Local News Archives

LMC Expanding Search For Next President

Lake Michigan College is starting from scratch in its search for a new president. The board of trustees on Tuesday opted to expand its search, hiring the Pauly Group, out of Illinois, to help. Board President Mary Jo Tomasini says they’re going to make an aggressive recruitment push. She says LMC can continue to function with Dr. Bob Harrison serving as president on an interim basis until they find the right permanent candidate.... [Read Full Story]

United Way Rivalry Run Next Month

Registrations are now being taken for the 3rd annual Rivalry Run. The runs raise money for the United Way of Southwest Michigan, which supports a variety of causes in Berrien and Cass Counties. This year’s run will be August 12, and you can sign up at Rivalry-Run.com. Everyone who takes part is urged to wear the colors of their favorite team and dress as a player, cheerleader, or fan. Participants are also encouraged to show their true colors by painting their faces. This year’s event will take off from the MTEC building on Klock Road in Benton Harbor, and a tailgate party will be held afterward. Registration is $20 for adults.... [Read Full Story]

West MI Lawyer Apologizes For Remarks About Judge

A lawyer running for judge in western Michigan is apologizing after describing a black judge as an 800-pound “silverback” gorilla. Eric Grimm, who is white, says the email about Muskegon County Judge Gregory Pittman was a “lapse of judgment.” He says he plans to perform 100 hours of community service to make up for it. Grimm is one of five candidates running for probate judge in the August 2 primary election. The two top finishers will advance to the fall election.Grimm described Pittman as an 800-pound “silverback alpha male.” He says he was trying to talk about problems in the courthouse. Pittman, who doesn’t face re-election this year, says he won’t comment on what he calls “bigoted remarks.”... [Read Full Story]

Detroit Razes 10,000th Vacant Home Under Duggan Blight plan

A two-story, wood-frame house on Detroit’s northwest side became the 10,000th vacant structure torn down as part of Mayor Mike Duggan’s massive plan to eliminate blight. An excavator was used to quickly tear down the house Tuesday on Marlowe Street. It was another win in a years-long battle to improve Detroit neighborhoods. Duggan’s blight program started 21/2 years ago. He said Tuesday that Detroit’s demolition program is “moving much more efficiently” than others around the country. About 10,000 houses were also demolished during the administration of Dave Bing, the previous mayor. Detroit has received about $258 million from the federal Hardest Hit Fund for demolitions and other blight removal efforts. A blight task force survey in 2014 revealed more than 40,000 structures needed demolition with another 38,000 tipping toward blight.... [Read Full Story]

Anti-Nuclear Group Questioning Palisades Security Suspensions

An anti-nuclear group is asking questions about allegations that security guards at the Palisades nuclear plant were allegedly either skipping or not adequately performing fire inspections at the plant. As a result, 20 members of the security force have been put on leave, with one telling a Kalamazoo news outlet they were never trained on how to do the fire inspections. Kevin Kamps with Beyond Nuclear says fire risk is one of the biggest risks a nuclear plant faces. He thinks the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should take firmer action against the Palisades’ parent company, Entergy.... [Read Full Story]

21 Youths Graduate From MSP Leadership Academy

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have saluted 21 young men who graduated from the Michigan State Police Youth Leadership Academy this year. At Monday’s meeting, they were introduced to the latest graduates. MSP trooper Maurice Burton says the kids who join are sent to a five-day camp where they do physical training and also take part in sessions to learn a variety of skills.... [Read Full Story]

Lawrence Third Grader Wins Contest To Paint A Plow

Some Van Buren County school children have helped out with painting one of the road commission’s plows. Van Buren County Road Commission Engineer-Manager Larry Hummel says the agency held a contest, asking kids from all over the county how a plow should be decorated. With 93 submissions, the winner was Lawrence Elementary’s Hailey Camp, a third grader. They painted the plow to her specifications.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren Youth Fair Underway

It’s time once again for the Van Buren Youth Fair. The event is now underway at the fairgrounds in Hartford, with activities scheduled through Saturday. The Youth Fair Board’s Paul Garrod says, in addition to the 4H displays, food, and rides, there will be a variety of entertainment all week.... [Read Full Story]

Service Held For Ron Kienzle

Two Berrien County Courthouse security officers killed last week in the line of duty have been laid to rest. On Monday, the service for Ronald Kienzle was held at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center with a thousands in attendance. They included hundreds of police officers from all over Michigan. Kienzle’s graveside service also took place Monday afternoon at Crystal Springs Cemetery, with nearby roads closed as the procession went by. Kienzle was shot and killed last Monday by a Berrien County Jail inmate who also killed courthouse security chief Joseph Zangaro. Zangaro’s service was last Friday.... [Read Full Story]

State Board Approves Detroit Schools Bailout

A state board has approved a $150 million emergency loan and other facets of a plan to address massive operating debt in the Detroit school district and to return control to locally elected officials. The three-member Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board OK’d the proposal Monday. It voted to transfer assets of the Detroit Public Schools to a new district and to authorize the elimination or restructuring of debt by borrowing $235 million through the sale of bonds. The votes effectively begin implementing a $617 million state bailout that was enacted into law in June. Current school board members and others urged the board to reject the plan and to implement their proposed alternative. They say the laws, which allow the new district to hire noncertified teachers, are unconstitutional.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan To Get Facility For Autonomous Vehicle Testing

Plans to convert the site of a former General Motors plant that once pumped out World War II-era bombers into an autonomous car testing facility are moving forward. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust on Monday announced a $1.2 million purchase agreement for the acquisition of 311 acres at Willow Run in Washtenaw County’s Ypsilanti Township. The project was highlighted by Governor Rick Snyder during his state of the state address in January, when he said he was working with Michigan’s congressional representatives to help make it happen. The nonprofit American Center for Mobility was formed to develop the project. The RACER Trust took over sites around the country left behind in Detroit-based GM’s 2009 bankruptcy reorganization.... [Read Full Story]

[VIDEO] Unity March Draws Hundreds

A call for unity and love is being heeded in Berrien County. Cafe Mosiac’s Andrew Collins and several others got together to call for a march from the Benton Harbor business to the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph yesterday following weeks of violence across the country, capped off by the shooting deaths of two court officers at the courthouse last Monday.... [Read Full Story]

Gas Prices Up 9¢

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 9 cents per gallon in the past week. The Dearborn-based auto club says the average price for self-serve regular u nleaded gasoline was about $2.36 per gallon on Sunday. That’s about 39 cents less than it was at the same point last year. This is the first time in five weeks that the statewide price of gas has increased. The lowest average price was about $2.29 per gallon in the Traverse City area, while the highest average was about $2.42 per gallon in the Ann Arbor area. In Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, we have the second-lowest average price at $2.30.... [Read Full Story]

Funeral Today For Ron Kienzle

Southwest Michigan says goodbye to Berrien County Courthouse bailiff Ron Kienzle today. His funeral is set for 1 p.m. at the Mendel Center on the campus of Lake Michigan College. Kienzle was shot and killed along with courthouse security director Joe Zangaro last Monday by an inmate who was trying to escape after a court appearance. There will be road closures starting at 9 a.m. when Yore Avenue is shut down between Empire and Napier. Crystal Avenue will be closed from Empire to Napier from 2 until 4 p.m., and the outside westbound lane of Napier Avenue will be closed from Yore Avenue to Pipestone Road from 1:30 to around 4 p.m. Police will also close the exit ramps from I-94 to Napier in both directions from 1:30 to around 4 p.m.... [Read Full Story]

Hundreds March For Unity, Love

Love and unity – those were the themes of a march Sunday afternoon from Cafe Mosiac in Benton Harbor to the Berrien County Courthouse. Organized after the shooting deaths of two court officers, the march also stemmed from recent violence nationwide with police shooting and killing two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana and the ambush that killed five Dallas police officers. Cafe Mosiac’s Andrew Collins, a former Benton Township police officer, says there’s too much negativity in the world, “lot of people who want to scream and holler about what the problems are.” He tells WSJM News “we felt it was necessary to bring some talk about the solution, and we believe that through Christ the only solution is love. We’re touting the L-O-V-E and we have an acronym with that. The L is learn about the community that you work in, or that you live in, or that you serve in. The O is have an open heart and open mind to those who may not look or sound or think like you. The V is to volunteer in those communities which you may not be a part of, and the E is to empower other people to do the same.”... [Read Full Story]

AAA Report Finds Most Drivers Get Road Rage

A new AAA report reveals road rage continues to be a major concern. The agency conducted a survey of 2,700 drivers around the country, finding nearly 80% of them experienced aggression or anger while behind the wheel in the past year. AAA’s Gary Bubar says some people will create dangers on the road because of anger.... [Read Full Story]

Local Candidate Forum Set For Next Week

A forum with local political candidates is planned for next week. It’s being organized by the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, and will be held at the Super 8 Conference Center on Red Arrow Highway in Stevensville on Friday. On hand will be several candidates for local office, including county commission and drain commissioner. The forum will be at noon. Organizers say everyone’s welcome to come out and bring some questions for those running.... [Read Full Story]

Man Picked Up On Warrant While Playing Pokemon GO

A man with a warrant for his arrest was taken into custody after showing up at a Detroit-area police station while playing the Pokemon GO game. The Detroit News reports Milford police say the 26-year-old, who was wearing pajama pants, rode a bike to the Milford station Thursday.
Police Chief Tom Lindberg says officers recognized him because they’ve had contact with him in previous years. He was booked on a warrant for missing a court date and released. The newspaper says he was originally charged with breaking and entering. The location-aware smartphone game gives digital incentives like “Pokeballs” as rewards for visiting real places. The locations are known as “Pokestops” and “Gyms.” According to Milford police, the station is the site of a “Gym” as part of the game.... [Read Full Story]

Historic Southwest Michigan Bridge To Be Moved

A historic bridge that’s the last of its kind in Michigan is going to be replaced by a new span that’ll be the first of its kind in the state. The Elkhart Truth reports that the Michigan Department of Transportation plans to begin removing the M-86 bridge over the Prairie River near Centreville
on July 18. It’ll be relocated to Cass County. In its place, the department will build a new 104-foot bridge that’ll be the first in the state to include carbon fiber composite strand reinforcement. It’ll be the second span in the state to include concrete T-beams. The department says pairing the bulb T-beams and the carbon fiber strands will reduce concrete cracking, deterioration and corrosion common in traditional steel-reinforced bridges. The $4.9 million project is scheduled for completion in November 2017.... [Read Full Story]