Local News Archives

Total Closure Planned For Short Stretch Of M-43 In South Haven

There will be a little extra time on the commute for those who use M-43 in South Haven. The Michigan Department of Transportation is shutting down M-43 entirely for two-tenths of a mile between Blue Star Highway and Aylworth Avenue starting July 16. The closure will last through Thursday, and is the result of needed concrete repairs. M-DOT’s Nick Schirripa says it’s hopefully going to be a quick project.. ...Read Full Story

Allegan K9 Gets Protective Vest

A K9 with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department is getting extra protection in the form of a bullet and stab-protective vest. The vest comes courtesy of Vested Interest, a non-profit that has supplied more than 3,000 protective vests to police dogs throughout the country since 2009. Allegan County Sheriff’s Department K9 Edo will get the latest donation. It comes with the sponsorship of Justin and Kristan Goodenough of Allegan. Edo is a 21 month old German Shepard mix who is teamed up with Deputy Blair Kacos. Deputy Kacos says, “Edo and I are proud to serve the citizens of Allegan County and this vest donation will help to protect Edo when deployed in dangerous situations.” He also thanked the Goodenough family and Vested Interest.. ...Read Full Story

Commissioners Talk Speed Limits

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners is taking issue with a state law governing speed limits in townships. At a Thursday meeting, the board approved five resolutions setting new speed limits on stretches of road around the county. However, some felt some of the limits were too high. County Administrator Bill Wolf said Michigan State Police speed studies determine what the limits will be, and then the county has to approve them or the limit will default to 55 miles per hour. Board of Commissioners Chair Jon Hinkelman told WSJM News that should change.. ...Read Full Story

Krasl Art Fair About To Start

As many as 50,000 people will descend on downtown St. Joseph this Saturday and Sunday for the 57th annual Krasl Art Fair. The fair’s Dee Hodgson tells WSJM News the big event is one of the premier summer activities in southwest Michigan, attracting all kinds of artists from all over the country.. ...Read Full Story

BH Officer Facing Assault Charge

A charge of assault with a dangerous weapon has been filed against a former officer for the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety over an incident that occurred in May. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office tells us Officer Steven Johnson was pursuing a suspect down an alley in the 100 block of North Fair Street on the night of May 10 when the dash cam shows Johnson struck the suspect with his patrol vehicle. The suspect, 25-year-old Ronald Glover, Jr., kept running and was subdued by other officers. Police were chasing him because he ran off while they tried to question him. Glover was later charged with fleeing and eluding and possession of marijuana over the incident. Officer Johnson, meanwhile, was fired, and Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety asked Michigan State Police to review the incident. The 53-year-old Johnson was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, which is a four year felony. He was arraigned this week.. ...Read Full Story

Groups Fight Use Of Pesticide

Labor, civil rights, and health groups, along with seven states, have made their final arguments in court challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision not to ban a pesticide that they say is dangerous. The EPA had proposed to ban chlorpyrifos, but former chief Scott Pruitt reversed course. Hector Sanchez with the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement says Pruitt’s announcement came not long after he met with the head of Michigan-based Dow Chemical, which sells the pesticide.. ...Read Full Story

Interim South Haven Superintendent

The South Haven Board of Education has voted to accept the resignation of Superintendent Dr. Robert Herrera as he assumes a similar role at Benton Harbor Area Schools. Dr. Herrera’s resignation is effective on July 17. The board appointed a short-term interim superintendent this week. Board Secretary Becca Teunissen tells us they picked Carey Frost, the principal at North Shore Elementary.. ...Read Full Story

Orchards Mall Sale Still Processing

The new buyer of the Orchards Mall in Benton Township intends to keep it as a mall property. That’s according to a realtor who helped sell the mall in an online auction last month. Steve Silverman of Farmington Hills-based Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions tells us that sale remains in process with a goal of having it completed by the end of the summer. Although he won’t tell us who the mall’s buyer is, he will say it’s a national real estate investor who owns multiple properties in Michigan. The buyer is not locally-based. Silverman tells us the buyer intends to keep the Orchards Mall as a mall with some significant capital investment and an aggressive strategy to pursue new retailers. He also says stores currently in the mall should know all leases will be honored by the new owner. The mall sold in auction last month for $2.1 million, just shy of the owner’s hoped-for $2.5 million.. ...Read Full Story

Hearing Set For Enbridge Pipeline

From the Associated Press — Michigan regulators will take public comments on a proposal for more anchor supports in the Straits of Mackinac to bolster twin oil pipelines. Enbridge Inc. is asking the Department of Environmental Quality to allow
installation of 48 additional supports for its Line 5 pipes. They would be attached to the pipes and screwed into the lakebed.
A public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Mackinaw City. Line 5 extends from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario. A nearly 5-mile section runs beneath the straits, where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan converge. The company has made several requests to install supports after gaps were discovered beneath the pipes. The DEQ granted a permit for 22 earlier this year.
Environmental groups want Line 5 decommissioned and say the supports wouldn’t necessarily make it safer.. ...Read Full Story

Maritime Museum Fish Boil

If you haven’t visited the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven, this could be a great weekend to stop by. The museum is having its annual Fish Boil Fundraiser this Saturday. The museum’s Ashley Demming tells WSJM News she appreciates all the items donated for the fundraiser.. ...Read Full Story

Campaign Encourages Electric Vehicles

Michigan businesses and cities are being invited to become part of a global vision for a cleaner future. The Zero Emissions Vehicle Challenge, announced on Tuesday, is encouraging companies and communities to use their purchasing power and policy influence to speed up the adoption of electric vehicles. Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor tells us it’s time to dispel the myths about hybrid and electric vehicles.. ...Read Full Story

Daycare To Pay $1.8 Million For Child’s Death

Frpm the Associated Press — A former western Michigan day care provider has been ordered to pay $1.8 million after pleading guilty to child neglect in the death of a toddler by an 8-year-old girl. The Muskegon Chronicle reports Muskegon County Circuit Judge William Marietti also sentenced 52-year-old Keysha Collins on Wednesday to five years’ probation and 6 months’ jail afterward. He says some or all the sentence could be suspended. Marietti adds Collins has shown remorse and taken responsibility. Authorities say the girl, also cared for in Collins’ home, killed 14-month-old Korey Landon Brown in April 2017. Prosecutors have said she won’t be charged because state law doesn’t allow it for children under 10. Documents say Korey’s death was ruled a homicide. Collins was accused of failing to adequately supervise children in her care.. ...Read Full Story

Grand Rapids Corpse Flower

In Grand Rapids, they’re waiting for a bad smelling, rare corpse flower to bloom. Senior horticulture manager at Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Wendy Overbeck, told Michigan News Network they’ve had the flower for 18 years, but this will be the first year it blooms. She says it’s over four-and-a-half feet tall.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks Tariffs

Congressman Fred Upton says a trade war possibly kicked off by the Trump administration’s tariffs on foreign goods will only hurt consumers. The Trump administration is putting 25% tariffs on 800 Chinese products worth $34 billion while China is retaliating with tariffs also totaling $34 billion in U.S. goods. That includes agricultural products. Upton tells WSJM News he has heard from concerned locals.. ...Read Full Story

Celebrate Bridgman This Week

This week brings the annual Celebrate Bridgman festivities. The fun begins Thursday with an Under the Big Top presentation by the Curious Kids Museum, and then the Family Night and Teen Dance downtown. Both Friday and Saturday will feature the adult dances. Saturday will be the busiest day of Celebrate Bridgman with a scavenger hunt, art around town, a 5 and 10 K Run and Walk, a car show, sand art, and the parade. That starts at 11 a.m. at Gast Road, and will head down Lake Street. Everything wraps up Sunday with a free concert at Weko Beach. You can find out more about Celebrate Bridgman right here.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Pulled From Burning Vehicle

A Dowagiac woman is recovering at a hospital in Kalamazoo after being pulled from a fiery wreck on Wednesday morning. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department tells us 31-year-old Trisha Smith was westbound on Dewey Lake Street near Roth Road in Wayne Township around 11:40 a.m. when her vehicle left the road and hit a tree. It then overturned and caught fire. Fire personnel were able to extract Smith from the burning vehicle, and she was taken by ambulance first to Borgess Lee Hospital, and then flown by helicopter to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. The sheriff’s department is asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to call them. The crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeland To Be A Division Of Spectrum Health

A major change is coming to Lakeland Health. It announced on Wednesday it is integrating with Spectrum Health out of Grand Rapids. Lakeland CEO and President Loren Hamel tells WSJM News the much larger Spectrum will bring several new assets to Lakeland, improving care. Lakeland will become a division of Spectrum.. ...Read Full Story

Award For SWM Nature Preserve

A nature preserve in the Paw Paw area has won an award from the U.S. Forest Service. The Portman Nature Preserve has been selected for the Wings Across the Americas Award for its efforts in the area of bird, bat, butterfly, and dragonfly conservation. The Portman Nature Preserve protects 189 acres of wildlife habitat, and is the result of a partnership between several southwest Michigan organizations that include the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, the Berrien and Van Buren Berrien Conservation Districts, the Two Rivers Coalition, and more. It’s part of the St. Joseph River Watershed, and drains into Lake Michigan. The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy tells us the Portman Nature Preserve has been the number one conservation priority in southwest Michigan for more than ten years now. You can find out more about the preserve right here.. ...Read Full Story

Flint Water Lawsuit

Attorneys for the city of Flint and the state of Michigan are asking a federal judge to throw out a class-action suit over Flint water, arguing they can’t be sued because of government immunity. The lawsuit is seeking money damages for about 10,000 Flint residents. Meantime, Flint pediatrician Dr. Mona Hannah-Attisha told Michigan News Network residents there are still drinking bottled and filtered water.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeland Integrating With Spectrum

Lakeland Health has announced it’s integrating with Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health. Spectrum, which is the largest employer in west Michigan with 26,000 employees and 12 hospitals, will make the move with Lakeland official October 1. Lakeland, which has 4,000 employees and three hospitals, says the arrangement will have Lakeland as a division of Spectrum Health, retaining oversight by a local board of directors, local capital investment, and local charitable efforts. A press release from Lakeland says, “Both organizations see the value of coming together to focus on high quality care and improving the health of our communities.” Lakeland says it and Spectrum will be “pursuing a definitive agreement and due diligence over the next few months.”. ...Read Full Story

Adopt A Highway This Weekend

The Michigan Department of Transportation’s Adopt a Highway program will begin its second roadside cleanup of the year this Saturday. MDOT’s Dan Weingarten tells WSJM News more than 2,800 groups statewide are signed up to protect their own stretches of road through Adopt a Highway. They make quite a difference each year.. ...Read Full Story

School Board Looks Ahead

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education is looking to the future as the district’s new superintendent and CEO is set to start next week. At a Tuesday board meeting, Trustee Martha Momany said Robert Herrera, who has been the superintendent at South Haven Community Schools, will bring to Benton Harbor a new chance to turn around.. ...Read Full Story

Mattawan Company Expanding

A $2.6 million expansion is being planned by Mattawan-based Tri-Mation Industries. Zachary Morris with Kinexus tells WSJM News the company is an automation solutions company founded in 1995 that right now has 35 employees. Its new 40,000 square foot building and additional equipment will be a boost to the area.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Water Plant Work

St. Joseph City Commissioners have signed off on $13 million in upgrades to the water plant. At Monday’s meeting, they approved phase one of work laid out in a 2014 Capital Improvement Plan. St. Joseph Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Greg Alimenti told WSJM News what’s being done.. ...Read Full Story

Autonomous Vehicle Legislation

A Michigan lawmaker is hailing a legislative plan to regulate autonomous vehicles. State Representative Mike Webber, the vice chair of the House Transportation Committee, says “Michigan is moving forward” thanks to the autonomous vehicle regulations that have been signed into law.. ...Read Full Story

Parks Bill To Get Hearing

Legislation to fund billions in deferred maintenance in national parks gets a hearing in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. The Restore Our Parks Act would set up a fund dedicated to national parks using money from onshore and offshore drilling for oil, gas, and minerals. Bob Sutherland is president of Cherry Republics, a cherry retailer in northern Michigan. He tells us his company and many others rely on the national park system to draw in tourists, who make up the bulk of their customer base.. ...Read Full Story