Local News Archives

Teen Facing Charges After Kicking Out Police Vehicle Window

A 17-year-old is facing charges in Van Buren County for kicking out the window of a police cruiser. The sheriff’s department tells WSJM News deputies were called out to the 31,000 block of Red Arrow Highway in Paw Paw Thursday morning on a report of blight. They found a 43-year-old woman and the 17-year-old boy living as squatters at the property. When deputies ran their names, they learned both the teen and the woman had warrants out. They put the teen in the back of a squad car while talking to the woman, and that’s when he kicked out the back window and took off running. He was quickly caught, and now faces charges of malicious destruction of property and resisting and obstructing. The 43-year-old was also arrested and turned over to another police agency due to her warrant.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead In Series Of I-94 Crashes

One person is dead following a Thursday morning crash on I-94 near Paw Paw. Michigan State Police tell us it happened around 11 a.m. when a semi rear-ended a westbound car in the construction zone at mile marker 63. A front seat passenger in that vehicle was killed. The semi then crashed into three other vehicles before coming to rest in the median. MSP says several people suffered injuries, adding distracted driving may have been a factor. About 20 minutes after the incident near mile marker 63, another crash occurred at mile marker 66. In that case, a driver swerved to avoid congestion caused by the earlier crash and hit the cable guardrail before his vehicle wound up on its roof. The driver, a 54-year-old Mattawan man, was taken to a hospital. Westbound I-94 in the area had to be closed for a couple of hours.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Schools Mourn Lincoln Principal

Parents, teachers, staff members, and students of St. Joseph’s Lincoln Elementary School are in shock with the news of the sudden passing of Principal Mike Wagner. Superintendent Ann Cardon told parents in an email this morning that Wagner died unexpectedly yesterday. Staff from Lory’s Place is helping school administrators prepare to support school families and the community, and Cardon says details on that will be released soon. Celebration of Life service information is also pending.. ...Read Full Story

Uber Expanding To SWMI

Uber is coming to the area. The ridesharing company will start operating in Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, New Buffalo and South Haven on Friday. Uber will also launch service in Saugatuck, Holland, Muskegon, and Grand Haven the same day. The company says both UberX, which is their normal rides and UberXL, with room for up to six passengers, will be available. The rides are hailed using the company’s smartphone app, and there will be one free ride available to new users using the promo code LAKEMI17 through October 1. Uber is also looking for drivers for the area. WSJM News has reached out to the company for comment.. ...Read Full Story

Fire, Power Outage Delays Herald-Palladium

If you like to start your day with the Herald-Palladium, you likely noticed that didn’t happen today. The newspaper had a lightning strike right outside the building last night that caused a power surge and a fire that knocked out their computer network, and forced the paper to be printed for today in South Bend. The HP tells WSJM News there will be limited home delivery today starting after 1 p.m. Most of that will be in the core subscription areas of St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, and Stevensville. The papers will start showing up early this afternoon at retail locations as well. They’re expecting everything to operate as normal tomorrow.. ...Read Full Story

Semi Crashes Into Lane Automotive In Watervliet

A blown tire is blamed for a semi crash early this morning in Watervliet. Police say the driver of a semi went off I-94 and into the side of the building at Lane Automotive. Police tell WSJM News no one was hurt. The cab of the truck wound up inside the building. The accident happened shortly before 3 a.m. There is no damage estimate yet regarding the building.. ...Read Full Story

BH Schools Creating New Partnership Agreement Accountability Position

Benton Harbor Area Schools will get a little extra help as it aims to meet all terms of its partnership agreement with the state. This week, the board of education authorized Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker to create the new position of partnership agreement accountability assistant. Walker told WSJM News this person will go from building to building to make sure everyone’s doing what they should be doing.. ...Read Full Story

Whilpool Volunteers Help Non-Profits For Kitchenaid Day Of Caring

More than 150 volunteers from Whirlpool and Kitchenaid have had a chance to make a difference in their community by taking part in the eighth annual Kitchenaid Day of Caring. It took place Wednesday, as the Whirlpool and Kitchenaid employees fanned out to 11 non-profits to help them out for the day. They also invited others. St. Joseph Public Safety Director Brian Uridge took them up on the offer to help build a new playground at the Discovery Enrichment Center in Benton Harbor.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Native In Intensive Care Following Washington Shootings

From the Associated Press — Family members of Matt Mika say the Michigan native suffered multiple gunshot wounds and remains in the intensive care unit in critical condition after surgery. Mika was wounded Wednesday when a gunman opened fire at a baseball practice,
injuring a congressman and others. His family said in a statement late Wednesday that they expect Mika to remain hospitalized for at least several days. The family said, “we continue to be in disbelief that he would be part of this heinous attack.” Mika is a former aide to Michigan Republican congressman Tim Walberg. He is director of government relations for Tyson Foods Washington, D.C., office and has worked for the company for more than six years. Mika’s family described him as “a very thoughtful, fun-loving person who is competitive and loyal; all things which contributed to his continued commitment to the Congressional Baseball Game.”. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Allows Volunteers To Provide Cyber Security Services In MI

Legislation has been introduced in the Michigan House that would allow volunteers to help the state protect itself from cyber attacks. The plan from state Representative Brandt Iden, of Kalamazoo County, creates the Cyber Civilian Corps, which would provide internet security to local governments, non-profits, private businesses, and educational organizations. The volunteers would be shielded from civil liability lawsuits, receiving the same protections given to state employees. Iden tells us the plan would give “Michigan’s brightest minds” a chance to help keep their state safer. The House Communications and Technology Committee has approved the plan.. ...Read Full Story

Police Look For Buchanan Burglary Suspect

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the public’s help in finding the crook who broke into a Buchanan liquor store last week. It says on the morning of June 7, the suspect broke into to the Red Bud liquor store on Front Street and stole a large amount of cash. You can see a surveillance photo above. Anyone with information that can lead to an arrest is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-342-STOP. You could get a $1,000.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Congressmen Describe Shooting Scene

Upper Peninsula Congressman Jeff Bergman credits the Capitol Police detail assigned to Majority Whip Steve Scalise for saving lives today after a gunman opened fire at a baseball practice of Republican lawmakers in Alexandria, Virginia. Congressman Bergman tells ABC News how the security detail sprang into action as soon as the shots rang out.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Responds To Congressional Shooting In Virginia

Congressman Fred Upton is putting out well wishes to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and the others who were shot in Alexandria, Virginia this morning during a congressional baseball game practice. Upton was not there, and spokesman Tom Wilbur tells WSJM News none of their staff were on hand. Senator Rand Paul tells CNN he heard 50 to 60 shots, and saw bullets bouncing off the warning track. President Trump has issued a statement calling Scalise “a true friend and patriot,” adding he was “badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.” Texas Congressman Roger Williams says a member of his staff was also shot. Three Michigan congressmen – Mike Bishop, John Moolenaar, and Jack Bergman – were at the practice, but were not hit by the gunfire. The man who opened fire is in custody.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Health Director Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter

Michigan Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon is charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Flint water crisis. Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the charges this morning in Flint, along with charges against Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells. Dr. Wells is charged with obstruction of justice and lying to police. Schuette says Wells tried to obstruct researchers from Wayne State University by threatening their funding when they were looking into the connection between the lead-tainted water and an outbreak of Legionnaires disease in Genesee County.. ...Read Full Story

Emergency Responders To Train Off Silver Beach Monday

If you see some emergency response vehicles out in Lake Michigan next Monday off of Silver Beach, don’t be alarmed. It’s just the Berrien County Parks Department doing some water rescue training. They’ll be out there on Monday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The county parks lifeguard team will be honing its skills with the help of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Marine Division. The parks department also reminds everyone to be safe in the water this summer. Never swim alone, obey all posted signs, keep off the piers when there are high waves, and know what to do in the event of a rip current.. ...Read Full Story

BH School Trustees Hear Report On Pool Repair Costs

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education is taking no action for now on repairing the swimming pool at the Charles Gray Recreation Center. It received a report Tuesday on the cost of fixing up the pool area, learning it would run about $1.5 to do all recommended repairs. Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker has suggested they wait until the district’s budget situation improves.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Sheriff Adjusting Silver Beach Patrols

Problems this past weekend at Silver Beach are leading Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey to make some changes to how beach patrols are handled there this summer. On Sunday night, there were two assaults at the beach around 9:45 p.m. That was 15 minutes after Bailey’s deputies ended their shift. Bailey now tells WSJM News they’re making adjustments.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph City Commissioners Hear About Silver Beach Disturbance

Following a couple of assaults this past weekend at Silver Beach, St. Joseph City Commissioners are asking Public Safety Director Brian Uridge to meet with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department again. The assaults happened Sunday night after sheriff’s deputies patrolling the beach had ended their shifts. The city and the county last year pledged to work closely on law enforcement at the beach following some incidents, but St. Joseph Mayor Mike Garey tells WSJM News that’s not worked out as well as hoped.. ...Read Full Story

Missing Teen Found Safe

A teen who was reported missing by his family in Niles on Tuesday morning is safe and sound and back at home. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells our newsroom it sent deputies out to the 1,700 block of Bond Street in Niles around 4:20 a.m. The teen’s mother told them the 16-year-old is mute and autistic. A search involving sheriff’s deputies and Niles police began, and they found the boy walking along US-12 near the US-31 bypass around 6:30 a.m. He was examined by EMTs and found to be unharmed. The teen is now back with family.. ...Read Full Story

Lawton Man Dies From Crash Injuries

A Sunday afternoon rollover accident in Van Buren County has now claimed the life of the passenger of the SUV. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says the 50-year-old Lawton man died yesterday at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. Officers had to use the Jaws of Life to get him out of the SUV, while the 29-year-old man from Paw Paw who was behind the wheel was thrown from the vehicle during the crash. He remains hospitalized at Bronson. The vehicle rolled several times after hitting a tree and a power pole on County Road 657 at 66th Avenue, and nearly hit a house.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Planning $35 Million Investment In SJ Tech Center

Whirlpool is planning a major investment in its St. Joseph Tech Center. Spokesperson Jeff Noel tells WSJM News they’re putting $35 million into the facility with the addition of a new $24 million, 90,000-plus square foot building, along with $11 million in renovations to the existing property. He tells us Whirlpool wants to invest in its future by creating the work space modern professionals need.. ...Read Full Story

Dog Owners Reminded To Be Careful This Week

Temperatures this past weekend were as high as 100 degrees in southwest Michigan, and they’re expected to be in the upper 80s or low 90s through at least mid week. That’s why the Al-Van Humane Society has a few reminders for pet owners. Director Jennifer Nuernberg tells WSJM News you shouldn’t leave you pooch in a parked car.. ...Read Full Story

Great Lakes Water Levels Expected To Remain High Through The Fall

Water levels on the Great Lakes are expected to be both higher than average and higher than last year throughout the summer and into the fall. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tells us lots of rain in April and May pushed the Great Lakes levels higher than forecast. Now, the predicted summer water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair, and Erie will be at their highest levels since around 1996. Also, Lake Ontario set a new water level record in May. Higher water levels are better for shipping on the Great Lakes. The Army Corps of Engineers issues its Great Lakes water level forecast every month.. ...Read Full Story

State Budget Could Be Approved Next Week

The state budget is now back on track. That’s according to state Representative Kim LaSata, who tells WSJM News Governor Rick Snyder has reached a compromise with GOP lawmakers on the teacher pension system. The governor was reluctant to move new teachers into a 401(k) style plan. LaSata tells us something still has to be done about teacher pensions.. ...Read Full Story

Police Identify Man Killed In Benton Harbor Shooting

Police have released the name of a man killed in a weekend Benton Harbor shooting. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety tells WSJM News 21-year-old Kyre Perre Hull, of Benton Harbor, was shot and killed Saturday afternoon outside the River Terrance apartments. An autopsy was done Monday confirming the cause of death. Public safety tells us they’re conducting an intensive investigation. The department asks anyone with information on the crime to contact them.. ...Read Full Story

Indiana Rail Line Rerouting Could Cost Residents Homes

Some Indiana residents may lose their homes to make way for the realignment of the South Shore rail line. The proposed route near the South Bend International Airport is projected to cost up to $25 million. The line would cut 10 minutes off the trip to the airport by taking a more direct route through an area that contains hundreds of homes. The realignment is part of a larger $290 million project to double track 16 miles between Michigan City and Gary. It has an expected completion date of 2020, pending federal funding approval. The airport and railroad had planned a similar project in 2005. The airport bought several area properties before shelving the project because of lack of funding.. ...Read Full Story

At Least 4 Dead In Michigan Lakes Over Weekend

At least four people have died in Michigan lakes over the weekend. Police say a 27-year-old Lansing man was found floating face-down Saturday night in Lake Michigan at Holland State Park. Yellow flags were flying at the time, a warning to swimmers that the water could be risky. Across the state in Wayne County, a 61-year-old man drowned in Belleville Lake. A 23-year-old woman disappeared while swimming at Clear Lake in St. Joseph County. In northern Michigan, authorities are looking for the body of a man in Lake Margrethe in Crawford County.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Fall; SWMI Has State’s Lowest Prices

Early summer gas prices are on the downswing statewide, and we’re starting this week with the state’s lowest prices in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph. The latest survey from Triple-A Michigan puts the local prices at $2.31, down 16¢ in the past week. The statewide average dropped about a dime and now stands at $2.40 a gallon. GasBuddy spotters put South Haven’s average the same as Benton Harbor at $2.31, while Dowagiac has the state’s lowest prices with several stations selling gas for as low at $2.06 a gallon.. ...Read Full Story

Two Hurt In Van Buren County Rollover

Two Van Buren County men are hospitalized in Kalamazoo after being badly hurt in a rollover crash in Antwerp Township Sunday afternoon. The sheriff’s department tells us the driver was thrown from the SUV, and his passenger had to be cut out using the Jaws of Life. Investigators don’t know yet why the 29-year-old driver from the Paw Paw area went off the road, which caused him to over correct and lose control. The vehicle hit a tree and a telephone pole before rolling over several times and stopping just feet from hitting a house. Tests will be done to see if the driver was high or drunk, and police say it does not appear he was wearing a seat belt. The passenger is a 50-year-old Lawton area man, and both were taken by ambulance to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo with serious injuries.. ...Read Full Story

Kinexus, Others Call For “Good Jobs For Michigan”

Kinexus has come out in favor of a plan to encourage businesses to bring large numbers of well-paying jobs to Michigan. The Good Jobs for Michigan plan is legislation that would give tax incentives to companies that create at least 250 jobs that pay 100% or more of the regional average for a trade. Kinexus CEO Todd Gustafson tells WSJM News there would be very real benefits to pushing for such jobs.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Rep Talks Handgun Bill

State Representative Kim LaSata tells us it wasn’t an easy decision, but she had several reasons for voting in favor of legislation easing restrictions on carrying concealed handguns this past week. The bill approved by the state House eliminates a requirement to have a license to carry a concealed pistol. It also removes a requirement to get eight hours of training before concealed carrying. LaSata, of Bainbridge Township, tells WSJM News she thinks most gun owners are responsible and don’t need such restrictions.. ...Read Full Story

Fatal Shooting In Benton Harbor

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is investigating a Saturday fatal shooting. It tells WSJM News officers were called out to River Terrace Apartments shortly after 3 p.m. and found the 21-year-old Benton Harbor man with severe wounds. He was taken to Lakeland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The victim’s identity has not been released. Police say they’re following several leads as part of their investigation. Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Benton Harbor Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

RESA Board Members Reelected

Berrien RESA has held its biennial election. School boards across Berrien County get to vote on the RESA board’s makeup every couple of years, and on June 5, they picked Linda Holt and J. Allene Smith to serve once again. Both of their terms are six years, ending in June of 2023. Holt, of Stevensville, has served on the RESA Board of Education since 1993, and is currently the treasurer. Smith, of Benton Harbor, has served since 2007.. ...Read Full Story

State Reminds Swimmers About Rip Current Dangers

The Michigan Department of Health and Humane Services is hoping the state’s residents have a safe summer on the Great Lakes. It tells us more than ten people die each year because of dangerous currents in the lakes. Those currents develop when winds blow toward the shore, and waves are three feet or higher. The health department also notes the eastern shore of Lake Michigan has the most current-related incidents of any part of the Great Lakes. 71% of such emergencies happen in Lake Michigan. Everyone’s advised to not swim alone, watch out for others, pay attention to water that’s discolored and choppy, foamy, or filled with debris, and to not swim near a structure like a pier. If you find yourself in a rip current, flip on your back, float to conserve energy, and follow the safest path out of the water. It could be along the line of the current until it’s less strong. You can find out more at the CDC’s website.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Co-Sponsors Bill To Build New Shipping Lock

Congressman Fred Upton is co-sponsoring legislation to authorize the construction of a new lock at the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie. The Soo Locks Modernization Act would approve the needed funding for a new shipping lock. Upton and other members of Michigan’s congressional delegation this week toured the locks, announcing the need for a new one. They say just one of the two functional locks is big enough for most shipping traffic, and if the one large lock were to have a problem, shipping on the Great Lakes would be severely hampered. They’re looking to build a new lock that would be 1,200 feet long, 110 feet wide, and 32 feet deep. It’s estimated a new lock could cost around $1 billion.. ...Read Full Story

I-94 Paving Work Near Watervliet Starts Sunday

The Michigan Department of Transportation is planning yet more freeway work in Berrien County. It tells us drivers should know there will be paving done on I-94 between mile markers 39 and 43 near Watervliet starting on Sunday. The work will be done at night, and will involve single lane closures. It will wrap up next Wednesday.. ...Read Full Story

State House Approves Ban On FGM

Legislation outlawing female genital mutilation and allowing victims to receive significant civil damages is headed to the Michigan Senate. That’s following overwhelming approval by the House this week. Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan tells WSJM News she’s glad they’ve taken action.. ...Read Full Story

Governor, Lawmakers Reach Pension Deal

Governor Snyder and Republican legislative leaders say that have reached a tentative framework on making changes to Michigan’s teacher retirement system. They reported the agreement after a meeting at the Capitol Thursday. The progress means Snyder will be involved in budget decisions again after GOP leaders excluded him. Details are being hashed out, and it may take some time according to House Speaker Tom Leonard.. ...Read Full Story