Local News Archives

Schuitmaker Co-Sponsors Bills To Better Prosecute Sex Assault Cases

State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker has signed on to some legislation designed to make it easier for authorities to prosecute sexual assault cases while better serving the victims of such crimes. She’s co-sponsored bills that would allow courts to consider prior bad acts in cases of sexual assault, increase reimbursements to medical providers who serve victims, and create consistency in how providers are compensated. Currently in cases involving sexual assaults of minors, courts are allowed to consider evidence that suspects may have committed a previous offense. Senator Schuitmaker says that should apply to all sex assaults. She also says it’s important the state makes sure victims get the best care possible.... [Read Full Story]

MDOT Puts Weight Restrictions Into Effect

The Michigan Department of Transportation has put weight restriction into effect on several west Michigan highways. Spokesperson Dan Weingarten tells WSJM News the restrictions are placed on large trucks, ensuring they don’t exceed certain weights and cause major damage to the roads because the weather is warmer.... [Read Full Story]

BH School Leaders: We Have Already Budgeted For Tax Chargebacks

Leaders at Benton Harbor Area Schools say they have already budgeted for tax chargebacks the district is expected to face this year. A chargeback happens when a business successfully appeals its local tax assessment to the state and a local taxing entity has to pay back to the treasurer’s office what it’s already received in anticipation of those revenues. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowksi tells WSJM News, it’s a particular problem in the Benton Harbor area.... [Read Full Story]

Collapsed Territorial Culvert To Be Replaced This Summer

Set for this summer is the replacement of a collapsed culvert on Territorial Road in Bainbridge Township. The culvert, located on Territorial over Blue Creek near Millburg, fell apart in April of last year, and the road near it has been closed since. Representatives of the Berrien County Road Commission told residents this week that work on the $1 million replacement will start when all of the needed materials are available, and it’s expected the project will be finished by the Fourth of July. According to The Herald Palladium, most of the project is being paid for with federal funds, and the same contractor who worked on the replacement of an old culvert on Red Arrow Highway in Chikaming Township last year will do this one. The collapsed culvert was at least 70 years old.... [Read Full Story]

Proos Praises Bill To Encourage Investment In Border Communities

State Senator John Proos is praising legislation passed this week designed to help border communities in Michigan attract new businesses. The Senate bill expands the state’s definition of “qualified new jobs” when it comes to tax breaks. Under current law, companies that come to the state and create jobs only qualify for breaks when the workers they’re employing live in Michigan. Under the plan, they could still get state help, even if some employees lives across the state line. Proos tells WSJM News that’s good news for southwest Michigan.... [Read Full Story]

New LMC President Gearing Up To Get Started

The next president of Lake Michigan College says he hopes to be settled in and ready to get to work in April. On Friday, the LMC Board of Trustees selected Dr. Trevor Kubatzke, the current Vice President of Student Services at Milwaukee Area Technical College, to take over for the retiring Dr. Bob Harrison. Kubatzke tells WSJM News us he believes strongly in the mission of community colleges.... [Read Full Story]

LaSata Announces Winners Of Berrien County Photography Contest

The winners of state Representative Kim LaSata’s Berrien County photography contest have been announced. LaSata started the contest to get some pictures of the area she represents to hang in her Lansing office. The top prize is going to Randy Willis, of Benton Harbor, for his picture of a rainbow over vineyards and barns. Second place goes to Mark Parren, of St. Joseph, for a photo of the sunset at the St. Joe Lighthouse, while third place goes to Jeff and Diane Binder, of St. Joseph, for a photo of waves crashing at the lighthouse. All three photos will now hang in LaSata’s office in different areas. You can see the winners below or, of course, you could check them out  in person at LaSata’s Lansing office.... [Read Full Story]

New State Police Troopers Coming To Paw Paw

More than two dozen recruits have graduated from the Michigan State Police Trooper Recruit School. The 28 new troopers were given their oaths Friday during a ceremony at the state police training academy in Lansing. The’re expected to start work next week and will join more than 1,000 other troopers at posts and other offices across the state. Their training started in August and included work with firearms, water safety, defensive tactics, ethics and criminal law. Among the graduating troopers are two that will be assigned to the Michigan State Police Paw Paw post. They are Jaboc Bailey, of Hastings, and Dustin Roesler, of Whitehall. Another trooper recruit school is slated to start in June.... [Read Full Story]

Lake Michigan College Selects New President

We now know who will be the next president of Lake Michigan College. The LMC Board of Trustees voted on Friday to hire Dr. Trevor Kubatzke to replace the retiring Dr. Bob Harrison. Kubatzke is currently the Vice President of Student Services at Milwaukee Area Technical College. He has two decades of experience in higher education, having previously worked at community colleges in Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Education Administration in Community College Leadership from Walden University, a Master of Science in Education Administration from Missouri State, and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.... [Read Full Story]

Arrest Made In Benton Harbor Shooting

A Benton Harbor man is in the Berrien County Jail on charges of assault with intent to murder, home invasion and more. Police say Lamarcus Crayton is accused of shooting a 21-year-old man in the head late Wednesday night at a home in the 700 block of Mcallister Street. The victim is hospitalized at Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph with life-threatening injuries, and authorities have not released his name. State Police, the FBI, and Berrien County Sheriff’s deputies assisted in making the arrest.... [Read Full Story]

Three Busted For Meth At Paw Paw Motel

Two men are jailed and charges are being sought against a woman following a drug bust at a Van Buren County motel. Deputies were called to Red Arrow Motel in Paw Paw around 1 a.m. Friday for a loud party with possible drug use. All three in the room denied they were doing anything wrong, but a search of the room resulted in police finding three syringes, with one having suspected meth. The 38-year-old woman said it was hers, and she had recently shot up. Both men were on parole, and one told deputies he had also used the drug and would test positive. The two men are in jail, and deputies say the woman will be charged with meth possession once their investigation is done.... [Read Full Story]

High Speed Chase Starts In Niles, Ends In South Bend

Charges are pending against a man who led police on a high-speed chase in Niles and South Bend. Our partners at WNDU Newscenter 16 report it started when police learned of alleged threats the man had made, and tried to pull him over. He was believed to have a gun, though no shots were fired during the 20-minute chase. It ended when he crashed at the corner of Cleveland and Mayflower in South Bend around 10:30 last night. The suspect is hospitalized after being injured in the wreck. His name hasn’t been released.... [Read Full Story]

CMU Condemns Anti-Semitic Valentine’s Day Card

A Central Michigan University Republican student group is apologizing for a Valentine’s Day card that mocks Jews who died in the Holocaust. The College Republicans group handed out gift bags to students Wednesday night, including one with a card that said “My love 4 u burns like 6,000 Jews.” It had a photo of Adolf Hitler and was signed “XOXO, Courtney.” Dr. Carolyn Dunn is Associate Vice President with the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, and told Michigan News Network the university condemns what was possibly a lone wolf’s stunt.... [Read Full Story]

Audit: Human Error Led To Detroit Recount Problems

The Michigan Bureau of Elections has conducted a review of 136 Detroit voting precincts to find out why there’s a discrepancy between the total number of recorded voters in November’s election and the number of ballots cast. Elections Director Chris Thomas told Michigan News Network they’ve learned a recount can’t be done when that happens.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Man To Receive Rotary International Award

A South Haven man will be receiving Rotary International’s highest award. Dr. Martin “Marty” Graber will be presented with the Rotary’s Service Above Self Award on May 13 at a district conference in Battle Creek. The award goes out to 150 Rotarians each year for their work in demonstrating the Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self.” Dr. Graber has been a member of the South Haven Rotary since 2006, and he’s getting the honor for his work in Kenya. The Rotary tells us, since he and his wife started working with the Maasai Tribe, they’ve helped to develop clean water and energy sources, agriculture, hospitals, and schools there. Graber is the second South Haven Rotarian to win the Service Above Self Award. The other recipient was Robert Brickman in 1993.... [Read Full Story]

MI Senate Passes Bill To Attract Businesses To Border Communities

From the Associated Press — A bill passed by the Michigan Senate looks to attract new businesses and investment to border communities. Senator Dale Zorn’s bill would encourage businesses to set up in counties near the border instead of in other states that border Michigan such as Ohio, Indiana or Wisconsin. The state provides grants, loans and other economic assistance to qualified businesses that make investment in the state or who hire “qualified new jobs.” Zorn’s bill would expand the definition of “qualified new job” from a job done by somebody who lives in Michigan to include somebody who does not live in the state but is employed by a business on the Michigan side of the border. The bill passed on a 24 to 13 vote and has been sent to the House.... [Read Full Story]

U-Michigan Students Get Racist Forged Emails In Name Of Prof

From the Associated Press — The University of Michigan says someone sent racist and anti-Semitic emails to students under the name of a professor who has raised concerns about the integrity of the voting system in some states. J. Alex Halderman denies sending the messages and the school doesn’t believe Halderman’s email was hacked. Instead, spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Wednesday that Halderman and the students are victims of “spoofing” or forged emails. Fitzgerald says campus police are investigating. Halderman calls the emails “contemptible.” They were sent mostly to engineering students and had subject lines such as “African American Student Diversity” and “Jewish Student Diversity.” Two
messages included the phrase “Heil Trump.” Halderman, a computer science professor, urged a recount of presidential election results in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to ensure that a cyberattack hadn’t manipulated totals.... [Read Full Story]

One Shot Overnight In Benton Harbor

We don’t yet have any details, but police are investigating an overnight shooting in Benton Harbor. According to Berrien County dispatchers, one person was shot in the 700 block of McAlister shortly before 1 a.m. We will have more updates as they become available.... [Read Full Story]

Paw Paw Schools Keeping Redskins Moniker

The Paw Paw School Board has voted to keep the Redskins name and image as their mascot. The board voted 4-3 late Wednesday to keep the mascot, which has been a source of controversy for decades. Board member Renee Richardson voted to get rid of the Redskins name, saying she’s “sickened” by what’s been going on in the community, with residents arguing and saying “hateful words to one another.”... [Read Full Story]

Judge Ends Challenges To Parole Rules, Sentences For Teens

From the Associated Press — A judge has rejected constitutional challenges to how Michigan sentences teens convicted of first-degree murder, ending seven years of litigation. Since 2010, federal Judge John Corbett O’Meara has made a series of decisions, some favoring so-called juvenile lifers who were given no-parole sentences when they were under 18. But some rulings were stopped by an appeals court. O’Meara closed the case Tuesday, noting that Michigan law has greatly changed because of decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court. No-parole sentences for teenagers still are possible but they’re not mandatory. O’Meara says judges can consider the “factors of youth” when they sentence teens. Attorney Deborah LaBelle had urged O’Meara to strike the law as unconstitutional. She says no-parole sentences are supposed to be rare, but prosecutors still are trying to keep more than 200 inmates behind bars for life at new hearings.... [Read Full Story]

Blossomtime Pageant Tickets Go On Sale This Month

Tickets to this year’s Blossomtime Pageants will go on sale this month. The public sale begins on February 14. This year’s theme is “If it starts with B, it must be Blossomtime,” and the pageants will be held next month. Tickets are $20.00 and you can get them by calling the Blossomtime office or stopping there. The big event will be at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center.... [Read Full Story]