Local News Archives

Flooding Impacting Some St. Joseph Streets Along River

The Berrien County Road Department is asking people to avoid Derfla and Linden drives off of Bacon School Road in St. Joseph due to flooding. They’ve placed signs up warning drivers of the problem with the St. Joseph River coming over the banks. Volunteers with the United Way of Southwest Michigan have also been working to fill sandbags for people who live in the area. The road department is asking people who see flooded streets to call them or Berrien County Dispatch as all the snow from last week continues to melt.. ...Read Full Story

Hartford Police Seeking Indecent Exposure Suspect

Police in Hartford are trying to find a man accused of exposing and pleasuring himself in front of a woman at the Shell Mart. The woman told police the man tried to talk to her as she walked out of the convenience store and he took off after she yelled at him and tried to get her phone out to take his picture. Police say he was driving a blue Honda or Hyundai crossover SUV and got on I-94 headed west. The suspect has an Ohio license plate that includes the letters CCL. He is black with short hair and appeared to be in his 20s or 30s. The incident happened around 8:30 Wednesday morning.. ...Read Full Story

Murder Trial Of Antwan Mims Underway

The trial of Antwan Mims of Benton Harbor is underway for allegedly shooting and killing two men outside a house party last March. Jeff Taylor of the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office laid out what happened as the victims tried to leave the party during opening statements this week.. ...Read Full Story

Request To Delay Trial Over MI Redistricting Denied

From the Associated Press — A U.S. Supreme Court justice has denied Republicans’ request to delay a trial over whether Michigan’s congressional and legislative districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered. Monday’s decision by Justice Sonia Sotomayor means federal judges will start the trial Tuesday. GOP lawmakers had asked the high court to stay the proceeding until it rules in redistricting cases from Maryland and North Carolina. The League of Women Voters and Democratic voters claim districts were shaped by Republican operatives to guarantee the party’s dominance after the 2010 census. They say constitutional rights were violated when Democratic areas were packed in certain districts or diluted elsewhere. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, proposed a settlement
under which some state House districts would be redrawn for the 2020 election, but the judges rejected it Friday.. ...Read Full Story

Stabenow Bill Would Prevent Emergency Funding For Border Wall Without Congressional Approval

Legislation is being proposed by US Senator Debbie Stabenow to prevent the President from using the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to “raid any funding” from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or Military Construction accounts for anything to do with a border wall unless approved by Congress. Specifically, Michigan’s senior senator is trying to prevent the loss of funding for any federal projects in the state like the construction of a larger lock in the Soo Locks. Stabenow also worries any potential disaster declaration if a deal isn’t reached to prevent another partial federal government shutdown soon could also halt efforts to stop Asian carp from getting into the Great Lakes and stall or cancel 26 dredging projects. In announcing her bill, she says there are reports the White House is drafting an emergency declaration now. Stabenow’s bill likely faces little to no chance of passage by the Republican-controlled Senate.. ...Read Full Story

Commissioners Hear Proposals For Street Repairs

Benton Harbor City Commissioners are now talking about how to spend the money being generated with the city’s new income tax. At Monday’s meeting, the commission heard from Abonmarche President Chris Cook, who gave a presentation on the first proposal for street repairs to be paid for with the funds. Using an estimate of $1 million per year, Cook said about half would be for major streets and half for neighborhoods. For example, major streets possibly getting cape sealing in 2019…. ...Read Full Story

Jason Dalton Sentenced For 2016 Kalamazoo Massacre

Life in prison with no parole for Jason Dalton, the Cooper Township man who killed six people and injured two others in a shooting rampage around Kalamazoo nearly three years ago. He was sentenced today in a Kalamazoo courtroom after hearing from family members of his victims. Those included Bart Nye, the son of Mary Lou Nye of Baroda, who was killed in the parking lot of the now-closed Cracker Barrel in Texas Township.. ...Read Full Story

Cook Plant Spokesman Retiring

He’s been the face and the voice of the Cook nuclear power plant for 24 years, and now Bill Schalk is retiring. As Cook spokesperson, Schalk tells us it’s been his job to keep the public informed about what’s going on at the facility, and he’s also been active throughout the southwest Michigan community. Schalk came to Cook in 1986 after doing television work in Fort Wayne and then working for I&M there. He tells WSJM News although the fundamental science behind nuclear power has stayed the same, some of the technology in industry has changed, and the whole energy market has evolved.. ...Read Full Story

Gillespie’s Pharmacy Closes After 114 Years In St. Joseph

After 114 years in business, Gillespie’s Pharmacy in St. Joseph is no more. The family-owned company shut down for good on Monday, citing increased competition as the reason they could no longer compete in the area. The pharmacy was founded by Frank Gillespie in 1905 in downtown St. Joseph in the storefront currently occupied by Perennial Accents. His son, Richard, opened his own store on Washington Avenue in 1960, and that was the company’s final location.. ...Read Full Story

Open House For Niles Construction Project

The Michigan Department of Transportation has about $30 million in work planned for the Niles area in the next few years, and it wants the public to be well-informed and also have a chance to offer some input. That’s why the agency is holding an open house this Wednesday. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News they’re going to reconstruct the US-12 and M-51 interchange in 2023.. ...Read Full Story

Policy Requires University Of Michigan Staff To Disclose Felonies

From the Associated Press — The University of Michigan is requiring faculty, staff, student employees, volunteers and visiting scholars to disclose if they’ve been newly charged with or convicted of a felony. The Ann Arbor News reports the new policy requires them to inform the university within one week of a charge or conviction that occurs on or after February 1. The school’s human resources department will assess the information on a case-by-case basis. Those who fail to disclose felony charges and convictions could face disciplinary actions including the loss of their job. Currently, job applicants at the university must answer criminal history questions on their applications
and go through a background check before they begin employment. The newspaper says the new policy doesn’t apply to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.. ...Read Full Story

Water Filters Available This Week In Benton Harbor

Water filters are being made available for all residents of Benton Harbor starting this week. The Berrien County Health Department’s Nicki Britten tells us the filters are certified to reduce the risk of lead exposure in drinking water. That’s after some homes around the city tested for elevated levels of lead late last year. The filters will be provided at several locations throughout the city for free.. ...Read Full Story

GM Looking To Sue Canadian Union Over Super Bowl Ad

A lawsuit is being threatened by General Motors against its Canadian union, Unifor, over a Super Bowl ad north of the border. The 30-second spot calls out the automaker for planning to shut down the Oshawa Assembly plant in Ontario, making reference to the bailout funded by both Washington and Ottawa. GM had demanded the ad not be aired, but Unifor went ahead with its plans despite the threat of legal action. The union’s president, Jerry Dias, says they stand by the belief that if GM wants to sell vehicles in Canada, it needs to build them there as well.. ...Read Full Story

“Suspicious Situation” At Gas Station Results In Arrests

A 39-year-old man is facing several charges including possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of meth after police were called to the Speedway gas station in Paw Paw early Monday morning. Jimmy Stacey also had a pair of outstanding warrants. His passenger, Austin McMullen, was taken into custody as well for several outstanding warrants including being a parole absconder. The 1996 Ford F-150 they were in had been reported stolen in Cass County last month. Van Buren County deputies were called to the gas station on a report of a suspicious situation.. ...Read Full Story

Tax Season Underway

Income tax filing season is officially underway. The Michigan Department of Treasury tells us starting this past week, Michiganders can start filing their 2018 state individual income tax returns online, or they can submit paper forms through the U.S. Postal Service. All individual income tax returns must be e-filed or postmarked by Monday, April 15. Deputy State Treasurer Glenn White says all “systems are operating as normal.” He adds filing electronically is the easiest and quickest way for Michigan taxpayers to do it. Treasury also says some individual income tax returns may be selected for identity confirmation as the department works to prevent tax-related ID theft. In those cases, the taxpayer will receive a letter from Treasury asking them to confirm their identity by completing a short online quiz or submitting paperwork. There will also be a phone option. Treasury says one way to avoid being scammed is to file as early as you can. We have a link to more information right here.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Homes Sales Slightly Down In 2018, Prices Up

Home sales in southwest Michigan were slightly down in December. The Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors tells us December of 2018 sales were down 4% from December of 2017. Also, looking at 2018 as a whole, the year did not pass 2017 when it came to homes sold. However, 2018 did set records for total dollar volume and selling prices. The association says for the year, the number of houses sold dwindled to just under 1,300 compared to 1,365 in 2017. When it comes to inventory, at the end of 2018 there was 5.1 month supply of houses for sale. For comparison, in 2010, the inventory in the region was a 12.7 month supply. The association says the rising home prices throughout 2018 was partly due to that tight inventory.. ...Read Full Story

Work Underway On PFAS Legislation

Work is underway in Congress to address the issue of PFAS contamination in water. Congressman Dan Kildee told CSPAN this week, first, the new PFAS Task Force wants to ask the EPA to evaluate the standards for the chemical. Then, it wants to address the clean-up of PFAS. Who will pay for it?. ...Read Full Story

Agency For Children Gets New Service Dog

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan has received a service dog. “Pawnee” is a 15-month-old female chocolate lab who came to the agency through the Canine Advocacy Program in collaboration with Leader Dogs for the Blind out of Rochester, Michigan. The Children’s Advocacy Center — or CAC — tells us Pawnee is a “career change dog” who was deemed not compatible with Leader Dogs for the Blind. She is trained to provide emotional support to people, and especially children. She will be used as a support animal in a therapeutic setting, and as a calming presence for children and adults in the community who are taking part in abuse prevention lessons offered by the CAC. Pawnee will also be able to work with clients during their court prep in the mock courtroom at the agency. Once at the courthouse, the children will be able to testify with the help of another CAC dog, known as Mr. Weeber. The Children’s Advocacy Center works with children who have been victims of sexual or severe physical abuse. It was established in 2002.. ...Read Full Story

SHAES: Stay Off The Ice

South Haven Area Emergency Services is warning everyone not to go out on Lake Michigan ice. The recent polar vortex has made for some stunning visuals along the lake, especially near lighthouses. SAES spotted some adventurers out on the ice taking in the lighthouse Friday, but says people should avoid the temptation. The agency says there’s open water beyond the ice flows and the predicted moderating temperatures this weekend will make the ice packs very unstable. As the U.S. Coast Guard’s Lazaro Lopez told us during an ice rescue training exercise last month…. ...Read Full Story