Local News Archives

State Commission Reviewing Utility’s Request To Stop Buying Power From 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]

Joique Bell Helps Local Kids Shop With A Cop

Some Benton Harbor area kids have once again been treated to a bit of a shopping spree with the Shop with a Cop program, thanks to Meijer, local police departments, and Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell. He was on hand Tuesday morning as a group of kids, identified by local schools as needing help, took to Meijer in Benton Township to pick out about $100 worth of items for themselves. Bell’s foundation is a backer of the annual Shop with a Cop event. This year, parents also got to get in on the action by picking out up to $300 worth of food, clothes, or gifts.... [Read Full Story]

Grand Rapids Woman Gives Birth To Identical Triplets

A Grand Rapids woman has given birth to three identical babies. WZZM-TV reports that Ivan, William and Harrison Vandermolen were born three weeks ago, just minutes apart. The triplets have been doing well in the hospital, and their parents, John and Julie Vandermolen, hope to bring them home in the next few days. The Vandermolens had been trying to have a baby for a while. Julie Vandermolen had a miscarriage, and later became pregnant with the triplets shortly after the
death of her father. Julie Vandermolen says it’s easy to tell the boys apart right now because they’re three very different sizes. John Vandermolen says that task might be a little more difficult in six months, and that they’ll have to get bracelets or
stickers to identify them.... [Read Full Story]

Police: No Foul Play In Death Of Saugatuck Woman

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department says a woman whose body was found at a Saugatuck Township playground this week died as a result of hypothermia. The woman has been identified as 40-year-old Jamie Jon Dollar, from the Saugatuck area. She was discovered Sunday by some children at the playground near a mobile home park on Blue Star Highway. Police are waiting for toxicology results to find out if alcohol and drugs were a factor. They don’t believe the death is the result of foul play.... [Read Full Story]

Former Emergency Managers Charged In Flint Water Crisis

More charges have been filed by Michigan’s attorney general in the investigation into the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Michigan, including against two former state-appointed emergency managers. Attorney General Bill Schuette on Tuesday charged former emergency managers Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose with multiple 20-year felonies for their failure to protect the residents of Flint from health hazards caused by contaminated drinking water. Schuette also charged Earley, Ambrose and Flint city employees Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson with felony counts of false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses in the issuance of bonds to pay for a portion of the water project that led to the crisis.... [Read Full Story]

New Charges To Be Announced In Flint Water Crisis

(Flint, MI – AP) The Michigan attorney general is announcing more criminal charges in the Flint water investigation. Attorney General Bill Schuette has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday. Nine people so far have been charged in an investigation of Flint’s lead-tainted water system and an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. Those nine are eight current or former state employees and a Flint water plant employee.... [Read Full Story]

GM To Temporarily Idle Five Factories

General Motors will temporarily close five factories next month as it tries to reduce a growing inventory of cars. Spokeswoman Dayna Hart says the factories will close anywhere from one to three weeks due to the continuing U.S. market shift toward trucks and SUVs. Just over 10,000 workers will be idled. The company’s Detroit-Hamtramck and Kansas City, Kansas, factories will be shut down for three weeks, while a plant in Lansing, Michigan, will be down for two weeks. Factories in Lordstown, Ohio, and Bowling Green, Kentucky, each will be idled for one week. The factories make just about every car in the General Motors lineup. Last month, almost 62 percent of all U.S. vehicle sales were trucks and SUVs.... [Read Full Story]

Benton Harbor Leaders Salute Local Success Story

The Benton Harbor City Commission has saluted a local success story. At Monday’s meeting, a key to the city was presented to Psychelia Terry, the founder of UI Global Brands. She graduated from Benton Harbor High School, went to Western Michigan University, worked for Whirlpool, and then started a lingerie company that’s now a multi-million dollar cosmetics and apparel operation. Terry told WSJM News she was thrilled to come home for the honor.... [Read Full Story]

MI Lawmakers Praised For Bipartisanship

Michigan lawmakers have wrapped up all voting for the year, and groups from both sides of the aisle are commending them for managing to get a few things done in a bipartisan way. Rachel Richards, with the Michigan League for Public Policy, tells us one bright spot is a plan to ease some of the rules for expelling students.... [Read Full Story]

AAA Deals With Jump In Service Calls

AAA of Michigan has been plenty busy the last several days. They tell us calls for roadside assistance were up every day throughout the weekend as frigid wintry weather clobbered Michigan. On Friday, calls were up 112%, on Saturday, they were up 81%, and on Sunday, they were up 33%. When it’s extra cold, the most common type of call is about a dead battery. AAA reminds everyone to get their car batteries checked, be aware of the travel and weather conditions before heading out, and to not travel is it’s not necessary. If you get stranded, you’re advised to stay in your car if it’s safe and make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow.... [Read Full Story]

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]