Local News Archives

James Raises $6.4M, Peters $5.2M In Michigan’s Senate Race

From the Associated Press — Republican challenger John James raised $6.4 million over three months in his campaign in Michigan for the U.S. Senate, again topping Democratic incumbent Gary Peters, who collected $5.2 million. It was the fourth straight quarter in which the businessman and Army veteran outraised the first-term senator since entering the race about a year ago. Peters reported he
had more than $12 million on hand, while James did not release that figure. Both candidates reported record quarterly hauls and success tapping small-dollar donors. Peters is one of two Democratic senators up for re-election in a state won by President Donald Trump.. ...Read Full Story

390 Additional Cases Of COVID-19 In Michigan For Sunday

Michigan is reporting 390 additional cases of COVID-19 for Sunday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 69,338 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported one additional death for Sunday, bringing that total to 6,068. As of Friday, the state said there have been 53,867 recoveries from COVID-19. Berrien County had six new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, making the total 840 with 60 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Cass County had one new case for Sunday, making its total 170 with six deaths. Van Buren County had no new cases for the day, keeping the county’s total 242 with eight deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Survey Examines COVID Concern Among Michiganders

A new survey finds that 40% of Michiganders are less concerned about the coronavirus today than a month ago. The results are being highlighted by a coalition of healthcare and business leaders from across the state. DTE Energy CEO Gerry Anderson is the coalition leader and told Michigan News Network this week the recent increase in the number of cases is concerning.. ...Read Full Story

More Seeking Mental Health Help During Pandemic

A growing number of Michigan residents are experiencing anxiety and depression due to the stress of the coronavirus pandemic. Bob Sheehan is the CEO of the Community Mental Health Association. He told Michigan News Network this week using social media during this time can have both a positive and negative effect on your mental health.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Michigan College Reopening Monday

Lake Michigan College’s campuses in Benton Harbor, Niles, and South Haven will reopen on Monday with in-person services returning for current and prospective students. LMC says students can come to campuses to meet with staff for services like admissions and advising, records and registration, financial aid, mentoring, counseling and student support. Remote services remain available for students who prefer not to meet in person. The newly renovated William Hessel Library on the Benton Harbor campus also opens July 13. The open computer lab will relocate from its temporary location in the Hanson Technology Center to the library the same day. LMC also has opened its new Nature Trail to the public, which includes 1.8 miles of trail through 70 acres of woods along the water behind the college. The trailhead is on the Benton Harbor Campus by the Athletics Field parking lot. It is open daily from sunrise to sundown. As people head back to its facilities, LMC says one and all to social distance and wear a mask. A daily symptom check at the front entrance and masks are required for everyone entering campus. You can find out more about LMC’s coronavirus safety measures at LakeMichiganCollege.edu/COVID19.. ...Read Full Story

653 Additional Cases Of COVID-19 In Michigan For Saturday

Michigan is reporting 653 additional cases of COVID-19 for Saturday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 68,948 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported 28 additional deaths for Saturday, bringing that total to 6,067. However, the department notes 22 of those were found through a review of vital records around the state. Berrien County had 17 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, making the total 834 with 60 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Cass County had four new cases for Saturday, making its total 169 with six deaths. Van Buren County had six new cases for the day, making the county’s total 242 with eight deaths.. ...Read Full Story

State Medical Executive Discusses Implicit Bias Training For Healthcare Workers

Governor Whitmer has ordered all health workers in Michigan to receive implicit bias training. The governor’s order is aimed at addressing the coronavirus pandemic’s disproportionate impact on people of color. Michigan Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun says such training can make a positive difference in making sure everyone has equal access to health care.. ...Read Full Story

Drive-In Concert Series Planned At The Mendel Center

Live Music is coming back to the Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College. The center is planning a drive-in concert series to be held in the Grand Upton Hall parking lot starting on August 9. There will be four concerts with each featuring three local or regional acts spanning a wide variety of genres. Mendel Center Director Mike Nadolski says organizers explored several options and decided the parking lots surrounding the facility would lend themselves perfectly to hosting drive-in concerts. He says they “knew we had to make this happen for our community.” Each concert will feature multiple performers, including Jenna Mammina, Bryan Lubeck, The Big Payback, and many more. 100 tickets will be available for each show, and a ticket provides admission for one vehicle of up to six people and includes two parking spaces, one of which is a personal tailgate area to promote social distancing. You can get tickets at TheMendelCenter.com.. ...Read Full Story

State Senator Seeking Audit Of Unemployment Agency

State Senator Aric Nesbitt is questioning a Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency claim about how it’s been handing a backlog of filings during the CODID-19 pandemic. He tells WSJM News the UIA said this week it met its goal to make a determination on all currently eligible, certifying unpaid claims that were filed before May 1. Nesbitt says there’s no way that’s true.. ...Read Full Story

West MI Water Park Preparing To Reopen

The water park at the state’s largest amusement park will be welcoming visitors back next week. Laure Bollenbach is the spokesperson for the WildWater Adventure water park, part of Michigan’s Adventure near Muskegon. She told Michigan News Network this week  the park will reopen to season passholders on Thursday, July 16, and to the public on Friday, July 17.. ...Read Full Story

612 Additional Cases Of COVID-19 In Michigan For Friday

Michigan is reporting 612 additional cases of COVID-19 for Friday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 68,295 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported 15 additional deaths for Friday, bringing that total to 6,039. However, the department notes all 15 of those were found through a review of vital records around the state. Berrien County had 14 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, making the total 817 with 60 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Cass County had four new cases for Friday, making its total 165 with six deaths. Van Buren County had six new cases for the day, making the county’s total 236 with eight deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Issues New Mask Order

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued an executive order regarding the use of masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This new order requires businesses to refuse service to someone who refuses to wear a mask, with some exceptions. The governor’s office has released the following statement:. ...Read Full Story

Lieutenant Governor Discusses Need For Improvements In Health Equity

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued an executive directive for the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to begin developing requirements for implicit bias training for those seeking licenses as medical professionals in Michigan. Speaking at a Thursday conference, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist said Black Michiganders have been hit extra hard by COVID-19, exposing racial disparities in the healthcare system. He said Michigan will lead the way in righting them.. ...Read Full Story

Report: Toddler Vaccinations Rates Have Been Going Down In Michigan For Two Years

A report from the Michigan League for Public Policy finds vaccination rates among toddlers in the state have been declining for two years straight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rates have dipped even further during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating higher risk for the spread of other contagious, diseases. The report, “Childhood Vaccines in Michigan,” analyzes data over time, with interactive maps that track vaccination data for each county in Michigan going back to 2008. While the overall rates are up statewide from 2008, the League for Public Policy says the decline over the last few years is a concern. It says that by 2019, declining vaccination rates nationally led to the greatest number of measles cases in the U.S. since 1992. In Michigan, children as young as eight months old were affected by the outbreak. The league suggests the state pursue policies that help increase access to vaccinations. You can find the report right here.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Splash Pad Opens

The new splash pad in South Haven is finished and open. The city held a ribbon cutting for the more than $600,000 attraction Thursday. The splash pad is similar to the Whirlpool Compass Fountain in St. Joseph, although it has a maritime theme. South Haven Interim City Manager Kate Hosier tells WSJM News  it’s designed to resemble the tall ship, the Friend’s Good Will, a replica of an 1800s sailing schooner that’s featured at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven. In addition to being fun, Hosier says it’s intended to enhance safety.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Suggests Stricter Mask Rule Could Be Coming

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants everyone to take the mask rule more seriously, and is also suggesting it could be strengthened. Speaking Thursday, she said with COVID cases going up in the state, it becomes all the more important for people to take precautions. She wasn’t impressed with the scene at a Cass County lake over the Fourth of July weekend.. ...Read Full Story

Experts Advise Caution With Pets In High Heat

Most of Michigan has been seeing temperatures in the 90s this week, but it’s not just you and your family that you should be worried about. Your pets are also a concern in this heat. The 90-plus degree heat we’ve been having can be deadly for them, especially dogs. Owner of the Animal Emergency Center Dr. Heather Robertson says they can suffer from heat stroke and they don’t sweat. How long should they be out in the heat?. ...Read Full Story

446 Additional Cases Of COVID-19 In Michigan For Thursday

Michigan is reporting 446 additional cases of COVID-19 for Thursday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 67,683 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported nine additional deaths for Thursday, bringing that total to 6,024. Berrien County had 13 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, making the total 803 with 60 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Cass County had two new cases for Thursday, making its total 161 with six deaths. Van Buren County had one new case for the day, making the county’s total 230. Van Buren County also recorded its eighth coronavirus death.. ...Read Full Story

State Superintendent On DeVos Rule: Unacceptable

The state of Michigan this week joined a lawsuit against Education Secretary and Michigan native Betsy DeVos over the allocation of federal CARES Act money. The lawsuit filed in California alleges DeVos intentionally misrepresented the language in the federal CARES Act by allowing private schools to receive millions of dollars in federal funding. Among those announcing Michigan’s involvement in the lawsuit was Michigan State Superintendent Michael Rice.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Vetoes Bills To Further Delay Taxes In Pandemic

From the Associated Press — Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed bills that would have allowed for delayed tax payments. She cites the harm to local budgets across Michigan and says one measure related to property taxes is “blatantly” unconstitutional. The legislation, vetoed Wednesday, had won overwhelmingly legislative approval. The Democratic governor’s administration has approved some tax delays amid the coronavirus pandemic. She says the business-backed bills to further delay sales, use and income tax payments were “commendable” but would “push many local budgets over the precipice into fiscal crisis.”. ...Read Full Story

Upton Backing Rural Broadband Legislation

Congressman Fred Upton is pushing a bill to increase broadband access as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. He tells WSJM News the Rural Broadband Acceleration Act would speed up the distribution of the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, meaning more than $1 billion in the next ten years to roll out rural broadband in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

MI Chief Mobility Officer Discusses The Future Of Transportation

Governor Gretchen Whitmer last week announced the creation of the Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. Its goal is to work across state government and private industry to enhance Michigan’s mobility system and pave the way for more electric and autonomous vehicles. Named as Michigan’s chief mobility officer was Trevor Pawl. Speaking on the Michigan Department of Transportation podcast “Talking Transportation,” he said the office is about more than just cars.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata To Hold Outdoor Coffee Hour In Stevensville

State Senator Kim LaSata is planning an outdoor coffee hour for this month in Stevensville. LaSata holds the events to give the public a chance to express their concerns and ask her questions. To increase safety during the pandemic, she’s been holding the events outdoors. The Stevensville coffee hour will be on Wednesday, July 15 at North Lake Park from 9 to 10 a.m. The park is off Grand Mere Road. LaSata asks anyone planning on attending to wear a mask and follow physical distancing guidelines.. ...Read Full Story

Humane Society Seeking Funds

The Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan could use some help. Marketing Coordinator Xay Somsanith tells WSJM News they shut down to visitors in March when the pandemic struck, and just started to reopen this month. During the COVID quarantine, the Humane Society had to cancel some major events, like Bets for Pets.. ...Read Full Story

Wendzel Bill Aims To Reduce Voter Fraud

State Representative Pauline Wendzel has introduced legislation intended to increase the security of elections as absentee voting this year will hit record numbers in Michigan. Wendzel tells WSJM News her bill would make it a felony for an individual to knowingly submit an absentee voter application using another person’s name or personal information. The plan would also make it felony to complete applications with the intent to receive multiple ballots. She tells us her office has received complaints.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Township Man Killed In Saturday Hit And Run

Police say a St. Joseph Township man was killed in a hit and run crash on Saturday night in Benton Harbor. 20-year-old Thomas Adams was struck shortly before midnight in the 1200 block of Colfax Avenue. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety told The Herald Palladium officers were called to the scene about a hit and run involving a pedestrian and a car. Adam was taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland and later to Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids, where he died. Police said the driver was later found and arrested. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office identified the driver as 35-year-old Lamerrius Glass of Benton Harbor. He’s charged with reckless driving causing death and failure to stop at the scene of crash. Adams had been a well-known athlete for Berrien Springs High School before graduating in 2018. Police ask anyone who may have seen the hit and run crash to contact them.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Fab Lab Open Allows Anyone To Make PPE

Lake Michigan College’s Fab Lab is offering workshops and classes throughout the summer to give everyone something to do in this year of coronavirus. Hanson Technology Center Director Chad Dee tells WSJM News the makers space allows anyone to borrow its 3D printers, laser cutters, and sewing machines.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Fines Liquor Distributor $3M Over Supply Shortages

From the Associated Press — Michigan has announced a $3 million fine against the state’s largest liquor distributor over delays in shipping booze to vendors. NWS Michigan, which does business as Republican National Distributing Co., acknowledged 88 violations of state law to settle an investigation stemming from liquor supply shortages in late 2019. The deal announced Wednesday requires an
independent audit of the business, puts it on probation for a year and requires the company to submit monthly compliance reports. Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan Liquor Control Commission Chairman Pat Gagliardi called the penalties unprecedented.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Declines To Return To In-Person Meetings

Benton Harbor City Commissioners will not be going back to in-person meetings soon. That’s after a vote on a proposal to return to normal was shot down by the commission Monday night. Due to the pandemic, the body has been meeting virtually, but Commissioner Juanita Henry said it’s time to get back into city hall. Commissioner Mary Alice Adams said social distancing and other responsible measures would be difficult in the commission chambers.. ...Read Full Story

Police Departments Receive Donated Food Bags

A local effort to show support for police agencies has led to departments throughout southwest Michigan receiving special food bags for their officers. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us Jackie Haney decided to do something to show the community’s support for police as a national movement has left a less than positive climate for police. Haney and others who joined her Facebook campaign were able to deliver more than 400 goodie bags to five police departments in the Michiana area on Saturday. The bags were filled with drinks, chips, cookies, granola bars, and other items, and each sworn officer of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department received one. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey says the effort “means a lot to the men and women that faithfully serve our communities during these difficult times.”. ...Read Full Story

Disability Network Of Southwest Michigan To Celebrate 30 Years Of The ADA This Month

A celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act will be held in southwest Michigan this month. The Disability Network of Southwest Michigan’s Kristen Potts tells WSJM News the group celebrates the ADA each year, but with this being 30 years since the legislation was approved, they wanted to do something special. Unfortunately, COVID-19 cancelled a big gathering they’d planned in Kalamazoo. However, Potts says moving the event online will have its advantages.. ...Read Full Story

Electronics Recycling Event Being Held This Month In Berrien County

There will be a community recycling event this month in Berrien County. Berrien County Parks Department Environmental Property Manager Jill Adams tells WSJM News the county is teaming up with Green Earth Electronics Recycling for an Extended Hours Electronics Recycling Collection Event on July 15 and 16. Green Earth Electronics Recycling will be open later than normal so people can drop off items they don’t want. Adams says they’ll take all kinds of electronics for free.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Council Approves Marina Repairs

Repairs are coming to the North Side Marina in South Haven. Interim City Manager Kate Hozier tells WSJM News high water levels compromised the electricity system at the marina, forcing the city to close it and displacing nearly 100 boats. The city applied to the Michigan Waterways Commission for a grant to pay for part of the repairs.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Prosecutor Seeks State Help In Diamond Lake Party Investigation

The Cass County Prosecutor’s Office has filed a request with the Michigan Attorney General for the appointment of a special prosecutor to review a large party that was held at Cass County’s Diamond Lake on the Fourth of July. The reason is a possible conflict of interest. The local prosecutor says he has a affiliation with one of the impacted lake associations. The sandbar bash at the lake attracted hundreds of people who made little effort to social distance. Video of the party went viral, getting more than 10 million views on social media. Meanwhile, Van Buren-Cass District Health Department Medical Director Larry Wile told Michigan News Network the party is indeed a concern.. ...Read Full Story

Attorney General Announces Lawsuit Over Federal Aid To Schools

Michigan has joined a lawsuit with several other states seeking to overturn a rule from the U.S. Department of Education regarding how school districts should allocate federal coronavirus relief dollars. At a Tuesday press conference, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the rule from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos requires public districts to split some of their CARES Act funds with private school students.. ...Read Full Story

Ford Revives Bronco Brand, Aims At Jeep’s Big Off-Road Sales

From the Associated Press — Ford is reviving the Bronco SUV brand in an effort to cash in on the rugged U.S. off-road vehicle market now owned by Jeep.Later this month the company will show off two new Bronco-branded SUVs, a Ranger pickup-sized one that comes in two- and four-door versions, and the smaller Escape-sized Bronco Sport. It won’t be easy for a brand best known as O.J. Simpson’s ride in a 1994 low-speed chase with Los Angeles police. Jeep has sold well over 800,000 vehicles for the past five years. Ford believes the Bronco name will evoke good memories from its off-road heritage during a three-decade run that ended in
1996.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Arraigned In Hartford Township Shooting

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says a woman who shot her boyfriend on the Fourth of July has been arraigned. The shooting happened at a home in the 62,000 block of 66th Avenue in Hartford Township shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday. Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene to find the 34-year-old victim on the porch with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He remains in critical condition at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo and has ungone multiple surgeries. The sheriff’s department says 36-year-old Estela Morales is now charged with attempted murder in the shooting. Her bond was set at $1 million during her arraignment on Tuesday.. ...Read Full Story