Local News Archives

St. Joseph Today Announces Hiring Of New Director

The St. Joseph Today Board of Directors has announced the hiring of Amy Zapal, of St. Joseph, as the organization’s new executive director. Zapal comes to St. Joe Today from the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph, where she has been the executive director. She’ll take the reins from Interim Director and Events Manager Brian Smith, who stepped in following the resignation of former director Whitney Behnke in October.... [Read Full Story]

Septic Systems Pollute Waters Across Michigan

From the Associated Press — Research shows septic systems are polluting waters across Michigan. The Detroit Free Press reports more than 1 million of the individual waste disposal systems that don’t connect to a city sewer line still remain in the
state. A 2015 published research study from Michigan State University found E. coli from humans in all of the 64 rivers studied in the Lower Peninsula. Higher concentrations were found in areas with more septic systems. Grenetta Thomassey, spokeswoman for the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council based in Petoskey, says while 11 of Michigan’s counties have inspection requirements for septic systems when a property is sold, most counties and health districts don’t have one.
The study says Michigan is the only state in the U.S. that doesn’t manage septic systems statewide. Millions of homes nationwide still use septic systems.... [Read Full Story]

State: Commercial Fishing Enclosures Not Allowed In Great Lakes

From the Associated Press — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says state law doesn’t allow for net-like commercial fishing enclosures in the Great Lakes. In an opinion released Tuesday, Schuette said net-pen aquaculture operators would have to register with the state, and laws related to aquaculture don’t permit registration of such facilities in Michigan’s Great Lakes waters. Schuette says raising fish for commercial purposes is permitted in private waters, but the Great Lakes are part of the “public trust.” The opinion came in response to a request by Republican state Senator Wayne Schmidt. The Associated Press emailed Schmidt seeking comment. State agencies last year recommended against net-pen aquaculture, saying it
would pose risks to the environment, recreation and tourism. Michigan has received aquaculture proposals. There are no net-pen fish farms in U.S. Great Lakes waters.... [Read Full Story]

Benton Harbor Commissioners Hear Positive Audit Report

The city of Benton Harbor is on strong financial ground. On Tuesday, commissioners heard the latest audit presentation, with Paul Matz, of the CPA firm Rehman Robson, telling them they added $413,000 to the fund balance this year. It now stands at about $4.3 million. He told WSJM News that’s good news, commending the administration and commission for planning well.... [Read Full Story]

Attorney General Joins Suit Seeking Home Water Delivery In Flint

From the Associated Press — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has joined Flint residents in a lawsuit that seeks home delivery of bottled water if lead filters haven’t been properly installed. In a court filing Tuesday, Schuette urged a judge to keep a November injunction in place. Governor Rick Snyder’s administration wants federal Judge David Lawson to drop the order, citing improvement in Flint’s water. Schuette and special counsel Noah Hall say state regulators have “lost credibility” to enforce rules on lead in water. Lawson’s order directs the state and Flint to deliver bottled water if a home filter isn’t working. At the same time, he’s also appointed a mediator to try to settle the dispute between the state and Flint residents. Residents are urged to drink bottled water or filtered tap water.... [Read Full Story]

Lakeland Announces $90,000 In Grants

Lakeland Health has announced $90,000 in grants for four local organizations. The money comes from Lakeland’s Community Wellness Endowment, which was created in 2014 to sponsor groups that promote healthy living. The recipients for 2017 are the Niles-Buchanan YMCA, which will receive $25,000 for a capital expansion, Centered on Wellness, which is getting $20,000 for technical support, the Greater Niles Economic Development Corporation, getting $35,000 for a trail project, and LOGAN Community Resources, receiving $10,000 for its autism learning center. Lakeland says it hopes the grants will empower local organizations to increase access to care and improve outcomes.... [Read Full Story]

Police K9 Helps Find Runaway Teen

A teenager who ran away from Goshen City, Indiana is back with his family after being found in Cass County Monday. The sheriff’s department says deputies were called out in the early evening to Newberg Township on a report of three runaway teens in the area. Deputies arrived to learn two of the teens had already decided to go home, but the third one was hiding out in some woods. So, a department K9 named Faust was brought in and his nose led them to the missing 17-year-old. The teen was taken into custody and then brought back to his grandmother.... [Read Full Story]

Man Accidentally Shot In Cass County

Police are looking into possible charges after a Cassopolis man was accidentally shot on Monday. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department tells our newsroom deputies were called out to a home in Milton Township around 12:30 p.m. on a report of a man with a gunshot wound. They got there to find 42-year-old Justin Anderson with a non-life threatening injury. Turns out Anderson was hit by a shot fired by his neighbor about 500 to 600 yards away. The neighbor had been target shooting when one of his shots missed the backstop. The bullet went through some woods before it hit the victim. He’s now recovering and police are looking into whether to charge the neighbor. They remind everyone to use caution when target shooting.... [Read Full Story]

University Of Michigan Announces Projects To Fight Poverty

From the Associated Press — The University of Michigan is announcing a series of projects as part of its new initiative to address poverty. The effort called “Poverty Solutions” will explore and test models to ease the effects of poverty and broadly share that knowledge. The Ann Arbor school on Tuesday is revealing details of nine projects funded through the program with
grants totaling $200,000. The projects include efforts to alert low-income homeowners about an exemption to reduce their property taxes. Others include employing health workers in neighborhoods to help residents and collaborative community-academic research partnerships. The program is co-sponsored by the Detroit Urban Research Center, a partnership among the U-M schools of Public Health, Nursing and Social Work; the Detroit Health Department; Henry Ford Health System; and nine community-based organizations.... [Read Full Story]

GM To Invest One Billion in U.S. Plants

No details yet but General Motors will announce plans today to invest a billion dollars in its U.S. plants today, something it’s reportedly been planning for months. The plans will reportedly maintain or create about a thousand jobs.  Some of the money will go into Michigan plants, but beyond that we have no detail.  Edmunds-dot-com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell says it reportedly has nothing to do with tweets from Donald Trump threatening to impose 35% tariffs on vehicles made in Canada or Mexico. She says the Trump tweets may be changing the way they deliver the good news, but not the news itself.... [Read Full Story]

Charity Gives Out Record Amount Of Food In 2016

Despite the economic recovery, many southwest Michigan families continue to need food assistance and Feeding America West Michigan tells us it’s been able to step up and meet that demand. Spokesperson Andrew Steiner tells WSJM News the organization gave out a record amount in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties in 2016.... [Read Full Story]

LMC To Interview Finalists For President This Week

Anyone interested in meeting the finalists for the job of president at Lake Michigan College will have a chance to do so this week. LMC will have each of the three finalists in town to tour all of its campuses and meet with the community. Interviews are also planned. On Wednesday, Dr. Rebekah Woods will be interviewed at the Mendel Center North Training Room at 5:30 p.m. Then on Thursday, Dr. Jon Mandrell will be at the same place at the same time for his interview, while Dr. Trevor Kubatzke has an interview set for 5:30 on Friday at the Mendel Center South Seminar Room. Anyone who attends is invited to submit their thoughts to the board of trustees through January 23. The three finalists were picked out of a total 92 applications submitted.... [Read Full Story]

Betsy Devos Confirmation Hearing Tuesday

From the Associated Press — Betsy DeVos is widely expected to push for expanding school choice programs if confirmed as education secretary. Such a move is certain to bring pushback from teachers unions. Democrats and civil rights activists also are raising concerns about how her conservative Christian beliefs might impact minority and LGBT students. A Senate committee begins considering her nomination Tuesday. Her financial questionnaire shows DeVos has donated to the political campaigns of at least four committee members. The committee chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander, of Tennessee, says DeVos will work to ensure equal access to a high quality education. DeVos spent the past two decades advancing charter schools. She also has pushed for vouchers, which use public money to help low-income families send their kids to private and religious schools of their choice.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Guide Helps You Pronounce 2,200 People, Places Or Things

From the Associated Press — The state of Michigan wants to help residents and visitors pronounce the names of 2,200 people, places and things in or connected to the Great Lakes State – from Aaliyah (uh-LEE’-uh) to Zilwaukee (zil-WAW’-kee). The Michigan Braille and Talking Book Library recently created the “You Say it How in Michigan?” guide, with audio and phonetic pronunciations. Officials say it was developed for audio book production for the blind and visually impaired but can benefit anyone.The guide can help newcomers sound like natives, such as when it advises accenting the second syllable of the Lansing-area community of Charlotte (shar-LOT). But in some cases the list recognizes residents are of two minds, such as when it allows for Michigan’s biggest city to be pronounced “DEE’-troit” or “de-TROIT’.”... [Read Full Story]

Car Hits Tree In Millberg

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us a car has hit a tree in Millberg at the intersection of South Street and North Highland. According to dispatchers, there are not believed to be any injuries. That said, roads are slick – drive safely!... [Read Full Story]

Thousands Show Up For Sanders Health Care Rally In Michigan

An estimated crowd of over 10,000 people showed up for a rally in suburban Detroit where U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders spoke in support of President Obama’s signature health care law. Sanders was joined by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Michigan’s two U.S. Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters. It was one of several rallies around the country by Democrats yesterday ahead of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. Trump has promised a speedy repeal and replacement of the law that was one of Obama’s proudest achievements.... [Read Full Story]

Gas Prices Down 18¢ Locally, Drop 10¢ Statewide

Gas prices in the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area are down 18¢ in the past week according to Triple-A Michigan’s latest survey. The auto club says statewide, we’re down a dime to an average of $2.40 a gallon. Locally, they put the average at $2.31, but you can find gas as low as $2.15 in Benton Harbor and $2.17 in St. Joseph. Go a bit north, and GasBuddy says South Haven prices are as low as $2.10, which is the lowest in West Michigan. According to Triple-A, Flint has the state’s lowest prices at $2.30, while up in Marquette they’re shelling out $2.52 a gallon with the state’s highest prices. Statewide, our prices are up 61¢ from this time last year.... [Read Full Story]

Whirlpool Praises Trade Commission Ruling

Whirlpool Corporation’s chief executive says a recent decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission is a big win for workers at its washing machine factory in northern Ohio. The commission ruled last week that two foreign manufacturers made washing machines in China and then sold them in the United States at less than fair value. The ruling means the companies must start paying duties on washers made in China and imported to the United States. Both Samsung and LG say they disagree with the decision. Whirlpool chief executive Jeff Fettig says it’s a gratifying win for the 3,000 employees at the company’s factory in the Sandusky County city of Clyde. The appliance maker based in Benton Harbor also has Ohio operations in Marion, Findlay, Ottawa and Greenville.... [Read Full Story]