Local News Archives

AM General To Get $356M To Build Humvees For Afghanistan

AM General has been awarded a $356 million contract to make more than 1,600 Humvees for the Afghanistan national army and police at its factory in northern Indiana. The company said in a news release the work to make the 1,673 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles will be done at its plant in Mishawaka. The work is scheduled to begin this month and is expected to be completed in a year.... [Read Full Story]

Judge: Lawsuit Linked To House Sex Scandal Can Go Forward

A federal judge has ruled in favor of two former Michigan House aides who say they were illegally fired before a sex scandal broke in the Capitol. Judge Gordon Quist says Keith Allard and Ben Graham were engaged in protected activity under a whistleblower law when they reported wrongdoing by lawmakers Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. Their lawsuit against the House can go forward. The aides were fired last July, shortly before an affair by Courser and Gamrat became public. Courser and Gamrat were accused of trying to cover up the affair. One quit the House, and the other was expelled. The Detroit News says the House had asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit. But Quist says Allard and Graham “spoke out on matters of public concern.”... [Read Full Story]

Report Examines Income Disparities In Michigan

A new analysis shows Michigan’s top 1% of earners continue to see their incomes rise while everyone else is not. The findings from the Michigan League for Public Policy show that the state is 11th worst nationally for income inequality, which spans gender, race and ethnicity and educational level. Rachel Richards, with the Michigan League for Public Policy, says the organization will be diving deeper into these income inequality issues with a series of fact sheets.... [Read Full Story]

BH City Commissioners Approve Facade Work For City Hall

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have approved a renovation project for city hall. At Monday’s meeting, they voted to proceed with most of the work planned, tabling only one of the contracts dealing with masonry and roof work, partly due to concerns enough wasn’t done to hire local minorities. Mayor Marcus Muhammad says he’s glad to see city hall’s facade getting a variety of improvements.... [Read Full Story]

Lakeland Health Recognized For Stroke Treatment

Lakeland Health has been honored for the care it provides to stroke patients. It’s received the American Heart Association and Stroke Association’s “Get With The Guidelines” Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. In order to get the award, hospitals have to achieve 85% or higher adherence to all “Get With The Guidelines” indicators for two or more consecutive years. They also have to meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment. Lakeland Health Director of Patient Care Services Chris Fox says he’s proud of the team which he says provides exemplary care. You can find out about stroke warning signs and what to do at LakelandHealth.org/Stroke.... [Read Full Story]

Chalk The Block Coming Up In Downtown St. Joseph

It’s almost time once again for the annual Chalk the Block event in downtown St. Joseph. The 20th Chalk the Block kicks off this Friday when more than 30 artists from around the country will be welcomed to town, preparing to cover the sidewalks with chalk art. St. Joe Today’s Whitney Behnke says thousands come down to check out their work.... [Read Full Story]

Museum Exhibit Honoring First Responders To Open In Lansing

A museum in Lansing has opened a first responders exhibit that highlights the work of police officers and firefighters over the years. The Lansing State Journal reports that the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum exhibit includes a shiny red 1938 Reo Speed Wagon as well as a Gold Crown fire
truck that sold for more than $1,300 back then and served the Bainbridge Fire Company in Pennsylvania until 1972. Museum director Bill Adcock says the exhibit is intended to show kids that emergency responders don’t hurt the public, they save the public. Adcock describes the exhibit, which opened in July, as a working and living display that’ll be added to over time. Adcock says the idea for the museum grew after the death of firefighter Dennis Rodeman, who was hit by a vehicle in 2015.... [Read Full Story]

SUV Sales Soaring

With gasoline hovering closer to $2 per gallon these days, it seems like a no-brainer that SUVs are once again hot sellers. However, Ford Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks says SUVs are not the gas-guzzlers of old.... [Read Full Story]

Western Michigan University President Stepping Down

Western Michigan University President John Dunn is stepping down after ten years on the job. Dunn announced Monday he will serve through June of 2017, and then become president emeritus for one year. He said he was announcing his retirement well ahead of time so the university trustees would have plenty of time to find his successor. After ten years on the job as WMU president, Dunn has awarded 50,000 degrees to the school’s graduates. Kenneth Miller, chairman of WMU’s governing board, says the Kalamazoo school is “markedly different and stronger” than when Dunn became president in 2007. Dunn previously had leadership roles at Southern Illinois University, the University of Utah, and Oregon State University.... [Read Full Story]

Tuesday Primaries Drawing Attention To MI Congressional Races

Two open U.S. House seats will be in the spotlight during Michigan’s primary election. The Republican winner of a Thumb-area contest should have a clear path to Congress, while the victors in the state’s expansive northern congressional district will face off in a competitive race in November. Tuesday’s primary also will set the stage for this fall’s battle for control of the state House, which Democrats are eager to win after years of GOP rule. Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller’s decision to step aside after 14 years representing the Thumb and northern Macomb County has sparked a five-way Republican primary. The winner will be favored in November. Republican Congressman Dan Benishek’s retirement after six years representing  northern Michigan has led to a three-man Republican primary and a two-man Democratic race.... [Read Full Story]

Lake Michigan College Board To Discuss Millage Proposal

The Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting tomorrow morning to discuss putting a capital millage proposal on the November ballot. LMC has not gone to voters seeking a new millage in two decades. Lake Michigan College Foundation executive director Mary Klemm told WSJM News earlier this summer the money would be put toward modernizing and upgrading classrooms to today’s standards with new technology. The $40 million millage would also bankroll a new heating and air conditioning system. The board will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Mendel Center.... [Read Full Story]

Four-Year Study Finds Excessive Pollutants In Three Michigan Rivers

(Detroit, MI – AP) – Scientists have found a significant presence of organic waste compounds in three Michigan rivers. The “Detroit Free Press” reports that the Rouge and Clinton rivers in southeastern Michigan and the St. Joseph River in southwestern Michigan have pollutants from car exhaust, smokestacks, herbicides and detergents. The U.S. Geological Survey sampled water throughout the Great Lakes region from 2010 through 2013. The “Free Press” says some organic waste compounds were 10 times higher than water-quality benchmarks.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Elections Tuesday

There will be plenty on the ballot for next week’s primary elections in Berrien County. First, there’s the Republican race for 79th District state representative, which features four candidates. Ryan Arnt, Mary Brown, Kim Lasata, and Troy Rolling are running to face off against Democrat Marletta Seats in November. Also being decided next Tuesday will be ballot questions in communities all over the county. There are millage renewals to be decided in Bridgman, New Buffalo, Niles, St. Joseph, and Watervliet. That’s not to mention township questions in Baroda, Benton, Coloma, Lake, Lincoln, Niles, New Buffalo, Pipestone, Royalton, St. Joseph, Sodus, and Watervliet Townships. There are also school millage questions in Buchanan, Sodus Township, and Hagar Township. Finally, voters across Berrien County will decide whether to renew the 911, public safety, and senior center millages. You can find out more at BerrienCounty.org/Elections.... [Read Full Story]

Several Van Buren County Communities To Vote Next Week

A variety of local ballot questions will be decided next week in Van Buren County. There will be countywide ballot questions on a road tax renewal for four years, and a new 0.1 mill levy to pay for the Van Buren Conservation District. Locally, voters sin several communities will decide on whether to renew road millages. They include Arlington Township and Bloomingdale Township. Also, South Haven voters will decide on a quarter mill levy to pay for the purchase of recreational property, in Decatur, they’ll decide on renewing a fire millage, as will voters in Hamilton Township. The elections are on Tuesday, and polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.... [Read Full Story]

Cherry Farmer Causes Stir By Dumping Part Of His crop

A Traverse City farmer has caused a social media frenzy after posting pictures of tart cherries he dumped on the ground to rot. Marc Santucci says he dumped the crops to comply with an industry agreement which he claims props up the price of cherries. Cherry Industry Administrative Board Executive Director Perry Hedin says that’s not the case, adding he had other options besides simply dumping %14 of his crop.... [Read Full Story]

Illness Shuts Down Western MI Camp

A western Michigan camp has temporarily suspended operations after more than 20 children and staff complained of being ill. Camp Gerber Scout Reservation in Muskegon County’s Twin Lake was hosting a Cub Scout day camp and shut down voluntarily Thursday night. WOOD-TV reports that county health officials suspect the illness could be norovirus. The property was to be disinfected and medical checks were to be conducted. WZZM-TV reports that healthy campers and counselors were being sent to other camps in the system. Cub Scout camps scheduled next week will be hosted at a facility in Kalamazoo.... [Read Full Story]

Nearly $20,000 Awarded To Al-Van Humane Society

The Al-Van Humane Society is receiving a grant of just under $20,000 from the Bissell Foundation. The Grand Rapids-based organization supports animal shelters all over Michigan, and in its latest round of grants announced $19,875 for the shelter in South Haven. The Al-Van Humane Society’s Jennifer Nuernberg says they’re going to use the money for several programs.... [Read Full Story]

Kzoo Police Chief Defends Officer Over Controversial Gesture

A police chief in southwest Michigan is defending an officer who appears to be making a gun-pointing gesture with his hand in a photo that was posted on Facebook. Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley says it’s a misunderstanding. He says the officer is known for pointing when he acknowledges people in his patrol car. The Kalamazoo Gazette says the photo was posted on Facebook by someone who felt threatened by the gesture Friday while standing outside a barber shop. Hadley says the officer was trying to be friendly and is “really broken up” about the reaction on social media. However, Hadley says he also understands “how it raises people’s eyebrows.” Kalamazoo County Commissioner Stephanie Moore says the officer made a poor choice.... [Read Full Story]

Police Agencies Holding National Night Out Events Next Week

National Night Out events are planned for next week in several communities around southwest Michigan. The annual gatherings are a chance for law enforcement agencies across the country to mingle with the public so that everyone is a little better acquainted. The police often do demonstrations of equipment and vehicles, and free hot dogs are provided. All of the National Night Out events are set for next Tuesday. In St. Joseph, there will be one held at St. Joseph Township’s Riverview Park from 5 to 8 p.m. In Benton Harbor, a Night Out will be at Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park, also starting at 5 p.m. In Van Buren County, National Night Out will be at the Lawrence Park Pavilion in Lawrence starting at 6 p.m. Free hot dogs and beverages will be served, and retiring Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler will be honored. Contact your local law enforcement agency to find out what it’s doing for the Night Out.... [Read Full Story]

More Information On State Workers Charged In Flint Water Crisis

Michigan officials say four public employees charged with crimes related to Flint’s lead-contaminated water crisis have been suspended without pay. The Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services departments said Friday that two workers from each department are off the job for now. They are Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook from the DEQ and Nancy Peeler and Robert Scott from HHS. The Associated Press couldn’t reach the employees for comment. The two other people charged Friday had either already retired or were fired. Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office filed the charges. He says they hid the truth about Flint’s problems. The struggling city used the Flint River water for 18 months to save money. Residents consumed improperly treated water that released lead as it coursed through aging pipes. Elevated levels of the toxin were discovered in children.Three public workers previously were charged.... [Read Full Story]

Report Looks At Law Enforcement Deaths

A report from the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund shows that the number of law enforcement officers killed in the United States this year is up over last year. As of July 20, 67 federal, state, and local officers died on the job, an 8% increase from the same time last year. The Memorial Fund’s Craig Floyd says people need to work with law enforcement to build safer communities.... [Read Full Story]