Local News Archives

Area Housing Market Remains Tight

The housing market is heating up with the warmer weather in the area. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors says existing home sales in April were up 27% from March and set a record with 297 homes sold. That figure is up 7% over last year, and year-to-date, the number of homes sold is higher than last year by 5% at 941 compared to 900. The average sales price was up 2% from April 2018, at $218,607, while the median price set a new record for April at $170,000. That was a 10% jump from last year. It remains a sellers’ market, as inventory of homes for sale is 1,484, a 5.8-month supply. The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all sales fell to 3%, the lowest it’s been at any time since 2009.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Boost Mobile Store Robbed

Benton Harbor Public Safety is looking for two men who robbed the Boost Mobile store on Pipestone this week. The department has just released information today regarding the Sunday afternoon armed robbery, which happened around 3:30 pm. One suspect had a semi automatic handgun, and they made off with several cell phones and an unknown amount of cash. Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis says this is the fourth time in four years the store has been robbed. Both men are black, one 6’1″, skinny, and wore all black with a hood covering his face. The other is 5’9″ with a medium build and was also dressed in all black but with a white scarf over his face.. ...Read Full Story

New Exhibit Compares 1950s South Haven To Present Day South Haven

A new exhibit on the history of South Haven will debut this weekend, and it’ll practically be like traveling through time. The Historical Association of South Haven’s Jim Ollgaard tells WSJM News they’ll host “Coming Home — South Haven, 1956.” Ollgaard says iconic local photographer Richard Appleyard spent a week in 1956 going around town taking photographs to preserve the memory of South Haven before the post-World War II boom changed things.. ...Read Full Story

Viticulture Field Day Next Month

Around 200 winemakers and grape growers will be in Benton Township on June 13 for the 2019 Viticulture Field Day. Organized by MSU Extension and the Lake Michigan College Viticulture Program, the event will be a full day for growers and makers to talk about improving their techniques. MSU Extension educator Michael Reinke tells WSJM News this comes after a damaging winter for southwest Michigan wine producers.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Updates Animal Ordinance

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have approved an update to the animal ordinance. At Monday’s meeting, City Manager Darwin Watson explained the ordinance amendment was intended to establish that certain kinds of farm animals aren’t allowed in city limits if they’re not being used for agriculture. However, he told commissioners this doesn’t mean the city would be going around checking homes to see what animals people have. The amendment is intended to make enforcement possible when someone complains about a disturbance.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Ring Lardner Middle School Selected For DON’T QUIT Fitness Center

Ring Lardner Middle School in Niles is one of three schools in the state picked to receive a DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center. Governor Whitmer and National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils chairman Jake Steinfeld made the announcement Wednesday, selecting the state’s most outstanding schools for demonstrating leadership in getting and keeping students fit. Along with Lardner, Burton’s Atherton Elementary and Lincoln Park Middle School in suburban Detroit were selected for the $100,000 fitness centers. Each fitness center is paid for by a public/private partnership with companies like Coca-Cola, Anthem Foundation, Wheels Up and Nike, and does not rely on taxpayer dollars or state funding. TuffStuff Fitness International provides all the fitness equipment, which is manufactured in the United States.. ...Read Full Story

Gop Frowns On, But Doesn’t Punish Amash Impeachment Call

From the Associated Press — Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy says Representative Justin Amash, the lone Republican to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, is an outlier. But neither he nor the most conservative House members are punishing the
Michigan Republican. And Amash isn’t backing down. Amash told The Associated Press Tuesday that “their pressure doesn’t have
influence” on him, adding, “I really am not concerned about what Kevin McCarthy thinks about it.” McCarthy told the AP that Amash has long voted in conflict with Republicans, including on Trump’s failed attempt to declare a national emergency to build his border wall.
Amash, a libertarian, is a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and remains a member of the group. The caucus voted to condemn his comments on impeachment, but did not oust him.. ...Read Full Story

OutCenter Preparing For Lake Effect Pride Event

The OutCenter in Benton Harbor is gearing up for its annual Lake Effect Pride event. Set for Saturday, June 8 at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Lake Effect Pride is a chance for the OutCenter to celebrate its accomplishments of the past year and also recognize allies. Director Mary Jo Schnell tells WSJM News they’ll give out their annual Ally of the Year Award, and the winner is the St. Joseph City Commission.. ...Read Full Story

Report Looks At Local And County Road Needs

The County Road Association of Michigan has released a plan for getting roads under the jurisdiction of counties back into good condition. Its “Michigan County Road Investment Plan” concludes another $2 billion in annual funding is needed for the state’s county road and bridge network. Association Director Denise Donahue tells WSJM News there isn’t often an assessment of local road needs.. ...Read Full Story

Palisades Decommissioning Might Be Sped Up Pending NRC Review Of Holtec Plans

There’s a chance the Palisades nuclear plant in Covert will be decommissioned much sooner than planned. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reviewing plans by Entergy to sell its retiring nuclear plants to Holtec, which would wrap up the cleanup and demolition of the facilities in eight years instead of 60. Entergy has already agreed to sell Palisades to Holtec after it shuts down for good in 2022. The expedited decommissioning is supported by environmental groups, nuclear watchdogs, and officials in some states, but they’re also not convinced Holtec can make good on those promises.. ...Read Full Story

Secretary Of State Benson Announces New Motorcycle Safety Initiative

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is calling on drivers to be aware of motorcycles. At an event in Grand Rapids today, says they’ve added strategies including knowing motorcyclist hand signals for turning and stopping, being on high alert on local streets and turning left and double checking blind spots to their driver education program for teens. She says they’ll be sharing those tips for everyone in a variety of ways.. ...Read Full Story

Another Area Grocery Chain Launches Home Delivery Service

Grocery delivery options are expanding in the area. Martin’s Super Market is now partnering with Instacart to offer same-day delivery from both the St. Joseph and Stevensville stores for a $3.99 fee for orders of at least $35. The grocery chain is also offering a monthly membership of $9.99 or $99 for an entire year for free and unlimited deliveries for all orders over $35. An Instacart personal shopper will pick, pack and deliver the order within the customer’s designated time frame, which can be as soon as one hour or as many as five days in advance. The ordering is done through Instacart’s app on mobile phones and tablets. Instacart also offers deliveries from Meijer, CVS, and Aldi in the area, and Roger’s Foodland offers their own delivery service. Martin’s store in Niles is not yet delivering, but the company says more stores will be added throughout the year.. ...Read Full Story

Cornerstone Alliance Issues Request For Proposals To Redevelop Farmers & Merchants Bank Bldg

There’s a lot of money and incentives being offered to redevelop the old Farmers & Merchants Bank building in downtown Benton Harbor. Cornerstone Alliance has put out a request for interested developers to submit proposals to revamp the iconic building, and the project chosen will be eligible for over $100,000 in cash an incentives. The building dates to the late 1800s, and a $250,000 facade renovation project is set to begin next month. Cornerstone Alliance recently purchased the building after it changed owners several times in recent years. The two-story building has over 12,500 square feet of available space, is zoned for commercial activity, and is just steps from both the Benton Harbor Arts District and the new mixed-use development at the Sheffield Building on Pipestone. Additionally, a $3 million renovation is planned nearby at the Harbor Center mixed-use building at the corner of Pipestone and Main streets. The deadline for developers to apply is 5 p.m. on Friday, June 14, and more information can be found here.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Man Named State’s Senior Citizen Of The Year

The state’s Senior Citizen of the Year award belongs to 76-year-old Bob Cooley of St. Joseph. He was honored last week on the lawn of the state Capitol during Older Michiganians Day by the state’s Aging and Adult Services Agency, the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging, and Consumers Energy. Cooley received a letter of congratulations from Governor Whitmer and a $1,000 check from Consumers Energy. He has been volunteering at the Marie Yeager Cancer Center since it opened in 2011 and was one of the first to sign u when Spectrum Health Lakeland put out the word of the need for people to help the nursing staff and greet patients at the information desk in the infusion center. Cooley takes three shifts a week and often fills in for others. He also volunteers at a soup kitchen, helps the Lions Club to set up an annual car show, mows public parks, and has researched and created directories to help people find their family members’ burial locations at cemeteries in Berrien County. He was nominated by Spectrum Health Lakeland’s volunteer coordinator for the award.. ...Read Full Story

Traverse City Area Public Schools Picks St. Joseph’s Ann Cardon As Superintendent

St. Joseph Public Schools superintendent Ann Cardon is the unanimous choice by the Traverse City Area Public Schools’ board to take the helm of their district. The board voted 7-0 Monday night to bring her in for the final step in the process, a “fit the district” tour on May 29. A total of 24 candidates applied for the Traverse City job, and she is the last one standing. Cardon has been superintendent of St. Joseph Public Schools since being selected to succeed Al Skibbe upon his retirement in 2012. She holds an Education Specialist degree from Grand Valley State University and has 10 years of experience as a superintendent. Cardon also has an additional 14 years of experience as a central office administrator, principal and teacher.. ...Read Full Story

Tire Clean-Up Makes A Difference

An effort to clean up tires around the city of Benton Harbor made a splash last week. At Monday’s city commission meeting, Benton Harbor Director of Public Safety Dan McGinnis said the Friday event at Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park resulted in a lot of tires being dropped off.. ...Read Full Story

Billionaire Starting Petition Drive To Reform MI Auto Insurance

From the Associated Press — Billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert is starting a ballot drive as a “failsafe” in case Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature and Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer don’t enact legislation to cut the country’s highest auto insurance premiums.
Quicken Loans vice president of government affairs Jared Fleisher said Monday that a ballot committee, Citizens for Lower Auto Insurance Rates, will be created this week. If Gilbert’s group gathers enough voter signatures, the Legislature could approve the initiative and sidestep a veto. The House and Senate have passed differing bills that Whitmer has criticized, though negotiations are ongoing. Fleisher says it’d be best if legislators and Whitmer enact a law to reduce rates by letting people opt out of mandatory unlimited medical benefits. But he
says signature-gathering must begin soon as a backup.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagons Preparing For Weekend Pow Wow

There will be a party this weekend at the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi campus in Dowagiac. Tribal council member Andy Jackson tells WSJM News they’re holding their tenth annual Memorial Day weekend pow wow. It’s smaller than the Labor Day pow pow, where the dancing is competitive. Jackson says this weekend gives the young and old a chance to learn traditional dancing.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmakers Talk Road Funding

State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan says the budget process this year is going a little slower than usual. She tells WSJM News the Michigan Senate is ahead of the House on putting together next year’s spending plan. The reason things are dragging? Roads.. ...Read Full Story

US 31 Ramp Closure This Week

The Michigan Department of Transportation is advising drivers the US-31 exit to Niles-Buchanan Road in Berrien County will be closing this week. MDOT says the ramp will be shut down this Thursday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. for some repaving work. During the closure, drivers will be detoured to exit 7 at Walton Road. You can stay on top of all MDOT construction and maintenance projects at Michigan.gov/Drive.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Area Has State’s Highest Gas Prices

Michigan’s highest gas prices are here in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph. The latest figures from AAA Michigan put the average locally at $2.92, with a statewide average of $2.87, which is up 7¢ from last week. The statewide average is lower than last year at this time, which was an even $3. The lowest prices are up north, with both Traverse City and Marquette posting averages of $2.84. As for South Haven, not included in the AAA report, GasBuddy has an average of $2.78.. ...Read Full Story

Asian Carp eDNA Found Just Miles From Lake Michigan

It appears Asian carp could be getting closer to Lake Michigan. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, environmental DNA from three bighead and three silver carp were found in Lake Calumet near the Illinois-Indiana border and just a few miles from Lake Michigan. eDNA does not necessarily mean the fish have migrated there, and could have come from boats, as it’s not clear if any of those fish were found in the lake. The discovery was announced on Friday by federal officials, just a few weeks after Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers he’s willing to move ahead with preconstruction, engineering and design work for the project at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River near Joliet. The location is a choke point where the invasive carp could be blocked from migrating toward the lake.. ...Read Full Story

AAA Memorial Day Travel Projection Released

More of us in Michigan than almost ever before are going to be taking a trip for Memorial Day. Triple-A is out with its travel projection, showing a 3.3% increase in vacationers from last year at 1.3 million. This is the seventh straight year of growth for Memorial Day travel, and the highest since 2005 when 1.5 million took a trip of at least 50 miles from home. Most will drive, at 1.1 million, but air travel is also projected to be higher by 5% compared to last year at over 70,000. The auto club says the increased number of people traveling is happening despite higher gas prices, as those are up over 30¢ in the past two months and have been flirting with the $3 per gallon mark in the state. If you’re heading toward Chicago, avoid the Windy City on Friday between 3:30 and 5:30 pm Central time, as AAA says that will be the peak of travel with three-times the number of cars on the road compared to normal.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks Drug Prices

Reducing the cost of prescription drugs is the aim of legislation approved by the U.S. House last week. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News the Orange Book Transparency Act and the Purple Book Continuity Act of 2019 are intended to require drug makers to submit information about their medications in a more timely fashion. He says the Orange Book contains detailed information about drugs as they’ve been tested and approved.. ...Read Full Story

Texting Service Offered By Berrien Treasurer

The Berrien County Treasurer’s office is starting a new text message service to let people know when their property tax payments are due. The treasurer tells us taxpayers will start getting those messages this month to remind them of their next payment. It’s in an effort to improve efficiency and reduce the use of paper for monthly invoicing. There are currently 891 Berrien County property owners in monthly payment plans to avoid foreclosure and to get caught up. The treasurer says those payment plans have a 92% success rate. Anyone who is in a payment plan is automatically enrolled in the text service.. ...Read Full Story

Donation Means New Turf For Lakeshore Stadium

Lakeshore Public Schools is receiving a sizable donation to pay for the installation of new synthetic turf at Al Stockman Stadium. The district announced this week it’s getting $410,000 from Bob and Betty Kohn of Royalton Township for the turf. Thanks to the donation, the district can get it a year earlier than planned. It had been planning to install the turf next year using sinking fund dollars. Lakeshore Athletic Director Greg Younger tells us the Kohns are big-time supporters of Lakeshore Schools. In the past, they have given the district money for the softball field, Rocket Football field, and soccer fields. In fact, the field at Al Stockman Stadium is named the Kohn-Lehmann Field in honor of the Kohns and other benefactors.. ...Read Full Story

Young Children Reading Events Coming Up

Berrien RESA is planning a couple of family reading events around the area for this coming week. RESA Director of Early Education Kerenda Applebey tells WSJM  News the Parents as Teachers Program and libraries of Berrien County are teaming up for Read Around the County. It’s for kids ages five and under. They can hear some of their favorite stories read by characters in costume on Tuesday, May 21 in Niles and Thursday, May 23 in St. Joseph.. ...Read Full Story

US-31 Open House Set For Thursday

The Michigan Department of Transportation is planning an open house this coming week for everyone to learn more about plans to finish the US-31 connection to I-94. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News they’ll get to work on the $111 million project starting next year. The plan is to make it possible to take US-31 to 94 without having to get off on Napier Avenue, as you do now.. ...Read Full Story

Three SWM communities Receiving Road Grants

Three southwest Michigan communities are receiving state grants to improve their roads. Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the road funding grants through a new Community Service Infrastructure Fund program this month. 23 grants are going out statewide, and they are all for communities with populations of less than 10,000. Among the recipients are Bloomingdale and Breedsville in Van Buren County, and Marcellus in Cass County. Breedsville is getting $38,000 for work on East Main Street, Bloomingdale is getting $154,000 for work on Miller Road, and Marcellus is getting $46,000 for work on Maple, Reed, Woodland, Wordon, Jones, Centre, Burney, and Dibble. The governor’s office says the projects were picked because they’re shovel-ready, paired with infrastructure work, coordinated with other road agencies, and focused on extending the useful life of the road. The state grants are intended to help the selected communities get to work this year. You can find out more about the projects right here.. ...Read Full Story

Driver Hurt In Crash With Semi

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a crash between a pick-up and a semi at US-12 and the US-31 bypass shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday. It says a 22-year-old Buchanan man was driving a Chevy Silverado and exiting the bypass southbound using the off ramp and driving on the edge of the gore. The pick-up hit two traffic signs and failed to stop at the intersection, striking the rear of a semi. The driver of the pick-up was ejected from the vehicle and taken to Memorial Hospital in South Bend. He’s listed in stable condition. The driver of the semi, a 27-year-old man from Dowagiac, was treated for minor injuries at the scene. The Chevy had heavy front end damage, and the semi had damage to its rear axles.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Collecting School Supplies Today

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is asking everyone to pitch in to help make sure kids have backpacks and the supplies they need for the next school year. The organization’s Julee Laurent tells WSJM News they’ll be at the Benton Harbor Walmart today looking to stuff a school bus. They’re working with Honor Credit Union and local police so the items can be distributed this summer. Laurent says you can go to the Walmart and look for the volunteers near the gardening section.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Renaissance Faire This Weekend

The second annual Niles Renaissance Faire is this weekend. It will be Saturday and Sunday at Riverfront Park South from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. The event will feature food, games, sword fighting, live music, comedians, and activities for the kids. You can also throw your friends in jail. It’s $5 for adults to get in, and $3 for kids ages 5 to 12. Younger than that get in free. Everyone is invited to join the merriment and revelry.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Aims To Protect Student Athletes From Sexual Abuse

State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan testified this week before the House Judiciary Committee in support of legislation intended to help prevent sexual assaults on college campuses and in schools. She tells WSJM News the plan would increase the number of authority figures who are required to report evidence of child abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse. It would add athletic trainers, physical therapists, and physical therapist assistants who work with K-12 and college athletes to the list.. ...Read Full Story

Buttigieg Says Roe v Wade Should Be Codified Into Law

South Bend mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is speaking out about the wave of anti-abortion laws being passed by state legislatures around the country. At the City Club in Chicago, he said writing into law the Roe v Wade landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion is an idea “that deserves to be taken seriously.”. ...Read Full Story

Trail Summit Next Month In Van Buren County

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission will hold a summit on trails in Van Buren County next month. Senior Planner Marcy Hamilton tells WSJM News the commission is putting together a seven-county trail plan for the Michigan Department of Transportation. It’s holding meetings throughout the region to get input from the public on what is needed in each county so there can be a robust, connected trail system.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Backing Red Flag Bill

Congressman Fred Upton has joined some colleagues in re-introducing legislation that would encourage states to adopt what are commonly known as “red flag” gun laws. On Thursday, Upton and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell were among the representatives to announce another attempt at the Jake Laird Act. Named after an Indianapolis, Indiana, police officer who was shot and killed in 2004 in the line of duty by a man who with mental illness, the bill provides grants to states to adopt laws similar to Indiana’s 2005 Jake Laird Law. It enables local police, with probable cause, to temporarily remove firearms from individuals who are determined to be a danger to themselves or others. Upton calls the Jake Laird Act a common sense piece of legislation that gives police “another tool in their tool box” to help protect communities.. ...Read Full Story

Auto Insurance Reform Negotiations To Continue Over Weekend

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she is open to letting drivers forgo mandatory, unlimited medical benefits covered by their auto insurance premiums but only if they are still required to buy some level of coverage. The Democrat’s change in position is seen as a potentially significant development as the Republican-led Legislature considers bills to cut the country’s highest car insurance rates.. ...Read Full Story

Two People Reported Missing In South Haven

South Haven Police are asking for help finding two people who have been missing since Tuesday night. Fifty-five-year-old Charles Morrison and 26-year-old Jasmine Morrison left their home in South Haven Township around 9:30 that night. Police say he uses a mobility scooter, is in poor health, and does not have any of his medication. They add it’s out of character for the two to leave home without contacting any family members for extended periods. They are in his tan 2005 Mercury Monterey van with a Michigan license plate of 3MBK4, which is an Army veteran plate. The van is in bad shape with a dent in the rear bumper. The two are also believed to be traveling with a small beagle/terrier mix. Anyone who knows where the two may be is urged to call South Haven Police at 269-637-5151.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagon Pow Wow Memorial Day Weekend

Set for this Memorial Day weekend is the tenth annual Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Pow Wow next weekend. The gathering in Dowagiac will feature traditional singing, dancing, and culture, and everyone is invited. The Pokagon name for the event literally translates as “we are honoring the ones we’re tied to through generations.” The grand entries for the pow wow will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, and 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 27. On both mornings, vendors will set up before the dancing starts, and the gates will open at 10 a.m. The event is considered a traditional pow wow where dancers compete before judges in different categories. The pow wow will take place at the Sink Road campus of the Pokagon band in Dowagiac.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Opposes Zero Medical Coverage Option For Drivers

From the Associated Press — Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she opposes Republicans’ proposal to let people fully opt out of mandatory medical benefits covered by their auto insurance premiums. She said Thursday that “everyone needs to buy into the system at a certain level.” She made the comments after touring an East Lansing rehabilitation facility for people with brain injuries, and as the Republican-led Legislature considers whether to send a car insurance overhaul to her desk. Whitmer says she is open to allowing motorists to forgo unlimited coverage and choose a lesser amount, but “the zero coverage option is where I have to draw the line.” She warns that could “bankrupt people,” shift cost to taxpayers and undermine hospitals’ trauma centers. Michigan is the only state to require mandatory personal injury protection, or PIP.. ...Read Full Story

Click It Or Ticket Campaign Coming Up

This coming Monday will bring the start of another Click It or Ticket campaign to make sure Michigan drivers and their passengers are using their seat belts. The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning’s Kendall Wingrove tells WSJM News officers from more than 100 police agencies will be putting in overtime starting Monday through June 2 to make sure people are being safe out on the roads. The campaign coincides with the Memorial Day weekend.. ...Read Full Story

State House Approves Paquette Resolution Declaring STEM Awareness Week

A resolution declaring this week as STEM Awareness Week in Michigan has been approved by the state House. It was introduced by Representative Brad Paquette of Niles, a former Niles High School teacher. STEM, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, stands for science, technology, engineering, and math and Paquette calls those four subjects “critical drivers” of today’s economy. STEM jobs are among the highest paying, fastest growing, and most influential for economic growth and innovation. Paquette says if students get inspired by those subjects at an early age, they’re more likely to get into those fields when they graduate. He serves as vice chair of the House Education Committee and recently voted in support of legislation to update Michigan’s curriculum standards allowing students the opportunity to learn computer science or coding.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Students Produce Inspirational Video

Some students at Benton Harbor High School have put together an inspirational music video about overcoming the adversity of a negative public image. At this week’s Benton Harbor Area Schools CEO meeting, the video for “Get Up” was premiered to the community. Student mentor Traci Burton, a graduate herself, worked with students from an after school class, Lyricism 101, at the Boys and Girls Club Teen Center to write and produce the video. She said at Tuesday’s meeting she asked the kids to make a song and video in response to negative media reports about their school.. ...Read Full Story

MI Unemployment Rate Edges Up Slightly

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 4.1% in April after six consecutive months of remaining unchanged. Figures released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget show the state’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate was half of a percentage point higher than last month’s national unemployment rate of  3.6%. In April 2018, Michigan’s jobless rate was 4.3%. Total employment grew by 7,000 during the month while the number of jobless workers increased by 4,000. The agency says the manufacturing sector saw the most pronounced monthly decline in jobs at 3,000. Director Jason Palmer of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives says total employment gains so far this year have averaged 9,800 per month and payroll jobs rose in April for a seventh consecutive month.. ...Read Full Story

PFAS Town Hall Held In Hartford

Officials from the state, county, and local levels were all present at a town hall Wednesday to update the public on the situation with PFAS recently discovered at an industrial site in Hartford. Samples from wells at the former Du-Wel Metal Products site tested for high PFAS levels when the state checked them in April. The results were learned last week, and within days, 59 residential wells near that industrial site were being tested. David Harn with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy tells WSJM News more will be known soon.. ...Read Full Story

Names Released In Fatal New Buffalo Township Crash

The name of a man killed in a New Buffalo Township crash over the weekend has been released. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us 18-year-old Raymundo Sanchez of Elkhart, Indiana was killed when a vehicle driven by a Laporte, Indiana woman struck the vehicle he was riding in head-on. The crash left three other passengers in that vehicle in critical condition. Two of them have since been upgraded to stable, but the sheriff’s department says one, 62-year-old Jose Salazar, remains in critical condition. The crash happened Saturday afternoon on M-239 south of Wilson Road. It remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Backing PFAS Legislation

Congressman Fred Upon on Wednesday addressed the House Subcommittee on the Environment and Climate Change as it discussed ways the federal government can respond to PFAS contamination in water systems around the county. Upton tells WSJM News recent experiences in Michigan have put the state at the forefront of the issue.. ...Read Full Story