Local News Archives

Michigan AG: Schools With Native American Nicknames Can’t Lose State Aid

From the Associated Press — Attorney General Bill Schuette says the Michigan school superintendent doesn’t have authority to cut off tax dollars to districts with American Indian mascots or logos. Schuette’s opinion was sought by state Rep. Tim Kelly, a Republican from Saginaw County.
Critics of schools with Indian mascots say they create a hostile environment and are culturally insensitive. But supporters say they’re signs of respect. In an opinion dated Monday, Schuette says state law lists specific grounds for a superintendent to stop state aid to a school district, but having an Indian mascot isn’t among them. In March, Superintendent Brian Whiston proposed cutting up to 10 percent of a district’s annual payments if he had authority. In Paw Paw, the school board in February voted to keep the Redskins nickname.. ...Read Full Story

Double Murder Suspect Found Competent

There is some movement in a Berrien County double murder case. The “Herald-Palladium” reports Alex Perez has been found competent for trial after several months of treatment. He is accused of killing Renee Mitchell and her father, John, in their Hagar Township home in January 2016, and trying to flee to California with his two children he had with her. Perez and the children were found in Colorado the next day after a nationwide Amber Alert was issued. He is charged with two counts of premeditated first-degree murder and faces life in prison without parole if convicted. Perez is due in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing and is being held on five-million-dollars bond in the Berrien County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

Concerns About Possible Water Rule Changes

The public comment period on the Trump administration’s proposal to repeal and replace the Clean Water Rule is expected to begin this week. The move would reverse pollution protections for streams and wetlands that supply one third of the nation’s drinking water. Jan Goldman-Carter, with the National Wildlife Federation, tells us a majority of the nation’s stream miles and wetland acres are at stake.. ...Read Full Story

Group Aims to Create Park Celebrating Italian Culture In Benton Harbor

An effort is underway to spruce up an area of Benton Harbor that used to be known as Little Italy. Al DiBrito, of St. Joseph, tells WSJM News the plan is to turn land near Territorial and 2nd Street into a park celebrating Italian culture. He told city commissioners this week about its history as an Italian neighborhood, and outlined what he has in mind for the park property.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Planning Major Expansion Of Nursing Program

An effort is underway to expand Southwestern Michigan College’s nursing program. The college plans to update the nursing instruction building with the latest technology and also double its size. The $9.6 million initiative is in response a shortage of nurses in the region. SMC says the goal is to increase nursing program enrollment by 40%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting 19% job growth for registered nurses by 2022, and more than 1 million job openings in the field. SMC’s nursing expansion is expected to be finished by the state of classes in the fall of 2018.. ...Read Full Story

Five Arrested In Two BH Drug Raids

Five people are facing charges following a couple of drug raids in Benton Harbor in recent days. First, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us the Southwest Michigan Enforcement Team searched a home in the 1,300 block of Union Avenue on Friday and found crack, two handguns, and evidence of drug trafficking. 48-year-old Margaret Casnave and 33-year-old Marcus Willis were arrested on charges of possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine and maintaining a drug house. They were taken to the Berrien County Jail. The second drug bust happened Wednesday morning in the 800 block of East High Street in Benton Harbor. Three people were arrested when officers found two pounds of marijuana and three handguns. The names of the suspects, who are also accused of drug trafficking, have not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Company Looking To Build Solar Farm In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Huron County is developing a solar energy ordinance after a renewable energy company said it wants to build about a dozen solar farms in the area. MLive reports California-based Cypress Creek Renewables has been pitching the idea to county residents in the county at the northern tip of Michigan’s Thumb region. Cypress Creek Director of Development Casey May says the company hopes to build the farms “in a staggered fashion” between late 2018 and 2020. Each solar farm is about 20 to 25 acres. Huron County Board Chairman Sami Khoury says the board adopted a one-year moratorium on solar farm development to give commissioners time to approve an ordinance. Khoury says “this way they just don’t put them wherever.” May says the farms would provide power throughout the county.. ...Read Full Story