Local News Archives

More Information Released On Overnight Shooting

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety says an overnight shooting that caused Benton Harbor Area Schools to be shut down for the day may have been gang-related. The department tells us officers were dispatched to the 300 block of Colby Avenue shortly after midnight. They found several rounds had been fired in the direction of a home. A 60-year-old man who had been sitting on a couch and watching TV was hit. He was taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland for treatment, and is in stable condition. The shooting remains under investigation, and anyone with information is asked to contact police. The Benton Harbor tip line is 269-934-0293. Assisting the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety in the investigation are the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police.. ...Read Full Story

Senator LaSata On Email Allegations: “Fake News”

WSJM News is continuing to try to unearth emails allegedly sent from the county work email account of Judge Charlie LaSata that are connected to the campaign of his wife, Senator Kim LaSata. We caught up with her briefly Friday morning at the Area Agency On Aging Legislative forum. She was running about 20 minutes late, and when asked for comment about the reports, she responded “Fake news” as her staffer told her the panel was waiting for her inside.. ...Read Full Story

Hoadley To Launch Listening Tour

State Representative Jon Hoadley of Kalamazoo is launching a listening tour of southwest Michigan to find out about the concerns of voters. Hoadley this week announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination to take on Congressman Fred Upton. He spoke with Michigan News Network.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmakers Talk Juvenile Justice Reforms

A group of Michigan lawmakers has been hearing from judges and other court officials as they consider legislation that would raise the age of those tried as adults to 18 years old. The Michigan Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee heard from supporters Thursday morning. They said the legislation is needed to keep those under 18 from going into adult prisons. Judge Dorene Allen with the Michigan Probate Judges Association was the first to testify.. ...Read Full Story

Commissioner Hopes To Pursue Broadband Grant

Berrien County Commissioner Ezra Scott is continuing to push for the pursuit of a grant to expand broadband internet around the county. Last week, he told us about a USDA grant program that could allow the county to apply for $25 million. At this week’s meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners, Scott said the discussion shouldn’t be dropped. He told WSJM News Berrien County could get an early jump on the program.. ...Read Full Story

Fire Marshal Distributing Smoke Detectors

Michigan State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer has announced a statewide campaign to put more smoke detectors into homes. A FEMA grant of $525,000 is helping to fund MI Prevention, the statewide campaign to promote the alarms and fire safety awareness. Sehlmeyer spoke with WSJM News about the effort.. ...Read Full Story

Secretary Of State Releases List Of Recommended Improvements

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has released a report on how to improve service at branch offices around the state. Benson completed a tour of all 131 SoS branch offices and talked with employees and customers to gather information for her recommendations. Among the items on her list are upgrading online services, providing targeted support to the highest-volume customers, revamping the self-service kiosks, creating a supportive culture for employees, and improving the physical environment of the offices. You can find Benson’s full report here.. ...Read Full Story

Protests This Week Over Sanctuary Cities Legislation

People fanned out across the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday to protest two bills that would prevent Michigan cities and counties from passing ordinances that limit cooperation with federal immigration agents. House Bills 4083 and 4090 would ban sanctuary city policies that instruct police agencies or jails not to detain people solely for being undocumented, or hold people for ICE agents to pick up. Diego Bonesatti with the group Michigan United tells us the bills would invite abuse.. ...Read Full Story

Reports: Sale Of Palace Of Auburn Hills Imminent

The old home of the Detroit Pistons is reportedly about to change hands. Crain’s Detroit Business and The Detroit News report Livonia-based developers Schostak Brothers & Company has a contract to buy the vacant Auburn Hills arena and the land it’s on. Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel says the property was rezoned for research and development.. ...Read Full Story

Snow Day Forgiveness Bill Advancing In House

A bill allowing schools to waive three more snow days is now before the state House after being passed up the chain by the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday. Those are the three days during the state of emergency declared by Governor Whitmer due to extreme cold at the end of January. Committee Chair Brandt Iden of Kalamazoo County says they had to act if they are going to get this to the governor’s desk in time for the districts to change their calendars.. ...Read Full Story

Notre Dame Adding Metal Detectors For Sports Venues This Fall

Notre Dame fans will need to allow extra time to get inside all football, hockey, and men’s and women’s basketball games starting in the fall. The university says metal detectors will be installed at Notre Dame Stadium, Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center and the Compton Family Ice Arena. The use of those will begin with the first home football game for the Irish on September 14. Notre Dame vice president for campus safety and university operations says in a statement that most fans have likely already experienced the added safety measures on other college campuses or professional stadiums, and the technology align’s Notre Dame’s fan safety procedures with industry best practices.. ...Read Full Story

Boater Safety Classes Being Offered In Allegan County

With spring here, the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department is once again offering a free boater safety class. In order to legally operate motorized watercraft in Michigan, state law requires those born after July 1, 1996 to complete a boating safety course and also have a valid boating safety certificate. The class being offered by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department helps someone meet those requirements. It goes over safety and boating law. You can register online. The first class is April 20.. ...Read Full Story

Flagpole Ceremony In Cassopolis Thursday

The Cass County Prosecutor’s office will hold a ceremony to honor the victims of crime on Thursday. This is Crime Victim’s Rights Week, and law enforcement agencies all over Michigan are taking the time to highlight the pain endured by the victims of crime and their families. On Thursday at noon, Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz will host the annual Flagpole Ceremony at the Law and Courts Building in Cassopolis. He says anyone who wants to honor the memories of those who have lost their lives to crime is welcome to attend.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Meth Conviction

It took a Cass County jury 35 minutes to convict a Dowagiac man of drug possession charges in a repeat offender case this week. The Cass County Prosecutor’s office tells us Jai Villalobos was paroled in February of last year after serving about four years in prison for delivery and manufacture of methamphetamine. In September, a parole search of his home turned up more meth. On Wednesday of this week, the jury found Villalobos guilty on two counts of possession. During the trial, they heard from Department of Corrections parole officers, a laboratory scientist, and a Cass County Drug Enforcement Team deputy. Those who testified said the drugs had been found in a trash can in the defendant’s bedroom. Villalobos now faces up to life in prison for possession of methamphetamine and up to 15 years in prison for possession of an opioid derivative as a habitual offender with three or more prior felonies. He’ll be sentenced on May 17.. ...Read Full Story

Highway Litter Pick Ups This Month

Starting this Saturday, hundreds of volunteers will take to the highways across Michigan to pick up litter as part of the annual Adopt a Highway spring clean-up. The Michigan Department of Transportation’s Dan Weingarten tells WSJM News the agency calls on all sorts of groups to step forward and volunteer.. ...Read Full Story

Couple Renovates Historic Building In Lawton

Work to renovate a historic building in downtown Lawton is finished, and the new owners plan to rent the place out for events. Rene Rodriguez is a representative for Jessica and Jeff Michael, who bought Red Brick Hall on Main Street and fixed it up. Rodriguez tells WSJM News the building was constructed in 1880 and played a role in local affairs.. ...Read Full Story

Tax Filing Deadline Quickly Approaching

The clock is ticking if you’ve yet to start or file your taxes with the deadline looming Monday night. IRS spokesman Luis Garcia works in the Detroit office and says if you haven’t started and normally prepare your returns yourself, the forms are a little different this year. However, he says they should be more simple to do and adds a lot of people who normally itemize could find it’s easier to take the larger standard deduction and not have to be bothered by all the other details they’ve kept track of.. ...Read Full Story

Food For Fines This Week At Niles District Library

If you’ve got overdue fines at the Niles District Library, they’re offering a chance to wipe those out and help those in need in south county. Library director Nancy Studebaker tells our news partners at WSBT-22 they are taking food donations for the food pantry at St. Mary’s Christian Services, and they started doing it about 15 years ago.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Humane Society Caring For Beagles From Mattawan Lab

Beagles who were being force-fed agricultural chemicals in testing at a lab in Mattawan are now in the care of the Michigan Humane Society. Charles River Laboratories was doing the testing of pesticides for the Brazilian market for Dow Agrosciences’ Corteva Agriscience division, and received plenty of public criticism when an undercover video was released in March. That video was put out by the Humane Society of the U.S. to put pressure on Charles River and Corteva to end the testing. The Humane Society says each dog is being evaluated to determine optimal placement, and they expect that to take several weeks.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate Backs Tougher Penalties For Child Abusers

From the Associated Press — Legislation advancing in Michigan would prescribe longer sentences for certain repeat child abusers. Bills approved unanimously by the state Senate on Tuesday would set new maximum prison terms for people convicted of third- or fourth-degree child abuse following a prior conviction. The max for third-degree child abuse currently is two years. It would rise to five years for a second offense. The max for fourth-degree child abuse is a one-year misdemeanor. The legislation would increase the punishment to two years imprisonment for a second offense. Sentencing guidelines are advisory, so the tougher sentences would not be compulsory for judges.
The bills head to the House next.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Police Receive Report Of Attempted Abduction

A case of attempted child abduction is under investigation by the Bridgman Police Department. It says on its Facebook page the incident allegedly occurred on Tuesday around 4:30 p.m. in the area of Toth Park. The department says a pre-teen girl reported a man in a black car pulled up and asked her if she wanted a ride. When she said no, he allegedly got out and grabbed her by the arm. The girl says she managed to get free and run. The suspect is described as a white male wearing a ski-mask, in his 40s, about 5’9, and slim. The car is described as black, possibly a Volkswagen, with Florida plates and tinted windows. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Bridgman Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Memorial For Crime Victims Planned For This Week

The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office will hold a memorial this week in honor of those who have lost their lives as a result of crime. This is Crime Victim’s Rights Week, and Friday’s memorial will be held at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph at noon. It will feature a balloon launch in honor of the victims. The prosecutor’s office says the stories about some of the crime victims will be posted to the Berrien County website, and staff from Lory’s Place will share information about the organization’s services at the memorial. It’s hoped the event will serve as a reminder of the suffering victims and their families endure as a result of crimes in the community.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Facing Animal Cruelty Charges In Cass County

Several charges have been filed against a Flint area woman after she allegedly left her dogs in a hot car on Sunday while she was at the Four Winds Casino in Dowagiac. The Cass County Prosecutor’s office tells us 50-year-old Sherill Langford faces three counts of animal killing/torturing, three counts of animal abandoning/cruelty causing death, and a count of lying to police. Two of the dogs died, and one is recovering. The Pokagon Tribal Police Department handled the investigation. Langford is now free on bond and due back in court on April 17.. ...Read Full Story