Local News Archives

Berrien Treasurer To Hold Tax Payment Plan Meetings

Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski is hoping taxpayers who are behind on their bill will come to a meeting this month where they could work out a payment plan. Witkowski’s taking the show on the road with meetings planned in Niles, Coloma, and Benton Harbor. He tells WSJM News taxpayers who owe 2014 or before taxes are invited.... [Read Full Story]

Governor To Speak At Cornerstone 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]

Hold It Or Don’t Flush: Super Bowl Could Harm Sinkhole Mess

From the Associated Press — A giant sinkhole in suburban Detroit is being threatened by the Super Bowl. Macomb County public works chief Candice Miller is worried that thousands of football fans will flush toilets at halftime Sunday night. She tells radio station WWJ that it could overwhelm a broken sewer line blamed for the sinkhole. Miller says her bathroom advice “sounds crazy.” But she fears trouble unless people are willing to hold it – or at least not immediately flush. Crews are building a bypass to get around the broken sewer line in Fraser, but it’s not ready yet. The line affects more than 300,000 people in 11 communities. Meanwhile, Governor Rick Snyder announced grants of up to $100,000 for local governments affected by the sinkhole, which was discovered on Dec. 24.... [Read Full Story]

United Way Offering Free Tax Preparation Service

Once again, the United Way of Southwest Michigan is offering to help you prepare your taxes this year. The United Way’s Jan Radde tells WSJM News the organization sponsors the VITA program locally. Anyone who makes less than $54,000 per year can get their taxes filed for free in Berrien and Cass counties. It can save you a lot.... [Read Full Story]

Dollar General Adding More Than 400 Jobs In Michigan

The Dollar General is planning a hiring blitz. The discount retailer announced on Friday it’s going to hire about 10,000 new employees in 2017 as it opens 1,000 new stores. In Michigan throughout the year, the Dollar General expects to hire about 420 people. The chain’s 2017 plans reflect a 9% growth in its workforce, which will be the largest single year increase the 78-year-old retailer has ever seen. The company hasn’t yet said where in Michigan it’s adding new stores, but you can apply with them at DollarGeneral.com. The chain has locations in Stevensville, Coloma, Watervliet, Bridgman, Buchanan, Eau Claire, New Buffalo, Hartford, Covert, South Haven, and Niles.... [Read Full Story]

Advocates Call On Federal Government To Maintain Funding For Cancer Research

Tomorrow is World Cancer Day, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology has released its annual report on progress made in the battle against cancer. It’s also calling on the Trump administration to continue funding medical research. Dr. Harold Burstein, co-editor of the report, tells us he’s hoping the Trump administration places an emphasis on medical research because it’s giving people hope, which is what they often need most.... [Read Full Story]

Employers Increase Hiring In January

U.S. employers ramped up hiring last month and more Americans began looking for work, a sign President Donald Trump has inherited a robust job market. Michigan News Network Business Editor Murray Feldman tells us that’s despite an unemployment rate that’s slightly up.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Police Arrest Parole Absconder

The South Haven Police Department says it was able to catch a man who skipped out on his parole after a brief standoff this week. The department tells WSJM News officers on Thursday spotted Tilano Terry Taylor driving near Blue Star Highway and Phoenix Road. Before they could stop him, Taylor pulled into the Briar Hills apartment complex and went inside. Officers spoke with a passenger in Taylor’s vehicle, and a search turned up marijuana, a loaded handgun, and a box of ammunition. When officers went to speak with Taylor at the apartment, he wouldn’t come out. So, they got a warrant, and Taylor finally surrendered after about two hours. Police say Taylor has a violent history that includes firearm and drug crimes. He’s now in the Van Buren County Jail on a parole hold. Police are also seeking gun and drug charges.... [Read Full Story]

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]