Local News Archives

Benton Harbor Public Safety: Two Shootings Under Investigation

Benton Harbor Public Safety officers are investigating a pair of Tuesday night shootings. In the first, a 29-year-old man was shot at a home in the 900 block of Ogden Avenue just before 9 p.m. and is in critical condition at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo. Benton Harbor officers, however, weren’t called to that scene until about an hour later. He had initially been taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland and was later transferred. The second shooting happened around 1:20 a.m. Wednesday in the 900 block of Lavette, where a 44-year-old man was shot. He is in stable condition at Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph. No arrests have been made, and police have not identified any suspects in either shooting. Michigan State Police Major Crime Unit detectives are assisting.. ...Read Full Story

Chief Justice McCormack Calls Van Buren Courthouse Murals “Jarring”

The chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court says it’s “jarring” to see violent paintings in the Van Buren County courthouse. But Bridget McCormack says it’s not her job to tell local leaders how to manage the building. McCormack was there last week participating in an effort to observe and assist judges. One mural in a stairwell shows a bare-breasted woman holding a decapitated head and a spear. Another painting above a judge’s bench shows a nude man and nude woman begging for mercy. Local judges want the paintings covered up or removed, but county commissioners have said no. McCormack says the painting with the decapitated head could traumatize a crime victim. She says the old paintings might be appropriate for a museum but seem out of place in a courthouse.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Shooting Under Investigation

A shooting is under investigation in Benton Harbor. Our partners at WSBT-TV report a 29-year-old man was shot one time in the stomach shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday in the 900 block of Ogden Avenue, but no one called police for a little over an hour. The victim underwent surgery and is expected to make a full recovery. There’s no word on any suspects at this time. The victim did not live at the home where he was shot, but was apparently visiting relatives there.. ...Read Full Story

Chamber Of Commerce Pleased Government Shutdown Avoided, Confident On Roads

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is glad to hear Governor Gretchen Whitmer and legislative leaders in Lansing have reached a deal to have a state budget in place by the end of September even if it doesn’t include money to fix the state’s roads. Michigan Chamber of Commerce President Rich Studley tells WSJM News getting road money in place shouldn’t take priority over avoiding a state government shutdown.. ...Read Full Story

School Board Signals Support For Advisory Committee

The proposed Community Engagement and Advisory Committee to draft a plan for turning around Benton Harbor Area Schools is a step closer to becoming a reality. The state has proposed the creation of the autonomous committee that would have six months to issue recommendations for the district, and at a Tuesday meeting, the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education signaled initial support. Vice President Joseph Taylor spoke with us after the meeting.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Issues Annual Report

The Berrien County Health Department has released its report for 2018. Spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News the department gave its report to the Berrien County Board of Health last week. She says some people might not realize how many things the county health department does around the community in a given year.. ...Read Full Story

Man Pleads Guilty To Cass County Shooting

The Cass County Prosecutor’s office says a man charged in a shooting outside of a bar last year has pleaded guilty to second degree murder. Rolandis Russel was charged with first degree murder in the death of Fabian Wesaw, and the plea deal reduces the charge to second degree murder while also dropping charges of assault with intent to murder, carrying a weapon with unlawful intent, possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, and four felony firearm counts. The prosecutor’s office says Russel admitted to leaving the Beeson Street Bar in the early morning hours of July 29, 2018 and getting a loaded AK-47 out of his SUV. He then fired 13 shots at a man with whom he’d been arguing. Instead, he hit and killed Wesaw, who had been standing nearby. Russell will be sentenced to a minimum of 43 years in prison on October 25.. ...Read Full Story

State Promoting Trails This Month

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is urging everyone to check out some of the state’s trails this month. DNR Trail Coordinator Paul Yauk tells WSJM News many people don’t even know about the recreation opportunities that pass by their own homes.. ...Read Full Story

Rep. Wendzel “Relieved” By Budget Agreement Without Road Solution

State Representative Pauline Wendzel is pleased the showdown between majority Republicans in the Legislature and Governor Whitmer is over for the time being regarding road funding. A deal was announced this week that the next fiscal year’s budget will not include the $2.5 billion Whitmer had been seeking for road work, as the leaders were unable to figure out where that money would come from.. ...Read Full Story

Hartford High School Threat Made But No Arrest

An investigation is underway into a possible threat against Hartford High School students. On Facebook, the high school said they were called by Hartford police a little after 5 p.m. Monday to be told someone was headed to the school with plans to harm either himself or students. The district was locked down, with all athletic teams, the band, and middle school students sheltering in place with the doors locked. The suspect was questioned by Hartford police, but no arrest was made. No other information has been released about that person. Everyone was safe, and the lockdown was lifted after the arrest. WSJM News has reached out to the Hartford Police Department for more information.. ...Read Full Story

Restoring Lighthouse Keepers’ House Carries $1M Price Tag

Renovations to the former lighthouse keepers’ dwelling in St. Joseph on North Pier Street to get it fully restored will be expensive. City Manager John Hodgson gave an update to the city commission on the possible purchase of the home by the city from the federal government, putting the price tag at around $1 million over the course of several years above and beyond any purchase price. He says the city does have experience now in renovating old structures with the lighthouses, but this is different.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Seeking Rotary Foundation Grants For Accessibility Improvements

A grant of just over $9600 is being sought by the city of St. Joseph’s Public Works Department to make three public recreation areas much more accessible. The city commission approved applying for the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Foundation grant, which would purchase weather-resistant wheelchairs for the Whirlpool Compass Fountain, replace the swingset at Kiwanis Tiny Tots Park with one which includes a harness swing, and purchasing mobility sleds for the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena to allow those in wheelchairs to get on the ice. Mayor Mike Garey likes what he heard.. ...Read Full Story

Recycling Event His Month In Berrien County

The Berrien County Parks Department will hold a community recycling event this month at Silver Beach. It says now is the time to clean out your garage and basement, and also take a look at what’s under your sink. The county will take unwanted household chemicals and electronics at the September 21 event. Items that get dropped off will be disposed of and recycled responsibly. They’ll take yard and garden chemicals, used oil, old gasoline, unused medication, medical needles and sharps, spent batteries, spray cans, oil-based paint, and electronics. TVs come with a $20 fee and computer monitors will be $10. Latex paint will not be accepted, but you can drop that off at Ace Hardware in St. Joseph and Stevensville for a small fee. The community recycling event will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Silver Beach County Park on September 21. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

I-94 Repaving Project Starts This Week

The Michigan Department of Transportation will begin a repaving project on I-94 this week. It says the work will be on three miles of I-94 between M-239 and Kruger Road near New Buffalo, and it starts on Thursday. The project will mean daytime single-lane closures and nighttime double-lane closures in both directions. Drivers are advised to give themselves an extra few minutes if they are headed through the area. The project is expected to wrap up on October 24. You can stay on top of all MDOT construction projects at Michigan.gov/Drive.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Bank Robbery In Three Oaks

Police are looking for a suspect after a bank was robbed in Three Oaks on Monday. Police Chief Dennis Buller tells us it happened at the New Buffalo Savings Bank on West Ash Street around 11:45 a.m. A man walked into the bank flashing a revolver and told the clerks to put the money up on the counter. They did so, and then the suspect told them to get down. That’s when he ran out, heading east on Ash in a dark blue Chrysler with a rusty patch at the bottom of the driver’s side door. The suspect is described as being about 5’6 to 5’8. He was wearing a mask, gloves, and a zip-up sweater. Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to contact police.. ...Read Full Story

Motorcycle Crash Kills Reserve Sergeant For Niles Police Department

A reserve sergeant for the Niles Police Department is dead following a motorcycle crash on Sunday. Police say the crash happened on 17th Street near Broadway in Niles around 6:50 p.m. 44-year-old Kenneth Ray was riding a motorcycle with a female passenger when he tried to avoid a cat that ran across the road in front of him. His bike tipped over, and he was pronounced dead as a result of his injuries. His passenger was taken by ambulance to a hospital where she was treated and released. Police say neither was wearing a helmet. Ray had been with the Niles Police Department for 24 years.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan’s Average Gas Price Up Slightly; Twin Cities Have 2nd Lowest Average

AAA Michigan says average gas prices statewide have risen 5¢ from a week ago to about $2.66 per gallon. The auto club says the average for regular unleaded has fallen 27¢ a gallon over the past year. The state’s highest average was in the Ann Arbor area at around $2.73. The lowest prices were in the Traverse City area at $2.38
per gallon. Benton Harbor and St. Joseph have the state’s second-lowest average price $2.54. According to GasBuddy, South Haven’s prices are in line with the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph area.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer, GOP Leaders Will Proceed On Budget Without Road Fix

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Republican legislative leaders have agreed to enact a state budget without including a long-term funding plan to fix deteriorating roads. The trio said Monday they talked over the weekend and will immediately work to set spending targets to get the budget passed by October 1, avoiding a partial government shutdown.. ...Read Full Story

Board Could Vote This Week On Advisory Committee

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education is considering who will serve on the Community Engagement and Advisory Committee the state has proposed for turning the district around. At work session this past week, board President Stephen Mitchell said the Michigan Department of Treasury has been talking with trustees about the makeup of the committee, and the board has seen a couple of resolutions to establish it. However, trustees added some suggestions. Vice President Joseph Taylor said the state should listen.. ...Read Full Story

Police: Talk To Your About Cyberbullying

With a new school year now started, Michigan State Police are telling parents and students about the stiff penalties that can come with cyberbullying. Trooper Holly Higgs with the Niles post tells WSJM News cyberbullying is using a public media forum, or social media, to intimidate someone.. ...Read Full Story

Home Heating Assistance Credit Deadline This Month

As the days start to cool in Michigan, some people might be able to offset the cost of summer utility bills with the Michigan Home Heating Credit. Eligible households that paid for heat last winter have until September 30 to apply for the 2018 Home Heating Credit. Ross Yednock with the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan says both homeowners and renters can apply.. ...Read Full Story

Police, Schools Look To Help Traumatized Kids

A new partnership between the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and Berrien RESA has been announced to help children dealing with trauma. The sheriff’s department says Handle with Care is designed to ensure a child who experiences a traumatic event has support in school. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey says his deputies meet kids struggling with everything from a death in the family to neglect every day. He says in these situations, the sheriff’s department can work with RESA so the schools attended by such kids are aware. RESA Superintendent Kevin Ivers says the new program will help schools protect students and “help them be successful in the midst of chaos and trauma.” Handle with Care was launched in West Virginia in 2013, and since then has been adopted by several police departments, schools, and states. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Fire Destroys Van Buren County Home

No one is hurt, but a home in Van Buren County’s Arlington Township is destroyed following a fire on Friday. South Haven Area Emergency Services says firefighters from multiple departments responded to the blaze on County Road 376 near 56th Street around 7:40 p.m. The Bangor Community Fire Department was the first dispatched to the scene on a report of smoke, and when firefighters arrived, they found the home already fully engulfed in flames. Mutual aid was provided at the scene by fire departments from Lawrence, Hartford, Paw Paw, Columbia, Keeler, Watervliet, and South Haven. The residents were not at home at the time, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Cornerstone Seeks To Grow Southwest Michigan

A campaign intended to attract new residents to southwest Michigan has been launched by Cornerstone Alliance. Cornerstone’s Christina Frank tells WSJM News Vacay Every Day will extol the virtues of southwest Michigan to those who visit the region from all over the country. The campaign aims to increase the region’s population by 10% over 10 years.. ...Read Full Story