Local News Archives

Deputies Receive Life Saving Awards

Some deputies with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department have received Life Saving Awards for their work in the community over the past year. At this week’s Berrien County Board of Commissioners meeting, Undersheriff Chuck Heit saluted Deputy Paul Grenon for his work to help end a standoff in St. Joseph this summer. He also thanked Keith Matthews, Christopher Behrle, and James Kring, who helped Deputy Brandon Crosby arrest someone who was resisting late last year.. ...Read Full Story

Community Mental Health Centers Get Boost

From the Associated Press — Four Michigan community mental health centers have been selected as Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and are getting a boost in funding. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan on Thursday announced the designation for Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Easter Seals Michigan in Auburn Hills; West Michigan Community Mental Health System in Ludington and HealthWest in Muskegon. Stabenow says each clinic will get $4 million in funding over the next two years to provide comprehensive behavioral health and addiction treatment services. The mental health centers are among more than two dozen selected nationwide. The aim is to provide around-the-clock crisis services; outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment services; screenings, risk assessments and diagnoses. They’ll partner with hospitals law enforcement and others.. ...Read Full Story

Transit Study To Be Unveiled

A Berrien County transit study years in the making is soon to be unveiled to the public. Berrien County Commissioner Jim Curran said at this week’s board of commissioners meeting Connect Berrien was put together by transportation consulting firm Nelson Nygaard. Curran was a member of the steering committee. He told WSJM News the goal of the study is to better serve all of Berrien County.. ...Read Full Story

Special Event At Maritime Museum

This Saturday is the Smithsonian Magazine’s 14th annual Museum Day, and the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven is joining in by accepting free tickets you can download from their website, good only this Saturday. The museum’s Ashley Deming spoke with WSJM News about plans for the weekend.. ...Read Full Story

Dozens Of Colleges, Universities At LMC Monday For College Night

High school seniors and their parents are being invited to the annual College Night on the campus of Lake Michigan College on Monday to learn more about dozens of colleges and universities throughout the Midwest. Adults who are going back to school are also being welcomed to meet with representatives from higher education institutions from across Michigan and Indiana. Jeremy Schaeffer is LMC’s director of admissions and recruitment and tells us there will be more than just school reps on hand.. ...Read Full Story

New Register Of Deeds Appointed For Berrien County

Berrien County will again have someone serving as Register of Deeds next month. Lora Freehling of Stevensville has been appointed by a three-member committee of Prosecutor Michael Sepic, Clerk Sharon Tyler and Presiding Probate Judge Mabel Mayfield. She was selected from a field of 23 applicants, which was narrowed to four finalists who were interviewed on Monday. Freehling will take office on October 15 and serve the remainder of the term through 2020 of the late Lori Jarvis, who was killed in a car crash earlier this year. She will be eligible to run for election in 2020. The other three finalists were Stephanie Bean of St. Joseph, Lee Lull of Sawyer, and Rhonda Rockhill of Benton Harbor.. ...Read Full Story

Bicyclist Killed In Cass County

A crash between a vehicle and a bicycle has killed a 50-year-old woman near Edwardsburg in Cass County. According to our partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16, the woman was biking westbound on US-12 near Garver Lake Road when she was hit and killed this morning. The driver who hit her is cooperating with police and stayed on the scene. Police say the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet or any reflective gear.. ...Read Full Story

Recycling Event His Weekend

The Berrien County Parks Department is holding a free household chemical and electronics recycling event this Saturday at Silver Beach. Environmental Property Manager Jill Adams tells WSJM News anyone will be able to drop off items including unwanted garden chemicals, used oil, old gasoline, unused medication, needles, spent batteries, spray cans, oil-based paint, and electronics free of charge. She says having these items recycled keeps them out of the environment.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Area Business Break-In Thwarted

A business break-in in Niles was thwarted by police overnight Wednesday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us deputies on patrol in the area of the 3,000 block of South 11th Street heard loud banging noises coming from Hackers Golf and Games shortly before 1 a.m. When they went to check it out, they saw four people running from the scene. The deputies noticed the backdoor of the building appeared to have been kicked several times, and they were able to catch up with two of the fleeing suspects. One of them had a bandanna, gloves, and suspected marijuana on him. The two suspects were arrested and taken to the Berrien County Jail on charges of attempted breaking and entering. They’ve been identified as a 17-year-old and 24-old year-old from Benton Harbor.. ...Read Full Story

Bronson Healthcare Aims For Updated South Haven Presence

Coming soon to South Haven will be a new hospital and medical complex. Bronson Healthcare South Haven COO Kirk Richardson tells WSJM News the health system is planning a $22 million investment to replace its old medical facility on South Bailey Avenue. That place was first built in the 1940s, and Richardson says the new Bronson complex will be state of the art in way that benefits patients.. ...Read Full Story

Big Cuts To Great Lakes Red Cross Office

Major cuts are coming to the Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region. The American Red Cross announced last month it had made a tentative decision to cut about 230 jobs within the 65 county Great Lakes region due to decreased demand for blood products and a need to consolidate. This week comes word the tentative decision has become permanent. That’s after unsuccessful bargaining with its union. The Red Cross says it’s limiting its operations — mainly mobile blood drives — in the Great Lakes region starting in November. This affects most of Michigan, including southwest Michigan. Red Cross operations in southeast Michigan will be unaffected. The Red Cross says it remains ready to provide disaster assistance when and where needed.. ...Read Full Story

More Than 12 Arrested At Kalamazoo Homeless Camp

From the Associated Press — Police arrested more than a dozen people while clearing out a homeless camp in southwestern Michigan that’s been a focus of protests since last month by those seeking better resources for homeless people. The city of Kalamazoo had set a Tuesday evening deadline for people to leave Bronson Park and police arrived Wednesday morning, about 12 hours after the deadline passed. Police dismantled tents and arrested 14, including protesters who wouldn’t leave.
Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas tells the Kalamazoo Gazette city Commissioner Shannon Sykes Nehring was arrested for resisting and obstructing police. Sykes Nehring, who had joined the protesters, said: “They don’t go without me.” Homelessness has been in the spotlight in Kalamazoo in recent weeks since a proposal to crack down on sleeping and camping in city parks drew criticism.. ...Read Full Story

Schuette Kicks Off New Year For OK2Say

Michigan Attorney General and Republican nominee for governor Bill Schuette is touting the success of his anti-bullying OK2SAY program for schools as it begins its fourth year. He spoke to students at Kentwood’s Crestwood Middle School this week about the anonymous tip line yesterday and said it’s becoming a national model.. ...Read Full Story

Book: Wisconsin Quietly Approved Lake Michigan Water Diversion

From the Associated Press — A decision by Wisconsin officials eight years ago to approve a big, new allotment of water from Lake Michigan to Pleasant Prairie is raising questions of transparency. The 2010 decision gave the Kenosha County community on the Illinois border the right to tap millions of gallons of more water a day for years to come. The decision by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was made in the final year of Democratic Governor Jim Doyle’s administration. Journalist Peter Annin highlights details of the decision in his updated book, “The Great Lakes Water Wars.” Under the decision, the water will go to areas of the village outside the Lake Michigan basin. Those areas have struggled with radium and shrinking groundwater supplies. The DNR told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the agency was following Wisconsin law.. ...Read Full Story

Festival Of Families Saturday

The annual Festival of Families held by Berrien RESA is coming up this weekend. RESA’s Karen Heath tells WSJM News the Festival of Families is an all-ages chance for everyone to have some fun and learn about local education and recreational opportunities.. ...Read Full Story

Ambulance Driver Hurt In Paw Paw Township Crash

An ambulance driver was injured in a collision involving a semi in Van Buren County. The crash happened early Tuesday in Paw Paw Township and prompted authorities to close a stretch of M-51 as crews responded. The sheriff’s office says the truck rolled over after hitting the ambulance. The driver of the ambulance had what were described as non-life-threatening injuries. The ambulance wasn’t carrying a patient.. ...Read Full Story

Adopt A Highway Cleanup This Weekend

The final Adopt a Highway cleanup of the year will be this week. The Michigan Department of Transportation’s Dan Weingarten told WSJM News this summer Adopt a Highway is a program that allows groups of volunteers to claim a stretch of state road for themselves and then be responsible for picking up trash along it. More than 2,800 groups of all kinds make a big difference.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Commission Discusses Urban Deer Management With DNR

The city of St. Joseph does not currently have a plan to manage deer in the city limits, but it’s clear after a lengthy portion of Monday’s city commission meeting that people feel it’s necessary. The commission heard from Michigan Department of Natural Resources deer specialist Chad Stewart about the options some communities are undertaking to handle the problem, from using snipers in Ann Arbor to trying sterilization or other non-lethal methods. He had this response to a question from Commissioner Jeff Richards about how the city should start.. ...Read Full Story

Red Arrow Trail Project Planned

There will be an open house and meeting next week for Berrien County residents to learn more about plans to create a trail along Red Arrow Highway in southern Berrien County. Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey tells WSJM News the Linear County Park is a plan made possible due to cooperation between Berrien County Parks Department and the Berrien County Road Department as well as Lake, Chikaming, and New Buffalo townships. It would go from Bridgman to Galien River County Park. ...Read Full Story

Unity Event This Week In Benton Harbor

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad wants to continue the momentum started last week when an anti-crime initiative called Operation Mayberry was announced. The goal is to stop violence in the community, and at Monday’s city commission meeting, Muhammad invited one and all to a unity event set for this Thursday. He said “Stop the Killing, Start the Healing: a City of Benton Harbor Family Affair” will feature youth groups, poetry readings, and conversation on solutions.. ...Read Full Story

Lincoln Twp Police Seeking K9 Unit

The Lincoln Township Police Department is looking to establish a K9 unit. The department is now fundraising so it can acquire the dog and the equipment needed to make the unit work. It says a K9 is a cost effective way of conducting building searches and finding both people and drugs. It adds a K-9 unit reduces the risk of injury to officers and offenders since, in most instances, someone challenged by a dog will give up more quickly. The fundraising goal is $25,000 and donations can be dropped off at Lincoln Township Hall, the Lincoln Township Police Department, and United Federal Credit Union. If you want to help, make you check payable to Lincoln Charter Township with “K9 Unit” in the memo line. If the fundraising goal isn’t reached by February, the money raised will go into other capital improvements at the police department.. ...Read Full Story

Secretary Of State Expecting Rush Of Business

The end of Driver Responsibility Fees is expected to create a surge of business for the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, and so it’s planning to add more staff. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson tells us adding staff will help offices manage the wave of applicants who have had their suspensions lifted due to the elimination of the Driver Responsibility Fee law last year. Some positions have been filled with part-time workers and student assistants, and the Secretary of State’s Office is seeking candidates for other part-time positions. You can apply at Michigan.gov/Jobs. Driver Responsibility Fees were created in 2003 to plug a budget hole. They were additional fees tacked on to the penalties assessed for certain driving offenses and resulted in thousands losing their licenses.. ...Read Full Story

Bronson Planning New South Haven Hospital

Bronson Healthcare has announced plans to invest up to $22 million in a new facility in South Haven. The health group says the new hospital will replace the old hospital and medical office buildings on South Bailey Avenue with a brand new building and medical offices in a health village setting. The new hospital and medical offices will be built on the east side of Bronson South Haven’s property near the entrance from Blue Star Highway. The plans include the new hospital, a 14-bed emergency department, lab and imaging services, a pharmacy, and medical offices. Construction could begin as early as the fall of 2019 with completion targeted for the end of 2020. The old hospital and medical office buildings will be demolished.. ...Read Full Story

Names Released In Deadly Crash With Pokagon Tribal Police SUV

New information is out from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department regarding the deadly crash in Bainbridge Township Sunday between a Pokagon Tribal Patrol Vehicle and a car driven by a 69-year-old woman. Police say that woman was Sherry Temple of Stevensville, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the police SUV, 45-year-old Gustavo Pop-Monroy, is out of the hospital and recovering at home with a broken left forearm and a cut to his left hand. The other officer injured is 35-year-old Earl Holbrook, who is in stable condition at South Bend Memorial Hospital with a head injury, a partially severed left ear, and a broken bone behind his ear. The officers were headed to a domestic violence call with their lights and sirens on when Temple ran a stop sign at M-140 and Territorial Road.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department On Healthcare Availability

Poverty and lack of health insurance is bad for your health – and bad for public health.  The Berrien County Health Department’s Gillian Conrad says poverty and a range of other socio-economic factors impact public health in a big way.  She says health isn’t just something delivered by hospitals and doctors.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Begins Campaign

The United Way of Southwest Michigan has kicked off its annual campaign. President Anna Murphy tells WSJM News they’re doing something a little different this year by not announcing a monetary goal, and instead using the campaign to push for more community involvement.. ...Read Full Story

One Killed In Crash With Pokagon Tribal Police Car

A 69-year-old woman has died after a crash between her car and a Pokagon Tribal Police car in Bainbridge Township. The crash happened just before 3:30 Sunday afternoon on M-140 at Territorial Road when the woman went through a stop sign and was broadsided by the police car as officers were responding to a priority domestic violence call. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says she was pronounced dead at the scene, while her passenger was airlifted to South Bend Memorial Hospital. Everyone was wearing seat belts, and the two officers involved were not hurt.. ...Read Full Story

“Operation Mayberry” Comes To BH

“Stop the violence, stop the silence.” That’s the message from Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad as he and other community leaders spearhead a new initiative to reduce violent crime in the city. At a Thursday press conference, Muhammad stood with police and church leaders to appeal for unity in Benton Harbor.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Celebrates Passage Of STEM Plan

State Senator John Proos is pleased to see some STEM education legislation he sponsored received its final, ceremonial signing by the governor. Last week, Proos tells WSJM News he invited local students and educators to Lansing for the signing of bills that would create a special STEM certification on the transcripts of high school students.. ...Read Full Story

Report Examines Payday Lenders

A new report sheds light on the dangers of payday loans, prompting consumer advocates to call for new regulations in Michigan. Community Economic Development Association of Michigan Senior Policy Specialist Jessica AcMoody tells us by charging annual percentage rates equivalent to 340%, payday lenders cost Michiganders more than $94 million in 2016 alone. She says these loans target the vulnerable.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Looking At Downtown Future

A Chicago-based consulting firm headed up by a St. Joseph native will tackle shaping the future of the city’s downtown. Houseal Lavigne Associates was hired by the city commission this week to begin the study. The firm is led by John Houseal, who says growing up here helps him fully understand the unique needs of the city when it comes to figuring out the best way to address the needs of the entire community.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Man Killed In Kalamazoo; Suspect Arrested Near GR

A man accused of shooting and killing a Benton Harbor man at a Kalamazoo liquor store is in jail and awaiting arraignment. According to the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, 23-year-old Tykarri Lucas was shot and killed around 1:30 a.m. Saturday at J&B Discount Liquor on Stockbridge Avenue. The 27-year-old suspect was captured several hours later at a home in Wyoming, south of Grand Rapids, and taken back to Kalamazoo. The name of the suspect has not been released pending his arraignment. Police have not indicated any motive or said what led to Lucas’ shooting death.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Woman Arrested For Deadly Hit-And-Run

A 23-year-old Niles woman is in the Berrien County Jail awaiting charges for a deadly hit-and-run accident. According to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, her blood-alcohol level was over three times the legal limit when she was arrested for the Saturday afternoon crash in Berrien Township. Deputies say 32-year-old Todd Harrington of Berrien Springs was on his bicycle on Pokagon Road when he was hit by the woman’s SUV, and was pronounced dead at the scene. A man and his young son called police with the vehicle description and license plate number, leading authorities to her home in Niles where she was arrested.. ...Read Full Story

11-Year-Old Dies In Accidental Drowning

A birthday celebration ended in tragedy in Cass County’s Howard Township this weekend. The sheriff’s department says an 11-year-old boy drowned at a pool party Saturday evening. The boy was in the pool with several other kids when someone noticed he was at the bottom of the pool. The other kids brought him up, and parents started CPR while calling 911. The boy was pronounced dead at Lakeland Hospital in Niles, and police say the drowning appears to have been accidental. The child’s name is not being released. He was a guest at the party.. ...Read Full Story

State Facing Teacher Shortage

Too many Michigan schools districts without enough teachers, according to the head of a administrators group. Wendy Zdeb of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals told Michigan News Network recruiting new teachers is tough, but keeping them is tougher, and many leave teaching after five years.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Township Park Improvements

A ribbon cutting will be held this month to mark the opening of a new feature at Lake Township Park in Bridgman. Township Treasurer Bob Clark tells WSJM News a renovation project two years in the making for the disc golf course is wrapping up. The disc golf course originally built in 2004 has expanded thanks to the 2016 purchase of ten acres next door. Clark says this expanded court will be a big improvement over the old one.. ...Read Full Story

Busy Time At Benton Harbor Area Schools

It’s been a busy time at Benton Harbor Area Schools. At a Tuesday meeting, CEO Robert Herrera told the board of education about some of the things being done as the new school year gets underway. Among them are a couple of online learning programs to help students with credit recovery. Herrera told WSJM News this is the first year Benton Harbor Area Schools has applied for a state Seat Time Waiver to have online learning.. ...Read Full Story

New Marina Possible For South Haven

The city of South Haven is taking steps to acquire another marina. City Manager Brian Dissette tells WSJM News the city council this month voted to send a grant application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund for assistance in buying All Seasons Marine along the Black River.. ...Read Full Story

Big Equipment Purchase For St. Joe

The city of St. Joseph’s Public Works Department is moving ahead on replacing its largest vehicle, the jet/vac sewer cleaner truck. Public Works director Tom MacDonald told the city commission Monday it’s the most important vehicle they use, and it’s used a lot.. ...Read Full Story

Teen Shot In Benton Township

The Benton Township Police Department is investigating after a teen was shot early Saturday morning. It happened in the 200 block of Pine Street just after 4 a.m. Responding officers arrived to find a 15-year-old boy with gunshot wounds to his stomach area and leg.  The victim had been inside the home when several shots were fired at the house from the street out front. No one else was hurt. The victim was taken to Lakeland Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. No suspects have been identified. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the Benton Township Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

BH Marijuana Applications

Benton Harbor is now taking applications for medical marijuana businesses seeking to operate in the city. In a notice put out last week, the city says those proposals could be for any medical marijuana business currently legal under Michigan law. That would include grow facilities, processors, provisioning centers, safety compliance facilities, or transporters. The Benton Harbor City Commission late last year voted to allow up to 25 such businesses in the community. In order to qualify for permission, an operator must provide the city with information on their knowledge and experience, their understanding of the law, and how they intend to operate their facility as an “integrated part of the community.” The applications come with a $5,000 fee, and must be turned into the clerk’s office by the end of business on October 1. So far, NoBo Partners out of Colorado has pursued the former Alreco Metals property, paying a deposit of $20,000 to the Berrien County Land Bank for the foreclosed parcel.. ...Read Full Story

Great Lakes Cleanups Today

Today brings the biggest effort to clean up Great Lakes of the year. Alliance for the Great Lakes spokesperson Jennifer Caddick tells WSJM News hundreds of beach cleanups are being held throughout the Great Lakes region, and everyone’s welcome to show up. The Alliance for the Great Lakes cleanup made a big difference last year. ...Read Full Story

Online Visitation To Berrien Inmates

A new internet visitation program is coming to the Berrien County Jail. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us those who want to visit an inmate over the internet will be able to do so starting Wednesday. The program will be available Mondays through Sundays with some limits on how many internet visits an inmate can have. The sheriff’s department says an inmate can only have two visits per day with a maximum of ten per week. Only three visitors are allowed at a time, and all sessions will be monitored by jail personnel. The sheriff’s department warns inappropriate behavior may cause the visit to be terminated and the visiting privileges taken away. It’s made a website available to schedule those internet visits. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Napier Avenue Planning Meeting Coming Up

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission is close to wrapping up its report on pedestrian options for Napier Avenue in St. Joseph and Benton Townships, and a meeting will be held this month for the public to offer more input. Associate planner Ryan Fellows tells WSJM News the question is whether sidewalks can be put in along Napier when the Berrien County Road Department starts repaving the road from the St. Joe River to I-94 next year. The planning commission is making recommendations.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Recruiting More Women

A women’s recruitment seminar is planned by Michigan State Police for next month in southeast Michigan. Michigan State Police Captain Monica Yesh tells WSJM News only about 10% of the force is women, and they’ve been improving on that the last few years. Women staff from the MSP will address the seminar to talk about what they do and the opportunities available. They range from road patrol to computer work to undercover investigations. Yesh has been with the state police for about 30 years.. ...Read Full Story

MSP Identifies Body Found In St. Joseph River

Robert Freshour Jr. is the name of the man whose body was found floating in the St. Joseph River near Niles the morning of Saturday, September 8. Michigan State Police released his identity Friday afternoon. They are still investigating his discovery and his death. Freshour was from South Bend, and his body was spotted around 11 a.m. that day by two fishermen in Bertrand Township. There’s no word yet on the cause of death.. ...Read Full Story

GM Issues Recall Over Power Steering Problem

From the Associated Press — General Motors is recalling more than a million big pickup trucks and SUVs in the U.S. because the power-assisted steering can briefly shut down. The recall covers certain 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups as well as Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs. Also affected are 2015 Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon SUVs.
GM says the power steering can fail momentarily during a voltage drop and suddenly return, mainly during low-speed turns. A failure would increase the risk of a crash. The company didn’t mention any crashes in documents filed with the government.
Dealers will update the power steering software at no cost to owners. No date has been set for the recall to begin. GM recalled 2014 model year trucks last year for the same problem.. ...Read Full Story