Local News Archives

South Haven Land Purchase

The old Michigan State Police Post in South Haven is owned by the city and they lease out the building. The property around the building, however, is still owned by the state and they want the city to buy it. City Manager Brian Dissette spoke with WSJM News about the deal.. ...Read Full Story

Opioid Overdose Recovery Training

An opioid overdose prevention training event is set for this month in Benton Harbor. This time organized between the Berrien County Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Voice Change Hope Alliance, it will be offered in the afternoon so more people can attend. The Suicide Prevention Coalition’s Trent Watford tells WSJM News opioid overdoses and suicide are often related.. ...Read Full Story

Find Unclaimed Property Online

A new website has been launched by the Michigan Department of Treasury for residents to search for unclaimed property. Treasury’s Terry Stanton tells us the department receives unclaimed properties like dormant bank accounts, life insurance policies, stocks and bonds, and even safe deposit box contents. The state has held on to as much as $1 billion in unclaimed property over the years, and the new website makes finding those things easier.. ...Read Full Story

Work Requirement Could Hurt Healthcare Numbers

The percentage of uninsured adults in rural Michigan dropped by 22 points since the state expanded Medicaid, according to a recent study by Georgetown University and the University of North Carolina. The state Legislature passed a bill this summer to require people on Healthy Michigan to work 80 hours a month, nine months a year, in order to maintain coverage. But Emily Schwarzkopf, a policy analyst with the Michigan League for Public Policy, calls that a “one step forward, two steps back” approach and predicts people will fall off the insurance rolls.. ...Read Full Story

Anti-Lamprey Spraying In Van Buren County

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is applying lampricides to the Campbell Creek system in Van Buren County for about the next week. They started last Tuesday and will continue through this coming Thursday. Administrator Scott Grunder tells WSJM News the goal is to fight the invasive sea lamprey, an effort that has been underway for about 60 years. The service applied lampricide to the Paw Paw River in Van Buren County last year, and Grunder says next week’s operation is related. He tells us the sea lamprey are a threat to Great Lakes fish.. ...Read Full Story

Restaurant Possible For Jean Klock Park

A feasibility study into the development of a restaurant and ballroom at Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor is about to get underway. Don and Barbara Meeks received the approval this week of the city commission to start looking into their idea, which would be a public-private partnership as the park belongs to the city. Meeks says he began talking about the idea two years ago with a friend from Benton Harbor who now lives in Florida.. ...Read Full Story

Hope For Federal Parks Funding

Congress hasn’t made a significant investment in to upgrade and fix the National Park system in more than 50 years, but that could soon change. A vote in the U.S. Senate this week could advance legislation to address the $11.6 billion in deferred maintenance needs. Marcia Argust with the “Restore America’s Parks Campaign” at The Pew Charitable Trusts tells us with 2.7 million visitors every year, Michigan’s national parks are the backbones of many local economies.. ...Read Full Story

Spectrum Absorbs Lakeland

Lakeland Health is now officially a division of Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health. The board for each entity has signed the deal and finalized it. Spectrum Health Lakeland President Loren Hamel tells WSJM News Lakeland’s 4,000 employees have now been added to Spectrum’s 26,000 employees.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Increasing Trooper Ranks

128 prospective Michigan State Police troopers are now taking part in a training academy in Lansing. MSP Captain Monica Yesh tells WSJM News the recruits go through 26 weeks of all-day study that covers topics including traffic stops, defense, firearm use, criminal law, and ethics. The academy is underway as Michigan State Police look to bolster their ranks with many looming retirements.. ...Read Full Story

This Is Fire Prevention Month

With the weather turning colder and furnaces firing up, this is Fire Prevention Month in Michigan. State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer tells WSJM News there have been 91 fire deaths in the state this year, many because people don’t physically test their smoke detectors each month.. ...Read Full Story

Fernwood Opening New Education Center

After more than four years of planning and construction, Fernwood Botanical Garden in Buchanan Township is about to open its new 5,500-square-foot Sims Education Center. The grand opening is October 14. Fernwood tells us the $2 million facility will house classes, workshops, interactive exhibits, research materials, and a gathering space. It replaces the 35-year-old Nature Center on the Fernwood grounds where youth classes and camps have historically been held. Fernwood tells us the place boasts several modern design concepts, like a green roof that covers 25% of the building. It will also work with a rain garden to mitigate the effects of rainwater runoff. Fernwood says the Sims Education Center has been made possible by Seed the Future, a fundraising effort that to date has raised more than $3 million for Phase One of the 10 to 15-year garden master plan.. ...Read Full Story

Longjohn Defends Doctor Cred

Democratic candidate for Congress in Michigan’s Sixth District Matt Longjohn has been under fire this week by Republicans. They say he has never been licensed as a doctor in Michigan, although he’s campaigned as a doctor and on healthcare issues as looks to replace Congressman Fred Upton. Longjohn tells WSJM News he graduated with a medical degree and has not been misrepresenting himself.. ...Read Full Story

Construction Begins On New U.S. To Canada Bridge

From the Associated Press — Construction work has started on a bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder attended an event in Windsor on Friday celebrating start of construction on the Gordie Howe International Bridge. The span is expected to open in 2024. A groundbreaking ceremony for advance construction was held this summer in Detroit. The bridge is named after the late hockey legend. The six-lane, cable-stayed, Canadian-financed span over the Detroit River is expected to provide direct connections to highway networks in both cities. The corridor is the busiest commercial land crossing on the border between the U.S. and Canada, handling more than 30 percent of truck-hauled trade. The privately-owned Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel are the only current commuter crossings between the cities.. ...Read Full Story

Travel Writer Weighs In On Marijuana Proposal

PBS travel show host Rick Steves wants you to know the facts about Michigan’s November 6th marijuana legalization and regulation ballot proposal. His home state of Washington legalized recreational pot in 2012. Six years later, he says, experience from Washington and Colorado show no harm and multiple benefits. And governors there who didn’t support it at first now do.. ...Read Full Story

Effort Intensifies To Change House Rules

Anticipating a more even balance between Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House after the upcoming elections, a group of House members is stepping up its push for new procedural rules from the next Speaker. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News he and a group of others are pledging to withhold their votes for the new Speaker unless their reforms are promised.. ...Read Full Story

$100,000 Donation To SMC

A donation of $100,000 has been made to Southwestern Michigan College as it completes a major renovation project at its nursing facility. The money from 1st Source Bank will be used to build a collaboration space in the building. SMC tells us it will be an area where students and professors can work side by side. The college is now in the construction phase of the $9.6 million effort to roughly double the size of the nursing program. 1st Source Bank says it’s contributed to the project because the health and well-being of the area is part of its mission. SMC says the building of the new facility for the nursing program is in response to the nursing shortage the U.S. is facing. The project is expected to be complete and the facility up and running in January.. ...Read Full Story

Beach Fundraiser Reaches Goal

More than $1.17 million has been raised by the Cherry Beach Project for the purchase of three acres of land in Chikaming Township, meaning the project’s goal has been met. Chikaming Township Supervisor David Bunte tells WSJM News the group has raised enough to match a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant. As for what’s next…. ...Read Full Story

Bill Eases Restrictions On Professional Licenses

State rules that prevent people with criminal records from seeking professional licenses would be eased under legislation that passed the Michigan House this week. State Representative Brandt Iden tells WSJM News “good moral character” regulations often disqualify someone who has already paid their debt to society from getting back on their feet.. ...Read Full Story

Special Film Screening In South Haven

A motion picture that was filmed almost entirely in South Haven and released in 2017 will be shown locally at no charge on October 13th at the Listiak Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the South Haven-Van Buren County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the South Haven Center for the Arts. Scott Reinert, Executive Director of the Bureau, tells WSJM News you may see people you know in the film.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Offering Flu Vaccine

The Berrien County Health Department is advising everyone to get their flu shot before October ends. Spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News the shot and the nasal spray are widely available, including at the health department. They’re going to hold Flu Shot Fridays every Friday starting next week and through December.. ...Read Full Story

FBI: Benton Harbor Is State’s Most Violent City Per Capita

Two Berrien County communities are on a list no one wants to be on. Benton Harbor is ranked as the state’s most violent city for 2017 based on FBI data, with Benton Township ranked 10th. In between them are Detroit, Flint, Muskegon Heights, Highland Park, Saginaw, Ecorse, Inkster, and Albion. The violent crime rate in Benton Harbor is 22 crimes per 1,000 residents, ahead of Detroit’s rate of 20. The city had three murders, 23 rapes, 36 robberies and 156 cases of aggravated assault last year, with a population of 9,899 people. The violent crime rate in Benton Township was 12.5 per 1,000 people, and South Haven came in 20th with 9.4 violent crimes per thousand residents. The overall numbers are much higher in Detroit with nearly 14,000 violent crimes reported, but the city also is home to almost 671,000 people. Motown was also passed by St. Louis, Missouri for the highest murder rate in the country in 2017.. ...Read Full Story

Rep. LaSata To Hold Opioid Town Hall

State Representative Kim LaSata is planning to hold a town hall forum later this month on opioids. She will convene the meeting at Kinexus in Benton Harbor and be joined by members of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, the Health Department, Riverwood Center, Community Healing Center, Congressman Fred Upton, and Senator John Proos. LaSata says opioid addiction and overdose deaths have touched every community in the state, and says the more awareness and education that can be spread, the better. The event will be Thursday, October 25 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with lectures from professionals and lawmakers on opioid abuse services and legislative reforms followed by the chance to talk one-on-one with health professionals. A prescription drug collection kiosk will also be provided by the sheriff’s department ahead of the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 27. No registration is necessary for the event.. ...Read Full Story

Conservation Experts: Don’t Transport Firewood

Hunting season is here, and the Van Buren County Conservation District is reminding both hunters and campers what they can do to help reduce the spread of invasive species. It says you should never move firewood, and instead just burn wood within five or ten miles of where you bought it. The district warns problems like oak wilt move around the state thanks to firewood being transported by humans. Invasive species expert Eleanor Serocki says by leaving the wood at home and picking it up at your destination, you can stop the invaders from spreading even farther. Anyone looking for more information should call the Van Buren Conservation District.. ...Read Full Story