Local News Archives

Upton Visits School Robotics Facility

Just a few weeks after it was dedicated, Congressman Fred Upton has paid a visit to the new robotics facility at St. Joseph High School. He stopped by the Edward J. Todd Innovation Center Monday. Upton tells WSJM News FIRST Robotics is a program that helps kids apply their science, technology, and math skills.. ...Read Full Story

Town Hall Planned At Benton Harbor Area Schools

There will be a town hall meeting on April 3 for the public to learn more about problems currently faced by Benton Harbor Area Schools. The board of education has scheduled the town hall for 6 p.m. at the high school cafeteria. There are several questions about the district’s future as declining enrollment is making its borrowing power go down. Meanwhile, the district’s cooperative agreement with the state is set to end on July 1, likely returning control of the schools back to the board of education. Everyone is welcome to attend the April 3 meeting.. ...Read Full Story

Measles Outbreak In Oakland County

State health officials are responding to a measles outbreak in Oakland County. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Angela Minicuci tells WSJM News it all started with one person who got the measles while traveling. Since then, the total number of cases as a result of the one infection is up to eight. Minicuci says Michigan also had a high rate of measles last year.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Designed To Help Prevent Suicides

State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan is a co-sponsor of legislation designed to help prevent suicides in Michigan. She tells WSJM News the proposal would create the Suicide Fatality Review Act, allowing Michigan counties to establish a review task force. Those panels would include doctors, police, mental health experts, and others who have been affected by suicide. They would look for trends and patterns locally in an effort to address the situation, and meet following a student’s suicide. Griffin’s bill exempts the local panels from Open Meetings Act laws.. ...Read Full Story

Effort To Combat Abuse Launched At Andrews University

Andrews University is rising up to fight abuse. Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Michael Nixon tells WSJM News the university hosted its first-ever Rise Up Against Abuse Rally last week, launching the Rise Up Against Abuse initiative. It’s to help people use awareness, intervention, and prevention to take action against all forms of abuse.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Girl, Family Raise $1,600 For Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

A St. Joseph girl is turning a bit of personal heartbreak last summer into something positive. Seven-year-old Devyn Whitney has a prosthetic right leg and is missing some fingers due to being born with a condition called Fibular Hemimelia, but didn’t feel like she was different from anyone else until last summer at the Krasl Art Fair according to her mom, Stephanie Watkins. Devyn noticed people staring and whispering for the first time and became upset, with her mom taking her down to the Whirlpool Compass Fountain to get away.. ...Read Full Story

Driver Killed In Bloomingdale Township Crash

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a deadly crash Thursday afternoon in Bloomingdale Township. A 57-year-old Paw Paw man was killed when his pickup went off the road on 24th Avenue west of M-40 and hit a tree. The crash happened just after noon. The driver was the only one in the truck, and he was not wearing a seat belt. The man’s name has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Senator Nesbitt Wants Auto Insurance Reforms Before June 27

State Senator Aric Nesbitt wants major changes to Michigan’s auto insurance system passed and on the desk of Governor Whitmer before lawmakers head out on their summer break at the end of June. He announced the self-imposed deadline this week in an effort to spur action after the House and Senate have tried for years to make changes. Lawmakers from both parties have said it was one of the top issues they heard about from voters during last year’s campaign, especially as more studies show Michigan’s insurance premiums are the highest in the country. To blame for that is the mandate that policies include lifetime health coverage for catastrophic injuries in crashes. Nesbitt says one of the biggest issues they’re looking at is giving drivers choices for the coverage levels they want, and adds everything is on the table. His Senate Bill 1 is pretty open-ended in order to make modifications.. ...Read Full Story

Today Is World Water Day

Michiganders plan to show their support for the right to clean drinking water with the 26th annual World Water Day on Friday. The event highlights the importance of clean drinking water across the globe. Grand Rapids Water Protectors chief Shannon Abbott tells us several battles over water are going on across Michigan, including fights against chemical contamination and keeping water affordable. Abbott notes low-income communities and people of color face the brunt of those battles.. ...Read Full Story

Lincoln Township Police Department Receives K9

A new officer is about to start at the Lincoln Township Police Department. Echo is a 1-year-old Belgian Malinois recruited to be the department’s K9, and she just arrived in the United States from Poland last week. Lincoln Township Police Chief Gary Soper tells WSJM News the department collected $30,000 from the public to get the K9. That support came in from businesses and individuals.. ...Read Full Story

Talons Out Honor Flight Announces Student Essay Contest

A student essay contest has been launched by Talons Out Honor Flight. The organization takes veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam to their memorials in Washington, D.C. for free, and the two winners of the essay contest will get to go along on the June 1 trip. Talons Out Honor Flight President Bobbie Bradley tells WSJM News the essays should be about the experiences of a World War II or Korean War vet from the student’s community.. ...Read Full Story

Police Launch Tip Line To Report Illegal Dumping In Benton Harbor

An effort is underway in Benton Harbor to crack down on the illegal dumping of trash. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety tells us discarded tires, mattresses, and other junk have become a major problem. Word went out Thursday about a new tip line that has been set up for people to report the practice. Police say the situation has gotten so bad the city has spent more than $169,000 on extra dumpsters to remove the illegally dumped material over the past three years. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety has made four arrests as part of its illegal dumping investigation since last week. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is also assisting. To report the illegal dumping of trash in Benton Harbor, call or text 269-944-7929.. ...Read Full Story

New Boating, Fishing Laws Take Effect

If you boat or fish in Michigan, some new laws go into effect today. Boaters are now required to take steps to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. That includes things like draining all water from any live wells and bilges and ensuring that the watercraft and trailer are free of all aquatic organisms, including plants.. ...Read Full Story

State House Bill Would Lower Drunk Driving Threshold

Newly introduced legislation would make Michigan the second state to lower its drunken-driving limit to a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05%. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is supporting the House bill that was proposed by Democrats Thursday. It would drop the limit to 0.05% from 0.08%, which is the limit in all other states except Utah. Utah dropped to the 0.05% threshold in December.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Price Jump Due To Variety Of Factors

You likely noticed a big jump in gas prices this week, going from $2.56 in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor on Monday to $2.71 now according to AAA Michigan. GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan says factors include crude prices being up, refineries doing spring maintenance and the turmoil in Venezuela, but the main reason is the end of the supply for relatively cheap winter blends.. ...Read Full Story

Ford Repackages Factory Investment Plan, Will Add 900 Jobs

(Dearborn, MI – AP) – Ford is repackaging a previously announced manufacturing investment in the Detroit area and now says it will spend $900 million and create 900 new jobs over the next four years. Most of the new workers will build a new generation of electric vehicle at a Ford factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, south of Detroit. It will see an $850 million investment. The company also plans a $50 million autonomous vehicle manufacturing center at an undisclosed site near Detroit that will add hardware to existing vehicles.. ...Read Full Story

Engler, AG Butt Heads Over Interview In Nasser Probe

(East Lansing, MI – AP) – A lawyer for John Engler is accusing a prosecutor of misconduct and wants her removed before the former Michigan State University president speaks to investigators. The attorney general’s office and Engler’s attorney, Seth Waxman, are in a war of words over his willingness to speak to investigators about campus changes after the Larry Nasser scandal.. ...Read Full Story

Tuition Increase At LMC

A tuition increase is coming for students at Lake Michigan College. At this week’s LMC Board of Trustees meeting, an increase of 1.5% for in-district students was approved. LMC President Trevor Kubatzke tells WSJM News the move is in response to increased operating costs.. ...Read Full Story

One Arrested For Meth In Dowagaic

A traffic stop in Dowagiac this week led to the arrest of a 34-year-old Granger, Indiana man on meth and other charges. The Dowagiac Police Department says an officer pulled over a vehicle Tuesday night for having an improper registration. There were three people in the vehicle, and one of them provided the officer with a false ID. A further check revealed the Granger man had a warrant out. Police say a K9 then searched the vehicle and found 22 grams of meth. The Granger man was arrested on multiple charges, and taken to the Cass County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

Website Lists MI Bridges And Their Conditions

The Michigan Department of Transportation has launched a new online dashboard to make information about the condition of bridges around the state known to the public. MDOT Deputy Chief Bridge Engineer Beckie Curtis tells WSJM News the site includes data on more than 11,000 bridges. It goes over the state of each.. ...Read Full Story

Shot Fired, No One Hurt In Niles Robbery

No one is hurt after a shot was fired during the robbery of the Check Into Cash store in Niles Wednesday. The Niles Police Department says a suspect walked into the store on South 11th Street shortly before 12:30 p.m. and flashed a gun. He fired off one shot, but police don’t know if it was accidental or on purpose. The suspect made off in a light-colored vehicle with an undisclosed amount of cash. Michigan State Police and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department helped in the search, but the suspect was not found. Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to contact police.. ...Read Full Story

MI House Approves Highway Designation For Aretha Franklin

From the Associated Press — In a sign of R-E-S-P-E-C-T, the Michigan Legislature is expected to honor the late Queen of Soul with a highway designation. The Michigan House voted 101-6 on Tuesday to designate a portion of M-10 in Detroit as the “Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway.” Franklin died in Detroit last year after battling pancreatic cancer. The legislation will next go to the state Senate.
Supporters say dedicating a portion of the highway is an appropriate way to honor the musical and cultural icon, who grew up in Detroit and learned the gospel fundamentals at New Bethel Baptist Church. The sponsor, Democratic Representative Leslie Love of Detroit, says Franklin was a “special lady” who fought for civil rights and “gave us all a soundtrack to our lives.”. ...Read Full Story

Father Charged For Teen’s 2017 Overdose Death

A Bangor man is facing a pair of felony charges for the drug overdose death of his 16-year-old son in 2017. Forty-eight-year-old Gary Birkhead was arraigned Wednesday in Van Buren County on a homicide-involuntary manslaughter charge and a count of second-degree child abuse connected to the death on August 13, 2017 of Cole Birkhead. The teen from Hartford died at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo of an overdose, though Michigan State Police and the Van Buren County Prosecutor’s office have not revealed which drug it was. Gary Birkhead was arrested on Tuesday following the lengthy investigation, which MSP says remains open.. ...Read Full Story

House OKs Subjecting Governor, Legislature To Records Requests

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s lawmakers and governor would be subject to public-records requests under bills moving forward in the Legislature. The House voted unanimously Tuesday for a package that aims to end Michigan’s status as one of just two states to fully exempt the Legislature and governor’s office from Freedom of Information Act requests. The legislation goes to the Senate for consideration next. Information such as communications with constituents could be exempt from disclosure. Similar bills passed the House in recent years only to die in the Senate. One of the sponsors, Republican Rep. Daire Rendon of Lake City, says “people deserve to see what we’re doing so that they can hold us accountable.”. ...Read Full Story

Mayor Delivers State Of The City Address

Benton Harbor is building forward. That was the message of Mayor Marcus Muhammad as he delivered his annual State of the City address Tuesday. Speaking at the Benton Harbor Public Library, Muhammad said the city has come a long way since being under state control, pointing to five years of positive fund balances.. ...Read Full Story