Local News Archives

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]

BH City Commissioners Salute Blues And R&B Fest

This July will bring the 20th anniversary of the Old School Blues and R&B Fest at Jean Klock Park, and city commissioners have saluted its organizers. On Monday, they heard from festival promoter Lee Kirsky, who updated them on the plans for this year. Kirsky told WSJM News the spirit of the blues fest has always been the same.... [Read Full Story]

White House Targets MI Congressman

A tweet from White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino, Jr. is urging the primary defeat of Congressman Justin Amash, who is a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus criticized by the president. Oakland University Political Science Department Chair Dave Dulio tells Michigan News Network this latest situation doesn’t help the president.... [Read Full Story]

Cedar Point Hiring 5,000 Summer Workers

If you are looking for a fun way to spend your summer, Cedar Point amusement park is hiring 5,000 people. On top of getting paid for the experience, associates receive free admission to both Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores Water Park, along with free tickets for friends and family. Spokesperson Kristy Bacni tells Michigan News Network the amusement park is a great place to work.... [Read Full Story]

BH Commissioners Set Goals For City Manager

A list of goals for the city manager this year has been approved by Benton Harbor City Commissioners. On Monday night, they identified the most pressing priorities as potholes, the sewer and drain lines, and dead trees. They want an immediate plan for dealing with those problems. Mayor Marcus Muhammad told WSJM News he aims for 2017 to be a year of action.... [Read Full Story]

State Recognizing Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning is using the month of April to spread awareness to drivers about the dangers of being distracted behind the wheel. Spokesperson Anne Readett tells WSJM News the numbers for distracted driving crashes are probably grossly underreported because people are reluctant to volunteer such information to police. However, she warns everyone that when you’re driving, your focus should be on the road.... [Read Full Story]

Bridgman Chamber Hoping To Attract Hotel Developer

A push is being made to get a hotel for the Bridgman area. Calli Berg, with the Greater Bridgman Area Chamber of Commerce, tells WSJM News they’ve conducted a study and found the area could support a hotel with up to 85 rooms. Not only could tourists use it, but the Cook plant would be well-served, as it routinely brings in thousands of contractors. Berg is now hoping to court developers.... [Read Full Story]

Consumers Energy Warns About Carbon Monoxide Risks

You should have a carbon monoxide detector in your home and make sure your furnace is operating properly. That’s what Debra Dodd, of Consumers Energy, says following the death of a 13-year-old boy over the weekend from carbon monoxide poisoning in Niles. Several others were injured when a fire inspector says a pool heater at the Quality Inn and Suites had improper ventilation. Dodd tells Michigan News Network there are several symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.... [Read Full Story]