Local News Archives

Benton Harbor Water Line Replacements Almost Done

More than 90% of the work to replace lead water lines in the city of Benton Harbor is now complete. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced this past week more than 90% of the lines in the city have either been replaced or confirmed to be lead free. Crews have excavated 171 service lines over the past 30 days and replaced any lead or galvanized services lines with new copper pipe. They’re currently averaging six line excavations per day. So far, more than 4,000 water service lines have been replaced or verified non-lead as of this week, leaving roughly 400 to complete. More than 2,700 Right of Access Water Service Line Replacement Agreement forms have been filled out by the 2,900 current water customers in Benton Harbor. Anyone who still needs to fill out the form should call the city. The goal is to have the water line project completed by April.. ...Read Full Story

Event To Celebrate US-31 To I-94 Planned For Monday

The Michigan Department of Transportation is offering everyone a unique chance to walk around in the middle of a highway while there are no vehicles on it. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News there will be a run, walk, and bike event on US-31 tomorrow, Monday. It’s to celebrate the near-completion of that highway’s connection to I-94. The run, walk, and bike event will start on US-31 near the Britain Avenue overpass.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Campus Tours Being Offered To Prospective Students

The new academic year will see the return of campus tours at Lake Michigan College for high school students interested in attending. LMC Admissions Director Caroline Tubbs tells us the tours will be offered at all three LMC locations, and students who go on the tours will see all the different buildings and programs the college has to offer.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Park Gets New Name

Broadway Park in Benton Harbor will now be known as June Woods Park following a move by city commissioners this past week. Neighbors Organizing Against Racism had proposed renaming the park for Junius Brutus Woods, a former slave who moved to Benton Harbor in the 1870s and later started a nursery. He went on to plant many of the trees in the city. Speaking this week, Commissioner Juanita Henry said the name change is a way to respect local Black history.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews University Receives $5 Million Grant

Andrews University has received a $5 million grant to help it establish the new Andrews Center for Community Change. The Berrien Springs university says the center is a project of its Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, and it will provide mentoring and guidance to pastors and lay ministers to address community needs and their root causes. It’ll work to support community projects and provide mentors to pastors. The $5 million grant comes from Lilly Endowment Incorporated. Andrews University President Andrea Luxton says the funding will help the institution increase its “capacity to bring hope, healing and positive change.” She says Andrews looks forward to working with “partners to see the development of many transformational community projects.”. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Community Foundation Announces $230,000 In Grants

$230,000 in grants were announced by the Berrien Community Foundation as it held its 70th Annual Meeting and Celebration this week. The BCF announced five major grants and awards at the event. The newest grant is the Carolyn’s Kids Grant, which awarded $50,000 each to Well of GRACE Ministries for its Raising Kids with Character program and the Readiness Center for its literacy and social-emotional support programs. Also announced this week was the $75,000 Alamar Nonprofit Sustainability Grant, which went to the OutCenter to invest in development planning and community education, and the $50,000 Stephen E. Upton Love Your Community Grant for Present Pillars to help build strong fathers. The BCF’s Golden Acorn Volunteer Award went to Diane Young, a volunteer in the community, and the Golden Acorn Excellence Award went to HOPE Resources in Coloma for its work with low-income families. Reflecting on 2022, BCF Program Director Susan Matheny said 2022 was a busy year for the organization as it gave out more than $10 million in grants, including $348,000 in scholarships.. ...Read Full Story

Adopt a Highway Week Starts Saturday

Drivers are advised to watch out for Adopt a Highway volunteers while out on the road starting this weekend and through next Sunday. That’s because there will be thousands of them out picking up trash along roads. Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Dan Weingarten told us this year Adopt a Highway has more than 2,900 community groups signed up to help keep the roadways clean.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Stadium Tunnel To Get Name

The tunnel used by players to enter Michigan Stadium will be named the Lloyd Carr Tunnel after the last football coach to win a national championship. The university will dedicate it before the game against Penn State on October 15. Carr attended the Board of Regents meeting yesterday when it was announced and called the tunnel “hallowed ground.” He became an assistant coach in 1980 and served 13 seasons as head coach, winning five Big Ten conference titles and the 1997 national championship.. ...Read Full Story

Men Rescued After Sailboat Flips In Lake Michigan

Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies have rescued three men after their sailboat flipped about three miles offshore in Lake Michigan. All three were wearing life jackets and one was able to call family members and give them their location for deputies. All three were treated for mild hypothermia when they were brought to shore, but did not have to be hospitalized. High waves and strong winds flipped the boat.. ...Read Full Story

New Details On Oxford Shooting Suspect Released

An attorney representing three families affected by the Oxford High School shooting says the suspect, Ethan Crumbley, showed signs of trouble well before the November shooting. Attorney Ven Johnson says teachers were aware of different drawings and letters Crumbley drew and wrote when classes first started in August of last year. Some of the teachers sent the information to counselors, but Johnson says little was done to help Crumbley. Justin Shilling’s mother Jill Soave says some action should’ve been taken.. ...Read Full Story

Watervliet Receiving More Than $7 Million For Water System Improvements

The city of Watervliet is receiving more than $7 million in federal funding for improvements to its water system. The office of Congressman Fred Upton announced Thursday the two low-interest loans, one for $4 million and the other for $3.2 million, are provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development. Both loans will sit at the low interest rate of 2% over the duration of 40 years. It’s estimated the loans will help pay for work that will affect 3,000 residents. Upton says the money will be used to replace undersized and aging water mains throughout the city. Funds will also be used to replace lead water service lines. He adds up-to-date infrastructure is “absolutely critical” across southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Commissioners Hear Juvenile Justice Report

The administrator of the Berrien County Courts Family Division has updated county commissioners on the latest developments in the juvenile system. Speaking Thursday, Commissioner Jim Curran said the administration committee heard this week from Elvin Gonzalez that a focus now is on diversion of young people away from the system.. ...Read Full Story

Lawyer: Teen A Worry Months Before School Shooting

From the Associated Press — A lawyer representing families of victims of a Michigan high school shooting says some teachers and a counselor were aware of the suspect’s troubling behavior months before the mass shooting last fall. Detroit attorney Ven Johnson told reporters Thursday that depositions taken in a civil lawsuit against Oxford Community Schools and some staff at Oxford High School reveal Ethan Crumbley had shown a proclivity toward guns, ammunition and violence at the start of the 2021 school year. One teacher said Crumbley drew what appeared to be a gun’s ammunition magazine on a note card in late August 2021. Johnson said Crumbley also wrote in a survey that his favorite books included “Making Bombs for Hitler.”. ...Read Full Story

Two Hurt In Car-Motorcycle Crash

Two people are hospitalized in Kalamazoo following a crash between a car and a motorcycle in Watervliet Township Wednesday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it happened around 6:45 p.m. the intersection of County Line Road and Hagar Shore Road. A Kia Soul passenger car driven by a 67-year-old Kalamazoo woman and a Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by a 45-year-old Watervliet man collided. Investigation found the Kia failed to stop for a stop sign at Hagar Shore Road while northbound on County Line. The eastbound Harley Davidson on Hagar Shore had the right of way with no stop sign and stuck the Kia. The Kia then overturned in a ditch. The motorcyclist was thrown into a field. Both drivers suffered serious injuries and were taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo.. ...Read Full Story

Two Injured In Car-Motorcycle Crash

Two people are hospitalized in Kalamazoo following a crash between a car and a motorcycle in Watervliet Township Wednesday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it happened around 6:45 p.m. the intersection of County Line Road and Hagar Shore Road. A Kia Soul passenger car driven by a 67-year-old Kalamazoo woman and a Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by a 45-year-old Watervliet man collided, although police have not specified the circumstances. Both drivers suffered serious injuries and were taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. Police have not said who was at fault.. ...Read Full Story

State House Approves 28-Day Limit On Emergency Orders

Emergency orders issued by the state’s executive branch would only be able to last 28 days without legislative approval after House passage of several bills. The last 23 of a 30-bill package were approved mostly on party lines yesterday. Republican lawmakers were furious in 2020 due to Governor Whitmer’s emergency orders for COVID-19 because they didn’t have a say in it. Whitmer is likely to veto the bills if they pass the Senate.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT, Firm Working On Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging Road

The Michigan Department of Transportation is working with the firm, Electreon on building a road that serves as a wireless electric vehicle recharging station. MDOT spokesperson Michael Frezell tells WSJM News Electreon has built such roads in Europe and its one-mile pilot will be located in Detroit near the Michigan Central Depot site under development by Ford. Is it really possible to charge a vehicle while driving it?. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Enters Power Purchase Agreement In Effort To Reach Net Zero Emissions

Whirlpool has announced it’s entered into a second wind Virtual Power Purchase Agreement to speed up the process of reaching its goal to have Net Zero emissions in its plants and operations by 2030. The latest agreement with ENGIE North America will represent 53 megawatts of renewable wind energy over 12 years. Whirlpool says that’s the equivalent of removing 30,000 gas-powered vehicles from the road, displacing 321,000 barrels of oil used per year, or powering 27,000 homes for a year. As part of its efforts to reach Net Zero emissions, Whirlpool has been making energy-efficient upgrades across its manufacturing plants while also investing in off site renewable energy opportunities through Virtual Power Purchase Agreements. Whirlpool Director of Sustainability Ron Voglewede says the latest agreement is a part of the company’s commitment to sustainability and reducing its carbon footprint.. ...Read Full Story

Council Says Proposal 3 Has Some Unclear Language

Many questions surround Proposal 3, the November ballot proposal that would allow abortion in Michigan following Roe v. Wade being overturned by the US Supreme Court. The Citizens Research Council provides unbiased information on issues to help create sound, rational public policy in Michigan. Eric Lupher is the organization’s president. He says Proposal 3 has some language that may not lead to clear conclusions.. ...Read Full Story

Lottery Jackpots Climbing

The two big lottery jackpots have reached a combined half a billion dollars with no big winner yet this week. Tonight’s Powerball is $251 million and Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot is $301 million. What are your chances of winning?. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Adds 16,901 COVID-19 Cases

Michigan has added 16,901 new cases of COVID-19 in the past week. The state Department of Health and Human Services says cases averaged 2,404 a day. There were 147 people who died from the virus for a total of 38,464 since the pandemic began in March 2020. Just over 68% of Michigan residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Michigan College Offering Campus Tours This Year

The new academic year will see the return of campus tours at Lake Michigan College for high school students interested in attending. LMC Admissions Director Caroline Tubbs tells us the tours will be offered at all three LMC locations, and students who go on the tours will see all the different buildings and programs the college has to offer.. ...Read Full Story

City Commission Approves Permit For New Marijuana Dispensary

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have approved a special use permit for a new recreational marijuana dispensary. At a Monday meeting, there was little comment as the ReLeaf Center was given approval to open the adult use facility at 326 East Main Street. The permit was previously approved by the planning commission. Commissioner Mary Alice Adams said at Monday’s meeting the new business will result in the creation of jobs, adding there are communities using new marijuana businesses to do some good.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Company Wins Employer Of The Year Award From Michigan Works

Southwest Michigan-based Lyons Industries has been named the Michigan Works Association 2022 Employer of the Year. Michigan Works Berrien, Cass, Van Buren says it’s due to the company’s “commitment to improving the pipeline of skilled workers in the workforce.” Lyons Industries is a family manufacturing business headquartered in Dowagiac and produces bathtubs and showers for retail and wholesale. The business received its honor in Mt. Pleasant at the Michigan Works conference this month. Michigan Works says Lyons Industries has engaged with youth services programming, offered internships, career exploration tours, and hiring opportunities for young people. They’ve also invested heavily in automation to help improve the work environment for their employees. Michigan Works Association CEO Ryan Hundt says Lyons Industries is a “shining example of what can happen if employers work closely with the Michigan Works system.”. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Time Running Low To Avert Government Shutdown

Congressman Fred Upton is still expecting a government shutdown to be avoided at the end of the month with a continuing budget resolution, but says the Senate leadership is really cutting it close. The government will shut down if congressional leaders don’t establish a spending agreement that maintains current levels with only a few changes. Upton says pulling that off is proving tricky.. ...Read Full Story

90% Of Lead Water Lines Now Replaced In Benton Harbor

More than 90% of the work to replace lead water lines in the city of Benton Harbor is now complete. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday more than 90% of the lines in the city have either been replaced or confirmed to be lead free. Crews have excavated 171 service lines over the past 30 days and replaced any lead or galvanized services lines with new copper pipe. They’re currently averaging six line excavations per day. So far, more than 4,000 water service lines have been replaced or verified non-lead as of this week, leaving roughly 400 to complete. More than 2,700 Right of Access Water Service Line Replacement Agreement forms have been filled out by the 2,900 current water customers in Benton Harbor. Anyone who still needs to fill out the form should call the city. The goal is to have the water line project completed by April.. ...Read Full Story

Commissioners Approve Name Change For Broadway Park

Broadway Park in Benton Harbor will now be known as June Woods Park following a move by city commissioners Monday. Neighbors Organizing Against Racism had proposed renaming the park for Junius Brutus Woods, a former slave who moved to Benton Harbor in the 1870s and later started a nursery. He went on to plant many of the trees in the city. Speaking Monday, Commissioner Juanita Henry said the name change is a way to respect local Black history.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT To Hold Run, Walk, Bike Event To Celebrate US-31 Project

The Michigan Department of Transportation is offering everyone a unique chance to walk around in the middle of a highway while there are no vehicles on it. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells us there will be a run, walk, and bike event on US-31 next Monday. It’s to celebrate the near-completion of that highway’s connection to I-94. The run, walk, and bike event will start on US-31 near the Britain Avenue overpass.. ...Read Full Story