Local News Archives

LMC: Easier Than Ever For Students To Transfer Credits To Michigan Universities

It’s easier than ever for Lake Michigan College students to transfer their credits to any university in the state. It’s thanks to the launching of a new website, mitransfer.org, from the Michigan Transfer Network. It’s designed to simplify the search process for schools and their transfer requirements. The new website is the result of the 2018 state budget and replaced a site that had been up since 2007. The updated portal came about after two yeas of development by the Michigan Community College Association, the Michigan Association of State Universities, and the Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities, all of which are based in Lansing. LMC provost and vice president of academic affairs Leslie Kellogg was part of the committee that oversaw development of the new site.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Political Titan L. Brooks Patterson Dies At 80

Longtime Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has died at his suburban Detroit home months after announcing he had pancreatic cancer. The 80-year-old Patterson died Saturday in Independence Township, halfway through a seventh term leading the affluent county. Detroit Free Press columnist Carol Cain was a longtime friend and remembered Patterson in comments on Michigan’s Big Show.. ...Read Full Story

State Advises Students To Follow Best Practices With Financial Aid

With high school graduates across Michigan preparing to head off to college, the Michigan Department of Treasury is offering them some advice on seeking financial aid. Office of Post-Secondary Financial Planning Director Anne Wohlfert tells WSJM News students need to know about the the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. That’s the first step. But don’t just assume a loan is the only way to go.. ...Read Full Story

“Enough Is Enough” – Upton Calls For Red Flag Gun Laws

Saying “enough is enough” following the weekend mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Congressman Fred Upton is calling for action. The St. Joseph Republican says Congress needs to pass bipartisan Red Flag laws to give law enforcement and mental health officials “the tools to deny weapons capable of such carnage from being on the streets.” Upton says a “common sense response” to mass shootings in the United States is “way overdue.”. ...Read Full Story

County Parks Millage Could Go Up

Berrien County Commissioners are looking at the possibility of a small increase in the parks millage. At a meeting of the board of commissioners last month, Commissioner Bill Chickering said there are big parks expenses on the way as various improvements at parks around the county are made. He told WSJM News he heard from Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey that Bailey has been crunching some numbers.. ...Read Full Story

College Names Learning Center For Former Trustee

Southwestern Michigan College has dedicated a portion of its Fred L. Mathews Library to a former trustee who passed away in 2017. The Carole A. Tate Teaching and Learning Center was officially dedicated last month. SMC says the center is located in the Mathews Library, one of SMC’s three original buildings. Carole Tate served on the Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees for 18 years, and was the only trustee from the Van Buren County portion of SMC’s district. She died on October 7, 2017 in Arizona. SMC Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas Jerdon says “Carole was an exceptional trustee” who he had the privilege of serving with. Throughout her career, Tate worked as the Van Buren District Library children’s librarian and as a media specialist for Lakeshore, Marcellus, and Decatur public schools.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Husband, Wife Dead In Shooting

Dowagiac police are investigating the shooting deaths of a couple Saturday night. A 911 call came in just before 9 p.m. Saturday of a woman shot by her husband in the 300 block of McOmber Street. When officers arrived, they found the 41-year-old husband dead and the 49-year-old wife still alive after being shot. She died after being rushed to Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Township Police Night Out Tuesday

Preparations are underway for the next National Night Out, the event where police agencies all over the country mingle with the public and offer demonstrations in order to foster better relationships with the people they serve. In St. Joseph, the Night Out will be August 6 at Maiden Lane Community Park in the township. The gathering will include several local police and fire departments, a Jaws of Life demonstration, fire trucks and police cars, stations where parents can get the fingerprints of their kids taken, hot dogs, soda, chips, and ice cream, this year from Culver’s. The National Night Out will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 on the 6th and everyone’s invited.. ...Read Full Story

Attorney General Seeks Power Outage Credit For Customers

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has sent a letter to the Michigan Public Service Commission asking it to require utility companies with smart meters to automatically credit consumers’ bills for prolonged power outages. Nessel last month reminded utility customers in the state there is a law allowing them a $25 outage credit when they experience a power outage that lasts longer than 16 hours. The credit is available as long as there isn’t a general emergency taking place. Nessel’s office says customers can also receive the credit when there’s been a failure to restore electric service within 120 hours after an interruption that occurred during catastrophic conditions, or when there are repetitive interruptions of the same circuit more than seven times in a 12 month period. In her letter to the MPSC, Nessel noted electric service interruption rules were written years before the implementation of smart meters. She says the new tech should make the credit automatic. You can see Nessel’s letter to the MPSC right here.. ...Read Full Story

Police Identify Driver In Quadruple-Fatal Crash

A 53-year-old Buchanan man is expected to face multiple charges upon his release from Memorial Hospital in South Bend for a crash that killed four people Friday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department has identified him as Dub Collins, who is in stable condition and is being held on a Michigan Department of Corrections Parole Detainer.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Backs Great Lakes Bills

A couple pieces of legislation intended to help protect the Great Lakes have the support of Congressman Fred Upton. He tells us the two bills introduced last week have bipartisan backing. They are the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Act and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Reauthorization Act. The second one would continue the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for five years. Upton says it’s currently set to expire at the end of 2021.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagon Fund Donates To Kids Reading Program

The Pokagon Fund has awarded a $5,000 grant to the United Way of Southwest Michigan to expand Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Harbor Country. The United Way says this means more kids under the age of five living in Harbert, Lakeside, New Buffalo, Sawyer, Three Oaks, and Union Pier will get a jump start on school-readiness with books mailed each month to their homes. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails books to the homes of enrolled young people from birth until they turn five years old. The United Way of Southwest Michigan offers Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to preschool children in Berrien and Cass counties for free. There are currently 195 children enrolled in the program in the Pokagon Fund service area.. ...Read Full Story

Alcohol May Have Been Involved In Crash That Killed Four

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a crash in Buchanan Township on Friday that killed four people. It says the crash happened shortly after noon at North Main and Miller Roads. A 2007 Ford Fusion was traveling at a high rate of speed on Miller Road when it’s believed to have run a stop sign striking a southbound 2000 Honda Accord. The driver and passenger of the Fusion were taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital for treatment. There were four people in the Accord, and all four were killed. They have been identified as 66-year-old Robert Klint, 60-year-old Melissa Klint, and 22-year-old Landyn Klint, all of Sawyer, and 52-year-old Kent Williamson of Virginia. Police say alcohol and speed appear to have been factors in the crash. A detailed report will be submitted to the Berrien County Prosecutors Office once it’s completed.. ...Read Full Story

ACLU Urges Governor To Respect Local Leaders At Benton Harbor Schools

The American Civil Liberties Union has sent a letter to Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaking out against the possible closing of Benton Harbor High School or any potential state takeover of the district. ACLU Racial Justice Project staff attorney Mark Fancher tells WSJM News the main issue the organization has with such a move is that it would deprive the community of its political rights.. ...Read Full Story

Murder Warrant Issued For Suspect In Wednesday Shooting

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety has issued an open murder warrant for a suspect in a Wednesday triple shooting. The department says it’s looking for Eric Holbrook. He’s one of two suspects in the incident, while the other suspect, a 24-year-old man, is in custody after being shot in the altercation. Police have not said what led to the shootings in the 800 block of Superior late that  afternoon. Killed was 29 year old Arsenio Jordan, while a 32-year-old woman was also injured. Anyone with information on Eric Holbrook’s location is asked to contact police.. ...Read Full Story

Backlash From Pesticide Testing On Beagles In Mattawan Prompts Change In Brazilian Policy

The undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States into testing on more than 30 beagles at Charles River Laboratories in Mattawan is being credited with an international policy change. The testing was for a pesticide to be sold in Brazil, and the Humane Society says that nation has just announced changes to its animal testing requirements. Kathleen Conlee is the vice president of animal research for the Humane Society of the United States, and tells WSJM News they’re very pleased by the change.. ...Read Full Story

Four Killed In Crash Near Buchanan

A crash just outside of the city limits of Buchanan has killed four people. According to police, one vehicle ran a stop sign on Miller, slamming into another car on Main around noon on Friday. Two people are being treated for injuries at South Bend Memorial Hospital, and one of them had to be airlifted there. No names have yet been released. No further details have yet been made available.. ...Read Full Story

Memorial For Fallen State Trooper To Be Dedicated This Month

A memorial will be dedicated later this month to Michigan State Police Trooper Allan Peterson, who was the 34th MSP officer to die in the line of duty in 1981. The event will be at the Lake Street railroad crossing in Bridgman, where Peterson and other officers responded to a train derailment on August 7, 1981. Peterson was assigned to the inner perimeter of the scene, around 100 yards from the wreckage, and was exposed to a poisonous acid that was thought at the time to be toxic, but not lethal. He woke up at home in Three Oaks on August 29 with a severe coughing spasm, and died while being rushed to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Michigan City, Indiana. The autopsy determined the cause of death to be heart failure from hardening of the arteries, but years later, officials revealed the medical complications of his death were directly related to the exposure to the toxic gas from the derailment. Peterson served in the U.S. Coast Guard prior to joining MSP and was survived by his wife and two daughters. His memorial dedication will be at 8:12 a.m. on Thursday, August 29, and is open to the public.. ...Read Full Story

Annual Breastfeeding On The Bluff Event This Weekend

The fourth annual “Breastfeeding on the Bluff” in St. Joseph will be tomorrow in Lake Bluff Park across from the St. Joseph Public Library. The Berrien County Health Department is putting it on as part of the 2019 Global Big Latch On, which is a worldwide breastfeeding awareness celebration during which moms across the world are linked in simultaneous breastfeeding. Registration begins at 9:30 am, with the Big Latch On getting underway an hour later at 10:30.. ...Read Full Story

New MSU President Samuel Stanley Takes Over

(East Lansing, MI – AP) – Michigan State University’s new president is on the job. MSU says Samuel Stanley Jr. officially took office Thursday, two months after he was hired by the school’s governing board. In a written statement, he says he’s proud “to join the Spartan community.” Stanley was president at Stony Brook University in New York. He is MSU’s first permanent leader since Lou Anna Simon resigned in January 2018 amid the Larry Nassar scandal.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer: Delaying Pension Payments Has “Long-Term Cost”

(Delhi Township, MI – AP) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer says suggestions that she has opened the door to delaying the elimination of debt in Michigan’s teacher retirement system to help boost road spending are “overstated.” The Democrat said Thursday there’s “ultimately a long-term cost of pushing off (the) paying off of our debts,” and using such a mechanism would mean “we’re forgoing opportunities in the future.”. ...Read Full Story

97.5 Y-Country Summer Jam Is Saturday

It’s Summer Jam weekend for our sister station, 97.5 Y-Country. The 21st annual event will be Saturday at 4:30 featuring co-headliners Tyler Rich and Jameson Rogers. Begun in 1998, the event has featured young, rising country stars and was part of the old Venetian Festival from 2005 until that ended in 2011. Y-Country’s Matt Malone reminds us some of the acts we’ve brought through over the past 21 years have been Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, and Lee Brice.. ...Read Full Story

Strike Could Affect SWM Road Projects

Summer in Michigan means road repair and construction and that is certainly true this year in our corner of the state. Hundreds of union workers who operate heavy equipment went on strike Wednesday. The labor dispute with Rieth-Riley, which has a location on Townline Road in Benton Harbor, has 88 state and local contracts. We spoke with MDOT’s Nick Schirripa to find out if any local projects are being delayed.. ...Read Full Story

Open House At Fort St. Joseph

There will be an open house this weekend at Fort St. Joseph in Niles. The Niles Historical Association says people can come out to see the site on Saturday, August 3 and Sunday, August 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It says the open houses are a chance for anyone to learn more about one of the most important French colonial sites in the Great Lakes region. Those who attend can talk with Western Michigan University archaeologists, watch period demonstrations at the Living History Village, and see excavations. The effort is a partnership between the city of Niles and WMU.. ...Read Full Story

“Veggie Van” To Roll Into Benton Harbor-St. Joseph

Rolling into Benton Harbor and St. Joseph this month will be the YMCA’s Veggie Van, courtesy of Spectrum Health Lakeland. Spectrum’s Kelsey Haynes tells WSJM News the Veggie Van is a mobile farmer’s market loaded up with fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers. The green machine will make two stops in the area this month. First will be at the police National Night Out next Tuesday from 5 to 8 at Dwight P Mitchell City Center Park in Benton Harbor. Haynes says a registered dietitian will be there giving advice, there will be cooking demonstrations, and everyone can get some goodies.. ...Read Full Story

Police Continue Investigation Into Wednesday Shootings

The investigation continues into a Wednesday triple shooting in Benton Harbor that left one dead. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety says it has located two persons of interest in the case and interviewed them. Felecia Lee and Ashanti Lee have been released pending further investigation. Police continue to look for Dondrell Blackamore as a third person of interest. They’re also looking for shooting suspect Eric Holbrook. The other shooting suspect, a 24-year-old man, was shot in the incident and has not yet been arraigned. His name has not been released. Killed in the shooting was 29 year old Arsenio Jordan. Also injured was a 32-year-old Benton Harbor woman who is listed in stable condition. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety says anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact its tipline at 269-927-0293. You can also submit tips to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-342-STOP. Police have still not said what led to Wednesday’s shooting, which happened in the 800 block of Superior shortly after 4:30 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

United Federal Credit Union Selects Contractor For HQ Work

Work will soon be underway to transform a former Whirlpool property at 150 Hilltop Road in St. Joseph into the new corporate headquarters for United Federal Credit Union. The financial organization has hired Benton Harbor-based Pearson Construction Company to be the general contractor for the renovations. Chief operating officer Stacy Fillmore tells WSJM News the decision to go with Pearson was an easy one.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Backs Bill Mandating Standards At Detention Facilities

Congressman Fred Upton has put his support behind legislation intended to ensure migrants detained at the border are given certain standards of care. The Short-Term Detention Standards Act was introduced by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, who traveled to the southern border with Upton and the Problem Solvers Caucus in July. Upton says the bill outlines Customs and Border Protection responsibilities to those who are apprehended.. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw Man Charged In Child Pornography Investigation

Four child pornography charges and one count of possession or sale of a taser are faced by a Paw Paw man. He was arrested by troopers from the Michigan State Police Paw Paw post following a search warrant being carried out at his home. The Michigan State Police Computer Crimes Unit, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force says Kevin Molz was downloading large amounts of child sexually abusive material, and they seized digital evidence from the home.. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw Man Drowns In Cedar Lake

The drowning death of a 37-year-old Paw Paw man in Porter Township’s Cedar Lake is under investigation by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department. The man is believed to have suffered a medical incident that caused him to fall out of his boat into the lake shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday. A resident who lives on the lake called 911 after seeing his boat going in circles and hearing him yelling for help. That witness tried unsuccessfully to get to the man, and he was pulled from the water by emergency responders and relatives who were also boating on the lake. The man was pronounced dead at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. His death is not considered suspicious, and his name has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Summer Program Teaches Welding To Middle School Students

Southwestern Michigan College has opened up some of its career training facilities to middle school students this summer. It says eight Niles Middle School students came to the Niles SMC campus in July to learn how to weld. It may have been the hottest week of the summer, but the kids didn’t beat the heat so much as bend it to their will, plunging pieces they created by melting metal to 3,000 degrees into water. Welding instructor Allyson Starrett says she got interested in the trade as a young person when she attended a similar camp. Niles High School Career and Technical Education Director Carrie George partnered with YMCA and wrote a grant to provide the welding camp. SMC says the camp will hopefully get the students more interested in CTE. It notes welders are in high demand because almost every industry needs them. Salaries range from an average median of $41,000 to more than $100,000.. ...Read Full Story

UPDATE – Police Look For Suspect In BH Triple Shooting

Police are investigating a Wednesday triple shooting in Benton Harbor. It happened around 5 p.m. in the 800 block of Superior. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey tells us one person is dead and two others are injured. Police say they have a 24-year-old suspect, who is one of the injured, in custody. They’re also looking for 21-year-old Eric Holbrook, who is considered a suspect. The deceased has been identified as 29-year-old Arsenio Jordan of Benton Harbor. A 32-year-old Benton Harbor woman is the third victim, and she is recovering. According to WSBT, police want to speak to three persons of interest. They are 17-year-old Ashanti Lee, 42-year-old Felicia Lee and 20-year-old Dondrell Blackamore Jr. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call police. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is assisting the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety in handling the case. Police have not said what led to the incident.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Plans Grand Opening For Wine Center

Lake Michigan College is gearing up to hold the grand opening of its new Welch Center for Wine and Viticulture. The center located at the Benton Township campus will be the home of LMC’s winemaking program. It will feature a new grape press, large tank and bottling rooms, a dry storage area, and a laboratory. Also, the center will house two classrooms, three offices, a workroom, and an open commons area for wine tasting, community education classes, and special events. The $7 million facility is 14,000 square feet and is named in honor of Mike and Lisa Welch, who are longtime supporters of Lake Michigan College. The dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. on August 27 followed by a public open house. In 2017, LMC opened up a tasting room in Baroda where people can sample wines made by the students.. ...Read Full Story

Tire Collection This Week In Benton Harbor

There will be a tire collection event this week in Benton Harbor. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety says Tire Rally 2.0 will be Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park. City residents can drop off unneeded tires so they can be disposed correctly. The last tire collection event held in the city, which was in May, resulted in more than 1,600 tires being dropped off. Police note this week’s event is for Benton Harbor city residents only, and they will check IDs. The collection is for tires only, and not other trash. Anyone with questions can call the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

Disability Network To Talk Assistance Animals

The Disability Network of Southwest Michigan will hold a workshop this August to teach people about what counts as an assistance animal and what doesn’t. The network says “Do’s & Don’ts: Assistance Animals” will be held August 23 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at its office on Lakeview Avenue in St. Joseph. Those who attend will learn the difference between service animals and emotional support animals. The Disability Network says many people are confused about the specifics regarding service animals. The workshop will also delve into the laws regarding what type of assistance animals are allowed in different places and whether an establishment can deny access to an assistance animal. The event will be free to attend, but you have to register. You can do so right here. You can also contact Miranda Grunwell at (269) 345-1516, extension 120.. ...Read Full Story

Volunteers To Remove Invasive Plants At Grand Mere This Weekend

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is planning another volunteer stewardship day at Grand Mere State Park near Stevensville this weekend. It says those who attend will pull spotted knapweed and Canada thistle from the open areas. Removing the invasives will allow native plants to thrive. Those who volunteer are advised to wear long sleeves and long pants. Also, bring some gardening gloves, a hat, and some water. The volunteers will do their work from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, August 3. Everyone will meet at the end of Willow Drive.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Triple Shooting In Benton Harbor

Police are investigating a triple shooting in Benton Harbor. It happened around 5 p.m. in the 800 block of Superior on Wednesday. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey tells us one person is dead and two others are injured and being treated at a hospital. No information has been released on a suspect. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call police. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is assisting the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety in handling the case.. ...Read Full Story

MI Prosecutor Drops Charge Against 10-Year-Old Over Playground Game

From the Associated Press — Prosecutors are dropping an assault charge against a 10-year-old suburban Detroit boy who was accused of hitting a 9-year-old classmate in the face with a rubber ball similar to a dodge ball. Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy on Wednesday said there’s a “better way to go forward” than to take the child to juvenile court. She encouraged the families to find a solution. The charge was filed Tuesday. Students at a Canton Township school were playing a game called “tips” on April 29 in which kids jump to catch a ball. Authorities say the older boy forcefully threw the ball, leaving his classmate with a concussion. The older boy’s mother claimed race was a factor in the investigation. Her son is black. Worthy, who is black, calls that “categorically wrong.”. ...Read Full Story

Communities Get Partial Win In Court Fight Over Tax Dollars

From the Associated Press — Local governments have won a partial victory in the Michigan appeals court in a dispute over how state government gives tax dollars to communities. The constitution requires that local governments get 48.9 percent of all state spending. But when the state makes that calculation, the appeals court says it can’t count money that pays for state-mandated activities. Attorney John Philo says it likely adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars. He says local governments have been squeezed for years by “accounting tricks” in the capital. But in the same opinion, the appeals court this week said the state can count aid to school districts and charter schools as payments to local governments. The court also ordered state government to publish information about the cost of state mandates. The court says the state has undermined the “role of taxpayer oversight.” There was no immediate comment from the attorney general’s office. A Supreme Court appeal by either side is possible.. ...Read Full Story

Lawsuit Seeks To Stop Redistricting

From the Associated Press — Michigan Republicans have sued to block the creation of a redistricting commission, contending people would be unconstitutionally prohibited from serving on the panel. Voters last fall approved a constitutional amendment to have the commission draw congressional and legislative districts instead of the Legislature starting in 2021 – a bid to curtail partisan gerrymandering. A lawsuit filed Tuesday challenges provisions that bar commissioners from being a candidate for partisan federal, state or local office in the last six years. Others excluded from serving include state employees, lobbyists and political consultants.
Among the plaintiffs are a Republican state senator and party officials. They say the eligibility standards violate their First Amendment rights. Voters Not Politicians, which spearheaded the redistricting change, says it’s no surprise politicians “want to undermine the voice of voters.”. ...Read Full Story

Western Am Returns To Point O’Woods For First Time In A Decade

For the first time since 2008, the world’s best amateur golfers are back in southwest Michigan with the return of the Western Amateur Championship to Point O’Woods in Benton Harbor. The course was home to the tournament every year from 1971 to 2008 after hosting it in 1963 and 1965. Notable winners here have included Hal Sutton in 1979 and 1980, Phil Mickelson in 1991, Justin Leonard in 1992 and 1993, and Tiger Woods in 1994. Phil McDonald is providing daily updates on 106.1 & 1400 WSJM Sports as well as online at wsjmsports.com throughout the event, which runs through Saturday. Admission to the 117th annual Western Am is free.. ...Read Full Story

Remains Of Missing Dowagiac Woman Identified In Indiana

The search for a missing Decatur woman is over with the confirmation her remains were found in Osceola, Indiana. The St. Joseph County, Indiana prosecutor’s office tells WSJM News the skeletal remains found in March have been identified as those of 41-year-old Natily Franklin. She disappeared in November and was reported missing just a few days after bonding out of the Cass County Jail following her arrest for possession of a controlled substance and possession of meth. Arrangements are being made to return Franklin’s remains to her family. Michigan State Police and the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit have been investigating her disappearance. No cause of death has been revealed.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Police Night Out Next Week

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is planning a National Night Out event for next week. Set for Tuesday, August 6, the event will be a chance for the public to mingle with the first responders who serve them. Van Buren County’s event will be held at the Lawrence Park Pavilion from 6 to 8 p.m. The sheriff’s department is expanding the Night Out this year, and it’s to feature police officers, K-9 units, the marine, dive, and SWAT teams, the reserve and mounted divisions, the Lawrence Fire Department, McGruff the Crime dog, neighborhood watch information, and free child fingerprinting. Plus, they’ll have a bounce house. Police will also provide safety information while displaying some of the equipment they use. Everyone is welcome to stop by.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Backs Legislation Designed To Decrease Robocalls

Congressman Fred Upton is hoping legislation approved last week by the U.S. House will help decrease the amount of robocalls going around. He tells WSJM News the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act will direct the Federal Communications Commission to issue rules to protect consumers from calls they didn’t agree to receive. Upton says it’s about putting more tools in the FCC’s toolbox.. ...Read Full Story

Cardboard Boat Races Raise Record Amount For United Way

The latest Rock the Boat Cardboard Boat Races have raised a record amount of money for the United Way of Southwest Michigan. The United Way tells us the fourth annual event this month resulted in $110,000 being collected. The Rock the Boat races feature teams from different southwest Michigan businesses and non-profits racing in the St. Joseph River in boats of their own design and construction, all made of cardboard. The latest event was July 18th at The Inn at Harbor Shores. A total of 75 boats took part this year. The United Way says the event has grown each year since it was started. In its first year, just five boats took part. In the second year, there were 30, and the third year featured 64. The money raised from the July 18 event will all go to the United Way of Southwest Michigan through Whirlpool’s annual United Way campaign. You can learn more about the event right here.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Directive Favors State Companies For Contracts

From the Associated Press — Michigan companies bidding to do work for state government will get more of an edge under a change made by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She signed the “Michigan Jobs First” directive Monday at a power-line contractor in the Detroit suburb of Roseville. She says 70% of state contracts are awarded to Michigan businesses – a percentage she wants to increase.
Her directive expands the list of factors to determine if a bid from a potential supplier would provide the best value. State officials immediately will take into account the overall economic impact of a bid, workers’ wages and benefits, a company’s track record of labor and environmental compliance, and its commitment to economically disadvantaged areas. The state last year issued more than 8,800 contracts worth $2.1 billion.. ...Read Full Story

New Buffalo Lands Grant For Waterfront Master Plan

The development of New Buffalo’s waterfront will be a hot topic later this year thanks to the city receiving a $51,000 grand from USDA Rural Development to cover nearly all the costs involved with developing a master plan and do preliminary engineering work. City Manager Dave Richards tells WSJM News the city wants to hear from as many residents as possible once they begin holding open houses and putting out online surveys.. ...Read Full Story

Stabenow Backing Impeachment Inquiry

Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan says she would back House Democrats if they launch an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. The fourth-term Democrat said in a written statement Monday that former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report about Russian interference in the 2016 election “describes extremely serious instances of the president of the United States trying to obstruct justice.” She says “no one is above the law.” Politico first reported Stabenow’s position. About 100 Democrats in the 435-member House now favor opening an impeachment inquiry. House committees have been investigating Trump and filing lawsuits to obtain information. Even if the House voted to impeach Trump, the Republican-run Senate would likely acquit him. Michigan’s other senator, Democrat Gary Peters, is up for re-election in 2020 and has not backed impeachment proceedings.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Bringing Back Former Finance Director

The St. Joseph City Commission is bringing back a city hall veteran for a few more years. Former city finance director Deb Koroch is returning to that position following her retirement in June 2016. Koroch had been brought back on an interim basis this year after her successor, Sara McCallum, left for a new job in Ann Arbor. The city commission search committee of Mayor Pro Tem Laura Goos and Commissioner Peggy Getty met with city staff on Friday to go over the applications for the job, and felt no one could stack up to the experience Koroch would bring with her 16 years with the city.. ...Read Full Story