Local News Archives

Car vs Motorcycle Accident

A man and a woman remain in the hospital after the motorcycle they were riding on collided with a car early Tuesday morning. Around 12:15am Berrien County Deputies located a car vs. motorcycle accident on M-63 near Central Avenue in Hagar Township. Authorities reports the couple from the motorcycle received severe injuries and were transported to Lakeland Hospital. They also say they were not wearing helmets. The driver of the car was not injured. Alcohol and speed are believed to be factors in the accident. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Crash Investigation Team is still investigating this incident.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan: No Personal Data Will Be Given To Trump Commission

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s secretary of state says she will comply with some requests for voter information from President Donald Trump’s voting commission, but personal data won’t be released. Ruth Johnson posted a response on Facebook on Monday, five days after the commission said it was asking states for information, including partial Social Security numbers and dates of birth. Birth years are fair game, but Johnson says Michigan law puts a shield on Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. She says some basic voter information has been public for decades, including registrations and election participation history. Trump’s national commission was formed to investigate allegations of U.S. election fraud. Michigan found that at least 31 people voted twice last fall, although their names haven’t been released.. ...Read Full Story

New Editions Of Michigan Duck Stamp And Prints Released

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Duck Hunters Association and the state Department of Natural Resources are introducing the 2017 collector’s edition Michigan duck stamp and prints. The Michigan Waterfowl Stamp Program was established in 1976 and has become popular with hunters, conservationists and collectors around the nation. Proceeds from the stamp sales are used for projects that help conserve wetlands and other waterfowl habitat. This year’s duck stamp features a pair of northern shovelers, painted by wildlife artist Guy Crittenden of Richmond, Virginia. People interested in buying limited-edition prints and collector’s edition stamps can learn more at www.michigan.gov/waterfowl .. ...Read Full Story

Lawsuit Challenging Public Funding For Detroit Arena Dropped

A federal lawsuit seeking to block some public funding for the Little Caesars Arena and the Detroit Pistons’ move from the suburbs has been dropped. The lawsuit was filed by activist Robert Davis and city clerk candidate D. Etta Wilcoxon. They argue the project shouldn’t be funded without a vote from Detroit residents. Their attorney submitted a court notice Saturday to voluntarily dismiss the case.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Gas Prices Fall For July 4th Holiday

Gas prices in Michigan continue to buck the historical summertime upward trend, falling 6-cents a gallon this week to a statewide average of $2.29. Locally, AAA Michigan says the price in the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area is down 11-cents to $2.23, which is also two-cents lower than this time last year. The auto club notes the Great Lakes region is finally experiencing some price stability, and Michigan’s price drop over the past week and the last month is the second-largest in the nation. The lowest prices in Michigan are in the Saginaw-Bay City-Midland area at $2.22, while Ann Arbor drivers are paying the most for the third straight week at $2.35 a gallon. GasBuddy spotters put the South Haven average at $2.14, though just one station is selling gas for more than $2.13 a gallon.. ...Read Full Story

Boating Accident Sends One To Hospital

A 25-year-old is being treated at Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph following a boating accident on Round Lake in Van Buren County’s Keeler Township. Deputies tell WSJM News there were two people on a tube being pulled by a boat when a second boat dumped a waterskier in front of them. Their boat operator turned to avoid the skier and hit a raft, tossing the two on the tube to be thrown off. A 22-year-old woman who was on the tube wasn’t hurt, and neither was the waterskier. The driver of the boat, however, was cited for traveling at a greater than slow-no-wake speed within 100 feet of a dock, raft, or other fixed object. No names have been released.. ...Read Full Story

NWS Confirms Landspout Tornado

An EF-0 landspout tornado was on the ground near Grand Junction for a brief time Friday night. The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids has confirmed the small twister, which had peak winds of 60-miles-per-hour and was on the ground for about two-tenths of a mile. No one was hurt, and no damage was done. Landspout tornadoes are formed from either heavy rain storms or weak thunderstorms, and meteorologists say they typically dissipate quickly.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Sheriff’s Department Preparing For Fourth Of July Enforcement

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department will have its eye on you this Fourth of July at Silver Beach. Sheriff Paul Bailey addressed St. Joseph City Commissioners this past week to assure them his department and St. Joseph Public Safety are working closely together to keep it safe. Bailey told WSJM News he’ll have a lot of uniformed deputies and deputies in plain clothes roaming the beach all day and until everyone leaves.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven To Prohibit Left Turns On Portion Of Phoenix Street

Traffic is about to change in South Haven. Starting next week, the city of South Haven will have “No Left Turn” signs posted along westbound Phoenix Street from Broadway to Water Street. They’re being given a 90 day trial to see if they improve traffic flow. Phoenix Street is the main street running through South Haven’s downtown. During the summer, a long line of traffic headed to the beach often causes congestion as drivers try to make left turns. It’s hoped the No Left Turn signs might help. The South Haven City Council will review the results at the end of the 90 day trial.. ...Read Full Story

Crash Sends Woman To Hospital

A one car crash, just before midnight last night, sends a woman to the hospital with critical injuries. Around 11:45 Saturday night, officers were dispatched to a one car accident on Maudlin Rd near Behner Rd in New Buffalo Township.  When they arrived, they found that a vehicle driven by 57-year-old Reba Waterson of Dowagiac had failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway which caused her to lose control and run off of the road striking a large cement structure in a front yard.  Waterson was taken to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Michigan City with critical injuries.  Authorities believe alcohol was not a factor in the crash  It remains under investigation by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. . ...Read Full Story

Another Win For “Pellet Gun” Krause At Cherry Pit Spitting Championship

Experience ruled the day as Rick “Pellet Gun” Krause took the top prize in Saturday’s 44th annual Cherry Pit Spitting Championship at the Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire. The 63-year-old Krause captured his 17th victory. His winning spit was 57 feet and eleven inches. Second place went to Paul Marek, of Traverse City. The 45th International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship will be July 7, 2018 at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Applauds EPA Decision To Drop Water Rule

Congressman Fred Upton is applauding the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to withdraw a controversial rule. He tells WSJM News the EPA is dropping the Waters of the United States rule classifying ditches and standing water in farmers’ low-lying fields as federally regulated waterways. Upton tells us he’s heard from frustrated southwest Michigan farmers about this rule for years. He issued a statement this week saying he applauds “the EPA and the Trump administration for ditching this harmful rule once and for all.” Upton’s office notes the U.S. House in 2015 voted on a bipartisan basis to stop the rule.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Vetoes “Choose Life” License Plate

State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker is disappointed Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed a bill that would have created a “Choose Life” license plate in Michigan. The specialty plate created by Senate Bill 163 would have raised money for programs supported by Right to Life, which is an anti-abortion group. The governor says he vetoed the bill because he thought it would be inappropriate for the state to be delivering a political message with license plates. Senator Schuitmaker tells us the “voluntary license plate would have raised funds to provide resources and services for women facing an unexpected pregnancy.” She adds she’ll continue to advocate for pro-life policies and solutions.. ...Read Full Story

Buoy Deployed In Lake Michigan Off South Haven

The Van Buren County Board of Commissioners has given its thumbs up to a buoy stationed off South Haven in Lake Michigan. This week, the board approved spending $5,000 to help pay for the buoy provided by an Ann Arbor company. Van Buren County Administrator John Faul tells WSJM News the info it collects is available to the public.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Sheriff’s Deputy Receives Life Saving Award

A sergeant with the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department has been honored with a Life Saving Award for his role in helping a fellow officer who had a heart attack last month. The sheriff’s department tells us Sergeant Casey Davis was at a charity hockey game at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo on May 20 when a fellow officer from Grand Rapids collapsed in the locker room. Davis sprang into action, calling for an AED and starting chest compressions on Officer Bill Kelly. Kelly, who was just 20 months from retirement at the time, survived. Sergeant Davis received his Life Saving Award on Thursday.. ...Read Full Story

“Operation Dry Water” Underway This Weekend

This is the weekend for Operation Dry Water. That’s when law enforcement agencies across the country send out extra patrols on waterways to look for drunk boaters. Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Nathan Penning tells WSJM News they’re going to make contact with boaters throughout the holiday weekend to make sure everyone’s obeying the rules.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department K9 Passes Away

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is mourning the loss of one of its K9s. Vento passed away this week from natural causes. Vento had served the county for several years. The sheriff’s department tells us Vento was 13 years old. The department held a ceremony to officially relieve Vento of the K9’s duties. It says Vento “served Van Buren County with the utmost drive and enthusiasm.” It also wishes the K9 Godspeed.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Blue Star Highway Bridge Reopens

The Blue Star Highway bridge over the Black River just north of South Haven is back open. South Haven Area Emergency Services tells WSJM News the Michigan Department of Transportation opened up the bridge on Friday afternoon. Drivers have faced a major traffic reroute for several months as a result of work being down on the bridge. MDOT did a total reconstruction of it. The access to the Kal-Haven Trail in South Haven has now been reopened to its normal route. Aerial photos of the new bridge were taken this past weekend as the work was being finished.. ...Read Full Story

Invasive Species “Blitz” Planned For This Coming Week

Conservation groups from around southwest Michigan are planning an invasive species blitz for this weekend and next week. Eleanor Serocki, with the Van Buren County Conservation district, tells WSJM News events to educate boaters on how to avoid spreading invasive aquatic and plant species will be held in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties. She tells us invasive species can become a major problem for a body of water.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Seek Volunteers For Anti Drug Program

The Michigan State Police post in Niles is looking for volunteers to help run a program designed to assist people struggling with addiction and reduce drug demand. Michigan State Police have joined with nearly 200 other law enforcement agencies around the country in the Angel Program. Lieutenant Mike Dawson tells WSJM News it allows someone with a drug addiction to walk into a police department and ask for help without fear of arrest.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Criticizes Controversial Trump Tweet

Congressman Fred Upton is among those criticizing President Donald Trump’s controversial tweet this week about MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski. Trump made a remark about the Morning Joe co-host attacking her for her physical appearance. Many have called the president’s tweet an act of bullying. Congressman Upton tells WSJM News it was not a good moment for the president.. ...Read Full Story

Tires, Wheels Stolen From Benton Township Auto Dealer

A Benton Township car dealership has been hit by tire thieves. Management at Brookfield Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep tells WSJM News staff showed up Friday morning to find the wheels and tires had been removed from six Ram pick-ups. They estimate the damage to be at least $18,000. The dealership tells us it has been in Benton Township for five years now, and this is the first time they’ve ever had any such problem. They think the crooks are probably pros from outside the area, and say this crime does not reflect the community. In fact, this is the second time an auto dealership in west Michigan has had tires and wheels stolen off vehicles parked in the lot this month. It happened to a Ford dealership in Galesburg last week. Brookfield Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep tells us Benton Township police came out Friday morning and investigated the scene. Surveillance video is also being reviewed.. ...Read Full Story

Cherry Pit Spitting Championship Saturday

The 44th annual Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm’s International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship is tomorrow in Eau Claire. Qualifying will start at 10 a.m., with the championships starting at 1 in the afternoon. The farm’s Monica Teichman tells WSJM News the pits can often fly as far as 40 feet, and all the competitors work on developing unique styles.. ...Read Full Story

Deadline Saturday For Small Animal Registrations For BCYF

The Berrien County Youth Fair is still about a month and a half away, but for people planning to exhibit small animals, a deadline is looming tomorrow. Fair officials say small animals have to be registered by noon Saturday to be included in this year’s fair, which will be from August 14-19. Animals included in the deadline are cats, dogs, poultry, pocket pets, and rabbits, and exhibitor handbooks and registration forms are available on the fair’s website at bcyf.org. The deadline to register for the BCYF King and Queen and Prince and Princess contests is July 12, and for all other still exhibit areas, you have until August 1.. ...Read Full Story

Plenty Of Fireworks Shows Scheduled For This Weekend

Just about everyone loves a good fireworks show, and there are plenty of them planned for this weekend around southwest Michigan. The fun begins Friday with a show in Dowagiac. It’ll be at Russom Park. Saturday will bring fireworks shows at Diamond Lake in Cassopolis, Lions Park in Sister Lakes, and Hays Park in Watervliet. If you’re in the mood Monday for fireworks, they’ll have them at the American Legion in Baroda, New Buffalo Beach in New Buffalo, the Apple Festival Fairgrounds in Niles, Eagle Lake in Edwardsburg, and the north pier in South Haven. Finally, there will be shows on Tuesday, the Fourth of July, at the middle school in Berrien Springs, Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Silver Beach in St. Joseph, and at the high school in Decatur. All shows begin at dusk.. ...Read Full Story

Intensive Search Turns Up No Additional Asian Carp

From the Associated Press — Officials say an intensive search so far has turned up no additional Asian carp in a Chicago-area waterway system where one of the invasive fish recently was found. The discovery of a live silver carp June 22 about 9 miles from Lake Michigan raised fears that Asian carp might be evading an electric barrier meant to keep them out of the Great Lakes. It triggered a hunt by commercial fishers and crews with federal and state agencies using nets and devices that stun fish so they can be caught and examined. The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee says the search covers a 13-mile area and will continue through July 7. The silver carp has been sent to Southern Illinois University to determine its age and where it came from.. ...Read Full Story

Auto Insurance Rate Hike Takes Effect Saturday

Auto insurance costs are about to go up in Michigan. Insurance Alliance of Michigan spokesperson Lori Conarton tells WSJM News it’s because the cost every driver has to pay for unlimited medical benefits as required by the state’s insurance law are going up from $160 to $170. The alliance is calling for changes.. ...Read Full Story

State Releases Underwater Pipeline Study

From the Associated Press — Michigan officials have released a consulting firm’s draft report listing alternatives for dealing with twin oil pipelines beneath the waterway where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet. The state commissioned the report as environmental groups push to decommission the nearly 5-mile-long (section of Enbridge Inc.’s Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, which was laid in 1953. State Attorney General Bill Schuette endorsed a shutdown Thursday. The report by Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems Inc. lists six choices. Among them are continuing to operate the pipelines or removing them. Others include building a new pipeline that wouldn’t cross open Great Lakes waters; moving Line
5’s oil through other pipelines; using rail cars, trucks or barges to transport oil; or putting new pipelines in the straits that would run through a trench or tunnel. The report doesn’t endorse a particular alternative but analyzes each for technical and cost feasibility.. ...Read Full Story

Lt. Gov Talks Part-Time Legislature

There are 41 states with part-time state legislatures, and Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley thinks this state should be number 42. He joined WSJM’s Pat Moody to discuss his push for a constitutional amendment for that, and believes we will have better candidates for office as a result.. ...Read Full Story

New Principal Picked For Lincoln Elementary In SJ

St. Joseph’s Lincoln Elementary School has its next principal. In a message to parents and Lincoln staff, St. Joseph Public Schools Superintendent Ann Cardon says she has decided to transfer Brown Elementary Principal Craig Hubble to Lincoln to replace Mike Wagner, who died earlier this month. Cardon said the school needed someone “who can continue Mike’s good work,” and added staff and parents need someone capable of supporting them. She calls Hubble “the perfect person to pick up the torch and light the way back to normal – well as normal as we can make it.”. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Lifting Construction Restrictions For Holiday

The Michigan Department of Transportation says it will be lifting work zone restrictions at the majority of project sites statewide over the Independence Day weekend. That means smoother driving on Interstate 94 through southwest Michigan, but MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa says motorists will still need to be aware of a few lane shifts.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Calls For Immediate Asian Carp Action

State Senator John Proos is again calling on the federal government to take immediate action to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan. He has put forth countless resolutions in Lansing pushing for the separation of the Chicago River system from the lake and for Washington to release the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report on long-term solutions.. ...Read Full Story

Montreal Man Accused In Flint Airport Attack Denied Bond

A Canadian man accused of stabbing an airport police officer in Flint will remain in jail while his case proceeds. Joan Morgan, an attorney for Amor Ftouhi, didn’t object to the government’s request that he stay in jail. She told a federal judge Wednesday that the 49-year-old defendant from Montreal would be held by U.S. immigration authorities even if granted bond in the criminal case.. ...Read Full Story

Draft Ordinance For Medical Marijuana In Buchanan

A draft ordinance to allow medical marijuana businesses to operate in Buchanan is now available for people to review at City Hall. The city commission began discussions on the proposal this week, with the planning commission recommending up to 15 permits for growers and five permits for processors, transporters, provision centers, and safety compliance facilities. State law is allowing for local control of the businesses next year. City Manager Bill Marx told the commission they have time to make sure they get it right, and there’s no need to rush a vote. As Buchanan weighs allowing the medical weed business, Benton Harbor city commissioners were urged recently by the sheriff and county prosecutor to not adopt ordinances for marijuana in their city.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Commission Approves Dead Tree Removals

The city of St. Joseph will be removing some dead ash trees from a couple of ravine areas this summer. Monday night, the city commission approved the parks department’s request to take out more than 30 trees from a ravine area between Wolcott and Niles Avenue, and an area near Mohawk and Greenwood. The parks department says the dead trees pose a risk to nearby houses. They have to hire a firm to do the work at a cost of about $26,000. Also this week, the city approved the planting of nearly 50 new trees around town. That work will run about $15,000.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Sheriff Boosting Security At Silver Beach On Fourth Of July

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department will have its eye on you this Fourth of July weekend at Silver Beach. Sheriff Paul Bailey addressed St. Joseph City Commissioners Monday to assure them his department and St. Joseph Public Safety are working closely together to keep it safe. Bailey told WSJM News he’ll have a lot of uniformed deputies and deputies in plain clothes roaming the beach all day and until everyone leaves.. ...Read Full Story

BH School Board Selects New Trustee

There will soon be a new face on the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education. It’s Margaret Gast, who was picked Tuesday to fill the vacancy created with the resignation of Elnora Gavin. Gast — no relation to Harry Gast — told WSJM News she wants to see the district returned to how she remembers it in the 1960s. She also views the partnership agreement with the state as both constrictive and an opportunity.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph City Manager Gets Positive Review

St. Joseph City Commissioners are pleased with the performance of City Manager John Hodgson. This week, the commission held a closed session review for Hodgson. When they came out, they granted him a 1.5% pay increase. In his review, they rated Hodgson as “excellent” in every category. No other changes were made to Hodgson’s contract. The city commission promoted Hodgson to the position of city manager in the spring of 2015.. ...Read Full Story

State Approves Incentives For Amazon To Add 1,600 jobs

From the Associated Press — Online retailer Amazon.com plans to create 1,600 jobs in Michigan by opening a “fulfillment center” in the Detroit area. The Michigan Strategic Fund Board on Tuesday approved a $5 million grant for Amazon to spend up to $140 million on the new facility in Romulus. It’s the second time in six months that the state has authorized an incentive for Amazon, which also plans to open a fulfillment center in Livonia with 1,000 jobs. The company has 277 employees in the state now. For the new project in Romulus, the state incentive will help Amazon offset some costs for “substantial” road and other infrastructure improvements, according to a memo prepared by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The jobs are related to “general warehousing and storage,” the memo says.. ...Read Full Story

Man Killed In Workplace Accident In Niles

A workplace death is under investigation in Niles. Shortly after 5 this morning, Niles police say 64-year-old Dennis Kobb was run over by the rear wheels of a semi while moving an empty trailer from the loading dock at Paragon Industries in the 18-hundred block of Terminal Road. They say it appears he may have fallen from the cab of the truck and got caught under the tires. Kobb was pronounced dead at the scene.. ...Read Full Story

Horizon Bank Switches From National Bank To Indiana State Status

Horizon Bancorp, the owner of Horizon Bank, has announced a bit of a change for the institution which it says will result in savings. It’s converted Horizon Bank from a national bank to an Indiana state-chartered non-member bank. While the move is unlikely to affect customers, the Horizon Bancorp tells us it will mean savings of about $430,000 per year, along with efficiency, and aligning the bank’s interests with other Midwest states where it does business. The change was effective Friday.. ...Read Full Story