Local News Archives

MI House Approves Extra Road Money

From the Associated Press — The Michigan House has voted to spend $175 million on road and transportation projects as the winter thaw reveals awful potholes around the state. Governor Rick Snyder had proposed spending the money in the new budget year, which starts October 1. But lawmakers decided to act Wednesday in response to the poor condition of roads. State Representative Laura Cox, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, says, “The roads are just kind of crazy.” She says moving on the money now will help
communities prepare for the construction season. The Senate could vote next week. Eighty percent of the money would go to the state Transportation Department and county road commissions. The Detroit News says the spending formula will include local population, pavement miles and other factors.. ...Read Full Story

Red Cross Opens Flood Shelters

Two shelters are now open in Berrien County for people being driven from their homes due to the flood. The American Red Cross tells WSJM News they’ve opened shelters at Berrien Springs Middle School and at Wesley United Methodist Church in Niles. The southern part of Berrien County is really taking a hard hit from the weather this week, and the county has closed the Niles courthouse on Thursday due to the flooding. Berrien County Animal Control has helped with rescuing household pets from the River Springs Estates Mobile Home Park in Berrien Springs, which was evacuated Wednesday. Some roads have been closed, and Berrien County Road Department officials are urging people to not drive around barricades and risk damage to their vehicles, the road, or even a drowning death.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Courthouse Closed Through Monday

The Berrien County Courthouse in Niles will be closed through Monday due to flooding. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us all matters involving traffic citations, arraignments or reporting to probation offices should now report to the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph until the Niles location is back open. Meanwhile, Berrien County Animal Control is helping with the collection of household pets at the River Springs Estates Mobile Home Park in Berrien Springs since it was evacuated. Anyone looking to make contact with a pet they could have lost in the evacuation should call animal control. The office in Benton Township is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The sheriff’s department also says anyone in need of shelter should call the American Red Cross. Additionally, the city of Niles is telling any residents who left their homes because of the flood to take extra caution when they go back. Electrical circuits may still be energized and other hazards can develop during your absence from the property.. ...Read Full Story

Plan Would Expand Discount On Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicle Fees

A new plan from state Senator John Proos is designed to allow more wheelchair-accessible vehicles to receive a state registration fee deduction. Proos tells us the idea applies to vehicles that have been specially-modified for wheelchair use. He says those modifications can cost quite a bit, leading to higher state registration fees. He says the new legislation could help. Proos notes there is a current registration reduction in place for wheelchair-accessible vans, but not other types of vehicles. Under Senate Bill 815, the registration fee reduction would be offered on any passenger vehicle with a permanently-installed wheelchair lift or permanently-installed hand controls whether it’s a van, truck, or anything else. The plan is now before a state Senate committee.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks Gun Control

While the nation debates gun control again, Congressman Fred Upton says he’s always been in favor of some common sense rules. He tells WSJM News he was calling for universal background checks back in the 90s. He also tells us the bipartisan congressional group calling itself the Problem Solvers will talk gun rules when it meets next week.. ...Read Full Story

Sheriff’s Department Talks Flooding

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is partnering with local fire and police departments to respond to flooding throughout the area. Undersheriff Chuck Heit tells WSJM News there are some simple safety rules for drivers to follow as they encounter roads that are flooded.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Flooding Most Severe In Niles, Berrien Springs

Flooding in Berrien County this week has been the worst in the Niles and Berrien Springs areas. The city of Niles put out word Wednesday morning the St. Joseph River level is poised to crest at 16.9 feet at approximately 7 a.m. Thursday. That would be an historic level beating out 15.1 feet in 1988. The St. Joseph River is considered to be at a flood level when it hits 11 feet. City crews have been doing welfare checks on residents and the Red Cross is working to set up emergency accommodations for anyone that has to leave their home due to flood waters.. ...Read Full Story