Local News Archives

Muhammad Meets With Snyder In Lansing

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad has met with Governor Rick Snyder to discuss the future of the city and its relationship with the state. The meeting on Tuesday took place at the Romney Building in Lansing, and Muhammad tells WSJM News he talked to the governor about the city’s needs.... [Read Full Story]

MI Schools Have New Guidelines For LGBT Students

The Michigan Board of Education has issued new guidelines to districts on how to treat LGBT students. The guidelines are voluntary, but have spurred criticism from conservative lawmakers, especially over restroom and bathroom policies for transgender students. State Representative Jon Hoadley says the policy is needed because LGBT students are more likely to face bullying.... [Read Full Story]

Zika Virus Shows Up In West Michigan

Nine cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in west Michigan, specifically in Ottawa County. Kristina Wieghmink, with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, says they’re all travel-related cases in people ranging in age from a teen to 50, but there are no pregnant women. She has advice for anyone traveling to countries where Zika is prevalent.... [Read Full Story]

Flags To Be Lowered For Lawmaker Killed In Traffic Crash

Governor Rick Snyder has ordered that flags be lowered Friday in the state Capitol complex and within the northern Michigan legislative
district of a lawmaker who was killed in a traffic accident. Flags will be lowered to half-staff for third-term Republican Representative Peter
Pettalia. He died Monday when his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck whose driver turned into his lane on southbound M-33 in Montmorency County. A memorial service is scheduled for Friday afternoon at the Presque Isle Lighthouse. Pettalia’s 106th House District includes all or parts of five counties along Lake Huron in the northeastern Lower Peninsula. Snyder says an outpouring of condolences for Pettalia from across Michigan “show how much his commitment to public service was respected and how much he will be missed.”... [Read Full Story]

2-Year-Old Boy Hit By Car In Sodus Township

A 2-year-old boy is being treated at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo after he was struck by a car in Sodus Township Thursday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells our newsroom deputies were called to Meadow Springs Trailer Court around 12:40 in the afternoon. When they arrived, they found a car stopped in the road and the boy being held by his father. Medic One took the boy to Lakeland Hospital, and he was airlifted from there to Bronson in Kalamazoo. Police say alcohol was not a factor in the crash. It’s still under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

Suspected Drunk Driver Causes Transformer Fire

A suspected drunk driver has turned out to be the cause of a power outage that affected parts of Lincoln and St. Joseph Townships overnight Thursday. The Lincoln Township Police Department says 72-year-old Thomas Zabadal, of St. Joseph, rolled his 2005 Buick near 500 Glenlord Road around 10:45 p.m. Wednesday. Police say he sheared an American Electric Power pole while doing so which caused a transformer to catch fire. That led to a power outage that shut down Upton Middle School and hit other businesses on Thursday. Officers found Zabadal’s blood alcohol level to be over the legal limit, and he’s been charged with drunk driving. He suffered minor injuries in the crash.... [Read Full Story]

MI Unemployment Unchanged In August

Michigan’s jobless rate was unchanged at 4.5 percent in August from July, remaining at its lowest level in 15 years. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget says that total employment recorded a reduction of 7,000 in August as the state’s labor force decreased by 5,000. The number of unemployed in Michigan rose by 2,000. Michigan seasonally adjusted jobless rate in August was below the state’s
August 2015 rate of 5.1 percent. The U.S. jobless rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent in August. Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, says Wednesday the state’s labor market situation was stable. Governor Rick Snyder says in a statement Michigan needs to “continue our efforts to strengthen our workforce and create more opportunities for all Michiganders.”... [Read Full Story]

ITT Tech Shutting Down Friday

The for-profit college ITT Technical Institute says in a federal filing that it will stop operating Friday. Carmel, Indiana-based ITT Educational Services Inc. said in a Wednesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would stop services about a week after it announced it would close its campuses. The company’s main lender recently seized ITT’s bank accounts. The college chain is shutting down all 130 of its U.S. campuses. The move affects more than 35,000 students and more than 8,000 jobs. Federal education officials banned the company last month from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid. The Education Department said the company had become a risk to students and taxpayers. ITT has laid off at least 660 Indiana workers. It had about 1,900 students in Indiana.... [Read Full Story]

Legislation Would Increase Michigan’s Beer Tax

At least one Michigan lawmaker wants to raise the state’s beer tax by 244%, and the organization that represents wine and beer sellers is crying foul. State Representative Tom Hooker, of Byron Center, introduced the plan on Wednesday. The beer tax hasn’t been raised since 1966, but Brett Visner, with the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association, tells WSJM News that’s no reason to mess with a growing industry.... [Read Full Story]

Bill Aims To Make Fresh Fruits And Vegetables Available In Underserved Areas

A plan from state Representative Dave Pagel to help people in rural and urban areas get access to fresh fruits and veggies is getting high marks from the American Heart Association. The legislation had a hearing in the state House Wednesday, with the association’s Dave Hodgkins speaking in favor. He tells WSJM News folks in certain areas just don’t have any grocery stores in their towns, and have to buy food at little corner shops.... [Read Full Story]

Trump Visits Flint

The city of Flint is again making national headlines this week as Donald Trump has paid it a visit. On Wednesday, Trump toured the city’s water plant, and spoke at an historically black church. He said Flint can be helped.... [Read Full Story]

Suspect Arrested In String Of Dowagaic Burglaries

A suspect has been arrested in a string of burglaries in Dowagiac. The police department tells our newsroom the home break-ins happened between between last Wednesday and Monday of this week. Homes on Orchard Street, Oak Street, and Florence Street were broken into, and the stolen items included guns. Police say they spoke with several witnesses, leading them to a suspect in Berrien County on Monday. 20-year-old Brett Adam Gibson, of Dowagiac, is now facing a variety of charges. Police say he’s confessed to all three of the break-ins, and is now in the Cass County Jail on $75,000 bond.... [Read Full Story]

$1 Million Grant For LMC Wine Program

Lake Michigan College’s wine and viticulture program has gotten a big boost from the state. A $1 million grant from the Michigan Talent and Economic Development Agency announced on Wednesday will enable it to open a new building, says the wine program’s Mike Moyer.... [Read Full Story]

Graves Of Veterans Vandalized In Bangor

50 graves markers honoring veterans have been damaged by vandals at a cemetery in Bangor. Police Chief Tommy Simpson tells WSJM News the graves of veterans at Arlington Hill Cemetery are given special markers with American flags on them. Someone broke the markers and took the flags. It was discovered Wednesday morning.... [Read Full Story]

State Education Board Issues Guidance On LGBT Students

Michigan’s education board has approved guidance to schools on creating an inclusive environment for LGBT students. The guidelines are voluntary but have spurred criticism from conservative lawmakers, particularly over restroom and bathroom policies for transgender students.
The Democratic-controlled State Board of Education passed the guidance 6-2 Wednesday, after receiving passionate public testimony from people in support and against. Recommendations to schools include making good faith efforts to address students by their chosen name and pronoun when asked. The guidance also urges schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. Education officials say the draft guidance was amended to encourage local school districts to engage their communities in the development of their own policies and to urge greater consideration for parental involvement. Critics say the revisions are meaningless.... [Read Full Story]

MI House Approves New Medical Marijuana Rules

The Michigan House gave final approval to bills Wednesday that would further regulate medical marijuana nearly eight years after its use
was first authorized by voters. The main legislation, which passed 83-22, would impose a new tax and establish a state licensing system to grow, process, sell, transport or test marijuana. Non-smokable forms of the drug such as food and lotions would become legal under a bill that was approved 93-12, surpassing the constitutionally required three-fourths needed to amend a voter initiative. Another measure, OK’d 85-20,
would create a monitoring system to track marijuana from “seed to sale” and flag excess purchases.... [Read Full Story]

SUV Crashes Into St. Joseph Dunkin’ Donuts

One person is nursing a minor injury after an SUV crashed into the St. Joseph Dunkin’ Donuts on Wednesday. It happened around 11:30 a.m. when the Chevy Traverse drove right over the concrete parking barriers, going through the window. There was a lot of broken glass, but damage to the inside of the store was small, and no one suffered any serious injuries. We’re told one person who was sitting close to the window at the time had a cut to his leg. The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety had the crashed vehicle removed from the scene by 12:30, and now the owners of the store are working to repair it.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan: Court Goofed And Should Reopen Sex Offender Case

(Lansing, MI – AP) – The Michigan attorney general’s office is asking a federal appeals court to reopen a dispute over Michigan’s sex-offender registry. The court recently said Michigan is illegally treating many sex offenders as “moral lepers” by putting additional restrictions on them long after their convictions. But in a new filing, the state says the court overlooked a key decision from 2007 that should have led to a different result.... [Read Full Story]

State Sued Over Poor Reading Skills Of Detroit Students

The state of Michigan is being sued over the poor reading skills of Detroit students at five schools, including two charter schools. The lawsuit says the schools are in “slum-like conditions” and “functionally incapable of delivering access to literacy.” The case, filed Tuesday in federal court, accuses Governor Rick Snyder, the state school board and others of violating the civil rights of low-income students. The governor’s office declined to comment. The lawsuit says the state of Michigan is responsible for complying with constitutional mandates in education. The lawsuit seeks literacy instruction at all grades, screening for literacy problems and regular oversight. In 2012, a similar lawsuit was filed in Wayne County court on behalf of Highland Park students. It was ultimately dismissed in favor of the state.... [Read Full Story]

Rock Band Teaches Financial Literacy To MI High School Kids

A Michigan rock band is mixing music and a message about financial literacy for kids. The band Gooding is performing a few shows in the state this week as part of a 60 date nationwide tour at high schools. The idea is to get a message to kids about saving money and avoiding payday or “same-day” loans to get by. Frontman Gooding says the earlier kids learn how to handle money, the less likely they are to make life-altering mistakes.... [Read Full Story]

Pscholka Remembers Lawmaker Who Died Monday

The Michigan Legislature is mourning the second member of the state House to die this year. Republican Representative Peter Pettalia died Monday night in a motorcycle crash in northern Michigan. Representative Al Pscholka tells our newsroom he just recently spent time with Pettalia on Mackinac Island.... [Read Full Story]