Local News Archives

Upton, Colleagues Announce Legislation to Prevent College Sex Assaults

New legislation in the U.S. House and Senate is intended to help prevent a repeat of the Larry Nassar debacle at Michigan State University. At a Tuesday press conference, Congressman Fred Upton joined colleagues to announce the ALERT Act. The act would require university leaders to certify they have reviewed any reports of sexual abuses perpetrated by university employees each year. Upton said he’s found backing for the idea among local education leaders.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Signs Bill Delaying Teacher Evaluation Changes

From the Associated Press — Michigan will delay a key change in its evaluation system for teachers and schools administrators under legislation signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The laws enacted Tuesday will halt, at least for a year, a requirement that student growth and assessment data be given greater weight in educators’ year-end performance evaluations. Such information now accounts for 25% of an
evaluation but was scheduled to rise to 40% this academic year under a 2015 law. The change will now be delayed until the 2019-20 school year. The Democratic governor says test scores are “only one piece of the puzzle and not the whole story.” The legislation is supported by teachers unions, school districts and groups representing administrators. Legislators say Michigan’s main standardized test, the M-STEP, does not adequately measure students’ learning over time.. ...Read Full Story

State AG Threatens To Shut Down Pipeline If Talks Fail

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s attorney general says she’ll move to shut down an oil pipeline in the Great Lakes if the governor can’t find a “swift and straightforward” resolution. Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer is open to allowing construction of tunnel beneath the lakebed to house a new segment of Line 5 in the channel where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet. But she has concerns her predecessor’s plan would keep the existing pipeline in the water too long. During her campaign, Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel pledged to sue to close the pipeline – saying operator Enbridge has violated a state easement. Nessel released a statement Monday saying if Whitmer’s ongoing talks to resolve the contentious issue fail, she’ll use “every resource available to our office” to shut the pipeline to protect the lakes.. ...Read Full Story

Ferris State Student Rescinds Sexual Assault Allegation Against SB Mayor Buttigieg

A Ferris State University student says he was coerced by a right-wing Washington lobbyist and podcaster and another conservative social media personality into making up false claims he was sexually assaulted by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Twenty-one-year-old Hunter Kelly put out a statement Tuesday denouncing his earlier claim, saying he has never met the Democratic presidential candidate. “The Detroit News” reports the student added that the accusation against the mayor on the Medium blog site was the work of lobbyist Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl. Burkman is standing by the allegations, posting on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that he believes the original story and says the mainstream media bullied Kelly and his family “into submission.”. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Senate Waives Makeup Requirement For 4 Snow Days

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Michigan lawmakers may be closer to forgiving schools from potentially having to make up four snow days that occurred during a state-declared emergency. Legislation approved unanimously by the Senate Tuesday would exclude the period from Jan. 29 through Feb. 1 from counting as snow days. That’s when an arctic deep freeze shut down many normal activities, including school.. ...Read Full Story

Former School Employee Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement

A former employee of the Village Adventist Elementary School in Berrien Springs is admitting stealing thousands of dollars. Our partners at WSBT 22 report 50-year-old Sarah Kurtz pleaded guilty today to embezzling up to $100,000 from the school. She will have to pay $272,000 in restitution, but the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office is not recommending a sentence any longer than a year. If the judge agrees, that would keep Kurtz out of prison, but she could still be sentenced to up to a year in the Berrien County Jail. Kurtz will be sentenced in June.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Man Sentenced For Daughter’s Death

The father of a three-year-old Almena Township girl will spend at least the next 22 and a half years locked up for her murder. A Van Buren County judge has sentenced Corey Kucsera to 22.5 to 50 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his daughter, Sophia. The little girl’s stepmother, Kate George, also pleaded guilty to child abuse and second-degree murder and was sent away for 31 to 50 years. The little girl was found unresponsive in their home last September, bound to a car seat with a sock taped into her mouth for 24 hours. Authorities removed two other children from the home, and say Sophia had been abused for some time before her death.. ...Read Full Story

Credit Card Fraud Ringleader Sentenced To Federal Prison

The leader of a multi-state fraud ring that stole credit cards from the mail and used them at retailers throughout Michigan last year is headed to prison for nearly five years. 29-year-old Travis Rolle of Miami, Florida was sentenced in federal court in Grand Rapids and ordered to pay over $311,000 in restitution to the three financial institutions that suffered losses. His crime ring hit Berrien County along with Calhoun, Eaton, Kalamazoo and Kent according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Rolle and six others were charged by a federal grand jury in a 18-count indictment last September, with the crimes happening between March and mid-July of 2018. All but one have so far pleaded guilty and have been sentenced, with the seventh to be back in court to be sentenced in July. All seven worked together to steal and use credit cards and gift cards.. ...Read Full Story

City Commission Approves Water, Sewer System Applications

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have approved applications to the Michigan Drinking Water Revolving Fund and the State Revolving Loan Fund for loans to pay for water system and sewer work. After an April 15 public hearing where they learned about the affected areas, which are all over the city, the body met Monday to approve the applications. Commissioner Sharon Henderson noted a failure in the past to maintain infrastructure leaves current leaders with the need to take action.. ...Read Full Story

Cherry Beach Project Trying Again

Organizers of the Cherry Beach Project are hoping the second time will be the charm. After last year’s failed effort to raise enough money to qualify for a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant to buy four acres of beachfront property in Chikaming Township, the project is giving it another go. Chikaming Township Supervisor David Bunte tells WSJM News the land directly next to the public Cherry Beach is up for grabs.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Looking To Fill Some Board Vacancies

Berrien County is looking to fill some board vacancies. Administration says there are vacancies on the Community Corrections Advisory Board, the Public Works Board, the -1-1 Advisory Board, and the Land Bank Authority. Anyone interested in serving on any of those boards cab contact the Berrien County Administration office for an application, or you can find the applications at BerrienCounty.org. You can also find descriptions of each board. The deadline to apply is May 10.. ...Read Full Story

Forum On Civil Discourse Set For May 15

Coming up in May in Berrien Springs will be a forum on civil public discourse. Put together by the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties, the OutCenter, and the Three Oaks Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the event will feature a panel of local leaders and candidates, and a moderator from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. League of Women Voters President Marilyn Klawiter tells WSJM News many people these days seem to have forgotten how to disagree without being disagreeable.. ...Read Full Story

Illinois Governor OKs First Steps To Block Asian Carp

From the Associated Press — The governor of Illinois is authorizing steps toward the installation of technologies in a Chicago-area waterway to prevent Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan. Democrat 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, Illinois. The location is considered a crucial choke point where the invasive carp could be prevented from migrating upstream toward the lake. Illinois officials previously have agreed to work with the Army Corps and other Great Lakes states on the project while raising concerns about its cost and potential harm to commercial shipping. Pritzker said in a letter to the Corps Friday that he wants discussions about reducing the project’s price tag, estimated at $778 million.. ...Read Full Story

Runaway Teen With Autism Found Safe In Van Buren County

A 14-year-old boy is safe and back with his family after running away for a bit Sunday night. The boy has autism and was reported missing from a home in the 28-thousand block of County Road 388 in Pine Grove Township just after 7 p.m. Police learned the last sighting of the teen was about 40 minutes prior to him being reported missing when he was outside the home. The boy was found walking along southbound M-40 near 26th Avenue by a passerby, who called police. The search involved the Van Buren County Sheriff’s office and K-9 teams from both that department and South Haven Police, and Michigan State Police troopers also worked to try to find the teen.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor-St. Joseph Area Tied With Marquette For Highest Gas Prices

The highest average gas prices in the state are right here in the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area. According to Triple-A Michigan, the average price in the Twin Cities to start the week is $2.93, up 8¢ from last Monday and tied with Marquette in the Upper Peninsula for the highest average. The state’s lowest prices are in Flint and Traverse City, where drivers are paying $2.85 a gallon. Statewide, the average is $2.88, up 3¢ from where we started last week, but let’s not forget the jump last Monday afternoon to $2.99 a gallon. Triple-A says prices will continue to fluctuate as they’ve been doing for the next month, as Memorial Day is typically the peak for prices every year.. ...Read Full Story

Arizona Woman Rolls Truck In Cass County Crash

An Arizona woman is recovering at Elkhart General Hospital after crashing her car in Cass County’s Mason Township. 45-year-old Kristi Shuler was headed east on US 12 when she fell asleep, went over the center line and off the north side of the road, where her truck rolled over near the intersection of Starbrick Road. No other vehicles were involved, and Shuler was wearing a seat belt. The crash happened just after 4 a.m. Monday, and police say alcohol does not appear to have been a factor. The extent of Shuler’s injuries has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

State Taking Applications, Donations For Foster Kids Scholarship Program

The Michigan Department of Treasury is accepting applications for its Fostering Futures Scholarship program. Michigan Education Trust Director Robin Lott tells WSJM News program was set up as a way to help young people who have been in the foster care system get a college education. She says only 10% of the kids who went through foster care after their 13th birthday makes it to college even though most want to go. Fostering Futures is one way to help them.. ...Read Full Story

Major Grant Awarded To South Haven Development

A development project in South Haven is getting a $750,000 state grant. The office of state Representative Beth Griffin tells us South Haven Center, LLC is getting the Michigan Community Revitalization Program grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund for a mixed-use development planned downtown. The plan includes 18 residential units, retail or commercial space, and parking. It’s expected to generate total investment of $4.5 million. The goal is to add density and promote walkability in the downtown area of South Haven while increasing the tax base. Griffin says she appreciates “the Michigan Strategic Fund recognizing South Haven as a place worth investing.”. ...Read Full Story

Energy Upgrades At LMC Mendel Center

Lake Michigan College is about to start a major upgrade project for the Mendel Center and Grand Upton Hall. At a meeting of the LMC Board of Trustees this past week, bids were awarded for the $3.2 million plan. LMC Vice President of Administration Anne Erdman tells WSJM News the goal is to improve energy efficiency and comfort.. ...Read Full Story

Secretary Of State Promotes Organ Donor Registry

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is highlighting progress that’s been made recently with getting more Michiganders signed up for the state’s organ donor registry. Employees at Secretary of State branch offices ask customers if they would like to sign up, and now there are more than 5.2 million people on the Michigan registry. Benson spoke at a press conference Wednesday.. ...Read Full Story

Work Underway At Warren Dunes State Park

Visitors to Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer may see occasional closures throughout the spring and summer as two renovation projects get underway at the area. Crews have already started a more than $1 million project to renovate Red Arrow Highway, which serves as the main entrance to the sand dunes and lakeshore beaches. The Michigan Department of Transportation is overseeing the road repairs, and a lane addition to reduce traffic buildup. The efforts should be completed by May 20. A more than $2 million project will also begin this month to replace toilets and bathhouse buildings in the park’s day-use area. Plans call for making more room for additional food truck vendors. The upgrades should be finished by November.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Fire At Niles Walmart

Police are investigating a fire at the Niles Walmart on Friday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us the Niles Township Fire Department was dispatched to the store on South 11th Street around 3:30 p.m. They found a fire had started in the clothing department, and employees were putting it out when firefighters arrived. The store was quickly evacuated and no one was injured. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Health Officials Promote Addiction Recovery Resources

The Berrien County Health Department wants everyone to know there are resources available in the community for those who may be struggling with a drug addiction. News came this month from the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office that overdose deaths have gone up recently, possibly because of fentanyl mixed into heroin. Berrien County Health Department Communications Manager Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News fentanyl is an extremely potent painkiller.. ...Read Full Story

Youth Leaders Hope To Restore Funding For Training Program

Testimony on the value of the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program was taken this month by a Michigan Senate subcommittee. As lawmakers put together the next budget, it’s hoped that funding for Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates can be restored. Youth Solutions Director Kristin Harrington was there for the hearing last week, and told WSJM News Tamia Clay, a Benton Harbor High School senior active in FIRST Robotics, spoke about the difference Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates has made for her.. ...Read Full Story

Rotarians Plant Tree For Arbor Day

South Haven Rotarians celebrated National Arbor Day on Friday by planting a tree in a city park. In 2018, at the urging of Rotary International, the South Haven Rotarians also planted a tree, and the club decided to make it an annual Arbor Day tradition. Working with the city arborist, the Rotarians selected a hornbeam to go in the Black River Park.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Works To Boost Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Fund

Legislation to set aside more money for Michigan’s Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Fund has been approved by the state Senate. The plan also requires the Michigan Attorney General to report quarterly to the Legislature on the fund. State Representative Steven Johnson, who sponsored the legislation in the state House, says the fund lacked the money needed to compensate those who have been wrongly imprisoned by the justice system.. ...Read Full Story

State Lifts Seasonal Weight Restrictions

The Michigan Department of Transportation has lifted seasonal weight restrictions on state roads across the Lower Peninsula. The restrictions were lifted at 6 a.m. Friday. MDOT spokesperson Dan Weingarten tells WSJM News the state and local road agencies will order that loads over a certain weight cannot be taken on some roads during the spring when melting ice underneath the road surfaces leaves them vulnerable.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Appliance Sale Next Month

Coming up on May 18 will be the next Whirlpool Appliance Sale to benefit the United Way of Southwest Michigan. Whirlpool Senior Manager of Global Operations Gokul Nair tells WSJM News they will sell new, discontinued, refurbished, and obsolete products that had been sitting in warehouses as part of the event.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Approves “Raise The Age” Legislation

The Michigan House on Thursday approved “raise the age” legislation. The plan would end the policy requiring all 17-year-olds to be treated as adults in Michigan’s criminal justice system. Speaking on the House floor, state Representative Roger Hauck of Isabella County said it is not fair to subject a high school student to the same treatment as an adult.. ...Read Full Story

New Buffalo Man Arrested For Bomb Threat Against Benton Township Mosque

A New Buffalo man is in the Berrien County Jail awaiting arraignment on terrorism charges. Benton Township police say the 38-year-old is accused of making a bomb threat against the Islamic Association of SouthWest Michigan Mosque in the 13-hundred block of East Napier. Officers were notified of the threat shortly before 2 p.m. Friday and evacuated the mosque. No bomb was found, and the building was declared safe. Worshipers were unaware of the threat when police arrived, but a leader told police of a potential suspect who had recently visited. He was found in the Fairplain Plaza, and admitted calling Berrien County Central Dispatch 9-1-1 to make the false bomb threat. His phone number also matched with dispatch records.. ...Read Full Story

UFCU Makes Coloring Contest Donation To Logan Center

United Federal Credit Union’s “You Color, U Donate” contest has raised $730 for the Logan Center in Benton Harbor. United donated $1 for every page entered to the local autism center, and also awarded a $500 Youth Savings Deposit to one of the children who submitted a coloring sheet. The sheets were turned in by credit union employees, members, and the St. Joseph community. The donation is in addition to the capital donation pledged by UFCU in October 2017 of $30,000 over three years to help Logan Center’s self-sustaining operations at its Benton Harbor facility. Logan supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they, and their families, may achieve their desired quality of life. Their services allow children to transition from special needs classrooms to mainstream general education classrooms. This month is also Autism Awareness Month.. ...Read Full Story

MI Lawmakers Talking Child Care Affordability

Affordable child care helps parents stay in the workforce and earn money to provide for their families, but for some Michigan parents, it’s a difficult balance to achieve. When Hannah Gilliam of Grand Rapids had her first child at a young age, she couldn’t afford the higher standard of child care she wanted. She’s now a mother of five, and says her family makes sacrifices to ensure her three youngest are getting decent care.. ...Read Full Story

Child Abuse Prevention Rally Held In Lansing

A rally was held in Lansing Thursday to mark Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Day. Children’s Trust Fun Director Suzanne Greenberg tells WSJM News hundreds gathered and planted blue and silver pinwheels near the Michigan Capitol. Greenberg says there are a lot of children around Michigan who need protection.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagons Hosting Food Summit

The Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit is being hosted in Dowagiac this week by the Pokagon Band of Pottawatomi. The event runs through Sunday, and features a wide range of activities and presentations, many focused on traditional tribal food. 60 Native American chefs are on hand, and presentations are being given on everything from foraging to basket making to trapping. The Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit is held each year in different locations around the MidWest states, and this is the first time it’s been hosted by the Pokagon Band. It’s going on at the Pokagon Rodgers Lake headquarters on Sink Road, and the public is welcome to attend. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

One Arrested In South Haven Drug Bust

A South Haven man is facing a variety of charges following a cocaine bust on Wednesday. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us deputies with the narcotics unit arranged an undercover drug buy from the 50-year-old suspect. They say he sold them cocaine from a vehicle parked in the area of Huron Street near Broadway Street. Right after the drug buy, police moved in and arrested the man, who did try to escape. Upon the suspect’s arrest, officers say he was found to be in possession of 11.1 grams of suspected cocaine, divided up into 19 separate packages. He’s facing several drug-related charges, and police say he already had a couple of felony warrants out. He’s now at the Van Buren County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

Local Blood Drives Scheduled Throughout May

The American Red Cross has scheduled some blood drives around southwest Michigan in the coming weeks. May is Trauma Awareness Month, and the Red Cross tells us one car crash victim could need as many as 100 units of blood. The organization is urging everyone to make an appointment to donate either by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, by going to their website, or using the Red Cross app. Throughout May, there are blood drives planned in St. Joseph, Coloma, Buchanan, Decatur, Bangor, and South Haven. You can see the full list below.. ...Read Full Story

MI Child Poverty Rate Drops, But 20% Still Live In Poverty

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s child poverty rate dropped over five years, but hundreds of thousands of kids – or one in five – are still living in poverty. The annual Kids Count Profile released Tuesday by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation reports about 416,000 of Michigan’s children lived in poverty in 2017. That was down from roughly 549,000 in 2012. The study also finds a spike in child abuse and neglect, with confirmed cases up nearly 30 percent. Michigan’s bottom-ranked counties for child well-being are Lake, Luce, Alcona, Schoolcraft and Muskegon. The top five are Livingston, Clinton, Ottawa, Oakland and Washtenaw. Kids Count in Michigan project director Alicia Guevara Warren says the “alarming increase” in child abuse and neglect cases “underscores the urgency of the issues facing our kids.”. ...Read Full Story

Judges Order Michigan To Redraw Legislative District Maps

From the Associated Press — A three-judge panel has ruled that Michigan’s congressional and legislative maps are unconstitutionally gerrymandered, ordering the state Legislature to redraw at least 34 districts for the 2020 election. The decision issued Thursday also requires special state Senate elections to be held in 2020, instead of 2022 as scheduled. The judges say the maps drawn by Republicans in 2011 violate Democratic voters’ constitutional rights, including by diluting the weight of their votes. They are giving the GOP-led Legislature until Aug. 1 to submit new maps. The new maps would need the signature of Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer.. ...Read Full Story

14 Michigan Communities Get State Funds For Stream Cleanups

Fourteen communities around Michigan are getting state grants to host river, stream and creek cleanup activities. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy timed the awards totaling more than $29,000 to coincide with Earth Day. Local governments often work with nonprofit organizations or other volunteers for the cleanups, which include removal of trash and other debris from streams and stream banks.. ...Read Full Story

Field Narrowed To Three For State Schools Superintendent

Three finalists will be back in Lansing for the last round of interviews in the search for Michigan’s new State Schools Superintendent. The three emerged from five candidates interviewed this week by the state Board of Education. Being called back in May will be Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Michael Rice, Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift and Minnesota Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius. The state superintendent post has been filled on an interim basis since the death of Brian Whiston last year from cancer.. ...Read Full Story

“Raise The Age” Bills Moving Thru Legislature

A push to no longer automatically try 17-year-olds as adults is gaining momentum in Michigan’s Legislature. The Senate overwhelmingly approved a 14-bill package Wednesday to put 17-year-old offenders in the juvenile justice system, with an exception for violent felony cases. Senator Peter Lucido of Macomb County co-sponsored the bills and says the option will still be there to prosecute suspects who are younger than 18 on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of the crime and the person’s criminal record.. ...Read Full Story

Authorities Using New System To Track Opioid Overdoses

Michigan State Police are joining a number of local police and health agencies using a federally created computer mapping system to track opioid overdoses. It provides a way for health officials and police agencies to respond in real time to overdose clusters. State Police Lieutenant Travis House says until now, if a batch of bad drugs hit the streets in a certain area, it might take them a while to notice the pattern.. ...Read Full Story

State Court Tightens Standards For Vehicle Searches

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Supreme Court has tightened the legal standard for searching people during a traffic stop.
The court ruled in favor of a car passenger who said his rights were violated when police in Jackson County searched his backpack without his consent. The backpack held marijuana and methamphetamine. But in a unanimous decision Monday, the Supreme Court says the search was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Bridget McCormack says Larry Mead had a “legitimate expectation” of privacy. Mead was a passenger in a car stopped by a sheriff’s deputy. The deputy looked in Mead’s backpack after the driver said the car could be searched.
McCormack compared it to someone using a ride-sharing service. She says police can’t search a passenger based on consent from a driver. Mead served nearly three years in prison.. ...Read Full Story

Secretary Of State Highlights Organ Donor Registry Numbers

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is highlighting progress that’s been made recently with getting more Michiganders signed up for the state’s organ donor registry. Employees at Secretary of State branch offices ask customers if they would like to sign up, and now there are more than 5.2 million people on the Michigan registry. Benson spoke at a press conference Wednesday.. ...Read Full Story

Applications Being Accepted For Foster Kids Scholarship Program

The Michigan Department of Treasury is accepting applications for its Fostering Futures Scholarship program. Michigan Education Trust Director Robin Lott tells WSJM News program was set up as a way to help young people who have been in the foster care system get a college education. She says only 10% of the kids who went through foster care after their 13th birthday makes it to college even though most want to go. Fostering Futures is one way to help them.. ...Read Full Story

Clerk Beaten In Cass County Liquor Store Robbery

A clerk at Sunrise Liquor in Cass County’s Howard Township is recovering after being beaten by three robbery suspects. The sheriff’s department says the suspects walked into the store on Huntly Road at 9:30 Tuesday night with their faces covered and began the assault, forcing him to open the cash register. The clerk was treated by first responders and taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland’s Niles hospital. While the Cass County K9 located evidence along the track, the three suspects have not been found. Investigators say they were two black women and one black men, with the only physical description of them being they all have medium builds. Anyone with information is urged to call the Cass County Tip Line at 1-800-462-9328.. ...Read Full Story

Heroin, Fentanyl, Meth Bust Results In Charges Against Benton Township Man

A 26-year-old Benton Township man is facing seven felony charges following a drug bust by the Southwest Enforcement Team. Javarick Randolph has been arraigned in Berrien County court following a month-long investigation by authorities into heroin and fentanyl sales. Detectives seized what they called distribution amounts of those drugs along with crystal meth, ammunition and other drug-related items during the raid last week on a home in the 200 block of Cornelia. Randolph faces five charges of delivery of narcotics for the heroin and fentanyl and one count each of possession with intent to deliver meth and possession of ammo by a felon. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office warned earlier this month that there has been a spike in opioid overdose deaths and recoveries due to fentanyl being mixed with heroin.. ...Read Full Story

Senator LaSata Changes Chief Of Staff

There are changes in the inner workings of the office of state Senator Kim LaSata. She has named Berrien Springs native Katie Lindt-Witkowski as her new chief of staff, replacing Stephanie Bogema, who has moved over to the House to be the chief of staff for Majority Leader Triston Cole. Lindt-Witkowski was promoted from her position as Senator LaSata’s legislative director, which she had held since this session began in January.. ...Read Full Story

Drug Drop Off Events In Van Buren County This Weekend

There will be some drug take-back events in Van Buren County this weekend. Bronson Community Health tells us people can drop off old, unwanted prescription medications at the Bronson Wellness Center in South Haven and at the Antwerp Township Activity Center in Mattawan on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The drugs will then be safely destroyed. The event is being held in an effort to prevent unused drugs from being lost, stolen, or misused. Police are assisting with the take-back day so they can ensure everything is handled correctly. While most medications will be accepted, organizers are focusing on opioids. Bronson says the United States is experiencing an opioid epidemic, with an estimated 12.5 million people misusing the pain medications in the past year.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate Approves Ban On E-Cigarettes For Minors

From the Associated Press — Michigan lawmakers are moving to ban the possession of e-cigarettes by minors. Legislation approved unanimously by the Senate on Tuesday would also prohibit the sale of the battery-operated devices to people under age 18. The federal government already bars e-cigarettes sales to minors. But supporters of the Michigan bills say having state-level restrictions would make
it easier for law enforcement and schools to keep the nicotine-addictive “vaping” devices off campuses. First- and second-time violators would receive a civil infraction, punishable by a maximum $50 fine. Additional violations would be a misdemeanor, also subject to a $50 fine. The measures go to the House next. Former Republican Governor Rick Snyder vetoed similar bills, saying they would not have gone far enough in regulating e-cigarettes.. ...Read Full Story

FIRST Robotics Championship This Week

More than 90 FIRST Robotics teams from all over Michigan will be in Detroit this week for the FIRST Robotics World Championship. Set to take place Wednesday through Saturday at Ford Field and Cobo Center, the event will give the participating students a chance to show off what they have learned. Consumers Energy Vice President of Public Affairs Roger Curtis tells WSJM News it’s quite a lot.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Calls For End To Some Tariffs

Vice President Mike Pence is visiting Michigan on Wednesday to talk trade as the Trump administration pushes for Congress to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, an update to NAFTA. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News the administration hasn’t sent that deal to Congress, but before anything can happen, it should end tariffs on Canada and Mexico that affect agriculture and the auto industry.. ...Read Full Story

Armed Robbery Suspects Busted In Van Buren County

Some armed robbery suspects out of Ann Arbor were busted in Van Buren County on Tuesday. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us it got word of a gas station robbery in Ann Arbor earlier in the morning. The suspects were reported to be in a vehicle with Illinois plates. It was also reported one of them had been seen with a gun. Sheriff’s deputies spotted the vehicle on westbound I-94 in Lawrence Township and pulled it over. They say a search turned up evidence of the robbery, and the two men and one woman in the vehicle were detained. They’ve since been handed off to the Ann Arbor Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Coloma Wins Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament

The Coloma Comets have once again come out on top in the Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament. The tournament was held by state Senator Kim LaSata, continuing a tradition started by her predecessor to find the southwest Michigan school with the most spirit each year. Throughout the March Madness-like tournament, schools were asked to submit photos showing their spirit to LaSata’s Facebook page. Coloma wins for the second year in a row, edging out Howardsville Christian in the final round, which wrapped up on Friday. Coloma now gets the title trophy and a $250 prize from the AT&T Pioneers.. ...Read Full Story