Local News Archives

Governor Whitmer Issues New LGBT Executive Directive

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Governor Whitmer has signed an executive directive to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people by state government, contractors and others, superseding an order that former Governor Rick Snyder signed just days before leaving office. Whitmer’s directive, like Snyder’s, requires all recipients of state contracts, grants and loans to extend protections to their employees. But hers does not provide an exemption for religious organizations. The Democrat signed the directive Monday at an LGBT community center in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale. It clarifies that employment protections cover all state employees and prohibits discrimination in state services, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. LGBT advocates and civil rights groups are applauding Whitmer’s move.. ...Read Full Story

Bloomingdale Man Charged For September Crash With Horse & Buggy

A crash between a van and a horse and buggy in Van Buren County is resulting in charges for the van driver. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department said over the weekend that 69-year-old Robert Rawson of Bloomingdale Township was charged late last week for the September 11 crash. The horse was killed, and the driver of the buggy suffered critical injuries. Police say Rawson’s van crossed the center line and hit the buggy head-on near the intersection of 46th Street and County Road 388 in Bloomingdale.. ...Read Full Story

SHAES: Report Of Woman Missing In Black River False

There’s word from South Haven Area Emergency Services that the search for a missing woman in the Black River this weekend was all for naught. SHAES officials tell WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids that Van Buren County Undersheriff Chad Hunt located the woman in the woods along the Kal-Haven Trail around 9 a.m. Saturday. After talking to the woman, who first said she was not the person they were looking for, they determined that she was, and she had never fallen into the river. Additionally, the woman hadn’t actually been missing.. ...Read Full Story

Produce Safety Training Offered

The Berrien County Conservation District is taking registrations for a produce safety training session it’s offering for free to those who bring food from the farm to the consumer. This is the first such class it’s offered, and it’s designed to get those workers compliant with federal requirements. Conservation District Produce Safety Technician Victoria Toney tells WSJM News us a good number of people in Berrien County could use the training.. ...Read Full Story

Watch Out For Tax Scams

This is the time of year when tax scams are on the rise. The Michigan Department of Treasury warns scammers are likely to hit at the beginning of the year — right before tax season — so they can get personal information, file fake income tax returns, and steal that money. Spokesperson Ron Leix told Michigan News Network more.. ...Read Full Story

Protective Vest For Van Buren County Police Dog

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is getting a bullet and stab protective vest for one of its K9s thanks to a donation. Vested Interest in K9s, a group that gives police dogs protective vests throughout the country, is helping to provide Kuno with the duds. The vest is sponsored by Jim and Stephanie Balch of Battle Creek, and will be embroidered with the phrase “This gift of protection provided by the Balch Family.” Kuno is expected to get the vest within ten weeks. Vested Interest in K9s has provided more than 3,200 protective vests to police dogs around the nation.. ...Read Full Story

New Year, New Police Chief For Benton Township

A new year brings a new chief of police for Benton Township. With the retirement of former Chief Vince Fetke, Chief Brian Smit started this week. Smit tells WSJM News he’s excited to move up in the department from the role of detective-lieutenant. He’s been with the Benton Township Police Department since 1996, having previously been an officer in Benton Harbor for two years. He says he wants to engage the community so people know him.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Considers How To Handle Failed Roads

A new failed condition roads policy has been adopted by the Van Buren County Road Commission that has the agency pulverizing and turning into gravel roads that are found not fit to be patched. The road commission tells us it pulverized nine miles of road in 2018 at a cost of about $345,000. It says those were road segments that had failed beyond the point of maintenance. In 2019, seven of those newly-gravel roads will be examined to see if they can be repaved. The Van Buren County Road Commission Board last month adopted the failed road policy after discussing it with township governments. It lays out for staff how to identify a road as failed, and then how the locals affected will be engaged as a decision is made about it. The Van Buren County Road Commission says $1.2 million of its budget in 2017 was spent on fixing potholes. It’s hoping the new policy will help it to be more efficient.. ...Read Full Story

Big Grant For SWM Job Training

Kinexus has helped to secure a $1.9 million grant for southwest Michigan businesses to train workers. The money comes from the state’s Going Pro Talent Fund to help 43 local employers enhance their staff. Kinexus Director of Business Solutions Jeff Hannan tells WSJM News the money will supplement the cost for more than 1,600 workers to upgrade their skills in the manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality fields.. ...Read Full Story