Local News Archives

More Than 17,000 New Cases Of COVID Identified In Michigan For Thursday And Friday

Michigan is reporting 17,162 new COVID-19 cases for Thursday and Friday combined. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website says the case count represents new referrals of confirmed cases to the department since Wednesday, November 25. Over the two days, Thursday and Friday, the average number of new confirmed cases is 8,581 per day. The state has had more than 341,000 cases of COVID since the pandemic started. The state reported 172 additional deaths for Thursday and Friday, including 108 deaths identified through a review of vital records. Michigan’s COVID death total is now 8,933 since March. For Friday, the Berrien County Health Department’s coronavirus dashboard showed Berrien 6,091 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. The county has had 108 deaths. On Friday, Berrien County had 62 patients non-ICU hospitalizations, and 7 patients in the intensive care unit.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Car Insurance Fee For Medical Coverage Will Drop

From the Associated Press — Michigan drivers who want unlimited personal injury protection benefits will pay $86 a vehicle starting next summer, down from $100 currently. The fee was mandatory for decades but became optional beginning in July under a change in state law. The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, a state-created nonprofit entity that reimburses auto insurers for medical
claims surpassing $580,000, announced the 14% fee reduction Wednesday. It said the cut to the fee is primarily due to health care cost controls and other changes in the 2019 law enacted by Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Republican-led Legislature.. ...Read Full Story

New Michigan Law To Wipe Clean Misdemeanors, Minor Offenses

From the Associated Press — New legislation under Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer will allow thousands of Michigan residents to get their misdemeanors removed from public record. According to the Traverse City Record-Eagle, the “Clean Slate” laws will automatically expunge misdemeanors seven years after sentencing. Felonies will be handled the same way 10 years after sentencing or the end of a sentence. Supporters say the change will allow Michigan residents to seek better employment, apply for housing and have access to previously off-limits opportunities. According to a governor’s office, drunken driving offenses, as well as crimes involving minors, vulnerable elders, assaults, forgery and embezzlement, and other more serious felonies and misdemeanors will not be automatically expunged.. ...Read Full Story

President-Elect Biden Calls Muskegon Nurses

Mercy Health Muskegon’s nurses took a FaceTime call on Thanksgiving from President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill. The surprise call lasted about five minutes before they were called to an emergency. Biden told them their work is critical, thanked them, and he and Jill wanted to hear from them as well.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Suspicious Death In Cass County

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is investigating what it calls a suspicious death on Thursday. The department reports the body of a 29-year-old woman was found in a vehicle around 7:30 a.m. in the southeast corner of the county. The  sheriff’s department has released no further details, but is asking anyone with information on the death to contact police. You can reach the Cass County Sheriff’s Department at 269-445-2481.
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Fire Marshal Urges Caution With Cooking Today

Michigan State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer urges safety when cooking this Thanksgiving. He tells WSJM News it’s the number one day for cooking fires each year. In fact, cooking accounts for 77% of fires in residential buildings on Thanksgiving. Sehlmeyer says many fires start due to cooking left unattended.. ...Read Full Story

Progress Reported With Silver Beach Shore Work

Quick progress is being made on shoring up the Lake Michigan shore along Silver Beach in St. Joseph. Speaking to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners Administration Committee on Wednesday, County Administrator Brian Dissette said contractors are out there dumping large rocks and preparing to put up new structures. He showed the committee aerial photos taken this week of the work.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews University Gets $2.25 Million Grant

Andrews University is receiving a grant of $2.25 million to help at-risk students succeed and to improve the enrollment of minority students, focusing specifically on the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi in Dowagiac. The U.S. Department of Education grant will allow implementation of a plan that includes streamlining the curriculum and faculty counseling to increase placement rates among students and help them graduate within four years. 20% of the grant is designated for endowment funds, while an additional portion will be allocated to scholarships for underrepresented and at-risk students. Andrews University says the effort to secure the grant was spearheaded by Padma Tadi Uppala, the chair of the School of Population Health, Nutrition, and Wellness. She saw the potential after considering the diversity in students all across the Berrien Springs campus.. ...Read Full Story

COVID Inmates Moving To Macomb County

Some inmates who have tested positive for the coronavirus will be moved to the Macomb County Correctional Facility. These inmates with COVID-19 are being moved from other state prisons as far away as the UP because some prisons have been hit hard by COVID with hundreds of cases. Chris Gautz is with the state Department of Corrections and explains why the move is being made.. ...Read Full Story

4,273 New COVID Cases Identified In Michigan For Wednesday

Michigan is reporting 4,273 new COVID-19 cases for Wednesday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had more than 324,000 cases of COVID since the pandemic started. The state reported 73 additional deaths for Wednesday, bringing the death total in Michigan since March up to 8,761. For Wednesday, the Berrien County Health Department’s coronavirus dashboard showed the county with 5,681 cases of COVID since March. The county has had 107deaths. For Wednesday, the county had 57 non-ICU hospitalizations and four patients in intensive care.. ...Read Full Story

Enbridge Sues Michigan Over Oil Pipeline Shutdown Order

From the Associated Press — Enbridge is fighting an order to shut down its oil pipeline that crosses the waterway connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The Canadian company filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who demanded earlier this month that Line 5 be closed within 180 days. Enbridge says the only agency with authority to regulate Line 5 is the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Whitmer based her order on revocation of an easement granted by the state in 1953 to run the pipeline across state land at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac.. ...Read Full Story

USDA Expert Talks Thanksgiving Food Safety

Health experts are reminding everyone that COVID isn’t the only illness you have to guard against over Thanksgiving. USDA food safety specialist Meredith Carothers tells WSJM News food borne illnesses are a threat with all of the meal preparation going on. When cooking and serving, she advises following the two hour rule.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Welcomes Peaceful Transition Of Power

You may have seen Congressman Fred Upton pop up in the national media this week as he urged a peaceful transition of power in Washington. He got some attention for saying President Trump and others should accept the results of the presidential election. He tells WSJM News there’s no proof of fraud in the election.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department Receives CARES Act Funds

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department has received more than $127,000 in federal CARES Act money. The department says it worked closely with the Van Buren County Finance Department to apply for the assistance during the pandemic. It’s already used the federal funds to purchase two trailers, traffic cones, folding tables, chairs, a generator, and an EZ up tent, and plans to use the money for mobile drive-up COVID testing sites, future mobile vaccinations, and similar programs. The sheriff’s department says it also was able to buy in-car computers and laptops for the county’s Emergency Operation Center and administration staff. Sheriff Dan Abbott notes that thanks to the CARES Act dollars, no local taxpayer funds had to be spent on coronavirus needs.. ...Read Full Story

6,290 Additional Cases Of COVID Identified In Michigan For Tuesday

6,290 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Michigan for Tuesday. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website, the state has had more than 320,000 cases of COVID since the pandemic started. The state reported 145 additional deaths for Tuesday. The death total in Michigan is now 8,688. On Tuesday, Berrien County passed the 100 deaths mark, with the health department’s COVID dashboard showing three additional deaths over Monday for a total of 102.. ...Read Full Story

GM To Recall 7M Vehicles Globally To Replace Takata Air Bags

From the Associated Press — General Motors will recall about 7 million big pickup trucks and SUVs worldwide to replace potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators. The move came Monday after the U.S. government told the automaker it had to recall 6 million of the vehicles in the U.S. GM says it will not fight the recall, which will cost $1.2 billion. The company had petitioned the agency four times starting in 2016 to avoid a recall, contending the inflators are safe. Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to fill air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate and blow apart a metal canister, spewing shrapnel. Twenty-seven people have been killed worldwide by the exploding inflators.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagons Donate More Than $60,000 To Children’s Hospital

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi has donated more than $62,000 to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Beacon Children’s Hospital in South Bend. The Pokagons say the money is from the proceeds of its 2020 Four Winds Invitational. The donation will be used to help fund the purchase of Centrella Smart+ Beds, which will be placed in the unit to improve patient mobility and prevent pressure injuries. Pokagon Tribal Chair Matthew Wesaw says despite COVID-19, the band was still able to hold the ninth annual Four Winds Invitational tournament in September. The Pokagon Band has donated more than $730,000 to Beacon Health System over the last nine years that it’s hosted the tournament.. ...Read Full Story

AARP Warns About COVID- Holiday Scams

With the spike in COVID cases and the upcoming holiday season, consumer groups are warning Michiganders a proliferation of scam artists is emerging. Mark Hornbeck with AARP of Michigan says everyone should be on the lookout for the typical cons related to shopping, including bogus websites impersonating major brands, gift cards that already have been drained of their funds, and porch pirates. He says the pandemic also has fostered a huge number of scams.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Certifies Biden Win Despite Trump’s GOP Overtures

From the Associated Press — Michigan election officials on Monday certified Democrat Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state amid President Donald Trump’s brazen attempts to subvert the results of the election. The Board of State Canvassers, which has two Republicans and two Democrats, confirmed the results on a 3-0 vote with one abstention. Allies of Trump and losing GOP Senate candidate John James had urged the panel to delay voting for two weeks to audit votes in heavily Democratic Wayne County, home to Detroit.. ...Read Full Story

State Releases COVID Numbers For Sunday, Monday

Michigan is reporting 11,511 new COVID-19 cases for Sunday and Monday combined. That makes for an average of 5,755 each of those days. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had more than 314,000 cases of COVID since the pandemic started. The state reported 65 additional deaths for Sunday and Monday, bringing the death total in Michigan since March up to 8,543. For Monday, the Berrien County Health Department’s coronavirus dashboard shows Berrien with 81 additional cases over Sunday, now at a total of 5,508 since the pandemic started. The county has had 99 deaths. The county has 68 non-ICU hospitalizations and 3 ICU hospitalizations as of Monday.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Leader: Trump Didn’t Ask For Election Interference

From the Associated Press — Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield says President Donald Trump didn’t ask the state’s Republican lawmakers to “break the law” or “interfere” with the election during a meeting at the White House. Chatfield was among several GOP legislators who met with Trump on Friday, amid Trump’s longshot efforts to block Joe Biden’s win. Chatfield’s comments to Fox News
about the highly unusual meeting came a day before canvassers plan to meet on whether to certify Biden’s 154,000-vote victory. Michigan’s election agency has recommended that the November 3 results – including Biden’s victory – be certified by the canvassing board, which has two Democrats and two Republicans.. ...Read Full Story

Restaurant Ban In Michigan Gets Mixed Response From Industry

From the Associated Press — A Michigan mandate that has forced dine-in restaurants and bars to close for the second time this year is getting a mixed response from industry leaders that worry the move could hurt businesses. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced the new order earlier this month. MLive.com reports that state law allows the agency to prohibit gatherings during an epidemic. The ban, which went into effect Wednesday, will last for three weeks. Some industry leaders say the ban won’t prevent people from getting COVID-19, while others think it is worth closing to help the state.. ...Read Full Story

Retail Group: Only Buy What You Need

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Retailers Association are appealing to Michigan residents not to panic buy food and other items as the COVID crisis deepens. The two said Friday they are hearing from some retailers that some people are stockpiling things again. Michigan Retailers Association spokesperson Meegan Holland tells WSJM News this already happened.. ...Read Full Story

Army Corps Warns Of More Dangers On Great Lakes

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is urging caution around Great Lake piers, breakwaters, and jetties, especially during times of high wind and waves. The Army Corps says there have been many accidents near harbor structures throughout the more turbulent weather season this year as higher than normal water levels pose an added threat. The higher water levels bring safety hazards like submerged breakwaters, rip currents, and electric shock risks. The Army Corps urges everyone to be extra cautious if they go near a pier, or better yet, don’t go near the pier. With the water temperature low, there’s an additional risk of cold water shock when someone gets knocked into the lake. You can find Great Lakes safety videos at RespectThePower.org.. ...Read Full Story

Hunting Licenses Increase

From the Associated Press — Wildlife officials in many states are issuing lots more hunting and fishing licenses this year – apparently because of the coronavirus. Americans who are weary of being cooped up at home and wearing masks elsewhere are taking refuge in outdoors sports that offer safety and solitude. In Michigan, the number of people getting hunting licenses for the first time in at least five years has jumped 80 percent. The trend has reversed a steady decline in hunting’s popularity that once appeared permanent. And it’s providing a potential new source of food for families and food banks pressed by the pandemic.. ...Read Full Story

State Observes Increase In STD

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is warning about an increase in cases of gonorrhea this year. Spokesperson Lynn Sutfin tells WSJM News they’re up 22% with the state already passing last year’s total for gonorrhea. They have been trending up for years in the state.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Identifies More Than 7,500 New COVID Cases For Saturday

Michigan is reporting 7,528 new COVID-19 cases for Saturday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had more than 302,000 cases of COVID since the pandemic started. The state reported 101 additional deaths for Saturday, 59 of which were identified through a review of vital records throughout the state. Michigan’s COVID-19 death total is now 8,478. For Saturday, the Berrien County Health Department’s coronavirus dashboard shows Berrien with 216 additional cases over Friday, now at a total of 5,183 since the pandemic started. The county has had 99 deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Report Critical Of For-Profit Colleges

New research is revealing some policies and behaviors referred to as “predatory” by for-profit colleges in Michigan. Michigan League for Public Policy Senior Policy Analyst Peter Ruark says according to his group’s findings, many for-profit schools have already been penalized for consumer protection violations.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Gets High Marks For Beach Safety Plan

The South Haven City Council this week received an update from the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority regarding the city’s current beach safety plan. There have been calls from the community for lifeguards at the city’s north and south beaches. The city has a total of seven beaches; however the north and south beaches are the most popular. The city heard various options to make the beaches safer for swimmers and the council has agreed to form a committee to take the information from the MMRMA and make recommendations to the city council. Ideas that were mentioned were more signage, installing gates at the piers. The Army Corps of Engineers owns the piers, so anything done with the piers would have to be approved by the Corps.. ...Read Full Story

Residents Urged To Watch Out For Invasive Insect That Damages Plants

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is asking all travelers to Michigan to beware of the invasive spotted lanternfly, an insect that damages plant life. The lanternfly is from Asia and first appeared in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. MDARD Invasive Species Prevention Specialist Rob Miller tells WSJM News the bug hasn’t shown up in Michigan, but it’s edged close, being found in Ohio. Dead spotted lanternflies were found on some goods shipped into the state recently. Miller says we don’t want the bug here.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Watchdogs Lose Bid To Stop Water Boost For Bottler

From the Associated Press — State regulators say they’ve rejected an appeal of a bottled water company’s plan to pump more water in western Michigan. The head of Michigan’s environment department says she can intervene only “under very limited circumstances. Liesl Clark says they’re not present in the dispute involving a grassroots group and Nestle’s Ice Mountain operations. In April, an
administrative law judge upheld a state permit, which allows Nestle Waters North America to pump 400 gallons a minute from a well in Osceola County. That’s a 60% increase. The water is trucked to an Ice Mountain production facility in Mecosta County. Nestle pulls water from other wells in the area.. ...Read Full Story

RESA Salutes Partners In Education

Berrien RESA has recognized this year’s community Partners in Education for their efforts to foster relationships that encourage student development and achievement. RESA says the Partners in Education this year are Harding’s Friendly Market in Berrien Springs, Pizza Hut in St. Joseph, Rural King in Niles, and the Benton Township Housing Commission. Harding’s was chosen for its work with students when they do weekly shopping trips there. Rural King was selected for its work with Blossomland Learning Center’s Niles offsite program. Pizza Hut was honored for hiring students and working with them, and the Benton Township Housing Commission was picked for finding space for RESA’s Birth to Three Early Childhood Education Department. RESA normally holds a reception to honor its Partners in Education, but this year, each was sent special gift boxes that included a plaque and commemorative thank you note.. ...Read Full Story

Retailers Association Warns Against Panic Buying

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Retailers Association are appealing to Michigan residents not to panic buy food and other items as the COVID crisis deepens. The two said Friday they are hearing from some retailers that some people are stockpiling things again. Michigan Retailers Association spokesperson Meegan Holland tells WSJM News this already happened.. ...Read Full Story

More Than 9,700 New Cases Of COVID Identified In Michigan Friday

Michigan is reporting 9,779 new COVID-19 cases for Friday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had more than 295,000 cases of COVID since the pandemic started. The state reported 53 additional deaths for Friday, bringing the death total in Michigan since March up to 8,377. For Friday, the Berrien County Health Department’s coronavirus dashboard shows Berrien with 88 additional cases over Thursday, now at a total of 4,967 since the pandemic started. The county has had 99 deaths, and increase of one over the previous day.. ...Read Full Story

Judge Does Not Halt Three-Week Pause In Michigan

(Kalamazoo, MI – AP) – A judge has declined to stop a three-week ban on indoor dining in Michigan, the latest coronavirus restriction imposed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration. Federal Judge Paul Maloney says a restraining order isn’t appropriate, especially when the state hasn’t had a chance to respond to the lawsuit. The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association sued to try to stop the indoor dining ban that began Wednesday. The group said restaurants can take further steps to minimize the coronavirus without cutting off customers.. ...Read Full Story

Meijer Limiting Sales Of Spirits

There is now a cap on the number of spirits you can buy at Meijer. The limit is just for the holiday season and only applies to bottles of spirits like vodka, whiskey, tequila, et cetera. Meijer says customers can buy two bottles of each brand at a time. Wine, beer, and liquor gift sets are not part of the limit. A Meijer spokesman says liquor gift sets are a big seller this time of year. He adds the limit is so “all customers can get what they want through the holidays.”. ...Read Full Story

Judge Denies Request From Restaurant Association To Stop Indoor Dining Ban

From the Associated Press — A judge has declined to stop a three-week ban on indoor dining in Michigan, the latest coronavirus restriction imposed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration. Federal Judge Paul Maloney says a restraining order isn’t appropriate, especially when the state hasn’t had a chance to respond to the lawsuit. The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association sued to try to stop the indoor dining ban that began Wednesday. The group said restaurants can take further steps to minimize the coronavirus without cutting off customers.. ...Read Full Story

President Invites MI Republican Lawmakers To White House

From the Associated Press — President Donald Trump has summoned Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders to the White House for a meeting Friday. The meeting comes amid a longshot GOP push to overturn the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state. Two people familiar with the matter tell The Associated Press that Trump invited Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield. They agreed to go, according to a state official aware of the leaders’ plans. The two officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. It was not immediately clear what the meeting is about. Neither Shirkey nor Chatfield commented.. ...Read Full Story

Health Officer Briefs Commissioners

A coalition of Berrien County organizations and businesses has released a joint open letter to the community to urge continued diligence in the fight against COVID-19. The letter, signed by the Berrien County Health Department, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana Michigan Power, Cornerstone Alliance, and Whirlpool, says with cases up, “the window of time for assisting our health care heroes to continue operating within their capacity is growing smaller by the day.” Berrien County Health Officer Nicki Britten told much the same to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners Thursday.. ...Read Full Story

Report Finds Problems With For-Profit Colleges

New research is revealing some policies and behaviors referred to as “predatory” by for-profit colleges in Michigan. Michigan League for Public Policy Senior Policy Analyst Peter Ruark says according to his group’s findings, many for-profit schools have already been penalized for consumer protection violations.. ...Read Full Story

Suspect Caught After Bank Robbery In Niles

No one is hurt after a bank robbery in Niles on Thursday. The Niles Police Department says officers responded to TCF Bank on East Main Street around 1:40 p.m. The suspect had fled with an undisclosed amount of money. The department says thanks to cooperation between citizens and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, the suspect was found a short time later and taken into custody. He’s identified as a 52-year-old Niles man. He’s expected to be arraigned on armed robbery charges Friday.. ...Read Full Story