Local News Archives

Home Damaged In Benton Township Fire

A kerosene heater and a can of gasoline are to blame for a house fire in Benton Township Saturday evening. The fire department tells WSJM News the call about a home in the 1,200 block of Rose Avenue came in about 5:30 p.m. The family had been using the heater in their garage, too close to the can of gas. When the fire broke out, they managed to escape unharmed. Firefighters from BentonTownship kept the  flames from spreading to the rest of the house, but the garage is a total loss. So is a Chevy Trailblazer. The rest of the home suffered smoke damage, while a neighbor’s house suffered some minor damage. Firefighters cleared the scene by 8 p.m. and Indiana Michigan Power was called in due to some lines being burned.... [Read Full Story]

MI Treasury Warns Of New E-Mail Tax Scam

A new scam targeting tax preparers has been noticed by the Michigan Department of Treasury. Spokesperson Ron Leix tells WSJM News, in this one, a tax preparer will get an e-mail from someone seeking their services. From there, they may be taken to a website where their system can get compromised.... [Read Full Story]

Four SJ Schools Recognized As Reward Schools

Four St. Joseph schools have been named Reward Schools by the Michigan Department of Education. E.P. Clarke Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Upton Middle School, and St. Joseph High School got the designation. St. Joseph Public Schools Curriculum Director Kelly Gaideski tells WSJM News it’s all based on the student test scores.... [Read Full Story]

Study Says Grass Carp Have Invaded The Great Lakes

From the Associated Press — Scientists say grass carp have invaded three of the Great Lakes and pose a significant environmental risk. However, they add there’s still time to prevent them from becoming established. Grass carp are among four Asian carp species threatening to reach the lakes, where they could upend ecological systems and compete with native fish for food. A U.S. and Canadian assessment released Friday says grass carp have been found in Lakes Erie, Michigan, and Ontario. At least some are reproducing, although most are believed to be sterile. It’s uncertain how many are in the lakes or how far they’ve spread. Grass carp eat huge amounts of aquatic plants that provide habitat and spawning grounds for other fish. Study leaders say both nations should quickly develop strategies for halting the invasion.... [Read Full Story]

GM Planning Jobs Cuts At Canadian Plant

Canadian auto workers are shocked at a General Motors decision to cut 600 jobs at a plant near London, Ontario. GM recently invested $600 million to retool the plant to build the new Chevy equinox. However, at the same time, it’s moving production of the GMC Terrain to Mexico. Jerry Dias, President of the Canadian auto workers union, told Michigan News Network he blames NAFTA.... [Read Full Story]

Groups Call For Expansion Of State Earned Income Tax Credit

Nearly 500,000 Michigan residents are ineligible for a tax credit that is meant to help keep people out of poverty. Friday was National EITC Awareness Day, and some groups are hopeful congressional leaders will expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to include workers who aren’t raising children. Kyle DuBuc, with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, tells us the EITC helps families in need keep more of their earnings to pay for necessities, like food, housing, and transportation.... [Read Full Story]

Snyder Signs Pagel Parole Hearing Legislation

Legislation from state Representative Dave Pagel designed to make Michigan’s parole system more fair has been signed by the governor. Pagel tells WSJM News under the current system, when someone sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole is up for a parole hearing, the original judge who sentenced them has the power to veto the hearing. However, so does any judge who succeeded that original sentencing judge, even if said second judge isn’t familiar with the case.... [Read Full Story]

MI World War II Veteran Honored On Holocaust Remembrance Day

On the 72nd anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation Day Friday, a Michigan World War Two veteran was honored for his role in helping defeat the Nazis. Dr. Guy Stern grew up in Germany, but his parents sent him to the United States  as a teen to avoid Jewish persecution. A few years later, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and led a special unit that perfected interrogation techniques. Friday, the 95-year old received the French Knight of the Legion of Honor Medal at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills. He told Michigan News Network he does research there.... [Read Full Story]

Police Looking For Truck Involved In Highway Fatality

A man helping a friend who ran out of gas lost his life on I-94 in west Michigan Friday morning. Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas tells WKZO the 49-year-old Battle Creek area man was putting gas into the car on eastbound I-94 near Galesburg when he was hit and killed by a semi-truck and the driver kept going. Now, police are asking for help finding its driver.... [Read Full Story]

MI Secretary Of State Online Services Working Again After Outage

From the Associated Press — Customers can again conduct transactions online or in person at Michigan Secretary of State offices after a computer outage shut down the system for roughly six hours. State spokesman Fred Woodhams apologized for Friday’s inconvenience. People use the website and branch offices to renew their vehicle registration and driver’s license and to conduct other business. Late fees will be waived for expirations occurring Friday if customers complete their transaction on or
before Monday. Woodhams says the state is using an “outdated” mainframe computer system “that is not working.” The state in 2015 sued Hewlett-Packard, accusing it of failing to complete a multimillion-dollar overhaul of computers at Secretary
of State offices.... [Read Full Story]

Suspects On Loose After Beating Bloomingale Man During Home Invasion

A 53-year-old Bloomingdale Township man is hospitalized after being badly beaten by four men during a home invasion late Thursday night. The victim tells the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department that three black men and one white man in their late teens or early 20s knocked on his door on 41st Street around 10 p.m. and forced their way in by pistol-whipping him in the head. One pointed a gun at him and ordered him to open his safe. The suspects stole money, several hand guns and long guns and continued to beat the man so bad he was knocked out for about an hour. He drove to a neighbor’s house to call police. Deputies have not released descriptions of the suspects other than to say they are all between 18 and 23 with slim builds. The white suspect is about 5’6″, while the African-American suspects are 6’2″, 5’8″ and 5’6″. Anyone with information is urged to call the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.... [Read Full Story]

BH Town Hall A Call For Action To Save Local Schools

The time for action is now. That’s the message of a town hall held at Benton Harbor City Hall Thursday night. A packed house gathered to hear about how a coalition organized by Mayor Marcus Muhammad is going to save three public schools from closing. On hand were pastors, elected officials, and community advocates who all agreed Benton Harbor Area Schools needs to be kept alive. Mayor Muhammad said they’re taking part in a march in Lansing on February 24.... [Read Full Story]

Cass County Child Care Has License Suspended

A Cass County woman has had her license to run a child care facility suspended by the state. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs tells our newsroom Julie Pellow, of Dowagiac, has run the facility out of her home since 1995. A recent inspection found violations related to caregiver suitability, appropriate care and supervision, responsibilities, outdoor play area maintenance, and children’s records. As a result, her license is suspended, and she has to tell all of the parents of children she’s been watching. Pellow does have the right to appeal and get a hearing.... [Read Full Story]

MSP Taking Applications For Summer Youth Academy

Michigan State Police are now taking applications from young people around Benton Harbor and Benton Township for the next Michigan Youth Leadership Academy. Young men who sign up for the academy will spend five days this summer at the state police training facility in Lansing learning about police work and responsibility. That’s according to Trooper DuWayne Robinson.... [Read Full Story]

LaSata Gets Committee Assignments

The 79th District’s new state representative now has her House committee assignments. Representative Kim LaSata tells us she’ll be serving on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and she’ll also be the chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education. She’s looking forward to helping reduce the cost of college.... [Read Full Story]

SMC To Save By Refinancing 2008 Bond

About $2 million will be saved by Southwestern Michigan College’s refinancing of a 2008 bond this week. SMC tells us it’s gotten the interest rate on the $14 million bond down about 2% with the move. As a result, the college will save about $85,000 a year. SMC took out the bond to pay for the construction of McKenzie Residence Hall. Its bond underwriter says the leadership should be commended for taking action to refinance.... [Read Full Story]

Saginaw Doctor Jumps In The Race For Governor

From the Associated Press — A Saginaw doctor and political novice running to be Michigan’s next governor says he’s prepared to spend “millions” of his own money on the 2018 race. Republican Jim Hines embarked Thursday on a three-day introductory tour in seven cities around Michigan. In Lansing, the 61-year-old obstetrician-gynecologist said he’s cutting back his hours at a job he loves because he feels “called to take care of the people of Michigan.” He lists priorities as jobs, education and infrastructure. Hines filed campaign paperwork in February 2016 and is largely unknown. But he’s loaned his campaign about $140,000 and says he’s been spreading his name by running 5-kilometer races around Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder can’t run under term limits. Other likely Republican candidates include Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.... [Read Full Story]

Snyder: Immigration Isn’t A Primary Function Of Local Police

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says he doesn’t think a primary function of state and local police is to act as immigration officers. President Donald Trump’s executive action on immigration instructs the Homeland Security secretary to engage with governors and local officials about agreements under which local law enforcement officials could investigate, apprehend and detain people in the country illegally. Snyder told reporters Thursday he doesn’t view immigration enforcement as one of the “primary” functions for state and local police. The president is also expected to soon take steps to restrict the flow of refugees into the United States. Snyder says Trump “has to make those decisions” because it’s not a state
responsibility, but regardless of national immigration policies, he will “continue to promote Michigan as a welcoming place for immigrants.”... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Suspends License Of Gymnastics Doctor Accused Of Abuse

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Michigan has suspended the medical license of a doctor accused of sexually abusing gymnasts and other athletes during medical treatments. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced Wednesday that it served an order Tuesday to immediately suspend Dr. Larry Nassar’s license to practice as an osteopathic physician. The complaint alleges Nassar sexually abused a minor.... [Read Full Story]

Celebration In Lansing Marks Michigan’s 180th Birthday

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Happy 180th birthday to Michigan. A birthday celebration takes place on Thursday, the anniversary of Michigan’s admission into the Union on January 26, 1837. Governor Rick Snyder, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, Attorney General Bill Schuette and other top elected state officials are holding a ceremony in the Capitol building in Lansing.... [Read Full Story]

Northern Michigan Polar Plunge Canceled Due To Thin Ice

From the Associated Press — You know it’s an unusual winter when a polar bear plunge is canceled in the Upper Peninsula. Police tell The Daily Mining Gazette that the ice is too thin for the dip Saturday on Portage Lake in Hancock. The plunge typically attracts hundreds of people as part of an annual Finnish-American winter festival. There will be a parade in downtown Hancock, followed by a wife-carrying contest, sled races and other community events. Hancock is in Houghton County, 260 miles northwest of the Mackinac Bridge.... [Read Full Story]

BH School Leaders Address The Future Of Three Struggling Academies

Benton Harbor Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker isn’t going to give up on three district schools targeted for possible closure this year by the state. At a town hall Wednesday night, Walker told a crowd of about 50 the Michigan School Reform Office will be in town soon doing an academic audit of the Dream Academy, the STEAM Academy, and the International Academy to decide their fate. She’s going to show the SRO what has been done in the past year to improve the facilities.... [Read Full Story]

State Warns About Whooping Cough

A health advisory issued in Oakland County after an increase in cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, has been seen. Children who have not been fully vaccinated are at high risk. Vaccinations against pertussis are also recommended for adults who are in contact with infants and for pregnant women. That’s according to Angela Minicuci, with the Michigan Department of Health, who spoke to Michigan News Network.... [Read Full Story]