Local News Archives

Election Day Is Tuesday

Tomorrow is Election Day for some in southwest Michigan. Benton Harbor voters will be choosing between Mayor Marcus Muhammad and City Commissioner Ron Singleton in the mayoral race. Three city commission seats are also on the ballot, but only one is contested. Commissioner Sharon Henderson is unopposed in Ward 1, while Jerry Edwards doesn’t have an opponent in Ward 2, as current Commissioner CF Jones is not on the ballot. Three candidates are vying for two at-large seats. They are incumbent Commissioners Mary Alice Adams and Edward Isom along with Jennifer Nesbitt.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Falling; Down To $2.02 In South Haven

It continues to cost less to fill up around the state. While Triple-A Michigan’s weekly survey of stations finds a 10¢ drop over last week to $2.41 per gallon, you can find gas for a lot less than that in southwest Michigan. The auto club says the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph average is down to $2.36, but GasBuddy spotters put prices in South Haven at $2.02 at several stations.. ...Read Full Story

Grant Awarded To Mendel Center

The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College has been awarded a grant of more than $8,100 from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. LMC says the Mendel Center will use the grant to support its presentation of the Winter Delights Festival on February 29. The Mendel Center is one of eight Berrien County arts organizations to be awarded funding by the MCACA. The grants must be matched. Mendel Center Director Grace Kelmer says they’re thrilled to get the grant for the Winter Delights Festival. She says the event will be a celebration of the performing, visual, and culinary arts that are important to the region.. ...Read Full Story

Officials Discuss Census Importance

With the U.S. Census coming up next year, Berrrien County officials are thinking about how they can help ensure as many county residents as possible are counted. At a meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners last month, Commissioner Michael Majarek said most of the census will be done online next year, which creates a problem in a county where many residents don’t have access. He said perhaps the county could help them.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Praised For Overtime Effort

The Michigan League for Public Policy is applauding an announcement by the administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer last month that it’s seeking to increase the threshold for overtime eligibility in Michigan. League policy analyst Peter Ruark tells WSJM News the current threshold for overtime is $35,500 per year, meaning if you make less than that, you qualify. The Whitmer administration announced it’s seeking to increase that to somewhere between $51,000 and $61,000.. ...Read Full Story

Successful Drug Takeback Event In Van Buren County

A drug takeback day in Van Buren County has resulted in more than 19 pounds of unwanted medications being collected by police. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says the event last Saturday meant 19.7 pounds of drugs going to the Drug Enforcement Agency to be destroyed. The sheriff’s department also reminds everyone it maintains 12 Red Med Boxes throughout Van Buren County that are available to the public. The sites for the Red Med boxes are listed VBCSheriff.com. Last year, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department received more than 1,800 pounds of medication through those boxes. This year, they’re already hit that level.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Orders Flags Lowered For John Conyers

From the Associated Press — Gretchen Whitmer has ordered flags be lowered in the state Capitol complex and in public buildings and grounds across Michigan to honor the late John Conyers. Flags should be lowered to half-staff starting Monday, the day of his funeral, through the following Sunday. Hundreds came to pay their respects to Conyers during an open service on Saturday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The public viewing is expected to continue Sunday. Conyers, a Detroit Democrat, was one of the longest-serving members of Congress and used his influence to push for civil rights. He co-founded the Congressional
Black Caucus in 1969. Whitmer says Conyers’ impact “will not be forgotten.” She cites his work to spearhead criminal justice and voting rights changes.. ...Read Full Story

Officials Push For Affordable Housing Project

An effort is underway to get state approval for federal dollars to kick start an affordable housing development in Three Oaks. Three Oaks Village President David Grosse tells WSJM News a Chicago developer wants to put in affordable senior housing on the 36 acre Schwark drain site. Grosse says Berrien County, and especially Harbor Country, lack affordable housing.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Michigan College To Mark International Education Week This Month

Taking place at Lake Michigan College’s Benton Township campus this month will be a series of events to mark International Education Week. LMC says International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education celebrated each year across the nation to acknowledge the benefits of exchange and understanding. Events will take place from November 18 through November 21. They’ll include guest speakers who will talk about their experiences as refugees. Below is more information.. ...Read Full Story

Cases Of STDs Trend Up In Berrien County

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services warned this week about increasing rates of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia around the nation and in the state. Berrien County Health Department spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News the same trend is happening in Berrien. She says 2018 brought troubling numbers.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Mirrors Nation in Kids Losing Health Coverage

Over the past two years, the percentage of uninsured children has risen, in Michigan and nationwide. Researchers from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families found that 3.4% of Michigan’s kids, or about 79,000 children, have no health insurance. That’s a nearly 10% increase Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics President Sharon Swindell tells us is troubling.. ...Read Full Story

More than 19 Pounds Of Drugs Collected During Van Buren County Event

A drug takeback day in Van Buren County has resulted in more than 19 pounds of unwanted medications being collected by police. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says the event last Saturday meant 19.7 pounds of drugs going to the Drug Enforcement Agency to be destroyed. The sheriff’s department also reminds everyone it maintains 12 Red Med Boxes throughout Van Buren County that are available to the public. The sites for the Red Med boxes are listed VBCSheriff.com. Last year, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department received more than 1,800 pounds of medication through those boxes. This year, they’re already hit that level.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Orders Closer Collaboration Between State, Tribes

From the Associated Press — Gretchen Whitmer is ordering Michigan agencies to step up collaboration with Native American tribes in the state. Whitmer signed an executive directive Thursday affirming commitment to the sovereignty and right of self-governance of Michigan’s federally recognized tribes. The document outlines a process for communication between tribes and state departments and agencies on matters of mutual concern. It also makes a first-time requirement of training on tribal-state relations for all state employees who work on matters with direct implications for tribes. Whitmer issued the directive during a meeting with Michigan’s Tribal leaders in Mount Pleasant. She previously appointed Wenona Singel of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians as her advisor on tribal-state affairs, the first tribal citizen in Michigan history to hold that position.. ...Read Full Story

Investigators Have Lead In Deadly Crash Near South Haven

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department has a lead which could lead to the identification of the person killed in a fiery crash in Casco Township this week. The office has been contacted by family members of a missing person, and investigators have been able to match the vehicle identification number with information from those relatives. A positive identification of the body could, however, take several weeks. The crash happened around 10 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of 109th Avenue and Blue Star Highway when the driver went through a stop sign on 109th, hit a hill and some trees, flipped, and the vehicle caught fire. The body was burned beyond recognition, and the license plate was also destroyed by the flames.. ...Read Full Story

Fire Damages VFW Post 6248 In Decatur

An electrical fire this morning is prompting the closure of the VFW Post 6248 in Decatur through the weekend. On Facebook, the VFW says no one was hurt and anyone with tickets to tomorrow’s Elvis event should hang on to them pending its rescheduling. Sunday’s breakfast at the VFW Post is also canceled due to the fire. WSJM News has reached out to the VFW Post 6248 for more information, including the extent of the damage.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Blocks Regulations On New Cancer Treatment

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature has blocked proposed regulations for a breakthrough gene therapy that combats some blood cancers, citing concerns that patients couldn’t access the treatment. The Senate and House voted to reject the new rules Wednesday, over objections from Democrats who say no hearings were held and warn the move is unconstitutional. The dispute involves the state Certificate of Need Commission’s unanimous vote for standards governing immune effector cell therapy. Republicans say the rules are unnecessary and would force patients to travel hours to certain hospitals to get treatment. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her administration is open to discussing whether different standards are needed but is concerned that the Legislature doesn’t have legal authority to override a decision made by medical experts.. ...Read Full Story

Traverse City Schools Reach Separation Agreement With Cardon

Ann Cardon will walk away with a $180,000 payout as part of a separation agreement with Traverse City Area Public Schools. She resigned under pressure as superintendent this month after less than 80 days on the job following disagreements with the school board over the budget, meeting schedules and more. The separation agreement also releases the school board and TCAPS from any legal action by Cardon. She took the northern Michigan job this summer after seven years as superintendent of St. Joseph Public Schools.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Votes No On Impeachment Resolution

Congressman Fred Upton is among the 194 U.S. House Republicans to have voted no on the impeachment procedure resolution approved by Democrats on Thursday. WSJM News spoke to Upton about the impeachment inquiry into President Trump earlier this week before the resolution language was released, and he told us he wasn’t satisfied with how the process was going.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Signs Bill To Treat 17 Year Olds As Juveniles

From the Associated press — Gretchen Whitmer has signed legislation to raise the age of which offenders are treated as adults in the criminal justice system, from 17 to 18 years old. The move Thursday means Michigan will no longer be among just four states to
consider 17-year-olds as adults. The change will take effect in two years. Supporters of the bills say putting 17-years-olds in the adult system can harm them for life, affecting their ability to get a job and making it more likely they will re-offend. Prosecutors could still try 17-year-olds as adults for violent offenses such as murder. Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist says “raising the age” in Michigan will substantially lower the number of youth being charged as adults across the country, from 76,000 down to 40,000.. ...Read Full Story

Early Morning Arson At Niles Walmart Under Investigation

An arson inside the Niles Walmart store is under investigation by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and the Niles Fire Department. A man and a woman are accused of setting merchandise on fire in the apparel department shortly before 2 a.m. Thursday and then leaving the store in a dark colored sedan. Both suspects are white, and he was wearing a black jacket and blue jeans while she was wearing a University of Michigan jacket.. ...Read Full Story

Inn At Harbor Shores Obtains AAA Four Diamond Status

The Inn at Harbor Shores has obtained AAA Four Diamond Status. Of more than 27,000 properties inspected by the auto club, just 6.3% receive the elite honor. In a statement, general manager Brady Cohen says the award from AAA marks “a pinnacle moment in our resort’s history.” Among the other Michigan properties with that status are the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and The Townsend, which is a boutique hotel in the affluent Detroit suburb of Birmingham. As part of the rating ascertainment process, a property must meet certain requirements based on an unannounced inspection. The stringent standards of a Four Diamond hotel is described by AAA as “refined, stylish with upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service, and attention to detail.”. ...Read Full Story