Local News Archives

Ford Investigating Whether Gas Mileage Was Overstated

From the Associated Press — Ford says it has launched an investigation into whether a flawed mathematical model caused it to overstate gas mileage and understate pollution from a wide range of vehicles. The company says a group of employees reported possible problems with the model in September. It has hired an outside firm to test the 2019 Ford Ranger. If problems are found, then Ford will start looking at models going back to 2017. Ford says it has no evidence yet that mileage or pollution numbers are wrong, but the investigation has just started. The company says it’s too early to tell how many and which models might be involved. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California regulators have been informed about the situation, according to the automaker.. ...Read Full Story

No-Reason Absentee Voting Now Allowed

From the Associated Press — Michigan voters can start casting an absentee ballot without giving a reason. Thursday is the first day residents can request to vote by mail in the May election. It is the first election since voters last fall approved no-reason absentee voting as part of a ballot initiative. Previously, absentee voters had to be at least 60 years old, be out of town when the polls are open or be unable to vote on Election Day due to a physical disability, religious tenets or incarceration. Requests for an absent voter ballot can be submitted in writing to the local city or township clerk. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Flint Township Clerk Kathy Funk are holding a news conference Thursday to welcome the new era of no-reason absentee voting.. ...Read Full Story

County To Seek Waterway Grant For St. Joseph River

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has agreed to pursue a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Waterways Grant to develop four public access points along the St. Joseph River in St. Joe and Benton Harbor. Cornerstone Alliance President Rob Cleveland tells WSJM News the idea is to spend about $350,000 on new infrastructure so the river can be used for travel by anyone.. ...Read Full Story

Cassopolis Residents Charged In Death Of Girl

Two Cassopolis residents are facing charges in the meth-related death of a 10-year-old girl in northern Indiana. Prosecutors say the girl and her 9-year-old sibling were taken to an Elkhart home last June by 34-year-old Brandon Hobbs and his 30-year-old girlfriend, Erica Reschke. Hobbs is the father of the children. The 10-year-old girl died at the home as a result of methamphetamine ingestion. Toxicology tests revealed high levels of the drug in her body. Hobbs and Reschke are now charged with neglect of a dependent, and Reschke is also charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death. Their trial is scheduled to start May 6 in Goshen.. ...Read Full Story

Attorney General: Church Sex Abuse Investigation Could Take Years

From the Associated Press — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says an investigation into possible sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Michigan may last two years, and she has asked the state’s seven dioceses to suspend their own internal review processes until the probe is complete. She said Thursday there ultimately could be more than 1,000 victims, and there are hundreds of thousands of pages of documents to review. Nessel’s predecessor last year opened an investigation after a Pennsylvania grand jury report said more than 1,000 children had been molested there since the 1940s. The Archdiocese of Detroit says Nessel has not asked it to stop its internal review process, which it says is used to restrict or remove from ministry anyone who has committed sex abuse.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Waives Old Property Fees

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have opted to give a break to some property owners, along with the city’s own assessment department. At Tuesday’s meeting, the commission narrowly approved a request from City Manager Darwin Watson to waive some old fees faced by property owners who did not file paperwork with the assessor in a timely fashion when their property changed hands. Watson said there are a large number of fees going back years in those cases.. ...Read Full Story

Trial Date Set In Murder Of Army Sgt In St. Joseph Township

The murder trial for the widow of US Army Sergeant Tyrone Hassel III and her lover will start April 30 in St. Joseph. Kemia Hassel is accused of using Snapchat to plan her husband’s murder and sending boyfriend Jeremy Cuellar to St. Joseph Township while they were all on leave over the New Year’s holiday to carry out the killing. Army Specialist Jaquan Hamilton testified yesterday that Cuellar admitted to the crime.. ...Read Full Story

Vail Rubber Works Announces Royalton Township Expansion

Vail Rubber Works is set for an expansion in Royalton Township. The St. Joseph manufacturing firm is planning to build a 58,000 square foot production facility on 30-acres it owns at the southwest corner of Hollywood Road and Glenlord Avenue near Rogers Foodland. Pearson Construction will handle the build, and Vail is partnering with Abonmarche for the development. Construction will start this spring and is expected to be complete early next year. The expansion will create about 10 new jobs, and Vail will continue to operate its facility on Langley Avenue near downtown St. Joseph along with another near Mobile, Alabama. The family-owned company was founded in 1892.. ...Read Full Story

Democratic Group Put Upton On Retirement List

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has placed Congressman Fred Upton on its retirement watch list for 2020. The committee, which bills itself as “the official campaign arm of the Democrats in the House of Representatives,” said Tuesday many House Republicans “are slowly coming to the realization that life in the minority, with no end in sight, just isn’t worth the hassle.” It says it won’t be surprised if Upton winds up among them. WSJM News asked Congressman Upton if he had a comment.. ...Read Full Story