandaForner@cable.comcast.com.. ...Read Full Story

Bill To Ban Shining Lasers At Aircraft Sent To Snyder

From the Associated Press — Michigan would make it a crime to intentionally shine a laser at an aircraft under legislation going to Governor Rick Snyder for his expected signature. Pointing a laser at an aircraft — which can temporarily blind the pilot — is currently a federal crime punishable by five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. But the Michigan State Police says a state law would deter strikes and help authorities catch people who are increasingly “lasing” aircraft, often near airports. The main bill passed the House 106-2 Tuesday. It would make shining a laser at
an aircraft or moving train a felony punishable by five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Exceptions would be made for research conducted by the military or aviation industry.. ...Read Full Story