Local News Archives

Public Tours Of The Van Buren County Courthouse And Jail Being Offered

Anyone interested in getting an up close and personal look at the Van Buren County Courthouse and Jail will have a chance to do so in the coming months. The court will open the facilities up to the public for tours as it works to get support for a public safety millage proposal. The tours will be held on February 23 at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There will be others in March and April. Below is the tour schedule.... [Read Full Story]

Cubs World Series Trophy In St. Joseph Monday

The early bird gets the worm. That’s what you’ll want to be thinking if you plan to go to St. Joseph High School on Monday to see the Chicago Cubs World Series Trophy. The trophy will be on display at the school’s field house from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and organizers of the tour say the first 500 people who show up will be given wristbands to guarantee they see the prize. However, after that, folks will only be let in time permitting. The World Series Trophy has a busy day, being whisked off to Kalamazoo as soon as it’s done in St. Joe. The Cubs will have security on hand to protect the trophy, while the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety will have its own officers on hand to make sure students of the high school aren’t bothered. You can find out more at Cubs.com/TrophyTour.... [Read Full Story]

Fire Marshal Urges Everyone To Stay Off The Ice

State Fire Marshal Julie Secontine is urging Michiganders to stay off the ice with unseasonably high temperatures this winter. She says conditions are too dangerous and unpredictable for people and pets to venture onto ice-covered lakes, rivers and ponds, and notes emergency personnel respond to numerous calls regarding adults, children and pets falling through the ice or stranded on floating ice cakes. Secontine tells us nearly 85% of ice emergency 911calls result from individuals trying to save a pet who fell through ice. People also increase risks by using makeshift bridges to cross a crack in the ice to go further out onto a lake or river. The National Weather Service predicts temperatures in the 40s and 50s throughout Michigan over the weekend.... [Read Full Story]

I&M Warns Customers Of Phone Scam

A new phone scam has been reported to Indiana Michigan Power, and it’s warning customers. I&M spokesperson Erica Putt tells WSJM News someone will call with a spoofed Indiana Michigan Power customer service number and threaten to turn off a customer’s power over an unpaid bill.... [Read Full Story]

Bronson and South Haven Health System Celebrate New Partnership

A celebration has been held to mark the teaming up South Haven Health System and Bronson Healthcare. The former South Haven Health System became what is now known as Bronson South Haven on January 1. That’s after the health system’s board decided last year it needed to find a partner for the facility to ensure its long-term viability. South Haven Mayor Robert Burr proclaimed February 8, 2017 as Bronson South Haven Day when leaders of the healthcare institutions got together to make it official. You can read his full proclamation below.... [Read Full Story]

2017 South Haven Speaker Series Kicks Off Next Month

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]

Stolen Property Recovered In Van Buren County

A man and a woman from Bangor are likely to face charges after police say they recovered several stolen items from the two this week. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us deputies searched a property in the 58,000 block of County Road 384 Thursday night after getting a tip. They found a stolen cast iron fire place, a stolen wheel burrow, and a stolen commercial-grade generator. They also found a stolen trailer that had been partially stripped. The victim was brought to the scene and identified some of the items. The sheriff’s department says it’s sent the case on to the prosecutor and the two 30-year-olds will then be charged. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call police, as it is still under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

Rare Disease Day To Be Marked This Month

Governor Rick Snyder will recognize Tuesday, February 28 as Rare Disease Day in Michigan. It’s all thanks to Ashley Wurtz, a Mattawan woman who suffers from several rare ailments that have threatened her life. She tells WSJM News everyone knows about things like cancer and diabetes, but there are nearly 7,000 known rare diseases that are given little attention. She’s experienced it firsthand.... [Read Full Story]

Y Country Raises $32,500 For St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

$32,500. That’s how much Y Country Radio raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with its annual Country Cares Radiothon this year. The Y Country crew wrapped up the drive Friday night with a brand new record, and the crew thanked all of its partners in hope who contributed money to help. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a facility that treats children with cancer for free. It’s also a premier cancer research facility. Y Country’s radiothon took pace at the Silver Beach Center in St. Joseph all day Thursday and Friday. You can still donate by going to 975YCountry.com, or to StJude.org.... [Read Full Story]

Kinexus, Others Working To Prepare For Palisades Closure Next Year

Kinexus is working to set up a committee of community stakeholders in Van Buren County to prepare for the closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant next year. The agency’s Zachary Morris tells WSJM News the Van Buren County Commissioners this week voted to express its support of the new joint adjustment committee. Kinexus and Palisades owner Entergy will be partners in the committee.... [Read Full Story]

Former Coloma Cop Charged With Stealing Drugs

A police officer from Kalamazoo is charged with stealing drugs while working for the Coloma Police Department. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office tells our newsroom 33-year-old King Mitchell was a patrolman for the Coloma PD when he was found to be in possession of a heroin and fentanyl mix, along with codeine tablets. Prosecutors say he took them from the scene of an overdose death he helped investigate on January 10. Later that same day, they say Mitchell took codeine pills from the township’s MedReturn Box. He no longer works for the Coloma Police Department. Mitchell is charged with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, and a couple of possession offenses, and could get up to ten years in prison. He was arraigned Friday with bond set at $10,000.... [Read Full Story]

Commission: ‘Systemic Racism’ At Root Of Flint Water Crisis

From the Associated Press — Michigan civil rights officials say “systemic racism” going back decades is at the core of problems that caused a lead-contaminated water crisis in the majority black city of Flint. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission issued a 130-page report Friday following three public hearings and other meetings to determine whether residents faced discrimination or racial bias. The report says nobody “intended to poison Flint,” but concludes that decisions would have been different had they concerned wealthier, predominantly white communities. Recommendations include replacing or fixing the state’s emergency-manager law to analyze the root causes of a community’s financial problems. To save money while under state control, the city used water from the Flint River for 18 months without treatment to prevent pipe corrosion. The water caused toxic lead to leach from old pipes into homes.... [Read Full Story]

Ex-Lawrence 8th Grade Basketball Coach Charged

A former junior high school girls basketball coach is in the Van Buren County Jail on a $2-million bond. Twenty-year-old Tyler Norg is accused of having a sexual relationship with one of his players in 2016. Norg was a volunteer coach at Lawrence Junior High School, coaching the 8th grade girls squad starting in 2015. He is facing three charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and is due back in court April 5th. School district officials stress he was a volunteer and was never a paid employee.... [Read Full Story]

LaSata, Pagel To Hold Local Office Hours

If you’re a Berrien County resident interested in meeting your local Michigan House representative, you’ll have a few chances in the next month or so. Both state Representatives Kim LaSata and Dave Pagel are planning local office hours. LaSata, of the 79th District, has several sessions planned in St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, Watervliet, Bridgman, and Coloma. You can find the schedule below. Pagel, of the 78th District, also has a coffee hour planned for Saturday, February 25 at the Union Coffee House in Buchanan from 10 to 11:30 a.m. No appointment is needed to go to either’s event to chat with the representatives. Anyone looking for more information can call their offices.... [Read Full Story]

Y Country Radio Continues St. Jude Children’s Hospital Radiothon Friday

This Friday is the final day for the 2017 Y Country Radio St. Jude Children’s Hospital Radiothon at Silver Beach Center in St. Joseph. Y Country’s Matt Malone has been out there broadcasting live since Thursday, raising money for the hospital that treats kids with cancer free of charge. Malone tells WSJM News St. Jude doesn’t only treat the children, though. It’s also a premier researcher, always looking for a cure.... [Read Full Story]

Bangor Schools Notified Of State Penalty Over Administrator Certifications

Bangor Public Schools has been notified by the state it’s taking a hit in its monthly aid payment for February. Michigan Department of Education spokesperson Bill Disessa tells WSJM News they’ve been penalized $42,000 because a review late last year found former Superintendent Dennis Paquette and former high school assistant principal Mary Spade weren’t certified as administrators.... [Read Full Story]

Truancy Courts Being Tried In Two West Michigan Communities

From the Associated Press — A pilot project has been started to reduce student absenteeism in two western Michigan school districts. Kent County’s 17th Circuit Court in Grand Rapids says Thursday that its Truancy Court will provide up to 20 lawyers to work with students in Wyoming and Godwin Heights schools. The lawyers are providing their legal services free of charge. Students and their families also will have access to community services through the court’s crisis intervention program. The goal is to get students services they need to overcome attendance barriers and get them back in school. The project is based on a truancy court in Ingham County.... [Read Full Story]

State House Speaker Defends Income Tax Vote

From the Associated Press — A Republican legislative leader is defending a quick vote to gradually eliminate Michigan’s income tax after Governor Rick Snyder criticized the move. Speaker Tom Leonard said Thursday the measure isn’t a “difficult bill to understand” and it’s well known cutting taxes is a priority for the House GOP. When a committee advanced the tax cut Wednesday, the Republican governor – who
has concerns about the budget implications of a cut – issued a rare rebuke of lawmakers by questioning the vote after one 90-minute hearing.
Leonard says he’s “disappointed” by Snyder’s criticism. He says both sides of the legislation had their say in the “deliberative” meeting.
Leonard spoke after the House majority outlined guiding principles for the two-year term. Priorities include tackling auto insurance premiums and public employee retirement costs.... [Read Full Story]

State Regulators: Power Providers Hitting Renewable Standard

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Michigan regulators say all power providers met or exceeded a requirement to supply 10% of their electricity from renewable sources in 2015. The standard will increase to 12.5% in 2019 and to 15% in 2021. The Michigan Public Service Commission says the 10 percent standard has led to the development of more than 1,670 megawatts of new renewable energy projects, mostly wind farms. Chairwoman Sally Talberg said Wednesday the average price of renewable power is considerably less than was forecast in initial plans.... [Read Full Story]

Poll: Michigan Voters Don’t Want Income Tax Repeal

Michigan lawmakers looking to phase out the state’s income tax over time without a plan to replace it won’t find much support from their constituents, according to a new survey. The poll, commissioned by the Michigan League for Public Policy, found that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed oppose the plan – introduced in both the Michigan House and Senate – that would leave up to a $9 billion hole in the state’s general fund.... [Read Full Story]

Bangor Teacher Resigns After Duct Taping Student

A third Bangor teacher is out of a job this week. The latest to resign is a chemistry teacher who was recorded on video by a student duct taping another student in class. She claims his arm movements were distracting and added it was meant to be a joke. Images were posted online of the incident, and the 16-year-old student felt humiliated by what happened. The student that took the photo also showed it to police, and the Van Buren County Prosecutor’s Office is looking into the situation.... [Read Full Story]