Local News Archives

Substitute Shortage Challenges Michigan Schools

Schools in Michigan are struggling to cope when teachers are absent because of an increasing shortage of substitute teachers in the state. Macomb Intermediate School District chief academic officer Judy Pritchett told the Detroit Free Press that the shortage is “a symptom of a much bigger problem” and that it reflects a decline in the number of people pursuing teaching as a full-time career. Wayne-Westland district Superintendent Michele Harmala says the state must look at why students aren’t going into education. EDUStaff, a company that provides staffing, including substitute teachers, to more than 300 school districts statewide, has put up about 40 billboards on Michigan highways, hoping to lure potential teachers into subbing.... [Read Full Story]

How To Pick End Of Year Charities

Americans made almost $260 billion in charitable donations in 2014, but it’s not always easy to tell which charities are on the up and up. One expert says there’s plenty of help online and by phone to help you make a decision. Attorney Beverly Salhanick tells us it’s easy to check if a non-profit is really legitimate.... [Read Full Story]

Police Offer Tips On Post Christmas Safety

Now that Christmas has passed, police remind everyone of a few things they can do to prevent themselves from becoming post-holiday victims. For one thing, burglars might be paying attention to the boxes you leave out on the curb, so if you got an expensive gift, don’t advertise it. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey adds you should take other steps with your trash.... [Read Full Story]

Nesbitt Finishes Six Years In House With No Missed Votes

State Representative Aric Nesbitt has closed out his six years in Lansing with a perfect attendance record. His office says the last session has wrapped up with Nesbitt not missing a single vote in all three terms that he’s represented the 66th House District. In all, Nesbitt took part in 4,123 votes since January of 2011. He says he had an obligation to serve the communities in Van Buren and Kalamazoo counties that elected him. He tells us one of the most important things to come up in the House during his time there was a landmark energy policy just approved. Nesbitt isn’t the only southwest Michigan lawmaker to miss no votes during his six years in Lansing recently. We reported last week that state Representative Al Pscholka also had a perfect voting record.... [Read Full Story]

Township Supervisor Moves To Remain On Berrien Road Commission

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners is not happy with Bainbridge Township Supervisor Bill Hodge. Hodge was recently sworn in to serve in the township position, which according to the county board, means he’s no longer eligible to sit on the road commission. So, the county board this month declared Hodge’s road commission seat vacant. Now, Hodge has asked the Berrien County Trial Court to issue an injunction on that decision so he can remain on the road commission. The county board Wednesday issued a statement saying Michigan law prevents someone from serving in two such posts. Administration Committee Chair R. McKinley Elliott says, in the past 30 years, he can’t think of any elected or appointed official who “faced the potential of violating the Incompatible Offices Act that did not take the necessary steps to remedy that situation.” The matter will be decided by a judge January 12.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Cities Now Barred From Banning Plastic Bags

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has signed legislation to prohibit Michigan communities from regulating plastic shopping bags. The law approved Wednesday takes effect in 90 days. It bans municipalities from regulating, prohibiting or adding fees to the use or sale of “auxiliary containers” – reusable or single-use bags, cups, bottles or other packaging from stores and restaurants. More than 150 municipalities across the country have banned the environmentally unfriendly plastic bags or charged fees. Washtenaw County has OK’d a 10-cent fee on disposable grocery bags and was expected to begin enforcing it in April, but the Republican-sponsored law pre-empts local ordinances. Critics had called for a veto, saying residents deserve a say in business operations in their communities. Calley signed the bill because the Republican governor is vacationing out of
state.... [Read Full Story]

Grand Rapids Police Cars Being Equipped With Defibrillators

The Grand Rapids Police Department is equipping its police cruisers with automated external defibrillators in an effort to save
lives. The western Michigan city on Tuesday announced the installation of 75 defibrillators in every cruiser. The devices are the same as those in fire and emergency medical services vehicles. Officials say police officers will be in a better position to deal with a cardiac arrest if they are the first to arrive. The devices only deliver a shock to a patient if equipment advises a user to do so.... [Read Full Story]

New House Leader Interested In Prisoner Mental Health

The next leader of the Michigan House says he wants to bring experts together to discuss mental health treatment. The number of mentally ill prisoners in the prison system has grown 14 percent since 2012 to roughly 9,400. Tom Leonard of DeWitt, who soon will become House speaker, says “early intervention” for people with mental illness saves money
and can keep the public safe. The Detroit News reports that many mentally ill inmates cost an average of $95,000 to house at a special prison in Whitmore Lake. Leonard, a Republican, says he doesn’t have a “silver bullet.” He wants to hear from experts.
Corrections Department spokesman Chris Gautz says there’s been a slow but steady increase in treating mentally ill prisoners.... [Read Full Story]

Hunters Have Until Saturday To Apply For Pure Michigan Hunt

Michigan hunters have until Saturday to apply to win one of three prized state hunting packages. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources randomly selects three winners every year for the Pure Michigan Hunt . The hunt includes licenses for elk,
bear, spring and fall turkey, anterless deer and a first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area. Winners also receive prizes like crossbows, rifles, guided hunts and cameras. Applications cost $5 and are available online or where hunting licenses are
sold. There’s no limit to the number of applications that can be purchased. Non-residents can enter too but they won’t receive the elk license because elk hunting is limited to Michigan residents only.... [Read Full Story]

DNA Helps ID Michigan Man Who Died In Arkansas In 1989

Michigan State Police say a man who died along an Arkansas highway in 1989 has been identified as a long-missing Battle Creek man. Charles Cornell was 30 when he was last seen by relatives in 1986. They filed a police report this year after State Police suggested they do so. Cornell’s mother and sister then submitted their DNA, which was entered in a national database of unidentified remains. Their DNA determined that a man fatally struck by a semi-truck in Arkansas in 1989 was Cornell. They learned of the match Tuesday. Photos, medical and dental records and fingerprints remained on file in Arkansas, but the cases weren’t linked until Cornell’s relatives submitted DNA. Detective-Sgt. Sarah Krebs says it’s important for families of missing people to get their DNA on file.... [Read Full Story]

Proos Praises Hunting Bills

You can count state Senator John Proos as among the lawmakers in favor of a couple of hunting bills approved during the last session. The first bill requires the DNR to create an app that would let hunters display their licenses via smart phone. Proos tells us that could affect a lot of people in southwest Michigan.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Drill Team Heading To Washington For Inaugural Parade

A group from Michigan has received a big honor. For the 3rd consecutive presidential inauguration, Michigan’s Multi-Jurisdictional Mounted Police Drill Team and Color Guard will perform in the Inaugural Parade. The Parade theme is We the People: Our American Journey. That’s something the group took into consideration when filing an application to participate, says co-founder Lorenzo Veal.... [Read Full Story]

Nesbitt Named House Member Of The Year By News Agency

State Representative Aric Nesbitt has received another distinction as he prepares to leave office. The Lawton Republican has been named the MIRS News House Member of the Year. MIRS, or the Michigan Information and Research Service, is an online publication for Lansing insiders. It’s picked Nesbitt for the honor due to his work on a energy policy that was just approved by the governor. Nesbitt tells our our newsroom it’s an honor to be saluted by MIRS, which he calls a “respected news organization.” Other accomplishments he says he’s proud of in the last six years include making technical education more available, hosting veterans workshops in Van Buren County, and protecting gun rights. Nesbitt leaves office soon due to term limits.... [Read Full Story]

Detroit Police Lift Ban On Beards

Detroit police have the right to remain bearded- to a point. The department’s rule banning beards has been lifted. A new policy allows officers to sport trimmed beards and goatees. City police had been allowed only neatly trimmed mustaches, though officers could seek approval to grow a beard if they had a skin condition. The lightly mustachioed Chief James Craig tells the Detroit Free Press for a story Sunday there’s no need to keep a rule that has “no bearing on how good they would do on the job.” Craig says another rule change allows female officers to wear one pair of stud earrings on the job. The chief says he would consider extending that rule change to men “if a lot of people made enough noise.”... [Read Full Story]

Mackinac Bridge Reopens After Falling Ice Causes Closure

Mackinac Bridge authorities say they have reopened the span connecting Michigan’s two peninsulas after falling ice forced a temporary closure. Bridge officials said Monday that weather conditions have improved and they have given the all clear to resume traffic in both directions. Earlier in the day, all lanes had been closed because ice was falling from the cables and
towers. The nearly five-mile span crosses the waterway where lakes Huron and Michigan meet.... [Read Full Story]

UPDATE — Sisters Killed In Weesaw Township Crash

Two sisters from Chicago are dead following a crash in Weesaw Township Monday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened at Warren Woods and Cleveland roads around 4 p.m. when the driver of a sedan ran a stop sign and the car was hit by a pick-up. Two passengers in the sedan were killed, and they’ve been identified as 37-year-old Bre Anne Sutherland, and 41-year-old Laurel Ashley Sutherland. Both are from Chicago. The driver of the car, a 66-year-old man from the Niles area, was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Two other passengers and the driver of the pick-up were also taken to the hospital. The crash remains under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

Two Killed In Weesaw Township Crash

Two women are dead and a man from Howard Township is being treated for what police say are life-threatening injuries after a crash in Weesaw Township Monday afternoon. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says the man was driving a Chevrolet sedan when he went through a stop sign at Warren Woods and Cleveland roads shortly after 4 p.m., and was hit by a Dodge pickup. The two women killed were back seat passengers in the Chevy. Deputies say one was a 41-year-old from Illinois, while the other was a 37-year-old from Howard Township. Both drivers and two other passengers in the sedan are being treated at South Bend Memorial Hospital. Deputies tell our newsroom it doesn’t appear weather or road conditions were factors in the crash. Whether other issues like alcohol, drugs, or a medical issue were involved remains under investigation. No names have yet been released.... [Read Full Story]

Report: High Tax Rate Leads To More Cigarette Smuggling

A new report from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy takes a look at the prevalence of cigarette smuggling and finds the higher your state’s cigarette taxes are, the more likely smokes are being sneaked in from states with lower taxes. Police Director Michael LaFaive tells WSJM News the amount of illegal cigarettes brought into Michigan has been going down as other states raise the tax and we don’t.... [Read Full Story]

Christmas Day Fire Kills Marcellus Man

The cause of a deadly fire in southwest Michigan on Christmas Day is under investigation.  The Cass County Sheriff’s Department says the fire killed 63-year-old Gordon Booz at his home in Marcellus.  Firefighters and deputies were called to his home around 1:30 yesterday afternoon, and found his body after the flames were out.... [Read Full Story]