Local News Archives

Mixed Reaction In MI to DeVos Appointment

The selection of Betsy Devos to serve as the next U.S Secretary of Education is getting mixed reactions around Michigan. Among those on board with the appointment are Grand Rapids Schools Superintendent Theresa Weatherall and Congressman Bill Huizenga, who say Devos has been a supporter of education.. ...Read Full Story

Christmas In The Village Next Week In Stevensville

The village of Stevensville is gearing up to celebrate Christmas. Its annual Christmas in the Village event is set for next Saturday, December 3. The day will feature crafts, food, Santa, the Lakeshore Lancers Band, and a whole lot more. Santa can be found at the village hall starting at 3 p.m. and there, he’ll take pictures with the kids. The children will also get a free goodie bag and a map for a special goodie hunt. There will also be a photo booth set up next door at the village garage, which will serve for the day as a magical Christmas display. Village leaders invite everyone to come by with the kiddies for some cookie decorating and ornament making. Christmas in the Village will run from 3 to 6 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

Group Seeking Funds To Open Sojourner Truth Museum

A non-profit which wants to open a museum honoring the accomplishments of famed abolitionist Sojourner Truth is hoping to raise $150,000 to purchase Fremont Elementary School in Battle Creek. The Sojourner Truth Museum Foundation published a GoFundMe page Thursday. Truth had long history in Battle Creek. The former slave moved there in 1857, six years after delivering her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech in Ohio. That speech still sees frequent performances to this day. Battle Creek Public Schools closed Fremont in June, citing declining enrollment. The foundation wants to open the museum by 2019.. ...Read Full Story

Wahmhoff Farms To Load Trees For Troops Monday

It’s almost time once again for Wahmhoff Farms in Gobles to load up a truck with Michigan-grown Christmas trees to be sent to military personnel. Since 2005, more than 176,000 free trees have been sent to soldiers through the Trees for Troops program around the country. At 10 a.m. Monday, Wahmhoff Farms will pack up their shipment for the year. The trees are being sent to Fort Benning, Georgia this time around. Volunteers of all kinds are welcome to come out to the farm to help with the loading event. They’ll also have donuts and cider for all the folks who help. You can find out more about Trees for Troops at TreesForTroops.org.. ...Read Full Story

Sensors To Measure “Fan Quakes” At Michigan-Ohio State Game

Ohio Stadium is sure to be rocking on Saturday when the rival Ohio State and Michigan football teams take the field. Geologists will find out just how much. They’ve planted sensors around the stadium this year to measure the seismic activity created by fans. Ohio State and Miami University professors teamed up with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to devise the “FanQuakes Magnitude Scale.” It converts the
shaking coming from fans into the perceived magnitude of a naturally occurring earthquake. So far this season, the biggest quake came after Curtis Samuel’s touchdown catch at the beginning of the second half against Nebraska. The shaking lasted over two minutes and reached a FanQuake Magnitude of 5.2. Researchers say they’re expecting fans at Saturday’s game to “take it to another level.”. ...Read Full Story

Slain MI Police Officer Had SWM Ties

A Wayne State University Police Officer shot and killed in the line of duty this week was originally from Kalamazoo County. Officer Colin Rose is a native of Richland, where his parents still live. Friends of his family there have been passing out blue light bulbs for homeowners to put in their front porch lights as a salute to Rose. Family friend Tim Sampey says the 29-year-old had a warm personality.. ...Read Full Story

MI Shoppers Split Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is giving Black Friday a run for its money in Michigan. AAA’s latest Consumer Pulse survey shows the top shopping day this year for Michiganders will be Monday, when 48% of respondents said they’d try to snag a deal. 47% said Black Friday. As AAA’s Susan Hiltz tells WSJM  News, either way, this is a good time for retailers.. ...Read Full Story

Powerball Jackpot Now More Than $400 Million

If you’re feeling lucky, then you may want to buy a Powerball ticket this Saturday. The jackpot has now climbed to $403 million, which is the 13th largest lotto jackpot in U.S. history. To win that money, all you have to do is match all five numbers, plus the Powerball. Of course, the odds aren’t exactly in your favor. The chances of actually getting all five numbers plus the ball are 1 in more than 292 million. If someone wins this Saturday, they’ll have the option of collecting their money over 30 years, or all at once in a lump sum payment of about $250 million. You can get your ticket through 9:59 p.m. Saturday.. ...Read Full Story

McDonald’s Donating 1,000 Christmas Trees To Detroit Families

McDonald’s restaurant owners are donating 1,000 live Christmas trees to Detroit-area families. Five hundred trees, tree stands and gift cards will be given at a private event Saturday morning to families pre-selected by area churches. The remaining trees will be available from 1-3 p.m. on a first-come basis at the McDonald’s on Eight Mile Road near Woodward Avenue. The trees are 5 feet tall to 6 feet tall. Event organizers say Detroit-area McDonald’s restaurant owners also have donated turkeys, hats and scarfs, school supplies and other items to families in need as part of their support for the community.. ...Read Full Story

School Bus Crash Injuries Uncommon In Berrien County

This week’s school bus crash in Tennessee that killed six students may have parents wondering if their kids are safe on their routes to school each day. A look at crash data from Michigan State Police shows WSJM News that school bus injuries are somewhat uncommon in Berrien County. In 2015, there were 18 crashes involving school buses around the county, with no fatalities. Most of them happened on local roads. Since 2010, Berrien County has had 101 school bus crashes, none with fatalities, and with 32 injuries total. Statewide, one person was killed in a crash involving a school bus last year. It was in Wayne County. In total, there were 910 school bus crashes in Michigan in 2015, according to Michigan State Police.. ...Read Full Story

Moon Rock Coming To West MI Museum

A moon rock from the 1971 Apollo 15 mission is coming to a western Michigan museum. The rock will be displayed starting Monday at Calvin College’s Bruce Dice Mineralogical Museum in Grand Rapids. A reception will be held at the museum Monday night. It will remain in the museum until Feb. 16, 2017. The rock is on loan. Museum director Renee Sparks says the lunar sample is “not a very exciting rock, but something truly beyond value.”. ...Read Full Story

Edwardsburg Official Resigns Over Conflict Of Interest

A township official from southern Michigan who faced conflict of interest allegations has resigned from a local board. The South Bend Tribune reports Frank LaPierre recently resigned as chairman of Ontwa Township’s wastewater board. Edwardsburg businessman Robert J. Donnelly had publicly criticized LaPierre for being board chairman while working for an engineering firm the township contracts with for consulting and wastewater system work. LaPierre claimed Donnelly had threatened him, but Donnelly denies that allegation. Police investigated allegations Donnelly had threatened LaPierre and others but did not recommend that prosecutors pursue charges. LaPierre’s resignation letter cites a growing workload but also says disruptions created by some individuals had “made it, not only uncomfortable, but impractical to participate in a secure and safe environment.”. ...Read Full Story

State Waives Park Fee For Black Friday

Here’s a Black Friday deal that won’t cost a dime: free entry to Michigan state parks if you don’t have the annual recreation passport. The state is waiving fees Friday at 103 state parks and recreation areas and 138 rustic campgrounds. Parks chief Ron Olson says a hike “is the perfect way to
burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories.” The Department of Natural Resources is joining a national effort to get people outside on the day after the holiday. It was started last year by outdoor recreation retailer REI.. ...Read Full Story

Homeless West MI Man Finds New Home

A homeless man who was ordered to tear down a shanty in the Grand Rapids area has found a new home — with a piano. John Foster Bentley tells WOOD-TV that he’s been “overwhelmed” by the kindness of others. A business owner, Mike Rose, heard about Bentley’s ordeal and said he could live in one of his rental homes in exchange for fixing it up. Bentley built a shanty on public land in Wyoming, a Grand Rapids suburb. He was ordered to tear it down by Thanksgiving. Bentley got offers of food and shelter after the TV station reported about the order. The 53-year-old says he’s a former factory worker who doesn’t have a job.. ...Read Full Story

Study Looks At Healthcare Needs Around SWM

A year-long study done by Lakeland Health has given us a sense of what communities need to help residents live healthy, and also what folks around southwest Michigan are concerned about. The 2016-2019 Community Health Needs Assessment took about a year to compile, and points to several things weighing on the public’s mind, says Lakeland’s Dr. Lynn Todman.. ...Read Full Story

Chronic Wasting Disease Suspected In MI Deer

State wildlife regulators say another deer in southern Michigan may have been found with chronic wasting disease. The Department of Natural Resources says a hunter shot the 1 1/2 -year-old buck last week in Clinton County’s Eagle Township and took it to a check station. Preliminary tests came back positive for chronic wasting disease. A federal lab in Iowa is studying the carcass to see if the diagnosis was accurate. If so,
this would be the ninth free-ranging deer in Michigan to test positive for the fatal disease. DNR biologist Chad Fedewa says the find underscores the importance of taking deer killed during this month’s firearms hunting season to stations for examinations. The checks are mandatory in the Core CWD Area, which includes 17 townships in Ingham, Clinton, Shiawassee and Eaton counties.. ...Read Full Story

Break-In, Robbery Under Investigation In Buchanan

Police could use the public’s help in solving a break-in and robbery in Buchanan this week. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us it was reported about 7 p.m. Tuesday at a home on East Glendora Road. Deputies were told a woman came home to find a man there. He demanded her purse and then took off. It’s not known if he had a vehicle. Police say the suspect is described as about 55 or 60 years old, around 5’10, and with light brown and grey hair. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 983-7111.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Home Sales Down Slightly In October

Southwest Michigan’s housing market has been strong throughout 2016, although sales took a bit of a breather in the month of October. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors’ Philip Amodeo tells WSJM News sales for the month were down 6% from October of 2016. However, the year as a whole remains strong.. ...Read Full Story

MI Election Official: Recount Unlikely To Change Anythng

New questions have been raised about the presidential election count. So, could there really be a recount in Michigan? J Alex Halderman at the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security is among those raising the alarm about possible tampering here and in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Chris Thomas, of the Michigan Department of Elections, casts doubt on any fraud here, though.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Sheriff’s Department Warns About Fundraising Scam

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is warning everyone about a new scam. It says it’s gotten reports of well-dressed young men, ages about 16 to 22, hanging around the parking lots of some Benton Township area shopping centers, claiming to be selling candy bars to raise money for the Tigers football team or the Boys and Girls Club. They will sometimes say they don’t have change to get bigger donations. Both Benton Harbor High School and the Boys and Girls Club have told the sheriff’s department they’re not currently holding any such fundraisers. The department has also gotten a tip the scammers come up from Indiana. It asks folks to report any suspicious activity they see while out and about shopping.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Wants Phone Makers To Lock Drivers Out Of Most Apps

The government wants smartphone makers to lock out most apps when the phone is being used by someone driving a car. The voluntary guidelines unveiled Wednesday are designed to reduce crashes caused by drivers distracted by phones. The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration also wants automakers to make infotainment systems easy to pair with smartphones. Traffic deaths spiked 10.4 percent in the first six months of this year. That followed a 7.2 percent increase in 2015. The agency says 10 percent of fatal crashes last year involved distracted drivers. Drivers could still make calls but the phones and automaker systems would lock out the ability to enter text. Internet browsing, video not related to driving, text from books and photos also would be locked out. Navigation systems would be permitted.. ...Read Full Story