Local News Archives

St. Joe Lighthouse Featured On Vernors Cans

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The St. Joseph Lighthouse has a new claim to fame, now appearing on some limited-edition cans of Vernors ginger ale. Working with Pure Michigan, Vernors is featuring historic Michigan lighthouses on its cans. They are the St. Joseph Lighthouse, along with the lighthouses at Forty Mile Point in Rogers City, Old Mackinac Point in Mackinaw City, Point Iroquois in Brimley, Point Betsie in Frankfort, Little Sable Point in Mears, and Fort Gratiot in Port Huron. The image of the St. Joe Lighthouse appearing on those Vernors cans is courtesy of an image from well-known photographer Josh Nowicki. Vernors says it wanted to showcase Michigan lighthouses on its cans as a way of celebrating the state. The cans will be available through October.. ...Read Full Story

Payments To Nassar Victims Halted

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From the Associated Press — Michigan State University has halted payments from a $10 million fund it set up for counseling services for victims of now-imprisoned former sports doctor Larry Nassar amid concerns about possible fraudulent
claims. The Lansing State Journal reports the school stopped making payments Wednesday after the Healing Assistance Fund administrator’s flagged the issue. MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant says stopping payments will allow an investigation
into the issue. Guerrant says the fund had distributed more than $1.1 million as of June 30. Nassar worked for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. He is imprisoned for molesting athletes and possessing child pornography.
The Detroit News reports John Manly, a civil attorney for roughly 200 victims, says fraud should be rooted out but that he worries about how victims will cope without.. ...Read Full Story

Democrat Whitmer Releases Plan To Fight Urban Poverty

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As the August 7th primary approaches, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Gretchen Whitmer is releasing her plan to fight urban poverty. It includes her support for regional transit, the effort to cut auto insurance rates, and expand affordable housing. Whitmer, who served in Lansing in the House and Senate for several years, was asked why she didn’t try to fix those pressing issues during her time in the Legislature.. ...Read Full Story

PFAS Renders Drinking Water Unusable In Parts Of Kalamazoo County

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Don’t try to boil it or filter it. Health officials in Kalamazoo County are telling residents of the city of Parchment and Cooper Township to not drink the water. Officials are advising residents to immediately stop using tap water for drinking, making baby formula and washing vegetables. Kalamazoo County Health Officer Jim Rutherford says authorities only became aware of the situation on Thursday.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Rental Meeting

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The South Haven Planning Commission will hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss and fine tune two proposals regarding short-term rentals. One of the proposals to be discussed is possibly to prohibit short-term rentals in newly-constructed homes and-or prohibit occupancy increases after renovations. The other proposal to be discussed involves prohibiting or putting a cap on new short-term rentals in certain areas of the city, generally south of the Black River and close to Lake Michigan. This special meeting is a Planning Commission Work Session at 1pm. The next Regular Planning Commission Meeting will be held on August 2nd at 7.. ...Read Full Story

Realtors Spruce Up Park

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The Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors has helped to improve another park in the region. This time it’s the playground area next to Milton Township Hall in Cass County. The realtor’s association provided the township with a Placemaking Grant of a little more than $2,400 to make it happen. The township used the money to buy bike racks and trash receptacles for the area. Members of the Association of Realtors also volunteered to install the items and to paint and spruce up the park. Realtor Mark VanDusen was the sponsor for the Milton Township Park grant. He says the area next to the town hall is for the community to play, have picnics, and hold family events. You can find out more about Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors Placemaking Grants right here.. ...Read Full Story

Changes Coming To School Board

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There will be some new faces on the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education next year. That’s because four trustees who could have run in November have opted not to file. Trustees Joseph Taylor, Martha Momany, Margaret Gast, and Marletta Seats, who is also the board president, are sitting out, according to The Herald Palladium. They did not file by Tuesday’s deadline. The Berrien County Clerk’s office tells us three candidates have filed. They are Patricia Rush of Sodus Township, Matthew Bradley of Benton Harbor, and Lue Buchana of Benton Township. Buchana is a former school trustee for Benton Harbor Area Schools. The board of education, whoever is on it, will have a reduced role going forward. That’s after the board agreed this summer to hire Robert Herrera as the district’s new CEO. Herrera is working directly under the state, which is now mostly in control. The school board at this point only controls things related to taxes and borrowing.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Judge Appointed To Circuit Court

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Berrien County Judge Donna Howard has a new appointment. On Thursday, Governor Rick Snyder appointed Howard to serve as the new judge of the 2nd Circuit Court in Berrien County. The governor’s office says Howard was elected as a district judge to the Berrien County Trial Court in 2014. She has been assigned to both the Criminal and Civil Divisions and oversees the problem-solving courts. She also presides over the Business Court. Howard has been appointed to the Circuit Court to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge John Donahue. Howard will have to seek election in November 2020 for the remainder of the term. Prior to serving as a judge, Howard served as Corporate Counsel to Berrien County.. ...Read Full Story

Treasurer Hearing From Generous Residents

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The Berrien County Treasurer’s office has been receiving inquiries from residents who would like to chip in to help those in need of property tax assistance. Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News since an article published this month about an 88-year-old Niles woman who walked a mile to his office to sign up for a payment plan, he’s been getting calls. Witkowski says one woman even sent him $250 to help people in similar situations to the Niles case.. ...Read Full Story

Great Lakes Funding Secured

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Congressman Fred Upton is hailing the U.S. House for approving full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for another year. He tells WSJM News the Trump administration tried yet again to gut the $300 million in funding for 2019, but the delegations from the Great Lakes states once again thwarted it.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Lighthouse Keepers Honored

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The Historical Association of South Haven and the Michigan Maritime Museum are memorializing some of South Haven’s lighthouse keeprs. They are first lighthouse keeper William P. Bryan and the longest serving keeper, Captain James S. Donahue. Both men were laid to rest at Lakeview Cemetery this week. One and his wife had no grave marker for 125 years. A memorial service for the men will be held on Saturday at the Lakeview Cemetery at 4 p.m. Everyone is welcome.. ...Read Full Story

Another Endorsement For LaSata

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State Representative Kim LaSata continue to win the support of current and former lawmakers in her bid to jump to the Michigan Senate after just a single term in the House. Former Senator Ron Jelinek, who represented the district prior to being term-limited out of office and opening the door for Senator John Proos, has announced his endorsement of the Republican from Bainbridge Township. Jelinek cites LaSata’s conservative record over the past two years in tossing his support behind her, saying her voting record “best reflects the values and beliefs of our area.” She is facing Representative Dave Pagel of Berrien Springs in the August Republican primary. Pagel is in his third term in the House and has broken with majority Republicans on a few issues over his six years in office.. ...Read Full Story

Energy Plan Slammed

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Michigan gets a failing grade for the effectiveness of its Renewable Portfolio Standard in a new report. The group Food and Water Watch examined the R-P-S in states that have established these standards for getting a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. Michigan’s current goal is 15%, which is one of the lowest among the 29 states with standards in place. Patrick Woodall with Food and Water Watch says Michigan still has a long way to go toward using 100%.. ...Read Full Story

Nassar Seeks Resentencing

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From the Associated Press — Lawyers for imprisoned former sports doctor Larry Nassar are asking that he be re-sentenced by a different judge in the first of the major molestation cases he faced. The Lansing State Journal reports Wednesday that the appellate lawyers filed motions Tuesday in Ingham County. Nassar, who’s serving a 60-year federal sentence for possessing child pornography, was also sentenced to up to 175 years in state prison for molesting young athletes. He agreed to a 25- to 40-year minimum term. But his attorneys say they believe Judge Rosemarie Aquilina decided to impose the maximum allowed
before the sentencing hearing even began. They cite her statements, including that she might let people do to Nassar what he did to the girls if the Constitution didn’t prohibit cruel and unusual punishment.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Honors Volunteers

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The winner of this year’s United Way of Southwest Michigan Margaret B. Upton Volunteer Leadership Award is Jerry Flenar of Buchanan. He was among those honored for their community service at the United Way’s annual Volunteer Recognition Event Wednesday night in St. Joseph. Flenar has a lifetime of donating time and services throughout the community. We asked him why he serves.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Fair Starts This Week

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The 167th annual Cass County Fair gets underway this week. Fair Board President Gail Peterson tells WSJM News the animal competitions and displays start Friday, and the opening day for the events is Sunday, featuring the parade at 5 and a street legal tractor pull at 7. This year’s theme is Fair-A-Tales Do Come True.. ...Read Full Story

Chemical Bank Moving HQ To Detroit

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From the Associated Press — A Michigan-based banking company is moving its headquarters from Midland to Detroit and plans to construct a 20-story building downtown. Officials announced Wednesday that Chemical Financial Corp., the holding
company for Chemical Bank, will immediately make its current space in Detroit its headquarters and the new building is part of its longer-term plans. Chemical Bank says it will add roughly 500 workers to Detroit once the new building is done and it plans to keep 500 employees in Midland. The mid-Michigan city also will keep serving as the company’s corporate operations center.
Chemical Bank CEO Tom Shafer says in a statement the company expects to make several additional investments in the city.
Detroit also announced that Chemical Bank will serve as the city’s new primary banking partner.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Praises Pfizer Expansion

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Governor Rick Snyder is pleased to see his Good Jobs for Michigan tax incentive being used for the first time in the expansion of Pfizer that was announced this week. The drug maker is investing in its plant in Portage. Snyder tells WSJM News the Pfizer plan is exactly what Good Jobs for Michigan was designed to do.. ...Read Full Story

Age Discrimination Claims By Former Symphony Musicians Denied By SMSO Director

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Three members of the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra have chosen to resign rather than go through work to make improvements as the result of getting musical warning termination letters. Susan Dietrich-Reed and her husband Steven are two of them, and she says all five who received the letters over the age of 65. Symphony director Sue Kellogg tells WSJM News it is part of contract negotiations and the five receiving the letters were musicians that the music director felt needed some improvements. Dietrich-Reed is questioning if it’s age discrimination, which Kellogg denies. Kellogg was adamant in talks with both WSJM News and MoodyOnTheMarket.com that no musicians have been or are being fired. Dietrich-Reid tells us a sixth musician who is 63 received a “milder disciplinary letter.” She has been playing for 44 years, while her husband has been playing for 40.. ...Read Full Story

Police Urge Caution On Water

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Even the strongest swimmers and most experienced boaters will be in big trouble if they fall into fast-moving river water. That’s a lesson to learn after a Kalamazoo kayaker was found dead in the St. Joseph River after a three day search. Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Robert Boyce tells WSJM News the river conditions have been harsh lately.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Five Year Plan

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The Michigan Department of Transportation has released its next five-year plan and is taking the public’s comments. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News the biggest projects tend to be in the large metro areas, although there are about 15 Berrien County road and bridge projects planned. They include laying the groundwork for the eventual connection of US-31 and I-94. The prep work includes two separate projects.. ...Read Full Story

Upton On Parlak Victory

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Congressman Fred Upton expects Ibrahim Parlak may seek U.S. citizenship now that a federal immigration judge has allowed him to avoid deportation. The judge last week approved Parlak’s application for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture, meaning he won’t be deported to Turkey. Upton tells WSJM News the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can appeal, but he’s not sure it will.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Endorses LaSata

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State Representative Kim LaSata has received the endorsement of the man she is running to replace in the Michigan Senate’s 21st District. State Senator John Proos tells WSJM News he’s backing LaSata because he believes her priorities will be the best. Proos says LaSata voted to roll back the state income tax, for example.. ...Read Full Story

Boy Injured In Fireworks Accident

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A 12-year-old boy has lost part of his hand and suffered injuries to his face due to a fireworks accident over the weekend in Berrien Township. Michigan State Police tell us the incident happened shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday. Troopers were called after the boy suffered serious injuries to the hand and face while igniting a mortar-style firework. It exploded instantly upon being ignited. Medic One ambulance took the boy to Borgess Memorial hospital in Kalamazoo, and then he was transferred to the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor for surgery. His injuries included the partial amputation of one hand and minor injuries to the other hand and face. Two adults who were present at the time of the incident were not hurt. The incident remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Commission: Investigate LGBT Complaints Despite AG

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From the Associated Press — The Michigan Civil Rights Commission has directed an agency to continue investigating complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity despite the state attorney general having
declared its interpretation of the law to be invalid. The commission made the decision Monday, three days after Bill Schuette said only the legislature or voters can expand Michigan’s civil rights law to provide LGBT protections. Michigan Department of Civil Rights Director Agustin Arbulu says the commission is an independent, constitutionally created body that isn’t bound by
Schuette’s opinion. He says the only recourse is for courts to decide the matter, and LGBT-based discrimination will continue to be investigated. A Schuette spokeswoman says his opinion is binding on state agencies, in part because he’s the attorney for all executive departments and agencies.. ...Read Full Story

Pfizer Planning MI Expansion

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From the Associated Press — Pfizer Inc. has been awarded $11.5 million in state incentives to build a new manufacturing facility in Michigan and add 450 jobs. The Michigan Strategic Fund Board approved the deal Tuesday. State officials said the pharmaceutical company headquartered in New York could have chosen one to expand in one of its 12 other facilities across the world. Pfizer plans to spend $465 million on a new sterile drug manufacturing facility in Portage near Kalamazoo. The facility – which will take eight years to construct – is needed so Pfizer can comply with new regulations from the federal government.
This is the first time the state is doling out special tax incentives under its “Good Jobs” program that was enacted last year.. ...Read Full Story

Bureau: Minimum Wage, Sick Time Drives Have Enough Petition Signatures

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The Michigan elections bureau says enough voter signatures have been submitted by proponents of ballot drives to raise the minimum wage and require employers to provide paid sick time. The bureau released reports Tuesday, and the Board of State Canvassers could certify the signatures at a meeting Thursday. Business groups have challenged the petitions, but the challenges were rejected by the bureau. A lawsuit filed by restaurants opposing the minimum wage proposal is pending in the courts. If certified, the measures would go to the Republican-led Legislature. If it did not act, the proposals would be placed on the November ballot. Proponents want to gradually raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and require a minimum amount of earned sick time, depending on the size of a business. Part of the minimum wage proposal would eliminate the lower wage for tipped workers and raise their pay to the standard minimum wage. Those who are opposed to that include bartenders and wait staff around the state, who argue it would be a massive pay cut with tips being eliminated.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan’s Credit Rating Goes Up

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Standard and Poor’s has increased Michigan’s credit rating. Michigan Department of Treasury spokesperson Ron Leix tells WSJM News this is the first credit rating increase for the state in the past ten years. S&P has moved Michigan from AA-  to AA with a stable outlook. Leix says this means something for the state’s residents.. ...Read Full Story

Missing Kayaker’s Body Believed Found

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An autopsy will be done in the next few days on the body of a Kalamazoo man pulled from the St. Joseph River. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey says remains believed to be 35-year-old Michael Scott were found by bow fishermen with high-powered lights around 10:30 pm Monday near where he disappeared on Saturday. Scott had been reported missing by friends he was kayaking with on Saturday. Searches during the day Sunday and Monday were called off due to low visibility in the water. The autopsy and confirmation of the identity of the body will be done at Western Michigan University.. ...Read Full Story

Buchanan Dog Park Opens

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The city of Buchanan has opened its first dog park. City Manager Bill Marx tells WSJM News the Field of Dreams Dog Park, located at the south end of Clark Street and is part of the McCoy Recreation Area, is the result of a four year campaign by the dog park committee.. ...Read Full Story

New Health Clinic For South Haven

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Bronson Healthcare is opening a new walk-in clinic in South Haven. The Bronson FastCare location will be there for anyone seeking treatment without an appointment for minor conditions or illnesses like sore throats, flu, ear and sinus infections, pink eye, and allergies. It’s a way for someone to get quick care without having to go to an emergency room. Bronson says FastCare will take most insurances, and will honor the office visit co-pay determined by the patient’s insurance company. The facility will be located across the street from Bronson South Haven Hospital at 970 South Bailey Avenue. Its opening is set for Wednesday, August 1.. ...Read Full Story

Gubernatorial Candidate On Statewide Tour

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Dr. Jim Hines is on the move. He’s currently polling in fourth among the four Republican gubernatorial candidates and has begun a ten-day blitz across the lower portion of the state. The 11-county swing is titled the “Hines Mobile 10 Day Tour.” He spoke with Michigan News Network about the trip.. ...Read Full Story

Missing Kayaker Search Continues

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The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department continues its search for a missing kayaker out of Kalamazoo. 35-year-old Michael Scott was reported by friends as missing shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday near the Jasper Dairy Road boat launch along the St. Joseph River in Royalton Township. The sheriff’s department marine unit and dive team searched the river Saturday and Sunday, using aerial and underwater drones. The search was called off Sunday afternoon due to dangerous conditions. Those conditions were reported as being the same on Monday. Assisting in the search now are the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and members of a kayaking club of which Scott was a part. A Michigan State Police cadaver dog will be brought in on Tuesday for the search is nothing has turned up by then.. ...Read Full Story

New Wind Farm Planned For MI

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From the Associated Press — DTE Energy says it has plans for 50 to 70 wind turbines in southern Michigan’s Branch County.
The Daily Reporter says the utility made a presentation Thursday to county commissioners in Coldwater. Commission Chairman Ted Gordon says any key decisions about the placement of turbines will be made by townships. Michael Sage of Detroit-based DTE says 180 people have signed agreements so far, covering 31,000 acres. He says the project is in the
“development stage” and could take a few more years. Critics of the wind project carried signs outside the courthouse and filled
the meeting. Pam Reed told commissioners that the economic benefits from DTE wind farms in Michigan’s Thumb haven’t been as good as promised.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joe Commission To Vote On Interim Public Safety Director

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The St. Joseph City Commission is expected to approve a pair of changes tonight to top personnel in the city. City Manager John Hodgson is requesting the commission approve the appointment of Deputy Public Safety Director Steve Neubecker to the post of interim director, while Public Works Director Tom MacDonald is expected to be approved as the acting assistant city manager. The moves are the result of the abrupt resignation Friday of Public Safety Director Brian Uridge. The official explanation from Hodgson is Uridge is leaving for a private sector opportunity, but the resignation was effective immediately. WSJM News is aware of rumors surrounding the exit of the now-former director, but Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic tells us there is no criminal investigation underway, and he knows nothing more than has been reported today about the situation.. ...Read Full Story

Sen. Schuitmaker Upset House Speaker Won’t Debate In Attorney General Race

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State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton is upset that her opponent in the race for the Republican nomination for attorney general is ducking a debate. Schuitmaker has agreed to a televised debate on PBS affiliates in the state prior to the Michigan Republican Party’s state convention later this summer, at which the nominee will be chosen. House Speaker Tom Leonard’s camp, however, is dismissing the idea without giving an explanation as to why. Both are term-limited in their respective legislative offices, though Leonard is eligible to serve two terms in the Senate if he were to run. The attorney general’s office is open this fall as Bill Schuette has served his two terms and is ineligible for another. He’s instead running for governor. On the Democratic side, Dana Nessel is likely the A.G. nominee after former U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles dropped out of the race earlier this year when he didn’t get enough support at a delegate convention. The Democrats will also officially nominate a candidate later this summer for the office, as it’s one of the few state offices that is not on the primary ballot in August.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Bridge Closure In Effect

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The Michigan Department of Transportation has shut down a bridge near Union Pier for some construction work. Spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News as part of construction on five bridges over I-94 near the Michigan-Indiana state line, the Union Pier Road bridge over I-94 closed on Wednesday and will remain closed through August 12. A detour is posted. Schirripa says MDOT grouped the five summer bridge projects together.. ...Read Full Story

Register Of Deeds Applications

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Applications are now being accepted by Berrien County to fill the vacant Register of Deeds office. That elected office was left by the death this summer of Lori Jarvis, whose elected term ran through December 31, 2020. A committee made up of Probate Judge Mabel Mayfield, Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler, and Prosecutor Michael Sepic will review the applications. Those interested should be at least 18, be registered to vote in Berrien County, and ideally have experience managing a small staff and an office budget along with being familiar with real estate matters. The deadline to apply is 4 p.m. on August 17. To do so, send a completed application, available on the county’s website, along with a cover letter and resume to: Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler, Courthouse, 811 Port Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085.. ...Read Full Story

Search For Missing Kayaker

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The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department will resume its search for a missing kayaker on Monday. It tells us 35-year-old Michael Scott of Kalamazoo was reported by friends as missing shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday near the Jasper Dairy Road boat launch along the St. Joseph River in Royalton Township. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Marine Unit and Dive Team searched the river Saturday and then resumed the search Sunday. The sheriff’s department tells us an advanced aerial drone was used in the search Sunday along with an underwater drone. The search was considered high risk due to high water, fast flowing water, and debris. Underwater visibility was described as low. The search will resume on Monday and police say Scott is considered missing.. ...Read Full Story

Block Grant Budgets

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Benton Harbor City Commissioners this week signed off on a couple of budgets for federal Community Development Block Grants. At a meeting on Monday, the commission heard unused funds from 2014 through 2017, totalling about $1.1 million, will go to priorities including a master plan update, repairs to the Armory, the Hull Park basketball court, and Dial a Ride. Commissioner Juanita Henry wasn’t entirely pleased with the plan. ...Read Full Story

Biden Coming To BH

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Former Vice President Joe Biden will kick off the 75th season of the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan’s Speakers Series. Biden will address members at the Mendel Center on the Lake Michigan College campus in Benton Township on Tuesday, October 16. You’ll remember the club also landed former President George W. Bush for his first speech after leaving office. Robin Hood CEO, best selling author and Army veteran Wes Moore will speak on November 14, followed by NBC News political director and Meet the Press host Chuck Todd on March 26. Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code Reshma Saujani will be the season’s final speaker on April 9.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Welcomes New Principal

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There’s a new principal at Bridgman High School. Superintendent Shane Peters tells us the board of education on Monday voted unanimously to hire Gerald Heath for the position. He replaces Sam Stine, who became the Bridgman Public Schools Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education this summer. Heath has served as the middle and high school principal at Lake Michigan Catholic. He’s also been an assistant principal and athletic director at Lake Michigan Catholic and a high school math teacher. Heath will officially begin his duties on July 23, and the district is making arrangements for the public and students to meet him. He says he’s excited to begin the new job.. ...Read Full Story

High Marks For Youth Program

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A new study from the University of Michigan has found the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program has a major effect on the students who participate. Youth Solutions Director Kristin Harrington tells WSJM News the 10-year-old program helps young people finish high school, guides them toward post-secondary education, and teaches them soft skills for the workplace.. ...Read Full Story

Public Safety Director Resigns

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St. Joseph Department of Public Safety Director Brian Uridge has resigned. He submitted his notice of resignation Friday, indicating to city officials he is returning to the public sector and a private life. Uridge told city staff that he has enjoyed working for St. Joseph and getting to know the community. Uridge, who also served as the assistant city manager, added he believes “We have achieved the goals I and the City had set for us when I joined Saint Joseph government. Now it is time for me to move on to new challenges.” St. Joseph City Manager John Hodgson tells us the city commission will consider related issues — such as appointing an acting/interim director — on Monday.. ...Read Full Story

New City Rental Rules

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The South Haven City Council this week adopted Phase 1 of the new Short Term Rental Amendments. Assistant City Manager Kate Hosier has the specifics says the old one-time $20 fee is shooting way up to an annual fee of $200 once the ordinance has been published, which is expected in about ten days.. ...Read Full Story

Arrest For Drunk Driving With Children In Car

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A Detroit woman is facing charges after being arrested for drunk driving early Saturday morning in Van Buren County. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us a deputy was on his way to work around 5 a.m. when he spotted a vehicle swerving erratically on westbound I-94 near the Paw Paw exit. He pulled the vehicle over, and the 31-year-old woman behind the wheel told him she was on her way to Detroit from a party in Kalamazoo. The deputy told her she’d been going the wrong way and administered a blood alcohol test which found her to be three times the legal limit. After getting the woman to jail, sheriff’s deputies learned the woman had given them a false name and did not have a valid driver’s license. The woman had three boys in the vehicle with her — a 10-month-old, a 2-year-old, and a 7-year-old. Their father was called to come and get them. The woman is now facing charges of drunk driving, child endangerment, possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine, driving on a suspended license, and giving false information to police. Police say the woman also had three warrants out in Detroit. Her name has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

BCF Grants Announced

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More than $117,000 in For Good Grants were announced this week by the Berrien Community Foundation. The foundation’s Susan Matheny tells WSJM News the For Good Grants come from interest off the organization’s endowments so the grants can last forever. The grants announced this week go to 24 non-profits.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Welcomes New Trustee

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There’s a new trustee in place at Lake Michigan College. At a meeting this week, the LMC Board of Trustees voted to appoint Joan Smith to a vacant seat. The position was formerly occupied by Judy Truesdell, who retired last month. Smith has been the chair of LMC’s Campaign for Tomorrow, which raised money for the new Hanson Tech Center. She’s also served on the LMC Foundation Board. She tells WSJM News she believes in the mission of community colleges.. ...Read Full Story

City Considers Trash Problems

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Benton Harbor City Commissioners have voted to put the community’s trash collector on notice. At a meeting this past week, they talked at length about how to correct problems reported with the service provided by We-Cycle Industrial Sanitation since the company was hired last year. Those problems include a lack of trash cans for residents and rude workers. The commission considered a resolution to send a 60-day contract termination notice to We-Cycle. Commissioner Ruthie Haralson spoke at Monday’s meeting.. ...Read Full Story

Tariffs Hit Soybeans

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Michigan soybean growers are being hit by the Trump administration’s new tariffs on China. Michigan Farm Bureau Field Crops Specialist Kate Thiel tells WSJM News direct sales of soy to China are expected to drop by 23%.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Road Meeting

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The Van Buren County Road Commission is hoping to fill in the public next week about its need for new road funding. The last of three public information meetings on an August ballot proposal for a new millage will be Tuesday, July 24 at the Van Buren Conference Center in Lawrence. The meeting will run from 6 to 8 p.m. The road commission tells us on hand will be engineers who will give a Power Point presentation regarding the proposed millage, along with a review of the current road conditions, the current road funding, and the intent of the millage. The road commission is asking voters for an additional three mills for 12 years. That would work out to about $15 per month for the average property owner. The Van Buren County Road Commission tells us road funding is grossly inadequate under old models still in place. Right now, about 67% of the roads in the county are classified as being in poor condition. Everyone is invited to next Tuesday’s meeting to hear more.. ...Read Full Story

Splash Pad For South Haven

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Future visitors to South Haven’s South Beach will most likely be enjoying a splash pad. The public has asked for it and the city’s parks and recreation department is now working on engineering studies. That’s according to Assistant City Manager Kate Hosier. She spoke with WSJM News about the project.. ...Read Full Story

County Promotes Tax Accounts

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Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski is thanking Honor Credit Union for making an effort to promote its new property tax savings accounts. Witkowski tells WSJM News he worked with some local banks to create the accounts taxpayers can use to have a portion of their earnings put aside each month for property taxes later in the year.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagons Elect Tribal Chair

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Matt Wesaw has been elected as the Tribal Council Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. Wesaw was picked for the post in the tribe’s general election on Saturday, July 14. This is Wesaw’s third election as tribal chairman with the previous elections being in 2008 and 2012. In October 2013, Wesaw announced his retirement from the council to become the executive director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. At that time, current Chairman John P. Warren was chosen in a special election to serve out the remainder of the term and was re-elected in 2015. With Wesaw now once again serving as tribal chairman, he’ll also serve as CEO of the Pokagon Gaming Authority Board, which oversees the band’s casino properties in New Buffalo, Hartford, Dowagiac, and South Bend. Also elected July 14 were Kelly Curran as secretary, Colin Wesaw as elders representative, and Gary Morseau, Sr. as member at large. The Pokagon band includes around 5,600 citizens.. ...Read Full Story