Local News Archives

State Tax Scam Warning

There’s a new scam that targets those who may owe overdue taxes, and the Michigan Department of Treasury is putting out a warning. Spokesperson Ron Leix tells WSJM News the scammer will send a letter through the U.S. Postal Service, telling someone they owe money.. ...Read Full Story

BH Leaders Asked To Help Ox Creek Clean-Up Plan

Berrien County Drain Commissioner Christopher Quattrin is asking Benton Harbor City Commissioners to lend their support to a clean-up project for the Ox Creek drain system. At this past week’s commission meeting, the body was told easements would need to be granted for the drain commissioner to remove dead trees, industrial debris, and litter throughout the creek. About 10% of the adjoining land is owned by the city. Quattrin told WSJM News it will require jurisdiction to make the clean-up happen.. ...Read Full Story

LMC To Introduce CDL Program

Lake Michigan College is starting a truck driving program. At this past week’s meeting of the LMC Board of Trustees, the sale of 6.5 acres of excess LMC property at the Bertrand Crossing campus was authorized for a price of just under $148,000. The buyer is N&M Transfer Company, a trucking firm out of Wisconsin. LMC VP of Academic Affairs Leslie Kellogg tells WSJM News the deal allows for a public-private partnership for the college to use a facility the trucking firm intends to build there. She says students will be able to get a CDL at LMC.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Holds “Shop With A Cop”

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department has helped ten families and 34 kids have a merry Christmas this year. On Saturday, sheriff’s deputies took the children on the annual Shop with a Cop trip to the Niles Wal-Mart. Each child was able to pick out gifts for the holiday. The kids were from the Niles, Berrien Springs, New Buffalo, and Benton Harbor areas. After the free shopping trip, everyone went to the Michiana Christian Embassy in Niles for snacks and gift wrapping. Shop with a Cop is organized by the Berrien County Sheriff ‘s Office Reserve Division Deputies Kimberly Fedison and Katie Bauer. They were able to collect more than $7,000 in donations to cover the costs of the event thanks to area businesses and others. In addition to providing the funds to allow the children to shop, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department also provided holiday food baskets to the ten families.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks Remaining House Prioities

There are still several critical tasks Congress must get done before the year ends, and Congressman Fred Upton is confident they will be finished in time. He tells WSJM News the House may have taken some time off to honor former President George H.W. Bush this past week, but lawmakers but there was still plenty lawmakers had to do.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Holiday Village Today

The city of Bridgman will celebrate Christmas today as it opens up its Holiday Village. Several businesses in the downtown area will have sales and special Christmas-related activities going on. Among other things, there will be a poinsettia sale at Small Town Weddings, a pet parade at Paws to Wash, pizza bites at Lake Street Eats, crafts at the library, and reading with Mrs Claus and cookie decorating at the Sandpiper. Additionally, the following Saturday — December 15 — will bring a chili cook-off at Tapestry Brewing with proceeds going to the Southwestern Michigan Humane Society. You can check out the Facebook page of the Bridgman Holiday Village to learn more.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Replace Child’s Stolen Presents

Michigan State Police out of the Paw Paw post have gone the extra mile to save a child’s Christmas. The post tells us one of its troopers was sent out to investigate an apartment break-in in Galesburg on November 19. During the investigation, Trooper Benoit learned from the victim that all of her 9-year-old son’s Christmas presents had been stolen. Without the woman knowing, Trooper Benoit reached out to the State Trooper Outreach Partnership — or STOP — and organized the purchase of the same gifts for young Christopher. The items included Pokémon cards, Beyblades, and most importantly, a lord Voldemort Harry Potter wand. The trooper delivered the presents to the woman on Friday. Michigan State Police tell us STOP is a small non-profit made up of troopers and community members who raise money to help those in need.. ...Read Full Story

$33 Million Donation For U Of M Law School

From the Associated Press — The University of Michigan Law School is receiving $33 million, which officials say is the largest gift in its history and entirely intended for students. The gift announced Thursday comes from Chris and Lisa Jeffries. Chris Jeffries is a 1974 law school graduate and co-founder of Millennium Partners, a real estate development company. The couple previously gave $5 million toward the building of the law school’s South Hall, which the Ann Arbor school’s governing board renamed Jeffries Hall. The money announced Thursday is intended for scholarships, financial aid, summer programs and debt management. Chris Jeffries, who lives with his wife in
Miami, says in a statement that he’s “especially interested in paying the way forward for students who lack financial resources.”. ...Read Full Story

Senior Center Funding Approved

Funding for the year has been approved for seven senior centers by the Berrien County Board of Commissioners. At this week’s meeting, more than $2.3 million from the county-wide senior millage was put aside for the centers in Benton Harbor, Buchanan, Berrien Springs, Niles, Coloma, Harbert, and St. Joseph. Commissioner Mamie Yarbrough noted they each get $333,000.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Election Bill Approved

Two bills from state Representative Kim LaSata designed to bring consistency to Michigan election rules have been approved by a Senate committee. LaSata’s plan would allow someone running for a township office to submit a $100 filing fee to appear on the ballot, instead of submitting a nominating petition. That option is already allowed for those seeking certain state or county offices. LaSata says no one will be excluded from running for office because they can’t afford the fee. Her bill just makes it possible to go the fee route instead, while leaving open the option of circulating a petition without paying any fees. She worked on the plan with Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. It passed the Senate Election and Government Reform Committee, and now goes on to the full Senate. It’s already passed the House.. ...Read Full Story

Holiday Party for the Animals At SWM Humane Society Saturday

There will be some real party animals hanging out this Saturday at the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan. That’s because they’re holding the annual Holiday Party for the Animals and Open House at the shelter in Royalton Township. Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan Volunteer Coordinator Taylor Michael tells WSJM News everyone is welcome there from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Talks Road Watching Program

If you have a daily commute that takes you on highways in Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, or Ottawa counties, then the Michigan Department of Transportation could use your input. Spokesperson John Richard tells WSJM News the agency is signing up volunteer Road Watchers for the winter. Volunteers will be polled about highway conditions following winter storms, and their input will be used to deploy winter maintenance crews and identify best practices. The Road Watcher program attracted more than 80 volunteers last year in west Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

US-31 To Be Expanded To I-94

US-31 will finally be expanded all the way to I-94. The office of Congressman Fred Upton announced on Thursday a $20 million grant to the Michigan Department of Transportation for the project. It’s been on MDOT’s build list for a few years, and the problem has always been securing enough funding. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News the project will be done in three parts. Parts one and two involve expanding I-94 to make way for the connect and then expanding the interchange. Schirripa says the third phase is the actual expansion of US-31.. ...Read Full Story

Deputies Investigating Niles Twp Drive-By Shooting

Berrien County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for suspects in a drive-by shooting in Niles Township. It happened just before 3 a.m. at 1126 Lawndale Avenue, with the home being hit by several bullets. That home is just south of US-12 and just to the east of M-51 near Shelton’s Farm Market. No one inside was hurt. Investigators don’t have any other details, including a description of the vehicle involved in the shooting.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Holiday Village This Weekend

The city of Bridgman will celebrate Christmas this weekend as it opens up its Holiday Village. Several businesses in the downtown area will have sales and special Christmas-related activities going on Saturday. Among other things, there will be a poinsettia sale at Small Town Weddings, a pet parade at Paws to Wash, pizza bites at Lake Street Eats, crafts at the library, and reading with Mrs Claus and cookie decorating at the Sandpiper. Additionally, the following Saturday — December 15 — will bring a chili cook-off at Tapestry Brewing with proceeds going to the Southwestern Michigan Humane Society. You can check out the Facebook page of the Bridgman Holiday Village to learn more.. ...Read Full Story

Marijuana Possession Now Legal In Michigan

It’s official. You can now possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and have as much as 10 ounces locked up in a safe spot in your home thanks to the passage of Proposal 1 last month. That said, Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller is cautioning people that using marijuana isn’t for everyone.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Still Much To Do This Month

There are still several critical tasks Congress must get done before the year ends, and Congressman Fred Upton is confident they will be finished in time. He tells WSJM News the House may have taken some time off to honor former President George H.W. Bush, but lawmakers will be working quickly once they return. There’s plenty to do.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Looks To Boost Student Success

A study is underway at Lake Michigan College to determine how faculty and support staff could help ensure students adjust to college life in order to succeed. LMC VP of Student Services Barbara Craig tells WSJM News the college has a fall-to-fall retention rate of about 50%, and the goal is to get it to 63%. Retention is a problem for community colleges nationally, and LMC is using a federal Title III grant to examine the issue.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Advances Bills To Strip Power From Secretary Of State

From the Associated Press — Bills advancing in Michigan’s Republican-controlled Legislature would strip power from the incoming Democratic secretary of state. A state Senate panel voted 4-1, on party lines, Wednesday for bills to have a bipartisan commission oversee campaign finance instead of the secretary of state. Jocelyn Benson is poised to become the first Democratic secretary of state in 24 years when she takes office in January. Democrats say the move is a bid to limit their power after an election in which they made gains, while other critics say the commission would deadlock and ensure lax enforcement. Republicans say the concept is not new, and voters
recently showed their support for independent panels to be involved in elections by approving a redistricting ballot initiative.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Senate Votes To Deregulate Wetlands

From the Associated Press — The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate has approved hotly contested legislation that would ease landowners’ ability to fill in or build on wetlands. The bill, which won passage 23-14 along mostly party lines Tuesday, next goes to the GOP-led House. The sponsor, Republican Senator Tom Casperson, says he is trying to curb regulators who abuse their discretion to block landowners from filling in wetlands, removing soil or taking other actions. Environmental groups still oppose the legislation despite some changes being made to it. They say some 4,000 inland lakes would be unregulated or not protected under it.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Rotary Gives Grants

Two programs are getting a boost from the South Haven Rotary Club. This week, they gave a $675 grant to South Haven’s elementary schools to support the new “Reading to Succeed” program and also donated a $500 grant to Van Buren County Senior Services. That money will go toward the organization’s medical transportation program. Over the past year, South Haven Rotarians have donated $34,000 to initiatives in the area along with national and international causes. They will start raising money for the Salvation Army on December 22 for their next fundraiser, being bell ringers for the 36th straight year.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Addressing Erosion Control

South Haven’s Planning Commission is being asked to approve erosion control measures like armor stone at six properties on Monroe Boulevard. The Harbor Commission voted 4-to-2 Monday night to make the recommendation after homeowners and erosion experts said Lake Michigan is causing significant damage in the area. Brian deBest of deBest Incorporated told WSJM News seawalls help, but armor stone is now needed to better protect the properties.. ...Read Full Story