Local News Archives

State of the State Wednesday night; Nesbitt to provide response

Governor Gretchen Whitmer will deliver her State of the State address Wednesday night. WSJM will carry the speech starting at 7 p.m. Providing a Republican response to the governor will be state Senator Aric Nesbitt. His office says he’ll deliver a video response immediately after the address. The governor is expected to use her annual address to call for gun safety laws, including a red flag law, along with tax relief and a plan for how to use a massive budget surplus.. ...Read Full Story

Wayne Albert Martin

Wayne Albert Martin, 76, of Lawton MI passed away Saturday, January 21, 2023 at his son’s home surrounded by family.  Wayne was a hardworking man who always put his family first.  He loved spending time with his family and friends, especially at Scott Lake or their home in Naples FL.  Wayne was known to his grandchildren and great grandchildren as Bubba.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeshore to seek bond in May

Lakeshore Public Schools will ask voters to approve a nearly $20 million bond in May’s elections. A survey to gauge public support and needs was conducted last year, and at a Monday meeting of the board of education, Lakeshore Superintendent Greg Eding said the Michigan Department of Treasury has given the district the green light to seek the bond. Board President Jason Beckrow addressed Eding.. ...Read Full Story

Suburban Detroit boy dies after wandering away from home

From the Associated Press — Police say a 5-year-old boy who wandered away from his suburban Detroit home on a night of subfreezing temperatures was pronounced dead after officers found him. The Clinton Township Police Department says officers began searching for the boy after he was reported missing Monday from his family’s home near an apartment complex. Capt. Anthony Coppola says officers found the Macomb County child Monday morning and transported him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens reports that overnight temperatures during the boy’s disappearance were below freezing. Police have released few details as they continue investigating the boy’s death.. ...Read Full Story

Five Men To Face Trial This Summer In Whitmer Kidnap Plot

The five remaining defendants accused of plotting to try to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 will stand trial this summer. Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer told attorneys to check their schedules for possible trial dates from May through August yesterday. Forty-year-old twins Michael and William Null of Plainwell and Shelbyville; 40-year-old Shawn Fix of Belleville; and 38-year-old Eric Molitor of Cadillac are charged with providing material support for an act of terrorism and possessing a firearm while committing a felony. Fifty-three-year-old Brian Higgins of Wisconsin is charged with one count of providing material support for an act of terrorism.. ...Read Full Story

Police Identify Man Who Drove Into Lake Macatawa

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office has identified the Otsego man who died when he drove his vehicle into Lake Macatawa in Park Township early Sunday morning. He was 52-year-old Jon Dowler, whose eight and ten-year-old daughters survived after the rear hatch on their Nissan Rogue opened up. The two girls got to shore and sheltered on a porch for several hours Sunday. Police say they don’t yet know how the hatch opened and are wondering if Dowler may have helped the girls.. ...Read Full Story

Screen Time Impacting Children’s Development

A new study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the connection and impact of screen time on the development in young kids. It revealed that screen time could be associated with poor communication development and daily living skills. Dr. Kevin Dazy is with the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Lucky Girl Brewing Company Catches Fire In Paw Paw

The Lucky Girl Brewing Company at the corner of M-43 and M-40 in Paw Paw will be closed for a while after a fire this morning. Crews were called to the scene early in the morning and had the flames out by 1:30 a.m., and were called back after it rekindled around 4 a.m. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office says it may have started in the electric panel on the building’s west side and it’s too early to tell if it was intentional. Deputies also won’t comment if it is linked to previous vandalism in the area. No one was hurt.. ...Read Full Story

New mental health help available for veterans

There’s new help available to veterans who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Brian Pegouski with the Veterans Administration in Battle Creek tells us under the new VA Compact Act, veterans in acute suicidal crisis are able to go to any VA or non-VA healthcare facility for emergency healthcare at no cost.. ...Read Full Story

Walberg introduces human trafficking legislation

Congressman Tim Walberg has introduced legislation intended to help catch human traffickers. The Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act would ensure that Department of Labor employees receive training to recognize instances of human trafficking and refer the cases to police. Walberg’s office says according to data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, more than 295 cases of human trafficking were identified, with 429 victims in those cases, in Michigan in 2021 alone. Walberg says the crime happens right in our backyard and he’s proud to work with colleagues on bipartisan legislation to address it. January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.. ...Read Full Story

Gobles startup brewery damaged by vandalism

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after an upstart brewery in Gobles was severely vandalized last week. Dirtbag Brewing Company owner Ryan Long tells us he’s been working for years to launch a brewpub and events center on farm property he owns along the Kal Haven Trail. Last week, three juveniles trashed the place, which is still under construction. Long says they broke every window and door, ransacked the inside of the building, and destroyed a van.. ...Read Full Story

Police investigate suspicious death in Benton Harbor

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is investigating a suspicious death discovered on Sunday. It says officers were called to 795 LaSalle on a report of a man found deceased. Leon Johnson was a longtime resident of the home. His family has been notified of his death. Police have not said why the death is considered suspicious and they don’t yet have any leads. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

Willard Henry Kay

Willard Henry Kay, 80, of Gobles and formerly of Perrinton, Michigan, passed away Friday, January 20, 2023, at his home. To his friends and family, he was known as Bill, Billy, Dad, Butch, or Grandpa Kay.. ...Read Full Story

Draft Palisades Economic Recovery Plan Released

The University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute has released the most recent draft of the assessment part of the Palisades Economic Recovery Plan as the Covert Township plant has closed and is being decommissioned. Senior project manager Carmen Wells Quigg says ten industries will be hit, with employment services having a major impact.. ...Read Full Story

Income Taxes Can Be Filed Starting Today

Taxpayers can start filing their returns as early as today, but some experts are expecting smaller refunds compared with the past few years. Pattie Hudson, the president of the accounting firm Jenkins and Company, says the child tax credit, earned income tax credit and others have been reduced.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Up 7¢ In Michigan

The average gas price in Michigan is 7¢ higher than last week. Triple-A Michigan says it is now at $3.37 a gallon, up 39¢ in the past month and 13¢ higher than last year. A 15=gallon fill up now costs $50 on average in the state. The highest prices in Michigan are in Jackson at $3.40, while Traverse City’s $3.33 is the lowest average. Benton Harbor’s $3.35 is the third-lowest in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Two Arrested For Attempted Murder In St. Joseph

Police have arrested two people for allegedly firing several shots at a home in the 1000 block of Church Street in St. Joseph. The shots were fired just before noon on Saturday and officers say it was the result of a child custody dispute. They arrested 38-year-old Carlton Kelly and 31-year-old Chantal Baker around 4 p.m. Saturday, but have not said where. St. Joseph Township Police and Benton Harbor Public Safety assisted the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety in the investigation. Kelly and Baker are in the Berrien County Jail for attempted murder.. ...Read Full Story

Two Children Survive, Dad Dies After Car Drives Into Lake Macatawa

Two girls ages eight and ten have survived after their 52-year-old father from Otsego crashed their car into Lake Macatawa in Park Township overnight Saturday or early Sunday morning. He was found dead in the vehicle, while the girls got out, sheltered on a nearby porch that night, and got help Sunday morning. The girls knocked on the door of Kevin Macleod, who let them in and his wife helped warm them up. The man’s name has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

Local Group Acquires 400 Riverview Drive Bank Building, Reveals Big Plans

A centerpiece property on Riverview Drive has been acquired by a locally-based investment group and will be developed for mixed-use with an emphasis on waterfront condominiums.  Planning and preparatory demolition work will occupy much of 2023, with the project expected to take several years to complete, according to the developers in an exclusive interview with MoodyOnTheMarket.com .. ...Read Full Story

Health Department drawing attention to radon risks

This is Radon Action Month, when everyone is advised of the dangers of radon and how they can protect themselves. Berrien County Health Department environmental health services manager Nick Margaritis tells us radon is a gas that leaks into homes through floors at ground level. It’s naturally caused by the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor bus service to take school programs to residents

Now rolling is the new Benton Harbor Area Schools Community Roar, a bus that houses a mobile computer lab that can be used by residents to learn more about district services. The bus is loaded with eight laptops and internet so anyone can explore the programs available at the school district from anywhere within the community. District student support services chief Paul Korson tells us the idea was pitched by Interim Superintendent Kelvin Butts to take the school district directly to families.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Scream Park scholarships available

High school seniors in the Niles area are being advised of the scholarships offered by the Niles Scream Park. The non-profit attraction says it has a variety of scholarships. The park is awarding four $500 scholarships to three seniors at Niles High School and one senior at Brandywine High School. Another scholarship will be awarded to a senior at either Brandywine High School, Buchanan High School, Dowagiac High School, Edwardsburg High School, Lakeshore High School, or Niles High School. New this year are two $500 scholarships will be awarded to two seniors at Penn High School. Several other $500 memorial scholarships are available to local seniors based on factors that include community service and academic performance. Students who are interested in learning about the options should contact their high school guidance counselor.. ...Read Full Story

Monday meeting to discuss Palisades recovery plan

A meeting will be held this coming week for the public to learn more about the Palisades Economic Recovery Plan. The plan is being developed by the University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute and local partners to help Van Buren County recover from the nuclear power plant’s closure. Market Van Buren programs manager Sarah Snoeyink tells us next week’s presentation will be on the assessment portion of the plan. Has the team already seen effects of the closure?. ...Read Full Story

Police investigate attempted murder in St. Joseph

Two people are charged following an attempted murder in St. Joseph on Saturday. The St. Joseph Department of Public Safety says officers were called to a home in the 1000 block of Church Street around 11:45 a.m. on a report of shots fired. They arrived to find the home had been shot several times. Two victims were found inside, unhurt. Police identified two persons of interest, and they were brought into custody around 4 p.m. The suspects have been identified at 38-year-old Carlton Antoni Kelly and 31-year-old Chantal Baker. They were taken to the Berrien County Jail.. ...Read Full Story

County Road Association seeking plan for road revenue

The County Road Association of Michigan is calling on the state Legislature to look at how the emergence of electric vehicles will affect road funding and how any losses EVs cause can be recouped. Director Denise Donahue says with much of the state’s road funding coming from gas taxes, more electric vehicles will mean less revenue despite the same number of miles being driven on the roads.. ...Read Full Story

State announces funding for school resource officers

School districts throughout southwest Michigan will receive funding to hire school resource officers to help make their buildings safer. Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday nearly $25 million is being awarded to 195 school districts statewide for SROs over the next three years. A panel consisting of representatives from education and law enforcement awarded the grants, giving priority to schools and school districts without a school resource officer currently in place. The funding per district in southwest Michigan ranges from $83,000 for Lawrence Public Schools to $200,000 for St. Joseph Public Schools. The districts getting the support are Berrien Springs, Bloomingdale, Buchanan, Coloma, Decatur, Edwardsburg, Gobles, Lakeshore, Lawrence, River Valley, St. Joseph, and Watervliet. The SRO funding will be administered by Michigan State Police with MSP Director Joe Gasper saying the dollars “will not only help to provide better safety in our school buildings by increasing the number of schools throughout the state with at least one SRO, but very importantly, by prioritizing smaller schools in more remote areas.” The funds can be used by schools to hire more mental health professionals, harden buildings, and create an intervention system for students who are at-risk.. ...Read Full Story

Rotary supporting community resource center

The Rotary Club of South Haven has made a $10,000 donation to the We Care Community Resource Center to provide relief for those in need. The Rotary says the $10,000 grant reflects the donations of individual Rotarians to help We Care in its mission to match people in need to assistance and resources. Rotary Club of South Haven President Mary Sue Lyon said it’s inspiring to be able to help, adding it’s a reminder of the Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self.” We Care provides those in need with basics like food, personal hygiene, baby items, and cleaning supplies. The staff can assist with more complex issues like rent, utility assistance, and medical equipment. The Rotary Club of South Haven in the past two years has donated more than $150,000 in support of local, regional, and international non-profits.. ...Read Full Story

Corewell Health South releases cancer report

Corewell Health South has released its 2022 cancer care report, looking at cancer cases locally and nationally to understand trends, support cancer research, improve prevention, and improve outcomes. Corewell Health South, formerly Spectrum Health Lakeland, says in 2021, it treated 1,193 total cancer cases. Of them, the five most common forms of cancer were breast, lung, prostate, colorectal, and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 54% of the patients were female and 45% male. 72% were age 60 or older, 26% were between 30 and 59, and less than 2% were under the age of 30. You can read the full report at SpectrumHealthLakeland.org/Cancer.. ...Read Full Story

Cassopolis improvement project wins award

A development project in Cassopolis has received an award for the improvements it’s bringing to the community. The Imagine Cass-Embrace the Vision, Cassopolis Transformation Project is the recipient of the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission’s 2022 Graham Woodhouse Intergovernmental Effort Award. Cassopolis Village Manager Emilie LaGrow tells us the project sought to transform the entire town.. ...Read Full Story

GM investing nearly $800 million in Flint, Bay City plants

General Motors has announced it will invest nearly $800 million in its Flint and Bay City plants to strengthen the automaker’s full-size truck and SUV business portfolio in Michigan. GM will spend $579 million to prepare the Flint Engine plant to assemble the company’s sixth generation of Small Block V-8 gas engines. At the Bay City plant, GM will invest $216 million to support the work at the Flint plant. GM Vice President of Manufacturing Gerald Johnson says the company continues to invest in gasoline engines, even as it moves towards electric vehicles.. ...Read Full Story

SHAES Purchases New Harnesses With Grant

South Haven Area Emergency Services has upgraded its equipment for confined space rescues. A $5,000 grant from New Covert Generating Facility has allowed SHAES to purchase seven sets of harnesses and seven 200-foot-long ropes. Firefighter and paramedic Zachary Kenreich says the harnesses can be put on quicker than what they used to use and they can also be used in water rescues. New Covert Generating Facility is a natural gas-fired, combined-cycle plant and SHAES would be one of the mutual aid responders should an emergency requiring confined space rescues occur.. ...Read Full Story

Income Tax Cut Possible In Michigan This Year

An income tax cut is possible in Michigan this year due to a revenue surplus of around $9.2 billion. The rate would automatically drop from 4.25% to 4.05% if the general fund grows faster than the rate of inflation due to a 2015 road funding bill signed by former Governor Rick Snyder. Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt of Van Buren County is urging majority Democrats to keep the cut in place. Nesbitt says he wants to return as much money as possible from the surplus to taxpayers. Democrats are in the majority in both the House and Senate and have the governor’s office as well for the first time in nearly 40 years. Democrats have introduced plans for tax cuts, and Governor Whitmer wants the pension tax in place for senior citizens repealed.. ...Read Full Story

County commissioners considering night meeting schedule

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners is considering its night meeting schedule for the year. Typically, the board meets in the morning on Thursdays, but its bylaws specify it must hold a handful of meetings at night each year. Speaking Thursday, Commissioner Jim Curran said he’s thinking maybe the board can reduce the number of night meetings.. ...Read Full Story