Local News Archives

Comcast Extends Free Internet Offer For The Rest Of 2020

Comcast has announced it’s extending its offer of free internet service to low income residents for the rest of the year. When the COVID-19 pandemic first reached the United States, Comcast started to offer its Internet Essentials plan for free for 60 days. That was later extended, and now it’s been extended again through the end of 2020. Internet Essentials is normally $9.95 per month for those with low incomes, and will now be complimentary for those who qualify. In addition, Comcast will continue to waive, through the end of the year, the requirement that customers not have a past due balance with Comcast to get the free offer. The company says with internet now critical to everyone, especially students, it’s making the offer to help during the pandemic.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Drowning Victim Dies

A 19-year-old South Haven woman has died after she was pulled out of Lake Michigan off of South Haven’s South Beach on Tuesday. The South Haven Police Department says Jazmyn Patterson died at a Kalamazoo hospital. She’d been pulled out of the lake by good Samaritans around 6 p.m. Tuesday. South Haven Area Emergency Services personnel then took her to Bronson Hospital in South Haven, and she was later airlifted to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. Police confirmed on Friday that she had died.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Drowning Victim Dies

A 19-year-old South Haven woman has died after she was pulled out of Lake Michigan off of South Haven’s South Beach on Tuesday. The South Haven Police Department says Jazmyn Patterson died at a Kalamazoo hospital. She’d been pulled out of the lake by good Samaritans around 6 p.m. Tuesday. South Haven Area Emergency Services personnel then took her to Bronson Hospital in South Haven, and she was later airlifted to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. Police confirmed on Friday that she had died.. ...Read Full Story

211 New Cases Of COVID-19 Identified In Michigan Frdiay

Michigan is reporting 211 new cases of COVID-19 for Friday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 60,829 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported just five additional deaths for Friday, bringing that total to 5,823. Berrien County had five new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, bringing the total up to 689 with 60 deaths. Cass County had no new cases for Friday, keeping its total 106 with four deaths. Van Buren County had one additional case for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 189 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

211 New Cases Of COVID-19 Identified In Michigan Frdiay

Michigan is reporting 211 new cases of COVID-19 for Friday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 60,829 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported just five additional deaths for Friday, bringing that total to 5,823. Berrien County had five new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, bringing the total up to 689 with 60 deaths. Cass County had no new cases for Friday, keeping its total 106 with four deaths. Van Buren County had one additional case for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 189 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Auto Insurance Policy Holders Told To Choose Medical Options Carefully

Michigan drivers could see big savings on their auto insurance bills starting next month, but they do want to be careful about how they go about it. Under reforms passed last year, starting on July 2 drivers can opt for less health coverage or opt out completely, which would mean their health insurance would pick up the tab for any injuries suffered in a crash. Personal injury attorney Amir Hakim told Michigan News Network this week that under the new law, if you cause an accident, you may have to pick up some of the healthcare costs of the other driver, who may not have adequate health care.. ...Read Full Story

MI Legislature Votes To Oppose Whitmer Nursing Home Policy

The Michigan House has approved a resolution opposing Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. State Representative Pauline Wendzel says Whitmer has continued with a plan that places COVID-19 patients into long-term care facilities, which puts elderly residents of nursing homes at risk. Wendzel says, “These are our veterans, church members, parents, and grandparents who are forced to live in these COVID hot-spots. They’re scared, alone, helpless, and deserve better.” She was a co-sponsor of the House resolution. It was approved by the chamber Thursday on a vote of 71 to 32. The Senate later voted to do the same.. ...Read Full Story

Museums Preparing To Open Around Michigan

After being closed since mid March, the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit is reopening with pandemic precautions starting July 2. Christian Cullen oversees security and safety for guest services. He says some places will be closed like the Wright Brothers bike shop. But Greenfield Village’s historic interpreters will still share the stories.. ...Read Full Story

Choice For RESA Superintendent Declines To Take Job

It’s back to the drawing board for the Berrien RESA Board of Education as its choice to be the new RESA superintendent has opted not to leave his current position. The RESA board this year settled on Lapeer Community Schools Superintendent Matthew Wandrie to be its new district leader. However, Wandrie sent word this week he’s decided not to take the superintendent job with RESA after all. He wrote that being offered the RESA job was a great honor, but “it has become abundantly clear that staying in Lapeer is what is best for me and my family.” Current Berrien RESA Superintendent Kevin Ivers is set to retire at the end of June. Berrien RESA Board of Education President Cathy Bair says while the timing for Wandrie’s decision is not ideal, the board appreciates his honesty. The board will schedule a special meeting soon to determine next steps.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Reports 225 Additional COVID Cases For Thursday

Michigan is reporting 225 new cases of COVID-19 for Thursday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 60,618 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported 26 additional deaths for Thursday, bringing that total to 5,818. Berrien County had seven new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, bringing the total up to 684 with 60 deaths. That’s three additional deaths from Wednesday. Cass County had one new case Thursday, bringing its total to 106 with four deaths. Van Buren County had two additional cases for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 188 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

$3.1 Million Road Project Underway In Cass County

The Michigan Department of Transportation has started a $3.1 million project in Cass County. MDOT says it’s doing crack filling and chip sealing on more than 25 miles of US-12, M-62, and M-217. The investment will be made on M-217 from the Michigan-Indiana state line to US-12, on M-62 from the state line to US-12, and in several areas along US-12 near Edwardsburg. The project will mean a longer life for the road and single lane closures. It’s expected to be finished on August 7. You can find out more about MDOT projects at Michigan.gov/Drive.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Installs Parking Kiosks at Jean Klock Park

The city of Benton Harbor has changed the way people pay for parking at Jean Klock Park. It’s gone to a pay by plate system. There are now two kiosks at the beach where visitors pull in and pay for parking based on their license plate. City residents can get free passes to the park by calling Benton Harbor City Hall. Non-residents can get season passes for $35. The city also reminds everyone that golf carts and pets are not allowed at Jean Klock Park.. ...Read Full Story

Poll Shows Biden With Lead In Michigan

A new statewide poll shows Joe Biden’s lead in Michigan is widening over President Trump. EPIC-MRA is out with the results of a new survey that shows 55% of respondents said they would vote for Biden, while 39% said they would vote to re-elect the president. Bernie Porn is president of EPIC-MRA. He spoke with Michigan News Network this week.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Bill Aims To Clarify Rules For Tasting Rooms

Legislation from state Senator Kim LaSata intended to close a loophole in a tasting room law has received a hearing in a Michigan Senate committee. LaSata says her bill “makes a small, but important change” to legislation approved in the last session to allow makers of wine, beer, and other spirits to sample and sell all of their offerings at the same location. LaSata says her adjustment would allow wineries, breweries, and distilleries to operate both an on-premises tasting room and an off-premises tasting room at the same location, under certain conditions. During committee testimony, Moersch Hospitality Group CEO Matt Moersch said his operation is one of a few in Michigan that makes wine, spirits, and beer. He said not being able to sell all of their craft beverages at their Coloma location, like they do at other locations licensed before the 2018 legislation, has prevented them from growing their business. LaSata’s bill remains in committee for further consideration.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Community Foundation Announces $20,000 In Grants

More than $20,000 in grants to local non-profits have been announced by the Greater South Haven Area Community Foundation. The organization says it’s supporting educational, cultural, beautification, and youth programs throughout the area. The recipients are the South Haven Center for the Arts, Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, the Scott Club Piano Series, computers for after school programs, library upgrades at Maple Grove Elementary, field trips for summer camp, youth golf scholarships for South Haven students, landscaping at South Haven High School, two additional girl scout programs, and land acquisition at Porter Legacy Dunes. The Greater South Haven Area Community Foundation says it’s been able to contribute a total of $50,000 to the area this year, noting its South Haven Splash Pad Matching Fund is also still underway.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate Approves Wendzel Brewery Legislation

The Michigan Senate has approved a package of legislation from state Representative Pauline Wendzel that will allow breweries in the state to self-distribute more of their products. Wendzel tells WSJM News current state law limits small breweries from self-distributing more than 1,000 barrels each year. If they go above that, they have to hire a distributor. Wendzel’s legislation doubles the limit to 2,000 barrels.. ...Read Full Story

MI House Approves $880 Million In Pandemic Spending

From the Associated Press — The Michigan House has approved spending $880 million in federal relief aid in response to the coronavirus pandemic, setting aside funding for frontline workers, municipalities and child care providers. The bill would allocate more than a quarter of the $3 billion sent to state government by Congress and President Donald Trump. The Senate planns to pass the legislation later Wednesday. It’s expected to be signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The legislation includes $220 million in pay raises to health workers and first responders; $200 million to reimburse local governments for virus-related spending; and $125 million to reduce child care costs.. ...Read Full Story

I-94 Lane Closures Tonight, Tomorrow Night

The Michigan Department of Transportation is advising drivers about some lane closures planned for I-94 in Van Buren County this week. MDOT says there will be single night time lane closures on eastbound I-94 for repaving from mile marker 47 to mile marker 48, or between the Hartford and Lawrence exits, starting Wednesday night. They’ll continue Thursday night. The repaving will be done between 9 p.m. and 6 p.m. You can stay on top of all MDOT projects at Michigan.gov/Drive.. ...Read Full Story

State Reports 204 Additional Cases Of COVID-19 For Wednesday

Michigan is reporting 204 new cases of COVID-19 for Wednesday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 60,393 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported just two additional deaths for Wednesday, bringing that total to 5,792. Berrien County had one new case of COVID-19 to report for the day, bringing the total up to 677 with 57 deaths. Cass County had two new cases for Wednesday, bringing its total to 105 with four deaths. Van Buren County had three additional cases for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 186 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Seeks Volunteers To Clean Up Forests

Volunteers are being sought to help clean up Michigan’s forests this summer. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced the “100 in 100 Forest Challenge,” inviting residents to clean up 100 forests in 100 days. DNR program developer Conor Haenni tells WSJM News you’d be surprised at what needs to be hauled out of Michigan’s more than 600 state and federal forests.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Area Emergency Services Welcomes New Firefighters

South Haven Area Emergency Services has welcomed eight new citizen firefighters. A SHAES Fire Academy Graduation ceremony was held Monday, completing an eight month long process of training the volunteers and getting them certified. In addition to the SHAES group, there were firefighter candidates from Bangor, Lawrence and Paw Paw in the class. SHAES says citizen firefighters are part time, and part-paid.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Council Approves Measures To Address Street Flooding

The South Haven City Council has approved a short-term plan to address flooding near the intersection of Dunkley Avenue and East Wells Street, just to the east of the Black River. City Manager Brian Dissette tells WSJM News high water levels in Lake Michigan have created persistent problems there, and the council on Monday approved a plan from Department of Public Works to mitigate them.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Holds Virtual Commencement

Southwestern Michigan College has sent a new class of graduates off into the world with its first ever virtual commencement. SMC President Joe Odenwald tells us because of COVID-19, a normal graduation couldn’t be held this year. So, a video production company was hired to record a ceremony with the dignity of a traditional event. Odenwald says it was a success.. ...Read Full Story

State Reports 125 New COVID Cases For Tuesday

Michigan is reporting 125 new cases of COVID-19 for Tuesday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 60,189 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported 18 additional deaths for Tuesday, bringing that total to 5,790. Berrien County had no new cases of COVID-19 to report for Tuesday, and the number of deaths remained at 57. The county’s had 676 total cases. Cass County had one new case for Tuesday, bringing it to 103 with four deaths. Van Buren County had one additional case for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 183 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Attorney General Praises Supreme Court Decision, Says More Work Is Needed

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says the U.S. Supreme Court decision extending workplace protections to LGBTQ Americans is a “major victory for civil rights.” Following the Monday announcement, Nessel said the high court found that under federal law, “an employer cannot fire someone simply for being gay or transgender.” However, she says this leaves questions about Michigan law.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Declares Racism A Crisis

A couple of days after a massive racial equality march through Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, the Benton Harbor City Commission has approved a resolution declaring racism a mental health emergency. The move came during a Monday virtual meeting. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said the problem has been a scourge on the country for hundreds of years.. ...Read Full Story

More Beach Erosion Being Seen In Northern Michigan

From the Associated Press — Some beaches along Lake Michigan are taking a hit from high water levels. The Escanaba Daily Press reports the vegetation that protects sandy beach areas is eroding. City recreation director Kim Peterson says the water is practically running up to the berm at the Escanaba Municipal Beach in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Peterson said she’s spoken to several experts about potential methods to reinforce the beach and welcomes suggestions from people in the community. Escanaba plans to open the beach sometime in the middle of June. Gladstone Parks and Recreation Director Nicole Sanderson said their beach will open this summer without lifeguards or a concession stand.. ...Read Full Story

State Requires Testing, Finds Nearly 2K Nursing Home Deaths

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s health department is mandating coronavirus testing of all nursing home residents and staff after reporting the deaths of nearly 2,000 residents – about a third of all COVID-19 deaths across the state. Director Robert Gordon’s order, issued Monday, requires initial baseline testing. All new or returning residents must be tested, and there must be weekly
testing of residents and staff in a home with any cases until 14 days after the last positive result. Michigan for the first time released a firm overall death count for nursing home residents – 1,947. It’s more than 400 more than previously estimated.. ...Read Full Story

Property Tax Deadline This Month

The property tax due date is fast approaching. Berrien County Treasurer Shelly Weich tells WSJM News due to COVID-19, Governor Gretchen Whitmer moved it back to June 29. If you still owe on your taxes, the treasurer’s office will work out a payment plan with you.. ...Read Full Story

Wendzel Hopeful For Passage Of Expungement Legislation

State Representative Pauline Wendzel is hoping to see passage soon of legislation that would allow for the expungement of some criminal records in Michigan. She tells WSJM News a package of bills to expand the number of people who qualify for expungement and establish a process passed the state House last year but got held up in the Senate due to the pandemic.. ...Read Full Story