Local News Archives

Comcast Launches New Wi-Fi Service

Have you ever wanted your kids off wi-fi at bedtime but allow yourself to stay online? Comcast customers are now able to do that with today’s launch of XF-I. The company says it’s a new platform which puts the power of your home’s wi-fi in your hands. Comcast VP of Public Relations Michelle Gilbert spoke with Michigan News Network about it.. ...Read Full Story

Stevensville Business Taking Donations For Military Personnel

A Stevensville business is using this month to collect items to be sent to military personnel overseas. Postal Connections is hosting its second annual care package drive as part of Military Appreciation Month. They’re taking donations of healthy snacks, drink mix packets, microwavable food, non-perishable food, and toiletries. Just stop by Postal Connections on Red Arrow Highway between now and May 31 to drop off items. The business will then make sure everything it collects get sent to a local military base or veteran center in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagon Fund Highlights Scholarship Support

The Pokagon Fund is pointing to its role in helping Harbor Country area high school graduates go to college. Director Janet Cocciarelli tells WSJM News the fund has contributed more than $2.7 million to area scholarships since its inception. At the same time, the number of New Buffalo High School grads who go to college has gone p from 32% in 2008 to more than 90% today. In River Valley, that number has gone from 42% to 83%. Cocciarelli tells us, in addition to backing scholarships, the Pokagon Fund has contributed heavily to class field trips to colleges for high school students. She notes the importance of helping young people pay for post-secondary is constantly growing, as the cost of college has gone up 1,120% since 1978.. ...Read Full Story

Buchanan Student In Trouble Following Bomb Threat

A Buchanan Middle School student who left a bomb threat in one of the school’s restrooms last week has been caught and police are working with that student’s parents. The middle school was put on lockdown Friday for about 15 minutes when a student found a note in a restroom reading, “I am going to bomb the school.” Superintendent Andrea van der Laan tells WSJM News there was no actual bomb, and the student who wrote the note did it as a prank. Police were called in and they searched the building, finding nothing. The culprit behind the threat was found not long after. Van der Laan tells us the school followed all normal safety protocols in the situation, and parents were notified.. ...Read Full Story

UPDATE — Kalamazoo Shooting Spree Trial Delayed

From the Associated Pres — A June 13 trial will be postponed in the case of a Michigan man charged with killing six people during a day of picking up Uber riders. The Kalamazoo County prosecutor says Jason Dalton wants the state appeals court to review a decision about his statements to police. The court might decline, but the step still means that the trial won’t start as scheduled. Dalton is charged with murder and attempted murder. Investigators have quoted him as saying a “devil figure” on Uber’s app was controlling him on the night of the shootings in February 2016. He’s not accused of shooting customers. Dalton has been found competent to understand the charges and assist his
attorney.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Massacre Trial Delay Expected

Jason Dalton was scheduled to go on trial in about a month in Kalamazoo on 16 charges from a massacre last year, but that will likely be delayed because his attorney plans to file an appeal today. Defense attorney Eusebio Solis told the “Battle Creek Enquirer” everything Dalton said to detectives after his arrest should be suppressed because Dalton said he didn’t want to talk. He says the detectives kept questioning him anyway. Judge Alexander Lipsey ruled last month that part of one interrogation and all of a second interview could be used at trial by the prosecution. Solis wants it all tossed. He will ask the Michigan Court of Appeals for a hearing. There is no telling how long that could take. Dalton is charged with shooting eight people, killing six of them, claiming a demon in his Uber app was telling him who to kill, and who just needed rides. They plan an insanity defense.. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw Man Arrested After Short Chase

Be it on two wheels or two feet, a Paw Paw man wasn’t able to outrun the law over the weekend. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us deputies tried to pull over a 28-year-old man on a motorcycle for outstanding warrants on several drug and other charges, only to have him take off. The man crashed after a short high-speed attempt to get away, and then tried to run. He was caught in the 200 block of North Niles Street in Paw Paw, and deputies found meth, marijuana, and pseudoephedrine in his motorcycle. The cold medicine is a key ingredient in making meth, and has resulted in a charge of smurfing, or buying the drug with the intent to manufacture meth. He’s also facing possession of meth and marijuana charges and charges for driving on a suspended license and with no motorcycle insurance. The man is in the Van Buren County Jail pending his arraignment.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices On The Decline

It’s a little easier on the wallet this week than last to fill up. Triple-A Michigan puts our gas prices in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph at an average of $2.31, down 9¢ from last Monday. Statewide, the average is down about 8¢ to $2.34. The state’s lowest prices are in both Traverse City and Flint, where they’re down to $2.24, while Jackson drivers are paying a lot more with a $2.45 average. The auto club says our 8¢ drop is the third-largest weekly change in the nation in the weekly price, and demand is flattening out while production is on the rise. Gasoline stocks in the Great Lakes region are higher than they’ve been at this time in the spring over the past two years. South Haven prices, according to GasBuddy, are between $2.23 and $2.25.. ...Read Full Story

Upset Constituents Encouraging Flip-Flops Sent To Upton

Michigan residents angry at Congressman Fred Upton are encouraging others still seething over last week’s Affordable Care Act replacement vote to mail flip-flops to his office in St. Joseph. Dozens of pairs of sandals were placed on the steps of that office late last week, but were soon removed. On social media, the hashtag #FredFlops has graphic calling on people to mail “stinky flops” to Upton. The Republican said early last week that he was opposed to the House plan to replace the ACA, only to change his tune after a meeting with President Trump on Wednesday. During that meeting, Upton and Congressman Billy Long of Missouri said they convinced the President to change his mind regarding coverage of pre-existing conditions. Critics like the AARP called the amendment from Upton to put $8 billion aside to help people with those costs if states opt out of the ACA requirement that pre-existing conditions can’t change coverage the same as using a band-aid on a broken bone.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Commissioners To Review Jail Bids

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

State Palisades Meeting Tomorrow In Lawrence

The Michigan Public Service Commission is planning a couple of sessions for tomorrow to hear the public’s thoughts on the proposed closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert. Spokesperson Judy Palnau tells WSJM News all three public service commissioners and an administrative judge will be on hand.. ...Read Full Story

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