Local News Archives

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]

One Killed In Berrien Township Crash

Michigan State Police are investigating a Berrien Township crash that killed a woman Sunday night. Around 6:20, troopers were dispatched to US-31 Hwy, a half mile south of Lake Chapin Road, for a single car crash. Upon their arrival, they spoke with witnesses who said one vehicle traveled off the roadway and flipped multiple times. All five passengers were transported to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph, where an elderly female was pronounced dead due to injuries from the crash.... [Read Full Story]

Vandals Cause Sewage Spill In Kalamazoo

Officials in Kalamazoo say 450 gallons of waste overflowed from a sanitary sewer after vandals removed a manhole cover and stuffed the sewer with sticks and other debris. MLive reports that the Department of Public Services Field Services staff removed the debris shortly before midnight on Saturday. They say that normal flow conditions have been restored and that the spillage of the sewage won’t affect area drinking water. The Water Reclamation Plant notified the state’s Department of Environmental Quality at the Kalamazoo District Office and the Kalamazoo County Environmental Health and Community Services of the spill.... [Read Full Story]

Gas Prices Up Slightly To Start The Week

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 4 cents per gallon in the past week. The Dearborn-based auto club says early Monday that the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.16 per gallon. That’s about 22 cents less than it was at the same point last year. The lowest average price was about $2.09 per gallon in the Traverse City area, while the highest average was about $2.22 per gallon in the Saginaw, Bay City and Midland areas. AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.... [Read Full Story]

What To Look For On Election Night In Michigan

Michigan’s status as a presidential battleground is no longer in question on the eve of the election. Barack Obama trounced Republicans here twice, making the state an afterthought the last eight years outside of the primaries. But in 2016, the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has tightened and is possibly too close for comfort for Democrats. Clinton’s get-out-the-vote rally in Detroit on Friday was the latest foray
into Michigan for a Democratic nominee in a dozen years. She visited four days after Trump, who could use a breakthrough in the industrial Midwest, campaigned in the Grand Rapids and Detroit suburbs. The state has not backed a Republican presidential candidate since 1988.
At least a quarter of Michigan voters will cast absentee ballots, either by mail or in person.... [Read Full Story]

Secretary Of State Reminds Voters Of Polling Rules

Voters are being reminded of the rules they need to follow when they head to the polls Tuesday. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says the ballot selfie ban remains in effect, so don’t take any pictures or video while you’re in the polling place. Also, you’re not allowed to wear any t-shirts or buttons in support of a particular candidate or party. The secretary of state adds that it’s illegal to show your ballot to anyone under the secret balloting rules. Finally, everyone who votes has to bring along a valid ID. You can find out all the information you need about your polling place at Michigan.gov/Vote.... [Read Full Story]

Mercy Hospital Demolition Begins Tomorrow

The former Mercy Hospital building in Benton Harbor will soon be no more. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells us demolition starts Monday, and it should be finished within a few weeks. Witkowski tells WSJM News it’s a shame to see the historic structure go, but there was little chance another use could have been found for it.... [Read Full Story]

SWM Tourism Leaders See Benefits Of Pure Michigan Campaign

A report from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy this week concluded there’s no evidence that the Pure Michigan tourism campaign is worth the money, but if you ask local tourism leaders, they’ll tell you otherwise. Millicent Huminsky, with the Southwest Michigan Tourist Council, tells WSJM News the boom that the industry has seen recent years is partly due to the ad campaign.... [Read Full Story]

Voting Open In Celebrated Service Awards

Voting has opened in the sixth annual Celebrated Service Awards. The awards are handed out each year by Celebration Cinema to recognize businesses in each of its service areas that give their customers the best treatment. In the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area, the nominees this year are All Star Family Chiropractic, Biggby Coffee, Buffalo Wild Wings, Cafe Mosaic, the Chatterbox Bar & Grill, the Hilton Garden Inn, Jimmy Johns of Benton Harbor, the Mason Jar Cafe, Silver Harbor Brewing Company, and Zoup. The winner will receive special promotions on Celebration Cinema screens and $5,000. You can vote for your favorite at CelebratedService.com. Or, you can vote via text message this year. Below are the instructions.... [Read Full Story]

Suspected Drunk Driver Causes Corn Spill On VB County Road

A Marcellus man is facing several charges after police say he caused a crash south of Lawton Friday night that led to a semi spilling corn all over M-40. It happened around 10:35 p.m. just north of County Road 352 in Porter Township. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us a Ford F-150 driven by the 33-year-old was southbound on M-40 when it crossed the center line into the path of a double-trailer semi carrying freshly picked corn. The driver of the semi, a 32-year-old Paw Paw man, tried to avoid the crash but was still hit. The semi rolled onto M-40, spilling both trailers of corn. As a result, the road had to be shut down for two and a half hours. Deputies say they learned the driver of the pickup and his passenger, a 34-year-old Marcellus man, had been drinking heavily. They also learned the pickup’s driver had no license or insurance. He was to taken to a hospital for treatment of broken bones, while his passenger was arrested at the scene. The driver of the semi was also taken to a hospital for non life-threatening injuries. The case will be referred on to the Van Buren County Prosecutor’s office for charges.... [Read Full Story]

Don’t Forget To Fall Back

This is the weekend to fall back. Come 2 a.m. Sunday, don’t forget to turn your clocks back by one hour, as it is the end of Daylight Savings time. Emergency preparedness experts also say the time change is a good opportunity to check a few things around the house. They say you should change the batteries in your smoke detectors and test your carbon monoxide alarms. For more preparedness tips, go to Ready.gov.... [Read Full Story]

Grand Rapids Police Taking Steps To Curb Gun Violence

Grand Rapids Police are deploying more patrol units and plainclothes officers in targeted areas of the city this weekend as it reacts to an increase in gun violence over the last two months. Chief David Rahinsky said Friday the initiative called Operation Safe Streets also will include foot and bicycle patrols at times and the deployment of a mobile command post. He’s asking residents to support police responding to crimes and to report crimes they see being committed. Police say that in October, the city had one shooting death and nine attempted slayings. That followed two slayings and two attempted slayings in September. The city had 62 firearm-related incidents over those two months. Rahinsky says the gun violence is “unacceptable.”... [Read Full Story]

Emerald Ash Borer Found In The Upper Peninsula

The tree-killing emerald ash borer has made its way to Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula. Contractors working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture placed 122 traps this year in five U.P. counties where the ash borer wasn’t known to exist. A trap in Baraga County tested positive.
Baraga already had been added to a list of counties covered by a state quarantine that limits movement of firewood and other items that could carry the bug. Also added this year were Dickinson, Marquette and Menominee counties. The quarantine covers the entire Lower Peninsula.
Travelers are urged to only use local sources of firewood, burn what they buy and not take any unused firewood elsewhere. The ash borer has killed tens of millions of trees in more than two dozen states.... [Read Full Story]

MSP Reminds Residents To Have Winter Emergency Plans

With winter almost here, Michigan State Police say now is a good time to get prepared for cold weather emergencies. The MSP office of emergency preparedness tells us it’s a good idea to set aside a kit with supplies for three days in case of a natural disaster. The kit should have water, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, batteries, a radio, emergency lighting , extra blankets and warm clothing. Some other good things to do this time of year are installing extra insulation in your home, getting the furnace checked, insulate water lines, and clear out the gutters to prevent ice dams. You can get more tips at Michigan.gov/MIready.... [Read Full Story]

Three Arrested After Chase In South Haven

Three people are facing charges after South Haven police this week got a report of someone chasing others around with a knife. The call came in around 2:30 p.m. Thursday, and when police went out to the scene at Kalamazoo and Edgell and found three people hiding behind a house. After a short foot chase, the three were caught. They’ve been identified as an 18 year old woman, a 22-year-old man, and a 19-year-old man, all from South Haven. All three are now charged with resisting and obstructing and unarmed robbery. The 19-year-oldf is also charged with possession of marijuana.... [Read Full Story]

Recall Issued For Frozen Strawberries

The Berrien County Health Department is working with the state on making sure no recalled strawberries remain on store shelves. The frozen strawberries have been found to be contaminated with Hepatitis A. Guy Miller, with the county health department, tells WSJM News he’s reached out to the distributor of the strawberries to local stores.... [Read Full Story]

Dowagiac Man Charged In Standoff

A man is facing charges after police say he intentionally struck two women on horseback with a vehicle in Cass County. The prosecutor’s office says 32-year-old Adam Robert Biek faces assault with intent to do great bodily harm, malicious destruction of property, and driving on a suspended license charges. He was arraigned Thursday and returns to court November 16. Police say Biek surrendered Wednesday after barricading himself in his Cass County home. According to authorities, the Dowagiac man struck the women on Tuesday night. Prosecutors say at least one woman and one horse had minor injuries. The standoff began after the 32-year-old refused to talk with investigators.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Man Charged With Murder

A South Haven man has been charged with murder in the death of a man reported missing this summer. The South Haven Police Department says 39-year-old Matthew Morin was reported missing on July 9, and his body was found in a wooded area of Barry County on July 12. 48-year-old John Joseph Calgaro was identified as a suspect, and taken into custody on a parole violation charge. He’s remained jailed since. On Friday, police announced he’s been charged with open murder, although they haven’t released any other details. South Haven police and Michigan State Police are working together on the case.... [Read Full Story]

Political Signs Bring Eviction Notices In Traverse City

Public housing residents in Traverse City have removed campaign signs after officials threatened to evict them. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan sent a letter to the Traverse City Housing Commission, calling the eviction notices “heartless.” Michael Steinberg of the ACLU says a ban on displaying window signs without approval is a violation of the First Amendment. The Traverse City Record-Eagle says the housing commission took action after some residents displayed signs in favor of a public vote on buildings taller than 60 feet. That question is on the local ballot Tuesday. Housing director Tony Lentych says some residents complained. He says the signs violate the lease. Lentych says, “If they want to sue us, they can sue us all they want.”... [Read Full Story]

Oldest Mackinac Island Ferry To Stop Service

Mackinac Island’s oldest and longest-running ferry boat company is leaving the passenger business and selling its boats to a competitor.
The Detroit Free Press reports that the financially-struggling Arnold Transit Company is preparing to halt all passenger service to the island for the first time since the 1800s, leaving just two ferry boat services to the island next summer. Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry officials announced Thursday that it tentatively plans to buy six of the Arnold boats, as well as its boatyard and several docks. Terms of the sale, which is expected to close in coming weeks, haven’t been disclosed. Star Line CEO Jerry Fetty says his company plans to refurbish the six Arnold vessels and reintroduce them as Star Line boats.... [Read Full Story]