Local News Archives

Sheriff Talks Silver Beach

Rowdy crowds at Silver Beach County Park in St. Joseph caused police to clear the place out Monday night, but there were no injuries in the incident. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey tells WSJM News his deputies started to break up some fights involving groups of people who arrived about 7 p.m. By 8:30, the decision was made to shut the place down.. ...Read Full Story

Protesters At Mackinac Conference

Some of the people getting off the ferry to attend the Mackinac Policy Conference on Tuesday were be handed lollipops by protesters. The lollies came with a plea “not to be a sucker” for Enbridge, the company behind the Enbridge Line Five oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. The conference draws the state’s biggest names in policy and business. David Holtz, with the “Oil and Water Don’t Mix Coalition,” says the 65-year-old pipeline is dangerous and should be decommissioned.. ...Read Full Story

Group Submits Petitions For Paid Sick Time

From the Associated Press — Michigan workers would receive mandatory sick days under a newly filed initiative that could appear on the November ballot. The group Michigan Time to Care turned in 382,239 signatures Tuesday for a petition to create an “Earned Sick Time Act” that would guarantee employees at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Businesses with 10 or more workers would be required to provide at least 72 hours of earned sick time per year, while smaller ones would have to grant 40 hours. The proposal now awaits certification before heading to the Republican-controlled Legislature. If rejected there, the initiative would be put to a popular vote this fall. Since 2015, Michigan has prohibited local governments from requiring that businesses provide earned leave time and other benefits.. ...Read Full Story

Small Fire In Sign At St. Joseph Harding’s

The Harding’s on Niles Avenue in St. Joseph opened on time and with no issues this morning, but that’s after St. Joseph Public Safety responded to a small fire. Officers were dispatched just before 5 a.m. to the store and found a small fire in the neon sign. It was put out without any major damage, and there were no injuries.. ...Read Full Story

Large Fight Prompts Closure Of Silver Beach County Park

Once again on a holiday, a large fight has resulted in a local beach being shut down. Police cleared Silver Beach County Park in St. Joseph before sundown last night due to a disturbance. WSJM News has not yet obtained details on how many people may have been involved. The beach was the scene of a large fight involving around 200 people last year in early June, and several people were arrested during a riot at the beach on the 4th of July in 2015. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and St. Joseph Public Safety have both increased patrols at the beach in recent years. North beach in South Haven had to be shut down on July 4th in 2016 due to a large fight.. ...Read Full Story

Body Of Missing Benton Twp Man Found In Lake Michigan

An autopsy is scheduled on the body of a 48-year-old Benton Township man found in Lake Michigan off the north pier at Tiscornia Park on Memorial Day. Benton Township police tell WSJM News he’s been identified as Michael Fitzgerald William, who hadn’t been seen since May 8 and was reported missing by his family two days later. William had last been seen in the area of Upton and North Upton Drive. Police say the cause of his death has not yet been determined. A boater called 9-1-1 after seeing the body about 200 yards from the north pier just after 10:30 a.m. on Monday. The U.S. Coast Guard pulled William’s body from the lake.. ...Read Full Story

Plan Expands OK2Say Line

The Michigan House last week approved legislation from state Representative Kim LaSata to expand the OK2SAY tip line to include reporting on sexual abuse, assault, and rape. The bill was part of an 18-bill package intended to better protect students following the Larry Nassar debacle. LaSata tells us about it.. ...Read Full Story

Jail Project On Track

The renovation project at the Berrien County Jail is on track. Berrien County Board of Commissioners Chair Jon Hinkelman tells WSJM News the work is going by quietly and fluidly. The $8.4 million project will involve improvements and an expansion to the intake area, exam rooms, and more space for female inmates.. ...Read Full Story

Southwest Michigan Population Gains

Southwest Michigan has seen some population gains in the past year. According to Kinexus, after years of population loss, the tri-county region of Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties showed a slight increase in 2017. Across the three counties, the population went up by 426 people. Berrien County gained 102 residents, or 0.10%. Van Buren County saw an increase of 152 people, or 0.20%, and Cass County’s population went up by 172, or 0.30%. Kinexus CEO Todd Gustafson tells us a declining population, an aging workforce, and lower educational attainment are the three big problems facing southwest Michigan. He tells us the 2017 figures are encouraging, considering the region’s overall population decline since 2010. Gustafson says, since then, we’ve seen a 2% decline in population since 2010 in Berrien County, a 2% decline in Cass County, and a 1% decline in Van Buren County over the past seven years.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Huron Drownings On The Rise

Huron County officials are bracing for the seasonal surge of kayakers taking advantage of the north shore of Lake Huron for adventure. Sheriff Kelly Hanson tells Michigan News Network they’ve also handled a surge of rescue calls from kayakers not prepared for the dangers of kayaking on one of the Great Lakes.. ...Read Full Story

Pscholka To Talk Talent Development

Kinexus Vice President of Government Affairs Al Pscholka will be part of a roundtable discussion on talent development at next week’s Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island. Pscholka tells WSJM News “Prioritizing Michigan’s Policy Agenda for Cultivating 21st Century Talent” will feature education and business leaders talking about state policies that could help their regions better develop. He has a few suggestions.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department On Safe Boating

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reminding boaters of a danger on the water that many might forget. Spokesperson Lynn Sutfin tells WSJM News boat generators often create carbon monoxide. She says every boat should have a carbon monoxide detector.. ...Read Full Story

Paul Broadhurst Wins KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

This year’s KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores is in the books, with 52-year-old Englishman Paul Broadhurst earning his second career senior major victory. Broadhurst shot a final round record of 63 to finish 19-under par at 265 for the tournament. His score tied a Championship record set by Rocco Mediate at the 2016 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, also at Harbor Shores. Broadhurst was one-over after the opening round on Thursday, and joked with reporters on Saturday that he almost called his travel agent to book a flight home because he wasn’t sure he’d make the cut. He carded rounds of 66 and 64 on Friday and Saturday, moving from a tie for 77th to third as Sunday’s final round began. Broadhurst converted a combined 16 birdies over the weekend, and his 64 Saturday and 63 Sunday were the best scores in the field.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Crash Kills Mother, Baby

An Elkhart woman and her baby have both died from their injuries suffered in a Friday night crash in Decatur. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News 25-year-old Daria Malaga died at the scene, and her two-month-old son Xavier Martinez died on Sunday. Investigators say Malaga’s Chrysler Pacifica was hit head-on by a Jeep Wrangler that crossed the center line on M-51 near 89th Avenue just before 9 p.m. Friday. The driver of the Jeep was airlifted to an undisclosed hospital, where she was in good condition as of Sunday evening. She is a 42-year-old from Battle Creek, whose name has not yet been released. Police say everyone was buckled up, but they have not said if alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmakers Talk Surplus

Michigan lawmakers are facing a possible surplus of $500 million over the next two years, and it’s looking like at least some of that money will go toward fixing the state’s roads. State Representative Kim LaSata tells WSJM News she was hoping for a tax cut.. ...Read Full Story

Minimum Wage Proposal Push Back

A group that represents small businesses says a proposal to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $12 per hour would lead to more than 180,000 jobs lost over ten years if approved. National Federation of Independent Business of Michigan Director Charlie Owens tells us the wage increase would be especially harmful to businesses like restaurants. He says tipped workers would also be affected, meaning some could actually lose out.. ...Read Full Story

Drain Issues In Berrien

February’s flooding around Berrien County did a number of the drainage system, and it’s still feeling the effects. Berrien County Drain Commissioner Christopher Quattrin tells WSJM News lots of melting snow and rain led to flooding never before seen. This spring’s weather hasn’t exactly helped.. ...Read Full Story

New Park Slated For August Opening

Berrien County’s newest park should be open to the public by the end of the summer. Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey gave an update to county commissioners this month on Paw Paw River County Park located in Watervliet. Bailey tells WSJM News the park sits on about 15 acres of former brownfield property right off M-140. It covers an area east of the road, across the river, and on an island in the Paw Paw River.. ...Read Full Story

New Effort To Stop Marijuana Vote

Michigan voters may not get a chance to vote on legalizing marijuana in November. As we are learning for the first time, key state lawmakers are trying to work out a plan that lawmakers would approve. Michigan News Network Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick told us more.. ...Read Full Story

Study Looks At Harbor Issues

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have heard a report on a study done by the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission and others regarding possibilities for development of the local harbor. The Twin Cities Harbor Study took a look at the potential for commercial and residential developments along the shore with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission’s John Egelhaaf telling city commissioners this past week there’s a great deal of value there that could be even better utilized.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead In Crash

One person is dead following a two-vehicle crash in Van Buren County on Friday night. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened just before 9 p.m. on M-51 near 89th Avenue in Decatur. Deputies arrived to find both vehicles with heavy damage. They learned a Jeep Wrangler driven by a 42-year-old woman from Battle Creek had been northbound on M-51 when it crossed the center line and collided head-on with a southbound Chrysler Pacifica driven by a 25-year-old woman from Elkhart, Indiana. The 25 year old driver of the Pacifica died of her injuries. A two-month-old boy and son of the 25-year-old driver was injured and taken to a hospital in critical condition. The driver of the Jeep was flown by helicopter to a hospital with multiple injuries. Police are investigating whether and speed were factors in the crash. The names have not yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

Sheriff’s Department Kids Camp

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is taking registrations for its summer Kids Camp. The department tells us the camp will be held at the Berrien County Youth Fairgrounds in Berrien Springs June 21 and 22 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s the tenth year for the camp, and all kids between the fourth and eighth grades are invited to attend. The camp will provide them with safety tips and hands-on presentations from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and other local law enforcement agencies. Attendees will learn about law enforcement, fire services, water rescue, and emergency medical services. The cost for the camp will be $30, and you can find more information below.. ...Read Full Story

Area Housing Market Frustrating Buyers

There is plenty of frustration building for people trying to buy a home in southwest Michigan, with historically low inventory and lots of competition for fewer houses. According to the Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors, April’s median sales price was down from last year by 8%, while the average price was nearly even. Year-to-date, median and average prices are up 10% and 7%, respectively. The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes rose slightly to 8% of all transactions in April compared to 7% in March. Local mortgage rates also increased from 4.577% to 4.602% compared to last year. The national mortgage rate on a 30-year fixed conventional loan was 4.58%.. ...Read Full Story

Plan Aims To Expand Broadband

Testimony was taken this week in the Michigan House regarding new legislation designed to help roll out broadband internet services around the state. The Broadband Investment Act would create a seven-member board made up of townships, counties, and internet providers tasked with identifying areas in Michigan that are under-served. They would then work on grants to help bring those areas broadband. A sponsor is state Representative Mary Whiteford of Casco Township.. ...Read Full Story