Local News Archives

Interviews For St. Joseph Clerk Today

The St. Joseph City Commission will hold a special meeting today to interview four candidates for the position of clerk and finance director. The interviews will start at 10 a.m. at city hall and last through after 2 p.m. Commissioners have set aside one hour for each interview, with one at 10, the next at 11, a break for lunch at noon, and then the others at 1 and 2 p.m. The candidates are Tonia Betty, currently the clerk for the city of Watervliet, Ian Haight, current clerk for Hagar Township, Lisa LaValley, an accountant at Shepherd Caster Corporation, and Sara McCallum, the treasurer of Pere Marquette Township in Mason County. Today’s interviews will be open to the public. City Manager John Hodgson tells us once the position of clerk/finance director is filled, commissioners will move on to finding a new public safety director.. ...Read Full Story

Tornado Doesn’t Stop Grand Rapids Couple From Marrying

Not even tornado sirens could stop a Michigan couple from saying “I do.” As the sirens blared across Grand Rapids, Brandon Warner married Breane Proctor in front of family members and guests at a church. Warner told The Grand Rapids Press that he decided to proceed with Saturday’s ceremony, despite the storm threat, and that if they “were going to get hit, maybe it was meant to be.” The new bride said, “We just kind of shrugged our shoulders and went down the aisle.” After exchanging vows, storm sirens sounded again and everyone stood beneath
the church’s balconies, away from its stained-glass windows. The newspaper reports that a little less than an hour after they said “I do,” a tornado reportedly touched down less than three miles away.. ...Read Full Story

Report: Higher Ed Funding Down, Tuition Up

College tuition is rising, and it’s coming at a cost beyond personal and family finances to students in Michigan and the rest of the country, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Michael Mitchell, a policy analyst with the center, says while the funding increase in the last budget cycle helped, Michigan’s public colleges are still left to figure out how to address the needs of their students, with fewer dollars.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Hearing To Focus On Reducing Violent Crime

Michigan lawmakers will be looking at ways violent crime could be reduced in Michigan with a state Senate subcommittee hearing this week. State Senator John Proos, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Corrections, says part of the focus will be programs approved in the last few years designed to prevent released inmates from re-offending. He says helping convicts get job training and find work saves everyone in the end.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Breaks Ground On Greenville Expansion

Ground has been broken on Whirlpool’s latest expansion to its Greenville, Ohio factory distribution center. On Monday, the Benton Harbor-based appliance maker announced that it’s almost doubling the size of its Ohio center for KitchenAid products. The company says its goal is to make Greenville the global hub of its small appliances business. Monday’s groundbreaking follows Whirlpool’s $40 million investment in the Greenville manufacturing plant, part of a larger $80 million project to expand facilities across Ohio. The company announced the project in May.. ...Read Full Story

Police Increase Patrols For Drunk Drivers

You may notice an increased police presence on Michigan roads for the next few weeks, as the latest Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is now underway. Melody Kindraka, with the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, says it started last week and runs through Labor Day. The goal is to keep state roads safe for the end-of-summer holiday.. ...Read Full Story

Rain Keeps Berrien Youth Fair Attendance Slightly Down

Leaders at the Berrien County Youth Fair are already planning for next year, now that the 71st annual event has wrapped up in Berrien Springs. Fair Director Karen Klug says heavy rain last week did keep attendance down a bit. The fair saw 118,000 visitors, compared to 125,000 in 2015. Still, Klug says the staff and exhibitors all came together to brave the weather.. ...Read Full Story

National Weather Service Confirms Van Buren County Tornado

The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down in Van Buren County Saturday. Meteorologists tell WSJM News an EF-1 level twister formed around Bangor, and made its way up to Grand Junction. They’re still trying to determine whether it was the same tornado that continued on into the Grand Rapids area, or whether it fizzled out in Allegan County. Tornadoes are ranked in intensity from EF-0 to EF-5. An EF-1, like Saturday’s, would come with winds of over 100 miles per hour. The weather service says the last time an EF-5 hit in Michigan was in the Hudsonville area in 1956. Saturday’s Bangor tornado brought down power lines and trees all over town.. ...Read Full Story

Tornado Assessments Continue Today

Cleanup is continuing today in West Michigan from a tornado outbreak over the weekend. Survey teams from the National Weather Service are headed back out to Allegan, Kent, Ottawa and Van Buren counties today to survey tornado damage. The NWS says there is preliminary evidence of EF-1 damage in Van Buren, Allegan and Ottawa counties along with EF-0 damage in Kent County.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Rise 7¢

Michigan’s average gas price is up to $2.32 a gallon, the ninth-highest price in the country according to Triple-A Michigan. Prices at the pump jumped 7¢ a gallon from last week. Of the ten metro areas surveyed by the auto club, the highest price is in Marquette at $2.38, while drivers in Traverse City are enjoying the state’s lowest average at $2.27. In Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, our average price stands at $2.28, up 12¢ in the past week. South Haven prices range from $2.24 to $2.39 this morning. GasBuddy.com spotters put the lowest price at two-dollars-four-cents at a gas station in Belding, near Grand Rapids.. ...Read Full Story

Notre Dame’s Kelly Kicks Redfield Off Team, Suspends Butler

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly says he has kicked starting safety Max Redfield off the team and suspended reserve cornerback Devin Butler indefinitely after they were arrested in separate incidents. Kelly says four others arrested with Redfield after state police say they found marijuana and a loaded handgun inside their car are subject to internal discipline. He also said in a statement released Sunday the players could still face additional discipline from the university.. ...Read Full Story

Most Power Restored From Saturday Storm

Nearly all the lights are back on in West Michigan from Saturday’s strong storms that spawned tornadoes from Van Buren County to Montcalm County. The Associated Press reported early this morning there were still nearly 20,000 in the dark, but updated numbers from Consumers Energy show considerable progress in getting repairs made. As of 5 a.m., the utility had just over 400 of its customers who were still without power. Of those 400, one customer is in Van Buren County and three are in Allegan County.. ...Read Full Story

Over 19,000 Still Without Power From Saturday Storms

More than 19,000 homes and businesses in West Michigan remain without power after a storm that spawned at least four tornados. Consumers Energy reports the Grand Rapids area was hardest hit by Saturday’s storm. Kent County has 18,370 customers without power, Allegan County has nearly 500 and Ottawa County more than 400. There are just three Consumers Energy customers in Van Buren County who were without power as of early this morning. The National Weather Service says an EF-1 tornado with winds of 90 mph touched down about 3:10 p.m. Saturday. Crews are out determining whether there were any others. The tornado touched down near Orleans, 30 miles east of Grand Rapids, and was on the ground for eight miles through Ionia and Montcalm counties. The weather service says the tornado brought down several large trees, including one that landed on a house, and blew out a garage wall.. ...Read Full Story

NWS Confirms Van Buren County Tornado

The National Weather Service is confirming what witnesses already know: a tornado ripped through Van Buren County Saturday afternoon. The NWS says damage indicates the tornado was an EF-1, but no official determination of the twister’s strength has been announced. It was one of several tornados to hit West Michigan during storms along a path from Bangor to Grand Rapids.. ...Read Full Story

Next Phase Of Flint Pipe Replacements Begins

Contractors will be out in Flint neighborhoods as part of the latest effort to replace old lead and galvanized steel water lines amid the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water. A kickoff for the latest phase of the Fast Start program was Friday. Mayor Karen Weaver says it’ll result in the replacement of service lines at 200-250 homes. She says contractors will be out in neighborhoods to seek permission from residents. This fall, her office says the next phase of the replacement program that started in March will cover 5,000 additional homes. The project has replaced lines at 33 homes during the first phase. Over 18 months, lead leached from old pipes into Flint’s water supply when the city used water from the Flint River. The water wasn’t treated for corrosiveness.. ...Read Full Story

Planning Underway For Second Annual Launching Hope Event

Child and Family Services of Southwest Michigan is planning its second annual Launching Hope event for this October, and it’s now taking registrations from those who want to build catapults to be used for launching pumpkins as part of the festivities. Pumpkin Chunkin’ was a part of Launching Hope last year, but Child and Family Services Director Joseph Goepfrich says you can now sign up to make your own device for doing so. You never know just how far a pumpkin will go.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Residents Hoping To Help Police

A group of Berrien County residents is hoping to help police in the area following last month’s fatal shootings at the Berrien County Courthouse. Berrien County Strong — Community in Action was formed on Facebook by Gretta Volkenstein soon after the July 11 incident. On Thursday, members met to talk fundraising, among other things. Volkenstein says they’ll start by raising money for the Berrien Community Foundation’s sheriff’s department challenge grant.. ...Read Full Story

State Drawing Water Out Of Failing SWM Dam

Michigan environmental officials say they have stepped in to begin the emergency drawdown of water from a southwestern Michigan dam. The Department of Environmental Quality announced Friday it’s acting at the Centreville Dam amid recent and forecast heavy rainfalls – and a dispute that’s left the dam without an operator. The department recently ordered the owner to take action, but he hasn’t been able to gain access to the Prairie River dam because of a legal spat with an adjacent landowner. Luke Trumble, a state dam safety engineer, says officials intervened because overflowing water could cause the dam to fail and threaten residents’ health and safety. He says somebody needs to operate the dam’s movable gates during heavy rainfall or floods. The drawdown is expected to be done by Wednesday.. ...Read Full Story

Input Sought On Stevensville Master Plan

Work is getting started on the next master plan for the village of Stevensville, and residents are being asked to offer their input. Ryan Fellows, with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, says the master plan will govern development in Stevensville for the next ten years. Folks can take an online survey to give their thoughts.. ...Read Full Story

Active Shooter Survival Training To Be Offered In Van Buren County

Training on how to survive an active shooter situation will be offered this month by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department. A three-hour class will be held at the Columbia Township Hall on Monday, August 29. It’s based on the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events course developed by law enforcement training group ALERRT. The class is intended to provide strategies, guidance, and a plan for making it through an active shooter event. The class is limited to 100 people, and you have to register in advance to attend. You can do so by calling the Columbia Township Fire Department. The number is 269-434-6266.. ...Read Full Story

Pickleball Now Offered At SJ Ice Arena

There’s a new feature at the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena in St. Joseph. They’re now offering pickleball. Pickleball is a raquet sport that combines parts of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, and it can be played at the arena through October 19. Open play will be held each Monday and Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. It’ll be $5 for drop-in play or $40 if you want a season pass. Beginner classes will also be offered every Monday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. starting on August 22.. ...Read Full Story