Local News Archives

Realtor Of The Year Named

A realtor from Buchanan is this year’s Realtor of the Year for the area. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors has honored Linda Johnson of Integrity Real Estate Professionals in Niles with the award this year. She has been licensed as a realtor for the past 14 years and serves on the association’s Standard Forms Committee and Finance Committee. Johnson has previously won several MLS Production Awards, winning Silver Awards in 2008, 2014 and 2014 and the Gold Award in 2013.. ...Read Full Story

Criminal Justice Reforms Set For State Senate Passage

Michigan lawmakers have approved legislation that aims to keep 100,000 criminals who are under state supervision from breaking the law again. The 20-bill package passed by the House Wednesday limits the length of incarceration for offenders who violate their probation and creates a more intensive parole program. Senator John Proos sponsored several of the bills.. ...Read Full Story

Winds Blamed For Power Outages

The high winds throughout Michigan are causing problems keeping the lights on in some areas. Indiana Michigan Power is reporting about 9,000 customers early this afternoon without electricity, most in an area north of Paw Paw. By 3:30, that number had been cut to just under 5,500. Consumers Energy says statewide, more than 180,000 of its customers have lost power. Consumers says some might not get it back until Sunday due to the widespread damage from the winds.. ...Read Full Story

Accused Kalamazoo Mass Murderer Gets Trial Date

Suspected mass murderer Jason Dalton is now scheduled to go on trial June 13 in Kalamazoo County. Dalton faces 16 charges, six of them murder counts, for a shooting spree around Kalamazoo last February. Among his victims were a father and son from Mattawan and a Baroda woman. Dalton is expected to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, and told police the app for his job with Uber took control of his mind that day. Two people survived the shootings, which happened in three different locations, hours apart. In between, he kept picking up people for Uber, with several police calls made about his reckless driving. Dalton had originally been set to go on trial last fall, but the court date was pushed back.. ...Read Full Story

Flint Lead Pipe Replacement Project Could Be Finished In 2019

From the Associated Press — The head of Flint’s water pipe replacement program says the city hopes to finish the project in 2019. Retired National Guard Brigadier General Michael McDaniel coordinates the FAST Start initiative to replace lines that leached lead into homes and businesses. He made his comments during the first day of a three-day water infrastructure conference in Flint. He says they hope to replace pipes to 6,000 homes this year. The city has said at least 30,000 homes may have service lines that need replacement. Residents still are being urged to use water filters. Flint was under state control when it switched in 2014 from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River to save money. The river water was not properly treated to prevent pipe corrosion. Elevated levels of lead later were found in some children.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Mandate Paid Sick Time For MI Workers

A plan that would guarantee all Michigan workers paid sick time has been introduced in the state legislature. A bill in the Senate would mandate employers give an hour of sick pay for every 30 hours worked. Democratic State Representative Stephanie Chang has introduced a similar House measure, and says it would solve a big problem for low-income workers.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Praises GOP Healthcare Plan

Congressman Fred Upton is among the Republican rank and file supporting the House GOP’s American Health Care Act, designed to replace the Affordable Care Act. The plan released this week would keep in place the ACA’s prohibition on insurers denying coverage to people because of pre-existing conditions. It would also keep in place a provision letting people to stay on their parents’ insurance through the age of 26. Upton in a statement Tuesday called the GOP plan responsible, adding it gives low income Americans who receive insurance through the ACA a “stable transition period” so “the rug won’t be pulled out from under them.” Below is Upton’s entire statement.. ...Read Full Story

BH School Officials To Work Out Details Of State Partnership Agreement This Month

Leaders from Benton Harbor Area Schools will soon learn details of the district’s new partnership agreement with the state, buying three buildings targeted for closure 18 months of extra time. Last week, the governor’s office announced it’s giving the opportunity to buildings on a School Reform Office list of the state’s lowest performing schools. Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker tells WSJM News stakeholders will meet with state officials on March 23 to establish how the district can use the new partnership to show the state that the three schools are improving.. ...Read Full Story

LECO Announces Expansion In St. Joseph Township

LECO Corporation has announced a $19 million expansion in St. Joseph Township. It’s putting in a new 64,000 square foot applications lab and customer demonstration facility. According to Cornerstone Alliance, the additions will be right next to LECO’s current buildings on a south side of Hilltop. Cornerstone helped the company secure a tax abatement from the township for the project. The lab and demonstration space will also be the new home of LECO’s sales, marketing, and customer communications department. Construction is expected to be finished in late 2018.. ...Read Full Story

Work Gets Started To Replace Breedsville Bridge

The small Van Buren County village of Breedsville is finally getting its south side bridge replaced. The bridge on County Road 215 over the Black River partially collapsed in December of 2015, causing a big headache for anyone trying to get into town from the south. Village Clerk Linda Norton tells WSJM News drivers have had to take a multi-mile detour to get in. On Monday, though, work finally started on replacing the bridge. Norton was pleased.. ...Read Full Story

Grand Rapids Mayor Wants Education Program For Immigrants

From the Associated Press — Mayor Rosalynn Bliss wants to start an education program for immigrants who move to Grand Rapids. MLive.com reports Friday that Bliss announced her plan during Thursday’s State of the City address.Bliss told reporters that Grand Rapids needs “to provide  a safe place for people to come together to not only learn how to connect with local government, but how to receive services and also how to get engaged.” She hopes to launch the program within the next two months. President Donald Trump has vowed to crack down on immigrants living illegally in the United States. He also has threatened to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities that offer protections for immigrants living in the country illegally. MLive.com reports that Grand Rapids hasn’t fully declared itself a sanctuary city.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate Approves Plan To Pay More For Rape Victim Treatment

From the Associated Press — Bipartisan legislation that would increase payments to medical providers for treating sexual assault victims is advancing in Michigan’s legislature. The Senate unanimously sent the bills to the House Thursday. One measure would require the Crime Victim Services Commission to pay up to $1,200 to health providers for performing a sexual assault forensic examination and related services. The maximum now is $600. Another bill would expand which entities are eligible to receive compensation. The state spent $842,000 for 1,855 sexual assault exams in the last fiscal year. The legislation could triple spending to $2.4 million. A sponsor, Republican state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, of Lawton, says reimbursement rates currently do not cover providers’ costs and the measures “will allow more access and better care for the victims.”. ...Read Full Story