Local News Archives

Watervliet Police Looking For Missing 14-Year-Old Girl

Watervliet police are asking for help finding a missing teenage girl. Jaci Duncan is 14 and has not been seen since around 10 pm on Wednesday, January 2nd and is believed to have run away from home. In a Facebook post, police say they believe she may be with a Dowagiac man named Casey Carter, and add she has a history of running away. Duncan also took her dog with her when she left home. Anyone with information on where she and Carter might be is urged to call Watervliet police.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Forfeits Tuesday Boys Basketball Game Due To Dec. 21 Fight

There will be no varsity boys basketball game Tuesday for the South Haven Rams, as they are forfeiting the contest against Dowagiac. The move stems from the brawl that erupted during the Rams game on December 21 against Paw Paw, during which not only did the benches clear, but spectators also got involved. South Haven Public Schools superintendent Kevin Schooley has released a statement saying the players are being “disciplined consistent with MHSAA and local athletic code guidelines” and adds the team has met with the Paw Paw team to talk about how athletes need to support each other as part of healthy competition.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Uber Massacre Suspect Pleads Guilty

A man charged with killing 6 people and injuring two other in and around Kalamazoo has pleaded guilty to murder charges. Uber driver Jason Dalton, charged with the shootings in between picking up Uber passengers in 2016, pleaded guilty to all charges in front of a Kalamazoo County judge on Monday, saying he’d wanted to enter the plea for “quite a while.”. ...Read Full Story

Governor Whitmer Issues New LGBT Executive Directive

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Governor Whitmer has signed an executive directive to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people by state government, contractors and others, superseding an order that former Governor Rick Snyder signed just days before leaving office. Whitmer’s directive, like Snyder’s, requires all recipients of state contracts, grants and loans to extend protections to their employees. But hers does not provide an exemption for religious organizations. The Democrat signed the directive Monday at an LGBT community center in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale. It clarifies that employment protections cover all state employees and prohibits discrimination in state services, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. LGBT advocates and civil rights groups are applauding Whitmer’s move.. ...Read Full Story

Bloomingdale Man Charged For September Crash With Horse & Buggy

A crash between a van and a horse and buggy in Van Buren County is resulting in charges for the van driver. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department said over the weekend that 69-year-old Robert Rawson of Bloomingdale Township was charged late last week for the September 11 crash. The horse was killed, and the driver of the buggy suffered critical injuries. Police say Rawson’s van crossed the center line and hit the buggy head-on near the intersection of 46th Street and County Road 388 in Bloomingdale.. ...Read Full Story

SHAES: Report Of Woman Missing In Black River False

There’s word from South Haven Area Emergency Services that the search for a missing woman in the Black River this weekend was all for naught. SHAES officials tell WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids that Van Buren County Undersheriff Chad Hunt located the woman in the woods along the Kal-Haven Trail around 9 a.m. Saturday. After talking to the woman, who first said she was not the person they were looking for, they determined that she was, and she had never fallen into the river. Additionally, the woman hadn’t actually been missing.. ...Read Full Story

Produce Safety Training Offered

The Berrien County Conservation District is taking registrations for a produce safety training session it’s offering for free to those who bring food from the farm to the consumer. This is the first such class it’s offered, and it’s designed to get those workers compliant with federal requirements. Conservation District Produce Safety Technician Victoria Toney tells WSJM News us a good number of people in Berrien County could use the training.. ...Read Full Story

Watch Out For Tax Scams

This is the time of year when tax scams are on the rise. The Michigan Department of Treasury warns scammers are likely to hit at the beginning of the year — right before tax season — so they can get personal information, file fake income tax returns, and steal that money. Spokesperson Ron Leix told Michigan News Network more.. ...Read Full Story

Protective Vest For Van Buren County Police Dog

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is getting a bullet and stab protective vest for one of its K9s thanks to a donation. Vested Interest in K9s, a group that gives police dogs protective vests throughout the country, is helping to provide Kuno with the duds. The vest is sponsored by Jim and Stephanie Balch of Battle Creek, and will be embroidered with the phrase “This gift of protection provided by the Balch Family.” Kuno is expected to get the vest within ten weeks. Vested Interest in K9s has provided more than 3,200 protective vests to police dogs around the nation.. ...Read Full Story

New Year, New Police Chief For Benton Township

A new year brings a new chief of police for Benton Township. With the retirement of former Chief Vince Fetke, Chief Brian Smit started this week. Smit tells WSJM News he’s excited to move up in the department from the role of detective-lieutenant. He’s been with the Benton Township Police Department since 1996, having previously been an officer in Benton Harbor for two years. He says he wants to engage the community so people know him.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Considers How To Handle Failed Roads

A new failed condition roads policy has been adopted by the Van Buren County Road Commission that has the agency pulverizing and turning into gravel roads that are found not fit to be patched. The road commission tells us it pulverized nine miles of road in 2018 at a cost of about $345,000. It says those were road segments that had failed beyond the point of maintenance. In 2019, seven of those newly-gravel roads will be examined to see if they can be repaved. The Van Buren County Road Commission Board last month adopted the failed road policy after discussing it with township governments. It lays out for staff how to identify a road as failed, and then how the locals affected will be engaged as a decision is made about it. The Van Buren County Road Commission says $1.2 million of its budget in 2017 was spent on fixing potholes. It’s hoping the new policy will help it to be more efficient.. ...Read Full Story

Big Grant For SWM Job Training

Kinexus has helped to secure a $1.9 million grant for southwest Michigan businesses to train workers. The money comes from the state’s Going Pro Talent Fund to help 43 local employers enhance their staff. Kinexus Director of Business Solutions Jeff Hannan tells WSJM News the money will supplement the cost for more than 1,600 workers to upgrade their skills in the manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality fields.. ...Read Full Story

Strong Attendance For SWM Lawmakers In 2018

The state lawmakers who represented southwest Michigan in Lansing during the most recent legislative session get gold stars for attendance. According to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s annual report on missed votes by lawmakers, former state Senator John Proos, former state Representatives Kim LaSata and Dave Pagel, and state Representative Beth Griffin missed zero votes in 2018. Former state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker missed 24 out of more than 1,600 roll calls taken in the Senate. The Mackinac Center’s Jack McHugh tells WSJM News the organization started tracking missed votes in 2003.. ...Read Full Story

Crews Search River For Woman

Police are looking for a woman who reportedly fell into the Black River in South Haven Township early Saturday. South Haven Area Emergency Services tells us it scoured the water after getting a report that a female had fallen into the river along the Kal-Haven Trail near 73rd Street around 3:25 a.m. The incident was reported by a male companion. The South Haven Police Department and Van Buren County Sheriff Department also joined in the search. The incident remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Treasurers Watching State Foreclosure Suit

A property foreclosure lawsuit headed to the Michigan Supreme Court is being watched closely by county treasurers across the state. That includes Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski, who tells us the results in the Oakland County case could affect Berrien “big time.” The suit is from a Southfield man who lost a property due to an unpaid tax bill of less than $9. Oakland County took the property and then sold it for $24,000. The man says he should get the proceeds that go above the tax bill. Witkowski tells WSJM News he understands, but it’s that extra revenue from foreclosure sales that pay for demolitions of abandoned buildings.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Springs Lawmaker Ready To Get To Work

78th District Michigan Representative Brad Paquette is ready to get to work in Lansing. The Berrien Springs Republican was just elected in November, and tells us he looks forward to the start of the 100th Michigan Legislature on Wednesday. He wants residents in southern Berrien County to know his door and phone line are open.. ...Read Full Story

Credit Union Offers Help To Those Affected By Government Shutdown

A local credit union is offering a little help to members who are federal government employees affected by the shutdown. United Federal Credit Union tells us it’s offering those folks installment loan deferments and waiving the penalty for early withdrawals on share certificates, among other things. Chief Marketing Officer Erin Hennessy tells WSJM News they want those affected by the partial government shutdown to know something.. ...Read Full Story

This Is Blood Donor Month

The American Red Cross is asking everyone to make a New Year’s resolution to give blood. It’s scheduled several blood drives around southwest Michigan in the coming weeks. January is National Blood Donor Month, which the Red Cross says is appropriate because January is one of the slowest months of the year for blood donation. All those who come to donate by January 6 will get a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt while supplies last. You can schedule an appointment at RedCross.org or by using the Red Cross phone app. There’s also 1-800-RED CROSS.. ...Read Full Story

Man Charged In Death Of Child

A man accused of murdering a child in Cass County in October of 2016 has been arrested and arraigned. The Cass County Prosecutor’s Office tells us 47-year-old Lance Aaron Reeves of St. Joseph has pleaded not guilty to a charge of open murder and three charges of child abuse in the death of Savannah Gardner in Silver Creek Township. Reeves was arrested Thursday at a home in Hartford by the Michigan State Police Fugitive Apprehension Team. The prosecutor says Reeves is accused of repeatedly shaking Gardner and breaking her back. Charges in the case were authorized on December 21. Bond was denied to Reeves during Friday’s arraignment.. ...Read Full Story

Congresswoman Tlaib Makes Waves With Profanity Against President

Comments from freshman Detroit Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib are not sitting well with other members of the Democratic Party in Washington. Tlaib said this to loud cheers Thursday night regarding President Trump: “When your son looks at you and says ‘momma, look, you won. Bullies don’t win.’ And I said ‘baby, they don’t.’ Because we’re gonna go in there, and we’re gonna impeach the motherf—er.” Tlaib received a large cheer from those gathered around her at that remark, and defended what she said in a Friday tweet saying she will “always speak truth to power.”. ...Read Full Story

Upton Votes To End Government Shutdown, Saying “Enough”

Congressman Fred Upton is breaking from President Trump and hardline Republicans who want to put up a wall along the Mexican border. He is among the GOP members of the House who joined Democrats to approve bills to end the partial federal government shutdown on Thursday. On Twitter, Upton put out a statement saying “enough” but adds “much work remains” to secure the border. The government shut down in late December over the impasse regarding funding for a border wall. President Trump has vowed to veto any measure that does not include $5 billion for a wall, while Democrats and a growing number of Republicans say that it’s time to get the government open again and find other solutions for border security that don’t involve a wall. The bills that passed the House, however, are likely dead-on-arrival in the Senate, where Republican leaders are on Trump’s side.. ...Read Full Story

Conservation District To Offer Produce Safety Training

The Berrien County Conservation District is taking registrations for a produce safety training session it’s offering for free to those who bring food from the farm to the consumer. This is the first such class it’s offered, and it’s designed to get those workers compliant with federal requirements. Conservation District Produce Safety Technician Victoria Toney tells WSJM News us a good number of people in Berrien County could use the training.. ...Read Full Story

State Warns About Tax Scams

This is the time of year when tax scams are on the rise. The Michigan Department of Treasury warns scammers are likely to hit at the beginning of the year — right before tax season — so they can get personal information, file fake income tax returns, and steal that money. Spokesperson Ron Leix told Michigan News Network more.. ...Read Full Story

Road Commission Adopts Failed Roads Policy

A new failed condition roads policy has been adopted by the Van Buren County Road Commission that has the agency pulverizing and turning into gravel roads that are found not fit to be patched. The road commission tells us it pulverized nine miles of road in 2018 at a cost of about $345,000. It says those were road segments that had failed beyond the point of maintenance. In 2019, seven of those newly-gravel roads will be examined to see if they can be repaved. The Van Buren County Road Commission Board last month adopted the failed road policy after discussing it with township governments. It lays out for staff how to identify a road as failed, and then how the locals affected will be engaged as a decision is made about it. The Van Buren County Road Commission says $1.2 million of its budget in 2017 was spent on fixing potholes. It’s hoping the new policy will help it to be more efficient.. ...Read Full Story

Kinexus Secures $1.9 Million For Worker Training

Kinexus has helped to secure a $1.9 million grant for southwest Michigan businesses to train workers. The money comes from the state’s Going Pro Talent Fund to help 43 local employers enhance their staff. Kinexus Director of Business Solutions Jeff Hannan tells WSJM News the money will supplement the cost for more than 1,600 workers to upgrade their skills in the manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality fields.. ...Read Full Story

New Members Of Congress Sworn In

Several new members of Congress have taken the oath of office, some in the Michigan delegation, but it’s all in the midst of a partial federal government shutdown. President Donald Trump and congressional leaders plan to meet again Friday after a meeting Wednesday did not produce an agreement to end the shutdown. Congressman Dan Kildee, of Flint, doesn’t support building President Donald Trump’s wall.. ...Read Full Story