Local News Archives

Charges Filed In Paw Paw-Area Stabbing

Two charges of assault with intent to murder are now faced by a 47-year-old man from Missouri for a stabbing attack on two people in a vehicle near Paw Paw late Sunday night. Boyd Hicks is in the Van Buren County Jail on a one-million dollar bond. The sheriff’s department has not released any details on what led up to the attack on M-43 near Hidden Pines Drive in Almena Township. The two victims have been released from the hospital after undergoing surgeries. Hicks is due back in court on September 6. In addition to the attempted murder charges, he’s also charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Commissioners Continue Road Discussions

Another public hearing has been held on the question of the Berrien County Road Commission. Board of Commissioners Chair Jon Hinkelman tells WSJM News the board is thinking about creating a new county roads department to take over the functions of the road commission. Commissioners wanted to hear from the public at the Thursday session. There’s one more to go, set to be held in the evening.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata planning Energy Town Hall

State Representative Kim LaSata is planning an energy town hall. Her office tells us the meeting is specifically about clean energy issues. LaSata notes there are more than 80,000 clean energy jobs right here in Michigan, and on hand for her town hall will be speakers from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. They’ll talk about where clean energy in Michigan is heading and what people can do to help. The meeting will be at the Kinexus building on Main Street in Benton Harbor on Thursday, August 31. It will start at 5:30 p.m. and everyone’s invited.. ...Read Full Story

Business Group Praises New Tax Incentives For Job Creation

Higher wages for people in Michigan are just some of the expected benefits of the recently-enacted “Good Jobs for Michigan” law. Business Leaders for Michigan’s Doug Rothwell tells WSJM that he’s proud of state lawmakers for passing the bills this summer, and says the law will help people who feel left behind by the state’s economic recovery since the recession.. ...Read Full Story

Lawsuit Alleges State Improper Aided Anti-Gerrymandering Group

From the Associated Press — A Republican strategist has filed a complaint against Michigan’s elections bureau, alleging staff improperly gave advice on the wording and legality of an anti-gerrymandering ballot initiative. The Board of State Canvassers approved the petition form last week, and the group Voters Not Politicians is collecting signatures to qualify for a 2018 statewide vote. But Bob LaBrant, a longtime GOP political adviser, said in a complaint Thursday that elections staffers “engaged in mission creep” and ignored rules that
limit them to reviewing petition formatting and other technical issues. The secretary of state’s office could not immediately be reached for comment. The redistricting initiative would create an independent commission to draw congressional and legislative seats. The Legislature and governor currently control the once-a-decade process.. ...Read Full Story

SMC President Marks 20 Year Milestone

Southwestern Michigan College President Dr. David M. Mathews is celebrating 20 years with the school. He received a service pin from the board of trustees on Monday. Mathews tells us when he joined the school in July 1997, SMC had 45 faculty and a replacement value of $26 million. Today, he says they have 60 full-time faculty and a replacement value of $116 million. SMC Chairman Thomas Jerdon tells us, “David checks all the boxes we could ever want in a president.” Mathews joined SMC as the dean of arts for science and instructional innovation. He was appointed Vice President of Instruction in 1998 and became the college’s seventh president in 2001.. ...Read Full Story

Second Suspect Charged In Benton Harbor Shooting

A second suspect has been charged in a shooting death in Benton Harbor this month. 32-year-old Nathaniel Lee was shot twice and killed outside of the River Terrace apartment complex on August 15. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office tells WSJM News police believe Lee was killed during a robbery attempt. Already charged in the case is 19-year-old Davion Turner of Conyers, Georgia. The newest charges are against 21-year-old Antonio Hall of Benton Harbor. He was arraigned Wednesday on charges of Felony Murder, Armed Robbery, and Felony Firearm. He’ll be back in court on September 1. Police believe there were two other suspects involved in the robbery. They continue to investigate.. ...Read Full Story

Man Charged In Crash That Killed Southwest Michigan Fire Chief

From the Associated Press — A 24-year-old man has been charged with reckless driving in the death of a fire chief who was hit while responding to a crash in southwestern Michigan. Brandon Clevenger of Springfield was charged Tuesday with reckless driving causing death. The Kalamazoo County sheriff’s office says he was driving nearly 90 mph and distracted by his phone just seconds before hitting a cement median wall. The car then crossed lanes on Interstate 94 and struck Ed Switalski. Switalski served as chief of Comstock Township Fire and Rescue for four years. The 55-year-old Switalski worked at the Kalamazoo-area department after more than three decades at the Pleasantview Fire District in suburban Chicago. WOOD-TV reports a judge Wednesday set Clevenger’s bond at $5,000. It wasn’t immediately known if he has an attorney.. ...Read Full Story

Chicago-Area Kids Arrested After Stolen Car Crash

A wild overnight incident for Michigan State Police along with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and police from the city of St. Joseph, St. Joe Township and Lincoln Township. All of those departments were involved in the search for six young people out of the Chicago area after troopers tried to pull over what turned out to be a stolen car from Chicago on I-94 just before 2 a.m. Wednesday. The driver took off, got off on M-139, and crashed into a house. Three people were arrested there, but the others ran and stole a second car in the Wyndwicke neighborhood. They then crashed that one trying to get away, and were caught after a search of the area. Three of them, all girls 17 and younger, were released, while three juvenile boys are going to be facing multiple charges including possessing a stolen vehicle, hit and run, and theft of a motor vehicle. Somehow, no one was hurt.. ...Read Full Story

Pipestone Freeway Exits To Shut Down For Construction

Some traffic changes are coming to I-94 in Berrien County this week as a result of construction. The Michigan Department of Transportation tells WSJM News the ramps to both east and westbound 94 from Pipestone Road in Benton Township will be shut down starting this Wednesday. They’ll stay that way through November 30 while MDOT does bridge repairs. Also, it notes there will be some lane closures in effect on Pipestone under the highway. Additionally, lane closures on the I-94 Business Loop at exit 23 in Stevensville take effect Wednesday as a result of bridge work in that area. Once again, the project will run through November 30.. ...Read Full Story

Powerball Jackpot Up To $700 Million

The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday’s drawing is now up to $700 million. That’s the second highest it’s ever been. The Michigan Lottery’s Jeff Holyfield tells WSJM News he’s met Lotto players who have won some of those massive jackpots, and they tend to have something in common.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Man Charged In Child Porn, Meth Case

A Cass County man could get life in prison in a case involving a total of 59 charges, many of which are child porn related. The Cass County Prosecutor’s office tells us 44-year-old Jason Ryans is charged with using a computer to commit a crime, possession of child sexually abusive material, habitual child sexually abusive activity, and possession of meth, among other things. He’s accused of committing those crimes between the start of this year and mid-July. Bond for Ryans has been set at $200,000, and police ask anyone with additional information on the case to contact them.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Schools Superintendent Receives Positive Performance Evaluation

The St. Joseph Public Schools Board of Education has released the results of Superintendent Ann Cardon’s annual evaluation. The board this week congratulated Cardon on what it called an outstanding performance with highly effective outcomes for the 2016-17 school year. The board writes, “Ann is a leader who cultivates an inclusive, caring and supportive school community that promotes academic success for each student in our district.” The board also applauded Cardon for presenting what it called sound methodologies in regards to staff development, school improvement, and instructional practices. Trustees say they forward to a continued partnership with Cardon.. ...Read Full Story

Water Company Employee Accused Of Stealing Drugs From Customer Homes

An employee of a water supply company is facing charges in Van Buren County after police say he used his position to break into the homes of customers to steal prescription drugs. Sheriff’s deputies were called out to the 27,000 block of Second Avenue in Pine Grove Township on Monday to investigate a breaking and entering complaint. That led them to the 35-year-old suspect. They say he’d been breaking into customers’ homes during his shift, and they’re looking for other possible victims. The name of the suspect has not yet been released. Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Man Facing Charges Over Theft From Utility Drop Box

One man is facing felony charges following a break-in to a utility payment drop box in Dowagiac this month. The police department tells us 53-year-old Garry Means was picked up on a warrant August 13 while charges were pursued in the theft case. Means is accused of stealing money from a drop box located along Pennsylvania Ave and New York Ave south of Commercial Street. He’s in the Cass County Jail with bond set at $200,000. Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the Dowagiac Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Two Benton Harbor Schools Damaged By Vandals

Benton Harbor Areas Schools has suffered a blow just ahead of the start of a new academic year. Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker tells WSJM News two of the district’s buildings were vandalized over the weekend, with “significant” damage done to them. Walker says it happened either late Saturday or early Sunday at the STEAM Academy at MLK on East Britain and the Discovery Enrichment Center on South McCord. She couldn’t tell us exactly what the vandals did, but says they damaged about 15 classrooms at STEAM and also damaged some modular classrooms at Discovery. The district is taking donations for anyone who wants to help it recover. They can be given to the Berrien Community Foundation. Also, anyone who knows anything about the crime is asked to contact the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety. ...Read Full Story

Motorcyclist Killed In Coloma Township Crash

A motorcyclist is dead after a crash with a car on eastbound I-94 in Coloma Township Monday night. The Coloma Township Police Department tells WSJM News the crash happened around 9 p.m. The motorcyclist has been identified as 66-year-old Michael Feller of Wellston, Michigan. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the passenger vehicle, 23-year-old Hannah Joseph of Grand Blanc, suffered minor injuries. The cause of the crash is still being investigated by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw Getting A Biggby Coffee

Paw Paw is the latest southwest Michigan community to get a Biggby Coffee. The new establishment opens for business Tuesday at the corner of Kalamazoo Street and Berrien Street just off of I-94. Owner Linda Marcon says she thought a Biggby would be the perfect fit for her as an business owner, as well as for her hometown. Macron is active with several community organizations, and adds she looks forward to tying them in with her new venture. Biggby Coffee opened in 1995 in East Lansing, and has since expanded to 254 locations in nine states.. ...Read Full Story

BH Commissioners Honor Retired State Police Trooper

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have honored a local Michigan State Police trooper with a key to the city. Trooper Maurice Burton retired this year after serving the state police since 1986. He’d been the city’s community service trooper since the Granholm administration and told WSJM News he’s seen the community’s police presence change a lot since then.. ...Read Full Story

Crowds Gather To View Solar Eclipse

Crowds around southwest Michigan have had their chance to check out this week’s solar eclipse. Viewing parties were held around the region on Monday as the sun was totally obscured by the moon for a few minutes. The Lincoln Township Library held one party, with organizer Vicki Rausch telling WSJM News she was pleased with the turnout.. ...Read Full Story