Local News Archives

Community Foundation Scholarships Available

The Berrien Community Foundation is taking applications for this year’s scholarships. Foundation President Lisa Cripps Downey tells us there are four new ones this year, with the BCF administering a total of more than 30. A new one this year is the Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force Scholarship.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Looks To Address Abandoned Businesses

State Representative Kim LaSata is taking a look at drafting legislation designed to crack down on the owners of abandoned, dilapidated businesses. She tells WSJM News the move comes on the heels of legislation she’s working on to do the same to the owners of abandoned homes. LaSata tells us when a former business just sits there for years not being used, it’s an eyesore.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Fire Under Investigation

One man is recovering after a home fire initially reported as an explosion in Cass County’s Milton Township Tuesday night. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened in the 33,000 block of Bertrand Street around 6 p.m. Neighbors reported hearing two explosions before the house caught fire and was soon fully engulfed. 75-year-old Thomas Tedder and his wife Brenda were in the home at the time. Thomas Tedder suffered burn injuries and was taken to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo where he was listed Wednesday afternoon in stable but serious condition. While firefighters fought the blaze, Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke says due to the possibility of explosions, his department “worked to keep the scene safe.” The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and the home is a total loss.. ...Read Full Story

Changes For Monument Discussed

Changes could soon be coming to the World War I monument in downtown St. Joseph. The Daughters of the American Revolution addressed city commissioners this week to tell them they’re hoping to move a plaque with the names of St. Joseph area soldiers killed in that war from the back of the doughboy statue to the side of it.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Drafting Plan For Three Parks

The city of St. Joseph is closer to having a parks master plan. Last year, a series of public meetings took the suggestions of residents for Dickinson Park, Riverview Park, and Whirlpool Centennial Park. At Monday’s city commission meeting, St. Joe Deputy Public Works Director Greg Grothous laid out the long-term visions for those parks based off the meetings. He tells WSJM News the first priority for commissioners is getting to work on features at Whirlpool Centennial.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Eliminates Fees, Cuts Taxes

From the Associated Press — Michigan drivers will get a tax cut, and those who owe extra fees assessed for certain traffic infractions will see them waived under bills approved by the Michigan Legislature. The state House and Senate overwhelmingly passed the legislation Wednesday after Governor Rick Snyder and legislative leaders reached a deal. Snyder will soon sign the tax reduction and debt forgiveness plans into law. The bills gradually raise Michigan’s personal tax exemption to $4,900 by 2021 — $600 higher than under current law. That’s roughly a $25 tax cut per person, or $100 for a family of four. The legislation also clarifies that Michigan’s state income tax exemption continues. There has been concern that the federal tax overhaul inadvertently removed the exemption. All outstanding driver `responsibility’ fees, which total $637 million, will be forgiven in October. Newly assessed fees will end then, too.. ...Read Full Story

RESA Needs To Fill Board Vacancy

Berrien RESA has a school board post to fill. RESA tells us the board this week accepted the resignation of Thomas Fanning, its secretary. Fanning recently suffered an injury after falling at his home and can no longer fulfil the requirements of board membership. He’d served for 24 years. Now, it’s the board’s job to appoint someone to serve out the rest of his term, which ends in June of 2019. Although there are few requirements for being on the RESA board, it’s hoping to find someone with previous school board experience. Anyone interested can send a letter of interest and resume to the RESA board. It will have to appoint someone in March.. ...Read Full Story

Schools Could Be Looking At Deficit This Year

Benton Harbor Area Schools could be looking at another deficit this year. At Tuesday’s meeting, the board of education was told a reworking of the district’s financial operating plan shows some funds for at-risk students could have to be paid back to the state at the end of the year. Plus, the previous cash flow projection counted a carry-over of some funds that didn’t happen. The 2017-2018 deficit looks like it’s between $600,000 and $1.1 million. School Board Trustee Joseph Taylor told WSJM News they’ll know more in a few weeks.. ...Read Full Story

Victim Statement Bill Introduced In House

A state House Committee has sent to the floor the “Rebekah Bletsch Bill,” which would require that convicted criminals be required to listen to the victim impact statements given during sentencing hearings. Representative Holly Hughes of Montague sponsored the legislation after convicted killer Jeffrey Willis asked to go back to his cell rather than listen to the statements in Muskegon earlier this year.. ...Read Full Story

MI Businesses Affected By Flu

The flu has been hitting hard in many states, including Michigan. It’s been tough in Kalamazoo County where Cherri’s Chocol’art  in Kalamazoo had to close for several days in January because of the flu. Owner Cherri Emory spoke with Michigan News Network about the problem.. ...Read Full Story