Local News Archives

St. Joseph Commission Honors March Organizers

The organizers of a unity march on June 13 have been honored by St. Joseph City Commissioners. During a Monday virtual meeting, Gwen Swanigan, Tiera Wallace, and Trenton Bowens were all given honorary St. Joseph street signs by the body. Swanigan said the success of the march shows it is time for the two communities to come together as one.. ...Read Full Story

Advocates Want E-Cigarette Bills To Be Stronger

A package of tobacco regulation bills is headed to the Michigan House, and some health organizations are concerned that it doesn’t go far enough to protect children. Senate Bills 781 and 786 passed the Senate last week, and include new regulations on the sale of e-cigarettes. Andrew Schepers with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Michigan says they’re especially troubled by SB 781, which sets a tax rate for vaping products at 18%. He contends all e-cigarettes should be defined as a tobacco product and taxed at the same 32% rate.. ...Read Full Story

Advocates Want E-Cigarette Bills To Be Stronger

A package of tobacco regulation bills is headed to the Michigan House, and some health organizations are concerned that it doesn’t go far enough to protect children. Senate Bills 781 and 786 passed the Senate last week, and include new regulations on the sale of e-cigarettes. Andrew Schepers with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Michigan says they’re especially troubled by SB 781, which sets a tax rate for vaping products at 18%. He contends all e-cigarettes should be defined as a tobacco product and taxed at the same 32% rate.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Reminds Residents Of Fireworks Rules

The South Haven Police Department is reminding residents of the rules surrounding fireworks as the Fourth of July approaches. It says state law allows Michiganders to use consumer grade fireworks, which means things like firecrackers, bottle rockets, and Roman candles. According to South Haven city rules, Fourth of July fireworks may only be used between 11 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. on June 29 through July 5 if that date is a Friday or Saturday. The police department says it’s illegal to discharge fireworks on public, school, church, or private property without permission of the owner. That includes all public parks and beaches in South Haven. The fines have also increased to a maximum of $1000. Finally, everyone is asked to be courteous.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Reminds Residents Of Fireworks Rules

The South Haven Police Department is reminding residents of the rules surrounding fireworks as the Fourth of July approaches. It says state law allows Michiganders to use consumer grade fireworks, which means things like firecrackers, bottle rockets, and Roman candles. According to South Haven city rules, Fourth of July fireworks may only be used between 11 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. on June 29 through July 5 if that date is a Friday or Saturday. The police department says it’s illegal to discharge fireworks on public, school, church, or private property without permission of the owner. That includes all public parks and beaches in South Haven. The fines have also increased to a maximum of $1000. Finally, everyone is asked to be courteous.. ...Read Full Story

RESA Board Names New Superintendent

Berrien RESA has selected Eric Hoppstock to be the next district superintendent. Hoppstock is currently RESA’s assistant superintendent and chief academic officer, and he’ll take over his new role on July 1. The Berrien RESA Board of Education met on Monday morning to discuss its next steps after the board’s first choice for superintendent, Matthew Wandrie of Lapeer, backed out. Hoppstock has worked in education in Berrien County for more than 30 years, starting with RESA in 1987 as a school psychologist. Berrien RESA Board of Education President Cathy Bair says his “in-depth educational background, understanding of ISD-level operations, his management skills and his leadership abilities will serve our staff and constituents well.” Hoppstock will take over for RESA Superintendent Kevin Ivers when Ivers retires at the end of the month.. ...Read Full Story

Nonprofits Bail People Out Of Detroit Jails Amid Pandemic

From the Associated Press — Dozens of people in the Detroit area have been bailed out of jail during the coronavirus pandemic by nonprofits pushing to dismantle the cash bail system. The Detroit Free Press reports that roughly 55 people in the area have been bailed out of jail during the pandemic by Michigan Liberation and The Bail Project. The immediate release from jail before trial for low-income people grew urgent with the arrival of the coronavirus for these nonprofits advocating to transform the criminal justice system. Under Michigan law, cash bail can be used for any criminal offense.. ...Read Full Story

State Reports 179 New COVID Cases For Monday, One In Berrien

COVID-19 numbers in southwest Michigan continue to improve. After having no new cases of the illness to report for Sunday, Berrien County had one new case for Monday. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the county has had a cumulative total of 693 cases with 60 deaths. Cass County reported two new cases for Monday, now with a total of 111 and four deaths. Van Buren County had one additional case for the day, making the county’s total 193 with six deaths. Statewide, the number of new coronavirus cases for Monday was 179 with seven additional deaths. The state has had a total of 61,409 cases of the illness, and 5,853 patients have died since the start of the pandemic. As of Friday, the state had more than 49,000 recoveries.. ...Read Full Story

Benson: Voters Need Clear Choices Of How To Vote In Pandemic

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s chief election officer says she is cautiously optimistic about preparations for the 2020 elections amid the coronavirus outbreak, emphasizing the state can avoid failures seen elsewhere by giving people clear choices of how to vote absentee or in person. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said her office has recruited at least 2,000 workers for the August and November elections to address shortages due to veteran volunteers’ safety concerns and because local clerks will need extra staff to process a surge in absentee ballots. She said encouraging people to vote by mail will not limit the ability to vote in person.. ...Read Full Story

State Resumes Charging For Admission At Parks

Michigan state parks has resumed collecting admission fees after a three-month break because of the coronavirus. The recreation passport costs $12 when renewing a license plate registration through the secretary of state or $17 at park entrances. The cost is lower for motorcycles. The pass is valid for one year or until the current vehicle registration expires. The pass allows people to visit more than 100 state parks and recreation areas. Camping, overnight lodging facilities and day-use shelters in state parks also reopen Monday.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Medical Schools See Increase In Applications

From the Associated Press — Some medical schools in Michigan are increasing their class size because they’re receiving an influx of applicants during a time marked by a shortage of physicians. The Lansing State Journal reports that while some schools are taking steps to increase class sizes, the MSU College of Human Medicine says it’s not increasing its nearly 200-student per class capacity.
Joel Maurer, assistant dean of admissions for the college, says that would require the school to hire more faculty and expand at its East Lansing and Grand Rapids campuses to increase class sizes.. ...Read Full Story

State Ending Ties With Company After Teen’s Restraint, Death

From the Associated Press — Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered the state’s Department of Health and Human Services to no longer work with a company that provided staffing for a facility where a 16-year-old died earlier this year while being wrongly restrained. Whitmer said in a statement late Saturday that Sequel Youth and Family Services cannot provide services for facilities licensed by the state agency. Cornelius Frederick died May 1 after going into cardiac arrest April 29. At the time, authorities said he was being restrained by staff after throwing a sandwich. The state on Thursday terminated its contracts with Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo. The Associated Press left an email Sunday morning seeking comment from Sequel Family and Youth Services.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Announces Forest Cleanup Challenge For This Summer

Volunteers are being sought to help clean up Michigan’s forests this summer. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced the “100 in 100 Forest Challenge,” inviting residents to clean up 100 forests in 100 days. DNR program developer Conor Haenni tells WSJM News you’d be surprised at what needs to be hauled out of Michigan’s more than 600 state and federal forests.. ...Read Full Story

146 New Cases Of COVID-19 Reported In Michigan For Sunday

Michigan is reporting 146 new cases of COVID-19 for Sunday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 61,230 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported three additional deaths for Sunday, bringing that total to 5,846. As of Friday, the state has had 49,290 recoveries from COVID. Berrien County had no new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, leaving the total at 692 with 60 deaths. Cass County had one new case for Sunday, making its total 109 with four deaths. Van Buren County also had one additional case for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 192 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Property Tax Deadline Approaching

The property tax due date is fast approaching. Berrien County Treasurer Shelly Weich tells WSJM News due to COVID-19, Governor Gretchen Whitmer moved it back to June 29. If you still owe on your taxes, the treasurer’s office will work out a payment plan with you.. ...Read Full Story

Property Tax Deadline Approaching

The property tax due date is fast approaching. Berrien County Treasurer Shelly Weich tells WSJM News due to COVID-19, Governor Gretchen Whitmer moved it back to June 29. If you still owe on your taxes, the treasurer’s office will work out a payment plan with you.. ...Read Full Story

Body Found In St. Joseph River

Police say they believe the body of a man who went missing in the St. Joseph River in Royalton Township on Friday has been found. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says the man went under while helping a struggling juvenile in the water about a mile from the Jasper Dairy boat launch Friday evening. The search for him continued through the weekend, and a body was found about a half mile downriver shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday. An autopsy will be done at Western Michigan University. The man’s name has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Body Found In St. Joseph River

Police say they believe the body of a man who went missing in the St. Joseph River in Royalton Township on Friday has been found. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says the man went under while helping a struggling juvenile in the water about a mile from the Jasper Dairy boat launch Friday evening. The search for him continued through the weekend, and a body was found about a half mile downriver shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday. An autopsy will be done at Western Michigan University. The man’s name has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Taking Action To Address Street Flooding

The South Haven City Council has approved a short-term plan to address flooding near the intersection of Dunkley Avenue and East Wells Street, just to the east of the Black River. City Manager Brian Dissette tells WSJM News high water levels in Lake Michigan have created persistent problems there, and the council this past week approved a plan from Department of Public Works to mitigate them.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Taking Action To Address Street Flooding

The South Haven City Council has approved a short-term plan to address flooding near the intersection of Dunkley Avenue and East Wells Street, just to the east of the Black River. City Manager Brian Dissette tells WSJM News high water levels in Lake Michigan have created persistent problems there, and the council this past week approved a plan from Department of Public Works to mitigate them.. ...Read Full Story

SHAES Puts Out Fire At Clementine’s In South Haven

South Haven Area Emergency Services was able to contain a small fire at Clementine’s restaurant on Saturday. SHAES says it was called to the restaurant at 500 Phoenix Street around 1:30 p.m. when employees smelled smoke. The restaurant was safely evacuated, and when firefighters arrived they found fire in a first-floor kitchen wall behind a broiler. It was put out with water to prevent contamination of food preparation areas. The cause is under investigation. Clementine’s had just re-opened last Monday after being closed for three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant closed again Saturday afternoon due to the fire. One SHAES firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion.. ...Read Full Story

SHAES Puts Out Fire At Clementine’s In South Haven

South Haven Area Emergency Services was able to contain a small fire at Clementine’s restaurant on Saturday. SHAES says it was called to the restaurant at 500 Phoenix Street around 1:30 p.m. when employees smelled smoke. The restaurant was safely evacuated, and when firefighters arrived they found fire in a first-floor kitchen wall behind a broiler. It was put out with water to prevent contamination of food preparation areas. The cause is under investigation. Clementine’s had just re-opened last Monday after being closed for three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant closed again Saturday afternoon due to the fire. One SHAES firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Warns Of Wildfire Risk

Be careful if you’re having a campfire this weekend. There’s an elevated risk of wildfires statewide because of hot, dry weather. Michigan Department of Natural Resources resource protection manager Don Klingler told Michigan News Network this week they’ve had many fires this year.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Warns Of Wildfire Risk

Be careful if you’re having a campfire this weekend. There’s an elevated risk of wildfires statewide because of hot, dry weather. Michigan Department of Natural Resources resource protection manager Don Klingler told Michigan News Network this week they’ve had many fires this year.. ...Read Full Story

255 New COVID Cases In Michigan For Saturday

Michigan is reporting 255 new cases of COVID-19 for Saturday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 61,084 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported 20 additional deaths for Saturday, bringing that total to 5,843. Berrien County had three new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, bringing the total up to 692 with 60 deaths. Cass County had two new cases for Saturday, making its total 108 with four deaths. Van Buren County had two additional case for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 191 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

255 New COVID Cases In Michigan For Saturday

Michigan is reporting 255 new cases of COVID-19 for Saturday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 61,084 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported 20 additional deaths for Saturday, bringing that total to 5,843. Berrien County had three new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, bringing the total up to 692 with 60 deaths. Cass County had two new cases for Saturday, making its total 108 with four deaths. Van Buren County had two additional case for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 191 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Youth Fair Director: Decision To Postpone Not Made Lightly

Postponed and not cancelled. That’s what leaders at the Berrien County Youth Fair are saying about the event for this year. Due to COVID-19 and uncertainty about what the situation and rules will be in August, the fair announced this year it’s being moved to August of 2021. Berrien County Youth Fair Manager Karen Klug tells WSJM News the decision came after much deliberation.. ...Read Full Story

Youth Fair Director: Decision To Postpone Not Made Lightly

Postponed and not cancelled. That’s what leaders at the Berrien County Youth Fair are saying about the event for this year. Due to COVID-19 and uncertainty about what the situation and rules will be in August, the fair announced this year it’s being moved to August of 2021. Berrien County Youth Fair Manager Karen Klug tells WSJM News the decision came after much deliberation.. ...Read Full Story

Bank Donates To SMC Virtual Run Planned For This Summer

Fifth Third Bank has made a $7,000 donation to Southwestern Michigan College for Steve’s Run. Due to the pandemic, a virtual run will be held this year from July 25 through August 1. SMC President Joe Odenwald says a “virtual run this year supports the race’s ultimate goal — raising funds for cancer research and the Steven Briegel scholarship while practicing social distancing.” Participants can run or walk their favorite route at a preferred time anytime between Saturday, July 25 and Saturday, August 1. Those who sign up by Sunday, July 5, at will be mailed a race T-shirt. When they’re finished, runners can share their time and a photo wearing the T-shirt to the Steve’s Run Facebook page, and top runners will be recognized on the page once the race is done. Odenwald accepted Fifth Third Bank’s contribution to the cause this week.. ...Read Full Story

Bank Donates To SMC Virtual Run Planned For This Summer

Fifth Third Bank has made a $7,000 donation to Southwestern Michigan College for Steve’s Run. Due to the pandemic, a virtual run will be held this year from July 25 through August 1. SMC President Joe Odenwald says a “virtual run this year supports the race’s ultimate goal — raising funds for cancer research and the Steven Briegel scholarship while practicing social distancing.” Participants can run or walk their favorite route at a preferred time anytime between Saturday, July 25 and Saturday, August 1. Those who sign up by Sunday, July 5, at will be mailed a race T-shirt. When they’re finished, runners can share their time and a photo wearing the T-shirt to the Steve’s Run Facebook page, and top runners will be recognized on the page once the race is done. Odenwald accepted Fifth Third Bank’s contribution to the cause this week.. ...Read Full Story

Man Missing In St. Joseph River

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is searching for a man who went missing in the St. Joseph River on Friday. It says deputies were called out to the river about a mile from the Jasper Dairy boat launch in Royalton Township around 7:15 p.m. They learned two adults and three children had been out on a pontoon boat and swimming when one of the children began struggling in the water. One of the adults jumped into the water and was able to save the child, but then went under. The sheriff’s department says the 46-year-old Berrien County man is still missing. A search for the man is underway.. ...Read Full Story

Man Missing In St. Joseph River

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is searching for a man who went missing in the St. Joseph River on Friday. It says deputies were called out to the river about a mile from the Jasper Dairy boat launch in Royalton Township around 7:15 p.m. They learned two adults and three children had been out on a pontoon boat and swimming when one of the children began struggling in the water. One of the adults jumped into the water and was able to save the child, but then went under. The sheriff’s department says the 46-year-old Berrien County man is still missing. A search for the man is underway.. ...Read Full Story

Hiring Rose In 46 States In May, Yet Jobless Rates Still High

from the Associated Press — Employers added jobs in 46 states last month, evidence that the U.S. economy’s surprise hiring gain in May was spread broadly across the country – in both states that began reopening their economies early and those that did so only later. Unemployment rates fell in 38 states, rose in three and were largely unchanged in nine, the Labor Department said. All told, the figures illustrate the unusually broad nature of the recession, with all states enduring unemployment rates that soared in April as the coronavirus forced business closures and then generally fell but remained painfully high in May.. ...Read Full Story

Hiring Rose In 46 States In May, Yet Jobless Rates Still High

from the Associated Press — Employers added jobs in 46 states last month, evidence that the U.S. economy’s surprise hiring gain in May was spread broadly across the country – in both states that began reopening their economies early and those that did so only later. Unemployment rates fell in 38 states, rose in three and were largely unchanged in nine, the Labor Department said. All told, the figures illustrate the unusually broad nature of the recession, with all states enduring unemployment rates that soared in April as the coronavirus forced business closures and then generally fell but remained painfully high in May.. ...Read Full Story

Comcast Extends Free Internet Offer For The Rest Of 2020

Comcast has announced it’s extending its offer of free internet service to low income residents for the rest of the year. When the COVID-19 pandemic first reached the United States, Comcast started to offer its Internet Essentials plan for free for 60 days. That was later extended, and now it’s been extended again through the end of 2020. Internet Essentials is normally $9.95 per month for those with low incomes, and will now be complimentary for those who qualify. In addition, Comcast will continue to waive, through the end of the year, the requirement that customers not have a past due balance with Comcast to get the free offer. The company says with internet now critical to everyone, especially students, it’s making the offer to help during the pandemic.. ...Read Full Story

Comcast Extends Free Internet Offer For The Rest Of 2020

Comcast has announced it’s extending its offer of free internet service to low income residents for the rest of the year. When the COVID-19 pandemic first reached the United States, Comcast started to offer its Internet Essentials plan for free for 60 days. That was later extended, and now it’s been extended again through the end of 2020. Internet Essentials is normally $9.95 per month for those with low incomes, and will now be complimentary for those who qualify. In addition, Comcast will continue to waive, through the end of the year, the requirement that customers not have a past due balance with Comcast to get the free offer. The company says with internet now critical to everyone, especially students, it’s making the offer to help during the pandemic.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Drowning Victim Dies

A 19-year-old South Haven woman has died after she was pulled out of Lake Michigan off of South Haven’s South Beach on Tuesday. The South Haven Police Department says Jazmyn Patterson died at a Kalamazoo hospital. She’d been pulled out of the lake by good Samaritans around 6 p.m. Tuesday. South Haven Area Emergency Services personnel then took her to Bronson Hospital in South Haven, and she was later airlifted to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. Police confirmed on Friday that she had died.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Drowning Victim Dies

A 19-year-old South Haven woman has died after she was pulled out of Lake Michigan off of South Haven’s South Beach on Tuesday. The South Haven Police Department says Jazmyn Patterson died at a Kalamazoo hospital. She’d been pulled out of the lake by good Samaritans around 6 p.m. Tuesday. South Haven Area Emergency Services personnel then took her to Bronson Hospital in South Haven, and she was later airlifted to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. Police confirmed on Friday that she had died.. ...Read Full Story

211 New Cases Of COVID-19 Identified In Michigan Frdiay

Michigan is reporting 211 new cases of COVID-19 for Friday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 60,829 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported just five additional deaths for Friday, bringing that total to 5,823. Berrien County had five new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, bringing the total up to 689 with 60 deaths. Cass County had no new cases for Friday, keeping its total 106 with four deaths. Van Buren County had one additional case for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 189 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

211 New Cases Of COVID-19 Identified In Michigan Frdiay

Michigan is reporting 211 new cases of COVID-19 for Friday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 60,829 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported just five additional deaths for Friday, bringing that total to 5,823. Berrien County had five new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, bringing the total up to 689 with 60 deaths. Cass County had no new cases for Friday, keeping its total 106 with four deaths. Van Buren County had one additional case for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 189 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Auto Insurance Policy Holders Told To Choose Medical Options Carefully

Michigan drivers could see big savings on their auto insurance bills starting next month, but they do want to be careful about how they go about it. Under reforms passed last year, starting on July 2 drivers can opt for less health coverage or opt out completely, which would mean their health insurance would pick up the tab for any injuries suffered in a crash. Personal injury attorney Amir Hakim told Michigan News Network this week that under the new law, if you cause an accident, you may have to pick up some of the healthcare costs of the other driver, who may not have adequate health care.. ...Read Full Story