Local News Archives

OutCenter Discussion On Healthcare Tomorrow

The next installment of the OutCenter’s Southwest Michigan VOICES speaker series will be this Thursday at Lake Michigan College. The OutCenter’s Paula Camp tells WSJM News representatives of Spectrum Health will make a presentation about the importance and challenges of accessible local healthcare for the LGBTQ community. Camp says, for example, there can be complications when transgender people seek medical treatment.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Prohibit Sanctuary Cities In Michigan

Legislation that would prohibit Michigan municipalities and counties from enacting sanctuary city policies has been introduced in the state Senate. Sponsor Aric Nesbitt of Lawton tells WSJM News the plan would ban local governments from having policies that prohibit their police, local officials, or employees from communicating with federal officials concerning an individual’s immigration status.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Pushing For Pipeline Safety Legislation

Pipeline safety legislation is among the things Congressman Fred Upton is working on right now in Washington. The House Subcommittee on Energy discussed the topic on Wednesday. Upton wants to renew legislation set to expire in September, and tells us right now, all the subcommittee has is a draft bill. He tells WSJM News there are a few things he thinks should be put into the legislation.. ...Read Full Story

Report Ranks Michigan 32nd For Well-Being Of Children

Despite progress in child outcomes since 1990, a new report reveals serious racial and ethnic disparities persist in Michigan and other states. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2019 Kids Count Data Book ranks the state 32nd overall in its measure of how kids are faring. Kids Count Project Director at the Michigan League for Public Policy Alicia Guevara Warren says Michigan’s child poverty rate is 11% worse now than when the report was first published three decades ago.. ...Read Full Story

Cherry Beach In Chikaming Township Closed

Cherry Beach in Chikaming Township is closed until further notice. The Berrien County Health Department closed the beach due to high bacteria levels Tuesday afternoon. The township’s parks department has posted on Facebook that it is unsafe to swim off of Cherry Beach, and the water will be tested again today. The health department has not released what bacteria has caused the closure.. ...Read Full Story

Nessel: Civil Rights Panel Not Bound By Former AG’s LGBT Opinion

From the Associated Press — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says the state Civil Rights Commission is not bound by her predecessor’s determination that LGBT people are not protected by an anti-discrimination law. The Democrat’s office provided the informal guidance to the commission Tuesday. Nessel declined to issue a formal opinion because of pending litigation. Former Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an opinion last year saying the commission overstepped when it said the state’s civil rights law
covered sexual orientation and gender identity. Nessel’s office says the U.S. Supreme Court in April decided to review a case involving a Michigan funeral home’s firing of a transgender woman. It’s among three cases that look at whether federal civil rights law bans job
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.. ...Read Full Story

Opioid Prescriptions Going Down

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs says the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed in Michigan is going down. LARA says the rate was down 15% in 2018 from 2017. It credits the drop with the recently-overhauled Michigan Automated Prescription System, or MAPS, which tracks controlled substance prescriptions. LARA Director Orlene Hawks says in a promotional video for MAPS that it’s useful to prescribers and pharmacists.. ...Read Full Story

Overdose Prevention Training Planned At Niles-Buchanan YMCA

Anyone who would like to learn how they could help someone experiencing a drug overdose will have a chance to do so next week in Niles. Denise Peters with the Niles-Buchanan branch of the YMCA of Southwest Michigan tells WSJM News they’re hosting a training session next Wednesday. She says the session will demonstrate how to administer anti-overdose drug Naloxone, and also go over the overall opioid epidemic and related topics.. ...Read Full Story

Granholm To Speak In South Haven In September

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm will be the next guest of the South Haven Speaker Series. She’s set to present “Top Trends Affecting Michigan” at South Haven High School’s Listiak Auditorium on September 19. Granholm resumes the speaker series season after it took a break for the summer. Tickets to attend are $10. Coming up next after Granholm will be Hope College psychology professor David Myers on October 17 with “Smart Thinking in the Post-Truth Age.” You can find out more at SouthHavenSpeakerSeries.org.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Reviewing School Board’s Plan For Benton Harbor Schools

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she and her team are reviewing the plan put together by the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education for turning the school district around. Last Friday, the school board turned down the governor’s proposal to close Benton Harbor High School so the district could receive substantial debt relief. In a letter dated Tuesday, Whitmer writes she looks forward to “working in partnership toward a solution that includes clear benchmarks, accountability, and more serious measures if these benchmarks are not satisfied” when addressing the district’s problems. The governor adds she and her team are carefully reviewing documents submitted by the school board. She adds her office will contact the school board by the end of the week to schedule another meeting.. ...Read Full Story

Double Murder-Suicide Under Investigation In Kalamazoo

A double murder-suicide is under investigation in Kalamazoo. Authorities say a 44-year-old woman intentionally drove a vehicle carrying her twin 9-year-old daughters into the Kalamazoo River Monday night, and searchers have found all three. The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety says officers late Monday found two upset girls at a drug store who had been let out of the car before the woman drove into the water. Police found the submerged vehicle along with the bodies of the woman and one child. The other child’s body was found in the river. No names have been released.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT To Start Work On US-12 Bridge Over St. Joseph River In Niles Monday

Expect a few delays in the Niles area for the next few months on US-12. The Michigan Department of Transportation will start repairing the US-12 bridge over the St. Joseph River between Bond Street and West River Road on Monday. The work is expected to last until the start of November. The $3.8 million project will include patches to the bridge deck, replacing joints, making repairs to the steel, and painting. MDOT will keep a lane open in each direction through the duration of the work, but there will be an 11-foot width restriction on vehicles going over the bridge during the construction.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Forms Task Force To Support Women, Girls In Sports

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has created a task force to support and promote opportunities for girls and women in sports. The group formed Monday by an executive order must make initial findings and recommendations before March 2021. The 15-member task force will be chaired by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who formerly led a nonprofit dedicated to advancing equality through sports. Whitmer says girls and women deserve the same opportunities as male athletes. She says even with the enactment of Title IX nearly 50 years ago, sports opportunities for girls and women remain limited, and more work remains to even the playing field. Whitmer says just one Division 1 collegiate athletic program in Michigan is led by a woman. Benson says Michigan has a chance to become a “national model.”. ...Read Full Story

City Commissioners S/how Support For High School

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have stated their unanimous support for keeping Benton Harbor High School open and for forgiving the school district’s debt. At a Monday meeting, the commission approved the Fresh Start Resolution, which has been promoted by Elnora Gavin, a former member of the local school board. She told the commission it’s state policies that have failed Benton Harbor Area Schools, and it should be given relief.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph City Commission Approves Property Tax Freezes For UFCU, Fiskars

After a week delay, Commercial Rehabilitation Exemption Certificates are now in place for two developments in the city of St. Joseph. The city commission tabled the requests by United Federal Credit Union for its future headquarters at 150 Hilltop and to allow Fiskars to renovate one of its office buildings in the Edgewater district last week to allow commissioners more time to go through the details. Fiskars president Erik Fiskars said the renovations are needed because the property was designed to the specifications of TransAmerica in the 1990s and is now outdated.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Urges Congress To Open Banks To Marijuana Industry

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is among 18 governors to sign a letter urging Congress to open the U.S. banking system to the legal marijuana industry. In the letter written Friday and released Monday, the governors say the cash-only environment is a threat to public safety and a burden for governments that tax and regulate marijuana businesses. Whitmer, a Democrat, says in a written statement that states are seeking a “real solution to a real problem.” Most banks will not do business with the industry because the federal government still considers marijuana illegal. Michigan voters legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes last fall, a decade after approving medical marijuana. Michigan’s Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel was among 33 attorneys
general to sign a similar letter to Congress last month.. ...Read Full Story

Upgrades To Start In July At Pilgrim Haven Natural Area

The next phase of construction at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area in South Haven Township will get underway at the start of July. Abonmarche will be paving the existing gravel parking lot and putting in two new pit toilets, new walkways and benches, building a new rain garden, and putting in a kayak rack for the Lake Michigan Water Trail, which runs adjacent to Pilgrim Haven. It’s expected the work will be done in the first week of August.. ...Read Full Story

Police Dive Teams Recover Sunken Boat In Van Buren County

A 16-foot Duffy Cat pontoon boat that sank in Lake Brownwood in Van Buren County in May is now back on land. The owner of the boat was out on the water with friends when it began to sink on May 25 and went down in about 36 feet of water. The Van Buren County and Allegan County dive teams pulled the boat up last week using lift bags during a training dive. After floating it to the surface and towing it to shore, it was turned back over to the owner. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says the pontoon floats had leaks which had been filling with water before it was taken out and sank over Memorial Day weekend.. ...Read Full Story

Bicyclist Busted For Meth Possession In Dowagiac

Meth possession busts have become so common in recent years that they almost don’t warrant news coverage, but a weekend arrest in Dowagiac was a bit on the unusual side. An officer spotted a man on a bicycle in the middle/left turn lane of M-51 without any lights or reflective clothing just after midnight Saturday morning, and stopped him in the parking lot of the Family Fare grocery store. The officer recognized the man as someone he’d previously dealt with, and found he had four bench warrants for his arrest. His K9 Officer Tole alerted the officer to narcotics in the man’s backpack, and meth, meth smoking pipes, and other drug items were found. The 31-year-old is in the Cass County Jail awaiting arraignment on the drug charges along with the outstanding warrants.. ...Read Full Story