Local News Archives

Last Weekend To Skate At St. Joseph Ice Arena

If you enjoy ice skating at the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena in St. Joseph, you’re running out of time to do it for the season. St. Joseph Deputy Public Works Director Greg Grothous tells WSJM News they’re shutting things down after this weekend. Despite this year’s warm winter, he says the ice rink has actually been pretty busy.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren County Corrections Officers Complete Training Program

A couple of Van Buren County Sheriff’s corrections officers have completed a new training program to better serve the jail. The sheriff’s department tells WSJM News Jessica Spears and Cody Moore studied at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Law Enforcement Training Center. The four-week academy covered subjects like custody and security, defensive tactics, first aid, suicide awareness, and interpersonal communications. Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott congratulated the two deputies, saying they’ll be able to help safely manage the inmate population in high-stress situations.... [Read Full Story]

Bangor Man Headed To Trial In Shooting Death Of Hartford Man

A Bangor man will stand trial for the shooting death of a Hartford man last month. The Van Buren County Prosecutor’s office says 19-year-old Thurman Fletcher is charged with open murder and felony firearm in the death of 28-year-old Eddie Holland at a park in Bangor the night of February 3. Michigan State Police say Holland was selling drugs to Fletcher when something went wrong. Police found out about the case when Holland was brought to Lakeland Hospital in Watervliet with gunshot wounds and later died. Fletcher also showed up at Bronson Hospital in South Haven that night with gunshot wounds to the leg and foot. Fletcher’s next court date is April 10.... [Read Full Story]

Three Charged Following Cass County Meth Bust

Three people are facing charges following a meth bust in Cass County this week. The sheriff’s department tells our newsroom officers searched a home in the 1,200 block of Rose Street in Howard Township Thursday afternoon. A 33-year-old man was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. A 29-year-old woman was also busted on charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, while a 39-year-old man was arrested on an outstanding drug warrant out of St. Joseph County, Indiana. That suspect will be extradited to Indiana, while the other two will be arraigned in Cass County. Police ask anyone with information on drug activity to report it to them.... [Read Full Story]

Director: Changes At Economic Club Of SWM To Mean New Benefits

The Lake Michigan Foundation’s takeover of the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan will be a good thing for members, as well as the community at large, according to its new director. Mendel Center Executive Director Mike Nadolski is now taking on the title of Director of the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series, and tells WSJM News he wants to leverage the Mendel Center’s assets to made the economic club’s guest speakers available to LMC students. He’s thinking they can arrange for students to hear from economic club guests.... [Read Full Story]

AAA: Make It A Safe St. Patrick’s Day

AAA of Michigan is asking everyone to make this a safe St. Patrick’s Day by not drinking and driving. The auto club tells WSJM News nearly 4.5% of fatal crashes in Michigan last year happened during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, adding 50% of those fatalities were alcohol-related. AAA says you should always have plans in place to get home safely if you’re going out and plan to drink. Have a designated driver lined up, or know how to arrange for a cab or an Uber. Also, you could arrange to stay overnight wherever you’ll be celebrating. Additionally, AAA says you should take care never to ride in a car driven by someone who has been drinking, and to report any drunk drivers you see.... [Read Full Story]

No Injuries In Crash Involving Niles School Bus

No one is hurt following a crash between a school bus and an SUV in Cass County on Friday. The sheriff’s department tells WSJM News deputies were called to the scene on M-60 near Pine Lake Street in Howard Township about 8:30 a.m. They learned 20-year-old Morgan Cabanaw, of Niles, lost control of her SUV while headed east on M-60 and wound up in the path of the Niles Schools bus. The bus hit the SUV. None of the 28 students on the bus were hurt, nor were the bus driver or the woman in the SUV. The students were all transferred on to another bus and brought to school safely. Police say alcohol and drugs were not factors in the crash.... [Read Full Story]

Lawton Man Facing Charges After Drunken Crash

A Lawton man is in the Van Buren County Jail following a drunken crash Thursday night. The 22-year-old’s vehicle was found in a swampy area submerged in about four feet of water near Marcellus. Sheriff’s deputies arrived to the scene near 96th Avenue and 36th Street before 10 p.m. to find the driver wandering around just east of the crash site. They say he smelled strongly of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, and was slurring his speech while stumbling around. The man was arrested and taken to the jail. There were no other injuries in the crash.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Superintendent Finalist For Allendale Job

South Haven Public Schools Superintendent Robert Herrera is a finalist for another job in west Michigan. He is among six up for the job of superintendent for Allendale Public Schools in Ottawa County. Dr. Herrera has headed up South Haven schools since 2012 and is also an adjunct professor at Concordia University. He will be interviewed for the job in Allendale on Wednesday, March 22 at 5 p.m. Final round interviews will be March 28, with the school board selecting a new leader that night. Herrera is up against the superintendents of Pewamo-Westphalia and Lakewood for the job, along with Allendale High School’s principal, the assistant superintendent of Grandville schools, and the director of human resources with Hudsonville schools.... [Read Full Story]

Upton Expresses Concerns About Trump Budget Proposal

“Penny wise but pound foolish” is how Congressman Fred Upton describes the president’s new budget proposal. Upton has issued a brief statement on the plan. He writes that the budget “acknowledges our unsustainable national debt and does attempt to put us on the path to fiscal responsibility.” However, Upton then goes on to say he’s “deeply concerned” about cuts to the Great Lakes and the National Institutes of Health. He pledges to work with colleagues in Congress on the federal budget as the process moves forward.... [Read Full Story]

Economic Club Of SWM Handing Off Assets To Lake Michigan College Foundation

The Lake Michigan College Foundation is taking over the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan. As the club has faced increased costs in recent years, it sent a letter to members this week telling them that handing off all assets to the foundation will reduce overhead and strengthen its ability to continue its mission into the future. Mendel Center Executive Director Mike Nadolski will now take on the title of Director of The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series, and serve as the club’s leader. Members are not expected to notice many changes as a result, but this is a new era for the organization that has brought a variety of big name speakers to southwest Michigan over the years. They’ve included former U.S. presidents, foreign leaders, secretaries of state, senators, journalists, comedians, and scientists.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan House Votes To Expand Freedom Of Information Act

From the Associated Press — Members of Michigan’s House of Representatives have passed bills that would make the governor, lieutenant governor and the legislature accountable under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. The package of bills was voted on Thursday and now moves to the GOP-controlled Senate. Lead sponsors of the bills are Republican Representative Lee Chatfield from Levering and Democrat Representative Jeremy Moss from Southfield. They say residents are demanding more transparency following the state’s involvement in events like the Flint water crisis and a sex scandal involving two now-former members of the state House. The bills could die in the Senate where Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof has opposed the legislation, citing security concerns over constituent emails.... [Read Full Story]

Firefighters Save Dog From Casco Twp Fire

Firefighters say they managed to save a dog from a fire in Casco Township Thursday morning. It was reported in a home on Baseline Road near 70th Street shortly before 9 a.m. A passerby reported the place being on fire, as the homeowner was not there at the time. South Haven Area Emergency Services arrived to find a dog semi conscious on a bathroom floor. They pulled the dog out and gave it oxygen, then took it to a local veterinarian. The dog is expected to be OK. Firefighters contained the blaze to the living room. Two cats did die in the fire. Its cause remains under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

Trump Budget Proposes Elimination Of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

From the Associated Press — President Donald Trump wants to eliminate federal support of a program that addresses the Great Lakes’ most pressing environmental threats. Trump’s 2018 budget released Thursday would remove all funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has received strong support from members of Congress in both parties since President Barack Obama established it in 2009. The program has pumped more than $2.2 billion into the eight-state region for projects that have removed toxic wastes from industrial harbors, fought invasive species such as Asian carp, restored wildlife habitat and supported efforts to prevent harmful algal blooms. The initiative has generally received about $300 million a year. Congress voted last year to authorize the program for five more years. A Trump campaign representative said last fall the Republican nominee supported the program.... [Read Full Story]

Native American Mascots Could Bring Financial Penalties

State Superintendent Brian Whiston is waiting for word from the attorney general’s office on whether he can cut funding for school districts with offensive nicknames if they don’t change them. In particular, he wants to force Paw Paw and Saranac to drop the “Redskins” monikers, which boards from both districts have recently voted to retain. Whiston told reporters this week if the attorney general says he doesn’t have the authority under current law, he will start lobbying the Legislature for that power. He adds his office is working with Michigan’s Native American tribes on the issue.... [Read Full Story]

Benton Harbor Schools Partnership With State Coming Together

The new partnership agreement between Benton Harbor Area Schools and the state of Michigan is starting to come together. Benton Harbor Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker tells WSJM News she’s learning new things each day about how the partnership allowing three struggling schools in the district to stay open will look. She says the deal won’t just be more state control.... [Read Full Story]

Petition Seeks Ouster Of Bangor School Officials

Recent controversies surrounding Bangor Public Schools have led to the publication of an online petition seeking to oust the school board and the former superintendent, who is now the chief operations officer. The petition on Change.org as of Wednesday afternoon had about 140 signatures. It lists the recent internet posting of a video featuring teachers engaged in an inappropriate conversation as among the reasons there needs to be changes in the district. It also cites confusion over administrator qualifications, teacher pay, and academic rankings. The petition states, “We are tired of the good ol’ boy network.” The school board is not required to respond to the petition. Its next meeting is Monday, March 20 at 6 p.m.... [Read Full Story]