Local News Archives

Students To Hold Disaster drill Wednesday In Lawrence

It’ll be a busy day Wednesday at the Van Buren Technology Center as students from all over the region simulate a disaster. Law enforcement instructor Matt Whitman tells us they’ve been doing this for 17 years now. The kids play the roles of police, firefighters, and EMTs, while the cosmetology students make up the victims. Whitman tells WSJM News the disaster could be anything, but it’s often based on real life situations.. ...Read Full Story

Cornerstone Chamber Of Commerce Announces New Home

The Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce has announced a new home, and it’s not the same place as Cornerstone Alliance’s new home. Cornerstone Chamber issued an announcement to membership Tuesday, saying the chamber is headed across the river to downtown St. Joseph. It will be located in what’s known as the Horizon Bank Building at 811 Ship Street on the third floor. Meanwhile, Cornerstone Alliance President Rob Cleveland tells WSJM News the new locations don’t change a great partnership.. ...Read Full Story

One Arrested In Coloma Meth Bust

Coloma Township police have been able to make a meth bust while simultaneously recovering some missing property. They tell us officers on Monday searched a home in the 5,300 block of Little Paw Paw Lake Road after getting a tip about drug activity there. When police approached a 38-year-old man at the property, he took off running into the woods nearby. He was caught a little while later with the help of a K9. When police searched the home, they found meth, meth lab components, and a marijuana grow operation. They also found a couple of stolen kayaks. The suspect was taken to the Berrien County Jail on several charges. His name has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Discusses Healthcare Vote

Congressman Fred Upton is explaining his vote last week for the Republican healthcare plan. Upton told WSJM News prior to last week’s vote he wouldn’t support the bill as long as it removed protections for those with preexisting conditions, but then he changed course. However, Upton tells us he only voted for the plan after securing $8 billion to set up high-risk pools. That $8 billion changed things.. ...Read Full Story

Cold Weather Causes Some SWM Crop Damage

The cold weather is taking a toll on some Michigan crops that have already bloomed or are blooming. Michigan State University Extension Educator Mark Longstroth tells Michigan News Network the damage is spotty, but the crops that saw the most damage were the juice grapes in southwest Michigan that are used in Welch’s grape juice.. ...Read Full Story

MI Lawmaker Found Dead Hours After Drunk Driving Arrest

From the Associated Press — A state representative from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has been found dead hours after he was released from jail on what may have been his second drunk driving arrest in less than two years. Police say John Kivela’s body was found about 1 p.m. Tuesday at a Lansing home and that there are no obvious indications of foul play. Clinton County Sheriff Lawrence Jerue told The Associated Press that the
Marquette Democrat was arrested Monday on southbound U.S. 127 near Maple Rapids. Jerue would not say what charge Kivela faced, but the Detroit Free Press reported he was arrested for drunken driving. Jerue said Kivela was released Tuesday on bond. Kivela pleaded guilty in December 2015 to drunken driving after his arrest the previous month in Clinton County.. ...Read Full Story

Death Investigation In Covert Township

Covert Township police are investigating the death of a man in his 20s found in a car in the 27-thousand block of 72nd Street. The man’s remains were in the passenger seat of 2002 Chevrolet Impala, and witnesses said the car had been there for “some time.” The cause of the man’s death hasn’t yet been determined, and an autopsy will be done. The body was found around 1 p.m. Monday. Police say they will have more information when it becomes available.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder: Moving Teachers To 401(K) May Be Less Expensive Than Thought

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says transition and other costs that would come with closing the pension system to newly hired teachers may be lower than estimated previously. The Republican governor told reporters Monday he is “always open-minded” to
discussions with lawmakers. GOP legislative leaders are pushing to end a hybrid pension-401(k) plan that new school employees qualify for and instead give new hires a 401(k) only. Snyder has been resistant previously, citing large upfront costs associated with closing a pension plan.But he says there is new data showing that the costs of such a switch “might be somewhat less, but we’re still making determinations of what those may be.” A legislative analysis of past legislation estimated costs ranging from $1.6 billion to $3.8 billion in the first five years.. ...Read Full Story

State Takes Comments On Palisades Closure

The Michigan Public Service Commission has heard the public’s thoughts on the planned closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant. It held two hearings Monday in Lawrence on Consumers Energy’s request to end a contract with Palisades owner Entergy to buy power from the plant four years early. MPSC Chair Sally Talberg told WSJM News they’re looking at two things.. ...Read Full Story

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