Local News Archives

Divers Hope To Recover Underwater Crucifix Part In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Divers hope to locate and repair the arm of an underwater statue depicting a crucified Jesus in northern Michigan, which is part of a yearly event that draws hundreds to a frozen bay. The Petoskey News-Review reports that about 1,300 people gathered earlier this month to view the 11-foot tall, one-ton statue of Jesus Christ in Little Traverse Bay near the Petoskey shore. But many attendees questioned why the statue’s arm is missing. Event organizer Dennis Jessick says he believes compression forces from the ice caused the arm to break. He says event organizers and divers hope to locate the missing arm in the spring. The crucifix was brought to Petoskey in 1962 as a way to honor people who have died in bodies of water and moved to its current spot in 1986.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Approves Break For Apartment, Commercial Development

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have signed off on plans for an apartment development downtown. At a Monday meeting, the city commission approved the establishment of an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation District and a 12-year tax break for Cressy Commercial Real Estate to redevelop the Harbor Center building at Pipestone and Main Streets. The plan is to invest $2.5 to $3 million in turning the building into 14 apartments and two commercial spaces. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said the vacant building is currently dilapidated.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Optimistic About E-Cigarette Legislation

Legislation that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors in Michigan is making its way through the state House. State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan tells WSJM News the committee hearing on the plan brought to light one question. It was whether the liquids used in those products, which sometimes contain no nicotine, should be included.. ...Read Full Story

Presidential Contenders Campaign In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Two Democratic presidential candidates are campaigning in Michigan a year before the state’s primary. Beto O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, made three stops in the Detroit area Monday. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York scheduled events later in the day. Democrats are emphasizing Michigan early after Donald Trump in 2016 became the first Republican to win the state in decades. At a stop in Macomb County, a man asked O’Rourke how Democrats can win back blue-collar white workers who supported Trump. O’Rourke said Trump has successfully “exacerbated the divisions” among Americans, but Democrats must “transcend that” and “be above it” while still confronting economic inequalities and the “hard truths” of slavery and segregation. O’Rourke also visited a carpentry training school in Oakland County and a Detroit coffee shop.. ...Read Full Story

Registrations Being Taken For Lory’s Place Run And Walk

Registrations are being taken for the next Lory’s Place Run, Walk, and Rock. This is the 15th year for the event, which raises money for Lory’s Pace, a St. Joseph-based program that helps people cope with grief. The Run, Walk, and Rock will be Saturday, May 18. The timed 5K run and walk course will take runners and walkers through St. Joseph’s Edgewater area and into Tiscornia Park. Meanwhile, rocking chairs will be available for spectators throughout the morning along the edge of the course. Individuals or groups can sponsor a rocker. That money goes to Lory’s Place, along with the registration fees paid by runners and walkers. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Jobs For MI Graduates Conference This Week

As Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates marks ten years, the program will hold its annual Career Development Conference in Lansing this week. Youth Solutions Director Kristin Harrington tells WSJM News JMG has grown to serve around 3,000 at-risk students across Michigan since it started in Benton Harbor a decade ago. Around 300 students will be at Thursday’s conference to take part in career skills competitions, showing off things they have learned.. ...Read Full Story

No Plea Deals Offered In Murder Of Army Sergeant

No plea deals are on the table for the couple accused of the murder of Army Sergeant Tyrone Hassel III. His wife, Kemia Hassel, and alleged gunman Jeremy Cuellar were both in court on Monday. They’re accused of using Snapchat to plan the killing, which happened New Year’s Eve at the home of Sergeant Hassel’s parents in St. Joseph Township. Defense attorneys for both and the Berrien County Prosecutor’s office have told the judge they all need more time to prepare their cases, meaning the scheduled April 30 start for the trial might be delayed. Authorities say Kemia Hassel and Cuellar were having an affair and she came up with the idea to kill her husband to get insurance money rather than file for divorce.. ...Read Full Story

Man Charged For 1986 Murder In Bangor

Michigan State Police believe they’ve solved a 1986 cold case murder in Bangor. One of the daughters of 51-year-old Wilda Wilkinson found her body, but investigators got nowhere in their investigation. State police detectives reopened the case nine years ago and narrowed down several suspects before starting to work full-time on the investigation last year. A man who was a neighbor of Wilkinson was never ruled out as a suspect, and was arrested last week in California. Michael Curry was arraigned Monday after waiving extradition and being brought back to Michigan. Investigators say several interviews and physical evidence led them to Curry, but have not disclosed exactly what cracked the case.. ...Read Full Story

Antwan Mims Sentenced For Double Murder

In reality, it was just a formality as Antwan Mims of Benton Harbor was sent away to prison for the rest of his life for a double murder a year ago this month outside a house party. Mims was convicted of first degree murder for the deaths of Michael Johnson and Cortez Miller, and was captured in suburban Atlanta, Georgia last year after being placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitives list. He made no statement at today’s sentencing hearing. It took a jury just three hours to find Mims guilty of all charges in February. Johnson and Miller were shot in front of roughly 100 witnesses at the home of a friend of Mims on Lavette Avenue on March 25, 2018.. ...Read Full Story

AAA Survey: Gas Prices Up 7¢ To $2.59

AAA Michigan says average gas prices statewide are up about 7¢ from a week ago to about $2.59 per gallon. The Dearborn-based auto club says Monday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded is about 3¢ more than a year ago. AAA says the statewide average rose to a new 2019 high of $2.62 per gallon last Wednesday before easing later in the week, and prices are likely to keep going higher. The state’s highest average was about $2.65 a gallon in the Traverse City area. The lowest average was about $2.53 in the Flint area, while the average in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph is the second-lowest in the state at $2.56. According to GasBuddy, South Haven’s average is $2.47, but that area is not part of the Triple-A survey.. ...Read Full Story

Vehicle Break-Ins At Governor’s Residence Investigated

An investigation is underway after someone broke into two vehicles at Governor Whitmer’s home. Michigan State Police arrested one person this weekend, and the Ingham County Prosecutor’s office will determine charges. No information about what was stolen was released. State police wouldn’t say if the governor or her family were home when the thefts occurred. The governor’s residence is gated and has armed security. The “Lansing State Journal” reports part of the investigation involves how the suspect got onto the property.. ...Read Full Story

Tax Day Approaching

The clock is ticking towards tax day. Tax refunds are due in less than a month on April 15th if you don’t file for an extension. It’s expected that 30 million people will get a tax bill this year, not a refund as they usually do because of changes to tax laws and reform. Some people who say they have never had to pay before have received word they owe the IRS hundreds of dollars. If you have to pay, but don’t have the money, experts say you should talk to the IRS about a monthly payment plan.. ...Read Full Story

One Hurt In Cass County Crash

The impact was hard enough cause a vehicle to split into pieces in Cass County’s Porter Township Sunday afternoon. Sheriff’s deputies say 63-year-old Randy Riley was headed north on M-40 when he lost control and slammed into a tree. He’s being treated at Elkhart General Hospital, but authorities have not released his condition. Investigators don’t yet know what caused Riley to go off the road.. ...Read Full Story

Student Jobs Program Facing Funding Loss

A program that connects Michigan students with job skills and employment could be on the chopping block. State Representative Beth Griffin tells WSJM News that when she got a look at Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, she noticed it contained no funding for Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates.. ...Read Full Story

Parks Grants Approved By State House

A list of recreation and parks projects recommended for state grants by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board has been approved by the state House. Among the 60 projects statewide that are included in the list is $2.4 million to acquire 42 acres for the Grand Beach Nature Preserve in Berrien County. It will be used to develop a trail system. State Representative Brad Paquette says “Grand Beach Nature Preserve is already a great part of our community,” and the acquisition will make it better for tourism. Also included in the latest list of grants is $534,000 to add another 126 acres to the Cornish State Game Area in Van Buren County. The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is made up of money acquired by the development of minerals on state land. Each year, those dollars go to recreation projects all over the state.. ...Read Full Story

Funding Sought For New Soo Lock

President Trump is seeking more than $75 million for work on the new Soo Lock project in Sault Ste. Marie. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the money would be used to start construction of the upstream approach walls, continue the design of the New Soo Lock chamber, and finish construction of the upstream channel deepening. The Corps tells us the upstream approach walls will stabilize the existing approach walls to allow for modern vessels to tie up and wait their turn to pass through the new lock. It’s anticipated the wall designs will be finished in late 2019, and the construction contract will be awarded in summer 2020. Army Corp Lieutenant Colonel Greg Turner says the appropriation keeps the project on track for completion in seven to ten years from the start of construction. You can find out more about the new Soo Lock project right here.. ...Read Full Story

State Highlights Free College Program

The Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development is highlighting an early college program in Allegan County as a model for how more students could receive a college education, and for free. The Early College Allegan County program gives high school students a chance to earn an associate’s degree from Lake Michigan College before they even finish high school, says TED spokesperson Erica Quealey.. ...Read Full Story

Possible Rule Updates For Bridgman Beach

Weko Beach in Bridgman could be seeing some changes this year. For one, Bridgman Parks and Recreation Director Joan Guilfoyle tells WSJM News the beach could be going back to the policy stating dogs are not allowed on part of the beach while on their way to Warren Dunes State Park next door.. ...Read Full Story

BH Seniors Not On Track To Graduate

Of 138 seniors at Benton Harbor High School this year, only 38 are currently on track to graduate. That was one of many things Benton Harbor Area Schools CEO Robert Herrera told the community at a meeting this past week. He said a recent audit of the graduation numbers of this year and last year found many students far off track. Herrera told WSJM News when they can be helped, they will be.. ...Read Full Story

Weight Restrictions In Place On MI Roads

The Berrien County Road Department and the Van Buren County Road Commission have implemented seasonal weight restrictions to try to protect the roads from damage as the spring arrives. Van Buren County Road Commission Engineer-Manager Larry Hummel tells WSJM News when there has been an extended period of freezing weather, frost builds up under the road. As it thaws from surface on down, the road up top is in danger.. ...Read Full Story

Increased Drunk Driving Enforcement This Weekend

Michigan State Police are increasing patrols this weekend to watch out for drunk drivers around St. Patrick’s Day. This Sunday, troopers will join their counterparts from across the country in the international traffic safety initiative, Operation C.A.R.E. — or Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts. The enforcement period begins at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, March 17, and will end at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. State police advise drivers not to rely on luck this St. Patty’s Day and to arrange for a ride if drinking. In addition to drunk driving, police will be looking out for aggressive driving and failure to use a seat belt.. ...Read Full Story

House Approves Prison Healthcare Cost Plan

Legislation designed to save money on prison costs by moving medically-frail inmates into healthcare facilities has been approved by the Michigan House. State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan tells WSJM News the four-bill package would let non-violent inmates with severe and chronic physical or mental disabilities complete their sentences at a medical facility rather than inside a prison. And that’s only if approved by a parole board.. ...Read Full Story

Gray Wolves Could Lose Protections

U.S. wildlife officials want to strip gray wolves of their remaining federal protections and declare them recovered after a decades-long restoration effort. Michigan Technological University wildlife ecology professor John Vucetich doesn’t support the move. He spoke with Michigan News Network about it.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Details Rescue Of Kidnapped Child This Week

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has revealed more information about a kidnapping in the Upper Peninsula that resulted in a statewide Amber Alert this week. Skip Hagy with the DNR in Newberry tells WSJM News 53-year-old George Cunningham and 68-year-old Jon Stygler on Wednesday night attacked multiple people at a home where Cunningham’s 5-year-old son lived. They then took the boy. The two men ditched a vehicle near Paradise, in Chippewa County, and went walking out on Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Hearing On Marina Grant Next Week

The city of South Haven will hold a public hearing on Monday to allow comment on the proposed application to seek a grant for the purchase of the All Seasons Marine sit on Black River Street. The city already operates several marinas. Assistant City Manager Kate Hosier told WSJM News why the city is interested in the All Seasons Marine site.. ...Read Full Story