Local News Archives

Groups Slam Feds’ Move to Lower Vehicle Emissions Standards

Groups that fight for clean air are speaking out against the Trump administration’s move to force states to follow a uniform set of lower vehicle-emissions standards. On Thursday the EPA revoked the Clean Air Act waiver that allowed California and 13 other states plus D.C. to set higher standards. Paul Billings with the American Lung Association says this will create chaos in the auto industry.. ...Read Full Story

Summit Pushes for Water Justice in Great Lakes

Great Lakes residents concerned about water justice are gathering in Ontario next week. The 2019 Water Is Life Alliance Summit is on September 28 and this year’s theme is “Water Justice in a Climate Emergency.” Diane Weckerle with Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation says water shutoffs in Detroit and the Flint water crisis will be among the topics at the summit. They’re also talking Nestle. Weckerle notes the company pays $200 a year for the region’s freshwater and is proposing to increase its water pumping rate to 400 gallons per minute at one Michigan well.. ...Read Full Story

Animal Aid Mutt March This Sunday

Animal Aid of Southwest Michigan’s annual Mutt March will be held this Sunday in St. Joseph. The Howling Holloween Mutt March, as they’re calling it, will take place at Lake Bluff Park from 1 to 3 p.m. and feature a costume contest, a pumpkin carving contest, a pet parade, and a chance to adopt a furry friend. There will be multiple animal rescue organizations on hand, and everyone will have a chance to meet some colorful characters, including a pirate and a palm reader. You can find out more details at the Facebook page of Animal Aid of Southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

State Police To Hold Recruitment Seminar

Michigan State Police are looking for new recruits, and to that end, they’re planning a recruitment seminar for October 19 in Lawrence. MSP Trooper Kellie Shaffer tells WSJM News as retirements loom, Michigan State Police will have a lot of positions to fill. She says being a trooper is an attractive prospect some might want to consider.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Community Foundation Announces Awards

Some grants and awards for 2019 have been announced by the Berrien Community Foundation as it held its 67th annual meeting on Wednesday in St. Joseph. BCF President Lisa Cripps Downey tells WSJM News the new Alamar Non-Profit Sustainability Grant of $75,000 was announced for St. Joseph Today so it can provide health insurance and a retirement plan to its employees.. ...Read Full Story

Arrest In Chikaming Township Robbery

The Chikaming Township Police Department says a suspect has been arrested in the armed robbery of the Whistle Stop Store on Red Arrow Highway last month. 42-year-old David Floyd was picked up by police in Indiana on Wednesday. Chikaming Township police say he went into the Whistle Stop on the morning of August 23 flashing a handgun and demanding money. He got away with an undisclosed sum. Police say not only is Floyd the suspect in the Whistle Stop robbery, but he is also suspected in multiple other armed robberies in southwest Michigan and northern Indiana.. ...Read Full Story

Animal Control Seizes 77 Animals From Home

Berrien County Animal Control is now caring for nearly 80 animals seized from a Hagar Township home on Wednesday. Animal Control Director Tiffany Peterson tells WSJM News her office had received several complaints about an animal hording situation. After a warrant was obtained, a search of the property was conducted and authorities found a total of 77 animals kept in crates around the modular home. Peterson said there was one woman living there. Most of the animals were dogs on the smaller side. Peterson says she’s had a vet look at them, and they are now being well cared for at the Berrien County Animal Shelter. However, all of those animals have about doubled the shelter’s load. Anyone who wants to help with a donation for the animals can contact Berrien County Animal Control. Meanwhile, the Berrien County Prosecutor’s office says it’s aware of the situation but hasn’t received any paperwork for charges. It says it’s waiting on the evaluation of the animals.. ...Read Full Story

Plans Call For Amazon Operations At Pontiac Silverdome Site

From the Associated Press — Online retail giant Amazon has proposed using the site of the former home of the Detroit Lions as a distribution center in a $250 million project that could bring 1,500 jobs. Details of plans for the Pontiac Silverdome site in suburban Detroit were made public Wednesday night. The city says its planning commission approved a permit for the site to be used as a warehouse, distribution and fulfillment campus. Pontiac says Seattle-based Amazon would lease buildings from a developer. Plans call for Amazon to start operating at the site as soon as next year. The Lions played at the Silverdome from 1975-2001. It also was the home of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and hosted the Super Bowl in 1982. The Silverdome was taken down with a partial implosion in 2017.. ...Read Full Story

Enrollment Up At Southwestern Michigan College

Enrollment at Southwestern Michigan College is up this year. SMC says it’s managed to buck enrollment trends being seen at many other community colleges in Michigan. It’s one of just seven community colleges in the state with increased enrollment for the fall. After processing final drops and adds, SMC showed an overall head count of 2,171, up 1.2% versus the fall of 2018. The college this year welcomed 509 recent high school graduates to campus, an increase of 54, or almost 12%, and more students — 364 of them — now live in the residence halls than last fall. SMC says it’s been able to keep its numbers up because it has been proactive in identifying what makes it unique and clearly explaining to parents and students the value in starting a college journey there. The current freshman class has declared 42 different majors, with health services, business, biology, criminal justice, psychology, and education being the most popular.. ...Read Full Story

Trial Court Opens Special Waiting Room For Children

The Berrien County Trial Court’s Family Division has opened a new waiting room just for children. The new kid-friendly waiting area for children attending their own Child Protective Services proceedings is located on the fourth floor of the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph. It’s decorated with a mural painted by artist Kathy Zerler and filled with donated toys, books, blankets, and other items of comfort. Trained volunteers will be staffing the waiting area during child protective hearings. The court says the goal of the project is to encourage participation of children in their own protective proceedings, which is a nationally recognized best practice. As part of that, the court wanted to have a quiet, supervised, child-friendly waiting area for those kids. There will be an open house for the new waiting room on October 10 from 4 to 5 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

Paquette Holds Tele-Town Hall On Auto Insurance Reforms

State Representative Brad Paquette of Niles is working to explain the auto insurance reforms coming to Michigan next year. On Wednesday night, he held a tele-town hall with state Representative Jason Wentworth to answer questions from callers. Come July 1 of next year, drivers can choose what level of personal injury protection they want in their policies, rather than having unlimited coverage as they do now. Paquette said you can opt for $50,000 of PIP coverage and see a 45% reduction in those costs. Wentworth went on…. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Elementary School Getting A Pollinator Garden

Lincoln Elementary School in South Haven is preparing to do its part to protect the ecosystem. The school is installing a pollinator garden, which will give budding young botanists a chance to grow. Lincoln Elementary teachers will be out with students installing the garden this week, and it should be done Thursday. Stepping stones will be installed for students to make up-close observations of the plants, and teachers say the students will have the chance to observe the cycle of life there. Most of the plants flower in the spring or the fall, with just enough summer plants to maintain attractions for the pollinators. The pollinator garden was made possible after a community partnership was established between a few teachers and the South Haven Garden Club. Midwest Energy and Communications is also supporting the project with a Strengthening Schools Grant.. ...Read Full Story

Adopt A Highway Cleanup This Weekend

Starting this Saturday will be the final Adopt a Highway cleanup of Michigan roads for the year. Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Dan Weingarten tells WSJM News there are more than 2,800 volunteer groups who pick up trash along stretches of road three times a year.. ...Read Full Story

Flavored Vaping Ban Takes Effect

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s ban on flavored vaping products is now in effect. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says her emergency rules banning those flavored nicotine vaping products were released Wednesday. The ban was developed in response to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services finding of a public health emergency. As of Wednesday, stores around the state have two weeks to get flavored vaping products off their shelves. The ban is effective for 180 days and can be extended for six months. You can find out more at Michigan.gov/E-Cigarettes.. ...Read Full Story

Striking Workers Question Integrity Of UAW Leaders

From the Associated Press — The strike against General Motors by the United Auto Workers is playing out amid a corruption scandal inside the UAW that has caused distrust of the union leadership among many rank-and-file members. On picket lines at plants across the country, many of the 49,000 workers have expressed doubts about whether leaders are acting in their best interests. Some have gone so far as to wonder whether the leadership took them out on strike to show that the union is working for them. Last month, the FBI raided the suburban Detroit home of the UAW president. He has not been charged. Earlier this month, a union official in Missouri was charged in a $600,000 embezzlement scheme, and another leader pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks. The UAW, in its defense, says union members authorized the walkout.. ...Read Full Story

Land Auction Pulls In $288,000

The fall Berrien County land auction has been held, netting more than $288,000 for the county’s foreclosure fund. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News 112 of 120 properties were sold Tuesday. That money goes into the foreclosure fund to take care of other foreclosed properties.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Announces Veteran of The Year Contest

State Senator Kim LaSata is holding a Veteran of the Year contest. She says southwest Michigan is blessed with a large community of veterans, and she wants to recognize them for their service. Anyone who wishes to nominate a veteran should include their name and contact information, the veteran’s name, his or her military branch and era of service, and a description of why the veteran deserves the award. The submissions will be taken through October 4, and they can be made online. You an also make submissions via email at SenKLaSata@senate.michigan.gov or by phone at 517-373-6960. The Veteran of the Year will be announced on Veterans Day, November 11.. ...Read Full Story