Local News Archives

Economists: MI Economy Could Absorb NAFTA Changes

From the Associated Press — Economists say Michigan’s economy would likely absorb the effects of possible changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement fairly well. University of Michigan economists released their annual analysis of the state’s economy Friday. They say the prospect of a U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA is unlikely, but they examined the potential effects of changes. The economists say the effects would depend on whether Mexico and the U.S. place additional tariffs on each other’s exports. They say Michigan could gain
6,400 jobs by 2020 due to more light truck production if there are no new tariffs, but could lose 7,000 manufacturing jobs if there are retaliatory tariffs. The overall 2018-19 forecast for Michigan sees steady job growth, low unemployment, tame inflation and an economy that continues to diversify.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Health Department Offering Stop Smoking Classes

With the Great American Smokeout taking place this past week, the Berrien County Health Department is reminding all area smokers of the programs it offers to help them quit. The health department tells us its next smoking cessation classes will begin in January. The class is open to the public at a cost of $10.00 and provides those who take part with a workbook and stress-relieving techniques. The health department says quitters are most successful when using a combination of therapies, like nicotine replacement, counseling, self-help materials, and a strong support network of family and friends. Anyone who wants to sign up for a Berrien County Health Department smoking cessation class can just call the department. It tells us tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in Michigan, killing more than 16,000 residents each year.. ...Read Full Story

Two Berrien Deputies Complete Corrections Training

Two Berrien County Sheriff’s deputies have completed training as corrections officers. The sheriff’s department tells us deputies Mark Boelcke and Ryan Streelman attended the officer training academy held at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. The four week academy covers subjects like custody and security, defensive tactics, first aid, suicide awareness, fire safety, and communications. The sheriff’s department says the academy is an important part of teaching deputies how to keep the jail and its inmates safe. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey congratulated Boelcke and Streelman for completing the corrections training.. ...Read Full Story

Appeal Sought In Demolition Of SJ House

It could be a year before the battle over a blighted property on Niles Avenue in St. Joseph is resolved. St Joe City Commissioners Monday heard from City Attorney Laurie Schmidt that the owner of the home at 1015 Niles — the house with the tarp on its roof — has filed an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Berrien County Circuit Court last month ruled in favor of a city demolition order on the house, which inspectors have said is unlivable. However, the owner had one more place to turn and the state appeals court was it. The city attorney said that owner filed the appeal on the day of the deadline. Now, she says it could be as long as a year before the appeals court makes a decision. She told commissioners it might be quicker, but “realistically, the court of appeals does take a long time.” Meanwhile, some other properties the city has fought to clean up have seen progress. Schmidt said a home at 517 Archer was demolished last week, has a new owner, and there will be a new home built there in the spring. As for other homes on Hoyt Street and Wayne Street, she said they’re about halfway fixed.. ...Read Full Story

Police Seeking Suspects In BH Armed Robbery Last Month

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department could use your help in catching an armed robbery suspect. It tells us Benton Harbor Public Safety responded to a robbery at H and B Liquor Store on Broadway Avenue on Halloween night. Officers learned two male suspects wearing all black went into the store flashing handguns and demanding cash. They got away with an undisclosed amount. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us Crimestoppers is offering up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the suspects. Anyone with information on the armed robbery can call Crimestoppers at 1-800-342-STOP.. ...Read Full Story

Road Commission Gearing Up For Winter Maintenance

With the winter here, the Van Buren County Road Commission is reminding everyone how it will handle snowplowing in the coming months. Road Commission Engineer Manager Larry Hummel tells WSJM News the plows will work steadily throughout snowy days from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. When it’s extra snowy, they dial things up.. ...Read Full Story

Police Officer Charged In Shooting Incident

The Van Buren County Prosecutor’s Office has authorized a charge against a former Mattawan police officer who allegedly fired shots at a car that had sped away from her early this month. It happened on November 3 when Mattawan Police Officer Chelsey Omilian initiated a stop on a stolen vehicle. There was a brief chase and that’s when the officer fired at the vehicle. One of the vehicle’s three occupants was injured in the incident. The Van Buren County Prosecutor’s Office tells us Omilian was arraigned Friday on a charge of reckless use of a firearm. It’s a 90 day misdemeanor that could come with a $500 fine. Omilian is now free on bond. She’s been on administrative leave since the shooting incident.. ...Read Full Story

AG Asks Legislature To Consider Changes To Hunting Rules

The office of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says he has issued some recommendations to state lawmakers for how they could strengthen hunting rights. AG spokesperson Andrea Bitely tells WSJM News hunting is something that Schuette views as important to all Michiganders. That’s why he’s making some suggestions. For one thing, Schuette asks lawmakers to remove a ban on using or possessing a loaded hunting weapon in a vehicle. Bitely says that’s so DNR rules on duck hunting in a boat will match the actual state law.. ...Read Full Story

RESA Redistributing $2.7 Million To Local Schools

Berrien RESA is distributing more than $2.7 million to Berrien County school districts this year. Superintendent Kevin Ivers tells WSJM News it’s a RESA policy to hand off extra county special education millage funds to the local districts to cover their special education costs that were not reimbursed by the state from the prior year. . ...Read Full Story

New Law Removes Some Requirements For Buying Beer Kegs

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation to repeal a requirement that beer kegs be sold with tags that can identify who bought them.Snyder’s move Monday brings to an end a 2010 law aimed at curtailing “keggers” that attract underage drinkers. Critics say the law hasn’t curbed underage or binge drinking and has led partygoers to turn to hard liquor or cases of beer. The repeal law takes effect in 90 days. Under the keg law, keg buyers must sign a receipt listing their name, address and phone number, and they must show a driver’s license or state I.D. card. Stores attach a tag to each keg and keep a copy of the receipt for at least 30 days. A deposit isn’t returned unless the tag remains on the keg.. ...Read Full Story