Local News Archives

Upton Campaign Announces Debates, Forums

Dr. Matt Longjohn had sought six debates with Congressman Fred Upton ahead of the November election, but the incumbent Republican from St. Joseph has so far agreed to just two. Those will both be in mid-October in Kalamazoo on WWMT NewsChannel 3 and on AM 590 WKZO radio. Upton’s camp tells us he will take part in two forums in Berrien County on October 8 hosted by several educational groups and October 18 in South Haven, hosted by the American Association of University Women of Michigan. He will also be on ABC 57’s “Your Voice Your Vote” series on September 11 and NPR affiliate WMUK in Kalamazoo on September 19. Upton has already taken part in Grand Rapids PBS affiliate WGVU’s “Decision 2018” series.. ...Read Full Story

Huge Donation To MSU

Michigan State University has accepted a huge donation from real estate developer Edward J. Minskoff, a 1962 graduate of the school. MSU interim president John Engler says the university’s business school pavilion will bear his name.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead In Allegan County Fire

From the Associated Press — Police in Allegan County say a woman has been found dead after potential rescuers were unable to enter her burning home. The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department says the woman was unable to exit the home after it caught fire about 10 a.m. Thursday. It says a deputy and a neighbor tried to enter the home to rescue her but were driven back by smoke and fire. The department says the woman was found dead after the fire was extinguished. Her name hasn’t been released. The cause of the fire hasn’t yet been determined.. ...Read Full Story

Democrats Slam Wage Move

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon says Republicans in the Michigan Legislature are making a mistake by planning to gut a proposal to raise the minimum wage. The legislature on Wednesday approved the ballot measure to make the minimum wage $12 per hour and require paid sick time. Dillon told Michael Patrick Shiels this week he’s not fooled.. ...Read Full Story

“Rake A Difference” Day Coming Up

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is now signing up volunteers for its annual “Rake a Difference” Day of Action for Seniors. The organization’s Julee Laurent tells WSJM News that’s the day when hundreds of volunteers fan out across Berrien and Cass counties to rake leaves and clean gutters for senior citizens.. ...Read Full Story

Democrats Take Issue With Schuette’s Non-Stance On ACA Lawsuit

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is being criticized by Democrats for not taking a stand on a lawsuit brought by 20 Republican attorneys general and the governors of Maine and Missouri against the federal government over the Affordable Care Act. The suit, Texas v. United States, is seeking a preliminary injunction to shut down the ACA until courts decide if the individual mandate that requires everyone have health insurance is constitutional.. ...Read Full Story

U.S. House Subcommittee Discusses PFAS Contamination

A U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee panel is diving into drinking water issues regarding the suspected carcinogen PFAS. Congressman Fred Upton joined the Subcommittee on Environment for the hearing Thursday and outlined the situation in the city of Parchment and Cooper Township in Kalamazoo County this summer when extremely high levels of PFAS were discovered in the drinking water.. ...Read Full Story

Amway Co-Founder, GR Philanthropist Richard DeVos Dies At 92

A west Michigan business titan has died. Richard DeVos, the co-founder of Amway, owner of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, and father-in-law of U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, was 92. A family spokesman says he died at his home in Ada, just east of Grand Rapids. The cause of his death Thursday was complications from an infection. DeVos was preceded in death by his wife, Helen, last October. They had four children, 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His name is on several buildings in the Grand Rapids area, including DeVos Performance Hall and Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus. He and Jay Van Andel created Amway in their basements in 1959. His son, Dick DeVos, ran unsuccessfully for governor of Michigan in 2006 and the family is very involved in supporting Republican political candidates and conservative causes.. ...Read Full Story

Law Enforcement Torch Runs

Hundreds of law enforcement officers from all over Michigan will be taking part in torch runs for the Special Olympics starting this weekend. Special Olympics spokesperson Aaron Mills tells WSJM News the organization is the official non-profit of police throughout the state, receiving more than $1 million each year thanks to law enforcement fundraisers. The torch runs are part of those efforts.. ...Read Full Story

Hagar Twp Dune Tour Saturday

Preserve the Dunes is offering a special tour of a Berrien County lakeshore park this weekend. President Marcy Hamilton tells WSJM News an expert from the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy will present information on the environment on this Saturday’s tour of Hagar Township Park and Beach.. ...Read Full Story

New Health Clinic Coming To Niles

Ground will be broken next week on a new health clinic in Niles. The Cassopolis Family Clinic Network tells us the new $8.5 million Niles Community Health Center will be 31,500 square feet with more than 20 exam rooms. It’ll be located at the site of the former Eastgate Shopping Plaza on Oak Street. The new Niles Community Health Center will replace a smaller facility located on St. Joseph Street. The new location is expected to double the current capacity. It will offer physician services, OBGYN services, and behavioral health. The ground breaking will be next Wednesday at 9 a.m. It’s hoped the new clinic will be up and running in the fall of 2019.. ...Read Full Story

Child Murder Under Investigation

Michigan State Police are investigating the murder of a child in Van Buren County. They tell us troopers out of the Paw Paw post were sent to a home in Almena Township on Tuesday on a report of a child not breathing. There, they learned the three-year-old girl had been with her step mother when she was found unresponsive. 31-year-old Kate George of Paw Paw is now charged with felony murder based on torture and first degree child abuse in the death of the three-year-old. The Michigan State Police Crime Lab was on scene at the home until the early morning hours of Wednesday as part of the investigation, and George was arraigned on Wednesday. There were two other children in the home who were removed by Child Protective Services, and they’re described as being in good health. State police say the investigation continues.. ...Read Full Story

Street Rebuild Planned For Benton Harbor

The city of Benton Harbor is going to repave the streets surrounding a housing project this year. Community and Economic Development Director Stephanie Scott-Sims tells WSJM News Buss Avenue and Sickle Street in the area of what’s commonly known as the Buss Project will be rebuilt. This project using HUD Community Development Block Grant funding is years in the making.. ...Read Full Story

Five Area Road Projects Could Be Stopped By Lockout

The lockout of some 2,000 union road construction workers is likely to impact several projects in southwest Michigan. The Michigan Department of Transportation tells WSJM News the labor stoppage initiated by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, or MITA, might shut down three projects on I-94. Two are in Berrien County with one being repaving between Three Oaks Road and Red Arrow Highway and the other being a repaving from M-239 and Kruger Road. In Van Buren County, work is halted on a repaving of I-94 west of County Road 365. The two other projects that are stopped are on US-12 in Edwardsburg in Cass County and M-40 south of M-60 along Bair Lake. MITA locked out the union engineers on Tuesday as their contract had expired in June. Both sides blame each other, and MDOT officials say they’re caught in the middle. Department spokesman Nick Schirripa tells us they don’t know yet what the local impact will be.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Talks MSU And Sex Abuse

The impact of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal that rocked Michigan State University is being felt at all of the state’s public universities. State Representative Kim LaSata of Berrien County chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education. She says the budget for higher education for the next fiscal year expands Title IX oversight.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Hears About Home Rehab Program

There’s plenty going on lately at the Benton Harbor Community Development Department. This week, city commissioners learned more about the HUD-funded home rehabilitation program, now back in action. Community Development Director Stephanie Scott-Sims told them it pays for home repairs for low and moderate income property owners.. ...Read Full Story

Minimum Wage Group Vows Fight

From the Associated Press — Organizers of a ballot initiative that would raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $12 an hour say they will sue if the Republican-led Legislature adopts the proposal but then weakens it later in the year. One Fair Wage lawyer Mark Brewer said Tuesday at a Capitol news conference that the move would be unconstitutional. He says lawmakers can only adopt the measure _ making it law _ or reject it, in which case it would go on the November ballot. Legislators also could propose an alternative to appear on the ballot alongside the proposal. The Legislature returns Wednesday from a summer break. Republicans are expected to discuss using the unprecedented strategy for both the minimum wage initiative and a separate citizens’ initiative that would require employers to provide paid sick leave.. ...Read Full Story

Mental Health Crisis Training This Month

Police officers from all over Michigan will be in New Buffalo this month for training on mental health crisis intervention. Riverwood Center Jail Diversion Supervisor Gretchen Carlson tells WSJM News the training teach those who work with the criminal justice system on how to handle situations involving the mentally ill.. ...Read Full Story

Thousands Take Part In Labor Day Bridge Walk

From the Associated Press — Tens of thousands of people participated in the traditional Labor Day walk across the Mackinac Bridge. Organizers made changes to the 61st annual event and allowed to begin from either end of the bridge connecting Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas. Participants could turn around after 21/2 miles or make a full 10-mile lap between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. Axel Anderson of Linden, Michigan, said he had made the bridge crossing at least 25 times and was looking forward to a “fun challenge” and doing the full double crossing. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder led walkers onto the bridge for his final time as governor. Snyder says he beat his previous best time by crossing the bridge in just over 54 minutes. Organizers estimated at least 25,000 people took part Monday.. ...Read Full Story

Lightning Eyed As Cause Of Dowagiac House Fire

A family’s home in Dowagiac is badly damaged after a fire ripped through it Monday night. Dowagiac Deputy Fire Chief Robert Smith says lightning may be to blame for starting the blaze in the 200 block of Bradley Street. The family had just moved in a few days earlier and were not home when it happened. Firefighters were called to the home just after 9 p.m. and found the flames shooting out of three sides of the second floor and the attic. Neighbors called 9-1-1 after seeing smoke coming out the windows, but investigators believe it had been burning for awhile before being noticed. The homeowner was not insured.. ...Read Full Story

2,000 Road Workers Locked Out In Contract Dispute

Some road projects underway in Michigan are coming to a halt today because of a labor dispute between the construction companies and the labor groups that do the work. But, it’s a lockout and not a strike. The Michigan Infrastructure Transportation Association, MITA, calls it a “defensive lockout” and blames Operating Engineers Local 324 for having to take the action. Union spokesman Dan McKernan says it didn’t have to happen.. ...Read Full Story

Study Looks At LMC Economic Impact

The Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees this week heard the results of an economic impact study on the college. Susan Hackett, a consultant with EMSI, a labor market analysis firm, said a look at 2016 and 2017 data for southwest Michigan showed LMC resulted in added regional income of more than $170 million when you consider the higher earnings for graduates, ripple effects, and direct employees. Hacket told WSJM News there are also the “social savings” of having a college.. ...Read Full Story

Al-Van Humane Society Golf Outing Planned

The Al-Van Humane Society is now selling tickets for its big Par for Paws Fundraiser. The event will be held next Sunday. The golf event is set to include a 1 p.m. shotgun start, followed by a dinner and awards. Teams of four can register, or singles and doubles can be added to other teams for play. The cost is $90 per person or $360 for a team of four. The day includes 18 holes of golf, a cart, dinner, and access to some prizes. All of the money raised goes to the Al-Van Humane Society, the no-kill animal shelter in South Haven. You can find out more at Al-Van.org.. ...Read Full Story

Voters To Consider Gerrymandering Proposal

Katy Fahey started the Voters Not Politicians anti-gerrymandering ballot initiative on Facebook, attracted thousands of volunteers and then also beat a legal challenge from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce to get it on the November ballot. If voters approve it, Fahey says one political party will no longer be able to draw political districts that give their party an unfair advantage.. ...Read Full Story

Police School Safety Reminder

With students in most Michigan school districts heading back to school this week, Michigan State Police are reminding everyone to take extra steps to be safe. MSP Trooper Kellie Shaffer with the Paw Paw post tells WSJM News kids who walk to school or the bus stop need to be reminded of the few things by their parents.. ...Read Full Story

Indiana Woman Killed In Drunk Driving Crash In Van Buren County

Charges are pending against a 21-year-old Detroit man for a deadly single-car crash in Van Buren County over Labor Day weekend. The sheriff’s department says he crashed a 2016 Chevy Malibu around 8:30 Sunday evening in Waverly Township when he went off the road and crashed into a ditch on 28th Avenue west of 44th Street. She was trapped in the car, unconscious and bleeding heavily when first responders arrived. She was airlifted to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, where she died from those injuries. Police don’t believe she was wearing a seat belt. The driver’s blood-alcohol level has not been released, and no names have yet been made public.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Road Commission Trying Millage Again

Van Buren County voters will be asked again in November to approve a local road millage request. Road Commission Engineer-Manager Larry Hummel tells us they made a slight change to the language in the question to clarify that the money collected by each local government will stay there if approved. They’re seeking an additional three mills for 12 years.. ...Read Full Story

Honor Flight This Month

Set for September 15 is the next Talons Out Honor Flight. Talons Out is an organization that provides free trips to Washington, D.C. for veterans of the Korean War and World War II so they can see their war memorials. The group’s Bobbie Bradley tells WSJM News they’ve been doing this since 2013.. ...Read Full Story

State: Get The Flu Shot Now

This is a good time to start planning to get a flu vaccine. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Bob Wheaton tells WSJM News it may seem a bit early, but a recent rash of flu cases stemming from a mail carriers conference in Grand Rapids shows the flu can become a problem anytime. He says the flu vaccine is widely available.. ...Read Full Story

State Facing Teacher Shortage

It’s not just nursing and skilled trades in Michigan where there is a shortage of new, qualified people coming into the field. School administrators around the state say they’re feeling the pinch, too, as there aren’t as many new teachers coming out of college as there were a decade ago. Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Michael Rice tells WKZO News there is a shortage in several areas, most notably math and science.. ...Read Full Story

Five Rescued On Paw Paw River

Five people ranging in age from 14 to 69 are safe after a water rescue on the Paw Paw River in Watervliet. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Marine Division was sent to the area along with several other law enforcement agencies just after 2:30 Sunday afternoon on a report of two missing tubers. During the search, they came across three kayakers and tubers who needed to be rescued because they had fallen out of their kayak and tubes. The first responders also found the missing tubers, who were 14 and 15 from Kalamazoo, and reunited them with their parents. The other three were a 46-year-old Chicago man along with a 67-year-old woman and a 69-year-old man, both from Eau Claire. A North Berrien Fire Department first responder overturned in a kayak during the rescue, but was able to get out of the water on his own.. ...Read Full Story

Website Shares Traffic Information

The Michigan Department of Transportation continues to roll out traffic cameras along highways across the state. A glance at Michigan.gov/Drive will show you clusters of traffic cams all over heavily driven areas. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News some cameras were taken down for a while.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Construction Update

Buildings at Lake Michigan College will soon look a lot different as $40 million in construction is underway right now at the Benton Township campus. LMC Director of Facilities Sara VanderVeen tells WSJM News they’re just now wrapping up phase one of a $33 million renovation project at the main building.. ...Read Full Story

Red Arrow Reconstruction Starts This Month

You may have noticed that Red Arrow Highway is not in the best shape south of Bridgman in Berrien County, and at least part of that is about to change. Berrien County Road Department Director Jason Latham tells WSJM News they’re going to reconstruct two miles of Red Arrow Highway, from the south end of Bridgman to Browntown Road, starting just after Labor Day.. ...Read Full Story

Future Farmers Learn Commodity Risks

As county fairs are held around Michigan this summer, young future farmers have been receiving a lesson in risk management through a program of the CME Group. The company has teamed up with 4H chapters across the country for the past six years to offer its Commodity Carnival at fairs. CME Group’s Tim Andriesen tells WSJM News the carnival allows young people to simulate raising hogs by having them take part in a game in which they raise small eggs that represent livestock and weigh the costs versus revenue. The lesson they hope to teach?. ...Read Full Story

LMC Acquires WMU Building

The former Western Michigan University building at the Benton Township campus of Lake Michigan College is now the Edward J. Todd Center at LMC. A dedication for the recently-acquired building was held this past Tuesday. LMC President Trevor Kubatzke told WSJM News the building will house several college programs.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagon Pow Wow Starts Today

The 33rd annual Pokagon Band of Potawatomi “Kee-Boon Mein-Kaa” Pow Wow will be this Saturday and Sunday. The tribe’s Trish Williams tells WSJM News the event is a way to celebrate the Pokagon culture, and everyone is welcome to attend.. ...Read Full Story

Scream Park Preview Coming Up

The Niles Scream Park is gearing up for another spooky season. The park’s Aaron Smith tells WSJM News they’re putting the finishing touches on the displays and will show them off with a sneak peak party next Friday. You can get tickets for free by performing a good deed.. ...Read Full Story

Hearing On PFAS Contamination Next Week

Governor Rick Snyder is applauding an announcement this week that the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Environment has scheduled a hearing on PFAS contamination in water systems. The subcommittee will learn about the situation in Parchment this summer, hearing from the head of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team. The governor says the “emerging contaminants known as PFAS are a national concern and need a national spotlight to be addressed appropriately.” Congressman Fred Upton tells us the hearing will be next week, and he believes it will start the process of ensuring the problems of Parchment won’t be experienced again. He says he’s working on legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to publish drinking water regulations for PFAS nationwide. About 3,000 residents of the Parchment area in Kalamazoo County were unable to drink their local water for weeks this summer when high levels of the carcinogen PFAS were found in the system. Parchment is now getting its water from the city of Kalamazoo.. ...Read Full Story

Sheriff To Talk Immigration In Washington

Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey will be in Washington, D.C. next week to take part in a conference on immigration. As president of the Michigan Sheriff’s Association, Bailey will be Michigan’s representative among the 50 sheriffs who will meet with the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and members of Congress. Bailey tells WSJM News he has a couple of goals.. ...Read Full Story

Nurse Pleads To Tampering With Valium

From the Associated Press — A nurse who took Valium for her own use and diluted the medicine for others has pleaded guilty to tampering with a consumer product. The Grand Rapids Press says Kristie Ann Mollohan of Kalamazoo pleaded guilty
Thursday in federal court. Police say she was a home-health nurse in 2016 when a 4-year-old boy in her care died of seizures after his medication was diluted. But prosecutors acknowledged that they can’t prove Mollohan’s conduct resulted in the death.
She admits removing liquid Valium, also known as diazepam, from three patients. The medicine was supposed to be used to suppress their seizures. Mollohan told investigators that she diverted the drug because she was depressed about family problems.. ...Read Full Story

Lognjohn Gets Warren Endorsement

Democratic congressional candidate in the Sixth District Matt Longjohn has received the endorsement of Senator Elizabeth Warren as he seeks to unseat Congressman Fred Upton. In a Facebook post this week, Longjohn’s campaign said he’s proud to have the backing of the Democratic senator from Massachusetts. Warren says Longjohn, a physician, “has a proven record of putting people first.” Longjohn is making healthcare a major focus of his campaign. Warren writes he’ll “never stop fighting until families in Michigan have access to affordable healthcare and prescription drugs.”. ...Read Full Story

Major Crystal Meth Bust In Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo, Phoenix

Federal officials are charging 18 people with drug counts after a 14-month investigation into crystal meth dealing in southwest Michigan. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Grand Rapids says drugs were sent through the mail, and authorities made nine undercover drug buys of almost two pounds of the drug. Search warrants were executed in Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo and Phoenix, Arizona. Nearly 17 pounds of crystal meth was seized during the investigation along with five guns. Eight suspects are from Benton Harbor, eight are from Kalamazoo, and the other two are from Atlanta, Georgia and Phoenix. One remains on the loose, and the FBI is asking for the public’s help finding 26-year-old Scotty Deandre-Marcus Campbell of Benton Harbor.. ...Read Full Story

Seven Hurt In Crash Near Edwardsburg

Seven people are recovering from injuries in a crash near Edwardsburg. It happened just after 5 p.m. Thursday in Milton Township at the intersection of US 12 and Beebe Road in Cass County, and one person had to be airlifted to a hospital. Police also had to extricate one person.. ...Read Full Story

Business Groups Back Environmental Cleanup Plan

From the Associated Press — Key business groups are backing Governor Rick Snyder’s proposed fee hikes to pay for environmental cleanup and water infrastructure needs across Michigan. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Farm Bureau joined the Republican governor at a news conference Thursday to support the $179 million plan, which he first unveiled earlier this year. Snyder wants the GOP-led Legislature to pass the new or increased fees before he leaves office. The plan would raise the landfill dumping fee, costing households no more than $3.99 more per year. Snyder says Michigan’s fee is lowest in the Great Lakes region and would remain below the regional average after being increased. The new fee would replace a bond issue approved by voters that generated $675 million but is expected to dry up.. ...Read Full Story

Small I&M Rate Cut Coming

A small rate cut is coming soon to customers of Indiana Michigan Power. I&M spokesperson Tracy Warner tells WSJM News the Michigan Public Service Commission has approved bill credits totaling $8.7 million for Michigan customers. The bill credit is a result of the federal corporate tax cut approved last year. Warner says the savings are being passed down to customers.. ...Read Full Story

Land Auction Next Month

Things are coming together for the next Berrien County land auction. Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News there will be auction of foreclosed properties September 18 at the DANK. Up for grabs will be exclusively vacant properties.. ...Read Full Story

NCAA Clears MSU Of Rule Violations

From the Associated Press — Michigan State University says the NCAA has cleared it of any rules violations in the Larry Nassar sexual-assault scandal. Athletic director Bill Beekman says the university “cooperated fully with the inquiry” and welcomes the NCAA’s conclusion. The school says it got a letter this week from the NCAA’s vice president for enforcement, Jonathan Duncan.
Nassar pleaded guilty to assaulting girls and women while working as a campus sports doctor for Michigan State athletes and gymnasts in the region. Separately, the university says the NCAA found no violations in how the football and basketball teams responded to assault allegations against players. Beekman’s statement was released Thursday, the same day former gymnastics
coach Kathie Klages appeared in court . She’s charged with lying to investigators about complaints about Nassar. Her attorney says she’ll fight the charges.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Back To School Reminder

With students in most Michigan school districts heading back to school next week, Michigan State Police are reminding everyone to take extra steps to be safe. MSP Trooper Kellie Shaffer with the Paw Paw post tells WSJM News kids who walk to school or the bus stop need to be reminded of the few things by their parents.. ...Read Full Story

Amber Alert Suspect Arrested Near Sturgis

A 37-year-old man is in police custody in Sturgis after triggering an Amber Alert overnight when police say he abducted his three children. Fernando Cruz was arrested this morning after a standoff near Sturgis. The three kids, ages 2, 4, and 5, were found safe. Police believe Cruz crossed into Indiana before being arrested back in southern Michigan. Sturgis Public Safety Chief Geoff Smith called Cruz and convinced him to surrender peacefully this morning. He was believed to be armed, and police were called to the home of the children’s mother after Cruz allegedly assaulted her and took off with the kids.. ...Read Full Story

Tornadoes Confirmed In Michigan This Week

From the Associated Press — The National Weather Service has confirmed two weak tornadoes struck northern Michigan.
It says a brief twister rated EF-1 with estimated peak winds of 100 mph Tuesday night damaged two homes near West Branch in Ogemaw County. The other rated EF-0 with estimated peak winds of 80 mph mainly damaged trees near Alba in Antrim
County. The National Weather Service says Tuesday night’s storms dumped up to 3 inches of rain in the Grand Rapids area. The Muskegon area has received 8 to 10 inches of rain since Sunday. Consumers Energy says more than 80,000 customers remained without power Tuesday afternoon and some might not get have it restored until late Friday. Separately, Great Lakes Energy reported 25,000 outages.. ...Read Full Story