Local News Archives

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

Police Search For Missing 16 Year Old

Michigan State Police are looking for a 16-year-old girl missing out of Saugatuck. They say Joy Dene Martin may have left the state on a Greyhound bus to meet someone she met on the KIK messenger app. She had bags of clothing with her when she left. Martin is described as about 5’6, 180 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She also has a diamond stud nose piercing. Anyone with information on her location is asked to call Michigan State Police at the Wayland post. The number is 269-792-2213.. ...Read Full Story

Southwestern Michigan College Founder Dies At 87

Southwest Michigan has lost an academic icon. Southwestern Michigan College founder Dr. Fred Mathews died Sunday at the age of 87. State Senator John Proos says he’s “deeply saddened” by the loss of a friend. He calls Mathews a “leader for all of Southwest Michigan” and a “voice for good government as long as I knew him.” Dr. Mathews founded SMC in the 1960s to fill a void in higher education in Cass County. His son, David, is the current SMC president and has served in that position for the past 20 years. Dr. Fred Mathews was the college’s chairman from 1964 to 2015.. ...Read Full Story

Record-Breaking Year For United Way Of SWM

Individuals and businesses who helped the United Way of Southwest Michigan in the past year reach its fundraising goal have been saluted by the organization. It held its annual awards dinner Thursday at the Mendel Center, with President Anna Murphy noting the special work regional businesses each year to help.. ...Read Full Story

Details Of BH Schools-State Partnership Being Worked Out

The new partnership agreement between Benton Harbor Area Schools and the state of Michigan is starting to come together. Benton Harbor Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker tells WSJM News she’s learning new things each day about how the partnership allowing three struggling schools in the district to stay open will look. She says the deal won’t just be more state control.. ...Read Full Story

Royalton Township Seeking Grants To Improve Parks

If Royalton Township leaders get their way, the township could get some big park improvements next year. The township has applied for two state grants, totaling $300,000, to pay for work at Bicentennial Park and the nature trail off Bacon School Road. Township Manager Steve Tilly tells WSJM News they want to fix up the trail.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Calls For Preservation Of AmeriCorps

The president’s budget proposal is calling for the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which is best known for its AmeriCorps program, and that’s got the United Way of Southwest Michigan concerned. The United Way’s Rachel Wade tells WSJM News her organization works with several other non-profits that rely on AmeriCorps volunteers.. ...Read Full Story

Two Dead In Van Buren County Boating Accident

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 were a 45-year-old man from Decatur, and a 64-year-old man from Evergreen Park, Illinois. Neither of their names have been released.. ...Read Full Story

Tracking System Results In Reduced Sales Of Meth Ingredient

An online tracking system designed to slow the spread of methamphetamine is making a difference, according to the office of state Senator John Proos. It tells us that the National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPlEx, was brought to Michigan in 2012. NPLEx tracks the sale of over-the-counter drugs containing pseudoephedrine, which is often used in meth. Retailers and pharmacies in the state are required to consult the system before selling such cold medicines to someone.. ...Read Full Story

Last Weekend To Skate At St. Joseph Ice Arena

If you enjoy ice skating at the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena in St. Joseph, you’re running out of time to do it for the season. St. Joseph Deputy Public Works Director Greg Grothous tells WSJM News they’re shutting things down after this weekend. Despite this year’s warm winter, he says the ice rink has actually been pretty busy.. ...Read Full Story