Local News Archives

Senate Votes To Limit Forfeitures In Drug Cases

From the Associated Press — Legislation advancing in Michigan would limit law enforcement’s ability to take ownership of cash and other property in drug cases that don’t result in convictions. The Senate voted 36-2 Wednesday, sending the bill to the House. It was the first vote on a bill by either chamber this year, though the Republican-led House last week passed a resolution rejecting an environmental order issued by Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The Senate measure would prohibit prosecutors from permanently confiscating
assets thought to be associated with drug crimes unless a defendant is convicted, has entered into a plea agreement, no one claims any interest in the property or the owner relinquishes it. The measure would not apply in seizures of property and currency worth more than $50,000, excluding the value of contraband.. ...Read Full Story

Former Major League Pitcher At Weekend Clinic

Student athletes who would like to improve their throwing technique with the help of a former Major League pitcher will have a chance to do so this weekend in Paw Paw. Tom House was a pitcher for the Braves, the Red Sox, and the Mariners throughout the 1970s and also worked as a college coach. He’ll lead a three-day super camp at Performance FieldHouse starting Friday. The fieldhouse’s Mark Lipson told WSJM News more.. ...Read Full Story

Federal Grant Announced For YouthBuild Program

The YouthBuild program in Benton Harbor is receiving a grant of nearly $100,000 from the U.S. Department of Labor. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News YouthBuild is a chance for at-risk young people to earn their high school diploma or GED while also learning construction trade skills through the rebuilding of houses, playgrounds, and community centers. It’s run by Kinexus.. ...Read Full Story

BHAS CEO Waiting On Direction From The State

Benton Harbor Area Schools CEO Robert Herrera is waiting on word from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office on what’s next for the district following a legal change last year that may eliminate its cooperative agreement with the state. Last week, Herrera told trustees the change may mean a restoration of school board control to the district come July. The Michigan Department of Education has told him to wait for those AG instructions. He can’t really answer anything until that’s ironed out.. ...Read Full Story

Ford Recalling 1.5M F-150 Trucks

(Dearborn, MI – AP) – Ford Motor Company is recalling nearly 1.5 million pickup trucks in North America because the transmissions can suddenly downshift into first gear. The recall covers F-150 trucks from the 2011 through 2013 model years with six-speed automatic transmissions.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Endorses Hands-Free Driving Law

From the Associated Press — Gretchen Whitmer wants Michigan to be the 17th state to adopt a hands-free driving law that restricts the use of mobile devices while driving. The Democrat got behind the newly introduced legislation in her State of the State speech Tuesday night. Texting while driving is prohibited, but other uses of phones are allowed. Whitmer says “you cannot navigate the road if you are looking at your phone.”. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Woman Accused Of Stealing Mail In Van Buren County

A 24-year-old Kalamazoo woman is in the Van Buren County Jail for allegedly stealing mail from more than a dozen homes in Columbia and Geneva townships. The sheriff’s department thinks she likely has more victims, and they’re asking anyone who thinks they’re missing items to call. The woman was arrested Monday after someone spotted her going from mailbox to mailbox in a white Cadillac and taking things out. The thefts happened along County Roads 215 and 384 along with 59th Street. The woman’s name hasn’t yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

Coastal Management Seminar In South Haven This Week

A discussion on coastal management will take place in South Haven this week. “Planning for Resilient Coastal Communities” is is set for Thursday at South Haven High School. The presenters will focus on the Great Lakes and the adjoining shorelines, and how to plan for changes of living along the shorelines. The seminar will teach the history of the Great Lakes and how communities can plan for changes. Representatives from Casco, Covert, and South Haven townships and the city of South Haven will be attending. The public is also invited to attend the seminar at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Listiak Auditorium at the high school.. ...Read Full Story

BHAS Officials Working On Deficit Plan

The five-year deficit elimination plan for Benton Harbor Area Schools is being reworked by district officials with the Michigan Department of Treasury. Following a meeting this week, district CEO Robert Herrera told WSJM News the preliminary deficit plan proved to be unworkable on a year-by-year basis.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Confident About Avoiding Shutdown Friday

The deadline to avoid another partial shutdown of the federal government is fast approaching, and Congressman Fred Upton tells us he’s encouraged about the chances of beating it. He says a verbal agreement to allow for a spending resolution to keep the government open for the rest of the year was reached late Monday. He says all responsible parties in Congress are anxious to avoid putting the nation through another shutdown, and he thinks the agreement will be approved.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Remembers John Dingell

Congressman Fred Upton remembers John Dingell as a witty, hardworking, and well-versed member of Congress. Upton had to miss Dingell’s funeral on Tuesday in Dearborn because the weather stopped his plane from being able to land, but he tells WSJM News he’ll certainly be there for services in Washington Thursday. Upton says he worked with Dingell on a variety of issues on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and in other ways.. ...Read Full Story

Donkey Basketball Canceled

This week’s icy weather has prompted Lake Michigan Catholic High School to cancel the planned donkey basketball game for this week. The plan had been to stage a basketball game between LMC staff and students, all of whom would have been riding on the backs of donkeys. It was to be a fundraiser. The district now tells us the Wednesday event will not take place because of the local weather forecast and the distance of travel for a some of the participants. Anyone who already bought a ticket can get a refund through the Lake Michigan Catholic Business Office.. ...Read Full Story

Some Water Filter Distribution Sites Canceled

The Berrien County Health Department has announced the cancellation of two of its water filter pick-up dates for the city of Benton Harbor. It tells us because of high demand and the weather, it’s had to cancel Wednesday’s distribution at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Thursday’s distribution at First Presbyterian Church. Those distribution dates will be moved to next week. A distribution site scheduled for this Friday at Benton Harbor Charter Academy is still open. To date, the Berrien County Health Department has distributed more than 1,200 free water filters to Benton Harbor City residents. That’s after elevated levels of lead were found in some homes last year. Below is the cancellation and rescheduling information. ...Read Full Story

Indiana Michigan Power Making Progress Restoring Power

Indiana Michigan Power crews are making progress getting electric service restored following the overnight ice storm. The 2 p.m. update from the utility shows just over 3,000 in Michigan without power, down from around 6,000 this morning. That includes 1,150 in both Berrien and St. Joseph counties, 700 in Cass County and 250 in Van Buren County. The majority of the outages are in Indiana, where 14,000 remain without the lights. I&M has over 350 employees and contractors assessing damage and restoring power, with more on the way.. ...Read Full Story

Weather Keeps Upton, Dozens Of Others From Congress From Dingell Funeral

Weather kept Fred Upton and as many as 90 other members of Congress from attending the funeral in Dearborn for former Congressman John Dingell. Congressman Billy Long of Missouri tweeted shortly before noon that an impromptu service was held for the 92-year-old at 30,000 feet, led by Upton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Georgia Congressman John Lewis. Long says they were delayed taking off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and circled Detroit Metro Airport for an hour waiting for the temperature to rise by one degree. Their delegation also included the U.S. House chaplain, who had been scheduled to speak at the funeral along with Upton. Dingell served in the U.S. House longer than anyone else in history for 59 years from 1955 until his retirement in 2014. He took over the seat winning a special election following the death of his father, and was succeeded by his wife, Debbie Dingell, keeping that seat in Congress in the Dingell family for 86 years and counting now.. ...Read Full Story

Indiana Michigan Power Crews Working To Restore Electric Service

Indiana Michigan Power crews are at work restoring service after freezing rain and sleet caused widespread issues in the area. As of 9:30 this morning, the utility was reporting over 6,000 customers without electricity in Michigan and another 18,000-plus in Indiana. There are a little over 13-hundred or so in the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor area without power.The area with the most damage is the South Bend-Elkhart region, with trees and limbs making contact with power lines being the major cause of most outages. Crews are currently assessing the damage and will likely be calling in additional help from around the area to help, but they’re urging patience because icy conditions are expected to slow the response.. ...Read Full Story

Volunteers Needed For Sexual Assault Response Team

The Sexual Assault Response Team in Berrien County is in need of advocate volunteers. The team provides around-the-clock care to sexual assault survivors, and the advocate volunteers help to give them support. To be one of the advocates, a volunteer must complete a four-day training program, and the next one begins in early March. The Sexual Assault Response Team is made up of counselors, social workers, law enforcement, doctors, nurses, the Cora Lamping Center, and the Children’s Advocacy Center. Advocate volunteers must be able to serve a minimum of 24 hours per month, and there on on-call hours. The volunteers are also given ongoing education and training. Anyone would like to learn more can check the website of the response team. You can find it right here.. ...Read Full Story

Donation Means Dental Sealants For Kids Statewide

A donation of $200,000 is being made to a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services dental program this year by the Delta Dental Foundation. The foundation is the charitable arm of the non-profit insurer, Delta Dental. Executive Director Teri Battaglieri tells WSJM News the money will be used to provide sealants to elementary and middle school students through the state Oral Health Program’s SEAL Michigan initiative.. ...Read Full Story

Possible Return Of Local Control To BH Schools

Could local control be returning to Benton Harbor Area Schools? It’s possible. State School Reform Officer Bill Pearson tells us lame duck legislation approved by state lawmakers eliminated language related to the School Reform Office. If it’s taken strictly, then the SRO, and therefore the cooperative agreement governing Benton Harbor Area Schools, would end on July 1. District CEO Robert Herrera told Benton Harbor school trustees last week they need to be prepared for the possibility of a return of local control. Pearson says he’s waiting for instructions from the Michigan Attorney General’s office on what last year’s legislative change means. Currently, under the cooperative agreement, Herrera runs Benton Harbor schools under the oversight of the state while the board of education serves an advisory role. Pearson says he’s hoping for clarification on what’s next from the AG within the next month.. ...Read Full Story

Free Fishing Weekend This Weekend

Coming up this weekend will be free fishing all across Michigan. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources tells us this coming Saturday and Sunday will be a chance for anyone to go fishing without a license. Also, throughout the weekend, state parks will waive the Recreation Passport entry fee normally required for vehicle access. The DNR says there are also several organized events planned in the spirit of outdoor recreation throughout the weekend. You can find out about them at Michigan.gov/FreeFishing. The DNR notes all other fishing regulations will remain in place this weekend.. ...Read Full Story

Public Visitation To Be Held For Dingell

From the Associated Press — A public visitation will be held in Michigan to honor John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in history, who died last week at age 92. The visitation will be Monday at Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in his hometown of Dearborn, a Detroit suburb. A funeral will be held Tuesday at a local church. His wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell, says another funeral will be held in Washington and that her husband will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Her office says former Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan will speak at the Tuesday service in Michigan. It says former President Bill Clinton, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland and former House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio will speak at the Washington service Thursday. Dingell represented parts of southeastern Michigan in Congress for nearly 60 years before retiring in 2014.. ...Read Full Story

Great Lakes Water Levels Expected To Be Higher In 2019

Expect smaller beaches this year once again in the Great Lakes. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit, water levels on the lakes will be higher than normal once again. Lake Michigan will be above normal, but won’t be breaking any records, and the same goes for Lake Huron. Lake Superior, however, could break a record set in the mid-1980s by May due to how high it already is. The Corps adds Lake Erie could also be at a record high. Lake Ontario’s levels are controlled, so no record is expected there. While it means smaller beach areas, higher lake levels also mean good news for shipping because the vessels won’t be scraping bottom in shallow waters.. ...Read Full Story