Local News Archives

Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist Makes Michigan History

History has been made at the state Capitol, as Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist has become the first black lieutenant governor to sign a bill into law in Michigan history. Gilchrist is currently serving as acting governor due to the trade mission in Israel by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. In remarks in the Capitol Rotunda, he said the bill signing “symbolizes the opportunity that exists when we create a space for more participation from a more diverse set of voices and experiences.”. ...Read Full Story

GVSU Brings Back Pledge Of Allegiance At Meetings

From the Associated Press — After a backlash, student government at Grand Valley State University is reinstating the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings. Student Senate President Eric-John Szczepaniak says there were reports that families were reconsidering whether a son or daughter would enroll at the Michigan school. He tells The Grand Rapids Press that people were also threatening to pull donations. Szczepaniak says student leaders “want to regain the trust of all alumni and donors.” He says he’s unilaterally reinstating the pledge. The Senate voted to scratch the pledge last week. Supporters of dropping the pledge said it was an effort to be accepting of all students, especially international students and non-Christians. Republican State Representative Lynn Afendoulis says eliminating the pledge was “disgusting.”. ...Read Full Story

Benton Township home invasion leaves one suspect dead

A home invasion at the Briarwood Apartments in Benton Township late last night has resulted in one fatality. According to the Benton Township police department, just before 11:30 pm, two 2 men wearing masks forced their way into one of the apartments armed with a handgun. The two then ordered the occupants of the living room to get down. Another resident who was in one of the bedrooms overheard what was going on and grabbed a rifle. That’s when gun fire was exchanged. The masked men tried to flee, while still firing. After police arrived they found one of the masked men lying on the pavement with a gunshot wound to the chest. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, while police were unable to find the 2nd suspect, even bringing a K-9 to try to track him down. Police were able to identify the suspect that died on the pavement, but have not released his identity. They have not ID’d the second suspect. The four adults in the home and 3 children were not harmed. Police are asking anybody with information to contact the Benton Township Police department at 925-1135 or call Crimestoppers at 574-288-STOP.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Man In Court Following Accidental Death Of Granddaughter

A preliminary hearing was held Wednesday for a Niles man charged with negligent homicide in the death of his 18-month-old granddaughter. Salvatore Anello was aboard a cruise ship in Puerto Rico in July when he held Chloe Wiegand up to a wood railing near some windows. He didn’t realize the window was open, and the girl fell eleven stories. According to ABC News, the prosecution told the judge at Wednesday’s preliminary hearing in Puerto Rico they have witnesses as well as discovery to hand off to the defense. The judge agreed to postpone further hearings until that happens. Anello is due back in court on December 16.. ...Read Full Story

Tree Planting Planned Thursday In Buchanan

There will be a ceremony to plant trees in downtown Buchanan Thursday. The Buchanan Tree Friends will plant ten trees, including sugar maples, a London plane tree, a frontier elm, and various oaks at the Buchanan Common. The trees are being planted to honor the memory of some local residents. The Buchanan Tree Friends seeks donations to help purchase trees appropriate for the landscape of the city through its Tribute Tree Program. A supporter for Thursday’s event is Krista Parin, who says her family wanted to help because planting trees is “a simple way to leave a legacy in our community for generations to come.” Thursday’s tree planting will start at noon.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Springs Christmas Celebration Set For December 12

Preparations are underway for the next Kindle Your Christmas Spirit in Downtown Berrien Springs celebration. The village says the party will be Thursday, December 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. The downtown streets will be closed to traffic so everyone can walk around checking out all of the attractions. Those will include live music, ice carving, horse-drawn carriages, a live nativity, the lighting of the town Christmas tree, and Santa and Mrs. Claus at the village hall. The historic 1839 courthouse will also be open for tours. All are welcome to come and celebrate the holiday.. ...Read Full Story

Former Priest From Coloma Guilty In Clergy Sex Abuse Case

A former priest from Coloma will be sentenced in January after pleading guilty in a clergy sex abuse case today in Allegan County. Attorney General Dana Nessel says 57-year-old Brian Stanley faces up to five years in prison when he’s sentenced. Stanley pleaded guilty to one felony county of attempted false imprisonment during a pretrial conference, and will also have to register as a sex offender for 15 years. He was charged in August after being accused of secreting away a teenaged boy and holding him against his will in the janitor’s room of St. Margaret’s Church in 2013. Stanley reportedly immobilized the young man by wrapping him tightly in plastic wrap, then used masking tape as additional binding and to cover his eyes and mouth. Stanley left the victim, bound and alone, in the janitor’s room for an extended period of time before returning and eventually letting him go. His conviction came just hours after the first convicted defendant in Nessel’s clergy abuse investigation was sentenced.. ...Read Full Story

Honor Adoption Day Finds Homes For 32 Animals From Berrien County Animal Control Shelter

The Berrien County Animal Control shelter was able to adopt out 32 dogs and cats on Saturday thanks to a partnership with Honor Credit Union. They co-hosted Honor’s Adoption Day this past weekend, dramatically increasing the number of pets that found new homes from a normal Saturday. Animal Control says on average, fewer than three pets are adopted on a Saturday. The event with Honor brought 150 people to the shelter over a three-hour period. The credit union covered the adoption costs, leaving just things like supplies and dog licenses to be paid for by the people taking home their new pets. Some of the adopted animals had been at the shelter for more than a year.. ...Read Full Story

Man Confesses To 1986 Bangor Cold Case Murder

New DNA evidence in the 1986 cold case murder of Wilda Wilkinson of Bangor is resulting in a murder charge and a confession from one of the initial suspects. Michigan State Police say Robert Waite was linked to the murder in March. When interviewed in a Florida prison by MSP detectives, he gave a full confession and was arraigned today in Van Buren County District Court. Authorities had charged Michael Curry with her murder in March of this year, but the DNA evidence against Waite ruled him out and resulted in those charges being dropped. Wilkinson was found dead in her Bangor home 33 years ago, and investigators say her two daughters and two sons remained in constant contact with them during the investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Alcohol Likely To Blame For Cass County Crash

Two people are being treated at Elkhart General Hospital in Indiana as the result of a crash in Cass County late Tuesday night. The sheriff’s department says alcohol was likely among the reasons for the head-on crash in Mason Township at the intersection of Old M-205 and Cassopolis Road just after 9 p.m. Investigators say 32-year-old Matthew Degraff of Union crossed the center line and hit the vehicle of 65-year-old William Thorley of Cassopolis, knocking Thorley’s car into a third vehicle. Both Degraff and Thorley are hospitalized, though the extent and nature of their injuries hasn’t been disclosed. Thorley’s passenger and the driver of the third vehicle weren’t hurt.. ...Read Full Story

Ex-Lawmakers Sue To Block Michigan’s Legislative Term Limits

Eight former Michigan lawmakers are suing to challenge the state’s legislative term limits, alleging they are unconstitutional and ensure that the Legislature lacks experience. Those filing suit in Grand Rapids federal court Wednesday include three Republicans and five Democrats. They say Michigan’s term limits law has increased the power of lobbyists, unelected “bureaucrats” in the executive branch and political dynasties.. ...Read Full Story

State to Mail Redistricting Panel Applications To 250,000

From the Associated Press — The state of Michigan will mail 250,000 applications encouraging voters to apply to serve on a new commission responsible for drawing congressional and legislative maps. An independent accounting firm, Rehmann, randomly selected the 250,000 registered voters Tuesday. The applications will be mailed before year’s end. The 2018 voter-approved constitutional amendment creating the panel requires that at least 10,000 applications be mailed. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
says she decided to send 250,000 to ensure enough people respond. Registered voters who don’t receive an application in the mail are still free to apply at www.RedistrictingMichigan.org. Applications are due June 1. The 13-member commission will start meeting in the fall of 2020 and will adopt congressional and legislative district lines in 2021. The once-a-decade process was previously controlled by the partisan Legislature.. ...Read Full Story

School Trustees Hear Audit Report

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has heard some good news out of the district’s latest audit. At a Tuesday meeting, trustees heard from CPA firm Hungerford Nichols the general fund, or operating deficit, has been reduced from $4.4 million to $3.7 million since last year. District Chief Financial Officer Scott Johnson spoke with WSJM News about the findings.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Police Bust Theft Suspects After Two-Hour Search

Three people are facing charges after fleeing police in South Haven on Tuesday. The South Haven Police Department says officers were called out to the area of the Ravines mobile home park on a report of three men with arm loads of suspected stolen property. Officers found the vehicle the suspects were in, and two of them took off running into some woods. After a two-hour search, police found the two suspects, partly thanks to the nose of K9 Ryker. The first suspect is a 40-year-old from Holland, who was also a wanted parole absconder. He’s now facing charges of felony retail fraud and resisting and obstructing. The second suspect is a 33-year-old from Benton Harbor, to be charged with felony retail fraud, and the third suspect is a 25-year-old from South Haven, charges of misdemeanor retail fraud and resisting and obstructing. All three were taken to the Van Buren County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Board Approves Faculty Contract

The new contract for faculty at Southwestern Michigan College is in place. The SMC Board of Trustees approved the deal Monday night, and the union has already voted on it. The contract includes pay increases of 2% in the next academic year, and 3% in each of the following two years. That’s for the faculty who are at or above the minimum salary levels for their educational level and years of service. A new vision care program for all college employees will begin in January, and SMC says healthcare, dental, and retirement benefits remain consistent with those offered to other full-time employees. The contract was reached after a year and a half of negotiations.. ...Read Full Story

Permit For NIMBY Pond Under Review

An attraction in Baroda Township that often hosts events could lose its permission to do so. Baroda Township Planning Commission Chair David Schultz tells WSJM News the special use permit for NIMBY Pond is under its yearly review, and the property’s owner has a few things to work out with the township before it’s given approval. Schultz says the permit could be revoked or amended, depending on developments in the next two months. There have been some complaints about events held at the pond that may not have been allowed under its special use permit. Schultz didn’t want to get into specifics on the particular events, but said the planning commission is working with NIMBY Pond owner Mark Schutze on the issues in question. A hearing of the planning commission is set for January 13 where a decision could be made on whether to continue NIMBY Pond’s permit. Schultz tells us he thinks NIMBY Pond is a “good event for the community,” but the township ordinance must be followed. The final decision would rest with the township board once the planning commission makes its recommendation.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Makes Pipeline Appeal

Congressman Fred Upton testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday in an attempt to save a pipeline safety bill. He said the new Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration re-authorization bill is not bipartisan, pointing to previous bills that sailed through with few problems.. ...Read Full Story

“Baby Box” Installed In Indiana Near Michigan Border

From the Associated Press — A fire station in northeastern Indiana is the latest place for parents to safely drop off a newborn child.
A Safe Haven Baby Box was unveiled Monday in Angola. The fire station is just minutes from the Michigan border, which was a factor in the location. Before leaving office, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder last year vetoed a bill that would have allowed baby boxes. The boxes allow someone to drop off a baby without fear of criminal prosecution. The box has an alarm that immediately alerts a local hospital or emergency responders. The Steuben County Community Foundation helped pay for the box, and others donated their services for the installation. When Snyder vetoed the Michigan bill, he said it was better to hand a baby to a person. That option is available under state law.. ...Read Full Story

Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 2 Refueling Outage Complete

The latest refueling outage for the Cook Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 is over. Indiana Michigan Power says the unit was reconnected to the grid at 1:51 p.m. today after a 48-day outage. Along with refueling the reactor and performing regular maintenance and testing, other projects included modifying the solid state protection system, replacing items including the reactor vessel hold down spring and the west motor driven auxiliary feed pump room cooling system. Cook plant chief nuclear officer and senior vice president Joel Gebbie said in a statement the work done inside the reactor was an “important milestone,” showing much of the work done during the past several refueling outages “has paid off and that the integrity of our reactor has been, and will remain, reliably sound going forward.” Plant officials brought in around 1,150 contractors to help the regular staff of 1,100 during the outage.. ...Read Full Story

Former Driving Instructor Facing Sexual Assault Charges

A former instructor for Mr. G’s Driving School in Berrien County is free on bond and awaiting a court date on December 26, accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old. Peter Fleck was arraigned on November 14 according to Prosecutor Mike Sepic and is facing five felony counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Sepic says while his office believes there could be other victims because of the opportunity with Fleck’s former job, they have “no particular information leading us to believe there are other victims.” According to his Facebook profile, Fleck started the job as a driving instructor on July 22. The company works with Bridgman, Coloma, Lakeshore, and River Valley high schools.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Wings Set Guinness Record For Largest Lightsaber Battle

In case you’re in need of something more lighthearted in the news, the Kalamazoo Wings minor league hockey team now has a Guinness World Record. They’ve been certified to have held the largest lightsaber battle ever back on November 2 during the first intermission on Star Wars night. Fans were given a lightsaber when they entered the arena at Wings Event Center, and turned them on at the end of the first period. The team says 3,889 people took part and bashed the plastic swords against each other for three minutes and 45 seconds. As for the action on the ice, the Wings won the game, 7-2, over the Wheeling Nailers.. ...Read Full Story

Senator LaSata Touts Success Of Coat Drive For Kids

State Senator Kim LaSata is thanking her district for helping kids in need this winter. Her office says “Kim’s Coat Drive for Kids” has wrapped up with 95 coats being donated at 13 collection sites in the region. The St. Joseph County Great Start Collaborative washed the jackets prior to them being given away. The coats were collected throughout October, with LaSata asking for new or gently used items in all children’s sizes for kids in the 21st Senate District.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Changes Transgender Policies For Driver’s Licenses

From the Associated Press — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says her department is making it easier for transgender people to get a driver’s license or state ID card. Starting Monday, those wanting to correct the sex designation on their license can go to a branch office to have their photo taken, fill out a form and pay $9. They no longer will need to provide a birth certificate, passport or court order. Benson announced the policy change at a news conference in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, where she was joined by LGBT advocates. Benson says studies show that about 80% of Michigan’s transgender population lacks proper identification. Benson, a Democrat, says the change returns to a policy that was in place before the issue was “politicized.”. ...Read Full Story

City Commission Tackles Garbage Crisis

It was a packed house at Benton Harbor City Hall Monday night as the city commission set out to address a trash crisis that began last week. The city’s trash hauler, We-Cycle Industrial Sanitation, didn’t pick up the garbage because its $39,000 monthly payment from the city was made not to We-Cycle’s current owner, Robert Edwards, but to Virginia Huddleston, a former employee. Huddleston is in a dispute with We-Cycle over correct ownership of the company. During Monday’s session, Mayor Marcus Muhammad and Pro Tem Duane Seats debated whether to just pay We-Cycle again, this time handing the money over to the person currently in charge, Mr. Edwards.. ...Read Full Story

Acorn Theater Secures Grant

The Acorn Theater in Three Oaks is raising money to meet a matching grant it’s been awarded by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts. The theater says the $15,000 grant will help it to offer entertainment that nurtures cultural experience, participation, and engagement in the community while bolstering the region’s economy. It’s asking supporters to step forward to help it meet the match. The Acorn Center for the Performing Arts is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit.. ...Read Full Story

$123,000 Raised For Hospital Project

Nearly $123,000 has been raised by the Spectrum Health Lakeland Foundation for the new pavilion at Spectrum Health Lakeland hospital in St. Joseph. The money was raised at the latest foundation gala this month. It was held at the newly-unveiled atrium within the Lakeland Medical Center Pavilion, and 370 people attended. The funds were raised through sponsorships, ticket sales, a silent auction, and a raffle, and the theme of the event was “Night at the Pavilion.” Spectrum Health Lakeland says, so far, the community has pledged $6.8 million for the new 260,000 square foot pavilion.. ...Read Full Story

State Working To Find More Adoptive Homes For Kids In Foster Care

November is national Adoption Month, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has announced two new initiatives to help children in the foster system find adoptive homes. Spokesperson Bob Wheaton tells WSJM News the first one will begin this month and involve the assigning of 21 child welfare staff to evaluate adoptions that have taken longer than six months. Their goal will be to resolve whatever issues are holding them up. The other initiative will be a partnership between the state and the Dave Thomas Foundation.. ...Read Full Story

Eau Claire Farmer Dies As A Result Of EEE

An Eau Claire farmer who was stricken this summer with Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a rare mosquito-borne illness, has died. Jim Whitright, otherwise known as Tiny, died Saturday from apparent EEE complications. This brings the total deaths in Michigan to six out of the 10 confirmed human cases this year. The St. Joseph County, Indiana Coroner’s Office, along with a family friend, confimed the death. EEE has a 33% fatality rate and first appears as a high fever, quickly becoming worse. Whitright became sick on August 19, and spent four weeks in the intensive care unit at Spectrum Health Lakeland before being transferred to long-term care. He died at Memorial Hospital in South Bend. Meanwhile, state health officials say the risk for EEE is now gone for the year as the weather has gotten cold enough.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT: I-196 Work Wraps Up

Drivers on I-196 who put up with seven miles of one traffic between Benton Harbor and the Hagar Shore Road exit will be glad to hear the construction is done for the year. Removal of traffic cones and barrels should happen soon, according to MDOT’s Nick Schirripa.. ...Read Full Story

Ribbon Cut On New South Haven Park, Ground Broken For Splash Pad

New attractions are getting ready to go in South Haven. On Friday, the city broke ground on a new splash pad that Mayor Scott Smith says has been in the planning stages “for a couple of years.” The project will create a safe place for kids to play instead of Lake Michigan when there are hazardous conditions on the water or elevated levels of E. coli. City officials plan to have it open next spring. The project elements include new walkways which create a seamless connection between the parking area and the riverfront, two seating areas with picnic tables, new landscape areas and a splash pad modeled after the Friends Good Will tall ship. Also on Friday, the city cut the ribbon on the new Baer Park, adding it to the public green space. The city council approved the agreement with the Central Lofts Condo Association for the easement for the park, which is on the northeast corner of Superior and Center streets.. ...Read Full Story

Mayor Muhammad Says Trash Issues Will Be Addressed By Benton Harbor City Commission

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad says the city commission will be talking about issues with trash pickup during tonight’s meeting. Wecycle Industrial Sanitation did not pick up the garbage last week after manager Willie Williams says the city paid a former employee the monthly $39,000 payment, which did not go to the company. He says they don’t have the money as a result of that for landfill fees or gas. Muhammad says it’s a “serious matter.” Wecycle has been the city’s trash contractor since 2017, and the city is the firm’s only customer.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Veteran Receives Purple Heart For Vietnam War

A Vietnam War veteran from Benton Harbor has been awarded a Purple Heart Medal 50 years after being wounded in action. Congressman Fred Upton presented the medal over the weekend to U.S. Army Specialist Philip Damico. Flanked by family members, Damico posed for a photo with Upton and said he’s “grateful” the congressman took the time to meet with him and his family, calling it a special day for all of them. He was drafted in 1967 and served in the Army in Vietnam until being hurt by an explosive. Upton called the Purple Heart Medal “a small token of appreciation compared to everything he did to defend our way of life.” The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to members of the armed forces of the United States who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy. Often described as the military’s oldest medal, George Washington created it in 1782.. ...Read Full Story

More Children In Michigan Going Uninsured

Over the past two years, the percentage of uninsured children has risen, in Michigan and nationwide. Researchers from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families found that 3.4% of Michigan’s kids, or about 79,000 children, have no health insurance. That’s a nearly 10% increase Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics President Sharon Swindell tells us is troubling.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Tracks STD Increases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services warned last month about increasing rates of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia around the nation and in the state. Berrien County Health Department spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News the same trend is happening in Berrien. She says 2018 brought troubling numbers.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Attorney General Announces Plan To Crack Down On Robocalls

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s attorney general plans a crackdown on illegal robocalls. Dana Nessel on Friday announced a dozen initiatives aimed at putting a halt to the calls, many of which she says are scams. Her office plans to educate residents so they can protect themselves, step up enforcement, work with the Legislature to update state laws and be a model that other states can follow. Nessel is urging people to hang up if they get an illegal robocall and to report it to her office. In October, Americans received a record 5.7 billion automated from scammers, telemarketers, debt collectors and others.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Pushes Legislation To Prevent Violent Crime

Congressman Fred Upton has co-sponsored legislation aiming to give states and local governments the resources to use behavioral threat assessment and management tools. Upton says the Threat Assessment, Prevention, and Safety Act, or the TAPS Act, seeks to help police identify the warning signs that someone could be a danger. In a statement, Upton said for decades, “the U.S. Secret Services has used behavioral threat assessment and management to protect our national leaders and foreign dignitaries. It’s been proven to work, and now we should use it to protect our schools, families, and local communities.” He goes on to say the U.S. has witnessed too many violent crimes lately, including this week’s high school shooting in California. Upton’s office notes the TAPS Act is co-sponsored by 156 other members of the House, and has wide support from groups including the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Fraternal Order of Police, and the National Sheriffs’ Association.. ...Read Full Story

Courts Prepare To Mark Adoption Day

The courts in Berrien and Van Buren counties are preparing to celebrate the next Adoption Day. The Van Buren County Circuit Court plans its Adoption Day for Tuesday, November 26 with a ceremony to mark the official adoption of children by their caretakers. On hand will be Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman and both the Mattawan High School a cappella group and the Mattawan High School Master Singers will perform. Also taking place this month will be Berrien County’s Adoption Day. It’s set for November 19 at the courthouse in St. Joseph with several formal adoptions set to be completed throughout the day. November is National Adoption Month, as court representatives say adoptions provide a sense of belonging for children taken in by foster parents, single parents, relatives, guardians, stepparents, and even for adult adoptees.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Signs Bill Banning Sale Of Cough Suppressant To Minors

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed legislation to prohibit the sale of an over-the-counter cough suppressant to minors unless they have a prescription. The restriction on dextromethorphan will take effect next July.
Dextromethorphan, or DXM, is found in many cough and cold medicines but has been abused by teenagers seeking a hallucinogenic high. Retailers selling the over-the-counter drug will be required to ask for ID unless a customer appears to be at least 25 years old.
People who sell DXM-containing products to youth under age 18 and minors who buy them will face civil fines. Whitmer signed the bill Thursday.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Praises Disaster Designation For Farmers

Congressman Fred Upton is hailing a decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to announce 43 Michigan counties as primary natural disaster areas, including Berrien, Cass, and St. Joseph, due to weather this year. Following excessive rain, flooding, and extreme temperatures, Upton sent a letter urging support for Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s USDA disaster designation request for the state. Upton says the disaster designation from U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue “provides vital assistance for farmers across the Sixth District and our state as they look to rebound from a tough season.” He says he’s talked to many farmers who have seen their crops heavily damaged as a result of the weather this year. According to the USDA, a secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties will be eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency.. ...Read Full Story

County Budget Approved

Berrien County’s budget for 2020 is now in place, but it does include a deficit that was made up for by taking out some reserve funds. At Thursday’s meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Ezra Scott took issue with the $1.3 million shortfall.. ...Read Full Story

Commissioner Plans To Take Action On Shoreline Erosion

Shoreline erosion has been a major problem all over the Great Lakes region this year as levels in the lakes reach record highs or near record highs. That’s why Berrien County Commissioner Ezra Scott is preparing to take action. He said at this week’s meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners he has spoken with officials from around the region, and is working on a resolution that could be passed locally and then sent to all of the other 82 counties in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Seeks To Cut Opioid Deaths By Half In Five Years

From the Associated Press — Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is launching initiatives to cut opioid overdose deaths in half in five years. Whitmer and other top officials on Thursday announced a series of steps to combat an epidemic that has claimed more than 7,000 lives over five years. They include removing prior authorization requirements for opioid-treatment medicines in the Medicaid program and spending $1 million on advertising to reduce the stigma around addiction. The state also is expanding medication-assisted treatment in prisons and support for syringe-service programs. Whitmer says reducing overdose deaths by 50% is “ambitious” but “absolutely doable.” She says government cannot tackle the issue alone and must collaborate with others.. ...Read Full Story

Firearm Deer Season Starts Friday

Firearm deer season in Michigan opens Friday. Chronic wasting disease has been a major concern among deer in the state. Chad Stewart of the Department of Natural Resources says so far its been identified in nine counties, all of which are in southwestern Michigan with the exception of Dickinson County in the U.P. They don’t have great concern with its impact on the deer population this year, however…. ...Read Full Story