Local News Archives

Van Buren County Receiving Several Grants For Specialty Courts

Van Buren County has received word that it’s getting several large grants for its specialty courts. First of all, it’s been awarded $715,000 for the Drug Treatment Court, the Family Treatment Court, the Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program, the Adult and Youth Recovery Courts, and the Sobriety Court. The money comes in grants from the State Court Administrative Office for 2018. Additionally, the county has been awarded a 5 year, $1.9 million grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to enhance its Family Treatment Court. Plus, Van Buren County has received word it’s getting a grant of just under $400,000 for its Drug Treatment Court from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Van Buren County has several specialty courts. They’re designed to help some offenders avoid prison while addressing the root cause of their crimes. News of the grants came this past week.. ...Read Full Story

Report Gun Ownership In Detroit Lower Than In Rural Areas

From the Associated Press — Michigan State Police statistics show that the area surrounding metropolitan Detroit has some of the lowest per capita legal handgun ownership in the state. Police statistics from Oct. 2 show that rates for approved concealed pistol licenses were 68 firearms per every 1,000 residents in Macomb, 62 in Wayne and 61 in Oakland County. The area is often maligned for its level of violence.
A Detroit Free Press analysis found those rates were nearly half the rate of legal gun ownership of more rural parts of Michigan, such as Alcona, Keweenaw and Montmorency counties. Those counties tallied approved licenses rates of 122, 119 and 114 per 1,000 residents, respectively. Lawmakers recently debated the issue of gun ownership while considering legislation that would allow lawful gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit or training.. ...Read Full Story

EPA Signs Off On $46 Million Plan To Clean Kalamazoo River

From the Associated Press — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has signed off on a five-year, $46 million plan to clean up a stretch of the Kalamazoo River that’s contaminated from past paper production. The project will cover nearly 2 miles of the river between Plainwell and Otsego City Dam. The Otsego dam will be removed as part of the work. The plans are part of ongoing efforts to clean up the 80-mile Allied Paper/Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site, which has been listed on the agency’s National Priorities List since 1990. Plans also are in the works to redevelop the Allied Paper site. A main concern for the EPA is PCBs leftover from industrial processes at paper mills that began operating along the river in the 1950s.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Mayor Talks Income Tax

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad says something must be done to deal with the city’s crumbling streets, and his suggestion is voters approve a new city income tax. A tax of 1% for residents and 0.5% for non-residents who work in the city will appear on next month’s ballot. Muhammad tells WSJM News the city comes nowhere close to generating enough revenue to fix streets, alleys, and sidewalks as things stand now.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Leaders Fighting Short-Term Rental Bills

St. Joseph City Commissioners are hoping residents make their voices heard to state lawmakers when it comes to new zoning legislation. A plan in the state House and Senate would strip a community’s ability to restrict short-term rentals. St. Joe Commissioners Monday night warned such a plan, if passed, would mean out of control summer vacation homes in town, something they’ve worked to avoid for years. City Commissioner Jeff Richards said neighborhoods sit empty for half the year when that happens, and schools suffer.. ...Read Full Story

Kinexus Calls For End To Driver Responsibility Fees

Kinexus is now among the groups on record hoping to see an end to Michigan’s Driver Responsibility fees. Testifying in the state House this week about a bill that would do away with them was Kinexus Senior Director of Innovation Duane Berger. He tells WSJM News Kinexus has seen many southwest Michigan workers get hit with the fees, be unable to pay them, and then lose their license.. ...Read Full Story