Local News Archives

Body Found In Lake Michigan At Holland State Park Confirmed To Be Missing Flint-Area Teen


A body found in Lake Michigan late Thursday at Holland State Park is that of missing 16-year-old Eliza Trainer of Flushing. The Flint-area teen had been missing since being swept off the pier around 11:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day while visiting the lake with a friend for the first time. Trainer’s body was identified through an autopsy Friday in Grand Rapids. Her 19-year-old friend survived and tried to pull her on shore after he was able to get to some rocks, but another wave hit and pulled her away from him. Trainer’s body was found wedged in rocks along the side of the pier.. ...Read Full Story

State Working With Newly-Unemployed On Tax Issues


The Michigan Department of Treasury is telling those who owe taxes to the state to reach out to make arrangements during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Specifically, it’s offering collections assistance to newly-unemployed Michiganders paying on past-due state tax debts or other state debts. Treasury says effective immediately, individuals who have been laid off or had their place of employment closed due to COVID-19 should contact them to see what options are available. To get assistance, people are encouraged to call Treasury’s Collections Service Center at 517-636-5265. Michigan Treasurer Rachael Eubanks says the department’s “first and foremost priority is the health and safety of Michiganders.”. ...Read Full Story

COVID-19 Cases Rise To 549 In Michigan; No Positive Cases In Southwest Michigan


Michigan’s COVID-19 positive cases now stand at 549, a jump of 225 from Thursday. There remain none in southwest Michigan – Allegan, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties. Oakland County has 184, followed by 149 in the city of Detroit. Two have died in Detroit, and one has died in Wayne County. The state is separating the numbers from Detroit and Wayne County. Macomb County has 86 cases, followed by 67 in Wayne County and 16 in Washtenaw County. In west Michigan, Kent County’s positive cases have gone from 7 to 12, while Ottawa County remains at one. The Ottawa County patient is a woman who had been treated at Holland Hospital, but has since been discharged. Most of the cases, 55%, are of people 50 and older, while 21% are in their 40s.. ...Read Full Story

Amid Backdrop Of COVID-19, Census Count Continues


Michigan households now are receiving 2020 census forms in the mail – and while the goal is to count everyone, there is concern that some children may be overlooked. Millions of federal dollars are at risk if every child isn’t counted, and nearly two million kids age five and younger were missed in the 2010 census. Children of color and Latinos are especially vulnerable to under-counting. Christine Suave with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Coalition notes there is some distrust in the immigrant community about the use of census data, but she says the benefits are too great to not be counted.. ...Read Full Story

County To Seek Parks Grants


The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has voted to proceed with applying for some grants to expand two county parks. At a Thursday meeting, it authorized the Berrien County Parks Department to put in for a $300,000 grant for Paw Paw River County Park and a $300,000 grant for Madeline Bertrand County Park with the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. In the case of Paw Paw River, the money would be used to purchase 63 acres, and in the case of Madeline Bertrand, the purchase would be 33 acres. In each case, the county would have to make a $100,000 match. If approved by the state, the Madeline Bertrand expansion could allow for new hiking trails, biking areas, cross-country skiing, and turkey and deer hunting opportunities. With Paw Paw River County Park, the expansion would allow for more hard surface trails, overlook decks, and fishing. The county won’t hear back from the state about the grant applications until later this year.. ...Read Full Story

County Board Remaining Flexible As COVID Response Continues


The Berrien County Board of Commissioners is remaining flexible when it comes to the COVID-19 outbreak. At this week’s meeting, Chair Mac Elliott said the nation’s response to the crisis has once again shown that “when we get focused, when we get purposeful, when we get geared up, we get things done.” He told WSJM News on the county level, the Emergency Operations Center has been partially activated, and responders are adjusting to a dynamic situation.. ...Read Full Story

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