Local News Archives

Zoo Asks For Change To State Law

Officials at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids are calling on the Michigan Legislature to amend the state’s current Large Carnivore Act. Zoo CEO Peter D’Arienzo tells Michigan News Network it currently prevents the breeding of animals over 35 pounds, like cats and bears. Last year, they had to send their male tigers to out-of-state zoos because of the law.. ...Read Full Story

Study Examines Food, Beverage Industry Growth

The food and beverage industry in southwest Michigan is showing very strong growth in a new study. Commissioned by Indiana Michigan Power, the study was done to help better plan for the utility’s responsibilities and also to help economic developers. I&M spokesperson Dave Bergsma tells WSJM News the craft beer industry has led the way in the growth of beverage producing in southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Drug Raid In Benton Harbor

No details have been released yet by Michigan State Police, but authorities from several police agencies raided a Benton Harbor home last night for a drug bust. A block of Catalpa near Colfax was blocked off by authorities last evening. WSJM News spoke to troopers at the scene last night, but they were not able to provide any information.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Bans Dog Breed Rules

From the Associated Press — No bans on pit bulls allowed, Michigan’s Senate says. The chamber voted 22-13 on Thursday to prohibit local governments from dictating breed-specific regulations on dogs. The legislation will benefit canines that are perceived as more aggressive — mostly pit bulls, but also Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Cane Corsos. About 30 local governments have some form of breed-specific ordinances, which supporters of the bill say encroaches on dog owners’ property rights. Targeting specific breeds is also not an effective approach to dog bite prevention, they say. A 2014 American Veterinary Medical Association report says pit bulls are not disproportionately dangerous. However, critics of the bill mention that pit bulls are behind most fatal dog bites. At least 20 states already prohibit such breed-specific policies. Michigan’s bill now heads to the House.. ...Read Full Story

Dispatchers Of The Year Saluted

Two people have been picked as Berrien County’s Dispatchers of the year. At Thursday’s Berrien County Commission meeting, the honor was given to Eric Ruth and Lanny Duffel. Ruth, who works for Niles Dispatch, handled a call last February about a Michigan State Police trooper who was attacked by a couple of brothers, one of whom was on a stolen motorcycle. Chikaming Township Police Chief Todd Taylor spoke about the incident.. ...Read Full Story

State Approves Electric Rate Hike

The Michigan Public Service Commission has given approval to Indiana Michigan Power to raise its electric rates. MPSC spokesperson Nick Assendelft tells WSJM News I&M asked the state for permission to do so in May of last year. After consideration of many factors, the MPSC has given I&M the green light to increase rates by $49 million on its 128,000 Michigan customers.. ...Read Full Story

Teen Facing Terrorism Charge

A teen from Berrien Township is facing a charge of terrorism due to a threat of violence. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office tells us the 15-year-old Berrien Springs High School student was taken to the Berrien County Juvenile Center following his arrest by Michigan State Police Wednesday. The prosecutor says while it is alleged a threat of violence was made, there was no information suggesting violence toward another or toward a school was imminent. The Juvenile Division of the Berrien County Family Court has accepted the Berrien County Prosecutor’s petition in the case, and the next court date for the teen has yet to be scheduled. The prosecutor tells us the incident was investigated by Michigan State Police, the Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Police Department, the FBI, and the Berrien County Violent Crimes Task Force.. ...Read Full Story

Police Confirm Identity Of Drowned Kayaker

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that a body found in the Paw Paw River this week is that of a missing kayaker. 35-year-old Cory Wright of Niles went missing while kayaking in the Paw Paw River near Watervliet in late February. The sheriff’s department and the Watervliet Fire Department maintained a search of the river from that point until this Tuesday when they found remains. An autopsy at Western Michigan University has determined the body is the missing kayaker. The report also showed there were no signs of foul play and it was an accidental drowning.. ...Read Full Story

BH Schools Forum Being Planned

A community forum for stakeholders in Benton Harbor Area Schools is in the works. At this week’s school board meeting, Lou Ann Vidmar, a union representative of district teachers, invited everyone to take part in a discussion about the future of the district. Vidmar told WSJM News there is concern the district isn’t making sufficient progress under its partnership agreement with the Michigan Department of Education.. ...Read Full Story