Local News Archives

Michigan DNR Adopts 5-Year Plan To Manage State Park System

There is a new five-year strategy for managing Michigan’s parks and recreation system. The Department of Natural Resources says the plan was developed through discussions with other state agencies and groups representing various public interests. The DNR manages 103 state parks and recreation areas that together occupy more than 300,000 acres. The parks and recreation division also oversees the state’s boating program, the state motorized and non-motorized trails system and 138 state forest campgrounds. Division chief Ron Olson says the plan will be a compass that guides the division in acquiring, protecting and preserving natural and cultural resources while providing access for recreation and education. The plan is available online at http://www.michigan.gov/prdstrategicplans... [Read Full Story]

Report: Upton “90% There” On Senate Run

If a report by Lansing-based MIRSNews is accurate, there is something to the rumors about Congressman Fred Upton looking at a run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow. MIRS is citing a source close to Upton as saying he’s “90% there” and is “very seriously looking” at challenging Stabenow. Upton has repeatedly told WSJM News he’s concentrating on the job at hand in the U.S. House. Another Republican source is telling MIRS that Upton’s moderate record won’t work with the more conservative GOP base in the state following the election of Donald Trump as President, even with Trump’s approval rating in the state at a very low level. Former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young Jr. and John James are the current Republican field for the Senate after Lena Epstein withdrew to run for the U.S. House yesterday.... [Read Full Story]

Pipeline Board: Let Campus Evaluate Line 5

From the Associated Press — An advisory group is recommending that Michigan universities analyze the worst-case scenario of an oil pipeline failure in the Straits of Mackinac. The effort would be led by Michigan Tech University, which would collaborate with experts at other universities. The recommendation was made Monday by the state Pipeline Safety Advisory Board, which includes high-ranking members of Governor Rick Snyder’s administration. A contractor was fired by the state in June because of a conflict of interest with Enbridge Energy, owner of Line 5. Line 5 carries nearly 23 million gallons of light crude oil and liquefied natural gas daily. It runs across Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula before entering the Straits of Mackinac, where it divides into two lines, then continues to refineries in Sarnia, Ontario.... [Read Full Story]

Expect Busy Road this Memorial Day Weekend

2017 will mark the third consecutive year of growth in Memorial Day travel. That’s according to AAA who projects that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend. The report says 34.6 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4 percent over last year.
While road trips continue to reign supreme for Memorial Day, more Americans will fly, ride the train or bus, or take a cruise vacation compared to last year. Air travel is expected to increase 5.5 percent over last year, with 2.9 million Americans taking to the skies this Memorial Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 2.9 percent, to 1.75 million travelers.... [Read Full Story]

Driver Crashes Through Store Window

A driver was injured when his vehicle crashed thru window of the Auto Value store on M-140, South Haven Township, on Tuesday afternoon about 2:45 p.m. No one in the store was injured. The driver taken to South Haven Hospital-Bronson. The accident is being investigated by South Haven Police Department.... [Read Full Story]

Former Rep. Gamrat Files Wide-Ranging Federal Lawsuit

Disgraced former state Representative Cindy Gamrat of Plainwell is alleging wiretapping, stalking and defamation in a lawsuit against the Michigan House, former House Speaker Kevin Cotter and her soon-to-be former husband. The defendants include Cotter and his chief of staff and general counsel, ex-staffers Keith Allard and Ben Graham, Joe Gamrat and many others. Fellow Republican and former lover Todd Courser previously filed a suit with a similar list of defendants, but later filed a motion to dismiss over failing health. Both conservative Christians were accused of using taxpayer resources to cover up their affair. That scandal led to Courser tendering his resignation in September 2015. Gamrat was thrown out of office an hour after Courser stepped down.... [Read Full Story]

Waterfront Film Festival Finds Permanent Home

The Waterfront Film Festival will not be returning to South Haven. The festival left South Haven in 2013 for Saugatuck and was canceled in 2015 due to a partnership with ArtPrize in Grand Rapids for a film competition. Organizers now say they have a permanent home being set up in Holland that will give them a year-round facility for screening films and for education and other purposes. A matching grant from the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs helped to make the permanent home possible. Ticket information for the grand opening on June 22 will be announced next month.... [Read Full Story]

One Hurt In Bridgman Rollover

A 78-year-old Harbert man is being treated at Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph for back, head, and neck injuries after a rollover crash in Bridgman. Police were called to the scene around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday on Lake Street near Pine Street and found the man trapped inside the car. Investigators believe he suffered a medical incident prior to the crash, causing him to cross into the oncoming lanes and then into a brick planter. The crash is still being looked into, and the man’s name has not been released.... [Read Full Story]

Car-Bike Accident Sends One to Hospital

A woman remains in the hospital after being hit by a car while riding her bicycle. The incident happened around 11:30 yesterday (Monday) morning on County Road 354 in Porter Township. 67-year-old rider was riding southbound when a car, driven by a 35-year-old man hit her from behind. Sheriff’s Deputies report the driver appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was arrested. He is being held in the Van Buren County Jail for possession of Marijuana and operating a motor vehicle with the presence of drugs. The bicyclist was transported to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo and is listed in stable condition. Their names have not been released.... [Read Full Story]

St. Joseph Veteran To Receive Medals Tuesday

Congressman Fred Upton will be in St. Joseph Tuesday to honor a veteran. He’s presenting 11 overdue service medals to Lewis Bolman, of St. Joseph. Bolman served in the United States Army during Operation Desert Shield and Storm. Among the honors Bolman is getting are the Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon. Upton will hand over the medals to Bolman at his office on Main Street in St. Joseph at 4 p.m.... [Read Full Story]

Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament Down To Final Four

We’re down to the final four in state Senator John Proos’ Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament. Proos holds the contest each year to find out which community has the most pride in its schools, taking photo submissions through his Facebook and Twitter accounts. Folks just need to show how they’re proud. Proos announced Monday the final four this time around are Michigan Lutheran versus Watervliet, and Centreville versus Marcellus. The schools that enter Proos’ contest each year are all in his district. You can find out more at SenatorJohnProos.com.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Holding Recycling Event His Week

If you’ve got a bunch of junk piled up in your basement or garage and you’d like to have it recycled, this is your week. Berrien County Environmental Property Manager Jill Adams tells WSJM News the county is doing a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle event on Wednesday at Lake Michigan College. Lots of people always show up.... [Read Full Story]

Children, Woman Attacked By Dog In Cass County

Two children are recovering after they were attacked by a dog in Cass County on Sunday. The sheriff’s department tells our newsroom the two-year-old and seven-year-old were saved by a 44-year-old woman who was also hurt. The attack happened about 5:40 p.m. in the 63,000 block of Crooked Creek in Calvin Township. Sheriff’s deputies were able to get the dog into custody, and it’s being kept in quarantine for ten days before they decide what to do with it. The two-year-old is now in an Indianapolis hospital after being airlifted to South Bend due to severe head trauma. The seven-year-old was treated at Lakeland in Niles, along with the woman who helped them. Police say criminal charges could be pursued in the case against the dog’s owner.... [Read Full Story]

Expelled MI Lawmaker Sues For Back Pay

From the Associated Press — A former Michigan lawmaker kicked out of the House because of a sex scandal says she was illegally expelled and deserves back pay. Cindy Gamrat, a Republican from Allegan County, says House leaders violated her rights in 2015. She filed a new lawsuit last week in federal court in Grand Rapids. Gamrat is seeking back pay as well as money for distress and humiliation. She says she had struck a deal to be censured, not removed from office. Attorney Sarah Riley Howard, a lawyer representing two former House aides, says the lawsuit “has no merit.” Gamrat’s former husband is also named in the lawsuit. He’s accused of using listening devices to try to catch Gamrat and Todd Courser, a Lapeer County Republican, in their affair. Courser quit the House.... [Read Full Story]

Consumers Energy Shopping For New Gas Powered Plant

The Associated Press erroneously reported this weekend that Consumers Energy planned to buy the Palisades Nuclear Plant and convert it to Natural Gas. That is not happening, and the AP has since issued a correction. The real story is that Consumers Energy is shopping around for an existing gas powered facility that can provide the megawatts they will be losing when the Covert reactor shuts down in the summer of 2018. The Michigan Public Service Commission says it may not approve the closure of the plant without the assurance that Consumers has the juice it needs to cover peak loads. They are planning a pair of public hearings on the issue on May 8th.... [Read Full Story]

Two Arrested in High Speed Chase

Three people have been arrested after a 40-mile high-speed chase across multiple midMichigan counties. It began as police in Gratiot County were searching for a suspect who allegedly punched an elderly man in a grocery store and tried to take his groceries. Authorities pursued a car on U-S 127 matching the description of one linked to the incident. After the chase that hit speeds of 110 miles-per-hour, police arrested the woman for fleeing and eluding authorities… and for outstanding warrants from multiple counties. Two men inside were also arrested.... [Read Full Story]

Niles Hotel Reopens After CO Leak Kills Teen

The Quality Inn in Niles reopened over the weekend, after making the necessary improvements, and passing a building inspection. They booked their first rooms since the death of 13-year-old Bryan Watts on April 2nd. Watts and 5 friends were overcome by Carbon Monoxide fumes that accumulated in an indoor pool because of a faulty ventilator on the gas fired heater that warmed the water in the pool. The others all survived. The building was technically in compliance, and was not required to have a detector because of its age. That building code is currently being reviewed by Lansing Lawmakers. The Watts family is reportedly consulting with an attorney and may file a civil suit.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Supreme Court on Religious Schools

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments this week in an uncommon case — can courts intervene when religious schools reject students? Churches and faith-based schools operate with broad protections under the First Amendment. But this case raises questions about whether a student claiming discrimination can overcome that legal threshold. The parents of a student at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Pontiac say she was illegally turned down because of a learning disability. The Catholic school denies any discrimination and insists the girl was rejected because of low grades.... [Read Full Story]

Talons Out Honor Flight Set For This Month

Talons Out Honor Flight, the group that takes veterans on free trips to Washington, D.C. to see war memorials, is planning its next trip for April 22. Vice President Dan Moyle tells WKZO News by the time it’s finished, they will have taken more than 750 vets to Washington. He’s hoping a big crowd comes to welcome the veterans back to Michigan at Kalamazoo Christian Middle School the night of the trip.... [Read Full Story]

Free Pet Adoption Day Coming Up

The Grand Rapids-based Bissell Pet Foundation is once again planning to empty out the shelters this month. Last year, the group helped find homes for more than 2,800 cats and dogs with a couple of events in which it paid the adoption expenses at shelters around the state. Spokesperson Holly Kroeze tells WSJM News they’re doing it again April 29.... [Read Full Story]

UPDATE — Police Identify Victim In Friday Shooting

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety has identified the man killed in a shooting outside the Salvation Army on Friday. They say 30-year-old John Conyers had come to the area from Tampa, Florida about six months ago. He was employed locally and staying at the Salvation Army. Conyers was shot and killed near the parking lot about 8 p.m. Friday. An autopsy was done in Grand Rapids on Saturday, and the death has been ruled a homicide. Police are still looking for a suspect, and anyone with information on the case is asked to contact them.... [Read Full Story]

One Arrested In Benton Harbor Shooting

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety has arrested one suspect in a Saturday shooting. It happened in the late evening hours at River Terrace apartments, and the victim has been identified as 22 year-old Ronald Hill, of Benton Harbor. Upon arrival at the scene, police detained several people and were able to identify their suspect through interviews. He was taken to the Berrien County Jail and his name has not yet been released. The victim was taken to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph, and is expected to recover. Michigan State Police are assisting Benton Harbor Public Safety in the investigation.... [Read Full Story]