Local News Archives

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]

Rock Alliance 3 Day Ride This Week

This Thursday is the departure day for this year’s Rock Alliance 3 Day Ride. Motorcyclists from all over will leave from the St. Joseph Holiday Inn Express for a ride throughout the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Tom Woltman, with the Berrien Riders tells WSJM News it’s always a great experience.... [Read Full Story]

Lobbyist Backs Away From Claims About Pscholka, Kahn

A story that a former lobbyist paid the bar tab for state Representative Al Pscholka and was pressured to buy alcohol for the wedding of former state Senator Dr. Roger Kahn’s daughter turns out to be just that – a story. Steve Marino is running for the state House in Macomb County and admitted to the “Detroit Free Press” he made up the story after a recording of him bragging about it was released by Michigan Democrats. Pscholka says he’s never met the guy, and it’s become par for the course in politics.... [Read Full Story]

Minor-In-Possession Changes Considered

State Senator Rick Jones has proposed a couple of bills that might just get him invited to some fraternity parties. A bill due up for a vote today in a House committee would turn the first arrest for being a minor in possession of alcohol from a criminal violation to a civil infraction. Jones says it’s just not right that some young lives are ruined because they have a beer. Jones, a Republican from Grand Ledge and former Eaton County sheriff, has also just proposed new legislation that would allow stores in Ann Arbor to ignore a new city ordinance that changes the legal age for purchasing cigarettes from 18 to 21. Jones thinks it will hurt mom and pop stores in the city, driving business to the burbs.... [Read Full Story]

Harbaugh Denies Eating Booger During Michigan Game

Video seems to show Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh picking and eating a booger during the Wolverines’ game against Central Florida on Saturday. The Internet has lit up with comments about it, but Harbaugh says it’s not what it appears. On his weekly radio show Monday night, which is heard on 95.7 and 1400 WSJM Sports, the coach denied eating a booger.... [Read Full Story]

Legislature Poised To Approve Medical Marijuana Regulations

Michigan lawmakers are poised to give final approval to a new regulatory structure for medical marijuana. Voters legalized the drug for medical use in 2008. But there have been conflicts in the courts, particularly over the legality of dispensaries where patients can buy the drug and whether non-smokable forms are legal. Legislation up for a vote Tuesday in the Republican-controlled House would create a tiered regulatory system. A state license would be required to grow, process, sell, transport and test marijuana. Dispensaries would pay a 3% tax on their gross retail income. Allowable marijuana could include infused, non-smokable forms such as lotions and edible products. More than 211,000 qualifying patients now grow their own marijuana plants or obtain the drug from nearly 37,000 registered caregivers under the 2008 law.... [Read Full Story]