Local News Archives

Road Project In Paw Paw

The Michigan Department of Transportation is advising drivers of a project starting next week in Paw Paw. MDOT tells us there will be single lane closures while bridge maintenance is done on M-40 over I-94. The work begins on Monday and will continue through June 22. You can stay on top of all of MDOT’s summer construction project at Michigan.gov/MIDrive.. ...Read Full Story

Wallace Avenue Work Next Week

Construction on Wallace Avenue in St. Joseph will get underway on Monday. St. Joe City Engineer Tim Zebell tells WSJM News temporary traffic controls and detour signs started going up Thursday. The road will remain open to traffic throughout the weekend, but the work starts Monday on Wallace from Lakeshore to Lakeview. ...Read Full Story

Free Fishing This Weekend

State Senator John Proos is reminding everyone that this weekend brings another chance to go fishing for free across Michigan. He says anglers can fish without a license on Saturday and Sunday as all fishing license fees will be waived during the weekend. Proos tells WSJM News the fishing opportunities in southwest Michigan are just another of the region’s strengths.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Says Boyfriend Was Defending Her, Her Mother At Motel

We’re learning more about a shooting incident at the Cosmo Extended Stay motel in Sodus Township Friday morning. Tiffany Main tells WSJM News one of the people involved was her boyfriend, and he was trying to protect her and her mother from a man that had held her mom hostage for about a half-hour before she showed up to surprise her and take her to breakfast. Main tells us when she got there, her mother wasn’t speaking and was acting strange while the suspect was with her. She says she was able to make out her mother saying the word “gun” before they tried to get the guy to leave.. ...Read Full Story

Driver Unhurt After Cement Truck Rolls Over

A 43-year-old man is okay after the cement mixer truck he was driving overturned as he was turning from southbound Red Arrow Highway to eastbound Floral Lane. The Baroda-Lake Township Police Department tells us Adam Trapp was wearing his seat belt when the crash happened around 5:15 Thursday evening. No other vehicles were involved. Police have not indicated what caused the truck to roll. The vehicle is registered to High Grade Materials in Greenville, north of Grand Rapids. The accident is still being investigated.. ...Read Full Story

OutCenter Lake Effect Pride Celebration

The OutCenter in Benton Harbor is gearing up for its Lake Effect Pride party. Executive Director Mary Jo Schnell tells WSJM News it’s the LGBTQ advocacy organization’s big summer fundraiser. This year’s Lake Effect Pride event will be even bigger than others, though, because it’s being held at Four Winds Casinos’ Silver Creek Event Center in New Buffalo.. ...Read Full Story

Two Arrested After Shots Fired In Motel

Two people are in the Berrien County Jail after shots were fired inside the Cosmo Extended Stay motel in Sodus Township just before 6:30 Friday morning. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us officers found shell casings and closed off the second floor during their investigation Friday morning. Lieutenant Steve Campbell says they seized a pair of guns.. ...Read Full Story

Man Hospitalized After Police Standoff In St. Joseph

About two hours of negotiations between the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety and a suicidal man have ended peacefully with him being rushed to Lakeland Hospital for evaluation. Officers were called to a home in the 800 block of Wolcott, just west of Niles Road, at 7:30 Friday morning on a report of a barricaded and suicidal man. He had cut the gas line to the home and had poured gasoline throughout. Neighbors were evacuated, and others in the area were told to shelter in place during the talks. While on FaceTime with the negotiator, the man lit the house on fire and firefighters and officers went in to save him. St. Joseph Public Safety was assisted by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, Medic 1 ambulance, the Lincoln Township Fire Department, Michigan State Police, and Michigan Gas Utilities.. ...Read Full Story

Trump Weighing Pardon Of Muhammad Ali

President Donald Trump says he may pardon the late heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who doesn’t seem to need one. On top of the former Berrien Springs resident having died two years ago, his conviction was overturned in 1971 by the U.S. Supreme Court. And when it comes to future acts of clemency, Trump may ask for recommendations from pro football players and other athletes who have protested racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. The President says he’s going to ask protesting players to suggest “people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system.”. ...Read Full Story

Water Bill Paid, Mall Reopens

The Orchards Mall has reopened in Benton Township. It had been shut down by the township yesterday for not paying the water bill, leaving just the JC Penney store open because they have their own water meter. Benton Township Superintendent Kelli Nelson tells us the mall owed more than $31,000 for water yesterday, and had to pay both a shutoff fee and a two-month deposit before the water was turned back on. The mall paid yesterday afternoon.. ...Read Full Story

Shots Fired In Hotel Parking Lot

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating several reports of shots being fired around 6:30 this morning in Benton Township. Lieutenant Steve Campbell tells WSJM News officers were called to the Cosmo Extended Stay motel on M-139, just north of I-94.. ...Read Full Story

Church Volunteer Event This Weekend

The First Church of God in the St. Joseph area is aiming to have 1,000 volunteers out and about in St. Joe, Benton Harbor, and Stevensville this Sunday as part of its sixth Do Something! day. Jenny Fry with the church outreach program tells us the volunteers will do work at other groups that also serve the community.. ...Read Full Story

Plan To Prevent Sex Assaults Moving Forward

State Representative Mary Whiteford of Casco Township is pleased to learn a Michigan Senate committee has approved her legislation intended to help prevent sexual assaults by doctors following the Larry Nassar scandal. Whiteford tells WSJM News her bill requires that records of a variety of medical treatments be kept for 15 years.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Talks Corrections Budget

The latest Michigan corrections and judiciary budgets are being praised by state Senator John Proos. He tells WSJM News the new spending plans focus on protecting public safety and improving efficiency by continuing programs designed to reduce recidivism. He likes a new one included in the House budget for corrections.. ...Read Full Story

Hartford Strawberry Festival

The Hartford Strawberry Festival is here. Each summer, the community celebrates its strawberry growers with the event, which is one of the first community-wide summer celebrations to be held. Festival Secretary Patty Schroeder tells WSJM News there will be lots of strawberries to sample and buy.. ...Read Full Story

Army Corps Of Engineers Photo Contest

If you’re an amateur photographer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is inviting you to enter a photography contest it’s holding. Corps Ranger Michelle Briggs of the Detroit District tells WSJM News they’ll soon take entries for a photo contest showing off the Soo Locks, the Duluth Ship Canal, or from a Corps pier, breakwater, or federal harbor on the Great Lakes. She says they’ve held the contest each year since 2016.. ...Read Full Story

BH Summer Book Giveaway

Thousands of books could be given away to children in Benton Harbor this summer thanks to a program the public school district is considering. Benton Harbor Area Schools Interim Superintendent Patricia Robinson tells WSJM News Title 1 funds could be put toward the summer book giveaway.. ...Read Full Story

El-Sayed Talks Healthcare

A Democratic gubernatorial candidate is proposing a plan to offer no-premium, no co-pay healthcare to everyone in Michigan. In part, Abdul El Sayed told Michigan News Network the plan would be paid for with what he calls a “gross receipts” tax on Michigan’s larger corporations.. ...Read Full Story

Group Calls For Juvenile Justice Reforms

Legislation is currently proposed in the Michigan House that would raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18, rather than 17. Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Advocacy Tom Hickson tells us 17-year-olds are still developing and more inclined to risky, impulsive behaviors. He say it’s not right to treat them like adults in the justice system.. ...Read Full Story

Sheriff’s Department Wins Two Awards

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is the recipient of a couple of awards from Assisted Patrol, a company that makes police equipment. Chief Deputy Robert Boyce tells us the sheriff’s department submitted some ideas for a contest seeking new law enforcement investigative techniques.. ...Read Full Story

Covert Schools Food Program

Covert Public Schools has announced the sponsorship of the Summer Food Service for Children. Free meals will be made available to children 18 years of age and under or those up to 26 years of age who are enrolled in an educational program for the disabled that’s recognized by a state or local education agency. Covert’s Director of Communications Brittany Millan spoke with WSJM News about the program.. ...Read Full Story

Reactions To Prevailing Wage Vote

Lawmakers from Michigan are reacting to the state legislature’s vote on Wednesday to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law. The 1965 statute requires that higher “prevailing” wages be paid to construction workers on state-financed projects. Following the repeal vote on Wednesday, state Representative Dave Pagel of Berrien Springs issued a statement saying while he believes “construction workers from the various trades should receive fair and competitive wages,” he does “not believe that state government should artificially inflate those wages over free-market forces.” He feels the repeal is a plus. On the other side is U.S. Senator Gary Peters, who says the repeal will “not only hurt hardworking Michiganders who deserve decent pay for a job well done, it also threatens our public safety.” Peters says at a time when the state faces a shortage of skilled trades workers, the move will only make things worse. He pledges to work to protect a similar federal law.. ...Read Full Story

Life Rings Now Installed

City leaders in St. Joseph are hoping the north pier will be a little safer now that 12 life rings to help prevent drownings have been installed. City Manager John Hodgson tells WSJM News the rings come with throw bags and 90 foot ropes. A video explaining how to use the rings may be produced.. ...Read Full Story

Grand Opening Planned For Animal Shelter

The grand opening for the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan’s new animal shelter will be this Saturday. Humane Society Executive Director Jill Svoboda tells WSJM News it’s been a long journey to get the $2 million Yeager Family Pet Shelter on M-139 in Royalton Township built. The animals and staff have spent the past few weeks moving in.. ...Read Full Story

Orchards Mall Auction Delayed

The auction of the Orchards Mall in Benton Township is being delayed. It was supposed to have been held online this week, but is now scheduled for next Wednesday, June 13. No reason has been given for the delay. WSJM News has reached out to the real estate firm representing mall owner Michael Kohan, but has not yet received a reply. The opening bid for the property remains $750,000, and the initial goal was to sell the mall and the land it’s on for around $2.5 million. Kohan has narrowly escaped foreclosure by Berrien County the past two years for not paying the property taxes. Those have been paid on the deadline in both years, and he’s still several years behind on those payments.. ...Read Full Story

School Board Talks Graduation

With graduation set for this Friday, leaders at Benton Harbor Area Schools are hoping to ensure some students who are just a half credit away from the diploma requirements are still allowed to walk the field with their class. At Tuesday’s work session, the board of education heard from the distraught parents of one senior who is a half credit away. They just found out she can’t walk with the class. Trustee Joseph Taylor wondered if she could do so if she signed up for summer school first.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Repeals Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Law

The Michigan Legislature has voted mostly along party lines in both the House and Senate to repeal a decades-old law that guarantees higher “prevailing” wages for construction workers on state-financed projects. Governor Snyder opposes the bill, but is unable to veto it because it was initiated through a ballot drive. Michigan has become the fifth conservative-led state to annul its prevailing wage law since 2015. Republicans say the law costs taxpayers more when school construction and other government projects could be done for less money. Democrats, union contractors and others say the repeal initiative is an attack on workers and the 1965 law ensures they are paid fairly and quality work is done.. ...Read Full Story