Local News Archives

South Haven Cottage Walk This Saturday

SHOUT for South Haven will hold its 25th annual Cottage Walk this Saturday. The organization says the day is all about giving everyone a chance to check out the kinds of homes available in the community. Those who take part will tour six cottages, some of which are year-round homes and some of which are summer retreats. Everyone can also check out specialty shops and outdoor dining around South Haven. Tickets to the South Haven Cottage Walk are available at the South Haven Visitor’s Bureau or at the farmer’s market on Saturday. Anyone who wants to find out more can contact SHOUT for South haven.. ...Read Full Story

Paquette Proposes Update To Emergency Manager Law

An update to Michigan’s emergency manager law has been introduced by state Representative Brad Paquette of Niles. He says his bill is intended to help protect the water quality of communities taken over by the state by replacing the current single-person emergency management structure with a three-person committee made up of one local government operations expert, one local ombudsman, and one financial expert. Paquette says that would increase transparency and allow residents of the affected communities more of a voice. His bill is part of a 30 bill package announced this week that aims to prevent water contamination around Michigan. Also included in the package is state Representative Beth Griffin’s bill making the state’s PFAS action response team a permanent agency.. ...Read Full Story

Rotary Announces New Leaders

The Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor has announced its new leadership for the year. At a ceremony at the Hilton Garden Inn in Benton Harbor on Monday, the Rotary officially welcomed new President Brandi Smith. She works at Spectrum Health Lakeland as vice president of philanthropy, and says she wants to use her role to inspire deeper connections among membership and the communities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph. Smith also has the distinction of being the first African American President of the Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor, which she sees as an opportunity to attract and invite more women and men from diverse backgrounds. The Rotary also announced its new board of directors this week. The list of directors is below.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Township Shooting Under Investigation

The Benton Township Police Department is investigating a Tuesday shooting. It says officers were sent to the Blossom Acres housing development shortly after 3 p.m. on a report of a shooting victim. While on the way, they were told the victim, 24 year old Andrew Butler Brown, was now at the Harbor Town Clinic on East Main Street in Benton Harbor. Officers found him there with gunshot wounds to the leg. He was taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland with non-life threatening injuries. Benton Township police processed the crime scene and say they do not yet have a suspect. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact the Benton Township Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Lots Of Money Raised For SJ Fireworks

The city of St. Joseph is preparing for its annual Fourth of July fireworks show, although this year’s spectacle will not actually be on the Fourth of July. The event is slated for Wednesday, July 3. This year’s show is made possible in part thanks to its sponsors. The city tells us the fundraising for the show has surpassed its goal by nearly 40%. The city thanks everyone who chipped in. Meanwhile, officials want everyone to get the word out that the show this year is on the third and not the fourth. At last week’s Berrien County Board of Commissioners meeting, it was noted the change in date could confuse some out of towners who reserved hotel rooms for themselves on the night of July 4. Once again, that fireworks show will be along the Lake Michigan waterfront on Wednesday, July 3 at dusk.. ...Read Full Story

Praise For South Haven Bronson Wound Program

The wound and hyperbaric medicine program at Bronson South Haven Hospital has received a new distinction by being named a President’s Circle Center of Excellence by Healogics, which is the country’s biggest provider of advanced wound care. Bronson says the award is based on clinical and operational results for at least two consecutive years. It says its wound program in particular offers help to patients suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, and other chronic wounds. Bronson South Haven Hospital COO Kirk Richardson says the new designation is due to the hospital’s “expert wound team in collaboration with Bronson South Haven staff and providers.”. ...Read Full Story

MI Supreme Court To Consider Private School Funding Case

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to take up a major lower court decision that allows Michigan tax dollars to flow to private schools. A coalition of public school groups and the American Civil Liberties Union had urged the state’s high court to reverse an October opinion by the appeals court. The court said private schools can receive public money to help them comply with health, safety and welfare rules. In Tuesday’s order, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman said the court needs to resolve the issue with a “final decision.” Critics say the Michigan Constitution clearly states that no public money can
aid a private school. The Republican-controlled Legislature and then-Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, approved $2.5 million in 2016 for state requirements at private schools.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Working With Whirlpool To Improve Safety Of Crosswalk

The city of St. Joseph is working with Whirlpool to provide a safer way for employees to cross Upton Drive from a parking lot to their workplace each day. At a Monday meeting, city commissioners moved forward an agreement that will have Whirlpool pay for changes to the crosswalk just north of the CSX railroad tracks. City Manager John Hodgson tells WSJM News some of the workers had safety concerns about the current crosswalk.. ...Read Full Story

Florida Man Charged In 1986 Bangor Murder

From the Associated Press — A Florida prison inmate has been charged with murder in the strangling of a woman in southwest Michigan more than three decades ago. Prosecutors charged 49-year-old Robert James Waite last week in the killing of 59-year-old Wilda Wilkinson of Bangor during a home invasion in July 1986. Michigan State Police tell WOOD-TV that they matched partial DNA found on
Wilkinson’s clothes to Waite. Detectives say Waite confessed to killing Wilkinson when they interviewed him in April. Authorities say Waite knew specific details about the slaying. Waite is imprisoned in Florida on unrelated kidnapping and sexual battery charges. He will be extradited to Michigan. Prosecutors in March charged another man who police said confessed to killing Wilkinson, but they dismissed the charge without prejudice when investigators confirmed Waite’s DNA match.. ...Read Full Story

Effort Grows For More Age-Friendly Cities

A growing movement in Michigan and around the world aims to ensure communities are able to serve the needs of people of all ages. Eight cities and towns in the state are members of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, who have committed to creating a place to live that’s inclusive and considerate of residents from all walks of life and of any age. Paula Cunningham with AARP Michigan says safe, accessible living especially is important for older Michiganders. ...Read Full Story

Reconstruction Projects On Three SJ Streets Planned for Next Year

Set for next year is a reconstruction project for parts of Kingsley, Orchard, and Morton Streets in St. Joseph. City commissioners approved awarding the engineering contract to Abonmarche on Monday for $345,000. Plans are still being drafted, but St. Joe City Engineer Tim Zebell tells WSJM News when all is said and done, people will see the roads totally reconstructed and some other changes.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Signs Budget For Census, Ballot Proposals, Drinking Water

From the Associated Press — Gretchen Whitmer has signed a $28.8 million mid-year spending bill to help ensure an accurate 2020 census count, implement voter-approved laws and combat lead in drinking water. The law enacted Monday also expands a program enabling people on food assistance to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables, and replenishes a compensation fund for exonerated inmates. The measure includes funding to implement marijuana legalization and expanded-voting ballot initiatives, and for the state’s investigation of sexual abuse by clergy. The Democratic governor line-item vetoed a provision that would have directed the auditor general to immediately review the rollout of automatic voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting requirements included Proposal 3. She says such an audit must wait until after the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.. ...Read Full Story

YouthBuild Project To Begin In Benton Harbor Thiis Week

A groundbreaking on the next YouthBuild project in Benton Harbor will be held this Thursday. Part of Kinexus, YouthBuild is a program that teaches construction skills to students between the ages of 16 and 24 while helping them earn their diploma or GED. YouthBuild Director Caleb Weeks tells WSJM News the project this summer will be at a vacant house at 710 Buss Avenue.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Proposes Permanent PFAS Agency

State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan wants the state of Michigan to keep up its efforts to find PFAS in community water supplies. She’s introduced legislation that would make the state’s PFAS action response team a permanent agency under the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, or EGLE. Griffin tells WSJM News the team has helped to detect PFAS in several communities, including some in southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

State Launches Recycling Campaign

From the Associated Press — The state of Michigan is launching a $2 million educational campaign to boost the state’s low recycling rate.
The “Know It Before You Throw It” initiative was announced Monday at a recycling transfer station in Lansing. Officials say the goal is to let residents know that they should rinse and dry all plastics, glass and metal before recycling it. People also should not try to recycle plastic bags, which is prohibited by most municipalities. Not recycling properly can contaminate the supply, meaning it goes to landfills or adds costs for communities. The educational campaign includes TV ads, billboards and a website. Michigan’s 15% recycling rate is lowest in the Great Lakes region, despite the 10-cent bottle-return law.. ...Read Full Story

BH School Board Invited To Lansing This Week

Another meeting between members of the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education and the administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer is set for this Wednesday. The two have been going back and forth regarding what to do about the school district’s debt and low academic performance. The governor sent the board a letter on Friday inviting the board to “discuss the proposals that have been put forward and identify next steps.” She writes that she remains “committed to ensuring every child receives a quality public education,” adding she’ll “work with you to ensure all students graduate and get on a path to post-secondary success.” The governor last month proposed that Benton Harbor High School be closed, at least temporarily, while a large portion of the district’s debt is forgiven. The local school board rejected that proposal. It then sent to the governor a turnaround plan of its own. Below is the governor’s full letter to the board of education.. ...Read Full Story

University Of Michigan Receives Two $10 Million Gifts

From the Associated Press — The University of Michigan says it’s received two separate, $10 million gifts designed to benefit a campus library as well as its business school and film and television department. The Ann Arbor school’s William C. Clements Library has accepted $10 million from the Avenir Foundation. It recognizes the university’s founding director, Randolph Adams, by naming the directorship after him. The university says the gift also will spur the acquisition and conservation of primary source materials and making collections more accessible. The other $10 million comes from the Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts. It’s intended to honor the legacy of Mitchell’s late husband, Columbia Pictures Television founder John Mitchell. That gift will go toward creating a business and communications ethics
program, as well as scholarships, internships, visiting professorships and a speaker series.. ...Read Full Story

Buttigieg Addresses Town Hall

South Bend Mayor and Democratic presidential primary candidate Pete Buttigieg wants the U.S. Justice Department to look into the police shooting of Eric Logan. Logan was shot and killed by a white South Bend police officer who said Logan raised a knife as he came towards the officer June 16th at about 3:30 a.m.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Man Shot In South Bend

Violence has flared again in South Bend, where presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is mayor, and a Niles man is among its victims. The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit says 27-year-old Brandon Williams of Niles died after a shooting at Kelly’s pub in South Bend. Another ten people were wounded by gunshots in South Bend early Sunday. A statement says five of the 10 wounded remain in the hospital in stable condition. The others were treated and released. St. Joseph County Sheriff William Redman says that his officers assisted South Bend police in “controlling a crowd of over 100 upset and angry citizens” who came to Memorial Hospital from Kelly’s Pub early Sunday, causing a lockdown at the hospital. It was not immediately clear what prompted the shooting. No suspect has been apprehended. Buttigieg later Sunday faced criticism at a town hall meeting from citizens who are angry about the shooting of a black man by a white police officer a week ago.. ...Read Full Story

Report Examines Child Well-Being In Michigan

Despite progress in child outcomes since 1990, a new report reveals serious racial and ethnic disparities persist in Michigan and other states. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2019 Kids Count Data Book ranks the state 32nd overall in its measure of how kids are faring. Kids Count Project Director at the Michigan League for Public Policy Alicia Guevara Warren says Michigan’s child poverty rate is 11% worse now than when the report was first published three decades ago.. ...Read Full Story

Grant Means ADA-Compliant Mat For County Park

The Berrien County Parks Department has been awarded a grant to help pay for a new beach mat at Rocky Gap County Park. At a meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners this month, the Berrien Community Foundation presented a $1,000 check to Parks Director Brian Bailey. He told WSJM News more about what’s being installed at the park.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Benton Township Shooting

Police are investigating a shooting late on Saturday in Benton Township. The Benton Township Police Department says it happened in the 100 block of Quince at the Blossom Acres housing development just before midnight. Police were sent to the scene on a report of several people fighting, and were told while on their way that shots had been fired. Officers arrived to find 31-year-old John Orr of Benton Harbor with gunshot wounds to the arm and leg. They also found 21-year-old Jaton Gunn of Benton Harbor with lacerations to the forehead, nose, and cheek. Witnesses told officers there had been a fight, and then four or five gunshots went off. Police found bullet holes in a window at 124 Quince, but no one inside was hurt. Orr and Gunn were taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. Police don’t yet have a suspect. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact the Benton Township Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Overdose Prevention Training This Week

Anyone who would like to learn how they could help someone experiencing a drug overdose will have a chance to do so this coming week in Niles. Denise Peters with the Niles-Buchanan branch of the YMCA of Southwest Michigan tells WSJM News they’re hosting a training session Wednesday. She says the session will demonstrate how to administer anti-overdose drug Naloxone, and also go over the overall opioid epidemic and related topics.. ...Read Full Story