Local News Archives

Michigan AG: Failing Schools Could Close This Year

Michigan’s attorney general says the state may close persistently low-performing public schools in Detroit before the end of this academic year if they were among the lowest-achieving for the preceding three years. Republican legislative leaders earlier this month asked Republican Attorney
General Bill Schuette to weigh in because Republican Governor Rick Snyder interpreted a law rescuing the Detroit district from debt to mean the State School Reform/Redesign Officer cannot close any district school until 2019. Schuette’s office Wednesday released an official opinion, which is legally binding on state agencies and officers unless reversed by a court. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and House Speaker Kevin Cotter had said the law’s “plain language” authorized Detroit school closures by the end of this school year and to say otherwise ignored legislative intent.... [Read Full Story]

Congress Reaches Deal On Flint Water Assistance

Congressional leaders appear to have broken a stalemate over the Flint, Michigan, water crisis – clearing the way for a spending bill to keep the government running until December. The spending bill also would provide long-delayed money to fight Zika. An aide to House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi says Pelosi and House Speaker Paul Ryan have an agreement on a first step for aid to address Flint’s lead-tainted water. The agreement promises to provide $170 million to help Flint and other cities with water emergencies – and that pledge of assistance would be part of a water projects bill. The deal between Democrat Pelosi and Republican Ryan holds the promise of freeing up the short-term spending measure. That bill had failed to advance in the Senate on Tuesday.... [Read Full Story]

New Poll Gives Clinton 5-Point Lead In Michigan

A new poll shows Democrat Hillary Clinton with a five-point lead over Republican Donald Trump in the presidential race in Michigan. The survey was taken before Monday night’s debate between the two by Target Insyght for MIRS News and lobbying firm Governmental Consultant Services. Clinton has 46% of the vote, while Trump has 41% and Libertarian Gary Johnson trails far behind in third with 8%. Only 3% of those polled say they’re still undecided.... [Read Full Story]

FEMA Conducting National Test Today

At 2:20 this afternoon, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will perform a national test of its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. It’s the first time an official national test has been conducted – and FEMA’s Wade Witmer says most will find it very similar to the regular monthly test.... [Read Full Story]

Arguments This Week In Suit Over Clean Power Plan

Oral arguments are this week in a federal case challenging the legality of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and recent research shows how the carbon reduction regulations would benefit industry in Michigan and other states. James Clift, Policy Director for the Michigan Environmental Council, says manufactures have seen the benefits of the state’s own energy efficiency program.... [Read Full Story]

Cass County K9 Finds Domestic Violence Suspect

A K9 for the Cass County Sheriff’s Department is getting the credit for the capture of a domestic violence suspect this week. Deputies were called out to a home along Elbow Lake Street in Porter Township Monday night on a report of an assault. By the time they got there, the suspect had already run off. The sheriff’s department brought in K9 Faust, who was able to find the man hiding in a ditch in the woods about a half mile away. He was taken to the Cass County Jail. Faust is a 3-year-old Dutch Shepard who has worked for the department since July.... [Read Full Story]

Snyder OKs Extending Benefits To Families Of Fallen First Responders

The surviving family members of Michigan first responders who die in the line of duty will qualify for up to five years of state-paid health insurance under legislation signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. Snyder says in a statement Tuesday that the move is “unquestionably the right thing to do.” Survivors of fallen first responders currently can get a one-time $25,000 payment. The law sponsored by Republican Senator Wayne Schmidt, of Traverse Cit,y applies to  survivors of fallen police officers, firefighters and publicly employed paramedics and is retroactive to October 2015. Providing the health coverage could cost the state up to $400,000 a year, according to legislative fiscal projections.... [Read Full Story]

Joique Bell To Play For The Chicago Bears

Joique Bell will be playing for the Chicago Bears. Word came Tuesday the Benton Harbor native has been picked up by the struggling Bears ahead of their game on Sunday against the Lions. Bell, a running back, was released from the Lions this year. He heads to Chicago to take the place of Jeremy Langford, a former Michigan State tailback, who is out with an injury. The 30-year-old Bell played for the Lions from 2011 to 2015.... [Read Full Story]

Panel Declines To Add Eye Condition To Medical Marijuana List

An advisory panel is recommending that an eye disease not be added to the conditions that qualify for medical marijuana in Michigan. Only one of six members on the review panel was in favor Tuesday. The petition was filed by Melba Velez Ortiz, a professor at Grand Valley State
University. She wants to add retinitis pigmentosa to the marijuana list. It’s an inherited disease that greatly affects the retina and can lead to night blindness and loss of vision. Ortiz says there’s research showing marijuana can slow down the disease. In 2008, Michigan voters approved marijuana for the side effects of cancer and a few other illnesses. Only one condition, post-traumatic stress disorder, has been added.... [Read Full Story]

[VIDEO] Lakeland Health Expansion Approved

<div style=”position:relative; padding-bottom:56.25%; overflow:hidden;”><iframe src=”http://content.jwplatform.com/players/xvqxrD7P-RedLAKBN.html” width=”100%” height=”360″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”auto” allowfullscreen style=”position:absolute;”></iframe></div>... [Read Full Story]

Have Auto Sales Peaked?

Another indication that auto sales may have hit a peak. The latest sales forecast from J.D. Power and L.M.C. Automotive predicts September sales are expected to drop slightly from a year ago. Jeff Schuster with L.M.C Automotive says this is more of the same.... [Read Full Story]

Children Subject Of Amber Alert Found Dead, Mother Arrested

(Elkhart, IN – AP) – Two Indiana children who were the subject of an Amber Alert have been found dead and their mother has been arrested on murder charges. Elkhart police say they believe the two children found dead on Monday afternoon were seven-year-old Liliana Hernandez and six-year-old Rene Pasztor. They had been the subject of an Amber Alert earlier in the day warning that their mother may have abducted them.... [Read Full Story]

Report: MI Women Earn 74% Of Men’s Wages

A new report says women working full time were paid 80% of what men were paid in 2015. At the current pay disparity rate, women should be making the same as men for the same job in 2059. Marilyn Watkins, policy director at the Economic Opportunity Institute, says Massachusetts this summer passed one of the strongest equal-pay laws in the country, making sure companies pay equally for comparable jobs and job requirements.... [Read Full Story]

SJ Commission On Board With Lakeland Expansion

A $160 million expansion to Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph is moving forward following a Monday meeting of the St. Joseph City Commission. Commissioners granted planned unit development status to the Lakeland Medical Center Pavilion from Lakeland Facilities Director Dan Bacchiocchi, who said the addition will improve things for patients.... [Read Full Story]

Dowagiac Police Make Three Drug Arrests

The Dowagiac Department of Public Safety says its K9 unit helped lead to the arrest of three drug suspects over the weekend. Also, officers busted someone with a stolen automatic handgun. The busy weekend started around 10 p.m. Friday when officers pulled a woman over on Ashland Street and the K9 found crack in the car. The driver was arrested. Then on Saturday night, the K9 struck again and found crack in another vehicle with stolen plates parked on North Paul Street. That led to another arrest. On Sunday night, the K9 once again found drugs, this time meth, in a car stopped on East Prairie Ronde Street. That driver was arrested, as well. Finally, the stolen gun was found in a home on Amerihost Drive when a domestic assault call came in. That suspect is in the Cass County Jail.... [Read Full Story]

Niles Man Charged After Fire Led To Marijuana Discovery

Several charges have been filed against a Niles Township man following a fire at his home last week which led to the discovery of marijuana growing there. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office says 34-year-old Luther Borders is charged with second degree child abuse and manufacturing marijuana, among other things. Due to a previous drug conviction, he could get up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Firefighters were called to Borders’ home on Stateline Road last Tuesday. Later on, police determined the fire was caused by some equipment Borders was using as part of a THC extraction lab. That’s led to the drug charges. He’s charged with child abuse because two children were in the home at the time. Borders was arraigned Monday and bond was set at $25,000.... [Read Full Story]

Jury Selection This Week In Baby Kate Case

Jury selection is taking place for the trial of a northern Michigan man charged with murder in the disappearance of his infant daughter.
Katherine Phillips, known as “Baby Kate,” disappeared in 2011 in the Ludington area. Defense lawyer David Glancy tells the Ludington Daily News that a defense offer for Sean Phillips to plead guilty to manslaughter was rejected. Jury selection took place Monday and the trial is expected to take three weeks. Phillips is serving a 10-year prison sentence for unlawful imprisonment in Kate’s disappearance. A year ago, the Michigan appeals court said the murder charge could go forward, even if a body hadn’t been found. The court said Phillips’ correspondence with Kate’s mother and other evidence was sufficient to show that the girl’s death was a crime.... [Read Full Story]

Kalamazoo Police: Teen Panicked After Shooting Friend

Police reports say a Kalamazoo teen panicked when his gun went off and struck a friend in the chest, then the 17-year-old fatally shot himself.
The Kalamazoo Gazette, which obtained the reports through a records request, reported Monday a witness told police that Marsavious Frazier was showing Daquarion Hunter a gun and playing with it September 5 when it discharged in a Kalamazoo alley. Reports say the witness, friend Armonte Tolbert, told police that Hunter fell, prompting Frazier to run, then shoot himself. The 17-year-olds were pronounced dead about 30 yards apart. A .32-caliber revolver was in Frazier’s hand. Tolbert, who held Hunter after the shooting, says the teens “had no beef with
each other.” He said he’d known Frazier to make suicidal comments in the past.... [Read Full Story]

Police Investigate Two Weekend Shootings In Benton Harbor

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding whoever’s responsible for two shootings that happened over the weekend in Benton Harbor. The department of public safety tells us the first shooting was in the 400 block of East High Street about 3 a.m. Saturday. A man was shot as he walking into his home. He’s expected to recover. Then, about 19 hours later, at 10 p.m., a couple was shot as they sat in their car in the parking lot of the Harbor Bluff apartment complex. The suspect was wearing a scarf over his face, and the victims are also expected to recover. Police note the two shootings were only about 300 feet away from each other. Anyone with information on the shootings is asked to call the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety at 927-8416.... [Read Full Story]

Monitor To Watch Over Flint Aid Money

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration plans to hire a monitor to scrutinize Flint aid and ensure state appropriations are being appropriately
used to address the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water. The Detroit News reports the state’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget last week issued a request seeking bids from private vendors for the job, which would supplement work by the state Office of Auditor General and Office of Internal Audit Services. Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton says the monitor “is something the Legislature asked for to give them reassurance that there is a proactive approach to monitoring Flint funding and expenditures.” Within 60 days of contracting with the state, the monitor would be required to conduct a fraud, waste, and abuse risk assessment and a corresponding loss prevention strategy.... [Read Full Story]

SWMI Has State’s Lowest Gas Prices… For Now

We’ve got Michigan’s lowest gas prices in our area. Triple-A Michigan says the average price in the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area stands at $2.06, though there are plenty of stations this morning under the $2-per-gallon level. Don’t get used to it, though, as GasBuddy is projecting prices will be going up between 15 and 25¢ very soon. Triple-A says the average in the state is down almost 7¢ per gallon from a week ago to $2.17. The most expensive fuel is in Marquette at $2.24. Prices in South Haven are generally just under $2, but there is regular unleaded being sold there for $2.19 and $2.22 at two stations.... [Read Full Story]