Local News Archives

Van Buren, Cass Flu Shot Clinics Next Week

The Van Buren and Cass District Health Department is planning some flu shot clinics for next week in Hartford and Dowagiac. Van Buren and Cass Medical Director Larry Wile tells WSJM News it’s pretty late in the season to get the flu vaccine, but the shot is still recommended. It may only be 30% effective, but Wise says it can reduce the severity of symptoms.. ...Read Full Story

Fatal Snowmobile Crash

A woman is dead following a snowmobile crash in Hagar Township. Just after 1:30 Saturday morning first responders were dispatched to a wooded area in the 4700 Block of Carmody Road for a reported single unit snowmobile crash. When they arrived, they were guided to the deceased body of a 43 year old female from Owosso. Initial investigations suggest the female passenger was ejected from the snowmobile and received a fatal head injury. A 41 year old Owosso man was the driver of the snowmobile and he received serious injuries to his back and pelvis. He was transported to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo and is listed in serious but stable condition. Both the driver and passenger were not wearing helmets. Police say a preliminary investigation suggests alcohol may have been a contributing factor. The investigation is ongoing and names are being withheld pending family notification.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Faculty Begins To Unionize

Faculty at Southwestern Michigan College have some extra work to do now that they have voted to unionize. In a vote tallied Friday, SMC’s 58 full-time employees opted to sign up with the Michigan Education Association. The MEA’s David Crimm told WSJM News what’s next.. ...Read Full Story

I&M Staff Helping Out In Puerto Rico

Nine linemen from Indiana Michigan Power will be working 12 to 16 hours per day, seven days a week for the next month. That’s because they’re in Puerto Rico helping to restore power following September’s hurricane. I&M spokesperson Schnee Garrett tells WSJM News they’re in a hard-to-reach place.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Doctor’s Office Raided

A doctor’s office in South Haven has been raided by the Southwest Enforcement Team. Officers searched the unnamed office in the city Thursday. Police tell us the initial investigation indicated normal prescription practices involving scheduled narcotics were possibly not being followed, so a judge granted the Southwest Enforcement Team a search warrant. The DEA’s Drug Diversion Unit and Southwest Enforcement Team detectives are now sifting through documents they seized. No criminal charges have been sought at this point, as this investigation still continues. The name of the doctor has not been released pending a review by the prosecutor.. ...Read Full Story

Teen Arrested After Chase With Police

A 17-year-old girl from Benton Harbor is facing charges after a chase with police in Niles this week. The Niles Police Department tells us deputies with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department were called to the Walmart on South 11th Street in Niles Township around 5 p.m. Thursday on a report of shoplifting in progress. When they arrived, they spotted the suspect running through the parking lot away from Walmart loss prevention officers. She got into a 2006 Mercury and took off. The Mercury hit three parked vehicles as the suspect pulled out into South 11th Street. She didn’t stop for the sheriff’s deputies when they turned on their lights. A chase ensued and ended when the Mercury crashed into another vehicle on Ontario Road. That’s when the 17-year-old suspect gave up. She’s now facing charges of retail fraud, reckless driving, and fleeing and eluding.. ...Read Full Story

FIRST Robotics Students Head To Lansing

Some FIRST Robotics students from Berrien County testified this week in the Michigan Senate about legislation co-sponsored by state Senator John Proos to require better vision testing for students in the state. Members of the CW Tech Robotarians, a FIRST Robotics team that includes kids from Coloma, Watervliet, and Lake Michigan Catholic, were there Wednesday. They and their coach talked about a CW Tech robotics teammate who was diagnosed with an eye disorder that makes it difficult to read. The students who testified this week were in support of Senate Bill 411, which would require a comprehensive eye and vision exam for a child who fails their already-required grade school vision screening. Proos tells us catching and treating vision problems in children early can help improve their academic performance.. ...Read Full Story

Lineup Announced For South Haven Speaker Series

The next lineup of the South Haven Speaker Series has been announced. Speaker Series President Mark Odland tells WSJM News the first engagement will be this April when Hope College Associate Professor of History Fred Johnson speaks about the struggles of black Americans. The following month, former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer will stop by.. ...Read Full Story

I-94 Back Open Following Pileup

Michigan State Police are investigating a multi-vehicle crash on westbound I-94 near Hartford Friday morning. It happened around 9:20 a.m. during periods of heavy lake effect snow. The crash involved 17 semis and 12 passenger cars, and an exact number of injuries is still being determined. At least one individual was pinned in his vehicle for a short period of time.. ...Read Full Story

Judge Won’t Punish Dad Who Charged At Nassar

From the Associated Press — A judge says there’s “no way” she’ll punish a father of three victims of Larry Nassar after the dad tried to attack the former sports doctor in a Michigan courtroom. Randall Margraves apologized Friday, a few hours after he charged toward Nassar
during a sentencing hearing in Eaton County, Michigan. Judge Janice Cunningham says a punishment isn’t appropriate based on the crimes committed by Nassar and the anguish felt by families. But she also says it’s wrong to “combat assault with assault.” Cunningham could have given Margraves a jail sentence or fine as she considered whether to hold him in contempt of court. Nassar must listen to scores of victims before he’s sentenced next week for sexual assault. He’s admitted molesting young gymnasts. He’s already been sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison in another county.. ...Read Full Story

New App Connects Residents With Federal Benefits

A new mobile app has been released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for those who use the Women, Infants and Children program. Spokesperson Lynn Sutfin tells WSJM News the WIC app will make it easier for potential and current clients to access benefits, schedule appointments, and find other program information. She says WIC has about 235,000 clients in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

AAA Issues Big Game Safety Reminder

With Super Bowl Sunday this weekend, AAA of Michigan is asking all sports fans to remember the dangers of driving drunk. Spokesperson Gary Bubar tells WSJM News it’s your responsibility to arrange for a ride if you’re consuming alcohol. There are also responsibilities for those who throw parties.. ...Read Full Story

BH Target Closing Soon

You’re running out of time to visit the Target store in Benton Harbor. The location’s final day of business is this Saturday. At 10 p.m. it will shut down for good. Target announced back in November it was shuttering the store, along with another one in Kansas. The shelves have been getting empty as the closing date approaches. The Target closing isn’t the only big retailer shutting down in that area of Benton Township. We learned this week the Carson’s at the Orchards Mall will close in the next 12 weeks or so.. ...Read Full Story

Community Leaders Address Safety Concerns At Thursday Meeting

Students, parents, and community groups are being asked to help Benton Harbor Area Schools address concerns about discipline and safety. It was a packed house Thursday at McCoy’s Memorial Church of God In Christ for a town hall where Superintendent Shelly Walker outlined ideas for maintaining order. They include the creation of safe zones within the schools, the establishment of offsite alternative programming, and a new effort to listen to students. School Board President Marletta Seats told WSJM News that’s not all.. ...Read Full Story

Scientists Studying Meteor That Landed In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Scientists at Chicago’s Field Museum are studying a piece of the meteor that broke apart earlier this month over Michigan. The meteorite, the size of a peach pit, arrived Wednesday. NASA scientists say the 6-foot-wide meteor broke apart about 20 miles over Earth on Jan. 16. It created a bright light and what sounded like thunder in the sky. Museum associate curator Philipp Heck believes the meteorite came from an asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Meteorite hunter Robert Ward found it on a snow-covered lake near Hamburg, Michigan, and donated it to the Field Museum. A meteoroid is a small chunk of asteroid or comet. When it enters Earth’s atmosphere it becomes a meteor, fireball or shooting star. The pieces of rock that hit the ground are meteorites.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Real Estate Market Ends 2017 Strong

The southwest Michigan housing market finished 2017 continuing to sizzle. According to the latest numbers from the Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors, 2017 home sales in the region were up 4% over 2016. However, the market did slightly slow down in December, with monthly sales slipping 7% from December of the previous year. The assocation tells us housing inventory in December slipped to an all-time low, falling to a 4.4 months supply of houses for sale the final month of 2017. When comparing 2017 to 2016 as a whole, the average selling price in the region was up 9%, and the average price in just December of 2017 was up a whopping 16% over December of the previous year. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors tells us it enters 2018 excited to be well past the recession. The group adds in its latest report, it’s “been a long road back from the 2006, the previous peak year.”. ...Read Full Story

MI Township Officials Apologize To Nassar Victim

From ABC News — A public apology to a victim of former sports doctor Larry Nassar from Meridian Township officials on Thursday. They say they didn’t believe then 17-year-old Brianne Randall-Gay in 2004 when she reported Nassar sexually assaulted her during a visit for a back problem. The police department took a complaint from her, but didn’t seek criminal charges after Nassar told them he’d performed a legitimate procedure. An emotional Meridian Township Manager Frank Walsh apologized to Randall-Gay and her family, vowing to improve.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joe Today Announces Chili Tour Winners

The winners of this past weekend’s St. Joseph Today Downtown Chili Tour have been announced. Taking home the Chili Pepper Award — determined by a panel of judges — was the St. Joseph High School Culinary Team. Their entry was titled, “Netflix and Chili,” and it was featured at Caffe Tosi for last Friday’s chili tour. The high school culinary team was comprised of students Logan Borah, Daniel Okonski and Ali Koehler. Meanwhile, Bistro on the Boulevard Sous Chef James Galbraith won the People’s Choice Award for his “Kimchi(li)” served at Baroda Founders Tasting Room. For the fourth year in a row, the St. Joe Today Chili Tour also featured a charitable give back through a $2 suggested participation donation. A portion of those proceeds will be donated to the Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Michigan College To Auction Off Tiny House

How would you like to live in a 102 square foot house? Lake Michigan College is offering you chance to get one. It tells us in addition to the annual Winner’s Circle Benefit Auction set for March 3, the Lake Michigan College Foundation is now accepting bids online for a fully-functional tiny house built by students a few years ago as they learned about sustainable construction practices. The house is on a 7 by 14 foot trailer, and is built according to plans from Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. It comes equipped with a full kitchen, bathroom, loft/bedroom, and living room. Bids on the tiny house begin at $1,000, and should be submitted through LakeMichiganCollege.edu/Auction. Bidding ends the same time as the Winner’s Circle Benefit Auction, which is 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 3.. ...Read Full Story

Environmentalists Slam Snyder For Pipeline Decision

A coalition working to protect the Great Lakes says Governor Rick Snyder has sidestepped leadership on a major water issue by refusing to shut down the oil pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits. Last month, the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board urged the governor to temporarily shut down Enbridge Line 5 until it can be inspected for gaps and repaired. Snyder rejected that proposal this week, saying it could cause a propane shortage. Sean McBrearty, with the coalition Oil and Water Don’t Mix, says the state is delaying the inevitable.. ...Read Full Story

Bar To Get Diversity Training Over MLK Day Gift

From the Associated Press — A Michigan bar will undergo mandatory diversity and sensitivity training following an incident involving a watermelon on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Lansing State Journal reports that a biracial employee of Darb’s Tavern and Eatery in Mason received a watermelon from her co-workers and boss on MLK Day. Kelly Martin Aimery, the employee’s mother, posted on Facebook saying the words “Happy 1/2 MLK” and “Happy black day” were written on the watermelon. The bar’s owner and manager Rob Hearit issued a statement Monday that said the action was mean to be a “friendly joke” but was in “poor taste and offensive.” Hearit says he will undergo diversity and sensitivity training along with his staff. Aimery declined to comment to the newspaper. Her daughter couldn’t be reached for comment.. ...Read Full Story

Carson’s Store At Orchards Mall Closing

The Carson’s store in the Orchards Mall is closing. Carson’s owner The Bon Ton Stores announced this week the closing of 47 of its retail locations in 2018. The Benton Township Carson’s is one of two Michigan stores that will be shuttered as Bon Ton seeks to enact a “comprehensive turnaround plan.” The other Michigan store is an Elder Beerman in Adrian. According to Moody on the Market, the local Carson’s closure will occur sometime within the next 12 weeks.. ...Read Full Story

Summer Wine Festival Moving To Sawyer

This year’s Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival will be held in a different venue. Traditionally, the event has been held each summer at Weko Beach in Bridgman, but the Michigan Tourism Council tells us it’s being moved this year to Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer to accommodate bigger crowds as the event grows. The date remains the same. The event has always been the third Saturday in June, with this year’s date falls on Saturday, June 16. Organizers tell us the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival brings all of the wineries of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail together in one location for guests to sample wines. That includes southwest Michigan wineries like Contessa Wine Cellars, St. Julian Winery, and Lemon Creek Winery. Moving the festival to Warren Dunes this summer will also give attendees a chance to go exploring the dunes. Tickets are already on sale, and you can find out more at LakeMichiganWineFest.com.. ...Read Full Story