Local News Archives

Upton Named Chair Of House Subcommittee On Energy

Congressman Fred Upton has received his latest committee assignment. He’s going to serve as the chair of the House Subcommittee on Energy. The subcommittee, which is under the umbrella of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, works to shape the nation’s energy policy. Upton tells us Michigan has been a leader in promoting 21st century policies when it comes to energy, and he wants to do the same on the federal level. Upton has been replaced as the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee by Congressman Greg Walden, of Oregon. Walden just gave Upton his new assignment Friday, while praising Upton for the work he did as Energy and Commerce Chair.... [Read Full Story]

Governor Declares Emergency In Southeast Michigan Due To Giant Sinkhole

Michigan’s governor has declared a state of emergency for a county north of Detroit following the collapse of a massive sewage line that – so far – has caused a football field-sized sinkhole. The disaster declaration was made Friday by Governor Rick Snyder and makes state resources available to Macomb County and communities affected by the sewer collapse. It follows a similar determination by Macomb County’s executive. The sewer collapse was discovered Christmas Eve after a family in Fraser awoke to find their home sinking. That house and two others have been condemned. Families in 19 other homes were
evacuated after water and gas services were cut. Snyder’s office says there is a threat of widespread and severe damage to 11
communities, a military base and more than 200,000 homes.... [Read Full Story]

Biden To Visit Michigan Next Week

Vice President Joe Biden is expected to stop in Michigan and Illinois next week, part of a three-state tour in his final days in office. The White House announced Friday that Biden will deliver remarks Tuesday in Detroit at an event for Motor City Match. It’s a grant program to help entrepreneurs. Biden will also travel Tuesday to Chicago, where President Barack Obama is
expected to deliver his farewell address. Obama is planning to give the evening speech at McCormick Place, a convention center in his hometown. Earlier in the week, Biden is expected to travel to California with stops in Los Angeles and San Francisco.... [Read Full Story]

Stabenow Opposes Betsy DeVos For Education Department Secretary

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow says she will vote against Betsy DeVos as the next head of the U.S. Education Department. The Michigan Democrat says she talked to DeVos. Stabenow says DeVos’ support for charter schools has “seriously undermined public education” in the state. DeVos, the former head of the Michigan Republican Party, is in favor of giving parents more education options. Her husband, Dick DeVos, started a charter high school in the Grand Rapids area that focuses on aviation and engineering. He also ran unsuccessfully for governor of Michigan against Jennifer Granholm in 2006.... [Read Full Story]

MI Congressman To Trump: Renegotiate NAFTA

Flint area Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee doesn’t oppose everything President-elect Donald Trump has suggested. For example, he’s all for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Kildee tells us Canada and Mexico should agree to tougher environmental standards. Trump promised to renegotiate NAFTA when he stumped in Michigan, but Kildee says we need real action.... [Read Full Story]

Shadowland On Silver Beach Recognized As Top Wedding Venue

Shadowland on Silver Beach has been recognized as one of the best venues for a wedding in Michigan by TheKnot.com. The Knot, which is a wedding site, added Shadowland to its “Best of Weddings” list, which recommends vendors soon-to-be-married couples should hire for their big day. It’s the only venue in southwest Michigan to show up there. Shadowland tells us The Knot looked at nearly a million reviews as it compiled the Best of Weddings list. This is the fifth year Shadowland has been on it.... [Read Full Story]

Governor Signs Bill Allowing Some Higher Speed Limits

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation to let Michigan motorists drive faster on at least 1,500 miles of rural highways as long as safety studies say the higher speed limits are OK. The bill enacted Thursday authorizes a 75 mph speed limit on 600 miles of freeways and a 65 mph limit on 900 miles of other roads. The limits will be raised within a year if a study shows it is safe and the new limits are no more than what 15 percent of traffic is exceeding. Proponents say speed limits are too low in rural areas.... [Read Full Story]

Unemployment Insurance System Incorrectly Accuses 20,000 People Of Fraud

The director of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency has been reassigned after at least 20,000 people were wrongly accused of fraud by the agency’s automated system. Talent Investment Agency Director Wanda Stokes said Thursday that UIA Director Sharon Moffett-Massey will now work on special projects. Bruce Noll, TIA’s legislative liaison, will serve as acting assistant director of the unemployment agency during a search for a new director to replace Moffett-Massey. A state review of unemployment fraud cases found an error rate of 93 percent in auto-adjudicated cases between October 2013 and early August 2015, according to U.S. Congressman Sander Levin. Of some 22,000 cases reviewed, fraud determinations were upheld in just 1,462 cases. Stokes says staff now are reviewing potential fraud cases and not solely relying on the software.... [Read Full Story]

Official: Great Lakes Region’s Waters Deserve More Respect

The director of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes says the region should be known nationally for vast water resources instead of faded industrial glory. Jon Allan says he was disappointed during the recent election campaign to hear Michigan and other Great Lakes states described repeatedly as the “rust belt.” He says they’ve worked hard to restore their lakes, rivers and streams, and should develop a reputation for durable and healthy waterways. Allan delivered his message in Michigan’s annual “State of the Great Lakes” report. It outlines progress made in the past year and challenges that remain. Governor Snyder says in the report his administration will emphasize safe drinking water, harbor investments, preventing and controlling invasive species, reducing phosphorus runoff and developing water trails.... [Read Full Story]

Patrick Miles To Resign As US Attorney For Western Michigan

The U.S. attorney assigned to Michigan’s Western District plans to step down from his post later this month. Patrick Miles Jr. has announced his resignation at the end of President Obama’s administration. It will be effective at noon on January 20. The 49-year-old Miles spent 21 years in private law practice as a business attorney in Grand Rapids. He has been U.S. attorney for western Michigan since 2012. The office covers 49 counties, including Michigan’s entire Upper Peninsula. During his tenure, the office obtained 31 federal racketeering, firearm, drug distribution and other convictions against members of the Holland Latin Kings gang.... [Read Full Story]

Upton Defends Penalties For Live Streaming House Protests

Republicans in the U.S. House this week failed to gut an ethics panel, but they did pass new rules to retaliate against Democrats for live streaming a gun control protest last year when the House was not in session and the CSPAN cameras were off. New penalties have been introduced to fine House members for live streaming such protests. Critics say the GOP retaliation against Democrats is a violation of free speech, but St. Joseph Republican Congressman Fred Upton says there’s a right way and a wrong way to hold a protest.... [Read Full Story]

LaSata, Griffin Open Lansing Offices

Kim LaSata and Beth Griffin are getting situated in Lansing. The two were elected in November to represent parts of southwest Michigan in the state House, and their offices are now up and running. LaSata represents the 79th District in Berrien County, while Griffin represents Van Buren County’s 66th District. Griffin says she plans to “take a common-sense approach to a more effective and efficient government,” while LaSata tells us she’s eager to get to work. They’ve been holding meetings in Lansing, and both say they’ll soon schedule local office hours to meet with folks. You can reach LaSata’s office at (517) 373-1403, while Griffin’s office can be reached at (517) 373-0839.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Ranked Second Most Miserable State During Winter

Michigan is the second most miserable state during the winter, according to a list released by Thrillist. The popular rankings website says only Minnesota is more miserable this time of year. In the article published this week, the length of Michigan’s winters is noted, while recreation opportunities here are dismissed. Thrillist writes, “You actually look forward to a proper snowfall, just to cover the dirt.” Rounding out the five most miserable states for winter are Alaska, North Dakota, and Maine. The best place to be in winter? Hawaii. You can find the full article here.... [Read Full Story]

Program Uses Dogs To Detect E-Coli In Waterways

A program to test Berrien County waterways for E-coli contamination is utilizing dogs to help do the initial detecting. The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission’s Marcy Hamilton tells WSJM News the dogs can detect human waste in the water, and from there, the researchers take samples. Getting them helps pinpoint where runoff and leaks are causing the E-coli contamination.... [Read Full Story]

Governor Signs Bills Protecting Cities From Sidewalk Lawsuits

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation to further shield municipalities from lawsuits filed by people who trip and fall on sidewalks. The law enacted Wednesday lets cities defend themselves by saying sidewalk defects are “open and obvious.”
Supporters say Detroit pays millions annually in sidewalk-injury settlements and should have a defense that is available to businesses. The Michigan Association of Justice, a group of plaintiff’s attorneys, had called for a veto, saying the bill effectively make cities entirely immune and removes incentives to maintain sidewalks. Under existing law, cities aren’t liable unless someone proves the city knew or should have known about the defect at least 30 days before the injury and the unevenness in the walkway is at least 2 inches.... [Read Full Story]

Abigail Kopf Suffers More Setbacks

The family of a teenage girl who survived a shooting rampage in Kalamazoo last year says she has suffered some recent setbacks in her recovery. Police say 14-year-old Abigail Kopf was shot in the head by Jason Dalton, an Uber driver who killed six people during his rampage on February 20 of 2016. On her recovery Facebook page, Abbie’s family writes she “is not doing very well.” She has low blood pressure, and is experiencing memory issues and difficulty with speech. Abbie has received an outpouring of support from all over the country since she survived the attack. She’s still waiting to go into a second surgery to replace part of her skull. You can find a GoFundMe page supporting Abbie’s medical journey right here.... [Read Full Story]