Local News Archives

KitchenAid Food Truck Drumming Up Excitement For Golf Tournament

KitchenAid is gearing up for its role as the title sponsor of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores later this month by hitting the road with a food truck serving cookies and prizes. Deb O’Connor is the appliance maker’s director of global partnerships and spoke to Morning Sportsbeat on 957 & 1400 WSJM Sports about the food truck tour, which will be going all over up until May 19.. ...Read Full Story

Statewide Gas Prices Steady With Last Week

Gas prices are mostly unchanged around the state compared to last week. According to the latest survey from Triple-A Michigan, the statewide average is the same as a week ago at $2.85. Prices in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph are at the statewide average, also unchanged. The survey finds the most expensive gas in the areas looked at by AAA to be in Ann Arbor for the second straight week at $2.91, and Marquette drivers have the state’s lowest prices at $2.78. South Haven is not part of the Triple-A survey and has some of the area’s lowest gas prices. You can find unleaded along the Lake Michigan shore in Van Buren County for as low as $2.68 a gallon. The statewide average is about 50¢ more than what we were paying a year ago.. ...Read Full Story

Five Hurt In Two Cass County Crashes

Several people are recovering from injuries suffered in a pair of crashes in Cass County over the weekend. 75-year-old Gerald Keesler of Dowagiac had to be airlifted to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo after he was tossed from his motorcycle when it was hit by a Dowagiac man in Pokagon Township in front of Four Winds Casino. Keesler was passing a car that was turning into a gas station when the car that hit him pulled out of the same business. The sheriff’s department says Keesler was wearing a helmet. Deputies were also called to a crash on M-51 in Pokagon Township just under an hour later at noon for a crash that left four people with minor injuries. In that incident, an 85-year-old Niles man did not notice a car in front of him slowing down to allow a third vehicle to turn into a driveway. Both crashes are still being investigated.. ...Read Full Story

More Broadband Coming To Van Buren

A Bloomingdale-based company is planning to invest $12 million in the expansion of broadband internet in Van Buren County over the next few years. Bloomingdale Communications General Manager Steve Shults tells WSJM News the company is rolling out fiber to areas north of Bloomingdale to about Allegan County and south to about M-43. He says the need for broadband in Van Buren is great.. ...Read Full Story

State Launches Soo Lock Website

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has announced the launch of a new website to draw attention to issues with the Soo Locks. The locks, located between Lake Huron and Lake Superior, allow ships to travel between Lake Superior and the rest of the lower lakes. President Trump recently called for upgrades to the Soo Locks, and Calley says all Michiganders should thank him. There have been calls for a brand new lock for years, with Michigan leaders saying the economy would be greatly harmed if damage were to close the locks. According to Calley’s office, “a 2015 analysis by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security found that an unexpected closure of the Soo Locks, especially during peak shipping season, could result in a cascading collapse of the U.S. economy.” The new state website drawing attention to the locks is Michigan.gov/FixTheSooLocks.. ...Read Full Story

Parks To Accept Credit Cards

Visitors to some of Berrien County’s most popular parks will soon be able to use credit cards to gain entrance. Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey tells WSJM News Wi-Fi technology will be installed at the entrances to make the transactions possible.. ...Read Full Story

Latest Fatal Crash Numbers Released

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning says alcohol and drug-related crashes remain a significant problem in the state, even though a new report shows overall traffic deaths decreased 3% last year. MSP spokesperson Kendall Wingrove tells WSJM News the latest statistics are a bit troubling.. ...Read Full Story

Grand Opening For Nature Area

Set for this month is the grand opening of the new Pilgrim Haven Natural Area near South Haven. Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy President Peter Ter Louw tells WSJM News the 27 acre parcel of land along Lake Michigan was donated to the organization in 2011.. ...Read Full Story

Girls On The Run 2017

May will bring the first of two Girls on the Run 5Ks planned in southwest Michigan this year. Girls on the Run of Southwest Michigan Dirctor Julie Bos tells WSJM News the organization will stage the runs in Berrien Springs on May 17 and in Decatur on June 1. Nearly 900 girls will take part, and Bos says the atmosphere is exciting.. ...Read Full Story

Plan To Disclose Drug Prices

State Representative Mary Whiteford of Casco Township has introduced legislation intended to benefit patients getting prescriptions filled. She tells WSJM News under current rules, pharmacists are not allowed to tell a patient the true cost of their medication in some circumstances. She learned about the problem from a pharmacist she represents.. ...Read Full Story

New Theater Coming To BH

Benton Harbor is getting a new theater. Planned for May of 2019 is the brand new GhostLight Theatre to be located at 101 Hinkley Street right behind the Citadel Dance and Music Center. GhostLight co-owner Martha Hesse tells WSJM News the place is vacant right now.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks North Korea

Congressman Fred Upton says “everyone,” including President Trump, deserves some credit for recent improvements in the relations between North and South Korea. Upton tells WSJM News he was pleased to see last weekend’s developments.. ...Read Full Story

Hamilton Dentist Seeks MI Senate Position

There’s a new Republican in the running for the Michigan Senate in the 26th District. That’s the district currently represented by state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, who is being term limited out of office. The latest to announce for the post is Don Wikstra, a dentist and township planning commissioner from Allegan County’s Hamilton. He spoke with WSJM News.. ...Read Full Story

“Empty The Shelters” Event Tomorrow

Van Buren County Animal Control is looking to adopt all of its pooches this Saturday with another Empty the Shelters event. Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department Operations Lieutenant Jim Charon tells WSJM News the Bissell Pet Foundation out of Grand Rapids will help make it all possible.. ...Read Full Story

“Missing In Michigan” Program Tomorrow

Set for this Saturday at Madonna University in Livonia is the 8th annual Missing in Michigan gathering. It’s held by Michigan State Police each year to highlight missing persons cases that remain unsolved. Jolene Hardesty with the MSP Missing Persons Unit tells WSJM News the program is partly for families.. ...Read Full Story

Name Change For Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass has announced a name change. The organization tells us it is now going to be called Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lower West Michigan. The change comes as the organization also expands its service area to include St. Joseph County, Michigan. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lower West Michigan provides mentors to young people and has been doing so in the region for more than 50 years. You can find out more about how you can help by visiting the organization’s website. . ...Read Full Story

Senate Approves Parks Grants

The Michigan Senate has signed off on the recommended Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund parks grants for the coming year. State Senator John Proos tells WSJM News the trust fund is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights.. ...Read Full Story

Seniors, Veterans Expo Monday

Set for Monday is the annual legislative senior and veterans expo in Van Buren County. The gathering was started about ten years ago by state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker as a way for her to stay in touch with local seniors and veterans and to connect then with state services. State Representative Beth Griffin is now part of it, and tell WSJM News the mission remains the same.. ...Read Full Story

Opoid Education In St. Joseph

Addiction experts are hoping to better educate the public about the nation’s opioid epidemic to help reduce the number of deaths. At a forum at St. Joseph Township Hall Wednesday, Berrien County Health Department Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Kerri Teachout said opioids represent the “deadliest drug crisis in American history.” She told us a common way someone gets their hands on an opioid is via theft.. ...Read Full Story

Enbridge Fined For Missing Inspection Deadline

From the Associated Press — Enbridge Inc. has agreed to pay a $1.8 million penalty in a deal with the U.S. government, which accused the Canadian oil transport company of missing deadlines for inspecting pipelines to prevent leaks. The inspections were required under an earlier agreement following a 2010 spill in southwestern Michigan, when a ruptured Enbridge pipeline released at least 843,000 gallons of crude into the Kalamazoo River. The company agreed to check for flaws in its Lakehead System pipelines, which extend about 2,000 miles across seven states. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Enbridge took too long to conduct some of the inspections last year.
Enbridge said Thursday that it disagreed with the government’s reading of the schedule, but accepted the fine under a federal court settlement so it could move ahead.. ...Read Full Story

President Trump To Campaign In Area Next Week

President Trump will be in our area next week. His campaign says the President will hold a rally on Thursday May 10 at South Bend’s Atlantic Aviation. He is expected to discuss the federal tax cuts, promote his America First agenda, and encourage people to vote in this fall’s mid-term elections. Doors open at 4 p.m. for the 7 p.m. rally. This will be the second time Trump has campaigned in South Bend since he announced his run for the White House in 2015. You’ll need to register online at the President’s campaign website to get in.. ...Read Full Story

Anti-Bullying Tour Coming To Niles

The anti-bullying Relentless Tour will stop by Niles High School next week. Relentless features motivational speaker and former Michigan State University basketball player Anthony Ianni who tells WSJM News he started the tour in 2015 to urge young people to treat each other with respect. He draws on his own experiences as a kid with bullying.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Honors Police

Local police have been honored by the Berrien County Health Department with its 2018 Friend of Public Health Award. Spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News the award is given each year to an individual or organization that has advanced public health. Police were picked this year because of all their efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. Conrad tells us police in Berrien County have been at the forefront when it comes to including anti-overdose medications in their equipment.. ...Read Full Story

KitchenAid Stand Mixers On Display This Month

Now on display at businesses throughout Berrien County are specially-decorated KitchenAid stand mixers. St. Joseph Today’s Amy Zapal tells us it’s a project called “Stand Mixers on Parade,” intended to thank the appliance maker for its support of the community as the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship takes place at Harbor Shores this month. You can find the stand mixers at businesses from Stevensville to St. Joe.. ...Read Full Story

Work On US-12 Bridge Next Week

Work begins Monday on a bridge over the Galien River, and drivers are being advised to give themselves a little extra time if they head that way. The Michigan Department of Transportation tells us it’s doing improvements on the US-12 bridge over the south branch of the Galien River near Three Oaks. The project will include joint replacement, railing replacement, deck repairs and resurfacing, steel beam repairs, substructure patching, guardrail replacement, and approach repaving. The work will mean some single lane closures and a temporary traffic signal. It starts Monday and is scheduled to wrap up June 29. You can stay on top of all of MDOT’s summer road projects at Michigan.gov/Drive.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Issues Spring Bear Advisory

As people start to spend more time in woodland areas this season, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has some tips to avoid conflict with bears. Katie Keen with the DNR tells us the agency has to put down some bears each year because the animals venture out of the woods and get too comfortable being near humans. She says homeowners who live in areas inhabited by bears should remove all bird feeders and only put garbage cans out just before the pickup time.. ...Read Full Story

Blossomtime Parade Saturday

Coming up this Saturday is the big Blossomtime Parade through St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. Parade President Anna Abdelnour tells us the event attracts as many as 200,000 people to the area each year. She expects this Saturday will be a whole heap of fun.. ...Read Full Story

“Empty The Shelters” Event Saturday

Van Buren County Animal Control is looking to adopt all of its pooches this Saturday with another Empty the Shelters event. Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department Operations Lieutenant Jim Charon tells WSJM News the Bissell Pet Foundation out of Grand Rapids will help make it all possible.. ...Read Full Story

Prosecutor Wants Law Updated After Conviction Tossed

Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic is calling on state lawmakers to fix a hole in the election code that resulted in the conviction of Benton Township activist Edward Pinkney for election fraud being tossed by the Michigan Supreme Court. In a statement, Sepic notes the justices “did not in any way disturb the finding of the jury that Pinkney changed the signature dates on the recall petitions” in an attempt to recall former Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower. The activist changed the dates on signatures to make it appear they had been collected within the timeframe required to put the recall before voters. Pinkney’s conviction was overturned on the technicality that the statute under which he was found guilty was not a substantive law section, but rather simply a penalty section. Sepic notes the Berrien County judge and the Michigan Court of Appeals both saw it differently than the state Supreme Court.. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw Student Won’t Be Tried As Adult

The Paw Paw High School student accused of plotting an attack on his school in March will not be tried as an adult. The decision to keep the case in juvenile court in Van Buren County was made yesterday by Judge Jeffrey Dufon, who says plenty of people at the school and in law enforcement failed the boy.. ...Read Full Story

Rollover Crash Kills Hartford Man

A 23-year-old Hartford Township man has died from several injuries he suffered when he rolled his car and was thrown from it in Keeler Township. The crash happened around 7 last night on County Road 362 east of 70th Street, and the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says no other cars were involved. The man was thrown from his vehicle and was apparently not buckled up. Investigators say they don’t yet know if alcohol or drugs played any role in the crash, but do say it appears speed was partly to blame. The man died at Lakeland Watervliet Hospital after several attempts to revive him at the scene of the crash by fire and medical first responders. Police have not released his name.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Teacher Honored

A South Haven teacher has been honored by the Rotary Club for her work with local students. The Rotary tells us Andrea Jeiger was given the club’s Education and Service Award at a fundraiser this past Saturday. The Rotary says it recognizes an educator who exemplifies the attributes of quality teaching and is an active volunteer in the South Haven community each year. They say Jeiger started out teaching in South Haven’s summer migrant program, and then moved on to teaching elementary students in 2014. She also serves as president of the South Haven Education Association. As part of Jeiger receiving the award, the Rotary made a $250 donation to the South Haven Public School’s Educational Foundation in her name.. ...Read Full Story

RESA Superintendent Gets High Marks

Berrien RESA Superintendent Kevin Ivers has received a positive performance evaluation from the RESA Board of Education. At a retreat this week, RESA Trustees used an evaluation tool from the Michigan Association of School Boards to rate Ivers in five areas. They were governance and board relations, stakeholder relations, employee relations, educational leadership, and operations and finance. Dr. Ivers received a “highly effective” rating in all areas measured. The positive review resulted in an extension of Ivers’ contract by one year, meaning he’s now contracted to be with RESA through at least June of 2021. Berrien RESA Board President Sharon Kalling says the board is very pleased with the district’s superintendent.. ...Read Full Story

Opioid Forum Held In St. Joseph Township

Addiction experts are hoping to better educate the public about the nation’s opioid epidemic to help reduce the number of deaths. At a forum at St. Joseph Township Hall Wednesday, Berrien County Health Department Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Kerri Teachout said opioids represent the “deadliest drug crisis in American history.” She told us a common way someone gets their hands on an opioid is via theft.. ...Read Full Story

State Launches New Soo Locks Website

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has announced the launch of a new website to draw attention to issues with the Soo Locks. The locks, located between Lake Huron and Lake Superior, allow ships to travel between Lake Superior and the rest of the lower lakes. President Trump recently called for upgrades to the Soo Locks, and Calley says all Michiganders should thank him. There have been calls for a brand new lock for years, with Michigan leaders saying the economy would be greatly harmed if damage were to close the locks. According to Calley’s office, “a 2015 analysis by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security found that an unexpected closure of the Soo Locks, especially during peak shipping season, could result in a cascading collapse of the U.S. economy.” The new state website drawing attention to the locks is Michigan.gov/FixTheSooLocks.. ...Read Full Story

Teacher Gets Recognition

A Berrien County substitute teacher is getting some recognition for her entry into a video contest. Lauren Mott teaches grades K through 12 at Bridgman and River Valley Schools. She tells us she came to the area last year from Chicago.. ...Read Full Story

Drug Treatment Court Celebrates 10 Years This Week

May is National Drug Court Month and in celebration, the Van Buren County Drug Treatment Court will have guest speakers this Friday that will address the impact of drug courts in our area. Speakers will include the Assistant Chief Prosecuting Attorney, a Program Defense Attorney, Sheriff Abbott and retired Judge William Buhl, as well as a program graduate. The event will also celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the Van Buren County Drug Treatment Court. The public is invited to attend the event at the Van Buren County Courthouse in Paw Paw this Friday morning at nine.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Aims To Clarify Drug Prices

State Representative Mary Whiteford of Casco Township has introduced legislation intended to benefit patients getting prescriptions filled. She tells WSJM News under current rules, pharmacists are not allowed to tell a patient the true cost of their medication in some circumstances. She learned about the problem from a pharmacist she represents.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Twp Walmart Briefly Evacuated

Everything is back to normal at the Benton Township Walmart after a brief evacuation this morning. The Benton Township Fire Department and Michigan Gas Utilities were called out to the store around 8 a.m. on a report of an odor and found a malfunctioning heater in the back of the building. The gas company’s equipment did not detect elevated natural gas levels, but they did notice the smell. The evacuation was a precaution, and shoppers and employees were back inside before 9:30 a.m.. ...Read Full Story

Infighting Among Democrats In Gubernatorial Race

There is some infighting amongst Democrats running for governor. Gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed is challenging the validity of opponent Shri Thanedar’s ballot petition signatures. El-Sayed filed his complaint Tuesday, hours after Thanedar announced his own complaint saying El-Sayed has not been a registered voter over the four years leading up to this fall’s general election for governor — something required under Michigan’s constitution and election law. El-Sayed lived in New York for several years and while he canceled his Michigan drivers license during that time, he was still registered to vote in this state.. ...Read Full Story

Higher Education Poll Released

A new poll shows Michigan residents want the state to invest in higher education to keep tuition low, and that more than 80% believe their child will receive at least a four-year college degree. The survey was conducted for the Michigan Association of State Universities. President and CEO Dan Hurley says even though parents believe a college degree will help their child earn better money, they want their kids to be happy in their careers first and foremost.. ...Read Full Story

Results Of Statewide Drug Take-Back

A drug take-back event this past Saturday resulted in more than 966 pounds of unneeded prescription medications being collected across the state. Michigan State Police tell us the agency’s 30 posts served as drop-off locations for people to dispose of old drugs. The medications are then turned over to the DEA for safe disposal. The Niles post of Michigan State Police on Saturday collected 53 pounds of drugs alone. The next drug take-back event will be held in the fall. There are several locations around Berrien County where you can drop off unneeded medications every day. You can see a list below.. ...Read Full Story

Broadband Expansion Planned For Van Buren County

A Bloomingdale-based company is planning to invest $12 million in the expansion of broadband internet in Van Buren County over the next few years. Bloomingdale Communications General Manager Steve Shults tells WSJM News the company is rolling out fiber to areas north of Bloomingdale to about Allegan County and south to about M-43. He says the need for broadband in Van Buren is great.. ...Read Full Story