Local News Archives

State Offers Wetland Lessons To Middle SChoolers

From the Associated Press — Teachers looking for a way to work Michigan’s animals and plants into their lessons have a new option to choose from. The state Department of Natural Resources has developed a curriculum called Michigan’s Wondrous Wetlands and Waterfowl. It’s intended for students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades and will provide information about the importance of local wetland ecosystems. The six lessons focus on waterfowl species, their biology and life cycles, plus wetland management and history. The program also recommends a field trip to a local wetland. Educators are asked to register for the classroom program by March 30. Materials will be provided via email to eligible educators.. ...Read Full Story

Red Cross Shelters Remain open

The American Red Cross of Southwest Michigan is providing shelters for residents whose homes are flooded in Berrien County. American Red Cross of Southwest Michigan Director Breeze Ettle tells WSJM News they’re teaming up with the Berrien Community Foundation and the United Way of Southwest Michigan to raise money to help local residents.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Springs High School Fundraiser For Flood Victims

There will be a fundraiser this week at Berrien Springs High School for local residents affected by flooding. Academic studies teacher Andrea Sprague tells WSJM News she’s going to teach an apple pie-baking class on Thursday, and then the pies will be sold the next day. All money raised will go to the families of about 30 students who had to evacuate the River Springs Estates mobile home park.. ...Read Full Story

“Do Not Drink” Orders Issued For Two Mobile Home Communities

Two mobile home communities in Berrien County are now under “Do Not Drink” orders when it comes to the water. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has requested the water at the River Springs Estates mobile home park in Berrien Township and at the Meadow Streams Mobile Home Community in Sodus Township not be consumed until further notice. The DEQ recommends only consuming bottled water. That’s because flooding in the past week could have caused contamination. The “Do Not Drink” orders are in effect until further notice.. ...Read Full Story

UPDATE – Boil Water Order Now “Do Not Drink” Order

If you’re in the River Springs mobile home park of Berrien Springs, do not drink the water. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department has issued a “Do Not Drink” order for the mobile home community stemming from the floods there. The sheriff’s department tells WSJM News the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has requested residents in the area only consume bottled water until further notice. The DEQ is working with the Berrien Springs Public Works Department to disinfect a water main which could possibly have been contaminated by flood waters in the mobile home community.. ...Read Full Story

Sheriff’s Department Assessing Flood Damage

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department has started its damage assessment in the Berrien Springs and Niles areas following this month’s flooding. Chief Deputy Robert Boyce tells WSJM News the sheriff’s department’s damage assessment team was checking out homes in the River Springs Estates mobile home park Monday.. ...Read Full Story

Plea Entered In Cass County Stabbing

There has been a guilty plea in a 2017 workplace stabbing in Cass County. The Cass County Prosecutor’s office tells us 24-year-old William Henderson on Monday pleaded guilty to second degree murder, admitting he stabbed Jan Mendez in the neck, killing him at Ameri-Kart in Mason Township last year. It was in January of 2017 that prosecutors say Henderson stabbed his co-worker. As part of the plea deal, he’ll get a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison. Henderson will also be required to plead guilty to armed robbery in a separate case in Elkhart County, Indiana. Sentencing in the Michigan case will be held in April.. ...Read Full Story

River Levels Drop In Grand Rapids

From the Associated Press — River levels are dropping in Michigan after flooding last week and over the weekend because of heavy rains and melting snow. The National Weather Service says the Grand River in Grand Rapids crested Sunday above 20 feet, more than 2 feet higher than flood stage, after peaking Friday in the Lansing area. Still, local states of emergency were in effect Monday along portions of the river. In southwestern Michigan, where body of a 48-year-old man was found floating in floodwaters Sunday in Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo River was receding after peaking above a 1947 record. Police say the man’s vehicle was found submerged and the death didn’t appear
suspicious, but the cause is under investigation. Over the weekend, some used kayaks and jet skis in flooded areas.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Taking Donations For Flood Relief

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is already looking at the long-term needs of Berrien and Cass counties when it comes to flood cleanup. United Way of Southwest Michigan President Anna Murphy tells WSJM News that’s why the organization has teamed up with the Berrien Community Foundation for a disaster relief fund. Money donated to the new disaster relief fund will be held by the Berrien Community Foundation, and then go to the American Red Cross of Southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Road Money Before State Senate

The state Senate is poised to take up legislation passed last week by the House to spend an extra $175 million this fiscal year on road repairs. Republican Representative Laura Cox of Livonia said before the House vote last week that no area is being left out.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Enforcing Weight Restrictions

Truck weight restrictions took effect Monday to avoid damaging Michigan roads as the weather begins to warm up. The restrictions are imposed on all state highways from the Michigan-Indiana and Michigan-Ohio state lines north to Muskegon County. Dan Weingarten is with the Michigan Department of Transportation, and spoke with Michigan News Network about the weight restrictions.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Campaign Co-Chairs Announced

State Representative Kim LaSata has announced her campaign co-chairs as she runs for the Michigan Senate in the 21st District, and they’re some well-known names. LaSata tells us her chair for Berrien County will be Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey, the chair for Cass County will be Southwestern Michigan College President Dave Mathews, and the chair for St. Joseph County will be former state Senator Cameron Brown. Berrien, Cass, and St. Joseph are the three counties that make up the state Senate 21st District. LaSata says having “the support of these amazing community leaders is a tremendous early boost to my campaign.” She’s running to replace state Senator John Proos in the Michigan Senate after less than one term representing the 79th District in the Michigan House. Also running for the Republican nomination for that Senate seat is state Representative Dave Pagel of Berrien Springs.. ...Read Full Story

Police Offering Skywarn Training

The arrival of spring can provide some interesting and sometimes severe weather, and the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department would like to sign up some volunteers to help spot it. Lieutenant Robert Kirk tells WSJM News there will be  Skywarn Spotter training on March 10.. ...Read Full Story

Sheriff’s Department Works With Schools On Safety Planning

Being prepared for emergencies is among the top priorities for schools in Michigan, and here in Berrien County, helping them is a function of the sheriff’s department’s emergency management and homeland security division. The office’s Captain Rockey Adams tells WSJM News the department teams up with local police agencies to have plans for possible scenarios like school shootings.. ...Read Full Story

Salvation Army Looking At Next Stage Of Flood Relief

The Niles Salvation Army is doing what it can to help those who have beenaffected by flooding in Berrien County. Niles chapter Lieutenant Joseph Hixenbaugh tells us volunteers were out and about this past week giving people food and water. The Salvation Army is also starting to think about what’s next. The long-term question is one of cleanup.. ...Read Full Story

Plan Would Reduce Some Vehicle Fees

A new plan from state Senator John Proos is designed to allow more wheelchair-accessible vehicles to receive a state registration fee deduction. Proos tells us the idea applies to vehicles that have been specially-modified for wheelchair use. He says those modifications can cost quite a bit, leading to higher state registration fees. He says the new legislation could help. Proos notes there is a current registration reduction in place for wheelchair-accessible vans, but not other types of vehicles. Under Senate Bill 815, the registration fee reduction would be offered on any passenger vehicle with a permanently-installed wheelchair lift or permanently-installed hand controls whether it’s a van, truck, or anything else. The plan is now before a state Senate committee.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Aims To Streamline License Process For PGA events

Legislation supported by state Representative Kim LaSata is designed to pave the way for smoother large events like the Senior PGA Championship. She tells us the bill which passed the House this week would enable vendors at PGA golf tournaments in Michigan to apply for a national sporting event liquor license so that local venues don’t have to get those licenses themselves.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Schools Getting Robotics Facility

St. Joseph Public Schools has announced plans to build a new robotics facility. To be named the Edward J. Todd Innovation Center, the 7000 square foot building will be adjacent to the Career Technical Center of the high school with access from Lakeview Avenue. The building will be used by the district’s robotics program, which sponsors 12 teams made up of students from grades two through twelve. The lead donor for the facility is Edward J. Todd, a St. Joe High School grad from the class of 1954. The district tells us he’s a strong supporter of improvements for schools. Another backer is the Hanson Family Foundation. St. Joseph Public Schools Board of Education President Amy Porritt-Peirce tells us the new robotics facility will enhance the success and opportunities of the district’s FIRST Robotics program and also strengthen its emphasis on STEAM education. Construction on the robotics facility is scheduled to start this spring and be finished by the end of the year.. ...Read Full Story

Pagel Discusses Race For MI Senate

Experience. That’s what state Representative Dave Pagel says he has heading into the race for the 21st District Michigan Senate seat. He has announced he’s running to replace the term-limited state Senator John Proos. Pagel tells WSJM News he wants to better fund public education. He’s been concerned about some legislative action on that front.. ...Read Full Story

What’s Next After Disaster Declaration

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners on Friday declared a Local State of Emergency due to the flooding this week. Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Robert Boyce tells WSJM News the declaration is the first step in getting either state or federal aid to clean up. The move enables the county to pursue assistance from the state when it comes to flood cleanup.. ...Read Full Story