Local News Archives

Soo Locks to partially reopen next week

The Great Lakes shipping season will begin next Saturday when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reopens the Poe Lock. Soo Locks Operations Manager LeighAnn Ryckeghem tells us the locks closed January 16 for ten weeks of heavy maintenance. The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie enable ships to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes.. ...Read Full Story

County hired construction services firm to help building, maintenance staff

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has approved a contract with a construction project management firm as the county improves its facilities with federal ARPA funds. County Administrator Brian Dissette told commissioners this week the current building and grounds staff needs extra help. The board voted to pay Bacchiocchi Construction Services out of Berrien Springs $32,000 to help manage ongoing projects. The arrangement is for up to six weeks. The firm will provide construction management services, bid specification development services, and general maintenance oversight. In all, the county has allocated more than $15 million in federal ARPA funds for improvements to facilities.. ...Read Full Story

Presentation looks at climate change effects on Lake Michigan

How is Lake Michigan being affected by climate change? That was the subject of a presentation by the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties this week in St. Joseph. League of Women Voters Lake Michigan Region President Elizabeth Guscott-Mueller told us there have always been cycles of high and low water levels in the lake, but the frequency of severe weather is battering the lakeshore.. ...Read Full Story

Undersheriff Chuck Heit Running For Berrien County Sheriff

Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit is officially running for sheriff. He is seeking to succeed Sheriff Paul Bailey, who will retire later this year before the end of his term in 2024. Heit is also seeking to be named interim sheriff when Bailey’s retirement takes effect and has served 21 years as undersheriff. Bailey says Heit “is by far the most qualified person to serve as sheriff for Berrien County and is a man of strong faith and integrity.”. ...Read Full Story

Weekend event to teach girls about STEM subjects

Elementary age girls will be at Lake Michigan College this weekend to learn about STEM subjects, courtesy of Whirlpool and the Council on Women and Technology. Whirlpool’s Pamela Wise-Martinez tells us the Girls and STEM event is intended to teach the girls about coding, and they’ll even work on creating an app. She says her background in tech at Whirlpool has given her a drive to make girls more aware of exciting careers available to them.. ...Read Full Story

BH residents could get another water credit

Residents of Benton Harbor could be getting $700 credits to help them get caught up with water bills not paid since issues with lead lines were discovered. At a meeting of the city Personnel and Finance Committee this week, members heard from Plante and Moran’s Rhonda Hildebrand that customers still aren’t paying their water bills, leading to a depleted utility and general fund.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Senate passes gun bills to address mass shootings

From the Associated Press — Democrats in the Michigan Senate approved a 11-bill gun safety package Thursday that includes red flag laws and requirements for safe storage and universal background checks. A mass shooting at Michigan State University last month was the state’s second school mass shooting in 15 months. Republican most vocally opposed red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders, on the Senate floor Thursday. Red flag laws are intended to temporarily remove guns from people with potentially violent behavior and prevent them from hurting themselves or others. The package now heads to the Democratic-led House before being sent to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for final approval, who has said she will sign the legislation.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan adds LGBTQ protections to anti-discrimination law

From the Associated Press — Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation Thursday that will permanently outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the state. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled last year that the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act include sexual orientation. But the legislation signed by Whitmer will ensure the ruling cannot be reversed and extends to gender identity or expression. Whitmer says the bill comes when there is a “nationwide assault” on LGBTQ rights. She says that the Democratic-led Statehouse will “keep expanding freedoms.” Democrats took full control of the state government this year for the first time in 40 years and have worked quickly to undo decades of Republican measures.. ...Read Full Story

Wightman wins award for dam removal project in Niles

Benton Harbor-based engineering firm Wightman has received an award for its work to remove an old dam in the Dowagiac River in Niles. Wightman received the Engineering Merit Award for its work on the Pucker Street Dam Removal and Dowagiac River Restoration project from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan this month. Wightman civil engineer Suzannah Deneau tells us the concrete dam was built in 1928 on top of a wooden dam built in 1894. The city of Niles used it to generate electricity before deciding to take it out in the 90s.. ...Read Full Story

LMC to celebrate partnership with Siena Heights University

Siena Heights University and Lake Michigan College will host an open house celebrating 40 years of partnership this month. The two have teamed up so LMC students can take classes not available locally. Lake Michigan College was the first community college in Michigan to partner with Siena Heights. Now, the Adrian-based private university has seven such campus centers at community colleges across the state. The partnership began in 1982 when Siena Heights championed creating a bachelor’s degree program to complement community colleges’ associate degrees in applied science. Today, 45% of students from the Siena Heights Benton Harbor Campus Center at LMC graduate with a bachelor’s degree in applied science. The two partners will mark the progress they’ve made at a reception on March 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Culinary Reception Room of Lake Michigan College’s Benton Harbor Campus.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer, Former Congresswoman Giffords Hold Gun Safety Rally

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords of Arizona held a gun safety rally with state lawmakers at the Michigan Capitol yesterday. Giffords served in the U.S. House from 2006 until 2012 and survived an assassination attempt in Tucson in January 2011. She said change does not happen overnight, while Whitmer said lawmakers are working on universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders, and creating safe storage laws. Also speaking were survivors of the Oxford High School and Michigan State University mass shootings.. ...Read Full Story

US Army Corps Of Engineers Gets $159 Million For Great Lakes Projects

The Great Lakes is getting great attention in President Biden’s latest proposed budget. $7.4-billion in discretionary funding would to go the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works program, and for the Detroit District, over $159-million has been set aside for fourteen shipping harbor sites. Steve Fisher with the American Great Lakes Ports Association says there’s a different law for every harbor in the Great Lakes that specifies how deep shipping channels needs to be. But some of these harbors are old.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman special education teacher honored by RESA

A Bridgman special education teacher has been honored by Berrien RESA with its Excellence in Education Award for the year. For 19 years, the parent advisory committee at RESA has saluted those teachers who make a difference in the special education community in Berrien County. RESA Superintendent Eric Hoppstock tells us Melissa Payne is a special education teacher at Bridgman Elementary School.. ...Read Full Story

Lincoln Township considers need for marijuana ordinance

The Lincoln Township Planning Commission is considering a local ordinance to cover marijuana businesses, just in case such an ordinance is needed. The commission’s Marc Florian told the Lincoln Township Board of Trustees Tuesday although the township has opted out of allowing such businesses altogether, planners are thinking about what happens if they’re no longer allowed to do so.. ...Read Full Story

Nesbitt: Democrats moving too fast on radical changes

After Michigan Senate Democrats proceeded with repealing the state’s Right to Work law this week, they moved right into a vote to reinstate the state’s prevailing wage law. Speaking out against both moves was state Senator Aric Nesbitt, who tells us prevailing wage means construction workers on public projects will have to be paid union wages.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor School Board holds off on official superintendent search

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education is holding off on officially starting the search for a new superintendent. At a meeting this week, trustees debated whether to post the position or to continue on with Interim Superintendent Kelvin Butts and extending his contract. Trustee Elnora Gavin wanted to proceed with a superintendent search, saying it’s the board’s most important role.. ...Read Full Story

Shots fired, chase in South Haven

Two suspects are facing charges after shots fired and a chase in South Haven early Wednesday. The South Haven Police Department tells us it started around 2 a.m. on Michigan Avenue when shots were reported at a gathering with seven or eight people outside. Officers arrived to see car leaving the scene and the chase began. It ended when the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department deployed stop sticks near the Kalamazoo County line. A 27-year-old and a 22-year-old from Kalamazoo were arrested and guns were found in their vehicle. No one was injured.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven’s Dyckman Bridge Closed Thursday

The Dyckman Bridge in South Haven will be closed Thursday from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. for a second round of maintenance for the 2023 boating season. The city says the bridge will be open and closed for extended periods of time as the work is done. Vehicles and pedestrians are not going to be allowed to cross during those eight hours. A detour is to use Baseline Road instead for going back and forth from the north and south sides of the Black River.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Woman Sentenced For Son’s Death

A St. Joseph woman will spend between 25 and 50 years in prison for the death of her eight-year-old son last May. Mia Morrow pled guilty to second degree murder along with her husband, Brian Morrow. He will be sentenced next month. The couple had said they were tired of having Child Protective Services called on them. The boy weighed just 31 pounds when he died. Police say the couple waited until the day after he died to report it to them. She was sentenced this week.. ...Read Full Story

USDA considering change to what can be labeled as ‘Product of USA’

A proposal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture would change the rules on what foods can be labeled “Product of USA.” Current regulations allow foreign-raised livestock to use that designation, putting producers in Michigan and across the U.S. at a disadvantage. The new rule would allow the Product of USA label to be used only on meat, poultry, and eggs from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States. Dee Laninga with Farm Action says current law allows the label to be used if the product simply passes through a U.S. inspection plant.. ...Read Full Story

Commissioners hear about delays with Maids of the Mist restoration

Repairs to the Maids of the Mist fountain in St. Joseph have been delayed again. At a Monday meeting of the St. Joseph City Commission, Public Works Director Greg Grothous told commissioners the cost of the restoration has gone up due to the discovery of lead paint in the fountain’s interior and because the central support column needs to be reinforced. He told us the fountain is at McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory in Ohio waiting for the work.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool’s Pam Klyn named General Chair for 2024 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

The KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship has announced Pam Klyn will serve as the general chair for the 84th event in May of next year at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor. Klyn is currently the senior vice president of corporate relations and sustainability at Whirlpool. Championship Director Brandon Haney tells us as the general chair, Klyn will lead the Championship Operating Committee.. ...Read Full Story

Senate likely to approve Right to Work repeal today

The Michigan Senate is expected to vote today to repeal the state’s Right to Work law, which has been in place for the past ten years. The law requires employees working in a union shop to pay union dues. Pat Devlin is secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. He spoke to Michigan News Network about the potential repeal.. ...Read Full Story

What Could Impact Be Of California Bank Collapse?

With the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, do you need to worry if your bank is next? Dr. Tim Nash, director for The McNair Center at Northwood University, says probably not. SVB was unique, with an average deposit $1.67-million, which is much higher than your average deposit found in Michigan. But it could effect the region in other ways.. ...Read Full Story

SNAP Benefits Dropping

For the past three years, the federal government increased SNAP benefits through emergency pandemic funding. Starting this month, many low-income households with food insecurities will see less in their accounts, as the funding reverts back to pre-COVID levels. Dr. Katherine Alaimo, associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University, says we’re moving in the wrong direction.. ...Read Full Story

Water, sewer rates going up in St. Joseph

Water and sewer customers of the city of St. Joseph will soon see their rates go up. At a Monday meeting, city commissioners approved rate hikes that will average 8.9% for residential customers. City Manager John Hodgson told us this is needed for a variety of infrastructure projects planned in the coming years.. ...Read Full Story