Local News Archives

Ibrahim Parlak Protests Removal Of U.S. Troops From Syria

A Berrien County restaurateur and Kurdish immigrant who has faced deportation to Turkey for years has been publicly criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. soldiers out of Kurdish-controlled northeastern Syria. The South Bend Tribune reports Ibrahim Parlak, who runs Cafe Gulistan in Harbert, led a vigil at his restaurant, protested at the Turkish consulate, and appeared on news outlets decrying the American troop withdrawal. Parlak, who has fought deportation for 15 years, says he’s “not going anywhere.”. ...Read Full Story

State Christmas Tree Going Up Saturday

It’s about to start looking a lot more festive in Michigan’s capital city. The state Christmas tree, a 61 foot blue spruce from Iron Mountain, will be set up in Lansing at the state Capitol on Saturday. State Department of Technology, Management, and Budget spokeswoman Christyn Herman says the tree will be decorated before the holidays.. ...Read Full Story

Founder’s Brewery Temporarily Shuts Down In Detroit Amid Backlash

Founders Brewery is closing it’s Detroit location temporarily starting today following allegations of racial discrimination. Michigan’s largest brewery has been steadily losing business after a deposition was made public this week in a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a fired employee. Founders president Dave Engbers says the location will remain closed until Tuesday.. ...Read Full Story

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Tomorrow

The next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is tomorrow. Police agencies around Michigan are teaming up with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency to encourage people to clean out the medicine cabinet and get potentially dangerous and unneeded medications out of homes so they can be destroyed by the DEA. No questions will be asked of anyone dropping off those medicines. All 30 Michigan State Police posts will take part, and the take-back will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow. National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is held twice a year, in April and October. During the April 2019 effort, state police posts collected more than 1,100 pounds of prescription drugs. Police say everyone can do their part to combat the opioid crisis by dropping off those medications on take-back day. It’s free and anonymous.. ...Read Full Story

Policy League Applauds Whitmer Overtime Announcement

The Michigan League for Public Policy is applauding an announcement by the administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer this week that it’s seeking to increase the threshold for overtime eligibility in Michigan. League policy analyst Peter Ruark tells WSJM News the current threshold for overtime is $35,500 per year, meaning if you make less than that, you qualify. The Whitmer administration announced Thursday it’s seeking to increase that to somewhere between $51,000 and $61,000.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Waiting On Budget Progress

State Senator Kim LaSata can only be optimistic that Michigan lawmakers will be able to work out budget issues with Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The Legislature approved a state budget on time, but the governor used line item veto powers to strip funding for a variety of programs, calling the budget a mess. Senator LaSata tells WSJM News her office has been hearing a lot from those affected by the vetoes.. ...Read Full Story

County Parks Millage Under Review

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners continues to review whether the county parks millage should be increased to meet expected demands. The matter was discussed at a Thursday meeting. Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey tells WSJM News the parks plan includes several improvements that will be needed at county parks in the coming years.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Senate Votes To Delay Cage-Free Ban For Hens

From the Associated Press — A divided Michigan Senate has voted to delay a requirement that farm animals confined in small cages and stalls be given more room. Legislation approved 21-17 Thursday would push back standards that are scheduled to take effect his month for egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs. Farmers would not have to comply until October 2025 for hens and next April for pigs under the bill that will go to the House for consideration next. The Republican-backed measure is part of an update to the Animal Industry Act that has bipartisan support otherwise. Starting in October 2025, businesses would be prohibited from selling shelled
eggs that are the product of hens confined in enclosures that are not considered to be cage-free housing.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Moves To Expand Overtime Eligibility

From the Associated Press — Governor Gretchen Whitmer is moving to make more Michigan workers eligible for overtime pay. The Democrat announced Thursday that her administration will establish rules to change the salary threshold under which employers must pay overtime to their workers. Whitmer did not say what the threshold would be. The Trump administration is making overtime pay available to 1.3 million additional workers, though the proposal replaces a more generous one advanced by former President Barack Obama. Whitmer says Trump’s plan “leaves 200,000 Michigan workers behind.” She says boosting paychecks in good for families, businesses and the economy. It could take up to year to finalize a Michigan overtime rule.. ...Read Full Story

School Offers Free Tuition To Detroit High School Graduates

From the Associated Press — Wayne State University has launched a scholarship promising free tuition to full-time, first-year students starting next fall who have graduated from a Detroit high school. The Detroit university on Wednesday announced the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge, which is designed to fill the gap after financial aid to cover tuition and fees. There are no restrictions on family income. To be eligible, students must live in the city and have graduated from any Detroit high school. University officials say the program expands on one launched in 2017 that’s enabled roughly 2,300 students statewide to enroll with no cost for tuition and
fees. Many schools, including University of Michigan, offer free tuition to students whose families fall below a certain income threshold.. ...Read Full Story

Buttigieg Calls For Legalized Marijuana Nationwide

Presidential candidates admitting to using marijuana is no longer as taboo as it was nearly 30 years ago when then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton told MTV that while studying as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford in England he “experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale it, and never tried it again.” The somewhat evasive answer became a punchline for years.. ...Read Full Story

Officials Promote Pedestrian Safety

Police agencies around Michigan and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning are working to reduce vehicle-pedestrian crashes. Office of Highway Safety Planning spokesperson Jon Ross tells WSJM News more drivers and pedestrians alike need to be mindful of the rules.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Create Task Force To Catch Medical Professionals Illegally Providing Medication

In an effort to fight the opioid epidemic and overdose deaths in the state, Michigan State Police have announced the creation of a task force charged with investigating medical professionals suspected of illegally distributing controlled substances. MSP Detective Lieutenant Benjamin Garrison tells WSJM News the vast majority of doctors and other medical professionals obey the law, but there have been cases when they’ve provided people with opioids and other drugs illegally.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Opts Out Of Recreational Marijuana For Time Being

After a few delays in the vote, the Benton Harbor City Commission has opted the city out of allowing recreational marijuana business to wait for the state to get rules and regulations in place. City Clerk Kimberly Thompson issued a statement Wednesday certifying the commission’s vote to approve the ordinance Monday night. Commissioner Juanita Henry made brief comments before the unanimous vote.. ...Read Full Story

I-94 Accident Kills Benton Township Supervisor, MDOT Worker Kevin White

Benton Township Supervisor Kevin White has died as a result of injuries he suffered on the job for the Michigan Department of Transportation. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says White was working along the side of I-94 near the 33 mile marker when a semi lost two tires, with one hitting the 48-year-old just after 7 this morning. White died after being rushed to Spectrum Health Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph.. ...Read Full Story

Longer Term Limits Being Discussed For State Lawmakers

Longer term limits could be in the works for the Michigan House and Senate. Discussions have started between the group Voters Not Politicians, which got an overhaul of the state’s redistricting process passed last fall, along with Republican legislative leaders and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield updated their caucuses on the talks on Tuesday.. ...Read Full Story

Fugitive Arrested With Underage Runaway In Bangor

A fugitive with a nationwide warrant out of Kentucky is in the Van Buren County Jail after Bangor police found the suspect in an apartment with an underage runaway. Both were hiding in a bedroom when officers arrived. The child was turned over to Van Buren Juvenile Court. Police say the 27-year-old suspect took the minor through several states while trying to evade police at various locations. That suspect is now facing charges in several states, including Michigan. No names have been released, and police have not indicated the genders of the two.. ...Read Full Story

Incoming SMC President Preparing For New Job

The next president of Southwestern Michigan College is busy preparing to take on the new role starting in January. Dr. Joseph Odenwald was selected by the SMC Board of Trustees this week to replace Dr. David Mathews when Mathews retires. Odenwald is the the current SMC vice president of student services. He’s from Louisiana and started working for SMC in 2017. He tells WSJM News he’s loved the area.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Road Commission Launches App

The Van Buren County Road Commission has launched a new app to allow residents to report non-emergency road problems. With SeeClickFix, people will be able to take a photo of a road issue, like a pothole, give its location, add a description, and click “submit” to send requests directly to the commission. Van Buren County Road Commission Interim Managing Director Greg Brucks says the service will “serve to increase civic engagement by involving citizens in community dialogue, and also improve the efficiency in which service requests are addressed.” SeeClickFix is now available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. You can learn more about the Facebook page of the Van Buren County Road Commission.. ...Read Full Story

Perrigo Scientists Make World Record Attempt

A team of scientists from Allegan-based Perrigo has made a stab at a world record. On Saturday, the group was at the Kelly Family Sports Center at Grand Valley State University to put together the world’s largest periodic table. The event was intended to inspire kids to pursue careers in STEM fields and also to honor the 150th anniversary of the periodic table. The one put together by the Perrigo team was 108 yards, filling the entire football field at GVSU. All 118 elements were 18 by 14 feet. On hand for the unveiling Saturday were representatives of the Guinness Book of World Records officials, and they’ll issue a determination on whether the record was broken within a few months.. ...Read Full Story