Local News Archives

Three Women Shot In Benton Township

Benton Township police are looking for suspects in a triple shooting. They were called to a home around 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the 800 block of Eastern Avenue for a report of shots fired and found three Benton Harbor women injured. All three were outside at a party when they were shot. According to police, 31-year-old Tiera Clark was shot in the chest and throat area, 31-year-old Holli Meridy was shot in the shoulder, and 30-year-old Alicia Watson was shot in the neck. There is no word on their conditions. Police have not identified any suspects or motive as yet.. ...Read Full Story

New Home For Berrien Cancer Service

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

Closing Tax Loophole Means Big Bucks

School districts around Berrien County have seen their revenues jump dramatically since the closure of a property tax loophole last year. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News legislation from state Representatives Dave Pagel and Kim LaSata made it possible to revoke the homestead exemptions of property owners making that claim on more than one property. Since the crackdown, Witkowski says nearly a million dollars more has been collected for Berrien County schools.. ...Read Full Story

Rural Development Grants For SWM

Congressman Fred Upton has announced a couple of grants for Berrien and Van Buren counties. His office tells us the first USDA Rural Development grant in Berrien is $95,000 for the village of Baroda. It will be used to build a road through the industrial park. The park has 14 lots, 12 of which are sold to businesses looking to construct facilities. However, there isn’t road access to all of the sites. The grant will change that. It’s expected to lead to the creation of 20 jobs. The other grant is for $41,000 for Van Buren County to conduct a comprehensive countywide economic development plan. It will focus on three areas — transportation, workforce housing, and internet connectivity. Congressman Upton says the two USDA Rural Development grants will “directly help boost our local economy and create local jobs.”. ...Read Full Story

Prison Closing This Year

The Ojibway Correctional Facility in the western Upper Peninsula will close in December. The Michigan Department of Corrections announced the closure today as the prisoner population continues to decline statewide. State Representative Scott Dianda, who represents the western Upper Peninsula, tells Michigan News Network it’s bad news.. ...Read Full Story

Historical Society Fundraising For Museum

The Bangor Historical Society is looking to purchase its museum Museum on West Monroe Street. The society tells us it’s had a generous landlord for years, but now, the landlord would like to sell the building in the next year. So, that means the museum will have to purchase the building or move. Bob Emmert, president of the museum, spoke with WSJM News about the issue.. ...Read Full Story

Public Art On Hold

There will not be any public art on the sidewalks in the city of St. Joseph next year. The program is being paused for a year, partly due to the retirement of communications director Susan Solon, and partly because she says it’s been successful in bringing people and families downtown and helping to fill storefronts that had been empty when it began as an economic development tool 15 years go.. ...Read Full Story

Milestone For Horizon Bank

Horizon Bank has announced a new milestone. The bank that serves northern Indiana and southwest Michigan has surpassed $4 billion in total assets. Horizon Bank CEO Craig Dwight says this is the first time the institution has passed that mark in its 145 year history. He adds the bank is proud of reaching that level, believing the growth “helps us to continue on our mission of serving local communities.” He credits the latest news to “profitable acquisitive and organic growth.” Horizon Bank has more than 50 locations throughout Indiana and Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Group Studies Local Retail Needs

Cornerstone Alliance is looking at all options to help Benton Township replace the Target store in the Fairplain Plaza, which closed earlier this year. To that end, they’ve hired an organization called The Retail Coach to study the market. The company’s Will Kline talked about the work with 98.3 The Coast.. ...Read Full Story

Police Citizens Academy

Anyone interested in learning more about police work will soon have a chance to take part in a Michigan State Police Citizens Academy. Trooper Alan Fitzpatrick of the Paw Paw post tells WSJM News the next academy will start September 24, and they’re taking registrations now. He says each Monday session looks at different aspects of the work state police do.. ...Read Full Story

Online Sales Tax Collections Increasing

The state of Michigan will begin collecting sales taxes on online purchases from out of state sellers next month. The Michigan Department of Treasury tells us a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has prompted it to change the state’s sales tax administration. Shoppers were previously required to track and annually self-report uncollected taxes from mail order and online retailers physically located outside of Michigan. Treasury says this week’s announcement allows for the more efficient collection of the sales tax by collecting from businesses rather than individuals. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a more than 30-year precedent allowing the Michigan Department of Treasury to collect sales tax from retailers physically located outside the state if the retailer exceeds $100,000 in sales or 200 or more transactions in Michigan within the previous calendar year. The state Treasury Department estimates more than $200 million in additional state revenue will be collected each year under the new sales tax rule.. ...Read Full Story

Push To Improve National Parks

National Parks in Michigan and around the nation could get some TLC if Congress Acts. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is promoting bipartisan legislation that would address the $12 billion maintenance backlog at parks across the country. Yaron Miller with the Pew Charitable Trusts Restore America’s Parks campaign says many of the problems at the parks impact access and safety.. ...Read Full Story

Local Wines Win Awards

Some southwest Michigan wineries have come out on top in a statewide competition. Held in Lansing on August 9 was the 2018 Michigan Wine Competition. Out of 415 wines entered, wineries of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail were awarded 125 medals, including three in the Best of Class category. Among them were St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw, which took home the top honors in the categories of Dessert Wine and Fruit Wine. Winning in the Semi-Dry Red Wine category was Lawton Ridge Winery out of Kalamazoo. The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail is a collaboration of 20 member wineries all located in Southwest Michigan. You can find out more about them at MIWineTrail.com.. ...Read Full Story

Road Commission To Try Again

The Van Buren County Road Commission is going to try again. After a ballot proposal asking the public for a millage increase to improve the roads was shot down last week, Road Commission Engineer Manager Larry Hummel says they’re now going to put it on the November ballot. He told The Herald Palladium trying again in November will allow more time to promote the millage proposal. The goal is 3 mills over 12 years, generating about $10 million per year. The ballot language will be revised to better explain how the money will be shared with local governments. The millage proposal was rejected last week with about 44% voting in favor. The Van Buren County Road Commission tells us it needs extra money in order to get the county’s roads in better shape. Hummel says about 67% of them are in poor condition.. ...Read Full Story

Man Found Guilty Of Murder

An Elkhart, Indiana man has been found guilty of murder in Cass County. The Cass County Prosecutor’s Office tells us 33-year-old Joseph Craigo’s trial wrapped up Friday after about a half hour of deliberations. The trial included testimony from 19 witnesses about the night in March of last year when Craigo’s father was killed. The prosecution said a methamphetamine-addicted Craigo went to his parent’s house with the intention of taking what he wanted and then killing his father. It tells us Craigo used a homemade knife to try to slit his father’s throat before plunging it into his neck. Criago’s 66-year old-mother testified he threatened to kill her as he fled the scene. Craigo had claimed self-defense, and later, that we was covering for his mother, who he said actually committed the murder. In court, though, he admitted to the stabbing. Craigo will be sentenced on September 14. The penalty for murder in the first degree is mandatory life in prison without parole.. ...Read Full Story

Allegan Deputies To Carry Anti-Overdose Drug

Deputies with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department will now be carrying anti-overdose drug Naloxone as part of their regular equipment. Naloxone is a simple nasal spray that can get a person breathing again when they experience an opioid overdose. The sheriff’s department tells us a grant helped to buy enough doses for all of its divisions to keep on hand. The Grand Rapids Red Project came to Allegan and Saugatuck to provide Naloxone training to staff of the sheriff’s department. The drug has become a common piece of standard police equipment in southwest Michigan as the opioid epidemic continues to cause overdose deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Police Dog Campaign Completed

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department has completed a project to protect one of its K9s from excessive heat. Last fall, the Bow Wow Bakery and Bath in Dowagiac started the “Keep Nellie Cool” campaign, aiming to raise money for a heat sensor in the patrol car used by K9 Nellie and her handler, Deputy T.K. Grave. The sensor could alert Grave when the car gets too hot so she can respond to protect Nellie. The sheriff’s department says last year there were seven Police K9s killed nationwide from overheated vehicles. A total of $12,000 was raised by the Keep Nellie Cool campaign, and a used Tahoe was purchased with it and to be outfitted for proper use with Nellie. The car that was being used by the Nellie, a bloodhound, and her handler was scheduled to be taken out of service. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department thanks everyone who chipped in to the campaign.. ...Read Full Story

Line 5 Hearings Coming Up

The future of the Line 5 oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac will be the topic of two hearings in Traverse City, one Saturday, and the other on Monday. Liz Kirkwood, executive director of the group For Love of Water, tells us Line 5 has surpassed its lifetime in terms of safety. Her group believes it risks the health of the Great Lakes every day that it continues to carry oil.. ...Read Full Story

Wallace Avenue Work On Track

In case you’re wondering if Wallace Avenue in St. Joseph will be back open in time for next Friday’s season opening football game at St. Joseph High School, part of it will be. St. Joe City Engineer Tim Zebell tells us the city is well aware of the upcoming football action, and crews will have traffic open on Wallace between South State Street and Stadium for the game, making access to the school from the east possible on Wallace. Access from the west will have to be on Kingsley. The road surface will still be rough as the reconstruction project on Wallace is still weeks away from being finished, but it will be available for game traffic next Friday. Otherwise, Zebell says the plan is to have the paving done and Wallace back open in time for the start of school. You can follow all of the latest on the Wallace Reconstruction project at the city’s website. You can find it right here.. ...Read Full Story

Wreckage Of Lost Plane Found In Upper Peninsula

From the Associated Press — Authorities have positively identified a couple whose remains were recovered from the wreckage of a small plane that crashed more than 20 years ago in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Mackinac County Sheriff Scott Strait said Thursday the remains have been positively identified as those of missing couple Mark and Janet Davies. The single-engine Piper PA-28 that 45-year-old Mark Davies was piloting took off Sept. 14, 1997, from Drummond Island in Lake Huron and was headed to Howell, about 300 miles (480 kilometers) to the south. A four-day search at the time failed to find the remains of the couple or the plane. The wreckage was discovered July 11 in the Hiawatha National Forest near St. Ignace. Strait says the National Transportation Safety Board has completed its on-site investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Food Assistance Work Requirement Being Expanded

A work requirement for able-bodied adults with no dependents who are receiving food assistance will go into effect across Michigan in October. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Bob Wheaton tells WSJM News those affected will have to work an average of 20 hours per week to continue getting food aid.. ...Read Full Story

Feds Appeal Parlak Decision

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is appealing a decision that allowed Ibrahim Parlak to stay in the United States. Last month, an immigration judge approved Parlak’s application for deferral of deportation under the Convention Against Torture. Homeland Security has asked the decision to be reconsidered, meaning the fight for Parlak now goes to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Congressman Fred Upton spoke with WSJM News on Thursday about the issue.. ...Read Full Story

Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over Crackdown

The upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend will have a lot of us on the road for a final summer trip. As has been the case for years, extra police patrols will also be out there. Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit says multiple agencies around the county are taking part in another Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over campaign.. ...Read Full Story

Schuette Evasive When Questioned About Healthy Michigan

No direct answer from Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Schuette to a question on the future of Governor Snyder’s Healthy Michigan program if he’s elected. The Medicaid expansion provides health insurance for 680,000 people in the state. At the Oakland County Republican Party headquarters Wednesday, Schuette gave a rambling answer to a yes or no question, saying he prefers a private-sector focus on healthcare instead of expanding Medicaid. He also said children should be able to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26 and he favors keeping pre-existing conditions covered.. ...Read Full Story

Senator Proos Praises Closing Western U.P. Prison In December

How many prisons does the state need? The Michigan Department of Corrections and state lawmakers say not as many as we currently have, and the announcement was made this week that the Ojibway Correctional Facility in the far western Upper Peninsula will close in December. Senator John Proos of St. Joseph says it makes sense to close down facilities rather than keep them open and pay for empty beds.. ...Read Full Story

Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin Dies At 76

The music world has lost an icon. The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, has died at her home in Detroit at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer. Franklin has been in hospice care for much of the past week at her home on the Detroit River. She was born in Memphis, Tennessee to Barbara and C.L. Franklin, a Baptist minister. After moving to Detroit, she became active musically and recorded her debut album at the age of 14 in 1956. Franklin won 18 Grammy awards and was the first female solo artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She performed at two presidential inaugurations: 1993 for Bill Clinton and 2009 for Barack Obama. Along with her storied music career, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 from President George W. Bush and Yale University awarded her an Honorary Doctorate in Music in 2010.. ...Read Full Story

Trolling With The Troops Next Week

Coming up next week is the second annual Trolling with the Troops event in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. Organizer Scott Mann tells WSJM News it’s a fishing trip for veterans out in Lake Michigan. The local Steelheaders recruit boat captains to take the veterans out, and then a celebratory lunch is held after. Last year, they had 67 veterans and 17 boats.. ...Read Full Story