Local News Archives

South Haven Police Investigate Monday Shooting

The South Haven Police Department is investigating a shooting incident late Monday. It says officers in the afternoon were notified of a large number of visitors in town for a beach party that had been advertised on Facebook. They responded to reports of large groups several times throughout the day at North Beach and South Beach, along with two assaults. Throughout the evening, the department handled complaints at other locations around the city with help from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police, and Pokagon Tribal Police. Just before midnight, residents along Fruit Street were helping officers clear the area when some gunshots were reported. Police found two vehicles that had been hit, although they did not find the shooters. There have been no reports of injuries. The South Haven Police Department continues to investigate the incident, and asks anyone with information to contact them.. ...Read Full Story

Canada Eases Border Restriction, Allows Immediate Family In

From the Associated Press — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will allow immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada. It’s a slight easing of border restrictions enacted due to the coronarivus pandemic. Trudeau says anyone entering the country will be required to quarantine for 14 days or face serious penalties. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino says the limited exception will apply to spouses, common law partners, dependent children, parents and legal guardians. He says they will have have to say in Canada for at least 15 days.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph School Board Presented With Budget Road Map

The St. Joseph Public Schools Board of Education has been presented with a budget road map as schools in Michigan are expected to face major funding challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The board says health, safety and robust learning continue to be district priorities amid anticipated State budget shortfall. St. Joseph Public Schools has released the following statement:. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph City Commission Makes Statement Committing To Racial Justice

The St. Joseph City Commission has issued a statement calling for a commitment to racial justice and healing as protests continue around the nation following the killing of George Floyd. Speaking during a Monday virtual meeting, St. Joe Mayor Mike Garey said as he sees citizens take to the streets to protest systemic racism, he believes all must take an active role in change.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Reminds Campers Not To Transport Firewood

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reminding the public about the risk of accidentally spreading invasive species while moving firewood. Invasive insects that are a threat to trees can be easily transported into new areas via firewood. Infestations can destroy forests, lower property values, and cost huge amounts of money to control. DNR chief of resource protection and promotion Jason Fleming says as camping reopens around the state, it’s important for those making trips to buy their firewood in the area where they’re camping and not to bring it from home. He recommends buying it at your campground. Also remember to burn all of your firewood on site, and don’t bring it home with you.. ...Read Full Story

129 New Cases Of COVID-19 Identified In Michigan For Monday

The number of new COVID-19 cases being reported around Michigan for Monday is 129. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says there are 17 additional coronavirus deaths to report for Monday. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 58,999 cases confirmed in Michigan and 5,673 deaths. The state has not released county by county numbers for Monday as its website is being updated.. ...Read Full Story

Libraries Reopening With Curbside Pickup

As Michigan begins to reopen, libraries are calling back staff who haven’t been to work in 13 weeks. Van Buren District Library Director Dan Hutchins tells WSJM News library directors across the state have been in contact regarding a reopening plan, and you’ll see the same strategy pretty much everywhere. For VBDL, it starts Thursday with Phase 1, offering curbside pickup. If that goes well, they’ll proceed.. ...Read Full Story

Police Release More Information On Benton Twp Shooting

The Benton Township Police Department has released more information on a weekend shooting outside the Orchards Mall. It says three people were shot at a large gathering in the parking lot just before 2 a.m. on Sunday. All three were taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland hospital. 18-year-old Tyreik Payton Daniels died as a result of his injuries. He had been shot in the hip. A second victim, a 19-year-old man, had serious injuries, and the third victim, a 20-year-old man, had a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the leg. Police note the mall was closed at the time of the incident, and they say it’s not known what led to the shootings. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Benton Township Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Mayor Talks Protests During Address To Rotary

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammed says Americans should not be afraid of protests because protests spawned our nation. Muhammed spoke to St. Joseph Rotarians Monday, saying he was not surprised recent Benton Harbor protests have been peaceful. He said African Americans are not seeking “revenge” from white America. Instead, he said, black Americans simply are seeking “Equality, justice and freedom” following recent acts of police violence in several cities. Muhammed praised Benton Harbor police for much-improved relations with the community. He said the situation is in stark contrast to 2003, when an arrest led to several days of disturbances that gained national attention. He singled out Benton Harbor Public Safety Director Director Dan McGinnis for strong leadership in the community policing effort.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata To Host Outdoor Office Hours

State Senator Kim LaSata is planning to hold open office hours this month, but with a twist due to COVID-19. LaSata will host sessions with the public outdoors. 21st District residents will have three times to ask questions and express concerns to LaSata. First up will be outdoor office hours at Milo Barnes Park in Vandalia on Friday, June 12. LaSata will be there from 9 to 10 a.m. The same day, LaSata will be at Free Church Park in Sturgis from 11 a.m. to noon. On Monday, June 15, she will be at Oronoko Township Park in Berroen Springs from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Everyone who attends is asked to follow social distancing guidelines and to wear a mask.. ...Read Full Story

Governor: Still A While Before Full Reopening

Restaurants and bars in Michigan are the latest businesses to reopen this week as the recovery from the coronavirus moves forward. There are safety protocols that business owners have to follow in order to re-open and there will be limited capacity. Governor Gretchen Whitmer says it will be a while before restaurants will be able to have full crowds.. ...Read Full Story

Upper Peninsula Council Member Apologies For Remarks About Demonstrators

From the Associated Press — A city council member in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has apologized for jokingly suggesting shooting demonstrators who commit violence or vandalism during a July 4th celebration. Escanaba Council Member Ralph Blasier made the remarks during a Thursday council meeting, reading from a statement saying those who threw objects at police, shot anyone or set fires “will be shot in both legs and be left lying there till dawn” when they’ll “need to crawl to the hospital.” The Escanaba Daily Press reports Blasier apologized Friday calling it a “failed attempt at humor.” The comment comes amidst demonstrations after George Floyd’s death.. ...Read Full Story

Survey Finds Teachers Want Smaller Class Sizes

A new survey of teachers from across the state of Michigan shows the vast majority have many concerns over what a return to school might look like this fall. Paula Herbart is President of the Michigan Education Association, which commissioned the survey of more than 15,000 educators statewide. She spoke with Michigan News Network.. ...Read Full Story

State Reports 121 New Cases Of COVID-19 For Sunday

Michigan is reporting 121 additional cases of COVID-19 around the state for Sunday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says that brings the total up to 58,870 since the start of the pandemic. There were four deaths reported for Sunday, making the total 5,656. The state reported a total of 656 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Berrien County for Sunday, which was an increase of five cases from Saturday. There was one additional death reported for the county, making that total 54. Cass County reported two additional cases, bringing the total to 93 with three deaths. Van Burn County reported one new case for Sunday, with a total of 155 and six deaths since the start of the pandemic.. ...Read Full Story

Major Theater Chain May Not Reopen

Things are starting to reopen in Michigan, but one very big chain, AMC, says they may not make it if this lasts much longer. Cory Jacobson, is the owner of Phoenix Theatres based in Southeast Michigan. He spoke with Michigan News Network about the difficulty of running a movie theater in times like these.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Fatal Shooting In Benton Township

The Benton Township Police Department is investigating a fatal shooting that occurred overnight on Sunday. It says officers were called to the Orchards Mall shortly before 2 a.m. on a report of a shooting. Upon arrival, they were told several people had been shot and were at Spectrum Health Lakeland. Police found there were three victims at the hospital, all males, aged 18, and 19, and 20. The 18-year-old victim was pronounced dead at the hospital, while the 19-year-old had serious injuries and the 20-year-old had non life threatening injuries. Police learned the shootings occurred during a large gathering at the mall, although they don’t know what led to shots being fired. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Benton Township Police Department. Assisting at the scene were Michigan State Police, the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety, and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Secretary Of State To Hold Listening Sessions Around Michigan

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Assistant Secretary of State Heaster Wheeler have announced they will participate in conversations and listening sessions in the months ahead regarding the disenfranchised Michigan communities that typically have low turnout in elections. Benson says the killing of George Floyd and many others, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, and inequities in the education, healthcare, and criminal justice systems underscore the work that must be done. Her administration is reaching out to community leaders around the state to organize events. Those who would like to set up a virtual conversation with Benson and Wheeler are encouraged to contact the Michigan Secretary of State’s office by emailing Zaineb A. Hussein at HusseinZ3@Michigan.gov. Benson says many of the voting precincts with the lowest turnout are located in Detroit, Flint, Ypsilanti, Pontiac, Warren, Grand Rapids, and the Benton Harbor areas.. ...Read Full Story

March Held In South Haven

An estimated 400 to 500 people took part in a march against racial injustice in South Haven on Saturday. The march started at Elkenburg park with speakers from the community and proceeded to the South Haven Pavilion. There, Mayor Scott Smith, members of the South Haven City Council, the police chief, and some pastors spoke. The march then continued through the downtown area and back to Elkenburg Park. The peaceful event was planned with help of local officials.
. ...Read Full Story

Ford Keeps Salaried Workers Home

Ford is delaying the return of most of it’s salaried workers. Some workers, who needed to be on site, have already returned. Ford telling the others Friday they won’t be coming back until at least September. No surprise to AutoTrader analyst Michelle Krebs, who spoke with the Michigan News Network.. ...Read Full Story

COVID-19 Totals For Saturday

Michigan is reporting 224 additional cases of COVID-19 for Saturday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says that brings the total since the start of the pandemic to 58,749. The state reports 36 additional coronavirus deaths for Saturday, making the total 5,652. For southwest Michigan, the state is reporting a total of 651 COVID-19 cases in Berrien County since the start of the pandemic. Berrien County has had 53 deaths. Van Buren County reports a total of 154 cases and six deaths. Cass County reports 91 confirmed cases and three deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Honor Credit Union Releases COVID-19 Community Impact Numbers

Honor Credit Union has released some numbers regarding how it’s been affected by COVID-19. At the start of the pandemic, it announced the Honor Financial Relief Package to help out members. It included things like an option to skip a payment on loans without any fees. Honor Credit Union says across the board, members saved $366,000 in fees waived, and $491,000 was disbursed in Financial Relief Loans to 352 members. The Paycheck Protection Program additionally provided funding for 441 loans, totaling more than $30 million for small businesses. Honor says the feedback from the financial package has been “remarkable,” and has spread to an outpouring of community support.. ...Read Full Story

Economist Talks West MI Recovery

The worst of the recession driven by the coronavirus in west Michigan is over. That’s according to Brian Long with the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. He says many of our supply chains have been shaken, and restarting production will not be easy.. ...Read Full Story

First 2020 Case Of West Nile Virus Found In Michigan

West Nile virus has been detected in Michigan for the first time this year. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it’s been reported in a captive hawk from Lapeer County. Everyone is being reminded the best way to protect themselves against West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, like Eastern Equine Encephalitis, is to prevent mosquito bites. Last year, West Nile virus sickened 12 Michiganders, along with 20 animals and birds in the state. Additionally, Michigan in 2019 experienced its worst outbreak of EEE virus ever recorded. There was EEE activity reported in 20 counties, with 50 cases in animals and 10 people infected with EEE, including six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Appoints Director Of COVID-19 Workplace Safety

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has appointed Deputy Director for Labor at the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Sean Egan as her new Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety. Egan says he’ll be overseeing the state’s re-engagement so employers and employees know what they need to do to be safe. The state is launching a website with guidelines.. ...Read Full Story

Undersheriff Talks Protests

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department stands with the Michigan Sheriff’s Association as it condemns the actions of Minneapolis police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd. The association has called the actions of the officers bad policing, and Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit agrees.. ...Read Full Story

Summer Jam, Smooth Jazz At Sunset Canceled For This Year

97.5 Y Country radio’s Summer Jam concert, along with 98.3 the Coast’s Smooth Jazz at Sunset concert, both planned for this summer, have been canceled. Organizers say uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic are the reason. However, both will be back in 2021. Summer Jam founder and producer Gayle Olson says the “uncertainty surrounding public health requirements going forward simply preclude organizing a quality concert event for several thousand Y-Country listeners this year,” but he stressed Summer Jam will be back in 2021. He also praised the event’s sponsor since the beginning in 1998, Your Neighborhood Michigan Ford Dealers, noting they helped Y Country “bring some of Country Music’s biggest names to Southwest Michigan early in their careers.” Those names included Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan and Little Big Town. Meanwhile, Smooth Jazz at Sunset is a production of 98.3 The Coast, the Adult Contemporary radio station of Mid-West Family. It began in 2003 and has grown to be a major music event of summer in St. Joseph, headlined by many of the biggest names in the Smooth Jazz music genre. Olson said he has already had several conversations about Smooth Jazz at Sunset 2021, planned for Saturday, July 10.. ...Read Full Story

Study: Autonomous Vehicles Won’t Make Roads Completely Safe

From the Associated Press — A new study says that while autonomous vehicle technology has great promise to reduce crashes, it may not be able to prevent all crashes caused by humans. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study questions whether self-driving cars will be able to prevent all crashes now blamed on human error. It says that while autonomous vehicles eventually will identify
hazards and react faster than humans, and they won’t get distracted, that’s only enough to prevent about one-third of roadway crashes. The rest of the crashes are a lot harder. Auto safety experts say 94% of crashes are caused by humans.. ...Read Full Story

284 News Cases Of COVID-19 Identified Statewide Friday

Michigan is reporting 284 additional cases of COVID-19 for Friday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says that brings the state’s total to 58,525 since the start of the pandemic. There are 20 additional deaths to report around the state for Friday, making that total 5,615. Michigan Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun says this is encouraging.. ...Read Full Story

Board Names Interim County Administrator

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has named former Berrien County Coordinator Mike Henry the interim county administrator while it waits for Brian Dissette to take over the position next month. During a Thursday meeting, the board voted to move Henry into the post for about two weeks, the period between the retirement of current Berrien County Administrator Bill Wolf and when Dissette will start. Board Chair Mac Elliot said Henry is a good fit to hold the wheel.. ...Read Full Story

One Arrested Following Drug Investigation

Police have made an arrest following a four month investigation into the sale of crack cocaine in Benton Township. The Southwest Enforcement Team says officers on Tuesday arrested 46-year-old William Henry Harden in the Benton Township business district for selling crack. He tried to run, but officers quickly caught him. Police say they found a quarter ounce of crack and more than an ounce of crystal meth on him. They add they found more drugs in his hotel room. Harden was taken to the Berrien County Jail on charges of delivery of crack cocaine, possession of crystal meth, and resisting and obstructing police.. ...Read Full Story

Business Pays Off School Lunch Bills In Bridgman

A Berrien County business has stepped forward to cover unpaid school lunch bills for families and students in Bridgman. Bridgman Public Schools Superintendent Shane Peters tells WSJM News Mead & White Electrical Contractors has paid $587.96 to cover school lunches that could not be paid during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company had reached out to the school to ask how it could help.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Hears Testimony On Effects Of State Shutdown

State Senator Kim LaSata is back at work in Lansing, and tells us she spent part of the week hearing testimony about how the COVID-19 shutdown has affected businesses. She listened Tuesday as the Legislature’s Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic heard from the owner of the Coloma-St. Joseph KOA campground. He didn’t understand why a campground, of all places, would be ordered closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Joins Unity March in Detroit

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist took part in a civil rights march in Detroit on Thursday. The moves came a day after Whitmer announced her support for a series of policy plans for police reform in Michigan, calling on Michigan law enforcement agencies to enhance their training and policies to help create a police culture where all Michiganders are treated with dignity and respect under the law. The Michigan Senate on Thursday unanimously approved legislation that would require police to be trained on implicit bias and de-escalation techniques to minimize the use of force. Thursday’s vote came more than a week after the
death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which has sparked nationwide protests. The legislation would also mandate, starting in 2022, that officers complete annual continuing education. Michigan is among six states without such a requirement, according to a 2017 report. The measure, which was passed just a week after its introduction, was sent to the House for further consideration.
. ...Read Full Story

County Moves To Continue Operations Of Berrien Bus

Berrien County is taking on some of the functions of a private company that handled operations of Berrien Bus as that company shuts down. The Berrien County Board of Commissioners was told last month Transportation Management Incorporated is closing at the end of June. That would have left the county with no staff to run Berrien Bus. So, the board voted on Thursday to create some new employee classifications to bring in drivers, dispatchers, and maintenance technicians so Berrien Bus can continue operations. Commissioner Teri Freehling noted the move is temporary.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Updates County Board On COVID-19

Berrien County is in a relatively good position when it comes to COVID-19 as the state starts to reopen. That’s the view of Berrien County Health Officer Nicki Britten, who presented a weekly COVID update to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners on Thursday. She says while tests are still not unlimited in the area, the capacity has greatly improved.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Senate: Train Police On Bias, Reduced Use Of Force

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would require police to be trained on implicit bias and de-escalation techniques to minimize the use of force. Thursday’s vote came more than a week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which has sparked nationwide protests. The legislation would also mandate, starting in 2022, that officers complete annual continuing education. Michigan is among six states without such a requirement, according to a 2017 report. The measure, which was passed just a week after its introduction, was sent to the House for further consideration.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Loosen Some Alcohol Restrictions

It may not be long before you can buy booze to go in Michigan and have a cocktail in a social district. Two bills passed out of the Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee and have been referred to another committee. Mark Sellers of Barfly Ventures, which owns Hopcat restaurants, testified they need all the help they can get because of the pandemic.. ...Read Full Story

Coloma Campground Owner Testifies About Shutdown In MI Senate

The Michigan Legislature’s Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic took testimony from small businesses from throughout the state this week on how they have been affected by the coronavirus shutdown. Among others, lawmakers heard from Riverside’s Mark Lemoine, the owner of the Coloma-St. Joseph KOA campground. He said the way in which the governor’s shutdown order was handled created a great deal of confusion in his industry.. ...Read Full Story