Local News Archives

Commission Learns Of Possible Buyer For Industrial Property

There could be a buyer soon for the vacant Alreco property in Benton Harbor. The place used to be an industrial site, and it’s now in the Berrien County Land Bank with it having been taken in foreclosure. The land bank is looking for a buyer, and Benton Harbor City Commissioners this week heard from realtor Robert Winters a Holland firm is interested in acquiring the roughly 10-acre parcel.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Implementing New Income Tax

The city of Benton Harbor is barreling toward the implementation of its new income tax. At a Monday meeting, commissioners approved the purchase of computer software to administer the tax at a cost of $65,000. They also approved hiring Secant Technologies to do a security assessment for the city so it can protect the personal information of the people who pay that tax. The cost of the contract is $14,000. City Manager Darwin Watson said there has to be very tight security for handling an income tax.. ...Read Full Story

MSU Announces Interim Athletic Director

From the Associated Press — Michigan State has hired Bill Beekman to be the school’s interim athletic director. Interim school president John Engler made the appointment Monday. Beekman will keep his role as vice president of the school and secretary of its board when the search begins soon for an AD. Engler says “no internal candidates will be considered” for the job. Beekman also has been executive director of the school’s alumni association. Former Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis retired last week in the wake of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal and just before ESPN published a report detailing various allegations involving Michigan State football and basketball players, questioning how the athletic department handled those cases.. ...Read Full Story

State To Remove 90 Year Old Dam

From the Associated Press — Officials are preparing to remove a 90-year-old dam in southwest Michigan to help restore habitat for native fish. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and other organizations will soon begin the $4 million project to remove the Alcott Street dam in Kalamazoo. The dam, which was built in 1927, no longer has a function. Instead, it prevents fish migration and holds contaminated sediment in place. Linda Williams is a contaminant specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. She says the dam removal project is the highest priority project identified. She says removing the dam will improve habitat on both sides of the dam and give fish more space. The Natural Resource Damage Trustee Council will cover half of the project’s cost.. ...Read Full Story

Home Rehab Program Getting Started Again In Benton Harbor

The city of Benton Harbor will be working with the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency to administer a home rehabilitation program. The home rehab program uses HUD money, and it’s been non-functional in Benton Harbor since 2011. Commissioners previously tabled working with the community action agency on it, but the organization satisfied most with a recent committee presentation. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said the task of helping residents fix housing problems can’t be further delayed, adding the city’s community development director will oversee the program.. ...Read Full Story

Illness Closes SWM School District

The rash of schools being closed due to illnesses has come to southwest Michigan. Eau Claire Public Schools says in a Facebook post its buildings will be closed through Thursday with many students missing class. During the closing, staff will work to disinfect the buildings. We’ll catch up with Eau Claire administrators on the coming day to learn more.. ...Read Full Story

Man Gets Prison For Crash That Killed Fire Chief

From the Associated Press — A 24-year-old man who pleaded guilty to reckless driving in connection with a freeway crash that killed a fire chief in southern Michigan has been sentenced to 3.5 to 15 years in prison. Brandon Clevenger of Battle Creek learned his punishment Monday in a Kalamazoo courtroom and said he accepted “full responsibility.” Investigators say Clevenger was driving nearly 90 mph (145 kph) and was distracted by his cellphone just before striking a median wall last June. His vehicle crossed lanes of Interstate 94 in Comstock Township, 135 miles west of Detroit. Comstock Township Fire Chief Edward Switalski died after being struck as he responded to another crash. Switalski worked for more than three decades at Pleasantview Fire District in suburban Chicago before becoming Comstock Township chief in 2013.. ...Read Full Story

Next Phase In South Haven Area Park Construction

Phase two in the construction of a new park in the South Haven area is now underway. The South Haven Recreation Authority tells us work at the Pilgrim Haven Natural Area throughout this year will include a fence installed along the northern property line, as well as a control gate for the site’s parking area. Once that work is done, the park can be opened to the public. The Pilgrim Haven Natural Area is just north of the Van Buren State Park, and is 27 acres of woods, dune grass prairies, and shoreline along Lake Michigan. It’s to be maintained through a partnership of the recreation authority, South Haven Township, the city of South Haven, and South Haven Public Schools. The current phase should be done this year, allowing for the park to be opened to the public. After that, they’ll start phase three, which is set to include new walkways, pit toilets, benches, and a place to pull out and secure kayaks and canoes.. ...Read Full Story