Local News Archives

New Board Chair At Honor Credit Union

There’s a new board chair in place at Honor Credit Union. At a meeting this week, former Honor CU Board Chair Larry Olson stepped down and handed the gavel to Mimi Elwell. Olson has served on the Honor Credit Union Board as a volunteer for more than 40 years, with his most recent tenure as chair beginning in 2007. He’ll now serve in the vice chair role. Elwell started with Honor CU in 1980 as the chair of the Supervisory Committee. She has served the last eight years as secretary of the board, and Honor CEO Scott McFarland says if anyone can fill Larry Olson’s shoes, it’s her. During Olson’s tenure, Honor Credit Union, which used to be known as Berrien Teachers Credit Union, has grown to be a more than $700 million operation. The credit union also serves 60,000 members across the state of Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Amber Alert!

AMBER Alert is being issued for Burton Police Department. Child#1: Arinna Buning, white female, Age 2, brown hair, hazel eyes, 3 foot tall, 28. Pounds, wearing a  pink coat purple pants and blue snow boots. Child#2: Lincoln Buning, white male, 9 months, brown hair, blue eyes, 2 feet tall, 22. Pounds, wearing footy pajamas with truck on them. Suspect: is a black male, 5 foot 10 inches, 300. Pounds, wearing red hoodie sweater and is heavy set. Vehicle is a  Blue Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Michigan Registration of DKZ4121 last seen travelling east on Schumacher St. from the Admiral Gas Station located at 4232 S Saginaw St. in  Burton. Please contact Burton Police Department at 810-742-2542 or dial -911 to report any information on this abduction.  you can also Visit amberalertmichigan.org for more Information.. ...Read Full Story

Website Ranks Benton Harbor As Among The Top Places To Retire Early

Benton Harbor is among the best places in the country in which to retire early, according to at least one report. A study from Magnify Money published this month takes a look at factors including the cost of living, the quality of life, and employability when determining where early retirees might like to live. In general, it finds the lowest cost of living to be in the Midwest or the south, although the best quality of life is in the northeast. When factoring all of those things together, Magnify Money says Benton Harbor ties with Sherman, Texas and Memphis, Tennessee in second place for best place to retire early. In first place is Knoxville, Tennessee, while the worst place to retire early, according to the study is Arlington, Virginia. You can see the full report right here.. ...Read Full Story

State Helping Property Owners Permanently Shield Forest Land From Development

From the Associated Press — Michigan officials are taking applications from owners of forest land who would like to enroll their property in a program that shields it permanently from development. Michigan’s Forest Legacy Program uses federal and matching funds to protect
environmentally important woodlands in certain areas. That could mean buying the property and converting it to public ownership. Other arrangements involve leaving the land in private hands and paying the owner to make sure it stays protected. Some owners might also get tax benefits for limiting the future use of their property. Kerry Wieber of the Department of Natural Resources says the legacy program is
important for preserving wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. Applications are due by June 16. Additional information is posted online.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Township Grants Tax Abatement To Metal Stamping Company

A Niles-based metal stamping company seeking to expand into Benton Township has been granted a tax break to make it possible. Modineer is looking to locate its coating division in the township, creating 21 new jobs. Township trustees approved the tax abatement on Tuesday. Modineer has been working for several months with Cornerstone Alliance on the project, and it’s also seeking some state help. Cornerstone says it appreciates the township’s support in helping to keep the company in Berrien County.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Deputies Complete Corrections Officer Training

Two Berrien County Sheriff’s deputies have received extra training to be better prepared for service as corrections officers. The sheriff’s department tells our newsroom Devonte Hureskin and Brandon Dipert just wrapped up a four-week course at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Law Enforcement Training Center. There, they learned about things like custody and security, defensive tactics, first aid, suicide awareness, and interpersonal communications. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey tells us the training the deputies have received will help them better serve the jail and keep inmates and staff safe.. ...Read Full Story

Rusty Patched Bumblebee Added To Endangered Species List

From the Associated Press — The rusty patched bumblebee is officially an endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the designation took effect Tuesday, making the rusty patched bumblebee the first bee species in the continental U.S. to receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Advocates say the bee has disappeared from about 90 percent of its range in the past 20 years. Bees are crucial for pollinating crops and wild plants. The listing was announced in January and had been scheduled to take effect February 10. But the Trump administration ordered a last-minute review and postponed the listing until Tuesday. Some environmentalists had feared the designation
could be canceled. The Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit over the delay, saying it had been ordered without required public notice and comment.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder: GOP Health Plan Would Harm Michigan Residents

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder has written letters to every member of Michigan’s congressional delegation to warn how House Republicans’ health care legislation would “adversely impact” the state’s most vulnerable residents. The Republican governor’s letter, dated Tuesday, says the debate has largely focused on people participating in the expanded Medicaid program. But he says half of all Michigan children are served by the traditional Medicaid program, which would also be affected by the bill. Snyder says the legislation would shift financial risk to state taxpayers, and he is concerned it would also lead to “significant cost increases” on older residents who buy insurance in the individual market. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday. Nine of Michigan’s 14 House members are Republicans. Democrats plan to oppose the legislation.. ...Read Full Story

Drowning Victims Identified

The two anglers who drowned in Keeler Lake over the weekend have been identified. According to Michigan State Police, the victims were 45-year-old Douglas McIntyre of Decatur and 64-year-old Robert Novick of Illinois. The two died at separate hospitals. Their boat overturned Saturday, and they were found about 75 yards offshore.. ...Read Full Story

Former Kellogg Exec Might Challenge Upton

A retired Kellogg Corporation vice president is said to be eyeing a run for Congress in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District. Lansing’s MIRS News reports George Franklin is considering running against Congressman Fred Upton if the St. Joseph Republican decides not to seek another term in the House. It’s not known if Franklin would run for the seat if Upton decides to run for the U.S. Senate against Debbie Stabenow, which has been rumored previously in MIRS reports, but so far denied by the congressman. Franklin has contributed to Upton’s campaigns in the past. He would run as a Democrat if he gets into the race, and has the support of former Congressman and one-time Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mark Schauer.. ...Read Full Story

Cable Barrier Prevents “Catastrophic” I-94 Crash

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is crediting the cable barrier in the median on I-94 with preventing what could have been a very bad accident Monday afternoon. Deputies say the driver of a semi fell asleep just before 1 p.m. and crashed at full speed into the barrier near the 58 mile marker west of Paw Paw. 37-year-old Lane Halter of Ohio was cited for reckless driving. His rig destroyed 45 cable barrier posts, and got entangled in the cables as they are intended to do. The sheriff’s department says had he not been stopped by the barrier, the results “could have been catastrophic.” Halter was not hurt.. ...Read Full Story

Missing West Michigan Teen Found In Iowa

A southwest Michigan teenager will be returning home soon after being found in Ames, Iowa on the campus of Iowa State University. Michigan State Police issued an Endangered Missing Advisory yesterday for 16-year-old Joy Dene Martin of Fennville, and say she was located safe and sound last night. Martin had left home voluntarily on Saturday, taking a Greyhound bus to meet up with someone she had been talking to over the internet using the KIK messenger app. Investigators have not released any information about who Martin had taken off to meet.. ...Read Full Story

BH Commission Considering City Manager Spending Limit

A committee of the Benton Harbor City Commission will soon take a look at how much the city manager should be allowed to spend before getting permission from the full body. On Monday, commissioners were asked to amend a 1950s ordinance setting the spending limit at $1,000. They’re being asked to raise it to $5,000. City Manager Darwin Watson tells WSJM News all kinds of things the city has to purchase on a routine basis exceed the $1,000.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Central Student Named Mr. Basketball In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Isaiah Livers of Kalamazoo Central has been named Mr. Basketball for the state of Michigan. Livers, who has signed to play at Michigan for the Wolverines next season, edged Xavier Tillman of Grand Rapids Christian in voting by members of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. The Hal Schram Mr. Basketball award is given to the state’s top senior by the coaches group in conjunction with the Detroit Free Press. Schram covered high school sports for the Free Press for over 40 years. Past winners of the award include Chris Webber, Glen Rice, Shane Battier and Jason Richardson. Livers averaged 17.5 points and 14 rebounds per game during the regular season. Kalamazoo Central faces Grand Rapids Christian on Tuesday in a Class A quarterfinal.. ...Read Full Story

BH Commissioners Begin Discussion On Compensation

Should Benton Harbor City Commissioners be paid more for all the meetings they attend? That question could soon be decided by the city’s compensation commission, now that the process of setting it up has begun. At a Monday meeting, city commissioners approved an appointment to the five-member body, which has not met since the mid-2000s. Mayor Marcus Muhammad tells WSJM News us he thought the matter should be discussed, and this gets the ball rolling.. ...Read Full Story

Free Tax Preparation Help Available In Michigan

If you’ve been putting off your taxes because you don’t want to deal with the paperwork headache, there could be a place for you to turn for help. Every year, hundreds of IRS-certified volunteers help people file their taxes for free in Michigan. Marshall Hunt, with the Accounting Aid Society of Detroit, tells us you can just call 211 to get hooked up with someone who won’t steer you wrong. He notes there are some tax preparers you want to avoid.. ...Read Full Story

Reconstruction Project In Hilltop Road Begins

Hilltop Road in St. Joseph will be under construction for the next several months. St. Joseph City Engineer Tim Zebell tells WSJM News they’re reconstructing the road in two phases, north of Cleveland and then south of Cleveland. He notes the effort is a joint project of the city, the road commission, the township, and the sanitary sewer authority.. ...Read Full Story

Helicopter Survey Of Lake Michigan Sand To Start This Week

From the Associated Press — Geologists in Illinois are launching a helicopter survey of sand in Lake Michigan in the Chicago area. The Chicago Tribune reports that beginning as early as Wednesday, a low-flying helicopter hauling what appears to be a giant, mechanical Hula Hoop
will be carrying a large electromagnetic array from Kenosha to the Illinois-Indiana state line. The Illinois State Geological Survey hopes to figure out where the lake’s sand has gone. Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Management Program director Diane Tecic says there’s not enough sand in some areas and too much sand in other spots. Equipment on the helicopter will diagram the landscape of the lake floor by
using electromagnetic signals. Researchers will be able to get a clearer picture of the lake’s profile and better understand its composition.. ...Read Full Story

Police Identify Two Men Who Drowned Saturday In Van Buren County

Michigan State Police say two people are dead following a boating accident in Van Buren County on Saturday. Troopers were called to Keeler Lake in Keeler Township about 7:30 p.m. on a report of a drowning. Upon arrival, they were flagged down by a man who said two of his friends had been fishing in a boat when they started yelling to him for help. The troopers then spotted a capsized boat about 75 feet from shore and were able to reach the two victims. Both were taken to area hospitals where they were pronounced dead. The victims have been identified as 45-year-old Douglas Charles McIntyre, from Decatur, and 64-year-old Robert E. Novick, from Evergreen Park, Illinois.. ...Read Full Story

Police Search For Missing 16 Year Old

Michigan State Police are looking for a 16-year-old girl missing out of Saugatuck. They say Joy Dene Martin may have left the state on a Greyhound bus to meet someone she met on the KIK messenger app. She had bags of clothing with her when she left. Martin is described as about 5’6, 180 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She also has a diamond stud nose piercing. Anyone with information on her location is asked to call Michigan State Police at the Wayland post. The number is 269-792-2213.. ...Read Full Story

Southwestern Michigan College Founder Dies At 87

Southwest Michigan has lost an academic icon. Southwestern Michigan College founder Dr. Fred Mathews died Sunday at the age of 87. State Senator John Proos says he’s “deeply saddened” by the loss of a friend. He calls Mathews a “leader for all of Southwest Michigan” and a “voice for good government as long as I knew him.” Dr. Mathews founded SMC in the 1960s to fill a void in higher education in Cass County. His son, David, is the current SMC president and has served in that position for the past 20 years. Dr. Fred Mathews was the college’s chairman from 1964 to 2015.. ...Read Full Story

Record-Breaking Year For United Way Of SWM

Individuals and businesses who helped the United Way of Southwest Michigan in the past year reach its fundraising goal have been saluted by the organization. It held its annual awards dinner Thursday at the Mendel Center, with President Anna Murphy noting the special work regional businesses each year to help.. ...Read Full Story

Details Of BH Schools-State Partnership Being Worked Out

The new partnership agreement between Benton Harbor Area Schools and the state of Michigan is starting to come together. Benton Harbor Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker tells WSJM News she’s learning new things each day about how the partnership allowing three struggling schools in the district to stay open will look. She says the deal won’t just be more state control.. ...Read Full Story

Royalton Township Seeking Grants To Improve Parks

If Royalton Township leaders get their way, the township could get some big park improvements next year. The township has applied for two state grants, totaling $300,000, to pay for work at Bicentennial Park and the nature trail off Bacon School Road. Township Manager Steve Tilly tells WSJM News they want to fix up the trail.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Calls For Preservation Of AmeriCorps

The president’s budget proposal is calling for the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which is best known for its AmeriCorps program, and that’s got the United Way of Southwest Michigan concerned. The United Way’s Rachel Wade tells WSJM News her organization works with several other non-profits that rely on AmeriCorps volunteers.. ...Read Full Story

Two Dead In Van Buren County Boating Accident

Michigan State Police say two people are dead following a boating accident in Van Buren County on Saturday. Troopers were called to Keeler Lake in Keeler Township about 7:30 p.m. on a report of a drowning. Upon arrival, they were flagged down by a man who said two of his friends had been fishing in a boat when they started yelling to him for help. The troopers then spotted a capsized boat about 75 feet from shore and were able to reach the two victims. Both were taken to area hospitals where they were pronounced dead. The victims were a 45-year-old man from Decatur, and a 64-year-old man from Evergreen Park, Illinois. Neither of their names have been released.. ...Read Full Story

Tracking System Results In Reduced Sales Of Meth Ingredient

An online tracking system designed to slow the spread of methamphetamine is making a difference, according to the office of state Senator John Proos. It tells us that the National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPlEx, was brought to Michigan in 2012. NPLEx tracks the sale of over-the-counter drugs containing pseudoephedrine, which is often used in meth. Retailers and pharmacies in the state are required to consult the system before selling such cold medicines to someone.. ...Read Full Story

Last Weekend To Skate At St. Joseph Ice Arena

If you enjoy ice skating at the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena in St. Joseph, you’re running out of time to do it for the season. St. Joseph Deputy Public Works Director Greg Grothous tells WSJM News they’re shutting things down after this weekend. Despite this year’s warm winter, he says the ice rink has actually been pretty busy.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Corrections Officers Complete Training Program

A couple of Van Buren County Sheriff’s corrections officers have completed a new training program to better serve the jail. The sheriff’s department tells WSJM News Jessica Spears and Cody Moore studied at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Law Enforcement Training Center. The four-week academy covered subjects like custody and security, defensive tactics, first aid, suicide awareness, and interpersonal communications. Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott congratulated the two deputies, saying they’ll be able to help safely manage the inmate population in high-stress situations.. ...Read Full Story

Bangor Man Headed To Trial In Shooting Death Of Hartford Man

A Bangor man will stand trial for the shooting death of a Hartford man last month. The Van Buren County Prosecutor’s office says 19-year-old Thurman Fletcher is charged with open murder and felony firearm in the death of 28-year-old Eddie Holland at a park in Bangor the night of February 3. Michigan State Police say Holland was selling drugs to Fletcher when something went wrong. Police found out about the case when Holland was brought to Lakeland Hospital in Watervliet with gunshot wounds and later died. Fletcher also showed up at Bronson Hospital in South Haven that night with gunshot wounds to the leg and foot. Fletcher’s next court date is April 10.. ...Read Full Story

Three Charged Following Cass County Meth Bust

Three people are facing charges following a meth bust in Cass County this week. The sheriff’s department tells our newsroom officers searched a home in the 1,200 block of Rose Street in Howard Township Thursday afternoon. A 33-year-old man was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. A 29-year-old woman was also busted on charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, while a 39-year-old man was arrested on an outstanding drug warrant out of St. Joseph County, Indiana. That suspect will be extradited to Indiana, while the other two will be arraigned in Cass County. Police ask anyone with information on drug activity to report it to them.. ...Read Full Story

Director: Changes At Economic Club Of SWM To Mean New Benefits

The Lake Michigan Foundation’s takeover of the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan will be a good thing for members, as well as the community at large, according to its new director. Mendel Center Executive Director Mike Nadolski is now taking on the title of Director of the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series, and tells WSJM News he wants to leverage the Mendel Center’s assets to made the economic club’s guest speakers available to LMC students. He’s thinking they can arrange for students to hear from economic club guests.. ...Read Full Story

AAA: Make It A Safe St. Patrick’s Day

AAA of Michigan is asking everyone to make this a safe St. Patrick’s Day by not drinking and driving. The auto club tells WSJM News nearly 4.5% of fatal crashes in Michigan last year happened during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, adding 50% of those fatalities were alcohol-related. AAA says you should always have plans in place to get home safely if you’re going out and plan to drink. Have a designated driver lined up, or know how to arrange for a cab or an Uber. Also, you could arrange to stay overnight wherever you’ll be celebrating. Additionally, AAA says you should take care never to ride in a car driven by someone who has been drinking, and to report any drunk drivers you see.. ...Read Full Story

No Injuries In Crash Involving Niles School Bus

No one is hurt following a crash between a school bus and an SUV in Cass County on Friday. The sheriff’s department tells WSJM News deputies were called to the scene on M-60 near Pine Lake Street in Howard Township about 8:30 a.m. They learned 20-year-old Morgan Cabanaw, of Niles, lost control of her SUV while headed east on M-60 and wound up in the path of the Niles Schools bus. The bus hit the SUV. None of the 28 students on the bus were hurt, nor were the bus driver or the woman in the SUV. The students were all transferred on to another bus and brought to school safely. Police say alcohol and drugs were not factors in the crash.. ...Read Full Story

Lawton Man Facing Charges After Drunken Crash

A Lawton man is in the Van Buren County Jail following a drunken crash Thursday night. The 22-year-old’s vehicle was found in a swampy area submerged in about four feet of water near Marcellus. Sheriff’s deputies arrived to the scene near 96th Avenue and 36th Street before 10 p.m. to find the driver wandering around just east of the crash site. They say he smelled strongly of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, and was slurring his speech while stumbling around. The man was arrested and taken to the jail. There were no other injuries in the crash.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Superintendent Finalist For Allendale Job

South Haven Public Schools Superintendent Robert Herrera is a finalist for another job in west Michigan. He is among six up for the job of superintendent for Allendale Public Schools in Ottawa County. Dr. Herrera has headed up South Haven schools since 2012 and is also an adjunct professor at Concordia University. He will be interviewed for the job in Allendale on Wednesday, March 22 at 5 p.m. Final round interviews will be March 28, with the school board selecting a new leader that night. Herrera is up against the superintendents of Pewamo-Westphalia and Lakewood for the job, along with Allendale High School’s principal, the assistant superintendent of Grandville schools, and the director of human resources with Hudsonville schools.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Expresses Concerns About Trump Budget Proposal

“Penny wise but pound foolish” is how Congressman Fred Upton describes the president’s new budget proposal. Upton has issued a brief statement on the plan. He writes that the budget “acknowledges our unsustainable national debt and does attempt to put us on the path to fiscal responsibility.” However, Upton then goes on to say he’s “deeply concerned” about cuts to the Great Lakes and the National Institutes of Health. He pledges to work with colleagues in Congress on the federal budget as the process moves forward.. ...Read Full Story

Economic Club Of SWM Handing Off Assets To Lake Michigan College Foundation

The Lake Michigan College Foundation is taking over the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan. As the club has faced increased costs in recent years, it sent a letter to members this week telling them that handing off all assets to the foundation will reduce overhead and strengthen its ability to continue its mission into the future. Mendel Center Executive Director Mike Nadolski will now take on the title of Director of The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series, and serve as the club’s leader. Members are not expected to notice many changes as a result, but this is a new era for the organization that has brought a variety of big name speakers to southwest Michigan over the years. They’ve included former U.S. presidents, foreign leaders, secretaries of state, senators, journalists, comedians, and scientists.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan House Votes To Expand Freedom Of Information Act

From the Associated Press — Members of Michigan’s House of Representatives have passed bills that would make the governor, lieutenant governor and the legislature accountable under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. The package of bills was voted on Thursday and now moves to the GOP-controlled Senate. Lead sponsors of the bills are Republican Representative Lee Chatfield from Levering and Democrat Representative Jeremy Moss from Southfield. They say residents are demanding more transparency following the state’s involvement in events like the Flint water crisis and a sex scandal involving two now-former members of the state House. The bills could die in the Senate where Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof has opposed the legislation, citing security concerns over constituent emails.. ...Read Full Story

Firefighters Save Dog From Casco Twp Fire

Firefighters say they managed to save a dog from a fire in Casco Township Thursday morning. It was reported in a home on Baseline Road near 70th Street shortly before 9 a.m. A passerby reported the place being on fire, as the homeowner was not there at the time. South Haven Area Emergency Services arrived to find a dog semi conscious on a bathroom floor. They pulled the dog out and gave it oxygen, then took it to a local veterinarian. The dog is expected to be OK. Firefighters contained the blaze to the living room. Two cats did die in the fire. Its cause remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Trump Budget Proposes Elimination Of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

From the Associated Press — President Donald Trump wants to eliminate federal support of a program that addresses the Great Lakes’ most pressing environmental threats. Trump’s 2018 budget released Thursday would remove all funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has received strong support from members of Congress in both parties since President Barack Obama established it in 2009. The program has pumped more than $2.2 billion into the eight-state region for projects that have removed toxic wastes from industrial harbors, fought invasive species such as Asian carp, restored wildlife habitat and supported efforts to prevent harmful algal blooms. The initiative has generally received about $300 million a year. Congress voted last year to authorize the program for five more years. A Trump campaign representative said last fall the Republican nominee supported the program.. ...Read Full Story