Local News Archives

Lawmaker Discusses Proposed Sanctuary Cities Ban

Legislation introduced by State Senator Aric Nesbitt would impose state power over local government decisions on whether or not to allow local cooperation with federal immigration reform. The local sheriffs and police have duties to enforce local and state law but right now they are not forced to become arms of the feds when it comes to immigration status.. ...Read Full Story

Nessel Coming To Benton Harbor To Talk Elder Abuse

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is planning a trip to Benton Harbor next month to talk about elder abuse. AG spokesperson Kelly Rossman-McKinney tells WSJM News Nessel will be in town on Monday, July 8 as part of a listening tour regarding her Attorney General‘s Elder Abuse Task Force. Rossman-McKinney says Nessel has learned a lot from the tour.. ...Read Full Story

New Course Catalog Being Created For BHHS Students

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has approved a new course catalog for students at the high school. At this week’s school board meeting, trustees heard from instructional facilitator Lauren Bernat about the book. She said it was designed to be useful for students from year to year so they can keep track of the classes they have taken when planning for the coming year.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Pushing For Border Funding By Week’s End

Congressman Fred Upton is hoping a bipartisan border funding bill can be approved by the end of the week. That’s as the House and Senate this week each approved their own bills. Upton tells WSJM News money must be set aside to pay for operations along the southern border one way or another as a humanitarian crisis mounts there.. ...Read Full Story

Event Raises $165,000 For Great Lakes Alliance

More than $165,000 has been raised for the Great Lakes with an event held last week in Chicago. Alliance for the Great Lakes spokesperson Jennifer Caddick tells WSJM News the 17th annual Great Blue Benefit was held along the shore of Lake Michigan Thursday. The donations were made by individuals, non-profits, and businesses.. ...Read Full Story

Wrong-Way Driver Busted On I-94

A Chicago man is facing a variety of charges after he was busted driving the wrong way on I-94 early Wednesday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it got a complaint around 3 a.m. of a vehicle going the wrong way on I-94 in the westbound lanes in Chikaming Township. The vehicle was also speeding. Police tried to pull it over near Lakeside Road , but it didn’t stop and crossed the median, now going east in the eastbound lanes. As police gave chase, the driver tried to cross again into the westbound lanes, but his vehicle was hit by a semi. The driver, 25-year-old Diego Flores-Valero of Chicago, struggled with police as they arrested him, but he was brought into custody. He was taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland for observation. I-94 in the area was closed while the scene was cleaned up.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Beach Under E-Coli Advisory

Just as the E-coli advisories for three beaches in Berrien County were lifted Tuesday, there’s now an E-coli advisory in place for South Haven’s South Beach. The city says samples taken there on Wednesday showed elevated levels of E-coli, meaning the water is not safe for swimming. The Van Buren County Environmental Health Division will collect samples again on Thursday and the results will be available by about noon. In the meantime, South Beach is closed to swimming. City officials note North Beach has been tested and found to have acceptable E-coli levels. It remains open. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Three-Year-Old Drowns In Van Buren County

A three-year-old girl is dead after drowning in Van Buren County on Wednesday. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says deputies were sent to a home in the 39,000 block of Paw Paw Road in Paw Paw Township on a report of a possible pool drowning just before 12:40 p.m. They arrived to find the three-year-old girl unresponsive. Deputies tried life-saving measures, but they were not successful, and the girl was pronounced dead at Bronson Lakeview Hospital. Police say foul play is not suspected, and the investigation continues.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Accepts Donations

The city of St. Joseph has been the recipient of a lot of generosity lately. At Monday’s city commission meeting, three donations were accepted by the body. First up was an offer from the Indian Hills Garden Club of some markers for trees in Milton Park to identify them. A club representative said the signs will be on expandable chains around the trees. They come as the club marks its 90th anniversary.. ...Read Full Story

Crash Of Livestock Truck Snarls Traffic

A crash involving a livestock truck closed down the Napier Avenue ramp to westbound I-94 Wednesday morning. The crash happened after 9 a.m. and the scene was cleared shortly before 1 p.m. The truck was turning off Napier Avenue and on to westbound I-94 when it tipped over on to its side. It was hauling about 120 pigs, some of which were hurt in the crash. The Benton Township Police Department worked the scene, and Berrien County Animal Control was brought in to pick up some of the pigs. We’ll have more information on the crash as it’s released by Benton Township police.. ...Read Full Story

Anti-ICE Graffiti Again Painted On MI GOP Headquarters

From the Associated Press — Anti-government graffiti has been found painted a second time on the Michigan Republican Party headquarters amid debate over a possible nationwide immigration sweep to deport people living the country illegally. The state party says the graffiti found Tuesday was apparently painted Monday night. It comes after an expletive and the acronym “ICE” for Immigration and Customs Enforcement was found on the front of the Lansing building Saturday evening. The state party says the vandalism is an attack on Chairwoman Laura Cox, who served a portion of her career as an ICE agent. The latest graffiti included an
expletive and her last name, and a symbol representing anarchy. Cox says “these criminals seek to bully those they disagree with, rather than engage in a civil discussion.” Lansing police are investigating.. ...Read Full Story

E-Coli Advisory On Berrien Beaches Lifted

The three Berrien County beaches that were closed to swimmers on Tuesday due to elevated e-coli levels in the water are now back open. The Berrien County Health Department tells us samples taken on Tuesday have come back with acceptable E-coli levels following the Monday sampling that closed the beaches. It is now OK to swim again at Weko Beach, Cherry Beach, and Warren Dunes State Park. The health department says you should still not drink the water, but the beaches are back open. You can follow the state’s BeachGuard site to stay on top of E-coli advisories for beaches.. ...Read Full Story

GM Planning Upgrades At Factories

From the Associated Press — General Motors Co. has announced it’s investing more than $4.2 billion in assembly plants in Indiana, Michigan and Texas to prepare for the launch of its next generation of pickups and SUVs. The company said Tuesday that it’s increasing capacity, improving operating efficiencies and making other upgrades at plants in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Flint, Michigan; and Arlington, Texas. GM says new investments also are occurring at plants in Ohio ahead of the release of 2021 models of pickups and SUVs. The Texas site manufactures popular SUV brands, including the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. Officials say $1.4 billion will be spent on the Arlington plant and upgrades are scheduled to be completed next year. GM says it has invested more than $23 billion in its U.S. manufacturing base since 2009.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Cottage Walk This Saturday

SHOUT for South Haven will hold its 25th annual Cottage Walk this Saturday. The organization says the day is all about giving everyone a chance to check out the kinds of homes available in the community. Those who take part will tour six cottages, some of which are year-round homes and some of which are summer retreats. Everyone can also check out specialty shops and outdoor dining around South Haven. Tickets to the South Haven Cottage Walk are available at the South Haven Visitor’s Bureau or at the farmer’s market on Saturday. Anyone who wants to find out more can contact SHOUT for South haven.. ...Read Full Story

Paquette Proposes Update To Emergency Manager Law

An update to Michigan’s emergency manager law has been introduced by state Representative Brad Paquette of Niles. He says his bill is intended to help protect the water quality of communities taken over by the state by replacing the current single-person emergency management structure with a three-person committee made up of one local government operations expert, one local ombudsman, and one financial expert. Paquette says that would increase transparency and allow residents of the affected communities more of a voice. His bill is part of a 30 bill package announced this week that aims to prevent water contamination around Michigan. Also included in the package is state Representative Beth Griffin’s bill making the state’s PFAS action response team a permanent agency.. ...Read Full Story

Rotary Announces New Leaders

The Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor has announced its new leadership for the year. At a ceremony at the Hilton Garden Inn in Benton Harbor on Monday, the Rotary officially welcomed new President Brandi Smith. She works at Spectrum Health Lakeland as vice president of philanthropy, and says she wants to use her role to inspire deeper connections among membership and the communities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph. Smith also has the distinction of being the first African American President of the Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor, which she sees as an opportunity to attract and invite more women and men from diverse backgrounds. The Rotary also announced its new board of directors this week. The list of directors is below.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Township Shooting Under Investigation

The Benton Township Police Department is investigating a Tuesday shooting. It says officers were sent to the Blossom Acres housing development shortly after 3 p.m. on a report of a shooting victim. While on the way, they were told the victim, 24 year old Andrew Butler Brown, was now at the Harbor Town Clinic on East Main Street in Benton Harbor. Officers found him there with gunshot wounds to the leg. He was taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland with non-life threatening injuries. Benton Township police processed the crime scene and say they do not yet have a suspect. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact the Benton Township Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Lots Of Money Raised For SJ Fireworks

The city of St. Joseph is preparing for its annual Fourth of July fireworks show, although this year’s spectacle will not actually be on the Fourth of July. The event is slated for Wednesday, July 3. This year’s show is made possible in part thanks to its sponsors. The city tells us the fundraising for the show has surpassed its goal by nearly 40%. The city thanks everyone who chipped in. Meanwhile, officials want everyone to get the word out that the show this year is on the third and not the fourth. At last week’s Berrien County Board of Commissioners meeting, it was noted the change in date could confuse some out of towners who reserved hotel rooms for themselves on the night of July 4. Once again, that fireworks show will be along the Lake Michigan waterfront on Wednesday, July 3 at dusk.. ...Read Full Story

Praise For South Haven Bronson Wound Program

The wound and hyperbaric medicine program at Bronson South Haven Hospital has received a new distinction by being named a President’s Circle Center of Excellence by Healogics, which is the country’s biggest provider of advanced wound care. Bronson says the award is based on clinical and operational results for at least two consecutive years. It says its wound program in particular offers help to patients suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, and other chronic wounds. Bronson South Haven Hospital COO Kirk Richardson says the new designation is due to the hospital’s “expert wound team in collaboration with Bronson South Haven staff and providers.”. ...Read Full Story

MI Supreme Court To Consider Private School Funding Case

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to take up a major lower court decision that allows Michigan tax dollars to flow to private schools. A coalition of public school groups and the American Civil Liberties Union had urged the state’s high court to reverse an October opinion by the appeals court. The court said private schools can receive public money to help them comply with health, safety and welfare rules. In Tuesday’s order, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman said the court needs to resolve the issue with a “final decision.” Critics say the Michigan Constitution clearly states that no public money can
aid a private school. The Republican-controlled Legislature and then-Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, approved $2.5 million in 2016 for state requirements at private schools.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Working With Whirlpool To Improve Safety Of Crosswalk

The city of St. Joseph is working with Whirlpool to provide a safer way for employees to cross Upton Drive from a parking lot to their workplace each day. At a Monday meeting, city commissioners moved forward an agreement that will have Whirlpool pay for changes to the crosswalk just north of the CSX railroad tracks. City Manager John Hodgson tells WSJM News some of the workers had safety concerns about the current crosswalk.. ...Read Full Story

Florida Man Charged In 1986 Bangor Murder

From the Associated Press — A Florida prison inmate has been charged with murder in the strangling of a woman in southwest Michigan more than three decades ago. Prosecutors charged 49-year-old Robert James Waite last week in the killing of 59-year-old Wilda Wilkinson of Bangor during a home invasion in July 1986. Michigan State Police tell WOOD-TV that they matched partial DNA found on
Wilkinson’s clothes to Waite. Detectives say Waite confessed to killing Wilkinson when they interviewed him in April. Authorities say Waite knew specific details about the slaying. Waite is imprisoned in Florida on unrelated kidnapping and sexual battery charges. He will be extradited to Michigan. Prosecutors in March charged another man who police said confessed to killing Wilkinson, but they dismissed the charge without prejudice when investigators confirmed Waite’s DNA match.. ...Read Full Story

Effort Grows For More Age-Friendly Cities

A growing movement in Michigan and around the world aims to ensure communities are able to serve the needs of people of all ages. Eight cities and towns in the state are members of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, who have committed to creating a place to live that’s inclusive and considerate of residents from all walks of life and of any age. Paula Cunningham with AARP Michigan says safe, accessible living especially is important for older Michiganders. ...Read Full Story

Reconstruction Projects On Three SJ Streets Planned for Next Year

Set for next year is a reconstruction project for parts of Kingsley, Orchard, and Morton Streets in St. Joseph. City commissioners approved awarding the engineering contract to Abonmarche on Monday for $345,000. Plans are still being drafted, but St. Joe City Engineer Tim Zebell tells WSJM News when all is said and done, people will see the roads totally reconstructed and some other changes.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Signs Budget For Census, Ballot Proposals, Drinking Water

From the Associated Press — Gretchen Whitmer has signed a $28.8 million mid-year spending bill to help ensure an accurate 2020 census count, implement voter-approved laws and combat lead in drinking water. The law enacted Monday also expands a program enabling people on food assistance to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables, and replenishes a compensation fund for exonerated inmates. The measure includes funding to implement marijuana legalization and expanded-voting ballot initiatives, and for the state’s investigation of sexual abuse by clergy. The Democratic governor line-item vetoed a provision that would have directed the auditor general to immediately review the rollout of automatic voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting requirements included Proposal 3. She says such an audit must wait until after the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.. ...Read Full Story

YouthBuild Project To Begin In Benton Harbor Thiis Week

A groundbreaking on the next YouthBuild project in Benton Harbor will be held this Thursday. Part of Kinexus, YouthBuild is a program that teaches construction skills to students between the ages of 16 and 24 while helping them earn their diploma or GED. YouthBuild Director Caleb Weeks tells WSJM News the project this summer will be at a vacant house at 710 Buss Avenue.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Proposes Permanent PFAS Agency

State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan wants the state of Michigan to keep up its efforts to find PFAS in community water supplies. She’s introduced legislation that would make the state’s PFAS action response team a permanent agency under the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, or EGLE. Griffin tells WSJM News the team has helped to detect PFAS in several communities, including some in southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

State Launches Recycling Campaign

From the Associated Press — The state of Michigan is launching a $2 million educational campaign to boost the state’s low recycling rate.
The “Know It Before You Throw It” initiative was announced Monday at a recycling transfer station in Lansing. Officials say the goal is to let residents know that they should rinse and dry all plastics, glass and metal before recycling it. People also should not try to recycle plastic bags, which is prohibited by most municipalities. Not recycling properly can contaminate the supply, meaning it goes to landfills or adds costs for communities. The educational campaign includes TV ads, billboards and a website. Michigan’s 15% recycling rate is lowest in the Great Lakes region, despite the 10-cent bottle-return law.. ...Read Full Story

BH School Board Invited To Lansing This Week

Another meeting between members of the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education and the administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer is set for this Wednesday. The two have been going back and forth regarding what to do about the school district’s debt and low academic performance. The governor sent the board a letter on Friday inviting the board to “discuss the proposals that have been put forward and identify next steps.” She writes that she remains “committed to ensuring every child receives a quality public education,” adding she’ll “work with you to ensure all students graduate and get on a path to post-secondary success.” The governor last month proposed that Benton Harbor High School be closed, at least temporarily, while a large portion of the district’s debt is forgiven. The local school board rejected that proposal. It then sent to the governor a turnaround plan of its own. Below is the governor’s full letter to the board of education.. ...Read Full Story

University Of Michigan Receives Two $10 Million Gifts

From the Associated Press — The University of Michigan says it’s received two separate, $10 million gifts designed to benefit a campus library as well as its business school and film and television department. The Ann Arbor school’s William C. Clements Library has accepted $10 million from the Avenir Foundation. It recognizes the university’s founding director, Randolph Adams, by naming the directorship after him. The university says the gift also will spur the acquisition and conservation of primary source materials and making collections more accessible. The other $10 million comes from the Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts. It’s intended to honor the legacy of Mitchell’s late husband, Columbia Pictures Television founder John Mitchell. That gift will go toward creating a business and communications ethics
program, as well as scholarships, internships, visiting professorships and a speaker series.. ...Read Full Story

Buttigieg Addresses Town Hall

South Bend Mayor and Democratic presidential primary candidate Pete Buttigieg wants the U.S. Justice Department to look into the police shooting of Eric Logan. Logan was shot and killed by a white South Bend police officer who said Logan raised a knife as he came towards the officer June 16th at about 3:30 a.m.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Man Shot In South Bend

Violence has flared again in South Bend, where presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is mayor, and a Niles man is among its victims. The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit says 27-year-old Brandon Williams of Niles died after a shooting at Kelly’s pub in South Bend. Another ten people were wounded by gunshots in South Bend early Sunday. A statement says five of the 10 wounded remain in the hospital in stable condition. The others were treated and released. St. Joseph County Sheriff William Redman says that his officers assisted South Bend police in “controlling a crowd of over 100 upset and angry citizens” who came to Memorial Hospital from Kelly’s Pub early Sunday, causing a lockdown at the hospital. It was not immediately clear what prompted the shooting. No suspect has been apprehended. Buttigieg later Sunday faced criticism at a town hall meeting from citizens who are angry about the shooting of a black man by a white police officer a week ago.. ...Read Full Story

Report Examines Child Well-Being In Michigan

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

Grant Means ADA-Compliant Mat For County Park

The Berrien County Parks Department has been awarded a grant to help pay for a new beach mat at Rocky Gap County Park. At a meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners this month, the Berrien Community Foundation presented a $1,000 check to Parks Director Brian Bailey. He told WSJM News more about what’s being installed at the park.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Benton Township Shooting

Police are investigating a shooting late on Saturday in Benton Township. The Benton Township Police Department says it happened in the 100 block of Quince at the Blossom Acres housing development just before midnight. Police were sent to the scene on a report of several people fighting, and were told while on their way that shots had been fired. Officers arrived to find 31-year-old John Orr of Benton Harbor with gunshot wounds to the arm and leg. They also found 21-year-old Jaton Gunn of Benton Harbor with lacerations to the forehead, nose, and cheek. Witnesses told officers there had been a fight, and then four or five gunshots went off. Police found bullet holes in a window at 124 Quince, but no one inside was hurt. Orr and Gunn were taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. Police don’t yet have a suspect. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact the Benton Township Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Overdose Prevention Training This Week

Anyone who would like to learn how they could help someone experiencing a drug overdose will have a chance to do so this coming 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 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

State Sees Opioid Prescriptions Declining

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

County Receives Donation Of Bikes For Park

The Berrien County Parks Department has received a donation of eight adult and six child-sized mountain bikes for use at Love Creek County Park. The bikes come courtesy of Whirlpool Corporation and the Bike Michiana Coalition. They’ll be used on the mountain biking trails at Love Creek County Park, and the public will be able to rent the adult ones for the cost of $10 an hour. The children’s bikes will be complimentary with the rental of an adult bike. Love Creek County Park naturalist Derek Pelc says the donations create another recreational opportunity at the Berrien Center park, adding someone who is thinking about buying a mountain bike can now just rent one to check them out. Park staff remind everyone to ride safely, wear a helmet, and respect nature.. ...Read Full Story

Vandalia Shooting Determined To Be In Self-Defense

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department says a Friday night shooting in Vandalia was in self-defense. Police responded to a home in the 62,000 block of Cass Avenue in Vandalia around 10 p.m. after getting a call that a man had been shot. Officers gave first aid to 37-year-old James E. Hodges, Jr. and he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He’s listed in critical but stable condition. Police say their investigation found a 15-year-old boy had shot Hodges in self-defense and in defense of another. No charges are being sought against the 15-year-old at this time. Reports on the incident will be sent to the Cass County Prosecutor’s office and the case remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Cass County Shooting

A Marcellus man is recovering after he was shot in Cass County on Friday night. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department says 22-year-old Tyler Blentlinger was at a bonfire in the backyard of a home in the 300 block of East Dibble Street in Marcellus when he got into an argument with the suspect. The suspect got a gun and fired twice in in the direction of Blentlinger, who was hit twice. 911 was called and sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene, arresting the suspect. He’s now charged with attempted murder and is in the Cass County Jail. His name has not been released. Blentlinger was taken to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. Police say the shooting remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Caution Urged Around Farm Vehicles

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is cracking down on drivers who illegally pass farm vehicles moving large equipment on public roads. Berrien County Board of Commissioners Chair Mac Elliot tells WSJM News he’s been hearing from farmers about people who recklessly go around them as they’re moving ag equipment. He says those drivers need a little patience.. ...Read Full Story

Man Sentenced To Second Life Sentence In Murder Case

From the Associated Press — A Michigan man has been sentenced to a second life sentence without parole for killing his ex-wife’s husband.
Zachary Patten was convicted in May of first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the death of Shane Richardson at the victim’s home in Florence Township during a July 2017 crime spree. WOOD-TV report s he was sentenced Friday. Earlier on the same day, the Portage man shot 31-year-old Graciela Portillo-Esparza at a mobile home park in Kalamazoo County. The mother of four was fatally shot after stepping between her brother and Patten, who were arguing. Oscar Portillo at the time was the ex-boyfriend of Patten’s girlfriend.
Patten was found guilty of first-degree murder in February 2018. Patten was arrested in South Bend, Indiana, after voluntarily walking up to police.. ...Read Full Story

Three Hurt In Hit And Run Crash

A 21-year-old South Bend man is facing a variety of charges following a hit and run crash in Dowagiac Friday morning. The Dowagiac Police Department says officers were sent to the scene at East Division Street and West Railroad Street just before 9:40 a.m. They arrived to find an SUV on its side and three people stuck inside. Witnesses told officers the suspect’s vehicle had been headed south on West Railroad when it ran a stop sign at East Division and hit the SUV, causing it to roll. The suspect then sped off. The three people in the SUV — a 65-year-old woman from Alabama, a 76-year-old man from Niles, and a 65-year-old woman from Dowagiac — were all freed and taken to a hospital for minor injuries. Acting on tips, police were able to find the suspect driver at a home in Dowagiac. The 21-year-old has a suspended license and had been drinking all morning. He’s now at the Cass County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

SUVs Stolen From Locked Garage In Edwardsburg

An Edwardsburg couple is asking people to be looking out for one of their vehicles, which was stolen out of their locked garage this week. Our news partners at WSBT report the woman who owns the white GMC Yukon Denali saw a notification on her phone when she woke up Thursday morning that their security camera had detected motion overnight. The footage, which police now have, shows two suspect using the keypad on the outside of the garage to open it up around 1:30 in the morning, realize no alarms would go off, and then they came back two hours later. Upon their return, they stole both SUVs from the garage, with one being recovered around 7:30 Thursday morning in Buchanan. It’s not known if the thieves knew the garage code or if they were using some sort of device to override that and open the door.. ...Read Full Story

Treasurer Warns Of New Scam

Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski is warning everyone about a scam aimed at local property owners. He tells WSJM News people have been getting letters marked as being from Berrien County and stating “Property Seizure is Imminent.” The letter says the recipient must call an included phone number and pay the balance of a lien on their property over the phone. Witkowski says it’s a scam. The letter is not from the county.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan House Nixes Workforce Readiness Test For Eleventh Graders

From the Associated Press — Michigan school districts would no longer be required to administer a workforce-readiness test to 11th-graders as part of the state’s standardized assessment under a bill advancing in the Legislature. The Republican-led House approved the measure 85-24 Thursday and sent it to the Senate for further consideration. The ACT WorkKeys assessment was touted as a way for employers to find prospective workers, but critics say it has not met expectations. Few employers refer to WorkKeys or a career-readiness certificate in job postings. Supporters of the bill say the WorkKeys test is unnecessary, duplicative, and costly. Opponents say if utilized appropriately, the test still has a place and nixing it would further tilt testing to only measure college readiness at the expense of kids not going to college.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan State OKs Independent Probe Of Handling Of Nassar

Michigan State University is authorizing what it says will be an independent investigation of the school’s handling of sexual assault complaints against now-imprisoned former sports doctor Larry Nassar. The board of trustees unanimously approved the probe Friday. It intends to hire Chicago-based law firm McDermott Will & Emery to investigate and release a public report.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Community Foundation Offering Mini-Grants To Help With 2020 Census Count

Berrien County could lose out on millions of dollars in the next decade if the 2020 Census is undercounted locally. Because of that, the Berrien Community Foundation is working as the Census Hub to mobilize communities to make sure everyone is counted. BCF president Lisa Cripps-Downey says nonprofits like churches and schools will be key contact points for residents who might not fill out the census form, and they will have mini-grants to support efforts to educate people about the importance of the census and plans to “get out the count.” The grants will focus on organizations serving “hard-to-count populations” like low-income individuals and families, homeless people, young kids, people of color, college students, and people with mental or physical disabilities. There will be a series of information sessions as follows:. ...Read Full Story