Local News Archives

Volunteer Event Makes A Difference For Ox Creek

A cleanup event along Ox Creek in the Benton Harbor area late last month attracted 29 volunteers from several organizations. Southwest Michigan Planning Commission senior planner Marcy Hamilton tells us local Rotary clubs, the Two Rivers Coalition, and the planning commission collected trash. How much of a difference did they make?. ...Read Full Story

Army Corps: Lake Michigan Just Shy Of Record High Levels In August

Lake Michigan did not break its all-time high water level record in August, but it was very high when compared to average. That’s according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which released its Great Lakes water level report for the month on Thursday. Forecaster Deanna Apps tells WSJM News Lake Superior tied its record high for the month while Lakes Michigan and Huron were about three inches below their record highs. She says the water levels have been trending up for a few years.. ...Read Full Story

Southwestern Michigan College Renaissance Faire This Weekend

Set for this Saturday is the Southwestern Michigan College Renaissance Faire. Taking place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside the Student Activity Center off Dailey Road in Dowagiac, the event will be a chance for knights of all stripes to set down their armor and have some fun. The activities will include live steel combat, comedic swordplay, belly dancing and an ax-throwing demonstration. Everyone can also feast on turkey legs while strolling the grounds, learn about weaponry, and shop for wares. The ren faire is fee and open to the public. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Police Arrest Two After Drone Flown Over Michigan Stadium

From the Associated Press — Two people have been arrested for flying a drone over Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor during the Wolverine’s football season opener against Middle Tennessee State. The drone was reported about 10:17 p.m. Saturday. University Deputy Police Chief Melissa Overton says Thursday that the individuals arrested are not students at the school. The arrests were made after the report. The suspects face misdemeanor university ordinance and Federal Aviation Administration violations. Overton did
not release their names and said in an email that both were released pending the authorization of warrants. The case remains under investigation. Overton says there was no threat to the community. Game spectator Richard Sheridan told The Detroit News that he saw the drone hover over the stadium’s south end before flying away.. ...Read Full Story

Prosecutor Confirms Criminal Probe Against Berrien County Commissioner

Berrien County Prosecutor Mike Sepic is confirming there is an active criminal investigation against County Commissioner Teri Sue Freehling in connection with a civil lawsuit against her, the estate of her late husband, and county Drain Commissioner Christopher Quattrin. We have previously reported he and Michigan State Police have been looking into the case. Sepic tells WSJM News there have not been any criminal charges filed as yet, and he does not know at this point if it will rise to that level. However, a source tells our newsroom that Freehling is being urged to resign from the county commission and has been given a deadline to do so by the end of this week. The commission meets tonight at the St. Joseph Lincoln Senior Center at 6 p.m. In regard to the civil lawsuit, there has been no decision announced at this time by Judge Dennis Wiley on the requests of attorneys for the Freehlings and Quattrin to dismiss the case or whether to proceed to a jury trial.. ...Read Full Story

Sheriff’s Department Launches Program For Traumatized Children

A new partnership between the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and Berrien RESA has been announced to help children dealing with trauma. The sheriff’s department says Handle with Care is designed to ensure a child who experiences a traumatic event has support in school. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey says his deputies meet kids struggling with everything from a death in the family to neglect every day. He says in these situations, the sheriff’s department can work with RESA so the schools attended by such kids are aware. RESA Superintendent Kevin Ivers says the new program will help schools protect students and “help them be successful in the midst of chaos and trauma.” Handle with Care was launched in West Virginia in 2013, and since then has been adopted by several police departments, schools, and states. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Everyone Reminded To Stay Off The Piers When Lake Michigan Is Active

South Haven Area Emergency Services is reminding everyone to stay off the Lake Michigan piers when there’s a lot of wave action. It says SHAES and the South Haven Police Department on Tuesday were called out to the south pier when calls came in about someone walking out near the lighthouse and then disappearing from view. Responders arrived to find a woman by herself out by the lighthouse. She told them she’d been out there for about an hour and had seen no one else. The woman, who recently moved to the area, also told officers she would walk behind the lighthouse when bigger waves would crash onto the pier. SHAES reminds everyone it is extremely dangerous to go out on the piers in high wave conditions.. ...Read Full Story

Ground Broken On $1 Billion Natural Gas Plant In Niles

It’s taken a few decades, but a natural gas plant is about to get under construction in Niles. Ground was broken Wednesday morning on the Indeck Energy Center, which carries a price tag of roughly $1 billion. Construction will take almost three years and require 500 workers on the site of a former railroad repair yard. David Hicks is the vice president of business development for the company and talked to our partners at WSBT-TV about the market conditions that helped to bring the project to fruition.. ...Read Full Story

Renovations Done At Secretary Of State Branch In Dowagiac

Renovations to the Secretary of State branch office in Dowagiac are now done, and will reopen later this month. The branch has been in a temporary office at the Lewis Cass Intermediate School District in Cassopolis on Dailey Road, and that office will be closing at 5 p.m. Friday. The renovated branch in Dowagiac won’t be ready to open for another week after that, and will be back in business at 9 a.m. on Monday, September 16. The Secretary of State’s office says office equipment and furniture will be moved back to Dowagiac from Cassopolis during the week-long closure, and all the phone lines, electrical, and IT services have to be reconnected. During the closure, residents are encouraged to do as much business as possible online at ExpressSOS.com or go to another area branch in Benton Harbor, Niles, or Paw Paw if needed.. ...Read Full Story

Baseline Middle School Student In South Haven Caught With Gun At School

South Haven police are investigating after a student at Baseline Middle School was found with a gun. In a message to parents, district officials say other students who knew of the weapon let an adult at the school know, and the principal and assistant principal quickly “responded by isolating the student and securing the weapon.” There is no word from the district or police if the gun was loaded or if there were any threats made. South Haven Public School officials add while educators hope to never be faced with such an issue, they are “thankful that our students did the right thing by reporting the information to a trusted adult.”. ...Read Full Story

School Board Working On State Advisory Committee

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education is considering who will serve on the Community Engagement and Advisory Committee the state has proposed for turning the district around. At a Tuesday work session, board President Stephen Mitchell said the Michigan Department of Treasury has been talking with trustees about the makeup of the committee, and the board has seen a couple of resolutions to establish it. However, trustees have added some suggestions. Vice President Joseph Taylor said the state should listen.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Back At Work After Being Charged With Trading Votes For Money

From the Associated Press — A Michigan lawmaker has returned to session for the first time in months after being charged with trading votes for campaign money. State Representative Larry Inman, a Republican from Williamsburg near Traverse City, was back on the House floor Tuesday, days after his colleagues formally voted to call for his resignation. He says he recently completed 11 weeks of treatment for an addiction to painkillers stemming from having five surgeries over a two-year period, and now “my brain is clear.”
Inman says he did “nothing wrong” and legislators should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. He can no longer get into his Lansing office, and his staff now reports to the House Business Office. He also has been barred from sitting on committees or
participating in Republican caucus meetings.. ...Read Full Story

Mayor Hopes To See Improvements At Condo Complex

Poor living conditions at a condominium development in Benton Harbor are prompting Mayor Marcus Muhammad to suggest intervention by the city commission. At a Monday meeting, Muhammad said the commission should schedule a retreat to discuss the problems with New Harbor Condominiums on Riverview Drive. Muhammad has called for improvements to be made at the 90 unit complex.. ...Read Full Story

City Hires Auditing Firm

The Benton Harbor City Commission has hired its auditing firm for the year. At a brief Monday meeting, the body opted to go with CPA firm Rehmann Robson to conduct the audit for the fiscal year that ended on June 30. Rehmann has handled the city’s audits since 2011. The cost of the contract will be $47,000, plus a fee of $4,000 to audit Community Development Block Grant funds. The city’s last audit came back clean and unmodified, finding no deficiencies.. ...Read Full Story

Dollar General Returns To St. Joseph

The Dollar General has returned to St. Joseph. The new Dollar General location is open at 2108 Cleveland Avenue. That’s where the Family Video was located until it closed this summer. It didn’t take Dollar General long to put the place back into use. The store says its official grand opening will be this Saturday at 8 a.m. The first 50 shoppers will get $10 gift cards, while the first 200 shoppers will get a tote bag. This marks the return of Dollar General to St. Joseph after the discount chain’s last location at 810 Napier Avenue closed in 2015.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Seeks To Fight Payroll Fraud

Legislation to fight payroll fraud wage theft may have the best chance in a decade of passing as Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Nessel both support it.  The AFL-CIO – citing an Economic Policy Institute study – says payroll fraud costs Michigan workers $492 million a year. Lisa Canada is legislative and political director for the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights. She says building trades workers – many of whom are Republicans – are heavily impacted by payroll fraud and wage theft.. ...Read Full Story

UAW Picks GM As Target In Contract Talks

The United Auto Workers union has picked General Motors as the target company for this year’s contract talks. The move means that GM will be the focus of bargaining and any deal with the company will set the pattern for Ford and Fiat Chrysler. It also means that if the union decides to go on strike, it be against GM.. ...Read Full Story