Local News Archives

Edwardsburg Woman Killed In Crash

A 30-year-old Edwardsburg woman is dead after crashing her car while trying to outrun a Cass County Sheriff’s deputy. Michigan State Police are investigating the Saturday night crash in Mason Township. Police say Amanda Bowers drove off as a deputy was called to a single-vehicle accident and found her stopped with her lights off in the road at Old M-205 and Redfield Street. After a roughly three-mile chase, she crashed, rolling her car. Bowers was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and the crash remains under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

BH High School Students To Talk Safe Driving

Benton Harbor and South Haven High Schools are on the list of schools to be selected for this year’s Strive for a Safer Drive program. The program is a partnership between Ford Motor Company and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, and office spokesperson Kristin Allen tells WSJM News the students at each building decide how to preach safe driving to their classmates.... [Read Full Story]

Executive Order On Refugees Met With Silence From Upton, Huizenga

Silence is the reaction from a pair of members of Congress from West Michigan over the weekend to the controversy brewing after the President issued the order late Friday afternoon. Our newsroom tried unsuccessfully several times to get comment from Congressman Fred Upton of St. Joseph, while Congressman Bill Huizenga of Zeeland also issued no statement. When WSJM News called Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad on Sunday, he simply said quote, “I have no comment.” The order bans citizens of seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan – from entering the U.S. for 90 days, but does allow for reviewing things on a case-by-case basis. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg joined protests of the order in Houston on Saturday, where he was lobbying to become the next leader of the Democratic National Committee... [Read Full Story]

SWM Gravel Roads Hit Hard By Recent Rains

Gravel roads around southwest Michigan are in bad shape right now because of the recent warm weather. Van Buren County Road Commission Superintendent Brian Cornish tells WSJM News the weather has thawed some of the underground frost, leading to a muddy mess up above. There’s not much crews can do to help right now.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien Sheriff’s Department Offering Defense Classes To Women

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is once again signing women up for its Rape Aggression Defense class. The classes are designed to teach women of any strength or age how to defend themselves in an assault situation, and they’re offered each year by the sheriff’s department. This year’s RAD classes come in three four hour sessions that take place between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. There are sessions planned for Harbert, Coloma, Lincoln Township, and Berrien Springs from March through May. To find out about signing up just call the Berrien County Sheriff’s DepartmentDeputy Kelly Laesch at 269-983-7141, extension 7221.... [Read Full Story]

Federal Numbers: Union Membership Declined In 2016

From the Associated Press — Federal figures say union membership in Michigan declined in 2016. The Detroit News reports the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said the number of union members in Michigan dropped from 621,000 in 2015 to 606,000 last year, going from 15.2 percent to 14.4%. The Michigan decrease was part of a 0.4% drop in national union membership that saw the number of labor-affiliated workers in the U.S. drop from more than 14.8 million in 2015 to 14.6 million in 2016. The Labor Department said this week that there were 7.1 million public-sector employees that belonged to a union in 2016, compared with 7.4 million unionized workers in the private sector. The agency said the union membership rate for public-sector workers last year was 34.4 percent.... [Read Full Story]

Benton Harbor Power Outage

The power is out for a little more than 1,000 Indiana Michigan Power customers in Benton Township and Benton Harbor. The utility company is estimating the power will be restored by around 8:30 Sunday morning. An equipment failure is blamed. The outage includes areas around the intersection of M-139 and Pipestone, extending along Pipestone to nearly Main Street. The power is out on M-139 from just south of Main Street to Fairplain Drive.... [Read Full Story]

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]