Local News Archives

Pscholka Completes Term Without Missing Any Votes

State Representative Al Pscholka has made it through all six of his years in the Michigan House without missing a single vote. The last day of voting was last week, and throughout that session, Pscholka cast 1,263 votes. In total, Pscholka has voted more than 4,100 times in the House. He tells WSJM News lawmakers accomplished some big things since 2010.... [Read Full Story]

Coast Guard Begins Ice Breaking Operations In Lake Superior

The U.S. Coast Guard has started ice-breaking operations in response to developing ice conditions in commercial ports along
western Lake Superior and the St. Marys River near Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Officials say Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie started Operation Taconite Monday. It encompasses Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, the Straits of Mackinac and the St. Marys River. Coast Guard Cutter Alder is directed to manage the ice-breaking needs of western Lake Superior. Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay has been dispatched to break ice in the St Marys River. Additional Coast Guard icebreakers will join the operation as ice growth continues on the Great Lakes in the coming days and weeks.... [Read Full Story]

Report: Average MI Household Gives 3% Of Income To Charity

Charitable donations reported to the IRS show that the average household in Michigan donated about 3% of their income to
charity. The most recent data from the IRS shows that Michigan residents who filed taxes deducted almost $5 billion in charitable contributions on their 2014 tax returns. MLive reports the IRS numbers are the best window to individual giving, but the data is limited to taxpayers who file a Schedule A, which allows them to itemize deductions such as home mortgage interest, state and local taxes and charitable deductions. About 27% of tax returns in Michigan included a Schedule A in 2014.
The remainder of Michigan residents who filed taxes took the standard deduction. The IRS doesn’t have information on charitable giving for those tax filers.... [Read Full Story]

Covert Township Home Damaged In Fire

A Covert Township home has suffered serious damage in a fire that broke out Monday morning. Firefighters from four departments were sent to the scene on 77th Street, south of County Road 376, around 10 a.m. South Haven Area Emergency Services tells our newsroom a neighbor reported the fire when he went to feed the pets of the woman who owns the place. The dogs, cats, and birds appear to have died in the fire. It broke out in the basement, and the cause is still under investigation. The homeowner wasn’t there at the time. One South Haven Area Emergency Services firefighter was injured when he fell off a ladder, and he was taken to a local hospital. He’s expected to recover.... [Read Full Story]

Kids Find Woman’s Body On Saugatuck Playground

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the discovery of a woman’s body on a playground in a trailer park in Saugatuck Township over the weekend. Children found the woman’s body around 2 p.m. Sunday near a trailer in the Shangrai-La Mobile Home Park on Blue Star Highway. Deputies say the 40-year-old woman appeared to have been dead “for some time.” An autopsy will be performed Tuesday, and police plan to release more information at that point. The woman’s name has not been released.... [Read Full Story]

Cass County Crash Claims Indiana Teen

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a deadly weekend crash in Newburg Township. Deputies tell WSJM News the head-on crash on M-40 yesterday just after noon killed 18-year-old Matthew Miller of Middlebury, Indiana. He was a passenger in a car driven by 17-year-old Lucas Lambright of Millersburg. Lambright lost control on M-40 and went into the path of a southbound vehicle driven by a Grand Rapids woman. That woman and her passenger were taken to Three Rivers Hospital, as was Lambright. Miller was pronounced dead at the scene.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Electors In Line To Vote For Donald Trump

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Electors in Michigan are in line to obey state law and vote for Republican President-elect Donald Trump. The state requires the 16 members of the Electoral College convening Monday at the statehouse to vote according to the results of the Michigan’s presidential election, which Trump won by .2 percentage points. Still, electors surveyed by The Associated Press say they support him regardless. Elector Joseph Guzman, a Michigan State University assistant professor, says Trump is “my candidate,” and he would vote for him even “if there were no rules.” Electors say they aren’t swayed by missives from people urging votes for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton or another Republican. Hank Fuhs, an elector from Grand Rapids, says it’s their right to express opinions but “they don’t understand” or “appreciate” the electoral process.... [Read Full Story]

AAA: Benton Harbor Area Has State’s Lowest Gas Prices

If you’re looking for Michigan’s lowest price on gasoline, you’re not going to have to go far. Triple-A Michigan says the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area is the lowest in the state to start the week at $2.20 on average. Our prices locally have fallen 8¢ a gallon from a week ago, far more than the statewide drop of 2¢. The state average is $2.25, a penny higher than the national average and up 41¢ from this time last year. The most expensive gas in Michigan is in the U.P. in Marquette at $2.30.... [Read Full Story]

Fire Chief Talks Christmas Tree Safety

With Christmas just about here, many families have their trees up, and fire officials want to remind them to be safe. St. Joseph Director of Public Safety Brian Uridge tells WSJM News the biggest fire safety tip involving a Christmas tree has to do with where it’s placed.... [Read Full Story]

Allegan County Sheriff K9 Unit Gets Boost From Local Businesses

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department K9 program has gotten a boost from some local businesses. This week, a check for $1,370 was presented to Undersheriff Mike Larsen from the owners of Pet Klips and Studio H Pet Photography. The two businesses teamed up for their second annual fundraiser by taking photos of dogs and donating the proceeds. Pet Klips is the year-round groomer for the sheriff’s department K9s. The undersheriff presented both businesses with a certificate of appreciation for their help this holiday season.... [Read Full Story]

Applications Being Taken For Van Buren Citizens Police Academy

If you’re interested in what it’s like to work in law enforcement, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is offering a chance to find out starting next month. Its 20th annual Citizens Police Academy begins January 11, and runs for 11 weeks. The goal is to promote a positive relationship between the sheriff’s department and the public by teaching regular folks all about the things a police officer has to do. Those who sign up will get to learn about different positions in the sheriff’s department, ask questions of staff, and see demonstrations. To learn more or sign up, just go to VanBurenCountySheriff.com to submit an application. You have to be at least 18, and the academy is free.... [Read Full Story]

Appeals Court Says Public Schools Can Ban Guns

The Michigan appeals court says public schools have the power to ban guns. The court, in a 3-0 opinion, considered gun bans in the Ann Arbor and Clio districts. The court says schools have been “broadly empowered” by the legislature to keep students safe. Each district was challenged by parents with a concealed pistol license. Critics argued that schools can’t restrict guns because state law prohibits local governments from regulating gun possession. But the court says there are differences between schools and a local unit of government. The court says schools are “not formed, organized or operated” by cities, townships or counties and have “very broad powers of self-governance.” The opinion released Friday was written by Judge Elizabeth Gleicher and joined by judges Kirsten Frank Kelly and Douglas Shapiro.... [Read Full Story]

Obama Signs Water Bill, Helping Flint

President Barack Obama has signed a bill authorizing water projects across the country, including $170 million to address lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, and $558 million to provide relief to drought-stricken California. Obama said Friday the bill advances vital projects across the country to restore watersheds, improve flood control and rebuild water infrastructure, including pipes in Flint, where residents have struggled with lead-tainted water for more than two years.
Obama said the bill will “help assure that California is more resilient in the face of growing water demands and drought-based uncertainty.” Congress approved the $10 billion measure last week, despite complaints from some Democrats that it was a giveaway to California farmers and businesses. Obama said the law will continue to uphold state water quality standards.... [Read Full Story]

LMC Security Experts Talk About Staying Safe Online

With news this week that another billion Yahoo e-mail accounts have been hacked, we thought we’d check in with some Lake Michigan College security experts to find out what you can do to keep your information safe online. Derrick Griffin is LMC’s Assistant Security Engineer, and tells WSJM News one big tip is to have a good password.... [Read Full Story]

AAA Expecting Busy Holiday Travel In Michigan

There will be a lot of us traveling for year-end holidays in Michigan according to Triple-A’s latest travel forecast. The auto club is projecting nearly 3.5 million people in the state will venture at least 50 miles from home, up 2.5% from last year. It’s the highest total volume since Triple-A began tracking holiday travel data in 2001. Low gas prices and increased consumer optimism are factors in the increase.... [Read Full Story]

GM Testing Autonomous Vehicles In SE Michigan

General Motors plans to begin immediately testing autonomous cars on public roads in Michigan. The announcement comes one week after Governor Snyder signed legislation that allows the cars to be tested on public roads without a driver or a steering wheel. The automaker says that for now it will have a human driver as a backup in the Chevrolet Bolts it will use for the tests.... [Read Full Story]

House To MPSC: Deny Palisades Closure

As one of its last pieces of business this session, the state House is calling on the Michigan Public Service Commission to reject Entergy’s proposal to close the Palisades nuclear power plant. The company says it cannot compete with low natural gas prices with nuclear energy and announced plans last Friday to shutter the facility in 2018. The MPSC and federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission still need to approve the shutdown. If that green light is given, the NRC says Entergy will have 60 years to completely decommission the plant and remove all nuclear fuel. If Palisades closes, over 600 jobs will be lost in Van Buren County, though people will continue to work there for years to get it mothballed.... [Read Full Story]

New Energy Policy Bills Sent To Governor Snyder

The Michigan House and Senate have approved a rewrite of state energy laws on the final day of voting for the House during the two-year term. The Republican-led chamber voted Thursday to boost the required use of renewable sources of power and to keep intact some competition in the electricity market on the final day of the two-year term.... [Read Full Story]