Local News Archives

Upton Not Expecting Final Budget To Include Some Proposed Cuts

Congress will likely be hammering out a federal budget all the way through the summer, according to Congressman Fred Upton. He tells our newsroom President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Meals on Wheels, AmeriCorps, and other popular programs should not be regarded as etched in stone just yet. Meals on Wheels, for example, is something Upton thinks Congress will preserve.. ...Read Full Story

State House Unanimously Approves Bill To Help Human Trafficking Victims

Human trafficking victims would get help rebuilding their lives under legislation approved by the Michigan House. House members unanimously approved the measure on Wednesday. Republican Representative Bronna Kahle, of Adrian, sponsored the bill that could forgive
prostitution-related offenses victims were forced to commit, even if they have a prior conviction. She says the bill would make them eligible for parole and deferral instead of jailing them so that they have a chance to become productive members of society. Victims now are only eligible for one-time deferred sentences for certain charges the victim was forced to commit if all conditions of probation have been met. It also only applies to victims who have had no previous convictions. The bill now moves on to the GOP-controlled Senate for approval.. ...Read Full Story

New Board Chair At Honor Credit Union

There’s a new board chair in place at Honor Credit Union. At a meeting this week, former Honor CU Board Chair Larry Olson stepped down and handed the gavel to Mimi Elwell. Olson has served on the Honor Credit Union Board as a volunteer for more than 40 years, with his most recent tenure as chair beginning in 2007. He’ll now serve in the vice chair role. Elwell started with Honor CU in 1980 as the chair of the Supervisory Committee. She has served the last eight years as secretary of the board, and Honor CEO Scott McFarland says if anyone can fill Larry Olson’s shoes, it’s her. During Olson’s tenure, Honor Credit Union, which used to be known as Berrien Teachers Credit Union, has grown to be a more than $700 million operation. The credit union also serves 60,000 members across the state of Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Amber Alert!

AMBER Alert is being issued for Burton Police Department. Child#1: Arinna Buning, white female, Age 2, brown hair, hazel eyes, 3 foot tall, 28. Pounds, wearing a  pink coat purple pants and blue snow boots. Child#2: Lincoln Buning, white male, 9 months, brown hair, blue eyes, 2 feet tall, 22. Pounds, wearing footy pajamas with truck on them. Suspect: is a black male, 5 foot 10 inches, 300. Pounds, wearing red hoodie sweater and is heavy set. Vehicle is a  Blue Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Michigan Registration of DKZ4121 last seen travelling east on Schumacher St. from the Admiral Gas Station located at 4232 S Saginaw St. in  Burton. Please contact Burton Police Department at 810-742-2542 or dial -911 to report any information on this abduction.  you can also Visit amberalertmichigan.org for more Information.. ...Read Full Story

Website Ranks Benton Harbor As Among The Top Places To Retire Early

Benton Harbor is among the best places in the country in which to retire early, according to at least one report. A study from Magnify Money published this month takes a look at factors including the cost of living, the quality of life, and employability when determining where early retirees might like to live. In general, it finds the lowest cost of living to be in the Midwest or the south, although the best quality of life is in the northeast. When factoring all of those things together, Magnify Money says Benton Harbor ties with Sherman, Texas and Memphis, Tennessee in second place for best place to retire early. In first place is Knoxville, Tennessee, while the worst place to retire early, according to the study is Arlington, Virginia. You can see the full report right here.. ...Read Full Story

State Helping Property Owners Permanently Shield Forest Land From Development

From the Associated Press — Michigan officials are taking applications from owners of forest land who would like to enroll their property in a program that shields it permanently from development. Michigan’s Forest Legacy Program uses federal and matching funds to protect
environmentally important woodlands in certain areas. That could mean buying the property and converting it to public ownership. Other arrangements involve leaving the land in private hands and paying the owner to make sure it stays protected. Some owners might also get tax benefits for limiting the future use of their property. Kerry Wieber of the Department of Natural Resources says the legacy program is
important for preserving wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. Applications are due by June 16. Additional information is posted online.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Township Grants Tax Abatement To Metal Stamping Company

A Niles-based metal stamping company seeking to expand into Benton Township has been granted a tax break to make it possible. Modineer is looking to locate its coating division in the township, creating 21 new jobs. Township trustees approved the tax abatement on Tuesday. Modineer has been working for several months with Cornerstone Alliance on the project, and it’s also seeking some state help. Cornerstone says it appreciates the township’s support in helping to keep the company in Berrien County.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Deputies Complete Corrections Officer Training

Two Berrien County Sheriff’s deputies have received extra training to be better prepared for service as corrections officers. The sheriff’s department tells our newsroom Devonte Hureskin and Brandon Dipert just wrapped up a four-week course at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Law Enforcement Training Center. There, they learned about things like custody and security, defensive tactics, first aid, suicide awareness, and interpersonal communications. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey tells us the training the deputies have received will help them better serve the jail and keep inmates and staff safe.. ...Read Full Story

Rusty Patched Bumblebee Added To Endangered Species List

From the Associated Press — The rusty patched bumblebee is officially an endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the designation took effect Tuesday, making the rusty patched bumblebee the first bee species in the continental U.S. to receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Advocates say the bee has disappeared from about 90 percent of its range in the past 20 years. Bees are crucial for pollinating crops and wild plants. The listing was announced in January and had been scheduled to take effect February 10. But the Trump administration ordered a last-minute review and postponed the listing until Tuesday. Some environmentalists had feared the designation
could be canceled. The Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit over the delay, saying it had been ordered without required public notice and comment.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder: GOP Health Plan Would Harm Michigan Residents

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder has written letters to every member of Michigan’s congressional delegation to warn how House Republicans’ health care legislation would “adversely impact” the state’s most vulnerable residents. The Republican governor’s letter, dated Tuesday, says the debate has largely focused on people participating in the expanded Medicaid program. But he says half of all Michigan children are served by the traditional Medicaid program, which would also be affected by the bill. Snyder says the legislation would shift financial risk to state taxpayers, and he is concerned it would also lead to “significant cost increases” on older residents who buy insurance in the individual market. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday. Nine of Michigan’s 14 House members are Republicans. Democrats plan to oppose the legislation.. ...Read Full Story

Drowning Victims Identified

The two anglers who drowned in Keeler Lake over the weekend have been identified. According to Michigan State Police, the victims were 45-year-old Douglas McIntyre of Decatur and 64-year-old Robert Novick of Illinois. The two died at separate hospitals. Their boat overturned Saturday, and they were found about 75 yards offshore.. ...Read Full Story

Former Kellogg Exec Might Challenge Upton

A retired Kellogg Corporation vice president is said to be eyeing a run for Congress in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District. Lansing’s MIRS News reports George Franklin is considering running against Congressman Fred Upton if the St. Joseph Republican decides not to seek another term in the House. It’s not known if Franklin would run for the seat if Upton decides to run for the U.S. Senate against Debbie Stabenow, which has been rumored previously in MIRS reports, but so far denied by the congressman. Franklin has contributed to Upton’s campaigns in the past. He would run as a Democrat if he gets into the race, and has the support of former Congressman and one-time Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mark Schauer.. ...Read Full Story

Cable Barrier Prevents “Catastrophic” I-94 Crash

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is crediting the cable barrier in the median on I-94 with preventing what could have been a very bad accident Monday afternoon. Deputies say the driver of a semi fell asleep just before 1 p.m. and crashed at full speed into the barrier near the 58 mile marker west of Paw Paw. 37-year-old Lane Halter of Ohio was cited for reckless driving. His rig destroyed 45 cable barrier posts, and got entangled in the cables as they are intended to do. The sheriff’s department says had he not been stopped by the barrier, the results “could have been catastrophic.” Halter was not hurt.. ...Read Full Story

Missing West Michigan Teen Found In Iowa

A southwest Michigan teenager will be returning home soon after being found in Ames, Iowa on the campus of Iowa State University. Michigan State Police issued an Endangered Missing Advisory yesterday for 16-year-old Joy Dene Martin of Fennville, and say she was located safe and sound last night. Martin had left home voluntarily on Saturday, taking a Greyhound bus to meet up with someone she had been talking to over the internet using the KIK messenger app. Investigators have not released any information about who Martin had taken off to meet.. ...Read Full Story

BH Commission Considering City Manager Spending Limit

A committee of the Benton Harbor City Commission will soon take a look at how much the city manager should be allowed to spend before getting permission from the full body. On Monday, commissioners were asked to amend a 1950s ordinance setting the spending limit at $1,000. They’re being asked to raise it to $5,000. City Manager Darwin Watson tells WSJM News all kinds of things the city has to purchase on a routine basis exceed the $1,000.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Central Student Named Mr. Basketball In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Isaiah Livers of Kalamazoo Central has been named Mr. Basketball for the state of Michigan. Livers, who has signed to play at Michigan for the Wolverines next season, edged Xavier Tillman of Grand Rapids Christian in voting by members of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. The Hal Schram Mr. Basketball award is given to the state’s top senior by the coaches group in conjunction with the Detroit Free Press. Schram covered high school sports for the Free Press for over 40 years. Past winners of the award include Chris Webber, Glen Rice, Shane Battier and Jason Richardson. Livers averaged 17.5 points and 14 rebounds per game during the regular season. Kalamazoo Central faces Grand Rapids Christian on Tuesday in a Class A quarterfinal.. ...Read Full Story

BH Commissioners Begin Discussion On Compensation

Should Benton Harbor City Commissioners be paid more for all the meetings they attend? That question could soon be decided by the city’s compensation commission, now that the process of setting it up has begun. At a Monday meeting, city commissioners approved an appointment to the five-member body, which has not met since the mid-2000s. Mayor Marcus Muhammad tells WSJM News us he thought the matter should be discussed, and this gets the ball rolling.. ...Read Full Story

Free Tax Preparation Help Available In Michigan

If you’ve been putting off your taxes because you don’t want to deal with the paperwork headache, there could be a place for you to turn for help. Every year, hundreds of IRS-certified volunteers help people file their taxes for free in Michigan. Marshall Hunt, with the Accounting Aid Society of Detroit, tells us you can just call 211 to get hooked up with someone who won’t steer you wrong. He notes there are some tax preparers you want to avoid.. ...Read Full Story

Reconstruction Project In Hilltop Road Begins

Hilltop Road in St. Joseph will be under construction for the next several months. St. Joseph City Engineer Tim Zebell tells WSJM News they’re reconstructing the road in two phases, north of Cleveland and then south of Cleveland. He notes the effort is a joint project of the city, the road commission, the township, and the sanitary sewer authority.. ...Read Full Story

Helicopter Survey Of Lake Michigan Sand To Start This Week

From the Associated Press — Geologists in Illinois are launching a helicopter survey of sand in Lake Michigan in the Chicago area. The Chicago Tribune reports that beginning as early as Wednesday, a low-flying helicopter hauling what appears to be a giant, mechanical Hula Hoop
will be carrying a large electromagnetic array from Kenosha to the Illinois-Indiana state line. The Illinois State Geological Survey hopes to figure out where the lake’s sand has gone. Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Management Program director Diane Tecic says there’s not enough sand in some areas and too much sand in other spots. Equipment on the helicopter will diagram the landscape of the lake floor by
using electromagnetic signals. Researchers will be able to get a clearer picture of the lake’s profile and better understand its composition.. ...Read Full Story

Police Identify Two Men Who Drowned Saturday In Van Buren County

Michigan State Police say two people are dead following a boating accident in Van Buren County on Saturday. Troopers were called to Keeler Lake in Keeler Township about 7:30 p.m. on a report of a drowning. Upon arrival, they were flagged down by a man who said two of his friends had been fishing in a boat when they started yelling to him for help. The troopers then spotted a capsized boat about 75 feet from shore and were able to reach the two victims. Both were taken to area hospitals where they were pronounced dead. The victims have been identified as 45-year-old Douglas Charles McIntyre, from Decatur, and 64-year-old Robert E. Novick, from Evergreen Park, Illinois.. ...Read Full Story