Local News Archives

LMC Sees Interest In New State Scholarship Program

Lake Michigan College is preparing to take in new students with the state’s Michigan Reconnect scholarship program now launching. LMC Director of Admissions Jeremy Schaeffer tells WSJM News Michigan Reconnect will pay the tuition for anyone 25 or older who has graduated high school but does not have a college degree. The program will cover the tuition for a student to earn an associate degree or trade certificate at an in-district community college. Schaeffer says calls are coming in.. ...Read Full Story

County Commissioners Discuss Plans For Berrien Bus

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners will be looking at ways to keep Berrien Bus alive heading into the new year. At a Thursday meeting, Berrien County Community Development Director Dan Fette told the board Berrien Bus is in decent shape now because of federal CARES Act money, but a county task force has determined its public ridership is not enough to make the service viable long-term. The plan is to reach out to local communities that use it to form partnerships.. ...Read Full Story

Y Country St. Jude Radiothon Underway

Now underway is the annual Y Country Cares for Kids St. Jude Radiothon. Y Country’s Matt Malone tells WSJM News the crew is broadcasting live from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. both Thursday and Friday to collect pledges for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It treats kids battling cancer free of charge.. ...Read Full Story

State Releases COVID Numbers For Thursday

Michigan is reporting 1,358 new cases of COVID-19 for Thursday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says that brings the state’s total to more than 565,000 since the pandemic started in March. There were 74 additional deaths to report for Thursday, 63 of which were identified through a review of vital records. The state has had a total of 14,778 COVID deaths. The state coronavirus website on Thursday showed Berrien County with 26 more cases than on Wednesday, with a pandemic total of 10,209 and 207 deaths, an increase of one. Van Buren County was listed with a total of 4,532 cases, an increase of just five over Wednesday, and 83 deaths, the same as the day before. The state’s vaccine dashboard shows Michigan has administered 1 million, 127 thousand doses as of Wednesday. Berrien County has administered 17,900 doses and Van Buren has administered 7,100.. ...Read Full Story

Meijer Defends Impeachment Vote Before Upset Voters

From the Associated Press — Michigan Congressman Peter Meijer has defended his decision to impeach former President Donald Trump amid criticism from voters. Meijer, a freshman, was one of just 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the deadly attack on the Capitol. He said during a virtual town hall that Trump’s falsehoods and the resulting insurrection required a “significant response” from Congress. Two constituents who asked questions said they were deeply disappointed with Meijer, 33, who represents the 3rd Congressional District in western Michigan. One accused him of betrayal and said she would work to defeat him a 2022 primary.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Public Schools Superintendent Out

St. Joseph Public Schools is searching for a new superintendent. The school board held a special meeting this morning to accept the resignation of Dr. Thomas Bruce, effective tomorrow. In a statement, board president Barry Conybeare says they appreciate his time and “wish him nothing but the best.” WSJM News asked Conybeare about it.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Shooting At Benton Township Store

The Benton Township Police Department is investigating a Wednesday shooting at a business on M-139. It says dispatch got a call about the shooting at the Metro by T-Mobile store at 2004 South M-139 just before 5:50 p.m. Responding officers found one victim with multiple injuries. They were told the suspect had run off to the north, and after a short chase and struggle, police brought the 35-year-old Benton Harbor man into custody. The victim, a 40-year-old Sodus Township man, was taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland hospital for treatment of serious injuries. The suspect was taken to the Berrien County Jail on charges that include assault with intent to murder.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Senate Rejects 5 More Whitmer Nominees

From the Associated Press — Michigan Senate Republicans have rejected five more appointees nominated by Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in a renewed attempt to voice displeasure with not having input into her administration’s pandemic restrictions. The move Wednesday came a week after the Senate blocked 13 gubernatorial nominees. Those disapproved Wednesday include appointees to three university governing boards – Grand Valley State, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan – and the state  cosmetology board. The state health department has lifted many restrictions that were imposed in November to curb spiking  coronavirus cases. But the GOP opposes remaining limits and says it is not being included in decisions.. ...Read Full Story

Deadline Approaching To Apply For Upton Foundation Grants

Time is running out for local organizations to apply for a Frederick S. Upton Foundation grant this season. The Berrien Community Foundation says the deadline for the spring round of grants is March 15. All grant materials have to be dropped off at the BCF or postmarked by that date to qualify. The Upton Foundation supports a variety of projects in the community, usually focused on Berrien County. Additional grant deadlines for the year are June 15 and October 15. Anyone looking for more information can contact the Berrien Community Foundation.. ...Read Full Story

State COVID Numbers For Wednesday

Michigan is reporting 1,383 new cases of COVID-19 for Wednesday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says that brings the state’s total to more than 563,000 since the pandemic started in March. There were 32 additional deaths to report for Wednesday, making the state’s death total 14,704. The state coronavirus website on Wednesday showed Berrien County with 44 more cases than on Tuesday, with a pandemic total of 10,183 and 206 deaths, an increase of zero. Van Buren County was listed with a total of 4,527 cases, an increase of 20 over Tuesday, and 83 deaths, the same as the day before. The state’s vaccine dashboard shows Michigan has administered 1 million, 76 thousand doses as of Tuesday. Berrien County has administered 16,300 doses and Van Buren has administered 6,700.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Man Named To Council On Climate Solutions

Whirlpool chief sustainability officer and director of global sustainability Ronald Voglewede of St. Joseph will serve for the next three years on Governor Whitmer’s Council on Climate Solutions. She created the body in September and announced appointments to it Wednesday. The council will act in an advisory capacity to the governor and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to formulate and oversee the implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan, which will serve as the action plan for this state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition toward economywide carbon neutrality.. ...Read Full Story

Popcorn Returns To Celebration Cinema

Celebration Celebration is bringing back the popcorn. While the big food story this week was the resumption of indoor dining at Michigan restaurants, the move also allows theaters to once again serve concessions. Celebration Cinema says the return of popcorn and other treats is a huge deal for the movie theater industry as concessions make up much of a theater’s profits. The theater chain is following the theater industry’s CinemaSafe practices to show movies to patrons at reduced capacity and with several other precautions while the COVID vaccine is slowly rolled out. In Benton Harbor, they’re showing Groundhog Day this week, along with several newer releases.. ...Read Full Story

State Officials Warn People To Be Aware, Use Caution On Ice

From the Associated Press — Authorities in Michigan are warning people to be extremely cautious on frozen bodies of water after six snowmobiles have fallen through ice in less than two weeks. Sergeant Jason Becker says state Conservation officers in southeastern Michigan are seeing snowmobilers riding into open water and falling through ice. In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, officers responded January 22 to reports of a drowning after strong winds created a pressure crack in ice over Lake Michigan. Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources says people venturing out on the ice should pay close attention to its characteristics, wear insulated snowmobile suits that also can serve as personal flotation devices or carry a flotation device, and carry ice picks.. ...Read Full Story

Man Charged After Police Find Booby Trap In Michigan Home

From the Associated Press — A 67-year-old northeastern Michigan man has been arrested after authorities say a booby trap was found in his home as police served a search warrant connected to a stolen credit card. WJRT-TV reports that Roger Broadstone was arraigned Monday on attempted murder, arson for preparing to burn a building, placing an offensive substance with intent to injure, disarming an officer, resisting police and other charges. Broadstone is accused of barricading himself inside his Twining-area home January 20 and refusing to allow officers inside. State police say the officers wanted to speak with Broadstone about $1,500 in merchandise purchased online. Officers found the illegally purchased items inside the home, north of Saginaw.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks Impeachment Vote

Congressman Fred Upton says the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 could have been worse, and he does not regret his vote for the impeachment of former President Donald Trump. Upton has gotten criticism from some Sixth District Republicans since the vote, with the Allegan and Cass county parties voting to censure him. He spoke with WSJM News about the controversy.. ...Read Full Story

Edwardsburg Man Backs Van Into Indiana Fire Department Building

From the Associated Press — A Michigan man is accused of backing a van into a northern Indiana city’s fire department after he first tried unsuccessfully to crash it into a nearby police building. Thirty-four-year-old James Campbell of Edwardsburg, Michigan, faces felony charges that include resisting law enforcement with a vehicle. The Elkhart Truth reports Campbell was arrested Friday following a police pursuit. That chase began after Campbell allegedly backed a van into the front doors of the Elkhart Fire Department, damaging the building’s metal door frames and shattering a window next to the door. He allegedly tried first to crash the van twice into a nearby police building.. ...Read Full Story

State Identifies 1,200 New Cases Of COVID For Tuesday

Michigan is reporting 1,203 new cases of COVID-19 for Tuesday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says that brings the state’s total to more than 562,000 since the pandemic started in March. There were 63 additional deaths to report for Tuesday, 36 of which were identified through a review of vital records around the state. Michigan’s COVID death total is now 14,672. The state coronavirus website on Tuesday showed Berrien County with 27 more cases than on Monday, with a pandemic total of 10,139 and 206 deaths, an increase of zero. Van Buren County was listed with a total of 4,507 cases, an increase of 16 over Monday, and 83 deaths, the same as the day before. The state’s vaccine dashboard shows more than one million doses have been administered so far.. ...Read Full Story

Police Look For Man Wanted For Questioning In Benton Township Murder

The Benton Township Police Department is asking for the public’s help in finding a person wanted for questioning in a December murder. It says Keveonte Barksdale is wanted for questioning in regards the homicide investigation from December 8 at the Briarwood Apartments. Anyone with information on his location is asked to contact the Benton Township Police Department at 269- 925-1135.. ...Read Full Story

City To Seek Bids For Bridge Repairs

The city of Benton Harbor may be doing some bridge repairs. During a meeting on Monday, Benton Harbor City Commissioners gave the city manager approval to seek bids for repairs to bridges throughout the community. Chris Cook with Abonmarche told the commission inspections have identified the repairs needed.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Dems Want Quick Vote To Disburse Federal Virus Aid

From the Associated Press — House Democrats want a quick up-or-down vote on disbursing $5 billion in federal coronavirus relief throughout Michigan, saying the funding shouldn’t be delayed by Republicans pushing to curtail state-issued COVID-19 restrictions. The aid was enacted by Congress and then-President Donald Trump five weeks ago. It includes money for vaccine distribution, virus testing, food and rental assistance, and education. House Republicans are proposing to withhold $1.8 billion in federal K-12 aid unless Gov. Gretchen Whitmer cedes the state health department’s authority to prohibit in-person instruction and sports to local health departments. House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski says that’s “simply unacceptable.”. ...Read Full Story

Man And Woman Found With Large Amount of Drugs In Vehicle

A man and a woman from Indiana are facing charges after being caught with a large amount of drugs during a traffic stop in Benton Township on Monday. The Benton Township Police Department says officers pulled over a Dodge Charger at Napier and Pipestone around 1:40 p.m. for several traffic violations. A search of the car turned up about 15 ounces of suspected meth, 24 ounces of suspected crack, and a nine millimeter handgun. The 35-year-old woman and 50-year-old man were arrested and taken to the Berrien County Jail. Their names have not been released.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Foundation Postpones Winner’s Circle Benefit Auction

Lake Michigan College’s 2021 Winner’s Circle Benefit Auction has been postponed. The Lake Michigan College Foundation says because of the pandemic, the auction can’t be held safely and in person on its scheduled date, which was March 6. Therefore, the foundation is looking at alternative dates and formats for the year. The Lake Michigan College Winner’s Circle Benefit Auction has been held every year since 1988 to raise money for scholarships at LMC. It’s possible thanks to donations from local businesses and others. Each year, it raises around $100,000. The LMC Foundation says the auction is too important to be canceled, and so it may be reimagined for 2021. Board President Gloria Ender advises everyone to “stay tuned.”. ...Read Full Story

State Releases COVID Numbers For Sunday And Monday

Michigan has reported 2,066 additional cases of COVID-19 for Sunday and Monday combined. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says that works out to an average of 1,033 cases per day. Since March, the state has reported a total of more than 561,000 cases of COVID. It recorded eight additional deaths for Sunday and Monday combined, bringing the death total to 14,609. The state coronavirus website on Monday showed Berrien County with 49 more cases than on Saturday, with a pandemic total of 10,112 and 206 deaths, an increase of zero over Saturday. Van Buren County was listed with a total of 4,491 cases, an increase of 13 over Saturday, and 83 deaths, the same as on Saturday. The state’s vaccine dashboard shows one million doses administered as of Sunday. It shows 14,200 doses administered in Berrien County as of that day, and 6,300 in Van Buren County.. ...Read Full Story

Report: Michigan’s Marijuana Industry Leaves People Of Color Behind

From the Associated Press — The first year of state-licensed recreational marijuana sales in Michigan saw $511 million of sales in recreational and $474 million in medical sales, generating over $100 million in tax revenue, but the state also found that the industry drastically failed to attract minority business owners. The state collected data in December that showed 79% of people interested in
ownership of licensed marijuana facilities were white. Black people accounted for 3.8% while 1.5% were Hispanic or Latino. In response, a workgroup comprised largely of people of color who are experts in equity programming, has released recommendations that would create partnerships with large businesses and local municipalities to equip communities disproportionately impacted by marijuanabeing illegal until 2018.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Man Arrested For Child Pornography

A 36-year-old St. Joseph man is facing charges of aggravated possession of child sexually abusive material. Michigan State Police say they have arrested Alexander Rendell after they noted a large amount of the material was being downloaded. Troopers searched his home, seized digital evidence, and interviewed Rendell. He was later arrested on Friday and has been charged. The MSP Computer Crimes Unit encourages parents to speak to their children about the safe use of the internet. There are many resources available to parents to assist in keeping children safe online.. ...Read Full Story

SHAES Annual Report For 2020 Shows A Record Number Of Calls

South Haven Area Emergency Services responded to a record number of calls during 2020 according to the department’s Annual Report. They were called out 2,358 times last year compared to 2,171 in 2019 and the old record was 2,276 in 2016. Executive director Brandon Hinz says there was a “significant increase” in medical related calls as those were 1,730 compared to 1,470 in 2019. Fire alarms, however, dropped to 628 from 701. Property losses from fire totaled $422,600, a significant decline from the $1,872,463 reported in 2019. There were no civilian fire-related injuries or deaths in 2020. The department was again busy in the area of water-related incidents on Lake Michigan and in the Black River. There were three drownings and 10 water related rescues. SHAES, which marks its 25th year in 2021, is comprised of 15 fulltime staff and 32 paid-on-call firefighters protecting 121 square miles.. ...Read Full Story

County To Do Broadband Survey

A survey on broadband availability in Berrien County will launch soon. During a meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners this past week, Commissioner Teri Freehling said Merit Network out of Ann Arbor held a webinar on Monday with community leaders ahead of the survey’s rollout.. ...Read Full Story

Transportation Officials Look Ahead To Stimulus Package

The Michigan Department of Transportation is waiting to see what effect the new Biden administration will have on road funding moving forward. Speaking on the most recent episode of Talking Michigan Transportation, MDOT’s podcast, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials spokesperson Lloyd Brown said the nomination of Pete Buttigieg for Secretary of Transportation is a reason for some optimism.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Getting Neighborhood Safety Grant

A grant from the U.S. Department of Justice is going to the city of Benton Harbor to help improve neighborhood safety. U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge has announced $252,000 in Project Safe Neighborhoods grants for four cities in Michigan. They are Benton Harbor, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo. Project Safe Neighborhoods aims to reduce violent crime with community initiatives and police action. In Benton Harbor, the money will be used for a neighborhood arts program to work with local social media influencers on creating positive messages about crime reduction and to teach young people skills for music and video production. In Kalamazoo, the money will be used to continue the long-running Group Violence Intervention program.. ...Read Full Story

State To Hold Financial Aid Meetings For Students

The Michigan Department of Treasury is looking to help college bound high school students understand the financial aid system with a series of virtual meetings next month. Chad Somerville from the MI Student Aid team tells us they normally hold in-person sessions at high schools, but COVID has sent them to Zoom. He says students looking to apply for financial aid can’t be blamed for often finding the system difficult to navigate.. ...Read Full Story

Oronoko Iron Works Expanding Into Bridgman

A Baroda company is moving into Bridgman now that it’s acquired a more than 50,000 square foot property on Red Arrow Highway. Cornerstone Alliance says Oronoko Iron Works, Incorporated has closed on a new property in Bridgman with plans to make their move this spring. It will occupy the front building at 9890 Red Arrow Highway and lease the rear building. The investment is expected to cost about $1.6 million. Cornerstone says Oronoko Iron Works has a “strong foundation in the brewing and distilling industry, and has continued to develop various capabilities to handle machining and fabricating needs.” The new property will allow it to add more equipment and more jobs.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Maritime Museum Planning For Summer Events

The Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven is hoping to return to something resembling normal this year, and it’s taking steps to prepare. The museum says it’s hiring for summer jobs in 2021. The museum will have several paid positions available for seasonal crew and captains for its On-Water Fleet. It has five on-water vessels that function as floating exhibits and will take to the waters each day with passengers beginning May of this year. Museum Director Patti Reinert says after everyone was cooped up for a year, they want to “offer our visitors and our captains and crew, a safe and healthy way to get outside this summer.” They’re looking for crew members and also to fill captain’s positions that do require a captain’s license. The opportunities will run from around May through September. Anyone looking for more information can call the Michigan Maritime Museum.. ...Read Full Story

County To Test Emergency Alert System Next Week

The Berrien County Office of Emergency Management says its public warning system will be tested on Friday, February 5. The testing is scheduled for 3 p.m., but procedures allow the test to be delayed until 4 when necessary. The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWS, will be tested. IPAWS sends out a Wireless Emergency Alert to mobile devices subscribed to receive test alerts. Berrien County Emergency Management Coordinator Rockie Adams says it’s important to understand how to turn your device on to receive test alerts, noting a different setting is used to turn on test alerts than is used to turn on actual live emergency alert. He recommends doing an internet search or contacting your service provider to find out how to turn the test alerts on if you want to receive them. In a real emergency, the alert would automatically be sent to your phone.. ...Read Full Story

Economic Club Speaker Series Event To Examine Social Justice Advocacy

The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series will present its next online speaker series event on Thursday, February 25. The topic will be Social Justice Advocacy — Moving from Words to Results, and the guest speakers will be Benton Harbor Area Schools teacher and coach Danny Jennings, LMC Start to Finish Program Director Charmae Sanders, and OutCenter Director Mary Jo Schnell. The event will take a local look at people and organizations doing the challenging work of driving individual, institutional, and cultural change in southwest Michigan, and the speakers will talk about how they were able to change words into action. Online passes are free with registration, although the Mendel Center is offering a “pay what you can” option for those who would like to contribute. You can reserve a spot at TheMendelCenter.com.. ...Read Full Story

Wendzel Works With LOGAN Center On Legislation To Improve Autism Treatment

Legislation from state Representative Pauline Wendzel is designed to help autistic children get a diagnosis and treatment. She says she worked with the LOGAN Center in Benton Harbor to draft a bill to eliminate a regulation that requires all individuals participating in Michigan’s Medicaid Autism Behavioral Health Treatment to receive an annual diagnostic evaluation. Wendzel says the regulation “ties up the very limited time of caregivers,” and prevents “children who need their initial diagnosis from receiving it.” House Bill 4059 is Wendzel’s first bill of the 101st Legislature.. ...Read Full Story