Local News Archives

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]

Governor Meets Again With BH School Leaders

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has met once again with members of the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education. Her office says a meeting took place between the administration and school trustees Tuesday. A joint statement was then issued by Whitmer Administration Press Secretary Tiffany Brown and local school board President Steve Mitchell. It says “Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist and Benton Harbor Area School Board leadership met to discuss next steps regarding the district. The lines of communication are open among all parties and we look forward to future discussions to identify a solution that puts Benton Harbor students first.” The statement could indicate the board and the administration are making up after local trustees last week slammed the administration’s proposed turnaround plan for the school district.... [Read Full Story]

Big Expansion Could Be Coming To Park

Paw Paw River County Park in Watervliet could be getting a substantial expansion. The Berrien County Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved the purchase of 63 acres of property adjacent to the park. Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey tells WSJM News the parcel owned by the Enders family is across the river from the island that makes up a large part of the current park. He’s been working with the Enders family to acquire it.... [Read Full Story]

Two Arrested In Cass County Burglaries

Two people are facing charges after police say they were found to be in possession of a large amount of stolen property in Cass County. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department tells us an investigation into several burglaries took deputies to a home on Brownsville Road in Calvin Township last Wednesday. They searched the place and say it was full of stolen property from burglaries and larcenies throughout Southwest Michigan and Elkhart County, Indiana. They say they also found meth. It took police two and a half days to process all of the evidence. Arrested were 32-year-old Sunny Fogg and 35-year-old Amber Biggs, both from Cassopolis. They’re charged with burglary, possession of stolen property, and criminal enterprise. Fogg is being held on $70,000 bond and Biggs is being held on $60,000 bond. Police ask anyone who knows of additional burglaries in the area to contact them.... [Read Full Story]

State Mandates BH Water Plant Work

The city of Benton Harbor has to make some improvements to its water plant as part of a new agreement with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. At this week’s city commission meeting, the relocation of an aluminum sulfate line at the plant was approved following a DEQ order. The work is needed to help maintain water quality and it comes with a price tag of $10,900. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said this project is related to a consent agreement with the DEQ regarding the water plant after the DEQ noticed some issues there.... [Read Full Story]

Humane Society Triples Donation

The Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan has received a donation from the Benton Harbor-Fairplain Lions Club that now has triple its original value because of the ongoing capital building fund. Humane Society General Operating Manager Alissa Saul tells WSJM News the Lions Club gave $5,000, and then it turned into $15,000.... [Read Full Story]

Fish Virus Appears In Two MI Lakes

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the largemouth bass virus that killed hundreds of fish back in the early 2000s has been found in Cedar Lake in Alcona and Iosco counties. DNR Hatchery Manager Martha Van Amberg tells us, for the most, there is no danger to humans.... [Read Full Story]

Krasl To Unveil New Sculpting Community This Month

The Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph is getting ready to unveil its new outdoor Sculpting Community along with a brand new sculpture by Richard Hunt. The piece from the Chicago artist was shipped into St. Joseph on Monday aboard a flatbed truck, and it’s being installed at the grounds of the Krasl this week. Hunt tells WSJM News it’s about 20 feet high and 40 feet across in two stainless steel pieces.... [Read Full Story]

Cornerstone, Bridgman Chambers Integrating

The Greater Bridgman Chamber and Growth Alliance is integrating into the Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce. Cornerstone’s Chris Heugel tells WSJM News the Twin Cities-based chamber started helping the Bridgman chamber when its previous leader moved out of town, and over time, it made sense for the two to combine.... [Read Full Story]

Parchment Gets All-Clear For Clean City Water

The water in the city of Parchment and Cooper Township is again safe to drink. The state found extremely high levels of the suspected carcinogen PFAS in the water system last month at over 14-hundred parts per trillion, and new tests find that level is less than 10 parts per trillion now. City of Kalamazoo utilities director Jim Baker says they also found some other levels on the high side, including lead, which they have addressed.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan DNR Adopts 5-Year Plan To Manage State Park System

There is a new five-year strategy for managing Michigan’s parks and recreation system. The Department of Natural Resources says the plan was developed through discussions with other state agencies and groups representing various public interests. The DNR manages 103 state parks and recreation areas that together occupy more than 300,000 acres. The parks and recreation division also oversees the state’s boating program, the state motorized and non-motorized trails system and 138 state forest campgrounds. Division chief Ron Olson says the plan will be a compass that guides the division in acquiring, protecting and preserving natural and cultural resources while providing access for recreation and education. The plan is available online at http://www.michigan.gov/prdstrategicplans... [Read Full Story]

Report: Upton “90% There” On Senate Run

If a report by Lansing-based MIRSNews is accurate, there is something to the rumors about Congressman Fred Upton looking at a run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow. MIRS is citing a source close to Upton as saying he’s “90% there” and is “very seriously looking” at challenging Stabenow. Upton has repeatedly told WSJM News he’s concentrating on the job at hand in the U.S. House. Another Republican source is telling MIRS that Upton’s moderate record won’t work with the more conservative GOP base in the state following the election of Donald Trump as President, even with Trump’s approval rating in the state at a very low level. Former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young Jr. and John James are the current Republican field for the Senate after Lena Epstein withdrew to run for the U.S. House yesterday.... [Read Full Story]

Pipeline Board: Let Campus Evaluate Line 5

From the Associated Press — An advisory group is recommending that Michigan universities analyze the worst-case scenario of an oil pipeline failure in the Straits of Mackinac. The effort would be led by Michigan Tech University, which would collaborate with experts at other universities. The recommendation was made Monday by the state Pipeline Safety Advisory Board, which includes high-ranking members of Governor Rick Snyder’s administration. A contractor was fired by the state in June because of a conflict of interest with Enbridge Energy, owner of Line 5. Line 5 carries nearly 23 million gallons of light crude oil and liquefied natural gas daily. It runs across Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula before entering the Straits of Mackinac, where it divides into two lines, then continues to refineries in Sarnia, Ontario.... [Read Full Story]

Expect Busy Road this Memorial Day Weekend

2017 will mark the third consecutive year of growth in Memorial Day travel. That’s according to AAA who projects that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend. The report says 34.6 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4 percent over last year.
While road trips continue to reign supreme for Memorial Day, more Americans will fly, ride the train or bus, or take a cruise vacation compared to last year. Air travel is expected to increase 5.5 percent over last year, with 2.9 million Americans taking to the skies this Memorial Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 2.9 percent, to 1.75 million travelers.... [Read Full Story]

Driver Crashes Through Store Window

A driver was injured when his vehicle crashed thru window of the Auto Value store on M-140, South Haven Township, on Tuesday afternoon about 2:45 p.m. No one in the store was injured. The driver taken to South Haven Hospital-Bronson. The accident is being investigated by South Haven Police Department.... [Read Full Story]

Former Rep. Gamrat Files Wide-Ranging Federal Lawsuit

Disgraced former state Representative Cindy Gamrat of Plainwell is alleging wiretapping, stalking and defamation in a lawsuit against the Michigan House, former House Speaker Kevin Cotter and her soon-to-be former husband. The defendants include Cotter and his chief of staff and general counsel, ex-staffers Keith Allard and Ben Graham, Joe Gamrat and many others. Fellow Republican and former lover Todd Courser previously filed a suit with a similar list of defendants, but later filed a motion to dismiss over failing health. Both conservative Christians were accused of using taxpayer resources to cover up their affair. That scandal led to Courser tendering his resignation in September 2015. Gamrat was thrown out of office an hour after Courser stepped down.... [Read Full Story]

Waterfront Film Festival Finds Permanent Home

The Waterfront Film Festival will not be returning to South Haven. The festival left South Haven in 2013 for Saugatuck and was canceled in 2015 due to a partnership with ArtPrize in Grand Rapids for a film competition. Organizers now say they have a permanent home being set up in Holland that will give them a year-round facility for screening films and for education and other purposes. A matching grant from the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs helped to make the permanent home possible. Ticket information for the grand opening on June 22 will be announced next month.... [Read Full Story]

One Hurt In Bridgman Rollover

A 78-year-old Harbert man is being treated at Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph for back, head, and neck injuries after a rollover crash in Bridgman. Police were called to the scene around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday on Lake Street near Pine Street and found the man trapped inside the car. Investigators believe he suffered a medical incident prior to the crash, causing him to cross into the oncoming lanes and then into a brick planter. The crash is still being looked into, and the man’s name has not been released.... [Read Full Story]

Car-Bike Accident Sends One to Hospital

A woman remains in the hospital after being hit by a car while riding her bicycle. The incident happened around 11:30 yesterday (Monday) morning on County Road 354 in Porter Township. 67-year-old rider was riding southbound when a car, driven by a 35-year-old man hit her from behind. Sheriff’s Deputies report the driver appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was arrested. He is being held in the Van Buren County Jail for possession of Marijuana and operating a motor vehicle with the presence of drugs. The bicyclist was transported to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo and is listed in stable condition. Their names have not been released.... [Read Full Story]