Local News Archives

Chikaming Township Seeks Parks Input From Public

Those who use the trails, parks, and nature preserves of Chikaming Township are being asked to fill out a survey on their parks needs as the Chikaming Township Parks Board puts together its next master plan. Board President Debra Hall Kaylor tells WSJM News they want to hear ideas and opinions from anyone who appreciates the parks of Chikaming Township.. ...Read Full Story

Hundreds Turn Out For Veteran’s Funeral

Hundreds of people turned out Wednesday for the funeral service of a Niles veteran who passed away with no family. Brown Funeral Home and Cremation Services put out a public call for people to attend the funeral of Wayne Wilson at Silverbrook Cemetery, and word must have really gotten around. The cemetery was packed with people who wanted to pay their respects. Morgan Friend knew Wayne Wilson and spoke with WSBT about him.. ...Read Full Story

Cooling Station Opens In South Haven

The Cooling Station is open at the Bronson Wellness Center in South Haven. Heat related illnesses are possible for the rest of the week, and anyone living or visiting the area can come into the club free of charge and get cooled off with air conditioning and cold water. Director Bryan Heisler tells WSJM News it’s a way to stay safe during the hot weather.. ...Read Full Story

Disability Network To Honor Whirlpool With Award

The Disability Network of Southwest Michigan will hold its annual celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act this month, and as part of the festivities, Whirlpool will be honored. The Disability Network’s Kristen Potts tells WSJM News the organization giving out its first ever Community Inclusion Award to the company. The board felt Whirlpool was a natural pick for it.. ...Read Full Story

Deadline Approaching For Student Aid Program

The deadline to apply for student aid through the state’s Tuition Incentive Program, or TIP, is approaching. Michigan Office of Post-Secondary Financial Planning Director Anne Wohlfert tells WSJM News TIP provides tuition to students who qualified for Medicaid for at least 24 months in a 36 month window since age nine.. ...Read Full Story

City Commission Discusses Appointments

Benton Harbor City Commissioners are talking about how appointments to local boards are made. At this week’s commission meeting, an appointment to the Library Board hit a snag when Mayor Pro Tem Duane Seats asked how openings on local boards are publicized. He wondered if the same people are allowed to serve on multiple boards too many times.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven City Manager Talks Lifeguards

There’s a petition effort underway to convince the city of South Haven to add lifeguards at its public beaches. The change.org petition as of Tuesday afternoon had more than 600 signatures following the weekend drowning of a 13-year-old boy in Lake Michigan. South Haven City Manager Brian Dissette tells WSJM News city leadership opted to no longer have lifeguards about 15 years ago.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Votes To Condemn Trump Tweets

Congressman Fred Upton is among the four Republican members of the U.S. House to vote with Democrats to condemn controversial tweets made this past weekend by President Trump. The House vote on Tuesday was on a resolution which “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.” The weekend tweets were about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. The president tweeted, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” The Democrat-controlled House approved the resolution against Trump’s words with support from only four Republicans. In addition to Congressman Upton, Republicans Will Hurd of Texas, Susan Brooks of Indiana, and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania voted with Democrats. Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan, who recently resigned from the Republican Party, also voted yes. Upton issued a statement Monday saying he was appalled by Trump’s words.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Hires Dean Of Student Affairs

Now on the job at Lake Michigan College is Nygil Likely, LMC’s new dean of student affairs. LMC says Likely has been brought in to help enhance the student experience by giving students someone to go to when they need help. Likely told WSJM News about some of the challenges many college students face.. ...Read Full Story

Huge Net Used To Pull Asian Carp Out Of Illinois Dam

From the Associated Press — Fishermen with a net are removing thousands of Asian carp from Lake Decatur dam in central Illinois.
The Herald and Review reports that the effort began Monday, days after the state was told that many fish were gathering there. The invasive species will be trucked to a company in Bushnell, Illinois, which will process them for fish meal and fish oil. Kevin Irons of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says some fish appear to be 20 to 30 pounds. The net is 30 feet deep. The Sangamon River is impounded to form Lake Decatur in Decatur. A barrier prevents Asian carp from jumping into the lake. In May, The Army Corps of Engineers approved a $778 million plan to block the carp from reaching the Great Lakes. The fish can cause serious damage by dominating native fish for food and space.. ...Read Full Story

Utility Offers Tips To Reduce Summer Energy Usage

Consumers Energy is issuing tips to its customers on how to reduce their electric bills now that summer is here and many are turning on their air conditioning. Spokesperson Brian Wheeler tells WSJM News forecasters are predicting this month to be one of the hottest in six years. With that in mind, he says there are very small sacrifices you can make to save.. ...Read Full Story

Man Busted For Bogus Bomb Threat

An arrest has been made in a bogus bomb threat that was made to the Cass County Courthouse last month. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department tells us the threat was phoned into 911 the morning of June 21 and caused the place to be evacuated while it was searched. Since then, deputies and detectives from the Cass County Sheriff’s Department have been following up on leads from calls from the public and other sources. They’ve now announced the arrest of Patrick Kyle McMeeken in the case. He’s charged with making a false threat of terrorism, using a computer to commit a crime, and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice. He’s also being charged as a habitual offender. If convicted, McMeeken faces up to a life sentence. The sheriff’s department asks anyone with more information on the threat to call them.. ...Read Full Story

Perrigo Announces Big Arts Donation

The Perrigo Company Charitable Foundation has announced a donation of $50,000 to the Saugatuck Center for the Arts to support an entire year of arts education programming in Allegan, Kent, and Ottawa counties. A check presentation was held Monday. The Saugatuck Center for the Arts says the drug maker’s contribution will help support programs that include the Children’s Film Festival, Artists in Residence, Growing Young Artists, and Project Based Learning. Each program aims to make an impact on the lives of kids. Since 2007, Perrigo has provided nearly $300,000 to the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Perrigo CEO Murray Kessler says improving the well-being of its communities is a key component of Perrigo’s corporate vision.. ...Read Full Story

Peters Slams Trump Tweets

President Donald Trump entered  into a rift with a group of liberal Democratic congresswomen, including Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, over the weekend. In tweets Sunday, Trump portrays the lawmakers as foreign-born troublemakers who should go back to their home countries. U.S. Senator Gary Peters calls the tweets terrible.. ...Read Full Story

South Bend International Airport Celebrating New Inspection Station Today

The South Bend International Airport will celebrate the opening of a new federal inspection station on Tuesday. Officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and from St. Joseph County, Indiana are slated to be on hand for the grand opening. The celebration will also include a special announcement and the first arriving aircraft. The South Bend International Airport is keeping its lips sealed on what the opening of the new inspections station will mean for the facility until after federal officials come to town. We’ll know more this afternoon.. ...Read Full Story

Town Hall On Roads, Auto Insurance This Week

State Representative Pauline Wendzel is holding a town hall this week on road funding and auto insurance reform. Wendzel tells WSJM News those are the two topics she and other state lawmakers hear about the most. On hand for Thursday’s meeting will be lawmakers who worked on the recently-passed auto insurance reform bill.. ...Read Full Story

PETA: Billboard Near Site Of Livestock Truck Crash Now Up

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says it has put up its billboard along I-94 near Benton Harbor to memorialize about ten pigs that died in the crash of a livestock truck on June 28. The crash happened at Napier Avenue and I-94, and PETA’s billboard nearby shows a pig with the words “I’m ME, Not MEAT. See the Individual. Go Vegan.” PETA’s Sadie Buckles tells WSJM News the message is that animals like pigs should not be packed into trucks to be hauled off to death factories.. ...Read Full Story

Rotary Taking Grant Applications

The St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Club Foundation is now taking applications for its 2019 grants. The Rotary Foundation says a total of $60,000 will be awarded this year, with all recipients to be determined by its board of directors. To be eligible, a grant request must be for a minimum of $5,000 and must be submitted by a non-profit or government unit in the St. Joseph and Benton Harbor area. The Rotary is looking for programs that provide better opportunities for youth and special needs populations. Since 1980, the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Club Foundation has awarded more than $891,000 in grants in the area. 2018 recipients included Kinexus, which got $7,500 to make improvements to the YouthBuild training facility, the Berrien County Council for children, which received $10,000 to purchase new sound equipment at the Children’s Advocacy Center, and the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor, which was awarded $10,000 for a social-emotional program. The grant application deadline is September 20.
. ...Read Full Story

Mayoral Candidates Take Part In Debate

The six candidates running for mayor of Benton Harbor have squared off for the first time in a debate. Speaking at the WSJM studio Monday, a topic of discussion was economic development and making sure investment in the community is also investment in its people. Candidate Jamie Davis said, too often, there will be developments that don’t result in benefits for residents.. ...Read Full Story

Upton “Appalled” By Trump Tweets

Congressman Fred Upton is appalled by President Trump’s weekend tweets about liberal Democratic congresswomen. On Sunday, Trump went after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. The president tweeted, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Congressman Upton said on Monday there’s no excuse for those comments, and inflammatory rhetoric not right or helpful. Upton added “The President’s tweets were flat out wrong and uncalled for, and I would encourage my colleagues from both parties to stop talking so much and start governing more.”. ...Read Full Story

Study: MI Prison Workers Facing A Mental Health Crisis

From the Associated Press — A study says Michigan prison workers are facing a “mental health crisis,” including a higher likelihood of symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and depression. The report was released Monday by the state Department of Corrections, which is trying to reduce employee suicides and to improve staff wellness. The $50,000 study is the result of a survey that was filled out by about 3,500 employees. Nearly one in four of all workers are estimated to meet the criteria for PTSD.
One in six meet the criteria for major depressive disorder. More than 100 employees are currently and actively planning to kill themselves, according to the report. Corrections director Heidi Washington says the department is working to establish a culture of wellness that seeks to reduce employee stress.. ...Read Full Story

MI Reps Discuss Affordable Care Act Lawsuit

If you have a pre-existing health condition, listen up. A Texas federal lawsuit by Republican controlled states and the Trump administration, if successful, would destroy the Affordable Care Act and its ban on letting insurance companies discriminate against you if you have a pre-existing condition. Michigan State Representative Abdullah Hammoud spoke with WSJM News.. ...Read Full Story

Schools Work To Expand Agriculture Education Opportunities

From the Associated Press — Kellogg Community College and Michigan State University are working together to expand agriculture education opportunities for students. The schools have expanded their Agricultural Operations Program to offer students a new Kellogg associate’s degree program and two certificates from Michigan State. Studies in the programs cover a variety of areas, including farm, water, weed and resource management; soil science and plant pathology; regulation, safety and compliance issues; and technology. Each program path requires a 480-hour internship that’s completed during the summer semester, where the students gain hands-on experience in the field or in agribusiness. Kellogg launched its original Agricultural Operations Program with
Michigan State in 2017 The application deadline for enrolling in one of Kellogg’s Agricultural Science programs is August 9. Details including applications are posted online .. ...Read Full Story

Illinois Mulling Options To Asian Carp Issue In Lake Decatur

From the Associated Press — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is considering options to deal with thousands of invasive Asian carp that are clustering near the base of the Lake Decatur dam. The Herald and Review reports that Illinois Raptor Center official Jacques Nuzzo says he contacted the state department after taking drone footage that revealed the fish were gathered there. Scientists say the invasive species can cause serious damage in lakes and rivers by out-competing native fish populations for food and space. The Army Corps of Engineers approved a $778M plan in May to block Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. As of late June, a survey found no Asian carp in Chicago-area waterways. U.S. states and Canadian provinces have endorsed a plan to build up defenses to protect the Great Lakes.. ...Read Full Story

Cardboard Boat Races This Week

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is planning for the next Whirlpool Rock the Boat cardboard boat races this week. Spokesperson Jennifer Tomshack tells WSJM News the event set for Thursday features teams racing boats made of cardboard in the St. Joseph River at The Inn at Harbor Shores.. ...Read Full Story

State Pushes For Broadband Expansion

Grants to help roll out high-speed internet to underserved areas of Michigan are now available through the Connecting Michigan Communities program. The office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued word this week applications are being taken for the program by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget. Governor Whitmer says “Connecting all Michigan communities with broadband service is about leveling the playing field for every child and small business in the state.” While most parts of Michigan do have broadband access, there are still many rural areas where options are limited. The state is offering $20 million in grants to internet service providers that are willing to expand access in underserved locations. Providers can apply for up to $5 million per grant and can apply for multiple projects. The deadline is August 30. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Website Examines Creek Contamination

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission has launched a new website to draw attention to the issue of contamination in creeks throughout the southern half of Berrien County. Senior planner Marcy Hamilton tells WSJM News BetterBeachesSWMI.org is intended to raise awareness of how residents pollute creeks that go into Lake Michigan. Hamilton says a study of creeks from Stevensville to the state line found problems.. ...Read Full Story

WSJM News Special On Benton Harbor – Tap For Details

All six candidates in the race for mayor of Benton Harbor will be in the studios of News/Talk 94.9 WSJM on Monday for a town hall forum. We will broadcast it live from 7 to 8 a.m., and will also be simulcasting it with a Facebook Live video along with posting the event as a podcast. Scheduled to take part will be Mayor Marcus Muhammad, city commissioners Juanita Henry, CF Jones, and Ron Singleton along with newcomers Jamie Davis and Marjorie Carter.. ...Read Full Story

Effort Underway To Purchase Harbor House

The Avenue Family Network in Benton Harbor is raising money to purchase the building that houses its Harbor House Adult Day Services program. Avenue’s Joseph Goepfrich tells WSJM News Harbor House is a place for individuals who can’t stay home along during the daytime. They include those with dementia.. ...Read Full Story

Drowning In South Haven

A 13-year-old Ann Arbor boy is dead after drowning in Lake Michigan off South Haven on Saturday. The South Haven Police Department says its officers and South Haven Area Emergency Services were dispatched to South Beach just before 12:30 p.m. after several 911 calls about people struggling in the water. Responders arrived to learn a paddleboater had rescued one adult, but a child was still in the water. About 20 minutes later, the child was found on the shore about 100 yards south of the South Pier. CPR was performed on the boy as he was taken to Brandon Hospital South Haven, but the rescue effort was not successful and the boy was pronounced dead. The victim and his family had been visiting the area from Ann Arbor. Witnesses told police the family had been swimming, drifted away from the shore, and became exhausted. The National Weather Service forecast for the day began with a green flag advisory for all South Haven beaches, and it was updated to yellow around 11:10 a.m. as the wind changed.. ...Read Full Story

Municipal Support Makes River Trail Possible

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission is highlighting the growing popularity of the Paw Paw River Water Trail. Senior planner Marcy Hamilton tells WSJM News the trail goes from Paw Paw to Benton Harbor for about 60 miles for canoers and kayakers. 17 municipal, civic, and tribal organizations contribute to its maintenance.. ...Read Full Story

Krasl Art Fair Underway This Weekend

Taking place this weekend is the 58th annual Krasl Art Fair along the bluff in St. Joseph. Krasl Art Center Marketing Manager Matthew Bizoe tells WSJM News everything started Friday with the block party. Saturday brings the start of the art fair at 10 a.m. Bizoe says around 200 artists from across the continent will be on hand selling all kinds of arts and crafts.. ...Read Full Story

Drain Commissioner Tackles Coloma Area Flooding

Berrien County Drain Commissioner Christopher Quattrin is hoping to help reduce a flooding problem in Coloma Township by extending an existing drain in the area. He addressed the Coloma Township Board this week, saying he would like to bolster the Kelly Drain, a creek near Rosemary Drive and Pine Court where the issue has been growing. Quattrin told WSJM News more.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Announces Live United Scholarships

The United Way of Southwest Michigan has announced the recipients of its Live United Scholarships for 2019. The United Way picks one student from Berrien County and one student from Cass County for the honors, which are given to students who demonstrate a commitment to volunteerism. Berrien County’s winner is Carleigh Dahn, a home-schooled senior who will be attending Northern Michigan University. The United Way says she has raised $15,000 for the Coloma Amicus Dog Park, organized food drives, made cancer clinic blankets, and helped with United Way’s School Supply Spectacular. The Cass County winner is Bailey Anson, a senior from Edwardsburg High School who will be attending Cornerstone University. She has organized backpacks of food for children, set up awareness events for Students Against Destructive Decisions, and cleaned up trash along highways. The two scholarship recipients each get $1,000.. ...Read Full Story

Presentation Next Week On WWII POWs In Berrien County

The History Center at Courthouse Square in Berrien Springs will welcome a guest speaker on Thursday for a presentation on World War II POWs who were brought to Michigan to do agriculture work. Dr. Gregory Sumner is a history professor at the University of Detroit-Mercy. He tells WSJM News around 400,000 POWs were sent to the U.S. during the war.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Community Foundation Announces Scholarship Recipients

The Berrien Community Foundation has announced 92 student scholarships for 2019, amounting to more than $168,000. The scholarships are going to Berrien County students from all walks of life. The recipients were picked based on their academic performance, community service, talents in the arts, or particular career plans. The Berrien Community Foundation’s Lisa Cripps Downey says there were two new scholarships this year. They are the F.A. Mason Penwell Nursing Scholarship, and the Stoub Family Scholarship for Working Students. Downey urges all 92 recipients to stay connected and continue to work with the Berrien Community Foundation. BCF volunteer committees reviewed more than 230 applications to select the 92 scholarship recipients. Applications for next year will be available at high school counseling offices and on the BCF’s web site in December.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Summer In The City Celebration Next Week

The city of Dowagiac is gearing up for its annual Summer in the City celebration this month. Set for July 19 and 20, there will be a total of 50 hours of activities next weekend. They include rides, lawn tractor races, music, dances, and sporting events. Summer in the City will also feature the Taste of Dowagiac and a craft beer tasting. This is the 34th year for Summer in the City. You can find the full schedule right here.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews University Receives Grant To Expand Parkinson’s Speech, Swallowing Therapy

Parkinson’s disease patients in southwest Michigan and northern Indiana will benefit from a grant to Andrews University to expand a therapy program focused on speech and swallowing functions. The grant will also make the therapy free for patients, who had to pay for it previously. Andrews University speech language pathologist Jenica Joseph explained to WSBT-TV that 70% of Parkinson’s deaths come from a patient choking because they’ve swallowed something incorrectly. Joseph says the therapy is designed to help retrain the brains of those with the disease.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Equates Epstein/Acosta Connection To Nassar/MSU

Congressman Fred Upton is responding to the resignation of U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who stepped down under pressure on Friday. Acosta handled the prosecution while a U.S. Attorney of Jeffrey Epstein and allowed for a plea deal in Florida in 2008 for Jeffrey Epstein on charges of sexually assaulting children. Epstein is facing new charges of sex trafficking of minors in New York state. In a statement, Upton says Epstein has committed “unspeakable and horrific crimes,” and goes on to compare Acosta’s handling of the case over a decade ago to Michigan State University turning a blind eye to pedophile athletic trainer Dr. Larry Nassar’s crimes for decades. The St. Joseph Republican concludes that it was the right move “for the country that Mr. Acosta announced his resignation.”. ...Read Full Story

State Supreme Court: Allegan County Men To Get New Trials

(Lansing, MI – AP) – The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered new trials for two men after finding that Allegan County juries were likely swayed by experts whose testimony went too far. In a unanimous decision, the court said experts can’t tell a jury that children usually don’t lie when reporting sexual abuse. The court also said a doctor can’t give an opinion about whether an assault occurred if the conclusion simply is an opinion about the alleged victim’s truthfulness. Justice Brian Zahra noted there was a dearth of evidence in the two cases, which made the experts’ testimony crucial for prosecutors. Joshua Thorpe has been in prison for more than three years. Brandon Harbison was sent to prison in 2015.. ...Read Full Story

Health Officials Confirm Measles Case In Northern Michigan

From the Associated Press — Health officials in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula are urging people to watch for measles symptoms after a young woman who recently traveled to Ukraine was confirmed to have the highly contagious disease. The Grand Traverse County Health Department says the unvaccinated woman returned to northern Michigan with measles and officials wouldn’t be surprised if additional cases are found. She may have exposed people at a store, government office and health facilities in Traverse City from June 30 to July 4. The department says there was no exposure at the National Cherry Festival, which ended last weekend and draws big crowds each summer to Traverse City. The case is the 45th in Michigan this year. Most have been in Detroit’s
suburbs. The number is the highest since 65 in 1991.. ...Read Full Story

Skeletal Remains Of 5 In Michigan May Be Of Early Settlers

From the Associated Press — Officials say skeletal remains of two children and three adults unearthed in southwestern Michigan may be those of early settlers of an area community. The recently unearthed remains in Sturgis have been collected are being evaluated by forensic anthropologists at Western Michigan University. Geoff Smith, the director of public safety for Sturgis, says research is ongoing to determine whether there’s a connection to an old burial site. Local historians want to know whether the remains may be those of a Revolutionary War veteran who later settled in the area just north of the Indiana state line and died in the 1830s. The remains were found along with what appeared to be hardware from a coffin during a retention pond excavation. They were found about 6 feet underground.. ...Read Full Story

Two Recovering After Kayak Capsizes In Lake Michigan

Two women are recovering after their kayak capsized in Lake Michigan near South Haven on Thursday. South Haven Area Emergency Services says the women, ages 18 and 19 and from out of state, had entered the lake near South Haven’s South Beach. A shoreline homeowner called 911 when she saw the women in distress about 200 yards offshore around 3:45 p.m. The kayakers were found about a half mile south with waves pushing them against rocks. One of the women suffered scrapes, but didn’t need medical attention. Neither was wearing a life jacket, and SHAES says yellow warning flags were flying at the South beach with waves building to three-four feet.. ...Read Full Story