Local News Archives

Jobless Rate Falls For November

The nation’s jobless rate fell to 4.6% in November. That’s a nine-year low. However, coupled with weak pay increases in 2016, it suggests longer-term challenges for the US economy. Employers added 178,000 jobs last month. Michigan News Network Business Editor Murray Feldman explains where the jobs are right now.. ...Read Full Story

Ford Recalling 680,000 Vehicles

Ford is recalling more than 680,000 midsize sedans mainly in North America because the front seat belts may not hold people in a crash.
The recall covers certain 2013 to 2016 Ford Fusion, 2013 to 2015 Lincoln MKZ and 2015 and 2016 Ford Mondeo cars. Ford says heat generated when the seat belt pre-tensioners deploy can cause cables to break. If that happens the belts may not hold people. Ford says it knows of two injuries related to the problem. Pre-tensioners tighten seat belts when they sense that cars are stopping. Dealers will inject insulation into the pre-tensioners to protect the cables from heat at no cost to owners. The recall is expected to begin on January 16. Most of the cars are in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Orders Flags Lowered For Slain Police Officer

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has ordered flags to be lowered to honor a Detroit police officer killed in the line of duty. The governor’s office says in a release that U.S. and Michigan flags will be lowered to half-staff Friday on all state buildings and within the state Capitol complex for Wayne State University Police Officer Collin Rose. He was shot November 22 as he tried to arrest DeAngelo Davis and died the next day. Davis faces murder and gun charges. A funeral Mass was celebrated Thursday in suburban Detroit. Visitation was held Wednesday at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. Snyder says Rose, a canine officer, “dedicated his life to protecting” people and “was well-respected by his colleagues and the communities he served.”. ...Read Full Story

Suspect Arraigned In Fatal Benton Twp Shooting

Bond has been set at $500,000 for the man charged in a Wednesday fatal shooting in Benton Township. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office says 20-year-old Anthony Sanders was arraigned Friday on charges of felony murder, open murder, armed robbery, and felony firearm. Police say Sanders walked up to 43-year-old Kenneth Martin, Jr. on Wednesday night as Martin walked along Empire Avenue and shot him in the upper torso. Sanders then allegedly ran off, but thanks to a tip, police found him Thursday. The prosecutor’s office tells us Sanders is due back in court on December 9, and he remains in the Berrien County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

MI Attorney General Sues To Stop Recount

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a lawsuit to stop Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s request to recount Michigan’s 4.8 million presidential ballots. It comes on the same day canvassers are meeting in Lansing to discuss a similar demand to stop the recount made on behalf of president-elect Donald Trump. In a press release, Schuette says it’s “inexcusable for Stein to put Michigan voters at risk of paying millions and potentially losing their voice in the Electoral College in the process.” As required, Stein’s lawyers sent the state a $973,250 check for the recount earlier this week — that’s $125 for each precinct. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has estimated the actual cost of the recount could eclipse $2 million.. ...Read Full Story

State Police To Conduct “Eyes On 94” Enforcement Of Commercial Vehicles

You’ll see more state police on I-94 in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana next week. The three states are combining on a commercial vehicle enforcement to cut down on crashes called “Eyes on 94.” The focus by motor carrier officers will be on violations by truck drivers that are most likely to cause a crash. Those include speeding, not passing properly, driving distracted, improper lane use, and tailgating. The enforcement is a part of the national traffic safety campaign “Toward Zero Deaths.” You’ll remember that massive crash involving multiple semi trucks near the Kalamazoo-Calhoun county line just a few winters ago that was caused, in part, by semi drivers and passenger vehicle drivers going too fast for conditions.. ...Read Full Story

Report: Age Should Be Considered In Youth Parole Decisions

A new report finds it’s rare for a juvenile serving a life sentence in the U.S. to get paroled, even though the Supreme Court has ruled they can be. The ACLU’s “False Hope” report also shows few parole boards consider the convict’s age at the time of the original crime. Report author Sarah Mehta tells many people “age out” of criminal activity. She adds for people sentenced as teenagers, that can mean decades behind bars, even those considered model prisoners.. ...Read Full Story

Upton’s 21st Century Cures Package Approved By U.S. House

Congressman Fred Upton’s 21st Century Cures legislation has been approved by the U.S. House. Upton has spent the past few years backing the package designed to speed up the approval process for new drugs and medical devices. The legislation also provides a big boost in funding to the National Institutes of Health. The House gave it the green light Wednesday, voting 392 to 26. The plan is still one vote shy of what it needs to pass in the Senate, but it has the backing of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as support from President Obama. Upton hopes to see it on Obama’s desk by the end of the year.. ...Read Full Story

Suspect Arrested In Benton Township Fatal Shooting

A suspect has been arrested in a Wednesday night fatal shooting in Benton Township. Police say 20-year-old Anthony Sanders, of Benton Township, is facing charges of open murder and armed robbery after the killing of 43-year-old Kenneth Martin, Jr. Martin was shot as he walked along Empire Avenue shortly before 9:30 p.m. He’d been walking toward the Ravines mobile home park with a friend. She’s been identified as 43-year old Cynthia Sorrels, and she wasn’t hurt. Police say the two were approached by Sanders, who was planning to rob them, when Martin was shot before having a chance to respond. The suspect ran off, and detectives were able to identify and track him down on Thursday. He’s now at the Berrien County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

Uzelac Named Detroit Lions HS Coach Of The Year

A new honor for Benton Harbor High School Football Coach Eliot Uzelac. The Detroit Lions announced on Thursday he’s their High School Football Coach of the Year. Uzelac has gotten national attention since taking charge of the Tigers two seasons ago. The team was 4 and 50 in the six years prior to his arrival, and they’ve been 16 and 6 since Uzelac came around. They were also undefeated this past season. Uzelac has been a coach for 47 years, and has previously been a coach at colleges including Michigan, Ohio State, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Maryland. Uzelac was also leader of the St. Joe Bears for five years.. ...Read Full Story

Recount Underway In Wisconsin

Observers representing Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein are spread out throughout Wisconsin to watch as ballots are recounted. Trump’s Wisconsin campaign director Pete Meachum was in Madison on Thursday
for the start of the recount. Meachum says the campaign had people in every major county across the state. Trump won Wisconsin by about 22,000 votes, or less than a percentage point. Stein has raised questions about the integrity of votes cast in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan without presenting any proof of wrongdoing. Stein said in a statement that “verifying the vote through this recount is the only way to confirm that every vote has been counted securely and accurately and is not compromised by machine or human error, or by tampering or hacking.”. ...Read Full Story

Black Friday Deals Help Lift November Auto Sales

Black Friday deals were expected to pull November U.S. auto sales out of their recent slump. General Motors’ sales jumped 10 percent over last November, while Toyota’s sales were up 4 percent. Nissan’s sales rose 7.5%. Total sales of new cars and trucks were expected to rise 4 percent for the month to 1.37 million units, according to Kelley Blue Book. That would be the highest November on record, beating the previous record of 1.32 million set in 2001. Higher incentives enticed buyers who sat out much of the fall. July was the last month that sales increased year-over-year.Barclay’s analyst Brian Johnson said incentives were averaging 12% of the price paid for new vehicles, which is one of the highest percentages in recent years.. ...Read Full Story

Bills Would Require Voters Without Photo ID To Return Later

Michigan Republicans are considering new legislation to change the procedure for voters who don’t show a photo ID at their polling place.
A bill up for a potential vote Thursday in the House Elections Committee would require those casting a provisional ballot to visit their clerk’s office no later than 10 days after the election to ensure it’s counted. They would have to present a photo ID with their current address or other documentation establishing their residency. Under current law, voters without a photo ID must sign a brief affidavit before voting. A hearing on the legislation was held Wednesday. The liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan says it’s a “voter suppression” bill. The sponsor, Republican Representative Lisa Posthumus Lyons, of Alto, says the measure would protect the integrity of elections.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Prohibits Plastic Bag Bans In Michigan

Efforts to rid Michigan communities of plastic shopping bags would be banned under legislation headed to Governor Rick Snyder. The Republican-controlled House approved the bill on a mostly party-line 62-46 vote Thursday. The measure won Senate passage in May. The bill would prohibit local governments from regulating, prohibiting or imposing a fee on the use or sale of “auxiliary containers’,’ which are
defined as reusable or single-use bags, cups, bottles or other packaging from stores and restaurants. More than 150 municipalities across the country have banned the environmentally unfriendly plastic bags or charged a fee. None are in Michigan, though at least two counties — Washtenaw and Muskegon — have considered whether to limit the bags. Democrats said the state should not strip local communities of decision-making.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead in Benton Township Robbery

Benton Township Police Department is asking for your help in finding a suspect in the shooting death of a man who was killed Wednesday night. Police were called to the 1900 block of East Empire Avenue around 9:15 p.m. in reference to a man who had been shot. When officers arrived they found 43-year-old Kenneth William Martin Junior just off the roadway and was shot in the chest. He was transported to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph where he was pronounced dead. According to Officers, they learned that Martin was walking with a female companion when they were approached by an unknown male. The suspect demanded property from the two and during the robbery the suspect shot Martin. The female who was with Martin was not injured. Police say the suspect ran off in a northwestern direction. Police did used a K-9 unit to try to track the suspect but had no luck. The suspect remains at large and has not yet been identified. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Benton Township Police Department or Crimestoppers.. ...Read Full Story

Group Wants Debate Over Pure Michigan Cmpaign

There’s been some back and forth the past month between the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation about whether the Pure Michigan tourism ad campaign really works, and now the Mackinac Center wants a debate. Researcher Michael LaFaive tells WSJM News they should lay out the facts.. ...Read Full Story

County Clerks Prepare For Recount

It looks like a recount of this year’s presidential election is happening in Michigan, and county clerks across the state are preparing. Van Buren County Clerk Tina Leary tells WSJM News it’s going to be a hand recount, and as soon as she finds out what day it’s happening, she’ll assemble staff.. ...Read Full Story

LMC: On-Campus Security Always A Priority

With violent incidents now seeming to happen on a regular basis at college campuses around the U.S. you may be wondering if local institutions have taken steps to be prepared. Lake Michigan College President Dr. Bob Harrison tells WSJM News they have. At LMC, they’re constantly sensitive to security issues and how to respond.. ...Read Full Story

MI Panel Votes To Close Pensions To New Teachers

A legislative committee has voted to close the pension system to newly hired school employees in Michigan and instead provide them solely a 401(k) in retirement. The Republican-controlled Senate could pass the legislation later Wednesday and send it to the House. The bills would apply to school workers hired on or after July 1, 2017. Republicans say the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System is “unsustainable” and won’t be able to finance pension benefits because of a $26.7 billion unfunded liability. Since mid-2010, new hires have qualified for a “hybrid” plan, with a blending of a traditional pension and a 401(k). Older teachers receive a pension. Democrats say they’re unified against the measure. Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich says people “want more economic security, not less.”. ...Read Full Story

State Announces New Rules For Receiving Food Assistance

Michigan officials say able-bodied adults without dependents in four counties must meet work requirements to continue receiving food assistance after January 1. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday it’s notifying about 14,000 people in Kent, Oakland, Ottawa and Washtenaw counties this week of the change. Recipients ages 18-49 without disabilities that prevent them from working must spend an average of 20 hours per week each month in unsubsidized employment, job training, or volunteering at a nonprofit. The federal government waived work requirements in 2002 because of high unemployment, but lower joblessness means Michigan no longer is eligible for the waiver. The agency said it expects the waiver to be phased out statewide by October 2018. The four counties are going first because of low unemployment rates.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Limits Fundraising License Plates

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation to limit the number of state-sponsored license plates used to raise money for groups and
causes. Wednesday’s signing came after legislation was approved Tuesday by the Senate and House to cap the number at 20, not including university plates. Michigan has 15 university plates and 14 specialty fundraising plates, not including military plates. The legislation also revises the startup fee that groups must pay Michigan to develop a new fundraising plate. The bill was sponsored by former Representative Peter Pettalia, a Republican from Presque Isle who was killed in a motorcycle crash in September. In a statement, Snyder says the bill reflects Pettalia’s “common-sense approach to creating new laws and policies.”. ...Read Full Story