Local News Archives

Funding Sought For New Soo Lock

President Trump is seeking more than $75 million for work on the new Soo Lock project in Sault Ste. Marie. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the money would be used to start construction of the upstream approach walls, continue the design of the New Soo Lock chamber, and finish construction of the upstream channel deepening. The Corps tells us the upstream approach walls will stabilize the existing approach walls to allow for modern vessels to tie up and wait their turn to pass through the new lock. It’s anticipated the wall designs will be finished in late 2019, and the construction contract will be awarded in summer 2020. Army Corp Lieutenant Colonel Greg Turner says the appropriation keeps the project on track for completion in seven to ten years from the start of construction. You can find out more about the new Soo Lock project right here.. ...Read Full Story

State Highlights Free College Program

The Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development is highlighting an early college program in Allegan County as a model for how more students could receive a college education, and for free. The Early College Allegan County program gives high school students a chance to earn an associate’s degree from Lake Michigan College before they even finish high school, says TED spokesperson Erica Quealey.. ...Read Full Story

Possible Rule Updates For Bridgman Beach

Weko Beach in Bridgman could be seeing some changes this year. For one, Bridgman Parks and Recreation Director Joan Guilfoyle tells WSJM News the beach could be going back to the policy stating dogs are not allowed on part of the beach while on their way to Warren Dunes State Park next door.. ...Read Full Story

BH Seniors Not On Track To Graduate

Of 138 seniors at Benton Harbor High School this year, only 38 are currently on track to graduate. That was one of many things Benton Harbor Area Schools CEO Robert Herrera told the community at a meeting this past week. He said a recent audit of the graduation numbers of this year and last year found many students far off track. Herrera told WSJM News when they can be helped, they will be.. ...Read Full Story

Weight Restrictions In Place On MI Roads

The Berrien County Road Department and the Van Buren County Road Commission have implemented seasonal weight restrictions to try to protect the roads from damage as the spring arrives. Van Buren County Road Commission Engineer-Manager Larry Hummel tells WSJM News when there has been an extended period of freezing weather, frost builds up under the road. As it thaws from surface on down, the road up top is in danger.. ...Read Full Story

Increased Drunk Driving Enforcement This Weekend

Michigan State Police are increasing patrols this weekend to watch out for drunk drivers around St. Patrick’s Day. This Sunday, troopers will join their counterparts from across the country in the international traffic safety initiative, Operation C.A.R.E. — or Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts. The enforcement period begins at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, March 17, and will end at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. State police advise drivers not to rely on luck this St. Patty’s Day and to arrange for a ride if drinking. In addition to drunk driving, police will be looking out for aggressive driving and failure to use a seat belt.. ...Read Full Story

House Approves Prison Healthcare Cost Plan

Legislation designed to save money on prison costs by moving medically-frail inmates into healthcare facilities has been approved by the Michigan House. State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan tells WSJM News the four-bill package would let non-violent inmates with severe and chronic physical or mental disabilities complete their sentences at a medical facility rather than inside a prison. And that’s only if approved by a parole board.. ...Read Full Story

Gray Wolves Could Lose Protections

U.S. wildlife officials want to strip gray wolves of their remaining federal protections and declare them recovered after a decades-long restoration effort. Michigan Technological University wildlife ecology professor John Vucetich doesn’t support the move. He spoke with Michigan News Network about it.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Details Rescue Of Kidnapped Child This Week

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has revealed more information about a kidnapping in the Upper Peninsula that resulted in a statewide Amber Alert this week. Skip Hagy with the DNR in Newberry tells WSJM News 53-year-old George Cunningham and 68-year-old Jon Stygler on Wednesday night attacked multiple people at a home where Cunningham’s 5-year-old son lived. They then took the boy. The two men ditched a vehicle near Paradise, in Chippewa County, and went walking out on Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Hearing On Marina Grant Next Week

The city of South Haven will hold a public hearing on Monday to allow comment on the proposed application to seek a grant for the purchase of the All Seasons Marine sit on Black River Street. The city already operates several marinas. Assistant City Manager Kate Hosier told WSJM News why the city is interested in the All Seasons Marine site.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor To Close Part Of Paw Paw Avenue

The city of Benton Harbor is closing a failing section of Paw Paw Avenue until further notice. The city says Paw Paw Avenue from north of Waukonda to the Public Works maintenance garage will be shut down starting on Monday at 8 a.m. The section will stay that way while the city investigates and then fixes it. During the closure, traffic will be re-routed to North Shore Avenue.. ...Read Full Story

Wendzel To Hold “Pints With Pauline” Next Week

This is a little different than holding a coffee hour. State Representative Pauline Wendzel’s office tells us she’s planning to hold a “Pints with Pauline” event this month at Arclight Brewing Company in Watervliet. She’ll be there on Monday, March 18 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. to talk with residents about any concerns they may have. Wendzel says she’s holding the event in the evening so those who work during the usual morning coffee hours have the opportunity to share their thoughts about state government and hear about what’s going on in Lansing. No appointment will be necessary. Anyone who wants to talk with Wendzel can just go to Arclight Brewing Company on Monday from 5 to 6:30 and have a chat.. ...Read Full Story

LMC conducting Community Survey

Lake Michigan College is seeking the community’s help in setting its goals for the future. It’s launched an online survey to ask everyone what they think should be LMC’s priorities. LMC tells us the first part of the survey asks for five key words or phrases that describe what the college should strive to achieve. The second part asks for feedback about the college’s current goals, which are academic excellence, student success, and community impact. The college’s 2019-2024 Strategic Planning Committee says it will use information collected through the survey to “hopefully end up with a statement that is shorter and more memorable, as well as more specific to our region and culture.” You can find the survey right here.. ...Read Full Story

Women’s Unity Walk This Saturday

A women’s unity march is planned for this weekend in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. Berrien County Democratic Women Chair Kim Jorgensen Gane tells WSJM News the event is to learn about challenges women face, to amplify the voices of women in Berrien County, and to foster coalitions. On hand will be a variety of speakers.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Commissioners Signal Support For Trail Project

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has given the green light to the Berrien County Road Department to seek a $1.5 million grant for a trail project near New Buffalo. County Administrator Bill Wolf tells WSJM News the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission is working with the city of New Buffalo, New Buffalo Township, the Pokagon Fund, and others as it seeks the Transportation Alternative Program grant.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Announces Record Fundraising Year

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is marking a record fundraising year. At its annual celebration at Lake Michigan College Thursday, the organization announced it raised more than $4.2 million with its 2018 campaign. United Way of Southwest Michigan President Anna Murphy tells WSJM News the region cares.. ...Read Full Story

Group Asks Court For Decision On Minimum Wage Legislation

The Michigan chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business is filing an amicus brief urging the state Supreme Court to issue an opinion on the GOP lame-duck legislature’s gutting of the state minimum wage law. Supporters of a higher minimum wage say the action was an unconstitutional gutting of a ballot proposal that the legislature blocked from reaching voters. That raises the possibility of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the action. NFIB’s Charlie Owens.. ...Read Full Story

Energy Rebate For Benton Harbor Schools

A recent project to increase energy efficiency at Benton Harbor Area Schools has resulted in a rebate of just under $5,000 being awarded to the district by Indiana Michigan Power. At this week’s district CEO meeting, I&M’s Jason Whitman said the schools replaced 250 light fixtures to house efficient LED lighting.. ...Read Full Story

Two Arrested Following Overnight AMBER Alert Out Of Upper Peninsula

The alerts in the middle of the night likely woke up thousands of Michiganders regarding an AMBER Alert in the Upper Peninsula town of Paradise. There is a happy ending to that situation. Michigan State Police canceled the alert a little after 1 a.m. once they found five-year-old Zephaniau Cunningham alive and safe and arrested two adults, including abduction suspect George Cunningham. Troopers had found his pickup truck within a half-hour of the AMBER Alert buzzing phones and triggering broadcast alerts throughout Michigan, and then found all three people a short time later.. ...Read Full Story

Five Governors Opposing Trump Plan To Cut Great Lakes Spending

From the Associated Press — Governors of five states oppose President Donald Trump’s call for a 90 percent spending cut for a Great Lakes cleanup program. The president’s 2020 budget offers $30 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which gets $300 million most years. It removes toxic pollution, prevents algae blooms and species invasions, and restores wildlife habitat. The governors said Wednesday the cut would cost jobs, hurt tourism and jeopardize public health. They urged Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, a former Indiana governor, to fully fund the program. Issuing the statement were Democratic Governors Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, along with Republican Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said numerous states, local governments and others also support the program and that more details on the federal role will be released later.. ...Read Full Story

State Promotes Early College Program

The Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development is highlighting an early college program in Allegan County as a model for how more students could receive a college education, and for free. The Early College Allegan County program gives high school students a chance to earn an associate’s degree from Lake Michigan College before they even finish high school, says TED spokesperson Erica Quealey.. ...Read Full Story

State Board Talks BHAS

Benton Harbor Area Schools was a topic of discussion this week for the Michigan State Board of Education. At a Tuesday meeting, Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles said the School Reform Office has heard back from the Michigan Attorney General’s office regarding what happens to the school district’s cooperative agreement once the SRO ceases to exist on July 1. Alles said there will be three options.. ...Read Full Story

Trump Budget Includes Funding For New Soo Lock

President Trump is seeking more than $75 million for work on the new Soo Lock project in Sault Ste. Marie. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the money would be used to start construction of the upstream approach walls, continue the design of the New Soo Lock chamber, and finish construction of the upstream channel deepening. The Corps tells us the upstream approach walls will stabilize the existing approach walls to allow for modern vessels to tie up and wait their turn to pass through the new lock. It’s anticipated the wall designs will be finished in late 2019, and the construction contract will be awarded in summer 2020. Army Corp Lieutenant Colonel Greg Turner says the appropriation keeps the project on track for completion in seven to ten years from the start of construction. You can find out more about the new Soo Lock project right here.. ...Read Full Story

Humane Society Of The US Calling On Public To Pressure Mattawan Lab To End Dog Testing

It’s legal, but the Humane Society of the United States says testing being done on 36 beagles in Mattawan at Charles River Labs is abhorrent and immoral. The nonprofit released video footage shot undercover at what used to be MPI Research of the dogs being force-fed a fungicide made by Dow AgroSciences that Dow has admitted wasn’t needed scientifically. The Humane Society is calling for the beagles to be released, and has launched an online petition to try to force Charles River Labs to end the tests. The videos were shot over the course of 100 days last year, with more than two dozen experiments being done on the dogs during that time. Several died as a result.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Township Police Investigating Weekend Shooting

Benton Township police are looking for suspects after a 30-year-old man was shot twice in the leg early Sunday morning. The department says the man told police from his bed at Spectrum Health Lakeland’s emergency room that he was in an argument with a man over a woman at the Rock Starz Rental Hall at the Orchards Mall around 4:30 in the morning when he heard gunshots and realized he’d been hit. The victim got a ride to the hospital with a friend and has since been released. Police have not released any description of the other man involved in the argument.. ...Read Full Story