Local News Archives

MI Legislature Votes To Oppose Whitmer Nursing Home Policy


The Michigan House has approved a resolution opposing Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. State Representative Pauline Wendzel says Whitmer has continued with a plan that places COVID-19 patients into long-term care facilities, which puts elderly residents of nursing homes at risk. Wendzel says, “These are our veterans, church members, parents, and grandparents who are forced to live in these COVID hot-spots. They’re scared, alone, helpless, and deserve better.” She was a co-sponsor of the House resolution. It was approved by the chamber Thursday on a vote of 71 to 32. The Senate later voted to do the same.. ...Read Full Story

Museums Preparing To Open Around Michigan


After being closed since mid March, the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit is reopening with pandemic precautions starting July 2. Christian Cullen oversees security and safety for guest services. He says some places will be closed like the Wright Brothers bike shop. But Greenfield Village’s historic interpreters will still share the stories.. ...Read Full Story

Choice For RESA Superintendent Declines To Take Job


It’s back to the drawing board for the Berrien RESA Board of Education as its choice to be the new RESA superintendent has opted not to leave his current position. The RESA board this year settled on Lapeer Community Schools Superintendent Matthew Wandrie to be its new district leader. However, Wandrie sent word this week he’s decided not to take the superintendent job with RESA after all. He wrote that being offered the RESA job was a great honor, but “it has become abundantly clear that staying in Lapeer is what is best for me and my family.” Current Berrien RESA Superintendent Kevin Ivers is set to retire at the end of June. Berrien RESA Board of Education President Cathy Bair says while the timing for Wandrie’s decision is not ideal, the board appreciates his honesty. The board will schedule a special meeting soon to determine next steps.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Reports 225 Additional COVID Cases For Thursday


Michigan is reporting 225 new cases of COVID-19 for Thursday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 60,618 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported 26 additional deaths for Thursday, bringing that total to 5,818. Berrien County had seven new cases of COVID-19 to report for the day, bringing the total up to 684 with 60 deaths. That’s three additional deaths from Wednesday. Cass County had one new case Thursday, bringing its total to 106 with four deaths. Van Buren County had two additional cases for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 188 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

$3.1 Million Road Project Underway In Cass County


The Michigan Department of Transportation has started a $3.1 million project in Cass County. MDOT says it’s doing crack filling and chip sealing on more than 25 miles of US-12, M-62, and M-217. The investment will be made on M-217 from the Michigan-Indiana state line to US-12, on M-62 from the state line to US-12, and in several areas along US-12 near Edwardsburg. The project will mean a longer life for the road and single lane closures. It’s expected to be finished on August 7. You can find out more about MDOT projects at Michigan.gov/Drive.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Installs Parking Kiosks at Jean Klock Park


The city of Benton Harbor has changed the way people pay for parking at Jean Klock Park. It’s gone to a pay by plate system. There are now two kiosks at the beach where visitors pull in and pay for parking based on their license plate. City residents can get free passes to the park by calling Benton Harbor City Hall. Non-residents can get season passes for $35. The city also reminds everyone that golf carts and pets are not allowed at Jean Klock Park.. ...Read Full Story

Poll Shows Biden With Lead In Michigan


A new statewide poll shows Joe Biden’s lead in Michigan is widening over President Trump. EPIC-MRA is out with the results of a new survey that shows 55% of respondents said they would vote for Biden, while 39% said they would vote to re-elect the president. Bernie Porn is president of EPIC-MRA. He spoke with Michigan News Network this week.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Bill Aims To Clarify Rules For Tasting Rooms


Legislation from state Senator Kim LaSata intended to close a loophole in a tasting room law has received a hearing in a Michigan Senate committee. LaSata says her bill “makes a small, but important change” to legislation approved in the last session to allow makers of wine, beer, and other spirits to sample and sell all of their offerings at the same location. LaSata says her adjustment would allow wineries, breweries, and distilleries to operate both an on-premises tasting room and an off-premises tasting room at the same location, under certain conditions. During committee testimony, Moersch Hospitality Group CEO Matt Moersch said his operation is one of a few in Michigan that makes wine, spirits, and beer. He said not being able to sell all of their craft beverages at their Coloma location, like they do at other locations licensed before the 2018 legislation, has prevented them from growing their business. LaSata’s bill remains in committee for further consideration.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Community Foundation Announces $20,000 In Grants


More than $20,000 in grants to local non-profits have been announced by the Greater South Haven Area Community Foundation. The organization says it’s supporting educational, cultural, beautification, and youth programs throughout the area. The recipients are the South Haven Center for the Arts, Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, the Scott Club Piano Series, computers for after school programs, library upgrades at Maple Grove Elementary, field trips for summer camp, youth golf scholarships for South Haven students, landscaping at South Haven High School, two additional girl scout programs, and land acquisition at Porter Legacy Dunes. The Greater South Haven Area Community Foundation says it’s been able to contribute a total of $50,000 to the area this year, noting its South Haven Splash Pad Matching Fund is also still underway.. ...Read Full Story

MI Senate Approves Wendzel Brewery Legislation


The Michigan Senate has approved a package of legislation from state Representative Pauline Wendzel that will allow breweries in the state to self-distribute more of their products. Wendzel tells WSJM News current state law limits small breweries from self-distributing more than 1,000 barrels each year. If they go above that, they have to hire a distributor. Wendzel’s legislation doubles the limit to 2,000 barrels.. ...Read Full Story

MI House Approves $880 Million In Pandemic Spending


From the Associated Press — The Michigan House has approved spending $880 million in federal relief aid in response to the coronavirus pandemic, setting aside funding for frontline workers, municipalities and child care providers. The bill would allocate more than a quarter of the $3 billion sent to state government by Congress and President Donald Trump. The Senate planns to pass the legislation later Wednesday. It’s expected to be signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The legislation includes $220 million in pay raises to health workers and first responders; $200 million to reimburse local governments for virus-related spending; and $125 million to reduce child care costs.. ...Read Full Story

I-94 Lane Closures Tonight, Tomorrow Night


The Michigan Department of Transportation is advising drivers about some lane closures planned for I-94 in Van Buren County this week. MDOT says there will be single night time lane closures on eastbound I-94 for repaving from mile marker 47 to mile marker 48, or between the Hartford and Lawrence exits, starting Wednesday night. They’ll continue Thursday night. The repaving will be done between 9 p.m. and 6 p.m. You can stay on top of all MDOT projects at Michigan.gov/Drive.. ...Read Full Story

State Reports 204 Additional Cases Of COVID-19 For Wednesday


Michigan is reporting 204 new cases of COVID-19 for Wednesday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 60,393 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported just two additional deaths for Wednesday, bringing that total to 5,792. Berrien County had one new case of COVID-19 to report for the day, bringing the total up to 677 with 57 deaths. Cass County had two new cases for Wednesday, bringing its total to 105 with four deaths. Van Buren County had three additional cases for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 186 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Seeks Volunteers To Clean Up Forests


Volunteers are being sought to help clean up Michigan’s forests this summer. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced the “100 in 100 Forest Challenge,” inviting residents to clean up 100 forests in 100 days. DNR program developer Conor Haenni tells WSJM News you’d be surprised at what needs to be hauled out of Michigan’s more than 600 state and federal forests.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Area Emergency Services Welcomes New Firefighters


South Haven Area Emergency Services has welcomed eight new citizen firefighters. A SHAES Fire Academy Graduation ceremony was held Monday, completing an eight month long process of training the volunteers and getting them certified. In addition to the SHAES group, there were firefighter candidates from Bangor, Lawrence and Paw Paw in the class. SHAES says citizen firefighters are part time, and part-paid.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Council Approves Measures To Address Street Flooding


The South Haven City Council has approved a short-term plan to address flooding near the intersection of Dunkley Avenue and East Wells Street, just to the east of the Black River. City Manager Brian Dissette tells WSJM News high water levels in Lake Michigan have created persistent problems there, and the council on Monday approved a plan from Department of Public Works to mitigate them.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Holds Virtual Commencement


Southwestern Michigan College has sent a new class of graduates off into the world with its first ever virtual commencement. SMC President Joe Odenwald tells us because of COVID-19, a normal graduation couldn’t be held this year. So, a video production company was hired to record a ceremony with the dignity of a traditional event. Odenwald says it was a success.. ...Read Full Story

State Reports 125 New COVID Cases For Tuesday


Michigan is reporting 125 new cases of COVID-19 for Tuesday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has had 60,189 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. It reported 18 additional deaths for Tuesday, bringing that total to 5,790. Berrien County had no new cases of COVID-19 to report for Tuesday, and the number of deaths remained at 57. The county’s had 676 total cases. Cass County had one new case for Tuesday, bringing it to 103 with four deaths. Van Buren County had one additional case for the day, making the county’s cumulative total 183 with six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Attorney General Praises Supreme Court Decision, Says More Work Is Needed


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says the U.S. Supreme Court decision extending workplace protections to LGBTQ Americans is a “major victory for civil rights.” Following the Monday announcement, Nessel said the high court found that under federal law, “an employer cannot fire someone simply for being gay or transgender.” However, she says this leaves questions about Michigan law.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Declares Racism A Crisis


A couple of days after a massive racial equality march through Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, the Benton Harbor City Commission has approved a resolution declaring racism a mental health emergency. The move came during a Monday virtual meeting. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said the problem has been a scourge on the country for hundreds of years.. ...Read Full Story

More Beach Erosion Being Seen In Northern Michigan


From the Associated Press — Some beaches along Lake Michigan are taking a hit from high water levels. The Escanaba Daily Press reports the vegetation that protects sandy beach areas is eroding. City recreation director Kim Peterson says the water is practically running up to the berm at the Escanaba Municipal Beach in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Peterson said she’s spoken to several experts about potential methods to reinforce the beach and welcomes suggestions from people in the community. Escanaba plans to open the beach sometime in the middle of June. Gladstone Parks and Recreation Director Nicole Sanderson said their beach will open this summer without lifeguards or a concession stand.. ...Read Full Story

State Requires Testing, Finds Nearly 2K Nursing Home Deaths


From the Associated Press — Michigan’s health department is mandating coronavirus testing of all nursing home residents and staff after reporting the deaths of nearly 2,000 residents – about a third of all COVID-19 deaths across the state. Director Robert Gordon’s order, issued Monday, requires initial baseline testing. All new or returning residents must be tested, and there must be weekly
testing of residents and staff in a home with any cases until 14 days after the last positive result. Michigan for the first time released a firm overall death count for nursing home residents – 1,947. It’s more than 400 more than previously estimated.. ...Read Full Story

Property Tax Deadline This Month


The property tax due date is fast approaching. Berrien County Treasurer Shelly Weich tells WSJM News due to COVID-19, Governor Gretchen Whitmer moved it back to June 29. If you still owe on your taxes, the treasurer’s office will work out a payment plan with you.. ...Read Full Story

Wendzel Hopeful For Passage Of Expungement Legislation


State Representative Pauline Wendzel is hoping to see passage soon of legislation that would allow for the expungement of some criminal records in Michigan. She tells WSJM News a package of bills to expand the number of people who qualify for expungement and establish a process passed the state House last year but got held up in the Senate due to the pandemic.. ...Read Full Story

Ballot Drive Organizers Weigh Options Following Supreme Court Ruling


From the Associated Press — Organizers of a Michigan ballot drive to prohibit discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people are evaluating whether to continue in the wake of a major victory in the U.S. Supreme Court. Fair and Equal Michigan launched the ballot effort after years of being unable to pass LGBT protections through the Republican-led Legislature. The proposal
would change Michigan’s 1976 civil rights law to ban ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. The high court ruled Monday that a federal law that bars job discrimination because of sex encompasses bias against LGBT workers.. ...Read Full Story

Detroit Removes Bust Of Christopher Columbus


From the Associated Press — The city of Detroit has removed a bust of explorer Christopher Columbus from a downtown spot after 110 years. A spokesman for Mayor Mike Duggan says putting it in storage will give officials time to decide its future. The move comes while other cities and states have removed Confederate Civil War statues and other public monuments to people with a racist past. The Detroit Columbus bust was a gift from the readers of an Italian newspaper in honor of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ death. By the 1990s, a new generation of Native American activists blamed Columbus for launching centuries of indigenous genocide.. ...Read Full Story

74 New Cases Of COVID-19 Reported For Michigan Monday


There were fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19 reported around Michigan for Monday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says 74 new cases were identified, along with two additional deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, the state has had 60,064 confirmed cases, and just under 45,000 recovered as of Friday. There have been 5,772 deaths. For Monday, Berrien County had 676 cumulative cases since the start of the pandemic and 57 deaths. Cass County has had 102 cases and four deaths, and Van Buren County has had 182 cases and six deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Lawmaker Wants Database Of Disciplined Officers


From the Associated Press — A Michigan lawmaker is proposing legislation to create a central database of disciplined police officers to boost accountability and help departments vet prospective new hires. The Detroit News reported over the weekend that State Rep. Tyrone Carter is seeking support for the idea and is open to suggestions on provisions in the bill being drafted. Critics say what’s
needed is more and better training, as well as more staff to enforce current Michigan laws mandating information sharing about why officers left a department. The Police Officers Association of Michigan says one of its concerns is that a central database would maintain records about the discipline of officers for comparatively minor acts, such as calling in sick too often.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Drive By Shootings In Dowagiac


The Dowagiac Police Department is investigating two separate drive-by shootings that were reported over the weekend. It says officers were called to a home on James Street around 6:30 p.m. Saturday on a report of a shooting. Officers were told someone had driven by and fired several shots at the home. No one was hurt. Then on Sunday around 2:30 a.m., police were called to a home on Maple Street, also on a report of a shooting. Arriving officers learned someone had driven by and fired several shots at the home. Once again, no one was hurt. The shootings remain under investigation, and police ask anyone with information to contact them.. ...Read Full Story

Airport Traffic Increasing


Traffic at South Bend International Airport is starting to rebound after it dropped by a large amount when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Vice President of Marketing Julie Curtis told  WSJM News this week as destinations closed, travel plummeted.. ...Read Full Story

AAA Survey Finds Many Drivers Engage In Risky Behavior


They don’t think it’s safe, but they do it anyway. Those are the results of a survey released today by Triple Michigan on local drivers. Spokesperson Adrienne Woodland tells Michigan News Network the survey showed while 94% of drivers admitted it was dangerous, nearly 42% also said that they had read their cellphones behind the wheel. More than 30% admitted to texting. Woodland had more.. ...Read Full Story