Local News Archives

Tickets Available Next Week For 5th Annual St. Joe Winter Beer Fest

We’re less than a month away from the fifth annual St. Joe Winter Beer Fest. St. Joseph Today’s Danielle Crevier tells WSJM tickets will go on sale next Thursday, January 2 at 10 a.m. at their welcome center downtown and both over the phone and in person at the Mendel Center box office at Lake Michigan College. The fest will be held at the corner of Broad Street and Lake Boulevard.. ...Read Full Story

Paw Paw-Area Home Destroyed By Fire

A home in Antwerp Township near Paw Paw is a total loss after a fire last evening. Firefighters from Paw Paw, Lawton, and Mattawan battled the flames in the 5000 block of 30th Street starting just before 7. Flames were shooting through the roof when they arrived. No one was hurt, and firefighters were able to rescue three dogs that were inside the house. There’s no word yet on the cause of the fire.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Gets Kidney From Husband On Christmas Eve

From the Associated Press — Here’s a Christmas gift you’d never forget: a kidney. WOOD-TV reports that doctors in Detroit removed a kidney from Logan Bosselaar on Christmas Eve and transplanted it to his wife, Vanessa. They live in the Grand Rapids area. The surgery had been in the works for weeks. Doctors were surprised that Logan was a perfect transplant match for his 24-year-old wife, who has a serious kidney disease. Vanessa says her husband is “now a piece of me.”. ...Read Full Story

Draft Of Bridgman Parks Plan Now Onlinei

The city of Bridgman is taking public input on its next five year parks master plan. A draft is now online and will be available for public viewing through January 20. The five year plan outlines the work needed at area parks for the coming years. It’s necessary for a municipality to have such master plans in order to qualify for certain grants. In the case of Bridgman, much of the parks plan focuses on Weko Beach and the surrounding campgrounds, but it also covers Toth Park and Legion Park. The plan also features requests received through surveys of the public. People suggested things that include wifi at Weko Beach, a beach cam, and improved restrooms. Public comments will be taken on the draft plan at Bridgman City Hall through 6:30 p.m. on the 20th. They can also be emailed to the city parks director.. ...Read Full Story

Utility Warns Businesses Of Phone Scam

The Better Business Bureau of West Michigan and Consumers Energy are warning business owners of the latest phone scam. Consumers spokesperson Roger Morgenstern tells WSJM News with this one, someone calls a business claiming to represent the utility and claiming a bill is past due. They say the business will have its service shut off if they don’t pay up, usually with a wire transfer or a pre-paid card, quickly. Morgenstern says Consumers Energy will not do that.. ...Read Full Story

State Taking Donations For Foster Kids Scholarship Fund

The Michigan Department of Treasury is inviting everyone to contribute to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund. The fund provides college scholarships to young adults who have experienced foster care and are enrolled at a Michigan college or university. Michigan Education Trust Director Robin Lott tells WSJM News kids in foster care face obstacles to higher education.. ...Read Full Story

Samples Being Analyzed From Inside St. Joseph “Tarp House” For Asbestos

Samples taken from inside a dilapidated home near downtown St. Joseph are now being analyzed for asbestos ahead of the city seeking bids to demolish the home. The house at the corner of Hoyt and Niles has been vacant for decades and has a tarp covering holes in the roof. City officials obtained a warrant to go inside the house to collect the samples earlier this month after the homeowner exhausted his appeals in court to prevent the house from coming down. The court fight had been ongoing for several years, with the city seeking to remove what it considers a prominent eyesore on a main route into downtown.. ...Read Full Story

Attorney General: MSU-Nassar Investigation Not Over

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Michigan’s attorney general says her communications director was “inadvertently misleading” when she said her office has suspended a nearly two-year-long criminal investigation into Michigan State University’s handling of complaints against serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar. Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement Wednesday that the investigation is ongoing. Nessel says she remains “deeply committed to finding the truth about who knew what about Nassar at MSU.”. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Teens Busted For Breaking Into Cars

Two teenagers are expected to face charges soon after being caught breaking into cars in Dowagiac this week. Police were called to a home in the 200 block of First Avenue around 1 a.m. on Christmas Eve by a man who said his home security system had footage of the two breaking into a vehicle in his driveway and stealing loose change. Officers spotted the 16 and 14-year-old boys near Cass and Hill street, and they confessed when told one of their victims had a recording of them. The two then said they’d hit about 10 cars that night, and some of what had been stolen was found in a backpack worn by the older boy. The two were turned over to their parents while the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office reviews the case.. ...Read Full Story

To Battle Opioid Crisis, Some Track Overdoses In Real Time

From the Associated Press — Overdose tracking systems are giving near real-time glimpses into the ravages of the opioid-fueled drug crisis. The Hudson Valley Interlink Analytic System in New York is among a number of surveillance systems being adopted around the country by police, government agencies and community groups. If there’s a spike in overdoses, the Hudson Valley system will send text alerts to health administrators and community workers. And system users can see what drugs are being abused for faster and focused responses to the ever-evolving problem. The Hudson Valley system was adopted earlier this year by two hospitals north of New York City serving areas hard hit by drug abuse.. ...Read Full Story

Collaboration Key To Assembling Native American Photo Trove

From the Associated Press — A University of Michigan library has acquired a trove of roughly 1,000 images of Native Americans from the 19th through the early 20th century from a longtime collector. They represent some 80 groups and run the gamut from the iconic, such as Sitting Bull, to the commonplace, such as a woman hoeing potatoes in a Michigan garden. Archivists say even the everyday images are compelling because they reveal life in hard times and the spirit of perseverance as they struggled for survival. Curation efforts also have involved tribal experts throughout the process, something that historically wasn’t done.. ...Read Full Story

Critics Question New Tax Code

91 of the nation’s largest corporations didn’t pay any federal income taxes during 2018 — the first year of the Trump administration’s new tax law — according to a new report. The study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy says even though the corporate tax rate was lowered to 21%, legal loopholes allowed many companies surveyed to pay, on average, a little over 11% in taxes. Report co-author Matthew Gardner says the corporate tax avoidance is perfectly legitimate.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Step Up Highway Patrols For Christmas, New Year’s

Michigan State Police have stepped up patrols to make the roads safer this holiday week. Operation Care will mean additional highway enforcement for the Christmas and New Year’s periods. The traffic initiative is a cooperative effort with the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and hundreds of police agencies across the United States. That includes the Michigan State Police post in Niles. According to the NHTSA, 839 people were killed as a result of crashes involving a drunk driver in December of last year. During last year’s Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday period, there were more drunk driving-related fatalities — 285 — nationwide than during all other holiday periods. In addition to watching out for drunk drivers, police are keeping their eyes open for distracted drivers and those under the influence of marijuana. If you’re going out to a holiday celebration this week or next, remember to arrange for a ride or simply don’t drink.. ...Read Full Story

Bangor Police Make Arrest In Sex Assault Case

A Kalamazoo man is facing multiple charges following a 10 month investigation into criminal sexual conduct in Van Buren County. The Bangor Police Department says the 32-year-old suspect is alleged to have committed the sex assaults between 2012 and 2018 while living in the Bangor and Hartford areas. The department says it’s identified two victims, a 3-year-old and a 13-year-old. It says the suspect was arrested without incident after a 5 count felony warrant was issued out of the 7th District Court with bond set at $1 million. The suspect is in the Van Buren County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Woman Sentenced For Attacking Neighbor With Hammer

A 22-year-old Niles woman will serve 128 days, or about four more months, in jail for an attack in September at an apartment complex in the city. Sigourney Broyles was sentenced on Monday to 180 days in jail, with credit for 52 days served. The Niles Daily Star reports she was pregnant and high on cocaine when she hit a neighbor in the head with a hammer. Broyles had earlier told the victim that her car was being broken into, so that woman went out to take a look. When she came back to her apartment after finding out nothing had happened to the vehicle, she testified Broyles was still hanging around her unit and then hit her with the hammer.. ...Read Full Story

Governor: Update On Flint Water Crisis Probe To Come In 2020

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer says an update is expected at the start of 2020 regarding a criminal investigation into the Flint water crisis that was one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in U.S. history. Whitmer said Tuesday that she trusts Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel “to do the right thing” in the city’s water crisis probe.Flint faced a health emergency after lead from old pipes leached into drinking water in 2014 and 2015. It was due to a lack of corrosion-control treatment following a change in the water source while the financially strapped city was under state emergency management.. ...Read Full Story

AG: Drug Law Affects Opioid Case, Clergy Probe To Go Longer

From the Associated Press — Attorney General Dana Nessel says lawmakers should revisit Michigan’s unique law that shields drugmakers from product liability lawsuits. She said Monday that the 1995 law has “absolutely” has affected her strategy to seek damages for the painkiller addiction epidemic. Her office has sued four major opioid distributors. The state has not filed suit against drug manufacturers over the crisis, though it is involved in multi-state settlement talks with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma. Nessel also says it will take longer than anticipated to finish an investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic priests. She says there are millions of documents to review.. ...Read Full Story

Conservation District Offers Farm Safety Program

The Van Buren Conservation District is offering southwest Michigan farmers a way to help ensure their produce is safer. It says Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety is working with fresh produce farms on a voluntary and confidential basis to help create a food safety culture on the farm. Interested growers can connect with Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety via their local conservation district. The organization can conduct a risk assessment to help the farm gain a better understanding of their operation and give them additional confidence. If a farm completes the assessment, they get a certificate that could be used at the farm stand, the farmers market, or any point of purchase to help consumers identify farms that are adopting a food safety culture. Any grower interested in getting that extra level of safety verification can contact the Van Buren Conservation District.. ...Read Full Story

City Commission To Consider Tax Abatement For Riverview Drive Development

Benton Harbor City Commissioners are slated to consider a tax break for a new development along Riverview Drive next month. The city commission will hold a public hearing on January 21 to talk about establishing a Commercial Rehabilitation District at 825 Riverview Drive. The developer is Chicago Industrial Real Estate, LLC, and the property is where All Phase electric used to be. It’s about six acres in total. If the city commission grants the Commercial Rehabilitation District for the parcel, its developer would have the taxes frozen on it for ten years. The Benton Harbor City Commission will review the matter during its regular meeting on January 21, and if commissioners agree, they would consider it again on February 3.. ...Read Full Story

Right To Life Of Michigan Submits Ballot Signatures To Ban Dilation And Evacuation Procedure

Petitions seeking to outlaw a second-trimester abortion procedure in Michigan are now in the hands of state elections officials. The Michigan Values Committee of Right to Life of Michigan turned in boxes containing almost 380,000 petition signatures on Monday to the Secretary of State, well above the roughly 340,000 required if all are certified. They’re trying to get lawmakers to act on their ballot proposal to outlaw dilation and evacuation in abortions, which were used in 7% of all abortions in the state last year. Critics call it dismemberment, while abortion rights groups say it’s safe, legal, and commonly used following miscarriages. Other times doctors will use the procedure are in the case of rape or incest, or if the fetus has abnormalities or will have severe medical problems once born.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan State Police Announce Trooper Of The Year

The Michigan State Police Trooper of the Year award is going to one in west Michigan. Trooper Evan Alkema is stationed at the Wayland Post, between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. In making the announcement, MSP officials say Trooper Alkema was selected based on his “exemplary work performance, leadership skills, and extensive community involvement both on and off duty.” He joined MSP in June 2014 following the 127th Trooper Recruit School and was initially assigned to the Houghton Lake Post before transferring to Wayland.. ...Read Full Story

AAA: Gas Prices Fairly Steady For Holiday Travel

Making any drives for the holidays this week won’t cost an arm and a leg at the gas pump. The latest survey of stations around the state by Triple-A Michigan finds the statewide average price up just a penny from a week ago to $2.49. The auto club puts the average in the Benton Harbor and St. Joseph area at $2.44, which is 2¢ a gallon higher than last week. The most expensive gas in Michigan is in Ann Arbor, where the average is $2.55, and the lowest average is $2.36 in Traverse City of the regions surveyed by AAA. South Haven is not included in that weekly survey, and GasBuddy says prices along the shore in Van Buren County are as low as $2.29.. ...Read Full Story

Eau Claire’s Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm To Close December 31

It’s the end of an era for agriculture in southwest Michigan, as Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire is closing at the end of this year. The farm made the announcement on Facebook over the weekend, saying the entire 450-acre property is now going on the market. The farm has been in the Teichman family for three generations, but they’ve suffered some big losses this year, starting with the death of Herb Teichman to start 2019, followed by the polar vortex which took a heavy toll on fruit trees throughout the region. This summer, third-generation farm owner Bill Teichman fell ill with Eastern Equine Encephalitis from a mosquito bite, and he’s still recovering from the disease that killed two-thirds of the people afflicted in the state this year. Tree-Mendus Fruit will close for good on December 31. The farm gained notoriety nationwide for hosting the International Cherry Pit Spitting Championships every Fourth of July since 1974.. ...Read Full Story

West Michigan Better Business Bureau Adds Whirlpool Rep To Board

A member of the Whirlpool team will now be part of the board of the Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan. The BBB says Adam Aukerman is among six new members picked to begin serving three year terms in January. Aukerman has been with Whirlpool for nearly 14 years, and is currently part of the company’s extended service plan business unit. He’s worked at several other levels at Whirlpool after starting out in sales with Maytag. The six new board member names were submitted in early December to all accredited businesses within the 38 counties covered by the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan. Organization President Phil Catlett says the “board of directors plays an important part in guiding the Better Business Bureau as we seek to make Western Michigan the most trusted place in America to do business.”. ...Read Full Story

BH Schools Committee Launches Website

A website has been launched for the Benton Harbor Area Schools Community Engagement and Advisory Committee. Michigan Deputy State Treasurer Joyce Parker tells us Michigan.gov/EngageComm will provide meeting agendas and minutes, committee member bios, outreach meeting dates, and other information as the 12 member committee creates a financial and academic assessment and operating plan for the school district.. ...Read Full Story

New Chief Judge Coming To Berrien Trial Court

There will soon be a new chief judge of the Berrien County Trial Court. At a meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners this month, current Chief Judge Gary Bruce said he’ll be stepping down from that post on January 1. He will remain a judge, and is just leaving the chief judge spot. Bruce thanked the county board for all its support in implementing new court programs over the years.. ...Read Full Story

State To Hold Opioid Townhall Meetings In 2020

State health officials are planning on a series of town hall meetings next year to discuss the opioid crisis. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Lynn Sutfin says five people a day are dying from opioids in Michigan. She says they’re launching a multi-year campaign to cut opioid-related overdose deaths in half over the next five years.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Celebrates Graduation Of Nursing Class

Southwestern Michigan College is celebrating the graduation of 23 new nurses. The SMC nursing program held a ceremony for the graduates this month as the students now head into the country’s largest healthcare profession. SMC Vice President of Instruction David Fleming tells WSJM News the college has graduated more than 3,000 nurses over the years.. ...Read Full Story

Shoreline Protection Work Being Done In South Haven

Work started this week on a shoreline protection project in South Haven. South Haven Area Emergency Services tells us crews from deBest, Incorporated of South Haven placed large limestone boulders along the Lake Michigan coast to protect a threatened home. The home is located about a quarter mile south of South Beach along Monroe Boulevard. 10,000 tons of limestone were being brought into Michigan from Wisconsin. The rock was first shipped into Holland. It was then trucked over to shoreline protection projects all along the lakeshore in communities that include Fennville, Covert, and South Haven.. ...Read Full Story

Hudsonville Ice Cream To Take Over Production For Sherman’s Ice Cream

A new lifeline has been given to a longtime favorite in South Haven. Hudsonville Ice Cream is taking over production of Sherman’s Ice Cream next year, meaning popular Sherman’s flavors will live on. Sherman’s announced this year it had stopped production of ice cream due to equipment problems. The dairy bar on Phoenix Street remained open while the remaining stock of Sherman’s Ice Cream was sold. Hudsonville Ice Cream announced Friday the company will begin producing Sherman’s favorites including Grasshopper and Chocolate Malt Supreme in 2020 and selling them out of the South Haven dairy bar. The Sherman’s favors, as produced by Hudsonville, will also be sold in shops throughout the Midwest.. ...Read Full Story

Successful Effort To Expand Chikaming Township Beach

After years of work, the Cherry Beach Project in Chikaming Township has ended in success. The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board this month announced its next round of recreation grants to communities around the state, and included is a grant of $2.475 million for Chikaming Township to buy about three acres of land next to the current Cherry Beach along Lake Michigan. Chikaming Township Supervisor David Bunte told WSJM News about the property.. ...Read Full Story

Health Officials Work To Reduce Drug Addiction Stigma

Reducing the stigma that can be associated with drug addiction is a goal of the Berrien County Health Department as it works to fight drug overdose deaths. Berrien County Health Department Communications Manager Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News they’re spreading a message about the dangers of opioids, as opioid-based painkillers can be very addictive.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Fund Great Lakes Fisheries Research

Congressman Fred Upton says legislation that would help to protect the Great Lakes is likely to go on to final approval with the president’s signature. He tells us the Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act was approved by the House last week and then was sent to the Senate. The act provides the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center with funding to conduct monitoring, assessments, and research of fisheries between the United States and Canada within the Great Lakes Basin. Upton says the plan has support from both sides of the aisle.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Allow Expanded Payday Lending

Critics of a bill being considered by Michigan lawmakers that would allow payday lenders to offer longer-term, higher dollar loans say the legislation puts the most vulnerable Michiganders at risk. House Bill 5097 would allow payday lenders in Michigan to make loans of up to $2,500 with no limit on the length of the loan. Sandra Pearson of Habitat for Humanity says families don’t always know what they’re getting into when they take out a payday loan.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Township Police Receives Report Of Mail Thefts

The St. Joseph Township Police Department is urging residents to be on the lookout for mail thieves. It posted a message on its Facebook page Friday saying it’s received information about persons going through mailboxes and opening Christmas cards, most likely looking for cash. The latest report concerned the area of Wadena and Lincoln Avenue on Thursday between 6 and 7:30 p.m. There were also reports of a mail thief in the Fairplain area, but the police department says the suspect was identified late Friday afternoon. Anyone who sees anything suspicious is urged to contact the police.. ...Read Full Story

ACLU Defending Amish Group

From the Associated Press — The American Civil Liberties Union is defending 14 Amish families in southern Michigan in a dispute with a county health department over outhouses and plumbing. The Lenawee County Health Department has filed lawsuits and asked a judge to order owners to comply with county waste disposal rules or face demolition of their properties. The ACLU says the county is violating religious freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Lawyers say there’s no health threat.. ...Read Full Story

BH Schools Advisory Committee Releases Public Survey

Members of the Benton Harbor community are being invited to take a survey that has been put online by the Benton Harbor Area Schools Community Engagement and Advisory Committee. The Michigan Department of Treasury says the committee wants input as it continues assessing the district and drafting a turnaround plan. The state and Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education created the 12 member committee to draft that plan by next spring. The 12 question survey takes around five minutes to complete, and asks residents for their ideas about improving the school district and attracting and retaining students. It also asks them to advise the committee on the school district’s greatest strengths and weaknesses. Michigan Deputy State Treasurer Joyce Parker says the Advisory Committee wants to be sure the “Benton Harbor community has a voice at our table.” You can find the survey right here.. ...Read Full Story

Positive Evaluation, Contract Extension For Bridgman Superintendent

Bridgman Public Schools Superintendent Shane Peters has received another positive performance evaluation. His annual review conducted by the Bridgman Board of Education has led to him receiving a three year extension on his contract. Peters is now set to remain the district superintendent through June of 2022. The school board was unanimous. It says the students “continue to improve and excel in Berrien County and state of Michigan averages in English language arts and math,” adding Bridgman Public Schools has a graduation rate of more than 95% with daily student attendance across all three buildings above 90%. The board also credits Peters for being an active member of the community.. ...Read Full Story

SWMI Housing Market Remains Hot

The housing market in the area for the year remains hot. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors says November set records in the year-over-year comparison dating back to 2006 for average and median selling prices and total dollar volume. Sales were up 4% from November 2018, with 277 homes sold last month. The year-to-date average sales price was up 3% at the end of November to a record high of $239,617 and the median price so far for the year jumped 9% over 2018 to $179,210. The median price is the price at which 50% of the homes sold were above that price, and 50% were below. For the first 11 months of the year, the total dollar volume for the region rose 3% from last year and now stands at $803.4 million.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Hails Passage Of Migrant Worker Legislation

Congressman Fred Upton is hoping legislation intended to ease the labor shortage faced by farmers each year could eventually lead to immigration reform. He tells WSJM News the House last week passed his Farm Workforce Modernization Act. It establishes a program that enables migrant farm workers to get legal status in the U.S. if they commit to five years of farm work and pass background checks.. ...Read Full Story

County Board Asked For Help Getting Road Paved

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has been asked for help in getting part of a road in Pipestone Township paved. A resident of the township addressed the board about Tabor Road between Evans and South Pipestone at its Thursday meeting. He noted the township did approve its own roads millage in 2015. Indeed, Berrien County Commissioner Jon Hinkelman tells WSJM News the residents have done their part.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Creates Poverty Task Force

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced the creation of the Michigan Poverty Task Force. Housed within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, or LEO, the task force will bring together representatives of 19 state agencies to study the issue of getting people out of poverty from several angles. LEO Director Jeff Donofrio tells WSJM News no single agency could solve the issue, and they’re looking at those below the poverty line as well as those just above it.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Rotary To Ring The Bell For The Salvation Army This Weekend

A holiday tradition will continue in Van Buren County this weekend as members of the Rotary Club of South Haven will ring the bell to raise money for the Salvation Army. The South Haven Rotarians have collected money via the red kettle since 1982. Last year, more than $2,000 was raised for the Salvation Army in South Haven. The bell ringing will commence this Saturday at 7 a.m. outside the Golden Brown Bakery on Phoenix Street and at both entrances of the South Haven Walmart. Everyone’s invited to drop a little money into the kettles.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Trooper Recruit School To Graduate Friday

The 136th Michigan State Police Trooper Recruit School will graduate this Friday in Lansing. 43 new Michigan State Police troopers will have officially completed the program, and after the ceremony, they’ll head off to their new posts. MSP Lieutenant Jeremy Carlisle out of Niles tells WSJM News the academy involves both classroom work and physical training.. ...Read Full Story

Bill Introduced To Restore Pure Michigan Funding

Governor Whitmer this week expressed her desire to have the Pure Michigan advertising campaign continue after the current funding runs out at the end of 2019, and now there’s a bill in the state House to do just that. Representative Jack O’Malley, whose district includes the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, has put forth legislation to put the $37.5 million cut from Pure Michigan back into the budget.. ...Read Full Story

Honor Credit Union Pitches In To Help Bridgman Cares Provide Holiday Meals

Holiday meals are being provided to 58 Bridgman-area families thanks to the combined efforts of Bridgman Cares and Honor Credit Union. Honor’s Community Assistant Vice President Thomas Newnum said when he heard Bridgman Cares had fallen short of its donation goal for holiday donations, the credit union “immediately put a plan into action” to get them the $1,600 they’d need. Bridgman Cares was launched in 2015 to create food pantries inside schools in the city after hearing about students who didn’t have snacks at the elementary level and high schoolers without backpacks and school supplies. The pantries were then stocked with food, school supplies, personal care products and so on, and distributed on a “no questions asked” basis to students in an effort to wipe away the stigma of having to ask for help. The mission of Bridgman Cares has grown beyond the school pantries to include holiday meals for the community along with supplying gym shoes, paying athletic fees, and helping with college deposits.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Administrator To Resign

Berrien County Administrator Bill Wolf is resigning. At Thursday’s meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners, Wolf read a statement saying although the board in February extended his contract through the end of 2021, at “that time there existed an alignment of values and purpose between the Board and me as your Administrator that I can barely recognize today.” He goes on to say the county is in strong shape, but “a change is necessary.” Wolf said he is resigning as of June 12, 2020. After the meeting, Wolf told us he would let his letter speak for itself.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Sheriff: Don’t Be Worried About Police At Paw Paw Elementary Schools Friday

Van Buren County Sheriff Dan Abbott is putting out word to the community to not be alarmed tomorrow by what’s going to be a heavy police presence at Paw Paw Early Elementary and Paw Paw Late Elementary schools. Abbott says the school district has notified parents, but he also wants the public to be aware “so folks don’t think the worst.” The sheriff and other officers and staffers will be at the school to talk to kids. Presentations will be given on the dive team, K-9 officers, drones, and uniform response. Abbott said the office was asked to come in and give the presentations to honor the students for completing an anger management program and “give our view on it as well about how controlling anger will help them throughout their life.” He says he’s been part of similar programs at other schools in the county, and says the districts have reached out to him to say it makes a difference for the students.. ...Read Full Story

3 Elk Illegally Shot In Michigan’s Pigeon River State Forest

From the Associated Press — Michigan conservation officers say three elk have been shot in Otsego County. It’s the elk third poaching case in northern Michigan in about a month. Lieutenant Jim Gorno of the Department of Natural Resources says this is the state’s worst year for illegal killings of the animals. Gorno says the three adult elk cows were found in the Pigeon River State Forest east
of Vanderbilt. They apparently were shot last weekend while bedded down near each other. Officials are appealing to the public for information. Anonymous tips can be left with the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.. ...Read Full Story

DNA Evidence Links Niles Man To Florida Rape

DNA evidence has linked a Niles man to a rape in Florida more than 20 years ago. According to an ABC News affiliate in Sarasota, Florida, 61-year-old Robert Thomas is the suspect in the rape of a woman in her home in January of 1998. He has been arrested and charged with sexual battery with a deadly weapon. The Niles Police Department says it was contacted in late November by detectives out of the Venice Police Department in Florida. They arrived in the area on December 12 with a warrant for Thomas and he was taken into custody and lodged at the Berrien County Jail to await extradition. The Venice Police Department says it was able to match DNA taken from the scene of the 1998 rape to Thomas using cigarette butts collected in Niles.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulator Recalling Vaping Product

From the Associated Press — The agency overseeing Michigan’s marijuana business is recalling vaping products containing an additive that health officials have linked to injuries and deaths. The Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency said Tuesday it’s recalling
the vaping cartridges sold at retailers in Bay City and Mount Morris, near Flint. The Detroit News reports many of the cartridges had levels of vitamin E acetate more than 500 times the limit at which the additive would be detected. Authorities have received reports of 2,409 people being hospitalized because of lung injuries and confirmed 52 deaths, including two in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story