Local News Archives

AAA Michigan: Statewide Average Gas Prices Up 7¢

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 7¢ per gallon in the past week as the effects of hurricanes on fuel supplies are felt. The Dearborn-based auto club says early Monday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.69 per gallon. That’s about 48
cents more than at the same point last year. Gas prices climbed last week during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which cut U.S. refining capacity, and in anticipation of Hurricane Irma’s impact. The lowest average price in Michigan was about $2.66 per gallon in the Detroit area. The highest was about $2.76 per gallon in the Traverse City area. Locally in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, the prices rose about 9¢ to average $2.70. AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.. ...Read Full Story

Three Oaks Gas Station Robbed

Police are looking for a man who robbed the Speedway gas station on West Ash Street in Three Oaks early Monday morning. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us a white man walked in around 4:30 am and ordered the cashier to give him all the money from the register. He got away on foot and a sheriff’s department K-9 was unable to track him. The suspect is about 5’3″ and 180 pounds, and was wearing a tan shirt and a neon green and yellow baseball hat. If he had a weapon, it wasn’t used during the robbery, which is still being investigated. Anyone with information is urged to call the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Blue Star Highway Construction To Start This Month

The Van Buren County Road Commission is about to start a major project on Blue Star Highway. It tells us crews will be working on Blue Star from Phoenix Road to Baseline Road in South Haven Township starting on Monday, September 18. They’re doing milling and resurfacing work, along with guardrail upgrades and the construction of a bike path. Phase 1 of the work will mean the closure of the outermost northbound and southbound lanes through October 18. At that time, Phase 2 will start, meaning the closure of the inner northbound and southbound lanes. The project is expected to be finished on November 1. The $513,000 project is being paid for with a combination of federal and local funds. The Van Buren County Road Commission’s share of the cost is $325,000.. ...Read Full Story

Two Killed, Five Hurt In I-94 Crash

A blown tire may be to blame for a crash that killed two people and injured five others on Interstate 94 in Lake Township just before 3 p.m. Sunday. The Baroda-Lake Township Police Department tells WSJM News 13-year-old Osvaldo Leon and 32-year-old Francisco Valle-Lopez were pronounced dead at the scene. Both were passengers in a vehicle driven by 38-year-old Raul Leon, who was taken to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph along with three other passengers: 17-year-old Osiris Leon, four-year-old Osmiry Leon, and 15-year-old Oscar Leon. A fifth person, 33-year-old Alma Leon, was flown to South Bend Memorial Hospital. She and Valle-Lopez were visiting from Guerrero, Mexico, while the others were from Elgin, Illinois. The single-vehicle crash closed westbound I-94 between the 22 and 16 mile markers for about three hours on Sunday, with traffic sent on to Red Arrow Highway. The crash is still being investigated.. ...Read Full Story

County Board Seeking More Info On Possible Road Commission Takeover

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners wants to meet with the county road commission to get further information before moving forward with any possible takeover. At a meeting Thursday, the commission heard a draft resolution from Berrien County Administrator Bill Wolf for the takeover of the roads body. Wolf’s plan would create a county road department. Some commissioners balked at allowing Wolf to appoint the acting director without more commission input. They want a workshop with the road commissioners. County Chair Jon Hinkelman told WSJM News prudence makes sense.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Collecting Funds For Hurricane Harvey Recovery

Hurricane Irma may be getting the headlines this week, but there’s still a lot of work to do in Texas and Louisiana as people recover from Hurricane Harvey. That’s why the United Way has formed a national fund to help out. Ryan Cheevers, with the United Way of Southwest Michigan, tells WSJM News the money donated to the United Way Harvey Recovery Fund will be used to provide food, shelter, and other basic needs to folks affected.. ...Read Full Story

Suspected Arsonist Escapes Bangor Police

Bangor police are trying to find a man accused of breaking into a laundromat, setting it on fire, and stealing money. Chief Tommy Simpson tells WSJM News 21-year-old Dominick Wheeler somehow managed to break free and escape from inside a police car after his arrest. Wheeler was also wanted for undisclosed outstanding warrants. We have not been provided with a description of the suspect, nor has Simpson responded to messages from WSJM News to find out when the incident happened. The damage to the laundromat is “extensive” according to authorities.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Breaks Ground On Nursing Expansion

Southwestern Michigan College has broken ground on its new nursing facility expansion. SMC President Dr. David Mathews tells WSJM News dignitaries gathered Wednesday to celebrate the beginning of $9.6 million in work to roughly double the size and capacity of the nursing building.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman To Hold Master Plan Meeting Next Week

The city of Bridgman continues to work on its master plan. A third and final meeting of the public as the document is drafted has been scheduled for next Tuesday, September 12. City leaders tell us a master plan is a document that governs development within a community for several years to come, and in Bridgman, a major focus of the document is resiliency. That means they’re accounting for challenges that could arise beyond the city’s control. The city manager tells us they could include things like shoreline erosion or an economic downturn. The city has held two meetings so far to get the public’s input so far, and the next one will be at 7 p.m. at the Weko Beach House on Tuesday. Everyone’s invited. You can find out more about Bridgman’s master plan right here.. ...Read Full Story

Proos To Hold Tele-Town Hall

State Senator John Proos is planning a tele town hall meeting for this month. He tells us he wants folks to call in and offer their thoughts on any issues that might concern them. The tele town hall will be next Tuesday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m. More than 1,800 people took part in the last tele-town hall organized by Proos. He tells us he holds these meetings each fall, and he’s interested in hearing what folks have to say about improving the state’s career outlook, boosting technical education, reforming the auto insurance system, and whatever else they’ve got on their minds. Totake part in the meeting, call 1-877-228-2184 and enter the ID Code 113349.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Pushing Random Acts Of Kindness

The United Way of Southwest Michigan wants you to commit a random act of kindness. The United Way’s Ryan Cheevers tells WSJM News they’ve launched a new campaign called 75 Acts of Kindness. It’s a social media experiment designed to help mark the local United Way’s 75th anniversary. He says you’re encouraged to do something kind for someone else, and then to post a picture of it to Facebook with the hashtag #75Acts United. Your act of kindness could be anything.. ...Read Full Story

Murder Suspect Arrested After Gunfire With Police

Michigan State Police say they have a murder suspect in custody after an exchange of gunfire on Friday. They tell WSJM News it happened around 5:20 p.m. on eastbound I-94 in Lawrence Township when a Van Buren County Sheriff’s deputy and a state police trooper pulled over a vehicle that had been reported stolen out of Alabama. Police say after the vehicle stopped, the driver got out and fired shots at the officers. A state police trooper and a deputy returned fire, although no one was hit. They say the suspect surrendered and was taken into custody after he’d emptied his pistol. It was later learned the suspect was wanted for a murder in Madison County, Alabama. The incident remains under investigation by Michigan State Police.. ...Read Full Story

John Beers I-94 Ramp Closed

The Michigan Department of Transportation is advising the public that the ramp from John Beers Road to eastbound I-94 in Stevensville has been closed. MDOT is doing shoulder and pavement repairs on the ramp. As a result, the ramp closed Thursday and will remain closed through next Tuesday. In the meantime, drivers are being rerouted over to the Red Arrow Highway ramp to 94, or exit 23. You can stay up to date on all MDOT construction projects around the state with the MIDrive app. It’s free for both Android an iPhone.. ...Read Full Story

State Launches College Mental Health Campaign

Now that a new academic year has started, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reaching out to college students to talk about the importance of mental health. Spokesperson Angela Minicuci tells WSJM News it’s often in college that mental health issues first arise. She says it’s important to make mental health something people aren’t afraid to talk about.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Drain Commissioner Preparing To Fight Japanese Knotweed In Benton Twp

Berrien County Drain Commissioner Christopher Quattrin is looking at his options when it comes to fighting Japanese knotweed. The invasive plant has shown up in at least one Berrien County drainage area. He tells WSJM News he was notified last month when water started building up in the Willow Creek drain, which is near Napier Avenue and Ogden in Benton Township.. ...Read Full Story

Report Finds School Absenteeism High In Michigan

This week meant back to the classroom for nearly one and a half Michigan school children, but absenteeism remains a big problem. A new report finds in Michigan the rate of extreme chronic absenteeism in ALL schools is 19%, compared to the national average of 11%. Michigan Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston told Michigan News Network this week school districts need to address the problem.. ...Read Full Story

Electrical Fire Closes State Capitol

No one is injured, but the Michigan Capitol has been temporarily closed due to a small fire. State Senator John Proos tells us the electrical fire broke out Friday morning, and one person had to be treated for smoke inhalation. Proos’ office is in the Capitol building, meaning it is now closed for the remainder of this week. He also tells us the phones are also temporarily down. If you need to reach Proos’ office, wait to call until Monday or email SenJProos@senate.michigan.gov.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Utilities Send Crews To Assist With Hurricane Irma

From the Associated Press — Michigan utilities are sending hundreds of workers to Florida so they’re ready to assist with power restorations when Hurricane Irma hits the state. DTE Energy is sending roughly 300 line workers plus 100 tree trimmers. They’re
expected to reach northern Florida by Friday afternoon, where they’ll be on standby until needed. More than 200 Consumers Energy employees and contract personnel are headed from Michigan to Florida to assist local electric companies preparing for the hurricane. They’re also expected to arrive on Friday and could remain in Florida for up to two weeks. Michigan utilities often get help from out-of-state crews during major outages. During a storm in July, for example, crews from four states assisted Consumers Energy in its restoration work.. ...Read Full Story

County Road Commission Takeover On Hold For Now

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners wants to meet with the county road commission to get further information before moving forward with any possible takeover. At a meeting Thursday, the commission heard a draft resolution from Berrien County Administrator Bill Wolf for the takeover of the roads body. Wolf’s plan would create a county road department. Some commissioners balked at allowing Wolf to appoint the acting director without more commission input. They want a workshop with the road commissioners. County Chair Jon Hinkelman told WSJM News prudence makes sense.. ...Read Full Story

First Responders Honored In Lansing

First responders from around southwest Michigan have been welcomed to the Michigan Capitol to mark 9/11 for the year. The state House held its annual September 11 Memorial Service Thursday. Mattawan state Representative Beth Griffin welcomed Van Buren County Sheriff Dan Abbott and Van Buren County Undersheriff Chad Hunt as her guests.. ...Read Full Story