Local News Archives

States, Provinces Discuss Stopping The Asian Carp

From the Associated Press — U.S. states and Canadian provinces in the Great Lakes region are looking for ways to cooperate on preventing Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan. Representatives of the states and provinces met last week in Chicago to discuss a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal for installing new technologies at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. The facility is considered a choke point where electric barriers, air bubbles and underwater noisemakers could be used to scare away the invasive fish, which have infested the Illinois River. The region’s governors and premiers have endorsed the $778 million plan and Illinois is the non-federal sponsor. During last week’s meeting, the other states and provinces discussed how they could help. In addition to costs, the agenda included ecological and engineering issues.. ...Read Full Story

Feds Announce New Great Lakes Cleanup Program

From the Associated Press — The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $2 million grant program to clean up the shorelines and waters of the Great Lakes. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an appearance Friday in Cleveland says the grants will be available to state and local governments, nonprofit groups and universities for cleanup programs. Wheeler says removing trash from U.S. waterways is an EPA priority. The program is part of the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It will
fund up to a dozen projects, with the largest amount set at $500,000. The EPA is seeking projects that will address trash on beaches, shorelines, harbors and rivers. It will also fund litter prevention and education programs. Grant applications will be accepted starting in October, with awards announced in February.. ...Read Full Story

Group Files Civil Rights Complaint Against Restaurant

A Michigan group that advocates for Muslims has filed a civil rights complaint against Tim Hortons restaurants, claiming a worker refused to serve a Muslim-American couple and told them to “Go back to your own country.” At a news conference Friday, the Council on American Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter planned to release video from the incident, which it says took place at a Tim Hortons restaurant in Ypsilanti on June 28. Amy Doukoure, a staff attorney for CAIR, says things went downhill when the couple said their coffee order was wrong and asked for a replacement or a refund.. ...Read Full Story

MI Supreme Court Considering Minimum Wage Law

It could be Labor Day before we know if the Michigan Supreme Court will issue an opinion on the constitutionality of the Michigan legislature action gutting the state minimum wage law. The GOP severely weakened the law and stripped out the provision that would have made $12 a minimum state wage for all workers, including tipped ones. The state’s highest court heard oral arguments last week.. ...Read Full Story

Fernwood Botanical Garden Holding Film Fest

Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Niles is teaming up with Chikaming Open Lands for an environmental film festival this summer. Fernwood tells us they’ll be showing two films with a green message. First up will be “One Big Home,” to be presented July 24 at the Vickers Theatre in Three Oaks. Twelve years in the making, One Big Home follows one carpenter’s journey to understand the trend toward giant houses on the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard. The next film to be screened will be “Landscape Film: Roberto Burle Marx,” to be presented at the Vickers Theatre on August 14. It’s a journey through the art and life of the Brazilian landscape architect and painter Roberto Burle Marx. Those who want to take part in the film fest can call Fernwood Botanical Garden to register.. ...Read Full Story

Hartford Library Sale This Week

The fundraising is underway for a new home for the Hartford Public Library. Director Stephanie Daniels tells WSJM News the goal is to break ground in September on a new facility located on East Street, the site of the former Red Arrow Elementary School. They need to raise $300,000 after the acquisition of grants and support from Bonna VanDerlyn.. ...Read Full Story

State Warns About Swine Flu Risk At Fairs

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is advising everyone how to be safe at fairs this summer. With so many county fairs taking place around the state, spokesperson Lynn Sutfin tells WSJM News swine flu becomes a concern. While swine influenza viruses do not usually infect humans, human infections have been reported.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Area Emergency Services Promotes Firefighter

South Haven Area Emergency Services has promoted one of its own to be the new deputy chief and fire marshal. Firefighter and paramedic Keith Bierhalter has been moved up to the new rank. Bierhalter has 37 years’ experience with the department, 12 years as a paid-on call firefighter and 25 years as a fulltime firefighter and paramedic. He was also honored as the department’s Firefighter of the Year for 2010 and 2011. Bierhalter follows the footsteps of his late father, Lieutenant Edward Bierhalter, as a second generation firefighter. He’s been serving as the acting deputy chief since the retirement of Tony Marsala on June 30.. ...Read Full Story

County Collecting Pesticides For Recycling

Berrien County is holding a pesticide collection event this month. Farmers, greenhouse operators, golf course staff, and gardeners are welcome to drop off unwanted and outdated pesticides at the Clean Sweep Collection site in Benton Harbor on July 31. They’ll take all the classes of “cides” — fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and rodenticides. Fertilizers are not accepted as part of Clean Sweep. The program is possible thanks to a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development grant. Anyone who wants to drop something off should register with the Berrien County environmental property manager. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Scream Park Announces Scholarship Recipients

The Niles Scream Park has announced its community project scholarship recipients for the year. Secretary Kelly Welch tells WSJM News six young people from Niles, Brandywine, and South Haven High Schools have been picked for $500 scholarships from the non-profit park. Some of them were volunteers for the attraction, but that’s not the only reason they’d be picked.. ...Read Full Story

Health Officials Investigating Illness In Van Buren County

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is investigating multiple cases of an uncommon gastrointestinal illness reported in Van Buren County. Spokesperson Bob Wheaton tells WSJM News it’s called cyclosporiasis, and it’s believed to have come from a South Haven restaurant. People can become infected by consuming contaminated food or water. The illness typically results in watery diarrhea, and can include the loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, bloating, nausea, and fatigue. Wheaton says the preliminary investigation has found the cases may have come from Taste restaurant in South Haven.. ...Read Full Story

State Confirms New Measles Case In Detroit

From the Associated Press — Health officials in Detroit have confirmed a case of measles in a city resident who recently returned from overseas travel. The Detroit Health Department says the person with the highly contagious disease went to the emergency department Tuesday of Children’s Hospital of Michigan as well as a physician’s office in suburban Macomb County. The health department says everyone who may have been exposed at the physician’s office was notified, but those who were at the hospital’s emergency department between 12:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday may have been exposed and should check to see if they need treatment.
The case is at least the 46th in Michigan this year. Most have been in Detroit’s suburbs. One was reported in Traverse City. The number is the highest since 65 in 1991.. ...Read Full Story

Two Sentenced In Break-In, Gun Theft Case

Two suspects who police say broke into an Allegan County hardware store and stole 22 guns are now headed to prison. The U.S. Attorney in Grand Rapids says Matteo Marroquin and Lacy Zimmerman broke into the Graafschap Hardware Store late on December 7 or early on December 8 of last year. They were picked up thanks to an investigation by the Allegan County Sheriff’ Department, Michigan State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The two pleaded guilty in federal court to the theft of firearms from a federal firearms licensee. On Thursday, a federal judge sentenced Marroquin to ten years in prison. Zimmerman was also sentenced to ten years in prison in May. A third person, Andrew Leenheer, was sentenced to 44 months in prison this month for purchasing two of those firearms after the burglary. The U.S. Attorney’s office says the guns stolen from Graafschap Hardware were recovered through “extraordinary police-work.”. ...Read Full Story

Results Released For Pokagon Tribal Elections

The Pokagon Band of Pottawatomi has announced the results of its latest tribal election. The election was held on July 13, and the results were certified this week at the Pokagon campus in Dowagiac. Elected to staggered, three-year terms by citizens, the 11-member Tribal Council governs the Pokagon Band. Elected as its Tribal Council Vice Chairman is Andrew Bennett, a Pokagon citizen living in Hartford. Also, James Olds of Hartford was elected treasurer, and Anita Morales from Detroit and Mark Parrish from Benton Harbor were elected as tribal council members at large. Matthew Wesaw will remain the tribal chair, as he was not up for re-election.. ...Read Full Story

Water Rescues In South Haven Friday

It’s tempting to go for a swim in Lake Michigan with today’s hot weather, but officials say that isn’t the best idea. The National Weather Service Friday strongly advised against going in the lake all along west Michigan from Ludington south to Saugatuck. There have been reports of waves as high as four to five feet in the Grand Haven area.. ...Read Full Story

Weather Service Warns About Swimming In Lake Michigan

From the Associated Press — The National Weather Service is “strongly advising” people to stay out of Lake Michigan in western Michigan, despite the excessive heat. The Weather Service says dangerous waves and currents are likely from Ludington south to Saugatuck. That stretch includes many state and local parks with access to Lake Michigan. There have been reports of waves as high as 4 to 5 feet in the Grand Haven area. The Weather Service says on Twitter that people who insist on cooling off in the lake should know how to get out of a risky rip current. At Silver Beach County Park in St. Joseph, we’re told the red flags were posted early on Friday, but by 2 p.m. had been changed to yellow.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Board Refinances Bonds

The Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees has taken a step to save money by refinancing some bonds. At a Thursday meeting, the board refinanced the bonds that were taken out to pay for the building of SMC’s second residence hall in 2009. The original issue was for $7.5 million. The proposed refinancing of $6.3 million of bonds will save the college housing fund an estimated $48,000 each year for a total savings of more than $1 million over the next 21 years. The average rate on the debt is expected to decrease from about 7.12% to 5%. The final bond sale will take place on August 13.. ...Read Full Story

Mike Yore Car Show Tonight

Downtown St. Joseph is the place to be this Friday evening as the annual Mike Yore Memorial Car Show will take place along the bluff from 4 to 9 p.m. St. Joe Today’s Amy Zapal tells WSJM News there will be more than 200 cars, all more than 25 years old, on display.. ...Read Full Story