Local News Archives

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]

Republican States That Expanded Medicaid Want It Kept

Republican-led states that signed onto Medicaid expansion are in a tough spot as they wonder if president-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to dump the Affordable Care Act means the expansion goes away. Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer fought her own Republican party in the state
Legislature to push through expansion three years ago. Brewer now hopes one of the pillars of President Barack Obama’s health care  law can be saved. She says there’s no more cost-effective way to provide insurance to the working poor. Nearly 400,000 Arizonans have gained Medicaid
insurance since Brewer’s proposal took effect in 2014 and about 9 million nationwide. Many officials in the GOP-led states that embraced expansion are also strong proponents of the program.... [Read Full Story]

SW Michigan Has State’s Lowest Gas Prices

Michigan’s lowest gas prices are right here in southwest Michigan. GasBuddy says South Haven’s prices are as low as $1.78, which is the rock-bottom level in the state. Triple-A Michigan’s latest survey of prices shows the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area has an average of $2 per gallon, which is the lowest of the 10 areas the auto club surveys daily. Statewide, the average is $2.08, down 3¢ from last week. While prices are falling, they’re still up by 23¢ a gallon from last year statewide and up 18¢ in the Twin Cities.... [Read Full Story]

2016 A Strong Year For SWM Home Sales

Southwest Michigan’s housing market has been strong throughout 2016, although sales took a bit of a breather in the month of October. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors’ Philip Amodeo tells WSJM News sales for the month were down 6% from October of 2016. However, the year as a whole remains strong.... [Read Full Story]

Study Examines Healthcare Needs In Southwest Michigan

A year-long study done by Lakeland Health has given us a sense of what communities need to help residents live healthy, and also what folks around southwest Michigan are concerned about. The 2016-2019 Community Health Needs Assessment took about a year to compile, and points to several things weighing on the public’s mind, says Lakeland’s Dr. Lynn Todman.... [Read Full Story]

Mixed Reaction In MI to DeVos Appointment

The selection of Betsy Devos to serve as the next U.S Secretary of Education is getting mixed reactions around Michigan. Among those on board with the appointment are Grand Rapids Schools Superintendent Theresa Weatherall and Congressman Bill Huizenga, who say Devos has been a supporter of education.... [Read Full Story]

Christmas In The Village Next Week In Stevensville

The village of Stevensville is gearing up to celebrate Christmas. Its annual Christmas in the Village event is set for next Saturday, December 3. The day will feature crafts, food, Santa, the Lakeshore Lancers Band, and a whole lot more. Santa can be found at the village hall starting at 3 p.m. and there, he’ll take pictures with the kids. The children will also get a free goodie bag and a map for a special goodie hunt. There will also be a photo booth set up next door at the village garage, which will serve for the day as a magical Christmas display. Village leaders invite everyone to come by with the kiddies for some cookie decorating and ornament making. Christmas in the Village will run from 3 to 6 p.m.... [Read Full Story]

Group Seeking Funds To Open Sojourner Truth Museum

A non-profit which wants to open a museum honoring the accomplishments of famed abolitionist Sojourner Truth is hoping to raise $150,000 to purchase Fremont Elementary School in Battle Creek. The Sojourner Truth Museum Foundation published a GoFundMe page Thursday. Truth had long history in Battle Creek. The former slave moved there in 1857, six years after delivering her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech in Ohio. That speech still sees frequent performances to this day. Battle Creek Public Schools closed Fremont in June, citing declining enrollment. The foundation wants to open the museum by 2019.... [Read Full Story]