Local News Archives

Grants to enable new training of paramedics in Covert Township


Covert Township is the recipient of three grants to train new paramedics. With paramedics in short supply statewide, the funds through the EMS Workforce scholarship program of the Michigan Center for Rural Health will result in three students receiving $24,600 each for their education. The three students have been identified and are all with the Covert Township Fire Department. Miguel Llerena, Jazmin Cortez, and Jacquelin Zurwalski are expected to begin classes in September of this year. The Covert Township Fire Department is staffed by career firefighter/paramedics who are supplemented by part-time and paid-on-call firefighters. Covert Township also has several police officers cross-trained as firefighters who respond to fire and EMS calls while on patrol. The department takes around 700 calls per year.. ...Read Full Story

County road agencies meeting this week


Michigan’s county road agencies manage 75% of all roads in the state. This week, they’re meeting in Lansing to outline priorities and problems for the next year. Denise Donahue, CEO of the County Roads Association, said road funding, including new options for using federal aid, will help them reach their goals.. ...Read Full Story

One dead in Cass County crash


An Elkhart, Indiana man is dead following a crash in Cass County on Tuesday. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department says it happened on US-12 near Kensington Road around 5:30 a.m. 58-year-old Timothy Waudby of Elkhart was westbound on US-12 when his vehicle crossed the centerline and into oncoming traffic. It struck two other vehicles and Waudby was killed. The other drivers have been identified as 56-year-old Wayne Owdresky of Niles and 45-year-old Joshua Kronewitter of Niles. Both suffered minor injuries. Owdresky was treated at the scene while Kronewitter was taken by ambulance to South Bend Memorial Hospital. Drugs and alcohol are not believed to have been factors in the crash, which remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Lions Club camp for disabled children seeking counselors, volunteers


The Lions and Lioness Clubs of Southwest Michigan are now signing up counselors for Camp Leo, an overnight summer camp experience for children ages 10 through 17 with developmental disabilities who live in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties. The clubs have been running Camp Leo for decades with support from volunteers. Camp Leo Director Beth Helm tells us it offers the classic summer camp experience to kids who otherwise might never be able to have it.. ...Read Full Story

Buchanan Community Schools seeking bond


Voters in Buchanan Community Schools are being asked to support a $34.8 million bond proposal in the May election. Superintendent Patricia Robinson tells us the district is seeking to improve Moccasin Elementary School and Buchanan High School. For the elementary, she says improvements would include upgraded classrooms, ADA compliant restrooms, and improved security. The project would also include an addition.. ...Read Full Story

Walberg, Huizenga oppose EPA decision on air pollution in Southwest Michigan


Congressmen Bill Huizenga and Tim Walberg have sent a joint letter to the EPA regarding an agency decision on air pollution in southwest Michigan. They say the decision on nonattainment areas affecting Allegan, Berrien, and Muskegon counties could lead to increased regulation and damage to the region’s economy. The congressmen the EPA’s measurement of air pollution isn’t accurate because there are “strong indications that the actual source of the pollution is not in Allegan, Berrien, or Muskegon Counties, but industry heavy cities on the other side of Lake Michigan.” The two say the EPA must recognize that given these counties’ locations, weather factors likely brought the pollutants into the region from more major industrial areas like Chicago, Gary, and Milwaukee. The EPA decision means manufacturers in southwest Michigan could be penalized. Supporting Walberg and Huizenga is Cornerstone Alliance with President Rob Cleveland saying “Berrien County residents will suffer the consequences of actions from companies that are more than 100 miles away, and in completely different states.”. ...Read Full Story

Holtec meets with NRC to talk possible Palisades restart


Holtec International, the owner of the Palisades nuclear power plant, has been meeting with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as it prepares to submit an application to restart the facility. Holtec’s Patrick O’Brien tells us while the company seeks a more than $1 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to restart the plant, it also has to get NRC approval.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Women Forward Announce Partnership


Michigan Women Forward announced a million dollar partnership with a local bank to help women and entrepreneurs of color start their businesses. Those qualified will have the chance to enter a $10-million micro-loan program in partnership with Huntington National Bank. Organizers say the program provides opportunities for those who are economically disadvantaged because of a lack of access to capital and credit.. ...Read Full Story

CS Mott Children’s Hospital Releases Parental Vaping Poll


If you’re a parent do you think you have realistic views on your kids’ exposure to vaping? A new national poll by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan Health shows a gap. Sarah Clark is co-director of the poll and says four in five parents think their child understands the health risks of vaping.. ...Read Full Story

One Arrested For Benton Township Murder


A 57-year-old man is in the Berrien County Jail where he is awaiting arraignment on an open murder charge. Benton Township police say he allegedly shot and killed a 40-year-old man Sunday afternoon at a home in the 27-hundred block of Townline Road. The victim was pronounced dead when authorities arrived, and the suspect was arrested on the scene. No names have been released.. ...Read Full Story

Dam removal project in Niles receives accolades


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 told us this week 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

Township planners considering marijuana ordinance, just in case


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 this past week 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

Commissioners waiting for return of Maids of the Mist fountain


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

County to seek grant for trail project


The Berrien County Board of Commissioners is planning to seek additional support for the development of the Lakeview Trail, which is planned to run along M-63 near the Whirlpool headquarters and Harbor Shores. Commissioner Jim Curran told colleagues this past week a resolution will come next week to seek another grant for the project.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph planning restrooms, parking at Dickinson Park


St. Joseph City Commissioners have approved the grant application for some improvements at Dickinson Park. Public Works Director Greg Grothous told them at a meeting this past week the plan is to apply for a $260,000 grant from the Michigan Land and Water Conservation Funds to add restrooms, a parking lot, and some new sidewalks. Grothous told us the restrooms are the biggest component.. ...Read Full Story

Pisces Spiral exhibit now on display at Michigan Maritime Museum


An exhibit now on display at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven aims to get people thinking about water quality. Museum community outreach coordinator Claire Herhold tells us Pisces Spiral is comprised of more than 300 hand-made fish. A team of volunteers led by artist Joan Bonnette and the South Haven Center for the Arts made the fish, and they’re arranged on the floor in spirals.. ...Read Full Story

Lions Clubs ‘Camp Leo’ seeking counselors for special needs campers


The Lions and Lioness Clubs of Southwest Michigan are now signing up counselors for Camp Leo, an overnight summer camp experience for children, ages 10 through 17, with developmental disabilities who live in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties. The Lions Club says they’re looking for adult camp counselors as well as high-school students to serve as junior counselors. Volunteers are also welcome. Camp Director Beth Helm says working there is “a magical and transformative experience,” adding students who wouldn’t typically be able to participate in traditional summer camp activities have the opportunity to enjoy a four day overnight camp experience thanks to the Lions and Lioness Clubs of Southwest Michigan. Interested applicants for the one-week summer position should apply online at CampLeoSWMI.com. Counselors should have experience working with children with disabilities and will be subject to a background check.. ...Read Full Story

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