Local News Archives

Study Looks At Future Of Waterfront

An ongoing study on the future development of the riverfront in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor will result in some workshops to seek public input next month. At this week’s Benton Harbor City Commission meeting, commissioners heard from Don Carpenter, a consultant working on the Twin Cities Harbor Visioning Charrette. It’s a grant-funded effort to plan for riverfront development in a sustainable way.. ...Read Full Story

Cornerstone Pursuing Retailers

Cornerstone Alliance is making an aggressive push to bring more retailers to Benton Township. Cornerstone President Rob Cleveland tells WSJM News the group has hired The Retail Coach, a national retail recruitment and development firm, hoping to get some spaces filled along M-139 between I-94 and Napier Avenue.. ...Read Full Story

Program To Find Missing Adults, Kids

The Michigan State Police post in Niles and the Niles Police Department are the first law enforcement agencies in Berrien County to be picked for a statewide program to help identify vulnerable adults or impaired children. MSP Lieutenant Melinda Logan tells WSJM News the VIP program was created by legislation to protect those individuals.. ...Read Full Story

New Mural In Downtown St. Joseph

A new 14 by 12 foot mural has been painted on the outside brick wall of the St. Joseph Welcome Center downtown. St. Joseph Today’s Amy Zapal tells WSJM News the organization hired Houston-based artist Anat Ronen to spruce up the alley wall that faces Main Street. The mural was finished late last week.. ...Read Full Story

Road Funding Fallout

With the failure this week of a road millage in Van Buren County, it’s back to the drawing board for the road commission. The body had asked voters for an additional three mills for 12 years to fix up the county’s roads. That would have generated more than $10 million per year. Van Buren County Road Commission Engineer-Manager Larry Hummel tells WSJM News the talks now begin on what to do next.. ...Read Full Story

New MDOT Traffic Site

The Michigan Department of Transportation has updated its Drive website to be more user friendly. Spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News MDOT recently discontinued the MI Drive phone app, and redesigned the website to work better with mobile devices.. ...Read Full Story

New Admins At Niles Community Schools

A couple of new principals have been hired at Niles Community Schools. Superintendent Dan Applegate tells us the district has hired Jeron Blood as the new Ballard Elementary principal and Jennifer Shabazz as the principal of Northside Child Development Center. Blood has previously served as the assistant principal and associate principal at Edison Middle School in the Unit 4 School District of Champaign, Illinois. Shabazz joins the Niles Community Schools from the South Bend Community School Corporation where was the assistant principal at Brown Intermediate Center. Blood says he looks forward to working collaboratively with the Ballard Elementary teachers and staff, and contributing to a positive learning environment. Shabazz says she wants to support the needs of teachers, staff, and families. Applegate says the district is excited to welcome both.. ...Read Full Story

Buyer Found For Vacant Industrial Property

A medical marijuana producer out of Colorado could soon own the vacant Alreco Industrial property in Benton Harbor. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells us NoBo Partners recently came to the Berrien County Land Bank with an offer of $450,000 for the 11-acre site. That’s after the same offer had been made by the Harvest Group, another medical marijuana producer, earlier this spring. At a Thursday meeting, the land bank voted to tell the two prospective buyers each had ten days to come up with a $20,000 deposit and a letter of support from the city. Whichever could do it first would be able to buy the property.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Expects Parchment Hearing

The local response to the PFAS contamination in Parchment and Cooper Township in Kalamazoo County is getting high marks from Congressman Fred Upton. He tells WSJM News when the harmful chemical was detected at high levels in the water there, the locals acted quickly to solve several problems.. ...Read Full Story

Report: Immigrant Businesses Have Big Impact

A new report looks at the effects immigrant entrepreneurs have on Michigan’s economy. The Michigan League for Public Policy report says immigrants account for 12% of business owners in the state, and 20% of Main Street business owners. These are smaller-sized, local-oriented stores and services. Report author Victoria Crouse tells us these businesses are important to the fabric of Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Ox Creek Improvements Planned

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission is hoping to attract public interest in its efforts to improve the Ox Creek Watershed. It tells us a new website has been launched specifically for the Ox Creek Watershed Improvement Plan, which outlines steps being taken to improve the water quality, a vision for development of the area, resources, and contact information. The Ox Creek Watershed is in Benton Township around the general area of the Orchards Mall. It flows into the Paw Paw River, and is part of the far west section of the larger St. Joseph River Watershed. The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission tells us its plan focuses on a revitalized Orchards Mall with mixed use developments and public gathering spaces. The plan is intended to deal with pollution. You can find out more at the new project website, SustainOxCreek.org.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan’s Longest Garage Sale Underway

Michigan’s Longest Garage Sale is underway this weekend. Taking place through Sunday, the US-12 Heritage Trail Garage Sale is a series of sales taking place all the way from New Buffalo to Detroit. The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission’s Kris Martin helps to organize the event and spoke with WSJM News about it.. ...Read Full Story

Student Athlete Concussions Down

The number of concussions suffered by high school athletes in Michigan continues to fall. In its third annual report, the Michigan High School Athletic Association says concussions were down 10% in the most recent school year compared to the one prior, and they were down 19.6% from the first year of the study. Football had the most per 1,000 athletes, but the MHSAA notes girls reported three-times more concussions than boys in the same sport. Boys, though accounted for two-thirds of all the head injuries due to playing more contact sports. Varsity athletes suffered 56% of the concussions, and the MHSAA says the majority happened during games.. ...Read Full Story

State Warns About Student Loan Scams

The Michigan Department of Treasury is warning all students to watch out for loan and scholarship scams. Acting Deputy State Treasurer Anne Wohlfert tells WSJM News this is the time of year when many college-bound students are getting their financial ducks in a row. They may get offers for bogus loan programs.. ...Read Full Story

Maytag Ironman Steelhead Sunday

Set for this Sunday is the 16th annual Maytag IronMan 70.3 Steelhead, an endurance triathlon that starts at Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor. Race Director Mike Ryan tells WSJM News about 2,000 people will take part in the event. It will take the triathletes on a mile swim in Lake Michigan, followed by a bike ride to South Haven, and then back to Benton Harbor. They’ll have a 13 mile run through the Whirlpool campus. Ryan says the participants were streaming into Benton Harbor on Friday.. ...Read Full Story

Land Bank Pushing For Alreco Sale

The Berrien County Land Bank is hoping to close a deal soon with a buyer for the vacant Alreco industrial property in Benton Harbor. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News the land bank has received two offers from medical marijuana producers for the 11 acre site on Alreco Road. They are the Harvest Group out of Okemos, and NoBo Partners out of Colorado. The Harvest Group has already secured support from the city of Benton Harbor to buy the site, but has not moved forward.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Cancer Service Relocating

A move is in the works for Berrien County Cancer Service. Organization CEO Nancy Church tells WSJM News they’re relocating from their building on Red Arrow Highway near Stevensville to the second floor of the Marie Yeager Cancer Center in Royalton Township. She says this will put Berrien County Cancer Service closer to many patients.. ...Read Full Story

Trial Set In Uber Shooting Case

From the Associated Press– A January trial date has been set in the case of an Uber driver charged with killing six people in Michigan after a prosecutor said he won’t appeal a decision that keeps a lid on parts of a police interview. Kalamazoo County prosecutor Jeff Getting says it’s time to bring the “matter to trial without further delay.” The shootings occurred in February 2016. The state appeals court recently threw out some statements made by Jason Dalton. Getting says he won’t appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. Dalton is charged with killing six people and wounding two others while driving for Uber. He’s not accused of shooting customers. Dalton told police that a “devil figure” on Uber’s app was controlling him. Jury selection will start January 3.. ...Read Full Story

University Of Michigan Band To Play At Lakeshore

The University of Michigan marching band will perform at Lakeshore High School next month. The Lakeshore Excellence Foundation tells us Lakeshore High School will host the U of M band on September 1, before the university band goes on to play at the University of Notre Dame as the Wolverines take on the Fighting Irish. The public is invited to come out on Saturday, September 1 at 2:45 p.m. to see the U of M band’s pregame and halftime performance free of charge at Al Stockman Stadium on Cleveland Avenue in Stevensville. Donations will be accepted with all of the proceeds going to the United Way of Southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Youth Fair Starts Monday

The Berrien County Youth Fair gets underway Monday in Berrien Springs. This year’s theme is “Passport to Adventure,” and the first day of the fair features several animal judging events including horses, goats, cats, and rabbits. The evening entertainment Monday is the 98.3 The Coast Talent Show at 7 pm. As normal, Tuesday will be Kids Day, with all children up through high school getting in for free. Wednesday night, the country duo LoCash performs in the grandstand at 7 p.m, sponsored by 97.5 Y-Country and United Federal Credit Union. Thursday night features the truck demolition derby sponsored by 957 & 1400 WSJM Sports and Honor Credit Union. The car demolition derby is Friday night, and the fair wraps up Saturday night with Bullmania. The full schedule is available online at BCYF.org.. ...Read Full Story

Automotive Supplier Planning Hagar Twp Location

As many as 100 new jobs are coming to Hagar Township. Cornerstone Alliance tells WSJM News that Dicastal Logistics Group will be opening a new operation in the township. The Chinese-based company is the largest manufacturer of aluminum wheels for the auto industry in the world, and distributes those to 46 assembly plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. DLG will be making what the Alliance calls a “significant investment” in the 423,000 square foot facility at 4412 Coloma Road.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Street Could Close

A well-used privately owned road in South Haven may be closed if repairs are not made. The road runs off of Blue Star Highway just south of Phoenix and along the south side Walgreens. The road serves a several businesses, allowing traffic to bypass busy Phoenix Street. The private road looks like an air force bombing range along the Walgreens parcel. It’s important to note that Walgreens does not own the property they occupy. Phoenix Crossing LLC of Holland is the owner and they have been notified of the need for repairs of the road dating back to 2013, the latest notice was sent out July 31st. No phone listing could be found for them. City officials say not repairing the road could lead to its closure until repairs are made.. ...Read Full Story

Live Mannequins Moving To Spring

The Live Mannequins event held in downtown St. Joseph each December is being rebranded and moved to the spring. St. Joe Today’s Amy Zapal tells WSJM News Live Mannequins, which featured displays of people dressed as mannequins with different themes, has been a success in the winter as part of Light Up the Bluff. However, there are always huge crowds downtown for the December event, whereas there are other times of year that could use a boost downtown.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Declines To Endorse Schuette

One key Republican in Michigan is not getting behind the party’s nominee for governor quite yet. That man is Rick Snyder, the term-limited current governor who had backed Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley’s bid for the party’s nomination. Snyder did not show up at a Wednesday evening unity rally in Grand Rapids at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, with the headliner being Vice President Mike Pence, who is backing Bill Schuette for governor and John James for the U.S. Senate. Pence spoke for the two at Wednesday’s rally.. ...Read Full Story

Shelter For Motel Residents Shutting Down

The American Red Cross shelter set up at Upton Middle School for displaced residents of the Cosmo Extended Stay Motel is no longer needed. The Sodus Township motel was shut down due to a fire late last month, and about 27 of its residents were staying at the shelter set up in St. Joe at the shelter’s peak. However, as of Thursday morning, the final shelter resident had moved out. Red Cross of Southwest Michigan Director Breeze Ettl spoke with WSJM News about the situation.. ...Read Full Story

Huge Dairy Processor Opening In Michigan

A massive dairy processor is going to set up shop in Clinton County, north of Lansing. Nearly 300 jobs are set to be created following the announcement of the facility in the city of St. Johns, where Jon Stoppels is the city manager. He spoke with Michigan News Network about the new project.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Seeing Progress On House Rules

Congressman Fred Upton and the other members of his House Problem Solvers group continue to push for new House rules when the next House Speaker is chosen. The group recently announced it wants rules in place to ensure amendments or bills supported by a certain number of representatives are guaranteed consideration. Upton tells WSJM News many members are frustrated with pointless gridlock.. ...Read Full Story