Local News Archives

Michigan: Court Goofed And Should Reopen Sex Offender Case

(Lansing, MI – AP) – The Michigan attorney general’s office is asking a federal appeals court to reopen a dispute over Michigan’s sex-offender registry. The court recently said Michigan is illegally treating many sex offenders as “moral lepers” by putting additional restrictions on them long after their convictions. But in a new filing, the state says the court overlooked a key decision from 2007 that should have led to a different result.. ...Read Full Story

State Sued Over Poor Reading Skills Of Detroit Students

The state of Michigan is being sued over the poor reading skills of Detroit students at five schools, including two charter schools. The lawsuit says the schools are in “slum-like conditions” and “functionally incapable of delivering access to literacy.” The case, filed Tuesday in federal court, accuses Governor Rick Snyder, the state school board and others of violating the civil rights of low-income students. The governor’s office declined to comment. The lawsuit says the state of Michigan is responsible for complying with constitutional mandates in education. The lawsuit seeks literacy instruction at all grades, screening for literacy problems and regular oversight. In 2012, a similar lawsuit was filed in Wayne County court on behalf of Highland Park students. It was ultimately dismissed in favor of the state.. ...Read Full Story

Rock Band Teaches Financial Literacy To MI High School Kids

A Michigan rock band is mixing music and a message about financial literacy for kids. The band Gooding is performing a few shows in the state this week as part of a 60 date nationwide tour at high schools. The idea is to get a message to kids about saving money and avoiding payday or “same-day” loans to get by. Frontman Gooding says the earlier kids learn how to handle money, the less likely they are to make life-altering mistakes.. ...Read Full Story

Pscholka Remembers Lawmaker Who Died Monday

The Michigan Legislature is mourning the second member of the state House to die this year. Republican Representative Peter Pettalia died Monday night in a motorcycle crash in northern Michigan. Representative Al Pscholka tells our newsroom he just recently spent time with Pettalia on Mackinac Island.. ...Read Full Story

Rock Alliance 3 Day Ride This Week

This Thursday is the departure day for this year’s Rock Alliance 3 Day Ride. Motorcyclists from all over will leave from the St. Joseph Holiday Inn Express for a ride throughout the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Tom Woltman, with the Berrien Riders tells WSJM News it’s always a great experience.. ...Read Full Story

Lobbyist Backs Away From Claims About Pscholka, Kahn

A story that a former lobbyist paid the bar tab for state Representative Al Pscholka and was pressured to buy alcohol for the wedding of former state Senator Dr. Roger Kahn’s daughter turns out to be just that – a story. Steve Marino is running for the state House in Macomb County and admitted to the “Detroit Free Press” he made up the story after a recording of him bragging about it was released by Michigan Democrats. Pscholka says he’s never met the guy, and it’s become par for the course in politics.. ...Read Full Story

Minor-In-Possession Changes Considered

State Senator Rick Jones has proposed a couple of bills that might just get him invited to some fraternity parties. A bill due up for a vote today in a House committee would turn the first arrest for being a minor in possession of alcohol from a criminal violation to a civil infraction. Jones says it’s just not right that some young lives are ruined because they have a beer. Jones, a Republican from Grand Ledge and former Eaton County sheriff, has also just proposed new legislation that would allow stores in Ann Arbor to ignore a new city ordinance that changes the legal age for purchasing cigarettes from 18 to 21. Jones thinks it will hurt mom and pop stores in the city, driving business to the burbs.. ...Read Full Story

Harbaugh Denies Eating Booger During Michigan Game

Video seems to show Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh picking and eating a booger during the Wolverines’ game against Central Florida on Saturday. The Internet has lit up with comments about it, but Harbaugh says it’s not what it appears. On his weekly radio show Monday night, which is heard on 95.7 and 1400 WSJM Sports, the coach denied eating a booger.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Poised To Approve Medical Marijuana Regulations

Michigan lawmakers are poised to give final approval to a new regulatory structure for medical marijuana. Voters legalized the drug for medical use in 2008. But there have been conflicts in the courts, particularly over the legality of dispensaries where patients can buy the drug and whether non-smokable forms are legal. Legislation up for a vote Tuesday in the Republican-controlled House would create a tiered regulatory system. A state license would be required to grow, process, sell, transport and test marijuana. Dispensaries would pay a 3% tax on their gross retail income. Allowable marijuana could include infused, non-smokable forms such as lotions and edible products. More than 211,000 qualifying patients now grow their own marijuana plants or obtain the drug from nearly 37,000 registered caregivers under the 2008 law.. ...Read Full Story

Northern Michigan State Rep Killed In Crash

A three-term state lawmaker has died in a motorcycle accident in northern Michigan. Republican state Representative. Peter Pettalia was killed Monday evening in an accident on M-33 South. No further details were immediately available. A Montmorency County sheriff’s dispatcher and Michigan State Police told The Associated Press a statement would be issued later. Pettalia was elected to his first term in 2010. Governor Snyder issued a statement offering condolences to Pettalia’s family and saying flags will be lowered in his honor. GOP House Speaker Kevin Cotter called Pettalia a dear friend and longtime colleague well known for his expertise, hard work and love for the outdoors. Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon also issued a statement, saying his party’s “deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends, and colleagues of Representative Peter Pettalia.” Pettalia was 61 and had lived in Presque Isle since 1977.. ...Read Full Story

Report Recommends Eliminating Court Fees For Juveniles

A new report from the Juvenile Law Center shows many juvenile offenders who wind up in the court system are being hurt by the fines and fees given to them. The center’s Jessica Feierman says that includes the cost of tests and evaluations, rehabilitation, and court operation. She says court costs can put families in stressful situations where they face difficult choices.. ...Read Full Story

WMU Southwest Location Reaching Out To ITT Tech Students

Another southwest Michigan college has stepped forward to offer help to displaced students of ITT Technical Institute. Western Michigan University’s Southwest location in Benton Harbor is offering to enroll ITT Tech students for the fall while having application and late-registration fees waived. It’s also set up a team of admissions and financial personnel to help ITT students transfer, as well as a website. WMU is urging any ITT Tech students looking for a place to go to give them a call. Last week, Southwestern Michigan College extended a similar offer.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Students Working To Verify World Record Attempt

It will take about 12 weeks for organizers of the record attempt at Southwestern Michigan College over the weekend to find out if they succeeded, but they’re pretty sure they did. On Saturday, more than 100 students worked to build the biggest blanket fort ever. SMC’s Branden Pompey tells WSJM News they have to send proof to Guinness World Records.. ...Read Full Story

Appeals Court Upholds Emergency Manager Law

An appeals court has ruled in favor of Governor Rick Snyder in a challenge to Michigan’s emergency manager law, which was passed by Republicans. The appeals court on Monday upheld a decision by a federal judge, who swept aside much of the lawsuit in 2014. Emergency managers have exceptional power to run local governments and school districts, while elected officials typically are pushed aside for 18 months or more. Critics sued, arguing that the law violated many of their constitutional rights. The appeals court says the law might not be the “perfect remedy” but it’s “rationally related” to fixing distressed local governments. Michigan voters overturned Snyder’s first emergency manager law in 2012. But he and lawmakers quickly returned with another.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Congress Is Seeking Answers On EpiPen Costs

Congressman Fred Upton says the House is working to find help for those who use EpiPens after the company that makes them jacked up the price. The life-saving devices are used to treat severe allergic reactions, and they’ve gone up in price from about $100 in 2007 to $600 today. Upton says the House is seeking answers from the FDA.. ...Read Full Story

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