Local News Archives

COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket In Michigan To 336

The number of coronavirus cases in Michigan is now 336, with three deaths. All three deaths have been in metro Detroit, which has been the hardest hit with positive cases so far. There are no cases in the southwest Michigan counties of Allegan, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren. Oakland County has the most cases at 105, followed by the city of Detroit with 75 and Macomb County with 55. The new numbers include the results of 148 tests run by commercial labs, 744 done by hospitals, and 1,557 done by the state Department of Health and Human Services laboratory. The ages of those with the illness are starting to even out, with 18% being between 30 and 39, 19% between 40 and 49, 19% between 50 and 59, and 18% between 60 and 69. Just 10% of the cases are people in their 20s, only 1% are infants to 19-year-olds, and those in their 70s make up 8% of the cases. People 80 and older are 5% of the positive cases in the state.. ...Read Full Story

DNR Waiving Passport Requirement For Entry To State Parks

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is waiving the need for a state Recreation Passport for entry at state parks and other destinations for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. The DNR says state parks are a good place to pass some time while avoiding a dense crowd. If you’re headed to a state recreation area, the DNR says you should remember to keep six feet of distance between yourself and others, minimize sun exposure with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, keep your vehicle windows slightly open to provide air flow, and wash your hands thoroughly when done. The DNR also says you should only visit Mother Nature if you’re not feeling sick. While the DNR has closed contact areas like restroom buildings, shooting ranges, and visitor centers, the state parks themselves remain open.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagons Donate More Than 7,000 Pounds Of Food

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi has donated nine pallets of food from its Four Winds Casino locations to food banks as the COVID-19 outbreak continues. The Pokagons shut down all of their casinos in Michigan and Indiana this week, leaving them with a large amount of food to give away. In all, the donation announced on Thursday amounts to more than 7,400 pounds of food that includes dairy products, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, baked goods, and fresh fish. The donations are going to be distributed to those in need throughout southwest Michigan and northern Indiana by Feeding America and Cultivate. Pokagon Tribal Chair Matt Wesaw says they “felt compelled to donate these unused foods items as soon as possible so they could be used by community members in need.”. ...Read Full Story

Three Michiganders Have Died From COVID-19

Three lives have been lost in Michigan from the COVID-19 outbreak. The first was a man in his 50s at a Beaumont Health hospital in Wayne County early Wednesday. The two latest deaths are of a woman who was at an Oakland County hospital and an 81-year-old patient who was being treated at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Health officials in southeast Michigan say all three who have died had other underlying health conditions. No names have been released. An update from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on the number of positive coronavirus cases is set to be released at 2 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

Blossomtime Grand Floral Parade Canceled

There will not be a Blossomtime Grand Floral Parade this year. The annual event in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor is being canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, and had been scheduled for May 2nd. The Blossomtime board of directors says the decision to call off the parade was not taken lightly, and they’ve also canceled six other related events, including Blessing of the Blossoms and Dinner with the Queens.. ...Read Full Story

Automakers Temporarily Shutting Down Factories

From the Associated Press — Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Honda and Toyota confirm they will temporarily shut down all of their North American factories due to the coronavirus threat. Ford said its plants will close after Thursday evening shifts, through March 30, while GM’s closures will start today and take several days to finish. Closures also will last through March 30. Honda plants will close for about a week starting Monday, while Toyota will close for two days next week. The move by Detroit’s three automakers will idle about 150,000 workers. They likely will receive supplemental pay in addition to state unemployment benefits. The two checks combined will about equal what the workers normally make.. ...Read Full Story

Hartford Police Warn Of Thefts From Vehicles

A rash of car break-ins has been seen in Hartford lately. The Hartford Police Department put out word on Wednesday it’s handled 16 larceny from vehicle cases in the past five days. 13 of them were in one night. And that’s not counting the car break-ins that haven’t been reported. The department tells everyone to lock their vehicles. Police say that’s the single biggest step you could take to protect yourself from those crimes. In all 16 of Hartford’s cases, the vehicles were left unlocked.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Investigating Possible COVID-19 Exposure At Andrews University Concert

The Berrien County Health Department is investigating a case of possible COVID-19 exposure at a concert at Andrews University in Berrien Springs. The concert artist, singer Sandi Patty, announced on her Facebook page on Tuesday she had tested positive for COVID-19. She performed a concert at Andrews University Howard Performing Arts Center on the evening of March 8 and hosted several individuals for a special in-person experience after the concert. The Berrien County Health Department has issued the following statement:. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Shutting Down Northside Municipal Marina For 2020 Boating Season

Northside Municipal Marina in South Haven will be closed for the 2020 boating season. The city says the closure is to make needed electrical upgrades, as high water has compromised the shore power electric system. That could cause shock or electrocution if someone were to come into contact with the water. Results of a recent field review and targeted testing showed electrical leakage is occurring where wires have been sliced or are in partially or fully submerged junction boxes.. ...Read Full Story

15 New COVID-19 Cases Brings Michigan’s Total To 80; None In SWMI Yet

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan is up to 80. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says 15 new cases have been confirmed as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, and all of the new cases are in southeast Michigan. Seven are in Oakland County, while there are two in Macomb County and one in Wayne County, and five in the city of Detroit. To date, there are zero confirmed cases in southwest Michigan for Allegan, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties. There are cases in northern Indiana’s St. Joseph County and in Ottawa and Kent counties in the Holland and Grand Rapids areas in west Michigan. Beaumont Health in Wayne County says one man in his 50s who had underlying medical issues has died from COVID-19, marking the first death in the state from the virus.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Project In New Buffalo Starts Monday

As many businesses adjust to a new reality and have employees working from home where possible and others have had to close temporarily, there are still some things that are going on as normal. One of those is something Michigan is very familiar with: road work. The Michigan Department of Transportation is going to start a $10.3 million project next week in southern Berrien County to replace the Squaw Creek culvert under I-94 at the New Buffalo weigh stations. There will be two lanes of I-94 remaining open to traffic in each direction during the project. The work is scheduled to be done by August 14.. ...Read Full Story

Christian Singer Sandi Patty Has COVID-19; Performed At Andrews University March 8

Christian singer Sandi Patty is among the celebrities who have tested positive for COVID-19. The reason that’s of any importance in southwest Michigan is she performed March 8 at the Howard Performing Arts Center at Andrews University. The Berrien Springs university says they are “actively working with the appropriate Berrien County health officials to immediately understand and effectively respond to the implications” of the positive test. In a Facebook post, Andrews officials say they will have more information soon on what anyone should do if they had close contact with Sandi Patty during the event last Sunday. As of right now, there have not been any positive COVID-19 results in Berrien County.. ...Read Full Story

PGA “Discussing The Best Options” For Senior Championship At Harbor Shores

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, the PGA of America is considering its options when it comes to the 2020 Senior PGA Championship, which is still set for May 19 through May 24 in Benton Harbor. A statement from Kitchenaid Senior PGA Championship Corporate Hospitality Manager Brent Curtis says the PGA on Tuesday announced the postponement of its PGA Championship at Harding Park, which had been set for May 11 through May 17 in San Francisco. They’re looking for a date later in the summer for that event. As for the Kitchenaid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores, the PGA says “we are also discussing the best options” for it. They continue, “We hope to have an update in the near future and sincerely appreciate the patience of our wonderful volunteers, fans, supporters and our partners at KitchenAid. The health and safety of all involved in this prestigious championship is our highest priority.”. ...Read Full Story

Lake Michigan College Postpones May Commencement, Reminds Students Online Classes Start Monday

Commencement for Lake Michigan College is being moved from May to August along with the Honors Convocation. LMC has issued a reminder to students that classes will resume online only on Monday, as the campus will be closed. All campuses are open through 5 p.m. Thursday this week, but will then shut down until April 13. For students who don’t have a home computer for distance learning, a free laptop can be borrowed through the advising department and LMC says professors are ready to be flexible for students who have technology barriers and other challenges regarding studying at home.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Coronavirus Cases Rise To 65; None In Southwest Michigan

Michigan now has 65 positive cases of coronavirus, up from 54 on Monday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says there are two new cases in the city of Detroit, three in Macomb County, two in Oakland County, and one each in Ingham, Jackson, Leelanau, Otsego, and Wayne counties. To date, there are no positive cases in Berrien, Cass, Van Buren, Allegan, or Kalamazoo counties. The closest to our area is a woman who is being treated at Holland Hospital in Ottawa County.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail Cancels Annual Wine Festival In June

Saying these are “unprecedented times” calling for “unprecedented measures,” the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail is canceling this year’s annual wine festival. It’s normally held the third Saturday in June, but the coronavirus pandemic has organizers deciding to step back and make changes. They say moving forward, they’re planning to “provide a more focused wine tasting experience that showcases the quality wines produced by the wineries of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.” The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail was founded in 2002 and is a non-profit association that collaborates with area wineries to promote the development of “an outstanding wine producing and tourism area and to be an industry leader.”. ...Read Full Story

Bronson Healthcare Cancels Elective Surgeries, Procedures

All elective surgeries and procedures are being canceled by Bronson Healthcare starting Wednesday. Patients are being notified. The move is among the latest responses to the coronavirus pandemic. The hospital system says the decision will reduce the number of people in their facilities who don’t need to be there, and will allow for the conservation of supplies and resources for the pandemic. Officials add while they know it’s “difficult news” for patients planning for the procedures, they feel it’s the most responsible decision for patients and communities “during these challenging times.”. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, South Haven Schools Providing Meals To Students

With schools closed for at least the next three weeks, one of the biggest questions that has come up, other than childcare for families that need it, is how are districts going to ensure students have enough food. Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, and South Haven are among the districts with food distribution sites. St. Joseph Public Schools superintendent Dr. Thomas Bruce says it’s open to anyone in the district.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices In Free Fall, Expected To Keep Dropping

The state’s average gas price according to AAA Michigan is down 20¢ a gallon in just the past week, and they’re expected to continue falling due to a drop in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. The auto club says the average is $2.04 a gallon, down 38¢ in the past month and 57¢ lower than this time last year. Of the areas surveyed by AAA, Saginaw’s $1.92 is the lowest price, with both Grand Rapids and Lansing under the two-dollar mark at $1.94 each. Marquette’s average of $2.42 is the highest in the state. According to GasBuddy, the average price in Van Buren County is $1.78, and the Berrien County average is at $1.89.. ...Read Full Story

Bars, Restaurants To Close At 3 PM In Michigan; Carry-Out, Drive-Thru, Delivery Remain Options

Governor Whitmer is ordering that all restaurants and bars be closed to dine-in customers, effective at 3 p.m., to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The businesses can stay open for takeout and delivery. A Whitmer spokeswoman says more details will be released Monday. The state reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday, bringing the Michigan total to 53. Included in the new positive tests is the first child, a boy in Oakland County, and the first in Ottawa County west of Grand Rapids. There are still no confirmed cases in southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Whitmer Issues Order Regarding Price Gouging

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order aimed at curbing price-gouging of emergency supplies and food during the coronavirus outbreak. The temporary measure, which takes effect Monday, restricts a person or business from reselling goods or products that are “grossly in excess of the purchase price of the product.” Attorney General Dana Nessel explained the order Sunday afternoon.. ...Read Full Story

Stray Dog In New Buffalo Closes Temporarily Due To Coronavirus

State officials are not going so far as to order restaurants, bars and hotels to close due to the coronavirus outbreak, but some are doing so voluntarily. The Stray Dog in New Buffalo has issued a statement saying “In an effort to protect our community, we have decided to temporarily close both the restaurant and the store. During this time, we will continue to support and pay our employees.” The statement goes on to say they plan to reopen on Monday, March 30. They add as the situation continues to evolve, the plans may change.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Area Schools To Continue Offering Meals During Closure

Benton Harbor Area Schools will continue to offer meals to students during the three week statewide closure of schools. The district says meals will be available for all students each weekday from March 16 through April 3 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. According to a tweet by Superintendent Andrae Townsel, the district is teaming up with several local organizations to distribute the food. Breakfast will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Benton Harbor High School, Blossom Acres, Benton Manor, the First Church of God in Benton Harbor, the Overflow Church, the Ravines MCH, Berrien Homes, and River Terrace. Lunch will be available at the same locations from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunches will also be available at the Boys and Girls Club’s teen center and youth campus from 3 to 5 p.m.. ...Read Full Story