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Local News Archives

House Republicans Lack Support For Income Tax Repeal

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Governor Rick Snyder still has concerns about the fiscal implications of an income tax cut after House Republicans revised their legislation. The Republican governor issued a statement Tuesday night saying he appreciates House leaders taking seriously his concerns. Representative Lee Chatfield is behind the push to lower the tax rate from 4.25% to 3.9%, but is giving up on the idea of rolling it back completely over 39 years.... [Read Full Story]

BH Commissioners Reject PlanTo Block Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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A plan that would have effectively prohibited medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of Benton Harbor has been rejected by commissioners. Tuesday night, they shot down an amendment to the zoning ordinance that would have kept the businesses away. City Manager Darwin Watson tells WSJM News doing so could have prevented headaches when it comes to crime due to the banking rules with medical marijuana.... [Read Full Story]

Lieutenant Governor In Mexico For Automotive Trade Mission

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Executives from 20 Michigan businesses and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley are in the midst of a trade mission to Mexico. The group left Sunday and will take part in an automotive conference and talk with company executives who have business operations in Michigan. Don Lowe is the Senior VP of Sales for Peterson Spring. He told Michigan News Network there are many opportunities to explore.... [Read Full Story]

New Scholarship Created In Honor Of Berrien County Teen

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A new scholarship program has been created in honor of a Berrien County teen who tragically died after a battle with cancer this month. The Berrien Community Foundation on Tuesday announced the David A. Hicks Scholarship for the Arts, which will be used to help Berrien County high school grads who wish to pursue a career in visual, performing or graphic arts.... [Read Full Story]

Improvements Coming To South Haven Beach

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More than $1 million worth of work is coming up at South Haven’s North Beach. This week, the city council approved two contracts for projects that will mean improvements to streets around the beach, mainly Monroe Park Street, as well as beach additions. Department of public works director Bill Hunter.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Animal Control Director Retiring

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Berrien County Animal Control Director Val Grimes is retiring. She’s been in charge at animal control for about 20 years now, and has more than 30 years of experience working with animals in southwest Michigan. Grimes tells WSJM News she started out with the Humane Society, and animals are just something she’s always understood.... [Read Full Story]

Two Arraigned In Monday Attack On Trooper

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Two brothers charged with attacking a Michigan State Police trooper alongside US-31 in Berrien Township this week have been arraigned. 21-year-old Michael Barber and 19-year-old Travis Wise are accused of assaulting the trooper following a motorcycle chase involving Barber on Monday. Two passersby helped the trooper overpower them. Now, the Berrien County Prosecutor’s office says each is charged with assault and strangulation, resisting and obstructing, and attempting to disarm a police officer. Barber is also charged with fleeing and eluding and receiving a stolen vehicle. Barber is from Gobles, while Wise is from Middlebury, Indiana. Barber’s bond has been set at $100,000, while bond for Wise is at $75,000. They’re due back in court next month.... [Read Full Story]

Parents Join Kalamazoo District Lawsuit Over Possible School Closures

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From the Associated Press — Several parents are joining a planned lawsuit against Michigan’s School Reform Office over its threats to close low-performing Kalamazoo schools. Kalamazoo Public Schools and nine parents say the state office lacks the legal authority to determine if schools should close. Superintendent Michael Rice tells the Kalamazoo Gazette he plans to file the lawsuit this week in the Michigan Court of Claims.
The district school board gave Rice authorization last week to sue the state office for its threat to close two of Kalamazoo’s elementary schools.
Parent Brianna Wolverton plans to join that suit. Her son attends one of schools the Michigan office says are at risk of closure due to poor performance. Wolverton says her son is thriving and “the school is not a failure at all.”... [Read Full Story]

This Is Family Medicine Week In Michigan

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This is the week to salute your family physician. Governor Rick Snyder has declared it Family Medicine Week in Michigan, when everyone should remember all the benefits family doctors have on the health of the state. Dr. Tina Tanner is a longtime family medical provider in Muskegon who tells us family physicians can lower overall healthcare costs.... [Read Full Story]

Bangor Police Warn Of New Scam

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Bangor police are warning the public about the latest scam. The department says in a Facebook post it’s gotten reports of people who were duped into sending money via Western Union for the transport of puppies. If you get a strange phone call asking for you to make such a transfer, don’t fall for it. Police say this latest scam is similar to the IRS scam we reported on not too long ago. Everyone should use caution when conducting financial transactions online and make sure they know who they’re dealing with. If you get a strange phone call soliciting money, just hang up.... [Read Full Story]

One Year Later, Still No Trial In Kalamazoo Shooting Spree

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It’s been a year now since six people were killed in a shooting spree around Kalamazoo, and still, the trial for the alleged shooter has not been scheduled. Jason Dalton was an Uber driver the night he’s accused of the murders. He’s told police the Uber app possessed him to go on the rampage. Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting told WKZO radio Dalton’s attorney will try to get those statements struck at a hearing next month.... [Read Full Story]

Cubs World Series Trophy Makes Stop In St. Joseph

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Chicago Cubs fans in southwest Michigan have had their chance to check out the team’s World Series trophy up close and personal. The trophy made its stop in St. Joseph Monday. It was on display for a couple hours at the high school, where folks could get their picture taken with it. However, no touching. Heather Way-Kitzes, with the Cubs, told WSJM News St. Joseph was a logical stop for the trophy on its victory tour.... [Read Full Story]

No Injuries In South Haven Township Fire

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No one is hurt following a fire in South Haven Township Monday afternoon. South Haven Area Emergency Services tells our newsroom it was called out to a field fire near 16th Avenue and Blue Star Highway just before 2 p.m. Firefighters got there to find the blaze had spread to a nearby storage building. They were able to put it out, although the building suffered heavy damage. They say a debris fire started by the property owner just got out of control. South Haven Area Emergency Services was assisted at the scene by Covert Township firefighters.... [Read Full Story]

Nesbitt Named Lottery Commissioner

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Former state Representative Aric Nesbitt has a new job. The Lawton Republican was just term limited out of office at the end of last year, and now it’s been announced he’ll be the new Michigan Lottery commissioner. In the post, Nesbitt will oversee management of the Lottery Bureau and work with lawmakers on coming up with new policies. The 37-year-old Nesbitt has replaced M. Scott Bowen, who resigned for private sector work. Governor Rick Snyder thanked Nesbitt for work he’s done in the state legislature, adding he’s confident Nesbitt’s experience is well-suited to the new role.... [Read Full Story]

School Budget: More For At-Risk, Less For Cyber/Private Students

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From the Associated Press — Faced with discouraging test scores, Governor Rick Snyder is proposing a shift so much more state money is spent on academically at-risk students and less goes toward educating private and home-schooled students or those attending online charter schools. He also wants to continue closing the gap between Michigan’s lower- and higher-funded districts – to $668 per pupil. Snyder’s plan would increase overall spending by 1 percent and hike basic per-student aid by between $50 and $100. It is largely being embraced by traditional school interests. However, Republicans who control the legislature and school-choice advocates oppose some facets, and negotiations will shape just how much each district can expect for next school year.... [Read Full Story]

Brothers Charged After Assault On Michigan State Police Trooper

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A couple of Indiana brothers are in jail after they allegedly attacked a Michigan State Police trooper along the side of US-31 Monday morning in Berrien County. Michigan State Police say the trooper tried to pull over an unlicensed motorcyclist near Matthew Road in Berrien Township when the motorcyclist took off at a high speed. That resulted in a three mile chase which ended when the 19-year-old lost control of the bike. He then attacked the trooper. During that struggle, the motorcyclist’s brother pulled over and also started fighting with the trooper. Two passersby then stopped and steppedin , making it possible for the trooper to arrest the brothers. Police say the motorcycle was stolen out of Van Buren County, and the brothers may have been involved in several recent break-ins. Their names haven’t been released.... [Read Full Story]

Legislation Would Reduce Cost Of Brownfield Projects

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From the Associated Press — The Michigan Senate is poised to pass legislation that would help developers with financial costs of cleaning up brownfield sites to build on. The bills would allow developers to keep portions of taxes generated by people and businesses moving in when the project is done. Although no money would initially be given to developers, they would be required to have all the money needed to complete the project and cleanup. Only after they start having people move in would they be able to collect on taxes. There would a $40 million cap that developers can be reimbursed and each city that qualifies could only get one project per year. MIThrive, a coalition of communities, chamber and development leaders from all around the state, supports the legislation.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Speaker Series Begins Next Month

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It will be a busy year for the South Haven Speaker Series. Its 2017 lineup was announced Friday, and board president Mark Odland tells WSJM News the guests will include professors, journalists, and school officials. The South Haven Speaker Series is a bit different from other, bigger name programs in that they invite guests based on which topics of the day organizers want to discuss, rather than aiming for celebrities.... [Read Full Story]

Candlelight Vigil To Remember Kalamazoo Shooting Victims

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A candlelight vigil will be held for the one-year anniversary of a shooting rampage in southwestern Michigan that killed six people and wounded two others. Details about a permanent memorial to honor the victims and survivors will be released after Monday’s vigil at Wings Event Center, formerly Wings Stadium, in Kalamazoo. Organizers say the multiyear project will include a physical monument.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan’s Lowest Gas Prices Are In SW Michigan

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If you seek Michigan’s lowest average gas prices, look about you. Triple-A says the Benton Harbor and St. Joseph area has the state’s cheapest fuel at an average of $2.20 to start the week, down nearly 13¢ from a week ago. Statewide, the average is down a nickel at $2.26. Up in Marquette, Upper Peninsula drivers are shelling out the most on average for the sixth straight week at $2.45 a gallon. According to Triple-A, our average price is right in the middle – 25th nationally for the lowest average price, and our 5¢ drop was the second biggest change over the past week. The auto club notes crude oil prices have slipped, despite reports that OPEC members cut 890,000 barrels of oil per day in January and some, like Saudi Arabia, cut production more than was required.... [Read Full Story]

Lieutenant Governor To Go On Trade Mission To Mexico

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From the Associated Press — Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is heading to Mexico for a three-day trade mission aimed at attracting job-creating investments and exploring new sales opportunities for Michigan companies. Calley, members of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and about two dozen other business executives will leave Sunday. They will take part in the Automotive Meetings Queretaro supply chain-oriented forum in Queretaro, Mexico. Calley is expected to meet with automotive and aerospace companies and with executives from two Mexican firms that have operations in Michigan. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community and talent development. This trip marks the third time officials with the group will travel to Mexico with Michigan firms to participate in the business forum.... [Read Full Story]

Railroad Engineer To Study Bluff In St. Joseph

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CSX Railroad is planning to send an engineer to St. Joseph next month to talk with local officials about a section of the bluff that some fear is in danger of collapsing. Part of the bluff near 2405 Old Lakeshore looks like it could cave in, and St. Joe City Manager John Hodgson tells WSJM News he, the mayor, and representatives of Congressman Fred Upton met with CSX this month to talk about it.... [Read Full Story]