Local News Archives

Self-Defense Claimed In Benton Township Shooting Death

Self-defense is claimed in a shooting death in Benton Township earlier this month. At a Thursday hearing, Jade Roy testified that she and her boyfriend, Derrick Bailey, encountered her ex-boyfriend the night of May 1 at the intersection of Benton Center and Red Arrow Highway. She says that ex, Nicholaus Kling, had been sending her threatening text messages after finding out she was dating Bailey.. ...Read Full Story

Conviction In Attack On MSP Trooper

One of the two men accused of attacking Michigan State Police Trooper Garry Guild is headed to prison. 21-year-old Michael Barber faces up to 15 years behind bars for the most serious conviction, assault with intent to commit great bodily harm. Defense attorney Scott Sanford told our partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16 he was pleased the jury found Barber guilty of that instead of attempted murder, which was in front of them.. ...Read Full Story

State Approves Forms For Marijuana, Prevailing Wage Petitions

From the Associated Press — Groups that want to legalize recreational marijuana and repeal a law that requires union-level wages on state-financed building projects can begin gathering voter signatures. The Board of State Canvassers approved the form of the petitions on Thursday.
The ballot committees must collect roughly 252,000 valid voter signatures needed to put the bills before the Republican-led Legislature and potentially voters. Lawmakers likely would not act on the marijuana measure and instead let it go to a statewide vote in 2018. A new ballot committee has been created to oppose the marijuana legalization drive. GOP legislators could pass the repeal of the prevailing wage law to bypass Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s past veto threat.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Benton Harbor Shooting

Police are looking for a suspect in a Thursday shooting in Benton Harbor. The department of public safety tells us it happened around 6:30 at the intersection of Main and McCord. Officers arrived to find 38-year-old Dondrell Blackamore, of Benton Harbor, wounded. He was taken to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph for treatment. Blackamore is the owner of M&M Garage, which is located at that intersection. Police don’t yet have any suspects, but say they’re investigating several leads. They did get a report of a man dressed in back running from the scene. If you have information on the shooting, you’re asked to contact the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

Police Look For Missing Benton Harbor Man

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is asking for the public’s help in finding a man who’s been missing since last week. It tells WSJM News Willie Brand was last seen Wednesday, May 10 in the area around Searles and Colfax in the city. He’s described as 5 foot 10 and about 160 pounds. Brand walks with the help of a cane and was last seen wearing khaki pants, a grey t-shirt, and a baseball cap. Brand has been known to frequent the Salvation Army in Benton Harbor, along with the public library and Harbor Towers. Police say his family is worried about him, and anyone with information on his location is asked to contact public safety.. ...Read Full Story

Police Officer Memorial Held In St. Joseph

An annual event to honor fallen police officers from Berrien County has been held in St. Joseph. The Berrien County Police Officer Memorial Day Program took place Thursday at Lake Bluff Park. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey told WSJM News he personally knew many of the officers whose names are on the law enforcement memorial plaque there.. ...Read Full Story

Vehicles Damaged By Gunfire At Stevensville Dealership

Lincoln Township police are investigating after several cars were damaged by gunfire at a Stevensville dealership recently. We’re told it happened at Tyler Honda on Red Arrow Highway in Stevensville at the end of April. Someone opened fire on the dealership overnight, sending at least three rounds into the front window. 10 vehicles were also found with bullet holes. Police were notified the morning of April 30 when the damage was found by employees. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact the Lincoln Township Police Department. No one was injured in the incident.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Predicts Lengthy Budget Negotiations

While all of the focus has been on President Trump’s various controversies, there is regular old work to do in Congress. That includes crafting a federal budget. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News he’s optimistic key programs can be maintained. He notes they were in the continuing budget resolution.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph To Spray For Weeds At Lake Bluff Park

St. Joseph residents are being advised that the city will be spraying for weeds this Friday at Lake Bluff Park. They’re trying to get a dandelion problem under control. Weather permitting, the spraying of a herbicide will be early this Friday, and everyone’s advised to keep their dogs and their children away from the area while it’s taking place. You can let them back in Lake Bluff Park once the grass has dried.. ...Read Full Story

Senate Unanimously Approves Legislation To Stop FGM In Michigan

The Michigan Senate has made short work of legislation designed to prevent female genital mutilation. On Wednesday, it unanimously approved a plan to make FGM illegal in Michigan. It also passed a bill to make it illegal to knowingly transport a girl for such a purpose. State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker tells us doctors have identified no benefits of the practice, and in fact, she believes it’s merely “used as a mechanism of control over young women.” The package is in response to a Detroit-area doctor recently indicted in a case involving two Minnesota girls. It makes FGM a 15 year felony, and allows parents who are convicted to be stripped of their parental rights. The legislation now goes to the state House.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Police Memorial Set For Tomorrow

Police agencies from all over Berrien County will gather in St. Joseph Thursday to remember the fallen. It’s the annual Police Officer Memorial Day Program at the Berrien County Law Enforcement Memorial located in Lake Bluff Park. Rick Smiedendorf, with the Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Police Department, tells WSJM News all fallen officers are honored.. ...Read Full Story

BH Mayor Weighs In On Football Coach Controversy

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad tells us he’s hoping there can be reconciliation following controversy this week about some text messages made by Benton Harbor High School Football Coach Elliot Uzelac. Uzelac came under social media fire for writing in a group text about a picture of a student posing near a car. He wrote, “How much drugs did he sell to rent that?” Mayor Muhammad tells WSJM News he spoke with the school superintendent and Coach Uzelac about the matter.. ...Read Full Story

Revenue Estimate Predicts Less For State General Fund, More For Schools

State officials have reached released their revenue estimate for Michigan, finding more money for school aid, but less money for the state’s general fund in the next budget. The revenue estimating conference, which was held Wednesday in Lansing, is crucial for lawmakers to hammer out a spending plan. This year’s estimate predicts General Fund-General Purpose revenue will be $10.1 billion, down $179 million from estimates agreed to in January. Meanwhile, they’re expecting School Aid Fund revenue to be $12.6 billion, up $153 million from January. State Budget Director Al Pscholka tells us “our economy continues to show future growth and we are now poised to make it seven for seven when it comes to signing budgets in June.” Lawmakers have a September 30 deadline to get a budget in place.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Urges Comey To Testify In Congress

Congressman Fred Upton has waded into President Donald Trump’s latest controversy, urging the former FBI director to testify to Congress about a report Trump spoke with him about his investigation into Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. The House Oversight Committee has requested “all memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings referring or relating to any communications between Comey and the President” with a deadline of next Wednesday. Congressman Upton has issued a statement, saying “Public trust is on the line and the country deserves answers sooner rather than later.” He adds he fully supports efforts to get all of the facts surrounding former FBI Director James Comey. He says he “would urge Comey to publicly testify before Congress on what exactly happened.”. ...Read Full Story

MI Unemployment Down In April

From the Associated Press — The state says Michigan’s unemployment rate fell to 4.7% in April, further depleting the ranks of jobless people.
The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget said Wednesday the rate fell from a revised rate of 5.0% in March and compared with a national April rate of 4.4%. Last month’s jobless rate in Michigan was two-tenths of a percentage point lower than the state’s year-ago rate of 4.9%. The agency says total employment in Michigan rose by 18,000 in April while the number of unemployed dropped by 17,000. It says the size of the state’s workforce changed little during the month.Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives Director Jason Palmer said the number of unemployed people in Michigan has fallen by 28,000 since February.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Would Dismiss Charges For Human Trafficking Victims

From the Associated Press — Human trafficking victims forced or coerced into prostitution could get certain criminal charges deferred or dismissed under a bill approved by the Michigan Legislature. The state Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would allow some
prostitution-related charges to be dropped regardless of any prior convictions. State Representative Bronna Kahle, of Adrian, says currently human trafficking victims currently are not eligible for deferrals or dismissals if they have previous prostitution-related convictions.
Kahle is the bill’s sponsor and says it would change Michigan’s law and help victims lead better and more whole lives. University of Michigan Human Trafficking Clinic Director Bridgette Carr says the legislation does not go far enough to address the issue of recognizing human
trafficking victims as victims.. ...Read Full Story

Expect Busy Road this Memorial Day Weekend

2017 will mark the third consecutive year of growth in Memorial Day travel. That’s according to AAA who projects that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend. The report says 34.6 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4 percent over last year.
While road trips continue to reign supreme for Memorial Day, more Americans will fly, ride the train or bus, or take a cruise vacation compared to last year. Air travel is expected to increase 5.5 percent over last year, with 2.9 million Americans taking to the skies this Memorial Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 2.9 percent, to 1.75 million travelers.. ...Read Full Story

Driver Crashes Through Store Window

A driver was injured when his vehicle crashed thru window of the Auto Value store on M-140, South Haven Township, on Tuesday afternoon about 2:45 p.m. No one in the store was injured. The driver taken to South Haven Hospital-Bronson. The accident is being investigated by South Haven Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Football Coach Apologizes for Statements

Some highly-questionable statements in a group text message are putting Benton Harbor Football Coach Elliot Uzelac under fire. Reports are that Uzelac responded to screenshots of a picture of a black student standing in front of a car by saying “how much drugs did he sell to rent that,” then in another message says “our local drug dealers are doing well.” In a release from the District, Uzelac admitted to the superintendent that he texted some of the statements to fellow coaches. Superintendent, Dr. Shelly Walker says, “This misstep is an unfortunate blemish on Coach Uzelac’s record of commitment and positive relationships with our Benton Harbor students.” Coach Uzelac says, “I do regret and apologize for texting comments that were clearly inappropriate. Under no circumstances were these statements meant to be taken seriously. It has never been my intention to offend the Benton Harbor students or community.”. ...Read Full Story