Local News Archives

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

Police Identify Body Found At St. Joseph Marina

Police have identified a body found at a St. Joseph marina last month as that of a missing Benton Harbor man. Willie Brand was reported missing in May. On June 17, a body was found in the water at Pier 33 marina. At the time, police could not establish an identity because they said the body had been in the water for a long time. It took a DNA test at the Michigan State Police Crime Lab in Lansing to confirm that body as that of Brand. Police say drowning appears to have been the cause of death, and they found no signs of foul play.. ...Read Full Story

Lane Closures Planned For This Month On US-31 Near Berrien Springs

Some bridge work will mean lane closures on southbound US-31 near Berrien Springs for the rest of the month. The Michigan Department of Transportation tells us they’re working between Snow Road and Lake Chapin Road starting Monday. The lane closures will remain in effect through July 31 while the bridge is getting maintenance. You can stay up to date on all MDOT projects at Michigan.gov/Drive, or you can get the MIDrive app on both Android and iPhone.. ...Read Full Story

Schuette: Schools With Indian Nicknames Can’t Lose State Aid

Attorney General Bill Schuette says the Michigan school superintendent doesn’t have authority to cut off tax dollars to districts with American Indian mascots or logos. Schuette’s opinion was sought by state Representative Tim Kelly, a Republican from Saginaw County. Critics of schools with Indian mascots say they create a hostile environment and are culturally insensitive. But supporters say they’re signs of respect. In an opinion dated Monday, Schuette says state law lists specific grounds for a superintendent to stop state aid to a school district, but having an Indian mascot isn’t among them. In March, Superintendent Brian Whiston proposed cutting up to 10% of a district’s annual payments if he had authority. In Paw Paw, the school board in February voted to keep the Redskins nickname. Saranac also still uses the Redskins mascot.. ...Read Full Story

Monday Is The Deadline To Register To Vote In August

Time is running out to register to vote for some local elections taking place next month. The elections will be on August 8, and the deadline to register is next Monday. The Michigan Secretary of State’s office is also telling us there will be new voting equipment being used for the first time in 63 communities. Those communities have been receiving new optical scan machines designed to make things easier for both the voters and the election workers. In Berrien County, there will be a few things to decide next month. In the city of St. Joseph, three city commission candidates will be chosen out of a field of seven in a primary. Then, the three winners in the primary will appear again on a ballot in November, with the top two vote getters receiving four year terms and the third place candidate getting a two year term. On the August 8 ballot will be Fran Chickering, Al DiBrito, Kim Jorgensen Gane, Mike Garey, Peggy Getty, Mary Goff, and Laura Goos. There will also be some ballot questions to vote on in Three Oaks Township, Berrien Springs, and the village of Three Oaks.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Drug Treatment Court To Graduate Five Friday

Five men will graduate Friday from the Van Buren County Drug and Family Treatment Court. Judge Kathleen Brickley will preside and share some information about the transformation that’s occurred in each grad’s life. All five of them are recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction, and in some cases, they’ve been able to avoid jail or prison by taking part in the rigorous treatment program the specialty court provides. The Van Buren County Specialty Courts Administrator tells us the programs offer community supervision and treatment to addicts who find themselves in the legal system because of their substance problem. The goal is to reduce the rate of reoffending, cut costs for taxpayers, and preserve families. The graduates will celebrate their completion of the programs at 9 a.m. at the courthouse in Paw Paw.. ...Read Full Story

Man Dies In Niles Area Roll Over Crash

Michigan State Police are investigating a fatal crash which occurred Thursday afternoon on US-31 near Niles. MSP tells us officers arrived on scene to find a single vehicle that had rolled over. The driver was trapped inside, and the Bertrand Township Fire Department had to get him out. The man, 71-year-old James Panos, of Martinsville, Indiana, went into cardiac arrest while being extricated. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police are still working to determine what caused the crash.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo County Approves New ID Card Program

From the Associated Press — Kalamazoo County has decided to create an identification card program for residents who lack documents needed to get a state ID. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports the county Board of Commissioners’ 6-5 vote Wednesday was split along party lines, but the Democratic majority approved a resolution creating the program. The resolution authorizes an initial budget of $60,000 to begin the program in
January. It also creates an advisory board that would report to the Board of Commissioners. The program will ensure an estimated 27,000 residents without a state-issued ID still have access to government and commercial services. Residents would be required to prove their residency status with several documents. However, state and federal programs may not recognize the ID.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan AG: Schools With Native American Nicknames Can’t Lose State Aid

From the Associated Press — Attorney General Bill Schuette says the Michigan school superintendent doesn’t have authority to cut off tax dollars to districts with American Indian mascots or logos. Schuette’s opinion was sought by state Rep. Tim Kelly, a Republican from Saginaw County.
Critics of schools with Indian mascots say they create a hostile environment and are culturally insensitive. But supporters say they’re signs of respect. In an opinion dated Monday, Schuette says state law lists specific grounds for a superintendent to stop state aid to a school district, but having an Indian mascot isn’t among them. In March, Superintendent Brian Whiston proposed cutting up to 10 percent of a district’s annual payments if he had authority. In Paw Paw, the school board in February voted to keep the Redskins nickname.. ...Read Full Story

Double Murder Suspect Found Competent

There is some movement in a Berrien County double murder case. The “Herald-Palladium” reports Alex Perez has been found competent for trial after several months of treatment. He is accused of killing Renee Mitchell and her father, John, in their Hagar Township home in January 2016, and trying to flee to California with his two children he had with her. Perez and the children were found in Colorado the next day after a nationwide Amber Alert was issued. He is charged with two counts of premeditated first-degree murder and faces life in prison without parole if convicted. Perez is due in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing and is being held on five-million-dollars bond in the Berrien County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

Concerns About Possible Water Rule Changes

The public comment period on the Trump administration’s proposal to repeal and replace the Clean Water Rule is expected to begin this week. The move would reverse pollution protections for streams and wetlands that supply one third of the nation’s drinking water. Jan Goldman-Carter, with the National Wildlife Federation, tells us a majority of the nation’s stream miles and wetland acres are at stake.. ...Read Full Story

Group Aims to Create Park Celebrating Italian Culture In Benton Harbor

An effort is underway to spruce up an area of Benton Harbor that used to be known as Little Italy. Al DiBrito, of St. Joseph, tells WSJM News the plan is to turn land near Territorial and 2nd Street into a park celebrating Italian culture. He told city commissioners this week about its history as an Italian neighborhood, and outlined what he has in mind for the park property.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Planning Major Expansion Of Nursing Program

An effort is underway to expand Southwestern Michigan College’s nursing program. The college plans to update the nursing instruction building with the latest technology and also double its size. The $9.6 million initiative is in response a shortage of nurses in the region. SMC says the goal is to increase nursing program enrollment by 40%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting 19% job growth for registered nurses by 2022, and more than 1 million job openings in the field. SMC’s nursing expansion is expected to be finished by the state of classes in the fall of 2018.. ...Read Full Story

Five Arrested In Two BH Drug Raids

Five people are facing charges following a couple of drug raids in Benton Harbor in recent days. First, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us the Southwest Michigan Enforcement Team searched a home in the 1,300 block of Union Avenue on Friday and found crack, two handguns, and evidence of drug trafficking. 48-year-old Margaret Casnave and 33-year-old Marcus Willis were arrested on charges of possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine and maintaining a drug house. They were taken to the Berrien County Jail. The second drug bust happened Wednesday morning in the 800 block of East High Street in Benton Harbor. Three people were arrested when officers found two pounds of marijuana and three handguns. The names of the suspects, who are also accused of drug trafficking, have not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Company Looking To Build Solar Farm In Michigan

From the Associated Press — Huron County is developing a solar energy ordinance after a renewable energy company said it wants to build about a dozen solar farms in the area. MLive reports California-based Cypress Creek Renewables has been pitching the idea to county residents in the county at the northern tip of Michigan’s Thumb region. Cypress Creek Director of Development Casey May says the company hopes to build the farms “in a staggered fashion” between late 2018 and 2020. Each solar farm is about 20 to 25 acres. Huron County Board Chairman Sami Khoury says the board adopted a one-year moratorium on solar farm development to give commissioners time to approve an ordinance. Khoury says “this way they just don’t put them wherever.” May says the farms would provide power throughout the county.. ...Read Full Story

Gobles Man Killed In Personal Water Craft Accident

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a deadly personal water craft accident on Magician Lake. They tell WSJM News 28-year-old Derek Jackson of Gobles hit a wave and was thrown off the water craft, and it then hit him after he landed in the water. He was pronounced dead after being airlifted to South Bend Memorial Hospital. The coroner’s office in St. Joseph County, Indiana has ruled Jackson’s death a drowning. Police say he was wearing a life jacket, but there was no alcohol involved in the incident. It happened just after 5 p.m. yesterday.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Holding Pesticide Collection Event

If you have pesticides you need to get rid of, you’re in luck. On July 26, Berrien County will hold a pesticide collection event in Benton Township. However, you have to register in advance, and the deadline is July 12. Berrien County Parks Department Environmental Property Manager Jill Adams tells our newsroom they hold these events each year. She says it’s much better to drop off such chemicals at the event than it is to throw the chemicals away.. ...Read Full Story

Celebrate Bridgman Begins Wednesday

This is the week to Celebrate Bridgman. Mayor Hannah Anderson tells WSJM News the city is holding a series of events throughout the week, Wednesday through Sunday. Everything kicks off with a walk from the library to Weko Beach on Wednesday. Thursday brings the Curious Kids Show and then the dances start.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Man in Jail After Pursuit

A South Haven man remains in jail after a Police pursuit. About 11:20 Monday night, troopers from the Michigan State Police Paw Paw Post attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation on Gull Road near Sprinkle Road in Comstock Township. The vehicle fled and a pursuit continued into the City of Kalamazoo. While travelling West on West North Street, the suspect vehicle ran a red light at South Park Street and crashed into a passenger vehicle that was travelling North on North Park Street. The driver of the suspect vehicle is a 27 year old South Haven man and he alone in his vehicle. He was treated for injuries at Bronson Hospital and is currently being held in the Kalamazoo County Jail. Upon arrest, Troopers found the suspect had multiple warrants for his arrest, a suspended driver’s license and was in possession of open intoxicants and marijuana at the time of the crash. The suspect’s name is being withheld pending arraignment. The 3 occupants of the other vehicle the suspect hit were transported to Bronson Hospital where they were treated for their injuries. The crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story