Local News Archives

Mackinac Bridge Marking Birthday Today

On this day in history, the Mackinac Bridge opened to traffic 59 years ago in 1957. We take it for granted now, but what did people do to go from the lower to upper peninsula and vice-versa before the bridge? Mackinac Bridge Authority Executive Secretary Bob Sweeney has an answer.... [Read Full Story]

One Of Berrien County’s Most Wanted Fugitives Caught

One of Berrien County’s most wanted fugitives is now behind bars. Michigan State Police tell us 50-year-old Steven Duane Clark of Benton Township was arrested last evening in the area of Blue Creek and Territorial roads in Benton Township around 6:30. Clark was wanted for a three-count felony warrant for sex offender violations, forgery, and child support. Troopers got a tip of where he might be working yesterday and learned he hadn’t had that job for months. More interviews followed, leading investigators to his vehicle for a traffic stop. Sergeant Steve Barker says the arrest was made “much to the glee of the trick-or-treaters in the area,” and adds parents were also relieved. Clark is now in the Berrien County Jail.... [Read Full Story]

Campaign Causing Uneasy Feelings In MI Classrooms

In what used to be a perfect time for a lesson in how government works, the tone of the presidential campaign this year is creating uncomfortable conversations in high school classrooms. Some civics teachers say they’ve been faced with questions that would typically not be topics of conversation in their classrooms. Biology teacher Frank Burger, of Flint Township.... [Read Full Story]

Candidate Forum In Benton Harbor Tuesday

Some candidates for Benton Harbor-area offices and for the state House are expected to appear at a forum in Benton Harbor Tuesday. Partly organized by the Twin Cities Chapter of the NAACP, the forum will be at the library starting at 6 p.m. Organizer Dorothy Parker tells WSJM News everyone can take part.... [Read Full Story]

MI Secretary Of State To Keep Some Offices Open Election Day

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office says some branch offices will remain open on election day next Tuesday. Most Michigan government offices will be shut down for the day, but Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says select locations will be staffed for anyone who has emergency business to conduct. Among them is the office in Benton Harbor. Johnson adds that late fees for licenses and registrations expiring on November 8 will be waived if customers renew the next day. She also notes many transactions, like vehicle plate tab and driver’s license renewals, can also be done at ExpressSOS.com.... [Read Full Story]

Trump Campaigns In Michigan

Donald Trump is warning again about voter fraud – but has a solution for his supporters. The Republican nominee once again said there is widespread voter fraud, a claim for which he has produced no evidence. But he told supporters at a rally Monday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that they should “get out and vote by the millions and we won’t have to worry about what is taking place behind the scenes.” Trump made his pitch during a foray into Democrat-leaning Michigan. The state hasn’t gone for a Republican since 1988, but may prove essential for Trump’s
electoral map. Several studies suggest that voter fraud is extremely rare. Trump’s warning in Michigan came a day after he criticized the mail-in voting system in Colorado, suggesting that it is ripe for fraud.... [Read Full Story]

Buchanan Veteran To Receive World War II Medals Tuesday

An 89-year-old Buchanan man is finally receiving the honors he earned while serving in World War II. Oris Aldrich is to be presented with his service medals by Congressman Fred Upton Tuesday morning. Aldrich was just 17 when he joined the US Navy in 1945. He was assigned to the USS Leo, which was in the Pacific Theater of the war, where he served for 15 months. He sought help from Congressman Upton’s office to get the medals he believed he should receive, and his request has been approved by the Navy. Adrich will get a total of of eight honors on Tuesday.... [Read Full Story]

Flint Mayor Announces Next Round Of Pipe Replacements

Lead and galvanized steel service lines are expected to be replaced this fall in 788 Flint homes as the city continues efforts to stop lead-tainted water from flowing through residential taps. Mayor Karen Weaver on Monday will announce neighborhoods targeted for the work in the third phase of her FAST Start initiative. The work is being paid with $25 million from the state. Water lines were replaced in 218 homes during phase two. Flint was under state financial control in 2014 when it switched from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River to save money. Officials failed to treat the river water with corrosion-control chemicals which allowed lead to leach from pipes. Tests later showed high lead levels in some Flint children. Flint has since returned to Detroit’s water system.... [Read Full Story]

MI Sees Drop In High-Security Inmates

Michigan Department of Corrections data show the number of prisoners housed in higher-security cells in Michigan’s prison system has
plummeted over the last two decades, while the number of prisoners kept in less expensive, low-security housing units has soared. The Detroit Free Press reports there were nearly 1,700 prisoners with the highest security rating in 1995. There were less than half as many inmates at
that level by 2015. Corrections officers have said the department is pushing down prisoners’ security classifications to save money, but spokesman Chris Gautz has denied that claim. He says some of the classification numbers are misleading because the way some prison beds are classified has changed. The Michigan Corrections Officers union says pushing down security classifications is a dangerous practice that can lead to violent incidents.... [Read Full Story]

Morning Crash Closes Part Of US-31

Four people are recovering after being injured in a crash that shut down part of US-31 in Niles Township Monday morning. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened near Niles Buchanan Road just before 7 a.m. A 2005 Dodge Stratus was headed south on US-31 and straddling the fog line while dealing with a mechanical problem. Another southbound vehicle approached from behind it and crashed into the Stratus. The Niles Township Fire Department had to use the Jaws of Life to free two passengers from the back of the Dodge. The crash remains under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

Reward Offered In CMU Hit And Run Case

A cash reward for information about the death of a Central Michigan University student has been increased to $10,000. Police believe the vehicle that hit Ryan Tsatsos nearly a year ago is a dark metallic blue color. The vehicle could likely have front passenger side damage and potentially fender, windshield and hood damage. Julie Lopez of Crime Stoppers says Tsatsos was hit and killed while walking to his residence hall.... [Read Full Story]

September Home Sales Up In Southwest Michigan

Homes sales in southwest Michigan remain strong, as the latest numbers show a 14% jump for the month this year over last year. Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors Vice President Gary Walter tells us September’s unit sales were the highest the region has seen in the month for ten years. It’s a good time to buy.... [Read Full Story]

LMC Continues Search For New President

If everything goes as planned, Lake Michigan College will have a new president by the end of March. Board of Trustees Chair Mary Jo Tomasini gave WSJM News an update on the search for a new leader this week, saying the deadline for candidates is next month, and then the college will start whittling them down.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Clerk Preparing For Election Day

This is a busy time for the Berrien County Clerk’s office, with the big November 8 election looming. Clerk Sharon Tyler tells WSJM News everyone’s doing election training, and they’re testing all of the equipment to make sure it’s accurate. As for voters, she reminds them of what they should do come November 8.... [Read Full Story]

Niles Scream Park Welcomes 1.8 Millionth Visitor

The Niles Scream Park has welcomed its 1.8 millionth visitor. A woman from Elkhart got the lucky distinction on Sunday, October 16. She was at the park with a couple of friends from Michigan when she learned she was the big winner. Cindy Bowers was given a pack of goodies. The Niles Scream Park has been providing thrills and chills for more than 40 years now, operating as a non-profit and donating proceeds to charity. It’s got plenty planned for this weekend as Halloween approaches. As for the big holiday — the scream park plans to mark Halloween with a marriage. A South Bend couple will be married on the midway Monday at 8 p.m. Visitors are welcome to witness the event and cheer the couple on.... [Read Full Story]

Grant Awarded To New Troy Company For Improvements

A New Troy company has been awarded a state grant that will enable it to improve its facility and buy new equipment. The office of state Senator John Proos says Vickers Engineering is receiving a $160,000 Michigan Business Development Program grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The company plans to use the money as part of a $5.1 million investment in capital equipment and building improvements, resulting in an estimated 50 jobs. Vickers Engineering, established in 1970, makes precision machine and prototyping for the automotive industry, among other things. Senator Proos says the grant is “outstanding news for Berrien County and the entire Southwest Michigan region.”... [Read Full Story]

Today Is World Stroke Day

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is recognizing Saturday as World Stroke Day. It’s a chance for everyone to take a moment to become familiar with the signs of a stroke. A stroke happens when the blood supply to any part of the brain is disrupted. The department of health says stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in Michigan, as well as a major cause of disabilities, and the key to treating one is quick action when symptoms appear. Those include face weakness, arm weakness, and difficulty speaking. Everyone’s urged to learn more about the risk factors and take steps to lead a healthier life. You can find out more at Stroke.org.... [Read Full Story]

Hartford Library Halloween Celebration Today

The Hartford Library is celebrating the season today with its 6th annual Halloween Fun Festival. Everyone’s welcome to show up between 1 and 3 p.m. for games, prizes, face painting, crafts, food, and fun for kids of all ages. Also dress up if you like, as there will be a prize for the best costume. The event is free for anyone to stop by.... [Read Full Story]

Battle Creek Man Jailed In Dog’s Death

A southern Michigan man convicted of beating a dog that later had to be euthanized has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison. 55-year-old David Hursley of Battle Creek was convicted last month of felony torturing a dog and misdemeanor cruelty to animals. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports a Calhoun County judge sentenced him Friday to three years and 10 months. Hursley could have received up to 15 years.
Police say Hursley hit a dog with a baseball bat and shot it with a pellet gun in February. He told officers the dog had bit another man. Assistant Calhoun County Prosecutor Dana Porter said Hursley’s attack was excessive compared with the dog’s actions. His attorney told the judge the case has been about emotion, rather than the law.... [Read Full Story]

MI School Board Candidate Asking People Not To Vote For Her

A Michigan woman whose name is on the ballot for a school board seat in her community is encouraging people not to vote for her. Bridget Smith filed earlier this year to run for one of three four-year terms on Frankenmuth’s school board, but afterward was hired to serve as city manager for Frankenmuth, a Bavarian-themed community about 75 miles northwest of Detroit. When she was being hired as city manager she indicated that she would drop her school board bid. But the deadline to withdraw had passed and her name remains on the November 8 ballot.
She tells The Saginaw News she’s “out there desperately trying to get people to not vote for me,” but still wants people to vote in the election.... [Read Full Story]

Chikaming Twp Culvert Replacement Almost Finished

The $1.4 million replacement of a culvert on Red Arrow Highway in Berrien County is almost finished. The Berrien County Road Commission says the road is ready for asphalt paving, the guardrails have to be installed, and then the road can be reopened. The project to replace the nearly 80-year-old culvert near Cherry Beach Road began in August. It was originally slated to start in April, but local business owners complained it would damage the busy tourist season, so the road commission agreed to a delay. The work has meant the closure of Red Arrow Highway between between Three Oaks Road and Warren Woods Road. The road commission says traffic can get back to normal very soon.... [Read Full Story]

Muskegon Heights Financial Emergency Declared Over

Governor Rick Snyder says a financial emergency has been resolved in the Muskegon Heights School District in western Michigan after several years of state oversight. Snyder’s office announced Friday that a Receivership Transition Advisory Board has been appointed to ensure a smooth transition to local control. The district’s emergency manager Steve Schiller notified the governor last week of his determination about the district’s improving finances. Snyder says in a statement this marks “a new day for Muskegon Heights.” A financial emergency was declared in 2012. Since then, the state says the district’s deficit has declined $9.9 million to a projected $2 million earlier this year. And the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy was created as a charter school authorized by the district.... [Read Full Story]