Local News Archives

LMC: On-Campus Security Always A Priority

With violent incidents now seeming to happen on a regular basis at college campuses around the U.S. you may be wondering if local institutions have taken steps to be prepared. Lake Michigan College President Dr. Bob Harrison tells WSJM News they have. At LMC, they’re constantly sensitive to security issues and how to respond.... [Read Full Story]

MI Panel Votes To Close Pensions To New Teachers

A legislative committee has voted to close the pension system to newly hired school employees in Michigan and instead provide them solely a 401(k) in retirement. The Republican-controlled Senate could pass the legislation later Wednesday and send it to the House. The bills would apply to school workers hired on or after July 1, 2017. Republicans say the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System is “unsustainable” and won’t be able to finance pension benefits because of a $26.7 billion unfunded liability. Since mid-2010, new hires have qualified for a “hybrid” plan, with a blending of a traditional pension and a 401(k). Older teachers receive a pension. Democrats say they’re unified against the measure. Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich says people “want more economic security, not less.”... [Read Full Story]

State Announces New Rules For Receiving Food Assistance

Michigan officials say able-bodied adults without dependents in four counties must meet work requirements to continue receiving food assistance after January 1. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday it’s notifying about 14,000 people in Kent, Oakland, Ottawa and Washtenaw counties this week of the change. Recipients ages 18-49 without disabilities that prevent them from working must spend an average of 20 hours per week each month in unsubsidized employment, job training, or volunteering at a nonprofit. The federal government waived work requirements in 2002 because of high unemployment, but lower joblessness means Michigan no longer is eligible for the waiver. The agency said it expects the waiver to be phased out statewide by October 2018. The four counties are going first because of low unemployment rates.... [Read Full Story]

Legislation Limits Fundraising License Plates

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation to limit the number of state-sponsored license plates used to raise money for groups and
causes. Wednesday’s signing came after legislation was approved Tuesday by the Senate and House to cap the number at 20, not including university plates. Michigan has 15 university plates and 14 specialty fundraising plates, not including military plates. The legislation also revises the startup fee that groups must pay Michigan to develop a new fundraising plate. The bill was sponsored by former Representative Peter Pettalia, a Republican from Presque Isle who was killed in a motorcycle crash in September. In a statement, Snyder says the bill reflects Pettalia’s “common-sense approach to creating new laws and policies.”... [Read Full Story]

House Passes Pscholka Rainy Day Fund Bill

State Representative Al Pscholka’s legislation to protect the state’s Rainy Day Fund has been approved by the Michigan House. The fund was set up as a resource for lawmakers to use when the state’s facing a fiscal emergency, but it has been depleted in recent years. Pscholka WSJM News its use would be restricted under his bill.... [Read Full Story]

Dozens Arrested In Minimum Wage Protest

Detroit police say they arrested about 40 protesters who blocked traffic during a rally for union rights and an hourly wage of $15. Officer Jennifer Moreno says about 200 people protested early Tuesday outside a McDonald’s restaurant on the city’s west side and those who wouldn’t get out
of a street were arrested. WWJ-AM reports some locked arms and sat in the middle of the roadway. The crowd chanted “We work, we sweat. Put 15 on our check.” A protest also took place outside a McDonald’s in Flint. The protests are part of a nationwide campaign for higher hourly wages, including for workers at airports and fast-food restaurants. The campaign has included several rounds of actions, including multiple Michigan protests, since the efforts began in 2012.... [Read Full Story]

MI Senate Approves New Business Incentives

Michigan would provide up to $250 million in tax breaks a year to attract larger-scale business expansions under legislation advancing in
the legislature. A Senate committee quickly and unanimously approved bipartisan bills Tuesday that supporters say are needed to compete with other states. They say Michigan is among two states with a corporate income tax and no tax credits, and Ohio and Indiana offer incentives worth seven times more than Michigan’s. The legislation, which the Senate plans to pass Tuesday, would authorize the Michigan Strategic Fund to strike 10-year deals with companies so they could keep income tax withholdings. Business could qualify if they create at least 250 jobs that pay 125% or more of the average wage in the county, or if they create at least 500 jobs.... [Read Full Story]

Kellogg Pulls Advertisements From Breitbart

Kellogg says it will no longer advertise on Breitbart.com, the website formerly run by one of President-elect Donald Trump’s top aides, Steve Bannon. Kellogg Company  spokeswoman Kris Charles says the food company regularly works with media buyers to ensure its ads “do not appear on sites that aren’t aligned with our values as a company.” She says “occasionally something is inadvertently missed,” and Kellogg decided to “discontinue” advertising on Breitbart after learning its ads were on the site. Breitbart is the target of a concerted effort on social media that calls on companies to cease advertising on the site, which has been condemned as racist, sexist and anti-Semitic. The site called Kellogg’s decision “economic censorship” and “un-American,” saying Kellogg was denigrating “to its own detriment” the consumers who
elected Trump.... [Read Full Story]

Workers At O’Hare Airport Expected To Strike Over Wages

(Chicago, IL – AP) – Workers at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport are expected to walk off the job over union rights and an hourly wage of $15. About 500 workers have committed to the strike on Tuesday. They include cabin cleaners, janitors, wheelchair attendants and baggage handlers. The workers are employed by private contractors. Strike organizers say many work for minimum wage. They’re trying to unionize with the help of Service Employees International Union Local 1.... [Read Full Story]

Detroit Police Arrest About 40 During Union, Wage Protest

Detroit police say they arrested about 40 protesters who blocked traffic during a rally for union rights and an hourly wage of $15. Officer Jennifer Moreno says about 200 people protested early Tuesday outside a McDonald’s restaurant on the city’s west side and those who wouldn’t get out of a street were arrested. Some locked arms and sat in the middle of the roadway. The crowd chanted “We work, we sweat. Put 15 on our check.” The protest is part of a nationwide campaign for higher hourly wages, including for workers at airports and fast-food restaurants. The campaign has included several rounds of actions, including multiple Michigan protests, since the
efforts began in 2012.... [Read Full Story]

More MI Kmart Stores Closing Next Month

Several Kmart stores in Michigan are preparing to close next month, following dozens of others that have shuttered in the state since the
company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection nearly 15 years ago. The Detroit News reports nearly two-thirds of the 2,165 Kmart stores that were operating in the U.S. have closed since 2000. More than 130 nationwide closures have been announced this year. Seven stores in the state are slated to close December 11, including locations in Jackson and Fenton. Some defunct Kmarts in Bloomfield Hills, Woodhaven and other Metro Detroit cities have been resurrected as new enterprises, but vacant Kmart buildings are still scattered throughout the region.
The nature of the aging buildings makes them difficult to fill with other retail as they’re often massive structures tailored to house Kmarts.... [Read Full Story]

MI GOP Preparing For Possible Recount

After raising more than five-million dollars for election recount efforts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has set her sights on Michigan. Ronna Romney McDaniel, Chair of the Michigan Republican Party, says this is all a waste of time.... [Read Full Story]

Honor Credit Union Announces Teacher Award Winners

Honor Credit Union has announced the winners of its seventh annual teacher awards. In all, 30 teachers from areas served by the credit union were picked to receive special accolades, as well as $100 to use in their classroom or school. In the St. Joseph area, the winning teachers were Renee Carle and Mary LoPresti, while Dawn Luckritz was the Lakeshore winner. For South Haven, the honored teachers were Cheri Stein and Linda Brzezinski. Honor Credit Union took submissions for teacher awards from more than 300 schools. Entrants had to submit a short description of how they would use the money to better educate their students if they won. You can see the full list of winning teachers below.... [Read Full Story]

State Police To Collect Toys In BH, Niles

Everyone will have a chance to help Michigan State Police collect toys, clothing, and food for kids in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program this coming weekend. For the third year in a row, the Niles post is holding a Stuff a Blue Goose toy drive Saturday. Trooper DeWayne Robinson tells our newsroom they’ll fill up an MSP vehicle with toys.... [Read Full Story]

Report: Some Recalled Toys Could Still Be On Store Shelves

An annual survey of toy safety is out just in time for the holiday shopping season. “Trouble in Toyland 2016” from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund found that over a dozen recalled toys may be available for sale online. The group’s Mike Litt tells us that over the past 30 years, the annual report has contributed to more than 150 recalls. It’s also helped push for toy safety legislation.... [Read Full Story]

Niles Scream Park Raises $124,000 For Charity

The Niles Scream Park has done it again. During its most recent season of scares, the spooky non-profit attraction managed to raise more than $124,000 for charities all over southwest Michigan. This was the 43rd year in a row for the Niles Scream Park, and the money it collected will go to more than 55 area children’s organizations, civic groups, and other charities. Some funds will also be used to support four college scholarships for local high school grads. This year’s Scream Park had six attractions in all, and it took 530 volunteers giving up 22,000 hours of their time to run for the Halloween season. The park also hit a milestone this year, welcoming its 1.8 millionth visitor.... [Read Full Story]

University Of Michigan Beats Ohio State In Blood Drive

The University of Michigan may have lost on the football field, but the school topped Ohio State University in an annual drive to get blood donations. The Ann Arbor school says in a statement that Michigan had 2,363 donations and Ohio State brought in 2,355 in the 35th annual blood drive. Michigan and Ohio State competed in the weeks before Saturday’s football game between the Wolverines and Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio. The blood drive is called “Blood Battle” and Ohio State had won the last two blood drive competitions. The University of Michigan gets the American Red Cross traveling trophy. On the football field, Ohio State beat Michigan in double-overtime.... [Read Full Story]