Local News Archives

Meth Bust In South Haven

A South Haven man is facing charges after a meth bust in the city on Thursday. 24-year-old John Louis Booker was arrested following a two month investigation into the distribution of crystal meth in South Haven and Paw Paw. The Southwest Enforcement Team says officers went to arrest Booker at the South Haven Walmart, seizing about six ounces of crystal meth. He did try to run from police, but was quickly caught thanks in part to some K9s. Booker is charged with delivery of meth, possession with intent to deliver meth, fleeing and eluding, resisting police, and destruction of evidence.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Home Sales Up In May

Southwest Michigan home sales remain strong with May’s numbers topping May of the previous year and April of this year. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors says May home sales were up over April by 22%, and up 10% over May of last year. The average selling price for the month was also up 3% over May of 2018. The association says inventory remains relatively low with a six and a half month supply of homes on the market. It also notes the mortgage rate in May decreased to 4.25% from 4.32% in April. One negative is the number of bank-owned, or foreclosed, homes as a percentage of all transactions for the month. It rose to 6% from 3% in April.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Backing Disaster Declaration Request

As Michigan farmers struggle with weather that has caused them losses this year, Congressman Fred Upton and colleagues from the state have sent a letter to the U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking for a disaster declaration. Upton tells WSJM News arctic cold in the winter damaged peaches, and spring and summer rains have preventing planting.. ...Read Full Story

Supreme Court Ruling Means No New Michigan Maps For 2020

From the Associated press — Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature will not be forced to redraw legislative and congressional districts for the 2020 election following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday that federal courts have no role to play in deciding claims of partisan gerrymandering. Pending its 5-4 decision, the high court had put on hold an April ruling from a federal court panel that ordered lawmakers and Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer to enact new maps by August 1. The lawsuit suit pertains only to 2020. Michigan voters in November approved a constitutional amendment creating an independent commission to handle the once-a-decade redistricting process after the 2020 census, which will affect the 2022 election and beyond.. ...Read Full Story

Paquette To Hold Town Hall On Roads

State Representative Brad Paquette is planning a town hall for next month to talk about road funding in Michigan. The event will be held at the Niles District Library in Niles on Monday, July 8 from 6 to 7 p.m. Paquette says state lawmakers are working on a plan to generate the money needed to get Michigan’s roads in better shape, and the meeting will be a chance for anyone to express their thoughts. On hand as a guest will be state Representative Jack O’Malley of Lake Ann, the chair of the House Transportation Committee. He’s traveling around the state to discuss road funding directly with residents. You can register online for the town hall to ensure there’s space for you. The registration page is right here.. ...Read Full Story

State Launches Crop Recovery Portal

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has launched an online portal for farmers to find the help they need after severe weather this year that has damaged their crops or prevented them from planting. Farmers have been pummeled with severe cold and historic rainfall so far in 2019, leading to losses. The state’s online portal will be constantly updated as new information and aid are identified. The portal includes resources from Michigan State University Extension and the United States Department of Agriculture. Michigan Ag Director Gary McDowell says in many parts of the state, farmers are so many weeks behind schedule that they are nearly out of time and options for this year. He encourages growers to check out the portal. It’s at Michigan.gov/CropDisaster.. ...Read Full Story

Attorney General Sues To Shut Down Oil Pipeline

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s attorney general is suing to shut down dual oil pipelines in the Great Lakes. Democrat Dana Nessel filed suit Thursday. It was the same day she also sought to dismiss pipeline operator Enbridge’s request for a ruling on the legality of a deal it struck last year with former Republican Governor Rick Snyder to put replacement pipes in a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac. Nessel says the Line 5 pipes pose an “unacceptable risk” to the Great Lakes and she moved after it became clear talks between Enbridge and Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer stalled. The pipelines are part of Enbridge’s Line 5, which carries 23 million gallons of crude oil and natural gas liquids daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Sheriff’s Department K9 Dies

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is mourning the loss of one of its K9s. The department says Nero passed away unexpectedly Thursday morning. It tells us Nero was a devoted and loyal partner to Deputy Brandon Crosby for the last five years. It adds its thoughts and prayers are with Deputy Crosby and his family.. ...Read Full Story

West MI School District Bans Cellphones

From the Associated Press — A school district in western Michigan is banning cellphones during school hours. The Forest Hills district near Grand Rapids says students won’t be allowed to use their phones but can keep them in their lockers. The district says it’s
“clear that excessive exposure to cellphones has a negative effect” on kids. If students need to reach a parent, they can use a school phone. Forest Hills says its schools have plenty of technology to allow students to go online when necessary for classroom work.
Superintendent Dan Behm noticed the problem when having lunch with students. They told him how social media posts caused anxiety. Assistant Superintendent Christine Annese tells WOOD-TV that a parent advisory committee approved the plan. Forest Hills has more than 15 schools, including three high schools.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Discusses Proposed Sanctuary Cities Ban

Legislation introduced by State Senator Aric Nesbitt would impose state power over local government decisions on whether or not to allow local cooperation with federal immigration reform. The local sheriffs and police have duties to enforce local and state law but right now they are not forced to become arms of the feds when it comes to immigration status.. ...Read Full Story

Nessel Coming To Benton Harbor To Talk Elder Abuse

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is planning a trip to Benton Harbor next month to talk about elder abuse. AG spokesperson Kelly Rossman-McKinney tells WSJM News Nessel will be in town on Monday, July 8 as part of a listening tour regarding her Attorney General‘s Elder Abuse Task Force. Rossman-McKinney says Nessel has learned a lot from the tour.. ...Read Full Story

New Course Catalog Being Created For BHHS Students

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has approved a new course catalog for students at the high school. At this week’s school board meeting, trustees heard from instructional facilitator Lauren Bernat about the book. She said it was designed to be useful for students from year to year so they can keep track of the classes they have taken when planning for the coming year.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Pushing For Border Funding By Week’s End

Congressman Fred Upton is hoping a bipartisan border funding bill can be approved by the end of the week. That’s as the House and Senate this week each approved their own bills. Upton tells WSJM News money must be set aside to pay for operations along the southern border one way or another as a humanitarian crisis mounts there.. ...Read Full Story

Event Raises $165,000 For Great Lakes Alliance

More than $165,000 has been raised for the Great Lakes with an event held last week in Chicago. Alliance for the Great Lakes spokesperson Jennifer Caddick tells WSJM News the 17th annual Great Blue Benefit was held along the shore of Lake Michigan Thursday. The donations were made by individuals, non-profits, and businesses.. ...Read Full Story

Wrong-Way Driver Busted On I-94

A Chicago man is facing a variety of charges after he was busted driving the wrong way on I-94 early Wednesday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it got a complaint around 3 a.m. of a vehicle going the wrong way on I-94 in the westbound lanes in Chikaming Township. The vehicle was also speeding. Police tried to pull it over near Lakeside Road , but it didn’t stop and crossed the median, now going east in the eastbound lanes. As police gave chase, the driver tried to cross again into the westbound lanes, but his vehicle was hit by a semi. The driver, 25-year-old Diego Flores-Valero of Chicago, struggled with police as they arrested him, but he was brought into custody. He was taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland for observation. I-94 in the area was closed while the scene was cleaned up.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Beach Under E-Coli Advisory

Just as the E-coli advisories for three beaches in Berrien County were lifted Tuesday, there’s now an E-coli advisory in place for South Haven’s South Beach. The city says samples taken there on Wednesday showed elevated levels of E-coli, meaning the water is not safe for swimming. The Van Buren County Environmental Health Division will collect samples again on Thursday and the results will be available by about noon. In the meantime, South Beach is closed to swimming. City officials note North Beach has been tested and found to have acceptable E-coli levels. It remains open. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Three-Year-Old Drowns In Van Buren County

A three-year-old girl is dead after drowning in Van Buren County on Wednesday. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says deputies were sent to a home in the 39,000 block of Paw Paw Road in Paw Paw Township on a report of a possible pool drowning just before 12:40 p.m. They arrived to find the three-year-old girl unresponsive. Deputies tried life-saving measures, but they were not successful, and the girl was pronounced dead at Bronson Lakeview Hospital. Police say foul play is not suspected, and the investigation continues.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Accepts Donations

The city of St. Joseph has been the recipient of a lot of generosity lately. At Monday’s city commission meeting, three donations were accepted by the body. First up was an offer from the Indian Hills Garden Club of some markers for trees in Milton Park to identify them. A club representative said the signs will be on expandable chains around the trees. They come as the club marks its 90th anniversary.. ...Read Full Story

Crash Of Livestock Truck Snarls Traffic

A crash involving a livestock truck closed down the Napier Avenue ramp to westbound I-94 Wednesday morning. The crash happened after 9 a.m. and the scene was cleared shortly before 1 p.m. The truck was turning off Napier Avenue and on to westbound I-94 when it tipped over on to its side. It was hauling about 120 pigs, some of which were hurt in the crash. The Benton Township Police Department worked the scene, and Berrien County Animal Control was brought in to pick up some of the pigs. We’ll have more information on the crash as it’s released by Benton Township police.. ...Read Full Story

Anti-ICE Graffiti Again Painted On MI GOP Headquarters

From the Associated Press — Anti-government graffiti has been found painted a second time on the Michigan Republican Party headquarters amid debate over a possible nationwide immigration sweep to deport people living the country illegally. The state party says the graffiti found Tuesday was apparently painted Monday night. It comes after an expletive and the acronym “ICE” for Immigration and Customs Enforcement was found on the front of the Lansing building Saturday evening. The state party says the vandalism is an attack on Chairwoman Laura Cox, who served a portion of her career as an ICE agent. The latest graffiti included an
expletive and her last name, and a symbol representing anarchy. Cox says “these criminals seek to bully those they disagree with, rather than engage in a civil discussion.” Lansing police are investigating.. ...Read Full Story

E-Coli Advisory On Berrien Beaches Lifted

The three Berrien County beaches that were closed to swimmers on Tuesday due to elevated e-coli levels in the water are now back open. The Berrien County Health Department tells us samples taken on Tuesday have come back with acceptable E-coli levels following the Monday sampling that closed the beaches. It is now OK to swim again at Weko Beach, Cherry Beach, and Warren Dunes State Park. The health department says you should still not drink the water, but the beaches are back open. You can follow the state’s BeachGuard site to stay on top of E-coli advisories for beaches.. ...Read Full Story

GM Planning Upgrades At Factories

From the Associated Press — General Motors Co. has announced it’s investing more than $4.2 billion in assembly plants in Indiana, Michigan and Texas to prepare for the launch of its next generation of pickups and SUVs. The company said Tuesday that it’s increasing capacity, improving operating efficiencies and making other upgrades at plants in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Flint, Michigan; and Arlington, Texas. GM says new investments also are occurring at plants in Ohio ahead of the release of 2021 models of pickups and SUVs. The Texas site manufactures popular SUV brands, including the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. Officials say $1.4 billion will be spent on the Arlington plant and upgrades are scheduled to be completed next year. GM says it has invested more than $23 billion in its U.S. manufacturing base since 2009.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Cottage Walk This Saturday

SHOUT for South Haven will hold its 25th annual Cottage Walk this Saturday. The organization says the day is all about giving everyone a chance to check out the kinds of homes available in the community. Those who take part will tour six cottages, some of which are year-round homes and some of which are summer retreats. Everyone can also check out specialty shops and outdoor dining around South Haven. Tickets to the South Haven Cottage Walk are available at the South Haven Visitor’s Bureau or at the farmer’s market on Saturday. Anyone who wants to find out more can contact SHOUT for South haven.. ...Read Full Story