Local News Archives

MI Lawmakers Move To Ease Penalty For Underage Drinking

Michigan lawmakers are moving to lighten the penalty for underage drinking, making a first offense a civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor crime. The House on Tuesday voted for the change 105-1. The Senate, which passed the legislation previously, is expected to move it to Governor Rick Snyder soon. The maximum $100 fine would stay the same, and a minor could still be ordered to receive substance abuse services. The bill sponsor, Republican Sen. Rick Jones, says the minor-in-possession law is clogging up the courts and hurting young people’s ability to get into college or work. In 2014, there were about 9,300 first-offense convictions for underage drinking.... [Read Full Story]

Capitol Protest By Police, Firefighters Planned

Cops and firefighters in Michigan will be making noise at the state Capitol today, protesting the lawmakers’ latest efforts to rein in pensions and benefits for retirees. These bills were introduced at the last minute that would end post retirement health care for public sector union members. Lawmakers says the current system, underfunded to the tune of $11 billion, will go bankrupt if nothing is done. Union leadership says the proposals would have life changing on their membership. More hearings are expected during the day.... [Read Full Story]

Auction Of Surplus State Land Parcels Getting Underway

If you have ever dreamed of owning land up north, you’re in luck. A sealed-bid auction of surplus state-owned land gets underway today. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the sale will continue until January 10. The auction will feature 58 parcels located primarily in the central and northern Lower Peninsula and in the Upper Peninsula.... [Read Full Story]

Doctors: Hand Washing Key To Flu Prevention

Don’t forget to wash your hands. That’s the message this week from doctors this week as the winter weather has arrived and everyone starts getting the flu. Dr. Robert Jackson, with the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians, tells us soap and water are best for after using the bathroom or when hands are dirty. Other times, hand sanitizer is a good option.... [Read Full Story]

One Dead In Crash Between Minivan, Train

A Chicago man is dead after his minivan was struck by a freight train in Cass County Monday. The sheriff’s department says it happened on Harris Road near Hess Road in Jefferson Township around 2:45 p.m. Deputies tell us 43-year-old John Morris disregarded a stop sign at the railroad crossing, and his Kia was hit by the CN Rail Road train. Police say his vehicle was dragged about a half mile down the track. The crossing is on a rural dirt road, and there are no railroad signals there. Morris was pronounced dead at the scene. Police remind drivers to always be aware of their surroundings and to pay attention to railroad crossing signs.... [Read Full Story]

Snyder Calls For Quick Recount

A massive recount of 4.8 million ballots cast in the presidential election in Michigan is underway. That’s after U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith issued his ruling that rejected an effort by state officials to wait two business days to get started hand-counting the ballots. Governor Rick Snyder says so be it.... [Read Full Story]

Benton Harbor Area Businesses Hit With Liquor License Suspension

Three Benton Harbor area businesses are hurting after having their liquor licenses suspended by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. Slosson’s Liquors on Napier Avenue, A&D Liquor Corner on Pipestone, and Jay’s Lounge, also on Pipestone, can’t sell or serve booze until December 21. According to Moodyon the Market, the sanction stems from a stockholder’s legal troubles. They include convictions of drunk driving and domestic violence. As a result, an administrative law judge ordered the liquor license suspensions, and also that the investor give up his ownership stake in the businesses. In the meantime, they remain open, but cannot sell any alcohol.... [Read Full Story]

Sentencing Delayed In Death Of 8-Month-Old

The sentencing for a Hartford woman charged in the death of her baby son early this year has been postponed. Autumn Atchley was scheduled Monday to be sentenced for being an accessory after the fact to the death of 8-month-old Carter Donovan. However, the matter was adjourned until January 30. Baby Carter died on February 19 in the care of Brandon Beshires while Atchley was at an appointment. Prosecutors say that Atchley gave false information to police at first to cover for Beshires when she discovered her baby had been killed. Beshires is charged with murder in the case. Athley is facing up to five years in prison.... [Read Full Story]

Update — Names Released In Van Buren Fatal Crash

The names of a man and woman killed in a Sunday crash in Van Buren County have been released. The sheriff’s department tells our newsroom 22-year-old Jaylen Weller and 20-year-old Kylie Benkert, both from Dowagiac, were killed when Weller lost control of their car on M-40 in Porter Township around 4 p.m. The car hit a pickup driven by a Marcellus man, who was not injured. Police say slick roads were the cause of the crash. It closed part of M-40 between Lawton and Marcellus for several hours Sunday.... [Read Full Story]

Trump Plans Thank You Speech In Grand Rapids

President-elect Donald J. Trump will visit Grand Rapids on Friday as part of his “thank you” tour of states that contributed to his victory.
Transition officials announced the Michigan visit Monday on a call with reporters. The rally will be held at 7 p.m at the DeltaPlex Arena.
Tickets to the event are available on a first come-first serve basis at https://www.donaldjtrump.com/schedule/register/grand-rapids-mi4/ .
The rally was announced as Michigan, responding to a federal court order, began its recount of the presidential race that Trump won narrowly over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Michigan’s appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday on a Trump request to halt the recount. Trump ended his presidential campaign in the early morning hours of Election Day with a rally at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.... [Read Full Story]

Police, Fire Unions Blast Retiree Healthcare Plan

Police and firefighters are blasting a Republican-sponsored plan to cut their retiree health care benefits, calling it an “unconscionable” attack on people who risk their lives protecting the public. Unions for officers and firefighters, along with groups representing chiefs and prosecutors, spoke out against the legislation Monday during a Capitol news conference. Ken Grabowski of the Police Officers Association of Michigan says Republicans’ consideration of the new plan during the post-election session is “an insult to every police officer and retired police officer in this state.” He says those who would support the bills during the “lame-duck” period are an “enemy of public safety” and police “will never forget.”
Republican House Speaker Kevin Cotter has said addressing unfunded liabilities will protect benefits that could be lost if cities declare bankruptcies.... [Read Full Story]

Niles High School On Put On Lockdown Monday Morning

Everyone’s OK and things are back to normal at Niles High School after the building was put on lockdown Monday. The administration sent a letter out to parents telling them the place was put on lockdown shortly before 11 a.m. when an airsoft gun was found in a student’s backpack. That student has since been caught. Airsoft guns shoot plastic pellets, but can resemble real guns. The high school principal says no threat was made and no one was in any danger. The school says it’s working with police on the matter.... [Read Full Story]

Man Killed By Elkhart Police Identified

(Elkhart, IN – AP) – Authorities have identified a 29-year-old man as the person who died after gunfire involving two northern Indiana police officers. The Elkhart Police Department says Norman Gary of Elkhart died at the scene from gunshot wounds about 3:30 a.m. Sunday. Police Chief Ed Windbigler says the officers were at a reported burglary when they ran toward nearby gunfire. Police say three others suffered non-life-threatening wounds in the gunfire, but aren’t sure anyone was shot by the officers.... [Read Full Story]

Federal Judge: Michigan’s Presidential Recount Starts At Noon

(Detroit, MI – AP) – A federal judge in Detroit has ruled that the recount of Michigan’s presidential results can begin at noon on Monday, a decision that gives the state more time to complete the count ahead of the December 13 deadline. Judge Mark Goldsmith issued his ruling late Sunday night that rejected an effort by state officials to wait two business days to get started hand-counting about 4.8 million ballots. Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein requested a recount, but Republican President-elect Donald Trump sued elections officials to stop it.... [Read Full Story]

UPDATE: Two Killed In Van Buren County Crash

The first snowfall of the season is being blamed for a deadly crash in Van Buren County’s Porter Township.  A 22-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman from Dowagiac were killed when she lost control of her car and it veered into the path of a pickup truck driven by a Marcellus man.  The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says he tried to swerve to avoid the car, but wasn’t able to do so.  The accident closed M-40 for three hours for the investigation and clean-up.... [Read Full Story]

Two Killed In Van Buren County Crash

Two people have been killed in a crash on M-40 in Van Buren County. The accident happened Sunday afternoon, with police blaming wintry weather conditions. Van Buren County dispatch says the crash was between a car and a pickup truck between 94th Avenue and Shaw Road. The area is south of Lawton and north of Marcellus. There has been no information released about which vehicle the victims were in. As of 5:45 p.m. Sunday, MDOT says M-40 remains closed in both directions between Shaw Road and 94th Avenue.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien Commissioners Working Toward Countywide Bus System

Work will begin next year on setting up a new countywide transit system in Berrien County. Community Development Director Dan Fette tells WSJM News the county currently has four separate bus systems, which a recent study found has created a fragmented and confusing transit network for folks to navigate. The board of commissioners this week authorized moving forward with a new authority that would handle a consolidated bus service.... [Read Full Story]

Uzelac Named Lions High School Coach Of The Year

The Detroit Lions have named Benton Harbor High School Football Coach Elliot Uzelac the 2016 Detroit Lions-Farm Bureau High School Football Coach of the Year. Uzelac has led the Benton Harbor Tigers for two seasons now. In 2016, the Tigers were undefeated in the regular season, and made it to the playoffs for the first time. For comparison, the Tigers 4 and 50 in the six years prior to his arrival. Benton Harbor’s last winning season had been in 1989 before Uzelac showed up. Since he’s been with the team, the Tigers are 16 and 6. Uzelac is now in his 47th year of coaching.... [Read Full Story]

Report: Flint Water Improving

Researchers who played a critical role in the discovery of lead in Flint, Michigan, drinking water say tests reveal another rise in water quality.
Virginia Tech says lead wasn’t detected in 57% of 154 Flint homes tested in November — up from 44% in July. Flint has a lead problem because it used water from the Flint River for 18 months without treating it to prevent pipe corrosion. As a result, the water caused lead to leach from old pipes and into homes. But since fall 2015, the city has been tapped into a regional water system that uses corrosion controls. That’s why the testing results have improved. Nevertheless, researcher Marc Edwards emphasized again that residents still should keep a lead filter on their kitchen taps.... [Read Full Story]

Extra Patrols On I-94 Starting Monday

Michigan State Police will be out in force on I-94 starting Monday as they look to keep the highway safe for the holiday season. MSP Inspector Pat Morris tells WSJM News they’re specifically focusing on that road because it’s where a lot of crashes happen this time of year.... [Read Full Story]