Local News Archives

COVID-19 Cases Up By 8 In Berrien County, 1,279 Statewide

Michigan is reporting 1,279 new cases of COVID-19 for Friday, bringing the state’s total up to 22,783. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the number of deaths statewide is now 1,281, up by 205 from the day before. The increase in both cases and deaths from Thursday to Friday was larger than the increase from Wednesday to Thursday. Between Wednesday and Thursday, there were 1,158 new cases of COVID-19 statewide, and 117 new deaths. In Berrien County, the number of cases is up to 88 from 80 on Thursday. The county has had two deaths total. Cass County’s number of cases was reported as 12 for Friday, compared to 10 the day before. Van Buren County is up to 20 from 18 on Thursday. Cass and Van Buren counties have each had one COVID-19 death.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph City Commission Meeting Monday To Be Done Using Zoom

The St. Joseph City Commission will be the latest area governmental body to move its meetings to the virtual world on Monday night. The commission canceled its last regular meeting on March 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but City Manager John Hodgson says they will be ready to hold the meeting as a Zoom webinar. Doing so, as many other local governments around the country have started to do, will allow for public input. People can watch the meeting using a smartphone or their computer, or if they do not have either of those, there will be a call-in number for them to use their phone. The meeting will start at 6 p.m., and instructions on how to watch, log-in, and take part are as such:. ...Read Full Story

New Travel Restrictions Part Of Expanded “Stay Home” Order

Traveling to anyone’s home except your own is now banned in Michigan starting Saturday and going through the end of the month. That’s among the changes to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order issued by Governor Whitmer on Thursday, with the exceptions being you can go to a family member’s home to care for a relative or their pet. Whitmer says a statewide order needs to be in place, without lifting restrictions in areas where there are little to no cases of coronavirus.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Coronavirus Deaths Surpass 1,000

Berrien County now has 80 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, and the Berrien County Health Department says at least 35 have recovered. The number of cases in the county rose by eight on Thursday. The number in Cass County has risen by one to 10, while Van Buren County had no change from Wednesday to Thursday with 18 cases. Allegan Count also remains with 18 cases, and Kalamazoo County’s number rose by seven to 74. St. Joseph County is up to 18 cases, an increase of two from Wednesday.. ...Read Full Story

Sen. LaSata, Rep. Wendzel Say Expansion To Stay Home Order Too Much For Economy To Take

The changes announced by the governor to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order are not necessarily being well received by some lawmakers. In Berrien County, state Senator Kim LaSata and Representative Pauline Wendzel have issued statements saying they believe some parts of the economy can be safely reopened. LaSata notes state officials announced today that since the governor’s executive orders began to be issued in response to coronavirus, over 817,00 people have filed for unemployment. That is more than than the last two years combined. Wendzel is making a recommendation to a new House task force to allow some businesses to reopen if they can prove they can do so safely and adhere to all CDC guidelines.. ...Read Full Story

“Stay Home, Stay Safe” Order Extended To April 30 In Michigan

The “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order in Michigan is now in effect through the end of the month. Governor Whitmer today extended the order, set to expire next week, until April 30. It directs everyone who is not an essential worker to remain home unless they need to leave for something to benefit the health and safety of themselves or their families. Whitmer notes Michigan has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and the numbers are still rising daily. She adds data shows most Michiganders are doing their part, but “we must keep it up.”. ...Read Full Story

Rotary Club Of South Haven Salutes Its Rotary Hero Of Year

Steve Miles is being honored by the Rotary Club of South Haven as its Rotary Hero for this year. The Rotary Club says he’s been an active Rotarian since 2018 and in a short time has “faithfully participated in all club activities.” Miles’ biggest impact has been through his technology expertise, thanks to his day job coordinating the technology for South Haven Public Schools. President-elect Dan Thompson says the ability of Miles to make the audio visual equipment work both at their meeting place and event locations “has been truly remarkable,” and adds Steve comes in early to get things set up “and his easy-going demeanor during times of stress is remarkable.” Each Rotary club in District 6360 is invited to nominate a member who has made an extraordinary contribution to the club over the past year. The club heroes are recognized at the annual District conference.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Township Police Investigating New Rash Of Car Break-Ins

Even during a pandemic, crime continues. The St. Joseph Township Police Department says they’re investigating after 12 cars were broken into early Wednesday morning in the Fairplain area. Two juveniles were arrested, but officers don’t think they were the only ones involved. Police are urging people to make sure they keep their cars locked without any valuables inside, noting most of the time the thieves won’t try to get into a locked car or truck unless they can see something inside they want. There’s no word on what was stolen or how much may have been recovered.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor City Commission Schedules Public Hearing For May On Medical Marijuana Special Use Permit

The Benton Harbor City Commission is set to hold a public hearing on a proposed special use permit for a medical marijuana provisioning center on Tuesday, May 5, just under a month from now. Redbud Roots is seeking the permit to open the business at 241 East Main Street. City officials say if the current state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic is extended past the end of this month, the meeting will be done virtually, with instructions on how to take part to be posted on the city’s website. That public hearing is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. that afternoon.. ...Read Full Story

COVID-19 Cases Top 20,000 In Michigan, But Detroit’s Numbers Slowing

The number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan is now 20,346, up 1,376 from Tuesday. The increase is more than 400 fewer than the day before. The number of deaths statewide has risen from 845 to 959, up 114 and lower than the previous day’s increase by four. In southwest Michigan, Allegan County has 18 cases, Berrien County has gone from 64 to 72, Cass County remains with just nine, and Kalamazoo County is up by three to 67. St. Joseph County has 16 cases, and Van Buren County has 18. In the state’s epicenter, Detroit has 5,824 cases with 251 deaths, rising only by 323 confirmed cases compared to nearly 1,400 new cases yesterday. Detroit’s 30 new deaths from COVID-19 are sharply lower than the 97 who died between Monday and Tuesday.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County, Spectrum Health Lakeland Give Local COVID-19 Update

Berrien County officials are continuing to stress the need for people to adhere to the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. Health Department Health Officer Nicki Britten says that’s because COVID-19 can be very easily spread, and often times by people who are showing no symptoms and don’t know they’re sick. She says the 64 cases as of Tuesday are not all of them.. ...Read Full Story

Elkhart Man Hurt When Motorcycle Hits Deer In Cass County

An Elkhart, Indiana man is hospitalized after hitting a deer while on his motorcycle in Cass County early this morning. The sheriff’s department says 42-year-old James Craft hit the deer on M-62 near Pine Lake Street in Jefferson Township, and a passerby picked him up and took him into Cassopolis, where they called police. Craft was not believed to have been wearing a helmet, but deputies add it doesn’t appear he’d been drinking or using drugs. the sheriff’s office was called just after 1:20 a.m., but it’s not clear when the crash happened and how long Craft had been waiting for help. He is being treated at Elkhart General Hospital and his condition has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Man Suffers Graze Wounds In Blossom Acres Shooting

A 46-year-old Benton Harbor man is recovering at home after being treated and released from Spectrum Health Lakeland for a graze wound from a shooting at the Blossom Acres Housing Project in Benton Township. Police say the man was walking on Highland near Plum Court just before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday when a blue four-door Ford sedan drove past him, turned around, and someone inside the car fired a shot. The bullet grazed the victim’s right shin and ankle, and went through his shoe. The man was taken to the hospital by Medic 1 Ambulance, and police have not yet found the suspect. No other information on the suspect or the vehicle involved, including the license plate number, is available.. ...Read Full Story

Committee releases Recommendations For Benton Harbor Area Schools

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Community Engagement and Advisory Committee has released its list of recommendations for turning the district around. During a virtual meeting Tuesday, Michigan Deputy State Treasurer Joyce Parker read the state-created committee’s assessment of the district, which identified an average deficit of $14.7 million over the past ten years, a shortage of qualified teachers with classroom experience, the lowest teacher salaries in Berrien County, declining enrollment, and a graduation rate of 42%. Parker then laid out a long list of recommendations to turn all of that around, covering academics, facilities, and finances. Among them were the following:. ...Read Full Story

Rate Of Deaths, Illness Among Black Residents Alarms Cities

From the Associated Press — Chicago’s mayor pledged an aggressive public health campaign aimed at the city’s black and brown communities amid alarm that black residents make up an overwhelming number of those to die of COVID-19. Black residents accounted for 72% of deaths from COVID-19 complications in the city despite making up only 30% of the city’s population. Public health experts in Chicago said the trend was unsurprising to anyone familiar with decades-old barriers to health care here. The same conditions exists in other large cities with large black populations that are considered hot spots for the coronavirus, including New York, Detroit, Milwaukee and New Orleans.. ...Read Full Story

Two Area Nonprofits Get National Honor, Say COVID Crisis Amplifies Work Being Done

The Nonprofit Times is recognizing a pair of area organizations on their list of the 2020 Best Nonprofits to Work For. The United Way of Southwest Michigan is ranked fourth and Kinexus Group is 36th of the 50 on the list. Kinexus Group president and CEO Todd Gustafson says the two nonprofits work very well together with a lot of partnerships, but adds their work is even more vital now given the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis with thousands out of work and companies fighting to survive.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan COVID-19 Cases Nearing 19,000

Michigan’s COVID-19 cases are approaching 19,000. The latest figures from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services show an increase of 1,749 cases from Monday to 18,970 with 845 deaths statewide. The number of people who have died from coronavirus in metro Detroit is now 728, one more than the entire state had as of yesterday. In southwest Michigan, Berrien and Kalamazoo counties have the most cases with 64 each, with two deaths in Berrien County and four in Kalamazoo. Allegan County is up to 18 cases, while Van Buren County now has 17, St. Joseph County has 14, and Cass County has nine. There are a total of 176 cases in the six-county area, with eight total deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Lowe’s Closed Except For Online Order Pickup In Benton Township

The Benton Harbor Lowe’s store is now closed. According to MoodyOnTheMarket, the store is doing online sales for customers to pick up, but no one is allowed inside. The store received a cease-and-desist letter regarding its Garden Center over the weekend, with Benton Township and the Attorney General’s office ordering that part of the store closed because it was not essential and necessary to sustain life. Store management say there is no timetable to reopen Lowe’s to the public. The store had been keeping later hours than had Home Depot in Benton Township, which is closing daily at 6 p.m. for deep cleaning. That chain has been recognized by Attorney General Dana Nessel for its efforts to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.. ...Read Full Story

River Valley Wins Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament

River Valley High School is the winner of this year’s Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament, held by state Senator Kim LaSata. She hosts the contest each year, giving high schools throughout her legislative district a chance to submit photos displaying their spirit via social media. The schools are put into March Madness-like brackets and the tournament runs for six weeks. LaSata congratulated River Valley for coming out on top, saying with school now out due to COVID-19, “the tournament was a way for Southwest Michiganders to come together in a display of school and community spirit.” The Mustangs defeated Countryside Academy in the final round, which concluded April 3.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Whitmer: COVID-19 Fight Not Political

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is downplaying the political sparring that’s happened over the past few weeks with President Trump not remembering her name during press conferences when he’s said he’s told Vice President Pence to not call “that woman in Michigan.” Whitmer said Monday morning she spoke directly with the President on Thursday and talked with Pence both Saturday and Sunday.. ...Read Full Story

Detroit Zoo Taking New Measures To Protect Animals

The Detroit Zoo is taking precautions now that a tiger has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Bronx Zoo in New York. Detroit Zoo Director & CEO Ron Kagan says there are no coronavirus cases in animals or people at the Detroit Zoo, and the tiger testing positive at the Bronx Zoo came as a big surprise to the entire scientific community. He says they are taking extra measures.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmakers Ask Governor To Reconsider Request For 70 Day Extension Of Emergency

A group of Michigan House Republicans have sent a letter to Governor Gretchen Whitmer asking her to reconsider her request for the Legislature to extend her emergency powers for 70 days. Among those to sign the letter is state Representative Beth Griffin, who says the governor should instead extend measures like the stay home order a few weeks at a time so as to give struggling businesses a fighting chance of survival. She told WSJM News last week she wants to hear from business owners as she and others plan for what comes after the pandemic.. ...Read Full Story

Second State Representative Tests Positive For COVID-19

A second member of the Michigan House of Representatives has tested positive for COVID-19. Representative Karen Whitsett has been in self-quarantine since feeling ill in March. House Speaker Lee Chatfield has been notified of the illness for the Detroit Democrat, who was not in attendance at the last House session on March 17. On March 26, Representative Tyrone Carter of Detroit was the first state lawmaker to test positive, and Representative Isaac Robinson died in March from what his family believes was COVID-19, but he was not tested. An intern for Republican state Senator Peter Lucido of Macomb County, Ben Hirshmann, died March 31 from suspected COVID-19 complications.. ...Read Full Story

Grants Available To Hospitality Workers From Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation is trying to help hospitality employees forced out of work due to coronavirus shutting down restaurants and hotels. They have a Michigan Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund now available, with grants of $500 to approved applicants. MRLA Educational Foundation executive director and MRLA vice president Amanda Smith says that help is badly needed.. ...Read Full Story

Herald-Palladium Temporarily Suspends Monday Publication

If you are looking for your newspaper today, stop. The St. Joseph Herald-Palladium has temporarily suspended publication on Monday starting today. If you get the digital edition, there is also not a full newspaper published online, though the newspaper’s website does have some new stories posted and the paywall has been dropped for stories related to coronavirus, as has been the case for other newspapers around the country. Monday comics and puzzles will be published on Tuesday. The HP ceased Sunday and holiday publication several months ago before the coronavirus pandemic when they switched delivery to the U.S. Postal Service.. ...Read Full Story

COVID-19 Cases Rise To 15,718

Michigan’s cases of COVID-19 are up to 15,718 as of Sunday afternoon, with 617 dead. In southwest Michigan, there are 18 new cases. Allegan County has 14, and increase of four; Berrien County has 58, up two from Saturday; Cass County is up one from Saturday to seven. Kalamazoo County has 53 cases, up eight from Saturday, while St. Joseph County’s 10 cases is up one from what the state posted Saturday, but the same as Friday, as that county’s number went down on Saturday. In Van Buren County, there are two new cases for a total of 14. In those six counties, six people have died from COVID-19. Those have been three in Kalamazoo County and one each in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan’s Record High Water Levels Collide With Coronavirus

From the Associated Press — Officials in Michigan are warning that efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic could have a serious impact on relief and repairs during what is expected to be another tumultuous spring flooding season. The Detroit Free Press reports that high water levels are expected to cause severe flooding, shoreline erosion, and road and infrastructure damage this spring. Providing shelter to those displaced by floods could be challenging when social distancing is advised. And some state agencies could find themselves unable to provide the usual level of assistance because they are financially stretched due to the coronavirus crisis.. ...Read Full Story

COVID-19 Cases Statewide At More Than 14,000

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has identified 1,481 additional COVID-19 cases around the state since Friday. Saturday’s report shows the total number of coronavirus cases in Michigan is now at 14,225. There have been a total of 540 deaths, with 61 of them since Friday. In Berrien County, the number of COVID-19 cases rose by four since Friday, now at 56. The Berrien County Health Department says 21 have recovered. Saturday’s report showed Cass County unchanged with six cases, and Van Buren County is also unchanged from Friday with 12 cases. Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties have each had one COVID-19 death. Metro Detroit remains the state’s hotbed for COVID-19. Detroit has 3,958 cases, Wayne County has 2,804, Oakland County has 2,785, and Macomb County has 1,838. You can learn more at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Gets Low-Interest Loan For Water System Improvements

The city of St. Joseph has been awarded a nearly $1.4 million low-interest loan for work on its water system. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, or EGLE, announced more than $45 million in Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Clean Water State Revolving Fund loans on Friday. The projects covered by the loans will address updates to wastewater treatment plants, pump stations, and pipes, including the removal of lead pipes. In the case of St. Joe, about $18,000 of the loan will be forgiven.. ...Read Full Story

Distillery Sees Huge Demand For Hand Sanitizer

Distilleries around Michigan are stepping forward to produce hand sanitizer in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Among them is Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks, which started making the hot commodity last month. Journeyman accountant Ray Barskus tells WSJM News they’re in a good position to do so because distilleries produce ethanol, which is the primary ingredient in many hand sanitizers. Barskus says Journeyman started to produce its own sanitizer not long after the governor ordered restaurant dining areas closed.. ...Read Full Story