Local News Archives

Theft From Three Oaks Baseball Association Results In Jail Time

The former treasurer of a baseball league in a Berrien County town has been sent to jail for stealing $37,000. Meanwhile, the Three Oaks Baseball Association is holding bake sales and scrambling to raise money to buy uniforms for the next season. Amanda Macias was sentenced to six months in jail Thursday in St Joseph. Judge Scott Schofield says she stole “from the children of Three Oaks.” Macias acknowledged her crime but insists she’s still a “good person with a heart of gold.” Her lawyer says she’s working two jobs to repay the league. Adam Williams, president of the group, says the baseball league is far short of the money it needs to start the season.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Sheriff’s Department Finds Alleged Police Impersonator

A man who’s accused of impersonating a police officer this week in Cass County has been found by the sheriff’s department. It says it got a tip about the alleged false officer after someone reported being pulled over by that person. Turns out the man’s a 53-year-old weather spotter and Red Cross volunteer from Jones. He told sheriff’s deputies he turned on his vehicle’s flashing lights Tuesday to stop someone who had cut him off in Newberg Township. He said he told the woman IF he was a cop, she’d be arrested. Police have turned the matter over to the prosecutor’s office to determine if charges are warranted.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Homes Sales Up In November

It’s been a good year for the regional housing market. Philip Amodeo, with the Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors, tells WSJM News 2016 will likely replace 2006 as a reference year, as the market has finally recovered from the recession. Not only are sales up, but so are the prices.. ...Read Full Story

Penalties For Underage Drinking To Be Reduced

A change has come to the law regarding minors in possession of alcohol. Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that makes the violation a civil infraction with a fine of $100 for a first offense. It used to be a misdemeanor. Republican state Senator Rick Jones, of Grand Ledge, sponsored the legislation and says most young people don’t even think about the consequences of breaking the law.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Signs Laws To Ease Zero Tolerance School Punishment

Governor Rick Snyder has signed laws that will ease zero-tolerance policies in public schools and give districts flexibility to
consider many issues when deciding whether to punish a student. Snyder says students will no longer be automatically expelled or suspended due to misconduct. Schools can consider a student’s age, disciplinary history, a student’s disability and whether safety was at risk. The governor says the package of laws is the result of discussions involving educators, judges and the American Civil Liberties Union. Snyder said Thursday the laws emphasize “restorative justice.”. ...Read Full Story

West Michigan’s Top Baby Names For 2016 Unveiled

The most popular name for baby girls in West Michigan in 2016 is Olivia. Liam tops the list for boys according to the Family Birthplace at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, which delivers more babies than any other hospital in Michigan. The rest of the top five for girls are Charlotte, Evelyn, Ava and Emma, while Levi, James, William and Elijah are the rest of the top five for boy babies. The only names on the list that weren’t there last year were Nora and Abigail for girls, but both were among the top ten in 2014.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Snyder Does Not Expect To Be Charged Over Flint Crisis

(Lansing, MI – AP) Governor Rick Snyder says he has “no reason to be concerned” about being charged in the Flint water investigation. Snyder’s comments to the “Detroit Free Press” occurred as the bill for his legal fees reached $4.9 million, all paid by taxpayers. The governor says much of the money has been spent on producing documents requested by Attorney General Bill Schuette’s investigators. Snyder says investigators “keep on asking” and his lawyers “keep on responding.”. ...Read Full Story

Snyder To Welcome 41 New State Troopers Thursday

Governor Rick Snyder will deliver the keynote address at a graduation ceremony for 41 new Michigan State Police troopers in Lansing on Thursday. Snyder says the graduation of the 131st Trooper Recruit School a stepping stone toward the reconstruction of the state police agency. He’s hoping to not just see officer counts improve in the next year, but he also wants to see bonds improve between law enforcement and the communities they serve.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Lawmakers Say Goodbye In Lansing

State Representative Al Pscholka has said goodbye to the Michigan House. Outgoing lawmakers got to give their farewell messages on the floor Wednesday. Pscholka has a message for the kids of Michigan, telling them even if they get a bit of a rough start in life, they can still go far.. ...Read Full Story

MI Congressman Criticized For Delaying Treatment Of Son

A Republican congressman said he delayed treatment of his son’s broken arm as an example of the kind of choices Americans will have to make when Republicans’ repeal of the health care law shifts more out-of-pocket costs to consumers. Representative Bill Huizenga told Michigan news site MLive.com that he and his wife opted to place a splint on their son’s arm and wait until the next morning to take him to the doctor rather than seek immediate but more costly treatment at an emergency room. Huizenga is an opponent of President Barack Obama’s health care law and a  supporter of tax-free health savings accounts to help people cover their medical bills. Several liberal websites blasted Huizenga, a father of five.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Officer Cleared In Fatal Shooting

There will be no charges filed in the officer-involved shooting of a Benton Harbor man in October. 28-year-old Darius Wimberly was shot and killed by the officer on October 18 after police say he ambushed them as they responded to a call at a home on Pavone Street. Body camera footage released by the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety shows the ambush occurring. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office says it has determined the officer who shot Wimberly was acting in self defense and in defense of others. Prosecutors say their investigation has revealed Wimberly was having a dispute with someone at that home on Pavone who wasn’t there that night. They say it’s not clear if Wimberly knew he was shooting at police when he ambushed them, as it was dark and they didn’t have their lights on. He had been seen at that home the night before.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Sheriff’s Department Warns Of Possible Police Impersonator

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is warning everyone about a possible police impersonator. It says around 2 p.m. Tuesday, two people called dispatch after someone tried to pull them over on M-40 in Newberg Township. Dispatch had them go to a Shell Mart to wait for deputies to arrive. When they got there, the deputies were told the person who tried to pull them over didn’t present any police ID, but had made statements hinting he was a cop. He’s described as a white male, about 65 years old, with white hair and a bear who was driving a red SUV with equipment racks and gear on top. The SUV also had white flashing lights and large antennas, along with several stickers. It may have said “rescue” on the front. Anyone with information is asked to call the Cass County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Pedestrian Killed On US-12 In Galien

A woman is dead after she was hit by a car in Galien on Tuesday evening. Michigan State Police tell us 50-year-old Gracie Harper was walking in the middle of the westbound side of US-12 on the west end of the village around 6:30 p.m. when she was struck by a westbound vehicle. The driver was unable to see her because it was dark and the road isn’t lit there. Police don’t believe alcohol or drugs were a factor for the driver, who was not hurt. They’re still waiting on lab results from the victim.. ...Read Full Story

211 Service Now Available In Every Part Of Michigan

State officials say the 2-1-1 information service phone number will be available to Michigan residents across the state. The Michigan Public Service Commission announced Tuesday that service was approved for St. Clair County. The move means that 2-1-1 is available in every corner of the state. The abbreviated phone number is designed to connect residents with services,
like for energy assistance. It can also be used during a crisis, like during severe weather. The commission says there are eight community resource call centers in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Not Guilty Pleas Entered In Flint Water Case

Not-guilty pleas have been entered by three of the four people newly charged in the Flint water investigation. Gerald Ambrose, Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson briefly appeared in court Tuesday. They are charged with conspiracy and other crimes.
Ambrose is Flint’s former state-appointed emergency manager. Croft is Flint’s former public works director, and Johnson is the former utilities director. They’re all accused of keeping Flint on Flint River water and using a water treatment plant that wasn’t ready for service. The water wasn’t treated to control corrosion. As a result, lead leached from pipes and old fixtures.
Former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley also is charged. He hasn’t appeared in court.. ...Read Full Story

Prosecutors Still Waiting For Perez Murder Case To Proceed

The man charged in a January double murder in Coloma is still not going to trial. Alex Perez is charged in the deaths of Renee and John Mitchell, who were found beaten to death in their Coloma home on January 15th. Perez was later arrested in Colorado. In June, he was found incompetent to stand trial. However, the ruling also said he could be made competent through treatment at a state psychiatric center. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office tells us a status report in court on Tuesday revealed Perez has still not been admitted to the center. His trial can’t happen until he is admitted and treated. The prosecutor says the office is still waiting for space to open up.. ...Read Full Story

Mercy Hospital Chimney Taken Down, Demolition On Schedule

In a sign of the continuing work on the building’s demolition, the chimney at the former Mercy Hospital in Benton Harbor is now gone. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News it was removed Tuesday. Demolition is on track to be done at the end of the month, and next, Witkowski says they’ll have to clean up the property and find a buyer.. ...Read Full Story

State Commission Reviewing Utility’s Request To Stop Buying Power From Palisades

The Michigan Public Service Commission wants to know how the early closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant will affect the state’s reserve energy capacity. That’s just one of the things the MPSC is looking at as it reviews Consumers Energy’s request to end its Palisades contract in 2018, rather than 2022. Spokesperson Judy Palnau tells our newsroom reserve capacity was in danger of going below the recommended level to begin with.. ...Read Full Story