Local News Archives

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

Upton Hoping For Action On New Soo Lock Soon

A new Soo Lock is on Congressman Fred Upton’s wish list. He tells WSJM News the Soo Locks, located in Sault Ste. Marie, are essential for allowing cargo to be shipped between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. The largest lock, the Poe Lock, is quickly aging, and Upton says a new one is needed in case it fails.. ...Read Full Story

Report Looks At Ten Years Of The Pokagon Fund

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

Berrien County Commissioners Take Part In Washington Discussions

Several Berrien County Commissioners were in Washington, D.C. this week for a gathering of county officials called by the Trump administration. The White House tells us commissioners from all over Michigan were on hand as discussions were held on local policies with administration staff. The commissioners also saw presentations by various federal agencies with the intent of building stronger relationships with local governments. Of all southwest Michigan counties, Berrien had the largest contingent on hand for the event. Present this week were David Vollrath, Debra Panozzo, Donnie Meeks, Ezra Scott, James Curran, Mamie Yarbrough, and Teri Freehling. As part of Wednesday’s events, the commissioners heard from U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos.. ...Read Full Story

Sixth District Democratic Candidate Motivated By Bernie Sanders

A political newcomer says he wants to replace Congressman Fred Upton because he doesn’t believe Upton represents the people. David Benac is history professor at Western Michigan University who is running in the Democratic primary for the Sixth District. He tells WSJM News he started getting involved in politics when he was inspired by the Bernie Sanders run for president. He wants to work for many of the same priorities.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Primary Election Held Tuesday

The three St. Joseph City Commission incumbents to appear on Tuesday’s primary ballot have emerged the top three vote getters. According to the numbers available late in the evening, with all precincts and absentees reporting, the top three were Michael Garey, Mary Goff, and Fran Chickering. They’re currently on the commission, and voters were asked to pick three candidates out of seven for the body. However, according to the Berrien County Clerk’s office, the top six will appear on the November ballot. That means challengers Laura Goos, Peggy Getty, and Al DiBrito will also be on the general ballot. Primary challenger Kim Gane came in seventh Tuesday. Elsewhere in Berrien County Tuesday, voters in Oronoko Township approved a millage renewal for the Berrien Springs Community Library, and voters in Three Oaks Township approved millage renewals for the library and for roads.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joe Public Safety: Watch Out For Sick Fox

The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety has said a fox is roaming the area with mange mite disease. It was last seen on Monday by Lakeshore Drive. Berrien County Animal Control has been informed of the fox, trying to live trap it, but has had no luck yet. Animal Control has said that the fox should die by fall as the skin disease progresses, but that the fox might try to find shelter or food closer to homes. If you see it, you are encouraged to call Animal Control, as aggravating it may cause aggression.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Asian Carp Money Could Be In Infrastructure Bill

Now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released its long-awaited Brandon Road Lock and Dam study on the Asian carp, Congressman Fred Upton says it’s time for Congress to take action. The report released on Monday outlines ways the invasive Asian carp could be kept out of the Great Lakes. Upton tells WSJM News the corps should now tell Congress if its ideas will really work. He thinks action could come soon after that.. ...Read Full Story

Child Dies After Incident At Warren Dunes State Park

A four-year-old boy who was rushed to a hospital in critical condition following a near drowning last week at Warren Dunes State Park has died. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News Matthew Ramirez of Palatine, Illinois passed away early Saturday morning at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. He was airlifted there last Tuesday after he was found in Lake Michigan off the state park. Good Samaritans gave him CPR when they found him. Police say Ramirez was playing in the water with family and other children when family thought he had returned to the beach area. An autopsy has been performed, and the case will be forwarded on to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department for review once its results are evaluated.. ...Read Full Story

Jim McCloughan To Speak At Illinois State Fair

Medal of Honor recipient Jim McCloughan of South Haven is headed to Illinois to give the keynote speech at this year’s Illinois State Fair Veterans and Gold Star Family Day. President Trump presented McCloughan with the Medal of Honor at the White House on July 31. The Army medic saved wounded soldiers during a Vietnam War battle despite his own serious wounds. He is the first Medal of Honor recipient under Trump.. ...Read Full Story

MI Doctors Group: More Primary Care Physicians Needed

A group of doctors is saying that addressing the primary care physician shortage in Michigan is key to creating a healthier state at a lower cost. Dr. Karen Mitchell is program director for Providence Family Medicine Residency in Southfield and tells us part of the solution should involve increasing STEM programs and opportunities for high school and college students in rural parts of the state.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Blueberry Festival This Week

The 54th annual National Blueberry Festival gets started this Thursday in South Haven. Susan Diepen, with the chamber of commerce, tells WSJM News the event attracts thousands to town each year. Not only are there activities all over South Haven, but there will be no shortage of blueberries to try.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Offering Recycling Event Next Week

If you’ve got some old household chemicals or electronic items sitting around in your basement or garage, you’ll have a chance to get rid of them for free next week. Berrien County Parks Department Environmental Property Manager Jill Adams tells WSJM News they’ll be taking items to be recycled next Wednesday. She says it’s better to properly process unwanted electronics.. ...Read Full Story

Man Sent To Prison For Cass County Rape

A Benton Harbor man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl has been sentenced to at least six years in prison. On Friday, a Cass County Judge sentenced 22-year-old Markal Leneal Jackson to between 81 months and 20 years. That’s after he pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Prosecutors say Jackson had been staying with acquaintances at a home in Dowagiac when he raped a girl who lived there. In a surprise move, he pleaded guilty during his trial in June.. ...Read Full Story

Long Awaited Report On Asian Carp Released

From the Associated Press — Environmental groups say a new federal report makes clear that urgent action is needed to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a long-awaited analysis Monday of steps that could block the invasive fish at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. The draft report includes technological and structural measures such as underwater noisemakers, an electric dispersal barrier and a new flushing lock. The estimated price tag is $275 million. Howard Learner of the Environmental Law and Policy Center says the government should quickly secure Chicago-area waters, where Asian carp from the Mississippi River and its tributaries could enter Lake Michigan.Other environmental groups say the plan is a step forward but doesn’t address the need to stop Great Lakes species from migrating to the Mississippi.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Medal Of Honor Recipients Meet

Two of South Haven’s Medal of Honor recipients are now acquainted with each other. Vietnam War veteran Jim McCloughan, who received the honor last week from President Trump, met on Sunday at the American Legion Post 49 with Korean War veteran Duane Dewey. The 85-year-old Dewey was the first to be given the Medal of Honor by President Eisenhower in 1953, while McCloughan was the first to be given the medal from President Trump. South Haven’s first Medal of Honor recipient was William Wilcox, who earned the distinction in the Civil War. He was given the medal in 1896 by President McKinley for his actions in 1864, and is buried in Lakeview Cemetery in South Haven. The Rotary Club of South Haven’s Tom Renner tells WSJM News that for a city the size of South Haven, having three Medal of Honor recipients in its history is “significant.”. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Decline In Michigan

The state’s average gas price is down by 6¢ a gallon from last week, standing at $2.42. Triple-A Michigan says the drop is likely to be short-lived due to low gasoline inventory and high demand in the Midwest. While we don’t have the lowest prices in the Benton Harbor and St. Joseph area, the average has fallen nearly 11¢ from a week ago to $2.39. The state’s lowest prices are in the Saginaw-Bay City-Midland area at $2.32, while Ann Arbor drivers pay the most at $2.46 a gallon. The statewide average is higher than last year at this time by 9¢, and we have the 14th most expensive gasoline in the country. According to GasBuddy, South Haven prices are at $2.29 a gallon.. ...Read Full Story

Report To List Options For Strengthening Asian Carp Defenses

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to release a draft report on possible measures at a crucial site in Illinois that could prevent invasive Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan. The report due out Monday is expected to list options for upgrading the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet. The complex is on the Des Plaines River a few miles downstream from electric barriers intended to prevent fish in the Mississippi River watershed from reaching the Great Lakes through Chicago-area waterways.. ...Read Full Story

Suspected Drunk Driver Badly Hurt In Allegan Co. Crash

A suspected drunk driver is hospitalized after a crash near South Haven in Allegan County. Michigan State Police say Tony Brush was ejected from his pickup when he left the road and rolled it in a cornfield early Sunday morning on 66th Street near 106th Avenue. Brush was not wearing a seat belt. Michigan State Police suspect he had been drinking, but have not revealed a blood-alcohol level. Brush is being treated for life-threatening injuries at Bronson Hospital in South Haven.. ...Read Full Story

State Records Increase Of Legionnaires’ Disease Cases On East Side

From the Associated Press — State officials are working with health departments in Detroit and Macomb, Wayne and Oakland counties to investigate an increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says Friday that 73 cases
of legionellosis were identified in June and July in southeastern Michigan. An average of 30 cases were identified over the same two months from 2014-2016. A common source of the infection has not been found. Legionellosis is a respiratory infection caused by Legionella bacteria. The
bacteria are found naturally in fresh water lakes and streams, but also can be found in man-made water systems. Transmission to people occurs when mist or vapor containing the bacteria is inhaled. Legionnaires’ disease is an infection with symptoms that include fever, cough, and pneumonia.. ...Read Full Story

Preparations Underway For 2017 Berrien County Youth Fair

Preparations are well underway for the 2017 Berrien County Youth Fair. This is the 72nd year for the fair, and this time around the theme is “Fairadise.” From August 14 through the 19, more than 125,000 people are expected to stop by the fairgrounds in Berrien Springs. Fair Director Karen Klug tells WSJM News they’ll have something on the grandstand every night, including a demolition derby, live music, and tractor pulls.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews University Arts And Sci Fests Next Month

Set for next month is the fifth annual Andrews University SciFest and ArtFest in Berrien Springs. The event takes place right on campus and Andrews tells us it’s an opportunity for budding scientists and artists to explore their passions hands-on in an educational environment. Participants are encouraged to stay on campus for three days to get the full college experience, with meals covered by the registration fee. The theme for SciFest will be “Cells,” with young scientists getting a chance to rotate through all of the STEM departments at Andrews. The theme of ArtFest is “Building Blocks,” with attendees exploring photography, ceramics, graphic design, documentary film, drawing, and broadcast media. Any young artists or STEM enthusiasts who might be interested can find out about signing up Andrews.edu/SciFest or Andrews.edu/ArtFest. The events will be held September 21 through September 23.. ...Read Full Story

Fire At Benton Township Shooting Range

The cause of a Saturday fire at Point Blank Shooting Range in Benton Township remains under investigation. It happened around 6:30 p.m. shortly after the range closed for the night. The Benton Township Fire Department, the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety, and the St. Joseph Township Fire Department responded to the scene, finding heavy smoke. They were able to get the fire under control, although a damage total has not yet been released. The owner of the shooting range says the building along Territorial Road is insured. There were no injuries.. ...Read Full Story

Scene Cleared After Potential Chlorine Leak

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department has cleared the scene of what was thought to be a potential chlorine leak from a train Saturday evening. It tells us Edwardsburg and Ontwa Township police were called to and area near the intersection of Krause Road in Ontwa Township about 6:20 p.m.  The train was stopped in the area. Traffic nearby was shut down while the scene was investigated, and by 8:09 p.m. it was determined there had been no leak. The scene was then cleared. Police say the area is safe and traffic is now back to normal.. ...Read Full Story

Police Seize Stolen Property In Van Buren County

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department has been able to recover several pieces of stolen property following an investigation which began Friday afternoon. It tells us deputies on road patrol were in the Decatur area around 1 p.m. when they noticed a travel trailer parked next to some train tracks. After some investigation, they were able to get access to the property and found several zero turn lawn mowers, a golf cart, a side by side off road ATV, a small farm tractor and mower deck, the 32-foot travel trailer and multiple steel and aluminum hauling trailers. After tracking the VIN number on the travel trailer, they found it had been reported stolen out of Indiana.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Aiming For Record Fundraising Year

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is thinking big this year. President Anna Murphy tells WSJM News they’ve set a fundraising goal of $4.4 million, which would be the most the United Way has ever raised if they meet it. Last year, they raised $4.1 million, which was a record. Murphy tells us the United Way of Southwest Michigan has a whole lot of local non-profits to back.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Hosting Concealed Pistol License Training Course

State Representative Kim LaSata is offering a free training course for those interested in getting a Concealed Pistol License. She’s working with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department on the program, which will be offered on Saturday, August 26. The course will take place at the Berrien County Patrol Office located in Benton Harbor, and will be run on a first come, first serve basis. It will be a five-hour classroom session followed by a three-hour range session with LaSata’s office providing lunch. Everyone who takes part should bring 100 rounds of ammunition and a reliable handgun of .380 caliber or larger. To sign up or find out more, contact the office of state Representative Kim LaSata. The number is at 517-373-5240.. ...Read Full Story

Warren Dunes To Host Meteor Viewing Party Next Week

Stargazers are invited to an event set for this month at state parks all over Michigan. The office of state Senator John Proos tells us Meteors & S’mores takes place on August 11 and 12. That’s next Friday and Saturday. The events are held every year to watch the Perseid meteor shower. Proos says it’s one of the best shooting star shows you can see. Warren Dunes State Park will host a viewing party on August 12 from 9 p.m. to midnight. They’ll provide complimentary s’mores. Everyone should meet at the south side of the third beach parking lot. Everyone’s advised to bring bug spray, snacks, and chairs. Anyone looking for more information should call Warren Dunes State Park at 426-4013.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagons, Hartford Library Team Up To Promote Reading

Thanks to the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, parents who sign their kids up for library cards at the Hartford Library in the next week or so will be able to get a free trip to the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend. The trip will take place Tuesday, August 15. The promotion is all part of the Hartford Public Library Card campaign. Any children or parents who get a new library card and borrow a book can take part in that free trip. The goal is to register more than 75 new children with library cards. Anyone looking for more information can contact the Hartford Library.. ...Read Full Story

New Videos Promote Berrien County

A series of videos has been produced by Berrien County to promote the area’s assets and attractions. Intended to generate economic development, new residents, and additional tourists, the videos can be found at BerrienCounty.orgWSJM’s own Pat Moody serves as the narrator for the introductory video. He tells viewers about the Lake Michigan shoreline, the area’s inland lakes, Amtrak routes, parks, and more. Other videos focus on community organizations, education, and agriculture. The videos were produced for the county by CGI Video. They’re on the front page of the county website, about halfway down on the left. Just click Video Tour of Berrien County.. ...Read Full Story

Stabenow Vows To Protect Great Lakes Funding

Senator Debbie Stabenow continues her attempts to protect millions of dollars of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. She told Michigan News Network this week the Trump administration may be proposing to cut the $300 million per year spent on the initiative, but members of Congress are fighting the idea.. ...Read Full Story

Four Winds Job Fair This Weekend

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi’s Four Winds Casinos will hold a job fair this Saturday. It’ll be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Four Winds Field in downtown South Bend. It’s the second of four job fairs scheduled to find roughly 1,200 new hires for the Pokagon South Bend property. Four Winds human resources will be on hand for the event. Many of the jobs are hospitality positions for the new property’s five restaurants and three bars, and some traditional casino positions also need to be filled. Everyone is welcome to the job fair.. ...Read Full Story

Boy Remains In Critical Condition Following Near Drowning

Police credit good Samaritans with saving the life of a four-year-old boy found in Lake Michigan off Warren Dunes State Park this week. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News Matthew Ramirez of Palatine, Illinois had been playing in the water with other children and family members on Tuesday around 7:45 p.m. Family members thought the boy had left the water and returned to the beach area, not realizing he was still in the lake. Good Samaritans later found him and started CPR. The boy was airlifted to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, where he remains in critical condition. The sheriff’s department reminds all parents to keep a constant eye on their children when at the beach.. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw State Police Seeking Volunteer For New Drug Program

Michigan State Police are expanding their Angel Program to the Paw Paw post. First Lieutenant Dale Hinz tells WSJM News Angels are volunteers who drive individuals who are struggling with an addiction to a treatment facility. He says police are increasingly backing away from the old method of locking people up for having a drug problem and focusing on getting them treatment instead.. ...Read Full Story

Half Of Mayoral Candidates In Detroit Have Criminal Past

(Detroit, MI – AP) – Half of Detroit’s eight mayoral candidates have been convicted of felony crimes involving drugs, assault or weapons. A “Detroit News” analysis shows that three of the contenders on next Tuesday’s primary ballot were charged with gun crimes, and two of them were charged for assault with intent to commit murder. Some of the offenses date back decades. The most recent was in 2008.. ...Read Full Story