Local News Archives

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

M-40 Lane Closures Start Next Week

The Michigan Department of Transportation is advising drivers about some lane closures planned for M-140 in Van Buren County next week. On Monday, work begins on the road from County Road 665 to St. Joseph Street in Paw Paw. MDOT is doing some repairs to the roadway. The lane closures will remain in effect through Friday, September 15. You can stay on top of all of MDOT’s summer road projects with the agency’s app, MIDrive. It’s free on both iPhone and Android.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks Self-Driving Car Legislation

Congressman Fred Upton is hailing committee passage last week of legislation designed to help regulate self-driving cars without holding back their development. He tells WSJM News the PAVE Act allows the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to approve exemptions for self-driving cars from federal motor vehicle safety standards. He tells us this allows for smooth development of autonomous vehicle technology. ...Read Full Story

Roxy’s Hamburgers To Close

A staple of St. Joseph will soon be closing. Roxy’s Hamburgers on Cleveland Avenue has been serving up burger, fries, and milkshakes to the community for more than 50 years, but this is its last month. Roxy’s posted to its Facebook page last month, “Sad news today. August 25th will be the last day of Roxy Hamburgers. New owners decided not to keep it Roxy.” There’s no word yet on what Roxy’s new owners are planning for the property, but you’ve got until the 25th to have a burger at Roxy’s for the last time.. ...Read Full Story

One Arrested In BH Heroin Bust

A Benton Harbor man could soon be facing several drug charges following a heroin bust on Wednesday. The Southwest Enforcement Team tells us the arrest came at the conclusion of an eight month investigation into activity at 561 Heck Court. The team has received several tips about drug activity in one apartment at that address, and on Wednesday, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department arrested Derrious Antron Fields for some outstanding warrants. The enforcement team then searched the apartment, and says it found and seized heroin packaged for sale, marijuana, and some cash. It’s now seeking drug charges against the suspect.. ...Read Full Story

Preparations Underway For 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

State Capitol Getting $70 Million In Renovations

From the Associated Press — The grounds at Michigan’s Capitol will be under construction for the next two years as part of $70 million in improvements to its mechanical and electrical systems. MLive reports the Capitol building in Lansing will be open during the Capitol Infrastructure Upgrade Project, but the west side will be closed. Different sections of the building will be cordoned off throughout the
process. John Truscott, vice chairman of the Michigan Capitol Commission, says it’s the first time in 30 years that the building’s heating and cooling systems, electrical systems and other inner workings have been slated for an upgrade. The state legislature earlier approved funding for the work. Truscott says switching to more energy-efficient systems will eventually lead to a significant savings in energy bills for Capitol operations.. ...Read Full Story

Jim McCloughan Welcomed Home

Fresh from receiving the Medal of Honor at the White House, James McCloughan was greeted by dozens of well-wishers at Gerald R. Ford International in Grand Rapids late Wednesday night. His flight was four hours late, but they stuck it out anyway. McCloughan said it was the first time he had ever gotten a welcome home ceremony. He thanked everyone for coming out, and will be embarking soon on an outreach tour. He was awarded the nation’s highest military award for valor this week by President Trump for saving the lives of ten men during a battle in Vietnam, despite being wounded himself.. ...Read Full Story

President Declares Emergency In Parts On Michigan

From the Associated Press — President Donald Trump has made a disaster declaration for four Michigan counties that sustained widespread damage amid severe storms and flash flooding in June. The announcement Wednesday makes federal funding available to residents and
business owners in Bay, Gladwin, Isabella and Midland counties for things such as temporary housing, repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. The assistance also will aid the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe within Isabella County. Trump’s declaration also means communities statewide are eligible to participate in a program to help reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards. Governor Rick Snyder had asked Trump for the disaster declaration.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Rep Leads Gathering Of Local Officials

Mattawan State Representative Beth Griffin has held her first local officials meeting. She tells us it’s a tradition started by her predecessors to gather representatives of agencies that affect the lives of residents all over southwest Michigan. She tells WSJM News a big topic of discussion at the meeting this week was education funding.. ...Read Full Story

Gray Wolves Remain On Endangered Species List

Gray wolves in the western Great Lakes will remain on the endangered species list. That word from the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, which overturned a previous ruling from US Fish and Wildlife Services. Noah Greenwald with the Center for Biological Diversity told Michigan News Network one of the main faults the court found in the previous ruling is that gray wolves are gone from more than 90% of their range across the country.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Receiving New Voting Machines

New voting machines could be coming to a polling place near you just in time for next week’s August 8 elections. All of Michigan’s 1,500-plus precincts will see the new machines by next fall as part of a $40 million rollout by the Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. She spoke with Michigan News Network about the acquisition.. ...Read Full Story

World’s Longest Garage Sale Next Week

It’s almost time for the 14th annual World’s Longest Garage Sale. The event is held each year along the length of US-12 across Michigan. It features sales run by businesses and individuals in communities from New Buffalo to the east side. Kristopher Martin, with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, tells us it’s a lot of educational fun.. ...Read Full Story

Coloma Glad Peach Festival This Weekend

It’s almost time for the Coloma Glad Peach Festival. The 50th annual event will be held this Friday through Sunday, says secretary Maureen Saltzman. She tells WSJM News Friday will feature the youth parade, the opening of the main stage, and fun for the kids. Saturday will be busy all day.. ...Read Full Story

Hundreds Mingle With Police At National Night Out Events

Hundreds of southwest Michigan residents have had a chance to meet their local police thanks to the latest National Night Out event. Police departments all over Berrien County gathered in local parks Tuesday night, showing off equipment, giving out goodies, and cooking up hot dogs. Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis told WSJM News it’s about community engagement.. ...Read Full Story

Elks Club Holding Veterans Fishing Derby This Week

Set for this Wednesday is the 33rd annual Elks Club Fishing Derby in southwest Michigan. More than 100 Michigan veterans are expected to turn out for the event which will have them traveling from the Battle Creek V.A. Hospital to St. Joseph/Benton Harbor for five hours of fishing starting in the early morning. Special guests expected to turn out for part of the day include Congressman Fred Upton, Berrien County officials, and representatives of a variety of veteran groups. The veterans will be saluted for their service, and then they’ll head to the Elks Lodge in Benton Harbor for a dinner. They’ll also be given prizes. As the vets make their way through the Twin Cities, they’ll get a police escort.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Announces Record Fundraising Goal

The United Way of Southwest Michigan has announced its next yearly fundraising goal. The organization is going to try to collect $4.4 million in the coming year. It’s the 75th anniversary of the United Way of Southwest Michigan, and campaign co-chair Zack East tells WSJM News they decided to aim for what partner organizations actually need.. ...Read Full Story

Bangor School Board President Resigns

The Bangor Public Schools Board of Education is weighing the hire of a new superintendent. At a meeting this week, the board tied on a vote to hire former Bangor Superintendent Dennis Paquette or Karen Bitzer, who is also seeking the position. That’s right after the board read a resignation letter from the body’s president, Dwight Click. He said he was stepping down for personal reasons. The board now has to appoint a new trustee. It has 30 days to do so. In the meantime, Dave Peden, a retired superintendent from Mona Shores, is is serving as the interim superintendent.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Delays Posting Proposed Health Insurance Rates

From the Associated Press — Michigan will wait another month before posting rate increases proposed by health insurers that sell coverage on a government marketplace, due to uncertainty over President Donald Trump’s threat to stop billions of dollars in government payments to insurers. The state Department of Insurance and Financial Services was supposed to publish the proposed rate hikes Tuesday. But it won a 30-day extension from the federal government, citing “uncertainty” over whether insurers will be reimbursed for providing required financial assistance to low-income consumers. Open enrollment for 2018 begins November 1 and continues through December 15. Nine insurance companies want to participate in the federally-run Michigan Health Insurance Marketplace.. ...Read Full Story

Drug Bust In Benton Harbor

A Friday drug bust in Benton Harbor has charges being pursued against several people. Officers from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and the Southwest Enforcement Team seized crack cocaine, marijuana, and drug dealing-related items during a raid at a home in the 300 block of Marshall Avenue. Authorities have not indicated how many people were in the home and could be facing charges. They add the search warrant came from an ongoing investigation into cocaine dealing in the area.. ...Read Full Story