Local News Archives

Upton, Other House Members Send Letter To Whitmer Expressing Concerns About Stay Home Order

Congressman Fred Upton has signed on to a letter from several Republican members of the U.S. House asking Governor Gretchen Whitmer to ease some of the restrictions in her recent expansion to the stay home order. The members write the governor was right to issue the initial stay home order, but question aspects of the extension. Upton tells WSJM News some businesses should be allowed to operate.. ...Read Full Story

Six New COVID-19 Cases In Berrien County, 1,366 New Cases Statewide

Michigan is reporting 1,366 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 for Tuesday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports 166 deaths from the illness since Monday, bringing the state’s total to 1,768. The state has had a total of 27,001 COVID-19 cases. In Berrien County, Tuesday brought six new COVID-19 confirmations, bringing the county’s total to 111 with five deaths. Cass County is reporting 13 cases, up by two with one death total. Van Buren County on Tuesday reported 22 cases of COVID-19, the same as the day before. However, the county also reported its second COVID-19 death.. ...Read Full Story

Intercare Operating COVID-19 Test Site

A new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site is now up and running at InterCare in Benton Harbor. CEO Velma Hendershott tells WSJM News it opened Friday with the help of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and took 13 tests on its first day. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you need to get an order from your doctor or InterCare to be tested.. ...Read Full Story

Perrigo Making Hand Sanitizer

West Michigan-based drug maker Perrigo is now making hand sanitizer. The Allegan County company says it’s responding to the needs of hospital, medical, and first responder staff who are running low on supplies. Over the next few months, Perrigo will donate at least 500,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to hospitals and first responders facing shortages. The company says when it learned of the hand sanitizer shortage, it got to work formulating, producing, and shipping its own within a few weeks. The hand sanitizer is being made at its New York facility and the product is being delivered to hospitals and healthcare providers in west Michigan, including Allegan General Hospital and Spectrum Health Hospitals, and the greater New York City area. Perrigo President Murray Kessler says the company has “a special responsibility to do everything in our power to assist those in need.” Additional batches of hand sanitizer will also be provided to Perrigo essential employees.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven To Make Repairs To Dyckman Avenue Bascule Bridge To Prevent Future Water Damage To Hydraulic System

Repairs are coming for the Dyckman Avenue bascule bridge in South Haven. The city council this week approved raising the HPU control cabinets to get them away from the high water in the Black River. The motors for the hydraulic system to operate the bridge are located in those cabinets, which are sealed and remained water-tight during a surge in the river in late November, but the Public Works Department says that can’t be relied upon for a long period of time. While the water has not risen to that level since then, there is concern it could happen again this summer or fall due to what is expected to be a record height for Lake Michigan. Strain Electric has been hired to make the repairs, including fabrication of two stainless steel brackets to raise the cabinets, reinstall pipes and wiring, and energizing and testing the system. Work is expected to start next week, and the city says raising the cabinets will lessen the chance of water reaching them again.. ...Read Full Story

Heart Of Cook Grants Announced

The Berrien Community Foundation has announced this year’s Heart of Cook grant recipients. The Heart of Cook is a grant program run by employees of the Cook nuclear power plant near Bridgman. Each year, the program gives out thousands of dollars to non-profits and other community organizations throughout Berrien County. This latest round of grants is a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Berrien Community Foundation has released the following statement:. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Announces Amway Donation Of Personal Protective Equipment In West Michigan

More donations of personal protective equipment are coming in to the state’s healthcare facilities. Governor Whitmer says Amway has “really stepped up to help Kent County families and health care workers during this time.” Amway employees have distributed nearly 28,000 units of hand sanitizer to hospitals, clinics, senior care facilities and more around west Michigan as of April 9. The company is also working to get disinfectant wipes for hospitals and to distribute secure hygiene kits for those who are homeless in Kent County. Whitmer adds Amway is also planning to fly in a “steady stream” of N95 masks to the state over the next several weeks. She adds she’s eager to work with them and “every other business that wants to contribute their time and machinery” to helping Michigan fight coronavirus.. ...Read Full Story

Stevensville Gun Store Hit By Early Morning Thieves

Three suspects are on the run after getting in and out of the Black Arsenal gun store in Stevensville this morning in about 30 seconds, and getting away with five long guns. Surveillance photos released by Lincoln Township police show the three getting in by breaking a window on the south side of the business at 2797 Kimmel Street at 5:11 a.m. Police arrived at 5:14, and the suspects were already gone. Witness saw the three running westbound away from the business and drove off in what police say appears to be a newer, light-colored Chevy Camaro. A neighbor called 911 after hearing the suspects break in to the gun store.. ...Read Full Story

Contract Approved To Tear Down St. Joseph Eyesore

The contract is in place for the demolition of what’s become known as the “Tarp House” in the city of St. Joseph. The home at the corner of Niles Avenue and Hoyt as you enter the city from the south has been vacant and falling apart for years. Owner Dennis Knuth fought the city in court, but has run out of appeals. The St. Joseph City Commission Monday night approved the bid of B&Z Company of Benton Harbor to handle the demolition. The timing, however, will be subject to the lifting or expiration of Governor Whitmer’s action last Thursday extending and expanding the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.. ...Read Full Story

COVID-19 Testing Site Opens In Benton Harbor

13 new testing sites for COVID-19 are opening this week around Michigan, and one will be in Benton Harbor. The site at InterCare on M-139 is a drive-thru testing center, meaning the patient will not have to get out of their car. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Bob Wheaton tells WSJM News there are now new standards for who can be tested.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Calls For Restrictions On Landscapers To Be Eased

State Senator Kim LaSata is calling on Governor Gretchen Whitmer to ease some of the COVID-19 restrictions on landscaping companies. She’s sent a letter to the governor warning that a failure to allow Michigan residents to follow state guidelines to kill and prevent mosquitoes further threatens their safety. LaSata tells WSJM News that means landscapers are needed to prevent Eastern equine encephalitis, which is spread by mosquitoes.. ...Read Full Story

State Passes 25,000 COVID-19 Cases, Berrien County Records Fifth Death

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan rose by 997 from Sunday to Monday. The latest numbers from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services show 115 additional deaths from the illness. The total number of cases statewide is at 25,635, and the total number of deaths is at 1,602. Berrien County as of Monday was reporting 105 cases, up from 104 the day before. The county has now had five COVID-19 deaths. The fifth death, reported by the Berrien County Health Department on Monday, has been identified as “an older male with underlying health conditions.” Out of the county’s 105 cornavirus cases, the department says 53 have recovered. Cass County on Monday was at eleven cases, the same as the day before, with one death total. Van Buren County is at 22 cases, an increase of one from Sunday, with one death total.. ...Read Full Story

Strong Winds, High Waves To Batter Lakeshore Today

Strong winds and high waves will batter the Lake Michigan shoreline today. The National Weather Services has issued both a Gale Warning and a Lakeshore Flood Warning for Berrien and Van Buren counties. Winds along the shore will be gusting to over 50 miles an hour as a cold front moves through, producing waves as high as 12 to 15 feet. Meteorologists say the waves will result in more erosion along with flooding from New Buffalo to as far north as Mason and Oceana counties. Significant erosion of beaches and dunes is expected. A loss of property will be possible, with any buildings near the edge of the dune possibly in danger of falling in. Moderate inundation of low-lying areas along the lakeshore and in river mouths is expected, and road closures are possible. Utilities are also warning of the likelihood of power outages due to downed wires.. ...Read Full Story

Big Drop Sunday In New COVID-19 Cases In Michigan

There has been a substantial decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases in Michigan. The Department of Health and Human Services says there were 645 new cases Sunday compared to 1,392 on Saturday, and the number of deaths fell from 111 on Saturday to 95 on Sunday. State health officials say they cannot say if the new numbers “represent a true decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths in our state.” The statement goes on to say reported case counts may reflect a reduction in the amount of laboratory testing performed over the weekend and holiday. Single day fluctuations in the number of confirmed cases may not be significant, as a number of external factors can affect data reporting.. ...Read Full Story

COVID-19 Cases Up By 6 In Berrien County, 1,210 Statewide

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reporting 1,210 new cases of COVID-19 for Saturday, bringing the state’s total to 23,993. It says there have been 111 additional deaths since Friday, making the state’s total 1,392. Meanwhile, Berrien County is reporting six new cases of COVID-19 for Saturday, bringing the county’s total to 94. The Berrien County Health Department says 44 have recovered. The county has had three deaths from the illness. Cass County is unchanged from Friday with 12 cases of COVID-19. Van Buren County is up to 21 cases from 20 on Friday. Cass and Van Buren counties have had one COVID-19 death each.. ...Read Full Story

Part Of South Haven Performance Series Canceled

The South Haven Performance series has announced the cancellation of its May, June, and July concerts. It says the decision was made due to the COVID-19 crisis with the agreement of the artists involved. It hopes to be able to reschedule the engagements for next year. A decision on the August, 2020 concert will be made at a later date. You can find out more about the South Haven Performance Series right here.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead In Benton Harbor Shooting

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is investigating a fatal shooting that occurred on Friday. It says officers were in the southeast area of the city shortly after 10 p.m. when they heard several gunshots. They then found 19-year-old Marcas Purnell of Benton Harbor near the intersection of Cross Street and Bishop Avenue with gunshot wounds. He was unresponsive when police found him, and he later died at Spectrum Health Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

State Rep To Hold COVID-19 Tele-Town Hall

State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan will hold a teletown hall next week on the COVID-19 pandemic. Her office says it will be held on Tuesday starting at 6:30 p.m. She will give everyone an update on the latest developments in state government regarding the crisis. You can take part in the discussion by calling 855-756-7520, and entering 59302#. Anyone with additional questions can email’s Griffin’s office.. ...Read Full Story

COVID-19 Cases Up By 8 In Berrien County, 1,279 Statewide

Michigan is reporting 1,279 new cases of COVID-19 for Friday, bringing the state’s total up to 22,783. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the number of deaths statewide is now 1,281, up by 205 from the day before. The increase in both cases and deaths from Thursday to Friday was larger than the increase from Wednesday to Thursday. Between Wednesday and Thursday, there were 1,158 new cases of COVID-19 statewide, and 117 new deaths. In Berrien County, the number of cases is up to 88 from 80 on Thursday. The county has had two deaths total. Cass County’s number of cases was reported as 12 for Friday, compared to 10 the day before. Van Buren County is up to 20 from 18 on Thursday. Cass and Van Buren counties have each had one COVID-19 death.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph City Commission Meeting Monday To Be Done Using Zoom

The St. Joseph City Commission will be the latest area governmental body to move its meetings to the virtual world on Monday night. The commission canceled its last regular meeting on March 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but City Manager John Hodgson says they will be ready to hold the meeting as a Zoom webinar. Doing so, as many other local governments around the country have started to do, will allow for public input. People can watch the meeting using a smartphone or their computer, or if they do not have either of those, there will be a call-in number for them to use their phone. The meeting will start at 6 p.m., and instructions on how to watch, log-in, and take part are as such:. ...Read Full Story

New Travel Restrictions Part Of Expanded “Stay Home” Order

Traveling to anyone’s home except your own is now banned in Michigan starting Saturday and going through the end of the month. That’s among the changes to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order issued by Governor Whitmer on Thursday, with the exceptions being you can go to a family member’s home to care for a relative or their pet. Whitmer says a statewide order needs to be in place, without lifting restrictions in areas where there are little to no cases of coronavirus.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Coronavirus Deaths Surpass 1,000

Berrien County now has 80 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, and the Berrien County Health Department says at least 35 have recovered. The number of cases in the county rose by eight on Thursday. The number in Cass County has risen by one to 10, while Van Buren County had no change from Wednesday to Thursday with 18 cases. Allegan Count also remains with 18 cases, and Kalamazoo County’s number rose by seven to 74. St. Joseph County is up to 18 cases, an increase of two from Wednesday.. ...Read Full Story

Sen. LaSata, Rep. Wendzel Say Expansion To Stay Home Order Too Much For Economy To Take

The changes announced by the governor to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order are not necessarily being well received by some lawmakers. In Berrien County, state Senator Kim LaSata and Representative Pauline Wendzel have issued statements saying they believe some parts of the economy can be safely reopened. LaSata notes state officials announced today that since the governor’s executive orders began to be issued in response to coronavirus, over 817,00 people have filed for unemployment. That is more than than the last two years combined. Wendzel is making a recommendation to a new House task force to allow some businesses to reopen if they can prove they can do so safely and adhere to all CDC guidelines.. ...Read Full Story

“Stay Home, Stay Safe” Order Extended To April 30 In Michigan

The “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order in Michigan is now in effect through the end of the month. Governor Whitmer today extended the order, set to expire next week, until April 30. It directs everyone who is not an essential worker to remain home unless they need to leave for something to benefit the health and safety of themselves or their families. Whitmer notes Michigan has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and the numbers are still rising daily. She adds data shows most Michiganders are doing their part, but “we must keep it up.”. ...Read Full Story

Rotary Club Of South Haven Salutes Its Rotary Hero Of Year

Steve Miles is being honored by the Rotary Club of South Haven as its Rotary Hero for this year. The Rotary Club says he’s been an active Rotarian since 2018 and in a short time has “faithfully participated in all club activities.” Miles’ biggest impact has been through his technology expertise, thanks to his day job coordinating the technology for South Haven Public Schools. President-elect Dan Thompson says the ability of Miles to make the audio visual equipment work both at their meeting place and event locations “has been truly remarkable,” and adds Steve comes in early to get things set up “and his easy-going demeanor during times of stress is remarkable.” Each Rotary club in District 6360 is invited to nominate a member who has made an extraordinary contribution to the club over the past year. The club heroes are recognized at the annual District conference.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Township Police Investigating New Rash Of Car Break-Ins

Even during a pandemic, crime continues. The St. Joseph Township Police Department says they’re investigating after 12 cars were broken into early Wednesday morning in the Fairplain area. Two juveniles were arrested, but officers don’t think they were the only ones involved. Police are urging people to make sure they keep their cars locked without any valuables inside, noting most of the time the thieves won’t try to get into a locked car or truck unless they can see something inside they want. There’s no word on what was stolen or how much may have been recovered.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor City Commission Schedules Public Hearing For May On Medical Marijuana Special Use Permit

The Benton Harbor City Commission is set to hold a public hearing on a proposed special use permit for a medical marijuana provisioning center on Tuesday, May 5, just under a month from now. Redbud Roots is seeking the permit to open the business at 241 East Main Street. City officials say if the current state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic is extended past the end of this month, the meeting will be done virtually, with instructions on how to take part to be posted on the city’s website. That public hearing is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. that afternoon.. ...Read Full Story

COVID-19 Cases Top 20,000 In Michigan, But Detroit’s Numbers Slowing

The number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan is now 20,346, up 1,376 from Tuesday. The increase is more than 400 fewer than the day before. The number of deaths statewide has risen from 845 to 959, up 114 and lower than the previous day’s increase by four. In southwest Michigan, Allegan County has 18 cases, Berrien County has gone from 64 to 72, Cass County remains with just nine, and Kalamazoo County is up by three to 67. St. Joseph County has 16 cases, and Van Buren County has 18. In the state’s epicenter, Detroit has 5,824 cases with 251 deaths, rising only by 323 confirmed cases compared to nearly 1,400 new cases yesterday. Detroit’s 30 new deaths from COVID-19 are sharply lower than the 97 who died between Monday and Tuesday.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County, Spectrum Health Lakeland Give Local COVID-19 Update

Berrien County officials are continuing to stress the need for people to adhere to the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. Health Department Health Officer Nicki Britten says that’s because COVID-19 can be very easily spread, and often times by people who are showing no symptoms and don’t know they’re sick. She says the 64 cases as of Tuesday are not all of them.. ...Read Full Story

Elkhart Man Hurt When Motorcycle Hits Deer In Cass County

An Elkhart, Indiana man is hospitalized after hitting a deer while on his motorcycle in Cass County early this morning. The sheriff’s department says 42-year-old James Craft hit the deer on M-62 near Pine Lake Street in Jefferson Township, and a passerby picked him up and took him into Cassopolis, where they called police. Craft was not believed to have been wearing a helmet, but deputies add it doesn’t appear he’d been drinking or using drugs. the sheriff’s office was called just after 1:20 a.m., but it’s not clear when the crash happened and how long Craft had been waiting for help. He is being treated at Elkhart General Hospital and his condition has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Man Suffers Graze Wounds In Blossom Acres Shooting

A 46-year-old Benton Harbor man is recovering at home after being treated and released from Spectrum Health Lakeland for a graze wound from a shooting at the Blossom Acres Housing Project in Benton Township. Police say the man was walking on Highland near Plum Court just before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday when a blue four-door Ford sedan drove past him, turned around, and someone inside the car fired a shot. The bullet grazed the victim’s right shin and ankle, and went through his shoe. The man was taken to the hospital by Medic 1 Ambulance, and police have not yet found the suspect. No other information on the suspect or the vehicle involved, including the license plate number, is available.. ...Read Full Story

Committee releases Recommendations For Benton Harbor Area Schools

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Community Engagement and Advisory Committee has released its list of recommendations for turning the district around. During a virtual meeting Tuesday, Michigan Deputy State Treasurer Joyce Parker read the state-created committee’s assessment of the district, which identified an average deficit of $14.7 million over the past ten years, a shortage of qualified teachers with classroom experience, the lowest teacher salaries in Berrien County, declining enrollment, and a graduation rate of 42%. Parker then laid out a long list of recommendations to turn all of that around, covering academics, facilities, and finances. Among them were the following:. ...Read Full Story

Rate Of Deaths, Illness Among Black Residents Alarms Cities

From the Associated Press — Chicago’s mayor pledged an aggressive public health campaign aimed at the city’s black and brown communities amid alarm that black residents make up an overwhelming number of those to die of COVID-19. Black residents accounted for 72% of deaths from COVID-19 complications in the city despite making up only 30% of the city’s population. Public health experts in Chicago said the trend was unsurprising to anyone familiar with decades-old barriers to health care here. The same conditions exists in other large cities with large black populations that are considered hot spots for the coronavirus, including New York, Detroit, Milwaukee and New Orleans.. ...Read Full Story