Local News Archives

Man Robbed At Gunpoint In Sodus Township

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an armed home invasion. It happened Saturday morning on Alma Drive in Sodus Township. A 58-year-old man told deputies a male suspect who had been knocking on his door forced his way into the place when the homeowner responded. Another suspect then also came running in. They forced the victim at gunpoint to hand over cash. The suspects then took off in a light-colored or silver minivan. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.... [Read Full Story]

Saugatuck Visitors Bureau Chief Stepping Down

The longtime director of the Saugatuck-Douglas Visitors Bureau is stepping down. Felicia Fairchild has been with the organization for 27 years, and her contract will end January 7. During Fairchild’s time, the tourism industry in the Saugatuck-Douglas area has grown, meaning $255 million each year to the communities. The visitor’s bureau says Fairchild departs on a high note following a record year for local business owners. She says she’s grateful to have served. Now that she’s stepping down, Fairchild tells the Holland Sentinel she plans to pursue a doctorate abroad, possibly in London.... [Read Full Story]

Benton Harbor Native Going Far With The U.S. Navy

A native of Benton Harbor who joined the U.S. Navy in 2009 is now in Norfolk, Virginia, helping to pre-commission one of the nation’s newest and most high-tech aircraft carriers. Petty Officer 2nd Class Angel Rice tells WSJM News she grew up playing sports, but decided on a military career when that didn’t pan out. She’s been all over the world since then, and tells us a life in the Navy will open your eyes.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Lets Autonomous Vehicles On The Road With No Driver

Companies can now test self-driving cars on Michigan public roads without a driver or steering wheel under new laws that could push the
state to the forefront of autonomous vehicle development. The package of bills signed into law Friday comes with few specific state regulations and leaves many decisions up to automakers and companies like Google and Uber. But state officials say there are enough safeguards to keep the public out of danger. The bills also allow automakers and tech companies to run autonomous taxi services and permits test parades of self-driving tractor-trailers as long as humans are in each truck. And they allow the sale of self-driving vehicles to the public once they are tested and certified, according to the state.... [Read Full Story]

St. Joseph Officer Credited With Saving Woman From Choking

An officer with the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety is being credited with saving the life of a 78-year-old woman. The department says officers were called to a home in the 900 block of Wolcott Wednesday to find the woman choking and losing consciousness. PSO Bryan Elliot used the Heimlich maneuver on the woman. That was enough to get her breathing again, and she’s doing fine.... [Read Full Story]

State Representative Fighting To Keep Palisades Open

Van Buren County state Representative Aric Nesbitt is pledging to fight to keep the Palisades nuclear power plant open. The Covert Township facility that employs 600 is slated to close in 2018 after its owner, Entergy, ended a contract to sell power to Consumers Energy. That contract was supposed to run out in 2022. Nesbitt tells WSJM News the move to end it sooner leaves southwest Michigan in the cold.... [Read Full Story]

More Snow On The Way

Just because the winter storm is over doesn’t mean there won’t be continuing snow. WNDU Meteorologist David Harker tells WSJM News we’ll see it snowing for several more days due to a series of systems moving into the region from the plains states.... [Read Full Story]

Three Dead In Thursday Highway Pileup

An Ann Arbor couple was among the three people killed in a 53 car pileup on I-96 near Fowlerville after a whiteout on Thursday. 69-year-old Homer Tew and 62-year-old Theresa Tew were killed. The third victim was a 28 year old man believed to be from Hollywood, Florida. Livingston County Sheriff’s Lieutenent Eric Sanborn says there were some injured, too.... [Read Full Story]

Snyder Asks MI Residents To Lower Flags For John Glenn

Governor Rick Snyder is asking Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations to lower flags to half-staff to honor the memory of former astronaut and statesman John Glenn. Snyder said Friday that in accordance with President Barack Obama’s call,
flags should remain lowered until sunset on the day of Glenn’s burial. Glenn died Thursday at age 95. He was the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 and the oldest man in space at age 77 in 1998. A U.S. Marine and combat pilot, he also served as a U.S. senator from Ohio for more than two decades. Glenn is to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.... [Read Full Story]

Western Michigan Athlete Sought By Police In Gun Slaying

Western Michigan University Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard says a current student-athlete has been suspended after being identified by Kalamazoo police as a person of interest in the fatal shooting of another student at an off-campus apartment. Beauregard issued a statement Friday saying the university and the athletic department were cooperating with police in their investigation into shooting Thursday night of the 20-year-old student. She didn’t identify the student or the sport the student participates in. Police have said they’re seeking two men who were seen fleeing after the shooting. Police didn’t immediately release the name of the shooting victim or details about the circumstances of the shooting. University President John Dunn issued a statement saying the university community “is stunned by the realization that a promising life has been lost.”... [Read Full Story]

No One Hurt In BH Car Fire

Everyone’s fine, but a car is wrecked after it caught fire in Benton Township Friday morning. Firefighters tells WSJM News they were called out to the Five Below store along M-139 around 11:40 a.m. on a report of a car on fire in the parking lot. They got there to find it already badly damaged. The vehicle’s owner had tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher, but it ran out. He was inside the store when the fire started. Firefighters made short work of the blaze, and were back at the station in about a half hour. The car is a total loss. The cause of the fire isn’t known, but it appeared to have started in the engine compartment.... [Read Full Story]

Suspect Gets 19 to 45 Years In Missing Baby Case

A northern Michigan man convicted of second-degree murder in the disappearance of his 4-month-old daughter has been sentenced to 19 to 45 years in prison. Sean Phillips learned his punishment on Friday. A jury in October found him guilty of killing Katherine Phillips, known as “Baby Kate.” The girl disappeared five years ago in the Ludington area about 80 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, but her body has never been found.
Prosecutors said Phillips had a turbulent relationship with Kate’s mother and didn’t want the baby. Phillips did not testify during the trial. His lawyer has said that there isn’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Kate was killed The 27-year-old Phillips already was serving a 10-year prison sentence for unlawful imprisonment in the infant’s disappearance.... [Read Full Story]

Congress Approves $170 Million For Flint

The House has approved a wide-ranging bill to approve water projects across the country, including $170 million to address lead in Flint’s drinking water and $558 million to provide relief to drought-stricken California. The bill was approved Thursday on a vote of 360-61 even as some Democrats complained that the drought measure was a giveaway to California farmers and businesses. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican who brokered the water deal with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, said the agreement solves a problem years in the making. He said the measure will increase water delivery to the San Joaquin Valley and southern California and streamline infrastructure projects to secure future water supplies. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California has vowed to defeat the drought
measure in the Senate.... [Read Full Story]

Representative: Cook Plant In A Strong Position

With this week’s announcement that the Palisades nuclear power plant is shutting down, we wondered if this means anything for the Cook plant near Bridgman. Cook spokesperson Bill Schalk tells WSJM News shifting market trends have hurt smaller, single unit nuclear plants, but the two-unit Cook plant remains a big asset for its owner, Indiana Michigan Power. He points out I&M is investing big in Cook.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien Commissioners Cancel Animal Control Hearing

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners is taking a step back from the new county animal control ordinance. The controversial law has been in the works for several months now, and it had been scheduled for a hearing next Thursday. However, the hearing has now been cancelled. Board of Commissioners Chair Jon Hinkelman tells our newsroom the response from the public to the animal control ordinance has made commissioners realize they “need more time to review and to provide explanation for areas of the ordinance.” A vote on the rule scheduled for December 22 has also been cancelled.... [Read Full Story]

MI Lawmakers Approve New Wolf Hunting Law

Michigan lawmakers may re-enact a wolf-hunting law declared unconstitutional by the state appeals court. The Republican-led Senate voted 27-10 along party lines Thursday to define wolves as a game species and to authorize the state to designate game. The bill goes to the House.
It’s the fourth time lawmakers have considered wolf-hunt laws in recent years. Wolf hunting isn’t allowed in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota under a federal court decision. But Sen. Tom Casperson says he wants Michigan positioned if Congress removes wolves from endangered species status. In 2014, Michigan voters rejected laws allowing wolf hunts. But the votes were symbolic because legislators had approved a third measure. That law was nixed last month because a provision providing free hunting licenses to military members isn’t related to scientifically managing wildlife.... [Read Full Story]

Kinexus To Work With Palisades Staff As Shutdown Looms

Among the agencies that will be working to help the displaced workers of the Palisades nuclear power plant will be Kinexus. Zachary Morris, with the jobs training and economic development organization, says it will coordinate with Van Buren County as the shutdown approaches. He tells WSJM News many of the Palisades staff should be able to find work.... [Read Full Story]

Pokagons Announce New South Bend Casino

The first Native American tribe in Indiana to have land returned to it from the federal government has announced plans to build a casino in South Bend that will open in early 2018. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi tribe says the 175,000-square-foot casino will have 55,000 square feet of gambling space and 1,800 gambling devices. The size of the casino is smaller than documents previously submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and doesn’t include an 18-story hotel included in those plans. Tribal Chairman John Warren says the tribe had to include how big the casino could eventually become when submitting those plans. He says the plans announced Wednesday are the first phase. The tribe says the project will include four restaurants, three bars and about 4,500 parking spaces.... [Read Full Story]