Local News Archives

Lot Paved At Park

Some new improvements have been made to Galien River County Park, thanks to the Pokagon Fund. Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey tells WSJM News work to fix up the parking lot was completed last week.. ...Read Full Story

Holiday Travel Projections

A lot of us are planning a trip for the upcoming Independence Day weekend. Triple-A Michigan is projecting an increase of 5.5% in the number of people going on vacation, with that number at almost 1.6 million people. Spokeswoman Susan Hiltz says it’s the highest travel projection for July 4th since they began tracking it 18 years ago.. ...Read Full Story

Ag Groups Hoping For Farm Bill

There is optimism in Michigan’s agriculture community that this year’s federal Farm Bill will be finished and on the desk of the President before the current law expires this fall. Michigan Farm Bureau national lobbyist John Kran says one important thing for farmers is having certainty.. ...Read Full Story

Farmers Market Back Open

This past Wednesday brought the re-opening of the Benton Harbor Farmers Market. Held by the Berrien County Health Department, the market is intended to give Benton Harbor residents a place to purchase fresh fruits and veggies, says spokesperson Gillian Conrad.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Automation Program

Lake Michigan College is trying out a new kind of summer jobs training program this year. Dean of Career Education Ken Flowers tells WSJM News Automation Engineering Pre-Apprentice Academy starts at the Hanson Tech Center Monday. It’s a seven-week summer academy to teach students about design and graphics, advanced cad techniques, industrial safety, robotics, and blueprint reading. The trick to this program is many of the students are sponsored by employers.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation On Utility Taxes

The city of St. Joseph and Berrien County Board of Commissioners are among local governmental units concerned that a new bill sponsored by Senator John Proos of St. Joseph is going to hit their bottom lines. Proos has authored legislation to give a tax break to utilities on their transmission and distribution systems, as utilities were not included in the personal property tax repeal that passed several years ago for manufacturers and business. Proos tells us he’s talked with every member of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners about their concerns regarding the loss in tax revenues, and adds what’s been introduced will undergo changes.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Opioid Bill Passed

The U.S. House has approved a bill from Congressman Fred Upton designed to fight the opioid epidemic. Included in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, the Upton bill encourages the development of non-opioid painkillers. He spoke with WSJM News about it this year.. ...Read Full Story

Flooding Causes Issues In SJ Township

Berrien County has been hit with more flooding in some areas due to steady rain on Thursday. St. Joseph Township Manager Denise Cook tells WSJM News the township offices fielded a wave of calls about flooding throughout the day. She notes the worst of it was around the area of Manitou Road. A township police officer did what he could to help the residents affected.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Academy For Girls

23 young women from Berrien and Cass counties will head out this weekend for a four-day stay at the Michigan State Police Training Academy in Lansing. The 14 and 15-year-olds are part of the Michigan Youth Leadership Academy run by Michigan State Police. MSP Lieutenant Melinda Logan tells WSJM News the leadership academy that’s about to start is the first one held for girls in Berrien County. The girls will learn life and leadership skills in their four days at the academy.. ...Read Full Story

Bridge Academy Holds Graduation

The Bridge Academy at Kinexus has celebrated the graduation of another 24 students. Kinexus Director of Youth Services Zachary Vaughn tells WSJM News the Bridge Academy helps students ages 16 to 19 either finish high school or get their GEDs while learning vocational skills in areas like hospitality, construction, and manufacturing. Moving forward, Kinexus continues to work with the students.. ...Read Full Story

Senator Proos Apologizes For Miscommunication

State Senator John Proos is apologizing for comments he made this week to WSJM News regarding communication with the Berrien County Board of Commissioners. In talking about Senate Bill 1031, which would get rid of personal property taxes for utilities on new power lines and other grid infrastructure improvements, Proos said he had talked to the commissioners. In text to WSJM News, he apologized for misspeaking and noted he had talked personally with some, but not all. He added he reached out to “nearly every commissioner” to discuss their concerns about a loss in tax revenue from the PPT elimination, if it’s approved. County board members weren’t happy with the communications with Proos at this week’s meeting, and passed a resolution opposing the bill.. ...Read Full Story

Flood Collapses Home’s Foundation, Causes Gas Line Rupture

A St. Joseph Township home has a “do not enter” sign posted by the township after flooding from Hickory Creek ripped a hole in the foundation and caused a natural gas line to rupture today. The fire department closed down Cleveland Avenue for a time to allow Indiana Michigan Power and Michigan Gas Utilities to safely work on the utility issues. No one was hurt, but there is considerable flood damage to the house. Hickory Creek runs right behind, and township officials say the rain has caused that to rise five-feet above normal.. ...Read Full Story

Murder Suspect On The Loose

A murder suspect is on the loose somewhere in southwest Michigan or northern Indiana. The Van Buren County Major Times Task Force is hunting for 38-year-old Troy Taylor of Bloomingdale after police say he killed a Kalamazoo man shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday at a home on Brandywine Road in Pine Grove Township. The suspect was last known to be driving an early 2000’s silver BMW sedan with a broken window, possibly on the driver’s side. Taylor has connections in Berrien and Van Buren counties along with the South Bend area. Anyone who spots him is urged to call 9-1-1 immediately and stay away, as he’s considered armed and dangerous. The victim’s name has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Event Attracts Commission Attention

Even though it’s not supposed to happen until October, a new event at Love Creek County Park has attracted the attention of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners. At this week’s meeting, they discussed the new “Fat Toberfest” planned for Love Creek County Park. To be organized by Outpost Sports and the Michiana Bike Coalition, the event will be a fat tire bike ride to feature local beers and wines. That’s what concerned Berrien County Commissioner Ezra Scott, who told WSJM News booze isn’t allowed at county parks.. ...Read Full Story

Public Defender Stepping Down

Berrien County’s lead public defender is stepping down. Carl Macpherson came to lead the county’s public defender’s office in 2015 when the county created it anticipating new state standards. Berrien County Administrator Bill Wolf tells WSJM News Macpherson has since then built an effective defense office.. ...Read Full Story

Flooding Reported Around Berrien

With steady rain throughout much of Thursday afternoon, the Berrien County Road Department is advising drivers to watch out for flooding. It writes on its Facebook page, “‪Extreme caution when traveling lots of flooding in Berrien County, several roads underwater‬.” We have had reports of flooding around St. Joseph and St. Joseph Township. Do not try to drive through water-covered roads. Report flooded roads to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department at 269-983-7141.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Opposes Proos Bill

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has unanimously approved a resolution opposing legislation from state Senator John Proos that would exempt utility properties from personal property taxes. The bill is intended to reduce the cost of equipment upgrades from major utility companies, but county commissioners say it would hurt the bottom lines of municipalities. Berrien County Board of Commissioners Chair Jon Hinkelman told WSJM News the body wanted to send a message.. ...Read Full Story

Engler Apologizes For Kickback Comment

From the Associated Press — Michigan State University’s interim president is apologizing for emails in which he said a victim of former campus sports doctor Larry Nassar probably received a “kickback” from her plaintiff’s lawyer. John Engler issued a written statement Thursday, more than a week after media outlets reported on his email exchange with another university official. He says: “That was a big mistake. I was wrong. I apologize.” Engler says when he started as president in February, he never meant to have an adversarial relationship with some of Nassar’s victims. He says his speculation about Rachael Denhollander receiving kickbacks or referral fees “hurt her deeply,” and other survivors “suffered greatly.” Two university trustees have called on Engler to resign, but he says he’ll use his remaining time as interim president to implement reforms.. ...Read Full Story

Marketing Director Retiring

A change is coming to St. Joseph City Hall. City Marketing Director Susan Solon is retiring. She sent a message to friends this week announcing she’ll step down in August. That’ll be after one more summer packed with activities around St. Joe, many of which were organized by Solon. She’s known in the community as being behind the public art displays in the downtown area, the summer movies shown in the park, the city’s newsletter, and many other things. In the message posted at Moody on the Market, Solon writes, “it is time to breathe and smell the roses…” Many downtown merchants and leaders at St. Joseph Today say Solon will be missed.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Wave Study

The South Haven City Council is reviewing an Abonmarche study regarding waves on the Black River. High lake levels and winds are causing damage to boats docked at some marinas on the Black River. Harbormaster Kate Hosier spoke with WSJM News about the issue.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Signs State Budget For FY2019

Governor Snyder has made it official, enacting the next fiscal year’s budget months before the current one expires. He signed the spending plan this afternoon in Lansing. State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton is proud of what lawmakers and the governor’s office have accomplished.. ...Read Full Story

MSU Trustees Not Likely To Act On Ousting Engler

Members of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees are in the middle of a two-day closed door retreat leading up to tomorrow’s open meeting, and the status of interim President John Engler does not appear on either agenda. It would take five votes to oust Engler, but it will take 6 to put it on the agenda and observers say the votes are not there. Attorney Jamie White who represents some of the 130 survivors of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse who signed a letter calling for the trustees to act says there are a lot of better candidates.. ...Read Full Story

One Killed In Stevensville Crash

Michigan State Police are investigating a deadly crash this morning at the intersection of Linco and Red Arrow Highway in Stevensville. WSJM News has learned a man was driving westbound on Linco and went through the stop sign just before 6 a.m. and was broadsided on the driver’s door by a northbound vehicle, killing him. The driver of the vehicle on Red Arrow Highway wasn’t hurt. State police say at this point, they don’t know what caused the man to disregard the stop sign. The crash closed that intersection for a few hours this morning. Sources tell us the victim was on his way to work at the time.. ...Read Full Story

Family Dog’s Scent Helps Deputies Find Missing Toddler

A little boy is safely back with his family after scaring the daylights out of them. The two-year-old managed to open the front door at home on M-43 in Waverly Township and get out with the family’s year-old pit bull mix tagging along. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says having the dog with him is what helped them find the two after a massive search. One thing that was working against them was there was a two-hour gap from the time the boy had last been seen to when his mother realized he was gone. Sheriff’s department K-9 teams were called out and after footprints from the two were found, the police dogs were able to locate them about two miles from home. The child was fine other than having a lot of bug bites. No charges are expected, but the sheriff will submit reports to the prosecutor’s office and Child Protective Services.. ...Read Full Story

Radiothon To Fight Alzheimer’s Today

WSJM’s Ray Gustafson will be out at Woodland Terrace Senior Living in Niles from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Woodland Terrace Director Todd Dockerty tells WSJM News there is promising research into Alzheimer’s, but the fight is far from over.. ...Read Full Story