Local News Archives

Police Look To Prevent Gun Violence

Benton Harbor Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis hopes to help bring about a change of attitudes in the community as he works to reduce gun violence. He tells WSJM News gun crimes have been increasing in recent years. Part of the reason is the availability of firearms.... [Read Full Story]

Upton Meets With Army Corps, FEMA To Talk Coastal Erosion

Congressman Fred Upton has met with representatives of FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss shoreline erosion and high water levels in the Great Lakes. He tells WSJM News he and two other Michigan reps asked for tactical assistance in finding ways to mitigate the threat to shoreline property owners and communities during a meeting last Friday.... [Read Full Story]

Soo Locks Close For Maintenance

The Soo Locks have been closed for routine maintenance and repairs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will use the shutdown period, which runs through March 25, to work on the gates and electronics, and also to do structural repairs. With the annual closure, vessel traffic ceases through the Soo Locks for the season. This year during the closure, the Poe Lock will be dewatered. The last vessel to traverse the Poe Lock for the current shipping season was the 1,000 foot freighter Burns Harbor. The ship was up-bound from Burns Harbor, Indiana headed for Superior, Wisconsin for winter lay-up. It passed through on Wednesday. More than 4,500 vessels, carrying up to 80 million tons of cargo, maneuver through the locks each year.... [Read Full Story]

State Lawmaker Apologizes For Comments To Female Reporter

From the Associated Press — A Michigan lawmaker has apologized after telling a young female reporter that a group of high school boys could “have a lot of fun” with her. State Senator Pete Lucido, a Republican from Macomb County’s Shelby Township, issued a statement Wednesday addressing the incident that occurred outside the Senate chamber Tuesday. Lucido referred to a group gathered nearby from an all-boys Catholic high school and told a 22-year-old reporter from Michigan Advance: “You should hang around! You could have a lot of fun with these boys, or they could have a lot of fun with you.”... [Read Full Story]

Task Force Urges Overhaul Of Michigan Jail, Pretrial System

From the Associated Press — A task force says Michigan should reclassify many traffic offenses as civil infractions, release more defendants before trial without requiring them to pay money and take other steps to reduce jail populations that tripled in under 40 years. The 21-member group was created by Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer with support from Republican legislative leaders. It delivered its findings and 18 recommendations to lawmakers Tuesday. Suggestions include giving police more discretion to issue appearance tickets instead of arresting people, shortening the time people spend in jail between their arrest and arraignment, and reducing maximum probation terms for most felonies.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan House Votes To End State’s Ban On Stun Guns

From the Associated Press — Michigan would lift its ban on stun guns under legislation advanced by lawmakers. The bill would allow the sale, possession and “reasonable use” of a stun device by those 18 and older. Michigan currently allows law enforcement and people with a concealed pistol license to use a Taser, which is a different type of self-defense device than a stun gun. The Republican-led Senate will consider the measure next after it cleared the GOP-controlled House on an 84-24 vote Tuesday. Supporters say the stun gun ban contradicts court rulings. They contend that people may prefer nonlethal forms of protection over guns.... [Read Full Story]

Board Trustee To Resign

Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education Trustee Patricia Rush is resigning. At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Rush said she ran for the board in 2018 because of her commitment to social justice, and upon being seated, threw herself into understanding the intricacies of school operations. However, she said she doesn’t see how she can move forward with the way she’s been treated lately by Board President Joseph Taylor.... [Read Full Story]

Board Hears Report On Incident Following Basketball Game

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has received a report on last week’s incident involving district cheerleaders as they left a basketball game in Battle Creek. Following the Tiger victory over Battle Creek Central, the Benton Harbor cheerleaders and their coach allege they were harassed and attacked while walking out to their bus. At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Benton Harbor Interim Superintendent Patricia Robinson said Battle Creek Central is a longtime rival of Benton Harbor, and in the future, more will be done to protect the athletes when they go to these rival games.... [Read Full Story]

Lawmaker Vows To Restore Grant For Paw Paw

State Representative Beth Griffin says she’s fighting to restore a $200,000 downtown facade improvement grant for the village of Paw Paw. She says the funds from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation were cut off when the governor and state Legislature had an impasse over the state budget last year. The governor had line item vetoed nearly $1 billion in spending approved by the Legislature, much of which was later restored. Griffin tells WSJM News the grant for Paw Paw remains held up.... [Read Full Story]

Grand Rapids Graduates Get Free Tuition At Community College

From the Associated Press — Graduates of public and private high schools in Grand Rapids can attend a local community college for free. The Grand Rapids Promise Zone scholarship was announced Monday. It covers tuition for 60 credits at Grand Rapids Community College, as well as books and other fees. Students qualify for a full scholarship if they live in the city and attend a local high school for at least three years. A graduate who spends two years at a high school would get a 50% scholarship. The money is coming from Grand Rapids Community College and local donors.... [Read Full Story]

Hunter Ice Festival This Weekend In Niles

The 16th annual Hunter Ice Festival is set for this week in Niles. You might not think the weather is appropriate, but the winter celebration will feature thousands of pounds of ice blocks being carved into art. The ice fest starts on Friday and will run through Sunday, featuring live music, a 5K, and plenty of food. That includes the popular Hunter Ice Cream Booth on the south side of Main Street in the 100 block. The Hunter Ice Festival was started as a way to celebrate the Hunter Brothers Ice and Ice Cream Company, which was a commercial ice harvesting business that operated in the area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. You can find the full festival schedule right here.... [Read Full Story]

Vehicle Strikes Stevensville Cracker Barrel

No one is hurt after a vehicle crashed into the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Stevensville on Tuesday. The Lincoln Township Police Department says it happened at 9:45 a.m. A 93-year-old man was backing out of a parking spot when he struck another vehicle. He then put the car in drive and mistakenly accelerated, jumping the curb and running through the north side wall of the building, into the retail area. Although no one was injured, the driver was taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland Hospital by Medic 1 to be checked out. The restaurant was evacuated, and police say it will remain closed for the rest of the day. The incident remains under investigation. The Lincoln Township Police Department was assisted by the Lincoln Township Fire Department, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, and Medic 1.... [Read Full Story]

Benton Harbor Cheerleading Coach: We Were Attacked

There’s a good chance this will be brought up at tonight’s Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education meeting. High school cheerleading coach Ronnella Booker says her squad was attacked by Battle Creek Central High School fans last week while walking to their bus after the boys basketball game. Booker tells our partners at WSBT-22 they didn’t feel safe from the time they arrived in Battle Creek.... [Read Full Story]

Decatur Man Killed In Car-Pedestrian Crash

Michigan State Police are investigating a crash in Decatur that killed a pedestrian. It happened shortly after 10 Monday night on 39th Street near Burgess Road. Troopers say 33-year-old Devin Mattis was hit by a northbound vehicle on 39th, and they don’t know why he was in the road at the time. The crash remains under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

AARP Offering Tax Filing Help

Tax season officially starts in a few weeks, and hundreds of volunteers are finalizing their training so they can help Michiganders prepare their returns. The AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide Program runs from February 1st until April 15th, and volunteer preparers can assist filers with their forms and identify possible credits or deductions. Peter Elliott heads up the group’s Michigan Tax-Aide Team, and says roughly 800 counselors will be available at 150 sites.... [Read Full Story]

Eau Claire Farmer Dies As A Result Of EEE

An Eau Claire farmer who was stricken this summer with Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a rare mosquito-borne illness, has died. Jim Whitright, otherwise known as Tiny, died Saturday from apparent EEE complications. This brings the total deaths in Michigan to six out of the 10 confirmed human cases this year. The St. Joseph County, Indiana Coroner’s Office, along with a family friend, confimed the death. EEE has a 33% fatality rate and first appears as a high fever, quickly becoming worse. Whitright became sick on August 19, and spent four weeks in the intensive care unit at Spectrum Health Lakeland before being transferred to long-term care. He died at Memorial Hospital in South Bend. Meanwhile, state health officials say the risk for EEE is now gone for the year as the weather has gotten cold enough.... [Read Full Story]

MDOT: I-196 Work Wraps Up

Drivers on I-196 who put up with seven miles of one traffic between Benton Harbor and the Hagar Shore Road exit will be glad to hear the construction is done for the year. Removal of traffic cones and barrels should happen soon, according to MDOT’s Nick Schirripa.... [Read Full Story]

Buttigieg Surges To Lead Among Democrats In Iowa

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is surging in Iowa among the Democratic presidential hopefuls. In the latest Monmouth University poll, Buttigieg is on top with 22% support of likely caucus goers in Iowa, up 14 points from August. In second is former Vice President Joe Biden at 19% and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with 18% support. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is in fourth at 13%, and is the only other candidate with double-digit support in Iowa. The Iowa caucuses will be February 3rd and are the first contests of the primary season. The New Hampshire primary will be the next week on February 11.... [Read Full Story]

Attorney General Intervening In Utility Rate Increase Requests

A proposed rate increase from Indiana Michigan Power is getting pushback from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Her office says Nessel last week filed a notice of intervention as I&M seeks to raise electric rates by 18.9% in order to generate $58.5 million. I&M filed a request for the rate increase with the Michigan Public Service Commission after announcing its plans last month. Nessel issued a statement Wednesday, saying “On the heels of a 20-percent rate increase for customers just last year, I&M has no business looking for another exorbitant rate hike on the backs of our residents. This increase is simply unsupportable and unreasonable on its face.” Nessel is also intervening, or planning to intervene, in rate increase attempts being made by Consumers Energy, SEMCO, and DTE Electric Company.... [Read Full Story]