Local News Archives

Crash Badly Injures Three Teens

Three teenagers are hospitalized with serious injuries following a crash in Cass County. It happened just before 9 p.m. Sunday in Porter Township when 17-year-old Nicholas Meuzelaar of Edwardsburg lost control going around a curve and slammed into a tree. He and 16-year-old Jacob Cronin and 17-year-old Tyler Hairell were badly hurt. All three are at Elkhart General Hospital. Meuzelaar had to be airlifted to the hospital, and was trapped in the vehicle when first responders arrived. His passengers were rushed to Elkhart General by ambulance. The crash remains under investigation, and the Cass County Sheriff’s Department says all three were buckled up.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Down For Second Straight Week

Despite a prediction from GasBuddy last week that prices would be jumping anywhere from a dime to a quarter per gallon, gas prices in Michigan are down to start the week once again. Triple-A Michigan puts the average at $2.20, with the lowest average at an even $2 per gallon in Lansing to $2.35 in Marquette. While a good number of stations in our area are under $2 per gallon, the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph average is $2.05, a drop of almost 16¢ from Labor Day. Indiana’s prices were the biggest drop in the country, falling 11¢, followed by Michigan’s plunge of 9.8¢. Despite the drop, our state’s prices are still the 23rd most expensive in the country.. ...Read Full Story

CPR Training Could Become School Requirement In Michigan

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Health advocates are pushing what’s billed as a simple way to have more CPR-trained lifesavers in Michigan: requiring the instruction in school. The legislation easily cleared the Senate in the spring and is pending in the House. Supporters hope the chamber will vote this month before members breaks again to focus on the November election.. ...Read Full Story

State, Foundation Partner On Mental Health, Suicide Campaign

(Lansing, MI – AP) – The state of Michigan and a foundation are working together on a campaign to raise awareness of mental illness and combat suicide. The Opening Minds Ending Stigma campaign began over the weekend with the airing of a 30-minute documentary in the Detroit and Grand Rapids TV markets. The documentary can be seen for free at www.endingstigma.org. Internet and social media campaigns, including public service announcements, also are planned.. ...Read Full Story

Audit Finds MI School Bus Inspections Inadequate

An audit says the Michigan State Police division that inspects school buses is understaffed and has failed to ensure problems are fixed. The Michigan Office of the Auditor General looked at the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, which keeps tabs on the condition of thousands of buses. The audit found initial inspections were done, but inspectors relied too heavily on the word of school districts that problems were fixed. The audit found that 30 to 40 percent of repairs were certified by state employees between 2013 and 2015. Randy Coplin, assistant commander for the division, tells WOOD-TV staffing and funding have been cut, but the inspection program is “one of the best in the country.” He says a school bus “is the safest form of transportation to and from school.”. ...Read Full Story

Ride To Remember Honors Fallen Berrien County Deputies

Remembering the Americans who lost there lives in the 911 attacks was evident Sunday as hundreds gathered for the 16th Ride to Remember in Southwest Michigan. The annual motorcycle ride is to raise money for the American Red Cross. The event was also in honor of the two Berrien County Deputies who lost their lives on July 11th. Berrien County Sheriff Bailey told the crowd, that as Americans, we stand together.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmakers Seeking To Close Failing Detroit Schools

Republican legislative leaders are asking Michigan’s attorney general to issue an opinion on the state’s authority to close persistently low-performing public schools in Detroit as soon as the end of this academic year. The letter released Friday was written by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and House Speaker Kevin Cotter. They want Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette to weigh in because Republican Governor Rick Snyder interprets a law  rescuing the Detroit district from debt to mean the State School Reform/Redesign Officer cannot close any district school until 2019. The top lawmakers say the law’s “plain language” authorizes Detroit school closures by the end of this school year and to say otherwise ignores legislative intent. Attorney general opinions are legally binding on state agencies and officers unless reversed by a court.. ...Read Full Story

Courser, Gamrat Suing Over Scandal Investigation

Two Republicans who were forced out of the Michigan Legislature in a sex scandal have filed lawsuits, claiming their rights were violated during the investigation by their House colleagues. Todd Courser of Lapeer County is seeking millions of dollars. Cindy Gamrat of Allegan County is seeking at least $25,000. They filed separate lawsuits this week in federal court in western Michigan. Gamrat is serving as her own lawyer.
Courser quit the House last year while Gamrat was expelled by lawmakers. Courser was accused of soliciting an aide to send a phony email to cover up an affair with Gamrat. Separately, Courser is facing criminal charges related to the scandal. He denies wrongdoing. Charges against Gamrat were dismissed by a judge.. ...Read Full Story

“Ride To Remember” Tomorrow

The terror attacks of September 11, 2001 will be remembered this weekend with a special motorcycle ride through southwest Michigan. Berrien Riders President Todd Kimball tells WSJM News the 16th Ride to Remember leaves from the Berrien County Courthouse at noon Sunday. He says hundreds of riders show up.. ...Read Full Story

Chemical, Tire Recycling Event Coming Up In Van Buren County

Residents of Van Buren County who are looking to get rid of old tires or household chemicals will have a chance to do so this month with some help from the Van Buren Conservation District. It’s holding a recycling event on Saturday, September 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the South Haven Public Works building on 8th Avenue. You can drop off passenger tires there for free, and they’ll take latex paint for $2 per gallon and household chemicals for $1.10 per pound. Also, they’ll take hearing aids, eye glasses, walking canes, American flags which will be donated to the local Lions Club and VFW. You can find out more at VanBurenCD.org/recycling.. ...Read Full Story

Several Lane Closures Planned For SWM Roads Next Week

The Michigan Department of Transportation will be busy in the next several weeks, and it’s advising drivers of several highway lane closures coming up. First, there’s a single lane closure planned for eastbound I-94 at the Pipestone Road exit in Benton Harbor while bridge repairs are made. It will be in effect on Monday. Up next is a single lane closure with flag controls on M-40 between I-94 and County Road 653 near Paw Paw starting Monday and running through September 19 while they do repairs. Also, MDOT plans to close the ramp from westbound I-94 to the I-94 business loop at exit 33 in Benton Harbor starting Monday. It’ll reopen Wednesday after some pavement repairs are finished. Last but not least is a single-lane closure planned for eastbound I-94 from Mile Marker 25 to M-63, or the Niles Avenue exit in St. Joseph Township. They’ll be doing pavement repairs and the closure will be just for one day. You can stay on top of all MDOT projects with its MIDrive app.. ...Read Full Story

Suitcases For Kids Campaign Begins

It’s time once again for the Realtors Association of Southwest Michigan’s Suitcases for Kids drive. Each year, the group collects duffel bags, backpacks, and personal care items to be given to children in the local foster care system. Realtors Association Director Gary Walter tells WSJM News they need all the help they can get.. ...Read Full Story

Coalition Asks Presidential Candidates To Protect Federal Land

The federal government owns an estimated 640 million acres of land, including about 3.6 million acres in Michigan, and a coalition of more than three dozen sportsman, wildlife, and environmental groups is asking presidential candidates to commit to keeping these lands public. Collin O’Mara, with the National Wildlife Federation says people need to keep fighting to maintain access to public lands.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation To Help Development Of Driverless Cars Moving Forward

Legislation to help automakers develop autonomous cars is expected to make its way through the Michigan legislature soon. State Representative Brandt Iden, of Kalamazoo County, says the bills would let companies test autonomous vehicles without a human researcher in the driver’s seat. They would also help with the development of a new test facility, and allow automakers to operate an on-demand vehicle network. Iden is also expecting the package to move quickly through the House.. ...Read Full Story

Ride To Remember This Sunday

This Sunday brings the 16th Ride to Remember in southwest Michigan. It’s a motorcycle ride to raise money for the American Red Cross. Berrien Riders President Todd Kimball tells WSJM News registration starts at the Berrien County Courthouse at 10 a.m. and the ride begins at noon.. ...Read Full Story

Straight Party Voting Will Still Be Allowed In November

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to let Michigan’s new ban on straight-party voting take effect for the November election. The court on Friday rejected a request by state officials to halt lower court rulings that blocked the Republican-sponsored law signed by Governor Rick Snyder. The court’s decision means Michigan voters will still be able to use the popular straight-ticket option, which allows them to support all candidates from one party with a single mark. In issuing a preliminary injunction, a federal district judge ruled the law would create longer lines and disproportionately burden black voters who are more likely to use the straight-ticket option. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request for a stay pending appeal. Forty other states prohibit straight-party voting.. ...Read Full Story

GasBuddy Expecting A Jump At The Pump

The price at the pump is on the way up. Patrick DeHaan with Gas Buddy says supplies are low because they were “likely affected by Hurricane Hermine.” He adds the storm “shut down a lot of the infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico.” A lot of the large crude carriers can hold up to two-million barrels of crude oil, and if there’s a large storm that would affect how quickly the oil can be offloaded and brought into the country, supply will take a hit.. ...Read Full Story

Two Main Streets In South Bend Closed Since May Reopen

(South Bend, IN – AP) – Two primary streets in South Bend closed since May have reopened. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and other city officials on Thursday removed a barricade, reopening Michigan Street, which goes through downtown South Bend. That street and Main Street were closed to install roundabouts and to prepare to convert the streets from one-way to two-way. Full conversion of the two streets will occur in three phases over the next two months. The goal of the $20 million project is to make the city’s downtown friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists and to slow down vehicles traveling through downtown. The project also included new curbs, sidewalks and trees.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Auto Repair Shop Burglarized

A burglary at a Van Buren County auto repair shop is under investigation. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says someone broke into Complete Care Automotive on M-43 in Almena Township overnight Wednesday and stole some expensive tools. The department also notes Kalamazoo Fence Company, about two miles to the west, was also broken into that night, although it doesn’t know yet if the crimes are related. Anyone with information on the break-ins is asked to contact police.. ...Read Full Story

Theater Chain Closed Captioning Lawsuit Settled

A settlement has been announced in a lawsuit filed against the owners of Celebration Cinema. Last month, the National Association of the Deaf and a deaf St. Joseph resident sued Loeks Theaters over the chain’s lack of closed captioning services. The suit alleged a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and sought remedial action. Last week, Celebration Cinema announced it is adding closed captioning technology at all of its locations. It’s also installing descriptive audio devices for the blind. On Thursday of this week, the settlement of the suit was announced, with the CEO of the National Association of the Deaf saying the organization is pleased with Celebration Cinema’s recent changes. The closed captioning tech will be in all of its locations by mid-October.. ...Read Full Story