Local News Archives

Name Change For Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass has announced a name change. The organization tells us it is now going to be called Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lower West Michigan. The change comes as the organization also expands its service area to include St. Joseph County, Michigan. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lower West Michigan provides mentors to young people and has been doing so in the region for more than 50 years. You can find out more about how you can help by visiting the organization’s website. . ...Read Full Story

Senate Approves Parks Grants

The Michigan Senate has signed off on the recommended Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund parks grants for the coming year. State Senator John Proos tells WSJM News the trust fund is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights.. ...Read Full Story

Seniors, Veterans Expo Monday

Set for Monday is the annual legislative senior and veterans expo in Van Buren County. The gathering was started about ten years ago by state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker as a way for her to stay in touch with local seniors and veterans and to connect then with state services. State Representative Beth Griffin is now part of it, and tell WSJM News the mission remains the same.. ...Read Full Story

Opoid Education In St. Joseph

Addiction experts are hoping to better educate the public about the nation’s opioid epidemic to help reduce the number of deaths. At a forum at St. Joseph Township Hall Wednesday, Berrien County Health Department Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Kerri Teachout said opioids represent the “deadliest drug crisis in American history.” She told us a common way someone gets their hands on an opioid is via theft.. ...Read Full Story

Enbridge Fined For Missing Inspection Deadline

From the Associated Press — Enbridge Inc. has agreed to pay a $1.8 million penalty in a deal with the U.S. government, which accused the Canadian oil transport company of missing deadlines for inspecting pipelines to prevent leaks. The inspections were required under an earlier agreement following a 2010 spill in southwestern Michigan, when a ruptured Enbridge pipeline released at least 843,000 gallons of crude into the Kalamazoo River. The company agreed to check for flaws in its Lakehead System pipelines, which extend about 2,000 miles across seven states. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Enbridge took too long to conduct some of the inspections last year.
Enbridge said Thursday that it disagreed with the government’s reading of the schedule, but accepted the fine under a federal court settlement so it could move ahead.. ...Read Full Story

President Trump To Campaign In Area Next Week

President Trump will be in our area next week. His campaign says the President will hold a rally on Thursday May 10 at South Bend’s Atlantic Aviation. He is expected to discuss the federal tax cuts, promote his America First agenda, and encourage people to vote in this fall’s mid-term elections. Doors open at 4 p.m. for the 7 p.m. rally. This will be the second time Trump has campaigned in South Bend since he announced his run for the White House in 2015. You’ll need to register online at the President’s campaign website to get in.. ...Read Full Story

Anti-Bullying Tour Coming To Niles

The anti-bullying Relentless Tour will stop by Niles High School next week. Relentless features motivational speaker and former Michigan State University basketball player Anthony Ianni who tells WSJM News he started the tour in 2015 to urge young people to treat each other with respect. He draws on his own experiences as a kid with bullying.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Honors Police

Local police have been honored by the Berrien County Health Department with its 2018 Friend of Public Health Award. Spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News the award is given each year to an individual or organization that has advanced public health. Police were picked this year because of all their efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. Conrad tells us police in Berrien County have been at the forefront when it comes to including anti-overdose medications in their equipment.. ...Read Full Story

KitchenAid Stand Mixers On Display This Month

Now on display at businesses throughout Berrien County are specially-decorated KitchenAid stand mixers. St. Joseph Today’s Amy Zapal tells us it’s a project called “Stand Mixers on Parade,” intended to thank the appliance maker for its support of the community as the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship takes place at Harbor Shores this month. You can find the stand mixers at businesses from Stevensville to St. Joe.. ...Read Full Story

Work On US-12 Bridge Next Week

Work begins Monday on a bridge over the Galien River, and drivers are being advised to give themselves a little extra time if they head that way. The Michigan Department of Transportation tells us it’s doing improvements on the US-12 bridge over the south branch of the Galien River near Three Oaks. The project will include joint replacement, railing replacement, deck repairs and resurfacing, steel beam repairs, substructure patching, guardrail replacement, and approach repaving. The work will mean some single lane closures and a temporary traffic signal. It starts Monday and is scheduled to wrap up June 29. You can stay on top of all of MDOT’s summer road projects at Michigan.gov/Drive.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Issues Spring Bear Advisory

As people start to spend more time in woodland areas this season, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has some tips to avoid conflict with bears. Katie Keen with the DNR tells us the agency has to put down some bears each year because the animals venture out of the woods and get too comfortable being near humans. She says homeowners who live in areas inhabited by bears should remove all bird feeders and only put garbage cans out just before the pickup time.. ...Read Full Story

Blossomtime Parade Saturday

Coming up this Saturday is the big Blossomtime Parade through St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. Parade President Anna Abdelnour tells us the event attracts as many as 200,000 people to the area each year. She expects this Saturday will be a whole heap of fun.. ...Read Full Story

“Empty The Shelters” Event Saturday

Van Buren County Animal Control is looking to adopt all of its pooches this Saturday with another Empty the Shelters event. Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department Operations Lieutenant Jim Charon tells WSJM News the Bissell Pet Foundation out of Grand Rapids will help make it all possible.. ...Read Full Story

Prosecutor Wants Law Updated After Conviction Tossed

Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic is calling on state lawmakers to fix a hole in the election code that resulted in the conviction of Benton Township activist Edward Pinkney for election fraud being tossed by the Michigan Supreme Court. In a statement, Sepic notes the justices “did not in any way disturb the finding of the jury that Pinkney changed the signature dates on the recall petitions” in an attempt to recall former Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower. The activist changed the dates on signatures to make it appear they had been collected within the timeframe required to put the recall before voters. Pinkney’s conviction was overturned on the technicality that the statute under which he was found guilty was not a substantive law section, but rather simply a penalty section. Sepic notes the Berrien County judge and the Michigan Court of Appeals both saw it differently than the state Supreme Court.. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw Student Won’t Be Tried As Adult

The Paw Paw High School student accused of plotting an attack on his school in March will not be tried as an adult. The decision to keep the case in juvenile court in Van Buren County was made yesterday by Judge Jeffrey Dufon, who says plenty of people at the school and in law enforcement failed the boy.. ...Read Full Story

Rollover Crash Kills Hartford Man

A 23-year-old Hartford Township man has died from several injuries he suffered when he rolled his car and was thrown from it in Keeler Township. The crash happened around 7 last night on County Road 362 east of 70th Street, and the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says no other cars were involved. The man was thrown from his vehicle and was apparently not buckled up. Investigators say they don’t yet know if alcohol or drugs played any role in the crash, but do say it appears speed was partly to blame. The man died at Lakeland Watervliet Hospital after several attempts to revive him at the scene of the crash by fire and medical first responders. Police have not released his name.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Teacher Honored

A South Haven teacher has been honored by the Rotary Club for her work with local students. The Rotary tells us Andrea Jeiger was given the club’s Education and Service Award at a fundraiser this past Saturday. The Rotary says it recognizes an educator who exemplifies the attributes of quality teaching and is an active volunteer in the South Haven community each year. They say Jeiger started out teaching in South Haven’s summer migrant program, and then moved on to teaching elementary students in 2014. She also serves as president of the South Haven Education Association. As part of Jeiger receiving the award, the Rotary made a $250 donation to the South Haven Public School’s Educational Foundation in her name.. ...Read Full Story

RESA Superintendent Gets High Marks

Berrien RESA Superintendent Kevin Ivers has received a positive performance evaluation from the RESA Board of Education. At a retreat this week, RESA Trustees used an evaluation tool from the Michigan Association of School Boards to rate Ivers in five areas. They were governance and board relations, stakeholder relations, employee relations, educational leadership, and operations and finance. Dr. Ivers received a “highly effective” rating in all areas measured. The positive review resulted in an extension of Ivers’ contract by one year, meaning he’s now contracted to be with RESA through at least June of 2021. Berrien RESA Board President Sharon Kalling says the board is very pleased with the district’s superintendent.. ...Read Full Story

Opioid Forum Held In St. Joseph Township

Addiction experts are hoping to better educate the public about the nation’s opioid epidemic to help reduce the number of deaths. At a forum at St. Joseph Township Hall Wednesday, Berrien County Health Department Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Kerri Teachout said opioids represent the “deadliest drug crisis in American history.” She told us a common way someone gets their hands on an opioid is via theft.. ...Read Full Story

State Launches New Soo Locks Website

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has announced the launch of a new website to draw attention to issues with the Soo Locks. The locks, located between Lake Huron and Lake Superior, allow ships to travel between Lake Superior and the rest of the lower lakes. President Trump recently called for upgrades to the Soo Locks, and Calley says all Michiganders should thank him. There have been calls for a brand new lock for years, with Michigan leaders saying the economy would be greatly harmed if damage were to close the locks. According to Calley’s office, “a 2015 analysis by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security found that an unexpected closure of the Soo Locks, especially during peak shipping season, could result in a cascading collapse of the U.S. economy.” The new state website drawing attention to the locks is Michigan.gov/FixTheSooLocks.. ...Read Full Story

Teacher Gets Recognition

A Berrien County substitute teacher is getting some recognition for her entry into a video contest. Lauren Mott teaches grades K through 12 at Bridgman and River Valley Schools. She tells us she came to the area last year from Chicago.. ...Read Full Story

Drug Treatment Court Celebrates 10 Years This Week

May is National Drug Court Month and in celebration, the Van Buren County Drug Treatment Court will have guest speakers this Friday that will address the impact of drug courts in our area. Speakers will include the Assistant Chief Prosecuting Attorney, a Program Defense Attorney, Sheriff Abbott and retired Judge William Buhl, as well as a program graduate. The event will also celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the Van Buren County Drug Treatment Court. The public is invited to attend the event at the Van Buren County Courthouse in Paw Paw this Friday morning at nine.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Aims To Clarify Drug Prices

State Representative Mary Whiteford of Casco Township has introduced legislation intended to benefit patients getting prescriptions filled. She tells WSJM News under current rules, pharmacists are not allowed to tell a patient the true cost of their medication in some circumstances. She learned about the problem from a pharmacist she represents.. ...Read Full Story