Local News Archives

Benton Harbor Mayor Talks Police-Community Relations

Following the recent police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana, as well as Thursday’s killings of five police officers in Texas, Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad says police and the communities they serve need to better communicate. Muhammad says he recently attended a national mayor’s conference in Washington, D.C., and was among those asked by President Obama to ask their local police to find ways of addressing police misconduct while also thanking them for their service. Muhammad says he’s spoken with Department of Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis about the issue.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Pesticide Collection Coming Up

Time is running out to sign up to have unwanted pesticides disposed of by Berrien County. The parks and recreation department says Wednesday, July 27 will be the final Clean Sweep collection of 2016 for unwanted agriculture pesticides. It’s a chance to get rid of those chemicals in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. The registration deadline is July 13, next Wednesday. Anyone who wants to sign up can call Berrien County Environmental Property Manager Jill Adams at 983-7111, extension 8234. Or, you can get a form to sign up at Berrien, Cass, or Van Buren County MSU Extension offices or Conservation District offices. They’ll also provide you with the drop-off site details. More than 2.2 million pounds of unwanted pesticides have been properly disposed through the statewide Clean Sweep program since it started. The next closest Clean Sweep collection site is located in Kalamazoo.. ...Read Full Story

Trump To Appear Next Week With Indiana Governor

Donald Trump is to appear with Indiana Governor Mike Pence at a fundraiser next week. Pence is considered a leading candidate to be Trump’s running mate, and he’s listed as a host of Tuesday’s Indianapolis event on an invitation obtained by The Associated Press. A Pence spokesman confirmed the governor’s plans to attend the private fundraiser. Tickets range from $2,700 per person to $250,000 per  couple. An appearance by Pence would be the latest in a series of apparent auditions for Trump’s vice presidential prospects. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich both appeared  at rallies with Trump this week. Corker has since withdrawn his name from consideration. And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is also being vetted for the post, was set to appear with Trump in Miami on Friday before the event was canceled because of the mass shooting in Dallas. Trump is expected to name his choice in the coming days.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Praises House Action On Opioids

Congressman Fred Upton is hailing U.S. House action designed to reduce the abuse of opioids. Following this week’s passage of the conference report to accompany the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, Upton issued a statement saying the “overwhelming bipartisan vote of 407-5 underscores the urgency” in addressing the nation’s growing epidemic of deaths by opioid abuse. Speaking on the House floor in May, Upton noted the issue has become a major health crisis.. ...Read Full Story

Thousands Turn Out For Krasl Art Fair

The 55th Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff is underway in downtown St. Joseph. Thousands of visitors have taken to the bluff to see and purchase the work of 200 jewelers, ceramic artists, painters, sculptors, glass artists, and more. Krasl Art Center Marketing Director Breeze Ettl says the event is one of the biggest art shows in  the country.. ...Read Full Story

Court Order Could Lead To Thousands Of Deportations

Thousands of undocumented immigrants are worried that their sign up information for President Obama’s “Dreamers” program now could get them deported. Last month’s Supreme Court decision striking down parts of the president’s executive action means a federal judge’s pending order for the release of 50,00 immigrants’ names and addresses still is a threat. The order could be upheld at an August 22 hearing. Thomas Saenz, with MALDEF, says the order affects only some of the millions who registered for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or ‘DACA’ program.. ...Read Full Story

18 Grand Rapids Zoo Animals Killed When Water Pump Fails

Eighteen cownose stingrays and three spotted bamboo sharks have died after an apparent pump malfunction in a lagoon at a western Michigan Zoo. The John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids reports Friday on its website that one of two pumps for the lagoon shut down late Thursday and the backup alarm system designed to notify staff also did not function properly. Officials say flooding from thunderstorms that began moving across the state Thursday may have shorted a circuit connected to the pumps. Staff found the stingrays and sharks dead Friday morning. Low oxygen levels were found in water samples. Officials say the zoo “is currently discussing the best way to honor and memorialize these amazing special animals who brought so much joy and amazement to so many people.”. ...Read Full Story

Krasl Art Fair Starts Today

It’s time for the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff in downtown St. Joseph. Krasl Marketing Director Breeze Ettl says the 55th annual event is expected to attract more than 50,000 people to the area. They’ll be able to browse and purchase the work of 200 artists along the bluff starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.. ...Read Full Story

Ribbon Cutting Held For Pokagon Village In Hartford

A ribbon cutting ceremony has been held to celebrate the completion of the first phase of a Pokagon tribal village development in Hartford. On Friday, eight housing units that have been finished at a roughly 40-acre site on Red Arrow Highway, not far from the Pokagon’s Four Winds Casino Hartford, were unveiled. Tribal Government Manager Jason Wesaw says the village will continue to expand into the future. He notes the Pokagons have always had a presence in the Hartford area, and says it’s nice to see progress on providing housing for some of those residents.. ...Read Full Story

National Weather Service Warns About Conditions On Lake Michigan This Weekend

The National Weather Service is warning about dangerous conditions along some Lake Michigan beaches this weekend. It says that on Saturday, July 9, wind speeds and waves will be high. The weather service has issued a beach hazards statement for 11 p.m. Friday through 11 p.m. Saturday from St. Joseph all the way up to Manistee. Rip currents are possible, and the weather service says swimming conditions could be dangerous. Relatively cool weather this Saturday could help to keep some people out of the water.. ...Read Full Story

Trump Appear With Indiana Governor Next Week

Donald Trump is to appear with Indiana Governor Mike Pence at a fundraiser next week. Pence is considered a leading candidate to be Trump’s running mate, and he’s listed as a host of Tuesday’s Indianapolis event on an invitation obtained by The Associated Press. A Pence spokesman confirmed the governor’s plans to attend the private fundraiser. Tickets range from $2,700 per person to $250,000 per couple. An appearance by Pence would be the latest in a series of apparent auditions for Trump’s vice presidential prospects. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich both appeared at rallies with Trump this week. Corker has since withdrawn his name from consideration. And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is also being vetted for the post, was set to appear with Trump in Miami on Friday before the event was canceled because of the mass shooting in Dallas. Trump is expected to name his choice in the coming days.. ...Read Full Story

Two Arrested In Cass County Meth Bust

Two people are facing charges following a meth bust in Cass County. The Cass County Drug Enforcement Team says it assisted at the scene in the 69,000 block of South River Road in Porter Township on Thursday. A 52-year-old man was arrested when he was found to be in possession of meth, paraphernalia, and a large amount of Mexican currency. A 42-year-old woman found in the home was also arrested. The man was charged with possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, and the woman was charged with possession of methamphetamine. Their names have not yet been released, and police ask anyone with knowledge of drug activity to contact them.. ...Read Full Story

Brandon Beshires Ruled Competent For Trial In Baby’s Death

A Benton Harbor man is headed to trial in July for the death of an eight-month-old boy. Brandon Beshires was found competent to stand trial on Friday on a murder charge. He is accused of killing Carter Donovan in February. Beshires was supposed to be caring for the boy while his mother was at an appointment, but instead, the baby died from trauma to the head. He was ordered to undergo a competency exam in April. Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic tells WSJM News the trial is scheduled to start July 12.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Snyder Won’t Lead Michigan Delegation At RNC

For the first time in recent memory, the governor of Michigan will not lead the state GOP delegation to the national Republican convention next week. Governor Rick Snyder says he’ll be “making an appearance,” but he’s not a delegate. The governor also tells Michigan News Network Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick he’s staying out of the presidential election and will stay out for some time. When asked if he would campaign if there was a different candidate other than Donald Trump, Snyder reiterated he’s staying out of the presidential race and has many priorities in Michigan and is staying focused on those.. ...Read Full Story

Five Dallas Police Officers Killed In Ambush During Protest

President Barack Obama is denouncing the sniper attacks on Dallas police. Speaking at the site of a NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland, Obama called last night’s shootings a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement” and says “we are horrified over these events.” The President vowed that those responsible will be held “fully accountable” and that “justice will be done.”. ...Read Full Story

MI Credit Unions Welcome Changes To State Law

Michigan’s credit unions are celebrating some regulatory changes they say will soon make it easier for them. The state law that governs their services and lending capacity — the Michigan Credit Union Act — has gotten its first update since 2003. Tiffany Ford, President of the University of Michigan Credit Union, says the changes will give the not-for-profit cooperatives greater flexibility and allow them to expand. She says despite tough times, the state’s credit unions have continued to grow and keep money flowing, and she sees a bright future ahead.. ...Read Full Story

Friday Mega Millions Jackpot Now At $540 Million

If you’re feeling lucky, Friday would be an especially good day to buy a lotto ticket. The jackpot for the Mega Millions game is now $540 million. Once it gets that high, the ticket sales typically jump, so the jackpot could go even higher. The Michigan Lottery’s Jeff Holyfield says he’s met big-time lotto winners, and there’s a common feeling among them.. ...Read Full Story

Celebrate Bridgman This Weekend

It’s time for the annual Celebrate Bridgman event. Set for Saturday, the day will feature a variety of family-friendly activities all around town. Mayor Hannah Anderson says it’s a great way to celebrate the community, and also welcome in some visitors.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Police Investigating Hit & Run

Dowagiac police are investigating the hit and run of a pedestrian on Thursday. The department of public safety says it happened shortly before 4 p.m. on Riverside Drive near Hill Street. A 17-year old girl told officers she’s been riding her skateboard when she was grazed by a car that didn’t stop. The girl suffered scrapes and cuts in the fall. She was treated and released from Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital, and police are looking for the driver. The vehicle is described as being maroon and possibly an older “boxy style” Chevrolet. It was last seen driving south on Riverside. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Dowagiac Department of Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

St. Julian Winery President Dies

The president of St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw has died. A message posted to the winery’s website says David Braganini passed away unexpectedly on July 5. In addition to leading St. Julian Winery, Braganini served on the board of WineAmerica, as well as the board of directors of the Michigan Wine Producer’s Association. He was also the founder of the Lake Michigan Wine Trail. The winery says his memory and spirit will live on in all of its products, while Congressman Fred Upton issued a statement calling Braganini a “friend, a father, and a trailblazer in support of the wine industry throughout our state.” Family and friends are invited to visit on Sunday, July 10 from 2 to 8 p.m. with a Rosary at 7:30 p.m. at the Adams Funeral Home at 502 West Michigan Avenue in Paw Paw.. ...Read Full Story

Ruling Prevents Prosecutors From Seeking No-Parole Sentences For Juveniles

A judge has barred Michigan prosecutors from seeking new no-parole sentences for potentially hundreds of prisoners. Federal Judge John Corbett O’Meara signed a restraining order Thursday and set a court hearing for July 28. He acted at the request of lawyers for 360 juvenile lifers. The lawyers said action was needed because of a July deadline for prosecutors to disclose whether they’ll again pursue tough sentences for people who were convicted of murder when they were teens. In 2013, O’Meara said juvenile lifers must be given a parole hearing, likely their best chance at freedom. The state appealed, and a higher court recently sent the case back to O’Meara for more work.. ...Read Full Story

Detroit City Study Launched Through University of Michigan

A dozen projects are being launched through the University of Michigan this summer as part of the Detroit City Study. An open house is Thursday evening at the University of Michigan Detroit Center to kick off the work, which is part of the Campus of the Future effort that challenges University of Michigan students to think about the role of universities over the next 50 years. Twelve graduate students from the Ann Arbor school will lead research projects in July and August. They’re getting a $1,500 stipend for their efforts. Work will be done in three categories: Learning in the City: Urban Education, Place-Making and Sustainable Humanities. Subjects include the importance of green spaces, the arts as a community revitalization catalyst and the impact of education changes.. ...Read Full Story

West Michigan Economy Continues Slow Improvement

The west Michigan economy has seen “a modest upturn” as the summer has begun. That’s the term Dr. Brian Long would use to describe the West Michigan economy at mid-year. The director of Supply Chain Management Research at Grand Valley State University, in his monthly survey of purchasing managers, said that all of of indices showed improvement in June after slipping a little in May.. ...Read Full Story

Charges Likely Next Week From South Haven Melee

Van Buren County officials say it will be next Tuesday before they will be ready to formally charge the first of the approximately 50 people arrested in Sunday night’s violence on North Beach in South Haven. City officials and police say they plan to take a few months or longer to decide what they will do next year to improve security, or reduce the risk of another outbreak of violence like the one that occurred this year. Ian Kozic witnessed the melee.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Schools Could Merge With The Dream Academy

Benton Harbor Schools Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker is working on a plan to merge the district with the Dream Academy, now that the latter has lost its charter. More than 200 students attend the Dream Academy, and with the school shutting down, Walker says Benton Harbor Area Schools could take them in. They’d be kept together in one building, and Walker says the logistics are still being worked out.. ...Read Full Story

Pigeons Killed In Royalton Township Barn Fire

More than 100 trained pigeons are dead following a barn fire in Royalton Township Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters from Royalton, Lincoln, and St. Joseph Townships all responded to the scene at the structure on Scottdale Road behind the Dove Nest Bed & Breakfast around 4:30 p.m. They managed to put the fire down and keep it from spreading to nearby buildings, but the barn suffered heavy damage. The Royalton Township Fire Department says the fire was out after about a half hour, and estimates about $40,000 in damages. There were no injuries, and the cause of the blaze is under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Hails Passage Of Mental Health Legislation

The U.S. House has approved legislation designed to improve care for mental illness in the United States. The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, backed by Congressman Fred Upton, is designed to ensure the federal government funds evidence-based programs and remove barriers to care. Speaking on the House floor Wednesday, Upton said the plan could help millions.. ...Read Full Story

Krasl Art Fair This Weekend

It’s almost time for the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff in downtown St. Joseph. Krasl Marketing Director Breeze Ettl says the 55th annual event is set for this weekend and is expected to attract more than 50,000 people to the area. They’ll be able to browse and purchase the work of 200 artists along the bluff.. ...Read Full Story

Cook Unit 2 Shut Down For Repairs

The Cook nuclear power plant in Bridgman has shut down its Unit 2 reactor due to a rupture in a moisture separator reheater. The problem occurred after midnight Wednesday. Cook plant spokesperson Bill Schalk says the rupture led to the release of non-radioactive steam.. ...Read Full Story

Anti-Pipeline Protest Held At Attorney General’s Home

Groups opposed to an oil pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac have targeted the Midland home of Michigan Attorney General Bill
Schuette. The groups say in a release that more than 60 people demonstrated Wednesday, demanding that Schuette take action to shut down Enbridge Energy’s Line 5. State police Lieutenant  Mike Shaw says no arrests were made and troopers remained outside the home until the demonstrators left. In a statement, Schuette spokeswoman Andrea Bitely called the demonstration “a cowardly assault by professional protesters whose car license plates mostly appeared to be from out of state.” Bitely says Schuette has “made clear the pipeline is a risk and is working
hard with all groups involved to find a public policy solution that protects the Great Lakes.”. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Woman Charged In Crash That Killed 4-Year-Old

A Kalamazoo woman has been charged in connection with a rollover crash that left a 4-year-old boy dead. WOOD-TV and WWMT-TV report that 24-year-old Nicole Camden is expected to be arraigned Wednesday on operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death and other charges.
Police say a minivan rolled over April 1 in Kalamazoo Township. Jayden Johnson was ejected from the van and killed. Jayden’s 6-year-old brother was not injury. His father suffered minor injuries. An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday. Camden surrendered Wednesday to police
and was jailed.. ...Read Full Story

MI Attorney General Refiles Charge Against Former Lawmaker

The Michigan attorney general’s office has refiled a charge against former state lawmaker Todd Courser, who quit office in a sex scandal last year.
Courser is accused of soliciting an aide to send a phony email to cover up an affair with Cindy Gamrat, a Republican from Allegan County. State prosecutors filed the charge Wednesday in Lapeer County, the site of the alleged crime, after a judge said Ingham County wasn’t the appropriate place. Courser still faces two additional charges in Ingham. He denies criminal wrongdoing. He and Gamrat had an affair while they served in the House. Gamrat was kicked out by lawmakers. Like Courser, Gamrat was charged by the attorney general’s office. But charges against her were dismissed on June 14 by Lansing Judge Hugh Clarke Jr.. ...Read Full Story

Second High School For Benton Harbor Considered

With the charter being pulled this summer by Bay Mills Community College shutting down the Dream Academy in Benton Harbor comes the issue of what do those families and students do this fall. There are reportedly discussions underway to merge the chater school with the Benton Harbor Area Schools and create a second high school. Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker tells our partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16 they are talking about doing that for this coming school year, saying there is a strong desire to keep the Dream Academy students together within their community. A School of Choice Enrollment Fair was held last week for families of Dream Academy students, but our cameras were not allowed in and no one on sight was authorized to talk about the options for students.. ...Read Full Story

Mega Millions Up To $508 Million

The next Mega Millions jackpot is going to be at least $508 million since no one matched all of the numbers for last night’s drawing. Michigan Lottery spokesman Jeff Holyfield says disbelief is the most common emotion people feel when learning they’ve won so much money. He reminds any potential winner they have plenty of time to prepare before coming forward.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Leaders Talk Weekend Violence

South Haven city leaders are reviewing their options following Sunday’s disturbance at North Beach. The beach was evacuated and more than 50 arrests were made when fights broke out in the crowd and glass bottles started getting thrown around leading up to the Light Up the Lake fireworks show. Acting Police Chief Natalie Thompson says she’s planning meetings with the public and other law enforcement agencies to find a strategy for next year.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Farmers Market To Open Wednesday

The Benton Harbor Farmers Market will reopen for the summer Wednesday. Located at Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park downtown, the farmers market will feature fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers on sale each Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market accepts Bridge Cards, as well as Senior Project FRESH and WIC coupons. In addition to the food for sale, the market will feature cooking demonstrations, taste tests, and games for children. The Benton Harbor Farmers Market is operated by the Berrien County Health Department and supported with grants from Be Healthy Berrien through the United Way. It will be open each Wednesday through the end of September.. ...Read Full Story

Seat Belt Use Up In Michigan

The use of seat belts is up among Michigan drivers. The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning says it went up nearly 2% from 2015 to 2016. Spokesperson Anne Readett says a study by University of Michigan finds it’s at 94.5%. She notes that’s better than most other states, although ideally, all drivers would buckle up.. ...Read Full Story

Report Highlights Michigan’s Effort To Fight Opioid Abuse

Michigan is among the states taking strong action to fight opioid abuse. A legislative review from Stateline, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts, highlights several bills introduced in the state this year that would stem the prescription of pain medication and help those who are addicted. Executive Director Scott Greenberger says the number of overdose deaths from opioids has skyrocketed in recent years and almost every state is doing something.. ...Read Full Story

Pscholka: US-31 To Be Completed

A long-awaited road construction project in southwest Michigan is finally set to get started. State Representative Al Pscholka says the Michigan Department of Transportation’s next five-year plan includes the completion of US-31, connecting the highway to I-94. He says the work is several decades in the making.. ...Read Full Story

Near-Record Mega Millions Jackpot Tonight

The Mega Millions lottery jackpot is at a near record for tonight’s drawing. Michigan Lottery Spokesperson Jeff Holyfield says it’s now $454 million, the highest it’s been all year. Tickets are selling at a quick pace, as Holyfield notes people like to imagine all of the ways their lives would change if they won that much money.. ...Read Full Story

No Major Problems At Silver Beach For Independence Day

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it was a peaceful Fourth of July weekend at Silver Beach. The department this year stepped up patrols at the county park in St. Joseph after a disturbance prior to last year’s fireworks show. It says, in all, 28 citations were issued, 24 of them for having alcohol on the beach. In addition, 15 arrests were made over the weekend, all misdemeanors that included possession of marijuana, minor in possession, and drunk driving. The sheriff’s department adds it responded to 21 service calls at the beach, many of which were missing children and all of whom were found. It thanks its partner agencies and southwest Michigan residents for helping to keep Independence Day safe.. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw Lotto Winners Buy Local Bar

A million-dollar Powerball win three years ago by a Paw Paw couple has resulted in them buying the bar where they purchased their lucky ticket. The story of Jeff and Robin McCarty is being highlighted this week by the Michigan Lottery as one of the success stories of the multi-state game. They kept their jobs and used their winnings to buy a new house, and then this spring purchased Mike’s North 40 on M-40 in Paw Paw. The name was changed slightly to McCarty’s North 40, and now they run it together. Jeff McCarty tells Michigan Lottery officials they used to joke with the previous owner about buying the establishment, and got serious about it last year.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Police To Discuss North Beach Riot

South Haven Police will be holding a debriefing this week to talk about the riots on North Beach that resulted in the use of pepper spray, and a decision to evacuate the thousands there Sunday night prior to their big fireworks show. The goal will be to determine if they could have done something better. North Beach was closest to the launch site and the most crowded, and Sergeant Kyle Griffith says they had brought in extra officers from all over in anticipation of a huge crowd.. ...Read Full Story

Three Straight Weeks Of Gas Price Declines

Gas prices in Michigan are down 11¢ a gallon to start the week at $2.35. Triple-A Michigan notes it’s the third straight week of declines, and prices are 60¢ lower than this time a year ago. Traverse City has the state’s lowest average price for the third week in a row at $2.20, while Marquette drivers pay the most at $2.42. In St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, our prices average $2.23, down 15¢ over the past week. GasBuddy says five stations in Dowagiac are under $2 per gallon, while South Haven’s prices are at $2.09 and $2.10. The Dowagiac stations are the state’s lowest prices. While a federal report shows gasoline demand in the U.S. is at an all-time high, refineries are increasing output and supply is keeping pace.. ...Read Full Story

Boat Fire Under Investigation

Investigators are working to figure out what caused a fire to start on a 48-foot Jefferson boat at the Pier 33 Marina on Saturday. The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety says the boat was left unusable by the damage, though they got the flames under control in about 20 minutes. The fire was contained to the engine compartment and rear bedroom area. Everyone who was on board was able to get off the boat without anyone getting hurt. Fire crews were called to the scene just after 1:30 p.m. and are still investigating the blaze.. ...Read Full Story