Local News Archives

Trump Opponents Protest In St. Joseph

The local protests about President Donald Trump continue. On Tuesday, a crowd of about 70 gathered outside of the St. Joseph office of Congressman Fred Upton. Berrien County Democratic Party Chair Eric Lester told WSJM News they were there opposing the president’s immigration executive order.. ...Read Full Story

MSU Professor Gets $8 Million Grant For Malaria Research

From the Associated Press — A Michigan State University professor will be able to spend at least seven more years researching malaria thanks to an $8.4 million grant. The Lansing State Journal reports the grant from the National Institute of Health will allow Terrie Taylor to find ways to improve health care for malaria-infected patients. Taylor has spent six months every year for the past three decades helping children with malaria in the east African country of Malawi. Taylor says she plans to focus her next clinical trial on treatment for brain swelling that occurs in children suffering from malaria. According to Taylor, the mortality rate for malaria-infected people is about 37 percent. She’s hoping the newly funded project will cut mortality down to 17%.. ...Read Full Story

EPA Sued Over Flint Water Crisis

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is being sued by more than 1,700 Flint-area residents and property owners seeking over $700 million dollars in damages over the Flint water crisis. Michael Kitt, attorney for the plaintiffs, told Michigan News Network the agency had ample information at hand to prevent the crisis from taking place.. ...Read Full Story

Attempted Murder In Benton Harbor

A Benton Harbor woman is recovering at Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph after a man allegedly tried to kill her early Monday morning. Public safety says they were called to the home in the 900 block of Lavette Street around 3:30 a.m. on a report of shots fired. A man was arrested for assault with intent to murder, possession of cocaine and marijuana, and several weapons charges. It’s not clear if the woman was shot or how she received her injuries. Michigan State Police and the FBI are assisting Benton Harbor Public Safety in the investigation. No names have been released.. ...Read Full Story

Indiana Man Arrested For Stealing Truck

A chase through a field, along railroad tracks, and then on foot by the St. Joseph River ended with the arrest of an Indiana man for stealing a pickup truck in Three Oaks. It happened yesterday afternoon, with the truck reported stolen while Michigan State Police were trying to pull the suspect over for speeding on US 12 in Buchanan. He ultimately ditched the truck behind a house and tried to get away on foot, only to be caught by police waiting for him at a perimeter point set up along the river. His name is being withheld until his arraignment, but he is 26-years-old and from Angola.. ...Read Full Story

Anti-Trump Demonstration Planned Today In St. Joseph

Look for signs of “Stop Trump’s #SwampCabinet” and more in downtown St. Joseph today, as MoveOn.org launches rallies and protests at the offices of members of Congress across the country from both parties. They will demonstrate from noon to 12:30 outside the district office of Congressman Fred Upton at 720 Main Street, across from the Berrien County Administration Building. The rallies are part of what they call the growing #ResistTrumpTuesdays movement which brought out 15,000 demonstrators last week. Protesters want to get out their message that President Trump’s Cabinet picks are “not what America wants or needs.” There will also be demonstrations across the country at city halls and mayor’s offices to demand cities and towns defend immigrants.. ...Read Full Story

State Launches Hotline For People Accused Of Unemployment Fraud

New measures are being taken to help those who were wrongly accused by the state of Michigan of stealing from the unemployment system. Michigan Talent Agency Director Wanda Stokes tells WSJM News between 2013 and 2015, around 19,000 people were identified by a state computer system of defrauding the Unemployment Insurance Agency. Now they can call a hotline to possibly get reimbursed for whatever they had to pay back.. ...Read Full Story

MI Immigrants On Edge Following Trump Executive Order

A weekend of chaos has given way to a new week of confusion following President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees. Experts say it will have an impact on virtually every Michigan community. Christine Sauve, with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, tells us while Trump has said the order is necessary to ensure those entering the country do not pose a threat, Sauve argues that it only serves to tear at the fabric of the nation and put all immigrants on edge.. ...Read Full Story

54 Deer Sterilized In Ann Arbor To Help Decrease Population

From the Associated Press — Dozens of female deer have been sterilized in Ann Arbor as part of the nonlethal phase of the city’s winter 2017 deer management plan. The Ann Arbor News reports that veterinarians performed surgeries on 54 does
over the last week at a makeshift operating room at the Huron Hills Golf Course. Veterinarian and lead surgeon Dr. Steve Timm says the effort is expected to decrease the local deer population about 20% a year. The city-funded deer management plan is expected to move into the lethal phase on Monday. Sharpshooters plan to go to city parks and nature areas, as well as some University of Michigan properties. The city council voted in November to team up with a Connecticut nonprofit to
carry out the management plan.. ...Read Full Story

Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Death Of 8-Month-Old Boy

Life in prison with no parole. That’s the sentence handed down Monday to Brandon Beshires, a Benton Harbor man convicted of first degree premeditated murder in the death of an 8-month-old boy from Hartford early last year. Berrien County Judge Arthur Cotter told Beshires during Monday’s sentencing that after 30 years in criminal justice, the autopsy photo of little Carter Donovan would always haunt him. Prosecutors say Donovan died as a result of trauma to the head while he was in the care of Beshires, who pleaded guilty last month. Donovan’s mother, Autumn Atchley is also charged in the case for being an accessory after the fact. That’s after police say she initially lied about the death. She was scheduled for sentencing Monday, but it’s now been delayed.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Trump Should Scale Back Executive Order On Immigration

Congressman Fred Upton has weighed in on President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel into the United States for citizens from seven Muslim majority countries. The St. Joseph Republican says the Trump administration should scale back the order. In a statement, Upton adds he’s “heard from a number of local folks with valid concerns for themselves or loved ones, as well from global companies that have legitimate worries relating to the international travel of their employees.” He says the executive order has created confusion for travelers and businesses, and that the Trump administration should work with Congress on finding ways to strengthen the border. In 2015, Upton rejected calls for a travel ban based on religion.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Down Slightly

From the Associated Press — AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have fallen by about 9 cents per gallon in the past week.
The Dearborn-based auto club says Monday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.19 per gallon. That’s about 50 cents more than it was at the same point last year. It’s the third consecutive week the statewide average price has declined. AAA says the lowest average price was about $2.05 per gallon in the Flint area, while the highest average was about $2.48 in the Marquette area. It was the fourth week in a row Flint had the lowest average and the third consecutive
week that Marquette had the highest.AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.. ...Read Full Story

Supreme Court Justice To Speak At University Of Michigan

From the Associated Press — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and a judge from Germany’s highest court will speak at the University of Michigan on diversity, higher education and the role of history in their work. Sotomayor’s appearance Monday in Ann Arbor with Justice Susanne Baer of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany comes as President Donald Trump is about to announce his Supreme Court nominee. He has said he intends to name the pick on Thursday to fill the lifetime seat held by the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Sotomayor and Baer will speak at morning and evening events as part of the university’s commemoration of its bicentennial. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court. Baer is the first openly gay woman to serve on Germany’s high court.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Parks To Offer Refuge From July 4 Fireworks Racket

From the Associated Press — Tired of all the rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air around the Fourth of July? You’re not alone. Eleven of Michigan’s state parks and recreation areas are offering fireworks-free camping from July 1-4. Participating campgrounds are located a good distance away from traditional community fireworks displays. DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson says the quiet alternatives were designed especially with veterans and pet owners in mind. Fireworks and other loud, unexpected noises can trigger intense discomfort for former military personnel dealing with post-traumatic stress. They can cause misery for sensitive animals as well. Camping reservations for the no-fireworks period can be made up to six months in advance by calling 1-800-447-2757.. ...Read Full Story

Edwardsburg Woman Killed In Crash

A 30-year-old Edwardsburg woman is dead after crashing her car while trying to outrun a Cass County Sheriff’s deputy. Michigan State Police are investigating the Saturday night crash in Mason Township. Police say Amanda Bowers drove off as a deputy was called to a single-vehicle accident and found her stopped with her lights off in the road at Old M-205 and Redfield Street. After a roughly three-mile chase, she crashed, rolling her car. Bowers was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and the crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

BH High School Students To Talk Safe Driving

Benton Harbor and South Haven High Schools are on the list of schools to be selected for this year’s Strive for a Safer Drive program. The program is a partnership between Ford Motor Company and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, and office spokesperson Kristin Allen tells WSJM News the students at each building decide how to preach safe driving to their classmates.. ...Read Full Story

Executive Order On Refugees Met With Silence From Upton, Huizenga

Silence is the reaction from a pair of members of Congress from West Michigan over the weekend to the controversy brewing after the President issued the order late Friday afternoon. Our newsroom tried unsuccessfully several times to get comment from Congressman Fred Upton of St. Joseph, while Congressman Bill Huizenga of Zeeland also issued no statement. When WSJM News called Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad on Sunday, he simply said quote, “I have no comment.” The order bans citizens of seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan – from entering the U.S. for 90 days, but does allow for reviewing things on a case-by-case basis. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg joined protests of the order in Houston on Saturday, where he was lobbying to become the next leader of the Democratic National Committee. ...Read Full Story

SWM Gravel Roads Hit Hard By Recent Rains

Gravel roads around southwest Michigan are in bad shape right now because of the recent warm weather. Van Buren County Road Commission Superintendent Brian Cornish tells WSJM News the weather has thawed some of the underground frost, leading to a muddy mess up above. There’s not much crews can do to help right now.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Sheriff’s Department Offering Defense Classes To Women

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is once again signing women up for its Rape Aggression Defense class. The classes are designed to teach women of any strength or age how to defend themselves in an assault situation, and they’re offered each year by the sheriff’s department. This year’s RAD classes come in three four hour sessions that take place between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. There are sessions planned for Harbert, Coloma, Lincoln Township, and Berrien Springs from March through May. To find out about signing up just call the Berrien County Sheriff’s DepartmentDeputy Kelly Laesch at 269-983-7141, extension 7221.. ...Read Full Story

Federal Numbers: Union Membership Declined In 2016

From the Associated Press — Federal figures say union membership in Michigan declined in 2016. The Detroit News reports the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said the number of union members in Michigan dropped from 621,000 in 2015 to 606,000 last year, going from 15.2 percent to 14.4%. The Michigan decrease was part of a 0.4% drop in national union membership that saw the number of labor-affiliated workers in the U.S. drop from more than 14.8 million in 2015 to 14.6 million in 2016. The Labor Department said this week that there were 7.1 million public-sector employees that belonged to a union in 2016, compared with 7.4 million unionized workers in the private sector. The agency said the union membership rate for public-sector workers last year was 34.4 percent.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Power Outage

The power is out for a little more than 1,000 Indiana Michigan Power customers in Benton Township and Benton Harbor. The utility company is estimating the power will be restored by around 8:30 Sunday morning. An equipment failure is blamed. The outage includes areas around the intersection of M-139 and Pipestone, extending along Pipestone to nearly Main Street. The power is out on M-139 from just south of Main Street to Fairplain Drive.. ...Read Full Story

Home Damaged In Benton Township Fire

A kerosene heater and a can of gasoline are to blame for a house fire in Benton Township Saturday evening. The fire department tells WSJM News the call about a home in the 1,200 block of Rose Avenue came in about 5:30 p.m. The family had been using the heater in their garage, too close to the can of gas. When the fire broke out, they managed to escape unharmed. Firefighters from BentonTownship kept the  flames from spreading to the rest of the house, but the garage is a total loss. So is a Chevy Trailblazer. The rest of the home suffered smoke damage, while a neighbor’s house suffered some minor damage. Firefighters cleared the scene by 8 p.m. and Indiana Michigan Power was called in due to some lines being burned.. ...Read Full Story