Local News Archives

Increased Minimum Wage Could Lead To Less Crime

In Michigan, the minimum wage is more than a dollar above the national rate, at $8.50 an hour. However, advocates for working families say it’s still not enough. New research says in states with a lower minimum wage, the percentage of adults in jail or prison is higher than in states where workers make more money. Rebecca Vallas, with the Center for American Progress, says if people make enough to make ends meet, they’re less likely to take desperate measures that land them in jail.... [Read Full Story]

Attorney: Technology For The Deaf Widely Available To Theaters

A lawsuit filed on behalf of a St. Joseph man against the owners of Celebration Cinema for failing to provide captioning services to the deaf seeks damages, as well as immediate installation of those services. Attorney Mary Vargas, with the firm representing Graham Forsey, says her client should be able to use simple technology that is widely available to be able to read captions.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien Trial Court To Offer Bench Warrant Amnesty

The Berrien County Trial Court next month will offer a way out for anyone facing a bench warrant. It says amnesty will be granted to anyone who turns himself in and pays whatever is owed to the court. The amnesty period is September 6 through September 16, and it only applies to those with a bench warrant for failing to appear or failing to comply with financial obligations on a criminal case. Anyone who wants to take advantage should just show up to one of the Berrien County Courthouses with the money to pay what they owe. The court will then recall the warrant and dismiss any future contempt charges. Anyone looking for more information can call the courthouse.... [Read Full Story]

Hearing To Be Held On Snyder Pick For DEQ

The Michigan Senate will hold a hearing on Governor Rick Snyder’s pick to lead the Department of Environmental Quality in the wake of
Flint’s water crisis. A spokeswoman for Senate Republicans said Tuesday that the Senate Natural Resources Committee will meet September 7 to consider the appointment of Heidi Grether. The selection of the former oil and gas lobbyist has drawn criticism from Democrats and environmentalists. But Grether, who began the job on August 1, is unlikely to be rejected by the GOP-led Senate. Senators last year let stand the Republican governor’s choice for the Michigan Public Service Commission despite the appointee’s past ties to a major utility that the panel regulates. Grether replaces Dan Wyant, who resigned in December because of the DEQ’s role in Flint’s lead contamination.... [Read Full Story]

[VIDEO] Walk to End Alzheimer’s Held in St. Joseph

St. Joseph is taking a stand against Alzheimer’s. Over 400 people joined the Walk to End Alzheimer’s last Saturday at the Silver Beach Carousel. Participants not only walked two miles, but learned about the disease and what they can do to help those struggling with it. Walk manager Kristin Burt says that, despite the rain, the walk drew a good crowd and was a success.... [Read Full Story]

State Office To Put Troubled Schools On Notice For Closure

(Lansing, MI – AP) – The Michigan school reform office plans to put chronically low-performing schools on notice that they might be closed by next June. The office’s Director Natasha Baker tells the “Detroit Free Press” the number of schools affected isn’t known, but some have been performing at low levels for a decade. She says schools will learn by year’s end whether they could be closed.... [Read Full Story]

Benton Harbor Man’s Murder Trial Starting In Grand Rapids

The murder trial of a Benton Harbor man is scheduled to begin today in Grand Rapids. Shaquille Bunting is charged with murder in the shooting death last year of Terence Hollis in the parking lot of the Chicken Coop restaurant on South Division Avenue. Bunting has turned down a plea deal from the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office to second degree murder. Grand Rapids police say he and Hollis got into a fight in the restaurant that spilled into the parking lot. If convicted, he faces life in prison.... [Read Full Story]

Movie Theater Chain Sued Over Lack Of Captioning

Celebration Cinema owner Loeks Theaters is being sued for not providing captioning for the hearing disabled at its location in Benton Harbor. The suit announced this week was filed on behalf of St. Joseph resident Graham Forsey, who is deaf, and the National Association of the Deaf. Their attorneys say the Americans with Disabilities Act requires movie theaters to ensure deaf individuals have full and equal access. Forsey says he loves the movies but can’t go in Benton Harbor because, there, he can’t understand them. Celebration Cinema tells WSJM News national standards for accommodating the deaf are expected to be rolled out in the next year, and it’s waiting for that to happen before it installs new technology. The suit’s plaintiffs say the technology to display captioning in theaters is “broadly available.”... [Read Full Story]

Analyst: Third Party Candidate Could Be Major Factor In Election

Some Democrats and Republicans are searching for options other than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for this presidential election, given both candidates’ low popularity ratings. Experts say while third-party and independent candidates have zero chance of winning the White House, their participation can affect the contest. John Clark, a professor of political science at Western Michigan University, says this is definitely one of those years.... [Read Full Story]

Coast Guard Looking For Boater Missing In Lake MI Off Ludington

Authorities in Michigan say searchers have found the body of a boater in Lake Michigan and are looking for a second boater who is missing. The U.S. Coast Guard station in Ludington says three people went out Sunday night to go fishing and two of them ended up in the water off of Oceana County near Little Sable Point. The Coast Guard says one person was found dead and the search is ongoing Monday for the second person. The third boater was OK. Coast Guard crews from Ludington and Muskegon are involved in the search along with other agencies, including sheriff’s departments in Oceana and Mason counties. In addition to boats on the water, a Coast Guard helicopter is involved in the search.... [Read Full Story]

MDOT Closing Stevensville Area I-94 Exit This Week

The Michigan Department of Transportation is advising drivers about a maintenance project starting this week that will mean the closure of an I-94 exit in Berrien County. It says the ramp from westbound 94 to Grand Mere Road, or John Beers, at exit 22 in Stevensville will be closed for construction starting Wednesday. It’ll stay closed through Friday, September 9. Traffic will be detoured at the Bridgman exit. You could also get off at the Red Arrow Highway exit in Stevensville. To stay on top of all of MDOT’s projects this summer, just get its MIDrive app. It’s free for both iPhone and Android.... [Read Full Story]

Dowagiac Sec. Of State Office Closing For Remodel

The Secretary of State branch office in Dowagiac is going to be closed next week for remodeling. The office will be closed August 22-26 and reopen on Monday August 29 at 9 a.m. New data lines are promised along with a customer-friendly new counter design and new furniture. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson notes a lot of business can be done online at ExpressSOS.com, but for those who have to go to a branch, the nearest three are in Niles, Paw Paw and Benton Harbor and will all be open next week.... [Read Full Story]

Significant Rainfall Expected Tonight

We’ve got some significant rain on the way over the next 24 hours, as the remnants of what has soaked Louisiana and caused heavy flooding there comes north. WNDU NewsCenter 16 meteorologist David Harker says we are under a flash flood watch starting this afternoon at 2 p.m.... [Read Full Story]

20 Pigs Had Swine Flu At Cass County Fair

There are no reported human illnesses, but the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department says 20 pigs at the Cass County Fair last week were infected with the H3N2 strain of the swine flu. The health department is working with Cass County Michigan State University Extension 4H, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to monitor the situation. Human infection with swine flu is most likely to happen when people are in close proximity to the infected animals, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. The H3N2 strain is considered relatively mild for people.... [Read Full Story]

Police Looking For Armed Robbery Suspect

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is hunting for an armed robbery suspect who held up JD’s Truck Stop in Bertrand Township early yesterday morning. The suspect pulled a gun on the cashier just after midnight and got away with an undisclosed amount of cash. He’s described as white or Hispanic, about 5’5″ with a thin build and a tattoo on the inside of his right forearm. His face was covered by a bandana, and he wore a red and white hat, a red T-shirt and red pants. Anyone who recognizes him is urged to call the sheriff’s department.... [Read Full Story]

Jean Klock Park Luau Slated For This Month

Coming up this month will be the Third Coast Surf Shop’s 12th annual Great Lakes Surf Luau at Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor. Slated for Saturday, August 20, the event will feature the screening of a surf documentary, a swap meet, a barbecue, and more. There will also be live music provided by a couple of bands. The festivities will begin at 4 p.m., and everyone’s invited. Folks are encouraged to bring along a dish for the potluck.... [Read Full Story]

Thompson Sentenced For December Murder-Week in Review

In this week’s WSJM Week in Review, for August 12, 2016, a Benton Harbor man is sentenced to a maximum of 60 years in prison for his role in a shooting death last December, new details on the investigation of July’s courthouse shooter, Buchanan students receive financial aid for college a St. Joseph City Commissioner celebrates 30 years of service, and more.... [Read Full Story]