Local News Archives

South Haven City Manager Talks Lifeguards

There’s a petition effort underway to convince the city of South Haven to add lifeguards at its public beaches. The change.org petition as of Tuesday afternoon had more than 600 signatures following the weekend drowning of a 13-year-old boy in Lake Michigan. South Haven City Manager Brian Dissette tells WSJM News city leadership opted to no longer have lifeguards about 15 years ago.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Votes To Condemn Trump Tweets

Congressman Fred Upton is among the four Republican members of the U.S. House to vote with Democrats to condemn controversial tweets made this past weekend by President Trump. The House vote on Tuesday was on a resolution which “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.” The weekend tweets were about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. The president tweeted, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” The Democrat-controlled House approved the resolution against Trump’s words with support from only four Republicans. In addition to Congressman Upton, Republicans Will Hurd of Texas, Susan Brooks of Indiana, and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania voted with Democrats. Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan, who recently resigned from the Republican Party, also voted yes. Upton issued a statement Monday saying he was appalled by Trump’s words.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Hires Dean Of Student Affairs

Now on the job at Lake Michigan College is Nygil Likely, LMC’s new dean of student affairs. LMC says Likely has been brought in to help enhance the student experience by giving students someone to go to when they need help. Likely told WSJM News about some of the challenges many college students face.. ...Read Full Story

Huge Net Used To Pull Asian Carp Out Of Illinois Dam

From the Associated Press — Fishermen with a net are removing thousands of Asian carp from Lake Decatur dam in central Illinois.
The Herald and Review reports that the effort began Monday, days after the state was told that many fish were gathering there. The invasive species will be trucked to a company in Bushnell, Illinois, which will process them for fish meal and fish oil. Kevin Irons of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says some fish appear to be 20 to 30 pounds. The net is 30 feet deep. The Sangamon River is impounded to form Lake Decatur in Decatur. A barrier prevents Asian carp from jumping into the lake. In May, The Army Corps of Engineers approved a $778 million plan to block the carp from reaching the Great Lakes. The fish can cause serious damage by dominating native fish for food and space.. ...Read Full Story

Utility Offers Tips To Reduce Summer Energy Usage

Consumers Energy is issuing tips to its customers on how to reduce their electric bills now that summer is here and many are turning on their air conditioning. Spokesperson Brian Wheeler tells WSJM News forecasters are predicting this month to be one of the hottest in six years. With that in mind, he says there are very small sacrifices you can make to save.. ...Read Full Story

Man Busted For Bogus Bomb Threat

An arrest has been made in a bogus bomb threat that was made to the Cass County Courthouse last month. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department tells us the threat was phoned into 911 the morning of June 21 and caused the place to be evacuated while it was searched. Since then, deputies and detectives from the Cass County Sheriff’s Department have been following up on leads from calls from the public and other sources. They’ve now announced the arrest of Patrick Kyle McMeeken in the case. He’s charged with making a false threat of terrorism, using a computer to commit a crime, and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice. He’s also being charged as a habitual offender. If convicted, McMeeken faces up to a life sentence. The sheriff’s department asks anyone with more information on the threat to call them.. ...Read Full Story

Perrigo Announces Big Arts Donation

The Perrigo Company Charitable Foundation has announced a donation of $50,000 to the Saugatuck Center for the Arts to support an entire year of arts education programming in Allegan, Kent, and Ottawa counties. A check presentation was held Monday. The Saugatuck Center for the Arts says the drug maker’s contribution will help support programs that include the Children’s Film Festival, Artists in Residence, Growing Young Artists, and Project Based Learning. Each program aims to make an impact on the lives of kids. Since 2007, Perrigo has provided nearly $300,000 to the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Perrigo CEO Murray Kessler says improving the well-being of its communities is a key component of Perrigo’s corporate vision.. ...Read Full Story

Peters Slams Trump Tweets

President Donald Trump entered  into a rift with a group of liberal Democratic congresswomen, including Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, over the weekend. In tweets Sunday, Trump portrays the lawmakers as foreign-born troublemakers who should go back to their home countries. U.S. Senator Gary Peters calls the tweets terrible.. ...Read Full Story

South Bend International Airport Celebrating New Inspection Station Today

The South Bend International Airport will celebrate the opening of a new federal inspection station on Tuesday. Officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and from St. Joseph County, Indiana are slated to be on hand for the grand opening. The celebration will also include a special announcement and the first arriving aircraft. The South Bend International Airport is keeping its lips sealed on what the opening of the new inspections station will mean for the facility until after federal officials come to town. We’ll know more this afternoon.. ...Read Full Story

Town Hall On Roads, Auto Insurance This Week

State Representative Pauline Wendzel is holding a town hall this week on road funding and auto insurance reform. Wendzel tells WSJM News those are the two topics she and other state lawmakers hear about the most. On hand for Thursday’s meeting will be lawmakers who worked on the recently-passed auto insurance reform bill.. ...Read Full Story

PETA: Billboard Near Site Of Livestock Truck Crash Now Up

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says it has put up its billboard along I-94 near Benton Harbor to memorialize about ten pigs that died in the crash of a livestock truck on June 28. The crash happened at Napier Avenue and I-94, and PETA’s billboard nearby shows a pig with the words “I’m ME, Not MEAT. See the Individual. Go Vegan.” PETA’s Sadie Buckles tells WSJM News the message is that animals like pigs should not be packed into trucks to be hauled off to death factories.. ...Read Full Story

Rotary Taking Grant Applications

The St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Club Foundation is now taking applications for its 2019 grants. The Rotary Foundation says a total of $60,000 will be awarded this year, with all recipients to be determined by its board of directors. To be eligible, a grant request must be for a minimum of $5,000 and must be submitted by a non-profit or government unit in the St. Joseph and Benton Harbor area. The Rotary is looking for programs that provide better opportunities for youth and special needs populations. Since 1980, the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Club Foundation has awarded more than $891,000 in grants in the area. 2018 recipients included Kinexus, which got $7,500 to make improvements to the YouthBuild training facility, the Berrien County Council for children, which received $10,000 to purchase new sound equipment at the Children’s Advocacy Center, and the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor, which was awarded $10,000 for a social-emotional program. The grant application deadline is September 20.
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Mayoral Candidates Take Part In Debate

The six candidates running for mayor of Benton Harbor have squared off for the first time in a debate. Speaking at the WSJM studio Monday, a topic of discussion was economic development and making sure investment in the community is also investment in its people. Candidate Jamie Davis said, too often, there will be developments that don’t result in benefits for residents.. ...Read Full Story

Upton “Appalled” By Trump Tweets

Congressman Fred Upton is appalled by President Trump’s weekend tweets about liberal Democratic congresswomen. On Sunday, Trump went after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. The president tweeted, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Congressman Upton said on Monday there’s no excuse for those comments, and inflammatory rhetoric not right or helpful. Upton added “The President’s tweets were flat out wrong and uncalled for, and I would encourage my colleagues from both parties to stop talking so much and start governing more.”. ...Read Full Story

Study: MI Prison Workers Facing A Mental Health Crisis

From the Associated Press — A study says Michigan prison workers are facing a “mental health crisis,” including a higher likelihood of symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and depression. The report was released Monday by the state Department of Corrections, which is trying to reduce employee suicides and to improve staff wellness. The $50,000 study is the result of a survey that was filled out by about 3,500 employees. Nearly one in four of all workers are estimated to meet the criteria for PTSD.
One in six meet the criteria for major depressive disorder. More than 100 employees are currently and actively planning to kill themselves, according to the report. Corrections director Heidi Washington says the department is working to establish a culture of wellness that seeks to reduce employee stress.. ...Read Full Story

MI Reps Discuss Affordable Care Act Lawsuit

If you have a pre-existing health condition, listen up. A Texas federal lawsuit by Republican controlled states and the Trump administration, if successful, would destroy the Affordable Care Act and its ban on letting insurance companies discriminate against you if you have a pre-existing condition. Michigan State Representative Abdullah Hammoud spoke with WSJM News.. ...Read Full Story

Schools Work To Expand Agriculture Education Opportunities

From the Associated Press — Kellogg Community College and Michigan State University are working together to expand agriculture education opportunities for students. The schools have expanded their Agricultural Operations Program to offer students a new Kellogg associate’s degree program and two certificates from Michigan State. Studies in the programs cover a variety of areas, including farm, water, weed and resource management; soil science and plant pathology; regulation, safety and compliance issues; and technology. Each program path requires a 480-hour internship that’s completed during the summer semester, where the students gain hands-on experience in the field or in agribusiness. Kellogg launched its original Agricultural Operations Program with
Michigan State in 2017 The application deadline for enrolling in one of Kellogg’s Agricultural Science programs is August 9. Details including applications are posted online .. ...Read Full Story

Illinois Mulling Options To Asian Carp Issue In Lake Decatur

From the Associated Press — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is considering options to deal with thousands of invasive Asian carp that are clustering near the base of the Lake Decatur dam. The Herald and Review reports that Illinois Raptor Center official Jacques Nuzzo says he contacted the state department after taking drone footage that revealed the fish were gathered there. Scientists say the invasive species can cause serious damage in lakes and rivers by out-competing native fish populations for food and space. The Army Corps of Engineers approved a $778M plan in May to block Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. As of late June, a survey found no Asian carp in Chicago-area waterways. U.S. states and Canadian provinces have endorsed a plan to build up defenses to protect the Great Lakes.. ...Read Full Story

Cardboard Boat Races This Week

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is planning for the next Whirlpool Rock the Boat cardboard boat races this week. Spokesperson Jennifer Tomshack tells WSJM News the event set for Thursday features teams racing boats made of cardboard in the St. Joseph River at The Inn at Harbor Shores.. ...Read Full Story

State Pushes For Broadband Expansion

Grants to help roll out high-speed internet to underserved areas of Michigan are now available through the Connecting Michigan Communities program. The office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued word this week applications are being taken for the program by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget. Governor Whitmer says “Connecting all Michigan communities with broadband service is about leveling the playing field for every child and small business in the state.” While most parts of Michigan do have broadband access, there are still many rural areas where options are limited. The state is offering $20 million in grants to internet service providers that are willing to expand access in underserved locations. Providers can apply for up to $5 million per grant and can apply for multiple projects. The deadline is August 30. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Website Examines Creek Contamination

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission has launched a new website to draw attention to the issue of contamination in creeks throughout the southern half of Berrien County. Senior planner Marcy Hamilton tells WSJM News BetterBeachesSWMI.org is intended to raise awareness of how residents pollute creeks that go into Lake Michigan. Hamilton says a study of creeks from Stevensville to the state line found problems.. ...Read Full Story