Local News Archives

Wahmhoff Farms Ships Out Nearly 800 Christmas Trees To Troops

787 Christmas trees have been loaded up and shipped out to a military base in Florida as part of this year’s Trees for the Troops program at Wahmhoff Farms in Gobles. The nursery has taken part in Trees for the Troops each Christmas season since 2006. The farm’s Betsy Wahmhoff-Perales tells WSJM News it just feels right to send a Christmas gift to the families of those who serve.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Police Warn About Counterfeit Money

The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety is warning the public about some fake currency that’s been reported circulating in the community. In a Facebook message, the department says there have been complaints from local businesses recently. The Secret Service has offered a few tips to know if you’re dealing with funny money. First, it says you can hold a bill up to the light to look for a hologram of the face image on the bill. Both images should match. Second, it says you can look at the bill through a light to see a thin vertical strip containing text that spells out that bill’s denomination. The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety tells us store clerks and others who handle money should be especially vigilant.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Accidentally Shot In Pipestone Twp

An 18-year-old Pipestone Township resident is in the hospital in critical condition after being accidentally shot on Sunday night. Michigan State Police tell us it happened around 10 p.m. in the 5,000 block of Old Pipestone Road. 18-year-old Delaney Nicole Flagel was unloading her vehicle after a day of hunting when a rifle was accidentally dropped causing it to discharge a round into her chest. Arriving troopers found her lying on the ground near her vehicle. She was brought to Lakeland Hospital in critical condition. Police say alcohol was not a factor in the incident.. ...Read Full Story

Trees For Troops Loading Today

Christmas trees will be sent to soldiers around the world from Gobles today. Wahmhoff Farms Nursery will load up semi trucks for their annual Trees For Troops event at 10 this morning. The trees will be shipped to Hurlburt Field at the US Air Force Auxiliary Base in Okaloosa County, Florida. Last year, the trees were shipped to Fort Benning, Georgia.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Continue Decline

Our gas prices in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph are down 12¢ a gallon from last week to $2.45, but we’re not the lowest in the state. Triple-A Michigan says statewide, prices fell 10¢ from last Monday to mark two straight weeks of a drop of at least a dime. The state average is $2.53. The lowest prices in Michigan are in Saginaw, where the average is $2.39. For the fourth straight week, Ann Arbor has the highest prices in the state at $2.61. South Haven is not covered by Triple-A’s survey, but GasBuddy spotters are finding regular as low as $2.14 at most stations, with a high of $2.19 at Village XPress and $2.29 at the Marathon in Grand Junction.. ...Read Full Story

Conyers Gives Up Judiciary Post Amid Sex Harassment Probe

Congressman John Conyers is giving up his leadership position as top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. The decision by the Detroit lawmaker comes ahead of a congressional probe into allegations of sexual harassment made against him. Conyers says he doesn’t want the allegations to undermine his colleagues in the Democratic caucus or those who serve on the Judiciary committee or in the House in general.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Accidentally Shoots Self

Michigan State Police are investigating what they’re calling an accidental shooting in Eau Claire. An 18-year-old woman shot herself in the 5000 block of Old Pipestone Road Sunday night. Our reporting partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16 say the shooting happened before 10:30 p.m., and no other details have been released including the victim’s name and her condition.. ...Read Full Story

Vaccine Waivers Up In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Vaccine waiver rates for school-age children have increased slightly in Michigan. The Detroit News reports that Department of Health and Human Services data shows 3.2% of kindergartners and seventh-graders received immunization waivers in 2016 compared to 3.1% the year before. The immunization rate was 4.8% in 2014. Since 2015, the state has required parents to attend educational sessions if they want to delay or decline immunizations for diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio,
diphtheria, hepatitis B and chickenpox. The newspaper reports that schools are required to report the immunization status of kindergarten, seventh-grade and transferring students. The state says there were 7,657 fewer waivers reported from schools in 2015 compared to the year before. Michigan allows waivers for medical reasons and on religious and philosophical grounds.. ...Read Full Story

Applications Sought For BH Income Tax Committee

The city of Benton Harbor is now taking applications from residents interested in serving on the new City Income Tax Oversight Committee. The body will determine how revenue from the city’s new income tax will be spent each year. It’s estimated that could be more than $2.5 million yearly. The deadline to apply to be on the City Income Tax Oversight Committee is Wednesday, December 27 at 5 p.m. Applications must be dropped off at the Benton Harbor City Clerk’s office, located at city hall. Anyone with questions should call.. ...Read Full Story

Komen Michigan Working On New Cancer Pilot Program

A new pilot program will be launched next year to help keep women in the loop regarding the breast cancer services available in Michigan. Komen Michigan’s Erica Bills tells WSJM News the organization has been selected to work with several agencies of the Michigan Breast and Cervical Cancer Control and Navigation Program on a Breast Cancer Toolkit. She says there are many programs in place to prevent and treat breast cancer, and the more people know, the better.. ...Read Full Story

Greg Borzo; With Respect 11-26-17

John’s guest this week Greg Borzo is an historian/journalist who has highlighted unique and important parts of the City of Chicago. His latest book is Chicago’s Fabulous Fountains. They walk through the iconic (Buckingham Fountain, the Millennium Park giant fountains) to the most delicate and beautiful artistic and historical fountains around the City. It is a celebration of water, marble, glass, history and art which covers 130 unique sites in the town. . ...Read Full Story

Performance Of Handel’s Messiah Planned At Andrews University

Coming up in early December will be a performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Howard Performing Arts Center at Andrews University in Berrien Springs. The university tells us the Andrews University Singers, Chorale and Chamber Orchestra will put on the show at 7 p.m. December 1. Andrews says those who attend can expect a fresh rendition of Messiah with “faster tempos, the authentic Baroque style of performance, and less familiar vocal solo movements.” Admission to the show will be free, but tickets will be required. To get a ticket, call the Howard Performing Arts Center box office or go to Howard.Andrews.Edu.. ...Read Full Story

Bob Carr Talks Run For Senate

Congressman Fred Upton may not be making a Senate run next year, but another man with southwest Michigan ties who is running is Bob Carr. With Upton bowing out of the GOP race to replace Senator Debbie Stabenow, Carr tells WSJM News he felt it was right to step things up. Carr says he grew up in foster homes all over the St. Joseph area. He now lives on Mackinac Island and tells us historical preservation has been his passion. He took a recent tour of the region and realized whole towns need to be preserved.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead In Berrien Twp Crash

An 80-year old Sawyer man is dead following a single vehicle crash in Berrien Township Saturday morning. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us officers responded to a report of a crash on Long Lake Road
near Rangeline Road around 8:30 a.m. They found the driver, James Braddock of Sawyer, deceased. Police say Braddock was driving a 2005 Lexus west on Long Lake Road when the vehicle left the road and hit a large tree. It came to rest in the center of the road. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Crash Reconstruction Unit is investigating the cause. Police say the weather does not appear to have been a factor.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Preparing For New Income Tax

Benton Harbor City Manager Darwin Watson has a lot of work to do in the next couple of months. He tells WSJM News he’s meeting next week with representatives of cities that have local income taxes now that Benton Harbor voters have approved one. He’s also working with city commissioners as they draft an ordinance to govern how the tax will work.. ...Read Full Story

Analyst: Tax Package Will Increase Federal Deficit

The fast-moving Republican federal tax bill is on the minds of many Michiganders this holiday season, and a new analysis finds the plan would have negative impacts on services across the state for many years. Rachel Richards, legislative coordinator for the Michigan League for Public Policy, tells us the plan will increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over ten years, adding a deficit that large would leave lawmakers no choice but to right size the budget.. ...Read Full Story

Elkhart Man Reunited With Dog Found 200 Miles Away In Michigan

From the Associated Press — An Indiana man who thought he’d never see his dog again after it vanished in September has been reunited with the pooch, which was 200 miles away in central Michigan. Gene Valdez of Elkhart, Indiana, spent two months periodically checking a
local animal shelter for his Brittney Spaniel, Rock. But then his nephew contacted the Cass County Humane Society, located about 10
miles away in Cassopolis, Michigan. He learned that Rock had been rescued and was eventually moved to a shelter in Saginaw, more than 200 miles northeast of Elkhart. Valdez picked up Rock there last week. He tells The Elkhart Truth that his other Brittney Spaniel, Megan, is “happy as can be” since her companion returned. Both dogs will take part in a family pheasant hunting trip this weekend.. ...Read Full Story

Mark III Wins Celebrated Service Award

The Mark III Grille and Bar in St. Joseph is the latest winner of the Celebrated Service Award. The Celebrated Service Award is given out by Celebration Cinema each year to salute businesses in the theater chain’s area for their high level of service. Celebration Cinema’s Emily Loeks tells WSJM News voters in the awards greatly appreciate the businesses that treat them special.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Planning To Showcase New Tech Program

Lake Michigan College is planning an open house to show off a new model of learning to anyone interested in earning computer technology degrees. LMC tells us its new Virtual Learning Environment — or, VLE — model is being unveiled at the open house. The VLE is designed to allow students to switch back and forth between attending classes either online or in person, depending on what’s most convenient for them on a given day.. ...Read Full Story

Shoppers Urged To Go Local This Saturday

When you buy local, more money stays in the community. In fact, it’s to the tune of $68 of every $100 spent flowing back into the community. That’s more than double the benefit of big box stores. So, many towns are asking you to support local businesses tomorrow for Small Business Saturday. However, there are more than just monetary benefits, says Farmington Downtown Development Authority Director Kate Knight. She spoke with Michigan News Network.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Home Sales Continue To Be Strong

Home sales around southwest Michigan continued to smash records in the month of October. The Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors tells WSJM News October was the tenth month in a row sales were up over the same month in the previous year. The number of houses sold in October 2017 increased 9%, while overall for the year, the number of houses sold is up  5%. Meanwhile, inventory around the region dropped 12% from October of 2016. The average selling price for October of this year was up 18% over October of 2016. Despite the average mortgage rate being slightly up — 4.1% from 3.9% percent in September — the market has remained robust. The Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors tells us a warm fall and dwindling inventory may have kept buyers motivated throughout the month.. ...Read Full Story

Small Business Saturday Events Planned In Buchanan

While you’re taking part in Small Business Saturday sales this weekend, one place you may want to go is Buchanan. That’s because the downtown area is hosting special events for White Saturday. The Buchanan Downtown Development Authority’s Barbara Wallace tells WSJM News the festivities are about celebrating Buchanan and having some fun.. ...Read Full Story

Allegan County Man Killed In South Haven-Area Crash

One man is dead following a two-vehicle crash in Allegan County Thursday night. The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened at the intersection of 109th Avenue and 66th Street around 9:35 p.m. Arriving deputies found two damaged vehicles, one of which was a truck that had rolled over in a field. The driver was pinned in the truck and pronounced dead at the scene. He has been identified as 63-year-old Paul Hapke, Jr. of the Pullman area. The other driver, a 20-year-old South Haven woman, told deputies she was southbound on 66th Street when she was unable to stop for the stop sign at 109th Avenue. She then struck the pickup truck, which had been eastbound on 109th Avenue. The crash remains under investigation by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Part Of Territorial Road To Be Closed For Culvert Work

Territorial Road between North Branch Road and Millburg Drive will be d starting Monday closed while the Berrien County Road Department works to strengthen a recently-rebuilt culvert. It’s been put in danger by heavy rains throughout November. Berrien County Road Department Traffic Safety Supervisor Mike Juengling tells WSJM News crews just finished work on the collapsed Blue Creek culvert.. ...Read Full Story

Injured Chikaming Twp Officer Slowly Improving

It’s been a slow recovery so far for injured Chikaming Township Police Officer David Wyman. He was hit by a car on I-94 at exit 12 eastbound on November 12, and was sent to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph and then to a hospital in Kalamazoo. On Facebook, Chikaming Township Police Chief Todd Taylor writes Wyman “continues to improve each day and slowly recover.” The chief adds the officer has experienced kidney issues, which have been a challenge as he works to get healthy. A 67-year-old man hit Wyman as he was clearing the scene from an earlier accident in which a car went into a ditch.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Sheriff’s Son Pleads Guilty

Nikolas Abbott, the son of Van Buren County Sheriff Dan Abbott, has entered a guilty plea to a charge of being an accessory after the fact in the shooting death of E.J. Holland. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office was assigned the case and say Abbott supplied the gun to Thurmond Fletcher, who took it to a drug deal with Holland in a Bangor Park in February. The drug deal went sour, Holland wound up dead, and Fletcher wounded. Fletcher pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and a gun felony earlier this year. Abbott has now cut a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to being an accessory, a gun charge and a drunken driving charge. Four other charged will be dropped.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead In Casco Township Crash

One person is dead in a crash in Casco Township. It happened just before 10 last night at 109th Avenue and 66th Street. South Haven Area Emergency Services tells us the driver of a pickup that rolled in the crash was killed and the driver of the SUV involved was hurt. We don’t yet know the extent of those injuries or what caused the crash. The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department is handling the investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Hunters Reminded Of Safety Tips

Hunters have fanned out across the state to seek out that prize deer as part of firearm hunting season. It kicked off this week, running through November 30, and Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Robert Boyce tells WSJM News hunters must be cautious. He notes some may face an increased heart attack risk if they’re out in the woods lugging things around.. ...Read Full Story

New Website Launched For Berrien County

Now up and running is a redesigned Berrien County website. Berrien County IT Director Ken Hoffman tells WSJM News the county board this year approved an update for the site in order to meet new state accessibility requirements. The new site launched last week. It’s designed to better handle mobile devices and has other features.. ...Read Full Story

Hunters Could Help To Stop Invasive Plant Species

Hunters have a chance this month to do their part in preventing the spread of invasive species. The Van Buren Conservation District’s Eleanor Serocki tells WSJM News a hunter should clean off their gear and boots before moving from one forest to another. That’s because small pieces of invasive plants can get on those things and then cause their spread elsewhere. That could be bad for deer habitat.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Taking Applications For Income Tax Commitee

The city of Benton Harbor is now taking applications from residents interested in serving on the new City Income Tax Oversight Committee. The body will determine how revenue from the city’s new income tax will be spent each year. It’s estimated that could be more than $2.5 million yearly. The deadline to apply to be on the City Income Tax Oversight Committee is Wednesday, December 27 at 5 p.m. Applications must be dropped off at the Benton Harbor City Clerk’s office, located at city hall. Anyone with questions should call.. ...Read Full Story

LMC To Hold Open House For New Tech Program

Lake Michigan College is planning an open house to show off a new model of learning to anyone interested in earning computer technology degrees. LMC tells us its new Virtual Learning Environment — or, VLE — model is being unveiled at the open house. The VLE is designed to allow students to switch back and forth between attending classes either online or in person, depending on what’s most convenient for them on a given day.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Ice Arena To Open On Thanksgiving

The John and Dede Howard Ice Arena in St. Joseph is about to be open for the season. The rink on Napier Avenue traditionally opens for the year on Thanksgiving day with open skate for everyone. This Thursday’s hours will be from 4 to 8 p.m. After that, each day will feature open skate hours along with organized activities. You can see the city’s list of ice rink hours by clicking below.. ...Read Full Story

Mark III Wins Celebrated Service Award

The Mark III Grille and Bar in St. Joseph is the latest winner of the Celebrated Service Award. The Celebrated Service Award is given out by Celebration Cinema each year to salute businesses in the theater chain’s area for their high level of service. Celebration Cinema employees pick the nominees based on their experiences at each location, and then the public gets to vote on their favorite. The Mark III serves up steaks, seafood, and Mexican fare on M-139 near Miners Road. It takes the title of Celebrated Service Award winner from the Mason Jar in Benton Harbor. Now that it’s been selected as the winner, the Mark III gets $5,000, a package of movie-related prizes, and a spotlight at Celebration Cinema theaters for the next year.. ...Read Full Story

Former Southwest Michigan Resident Running For Senate

Congressman Fred Upton may not be making a Senate run next year, but another man with southwest Michigan ties who is running is Bob Carr. With Upton bowing out of the GOP race to replace Senator Debbie Stabenow, Carr tells WSJM News he felt it was right to step things up. Carr says he grew up in foster homes all over the St. Joseph area. He now lives on Mackinac Island and tells us historical preservation has been his passion. He took a recent tour of the region and realized whole towns need to be preserved.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Still Hoping For Tax Reform By Christmas

The U.S. Senate is on break for Thanksgiving, and Congressman Fred Upton says that’s not right. He tells WSJM News Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should have kept members there for the holiday until they pushed through a tax reform plan. He says the Senate plan will have to be reconciled with the House plan.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Residents Split Over Controversial Fountain

From the Associated Press — Officials in southwest Michigan are considering how to handle a controversial fountain that some say celebrates white supremacy. The Fountain of the Pioneers in Kalamazoo features a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American. Some residents say the piece is racist, while others argue that it’s a work of art that can teach people about history.
Kalamazoo City Commission saw a presentation from city staff Monday about the Bronson Park fountain’s history. The commission didn’t have a vote scheduled on the issue and will revisit the topic in 90 days. A $2.8 million plan to restore the weathered statute and improve Bronson Park was approved in 2016. Fundraising efforts for the project have stalled because of the fountain debate.. ...Read Full Story

Report: Congressman Conyers Settled Complaint Over Sexual Conduct

A news website Is reporting that Michigan Congressman John Conyers settled a complaint in 2015 from a woman who alleged she was fired from his Washington staff because she rejected his sexual advances. BuzzFeed reports that the office of the Detroit Democrat paid the woman over $27,000 to settle the complaint under a confidentiality agreement. BuzzFeed also published affidavits from former staff members who said they had witnessed Conyers touching female staffers inappropriately or requesting sexual favors.. ...Read Full Story

2018 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship Logo Unveiled

The logo for the 2018 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship is now at center ice of the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena in St. Joseph. The arena opens this weekend for the season, and city leaders and tournament officials gathered for the unveiling yesterday. KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship general chairman Sam Abdelnour spoke to our partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16.. ...Read Full Story