Local News Archives

Alleged Scammer Busted In Allegan County

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department has arrested two suspects in a logging scam. It tells WSJM News one of the suspects provided fake paperwork to a logging company suggesting he owned property he was asking them to log late last month. After signing a contract, the company paid the suspect and started to work on that land. That’s when they were contacted by the real owner of the property. Police note a similar incident was reported in Three Rivers in early March. The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday released photos of the suspect, and tells us tips from the public helped lead investigators to that person. Two have been arrested in the case, and some of the money scammed from the logging company was recovered. The names of the suspects have not yet been released.... [Read Full Story]

Detroit Officials Kick Off “Motor City Makeover”

From the Associated Press — City officials are expected to release details of an annual cleanup project that removes blight and bolsters pride in Detroit. Mayor Mike Dugan and community organizations will attend the kickoff for the 2017 Motor City Makeover at noon Thursday at the Northwest Activities Center. The city says this year’s “Motor City Makeover 365” theme will emphasize year-round beautification efforts. Volunteers help clean around homes, businesses, churches and schools, and board up vacant houses. The planting of flowers, plants or trees also is encouraged. A new website that allows people to connect with volunteer opportunities also will be announced Thursday.... [Read Full Story]

Canada Seeking More Info On Plan To Store Nuclear Waste Near Great Lakes

From the Associated Press — Canadian officials are requesting more information from a company that wants to store waste from nuclear power plants underground less than a mile from Lake Huron. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency sent a 17-page letter Wednesday
to Ontario Power Generation, which has proposed burying low- and intermediate-level waste such as clothing and discarded machinery 2,230 feet below the earth’s surface. The company prefers a site at the Bruce Power Generating Station near Kincardine, Ontario. But at the government’s request, it offered two alternative sites in a January report. In its letter Wednesday, the Canadian agency asked for more detail about how the alternative sites were chosen. It raised questions about rock stability and factors such as radiological risks during transportation, accidents and the possibility of acid generation and metal leaching.... [Read Full Story]

Carbon Monoxide Legislation

The death of a 13-year-old boy from Carbon Monoxide poisoning at a Niles motel could result in state legislation designed to prevent similar incidents from happening. Bryan Watts died and a dozen others required treatment at area hospitals after a faulty ventilator fan allowed the deadly gas to build up around an indoor pool at the Quality Inn in Niles. Senator Steve Bieda told MIRS news that he plans to reexamine the requirements for the installation of Carbon Monoxide detectors in hotels and motels. The current rule only required that they be in facilities built after the law passed in 2009, because they were cheaper to install during construction. Since then the price for the detectors have dropped considerably.... [Read Full Story]

Kalamazoo Native Getting Show On Comedy Central

A Kalamazoo native is getting a new show on Comedy Central. Jordan Klepper, who has been a Daily Show correspondent since 2014, is getting the weekdays at 11:30 p.m. timeslot, which was previously occupied by Larry Wilmore’s Nightly Show and The Colbert Report. Klepper is a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School and Kalamazoo College, where he was once in an improv group. He’s also been in the Upright Citizens Brigade. No word yet on the title of Klepper’s new show, but Comedy Central says it will take “a skeptical look at institutions and whether or not they are worthy of trust.” It’ll start airing in the fall.... [Read Full Story]

Andrews University International Food Fair This Weekend

This weekend will bring the annual Andrews University International Food Fair. The Berrien Springs university tells us it usually gets around 8,000 visitors for the event. This time around, they’ll offer samplings from nearly two dozen ethnic clubs, including the Korean Club, Peruvian Club, Brazilian Club, Indian Club and Haitian Club, among others. Everyone’s invited, and there’s a small fee to get in. The proceeds will go to the clubs organizing the event. The International Food Fair is set for Sunday, April 9 from noon to 7 p.m. at the Johnson Gym on campus.... [Read Full Story]

Family Dollar, Payless Shoes Closing In Benton Township

The Benton Harbor area is losing a couple of retailers. The closures come as a result of cuts at the national level for the two chains. First up, Moody on the Market reports the Family Dollar on M-139 in the Benton Square Shopping Center is shutting down. Its corporate owner is shuttering 20 locations around the country, and six people at the Benton Township location will lose their jobs as a result. There are still several other Family Dollar locations around Berrien county. The other local retailed closing is the Payless Shoes in the Orchards Mall. It’s among nearly 400 Payless locations closing as a result of the parent company’s bankruptcy.... [Read Full Story]

MI Psychiatric Hospital Sued Over Tired Employees

From the Associated Press — A lawsuit filed on behalf of hundreds of involuntary patients at a Michigan mental health hospital says mandatory overtime for employees is endangering patients. The Detroit News reports the federal complaint argues that the rules lead to exhausted employees who are unable to control some patients’ violent behavior. The lead plaintiff is Alan Teasel, a patient at the Caro Center psychiatric
hospital in Tuscola County. The suit alleges Teasel has observed “increased violence among patients” as residential care aides have been forced to work more overtime shifts. Lawyers are seeking class-action status to cover the center’s more than 600 patients. The lawsuit says changes would also protect employees. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services runs the center. A spokesman says the agency can’t comment on pending litigation.... [Read Full Story]

Four Arrested In Niles Business Break-In

Four people have been arrested over the break-in to a business in Niles. Local police tell us officers responded to a report of a burglary in progress at Schrader Metal on Tuesday when a neighboring business owner spotted four people trying to force their way in. When officers arrived, they found the suspects. They are one adult, identified as Branden Himminger, and three juveniles. All four confessed to breaking into the business and doing significant damage in the process. Some of them also admitted to breaking into Simplicity Pattern on two different occasions in March. Police say thousands of dollars of damage was done in those break-ins. Charges are being sought against all four.... [Read Full Story]

Tuesday Was Equal Pay Day In Michigan

Tuesday marked Equal Pay Day, the day that symbolizes how far into the new year a woman must work to equal a man’s wages from the previous year. According to a new report, the goal of pay equity still is decades away in Michigan. Julie Anderson, with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, tells us in addition to a shift in policies, the state and the country will need a cultural shift in order to really make a dent in the wage gap.... [Read Full Story]

Lansing To Become A “Sanctuary City”

From the Associated Press — The Lansing City Council has voted to designate Lansing as a sanctuary city for immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission. The resolution was approved unanimously Monday night. Lansing had already deemed itself a “welcoming city” and doesn’t have its police department ask people for their immigration status except as required by federal or state law or court decision. Mayor Virg Bernero before the meeting released a related executive order spelling out the city’s policies. President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Bernero said he is confident that Lansing’s policies don’t violate federal law, but “we are also prepared to take legal action to protect the prerogatives and powers of local government and local law enforcement.”... [Read Full Story]

Police Investigate Property Destruction Wave In Niles

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a property destruction spree in Niles. It says there were about 32 incidents reported between February 27 and March 31 around the Niles Township Fulkerson Park area. They involved damage to mailboxes, smashed vehicle windshields, slashed tires, and damage to satellite dishes. Crimestoppers is offering to pay up to $1,000 for information leading to whoever is responsible. You can reach Crimestoppers at 1-800-342-STOP.... [Read Full Story]

SMC To Offer Classes On Potawatomi Language

Southwestern Michigan College is planning to offer classes in the Potawatomi language this fall. This is the first time the college has ever taught Pottawatomi, and the move is in response to some local requests to help keep the language alive. The SMC class will be taught by Tribal Elder Kevin Daughtery, who also taught two trial classes this year. The classes will be open to anyone, and they will fulfill a humanities requirement and also used to satisfy part of the world languages requirement at local high schools. SMC says the decline of Potawatomi started in the 1830 when bands except the Pokagons were removed to Oklahoma and Kansas. The Potawatomi language is a subgroup of the Algonquin family, related to Ojibwe and Odawa.... [Read Full Story]

Upton Opposing Cuts To National Institutes Of Health

Congressman Fred Upton is calling on the director of the Office of Management and Budget to express opposition to large cuts proposed for the National Institutes of Health. Upton has co-authored a letter with Colorado Democrat Diana DeGette praising the NIH for the work it does to research diseases. They write the NIH “saves millions of lives every year making the basic discoveries that allow businesses to develop new treatments, medications, and cures for patients.” They also cite the economic benefits of having a well-funded NIH. Just last year, Upton and DeGette worked together on securing passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which boosted funding to the NIH. President Trump’s proposed federal budget would slash the NIH’s funding by $5.8 billion, or 20%.... [Read Full Story]

U.P. Prosecutor Won’t File Charges In Sexting Probe Involving Hundreds

From the Associated Press — An Upper Peninsula prosecutor says he won’t file charges following an investigation into the exchange of sexually explicit images among hundreds of high school students. Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wiese announced Tuesday that
exchanging the images via social media could be considered criminal but did not warrant the filing of charges. Wiese says he’s confident that “parents and school officials will give this matter the attention it deserves.” He says school officials, students and parents have cooperated in the investigation by surrendering phones and other electronic devices so the explicit material could be removed. Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Jay Peterson tells The Marquette Mining Journal  the investigation grew to include hundreds of students from six Marquette County school districts.... [Read Full Story]

State Pilot Program

Governor Snyder and M-DOT Director Kirk Steudle are introducing a pilot program that he hopes will help the state get better at fixing infrastructure. The plan is to coordinate all the departments that works on roads, sewers, broadband and energy. Snyder says the program will help in areas like the flooding last September.... [Read Full Story]