Local News Archives

Secretary Of State Working On Offering Third Gender Option On Licenses

From the Associated Press — Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office is working to add a third gender option on Michigan licenses and ID cards. According to The Detroit News, Benson had previously attempted for a third gender designation, but the department’s software prevented her from doing so. She instead opted for a new policy making it easier for people to change their gender designation from male to female or female to male on state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards. The possibility to add a non-binary option might be completed by 2021.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph City To Consider Harbor Authority Joint Meeting Tonight

The St. Joseph City Commission is expected to approve holding a joint meeting later this month with the Benton Harbor City Commission and St. Joseph Charter Township Board tonight. The three are set to discuss establishing a group to work on recommendations for the development of the St. Joseph Harbor. Benton Harbor and St. Joseph Township each approved the concept last week. The joint meeting of the three is likely to be held on Wednesday, January 22. The efforts have been ongoing for a few years, spurred by an Andrews University and Southwest Michigan Planning Commission Twin Cities Harbor Study sponsored by the city of Benton Harbor in 2015.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Clearing Brush, Adding Trees Along I-94

Drivers in Van Buren County are being advised to watch out for intermittent lane and shoulder closures along I-94 for the next few years. Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News crews will be doing tree and shrub removal along the highway. They started this week. They will also be planting new pine trees. There’s a reason for that.. ...Read Full Story

Two Charged In Connection With Niles-Area Standoff

Two Niles residents are facing charges resulting from a standoff last week in Cass County’s Milton Township. Officers from the Fugitive Apprehension Street Team and US Marshal’s Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force went to their home on Redfield Street last Wednesday afternoon looking for 41-year-old Adam Neiman and retreated once Neiman pulled a gun. He was finally arrested after a standoff that lasted over 12 hours when he and 41-year-old Clemie Chapman came out of the home more than five hours after police were able to get a child out of the house.. ...Read Full Story

Workshop To Discuss Service Animals

The Disability Network Southwest Michigan will hold a workshop on service animals and emotional support animals this month. Disability Network Community Education Coordinator Miranda Grunwell will lead the discussion, titled “Do’s and Don’ts: Assistance Animals.” She tells WSJM News they held a few similar presentations last year.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: New Trade Deal Will Mean Jobs

The new United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement will be good for the U.S. economy. That’s the thought of Congressman Fred Upton, who hailed House passage of the NAFTA replacement just before Christmas. He tells WSJM News the new agreement will be good for the auto industry.. ...Read Full Story

Program Enables Credit Union Employees To Support Communities

Employees of United Federal Credit Union have been able to donate more than $16,000 around their communities in the past year thanks to the organization’s Pay it Forward program. With Pay it Forward, UFCU gives each employee $15 to donate to those in need. They get to pick who they support. Many times, departments and branches combine their funds to create a more substantial donation. United CEO Terry O’Rourke tells WSJM News Pay it Forward was created at the request of employees.. ...Read Full Story

New Superintendent to Start Next Month

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has approved a contract for new Superintendent Andrae Townsel. The board voted on the agreement this week with Townsel in attendance. He then sat in with the body for the rest of its meeting on Tuesday. Townsel comes to Benton Harbor from the Detroit area, where he is currently assistant superintendent at Wayne-Westland Community Schools. He tells WSJM News he’ll start February 17, and plans to hit the ground running.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Road Commission Plans Meetings On Millage Renewal

A couple of meetings are coming up in Van Buren County for residents to learn about a road millage renewal that will be on their March 10 ballot. Van Buren County Road Commission Finance Director Linnea Rader tells WSJM News this is strictly a renewal, and not a new millage. The road commission asks for voters to re-approve what she calls an essential millage that’s been in place since 1978.. ...Read Full Story

Heart Of Cook Grant Applications Now Available

The Berrien Community Foundation says applications are now available for the next round of Heart of Cook grants. The Heart of Cook program is funded by Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook nuclear power plant and administered by the Berrien Community Foundation. Educational projects, human services programs that support families, and environmental protection and preservation projects are the focus areas for the Heart of Cook, and grant recipients are picked by Cook staff each year. Last year, the Heart of Cook provided more than $65,000 to 38 non-profit programs around southwest Michigan. The Heart of Cook grant applications are now online at the Berrien Community Foundation’s website. They’re due by February 10, and the grant recipients will be announced in May.. ...Read Full Story

New Buffalo Getting Grant To Improve Its Dune Walk

The city of New Buffalo has been approved for a $220,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Land and Water Conservation Fund to improve its dune walk. The city says its dune walk is an iconic part of the community that has been the site of many senior class photos and wedding proposals. With the local match for the grant, the total improvement project for the walk will be $440,000. The city plans to renovate and improve the existing dune walk, and also add a second ADA accessible walkway into the dunes. The dune walk is currently nearing the end of its functional lifecycle, and this new project will enable New Buffalo to extend its life. Mayor Lou O’Donnell IV says the timing on this grant was perfect. The design and construction of the dune walk project is expected to start around mid-year.. ...Read Full Story

Pagel Appointed To RESA board

Former state Representative Dave Pagel has been appointed to the Berrien RESA Board of Education. Pagel replaces Linda Holt, who passed away last month. It was up to the RESA board to fill the vacancy, and it selected Pagel on Thursday. Pagel has plenty of school board experience, having served on the Berrien Springs School Board for 14 years. He was also a Berrien County Commissioner from 2009 to 2012 before being elected to the Michigan House. Pagel served in the House as the representative the 78th District in southern Berrien County for six years. He recently retired from the agriculture business after running Dave Pagel Produce from 1978 to 2019 and Dave Pagel Farms from 2004 to 2019. Pagel’s term on the RESA board will be through June 20 of 2021.. ...Read Full Story

Kinexus Workshop to Teach Better Public Speaking Skills

Southwest Michigan workers who want to brush up on their public speaking skills will have a chance to do so next week thanks to a workshop being held by Kinexus. Kinexus New Business Development Director Dan Peat tells us they’re holding an all-day session at the Michigan Works Training Center. That’s after Kinexus heard from local businesses about the need. The workshop will feature guest speaker Brian Lam, who will weave his Second City Improv background into teaching attendees how to give a strong presentation. Peat says it’s a unique opportunity.. ...Read Full Story

Army Corps: All Great Lakes Expected To Set Record Highs This Year

A new record high level for Lakes Michigan and Huron is expected this year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District says all of the Great Lakes are starting 2020 higher than last year, when record highs were set for Superior, Erie, and Ontario along with Lake St. Clair. The director of the Detroit District’s Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office says with Michigan and Huron, which hydrologically are considered one lake, set to hit a new high, coastal impacts and damages this year will be similar to or worse than 2019. The water levels of each lake peaked during this past summer or fall and since then have been in a seasonal decline, however, significant erosion continues in many locations as water levels remain extremely high. Strong storm systems and resulting large waves have led to substantial erosion along much of the Great Lakes coastline.. ...Read Full Story

Sepic Won’t Seek Reelection As Berrien County Prosecutor

Berrien County will have a new prosecutor next year. Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sepic says he will not seek re-election in 2020, saying he will be 70 years old at the end of this current term at the close of the year, and is looking forward to retirement. He was appointed prosecutor in 2013 after Arthur Cotter stepped down to become a judge and was elected in 2014 to fill the rest of that term and again in 2016. Sepic’s law career began in 1979 in Eaton Rapids, outside of Lansing, in private practice. He became an assistant prosecuting attorney in Calhoun County in 1985 and joined the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office as an assistant in 1988.. ...Read Full Story

Wendzel Bill Would Double Self-Distribution Limit For Craft Brewers

Michigan’s craft beer industry continues to blossom and expand, but brewers say they’ve got an issue with the cap on how much beer they can distribute on their own without having a contract with a distributor. That limit is 1,000 barrels a year and includes what is consumed in taprooms. Enter state Representative Pauline Wendzel, who is announcing a doubling of that limit and exempting taproom sales in a new bill.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Forecasts Modest Growth In Economy, Tax Revenue

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s tax revenues are slightly higher than anticipated, but Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration and Republicans in the Legislature say it’s not a jackpot for new spending. Economists agreed Friday to forecasts that will help the Democratic governor propose the next budget. Economic growth will be modest. Revenues in two main funds are projected to rise 1.1% this fiscal year and 2.3% next year. Revenue could come in $321 million higher than was estimated previously. Budget director Chris Kolb says there will be “huge pressures” on spending due to Medicaid costs, a past road-funding deal,
tax cuts and other factors.. ...Read Full Story

Clementines, Clementines’s Too Reach Settlement With U.S. Dept. Of Labor

A settlement has been reached between Clementine’s in South Haven, Clementine’s Too in St. Joseph, and the U.S. Department of Labor. On Facebook, the restaurant says they were investigated in November by the Labor Department and told it was random. Issues were found with one job position who received tips from wait staff and bartenders from the tip pool. That job is the “Expeditor,” and that person delivers food to customers at the bar and for take-out orders and trays up the food for the wait staff. To fix the issue, the Labor Department and Clementines have reached a deal where the restaurant will repay the money paid in tips to the Expeditor to the wait staff and bartenders. The statement from Clementines adds “The judgment calls it a ‘minimum wage issue’ because a server is considered, under labor guidelines, a minimum wage employee, even though with their tips they make far above minimum wage. By having them share a small portion of their tips with the Expeditor, their wage, by definition, was below minimum wage.”. ...Read Full Story

Non-Binding War Powers Resolution Passes House; Upton A No Vote

The US House has approved a resolution asserting that President Trump must seek approval from Congress before engaging in further military action against Iran. The war powers resolution is not binding on Trump and would not require his signature. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nonetheless insists it “has real teeth” because “it is a statement of the Congress of the United States.”. ...Read Full Story

Flu Restrictions In Place At Spectrum Health Lakeland

Spectrum Health Lakeland has announced new restrictions for visitors due to the flu. The rules are in place at all of the organization’s hospitals in southwest Michigan. Spectrum Health Lakeland says visitors who have not had a flu shot will be asked to wear a mask while in the facility. Everyone is asked to stay at home if they are sick, have a fever, runny nose, cough, or body aches, or are less than 18 years old. Spectrum also says you should go to the emergency department if you or a loved one are experiencing difficulty breathing, dizziness, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, severe or persistent vomiting, or other severe symptoms. It notes there is no cure for the flu, adding the best protection is getting the vaccine.. ...Read Full Story

MSU Forum To Explore New Redistricting Commission

Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research will host a forum next week to explore the implications of the state’s new redistricting commission. It was created by voters in November of 2018 as a way to reduce gerrymandering of legislative districts. MSU Institute for Public Policy and Social Research Director Matt Grossman tells WSJM News the forum will be next Wednesday at the Anderson House Office Building across from the Michigan Capitol. It will explore how the redistricting commission will work, and more.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Killed In Niles Township Crash

A Goshen, Indiana woman is dead following a crash in Niles Township on Thursday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it happened on US-31 near mile marker 6 just before 2:30 p.m. Sheriff’s deputies learned a Chrysler Concord driven by the 35-year-old Goshen women had been northbound when it crossed the median and struck a southbound Ford Fusion driven by a 17-year-old male from Niles. The 17-year-old and his 16-year-old female passenger were taken by ambulance to Memorial Hospital in South Bend to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. The Goshen woman was also taken to Memorial Hospital, where she later died. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, and the names have not been released.. ...Read Full Story

New Interest In Foreclosed Condos

The Benton Harbor Downtown Development Authority has its eye on a partially foreclosed condo complex on Riverview Drive. According to The Herald Palladium, the DDA met this week and voted to express an interest in the New Harbor Condominiums. 43 out of the complex’s 90 units are in the hands of the Berrien County Land Bank since April’s foreclosure. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News the Benton Harbor DDA has indicated an interest in developing the dilapidated condos.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Public Schools Gets AP Recognition

Bridgman Public Schools has made strides when it comes to getting more students into advanced placement classes. The school district says it’s been placed on the College Board’s 10th Annual AP District Honor Roll for that work. Bridgman Public Schools is one of 250 school districts around the United States and Canada to be on the AP honor roll. In order to qualify, the district had to increase the number of students participating in advanced placement classes since 2017 while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher. The district says getting on the honor roll demonstrates it has been successful in identifying motivated students who are ready for AP.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Man Charged With Child Sexually Abusive Activity

A 36-year-old Benton Harbor man is facing multiple charges including distributing child pornography. Michigan State Police say Matthew Davidson was arrested and arraigned on December 13 of last year after troopers received a tip from the National center for Missing & Exploited Children. No other details have been made available, including when Davidson will next be in court or if there are any local victims in the case.. ...Read Full Story

Mobile Home Destroyed By Fire In Van Buren County

A Van Buren County mobile home is a total loss after a fire in Columbia Township on Thursday. South Haven Area Emergency Services says firefighters from three departments were called out to the blaze on County Road 384 near 52nd Street around 7:40 a.m. By the time they arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames. The residents had gotten out safely. Assisting the Columbia Township Fire Department were firefighters from Bangor and South Haven Area Emergency Services. LIFE ambulance and Michigan State Police were also on the scene. The cause of the fire is under investigation, and there were no injuries.. ...Read Full Story

Fugitive Apprehended After Standoff In Cass County

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department has a fugitive in custody after an all-day standoff on Wednesday in Milton Township. The department says members of the Fugitive Apprehension Street Team working in conjunction with the U.S. Marshal’s Service went to a home in the 33,000 block of Redfield Street around 1:35 p.m. to locate a suspect out of Laporte County, Indiana. The suspect was wanted on several charges. When officers went to the home, they found the fugitive there along with a woman and a child. The sheriff’s department says when the fugitive flashed a gun, officers were forced to “revert to a position of advantage” and set up a perimeter. Negotiators from Cass County Sheriff Office, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, and Michigan State Police talked with the fugitive for several hours as the standoff dragged on. Shortly after 10 p.m. the suspect let the child go, and police stormed the building around 2:30 a.m. At 2:45, the fugitive and the woman exited the home and were brought into custody. Both are now facing charges in Cass County and in Laporte County, Indiana. Their names have not yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

MI Supreme Court Gives Green Light To Phones In Court

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Supreme Court says the public can bring laptops, tablets and phones into state courthouses. The court announced the groundbreaking policy change Wednesday. The new rule covers the use of electronic devices in courtrooms and clerk’s offices, where public documents are stored.The public can bring electronic devices into courtrooms to take notes, use the internet or exchange email and text messages. Photos or video, however, are prohibited unless approved by a judge. Many court clerks opposed the rule because it could reduce lucrative copying fees.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Road Commission Seeking Millage Renewal

A couple of meetings are coming up in Van Buren County for residents to learn about a road millage renewal that will be on their March 10 ballot. Van Buren County Road Commission Finance Director Linnea Rader tells WSJM News this is strictly a renewal, and not a new millage. The road commission asks for voters to re-approve what she calls an essential millage that’s been in place since 1978.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Hails New Trade Deal

The new United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement will be good for the U.S. economy. That’s the thought of Congressman Fred Upton, who hailed House passage of the NAFTA replacement just before Christmas. He tells WSJM News the new agreement will be good for the auto industry.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Talks Trash Bill

Benton Harbor City Commissioners want to avoid a repeat of a situation that arose last year when the trash wasn’t picked up for nearly a week. At a Monday meeting of the city commission, Mayor Pro Tem Duane Seats separated the city’s monthly trash collection bill from the accounts payable listing to propose a motion specifying exactly to whom the trash payment would be made. That’s because there’s a dispute within Wecycle Industrial Sanitation regarding who owns the company. In November, the city’s payment went to the wrong person, leading to the trash not being picked up. Seats said on Monday that can’t happen again.. ...Read Full Story

Bloomingdale Branch Library Hosting Census Worker Application Event

Census workers are needed this year, and there will be an event to get more information out to those who may be interested later this month in Van Buren County. The Bloomingdale Branch Library will host an application day on Tuesday, January 21 from 2-5 p.m. Applications to be a census worker can be filled out at the event. The U.S. Census Bureau does plan to do as much of the population count online as possible, but there will be parts of the country where internet service is either non-existent or unreliable, and there are also some populations of folks who are more difficult to get to participate. The census, done once a decade, determines all sorts of things from government funding for programs to the number of members each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. Michigan is expected to lose a House member following the 2020 census due to population outflow.. ...Read Full Story

Officials Extend Comment Period For Kalamazoo River Cleanup

From the Associated Press — Federal officials are giving the public more time to comment on a proposed settlement with one of the companies responsible for polluting the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department announced the deal last month. It calls for NCR Corp. to pay $245 million to continue a cleanup that began more than 20 years ago. The settlement filed in federal court includes a public comment period that was scheduled to end Jan. 16. But in a notice scheduled for publication Monday, the Justice Department says it will be extended to February 18.. ...Read Full Story

BH Board Approves Contract For New Superintendent

It’s a done deal. The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has approved a contract for new Superintendent Andrae Townsel. The board voted on the agreement Tuesday night with Townsel in attendance. He then sat in with the body for the rest of its meeting. Townsel comes to Benton Harbor from the Detroit area, where he is currently assistant superintendent at Wayne-Westland Community Schools. He tells WSJM News he’ll start February 14, and plans to hit the ground running.. ...Read Full Story

Postal Worker Killed In Crash

A postal worker is dead following a fiery crash in Allegan County on Monday. The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department says it happened shortly before 12:30 p.m. on 10th Street south of Carrie Avenue in Gun Plains Township. When police arrived at the scene, they found a pick-up in the road and a postal vehicle in the ditch, fully engulfed in flames. The postal vehicle was completely destroyed and the body of its driver, 55-year-old Sheila Gay Rackley of Martin, was found inside once the flames were put out. The sheriff’s department says the pick-up was southbound when it crashed into the postal delivery vehicle that was stopped at a mailbox. Neither alcohol or drugs are believed to have been factors in the crash, but toxicology testing will be conducted. The man who was driving the pick-up has not been identified by police as they say charges may be coming.. ...Read Full Story

Twin Cities Sustainable Harbor Project Gets A Boost

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have agreed to a joint meeting between officials from Benton Harbor, the city of St. Joseph, and St. Joseph Township to discuss the Twin Cities Sustainable Harbor Project. The project is an effort, years in the making, to plan for the long-term development of the harbor in the area with all three communities cooperating. At a Monday meeting, the Benton Harbor City Commission heard from a representative of Michigan’s Office of Great Lakes on a series of meetings through 2018 and 2019 that led to the plan for all three municipalities to work together. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said they should talk.. ...Read Full Story

City Commission To Interview Two Candidates For manager

Two candidates for the position of city manager of Benton Harbor will be brought in for interviews by the city commission. The body on Monday approved seeking interviews with current Interim City Manager Ellis Mitchell and former Valdez, Alaska City Manager Elke Doom. They were the final two candidates of ten that applied for the job through a posting at the Michigan Municipal League. At Monday’s city commission meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Duane Seats said he thinks the job should be posted in more places.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan To Host Forums On State Behavioral Health System

From the Associated Press — The state of Michigan is holding public forums on ways to strengthen its Medicaid-funded behavioral health and developmental disabilities system. Forums start Wednesday in Detroit, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Others are scheduled Thursday in Grand Rapids, January 22 in Marquette and Jan. 30 in Saginaw. A virtual forum is planned for February 6. The department will provide an overview of its proposal and answer questions. Information gathered during the forums will help the state design a system that best meets the needs of residents who rely on the services.. ...Read Full Story

Police Searching For 15-Year-Old Girl Missing From Between Bridgman And Sawyer

The Baroda-Lake Township Police Department is looking for a 15-year-old girl who was reported missing on Monday. Police say Vivianna Jenkins was last seen in a yellow Notre Dame hoodie with gray jogging pants and no shoes. She was with 19-year-old David Daily of Dowagiac, who was in jeans and a black hoodie when they left on foot between Bridgman and Sawyer, heading east on Browntown Road in the direction of I-94. Police say Jenkins has a scar under her right eye and has long brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on where Jenkins and Daily may have gone is urged to call Baroda-Lake Township Police at (269) 465-3258.. ...Read Full Story

Shoreline Erosion To Impact Tourism Season

To date, the focus regarding the shoreline erosion along the Lake Michigan coast has been on protecting homes and properties. But there’s another factor looming large a few months from now: tourism. The beach at Rocky Gap County Park is completely gone, Silver Beach County Park has lost a massive amount of frontage, as have Tiscornia Park in the city of St. Joseph and Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor. We asked Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey what the plans are for the summer at Silver Beach, and he’s trying to stay optimistic.. ...Read Full Story

CEOs Of Whirlpool, Consumers Energy, And More Calling For LGBTQ Inclusion In Civil Rights Law

Whirlpool CEO Marc Bitzer is among business leaders in Michigan calling for a statewide ballot initiative to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. LGBTQ advocates have tried several times in recent years to expand the law to include the protections, but have not been successful. Now, the CEOs of several companies including Whirlpool, DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, Herman Miller, Verizon, and the Sam Bernstein Law Firm are teaming up to call for the initiative if the Legislature fails to take action on its own.. ...Read Full Story

Federal Prosecutor’s Nomination For West Michigan Blocked

President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as the top federal prosecutor in west Michigan is being held up by Michigan’s two Democratic senators. The Detroit News reports former state House Speaker Tom Leonard’s nomination, announced in August, is being blocked after Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters declined to meet with him. Typically, a nominee isn’t confirmed without two positive blue slips from his or her home-state senators, but the Republican-controlled Senate has approved some appeals court nominees anyway. Leonard was nominated as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan, which covers 49 counties. He ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2018, losing to Democrat Dana Nessel.. ...Read Full Story

Indiana Michigan Power Upgrading Electrical System In Berrien County This Year

Upgrades are coming to the electric grid in Berrien County. Indiana Michigan Power plans to invest around $62 million in the area over the course of this year to improve the reliability of the system. The Berrien Springs Area Improvements Project, as it’s being called, includes building the Blossom Trail Substation in Eau Claire, connecting that substation to existing lines, upgrading the transmission lines from 34.5 kiloVolts to 69 kiloVolts standards for better reliability, and replacing the Berrien Springs Substation with the new one in Berrien Springs. I&M is also planning to rebuild 4 miles of power line in four smaller segments, which might include re-routing some lines and getting new easements from property owners. Work will begin early this year.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Treasurer Releases Most Popular Dog Names

The most popular dog name in Van Buren County last year was Bella. So says the Van Buren County Treasurer’s office, which runs the county’s dog licensing program. With Bella being the most popular name for dogs, the most popular breed was the Chihuahua. After Bella, the most popular dog names were Buddy, Max, Daisy, and Lucy. After Chihuahua, the most popular breeds were German Shepherd, Labrador Mix, Pit Bull, and Labrador Retriever. Van Buren County Treasurer Trisha Nesbitt says the rate of people getting their dogs licensed has been going up. She urges everyone to get their pooch licensed, saying it provides owners with peace of mind knowing if the dog is lost, it can easily be identified and returned home.. ...Read Full Story

City Seeks Low-Interest Loan For Water, Sewer Work

More than $14 million in water and sewer work will be done in Benton Harbor in the coming years following action Monday night by the Benton Harbor City Commission. The body approved securing a low-interest state loan to do improvements at the water tower and replace water and sewer lines. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said the project may cost $14.5 million, but it’s necessary.. ...Read Full Story

Credit Union Program Helps Employees Donate To Communities

Employees of United Federal Credit Union have been able to donate more than $16,000 around their communities in the past year thanks to the organization’s Pay it Forward program. With Pay it Forward, UFCU gives each employee $15 to donate to those in need. They get to pick who they support. Many times, departments and branches combine their funds to create a more substantial donation. United CEO Terry O’Rourke tells WSJM News Pay it Forward was created at the request of employees.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Removing Brush, Planting Trees Along I-94

Drivers in Van Buren County are being advised to watch out for intermittent lane and shoulder closures along I-94 for the next few years. Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News crews will be doing tree and shrub removal along the highway starting this Tuesday. They will also be planting new pine trees. There’s a reason for that.. ...Read Full Story

Students To Take Part In Driver Safety Campaign

Students at 57 Michigan high schools will take part in the state’s Strive for a Safer Drive program this year. Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning spokesperson Kari Arend tells WSJM News the program is a partnership between the state and Ford Driving Skills for Life. It encourages students to create their own safety campaigns.. ...Read Full Story

K9 Helps Catch Domestic Violence Suspect

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says one of its K9s was able to track a domestic violence suspect over the weekend. Deputies were called out to a home in the village of Lawrence shortly after midnight Sunday on a report of a man who had assaulted his ex-girlfriend and her mother. While one of the victims was on the phone with 911, the 24-year-old suspect grabbed her phone and broke it, ending the call. By the time sheriff’s deputies arrived, the man had run off. However, thanks to a search by a deputy and K9 Kuno, the suspect was found a short distance away from the house and taken into custody. He was found to be on probation out of Van Buren County and had a personal protection order against him filed by one of the victims. He’s now in the Van Buren County Jail on charges of domestic assault, interfering with 911 communication, and violating a PPO.. ...Read Full Story

New Warning To Lock Vehicles Following Five Break-Ins In Bloomingdale

There’s a common message from law enforcement all over southwest Michigan to people: lock the doors of your vehicle. The latest comes from Bloomingdale, as the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says five vehicles were broken into overnight between Saturday and Sunday. There’s no specific location in the village that was targeted other than “in and around” according to deputies. Investigators have also not released details about what was taken from the vehicles, but do say that in every case, the doors had not been locked. The issue has popped up all over Berrien County in recent months as well, even leading to some cars being stolen because the keys were inside.. ...Read Full Story

MSU Federal Credit Union Reports Fake Charges To British Televangelist Group

An official with Michigan State University Federal Credit Union says 2,300 cards were charged with false transactions to an international televangelist network. Officials with the Lansing-area credit union say it’s unclear who was behind the fraudulent charges to Britain’s LoveWorld TV. Each charge was under $100 and will be refunded. The credit union says it is also issuing new cards to members who were affected. Chief Marketing Officer Deidre Davis says the credit union’s security and fraud management teams are investigating, as are officials from Visa. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel last week put out a warning to MSUFCU members to keep a close eye on their accounts after the breach was found.. ...Read Full Story

OK2SAY Goes To The Big Screen

Michigan’s OK2SAY tipline is now appearing on the big screen. The Michigan Attorney General’s office says OK2SAY advertisements are running in movie theaters throughout the state this season. Three different OK2SAY messages began airing on 372 screens in 48 different movie theaters earlier this month and are expected to be seen by more than 1.1 million students and their families. AG Dana Nessel says reaching students when they are outside of the classroom is an important part of the OK2SAY message, and her office wants to remind them they can step up and speak out when they learn of something potentially harmful. She adds, “whether it’s a bully or a friend contemplating self-harm,” it really is OK2SAY. The OK2SAY tipline was launched in 2014 as a way for students to speak up anonymously. To date, more than 22,000 tips have been received, more than 5,500 in 2019 alone. The top tip categories include suicide threats, bullying, drugs, self-harm, anxiety, stress, depression, and harassment. To send a tip, all you have to do is text OK2SAY.. ...Read Full Story