Local News Archives

Governor Approves Sports Logos On License Plates

From the Associated Press — Detroit sports fans can now represent their professional teams while on the go. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a law on Monday allowing license plates that bear the logos of the Detroit Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings and Lions. Revenue from the plates will go toward charity funds run by the four teams. Some causes supported are free game tickets for low-income children, youth volunteering, and healthy living. Snyder says residents can “display their support while donating to a worthy cause.” The Secretary of State is required to set up a system for issuing the plates by February 2019.. ...Read Full Story

New Bike Safety Laws On Books

New bike safety laws will take effect in Michigan in about three months. The measures were prompted by the bicycle tragedy in Kalamazoo in June 2016 when a man who was high on drugs plowed into a group of cyclists, killing five and injuring several others. The new laws call for drivers to give bicycles three-feet of space when passing. Senator Margaret O’Brien of Portage pushed for the changes and had initially wanted a five-foot passing distance.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Rise Ahead Of July 4th Holiday

It’s more expensive this week than last to fill up as we hit the Independence Day holiday. The latest survey from Triple-A Michigan notes our average gas price in the state is up about 9¢ a gallon from a week ago at $2.99. Locally, the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph average rose by 13¢ to $2.98. The state’s lowest prices are up in Marquette at $2.87, while Ann Arbor drivers continue to pay the most at $3.06. The auto club says the statewide jump was the second-largest in the country in the past week, and our prices are the 14th highest in the nation. GasBuddy’s Patrick DeHaan warned in late June that prices would go up due to a rise in global oil prices after OPEC nations agreed to increase production by an amount lower than what had been expected. GasBuddy puts South Haven’s prices at $2.86. That area is not included in the Triple A survey.. ...Read Full Story

Photo Contest For West MI

A photo contest is being held by the West Michigan Tourist Association as it prepares to put together its 2019 West Michigan Carefree Travel Guide. The association tells us it wants photos that depict the beauty of the region from all west Michigan residents. The photos can be of everything from Harbor Country to the Upper Peninsula. The first place winner will have their submission featured on the cover of the 2019 West Michigan Carefree Travel Guide. They’ll also get a free trip to Grand Rapids and other goodies. Second and third place will get their photos featured on the inside of the travel guide, and some tickets to attractions in Grand Rapids and Muskegon. You can find our more about the photo contest right here.. ...Read Full Story

Man Rescued After Winds Capsize Boat In South Haven

The storm that blew through southwest Michigan Sunday evening cooled things down nicely, but also nearly killed a man as he was on an inflatable boat in South Haven. Police were called to North Beach around 7:15 p.m. on a report of a capsized boat about 30 yards from the North Pier. They found the man in the water and exhausted, not wearing a life jacket. Once he was pulled up on to the pier thanks to a life ring, he told police he had only intended to go down the river, but the wind picked up once he had gone past the pier and flipped his boat over. He said he was sure he was going to drown had they not thrown him the life ring. The man’s name has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Report Looks At West MI Jobs

There have been some clear changes in Berrien County’s employment picture since the end of the Great Recession. The latest economic outlook report from the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research takes a look at such trends throughout west Michigan. Upjohn analyst Brian Pittelko tells WSJM News business and management jobs have dramatically grown in the Niles-Benton Harbor market since 2016. We asked Pittelko which jobs have gone down.. ...Read Full Story

Names Released In Benton Harbor Shootings

Benton Harbor Public Safety continues to look for suspects in a pair of shootings early Sunday morning that killed two people and have two others hospitalized at Lakeland in St. Joseph. 22-year-old Andre Sanders was killed in a shooting overnight on Lavette as police were breaking up a house party around 1:30 a.m. a block away.. ...Read Full Story

Scholarships For Foster Kids

When kids age out of foster care in Michigan, what do they do if they want to go to college? Fundraising efforts have been underway for the past several years through Fostering Futures to raise scholarship money for those who have aged out of foster care. Robin Lott is the executive director of the Michigan Education Trust and says 70% of kids who age out of foster care nationwide want to attend college.. ...Read Full Story

School To Fight Cancer

The St. Joseph High School football team is going to team up to fight cancer this year, and there are ways you can help. The Team Up Against Cancer campaign’s Regina Ciaravino tells WSJM News the Bears will use a September 24 game to raise money for the Marie Yeager Cancer Center and Berrien County Cancer Services.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Not Pleased With Tax Bill

A second local governmental unit is on record opposing a bill from state Senator John Proos to exempt utilities from paying personal property taxes on new equipment, including transmission lines and power generation devices like solar farms and windmills. The St. Joseph City Commission Monday night joined the Berrien County Commission in saying they don’t want the bill passed. Mayor Mike Garey says as it stands, the city will lose over $100,000.. ...Read Full Story

Two Killed, Two Hurt In Two Shootings In Benton Harbor

One person is dead and three others are hospitalized at Lakeland in St. Joseph following a pair of overnight shootings in Benton Harbor. Authorities don’t know if the shootings are connected. In the first, public safety officers were breaking up a house party around 1:30 a.m. in the 1000 block of Lavette and heard several gunshots from a block away. A few minutes later, Berrien County dispatchers notified the officers that someone had been shot several times and was now at the hospital, where he died. As they were investigating that shooting, another call came in at 3:30 a.m. that several people had been shot at a home on Edgecumbe near Forest. One man died, and two others are in critical condition. Police found multiple shell casings at the site, and believe several weapons were involved. No names are being released yet, and no arrests have been made.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Salutes President

High marks for Lake Michigan College President Trevor Kubatzke. At a meeting this week, the LMC Board of Trustees gave Kubatzke a positive performance evaluation. President Michael Lindley told WSJM News since Kubatzke came on in April of last year, he’s proven to be a strong leader.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Community Foundation Scholarships

$185,000 in scholarships will be handed out by the Berrien Community Foundation in the 2018-2019 academic year. The foundation announced the scholarship recipients at a reception last week. Foundation Program Manager Susan Matheny tells WSJM News the scholarships managed by the organization are all possible due to endowments set up by individuals, non-profits, and businesses.. ...Read Full Story

City Manager Settling In

Watervliet has a new city manager. His name is Tyler Dotson, and he comes from Blissfield, Michigan. Dotson is working a set of goals he would like to accomplish for the city. He tells us building relationships is a good place to start.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Lift Rescue

A group of people who became stuck in a lift near South Haven Saturday afternoon are now safe thanks to South Haven Area Emergency Services. SHAES tells us a power outage caused the group to be caught in the lift that brings residents up and down to the Lake Michigan beach. The incident occurred at a beach in Casco Township off B Avenue around 5:45 p.m. The trapped party was helped down ladders by SHAES personnel, and no injuries were reported.. ...Read Full Story

County Auction Book Out

The latest book of foreclosed properties set to be auctioned off by the Berrien County Treasurer’s office is now available. Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News the new book has 183 properties, of which 181 were foreclosed this year. He tells us they run the gamut. Someone looking to buy has a variety of options.. ...Read Full Story

MI Gerrymandering Report

How big of a problem is gerrymandering in Michigan? According to a new report from the Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan, it’s a significant one. “Quantifying The Level of Gerrymandering In Michigan” finds the practice goes back to the 1800s as politicians drew districts in order to benefit their own parties. Research Associate Jordon Newton tells WSJM News one way to quantify gerrymandering is to look at the “efficiency gap,” which measures what percentage of votes in district are wasted.. ...Read Full Story

Board Pleased With Superintendent

St. Joseph Public Schools Trustees are pleased with district Superintendent Ann Cardon. At meeting this week, the board of education approved Cardon’s annual performance evaluation and extended her contract through June 30, 2021. Board President Amy Porritt Peirce told WSJM News Cardon has been rated “highly effective” for the sixth year in a row.. ...Read Full Story

Cost Of Uninsured Drivers

We pay more for car insurance in Michigan than any other state, and a new report finds a big factor to that is 20% of Michigan drivers are getting behind the wheel without any insurance at all. Lori Conarton from the Insurance Alliance of Michigan tells us the state’s unique no-fault law that requires everyone purchase unlimited, lifetime medical benefits as part of their policies is overdue for changes to bring the costs down and make it easier for everyone to get insured.. ...Read Full Story

Cass Co. Shooting Investigation

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department says one man was arrested following a shooting incident in Vandalia Friday afternoon. It tells us deputies responded to a call about shots being fired around 2:40. They learned there had been several people arguing when two people pulled out guns and shot at each other. No one was injured, but there was some property damage. One of the suspects was arrested, and the other is now being sought by police. The sheriff’s department says he is not a danger to the general public. Anyone with information on that individual’s location is asked to call the Cass County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Two Arrested After Fleeing Police

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us two men are in custody after a chase with deputies on Friday. It started in the 47,000 block of 27th Street in Almena Township when a sheriff’s deputy pulled over a black sport bike for a plate violation. The bike had been traveling with two others, and police say the other riders took off, fleeing from the deputy. A chase began. One of the riders wiped out at a dead end on 30th Street, and was taken into custody. Another of the riders tried to cut through a field, hit a fence, and then was taken into custody. The sheriff’s department says the two arrested are 47-year-old man from Lawton and a 40-year-old man from Galesburg. Both suspects had suspended licenses. Neither bike was properly registered or plated, and neither driver had a cycle endorsement. Both suspects were taken to the Van Buren County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

Outgoing Trustee Honored

Retiring Lake Michigan College Trustee Judy Truesdell has been saluted for her years of service by the LMC Board of Trustees. At a meeting this week, the board sent Truesdell off with a resolution commending and thanking her for her work on behalf of the college. She’s served since 1997, and told us LMC has grown quite a bit in that time.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Signs Proos STEM Bills

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation from state Senator John Proos designed to reward Michigan students who take STEM classes and to inform them about the jobs available in their areas. Proos tells WSJM News one bill creates a special STEM certification to be put on a student’s diploma or transcript when they take extra science, technology, engineering, or math classes.. ...Read Full Story

July Is Craft Beer Month

July is Craft Beer Month, a chance for Michigan’s quickly growing craft beer industry to showcase its strength and for distributors to celebrate locally-made brews. Bud Distributing Sales Manager Jenna Podjan tells WSJM News the Dowagiac-based company’s roster of beers has grown quite a bit recently as local makers have sprung up.. ...Read Full Story

Eau Claire Cherry Fest Next Week

The 33rd annual Eau Claire Cherry Festival will be held on Wednesday, the Fourth of July. The festival’s Cindy Glassman Cantrell tells us the downtown area of Eau Claire is shut down for the fun, which is intended for all ages. They’ll have everything from a baby contest to teen and adult tricycle races. It all kicks off at 9 a.m. with the oil can derby and baking contest. At 10 a.m. they’ll have the cherry baby contest, the parade is at 1 p.m. and the pie eating contest. Cantrell tells us the contest is a fun way to get some free cherry pie. You’ll be able to buy a cup of cherries around town for $1. There will also be fireworks at dusk at the Pipestone Township office. Cantrell expects around 2,000 people to come to town for the festival, which she tells us is all about the community and the children.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Talks Heat

The Berrien County Health Department has activated a heat alert for this entire weekend, warning everyone to take steps to keep themselves healthy and safe. Spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News you need to be sure to drink plenty of water.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Fireworks Tonight

Dowagiac will hold its fireworks tonight. The fifth annual fireworks celebration in Dowagiac will be at dusk at the Dowagiac Municipal Airport. The show is possible thanks to the Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac and donations from the community. Southwestern Michigan College has also stepped in to make the grand finale possible. The Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac tell us you’ll be able to watch the fireworks from any location near the airport. You can find out more at their Facebook page.. ...Read Full Story

Keeping Your A/C Cooling Your House In Extreme Heat

Air conditioners are buzzing and likely won’t be turning off until next week all over southwest Michigan with this heat bubble that’s slowly moving over the eastern U.S. In order to be sure your home stays as cool as it can, Michael Levy of Airmaster Heating and Air Conditioning in metro Detroit says you should make sure you have a clean air filter, and that you’ve hosed off all the coils in the outside unit. But the thermostat may still take a while to go down inside your home if you keep it set in the low 70s.. ...Read Full Story