Local News Archives

Bills Aim To Prevent Nassar Repeat

Legislation is being worked on in the Michigan House to help ensure there is never a repeat of the Larry Nassar situation. Although the former sports doctor will be behind bars for the rest of his life, lawmakers want to make sure no other doctor can sexually abuse patients under the guise of medical examination. State Representative Mary Whiteford of Casco Township told us more.. ...Read Full Story

School Official Talks Homelessness

A recent report based on numbers from the University of Michigan inaccurately reported the number of homeless students at Berrien Springs Public Schools. So says the district’s special education director. Danny Bartz tells us a report run by some TV stations placed Berrien Springs high on the list Michigan school districts in that regard.. ...Read Full Story

Former Major Leaguer Reportedly Arrested In Berrien

A former pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks is reportedly facing a charge of assault and battery in Berrien County. According to TMZ Sports, 44-year-old Matt Mantei was arrested on Tuesday. He pleaded not guilty on Wednesday and was given a personal recognizance bond. Mantai was a closer who played ten seasons in the Major League. Details of his arrest have not yet been released, but Mantei is due back in court on May 1.. ...Read Full Story

School Safety Forum Planned

A forum for parents of students at St. Joseph Public Schools to discuss safety will be held Thursday night. The district notified parents this week “Creating a Safer School Environment through Prevention, Intervention, and Response” will be at the John and Dede Howard Auditorium from 6 to 7:30 p.m. On hand will be officials from the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety who will talk about school violence statistics, myths, prevention methods, and best practice models. They’ll also discuss how they want to develop a culture designed to prevent school violence that will include educators, the community, family, and police. The effort is the result of a partnership with St. Joseph Schools and the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety following the tragedy in Florida in February.. ...Read Full Story

Line 5 Remains Under Fire

The Line 5 oil pipeline in the Straights of Mackinac is being inspected by Enbridge. It was shut down on Sunday due to high waves and reopened Monday afternoon. David Holtz is with the Oil and Water Don’t Mix Campaign. He spoke with Michigan News Network.. ...Read Full Story

Trump Skipping Correspondents Dinner For Detroit-Area Rally

For the second straight year, President Donald Trump is holding a rally instead of attending the White House Correspondents Dinner. The president’s campaign announced Tuesday that Trump will hold a rally on April 28 in the Detroit suburb of Washington Township. His rally is slated to begin around the same time as the glitzy gala. Trump has skipped the dinner both years he has been in office. But this year, unlike in 2017, he has encouraged aides to attend. Some, however, will be needed to staff the just-announced rally. Last year, he held a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and spent much of the evening bashing the press, saying he was “with much, much better people” at the rally.. ...Read Full Story

Lt. Gov. Calley Turns In Signatures To Qualify For Ballot

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Calley has submitted more than 25,000 nominating signatures to qualify for the ballot. The lieutenant governor turned in the petitions Tuesday at the secretary of state’s office, where he was joined by his wife and their three children. He says his campaign is about “continuing Michigan’s comeback.” He cites job gains and a lower unemployment rate and a plan to help people fill professional and skilled trades jobs of the future. Calley is the fourth Republican candidate to turn in signatures in what has become an increasingly pitched battle between himself and Attorney General Bill Schuette, particularly as super PACs backing them run negative ads on TV.. ...Read Full Story

Tugboat Blamed For Pipeline Damage

From the Associated Press — The U.S. Coast Guard says it’s still looking into what caused damage to underwater electric cables and oil pipelines in the channel that connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Cmdr. Shaun Edwards declined to comment Tuesday on an announcement by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette that his office was bringing civil action against VanEnkevort Tug & Barge of Escanaba, Michigan. Schuette says a company vessel dragged an anchor along the Straits on Mackinac on April 1. Edwards says Schuette’s move was separate from the investigation led by the Coast Guard and includes other federal, state and tribal agencies. Edwards says that after the investigation is finished, any mariner who acted wrongly could lose credentials or be referred to the Department of Justice for a
criminal investigation. Officials say two underwater remote vehicles will examine the damaged cables and pipelines.. ...Read Full Story

Olympic Medalist Wieber Sues MSU, USA Gymnastics

Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber is the latest gymnast to sue Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee over former sports doctor Larry Nasssar’s sexual abuse. Wieber grew up north of Lansing was on the “Fierce Five” team that won gold in 2012. She filed a lawsuit in California Tuesday alleging Michigan State and former USA Gymnastics leaders hid Nassar’s conduct from the public and law enforcement. She says the abuse spanned between 2006 and 2012, her medical records were destroyed, and she and her teammates “were not protected.” More than 250 women and girls say Nassar sexually assaulting them under the guise of treatment. He’s serving 60 years in federal prison for child pornography and if he survives that sentence, he’ll serve the rest of his years in a Michigan prison for sexually abusing hundreds of women and girls. Accusers include three other members of the 2012 team – Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney. Those being sued have denied cover-up allegations.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Talks Procedures

Benton Harbor City Commissioners this week shot down a couple of proposals that would have changed up some of their own procedures. At Monday’s meeting, the commission considered changing a rule which states the mayor gets to make all committee appointments, which are then voted on by the full commission. Under the proposed resolution, committee appointments would instead be made by the legislative committee. Mayor Pro Tem Duane Seats wasn’t having it.. ...Read Full Story

Congressman Upton Comments On Death Of Barbara Bush

Congressman Fred Upton is among thousands of Americans remembering former First Lady Barbara Bush. In a statement, the St. Joseph Republican called her “the epitome of class and as genuine as they come.” He added he has great memories of campaigning with her and former President George H.W. Bush, saying she “always thought of others first, was always kind, and was always quick with a joke and a smile.” Barbara Bush was only the second woman in history to be both a first lady and the mother of a President. Her funeral will be Saturday in Houston, and by invitation only.. ...Read Full Story

Proos On Prison Kitchen Inspections

State Senator John Proos is working on language to insert in the Michigan Department of Corrections budget to subject all department-operated kitchens to the public safety requirements of the state’s food code. Proos tells WSJM News it would make sense for prison kitchens to be inspected the same way as restaurants.. ...Read Full Story

Teachers Voice Support For Principal

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has heard from a group of teachers opposed to the possible release of High School Principal Donald Pearson. The board was presented on Tuesday with a letter signed by nearly 40 staff members stating support for Pearson. Teacher Shay Briggs-Sternaman read from it.. ...Read Full Story

Realtors Helping To Create Dog Park

The village of Baroda is getting a new dog park thanks to the Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors. Association Executive Alan Jeffries tells WSJM News they award a $2,500 grant each year to a local community for an improvement project with the national association’s placemaking grant program. This year, Baroda gets an area where people can take their dogs.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmakers Talk Nassar Bills

A Michigan House committee on Tuesday heard testimony on a package of bills in response to the Larry Nassar sexual misconduct scandal. Oakland County Republican Klint Kesto told Michigan News Network his legislation prohibits sexual contact under the pretext of medical treatment.. ...Read Full Story

Humane Society Festival Next Weekend

Tickets are on sale for the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan’s second annual Charcuterie Festival. Set for next Saturday in downtown Stevensville, it’s a chance for everyone to sample beers and food from 11 restaurants and 15 local breweries. The Humane Society’s Jill Svoboda spoke with WSJM News about the event.. ...Read Full Story

City Considers Public Safety Cost Ordinance

A proposal to charge non-residents for their costs to the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is being considered by city commissioners. At Monday’s meeting, commissioners heard a proposal from City Manager Darwin Watson to set up a fee structure for those out-of-towners who need things like fire services or emergency help. He noted many other communities have such an ordinance. Mayor Pro Tem Duane Seats said there are situations in which public safety spends a lot to help someone who doesn’t pay the city taxes.. ...Read Full Story

Underwater Vehicle To Inspect Damaged Pipeline

From the Associated Press — The company that owns twin oil pipelines beneath the waterway that connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan is preparing to launch an underwater vehicle to inspect damage that may have been caused by a ship’s anchor. A spokesman for Enbridge Inc. said Monday the remote-controlled vehicle will examine the submerged pipes in the Straits of Mackinac. They are part of Line 5,
which carries 23 million gallons of crude oil daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario. Enbridge temporarily shut down the line over the weekend, blaming a power outage at its Superior terminal. Officials say dents in both pipes may have been caused by “vessel activity” also believed responsible for damaging two electric cables that leaked 600 gallons  of coolant fluid into the straits.. ...Read Full Story

Airline Accused Of Mechanical Issues

Allegiant Air, which flies out of Grand Rapids, is accused in a “60 Minutes” report of having more than 100 serious mechanical incidents in a year and a half. Gerald R. Ford International Airport spokeswoman Tara Hernandez told Michigan News Network Allegiant has been a good partner.. ...Read Full Story

Study Examines Support For Teen Mothers

Most adults with children feel that state support for pregnant teens is a good investment in the baby’s health. That’s according to a new national study by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan. Study co-director Sarah Clark spoke with Michigan News Network about her findings.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Proposes School Safety Plan

Governor Rick Snyder is proposing a school safety plan that calls for upgrading security at up to 400 schools and tripling the budget of the OK2Say tip line. The proposal made Monday includes $20 million to update school buildings with locks and other security features, says spokesperson Ari Adler. He spoke with WSJM News about the proposal.. ...Read Full Story

Community Could Drop Lifeguard Services

New Buffalo city leaders are thinking about not having life guards at the local beach this summer. However, that won’t affect how the U.S. Coast Guard approaches its duties there. Executive Petty Officer Lazaro Lopez with the U.S. Coast Guard station in St. Joseph tells WSJM News they’ll serve the area as they always have, although not having lifeguards may reduce response times in some cases. He tells us he’s seen many communities drop lifeguard services at their beaches in recent years. Silver Beach is one of the few in southwest Michigan to still have them.. ...Read Full Story

Small Business Event Next Month

An event is coming up at the Mendel Center in Benton Township for small business owners and those interested in starting a business. Cornerstone Alliance Entrepreneurship Director Stacey Stephens tells WSJM News Small Business Day will be held Wednesday, May 2.. ...Read Full Story

Thousands Remain Without Power

From the Associated Press — Nearly a quarter of a million Michigan power customers remain without service after a storm brought freezing rain and high winds to the state. DTE Energy said Monday afternoon about 240,000 of its customers had no electricity after service to 150,000 other was restored. It says crews are finding more extensive damage than anticipated. Consumers Energy says about 9,000 customers remained without power after service to 130,000 was restored. In the Detroit suburb of Warren, a fallen power line sparked a fire that destroyed 10 vehicles at a used car dealership. Heavy rains caused scattered flooding and easterly winds were blamed for
weekend flooding along Saginaw Bay off Lake Huron and in Monroe County off Lake Erie. Other areas received heavy snow.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Democrats Pick Nessel As AG Choice

Michigan Democrats have endorsed Dana Nessel in a hotly contested race to be the party’s state attorney general candidate. Thousands of delegates made their choice Sunday at a convention at Cobo Center in Detroit. Nessel, a former assistant prosecutor in Wayne County who now is a private attorney, defeated Pat Miles, a former U.S. attorney for western Michigan under former President Barack Obama. She is expected to be formally nominated at a convention in August, but the victory will give her a head start preparing for November’s general election. Nessel is the first openly gay candidate for a statewide office in Michigan history.. ...Read Full Story

House Plan To Fight Student Sex Abuse

The Michigan House inquiry into the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal has led to the introduction of legislation intended to protect Michigan students. House leaders on Wednesday announced the package which includes tougher child pornography penalties and penalties for those who fail to report abuse. State Representative Kim LaSata told us more.. ...Read Full Story

MI Beverage Industry Shows Strong Growth

The food and beverage industry in southwest Michigan is showing very strong growth in a new study. Commissioned by Indiana Michigan Power, the study was done to help better plan for the utility’s responsibilities and also to help economic developers. I&M spokesperson Dave Bergsma tells WSJM News the craft beer industry has led the way in the growth of beverage producing in southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Names Released In Triple-Fatal Crash

All four young men who broke into the Black Arsenal Gun Store and led police on a chase that ended with their SUV crashing into a tree on M-139 near Rockey Weed Road have been identified. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says the crash killed 20-year-old Jamahri Fuller, who was driving the SUV, and two passengers, 17-year-olds Davion Patton and Allan Velox. 17-year-old Anton Morgan is hospitalized at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids in critical condition. Lincoln Township Police say there were eight guns stolen from the gun store just after 5 a.m. Sunday, and all were recovered from the crash scene. Those were three pistols, five rifles, and one shotgun.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Police Work With Schools On Safety

Protecting students is a top priority for St. Joseph Department of Public Safety Director Brian Uridge. He told city commissioners this past week he’s been in regular talks with schools at all levels to be prepared for possible emergencies. Uridge said everyone’s been anxious since the Parkland, Florida shootings. He thinks a key component to helping is to involve the parents. City Commissioner Laura Goos told WSJM News, as a parent, she appreciates the proactive approach.. ...Read Full Story

K9 Getting Protective Vest

A K9 with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a donation from the non-profit Vested Interest in K9s, Incorporated. German Shephard Luca has been with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department for about three years and a half years, helping to find drugs and track suspects. She will get a vest worth more than $1,700 from Vested Interest within eight to ten weeks. Vested Interest takes donations to provide protective vests to police dogs all over the country. To date, it has provided the vests to more than 2,800 police agencies. Luca’s handler, Deputy Ryan Rewa, says the sheriff’s department is grateful for the donation. You can find out more about Vested Interest right here.. ...Read Full Story

Support Animal Workshop This Month

Coming up this month at the Disability Network Southwest Michigan will be a presentation on the dos and don’ts of service animals. The network tells us the free workshop is being offered to address confusion about what constitutes a service animal versus an emotional support animal. Different rules apply to the two, and what type of assistance animals are allowed in different places and whether an establishment can deny access to an assistance animal varies. The Disability Network of Southwest Michigan tackles the topic as it becomes increasingly relevant. Anyone who wants to attend is invited to do so, although registration is required. The workshop will be Monday, April 30 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the network office on Lakeview Avenue in St. Joseph. To find out more or sign up, go to their website.. ...Read Full Story

Repaving On I-94

A repaving project is about to get started on I-94 in Van Buren County. Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News  they’ll start the work on eastbound 94 between 56th Street and M-51 Monday. The work will continue through late August.. ...Read Full Story

Credit Union Helping Moms

Honor Credit Union is hoping customers will step forward to help out moms in need this spring. The credit union will have donation boxes set up at its locations throughout southwest Michigan through May 7 to collect essential care items for women, specifically moms, staying in local domestic abuse or homeless shelters. Two Men and a Truck will deliver all donations to partnering shelters around Mother’ Day as part of its Movers for Moms program. They’re taking things like soaps, hair styling products, shampoos, pillows, blankets, slippers, and other basic clothing items. Honor Credit Union has locations in Coloma, Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, Stevensville, Berrien Springs, and Niles. You can find out more about Movers for Moms right here.. ...Read Full Story

Electric Rate Hike Coming

The Michigan Public Service Commission has given approval to Indiana Michigan Power to raise its electric rates. MPSC spokesperson Nick Assendelft tells WSJM News I&M asked the state for permission to do so in May of last year. After consideration of many factors, the MPSC has given I&M the green light to increase rates by $49 million on its 128,000 Michigan customers.. ...Read Full Story

State Fights Unemployment ID Theft

The unemployment agency in Michigan is reminding businesses and individuals to beware of identity theft. Michigan Talent Investment Agency Deputy Director of Unemployment Insurance Michelle Beebe tells WSJM News recent data breeches have led to a jump in scammers trying to collect unemployment benefits using stolen identities.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead In Cass County Crash

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a fatal crash that occurred on Friday night. It tells us a Jeep Cherokee driven by 32-year-old Gary May of New Haven was northbound on Kessington Road in Mason Township around 10:30 p.m. when May lost control. The vehicle left the road and overturned several time, ejecting May. May was pronounced deceased at the
scene. Police say speed may have been a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Gets Castle Donation

Here’s something you’ve probably never heard before. The city of St. Joseph has accepted the donation of a castle. At Monday’s meeting, Marketing Director Susan Solon told city commissioners Turner Construction, the company doing work at Lakeland, approached her about making a donation to the city. With the launch date fast approaching for this year’s public art display, “The Magical Kingdom of St. Joseph,” she suggested they make a small castle to be displayed on State and Broad Street. Solon spoke more with WSJM News about the display.. ...Read Full Story

Watch Out For This Invasive Beetle

Everyone in southwest Michigan is being asked to keep their eyes open for an invasive insect that could pose a threat to trees. The Southwest by Southwest Corner CISMA’s Eleanor Serocki tells WSJM News it’s the Asian longhorn beetle, which still hasn’t shown up in Michigan. Serocki wants to keep it that way. The Asian longhorn beetle is about an inch long, black with white spots, and a long antenna. It leaves behind signs of its passing after burrowing into trees.. ...Read Full Story

Kinexus Saluted By National Group

Kinexus in Benton Harbor is a great place to work. So says The Nonprofit Times, a trade group representing non-profit organizations around the country. It’s selected Kinexus as one of its top 50 non-profits when it comes to the work environment. Kinexus Human Resources Vice President Jamie Quigno spoke with WSJM News.. ...Read Full Story

Coloma Wins Spirit Tournament

The Coloma Comets are the winners of state Senator John Proos’ annual Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament for 2018. They beat out the River Valley Mustangs in the final round of the tournament, which is a March Madness-like competition Proos tells WSJM News he holds each year to test the school spirit of communities throughout his district.. ...Read Full Story

Special Amtrak Trains For Tulip Time

Holland’s Tulip Time Festival this year will run May 5 through the May 13, and it’s expected to draw more than 500,000 thisyear. If you don’t want fight traffic and hunt for a parking space, Amtrak can help as they’re adding extra trains on May 5th and May 12th to Holland. MDOT’s Michael Frezell spoke with WSJM News about the option.. ...Read Full Story

Report Examines Cigarette Tax Evasion

A new report from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy takes a look at the rate of cigarette tax evasion, noting how common smuggling is largely depends on what a given state’s cigarette tax is. Fiscal Policy Analyst Michael LaFaive tells WSJM News most cigarette smuggling into Michigan comes from Indiana, where the tax is $1 per pack compared to Michigan’s $2 per pack. In the recent analysis, though, smuggling wasn’t rampant between the two states.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Time To Replace Line 5

Congressman Fred Upton says the recent leak of coolant into Lakes Huron and Michigan from an underwater line containing electric cables in the Straits of Mackinac is a sign Enbridge’s Line 5 needs to be replaced. Speaking with WSJM News this week, Upton said the coolant leak, caused by a vessel, only points to the risks of Line 5.. ...Read Full Story

Volunteers Cleaning Up Litter

The Michigan Department of Transportation is gearing up for this year’s first Adopt a Highway cleanup event this month. Spokesperson Dan Weingerten tells WSJM News all kinds of organizations throughout the state sign up to pick up trash along designated stretches of road via Adopt a Highway.. ...Read Full Story

State House Allows Parental Eavedropping

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s House wants to give parents free reign in listening to their children’s conversations. In a 105-3 vote, lawmakers passed the bill that adds parental exemptions to Michigan’s eavesdropping prohibition. Eavesdropping is defined as overhearing, recording, amplifying or transmitting conversations intended to be private. Under current Michigan law, snooping on a child’s phone could lead to a felony sentencing of up to two years of imprisonment. Supporters say parents should be allowed to monitor their children’s conversations until they turn 18 to best protect them. The bill would not allow parents to monitor such conversations with the child’s attorney, a custody investigator or, if there’s a reasonable fear of danger, the other parent.. ...Read Full Story

Zoo Asks For Change To State Law

Officials at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids are calling on the Michigan Legislature to amend the state’s current Large Carnivore Act. Zoo CEO Peter D’Arienzo tells Michigan News Network it currently prevents the breeding of animals over 35 pounds, like cats and bears. Last year, they had to send their male tigers to out-of-state zoos because of the law.. ...Read Full Story

Study Examines Food, Beverage Industry Growth

The food and beverage industry in southwest Michigan is showing very strong growth in a new study. Commissioned by Indiana Michigan Power, the study was done to help better plan for the utility’s responsibilities and also to help economic developers. I&M spokesperson Dave Bergsma tells WSJM News the craft beer industry has led the way in the growth of beverage producing in southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Drug Raid In Benton Harbor

No details have been released yet by Michigan State Police, but authorities from several police agencies raided a Benton Harbor home last night for a drug bust. A block of Catalpa near Colfax was blocked off by authorities last evening. WSJM News spoke to troopers at the scene last night, but they were not able to provide any information.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Bans Dog Breed Rules

From the Associated Press — No bans on pit bulls allowed, Michigan’s Senate says. The chamber voted 22-13 on Thursday to prohibit local governments from dictating breed-specific regulations on dogs. The legislation will benefit canines that are perceived as more aggressive — mostly pit bulls, but also Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Cane Corsos. About 30 local governments have some form of breed-specific ordinances, which supporters of the bill say encroaches on dog owners’ property rights. Targeting specific breeds is also not an effective approach to dog bite prevention, they say. A 2014 American Veterinary Medical Association report says pit bulls are not disproportionately dangerous. However, critics of the bill mention that pit bulls are behind most fatal dog bites. At least 20 states already prohibit such breed-specific policies. Michigan’s bill now heads to the House.. ...Read Full Story