Local News Archives

School Board Candidate Gets Wish, Loses Election

Bridget Smith wanted voters not to elect her to Frankenmuth’s school board — and they didn’t. Smith filed earlier this year to run for one of three four-year terms on the school board, but afterward was hired to serve as Frankenmuth’s city manager. When she was being hired by the Bavarian-themed community about 75 miles northwest of Detroit, Smith indicated that she would drop her school board bid. But the deadline to withdraw had passed and her name remained on Tuesday’s ballot.She encouraged voters not to cast ballots for her and Smith placed last among
the four candidates.... [Read Full Story]

MI Judge Seeking To Beat Age Limit Loses

A judge seeking to get around Michigan’s age limit by challenging another judge has lost an election in Livingston County. But Carol Sue Reader won’t be out of a job. She’ll still remain on the county’s District Court through 2018. Reader challenged fellow Judge L. Suzanne Geddis in the election Tuesday. Geddis was elected to another six-year term by a comfortable margin. Under the Michigan Constitution, judicial candidates can’t run if they’re 70 or older. That restriction disqualifies Reader in 2018, so she tried to get Geddis’ seat before hitting the age limit. Geddis said it all seemed “greedy.” The judges appeared together during the final weeks of the campaign season, sparring over temperament and other issues.... [Read Full Story]

Grand Rapids-Area Voters Approve Tax Increase For Zoo, Museum

Kent County voters have supported a proposed tax increase to help fund a zoo and a museum. Preliminary results from Tuesday’s vote show the proposal passing to boost the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Public Museum. The Grand Rapids Press reports the tax will generate about $8.9 million a year for the two publicly owned institutions. Proceeds from the tax would be split evenly between the zoo and the museum, which will continue to be managed by separate boards. With the new millage, Kent County voters will get discounted zoo admission for
seniors and school groups get in free. At the museum, Kent County children age 17 and under will get free admission and Kent County adults will get discounted admission and free parking.... [Read Full Story]

Beth Griffin Wins In 66th State House District

Van Buren County will continue to have a Republican in the state House. Van Buren County Commissioner Beth Griffin defeated Democrat Annie Brown yesterday, winning with a margin of a little more than 25-hundred votes. She will take the seat currently held by Representative Aric Nesbitt, who is term limited. Nesbitt chaired the efforts of House Republicans to hold on to their majority in the House, which they were able to do successfully.... [Read Full Story]

LMC Millage Inching Toward Passage

It appears the Lake Michigan College capital millage proposal is going to be approved. As of 4 a.m., two precincts were still left to be counted in Berrien County and the “yes” votes were ahead by 1,078 tallies. The ten-year millage is expected to raise about $4.364 million in the first year. The money will be put toward safety and security improvements, energy efficiency upgrades, renovation of classrooms, IT upgrades, and other capital improvements.... [Read Full Story]

Dave Pagel Wins In The 78th District

It’s a third term for state Representative Dave Pagel. The Republican handily defeated Democratic rival Dean Hill Tuesday, carrying the district by about 9,000 votes. Pagel owns Pagel Farms in Berrien Springs. His district covers several south Berrien County townships, as well as the cities of New Buffalo, Buchanan, and Niles.... [Read Full Story]

Upton: Now Is The Time To Heal

Congressman Fred Upton says now is the time for healing. He easily coasted to victory in the Sixth District over Democratic rival Paul Clements Tuesday. Holding a Chicago Cubs Win flag during his victory speech, Upton promised supporters he will do all he can to ensure the nation’s problems are addressed and politics takes the back seat.... [Read Full Story]

New Faces Coming To Berrien County Board

There will be some new faces on the Berrien County Board of Commissioners in the next term. In southern Berrien County, long-time Democratic Commissioner Andy Vavra lost his bid for reelection as Republican Ezra Scott beat him, 3,384 to 2,993. Another incumbent Democrat, John Klimek, has also been defeated. Republican Michael Majerek defeated him by 355 votes. In District 3 in Benton Township, Democrat Don Meeks will succeed Marletta Seats with a win over Michael Sleep the Second. Seats did not seek another term as she ran unsuccessfully for the state House. The rest of the County Commission ran unopposed.... [Read Full Story]

Upton Defeats Clements In Congressional Race

Fred Upton has secured a 16th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. The St. Joseph Republican easily defeated Democrat Paul Clements of Kalamazoo for the second consecutive election. Upton had a wide margin of victory in Berrien, Van Buren, and Cass counties and overcame a Democratic surge in Kalamazoo County to win there, also. Hillary Clinton currently has a roughly 9,000 vote edge over Donald Trump in Kalamazoo County, but enough voters split their tickets there to also give Upton an edge.... [Read Full Story]

84-Year-Old Benton Harbor Woman Killed In Crash

Police have released the name of a woman killed in a Berrien Township crash this week. It happened early Sunday evening on US-31 south of Lake Chapin Road. Michigan State Police say a vehicle carrying five people left the road and flipped several times. All five people were taken to Lakeland hospital, and killed in the crash was 84-year-old Ruby Johnson, of Benton Harbor. The driver was a 19-year old woman from Benton Harbor, while the other passengers were all females, ages 18, 18, and 15, from Benton Harbor. The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Police say a lack of seat belt use may have contributed to the injuries.... [Read Full Story]

Plenty At Stake In Michigan On Election Day

The race for president, 14 U.S. House seats, two Michigan Supreme Court justice posts and control of the 110-member Michigan House are at stake in the election. The spotlight Tuesday is on the presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. Both candidates and their surrogates have campaigned for the state’s 16 electoral votes.... [Read Full Story]

Clinton Rallies Supporters In Ottawa County

The Democratic presidential nominee wandered into staunchly Republican territory in West Michigan on the day before the election. Over 4,500 people packed Grand Valley State University’s Fieldhouse to hear from Hillary Clinton yesterday afternoon. She told the crowd that a vote for her is a vote for your own wallet.... [Read Full Story]

Trump Holds Final Campaign Rally In Grand Rapids

America is about to elect its 45th president today. Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump plan to cast their votes later this morning. Clinton will head to a polling place near her home in Chappaqua, New York, while Donald Trump will vote in Manhattan. At a finally rally this morning in Grand Rapids, Trump told the crowd, “If we don’t win, this will be the single greatest waste of time, energy and money in my life.” He joked about the timing of the speech, which started after midnight today.... [Read Full Story]

Kalamazoo Woman Sentenced In Death Of 4-Year-Old Daughter

A southwestern Michigan woman convicted of murder in the death of her daughter on the girl’s fourth birthday has been sentenced to life in prison. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports Daveeta Walker was sentenced on Monday after a jury in September convicted her of murder and other crimes. Kalamazoo County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Carrie Klein says Walker “more than earned” the sentence. On the witness stand, Walker denied abusing her children. She says she told Kalamazoo police a different story about “whooping” Kharisma Richardson because she felt threatened. Kharisma was found dead in March. Walker says the child was in someone else’s care the previous night. There were scars, bruises and burns on Kharisma. Her death was due to complications from multiple injuries.... [Read Full Story]

Mosaic CCDA Makes Case For Benton Harbor Property

Mosaic CCDA may have found a new home for Cafe Mosaic, but it still needs a place to put its other ventures, and Director Rick Pawloski says 200 Paw Paw Avenue in Benton Harbor would be perfect. He made the case Monday to city commissioners, talking up the benefits of the Jobs for Life training program, with backup from some graduates. Pawloski told WSJM News Mosaic is making a difference, and it wants to expand.... [Read Full Story]

World’s Largest Self-Driving Car Test Facility Planned In Michigan

The site of a former General Motors plant has taken another step toward becoming a testing facility for driverless vehicles. According to The Detroit News, developers of the proposed American Center for Mobility have now bought Willow Run for $1.2 million. The center is planned for 311 acres at the Willow Run site in Ypsilanti Township. Governor Rick Snyder highlighted the project during his state of the state address in January. State officials say construction could begin later this year and the center could be open in December 2017. The Michigan Strategic Fund invested $20 million in the project but more money is needed. Willow Run has a long history and once produced World War II-era bombers.... [Read Full Story]

Plenty On The Ballot In Berrien County Tomorrow

While you’re voting in the presidential election Tuesday, you’ll also have some more local matters to decide. First, there’s the race for the Sixth District Congressional seat between incumbent Republican Fred Upton, Democrat Paul Clements, and Libertarian Lorence Wenke. There’s also the race for state House in the 79th District with Republican Kim LaSata and Democrat Marletta Seats. Meanwhile, down in the 78th District, there’s a race between Democrat Dean Hill and incumbent Republican Dave Pagel. Finally, on a more local level, proposals will appear on the ballot in New Buffalo, Hagar Township, and Weesaw Township, and there will be candidates to vote for in Benton Township, Coloma, New Buffalo, Niles, and Watervliet. Finally, voters throughout Berrien County will decide on a millage request from Lake Michigan College. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. You can see the whole list of proposals and candidates at BerrienCounty.org/Elections.... [Read Full Story]

Law Professior Sees Continues Supreme Court Woes

If Hillary Clinton becomes the next president, there could be continued difficulty fully stocking the Supreme Court. That’s according to Western Michigan University Cooley Law School professor Devin Schindler, who tells us if the Senate remains Republican-controlled, it could stall on approving any new justice, which causes other problems.... [Read Full Story]

Tesla Ending Free Use Of Supercharging Stations

Electric car maker Tesla Motors says it will end free use of its worldwide charging station network. The company says cars ordered after Jan. 1, 2017 will get roughly 1,000 miles worth of credits at the supercharging stations. After credits are used, owners will have to pay fees. Cars ordered or sold on or before Jan. 1 would still get free charging. Tesla didn’t specify the fees but says charging would cost less than the price of filling a comparable gasoline car. The company says it will release fee details later this year. It says prices could fluctuate over time and vary by regional electricity costs. This means that free charging won’t apply to the $35,000 Model 3, which is due to enter production in the second half of 2017.... [Read Full Story]

It’s Not Too Late To Change Absentee Ballots

If you suffer from early voter’s remorse, you may be able to cast another ballot. While the process is little known and rarely used, some states do allow voters to change their early or absentee ballots with no questions asked — Michigan is among them. The big question is how does it work? Ed Sidlow, a political science professor at Eastern Michigan University, explains.... [Read Full Story]