Local News Archives

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

Paw Paw Wine And Harvest Festival This Weekend

Wineries, breweries, and other businesses in Paw Paw plan to celebrate the region’s wine industry this weekend. It’s the annual Paw Paw Wine and Harvest Festival. They’ll be busy all weekend with a variety of events for the whole family. Paw Paw Wine and Harvest Fest Board President Doug Craddock told WSJM News Saturday will be packed.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Home Invasion Suspect Arraigned

The suspect charged in a series of home invasions around St. Joseph Township has been arraigned in Berrien County Court. The prosecutor’s office tells WSJM News 36-year-old James Jonathon Dulaney, of Benton Harbor, is charged with 1 count of felony home invasion and 6 misdemeanor offenses related to the case. He’s accused of breaking into homes throughout St. Joe Township during the overnight hours between August 23 and September 6. The first degree home invasion charge pertains to an August 23 break-in in which the resident awoke in bed to the intruder’s touch. The prosecutor also says Dulaney is charged with five counts of illegal entry, along with window peeping. Dulaney was arrested Wednesday morning when a Michigan State Police K9 tracked him down after a search around the Fairplain area. Dulaney faces up to 20 years in prison and his bond has been set at $10,000.. ...Read Full Story

Investigation Continues Into Niles Fatal Crash

A fatal crash that happened last week in Niles remains under investigation. The Niles Police Department tells us five people were hurt when two vehicles collided head-on at South 11th Street and Marion Street Wednesday afternoon. 42-year-old Amy Ruth Perry died as a result of her injuries. Police say the case will be handed over to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s office for review once the investigation is complete. All five involved in the crash were taken to Memorial Hospital in South Bend.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Praises Harvey Relief Funding

Congressman Fred Upton is praising a House vote on Wednesday to advance Hurricane Harvey relief funding. The emergency legislation setting aside more than $7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Relief Fund passed on a vote of 419 to 3. In a statement Wednesday, Upton says the vote is a great first step in helping the people of Texas and Louisiana. He also told WSJM News this week the Harvey vote would be just the beginning of a very busy week in Washington.. ...Read Full Story

Still More Time To See The Nina And The Pinta

Good news for you if you missed out on your chance to check out the Nina and the Pinta at South Haven’s Michigan Maritime Museum last week. The museum tells us the two replicas of the famous ships used by Christopher Columbus will be there all this week. Due to weather conditions on Lake Michigan, and Nina and the Pinta have not shoved off for Michigan City as planned, and will instead hang out in South Haven through Sunday. They’re still available for tours starting Thursday. The Michigan Maritime Museum tells us a whole lot of people showed up for tours last week. The hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To find out prices, consult the museum.. ...Read Full Story

Weekend 5K To Benefit SWM Police

Set for this weekend is a 5K run to raise money for police around southwest Michigan. Marianne Groth with the Southwest Michigan Racers tells WSJM News it’s the second time her group has partnered with Berrien County Strong Community in Action for such an event.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor School Trustee Avoids Censure

Benton Harbor School Board Trustee Lisa Gulley has avoided censure. At a meeting this week, the board rejected a resolution that would have formally censured her for allegedly violating the code of conduct during meetings and talking board business on social media, among other things. Gulley’s attorney, Martin Kirk, said the charges were not fair.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Raising Funds For Hurricane Harvey Recovery

Although Hurricane Irma is getting most of the headlines this week, the recovery from Hurricane Harvey continues in Texas, and it will be for a long time to come. That’s why the United Way of Southwest Michigan is urging folks to help out the victims with donations to a national Hurricane Harvey relief fund. The United Way’s Ryan Cheevers spoke with WSJM News about the effort.. ...Read Full Story

Police: Weekend Death In Benton Harbor May Have Been An Overdose

Police say a woman who was found dead over the weekend in a Benton Harbor home possibly died as the result of a drug overdose. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety was dispatched to a home in the 1,200 block of Superior on Sunday. There, they found the body of 36-year-old Jeanette Finehout. Police say they’re still investigating the source of the drugs. The department of public safety tells us an autopsy was done this week at Western Michigan University. They’re waiting for final toxicology results which could take a few weeks. In the meantime, anyone with information on the death is asked to contact the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder On Trade Mission To Japan, Germany

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is traveling to Japan and Germany for a 10-day trade trip. The governor leaves Tuesday for Japan, where he will stay until next Monday, when he heads to Germany. Snyder says the world is increasingly interconnected and “it’s important for leaders in other countries to hear about what Michigan has to offer.” In Japan, he will meet with auto company leaders, celebrate Michigan’s relationship with a sister state and attend the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association meeting. In Germany, he will visit the Frankfurt Auto Show. It’s Snyder’s sixth investment mission to Germany and his fourth to Japan.. ...Read Full Story

Suspect In Slew Of Home Invasions Caught

Police believe they’ve caught the man who’s been breaking into homes in St. Joseph Township in recent weeks and watching people sleep. The 33-year-old was caught at 6 this morning in a garage in the 500 block of Montezuma, just north of Napier east of the St. Joseph River. This came after the man was confronted by a homeowner during an attempted home invasion in the 100 block of West Delaware. That followed police being called to a home on Hoover just after 2 this morning. St. Joseph Township Police say Michigan State Police Trooper Joel Service and his K-9 Patch tracked the suspect after a third call of a home invasion in the 500 block of South Ottawa at 5 a.m. The suspect is in the Berrien County Jail and his name is being withheld pending arraignment.. ...Read Full Story

BH City Commissioners Approve New Trash Contract

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have taken a step to save residents some money. At Tuesday’s meeting, they approved a new trash collection contract, opting to sign up with We-Cycle Industrial Sanitation, a company owned by the same person the city once worked with before the appointment of an emergency manager. City Manager Darwin Watson told WSJM News this is the first new garbage contract the commission has adopted since regaining local control.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Urges Congress To Protect Young Immigrants

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is urging Congress to act quickly to authorize and clarify the status of immigrants brought into the country illegally as children since President Donald Trump is phasing out a program that protects them from deportation. The Republican governor said Tuesday many people are “working toward success” under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and Congress should act “for the certainty of their future.” The Trump administration is giving Congress six months to develop a legislative fix before it stops renewing permits for people already covered. The program was created by former President Barack Obama and benefits 6,430 people in Michigan. The Michigan Democratic Party says Trump’s actions are “cruel” because the immigrants “were brought to this country through no fault of their own.”. ...Read Full Story