Local News Archives

This Is Child Passenger Safety Week

This is Child Passenger Safety Week, and safety experts are spreading the word about the importance of proper use of car seats, boosters and seat belts. Kendell Wingrove, with the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, says despite a parent’s best efforts, many car seats are not properly installed.. ...Read Full Story

Upton, Others Call For Installation Of Missile Interceptor In Michigan

Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation are pushing to get a new missile defense interceptor site installed in the state. This week, the delegation sent a letter to the director of the Missile Defense Agency voicing their support for the Fort Custer Training Center to be picked for the interceptor. Among those to sign were Congressman Fred Upton and Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, along with 12 other members of Congress. They say putting the interceptor at Fort Custer, near Battle Creek, would have a $3.2 billion economic impact, leading to the direct creation of 300 jobs.. ...Read Full Story

MI Death Linked To Elephant Tranquilizer

Michigan health and law enforcement officials say they have identified what could be the state’s first death related to carfentanil, a deadly painkiller used to tranquilize elephants. The Michigan State Police and Health and Human Services Department said Monday they are investigating one suspected case in Kent County. Officials say testing of powder seized during an investigation found it has the same ingredients as carfentanil. The drug is mixed with heroin and sometimes sold in pill form. It’s been linked to fatal overdoses in Ohio. Health department spokeswoman Angela Minicuci says given carfentanil’s likely circulation in the state and extreme potency, investigators anticipate they will
see more overdoses related to the drug. Officials say the Michigan Poison Control Center hasn’t reported a rise in calls related to drug overdoses.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Helping Republicans In Six House Races

Republican Governor Rick Snyder is using his political action committee and a nonprofit fund to help six Republican legislative candidates in
the November election. Snyder’s Making Government Accountable group, which he created to tell of Michigan’s rebound as he considered a presidential run, launched an “issue” advertising campaign Monday. His Relentless Positive Action PAC also announced a digital and mail campaign. Republicans hope to keep control of the House, which they’ve led since 2011. Snyder says the six candidates will “continue the Michigan comeback.” The spending will aid two incumbents, Representatives Klint Kesto in Oakland County and Brandt Iden in Kalamazoo County, along with four candidates vying for House seats where Republicans can’t run again because of term limits. Those seats are in Macomb, Lenawee, Jackson and Van Buren counties.. ...Read Full Story

Motorcyclist Facing Charges After Highway Shooting

An Indiana man is in the Berrien County Jail after police say he pulled a gun and fired shots at a semi on I-94. The Lincoln Township Police Department says it happened Friday shortly before 8 a.m. in the eastbound lanes near mile marker 24. The driver of the semi told police he came across a motorcyclist who got angry and started waving a handgun around. He then fired some shots at the semi. Police found a bullet hole in the truck’s radiator, but the driver was fine. Not long after, the motorcyclist was spotted on the highway near Coloma and pulled over. 34-year-old Trenton Norris, from Porter, Indiana, admitted to the shooting and said the truck had cut him off in the construction zone. He was arrested on charges including assault to do great bodily harm and assault with a dangerous weapon. Police say there was one additional report of the motorcyclist flashing a gun on the highway between Stevensville and Watervliet, but in that incident, no shots were fired.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan’s Average Gas Price Up 4¢

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 4¢ per gallon in the past week. The Dearborn-based auto club says the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.24 per gallon on Sunday. That’s about 10¢ less than it was at the same point last year. The lowest average price was about $2.12 per gallon in the Traverse City area, while the highest average was about $2.30 per gallon in the Marquette area. We’re paying $2.16 on average in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, up 9¢ from last week. South Haven’s average is also $2.16 according to GasBuddy.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Leak Shuts Down Van Buren Co. Admin Bldg

A gas leak has shut down the Van Buren County Administration and Land Services Building. The building will be closed until noon. Services for Van Buren County Friend of the Court, Register of Deeds, County Treasurer and Michigan State University Extension are also affected. The county says no additional information is being released at this time.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Pushes Rural Phone Service Legislation

Legislation designed to improve phone service in rural areas is making its way through Congress. The House Energy and Commerce Committee held discussions this week on the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2015. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News it would add new requirements on carriers.. ...Read Full Story

Iconic Kalamazoo Smokestack Coming Down

A landmark smokestack that’s among the last signs of Kalamazoo’s Gibson guitar-making history is coming down for possible preservation and inclusion in a redevelopment plan on the property. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports Thursday crews expect to finish dismantling the top of the white-lettered brick smokestack within about a week. Officials say they are removing 30 feet of the 85-foot stack and will determine if more needs to go. The top was deemed unstable. The building is getting a $12 million renovation, and the plan includes observation areas to view the smokestack through lights. A fundraising campaign is planned to preserve and reconstruct the stack. Although Gibson Guitar Co. decamped for Nashville in 1984, Heritage Guitar Co. was started by some ex-Gibson employees and makes instruments on the site.. ...Read Full Story

Fatal Crash Victim Identified

The man killed in an early Sunday morning car accident in Royalton Township has been identified as 36-year-old Jason Ransom of Niles. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says the driver who ran off from the scene of the crash on Scottdale Road near Rockey Weed Road has also been identified, and a report is being sent to the prosecutor’s office for review. It’s not clear if that person has been arrested as yet.. ...Read Full Story

MI Communities To Qualify For Assistance Under State Water Plan

Low interest loans will be awarded to Michigan communities for infrastructure improvements as part of a 30-year plan to manage, protect and improve the state’s water resources. The $158 million in loans was announced Friday by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes. It is part of the third phase of the state’s Water Strategy which also defines goals and actions for the protection of water quality and the restoration of areas impacted by legacy pollution. The initial phase was announced in June and included educating citizens about
the importance of healthy waters while nurturing and restoring aquatic ecosystems. Increased focus on sustainable expansion of water recreation and water-based business was part of the second phase released in July.. ...Read Full Story

One Killed In Early Sunday Morning Crash

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a crash that killed the driver of a 1998 Buick on Scottdale Road near Rockey Weed Road in Royalton Township early Sunday morning. Deputies tell our newsroom the driver of a 1999 Honda involved in the crash ran off and has not yet been found. The two passengers in the Honda stayed at the crash scene, and police have not said if they were hurt. Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the accident, which happened just before 3:30 a.m. Authorities are withholding the name of the driver who was killed until the victim’s family has been notified.. ...Read Full Story

Muhammad Discusses Meeting With Snyder

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad has met with Governor Rick Snyder to discuss the future of the city and its relationship with the state. The meeting on Tuesday took place at the Romney Building in Lansing, and Muhammad tells WSJM News he talked to the governor about the city’s needs.. ...Read Full Story

Red Cross Offering Disaster Training

The American Red Cross of Southwest Michigan is offering everyone a chance to learn about how to respond to disasters with a training day this month. On Monday, September 26, the session will be held at the Red Cross St. Joseph office, and folks can get information on how to become a disaster services volunteer. Those trained volunteers are sent into disaster areas to provide recovery services, shelter, and food, and also to conduct assessments of the damage. To find out about signing up, call the American Red Cross of Southwest Michigan at 556-9619 and ask for the training coordinator.. ...Read Full Story

Rock Alliance 3 Day Ride Returns To Southwest Michigan

More than $2,500 has been raised for the Bohn-Stewart Children’s Education Fund by the Rock Alliance with its annual 3 Day Ride. A caravan of 16 motorcycles left St. Joseph on Thursday, returning to Stevensville on Saturday for a party at Coach’s Bar and Grill. The ride, organized by Rock 107 WIRX, took riders throughout the northern part of the lower Peninsula. One rider told us it was the best 3 Day Ride he’s taken.. ...Read Full Story

Women’s Self Defense Classes Offered This Fall In Berrien County

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department will be holding some women’s self defense classes starting this month. The training is in the Rape Aggression Defense, or RAD, System. RAD is designed to teach any woman, regardless of age or physical ability, how to fend off a would-be rapist using simple techniques. The classes are free, and involve three four hour sessions. They’ll be offered in Eau Claire, Sawyer, St. Joseph, and Coloma beginning September 29, and going through November 1. To find out more or to sign up, call the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department at 983-7141, extension 7302.. ...Read Full Story

VB Sheriff’s Department Urges All To Have An Emergency Plan

September is National Preparedness Month when everyone’s urged to make a household plan for emergencies. The Van Buren County Office of Domestic Preparedness says it’s important for each family to take the time and create a plan that outlines who to call, what to bring, and where to go when there’s a situation like a tornado or winter storm. The whole family should be clued in to the plan, and each home should have an emergency kit at the ready. The kit should contain food, medicine, blankets, water, important documents, a flashlight, and a weather radio. The sheriff’s department says a good place to go for guidance is Michigan.gov/MIReady.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews University Homecoming Events This Month

Andrews University will be celebrating its annual homecoming this month. From September 29 through October 2, a variety of events will be held at the Berrien Springs campus, and the public is invited to come and take part. Among other things, they’ll have a 5K Harvest Run, the 30th annual parade, a classic car show, and a concert. Andrews holds the celebration each fall as a way of welcoming the students in for another year. A complete schedule of the homecoming events can be found at alumni.andrews.edu/homecoming.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Stands To Benefit For The Water Resources Act

With strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate, the Water Resources Development Act was passed Thursday afternoon — though it has an uncertain future in the House. The legislation is worth $10-billion, including $100-million to replace and repair lead water pipes in Flint. Senator Debbie Stabenow says the legislation will benefit several communities.. ...Read Full Story

Recycling Event Saturday In Van Buren County

Set for this weekend in Van Buren County is a pesticide and tire recycling event. It’s being offered by the Van Buren Conservation District, and will be on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Collection will be at the South Haven Public Works building on 8th Avenue. They’ll take household chemicals, pesticides, and tires and make sure they’re properly disposed or recycled. There is a fee to drop off certain items. Latex paint will be $2 per gallon, and household chemicals $1.10 per pound. However, it’ll be free to drop off passenger tires. You can find out more at VanBurenCD.org/recycling.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Michigan College Night This Month

It will be 70 colleges in one place on one night this month as Lake Michigan College holds its annual College Night. High school kids planning to head to a four-year university can go and meet with admission reps from all over the country. LMC’s Barbara Craig tells WSJM News the event is a great resource for those students about to enroll in college.. ...Read Full Story

PARK(ing) Day Held in Berrien County

Information on what the public wants added to their communities has been gathered by Wightman and Associates as part of its annual PARK(ing) Day events in southwest Michigan. The engineering and architectural firm set up temporary parks in parking spaces in Benton Harbor, Watervliet, and Benton Township Friday to talk with folks about development. Wightman’s Shelby Kintz told WSJM News they started PARK(ing) Day three years ago.. ...Read Full Story

$7.2 Million Expansion Planned For Berrien County Jail

A $7.2 million expansion is being planned for the Berrien County Jail. On Thursday, the county board of commissioners approved moving forward with finalizing plans for the work. It will mean the addition of new cell areas at the jail, new kitchen equipment, a medical area, and holding areas. The work is intended to extend the jail’s lifespan by decades. Plans are being drafted now, and construction could start next year.. ...Read Full Story

Bogseth Found Guilty In Wife’s Murder

A Van Buren County man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the beating death of his wife. A jury found Brent Bogseth guilty on Friday. Bogseth will be sentenced November 7. 32-year-old Kimberly Bogseth’s body was found September 9, 2015 on a trail in Columbia Township. She was reported missing about a week earlier. During the search for her, police found Kimberly Bogseth’s cellphone and a hammer in her husband’s SUV. The newspaper reports that a medical examiner ruled that she had died from blunt-force trauma.. ...Read Full Story