Local News Archives

House Approves Increase In School Funding

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s public schools would receive their largest increase in base per-student funding in 17 years under a budget plan endorsed by the state House. The Republican-controlled House approved the plan Tuesday, including a boost ranging from $120 to $240 per pupil proposed by Governor Rick Snyder. Once the Senate passes a proposal and revised revenue estimates are released, a budget agreement will be finalized in June. Though the House backed the governor’s base K-12 funding proposal, it rejected proposed cuts to online charter schools and to aid that helps public schools enroll private students in elective classes. Unlike Snyder, the House voted to close a prison next fiscal year. Republicans rejected Democratic amendments to spend more on road improvements and to restore free bottled water for Flint residents.. ...Read Full Story

Public Hearing On SJ Tax Rate

A public hearing on the budget and the local tax rate will be held by St. Joseph City Commissioners next month. Mayor Mike Garey tells WSJM News the commission is grappling with multiple considerations as it looks at possible millage increases. That includes the need for street repair money. He credits city staff with being on top of the looming challenges.. ...Read Full Story

Al-Van Humane Society New Shelter

The Al-Van Humane Society is preparing to open its brand new shelter in South Haven next week. Executive Director Jennifer Nuernberg tells us the new 8,000 square foot building on Blue Star Highway is just around the corner from the current facility, and the animals will be moved this coming weekend. The Humane Society had to raise $500,000 to make the move possible.. ...Read Full Story

Man Faces Trial In Fatal Bike Crash

From the Associated Press — A trial is expected to run about two weeks for a man involved in a 2016 crash that killed five bicyclists and injured four others in southwestern Michigan. Prospective jurors in the case of Charles Pickett are appearing Monday in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court and jury selection is expected to take place Tuesday. The Michigan Supreme Court earlier this year decided against hearing an
appeal of the second-degree murder charges he faces. Pickett is accused of driving under the influence of drugs and plowing into a group of bicyclists in Cooper Township on June 7, 2016. His girlfriend told police he downed handfuls of pain pills and muscle relaxers before driving. Pickett’s lawyer has argued the evidence established, at most, the elements of reckless driving causing death.. ...Read Full Story

Report Calls For Minimum Wage Increase

A new report calls for raising the federal minimum wage to 15-dollars an hour to reduce poverty and promote pay equity. While the minimum wage in Michigan is $8.25 per hour, it still is $7.25 an hour in 21 other states. Since the current federal minimum wage went into effect nine years ago, it has lost 13% of its value, and the minimum federal wage for workers who get tips has stayed at $2.13 an hour since 1991. Emily Chatterjee, senior counsel at the Leadership Conference Education Fund, says raising the wage would do more than help lift people out of poverty.. ...Read Full Story

Businessman Turns In Signatures For Governor

From the Associated Press — Businessman Shri Thanedar has submitted 30,000 signatures to run for governor, becoming the third Democratic candidate to file. Thanedar turned in the petitions Monday, before Tuesday’s deadline. He says he wants to be governor to “make a difference for this state, which has given me so many breaks.” Thanedar is a scientist by training and immigrant from India who last year told a stake in his chemical-testing company for tens of millions of dollars. The political novice has been airing TV ads to build his name recognition. Other Democrats running are Gretchen Whitmer and Abdul El-Sayed. Retired business executive Bill Cobbs is running, too, but may not have enough voter signatures to qualify.. ...Read Full Story

Final Approval For Pier Life Rings

The north pier in St. Joseph will have life rings installed by Memorial Day weekend. So says St. Joe City Manager John Hodgson, who told city commissioners Monday night the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is on board, and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department will help with maintenance. Hodgson told WSJM News the north pier model will follow the county’s example with life rings at the south pier.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Talks Hepatitis A

The Berrien County Health Department is reminding everyone to talk with their doctor about getting the Hepatitis A vaccine. Spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News Hepatitis A is a liver disease that has been on the rise in Michigan, especially in the southeast part of the state.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Talks Opioid Abuse Prevention

Combating the fight against opioid addiction before it starts. That’s the idea behind a new bill in Lansing. State Representative Joseph Bellino tells Michigan News Network he has a plan that would require certain prescriptions to come in locked vials that can administer pills at specific intervals. Bellino admits to once being a cocaine addict himself.. ...Read Full Story