Local News Archives

Upton: Intelligence Sources Must Be Protected

Congressman Fred Upton says it’s “imperative” that the sources used by American intelligence are protected and not divulged. We caught up with him Tuesday to ask what he thought of the latest controversy involving President Trump, who was accused this week of providing classified information to Russian officials last week. Upton told WSJM News Congress is looking into the matter.. ...Read Full Story

I&M Seeking 17% Rate Increase

You could be getting an electric rate increase next year. Indiana Michigan Power spokesperson Tracy Warner tells WSJM News the company has asked the Michigan Public Service Commission to review its rates as it seeks to increase them by 17% on average. He tells us the change reflects I&M’s efforts to keep the grid reliable. It’s also in response to an ongoing $1.2 billion project at the Cook plant.. ...Read Full Story

Former BH Superintendent In Court Tuesday

A preliminary hearing has been held for former Benton Harbor Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Leonard Seawood. He’s charged with embezzlement and accused of taking $45,000 in extra cash payouts for unused vacation days between 2012 and 2015. He was resigned from the district in October of that year, and a Michigan State Police investigation into his conduct began not long after. In court Tuesday, current and former members of the school board testified, according to our news gathering partners at WNDU. Seawood will be back in court for in a week while the judge examines evidence in the case. If convicted, he could get up to 10 years in prison.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Police Memorial Service Wednesday

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department will hold its annual Police Officers Memorial Service will be this Wednesday. The event this year is dedicated to Deputy Shane Britton, who was killed in the line of duty in 2000. Britton died in a car crash while en route to a complaint call on July 19 of that year. He’s the only Cass County Sheriff’s deputy ever to be killed in the line of duty. This is National Police Week, when officers who have been killed on the job are remembered. Cass County’s memorial will be at noon at the sheriff’s department’s memorial garden in Cassopolis. Berrien County will have a memorial in St. Joseph on Thursday.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Welcomes Family Of Fallen Court Security Officer

Congressman Fred Upton has welcomed the family of Joseph Zangaro to his office in Washington, D.C. Joseph Zangaro was a Berrien County Court bailiff killed in a shooting at the courthouse in St. Joseph last summer. Also killed was court officer Ronald Kienzle. Congressman Upton met with the Zangaro family after it attended a Monday National Police Week ceremony in Washington. The ceremony included a Memorial Wall service that honored both Zangaro and Kienzle. The Memorial Wall carries the names of more than 16,000 officers who have been killed in the line of duty.. ...Read Full Story

Ford Planning Job Cuts

Ford is expected to use voluntary buyouts to trim its work force by about 10%, with reports of Ford wanting to cut costs by $3 billion. That’s a prudent move says Joe Phillipi, a long time auto analyst with Auto Trends Consulting. He spoke with Michigan News Network about the cuts.. ...Read Full Story

Terrorism Fears Prompt Vehicle Ban During Mackinac Bridge Walk

From the Associated Press — Michigan officials are banning most vehicles from the Mackinac Bridge during the annual Labor Day bridge walk because of concerns about terrorism. Tens of thousands of people join the annual walk across the nearly 5-mile-long bridge, which links Michigan’s two peninsulas where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet. Walkers use two lanes on the bridge, while the other two have been reserved for vehicles. Under the policy announced Tuesday, the only vehicles allowed between 6:30 a.m. and noon will be buses carrying walkers. That likely means a huge traffic tie-up, but officials say safety must come first.Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue of the Michigan State Police says there are
no known threats against the bridge walk. But terrorists in a number of locations have driven vehicles into large crowds.. ...Read Full Story

More MI Residents Qualify For Medigap Subsidy

From the Associated Press — More Medicare recipients in Michigan will qualify for subsidies to buy supplemental health insurance that covers their coinsurance and deductibles. The Michigan Health Endowment Fund announced Monday it’s raising the eligibility threshold, starting in July. Residents with annual incomes at or below 225 percent of the poverty level – or $26,730 for an individual and $36,045 for a couple – will qualify. The existing cutoff is 150 percent of poverty – $17,820 per individual and $24,030 per couple. The monthly subsidy ranges from $40 to $125 depending one’s age and disability status. It’s unclear how many residents will be helped by expanding the Medigap subsidy program. The health fund estimated previously that the current subsidy would help about 80,000 of 400,000 people with Medigap coverage.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Reminds Drivers To Give Bicyclists Space

This is National Bike to Work Week, and the Michigan Department of Transportation is reminding drivers of the rules when it comes to bicyclists. MDOT tells us while biking is a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around, it can also be dangerous. It reminds drivers to give bicyclists lots of space, telling us bike riders are allowed on most roads around the state. MDOT also notes an increasing number of communities are installing specific bike lanes. In 2016, there were more than 1,900 reported crashes involving bicyclists in Michigan that resulted in more than 1,500 injuries and 38 deaths. MDOT reminds drivers to give the bikes room, and also reminds the bicyclists, as legal roadway users, they’re required to obey all traffic laws, signs and signals. You can find more information right here.. ...Read Full Story

SJ City Commissioners Approve Summer Traffic, Parking Plan

St. Joseph City Commissioners have approved a broad plan to help reduce downtown congestion and ease quality of life problems for residents that arise during the summer. The plan proposed by Public Safety Director Brian Uridge came about following several community meetings, and involves more parking at Lions Park Beach, less parking on some streets, a drop-off area in front of Silver Beach, and and one-way-traffic on Lake Street in front of Silver Beach. City Manager John Hodgson tells WSJM News everyone needs to understand that last part.. ...Read Full Story

Security Experts See Few New Infections Of Ransomware This Week

The Ransomware cyber attack affecting thousands of computers has not spread as much as feared with the start of a new work week. Europol says the global attack impacted 200,000 organizations in 150 countries last Friday, but on Monday, there were no new major outbreaks. Bill Kowalski, cyber security expert with Rehmann Group in Troy, spoke with Michigan News Network about how you can avoid getting hit.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Man Receives International Rotary Award

A South Haven man has been honored by the Rotary International for his work to improve health and water resources in Kenya. Dr. Martin Graber received the Rotary’s Service Above Self Award, the organization’s highest honor, at the Rotary District Conference in Battle Creek this past weekend. The award goes out to 150 Rotarians each year for their work in demonstrating the Rotary’s motto. Dr. Graber has been a member of the South Haven Rotary since 2006, and the Rotary tells us since he and his wife started working with the Maasai Tribe in Kenya, they’ve helped to develop clean water and energy sources, agriculture, hospitals, and schools there. Graber is the second South Haven Rotarian to win the Service Above Self Award. The other recipient was Robert Brickman in 1993.. ...Read Full Story

Lane Closures On US-12 This Week

Drivers are being advised of some slight traffic changes this week near Three Oaks. Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News crews will be working on US-12 between Basswood and Schward Roads. They’re doing culvert maintenance.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Medal Of Honor Winner To Be Honored At LMC

A real life American hero will be honored during a performance at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center this upcoming weekend. Center Director Mike Nadolski tells WSJM News Jim McCloughan, of South Haven, is a Medal of Honor winner for his efforts to save lives as a medic in Vietnam. He’s been invited to take part in Sunday’s Letters Home performance.. ...Read Full Story

Corrections Head Blasts Possible Prison Cuts

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s corrections director says a Senate-approved plan to cut tens of millions of dollars in prison spending would lead to layoffs and low staffing levels that would make prisons unsafe. Heidi Washington lodged her criticism Monday, days after a Republican senator suggested that Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget proposal favors inmates over schoolkids. The Snyder administration typically hasn’t aggressively pushed back so much in public against spending blueprints passed by the GOP-led legislature. Washington says the prison population isn’t declining rapidly enough to justify a prison closure and the Senate plan would hurt the Corrections Department’s ability to later shut one down. Republican Senator John Proos of St. Joseph says cutting the prisons budget would save money that could be spent on education, roads or to give people a tax cut.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Crash Injures Three

A 29-year-old Kalamazoo woman is facing drunk driving, child endangerment, and driving with an expired license charges after a crash just before midnight last night in Cass County. The sheriff’s department says her 9-year-old daughter and 11-month-old son were in the car, and all three were taken to Dowagiac Lee Memorial Hospital for minor injuries. The kids are now in the custody of Child Protective Services. Deputies say the woman lost control and rolled into several trees before the car came to rest on its side in the 57-thousand block of M-62 in LaGrange Township. The woman’s blood alcohol level was not revealed by the sheriff’s department.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Up Statewide

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 6 cents per gallon in the past week. The Dearborn-based auto club says late Sunday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.40 per gallon. That’s about 13¢ more than it was at the same point last year. AAA says the lowest average price was about $2.34 per gallon in the Marquette area. The highest average was about $2.42 per gallon in the Ann Arbor area. The auto club puts the average price in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor at $2.39, up 8¢ in the past week, while GasBuddy spotters peg South Haven prices between $2.32 and $2.34 a gallon. AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Leaders Opposing Short-Term Rental Bill

The St. Joseph City Commission is speaking out against some legislation proposed in Lansing. The bill would stop local governments from regulating short-term rental properties. St. Joe City Manager John Hodgson tells WSJM News municipal governments should be able to control how much residential property is used for vacation housing.. ...Read Full Story

Stevensville Company Planning Expansion Thanks To Tax Break

The village of Stevensville has approved a tax break for a local manufacturer as it plans an expansion. This week, the village council approved a tax abatement for Darren Mayer Performance Engineering, a company that designs custom superchargers for race cars. It’s planning a more than 4,900 foot expansion set to retain 10 jobs and add 3 more. The investment is more than $500,000. The company worked with Cornerstone Alliance on pursuing the tax abatement, with Cornerstone saying it appreciates the village’s support. DMPE has been in Stevensville for 13 years.. ...Read Full Story

Buchanan Fire Department Receives Pet Oxygen Mask

First responders in Buchanan now have a new tool to help save pets in distress. Invisible Fence of Southwest Michigan has donated a pet oxygen mask to the fire department. The organization has a goal of equipping every fire station in the country with the masks. They’re designed to make it possible for emergency responders to provide oxygen to animals who have suffered smoke inhalation in fires. So far, Invisible Fence has given more than 12,400 of the masks. Several departments in Van Buren County also have the pet oxygen masks.. ...Read Full Story