Local News Archives

MI House To Pay $515,000 Settlement Over Firing Of Aides

The Michigan House of Representatives will pay $515,000 in a settlement with two former legislative aides who alleged they were wrongfully fired and publicly humiliated after reporting two lawmakers’ extramarital affair and other misconduct. An agreement released Tuesday says Keith Allard and Benjamin Graham will be paid about $170,000 each. Their lawyer’s firm will receive $175,000. The men sued nearly a year ago, saying they alerted House Speaker Kevin Cotter’s office about their two married Republican bosses’ affair, but it was covered up at the behest of ex-Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. Gamrat was expelled from office, and Courser resigned. In a joint statement, Cotter and the plaintiffs say the settlement “is in the best interest of everyone, including the House as an institution and the Michigan taxpayers.”... [Read Full Story]

Three Berrien Co. Deputies Complete Corrections Officer Academy

Berrien County has graduated three new corrections deputies. They just finished a four-week corrections officer training program at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, studying a variety of disciplines for jail officers. Those include custody and security, defensive tactics, first aid, suicide awareness, and communications. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey congratulated all three, saying they’ll help to safely manage the county jail population. Deputies Erik House, Kenyon Ellison and Amanda Scurek are all now ready to be jail guards.... [Read Full Story]

LaSata Names Legislative Director

State Representative-elect Kim LaSata has started putting together her Lansing team. She’s hired Bridgman native Arthur Havlicek to serve as her legislative director. LaSata says that Havlicek brings an understanding of the legislature and the district to her team. Havlicek is a Lake Michigan Catholic and Grand Valley State graduate who has spent the least few years working for various legislators around the state. LaSata was just elected this month to serve as state Rep for the 79th District. She’ll replace state Representative Al Pscholka when he leaves office at the end of the year due to term limits.... [Read Full Story]

Snyder Celebrates New Autonomous Vehicle Testing Facility

Developers have broken ground on what is billed as a world-class testing facility in Michigan for driverless vehicles. Governor Snyder and other officials attended a Monday groundbreaking for the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti Township. The facility will be located at the site of a former General Motors plant. It’s also where B-24 bombers were made during World War II.... [Read Full Story]

MI Lottery Contributes $889 Million To School Aid Fund

Michigan Lottery officials say nearly $889 million will be contributed the state’s School Aid Fund in 2016, a year after it contributed a record of $795.5 million. MLive reports that lottery officials said in a news release Monday that its 2016 performance made it the fastest growing lottery in the U.S. Officials said the lottery had its most successful year as a result of record-setting jackpots for Powerball and instant lottery games reporting double-digit growth. The state has paid out more than $1 billion in winnings this year. Each dollar in tickets sold contributed 29 cents to the School Aid Fund, 59 cents to prizes for players, 9 cents to commissions for vendors and retailers, and 3 cents to the Lottery’s ongoing operations and administrative costs.... [Read Full Story]

Couple Sentenced To Probation In Animal Hoarding Case

It was a case of animal hoarding in Van Buren County. Now the couple charged with animal neglect and cruelty for keeping over 100 dogs in their small home in Lawrence Township will get the help they need. Rather than jail, Melissa Copen and Donald Smith have been given two years on probation. During that period, they must not keep any pets in their home and have to seek psychiatric treatment for their hoarding syndrome, and do community service. Their home was raided and condemned in June after authorities got a look at what had happened. The animals were all seized, cleaned up, given shots and given away to new homes. The couple said they just wanted to help out animals that had nowhere else to go and it got out of hand.... [Read Full Story]

Report: Foster Kids Need More Emotional Support

A new report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation says child welfare agencies need to focus on helping foster parents meet the emotional needs of children in their care. Denise Goodman, a child welfare consultant, tells us kids in foster care are facing some real emotional difficulties. She says agencies should be sharing information not only about the responsibilities of parenting, but also the rewards of working with a child in need.... [Read Full Story]

“Groceries To Go” Coming To Martin’s In Stevensville

You’ll now be able to do your grocery shopping online or through an app at the Stevensville Martin’s store. The supermarket chain has announced it’s expanding its Groceries to Go program to that store after a successful launch in a couple of Indiana locations. With Groceries to Go, you can pick out all of the items on your shopping list online, and then Martin’s staff will collect and bundle them for you. Then, you just show up and pick them up. It’s $4.99 to use the service. You can check it out at MartinsGroceriesToGo.com, or get the app.... [Read Full Story]

Police Developing Leads In Berrien Springs Area Shooting

The leads are trickling in for Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township police in a break-in and shooting case that happened this month. The department tells us on the morning of November 11, three men got into a struggle with a man at his home on East Snow Road. He was shot in the process, and they took off in a white Ford Focus. The victim is recovering, and since the crime, police say they’ve held several interviews in the case, with more to come. Anyone with information is asked to contact Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township police at 471-2813. Police say they have reason to think the victim was targeted for a specific reason.... [Read Full Story]

No Injuries In Crash Involving St. Joseph School Bus

Everyone’s OK following a crash between a school bus and an SUV in St. Joseph Township Monday morning. Police tell us it happened at the intersection of Niles Avenue and Lincoln just before 8 a.m. A northbound bus on Niles with six St Joseph elementary kids on board was turning left on to Lincoln when the southbound SUV came through the intersection and they collided. The driver of the bus, a 72-year-old woman from Bridgman, was found to be at fault in the crash. The driver of the SUV, a 28-year-old St. Joseph woman who is nine months pregnant, was taken by ambulance to Lakeland Hospital to be checked out, and police say she’ll be fine. None of the kids were hurt, and the scene was cleared by 8:30.... [Read Full Story]

Samaritans Credited With Saving Driver From Tanker Fire

A Benton Harbor man is expected to recover after he suffered minor injuries when the tanker truck he was driving rolled over early Monday and caught on fire near South Haven. 45-year-old Michael Bennett was on the I-196 ramp to Pullman Road when the crash occurred. When the tanker caught fire, three men who happened by managed to drag Bennett to safety. One of them, Jeff Hunter, from Gaylord, tells WSJM News that Bennett was still conscious, and when he told the other three he’d been hauling gasoline, the men pulled him as far away from the wreck as they could. The other two Samaritans have been identified as Shawn Crittendon and Chad Edgington. Hunter says it’s good they were all there.... [Read Full Story]

BH School Board Trustee Steps Down

Benton Harbor School Board Trustee James Turner has stepped down. He sent an e-mail to the board this week offering his resignation, effective immediately. Turner says he’s moving out of the country. The board now has to find his replacement, and will take letters of interest through the end of the business day December 6. The letters can be sent to or dropped off at the central administration building on Pipestone. The board hopes to begin screening for a pick by December 15. Turner has served on the board for about two years, and Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker says it’s been an honor and a privilege to work with him.... [Read Full Story]

MSU Student Files Hacked

Any one who has worked for Michigan State University since 1970 or attended classes since 1991 wil be offered credit monitoring and identity theft services after someone hacked their system. They are fairly certain that about 450 had their files hacked, as many as 400,000 may have been compromised.... [Read Full Story]

Fire Prevention Group Urges Thanksgiving Caution

Fire prevention group ESCAPE is issuing some guidelines for folks ahead of Thanksgiving to help make sure the holiday is safe for everyone. The organization’s Mike McLeieer tells us it’s important to not get distracted from your work in the kitchen once the stove and oven are on. Also, he recommends cleaning the oven.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Blood Implements New Protections Against Zika

Michigan Blood is taking new steps to help prevent the spread of the Zika virus. The organization announced Monday it’s going to test all blood donations for the mosquito-borne illness. It’s working with an Indiana company to do so. That means things will change a little bit for donors. Michigan Blood says they’ll now have to be at least 112 pounds, instead of the previous 110, because an extra tube of blood will be taken for testing. Also, no one will be deferred if they’ve been to a Zika risk area, which could mean a 2% decrease in deferred donors. The changes took effect Friday, and Michigan Blood tells us they’re all about patient safety.... [Read Full Story]

Ground Broken On Autonomous Vehicle Testing Facility

Developers have broken ground on what is billed as a world-class testing facility in Michigan for driverless vehicles. Governor Rick Snyder and other officials attended a Monday groundbreaking for the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti Township. The facility will be located
at the site of a former General Motors plant. It’s also where B-24 bombers were made during World War II. Snyder says the facility “will put Michigan at the forefront of the autonomous movement.” Willow Run Arsenal of Democracy Landholdings Limited Partnership recently
bought the property, paving the way for construction. The center plans to open in December 2017. It will be available for use by private industry, government, standards bodies and academia. Companies will be able to lease office space, garages and other amenities.... [Read Full Story]

Semi Driver Hospitalized After Tanker Rolls, Catches Fire

The quick response of other semi drivers is being credited with saving the life of a gasoline tanker driver this morning in South Haven. Police say they pulled the man to safety after he was thrown from his rig when it overturned on the ramp at Exit 26 for Pullman Road shortly after 3 a.m. The tanker caught fire and was allowed to burn itself out by South Haven Area Emergency Services. The driver is now being treated at South Haven Community Hospital. There is no word on his condition or where he is from. The fire shut down northbound I-196 for about two hours this morning.... [Read Full Story]

Tanker Fire Closes Part Of NB I-196

If your drive takes you north on I-196 in the South Haven area this morning, you’ll need a different route. The highway is shut down at Exit 20 due to a gasoline tanker fire early this morning. The semi rolled as it was exiting the highway at 3:15 and caught fire. Other semi drivers quickly pulled the driver away from the flaming wreckage, and that driver has been taken to South Haven Community Hospital for treatment. South Haven Emergency Services says the fire is being allowed to burn itself out.... [Read Full Story]

Lansing Region’s First Venture Capital Firm Launches

The Michigan State University Foundation has launched a $5 million venture investing subsidiary to help university start-ups that are on the brink of market launch. The Lansing State Journal reports that Red Cedar Ventures would invest a minimum of $250,000 in businesses created by faculty and students to help get their services or products onto the market. The foundation’s executive director, David Washburn, says the firm wants to show the investment community that it’s willing to commit resources to make sure technologies that come from the university are successful. Red Cedar Ventures is the first venture capital firm based in the Lansing region. Andrew McColm, managing director of Venture Creation for Spartan Innovations, the foundation’s commercialization arm, says Red Cedar Ventures helps fill a gap in business funding.... [Read Full Story]

Lansing Region’s First Venture Capital Firm Launches

The Michigan State University Foundation has launched a $5 million venture investing subsidiary to help university start-ups that are on the brink of market launch. The Lansing State Journal reports that Red Cedar Ventures would invest a minimum of $250,000 in businesses created by faculty and students to help get their services or products onto the market. The foundation’s executive director, David Washburn, says the firm wants to show the investment community that it’s willing to commit resources to make sure technologies that come from the university are successful. Red Cedar Ventures is the first venture capital firm based in the Lansing region. Andrew McColm, managing director of Venture Creation for Spartan Innovations, the foundation’s commercialization arm, says Red Cedar Ventures helps fill a gap in business funding.... [Read Full Story]

Three Arrested For Drugs, Guns In South Haven

South Haven Police have three men locked up in the Van Buren County Jail on a slew of drug and gun charges. They were arrested at the Meijer store Friday. Officers were called to the store on a report of two men trying to steal liquor, and found them with a third suspect in the parking lot. A search turned up what police call a “substantial amount’ of marijuana and crack cocaine along with a lot of cash, which they say is consistent with selling drugs.... [Read Full Story]

New Residential Development Coming To Harbor Shores

Coming soon to Harbor Shores will be a new residential development. On Friday, Harbor Village was announced. It’ll be a 78 home neighborhood right next to the Inn at Harbor Shores, at the confluence of the Paw Paw and St. Joseph Rivers, featuring town homes, row homes, and single family homes. Harbor Shores Real Estate Director Kerry Wright tells WSJM News the neighborhood will have several amenities.... [Read Full Story]