Local News Archives

Two Millionth Visitor At Niles Scream Park

Two million people have passed through the gates of the Niles Scream Park since it opened 45 years ago. On Sunday, guest number two million attended. It was Yessica Renteria of Plymouth, Indiana. The Niles Scream Park’s Kellie Welch tells WSJM News this has been a great year at the non-profit attraction.. ...Read Full Story

Major Opioid Legislation Passed

Congressman Fred Upton is waiting on the president to sign opioid legislation that passed the Senate this month. Upton tells WSJM News the landmark package out of the House is designed to help fight the growing opioid abuse crisis. The House approved it before going on break.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Threat Deemed A Hoax

A bomb threat reported this week at Baseline Middle School in South Haven was determined to be a hoax. The South Haven Police Department says it cleared the building of anything dangerous on Wednesday after a search. Police used bomb sniffing dogs to check the school after the threat came in around 2:30 p.m. A custodian found a note in one of the boys restrooms. It said a bomb was in the building. A several hours-long police search determined that was not in fact the case.. ...Read Full Story

Gast Investing In Benton Twp Facility

Gast Manufacturing has announced a $6 million investment in Benton Township. Cornerstone Alliance Business Development Manager Shane Kissack tells WSJM News the company, which designs and produces air-moving products, plans to add at least 30 new jobs over the next three years as it improves its existing facility.. ...Read Full Story

Officials: Still Illegal To Bring Marijuana Across The Border

From the Associated Press — U.S. officials are reminding travelers that it remains illegal to bring marijuana into the United States at border crossings despite the legalization of the drug in Canada. U.S. Customs and Border Protection representative Christopher Perry says the implementation of the new Canadian law on Wednesday thus far has had little effect on the flow of traffic along the border. Perry, CBP’s director of field operations in Michigan, talked to reporters at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, which connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario. According to Perry, U.S. border agents are asking the same kinds of questions of travelers that they did prior to the change in Canadian law, adding that agents generally will not ask routine questions about marijuana use. On Wednesday, Canada became the largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace .. ...Read Full Story

Mega Millions Jackpot At $900 Million

The Mega Millions jackpot for Friday’s drawing is now up to $900 million. The Michigan Lottery tells us the cash option for Friday will be $513 million. The $900 million jackpot is the largest ever for the Mega Millions game. If a Michigan player wins Friday, it would be the largest Mega Millions prize ever won in the state and the largest ever Michigan Lottery prize in general. In April of 2005, a Port Huron couple won $208 million playing Mega Millions. A Mega Millions ticket is $2. Your odds of getting the jackpot — 1 in more than 320 million.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Praises Tax Cuts

As next month’s elections are expected to bring a surge in voter turnout, one thing that could help Republicans is the state of the economy. September’s unemployment rate was 3.7%, the lowest it’s been since 1969. Congressman Fred Upton has some thoughts as to why. He spoke with WSJM News this week.. ...Read Full Story

Major Pokagon Construction Project Underway

Major construction is underway at the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi’s Rodgers Lake campus near Dowagiac. Pokagon Band Government Manager Jason Wesaw tells us they’re doing a major improvement project at a cost of $25 million on the Justice Center and the Pokagon Health Services building. He notes the Pokagon Tribal Police have been working out of a building not intended for law enforcement.. ...Read Full Story

Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins authors of the book Convicted; With Respect 10/17/18

John’s guests this week are the authors of the book Convicted. Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins talk over how Collins, a police detective, let his zeal for being the most effective cop get away with him and how he lied, planted evidence, which led to the wrongful convictions of 60 citizens for drugs offenses, including Jameel McGee. Both Jameel and Andrew were convicted, one wrongfully, one righteously, and spent years in prison. But more it is the story of their rebirth after their release and how they are now working together to help make things right. . ...Read Full Story

Immigration Detention Center Proposed For MI

In west Michigan, the Immigration Centers of America has proposed converting the former Deerfield Correctional Center in Ionia into a federal immigration detention center. Dennis Muchmore, who represents the Immigration Centers of America, told Michigan News Network this week it would cost about $35 million.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Discusses Income Tax Appeal Board

With a new city income tax in place, the work to ensure it’s implemented properly never ends for Benton Harbor city leaders. This week, the city commission approved the creation of an Income Tax Board of Review. City Manager Darwin Watson told commissioners it is needed to consider appeals from taxpayers of their city income tax bills. Commissioner Juanita Henry was concerned the Income Tax Board of Review could wind up with only elites serving on it.. ...Read Full Story

Assistance Animals Workshop Next Month

A workshop on the different types of assistance animals and the rules that apply to them is planned for next month in St. Joseph. Disability Network Southwest Michigan Education Coordinator Miranda Grunwell tells WSJM News there are service animals, emotional support animals, and therapy animals.. ...Read Full Story

Opioid Summit Held This Week

The national opioid crisis is being felt all over Michigan. In Washtenaw County there have 56 overdose deaths so far this year, an increase of more than 30% from a year ago. The Washtenaw County Opioid Summit this week brought together health officials and community members to discuss the epidemic. Co-chair of the Washtenaw Opioid Project Jamina Loveluck spoke with Michigan News Network about the crisis.. ...Read Full Story

Fish Virus Appears In Two MI Lakes

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the largemouth bass virus that killed hundreds of fish back in the early 2000s has been found in Cedar Lake in Alcona and Iosco counties. DNR Hatchery Manager Martha Van Amberg tells us, for the most, there is no danger to humans.. ...Read Full Story

Krasl To Unveil New Sculpting Community This Month

The Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph is getting ready to unveil its new outdoor Sculpting Community along with a brand new sculpture by Richard Hunt. The piece from the Chicago artist was shipped into St. Joseph on Monday aboard a flatbed truck, and it’s being installed at the grounds of the Krasl this week. Hunt tells WSJM News it’s about 20 feet high and 40 feet across in two stainless steel pieces.. ...Read Full Story

Voters Urged To Be Prepared

The AARP of Michigan is hoping the state’s voters will get themselves familiar with the variety of proposals set to appear on next month’s ballot before they hit the polls. Manager of Advocacy Lisa Dedden Cooper tells us Proposal 1 would legalize recreational marijuana for people ages 21 and up. Proposal 2 would amend the state constitution to create a new commission to re-draw Michigan’s legislative districts when the Census comes out every 10 years. Proposal 3 would add several voting-rights provisions to the Michigan Constitution.. ...Read Full Story

Cornerstone, Bridgman Chambers Integrating

The Greater Bridgman Chamber and Growth Alliance is integrating into the Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce. Cornerstone’s Chris Heugel tells WSJM News the Twin Cities-based chamber started helping the Bridgman chamber when its previous leader moved out of town, and over time, it made sense for the two to combine.. ...Read Full Story

Coast Guard Approves Mackinac Anchor Ban

From the Associated Press — The U.S. Coast Guard says ships can’t drop anchor in the Straits of Mackinac unless they have permission. The area between Michigan’s two peninsulas has an oil pipeline, known as Line 5, as well as electrical cables. The Coast Guard says the goal is to prevent damage to the lines from anchors. There is an exception to the no-anchor zone in case of emergency. The policy starts October 31 and covers ships that are at least 131 feet long. The rule was published October 1 in the Federal Register. The legislature is working on a similar ban. Governor Rick Snyder in May approved an emergency rule barring anchors in the waterway, after a tugboat anchor struck
oil and electrical lines and caused an insulation spill.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Warns About Deer Disease

With hunters now hitting the woods, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking them to be on the lookout for bovine tuberculosis. DNR deer biologist Ashley Autenrieth tells WSJM News bovine TB is an ailment in deer that can sometimes be spotted when a hunter is dressing a deer. They’re asked to watch out for signs.. ...Read Full Story

Resource Officer Coming To BH Schools

A finalized code of conduct at Benton Harbor Area Schools and new security procedures are close to being implemented. District CEO Robert Herrera told WSJM News after a meeting this week the new school resource officer set to be provided by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department should be in place in the next three weeks.. ...Read Full Story

Superintendents Prepare For Funding Talks

St. Joseph Public Schools Superintendent Ann Cardon is hoping to help push for a change in how schools are funded in the state. This week, she spoke to the board of education about a report from the School Finance Research Collaborative on the model used in Michigan. Cardon told WSJM News 1994’s Proposal A was supposed to establish equality for school funding, but time has shown there are several factors that are not considered.. ...Read Full Story

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Domestic Violence Coalition of Van Buren County, located in Paw Paw is ready to help. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of violence by at partner every year. Domestic Violence Coalition Executive Director “Melanie” says they take many calls.. ...Read Full Story

BH Schools Early Enrollment Numbers

The early enrollment numbers for Benton Harbor Area Schools this year are down slightly. District CEO Robert Herrera told WSJM News this week the counts are showing a loss of about 70 students from last year, which he doesn’t think is nearly as bad as it could have been. Herrera says Benton Harbor Area Schools has been trying to re-establish credibility with the parents after a rough time last year.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Schools In Good Financial Shape

The latest financial audit has found St. Joseph Public Schools to be in good shape. At a meeting this past week, the board of education was told the district in the last year spent slightly less than what it took in, with both figures around $27 million. Superintendent Ann Cardon also told WSJM News they tucked some money away for a rainy day.. ...Read Full Story

Emergency Management Training Soon

The Berrien County Office of Emergency Management is preparing to offer another round of Community Emergency Response Team training to the public. The Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, is trained to help respond to disasters in the community. The CERT program teaches people things like fire safety, search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can help others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders aren’t immediately available. Many businesses also establish their own CERT teams. The next round of classes will run from October 16 through November 6. The classes are each Tuesday, and each is three hours. The classes are free, and you can register through the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. Just click here.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Wine Center Named For Couple

Lake Michigan College has named its new wine and viticulture center in honor of a Stevensville couple who has worked to help the college complete major projects. LMC President Trevor Kubatzke tells WSJM News the Welch Center will be named in honor of Mike and Lisa Welch.. ...Read Full Story

Car-Deer Crashes Advisory

With the fall here, the Insurance Alliance of Michigan is reminding all drivers of the dangers posed by deer. The alliance’s Mark Fisk tells WSJM News deer are more active this time of year, especially at dusk and dawn. You should remember what to do if you see a deer in the road. It starts with slow down.. ...Read Full Story

Pop-Up Fundraiser In Bridgman Next Week

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is bringing a different kind of fundraiser to the Haymarket Brewery in Bridgman next week. The United Way’s Ryan Cheevers tells WSJM News they’re holding a pop-up giving event where those who attend will get to choose which local organization will get support for its project. Three are competing next Thursday for dollars.. ...Read Full Story

Group Warns Of Marijuana Legalization Dangers

When Michigan voters head to the polls next month, they’ll consider a proposal that would legalize marijuana, and one group is partnering with law enforcement to encourage the voters to just say no. Scott Greenlee with Healthy and Productive Michigan tells WSJM News one can just look to Colorado to see why legalizing marijuana is a bad idea. He says drugged driving deaths increase in recent years, noting there’s no easy way to field test a driver for pot. Speaking about the pro-legalization claim that more than $100 million in new tax revenue would be generated each year by legalizing, he notes that is a small fraction of 1% of the state budget. He also believes costs will come with legalizing marijuana.. ...Read Full Story

New Dune Area Opening To Public

From the Associated Press — A large swath of dunes and forest known as Ottawa Sands in western Michigan is opening to the public next week. MLive reports visitors to the property bordering a section of the Grand River in the Ferrysburg area will have access starting Monday to four miles of marked trails and catch-and-release fishing. Ottawa County Parks and Recreation says more features and amenities are planned. The project includes preserving a section of Lake Michigan dunes and linking nearby parks and preservation areas. County Parks Director John Scholtz says it’s “one of our more exciting land acquisitions” and has “a lot of elements.” The property was the site of an inactive sand mining operation. Included within the property is designated critical dune areas, Grand River frontage and a man-made lake.. ...Read Full Story

Schuette Admits 1989 Video “Embarrassing;” Whitmer Calls It “Uncomfortable”

An old video of Bill Schuette has surfaced that some say is creepy, and Schuette says shows what a bad sense of humor he used to have. Shot in 1989 while he was a member of the U.S. House, he’s seen smiling at a woman off-camera and making a suggestive comment as she asks him to move closer to a lamp in the video frame as she is preparing to interview him.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Fall Fest This Saturday

Set for this Saturday is the first ever Lake Michigan College Homecoming Fall Fest. LMC Intercollegiate Athletics Director Melissa Grau tells us the event will be a way to check out some Red Hawks athletic events with the Women’s Soccer team and Basketball team both with games starting at 1 p.m. There will also a variety of other activities throughout the Benton Township campus.. ...Read Full Story

COSY Collecting Care Items

Super Hits 103.7 COSY FM is once again collecting personal care items for those in need with its Project Personal Care. COSY’s Paul Layendecker tells WSJM News they’re out at the Family Dollar in South Haven all day Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday asking people to donate common hygiene items.. ...Read Full Story

Recycling Event This Weekend

The final Berrien County free household recycling event of the year will be this weekend. Environmental Property Manager Jill Adams tells us Berrien County residents will be able to drop off a variety of unwanted items this Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the Southeast Berrien County Landfill Recycling Center in Buchanan. Adams told us last month the county holds these free events several times a year to help residents clear out their basements and garages.. ...Read Full Story

County Could Contract For Medical Examiner Service

Berrien County is looking at contracting out the medical examiner’s office. That’s because current Medical Examiner Rick Johansen is stepping down from that post at the end of the year. Johansen will remain Berrien County’s medical director, and is just leaving the examiner post. County Administrator Bill Wolf told WSJM News what’s next.. ...Read Full Story

M-51 Repaving Starts Next Week

The Michigan Department of Transportation is about to begin a repaving project on M-51 from north of Niles to Dowagiac. MDOT tells us the work from Impala Drive to Pokagon Street starts Monday and will continue through Wednesday, October 24. The project will require single lane closures, so drivers who take that route should give themselves a bit of extra time. You can stay on top of all of MDOT’s construction projects at Michigan.gov/Drive.. ...Read Full Story

Thousands Of Absentee Voters Get Wrong Instructions

From the Associated Press — Thousands of absentee voters were mistakenly sent instructions on how to vote a straight-party ticket even though that’s not an option in next month’s Michigan election. The Lansing State Journal reports Meridian Township Clerk Brett Dreyfus says about 5,000 ballots were sent before the problem was discovered. Dreyfus blamed a vendor for sending incorrect instructions but acknowledged his office should have caught it before mailing absentee ballots in the Lansing-area community. The township noted the error in a posting on its website. A federal appeals court last month revived Michigan’s ban on straight-party voting . Voters must go line by line if they want to vote for candidates in partisan races. In the past, a single mark could automatically count for candidates of a single party, from governor to county commissioner.. ...Read Full Story

Study Of Notre Dame’s Economic Impact Ignores Michigan

The University of Notre Dame has an annual impact of $2.46 billion on the economy of northern Indiana. The study by Econsult Solutions, however, only looked at how Notre Dame affected Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph counties and ignored Berrien and Cass counties just over the border in Michigan. Notre Dame is credited with supporting nearly 17,000 jobs and home football game Saturdays are also big money makers for northern Indiana. Over the course of the season, Fighting Irish football fans are credited with pumping $185 million into the economy with $133 million of that on hotels, food, transportation and retail purchases. You can check out the numbers here.. ...Read Full Story

John James Slashes Stabenow’s Lead In Half In Latest US Senate Poll

Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James is riding the momentum among GOP and independent voters following the bruising confirmation battle of US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. A new poll by Mitchell Research and Communications done as that fight was ongoing shows the West Point graduate and Iraq war veteran has slashed the lead of Democratic U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in half, from 18 to 9 points. Pollster Steven Mitchell says the surge is despite this year shaping up to be a worst-case scenario for a lot of GOP candidates.. ...Read Full Story

Harvest Fest Coming Up At Cass County Park

Set for this month is the 2018 Trunk or Treat Harvest Fest at T.K. Lawless Park in Cass County. Not far from Cassopolis, the park will be the site of hayrides, face painting, zip lines, bonfires, and more on October 20. The event is organized by Cass County’s Michigan State University Extension office, and anyone who wants to sign up to have a trunk as part of the trunk or treating should give its 4H program a call. Friends of the Cass County Parks are arranging for food to be available at the park. The Harvest Fest on October 20 will run from 2 to 5 p.m. and everyone’s invited. Admission will be $1 per person, or the donation of a canned good. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

BH School Enrollment Slightly Down

The early enrollment numbers for Benton Harbor Area Schools this year are down slightly. District CEO Robert Herrera told WSJM News this week the counts are showing a loss of about 70 students from last year, which he doesn’t think is nearly as bad as it could have been. Herrera says Benton Harbor Area Schools has been trying to re-establish credibility with the parents after a rough time last year.. ...Read Full Story

Sheriff’s Department Offering Emergency Management Training

The Berrien County Office of Emergency Management is preparing to offer another round of Community Emergency Response Team training to the public. The Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, is trained to help respond to disasters in the community. The CERT program teaches people things like fire safety, search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can help others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders aren’t immediately available. Many businesses also establish their own CERT teams. The next round of classes will run from October 16 through November 6. The classes are each Tuesday, and each is three hours. The classes are free, and you can register through the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. Just click here.. ...Read Full Story

Fraternity Kicked Out Of CMU

From the Associated Press — Central Michigan University says it has kicked a fraternity out of school after many allegations of sexual misconduct and hazing and the death of a member. Vice President Steven Johnson says the allegations against Phi Sigma Phi show a “significant threat to the safety” of students. He says the university has been frustrated by witnesses who have been uncooperative or unwilling to discuss certain matters. In a statement Tuesday, Johnson says Phi Sigma Phi is “officially removed from CMU forever.” The fraternity’s national president says CMU is turning its back on students and alumni. Travis Steinke says the university wouldn’t participate in a fair investigation. A 21-year-old student from suburban Detroit was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in April. Johnson says the house was being used by Phi Sigma Phi for a
party.. ...Read Full Story