Local News Archives

$7.2 Million Expansion Planned For Berrien County Jail

A $7.2 million expansion is being planned for the Berrien County Jail. On Thursday, the county board of commissioners approved moving forward with finalizing plans for the work. It will mean the addition of new cell areas at the jail, new kitchen equipment, a medical area, and holding areas. The work is intended to extend the jail’s lifespan by decades. Plans are being drafted now, and construction could start next year.. ...Read Full Story

Bogseth Found Guilty In Wife’s Murder

A Van Buren County man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the beating death of his wife. A jury found Brent Bogseth guilty on Friday. Bogseth will be sentenced November 7. 32-year-old Kimberly Bogseth’s body was found September 9, 2015 on a trail in Columbia Township. She was reported missing about a week earlier. During the search for her, police found Kimberly Bogseth’s cellphone and a hammer in her husband’s SUV. The newspaper reports that a medical examiner ruled that she had died from blunt-force trauma.. ...Read Full Story

Machete-Wielding Man Arraigned

A Niles man is now charged with a pair of counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and three counts of assault and resisting police in Cass County. 44-year-old Marty Ray Gipson was arrested while wielding a machete this week at a home in Howard Township. His girlfriend called police and said he was drunk, had taken a bunch of pills and was acting crazy. An officer used rubber bullets to subdue Gipson, allowing for him to be arrested and taken to the Cass County Jail. He’s locked up with bond set at $10,000. Police were called to the home shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday. They found the woman and a six-year-old child hiding from Gipson in a car outside the house. He warned her that if police came for him, quote, “I’m not going out alive.”. ...Read Full Story

Pscholka Says Beer Tax Hike Unlikely

Beer taxes won’t be jumping by 200% in Michigan if state Representative Al Pscholka has anything to say about it. Republican Rep. Tom Hooker of Byron Center, near Grand Rapids, is proposing the increase and wants to put the money toward substance abuse courts. Pscholka tells Michigan’s Big Show, heard on News/Talk 94.9 WSJM that Hooker doesn’t drink.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Murder Trial Goes To Jury

The murder trial of a Van Buren County man is now in the hands of the jury. The prosecutor’s office claims that Brent Bogseth was angry over his wife’s affair with a neighbor, crushed her skull with his favorite hammer and then hid her body in the woods near their home in northern Van Buren County, just over a year ago. The body of 32-year-old Kimberly Bogseth was found by the same neighbor who confirmed their affair on the witness stand this week. The defense claims the evidence is circumstantial and that others also had motive. Bogseth’s hammer has never been found. The jury met behind closed doors for a short time yesterday and will resume deliberations this morning.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Deputies Use Rubber Bullets To Nab Machete-Wielding Man

A man who made threats while wielding a machete is in custody in Cass County, thanks to quick action by sheriff’s deputies armed with rubber bullets. The department says deputies were called to a home on Little Street in Howard Township around 1:15 a.m. Thursday and found a woman who told them her boyfriend was inside screaming and swinging around the large blade. She also said he was on pills. The deputies forced their way into the home and the man came at them with the knife, so they shot him with “less than lethal” rubber bullets. That gave them a chance to cuff the man and he was arrested. After a trip to a hospital, he was then lodged in the Cass County Jail on a slew of charges.. ...Read Full Story

Saturday Jean Klock Park Cleanup Moved Back To Sunday

A cleanup event planned for this Saturday at Benton Harbor’s Jean Klock Park has been rescheduled. Friends of Jean Klock Park says due to expected rain, they’ve bumped the volunteer event back to Sunday. It was supposed to happen on Saturday. Everyone’s welcome to show up to Jean Klock Park to pick up trash and log it for the Alliance for the Great Lakes database. Sunday’s cleanup will take place between 9 a.m. and noon. If you go, bring along a pair of gloves.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Plan Would Improve Rural Phone Service

Legislation designed to improve phone service in rural areas is making its way through Congress. The House Energy and Commerce Committee held discussions this week on the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2015. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News it would add new requirements on carriers.. ...Read Full Story

Muhammad Meets With Snyder In Lansing

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad has met with Governor Rick Snyder to discuss the future of the city and its relationship with the state. The meeting on Tuesday took place at the Romney Building in Lansing, and Muhammad tells WSJM News he talked to the governor about the city’s needs.. ...Read Full Story

MI Schools Have New Guidelines For LGBT Students

The Michigan Board of Education has issued new guidelines to districts on how to treat LGBT students. The guidelines are voluntary, but have spurred criticism from conservative lawmakers, especially over restroom and bathroom policies for transgender students. State Representative Jon Hoadley says the policy is needed because LGBT students are more likely to face bullying.. ...Read Full Story

Zika Virus Shows Up In West Michigan

Nine cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in west Michigan, specifically in Ottawa County. Kristina Wieghmink, with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, says they’re all travel-related cases in people ranging in age from a teen to 50, but there are no pregnant women. She has advice for anyone traveling to countries where Zika is prevalent.. ...Read Full Story

Flags To Be Lowered For Lawmaker Killed In Traffic Crash

Governor Rick Snyder has ordered that flags be lowered Friday in the state Capitol complex and within the northern Michigan legislative
district of a lawmaker who was killed in a traffic accident. Flags will be lowered to half-staff for third-term Republican Representative Peter
Pettalia. He died Monday when his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck whose driver turned into his lane on southbound M-33 in Montmorency County. A memorial service is scheduled for Friday afternoon at the Presque Isle Lighthouse. Pettalia’s 106th House District includes all or parts of five counties along Lake Huron in the northeastern Lower Peninsula. Snyder says an outpouring of condolences for Pettalia from across Michigan “show how much his commitment to public service was respected and how much he will be missed.”. ...Read Full Story

2-Year-Old Boy Hit By Car In Sodus Township

A 2-year-old boy is being treated at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo after he was struck by a car in Sodus Township Thursday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells our newsroom deputies were called to Meadow Springs Trailer Court around 12:40 in the afternoon. When they arrived, they found a car stopped in the road and the boy being held by his father. Medic One took the boy to Lakeland Hospital, and he was airlifted from there to Bronson in Kalamazoo. Police say alcohol was not a factor in the crash. It’s still under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Suspected Drunk Driver Causes Transformer Fire

A suspected drunk driver has turned out to be the cause of a power outage that affected parts of Lincoln and St. Joseph Townships overnight Thursday. The Lincoln Township Police Department says 72-year-old Thomas Zabadal, of St. Joseph, rolled his 2005 Buick near 500 Glenlord Road around 10:45 p.m. Wednesday. Police say he sheared an American Electric Power pole while doing so which caused a transformer to catch fire. That led to a power outage that shut down Upton Middle School and hit other businesses on Thursday. Officers found Zabadal’s blood alcohol level to be over the legal limit, and he’s been charged with drunk driving. He suffered minor injuries in the crash.. ...Read Full Story

MI Unemployment Unchanged In August

Michigan’s jobless rate was unchanged at 4.5 percent in August from July, remaining at its lowest level in 15 years. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget says that total employment recorded a reduction of 7,000 in August as the state’s labor force decreased by 5,000. The number of unemployed in Michigan rose by 2,000. Michigan seasonally adjusted jobless rate in August was below the state’s
August 2015 rate of 5.1 percent. The U.S. jobless rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent in August. Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, says Wednesday the state’s labor market situation was stable. Governor Rick Snyder says in a statement Michigan needs to “continue our efforts to strengthen our workforce and create more opportunities for all Michiganders.”. ...Read Full Story

ITT Tech Shutting Down Friday

The for-profit college ITT Technical Institute says in a federal filing that it will stop operating Friday. Carmel, Indiana-based ITT Educational Services Inc. said in a Wednesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would stop services about a week after it announced it would close its campuses. The company’s main lender recently seized ITT’s bank accounts. The college chain is shutting down all 130 of its U.S. campuses. The move affects more than 35,000 students and more than 8,000 jobs. Federal education officials banned the company last month from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid. The Education Department said the company had become a risk to students and taxpayers. ITT has laid off at least 660 Indiana workers. It had about 1,900 students in Indiana.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Increase Michigan’s Beer Tax

At least one Michigan lawmaker wants to raise the state’s beer tax by 244%, and the organization that represents wine and beer sellers is crying foul. State Representative Tom Hooker, of Byron Center, introduced the plan on Wednesday. The beer tax hasn’t been raised since 1966, but Brett Visner, with the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association, tells WSJM News that’s no reason to mess with a growing industry.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Aims To Make Fresh Fruits And Vegetables Available In Underserved Areas

A plan from state Representative Dave Pagel to help people in rural and urban areas get access to fresh fruits and veggies is getting high marks from the American Heart Association. The legislation had a hearing in the state House Wednesday, with the association’s Dave Hodgkins speaking in favor. He tells WSJM News folks in certain areas just don’t have any grocery stores in their towns, and have to buy food at little corner shops.. ...Read Full Story

Trump Visits Flint

The city of Flint is again making national headlines this week as Donald Trump has paid it a visit. On Wednesday, Trump toured the city’s water plant, and spoke at an historically black church. He said Flint can be helped.. ...Read Full Story

Suspect Arrested In String Of Dowagaic Burglaries

A suspect has been arrested in a string of burglaries in Dowagiac. The police department tells our newsroom the home break-ins happened between between last Wednesday and Monday of this week. Homes on Orchard Street, Oak Street, and Florence Street were broken into, and the stolen items included guns. Police say they spoke with several witnesses, leading them to a suspect in Berrien County on Monday. 20-year-old Brett Adam Gibson, of Dowagiac, is now facing a variety of charges. Police say he’s confessed to all three of the break-ins, and is now in the Cass County Jail on $75,000 bond.. ...Read Full Story

Graves Of Veterans Vandalized In Bangor

50 graves markers honoring veterans have been damaged by vandals at a cemetery in Bangor. Police Chief Tommy Simpson tells WSJM News the graves of veterans at Arlington Hill Cemetery are given special markers with American flags on them. Someone broke the markers and took the flags. It was discovered Wednesday morning.. ...Read Full Story

State Education Board Issues Guidance On LGBT Students

Michigan’s education board has approved guidance to schools on creating an inclusive environment for LGBT students. The guidelines are voluntary but have spurred criticism from conservative lawmakers, particularly over restroom and bathroom policies for transgender students.
The Democratic-controlled State Board of Education passed the guidance 6-2 Wednesday, after receiving passionate public testimony from people in support and against. Recommendations to schools include making good faith efforts to address students by their chosen name and pronoun when asked. The guidance also urges schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. Education officials say the draft guidance was amended to encourage local school districts to engage their communities in the development of their own policies and to urge greater consideration for parental involvement. Critics say the revisions are meaningless.. ...Read Full Story

MI House Approves New Medical Marijuana Rules

The Michigan House gave final approval to bills Wednesday that would further regulate medical marijuana nearly eight years after its use
was first authorized by voters. The main legislation, which passed 83-22, would impose a new tax and establish a state licensing system to grow, process, sell, transport or test marijuana. Non-smokable forms of the drug such as food and lotions would become legal under a bill that was approved 93-12, surpassing the constitutionally required three-fourths needed to amend a voter initiative. Another measure, OK’d 85-20,
would create a monitoring system to track marijuana from “seed to sale” and flag excess purchases.. ...Read Full Story

SUV Crashes Into St. Joseph Dunkin’ Donuts

One person is nursing a minor injury after an SUV crashed into the St. Joseph Dunkin’ Donuts on Wednesday. It happened around 11:30 a.m. when the Chevy Traverse drove right over the concrete parking barriers, going through the window. There was a lot of broken glass, but damage to the inside of the store was small, and no one suffered any serious injuries. We’re told one person who was sitting close to the window at the time had a cut to his leg. The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety had the crashed vehicle removed from the scene by 12:30, and now the owners of the store are working to repair it.. ...Read Full Story