Local News Archives

Illinois Man Begins Row Across Lake Michigan

An Illinois man has embarked on a quest to row across Lake Michigan to raise money for the fight against childhood cancer. Jacob Beckley tried to leave Sunday night, but had to turn around after about a mile due to thick fog. He then relaunched Monday morning. State Senator John Proos was on hand for the departure, telling WSJM News he’s a big supporter of Beckley’s cause.... [Read Full Story]

AAA Michigan: Statewide Average Gas Prices Rise 6¢

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 6¢ per gallon in the past week. The Dearborn-based auto club says the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.24 per gallon on Sunday. That’s about 29¢ less than it was at the same point last year. The lowest average price was about $2.15 per gallon in the Traverse City area, while the highest average was about $2.28 per gallon in the Ann Arbor area. Our average in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph is a penny higher than Traverse City at $2.16, giving us the second-lowest prices in the state. Our price at the pump is up a dime compared to last week. AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.... [Read Full Story]

Wrong Way Driver Stopped On I-94

Michigan State Police avoided a potential tragedy on I-94 overnight when a wrong-way driver was spotted heading west in the eastbound lanes near 9th Street in Kalamazoo County. Troopers were able to stop all traffic on the highway near Paw Paw around 12:30 a.m. and managed to get the driver off the highway before she crashed into anyone. She is a 63-year-old from Portage who was arrested for a second drunk driving offense, possessing dangerous drugs, and reckless driving. The woman is now in the Van Buren County Jail awaiting arraignment. Her name has not been released. No one was hurt.... [Read Full Story]

Deadly Crash In Van Buren County

An 18-year-old man from Holly has died after a single-vehicle crash in Decatur on Saturday. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says a 15-year-old boy from Paw Paw remains hospitalized at Kalamazoo’s Bronson Hospital for his injuries. The older teen crashed his car on 36th Street just north of 96th Avenue at 1:30 Saturday afternoon, and both teens were trapped in the vehicle. The driver was airlifted to Kalamazoo, where he later died. No names have yet been released, and police haven’t put out more information as yet on the details of the accident.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Bridge Project Starts Monday

A major construction project is about to get underway on a bridge in South Haven, and it could affect your commute well into next year. Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells us they’re replacing the bridge beams and deck on Blue Star Highway over the Black River. They’re also doing some work under the bridge.... [Read Full Story]

LMC Millage On The Ballot Next Month

Lake Michigan College is making a push in support of its millage proposal set to appear on November’s ballot. LMC President Dr. Bob Harrison tells WSJM News they’re asking for .48 mills for 10 years for improvements. He says the money generated would mean a variety of improvements.... [Read Full Story]

Court Finds Mom’s Drug Use During Pregnancy Not An Abuse Crime

The Michigan appeals court says the state’s child abuse law doesn’t apply to unborn babies. The court threw out the conviction of a woman who used methamphetamine during her pregnancy. Melissa Jones’ son weighed less than 4 pounds despite being delivered at full term in Sturgis in St. Joseph County. In a 3-0 decision released Friday, the court says Michigan law refers to acts that harm a “child” but not a fetus. The court says Jones’ prenatal drug use is not a crime under that law. The 30-year-old Jones was sentenced to at least three years in prison in 2015.... [Read Full Story]

Man Plans To Row Across Lake MI To Fight Childhood Cancer

An Illinois man plans to leave from St. Joseph this Sunday to row across Lake Michigan raising funds for research into childhood cancer, and on Thursday, he was honored for his effort. Jacob Beckley was at the St. Joe Junior Rowing School with state Senator John Proos, who presented him with a recent resolution proclaiming September as Michigan Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.... [Read Full Story]

Nesbitt To Hold Veterans Workshop This Month

State Representative Aric Nesbitt is planning another veterans roundtable. The event, set to take place on October 10 at the Paw Paw American Legion, will be a chance for southwest Michigan veterans to come out and speak with Nesbitt about their needs and concerns. Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director James Redford will be the guest speaker, offering information on services to vets that the state offers. The program will run from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.... [Read Full Story]

Mosiac Planning Some Moves In Benton Harbor

The Mosaic Christian Community Development Association is seeking the public’s help as it works to find a new home for its resale shop and Harbor Shine Lawn Care. The non-profit has announced a goal to raise $850,000 to relocate the store and lawn care service, as well as the Jobs for Life Program, from Main Street over to 200 Paw Paw Avenue. That property used to house the city of Benton Harbor’s Business Growth Center. Mosaic says using 200 Paw Paw will give it more space for its jobs training programs. It’s also looking to relocate Cafe Mosaic, but hasn’t announced details yet.... [Read Full Story]

BH Schools Workshop Planned For Next Week

The public is being invited to offer its thoughts about how security could be improved at Benton Harbor Area Schools. A forum is planned for next Thursday at the central administration building on Pipestone for folks to come and give some input. The district is looking for the feedback as it prepares to seek a $2 million security and gang prevention grant from the Michigan Department of Education. Next Thursday’s workshop will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Based on the input they get, district leaders will put together a prioritized list of what the community feels is most important for students.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Residents Spooked By Clown Posts On Facebook

Police in South Haven aren’t laughing after getting several reports of some clowning around this week. The police department tells WSJM News people have been reporting somebody on Facebook posting pictures of Pennywise the clown from Stephen King’s It and intimating that he’s in different areas of the city. The account has since been disabled, and the messages are gone. The supposed clown never made any threats, but he apparently spooked a few people into calling police. The department says if you do see someone dressed as a clown hanging around town and it strikes you as suspicious, give them a call at 637-5151.... [Read Full Story]

Upton To Receive Manufacturing Award

The National Association of Manufacturers plans to salute Congressman Fred Upton with an award on Monday. He’ll be appearing at the Bosch plant in Stevensville to get the National Association of Manufacturers Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence. The NAM says it’s for supporting legislation and policies that would benefit manufacturing companies. The National Association of Manufacturers gives out the award every two years to members of the House who vote in support of their interests. It says Upton has a lifetime record of doing so 90% of the time.... [Read Full Story]

Trump Oregon Director Shifts Focus To Michigan

The Oregon state director for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is shifting his efforts to Michigan. Jacob Daniels, a Creswell attorney, tells the Bulletin that he moved to Michigan because Trump is bulking up staff in the most competitive states. Trump made big promises on the campaign trail in Oregon, saying he was going to become the first Republican to win there since 1984. He now appears to be
withdrawing from the Pacific Northwest to focus on Colorado and swing states in the Midwest. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s website doesn’t show any planned visits to Oregon. Daniels says he’s not aware of any plans for Trump or his vice presidential pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, to visit Oregon but says a visit isn’t out the question.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien Springs Woman Seriously Injured When Hit By Car

A Berrien Springs woman is recovering from serious injuries at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo after she was hit by a car Thursday night. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it happened around 7 p.m. on Old US 31 near Deans Hill in Berrien Township. 50-year-old Sandra Gaston was walking near the entrance to Shamrock Park when she was hit by a Chevy Cavalier. She was badly injured. The driver, 45-year-old James Gaston, of Berrien Springs, was arrested on charges of driving on a suspended license and operating while intoxicated. Police say he’d been backing the car up when the accident happened.... [Read Full Story]

Archery Deer Season Starts Saturday

Hunters will be out with their bow and arrows for the start of archery deer season in Michigan on Saturday. Chad Stewart is a deer management specialist with the state Department of Natural Resources and admits it’s not as big of a deal as firearms deer season, which start November 15. Still, he says bow hunters harvested more than 110,000 deer last year, and says “it’s a huge recreational opportunity for our hunters.”... [Read Full Story]

“Baby Kate” Murder Trial Underway In Ludington

A high-profile murder trial five years in the works is now underway in Ludington. Sean Phillips is charged with murder in the death of his four-and-a-half month old daughter, Katherine, in 2011. She quickly became known around West Michigan as “Baby Kate.” The girl’s mother, Ariel Courtland, testified as the trial opened on Thursday and said Phillips wanted her to get an abortion.... [Read Full Story]

Lawrence Couple Pleads Guilty In Animal Neglect Case

Guilty pleas for a Lawrence Township couple in an animal cruelty case. Donald Smith and Melissa Copen reached a plea deal with Van Buren County prosecutors on Thursday, and won’t be allowed to keep their animals. They’ll avoid jail if they complete their probation. Animal control officers and sheriff’s deputies took 108 dogs, six cats and a horse from their home in June. The conditions inside the home were described by Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler as horrendous. She said this summer in an interview with WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids after the animals were seized that they weren’t mistreated and her and her husband got overwhelmed while trying to start an animal rescue program.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Deer Dies From EHD

(St. Joseph, MI – AP) – A deer in southwestern Michigan has died from a disease that killed more than 12,000 in the state in 2012. The Department of Natural Resources says it has confirmed a deer death in Berrien County linked to EHD, a viral disease that is transmitted by a fly. No cases were reported in Michigan in 2014 or 2015. Wildlife biologist and pathologist Tom Cooley believes the dry, hot weather this summer may have played a role in the return of EHD. The disease has been around for decades in many areas of the U.S. The DNR says sick deer lose appetite and fear of humans and often are found unconscious near water. There is no evidence that humans can catch the virus.... [Read Full Story]

Clinton Leads Trump In Michigan By 7% In New Poll

A new poll shows Hillary Clinton with seven-percentage-point lead in the presidential race in Michigan. She has 42% support, compared to 35% for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, 9% for Libertarian Gary Johnson, and 3% for the Green Party’s Jill Stein. The poll was done for “The Detroit News” and WDIV-TV in Detroit. There are still 9% of voters who say they’re undecided. The survey was taken after Monday night’s debate between Clinton and Trump, with 57% saying Clinton is qualified for the Oval Office and 62.5% believing Trump is not qualified. That is up slightly from a poll in August.... [Read Full Story]