Local News Archives

Grassroots Group Looks To Help Berrien County Police

A group of Berrien County residents is hoping to help police in the area following last month’s fatal shootings at the Berrien County Courthouse. Berrien County Strong — Community in Action was formed on Facebook by Gretta Volkenstein soon after the July 11 incident. On Thursday, members met to talk fundraising, among other things. Volkenstein says they’ll start by raising money for the Berrien Community Foundation’s sheriff’s department challenge grant.. ...Read Full Story

Fallen MSP Trooper To Be Remembered In Niles

A Michigan State Police trooper who died in the line of duty in 1981 will be remembered with a ceremony in Niles next week. On Saturday, there will be a memorial at the Niles Law Enforcement Complex for Allan Peterson. The 37-year-old trooper died on August 29 of 1981 as a result of exposure to toxic fumes while responding to a train derailment in Bridgman on August 7. He had a massive heart attack caused by a prolonged coughing fit which doctors linked to the train incident. Peterson was the 34th state police trooper to die in the line of duty. Next Saturday’s ceremony will be at 3 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

Suspect Arrested In Series Of Covert Area Break-Ins

One suspect has been arrested in a series of home break-ins reported in the Covert area over the past month. The township police department says officers searched a home on North Watervliet Road Wednesday after getting a tip some of the stolen property was stashed there. With the help of Berrien County sheriff’s deputies and Michigan State Police, they found about $5,000 of it. The suspect was arrested on an unrelated matter, and could be looking at charges of receiving and concealing stolen property. His name has not yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

Flint To Begin Replacing Old Water pipes

Flint is moving forward on an effort to replace old lead and galvanized steel water lines amid the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water. A kickoff for the latest phase of the Fast Start program is Friday. Mayor Karen Weaver says it’ll result in the replacement of service lines at 200-250 homes. This fall, her office says the next phase of the replacement program that started in March will cover 5,000 additional homes. Under work starting Friday, replacement will take place with the approval of homeowners. The project has replaced dozens of lines and is being paid for with $2 million from the state. Over 18 months, lead leached from old pipes into Flint’s water supply when the city used water from the Flint River. The water wasn’t treated for corrosiveness.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan To Auction Off 380 Tax-Foreclosed Properties

(Lansing, MI) – The state of Michigan will auction 380 tax-foreclosed properties located in eight counties next week. The auctions are scheduled for August 23-24. Roughly 230 parcels in Iosco, Keweenaw, Luce and Mecosta counties will go to auction Tuesday at the Ramada Inn in Grayling. Another 150 properties in Branch, Clinton, Livingston and Shiawassee counties will go to auction next Wednesday at the Ramada near Lansing.. ...Read Full Story

$1.2M To Improve Access To Care For Children With Epilepsy

Michigan is getting $1.2 million to help improve access to health care for children with epilepsy in rural and medically underserved areas. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it recently got the 3-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal Child and Health Systems Branch. The funding will support the Michigan Pediatric Epilepsy Project.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Investigate Hagar Twp Robbery

An armed robbery at the Riverside Food Market in Hagar Township is under investigation. A white man in his late 30s or early 40s is accused of pulling a gun on the clerk around 5 a.m. Tuesday and getting away with an unknown amount of money along with cigarettes. Michigan State Police investigators say the suspect is about five-feet-8 with a medium build and thin wire glasses. When he held up the store, he was dressed in flip flops, a gray Michigan State University hoodie, black pants and a dark baseball hat.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Seeks Emergency Appeal To Reinstate Straight Party Ticket Ban

Michigan says it will file an emergency appeal asking the entire 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider the state’s new ban against straight-party voting. A panel of three judges at the Cincinnati-based federal court rejected Wednesday the state’s request to immediately halt a lower ruling that blocked the Republican-sponsored law. Attorney General Bill Schuette says Michigan “is no different” than 40 other states that do not allow straight-ticket voting, which lets voters cast votes for all candidates from one party with a single mark. U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain blocked the law last month, saying it would cause long lines and place a “disproportionate burden” on black voters in November’s election.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Youth Fair Continues Through Saturday

You still have time to take in the Berrien County Youth Fair this week. The event continues through Saturday, and Thursday will bring a classic rock show to the grandstand when the Happy Together Tour, featuring members of several rock acts, takes the stage. Youth Fair Director Karen Klug says Friday will feature the rodeo-like Bullmania, and then Saturday’s grandstand show is Diesel Domination.. ...Read Full Story

Immigration Court To Review Parlak Case

Ibrahim Parlak has been granted a little more time in his fight to remain in the United States. This week, the Board of Immigration Appeals sent his case back to a Detroit immigration judge, finding there was reason to believe Parlak could be tortured if he was sent back to his native Turkey. Parlak friend and spokesperson Martin Dzuris.. ...Read Full Story

Work Begins To Replace Chikaming Township Culvert

The Berrien County Road Commission has begun work on a Chikaming Township culvert replacement. The culvert under Red Arrow Highway near Cherry Beach Road is in danger of collapsing, and the road commission earlier this year upset local business owners when it announced Red Arrow would be shut down all summer for the work. It eventually bowed to pressure to reschedule for August. The road commission’s Mike Juengling says the road was closed Monday.. ...Read Full Story

New Details On Watervliet Industrial Accident Released

Police say a 75-year-old Hartford man who was killed in a Tuesday industrial accident near Watervliet fell 25 feet when scaffolding he had climbed collapsed. According to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, Carl Lee Stone was working to wire a light at 8901 Industrial Park Drive when the accident happened. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Also, 28-year-old Joshua Stone, of Lawrence, suffered a broken arm and possible internal injuries in the fall. He was taken to Lakeland Hospital in Watervliet. Police continue to investigate the cause of the collapse.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Rampage Victim Receiving More Surgery

14-year-old Abigail Kopf, the youngest survivor of February’s shooting rampage in Kalamazoo, is undergoing more surgery. An update to her recovery Facebook page says that skin near her head wound from the shooting is not healing properly. Due to an infection, Abbi in June had to undergo surgery for doctors to remove a 3D-printed plate they previously used to reconstruct her skull. The family learned last week that replacing the affected skin will require cosmetic surgery. She was shot outside of a Cracker Barrel restaurant near Kalamazoo in February’s attacks. Four others were shot dead there, allegedly by 45-year-old Jason Dalton.. ...Read Full Story

MI Jobless Rate Down

Michigan’s jobless rate dipped to 4.5 percent in July, a slight drop from the previous month and lowest in 15 years. The state said Wednesday it’s the lowest rate since January 2001’s 4.4 percent, but officials say it corresponds with a significant drop in labor force and employment levels. Total employment fell by 20,000, while the number of unemployed fell by 8,000. The Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives says Michigan’s unemployment rate has incrementally dropped this year, following a mostly decreasing trend since July 2009.
Gov. Rick Snyder says in a statement the creation of 475,000 private sector jobs in the past 5 1/2 years is “something to be proud of,” but adds “demanding challenges remain.” The U.S. jobless rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent in July.. ...Read Full Story

Pure Michigan Getting Fall Campaign Ready

Pure Michigan has some exciting things planned for their Fall campaign. Vice President Dave Lorenz says they’ll continue to feature fall color tours and opportunities to enjoy the heritage around the state. As for what else is being planned, Lorenz is being coy. “We’re working with McDonalds and Coca-Cola on a ‘Share a Coke’ program,” he says. “You’re going to hear about that in just a couple of weeks. I can’t go into too much detail.”. ...Read Full Story

Naked Home Intruder Caught In Van Buren County

A 23-year-old Bloomingdale man is in the Van Buren County Jail after a break-in last night in Columbia Township. He was found naked in a nearby outbuilding by sheriff’s department deputies. The homewoner called 911 just before 9 p.m. to report someone was breaking in. The suspect is facing four charges, including home invasion and indecent exposure. No names have been released.. ...Read Full Story

LMC To Celebrate New Hanson Technology Center

The completion of Lake Michigan College’s new Hanson Technology Center will be celebrated next week with a grand opening and open house. The $12 million facility has been built to house some of LMC’s career and technical programs, including those for energy production, engineering, machine tool, skilled trades, and welding. It’s replacing the old M-TEC center. Students will start to attend classes at the Hanson Center this fall, and LMC says everyone’s welcome to come check the place out next Tuesday. The open house will run from 2 to 6 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

One Dead In Watervliet Industrial Fall

One person is dead and another is hurt following a Watervliet-area industrial accident Tuesday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it was called to 8901 Industrial Park Drive shortly before 6:45 p.m. on a report that some scaffolding and ladders had collapsed. Two people fell. The sheriff’s department says Carl Lee Stone, of Hartford, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Joshua Stone was injured. He was taken to Lakeland Hospital for treatment. The cause of the collapse is under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Increased Minimum Wage Could Lead To Less Crime

In Michigan, the minimum wage is more than a dollar above the national rate, at $8.50 an hour. However, advocates for working families say it’s still not enough. New research says in states with a lower minimum wage, the percentage of adults in jail or prison is higher than in states where workers make more money. Rebecca Vallas, with the Center for American Progress, says if people make enough to make ends meet, they’re less likely to take desperate measures that land them in jail.. ...Read Full Story

Attorney: Technology For The Deaf Widely Available To Theaters

A lawsuit filed on behalf of a St. Joseph man against the owners of Celebration Cinema for failing to provide captioning services to the deaf seeks damages, as well as immediate installation of those services. Attorney Mary Vargas, with the firm representing Graham Forsey, says her client should be able to use simple technology that is widely available to be able to read captions.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Trial Court To Offer Bench Warrant Amnesty

The Berrien County Trial Court next month will offer a way out for anyone facing a bench warrant. It says amnesty will be granted to anyone who turns himself in and pays whatever is owed to the court. The amnesty period is September 6 through September 16, and it only applies to those with a bench warrant for failing to appear or failing to comply with financial obligations on a criminal case. Anyone who wants to take advantage should just show up to one of the Berrien County Courthouses with the money to pay what they owe. The court will then recall the warrant and dismiss any future contempt charges. Anyone looking for more information can call the courthouse.. ...Read Full Story

Hearing To Be Held On Snyder Pick For DEQ

The Michigan Senate will hold a hearing on Governor Rick Snyder’s pick to lead the Department of Environmental Quality in the wake of
Flint’s water crisis. A spokeswoman for Senate Republicans said Tuesday that the Senate Natural Resources Committee will meet September 7 to consider the appointment of Heidi Grether. The selection of the former oil and gas lobbyist has drawn criticism from Democrats and environmentalists. But Grether, who began the job on August 1, is unlikely to be rejected by the GOP-led Senate. Senators last year let stand the Republican governor’s choice for the Michigan Public Service Commission despite the appointee’s past ties to a major utility that the panel regulates. Grether replaces Dan Wyant, who resigned in December because of the DEQ’s role in Flint’s lead contamination.. ...Read Full Story

[VIDEO] Walk to End Alzheimer’s Held in St. Joseph

St. Joseph is taking a stand against Alzheimer’s. Over 400 people joined the Walk to End Alzheimer’s last Saturday at the Silver Beach Carousel. Participants not only walked two miles, but learned about the disease and what they can do to help those struggling with it. Walk manager Kristin Burt says that, despite the rain, the walk drew a good crowd and was a success.. ...Read Full Story

State Office To Put Troubled Schools On Notice For Closure

(Lansing, MI – AP) – The Michigan school reform office plans to put chronically low-performing schools on notice that they might be closed by next June. The office’s Director Natasha Baker tells the “Detroit Free Press” the number of schools affected isn’t known, but some have been performing at low levels for a decade. She says schools will learn by year’s end whether they could be closed.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Man’s Murder Trial Starting In Grand Rapids

The murder trial of a Benton Harbor man is scheduled to begin today in Grand Rapids. Shaquille Bunting is charged with murder in the shooting death last year of Terence Hollis in the parking lot of the Chicken Coop restaurant on South Division Avenue. Bunting has turned down a plea deal from the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office to second degree murder. Grand Rapids police say he and Hollis got into a fight in the restaurant that spilled into the parking lot. If convicted, he faces life in prison.. ...Read Full Story

Movie Theater Chain Sued Over Lack Of Captioning

Celebration Cinema owner Loeks Theaters is being sued for not providing captioning for the hearing disabled at its location in Benton Harbor. The suit announced this week was filed on behalf of St. Joseph resident Graham Forsey, who is deaf, and the National Association of the Deaf. Their attorneys say the Americans with Disabilities Act requires movie theaters to ensure deaf individuals have full and equal access. Forsey says he loves the movies but can’t go in Benton Harbor because, there, he can’t understand them. Celebration Cinema tells WSJM News national standards for accommodating the deaf are expected to be rolled out in the next year, and it’s waiting for that to happen before it installs new technology. The suit’s plaintiffs say the technology to display captioning in theaters is “broadly available.”. ...Read Full Story

Analyst: Third Party Candidate Could Be Major Factor In Election

Some Democrats and Republicans are searching for options other than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for this presidential election, given both candidates’ low popularity ratings. Experts say while third-party and independent candidates have zero chance of winning the White House, their participation can affect the contest. John Clark, a professor of political science at Western Michigan University, says this is definitely one of those years.. ...Read Full Story

Coast Guard Looking For Boater Missing In Lake MI Off Ludington

Authorities in Michigan say searchers have found the body of a boater in Lake Michigan and are looking for a second boater who is missing. The U.S. Coast Guard station in Ludington says three people went out Sunday night to go fishing and two of them ended up in the water off of Oceana County near Little Sable Point. The Coast Guard says one person was found dead and the search is ongoing Monday for the second person. The third boater was OK. Coast Guard crews from Ludington and Muskegon are involved in the search along with other agencies, including sheriff’s departments in Oceana and Mason counties. In addition to boats on the water, a Coast Guard helicopter is involved in the search.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Closing Stevensville Area I-94 Exit This Week

The Michigan Department of Transportation is advising drivers about a maintenance project starting this week that will mean the closure of an I-94 exit in Berrien County. It says the ramp from westbound 94 to Grand Mere Road, or John Beers, at exit 22 in Stevensville will be closed for construction starting Wednesday. It’ll stay closed through Friday, September 9. Traffic will be detoured at the Bridgman exit. You could also get off at the Red Arrow Highway exit in Stevensville. To stay on top of all of MDOT’s projects this summer, just get its MIDrive app. It’s free for both iPhone and Android.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Sec. Of State Office Closing For Remodel

The Secretary of State branch office in Dowagiac is going to be closed next week for remodeling. The office will be closed August 22-26 and reopen on Monday August 29 at 9 a.m. New data lines are promised along with a customer-friendly new counter design and new furniture. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson notes a lot of business can be done online at ExpressSOS.com, but for those who have to go to a branch, the nearest three are in Niles, Paw Paw and Benton Harbor and will all be open next week.. ...Read Full Story

20 Pigs Had Swine Flu At Cass County Fair

There are no reported human illnesses, but the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department says 20 pigs at the Cass County Fair last week were infected with the H3N2 strain of the swine flu. The health department is working with Cass County Michigan State University Extension 4H, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to monitor the situation. Human infection with swine flu is most likely to happen when people are in close proximity to the infected animals, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. The H3N2 strain is considered relatively mild for people.. ...Read Full Story

Police Looking For Armed Robbery Suspect

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is hunting for an armed robbery suspect who held up JD’s Truck Stop in Bertrand Township early yesterday morning. The suspect pulled a gun on the cashier just after midnight and got away with an undisclosed amount of cash. He’s described as white or Hispanic, about 5’5″ with a thin build and a tattoo on the inside of his right forearm. His face was covered by a bandana, and he wore a red and white hat, a red T-shirt and red pants. Anyone who recognizes him is urged to call the sheriff’s department.. ...Read Full Story

Jean Klock Park Luau Slated For This Month

Coming up this month will be the Third Coast Surf Shop’s 12th annual Great Lakes Surf Luau at Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor. Slated for Saturday, August 20, the event will feature the screening of a surf documentary, a swap meet, a barbecue, and more. There will also be live music provided by a couple of bands. The festivities will begin at 4 p.m., and everyone’s invited. Folks are encouraged to bring along a dish for the potluck.. ...Read Full Story

Thompson Sentenced For December Murder-Week in Review

In this week’s WSJM Week in Review, for August 12, 2016, a Benton Harbor man is sentenced to a maximum of 60 years in prison for his role in a shooting death last December, new details on the investigation of July’s courthouse shooter, Buchanan students receive financial aid for college a St. Joseph City Commissioner celebrates 30 years of service, and more.. ...Read Full Story

Brother Of Murder Victim Speaks After Sentencing Of Shooter

Steve Krieger says justice has been served, but he can never be satisfied. His brother, David Krieger, was shot and killed in December outside of Steve Krieger’s business, Michiana Supply, in Benton Township. Sentenced to at least 35 years in prison for second degree murder in the case is Roy Thompson, who learned his fate this week. The case may seem over, but Steve Krieger says he has not been pleased with some of the things that were said in the last eight months. In particular, what he says are false claims that Dave Krieger sprinted at Thompson during a confrontation.. ...Read Full Story

Brother Of Murder Victim Speaks After Sentencing Of Shooter

Steve Krieger says justice has been served, but he can never be satisfied. His brother, David Krieger, was shot and killed in December outside of Steve Krieger’s business, Michiana Supply, in Benton Township. Sentenced to at least 35 years in prison for second degree murder in the case is Roy Thompson, who learned his fate this week. The case may seem over, but Steve Krieger says he has not been pleased with some of the things that were said in the last eight months. In particular, what he says are false claims that Dave Krieger sprinted at Thompson during a confrontation.. ...Read Full Story