Local News Archives

House Bills Would Increase Illegal Dumping Penalties

Illegal dumping has become a serious concern across the state, as we’ve seen in Benton Harbor with a renewed effort to crack down on the problem. State Representative Cynthia Johnson of Detroit has submitted two bills to increase penalties on those who dump, especially those who don’t live in the neighborhoods. The current punishment is a fine of up to $500 and 90 days in jail for a first offense. Johnson’s bills would raise the fine to $2,500 for the first offense and extend the sentence to up to one year.. ...Read Full Story

Suspects Sought For Vandalizing Graves Of President Ford, First Lady Betty Ford

An investigation is underway into vandalism on the graves of President Gerald R. Ford and First Lady Betty Ford. Grand Rapids police have released surveillance images of two people seen defacing the graves on the property of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum on March 27. One is a heavyset white man with short brown hair, sideburns, and scruffy facial hair who was wearing a black hoodie, grey pants and yellow Nike shoes. The other appears to be a white woman with shoulder-length brown hair who wore a red and black shirt or jacket, black jeans and black Converse Chuck Taylor shoes. GRPD says the two are wanted for larceny of U.S. Government Property. President Ford died on December 26, 2006 and Betty Ford died July 8, 2011. He is the only President from Michigan and the only one to serve having never been elected President or Vice President.. ...Read Full Story

Man Who Died After Driving Into Cedar Lake In Marcellus Identified

The death of a 59-year-old Lawton man who drove his Hyundai into Cedar Lake in Marcellus is under investigation. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department has identified him as John Catalino, who was found shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday inside his car, about 20 yards offshore. A witness saw Catalino drive into the lake backwards, and then called 911 after watching the car sink. A wrecker driver and Lawton fire fighters used a nearby boat to pull the man out of the vehicle before the county’s dive team arrived to help remove the car from the lake.. ...Read Full Story

UWSM, Kinexus Land On List Of Nation’s Best Nonprofits To Work For

Two area nonprofits are being recognized for being among the best such organizations to work for in the country. Kinexus Group is 29th on the list put out by “The NonProfit Times,” and the United Way of Southwest Michigan is 14th. This is the third straight year Kinexus has been on the list of the top 50 nonprofits for which to work. The list is dominated by small organizations with between 15 and 49 employees and medium-sized outfits employing between 50 and 249 people. The United Way notes 18 small organizations like theirs are in the top 50. UWSM is the highest-ranking Michigan organization, while NOWCC Incorporated of Arlington, Virginia is at the top. A Lansing nonprofit is the only other from Michigan included, with Cinnaire ranked 31st.. ...Read Full Story

High Prices, Interest Rates Push Auto Sales Down

From the Associated Press — Automobile sales in the U.S. fell 2% in the first quarter, another sign the nation’s economy is starting to slow.
Automakers sold just over 4 million vehicles from January through March. Industry analysts blame the drop on rising vehicle prices, competition from late-model used vehicles, and relatively high interest rates. Weak sales of cars, harsh winter weather and the partial government shutdown also had an impact. Edmunds.com analyst Jeremy Acevedo says new vehicle sales are past their peak. He says that with prices on the rise, interest rates at post-recession peaks and leases growing in cost, the U.S. auto market is under pressure. Most analysts are predicting sales of around 16.9 million this year, still strong but down from last year’s 17.27 million. Sales peaked in 2016 at 17.55 million.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Graduating 101 New Troopers

The 135th Trooper Recruit School of the Michigan State Police will hold its graduation on Wednesday. That means 101 new MSP recruits will be sent out to posts throughout Michigan, including five coming to the Niles post. First Lieutenant Mike Dawson, the post commander in Niles, tells WSJM News it’s good to get them.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Prescribed Burn Season Starts

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources started doing some prescribed burns on state lands this week. DNR Fire Superintendent Dan Laux tells WSJM News the DNR burn season lasts throughout the spring, and there are more burns in the fall. He says those controlled fires are designed to help forests grow and native species thrive.. ...Read Full Story