Local News Archives

Now The Time To Apply For Home Heating Credit

Although summer is still in full swing, now is the time to think about heating your home this winter. That’s because tax credits are still available to help residents of modest means stay warm. Whitney Skeans with Consumers Energy tells us even if your income doesn’t require you to file taxes, you may still qualify for the credit.. ...Read Full Story

Campaign Aims To Increase Michigan Vaccinations

A new campaign is aiming to convince Michigan parents to get their kids vaccinated ahead of the new school year. A coalition which includes the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is hoping everyone goes to the “I Vaccinate” website. Andrea Poole, a spokesperson with the campaign, tells us too many parents aren’t getting their kids fully vaccinated.. ...Read Full Story

1st Source Bank Donates $100,000 To Lakeland Pavilion Project

There’s been another big donation to Lakeland Medical Center’s new pavilion project. 1st Source Bank has given $100,000 to the project. Specifically, it’s in support of two new private glass-enclosed meeting rooms to be located in the courtyard cafe on the second floor. The bank says the donation represents its commitment to the community. So far, the community has donated more than $4.9 million to the Lakeland pavilion project. The plan is to put in a new five-story structure to feature medical and surgical suites, a short stay unit, imaging centers, an intensive care unit, and education and community rooms. Lakeland is putting a total of $160 million into the overall project, which also includes a new main entrance to the facility with a focus on amenities for visitors. The goal is to be finished around 2020.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Comments On White Supremacist Groups

Following controversy over President Trump’s comments this week about a white supremacist rally in Virginia, Congressman Fred Upton has issued a statement that does not mention Trump, but appears to rebuke him. On Facebook Tuesday night, Upton wrote, “There are no ‘very fine’ white supremacists. I join with many others in denouncing this sort of unacceptable racism and bigotry and condemning white supremacy, neo-Nazi, and KKK groups…” Upton then goes on to say his father fought Nazis in the Battle of the Bulge, and “that kind of evil and hatred must be stamped out.” President Trump has been under fire from many since statements on Tuesday in which he defended some of the rally’s attendees, and also placed blame for Saturday’s violence on “both sides.”. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Lowers Requirements For English Proficiency Test

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Department of Education has announced it will reduce the overall score students need to receive on an English-proficiency test after an earlier change made it more difficult for students to transition out of English learner status. MLive reports that educators and school districts in the state had expressed concern over the WIDA ACCESS test’s rigorous scoring system after less than 1
percent of Michigan students reached the minimum score during the 2016-17 school year. Data from the department says typically between 13 and 15 percent of the state’s more than 97,000 English language learners receive an overall score high enough to transition. In addition to a minimum score on the test, students must demonstrate proficiency on state reading assessments in order to transition.. ...Read Full Story

32-Year-Old Killed In Benton Harbor Shooting

A murder investigation is underway in Benton Harbor. The city’s public safety department tells WSJM News a 32-year-old Benton Harbor man was shot to death overnight, dying of his gunshot wounds at Lakeland Hospital. Officers were called to the River Terrace apartment complex around 11:45 for a shooting. Several people have been questioned, but no arrests have been made as yet. The name of the victim is being withheld until Benton Harbor Public Safety is able to get in touch with his family. The circumstances surrounding the shooting also aren’t being made public.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Youth Fair Continues All Week

The Berrien County Youth Fair continues through the rest of the week in Berrien Springs. Fair Director Karen Klug tells WSJM News they had more than 18,000 come out for the first official day on Monday. Tuesday was Kids Day featuring a circus, and Wednesday will feature the country music sensations the Brothers Osborne. Looking ahead to Thursday…. ...Read Full Story

More Than $45,000 Raised By Alzheimer’s Walk

More than $45,000 has been raised to fight Alzheimer’s thanks to a walk held in St. Joseph over the weekend. More than 400 people showed up to Riverview Park on Saturday for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Kristin Burt, Walk Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Great Lakes Chapter, tells us the event was “incredible,” adding she was inspired to see so many people come together for the cause. In Michigan alone, more than 180,000 people live with the disease. You can find out more, and make a donation, at Alz.org/Walk.. ...Read Full Story

Appeal In St. Joseph Rundown House Case Continues

St. Joseph City Commissioners have gotten an update on a rundown house along Niles Avenue that was ordered demolished several months ago. On Monday, the city attorney told commissioners both sides have now filed their briefs in an appeal of the demolition order. This concerns a home at 1015 Niles, right by Hoyt Street. The house started generating complaints due to a large tarp that’s been draped over the roof for more than a year. City inspectors later determined the home is so dilapidated it needs to come down. The property owner appealed with the Berrien Circuit Court. He now has two weeks to respond to the city’s latest brief. It will likely be a few months before the court responds. Both sides have asked for a hearing in the case.. ...Read Full Story

Grand Rapids Police Investigating Swastika Flag Hung From Overpass

From the Associated Press — The Grand Rapids Police Department is asking for the public’s help with identifying a man who hung an American flag with a swastika painted on it from an overpass over Interstate 196. Police say officers were called to the overpass before 7 a.m. Monday on a
report of a man who was seen hanging the flag from the overpass. Officers removed the flag about 10 minutes later just after arriving on the
scene. Police say the suspect is described as a male in his 20s with black hair and wearing a leather jacket. He was seen walking in the grass down toward the highway.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Pursuing Different Tax Designation For Tech Center Upgrades

Whirlpool is slightly changing one aspect of its St. Joseph Tech Center renovation plans. On Monday, city commissioners heard from Cornerstone Alliance’s Rob Cleveland that the appliance maker is now asking that its tech center property be designated as an industrial development district, as opposed to the previous commercial rehabilitation district. Cleveland told WSJM News it’s related to taxes, but otherwise, the plans for $35 million in work at the tech center don’t change.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Man Charged In Connection With Wife’s Death

The husband of a Niles woman shot and killed on Sunday at her home has now been charged with homicide in the case. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us 49-year-old John Lewis remains at the Berrien County Jail. He called police Sunday evening to report his wife, 55-year-old Carla Jean Lewis, had been shot when two suspects broke into their home on Lawndale Avenue. He also said they took off in her car. The sheriff’s department tells us the car is still missing, and they’re asking anyone with information on its location to contact them. They also say anyone found in that vehicle should be considered armed and dangerous. The plate number is CMY 3721, and the vehicle is a 2008 Mazda CX-9. It is pictured above. No additional details on the case are yet being released. John Lewis will be arraigned on Wednesday.. ...Read Full Story

Motorcyclist Hurt In South Haven Twp Crash

A Bangor motorcyclist is being treated at Bronson Hospital South Haven after a crash with an SUV. South Haven police tell us it happened near the Park Meadow apartments on M-43 in South Haven Township just before 5 p.m. Monday. The 67-year-old man who was on the motorcycle was not wearing a helmet and suffered “obvious” head wounds according to authorities. The two people in the SUV were not hurt. The investigation is ongoing, but so far shows the motorcyclist was going the wrong way, heading east in the westbound lanes.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Deputies Receive Corrections Training

A couple of Berrien County Sheriff’s deputies have received their training to be corrections officers. Deputies Kristin Robbins and Miranda Bailey just finished their training academy at Olivet College. There, they learned about things like custody and security, defensive tactics, first aid, suicide awareness, fire safety, and interpersonal communications. The academy is certified by the Michigan Sheriffs Coordinating and Training Council, and the sheriff’s department tells us it provides deputies with the skills needed to maintain a safe and secure jail. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey congratulated his newly-trained corrections deputies.. ...Read Full Story

MI Students Go On Freedom Ride To Civil Rights Sites

Nearly 30 students from Oakland and Wayne counties are visiting southern historical sites of the civil rights movement this week as part of a Freedom Ride. It’s a week-long journey to sites in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Memphis, and Louisville. Barbara Tally is founder of the Martin Luther King Junior Task Force in Southfield, which is coordinating the trip. She spoke with Michigan News Network about the struggle for civil rights.. ...Read Full Story

Effort To Strengthen Section Of Eroded Bluff Moving Forward

There’s been some movement on shoring up the bluff in St. Joseph in an area where there have been concerns about a possible collapse. Early this year, city commissioners were alerted to erosion along the bluff in the area of 2405 Old Lakeshore. That’s right by some CSX Railroad tracks. It took a while, but St. Joseph City Manager John Hodgson tells WSJM News the railroad has applied for permits from the state and feds to get lay some large rocks down below to strengthen the bluff.. ...Read Full Story

One Arrested In Benton Twp Drug Bust

One person is facing drug charges following a crack bust in Benton Township last week. The Southwest Enforcement Team tells us it raided a home in the 1,900 block of Pipestone Road on Thursday, finding heroin, crack, crystal meth, and marijuana. The raid came at the culmination of a two month investigation into possible drug dealing at the home. 35-year-old Richard Hayes was arrested on a variety of drug charges, and also for having an outstanding warrant. The Southwest Enforcement Team is a coalition of several police agencies around southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Master Plan Meeting This Week

The city of Bridgman wants to hear from residents as it develops its next master plan. City Manager Juan Ganum tells WSJM News it’s important for a community to carefully craft a master plan because the document governs several aspects of local development for as long as 20 years into the future.. ...Read Full Story

State Produces Human Trafficking Video For Medical Community

The Michigan Attorney General’s office has released a new training video designed to help medical professionals spot cases of human trafficking. The AG’s office tells us many human trafficking victims have interactions with doctors and nurses during their ordeal, and the video is designed to teach those professionals about the crime in general while, and also how to interview and interact with the victims. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says public awareness is a good first step when it comes to fighting human trafficking, but reaching medical professionals and teaching them how to spot it and intervene is another critical component. The video features local and federal law enforcement, members of the Michigan medical community, former human trafficking victims and Schuette himself. You can see the video below.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Speaks Out Against Hate Following Virginia Violence

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is speaking out against hate and violence following the white supremacist rally that spiraled into deadly confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia. Snyder released a statement Monday saying, “Hate speech and violence are not
welcome in Michigan – it’s not representative of who Michiganders truly are or of the future we want to build for our children.” Snyder says history has shown “hate begets hate and violence begets violence. On the other hand, unity and cooperation have shown how much we can accomplish when we respect our neighbors, embrace our differences and focus our energy on how we can all move forward and prosper together.” Vigils and rallies seeking to counter the Virginia violence occurred Sunday in the Detroit area, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Traverse City.. ...Read Full Story

Police Release Name Of Niles Woman Killed In Home Invasion

Police have released the name of a Niles woman killed in a robbery at her home over the weekend. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News 55-year-old Carla Jean Lewis was shot and killed when two suspects broke into her home on Lawndale Avenue shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday. The department was called by 49-year-old John Lewis, the victim’s husband. He said two suspects broke into the home and shot his wife in the basement. They then fled the scene in the victim’s car. It’s described as a 2008 Mazda CX-9, dark in color. The plate number is CMY 3721. Police continue to look for the two suspects. Anyone with information on their location is asked to call the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. The suspects are considered to be armed and dangerous. Police also say the victim’s husband was arrested at the scene for violating Michigan’s medical marijuana law.. ...Read Full Story

AAA: Gas Prices In Michigan Up

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 7¢ per gallon in the past week. The Dearborn-based auto club says late Sunday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.49 per gallon. AAA says the lowest average price was about $2.43 per gallon in the Jackson area. The highest was about $2.52 per gallon in the Ann Arbor area. Locally, prices in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph are up 8¢ from last week at $2.47. In South Haven, Gas Buddy spotters are finding most stations at $2.42, with one at $2.44 and another at $2.46.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Killed In Niles Twp Home Invasion

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police are looking for two suspects in a home invasion and murder in Niles Township. Our newsgathering partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16 report a woman was found shot to death in the home around 6 p.m. Sunday on Lawndale Avenue between 14th and 15th streets. Her husband called 9-1-1 to report two black men had broken in and one shot his wife, and then the suspects stole their car. Police are searching for a black or dark blue 2008 Mazda with the Michigan license plate CMY-3721.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Youth Fair Starts Tomorrow

The Berrien County Youth Fair starts tomorrow. This is the 72nd year for the fair in Berrien Springs. Fair Director Karen Klug tells WSJM News the kids will spend their weekend bringing their animals down to the fairgrounds and then the fun starts Monday when the carnival opens at 6 p.m. Tuesday is Kids Day. Klug says the fair is always great fun.. ...Read Full Story

One Killed In Fiery Crash

A fiery one-car accident in Buchanan is under investigation by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies were called to the area of Glendora Road near Coveny Road just after 7 a.m. Sunday for the crash. Buchanan Township firefighters put out the flames, and one person was found dead inside the vehicle. That person has not yet been identified, and investigators don’t know if alcohol or drugs were factors. Police say the victim’s body was sent to the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker School of Medicine in Kalamazoo for an autopsy and for identification.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Holding Citizens Academy

Anyone who wants to know what a Michigan State Police trooper does every day will have a chance to learn in the next few of months. The MSP Paw Paw post will be offering its second annual Citizens Academy. Trooper Kellie Shaffer tells WSJM News the agency wants to network with the public.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagon Fund Reflects On Ten Years

The Pokagon Fund has released its annual report, and this time around, it’s focusing on the impact the organization has had on southwest Michigan during the past ten years. The fund started in 2007, set up to give three-quarters-of-one percent of the Four Winds Casino’s slot revenues to community projects. The fund’s John Krsul tells WSJM News that’s amounted to more than $25 million in the past decade.. ...Read Full Story

State Spreading Awareness About Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Changes

Several state agencies are helping to spread the word about some traffic changes planned for the Mackinac Bridge during this Labor’s Days annual walk. Mackinac Bridge Authority Secretary Bob Sweeney tells WSJM News, for security reasons, they’re closing the bridge to vehicle traffic during the 60th annual walk. No vehicles will be allowed on the bridge from 6:30 a.m. to noon that day. The Michigan Secretary of State is now telling customers about the change to help reduce the chances of major traffic headaches for those who will be in the area on Labor Day. The Michigan Department of Transportation is also getting the word out with its road signs.. ...Read Full Story

Chemical Bank Donates $20,000 To SMC Nursing Expansion

Chemical Bank is the latest big contributor to the nursing program expansion at Southwestern Michigan College. SMC tells us the bank’s president this week delivered a $20,000 check to the board of trustees. The money will go toward a $9.6 million expansion project underway for the nursing building. It’s intended to roughly double both the building’s size and the number of students it can handle. Chemical Bank says it believes investing in the community is a good way to use its resources. SMC is expanding the nursing program in response to growing demand for nurses in the region.. ...Read Full Story

M-139 Speed Limit To Be Reduced During Berrien Youth Fair

The speed limit will be changing next week on part of M-139 near Berrien Springs. That’s so traffic can be made safer while the Berrien County Youth Fair is underway. The Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Police Department tells us the limit will be reduced from 45 to 35 miles per hour on M-139 between Lemon Creek Road and George Street. The change will be in effect Monday through next Saturday. Police will make sure signs and control devices are posted in the area to let drivers know.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Youth Fair Starts Monday

The Berrien County Youth Fair starts Monday. This is the 72nd year for the fair in Berrien Springs. Fair Director Karen Klug tells WSJM News the kids will spend their weekend bringing their animals down to the fairgrounds and then the fun starts Monday when the carnival opens at 6 p.m. Tuesday is Kids Day. Klug says the fair is always great fun.. ...Read Full Story

Concourse d’Elegance Car Show Tomorrow In St. Joseph

The Concours d’Elegance takes place this Saturday in downtown St. Joseph. This is the 13th year for the classic car show along the bluff. It’ll feature automobiles from the Brass, Classic, Vintage, and Muscle Car eras as well as special-interest vehicles. 75 vehicles from seven decades are displayed in Lake Bluff Park for the show. Everyone’s invited to come out to Lake Bluff Park for the event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All proceeds generated by the Concours d’Elegance go to Hospice at Home.. ...Read Full Story

Armed Robbery In Van Buren County

Police are looking for a suspect in a Friday morning armed robbery. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News it happened at the Phoenix Quick Stop in Geneva Township about 8:45. A man in dark clothing with a mask over the bottom half of his face went into the store, pulled a gun on the clerk and demanded cash from the register. When she refused, he came around the counter and ordered her to give him cash again. This time, the clerk complied, and the suspect started stuffing bills into his pockets. At that time, the clerk ran out of the store. Police say the suspect was using a semi automatic handgun and driving an older black Chevy Impala with Michigan plates. It had tinted windows and damage to the right front end. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Plan Would Let Undocumented Workers Get Driver’s Licenses

Legislation has been introduced in the Michigan House that would allow for undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses in the state. Backed by state Representative Dave Pagel of Berrien Springs, the plan is intended to address the fact undocumented migrants are here and need to be able to move around. Pagel tells us many of those workers go to Illinois to get their licenses and registrations.. ...Read Full Story

No Injuries In Fire At Niles Elks Lodge

No one is hurt following a Thursday fire at the Elks Lodge in Niles. It started about 4 p.m. in a car port toward the front of the building when a club member was doing some maintenance. The place was evacuated, and fire crews managed to get the blaze under control quickly. Responding were fire departments from Niles, Niles Township, Howard Township, Buchanan, Buchanan Township, and Berrien Springs. According to The Niles Daily Star, the fire did about $10,000 in damage, mostly to a column outside of the building.. ...Read Full Story

Near Record Lotto Jackpots This Weekend

The Mega Millions jackpot is up to $393 million for today’s drawing, while the jackpot for the Powerball is up to $356 million for tomorrow’s drawing. The Michigan Lottery tells us that makes for a total of $749 million available in jackpots this weekend. The $393 million Mega Millions jackpot is the game’s fourth largest ever. Meanwhile, the $356 million in the Powerball is the game’s third largest ever jackpot. The odds of winning Mega Millions — 1 in 258 million. The odds of winning a Powerball jackpot — 1 in 290 million. Good luck.. ...Read Full Story

Pedestrian Killed While Crossing US-12

A South Bend woman is dead after being struck by a vehicle while crossing US-12 in Cass County Friday morning. Michigan State Police tell us 78-year-old Carole Ann Martin had been shopping at a garage sale along the side of US-12 near Bell Road in Milton Township around 9:40 a.m. when the incident occurred. She was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead. State police remind everyone taking part in this weekend’s US-12 statewide garage sale to use caution when crossing the road. The woman had parked on the opposite side of the road of the sale she’d been browsing.. ...Read Full Story

Two-State Crime Spree Suspect Caught

A man who was involved in a series of unarmed robberies in west Michigan and northern Indiana over an eight-day period earlier this month has been arrested. Witnesses and surveillance cameras linked Jacob Savickas to a series of hold-ups at gas stations, convenience stores, fast food franchises and banks from south of South Bend to north of Grand Rapids in late July and early August. He was arrested at a Grand Rapids hotel Wednesday by an FBI task force and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Getting New Voting Machines

November’s elections in Berrien County will feature brand new voting machines in some communities. Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler tells WSJM News they’re thanks to a state grant the county received recently. Soon, elections workers around the county will train on the new machines, and then they’ll start to be rolled out come general election time.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Commissioners Plan Hearings On Road Commission

The issue of the Berrien County Road Commission continues to be considered by the full Berrien County Commission. Chair Jon Hinkelman tells WSJM News commissioners held a meeting Thursday where they heard from representatives of counties that have opted to take over their road commissions. Up next will be a couple of public hearings on the issue. Hinkelman tells us county commissioners are not year leaning one way or another.. ...Read Full Story

Lotto Ticket Worth $276,000 Sold In Benton Harbor

There’s been another big lottery winner in Berrien County. The Michigan Lottery tells us a woman who has chosen to remain anonymous bought a ticket worth $276,000 from the Bait Shed on West Main Street in Benton Harbor. She was playing the Fantasy 5 game and matched all five numbers. The lucky ticket buyer was watching a movie with her husband on Monday when she found out she had won, and told the lottery she had trouble sleeping after that. She picked up her winning check later this week.. ...Read Full Story

Man Sets Self On Fire Trying To Eradicate Bees

A 46-year-old Cass County man is recovering from burns he suffered when he was trying to get rid of a bee hive at his home in Silver Creek Township. The sheriff’s department tells WSJM News that 46-year-old Leslie Cross the Second had to be airlifted to the Bronson Hospital Burn Center in Kalamazoo after the accident. A neighbor was able to extinguish the flames before first responders arrived, likely saving Cross’ life. The bee hive was underground in the 28-thousand block of Middle Crossing Road.. ...Read Full Story