Local News Archives

Bridgman Master Plan Meeting This Week

The city of Bridgman wants to hear from residents as it develops its next master plan. City Manager Juan Ganum tells WSJM News it’s important for a community to carefully craft a master plan because the document governs several aspects of local development for as long as 20 years into the future.. ...Read Full Story

State Produces Human Trafficking Video For Medical Community

The Michigan Attorney General’s office has released a new training video designed to help medical professionals spot cases of human trafficking. The AG’s office tells us many human trafficking victims have interactions with doctors and nurses during their ordeal, and the video is designed to teach those professionals about the crime in general while, and also how to interview and interact with the victims. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says public awareness is a good first step when it comes to fighting human trafficking, but reaching medical professionals and teaching them how to spot it and intervene is another critical component. The video features local and federal law enforcement, members of the Michigan medical community, former human trafficking victims and Schuette himself. You can see the video below.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Speaks Out Against Hate Following Virginia Violence

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is speaking out against hate and violence following the white supremacist rally that spiraled into deadly confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia. Snyder released a statement Monday saying, “Hate speech and violence are not
welcome in Michigan – it’s not representative of who Michiganders truly are or of the future we want to build for our children.” Snyder says history has shown “hate begets hate and violence begets violence. On the other hand, unity and cooperation have shown how much we can accomplish when we respect our neighbors, embrace our differences and focus our energy on how we can all move forward and prosper together.” Vigils and rallies seeking to counter the Virginia violence occurred Sunday in the Detroit area, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Traverse City.. ...Read Full Story

Police Release Name Of Niles Woman Killed In Home Invasion

Police have released the name of a Niles woman killed in a robbery at her home over the weekend. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News 55-year-old Carla Jean Lewis was shot and killed when two suspects broke into her home on Lawndale Avenue shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday. The department was called by 49-year-old John Lewis, the victim’s husband. He said two suspects broke into the home and shot his wife in the basement. They then fled the scene in the victim’s car. It’s described as a 2008 Mazda CX-9, dark in color. The plate number is CMY 3721. Police continue to look for the two suspects. Anyone with information on their location is asked to call the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. The suspects are considered to be armed and dangerous. Police also say the victim’s husband was arrested at the scene for violating Michigan’s medical marijuana law.. ...Read Full Story

AAA: Gas Prices In Michigan Up

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 7¢ per gallon in the past week. The Dearborn-based auto club says late Sunday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.49 per gallon. AAA says the lowest average price was about $2.43 per gallon in the Jackson area. The highest was about $2.52 per gallon in the Ann Arbor area. Locally, prices in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph are up 8¢ from last week at $2.47. In South Haven, Gas Buddy spotters are finding most stations at $2.42, with one at $2.44 and another at $2.46.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Killed In Niles Twp Home Invasion

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police are looking for two suspects in a home invasion and murder in Niles Township. Our newsgathering partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16 report a woman was found shot to death in the home around 6 p.m. Sunday on Lawndale Avenue between 14th and 15th streets. Her husband called 9-1-1 to report two black men had broken in and one shot his wife, and then the suspects stole their car. Police are searching for a black or dark blue 2008 Mazda with the Michigan license plate CMY-3721.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Youth Fair Starts Tomorrow

The Berrien County Youth Fair starts tomorrow. This is the 72nd year for the fair in Berrien Springs. Fair Director Karen Klug tells WSJM News the kids will spend their weekend bringing their animals down to the fairgrounds and then the fun starts Monday when the carnival opens at 6 p.m. Tuesday is Kids Day. Klug says the fair is always great fun.. ...Read Full Story

One Killed In Fiery Crash

A fiery one-car accident in Buchanan is under investigation by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies were called to the area of Glendora Road near Coveny Road just after 7 a.m. Sunday for the crash. Buchanan Township firefighters put out the flames, and one person was found dead inside the vehicle. That person has not yet been identified, and investigators don’t know if alcohol or drugs were factors. Police say the victim’s body was sent to the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker School of Medicine in Kalamazoo for an autopsy and for identification.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Holding Citizens Academy

Anyone who wants to know what a Michigan State Police trooper does every day will have a chance to learn in the next few of months. The MSP Paw Paw post will be offering its second annual Citizens Academy. Trooper Kellie Shaffer tells WSJM News the agency wants to network with the public.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagon Fund Reflects On Ten Years

The Pokagon Fund has released its annual report, and this time around, it’s focusing on the impact the organization has had on southwest Michigan during the past ten years. The fund started in 2007, set up to give three-quarters-of-one percent of the Four Winds Casino’s slot revenues to community projects. The fund’s John Krsul tells WSJM News that’s amounted to more than $25 million in the past decade.. ...Read Full Story

State Spreading Awareness About Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Changes

Several state agencies are helping to spread the word about some traffic changes planned for the Mackinac Bridge during this Labor’s Days annual walk. Mackinac Bridge Authority Secretary Bob Sweeney tells WSJM News, for security reasons, they’re closing the bridge to vehicle traffic during the 60th annual walk. No vehicles will be allowed on the bridge from 6:30 a.m. to noon that day. The Michigan Secretary of State is now telling customers about the change to help reduce the chances of major traffic headaches for those who will be in the area on Labor Day. The Michigan Department of Transportation is also getting the word out with its road signs.. ...Read Full Story

Chemical Bank Donates $20,000 To SMC Nursing Expansion

Chemical Bank is the latest big contributor to the nursing program expansion at Southwestern Michigan College. SMC tells us the bank’s president this week delivered a $20,000 check to the board of trustees. The money will go toward a $9.6 million expansion project underway for the nursing building. It’s intended to roughly double both the building’s size and the number of students it can handle. Chemical Bank says it believes investing in the community is a good way to use its resources. SMC is expanding the nursing program in response to growing demand for nurses in the region.. ...Read Full Story

M-139 Speed Limit To Be Reduced During Berrien Youth Fair

The speed limit will be changing next week on part of M-139 near Berrien Springs. That’s so traffic can be made safer while the Berrien County Youth Fair is underway. The Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Police Department tells us the limit will be reduced from 45 to 35 miles per hour on M-139 between Lemon Creek Road and George Street. The change will be in effect Monday through next Saturday. Police will make sure signs and control devices are posted in the area to let drivers know.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Youth Fair Starts Monday

The Berrien County Youth Fair starts Monday. This is the 72nd year for the fair in Berrien Springs. Fair Director Karen Klug tells WSJM News the kids will spend their weekend bringing their animals down to the fairgrounds and then the fun starts Monday when the carnival opens at 6 p.m. Tuesday is Kids Day. Klug says the fair is always great fun.. ...Read Full Story

Concourse d’Elegance Car Show Tomorrow In St. Joseph

The Concours d’Elegance takes place this Saturday in downtown St. Joseph. This is the 13th year for the classic car show along the bluff. It’ll feature automobiles from the Brass, Classic, Vintage, and Muscle Car eras as well as special-interest vehicles. 75 vehicles from seven decades are displayed in Lake Bluff Park for the show. Everyone’s invited to come out to Lake Bluff Park for the event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All proceeds generated by the Concours d’Elegance go to Hospice at Home.. ...Read Full Story

Armed Robbery In Van Buren County

Police are looking for a suspect in a Friday morning armed robbery. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News it happened at the Phoenix Quick Stop in Geneva Township about 8:45. A man in dark clothing with a mask over the bottom half of his face went into the store, pulled a gun on the clerk and demanded cash from the register. When she refused, he came around the counter and ordered her to give him cash again. This time, the clerk complied, and the suspect started stuffing bills into his pockets. At that time, the clerk ran out of the store. Police say the suspect was using a semi automatic handgun and driving an older black Chevy Impala with Michigan plates. It had tinted windows and damage to the right front end. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Plan Would Let Undocumented Workers Get Driver’s Licenses

Legislation has been introduced in the Michigan House that would allow for undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses in the state. Backed by state Representative Dave Pagel of Berrien Springs, the plan is intended to address the fact undocumented migrants are here and need to be able to move around. Pagel tells us many of those workers go to Illinois to get their licenses and registrations.. ...Read Full Story

No Injuries In Fire At Niles Elks Lodge

No one is hurt following a Thursday fire at the Elks Lodge in Niles. It started about 4 p.m. in a car port toward the front of the building when a club member was doing some maintenance. The place was evacuated, and fire crews managed to get the blaze under control quickly. Responding were fire departments from Niles, Niles Township, Howard Township, Buchanan, Buchanan Township, and Berrien Springs. According to The Niles Daily Star, the fire did about $10,000 in damage, mostly to a column outside of the building.. ...Read Full Story

Near Record Lotto Jackpots This Weekend

The Mega Millions jackpot is up to $393 million for today’s drawing, while the jackpot for the Powerball is up to $356 million for tomorrow’s drawing. The Michigan Lottery tells us that makes for a total of $749 million available in jackpots this weekend. The $393 million Mega Millions jackpot is the game’s fourth largest ever. Meanwhile, the $356 million in the Powerball is the game’s third largest ever jackpot. The odds of winning Mega Millions — 1 in 258 million. The odds of winning a Powerball jackpot — 1 in 290 million. Good luck.. ...Read Full Story

Pedestrian Killed While Crossing US-12

A South Bend woman is dead after being struck by a vehicle while crossing US-12 in Cass County Friday morning. Michigan State Police tell us 78-year-old Carole Ann Martin had been shopping at a garage sale along the side of US-12 near Bell Road in Milton Township around 9:40 a.m. when the incident occurred. She was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead. State police remind everyone taking part in this weekend’s US-12 statewide garage sale to use caution when crossing the road. The woman had parked on the opposite side of the road of the sale she’d been browsing.. ...Read Full Story

Two-State Crime Spree Suspect Caught

A man who was involved in a series of unarmed robberies in west Michigan and northern Indiana over an eight-day period earlier this month has been arrested. Witnesses and surveillance cameras linked Jacob Savickas to a series of hold-ups at gas stations, convenience stores, fast food franchises and banks from south of South Bend to north of Grand Rapids in late July and early August. He was arrested at a Grand Rapids hotel Wednesday by an FBI task force and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Getting New Voting Machines

November’s elections in Berrien County will feature brand new voting machines in some communities. Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler tells WSJM News they’re thanks to a state grant the county received recently. Soon, elections workers around the county will train on the new machines, and then they’ll start to be rolled out come general election time.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Commissioners Plan Hearings On Road Commission

The issue of the Berrien County Road Commission continues to be considered by the full Berrien County Commission. Chair Jon Hinkelman tells WSJM News commissioners held a meeting Thursday where they heard from representatives of counties that have opted to take over their road commissions. Up next will be a couple of public hearings on the issue. Hinkelman tells us county commissioners are not year leaning one way or another.. ...Read Full Story

Lotto Ticket Worth $276,000 Sold In Benton Harbor

There’s been another big lottery winner in Berrien County. The Michigan Lottery tells us a woman who has chosen to remain anonymous bought a ticket worth $276,000 from the Bait Shed on West Main Street in Benton Harbor. She was playing the Fantasy 5 game and matched all five numbers. The lucky ticket buyer was watching a movie with her husband on Monday when she found out she had won, and told the lottery she had trouble sleeping after that. She picked up her winning check later this week.. ...Read Full Story

Man Sets Self On Fire Trying To Eradicate Bees

A 46-year-old Cass County man is recovering from burns he suffered when he was trying to get rid of a bee hive at his home in Silver Creek Township. The sheriff’s department tells WSJM News that 46-year-old Leslie Cross the Second had to be airlifted to the Bronson Hospital Burn Center in Kalamazoo after the accident. A neighbor was able to extinguish the flames before first responders arrived, likely saving Cross’ life. The bee hive was underground in the 28-thousand block of Middle Crossing Road.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Hoping For Action On New Soo Lock Soon

A new Soo Lock is on Congressman Fred Upton’s wish list. He tells WSJM News the Soo Locks, located in Sault Ste. Marie, are essential for allowing cargo to be shipped between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. The largest lock, the Poe Lock, is quickly aging, and Upton says a new one is needed in case it fails.. ...Read Full Story

Report Looks At Ten Years Of The Pokagon Fund

The Pokagon Fund has released its annual report, and this time around, it’s focusing on the impact the organization has had on southwest Michigan during the past ten years. The fund started in 2007, set up to give three-quarters-of-one percent of the Four Winds Casino’s slot revenues to community projects. The fund’s John Krsul tells WSJM News that’s amounted to more than $25 million in the past decade.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Commissioners Take Part In Washington Discussions

Several Berrien County Commissioners were in Washington, D.C. this week for a gathering of county officials called by the Trump administration. The White House tells us commissioners from all over Michigan were on hand as discussions were held on local policies with administration staff. The commissioners also saw presentations by various federal agencies with the intent of building stronger relationships with local governments. Of all southwest Michigan counties, Berrien had the largest contingent on hand for the event. Present this week were David Vollrath, Debra Panozzo, Donnie Meeks, Ezra Scott, James Curran, Mamie Yarbrough, and Teri Freehling. As part of Wednesday’s events, the commissioners heard from U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos.. ...Read Full Story

Sixth District Democratic Candidate Motivated By Bernie Sanders

A political newcomer says he wants to replace Congressman Fred Upton because he doesn’t believe Upton represents the people. David Benac is history professor at Western Michigan University who is running in the Democratic primary for the Sixth District. He tells WSJM News he started getting involved in politics when he was inspired by the Bernie Sanders run for president. He wants to work for many of the same priorities.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Primary Election Held Tuesday

The three St. Joseph City Commission incumbents to appear on Tuesday’s primary ballot have emerged the top three vote getters. According to the numbers available late in the evening, with all precincts and absentees reporting, the top three were Michael Garey, Mary Goff, and Fran Chickering. They’re currently on the commission, and voters were asked to pick three candidates out of seven for the body. However, according to the Berrien County Clerk’s office, the top six will appear on the November ballot. That means challengers Laura Goos, Peggy Getty, and Al DiBrito will also be on the general ballot. Primary challenger Kim Gane came in seventh Tuesday. Elsewhere in Berrien County Tuesday, voters in Oronoko Township approved a millage renewal for the Berrien Springs Community Library, and voters in Three Oaks Township approved millage renewals for the library and for roads.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joe Public Safety: Watch Out For Sick Fox

The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety has said a fox is roaming the area with mange mite disease. It was last seen on Monday by Lakeshore Drive. Berrien County Animal Control has been informed of the fox, trying to live trap it, but has had no luck yet. Animal Control has said that the fox should die by fall as the skin disease progresses, but that the fox might try to find shelter or food closer to homes. If you see it, you are encouraged to call Animal Control, as aggravating it may cause aggression.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Asian Carp Money Could Be In Infrastructure Bill

Now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released its long-awaited Brandon Road Lock and Dam study on the Asian carp, Congressman Fred Upton says it’s time for Congress to take action. The report released on Monday outlines ways the invasive Asian carp could be kept out of the Great Lakes. Upton tells WSJM News the corps should now tell Congress if its ideas will really work. He thinks action could come soon after that.. ...Read Full Story

Child Dies After Incident At Warren Dunes State Park

A four-year-old boy who was rushed to a hospital in critical condition following a near drowning last week at Warren Dunes State Park has died. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News Matthew Ramirez of Palatine, Illinois passed away early Saturday morning at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. He was airlifted there last Tuesday after he was found in Lake Michigan off the state park. Good Samaritans gave him CPR when they found him. Police say Ramirez was playing in the water with family and other children when family thought he had returned to the beach area. An autopsy has been performed, and the case will be forwarded on to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department for review once its results are evaluated.. ...Read Full Story

Jim McCloughan To Speak At Illinois State Fair

Medal of Honor recipient Jim McCloughan of South Haven is headed to Illinois to give the keynote speech at this year’s Illinois State Fair Veterans and Gold Star Family Day. President Trump presented McCloughan with the Medal of Honor at the White House on July 31. The Army medic saved wounded soldiers during a Vietnam War battle despite his own serious wounds. He is the first Medal of Honor recipient under Trump.. ...Read Full Story

MI Doctors Group: More Primary Care Physicians Needed

A group of doctors is saying that addressing the primary care physician shortage in Michigan is key to creating a healthier state at a lower cost. Dr. Karen Mitchell is program director for Providence Family Medicine Residency in Southfield and tells us part of the solution should involve increasing STEM programs and opportunities for high school and college students in rural parts of the state.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Blueberry Festival This Week

The 54th annual National Blueberry Festival gets started this Thursday in South Haven. Susan Diepen, with the chamber of commerce, tells WSJM News the event attracts thousands to town each year. Not only are there activities all over South Haven, but there will be no shortage of blueberries to try.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Offering Recycling Event Next Week

If you’ve got some old household chemicals or electronic items sitting around in your basement or garage, you’ll have a chance to get rid of them for free next week. Berrien County Parks Department Environmental Property Manager Jill Adams tells WSJM News they’ll be taking items to be recycled next Wednesday. She says it’s better to properly process unwanted electronics.. ...Read Full Story