Local News Archives

Search Continues For Van Buren County Murder Suspect

Police in Van Buren County are continuing to hunt for a murder suspect. There’s been no sign of 38-year-old Troy Taylor since he allegedly shot and killed 40-year-old Timothy Henley of Kalamazoo last Thursday night, except for the car Taylor was last driving being found behind a home near Paw Paw on Saturday. Van Buren County Sheriff’s Captain Virg Franks says right now, there’s not a lot they can say other than Taylor is believed to be armed and dangerous.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Man Killed In South Bend

South Bend police say a 37-year-old Benton Harbor man was killed this weekend near Notre Dame’s McConnell Family Boathouse. Our newsgathering partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16 report Eric Phillips was shot several times between 3:30 and 3:45 a.m. Saturday. His body was found by an off-duty police officer roughly three hours later as the officer was headed to breakfast. St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Commander Tim Corbett says they are looking for someone who was with Phillips who was seen running from the scene. No arrests have been made.. ...Read Full Story

Study On Wave Damage

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

Man Hurt In Cass County Hit-And-Run

A 24-year-old man is recovering after being hit from behind on his bicycle in Cass County’s Volinia Township over the weekend. The sheriff’s department tells us Jason Howard of Decatur is expected to make a full recovery and suffered only minor injuries. He was hit just after 12:30 p.m. Sunday on Decatur Road by what police believe was a silver Ford Crown Victoria or similar sedan. The vehicle has front end damage to the right side from the crash. Howard was taken to Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac for treatment.. ...Read Full Story

Balanced Budget For BH

Benton Harbor City Commissioners this week approved the 2018-2019 budget, sending the city into the next fiscal year with a surplus of about $22,000. At the commission’s regular meeting, City Manager Darwin Watson said the spending plan anticipates a little more than $7.9 million in revenue and just under that in expenditures. He noted pensions remain a major expense.. ...Read Full Story

Amazon Coming To West MI

Another Amazon fulfillment center is coming to Michigan. The company will locate its fourth center in the state in Gaines Township, south of Grand Rapids. Spokesperson Shevaun Brown says the when open, the facility will bring hundreds of jobs to the area.. ...Read Full Story

State Child Support Collections

More than $250 million in back child support has been collected by the Michigan Attorney General’s office since it opened the Child Support Division in 2003. State Attorney General Bill Schuette tells us the focus of the Child Support Division is for parents who have the ability to pay child support but refuse to do so. For the Department of Attorney General to get involved with child support cases, there has to be at least $7,500 in back payments owed. When a case comes to the department, a 90-day investigation period begins. The state notes it has gone a far as to extradite a man from Alaska who owed more than $95,000 in child support in Michigan. You can find more information about the state’s Child Support Division right here.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Shames Low-Paying Companies

A new bill in the Michigan Legislature is designed to shine a light on big companies that pay their workers so little they qualify for government-funded healthcare. House Bill 61-46, the Fair Share Health Care Disclosure Act, would require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to publish an annual list of the 50 companies with the most employees on Medicaid. State Representative Patrick Green says taxpayers end up footing the bill when companies skimp on workers.. ...Read Full Story

Tight Housing Market

The housing market in southwest Michigan is cooling off a bit, but it’s still red-hot for sellers because there still aren’t many homes on the market. Those that do go up are getting multiple offers within hours of being listed in some instances. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors says average selling prices jumped 20% from April to May and the median price shot up 44%. Sales numbers, however, are down 6% for the year compared to 2017 due to low inventory. The median price for May was just under $155,000, while the average price now stands at nearly $257,000. The local mortgage rate is also up, rising from 4.6% in April to 4.75% in May.. ...Read Full Story

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