Local News Archives

High Marks For Bridgman Superintendent

The Bridgman Public Schools Board of Education has voted to extend the contract of Superintendent Shane Peters by three years. That’s after he got a positive yearly performance evaluation this month. The board rated Peters as highly effective, and praised him for helping Bridgman students exceed state and county averages in math and English. They also noted several new programs were added to the district during the most recent year, including reading programs at the elementary and middle school levels, and a fifth year Spanish class at the high school. The board said Peters is engaged with the public and it’s proud of the district and the community.... [Read Full Story]

Legislation Shielding “Dark Money” Advances

From the Associated Press — Legislation nearing the desk of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder would make it a crime for government agencies to require the disclosure of nonprofits’ donors. Critics decry the move as shielding political “dark money” while supporters
defend it as protecting people’s right to freedom of association. The Republican-led House approved the bill Tuesday, meaning it will go to
Snyder after a final procedural step in the Senate in the final days of a frantic lame-duck session. The legislation is seen by some as a pre-emptive strike against the incoming Democratic secretary of state and attorney general, who will succeed term-limited Republicans.
Politically active nonprofits that spend big on elections and ballot initiatives already do not have to disclose the sources of their funding to the IRS. The legislation would prohibit governments in Michigan from making such information public or even collecting it in the first place _ unless there is a warrant or a request as part of litigation.... [Read Full Story]

City To Reimburse Some HUD Funds

The city of Benton Harbor has to reimburse some Community Development Block Grant money to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. At Monday’s meeting, they approved a reimbursement of just under $61,000 from 2013. City Manager Darwin Watson said HUD oversight determined there were issues with the CDBG program that year.... [Read Full Story]

Ludington Company Gives Workers $4 Million In Bonuses

What are you getting for Christmas from your employer? The owner of FloraCraft in Ludington is giving his 200 employees bonuses totaling $4-million. Each employee will get a share based on their years of service. 80% will go into their retirement accounts and the rest will be paid out in cash. Lee Schoenherr is the owner of the company and says the average gift is around $20,000.... [Read Full Story]

St. Joseph Limo Service Owner Response To State Action

A St. Joseph company offering transportation to and from airports in Chicago, South Bend, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids expects to be operating again soon. The state’s Licensing and Regulatory Affiars department issued a cease and desist order on Saturday to Airport Connection, owned by Roger Reddel, because the company wasn’t properly licensed.... [Read Full Story]

Report Looks At Holiday Drinking And Parents

Taking care of your kids can be difficult this time of year with holiday parties, get-togethers, and alcohol. New research from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital shows about 64% of parents polled were very likely to make plans for someone to take care of their child the day after a holiday event. Sarah Clark is a co-director of the study and spoke with Michigan News Network about it.... [Read Full Story]

BH Commission Updates Rules

Come next year, Benton Harbor City Commissioners will be doing things a little bit differently. At their final regular meeting of 2018 on Monday, they voted to amend the council rules to allow members to suspend the rules at the will of the majority and to add resolutions from the floor. They also voted to change the position of committee vice chair to co-chair. Commissioner Mary Alice Adams said the rules they’d been operating under prevented the commission from taking quick action.... [Read Full Story]

$450 Million Health Campus For MSU

From the Associated Press — Plans are moving forward on a $450 million health care campus adjacent to Michigan State University. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Monday at the University Corporate Research Park in Lansing with officials from McLaren Health Care and the East Lansing university. The event marked the beginning of construction on the acute care hospital portion of the project. Design and construction on the campus’s medical services building and cancer center will begin within the next year. The new South Lansing campus will be developed on land purchased from the Michigan State University Foundation in its University Corporate Research Park. It will house a 240-bed hospital, cancer center, medical services building and other facilities to support health care, education and research. The facilities are expected to open in early 2022.... [Read Full Story]

Four Winds Employees To Distribute Holiday Meal Baskets

Volunteers from Four Winds Casinos and The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi will be distributing 200 holiday meal baskets to those in need Tuesday. The band tells us the distribution is part of more than 1,000 holiday meals donated to regional agencies this Christmas season. Each basket contains all of the items needed to prepare a holiday meal, and the donations today are going to the Northern Indiana Food Bank in South Bend. Each holiday season, Four Winds employees contribute to help make the time a happier one for those who are less fortunate. For Thanksgiving, Four Winds staff handed out 1,000 baskets containing a turkey, potatoes, veggies, and dessert around northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. Tuesday’s distribution will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.... [Read Full Story]

After School Activities Canceled At BH High School

After school activities at Benton Harbor High School were canceled Monday due to a possible threat. Administration tells us the district heard from a third party about a statement regarding the school that could have been construed as a threat. The statement came in at the end of the school day, and was said to be vague. Still, the kids were sent home for the day at the normal time and the district is reviewing its protocols for such situations. The building is also being checked by police. Everything will return to normal on Tuesday.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven-Area Horse Euthanized After Falling Into Septic Tank

A 32-year-old Arabian horse has had to be euthanized after falling into an access hole for an old septic tank. South Haven Area Emergency Services, Harbor Towing, and the city of South Haven’s Public Works Department responded to a home on Blue Star Highway near 106th Avenue in Casco Township at 4 a.m. Monday to rescue the horse. Named Tea Cup, it was trapped in the sinkhole up to its head. The homeowners had just recently bought the property and were unaware of the septic tank in the area of the pasture. The horse had to be put down after being rescued when a veterinarian determined its heart was not strong enough to survive. It took nearly two hours to pull the horse out of the tank and another hour and a half to warm her up and dry her off. The homeowners were alerted to the problem by a dog and a donkey.... [Read Full Story]

Remains Found In Lawrence ID’d As Missing Lansing Man

Michigan State Police say skeletal human remains found near I-94 in Lawrence last Wednesday have been identified as those of 27-year-old Jerome Ezell of Lansing. He has been missing since November 2017 when his five-month-old son was found inside his SUV in the Lansing area, but he was nowhere to be found and there were no signs of a struggle. Family members tell WLNS-TV in Lansing that DNA was used to identify the man. Police don’t know yet how Ezell died or who may be involved in his disappearance and demise.... [Read Full Story]

Food Aid Groups Praise New Farm Bill

With the new federal Farm Bill now headed to President Trump for his signature, the Food Bank Council of Michigan is thanking the lawmakers who approved it without major changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Food Bank Council of Michigan Deputy Director Kait Skwir tells WSJM News the Farm Bill also preserves the Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP.... [Read Full Story]

Man Breaks Both Legs, One Arm In Forestry Mishap

Two broken legs and a broken arm are the result of a forestry accident in Bainbridge Township on Sunday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says a 55-year-old South Haven man was cutting down a large tree in a wooded area in the 58-hundred block of Meadowbrook Road when he was hit by a limb he had cut down. He was flown by Air-Care to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo to be treated for two broken femur bones and the broken arm, but the injuries are not life threatening. Police say the man was using a harness and had to be freed from it after the accident. It happened around 3 Sunday afternoon.... [Read Full Story]

Niles Twp. Man Arrested After Second Standoff With Police

A 21-year-old Niles Township man is in the Berrien County Jail after an assault Friday that resulted in Merritt Elementary School being locked down. Police surrounded the suspect’s home in the 16-hundred block of Florence Avenue, only to find he had escaped by the time they burst inside. The man got into another disturbance at the home Sunday afternoon and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department responded a second time to a report the man had barricaded himself inside the home. This time, he was still there when deputies arrived and they negotiated his surrender after a second standoff. He will be charged with assault, unlawful imprisonment, interfering with communications, and possession of a controlled substance when he makes his first court appearance, but that has not yet been set.... [Read Full Story]

Drunk Driving Crackdown Underway

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department has kicked off another holiday Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. Chief Deputy Robert Boyce spoke with WSJM News and told us extra patrols started going out during specific times this past Thursday, and will run through December 31. Boyce says drunk driving arrests jump around the holidays with all of the people hitting up parties. However, he says there would be no need for that if everyone followed some simple advice before going out.... [Read Full Story]

State Offers Help To Problem Gamblers

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reaching out to those with a gambling problem to let them know help is available with the holidays here. Spokesperson Lynn Sutfin tells WSJM News the stress of the holidays can make someone seek a release, which is dangerous for those with a gambling problem. Her advice?... [Read Full Story]

Environmentalists Not Pleased With Wetland Proposals

There’s been plenty of negative reaction from conservation groups was swift to a Trump Administration proposal to remove federal clean-water protections from many smaller streams and wetlands. On Tuesday, the EPA announced a replacement for the Waters of the United States Rule. It would lift federal protections from water sources that are seasonal, and wetlands that are not connected by a stream to a larger body of water. Jenifer Collins with the law firm Earthjustice tells us the proposal ignores basic hydrology.... [Read Full Story]

MSU Extension Answering Water Contamination Questions

Michigan State University Extension is working to answer the questions Michigan residents might have about PFAS, the water contaminant that rendered the water in Parchment undrinkable this past summer. MSU Extension water quality specialist Lois Wolfson tells WSJM News PFAS have been found in communities across Michigan this year, and MSU Extension has heard a lot of questions.... [Read Full Story]

Free Turkeys Being Given Away For Holidays

Once again, Benton Harbor and St. Joseph area residents can apply for the gift of a free turkey and holiday food basket thanks to the Holiday Food Sharing Program. It’s an effort of the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency, the city of Benton Harbor, Whirlpool, and the PGA. Now in its third year, the Holiday Food Sharing Program is giving away around 400 turkeys and food baskets season. The turkeys will be given away on December 21, and applications for them are being taken now. The deadline is Monday, December 17. Applications can be picked up at several local agencies, including the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency, the United Way, Benton Harbor City Hall, Michigan Works, and the Salvation Army. Below is a list of all the locations where applications can be picked up.... [Read Full Story]

Fire Chief: Avoid Holiday Fires

Live Christmas tree or artificial this year? That’s a question many families ask. If you choose to purchase a real tree, South Haven Emergency Services Chief Ron Wise spoke with WSJM News and suggests not keeping that live tree in the house for long.... [Read Full Story]