Local News Archives

Stabenow To Vote Against DeVos Appointment

It looks like billionaire Betsy DeVos will get a confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate next week to be the next education secretary. That’s after the Senate this week voted to limit debate. Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow tells us she voted no on cloture, and she’s going to vote no on the DeVos nomination.... [Read Full Story]

One Arrested In Dowagiac Meth Bust

A Dowagiac man is facing charges following a meth bust on Tuesday. The Cass County Drug Enforcement Team tells us it raided a home in the 400 block of West High Street in Dowagiac to find the remnants of meth and paraphernalia. A 38-year-old parolee found in the home was arrested on charges of obstructing justice, destruction of evidence, and possession of methamphetamine. He’s now in the Cass County Jail. Anyone with information on drug activity in the area is asked to contact the police.... [Read Full Story]

Judge: Green Card Holders Shouldn’t Be Part Of Travel Ban

From the Associated Press — A federal judge in Detroit says U.S. green-card holders shouldn’t be affected by President Donald Trump’s order temporarily banning refugees and immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries. The Arab-American Civil Rights League argued in the suit filed this week in Detroit’s U.S. District Court that the executive action is unconstitutional and targets immigrant communities. It represents about a half-dozen legal, permanent residents, some of whom have been turned away from U.S.-bound planes. The restraining order released Friday from U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts covers legal permanent residents, not some others that also are part of the lawsuit. She says lawyers for the government clarified to her that the ban doesn’t apply to “lawful” permanent residents. Trump says the ban is about safety, not religion. It faces numerous legal challenges.... [Read Full Story]

Program Provides Counseling For Student Loan Delinquency

From the Associated Press — Free one-on-one counseling is available for Michigan residents who are delinquent on their federal student loans.
Michigan’s Treasury Department says it is partnering with a division of the National Student Loan Program on a 1-year pilot effort. Loan recipients will work with counselors to develop a repayment plan, learn how to create a household budget and better understand their credit scores. Individuals must have federal student loans from a public or private nonprofit Michigan higher education institution, currently be delinquent on their student loans and agree to provide their credit score twice during the pilot period to qualify. The pilot program runs until Jan. 1, 2018.... [Read Full Story]

BH Farmers Market Could Get A Pavilion

The Benton Harbor Farmers Market will soon get a brand new pavilion. Rich Hensel, with the city’s downtown development authority, tells WSJM News the pavilion will be along the Sixth Street side of Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park .The city’s already signed off on it.... [Read Full Story]

Two Arrested In Dowagiac Crack Bust

Two men are facing charges after a crack bust in Dowagiac. The Cass County Drug Enforcement Team tells us it raided a home in the 200 block of Grand Boulevard Wednesday and found cocaine and other evidence that crack was being made there. Two 36-year-old men were arrested on charges of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and maintaining a drug house. One man was also arrested on an unrelated warrant. They’re now in the Cass County Jail. Police ask anyone with information on drug activity to contact them.... [Read Full Story]

Legislation Encourages More Lawmaker Transparency

Michigan House members have introduced a public records proposal they say will increase transparency. The package of bills would subject the governor and lawmakers to public records requests. This will be the second attempt to get the bills passed in the Senate after overwhelming approval from the House last year. Kalamazoo County Republican Representative Brandt Iden is among the sponsors.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Settles Lawsuit Over False Unemployment Fraud Accusations

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency has settled a lawsuit in which it was sued for using an automated computer system that falsely accused thousands of people of fraud. The suit was dismissed Thursday by U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland under an agreement between the state and the plaintiffs. The state says the deal codifies practices put in place after it ceased what’s known as “auto-adjudications” in 2015. The United Auto Workers union, Sugar Law Center and individuals accused of fraud didn’t seek financial damages.
Lawyer David Blanchard says Michigan will implement safeguards to ensure claimants are notified of accusations and can respond. He says the state for too long denied the problem, but his clients are “heartened” by new leadership acknowledging the problem. Another lawsuit seeking financial damages is ongoing in state courts.... [Read Full Story]

Auto Sales Fall In January

From the Associated Press — U.S. auto sales are expected to have fallen in January after ending last year at a record high. General Motors’ sales fell 3.8 percent from last January, while Ford’s sales were down 1 percent. Nissan’s sales rose 6 percent thanks to strong truck and SUV sales. Other automakers report sales later Wednesday. ALG, an automotive forecasting firm, predicts overall sales will be down 1.5
percent from last January to 1.1 million. January is typically the weakest month of the year for U.S. auto sales, as winter weather and holiday debts keep buyers away from car dealerships. This year, the hangover could be even more acute, since a strong December capped off
a record year for the industry. U.S. auto sales totaled 17.55 million last year.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Juvenile Lifer Eligible For Parole After 38 Years

From the Associated Press — A Kalamazoo man originally sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile is now eligible for parole after serving 38 years for a 1979 slaying. MLive reports that in a resentencing Tuesday, a circuit court judge sentenced 55-year-old Anthony Jones to 30 to 60 years and gave him credit for more than 38 years served. Jones was sentenced by the judge in February 2012 to life in prison with the possibility of parole, but changes in state Legislature relating to sentencing juveniles convicted of homicides allowed Jones to have the opportunity to be resentenced.
Jones both planned and participated in the robbery of a Kalamazoo store January 4, 1979, where he struck the store owner but fled the scene before another teenager fatally shot the man. Jones was originally sentenced to life without parole for felony murder.... [Read Full Story]

Governor Snyder To Address Business Recognition Breakfast

Governor Snyder will deliver the keynote address next week at the Business Recognition Breakfast of Cornerstone Alliance and Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce. He is expected to talk about the benefits of doing business in Michigan during his speech. In a statement, Cornerstone Alliance President Rob Cleveland says Michigan has become a top state for attracting and expanding businesses thanks to Snyder, and adds they welcome him to the area “as we celebrate the innovation, growth, and success of Berrien County businesses who produce world-class products and services.... [Read Full Story]

Fatal Crash In Cass County

A 29-year-old Niles man is dead after a two-car crash in Cass County’s Howard Township. Michigan State Police say Chad Pond was driving at a high speed on Barron Lake Road around 7 last night when he tried to pass another car. The vehicles made contact, sending Pond’s car out of control and off the road, where it overturned. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and was wearing a seat belt. Troopers say at this point, they don’t know if alcohol or drugs were factors and the crash is still under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

Open Internet Advocates Concerned About Possible FCC Moves

With a new presidential administration comes the possibility that internet service providers will no longer have to provide the same level of service to all the websites that people visit. Net neutrality has only been an FCC policy for two years, and President Donald Trump’s new FCC chair, Ajit Pai, is an opponent. Marty Newell, with the Rural Broadband Policy Group, tells us the nation’s history in treating telephone service as a utility illustrates the importance of regulating common carriers.... [Read Full Story]

BH School Leaders Work To Reassure The Community

The Michigan School Reform Office will be visiting Benton Harbor Area Schools next week to review three district buildings for possible closure. At a Wednesday town hall, Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker told a crowd of about 50 she’s aiming to convince the SRO changes made since she came on board will turn those buildings around. She tells WSJM News if the district loses the 1,200 students affected, mostly elementary kids, then it won’t be able to function.... [Read Full Story]

Two Arrested In Niles Meth Bust

Two people have been arrested in a Niles meth bust. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us it raided a home in the 600 block of Woodruff on Tuesday night. Inside, officers found items for making meth, hazardous substances, and meth. 27-year-old Jasmine Lee Mitchell and 30-year-old Justin Lee Bennett were arrested on charges of making meth and having a meth lab. Both are now in the Berrien County Jail.... [Read Full Story]

Misdemeanor Abuse Charge Filed For Incident At Vets Home

From the Associated Press — A woman has been charged with misdemeanor abuse at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Video aired by TV station WZZM shows an employee rolling an 83-year-old man and his wheelchair into a desk last March. Laurie Botbyl was fired. She’s now charged with fourth-degree vulnerable adult abuse for that incident. Documents obtained by WZZM show the man had possible bruises and a skin tear. Botbyl tells the TV station that she knows she was wrong. James Redford, head of the state Veterans Affairs Agency, says he has “zero tolerance” for careless actions that put veterans at risk.... [Read Full Story]

Man Convicted Of Putting Credit Card Skimmers On Gas Pumps

A Texas man has been convicted of ripping people off by installing credit card skimmers on gas pumps throughout west Michigan. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Grand Rapids tells us 44-year-old Antonio Perez-Martinez, of Austin, was found guilty Monday of credit account fraud, and aggravated identity theft after a four-day jury trial. The office says he was the leader of a conspiracy that at times involved more than a dozen suspects who allegedly got compromised credit-account data online, encoded it on to cards, and then used the cloned cars to buy gift cards in bulk. During the summer of 2015, Perez-Martinez then moved on to the gas pump skimmers. He’s one of seven people now convicted in the case, and he could get up to 30 years in prison.... [Read Full Story]