Local News Archives

St. Joseph Commission Approves Whirlpool Tax Break

St. Joseph City Commissioners have taken the biggest step they needed to take in order to help a Whirlpool Tech Center expansion move forward. On Monday, they approved a commercial rehabilitation district certificate for the area of Upton Drive where the tech center work could take place. Rob Cleveland, with Cornerstone Alliance, tells us the next step is to get support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.. ...Read Full Story

Son Of Van Buren Sheriff Charged In Connection With Shooting

The son of Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbot is facing charges in connection with a Bangor murder case early this year. MLive reports 23-year-old Nikolas Abbot is charged with being an accessory after the fact to a felony, felony firearm, and a false report of a felony connected to the February 3 shooting of Eddie Holland at a park. Prosecutors say Holland was shot by Thurman Fletcher, and that Nikolas Abbot provided the gun. Abbott is also accused of later reporting that handgun stolen and then selling it in Benton Harbor. Police have since recovered it. Fletcher is charged with murder in the shooting, which was related to a drug deal. Abbot is due for a preliminary exam on July 26.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder In Support Of “Good Jobs For Michigan” Plan

You can count Governor Rick Snyder as among the supporters of a plan to give a big tax incentive to companies that create a large number of jobs in Michigan. The Good Jobs for Michigan plan would allow employers to capture a portion of the income taxes their new employees pay if the employer has created at least 250 jobs that pay the regional average. Snyder thinks such an incentive could create a whole lot of opportunities.. ...Read Full Story

Paul Clements Talks New Congressional Campaign

Once again running for Congress in Michigan’s Sixth District is Paul Clements. He’s a professor at Western Michigan University who tells WSJM News President Trump and Republicans, in general, have been motivating more to vote Democratic. He thinks he could beat Congressman Fred Upton this time, despite losing to Upton twice.. ...Read Full Story

Court Nixes Big Drug Bust On SW Michigan Highway

(St. Joseph, MI – AP) – The Michigan appeals court is throwing a flag at the seizure of 15 pounds of marijuana in southwestern Michigan. The court says the marijuana can’t be used to prosecute a Florida man. The court says detaining Kevin Kavanaugh while state police waited for a drug-sniffing dog violated his rights. The appeals court says it’s applying a legal precedent by the U.S. Supreme Court and throwing out Kavanaugh’s conviction. His car was stopped on Interstate 196 in Berrien County in 2014. The appeals court says the traffic stop should have ended when Trooper Michael Daniels said he only would give a warning for Kavanaugh’s driving violations. The trooper called for a police dog when Kavanaugh declined to allow a search of the trunk. The 3-0 decision was released Friday.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Move Up; SWMI Lowest In State

Southwest Michigan has the state’s lowest gas prices to start the week. According to the latest survey from Triple-A Michigan, the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph average is up nearly 15¢ from last week at $2.38. The statewide average rose 13¢ to $2.42, which is the third-largest jump in the country. The state’s most expensive gas is being sold in Jackson at $2.48 a gallon. GasBuddy spotters note Niles has the lowest prices in the state at $2.03, and South Haven’s prices range from $2.29 to $2.32 a gallon.. ...Read Full Story

Part Of Euclid Avenue To Close Next Week

The Berrien County Road Commission will start rebuilding South Euclid Avenue in Benton Township next week. The road will only be open north of Napier to the county animal control facility starting Monday. Crews will raise the road grade in sections by a foot, widen it, and then have a double layer of tar and stone applied. The road commission expects the work to be done by Labor Day, and the project is costing the county $199,000.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Officer Hurt In Crash

A Benton Harbor Public Safety officer is recovering at Lakeland Medical Center after being injured in a Sunday morning crash on East Britain Avenue at Columbus Avenue. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us the officer was responding to a priority call of an assault in progress and had his lights and sirens going. The driver of a Ford Expedition was in front of the officer and started to turn left onto Columbus as the officer was passing him on the left, and the impact sent the patrol SUV rolling several times before coming to rest in a vacant lot. Other Benton Harbor officers had to use the “jaws of life” to extricate the injured officer from his patrol vehicle, and he was alert and conscious when he was taken to the hospital. The driver, an adult passenger, and six kids who were in the Ford were not hurt. The crash is still under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

100th Anniversary Celebration For Jean Klock Park Set For This Month

A celebration is being planned to mark the 100th anniversary of Benton Harbor’s Jean Klock Park this month. The Lake Michigan shoreline attraction was dedicated to the children in 1917 by J.N. Klock and his wife, Carrie, in honor of their deceased daughter. Since then, it’s gone through many ups and downs, and its 100th birthday will be celebrated on July 15. People will gather for a low-key, respectful event from 10 a.m. to 3 pm. They’ve got some games for the kids planned, and anyone who needs help getting down to the party can call Dial-A-Ride.. ...Read Full Story

Search Called Off For Possible South Haven Drowning Victim

Emergency responders have called off the search for a possible drowning victim in South Haven. The search started Friday night after witnesses reported seeing a man walk off the south pier into Lake Michigan and then not resurfacing. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department, South Haven Area Emergency Services, and the U.S. Coast Guard searched the water all day Saturday and found nothing. They say they’ve found no evidence of the man in the water. As of Saturday night, there were no plans to resume the search.. ...Read Full Story

Analyst: 1 In 60 Chance Of Straits Pipeline Spill By 2053

From the Associated Press — Analysts say there’s a small chance but serious risk of an oil spill from a nearly 65-year-old dual pipeline underneath the Straits of Mackinac in northern Michigan. Engineer James Mihell of Dynamic Risk Assessment Inc. says there is a 1 in 60
probability that the section of Enbridge Energy Inc.’s Line 5 pipeline running through waters that connect lakes Huron and Michigan will fail between now and 2053. The state hired the analysts to assess potential energy delivery alternatives in the area. Environmental activists have accused Dynamic Risk of underestimating the potential of a spill. Mihell disputed suggestions the firm was low-balling or sugar-coating the risk.
Analysts didn’t recommend a specific course of action by the state, but described several alternatives to the pipeline section, including construction of a new trench or tunnel crossing at the same location.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Drug And Family Treatment Court Graduates Five

The Van Buren County Drug and Family Treatment Court is celebrating five new graduates. On Friday, Judge Kathleen Brickley presided as the men were saluted for turning their lives around through the program. Treatment Court Case Manager Nehemiah Poffenberger tells WSJM News the court takes criminal offenders whose crimes were related to a substance abuse problem, and gets them help. ...Read Full Story

Buchanan Man Hit, Killed By Vehicle

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after a Buchanan man was hit and killed by a vehicle while walking along US-12 Friday night. Police tell WSJM News 46-year-old Michael Gaertner was found about 10:20 p.m. He’d been walking westbound when he was struck. Gaertner was taken to Lakeland Hospital in Niles where he was pronounced dead. The crash is still under investigation by Berrien County Crash Reconstruction Team.. ...Read Full Story

Search Underway For Possible Drowning Victim In South Haven

Emergency responders in South Haven are searching for a possible drowning victim. South Haven Area Emergency Services tells WSJM News they got a report shortly before 11 p.m. Friday of a person falling off the south pier into Lake Michigan and not resurfacing. Witnesses said the person was about halfway down the pier. Emergency responders searched the water surface with spot lights, a thermal imager, and a portable light tower. The Van Buren County Sheriff Department Dive Team also searched the water along the South Pier for several hours with the help of the U.S. Coast Guard before breaking it off. They resumed the search Saturday morning.. ...Read Full Story

Lane Closures This Month On M-43 In South Haven

Some lanes on part of M-43 in South Haven will be closed for the most of the month. The Michigan Department of Transportation tells our newsroom it’s doing some maintenance work on the road between Alyworth Avenue and LaGrange Street. The lane closures will take effect on Monday at 7 a.m. and be in place through Friday, July 28. If you want to get up to date information on all MDOT projects, go to Michigan.gov/Drive, and get MDOT’s app. It’s called MIDrive.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Library Seeking Input On Renovation Plans

A public meeting has been scheduled for next month for South Haven area residents to offer their thoughts on some upcoming library renovations. In May, voters approved a new millage for the South Haven Memorial Library so it could stay in its current building but do some upgrades. There are no set plans as of yet regarding what the renovations will include, and that’s why the public’s thoughts are being sought. The open forum will be held on Thursday, August 3 at 6 p.m. On hand will be library officials and representatives of Abonmarch. The renovations are set to take place this fall.. ...Read Full Story

Clements To Run For Congress Again

Democrat Paul Clements is running for Congress again in the Sixth District. This will be the third time Clements has sought to unseat Congressman Fred Upton, assuming Upton runs again next year. Clements announced he is giving it another go this week. This time around, he is facing a couple of primary opponents. They are David Benac and Eponine Garrod. Benac is a Western Michigan University professor, just like Clements, while Garrod is a tester at Pfizer. Clements has said Upton has become vulnerable due to ongoing controversies involving congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump.. ...Read Full Story

West Michigan Man Killed By Falling Tree

From the Associated Press — Authorities say a 72-year-old western Michigan man who was killed when a tree fell on his home was in bed at the time. Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke identified the victim of the storm early Friday as 72-year-old Lawrence Thon. Hawke says the tree took off an addition to the house and landed on Thon, who died at the scene. He says Thon’s body wasn’t recovered until non, more than
nine hours after the storm hit Grand Haven, because a private tree company and a technical rescue team had to remove the tree using a crane before stabilizing the home. Hawke said Thon’s wife also was home at the time but in a different part of the house and made it out safely.. ...Read Full Story

Plenty To Do In St. Joseph This Weekend

With the Krasl Art Fair and Smooth Jazz at Sunset happening this weekend in downtown St. Joseph, there should be plenty of opportunities for fun in the rest of the downtown. St. Joseph Today’s Daniele Crevier tells WSJM News the many of the shops and restaurants are planning special sales or other features because of the art fair.. ...Read Full Story