Local News Archives

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]

State Commission Questions Deal To Close Palisades

The Michigan Public Service Commission wants to know how the early closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant will affect the state’s reserve energy capacity. That’s just one of the things the MPSC is looking at as it reviews Consumers Energy’s request to end its Palisades contract in 2018, rather than 2022. Spokesperson Judy Palnau tells our newsroom reserve capacity was in danger of going below the recommended level to begin with.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Parks Projects Get Extra Boost

Two parks projects in South Haven will benefit from a couple of grants announced this week. First up is $300,000 for the development of a new $4.1 million park near the Van Buren State Park Trail. It’ll include new ball fields and trails. South Haven Schools Superintendent Robert Herrera tells us the projects are good news.... [Read Full Story]

LMC Offering “Financial Aid Fridays”

Lake Michigan College is preparing to hold a series of regular workshops for students interested in finding out how they can apply for and get financial aid. Financial Aid Fridays will be held each Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. starting January 6 and running through March 24. They’ll be done at the Benton Township, Niles, and South Haven campuses. Any students who want to come and apply should bring their Social Security number, driver’s license, and federal student aid ID, if they have one. LMC students received more than $9 million in federal aid during the 2015-2016 academic year, as well as more than $600,000 in scholarships from the Lake Michigan College Foundation. You can find out more at LakeMichiganCollege.edu/Finaid.... [Read Full Story]

Governor Ends Week With Several Bill Signings

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law that allows community colleges to pursue expanding their tax districts, which could increase the number of students paying lower, residential tuition rates. Snyder signed the legislation this week that passed earlier this month with broad support in the Michigan legislature. Expanding the districts into communities the schools do not border would require approval by local governments and voters. The governor signed several other bills, including one that would require the Natural Resources Commission to review and determine if additional colors are safe and effective for hunters to wear, including “hunter pink.” Another new law would eliminate the requirement that a physician assistant must practice under a physician’s supervision but requires an assistant to obtain a practice agreement from a doctor.... [Read Full Story]

Red Cross Asking For Holiday Blood Donations

If you’ve got a few minutes to spare in the next couple of weeks, the Red Cross could use your help. Spokesperson Todd Kulman tells our newsroom blood donations go down this time of year because everyone’s so busy. If you give blood between now and January 8, the Red Cross will give you a special present.... [Read Full Story]

Snyder Signs Bill Authorizing Wolf Hunt

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law that would authorize wolf hunting if Congress or federal courts revisit the issue. State lawmakers quickly passed the bill after the Michigan appeals court recently declared a 2014 law unconstitutional. The law signed Wednesday defines wolves as a game species and authorizes the Natural Resources Commission to designate game.
Money in the law related to Asian carp control could shield it from a statewide referendum. Wolf hunting is not allowed in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota because of a 2014 federal court ruling. A judge threw out an Obama administration decision to remove gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list. Michigan’s only hunt was in 2013, when 22 wolves were killed in the Upper Peninsula.... [Read Full Story]

Health Department: With Holidays Here, Get Rid Of Unused Medications

The Berrien County Health Department is once again reminding everyone that this is a good time of year to clean out your medicine cabinets. With the holidays upon us, many folks will have family over. The health department tells us more than 70% of young people who abuse prescription medications get them from family, sometimes by just swiping them from the bathroom. So, it’s better to get rid of any medications you won’t use. Just drop them into a MedReturn drop off box. Those can be found at Lakeland and Walgreen Pharmacies, and also at many police stations. Within the past year, more than 2,500 pounds of unwanted and expired medications were collected from the various drop off locations in Berrien County.... [Read Full Story]

Doctor Offers Tips To Avoid Holiday Stress

This is the time of the year many people get all too wrapped up in the hustle of the holidays, and doctors say that can affect their health. Dr. A.K. Misra, with U.S. Health Works, tells us eating balanced meals and healthy snacks is a much better way of keeping your energy up than relying on caffeine, fast food and holiday sugar fixes.... [Read Full Story]

Police Remind Residents To Be Careful About Holiday Packages

Police are warning everyone to take some precautions about packages left outside their doors as Christmas rolls in. A video of someone stealing a package left outside of a Benton Township home earlier this month has gone viral in the past week, prompting a reminder. The video is now all over Facebook. If you’re expecting a last minute package, the U.S. Postal Service says you can ask a neighbor to watch out for it, or have the carrier hold it so you can go and get it from them. Also this holiday weekend, some police agencies are offering to perform free checks on homes. If you’re going to be out of town, call your local cops and let them know. Among agencies who will check up on properties this weekend is the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department.... [Read Full Story]

Coast Guard Urges Caution On Ice As Weather Warms

The U.S. Coast Guard says warming temperatures this weekend could pose safety issues on Lake Michigan and frozen inland rivers, streams and ponds. The Coast Guard is urging people to use extreme caution on the water and melting ice. Ice thickness can vary, even in small areas. Water currents around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets can cause thinner ice. The Coast Guard says stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas. Ice near the shore of a frozen lake may be unsafe and weaker because of shifting, expansion and sunlight reflecting off the bottom. A majority of Coast Guard units around Lake Michigan have winterized their rescue boats. That means the Coast Guard has a reduced ability to respond to anyone in distress on the water.... [Read Full Story]

Repairs Underway On Cook Plant Diesel Generator

Repairs are underway on a diesel generator at the Cook nuclear power plant. Spokesperson Bill Schalk tells WSJM News that crews on Wednesday found possible problems in the fuel injection pumps at two generators, one in each of the plant’s units. The diesel generator for Unit 1 was fixed, while the other generator, on Unit 2, will take a few days longer. Since Unit 2 is offline for a refueling outage, anyway, it doesn’t affect operations. The diesel generators are two of several power redundancies at Cook. Schalk says the plant is waiting for some parts to come in for the Unit 2 generator repairs to be complete. The NRC has been notified of the issue, and Cook has until the end of January 4 to fix it. Shalk says the issue doesn’t put the public at risk.... [Read Full Story]

Theft From Three Oaks Baseball Association Results In Jail Time

The former treasurer of a baseball league in a Berrien County town has been sent to jail for stealing $37,000. Meanwhile, the Three Oaks Baseball Association is holding bake sales and scrambling to raise money to buy uniforms for the next season. Amanda Macias was sentenced to six months in jail Thursday in St Joseph. Judge Scott Schofield says she stole “from the children of Three Oaks.” Macias acknowledged her crime but insists she’s still a “good person with a heart of gold.” Her lawyer says she’s working two jobs to repay the league. Adam Williams, president of the group, says the baseball league is far short of the money it needs to start the season.... [Read Full Story]

Cass County Sheriff’s Department Finds Alleged Police Impersonator

A man who’s accused of impersonating a police officer this week in Cass County has been found by the sheriff’s department. It says it got a tip about the alleged false officer after someone reported being pulled over by that person. Turns out the man’s a 53-year-old weather spotter and Red Cross volunteer from Jones. He told sheriff’s deputies he turned on his vehicle’s flashing lights Tuesday to stop someone who had cut him off in Newberg Township. He said he told the woman IF he was a cop, she’d be arrested. Police have turned the matter over to the prosecutor’s office to determine if charges are warranted.... [Read Full Story]

SWM Homes Sales Up In November

It’s been a good year for the regional housing market. Philip Amodeo, with the Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors, tells WSJM News 2016 will likely replace 2006 as a reference year, as the market has finally recovered from the recession. Not only are sales up, but so are the prices.... [Read Full Story]

Penalties For Underage Drinking To Be Reduced

A change has come to the law regarding minors in possession of alcohol. Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that makes the violation a civil infraction with a fine of $100 for a first offense. It used to be a misdemeanor. Republican state Senator Rick Jones, of Grand Ledge, sponsored the legislation and says most young people don’t even think about the consequences of breaking the law.... [Read Full Story]

Snyder Signs Laws To Ease Zero Tolerance School Punishment

Governor Rick Snyder has signed laws that will ease zero-tolerance policies in public schools and give districts flexibility to
consider many issues when deciding whether to punish a student. Snyder says students will no longer be automatically expelled or suspended due to misconduct. Schools can consider a student’s age, disciplinary history, a student’s disability and whether safety was at risk. The governor says the package of laws is the result of discussions involving educators, judges and the American Civil Liberties Union. Snyder said Thursday the laws emphasize “restorative justice.”... [Read Full Story]

West Michigan’s Top Baby Names For 2016 Unveiled

The most popular name for baby girls in West Michigan in 2016 is Olivia. Liam tops the list for boys according to the Family Birthplace at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, which delivers more babies than any other hospital in Michigan. The rest of the top five for girls are Charlotte, Evelyn, Ava and Emma, while Levi, James, William and Elijah are the rest of the top five for boy babies. The only names on the list that weren’t there last year were Nora and Abigail for girls, but both were among the top ten in 2014.... [Read Full Story]