Local News Archives

SMC Summer Program Teaches Welding To Middle School Students

Southwestern Michigan College has opened up some of its career training facilities to middle school students this summer. It says eight Niles Middle School students came to the Niles SMC campus in July to learn how to weld. It may have been the hottest week of the summer, but the kids didn’t beat the heat so much as bend it to their will, plunging pieces they created by melting metal to 3,000 degrees into water. Welding instructor Allyson Starrett says she got interested in the trade as a young person when she attended a similar camp. Niles High School Career and Technical Education Director Carrie George partnered with YMCA and wrote a grant to provide the welding camp. SMC says the camp will hopefully get the students more interested in CTE. It notes welders are in high demand because almost every industry needs them. Salaries range from an average median of $41,000 to more than $100,000.. ...Read Full Story

UPDATE – Police Look For Suspect In BH Triple Shooting

Police are investigating a Wednesday triple shooting in Benton Harbor. It happened around 5 p.m. in the 800 block of Superior. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey tells us one person is dead and two others are injured. Police say they have a 24-year-old suspect, who is one of the injured, in custody. They’re also looking for 21-year-old Eric Holbrook, who is considered a suspect. The deceased has been identified as 29-year-old Arsenio Jordan of Benton Harbor. A 32-year-old Benton Harbor woman is the third victim, and she is recovering. According to WSBT, police want to speak to three persons of interest. They are 17-year-old Ashanti Lee, 42-year-old Felicia Lee and 20-year-old Dondrell Blackamore Jr. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call police. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is assisting the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety in handling the case. Police have not said what led to the incident.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Plans Grand Opening For Wine Center

Lake Michigan College is gearing up to hold the grand opening of its new Welch Center for Wine and Viticulture. The center located at the Benton Township campus will be the home of LMC’s winemaking program. It will feature a new grape press, large tank and bottling rooms, a dry storage area, and a laboratory. Also, the center will house two classrooms, three offices, a workroom, and an open commons area for wine tasting, community education classes, and special events. The $7 million facility is 14,000 square feet and is named in honor of Mike and Lisa Welch, who are longtime supporters of Lake Michigan College. The dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. on August 27 followed by a public open house. In 2017, LMC opened up a tasting room in Baroda where people can sample wines made by the students.. ...Read Full Story

Tire Collection This Week In Benton Harbor

There will be a tire collection event this week in Benton Harbor. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety says Tire Rally 2.0 will be Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park. City residents can drop off unneeded tires so they can be disposed correctly. The last tire collection event held in the city, which was in May, resulted in more than 1,600 tires being dropped off. Police note this week’s event is for Benton Harbor city residents only, and they will check IDs. The collection is for tires only, and not other trash. Anyone with questions can call the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

Disability Network To Talk Assistance Animals

The Disability Network of Southwest Michigan will hold a workshop this August to teach people about what counts as an assistance animal and what doesn’t. The network says “Do’s & Don’ts: Assistance Animals” will be held August 23 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at its office on Lakeview Avenue in St. Joseph. Those who attend will learn the difference between service animals and emotional support animals. The Disability Network says many people are confused about the specifics regarding service animals. The workshop will also delve into the laws regarding what type of assistance animals are allowed in different places and whether an establishment can deny access to an assistance animal. The event will be free to attend, but you have to register. You can do so right here. You can also contact Miranda Grunwell at (269) 345-1516, extension 120.. ...Read Full Story

Volunteers To Remove Invasive Plants At Grand Mere This Weekend

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is planning another volunteer stewardship day at Grand Mere State Park near Stevensville this weekend. It says those who attend will pull spotted knapweed and Canada thistle from the open areas. Removing the invasives will allow native plants to thrive. Those who volunteer are advised to wear long sleeves and long pants. Also, bring some gardening gloves, a hat, and some water. The volunteers will do their work from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, August 3. Everyone will meet at the end of Willow Drive.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Triple Shooting In Benton Harbor

Police are investigating a triple shooting in Benton Harbor. It happened around 5 p.m. in the 800 block of Superior on Wednesday. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey tells us one person is dead and two others are injured and being treated at a hospital. No information has been released on a suspect. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call police. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is assisting the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety in handling the case.. ...Read Full Story

MI Prosecutor Drops Charge Against 10-Year-Old Over Playground Game

From the Associated Press — Prosecutors are dropping an assault charge against a 10-year-old suburban Detroit boy who was accused of hitting a 9-year-old classmate in the face with a rubber ball similar to a dodge ball. Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy on Wednesday said there’s a “better way to go forward” than to take the child to juvenile court. She encouraged the families to find a solution. The charge was filed Tuesday. Students at a Canton Township school were playing a game called “tips” on April 29 in which kids jump to catch a ball. Authorities say the older boy forcefully threw the ball, leaving his classmate with a concussion. The older boy’s mother claimed race was a factor in the investigation. Her son is black. Worthy, who is black, calls that “categorically wrong.”. ...Read Full Story

Communities Get Partial Win In Court Fight Over Tax Dollars

From the Associated Press — Local governments have won a partial victory in the Michigan appeals court in a dispute over how state government gives tax dollars to communities. The constitution requires that local governments get 48.9 percent of all state spending. But when the state makes that calculation, the appeals court says it can’t count money that pays for state-mandated activities. Attorney John Philo says it likely adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars. He says local governments have been squeezed for years by “accounting tricks” in the capital. But in the same opinion, the appeals court this week said the state can count aid to school districts and charter schools as payments to local governments. The court also ordered state government to publish information about the cost of state mandates. The court says the state has undermined the “role of taxpayer oversight.” There was no immediate comment from the attorney general’s office. A Supreme Court appeal by either side is possible.. ...Read Full Story

Lawsuit Seeks To Stop Redistricting

From the Associated Press — Michigan Republicans have sued to block the creation of a redistricting commission, contending people would be unconstitutionally prohibited from serving on the panel. Voters last fall approved a constitutional amendment to have the commission draw congressional and legislative districts instead of the Legislature starting in 2021 – a bid to curtail partisan gerrymandering. A lawsuit filed Tuesday challenges provisions that bar commissioners from being a candidate for partisan federal, state or local office in the last six years. Others excluded from serving include state employees, lobbyists and political consultants.
Among the plaintiffs are a Republican state senator and party officials. They say the eligibility standards violate their First Amendment rights. Voters Not Politicians, which spearheaded the redistricting change, says it’s no surprise politicians “want to undermine the voice of voters.”. ...Read Full Story

Western Am Returns To Point O’Woods For First Time In A Decade

For the first time since 2008, the world’s best amateur golfers are back in southwest Michigan with the return of the Western Amateur Championship to Point O’Woods in Benton Harbor. The course was home to the tournament every year from 1971 to 2008 after hosting it in 1963 and 1965. Notable winners here have included Hal Sutton in 1979 and 1980, Phil Mickelson in 1991, Justin Leonard in 1992 and 1993, and Tiger Woods in 1994. Phil McDonald is providing daily updates on 106.1 & 1400 WSJM Sports as well as online at wsjmsports.com throughout the event, which runs through Saturday. Admission to the 117th annual Western Am is free.. ...Read Full Story

Remains Of Missing Dowagiac Woman Identified In Indiana

The search for a missing Decatur woman is over with the confirmation her remains were found in Osceola, Indiana. The St. Joseph County, Indiana prosecutor’s office tells WSJM News the skeletal remains found in March have been identified as those of 41-year-old Natily Franklin. She disappeared in November and was reported missing just a few days after bonding out of the Cass County Jail following her arrest for possession of a controlled substance and possession of meth. Arrangements are being made to return Franklin’s remains to her family. Michigan State Police and the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit have been investigating her disappearance. No cause of death has been revealed.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Police Night Out Next Week

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is planning a National Night Out event for next week. Set for Tuesday, August 6, the event will be a chance for the public to mingle with the first responders who serve them. Van Buren County’s event will be held at the Lawrence Park Pavilion from 6 to 8 p.m. The sheriff’s department is expanding the Night Out this year, and it’s to feature police officers, K-9 units, the marine, dive, and SWAT teams, the reserve and mounted divisions, the Lawrence Fire Department, McGruff the Crime dog, neighborhood watch information, and free child fingerprinting. Plus, they’ll have a bounce house. Police will also provide safety information while displaying some of the equipment they use. Everyone is welcome to stop by.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Backs Legislation Designed To Decrease Robocalls

Congressman Fred Upton is hoping legislation approved last week by the U.S. House will help decrease the amount of robocalls going around. He tells WSJM News the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act will direct the Federal Communications Commission to issue rules to protect consumers from calls they didn’t agree to receive. Upton says it’s about putting more tools in the FCC’s toolbox.. ...Read Full Story

Cardboard Boat Races Raise Record Amount For United Way

The latest Rock the Boat Cardboard Boat Races have raised a record amount of money for the United Way of Southwest Michigan. The United Way tells us the fourth annual event this month resulted in $110,000 being collected. The Rock the Boat races feature teams from different southwest Michigan businesses and non-profits racing in the St. Joseph River in boats of their own design and construction, all made of cardboard. The latest event was July 18th at The Inn at Harbor Shores. A total of 75 boats took part this year. The United Way says the event has grown each year since it was started. In its first year, just five boats took part. In the second year, there were 30, and the third year featured 64. The money raised from the July 18 event will all go to the United Way of Southwest Michigan through Whirlpool’s annual United Way campaign. You can learn more about the event right here.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Directive Favors State Companies For Contracts

From the Associated Press — Michigan companies bidding to do work for state government will get more of an edge under a change made by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She signed the “Michigan Jobs First” directive Monday at a power-line contractor in the Detroit suburb of Roseville. She says 70% of state contracts are awarded to Michigan businesses – a percentage she wants to increase.
Her directive expands the list of factors to determine if a bid from a potential supplier would provide the best value. State officials immediately will take into account the overall economic impact of a bid, workers’ wages and benefits, a company’s track record of labor and environmental compliance, and its commitment to economically disadvantaged areas. The state last year issued more than 8,800 contracts worth $2.1 billion.. ...Read Full Story

New Buffalo Lands Grant For Waterfront Master Plan

The development of New Buffalo’s waterfront will be a hot topic later this year thanks to the city receiving a $51,000 grand from USDA Rural Development to cover nearly all the costs involved with developing a master plan and do preliminary engineering work. City Manager Dave Richards tells WSJM News the city wants to hear from as many residents as possible once they begin holding open houses and putting out online surveys.. ...Read Full Story

Stabenow Backing Impeachment Inquiry

Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan says she would back House Democrats if they launch an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. The fourth-term Democrat said in a written statement Monday that former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report about Russian interference in the 2016 election “describes extremely serious instances of the president of the United States trying to obstruct justice.” She says “no one is above the law.” Politico first reported Stabenow’s position. About 100 Democrats in the 435-member House now favor opening an impeachment inquiry. House committees have been investigating Trump and filing lawsuits to obtain information. Even if the House voted to impeach Trump, the Republican-run Senate would likely acquit him. Michigan’s other senator, Democrat Gary Peters, is up for re-election in 2020 and has not backed impeachment proceedings.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Bringing Back Former Finance Director

The St. Joseph City Commission is bringing back a city hall veteran for a few more years. Former city finance director Deb Koroch is returning to that position following her retirement in June 2016. Koroch had been brought back on an interim basis this year after her successor, Sara McCallum, left for a new job in Ann Arbor. The city commission search committee of Mayor Pro Tem Laura Goos and Commissioner Peggy Getty met with city staff on Friday to go over the applications for the job, and felt no one could stack up to the experience Koroch would bring with her 16 years with the city.. ...Read Full Story

Red Cross Offering Gift Cards With Blood Donations

As the Red Cross grapples with another emergency blood shortage, it’s teaming up with Amazon in the hope of enticing more people to donate. The Red Cross says those who give blood between now and August 29 will receive a $5 Amazon gift card via email. While a $5 gift card doesn’t sound like much, the gift from Amazon amounts to $1 million for the Red Cross. The organization says it’s down to a less than two day supply of type O blood as people donate less during the summer. Anyone who wants to give can check out the Red Cross Blood App, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or go to RedCrossBlood.org.. ...Read Full Story

Free Lunches For South Haven Students This Year

Students at South Haven Public Schools will be able to get free lunches this coming school year. South Haven Public Schools Child Nutrition Director June Altom tells WSJM News enough of the district’s students this year qualify for free lunches under federal guidelines, therefore opening the program to the whole district. She says this can help make sure more of the kids eat healthy.. ...Read Full Story

Glad Peach Fest In Coloma This Week

The Glad Peach Festival is set for this week in Coloma. It starts Friday at noon, and will run through Sunday evening. Peach Fest President Julie Pupedis tells WSJM News the festival started as a victory celebration following World War II. At first, it was just a flower show, but over the years it’s grown.. ...Read Full Story

State Offers Financial Aid Advice

With high school graduates across Michigan preparing to head off to college, the Michigan Department of Treasury is offering them some advice on seeking financial aid. Office of Post-Secondary Financial Planning Director Anne Wohlfert tells WSJM News students need to know about the the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. That’s the first step. But don’t just assume a loan is the only way to go.. ...Read Full Story

Five Governors Call On Candidates To Aid Great Lakes

From the Associated Press — Five Democratic governors of states in the Great Lakes region want candidates in next year’s presidential election to support a plan for protecting their freshwater resources. Led by Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, the governors Monday proposed a six-point platform that seeks increases in federal spending on water treatment infrastructure and environmental cleanups.
Whitmer told The Associated Press the plan’s release was timed to draw attention to issues affecting the lakes ahead of this week’s Democratic presidential debates in Detroit. But she said the governors also hoped for support from Republican President Donald Trump. In addition to money for drinking water and wastewater system upgrades, the plan calls for battling invasive species, harmful algae blooms and pollution from toxic chemicals, as well as building another shipping lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.. ...Read Full Story