Local News Archives

Lake Michigan College Postpones May Commencement, Reminds Students Online Classes Start Monday

Commencement for Lake Michigan College is being moved from May to August along with the Honors Convocation. LMC has issued a reminder to students that classes will resume online only on Monday, as the campus will be closed. All campuses are open through 5 p.m. Thursday this week, but will then shut down until April 13. For students who don’t have a home computer for distance learning, a free laptop can be borrowed through the advising department and LMC says professors are ready to be flexible for students who have technology barriers and other challenges regarding studying at home.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Coronavirus Cases Rise To 65; None In Southwest Michigan

Michigan now has 65 positive cases of coronavirus, up from 54 on Monday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says there are two new cases in the city of Detroit, three in Macomb County, two in Oakland County, and one each in Ingham, Jackson, Leelanau, Otsego, and Wayne counties. To date, there are no positive cases in Berrien, Cass, Van Buren, Allegan, or Kalamazoo counties. The closest to our area is a woman who is being treated at Holland Hospital in Ottawa County.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail Cancels Annual Wine Festival In June

Saying these are “unprecedented times” calling for “unprecedented measures,” the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail is canceling this year’s annual wine festival. It’s normally held the third Saturday in June, but the coronavirus pandemic has organizers deciding to step back and make changes. They say moving forward, they’re planning to “provide a more focused wine tasting experience that showcases the quality wines produced by the wineries of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.” The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail was founded in 2002 and is a non-profit association that collaborates with area wineries to promote the development of “an outstanding wine producing and tourism area and to be an industry leader.”. ...Read Full Story

Bronson Healthcare Cancels Elective Surgeries, Procedures

All elective surgeries and procedures are being canceled by Bronson Healthcare starting Wednesday. Patients are being notified. The move is among the latest responses to the coronavirus pandemic. The hospital system says the decision will reduce the number of people in their facilities who don’t need to be there, and will allow for the conservation of supplies and resources for the pandemic. Officials add while they know it’s “difficult news” for patients planning for the procedures, they feel it’s the most responsible decision for patients and communities “during these challenging times.”. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, South Haven Schools Providing Meals To Students

With schools closed for at least the next three weeks, one of the biggest questions that has come up, other than childcare for families that need it, is how are districts going to ensure students have enough food. Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, and South Haven are among the districts with food distribution sites. St. Joseph Public Schools superintendent Dr. Thomas Bruce says it’s open to anyone in the district.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices In Free Fall, Expected To Keep Dropping

The state’s average gas price according to AAA Michigan is down 20¢ a gallon in just the past week, and they’re expected to continue falling due to a drop in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. The auto club says the average is $2.04 a gallon, down 38¢ in the past month and 57¢ lower than this time last year. Of the areas surveyed by AAA, Saginaw’s $1.92 is the lowest price, with both Grand Rapids and Lansing under the two-dollar mark at $1.94 each. Marquette’s average of $2.42 is the highest in the state. According to GasBuddy, the average price in Van Buren County is $1.78, and the Berrien County average is at $1.89.. ...Read Full Story

Bars, Restaurants To Close At 3 PM In Michigan; Carry-Out, Drive-Thru, Delivery Remain Options

Governor Whitmer is ordering that all restaurants and bars be closed to dine-in customers, effective at 3 p.m., to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The businesses can stay open for takeout and delivery. A Whitmer spokeswoman says more details will be released Monday. The state reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday, bringing the Michigan total to 53. Included in the new positive tests is the first child, a boy in Oakland County, and the first in Ottawa County west of Grand Rapids. There are still no confirmed cases in southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Whitmer Issues Order Regarding Price Gouging

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order aimed at curbing price-gouging of emergency supplies and food during the coronavirus outbreak. The temporary measure, which takes effect Monday, restricts a person or business from reselling goods or products that are “grossly in excess of the purchase price of the product.” Attorney General Dana Nessel explained the order Sunday afternoon.. ...Read Full Story

Stray Dog In New Buffalo Closes Temporarily Due To Coronavirus

State officials are not going so far as to order restaurants, bars and hotels to close due to the coronavirus outbreak, but some are doing so voluntarily. The Stray Dog in New Buffalo has issued a statement saying “In an effort to protect our community, we have decided to temporarily close both the restaurant and the store. During this time, we will continue to support and pay our employees.” The statement goes on to say they plan to reopen on Monday, March 30. They add as the situation continues to evolve, the plans may change.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Area Schools To Continue Offering Meals During Closure

Benton Harbor Area Schools will continue to offer meals to students during the three week statewide closure of schools. The district says meals will be available for all students each weekday from March 16 through April 3 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. According to a tweet by Superintendent Andrae Townsel, the district is teaming up with several local organizations to distribute the food. Breakfast will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Benton Harbor High School, Blossom Acres, Benton Manor, the First Church of God in Benton Harbor, the Overflow Church, the Ravines MCH, Berrien Homes, and River Terrace. Lunch will be available at the same locations from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunches will also be available at the Boys and Girls Club’s teen center and youth campus from 3 to 5 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

Libraries Close Due To Coronavirus

Several southwest Michigan libraries have announced they are closing due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Maud Preston Palensky Library in St. Joseph says it has closed. It said on Facebook it had hoped people would self-quarantine, but as other libraries closed, it saw a run on its own materials and large groups of people coming in. Additionally, all Van Buren District Library locations are closed beginning Monday, March 16, until further notice to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.  The Benton Harbor Public Library has announced it’s closed, the Bridgman Public Library is closed, the Buchanan District Library is closed, and the New Buffalo Township Library is closed. If you have questions about the operations of other area libraries, you should contact them.. ...Read Full Story

Comcast Increasing Access To WiFi Network Nationally During COVID-19

Comcast has announced new steps to help people stay connected as the nation responds to the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, the company said it was making two months of broadband service available for free to low-income customers. Now the company says it’s making its Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country available to anyone who needs them for free, including non-subscribers. In addition, Comcast says it’s pausing its data caps for customers for the next 60 days, and will not disconnect a customer’s internet service or assess late fees if they contact the company and let them know they can’t pay their bills during the same period. Comcast Cable Chief Executive Officer Dave Watson says as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, “it is vital that as many Americans as possible stay connected to the internet – for education, work, and personal health reasons.” This is many companies encourage employees to work from home due to the coronavirus. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Would Give Cass County Park State “Dark Sky” Designation

A bill that would designate Cass County’s Dr. T.K. Lawless Park as a state-recognized dark sky preserve is making its way through the Michigan Senate. State Senator Kim LaSata this week testified in favor of the plan from state Representative Aaron Miller. It would add the Cass County attraction to the state’s list of dark sky preserves, which currently includes six locations. LaSata says designating “the park as an officially recognized state dark sky preserve would help attract even more visitors.” The Cass County Parks Department this year secured an International Dark-Sky Park designation for T.K. Lawless Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. The Senate Natural Resources Committee has approved the legislation, which now goes on to the full state Senate.. ...Read Full Story

Indiana Michigan Power Suspending Disconnections

Due to the spread of coronavirus, Indiana Michigan Power is suspending all disconnections for those who are behind on their bills. The utility says in a statement they “know our customers are concerned about their families and ensuring they have reliable electric service allows them to focus on staying healthy and well. Indiana Michigan Power is committed to doing what we can to help our customers, our employees, and the communities we serve as we navigate this uncertain time.”. ...Read Full Story

Comcast Offering Two Months Of Free Internet To Those With Low Incomes

Comcast has announced that it’s making high-speed internet available for free to low-income residents as the country deals with the spread of COVID-19. The company says its Internet Essentials program is normally $9.95 per month for those with low incomes. It’s now offering the service complimentary for 60 days to qualifying customers, and also increasing the service’s speed from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers. Comcast announced the move Friday as it says with “millions of low-income Americans who don’t have Internet service at home, this uncertain time is going to be even more difficult to manage. As schools and businesses close and families are encouraged, or even mandated, to stay home, Internet connectivity becomes even more important.” To find out more, you can go to InternetEssentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376.. ...Read Full Story

Bob Harrison Seeking Reelection

Berrien County Commissioner Bob Harrison is seeking reelection. The former president of Lake Michigan College was first elected as county commissioner for the 7th District in November of 2018. The 7th District covers the village of Stevensville and precincts 1 through 5 in Lincoln Township. Harrison says he’s proud of the development going on in Berrien County, and “I believe I can continue to add value and leadership to the Board of Commissioners.” His current committee assignments include serving as the vice-chair of the Finance Committee, as a board representative to the Emergency Operations Center, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, the Berrien County Transportation Advisory Committee, the Brownfield Authority, and the Pension Board for the County. Harrison says he believes in “collaborative leadership, and that problem solving best happens at the local level.” Harrison lives in Lincoln Township with his wife Janine and two children, who attend Lake Michigan College and Grand Valley State University.. ...Read Full Story

Men Posing As Utility Workers Break Into Cass County Home

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is warning everyone of a utility scam that can result in people being robbed. It says it was called around 9 a.m. on Thursday to investigate a suspicious situation in which three men were seen in Howard Township going house to house posing as Midwest Energy and Communications personnel. The sheriff’s department has learned the men do not work for MEC. They were approaching houses and asking to see past power bills and asking residents about their satisfaction with the company. In most cases, they left after speaking with the residents. However, the three men did break into a home where no one was present in the 60,000 block of Conrad Road. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact the Cass County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Cornerstone Alliance Creates Task Force For Businesses In Response To Coronavirus

Cornerstone Alliance has created a task force to help share important information with local businesses as more cases of COVID-19 are identified around the country. It says the task force will connect local businesses with resources that will be made available by the state and federal government as the response to coronavirus continues. Cornerstone adds “We are working with Congressman Fred Upton, the Small Business Administration and other elected officials to understand the tools available to help small businesses navigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our priority to work with these groups to assist local businesses with immediate needs.” Cornerstone says, moving forward, it will provide critical information on its website. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Boys And Girls Club Closes, Offering Free Meals To Young People

The Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor has announced it’s shutting down as of this Friday. The club will be closed through April 6 to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the Boys and Girls Club has announced the start of a new meal service for young people. It says the Grab ‘N Go Meal Service Program will provide free meals to anyone age 18 and under. They will be available at the Joel E. Smilow Teen Center and the Fettig Youth Campus in Benton Harbor from March 16 through April 3 with snacks and a Dinner TO GO. The meals can be picked up Mondays through Fridays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Boys and Girls Club says the Grab ‘N Go meals are being made available as local schools are closed. It wants to continue the service to young people.. ...Read Full Story

Niles City Hall To Close To Non-Essential Business Monday

The city of Niles is closing city hall to only essential business on Monday. It says it’s requesting that citizens use the telephone or use the city’s website at NilesMI.org whenever possible to contact city offices and departments. The city’s main phone number is 269-683-4700. Niles city staff say they are prepared to address the vast majority of citizen needs, including utility related-matters like payments, in that manner. The city notes its payment drop box is available 24/7 and is located on the east side of city hall’s driveway near the drive thru window. Starting Monday at 7:30 a.m. entry to Niles City hall will be restricted to the south building entrance and visitors will be screened for their needs and then directed to the appropriate department or provided with alternative methods of conducting their business. The change in service will be reevaluated after 30 days.. ...Read Full Story

Visits To Prisons Cancelled

Visitors are not allowed at Michigan prisons starting Friday. The policy was put in place Friday morning in a response to the spread of the coronavirus. Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz says it will impact a variety of programs.. ...Read Full Story

County Commissioner Warns About Scam

A scam is being reported around southern Berrien County that has resulted in some people being robbed. At this week’s meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Ezra Scott said the scam involves someone showing up at a resident’s door and claiming to work for a utility company. They then try to distract the homeowner.. ...Read Full Story