Local News Archives

Lawmakers Debate Climate Change In D.C. As MI Forges Own Path

The U.S. House of Representatives Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee held a hearing Thursday on the consequences of the United States pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Accord. Meanwhile, Michigan climate activists say they are forging ahead despite federal inaction. Extreme weather events like the polar vortex, mega-fires in California, flooding in Houston, and the hurricane in Puerto Rico already have brought urgency to the climate-change debate. Kate Madigan with the Michigan Climate Action Network says the effects also are being felt in the Great Lakes State.. ...Read Full Story

Apartments, Retail Planned For Iconic Downtown Benton Harbor Building

More than a dozen new apartments and over 3,000 square feet of retail space are coming to downtown Benton Harbor. Cornerstone Alliance has secured a tentative commitment from Cressy Commercial Real Estate to redevelop the iconic Harbor Center Building at the corner of Pipestone and Main streets, which dates to 1882. The building was purchased by Cornerstone Alliance in October 2017, and officials spent over a year discussing the possibilities for the property with developers both locally and nationwide before reaching a deal with Cressy. Soon to be known as Harbor City Flats, the apartment development hinges on support from both the city of Benton Harbor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and Cornerstone Alliance is anticipating construction getting underway as soon as June.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Hires New Finance Director

South Haven once again has a finance director. The city has hired Kari Bennett to take over the Finance Department following the firing earlier this year of Wendy Hochstedler after an audit turned up a variety of issues. Bennett comes to South Haven from the Berrien County Road Department, where she had been their finance director. She is a licensed CPA with a decade of experience working directly with government agencies with a public accounting firm. Her first day will be Monday.. ...Read Full Story

School Board Wants Return Of Local Control

As leaders at Benton Harbor Area Schools grapple with difficult financial decisions, another matter that needs to be resolved is the question of who’s in charge. Right now, it’s still CEO Robert Herrera under the cooperative agreement. However, with that likely to change July 1, Board of Education President Steven Mitchell read a request from the board to Herrera at Thursday’s meeting:. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Creates Tax Exemption For Companies Expanding Broadband

Legislation from state Senator Aric Nesbitt is designed to increase access to broadband internet in rural areas. His office tells us his bill would create a tax exemption for new broadband equipment installed in places where it’s lacking. Nesbitt says many educational and job opportunities these days depend on fast internet, adding homes without access to good internet are less desirable and harder to sell, which in turn lowers their value. Nesbitt says, “I think we owe it to residents in rural areas to get this done.” The plan is currently before the Senate Committee on Finance.. ...Read Full Story

School Board Facing Tough Financial Decisions

Benton Harbor Area Schools may be facing more than $18 million in debt, but that isn’t necessarily the district’s biggest problem. The biggest problem is declining enrollment. That’s the message from Michigan Department of Treasury Office of School Review Director Shelbi Frayer. She spoke to the board of education Thursday, laying out the district’s financial situation.. ...Read Full Story

Retired County Commissioner Honored

A former member of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners has been honored by having a conference room at the county administration building named for him. Kenneth Wendzel served on the county commission from 1969 to 1998 with nearly 20 years of that spent as chair of the finance committee. At a Thursday dedication ceremony, speakers including Berrien County Judge Dennis Wiley talked of their time working with Wendzel, remembering his fiscal conservatism and ability to get along with anyone. Commission Chair Mac Elliot served with Wendzel from 1985 to 1998.. ...Read Full Story

Fatal Hit And Run In Van Buren County

Police are investigating a fatal hit and run crash in Van Buren County. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened in the 61,000 block of County Road 378 in Bangor Township around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Deputies arrived at the scene on a report of a car-pedestrian crash, and learned the vehicle had left. The pedestrian, a 55-year-old Bangor man, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say the driver is believed to have been in a Dodge Journey, model year between 2010 and 2019. The vehicle is described as light-colored, possibly silver or light blue. The vehicle would have driver’s side front end damage. The sheriff’s department asks anyone with information on the vehicle or the crash to contact them.. ...Read Full Story