Local News Archives

Two Busted For Meth In Cass County

Two people are in the Cass County Jail awaiting arraignment on charges of possession with intent to deliver meth. The county’s drug enforcement team raided a home in the 21-thousand block of Calvin Hill Street in Calvin Township on Saturday after being tipped off to possible drug activity. They seized several bags of meth along with paraphernalia and items used in the sale and distribution of the drug. The suspects are a 37-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman, and their names have not yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

Millages, Bonding Requests Before Voters Tuesday

Tomorrow is an election day, with millage and bonding requests before voters around the state. Locally, Royalton Township voters are being asked to approve a small millage increase for the fire department to raise $35,000 over five years and to renew the township’s millage for fire, ambulance and library services over 7 years at just over $292,000. St. Joseph Public Schools have a $5.8 million millage renewal over five years on the ballot. In Cass County, Edwardsburg and Jefferson Township both have road funding millages before voters, while Edwardsburg Public Schools are seeking a millage renewal to bring in $2.1 million. Two issues are before voters in Van Buren County. In Bangor, the Bangor Historical Society is asking for a millage increase over 5 years for $16,000 and Lawton Community Schools have a bonding request up for approval. That is for a half-mill over 14 years and would raise $4.5 million. For the first time, you can register to vote on election day.. ...Read Full Story

Two SWM Law Enforcement Officers To Be Honored Tomorrow

Two veteran southwest Michigan law enforcement officers will be honored next week. They’ll be in Lansing on Monday for the 26th annual Michigan Peace Officers Memorial Service at the Michigan Capitol. Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department Detective Loren Tarner will be representing all Michigan police officers injured in the line of duty, and Michigan State Police Sergeant Jim Campbell will represent all state officers who serve until retirement. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us Deputy Loren Tarner was seriously injured in the line of duty on January 17, 2016 when a semi crashed into the scene of a previous crash that Tarner was working on I-94. After a lengthy recovery period, the sheriff’s department says Tarner returned to service and is now a detective. Meanwhile, Sergeant Campbell retired this year after 31 years with Michigan State Police. He most recently served in Paw Paw. You can find out more about Monday’s memorial service at MICOPS.org.. ...Read Full Story

Invasive Species Grants Available

From the Associated Press — State funding is available for local efforts to control or get rid of invasive plants in Michigan’s inland lakes.
The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy says a new grant program will reimburse permit fees required for projects that use physical, biological or chemical controls targeting the unwanted species. A total of $100,000 will be awarded this year. Details on eligibility are available online. The department’s Water Quality Division is developing a handbook and application procedures, which will be posted June 1. Applications for grants will be accepted from June 1 through July 1. Michigan’s Invasive Species Program is operated by the departments of Agriculture & Rural Development; Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; and Natural Resources.. ...Read Full Story

BBQ, Blues, Bluegrass Festival This Month

St. Joseph Today is busy making preparations for the seventh annual BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival. Set for Saturday, May 18, the event will feature headliner JD McPherson performing with his back to Lake Michigan starting at 6:50 p.m. at Whirlpool Centennial Park. St. Joe Today’s Daniele Crevier tells WSJM News McPherson isn’t the only performer. There will be a lineup of six beginning at 12:30.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews Getting New Ag Center

Plans have been announced by Andrews University for a new agricultural center on campus. Sustainable Agriculture Department Chair Katherine Koudele tells WSJM  News the former dairy is being converted into three barns that could be used for ag education programs.. ...Read Full Story

Merry Stover, the Executive Director of the Soup Kitchen in Benton Harbor; With Respect 05/05/19

John’s guest this week is Merry Stover, the Executive Director of the Soup Kitchen in Benton Harbor, Michigan. They talk over the origins of Soup Kitchens, the Depression, and its modern day incarnations. Why are so many people in need of the help at this Soup Kitchen and the volunteers who work on and on with those in need of a break and some healthy food? She recounts so many experiences and introduces so many interesting people. . ...Read Full Story

State Officials Warn About PFAS Foam

White, sticky foam that’s fouled quite a few Michigan shorelines is more dangerous than previously believed. That’s why state environmental officials are warning people not to touch it. Prior warnings about toxic PFAS foam advised against swallowing it, but new data shows high concentrations of unsafe chemicals in the foam, so the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is telling people to stay away from it altogether. Deb MacKenzie-Taylor is the toxicology and response section manager with DHHS.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Backing Legislation To Prevent College Sex Assaults

New legislation in the U.S. House and Senate is intended to help prevent a repeat of the Larry Nassar debacle at Michigan State University. At a press conference this past week, Congressman Fred Upton joined colleagues to announce the ALERT Act. The act would require university leaders to certify they have reviewed any reports of sexual abuses perpetrated by university employees each year. Upton said he’s found backing for the idea among local education leaders.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Appliance Sale Coming Up

Coming up on May 18 will be the next Whirlpool Appliance Sale to benefit the United Way of Southwest Michigan. Whirlpool Senior Manager of Global Operations Gokul Nair tells WSJM News they will sell new, discontinued, refurbished, and obsolete products that had been sitting in warehouses as part of the event.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Street Closure Next Week

Drivers are being notified of a street closure planned in South Haven next week. The city tells us Broadway Street from Church Street to Conger Street will be shut down Monday and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. while a contractor removes the asphalt and concrete for the installation of a new water line. The street in the same area will be closed again on Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. while the work is finished up. Anyone with questions can contact the South Haven Public Works Department.. ...Read Full Story

Pure Michigan Trail Announcements Next Week In South Haven

Representatives of the Pure Michigan campaign will announce this year’s picks for the Pure Michigan Trail and Trail Town designation program on Tuesday. Although they haven’t yet said which communities will be awarded those distinctions, it’s probably a good sign for South Haven that the announcement is being made there. South Haven Visitors Bureau Director Scott Reinert tells WSJM Nwws the community does have a robust trail system.. ...Read Full Story

Program Offers Hearing Aids To Low Income Seniors

A new program has been announced by the Berrien Community Foundation to give free hearing aids to low-income seniors. The foundation’s Lisa Cripps-Downey tells WSJM News the Starkey Hearing Foundation is expanding to Berrien County this year thanks to the Frederick S. Upton Foundation. As part of the Hear Now Mission, the BCF is working with Dr. Kasewurm’s Professional Hearing Services in St. Joseph to get these hearing aids to those in need.. ...Read Full Story

Two Face Charges In Relation To Vandalism At Gerald Ford Gravesite

From the Associated Press — Authorities say two people suspected of defacing the gravesite of former President Gerald Ford and first lady Betty Ford have been charged with misdemeanors. Prosecutors in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have charged Christian Johnson with malicious destruction of tombs and memorials and Alexis Binkert with receiving and concealing stolen property. Police had released a photo that appears to show Johnson marking or digging into panels that say, “Lives Committed to God, Country and Love.” They had been skateboarding in the area and stopped. Police say they turned themselves in after the March 27 incident and returned a missing letter. Johnson has told The Grand Rapids Press he was sorry and didn’t know what the gravesite was. Both await arraignment. The Fords are buried outside a museum dedicated to Gerald Ford’s presidency.. ...Read Full Story

Senior And Veterans Expo Monday

The annual Mattawan Senior and Veterans Expo will be next week. State Senator Aric Nesbitt tells us it’s set for Monday at the Antwerp Township Activity Center in Mattawan from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. He says the event is held as a way for Van Buren County area state lawmakers to talk with seniors and veterans about their concerns, and also to inform them of the services available.. ...Read Full Story

Open House For Palisades Next Week

An open house regarding the Palisades nuclear power plant in Van Buren County is planned for next week. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Viktoria Mitlyng tells WSJM News the agency’s own inspectors, including those who work full-time on site at Palisades, will be there to talk about the plant’s safety record in 2018.. ...Read Full Story

Blossomtime Grand Floral Parade Saturday

This year’s Blossomtime Grand Floral Parade is tomorrow in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. The two-and-a-half mile parade starts at 1 p.m. at Main and Pearl streets in St. Joe and ends at Main and 5th streets in Benton Harbor. This year’s theme is “America, the Places You’ll Go.” The Youth Parade at St. Joseph High School was canceled yesterday due to the weather, and won’t be rescheduled. You’re also being reminded that you can’t put out anything to mark your spot along the parade route before 6 a.m. In St. Joseph, Lake Boulevard will be closed along with the drawbridge over the river, Niles Avenue from 1st Avenue to Main Street, and Main Street will also be closed from 1st Avenue to where it merges with Niles. This is the 113th year for the event.. ...Read Full Story

Area Shelters Taking Part In Bissell’s Empty The Shelters Adoption Event

The Bissell Pet Foundation is doing another Empty the Shelters event across the country this weekend. Among the 52 shelters in Michigan taking part will be Berrien County Animal Control, Cass County Animal Control, Van Buren County Animal Control, and the Al-Van Humane Society on Saturday. Cats and dogs can be adopted at the shelters for just $25, with the Grand Rapids-based foundation covering the rest of the costs.. ...Read Full Story

Two Southwest Michigan Police Officers To Be Honored

Two law enforcement officers from southwest Michigan will be honored on Monday at the 26th annual Michigan Peace Officers Memorial Service held at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us its own Detective Loren Tarner will be there to represent Michigan police who have been injured in the line of duty. Tarner was seriously hurt in January of 2016 when a semi crashed into the scene of a crash he was working on I-94. It says, despite his injuries, Tarner continued to help others at the crash site until he could be relieved. He then took some time off to recover, and went back to work for the sheriff’s department as a detective. Also at Monday’s memorial will be Michigan State Police Sergeant Jim Campbell, who retired this year from the Paw Paw post after 31 years with the MSP. He will represent law enforcement officers who have worked through to retirement. You can find out more about Monday’s memorial service at MICOPS.org.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Talks National Infant Immunization Week

As a measles outbreak around the country continues, the Berrien County Health Department is using National Infant Immunization Week to urge everyone to make sure they are vaccinated, and also to be sure their kids get all the vaccines they need. Department spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News some adults are unsure if they got all the measles vaccine. She suggests contacting the health department.. ...Read Full Story

Matching Grant Announced For Parcourse Project

As renovations continue at the Watervliet Parcourse behind Lakeland Hospital Watervliet, a new matching grant for the project has been announced by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Lakeland Health Foundations Development Officer Mark Libs tells WSJM News the MEDC has offered a match of up to $35,000 for the parcourse’s crowdfunding campaign.. ...Read Full Story

Court Documents: Mosque Threat Suspect Admitted Making Bomb Threat

Court documents are shining new light on the bomb threat made against the Islamic Association of Southwest Michigan mosque in Benton Township in late April. Malik Mohammed Nisar has been identified as the suspect, and the criminal complaint shows he admitted calling 911 to make the bomb threat on April 26. Nisar had been given a ride to the mosque earlier in the day by a Benton Township police officer, and was arrested just a few blocks away. After being read his Miranda rights, the man said he had called in the threat. Nisar told investigators he did so to get officers on the scene to quote, “lay them all out because they are illegal and here as refugees.” According to the charging documents, the suspect is homeless and has been charged with a felony of making a terrorist threat, false report of a bomb. Nisar is being held in the Berrien County jail and is due in court on May 6.. ...Read Full Story

Farm Accident Claims Life Of Husband Of Berrien County Commissioner

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death of a Baroda man in a farming accident. Baroda-Lake Township Police say 45-year-old Patrick Freehling was found in a barn on his farm by an employee around 7 a.m. Thursday, and his death appears to have been a farming accident. There were no signs of foul play. Freehling was the husband of Berrien County Commissioner Teri Sue Freehling, and his death has prompted tonight’s county board meeting to be canceled. He operated a 200-acre farm and was also a US Navy veteran.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Board Meeting Canceled For Thursday Night

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners meeting is canceled for tonight. The board had been scheduled to meet at the St. Joseph/Lincoln Senior Center at 6 p.m. According to a statement from the county, the cancellation is due to “unforeseen circumstances,” and no further information is being released. The next meeting for the Board of Commissioners will be next Thursday at the normal time of 10:30 a.m. at the Berrien County Administration Center in St. Joseph.. ...Read Full Story

County Commission Meeting Canceled

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners meeting scheduled for 6:00 p.m. tonight, May 2, 2019 has been canceled. County administration tells us it’s due to unforeseen circumstances. The meeting was going to be held at the St. Joseph-Lincoln Senior Center. It is unknown at this time whether the meeting will be re-scheduled at that location.. ...Read Full Story

Additional Snow Day Bill Sent To Governor Whitmer

After hitting a snag this week in the state Senate, school districts in Michigan will be able to get four additional snow days forgiven without having to make up the time. Democrats on Tuesday prevented the bill from getting immediate effect after it passed unanimously, meaning it wouldn’t have helped districts until next year. After the House sent the bill back over, enough of them joined with Republicans to have the legislation become law as soon as Governor Whitmer signs it. Schools have six snow days built into their calendars, and can get a waiver for three more. This will bring the total to 13 days that don’t have to be tacked on to the end of the year for the days that were canceled during the state of emergency at the end of January and beginning of February. The issue for the Democrats in the Senate was the removal of a provision that would have guaranteed hourly non-union school employees be paid for the work missed when school was canceled.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Springs High School Student Arrested For School Threat

An anonymous call to the state’s OK2SAY tip line has resulted in the arrest of a 15-year-old for allegedly making a threat against Berrien Springs High School. Police say several students overheard a classmate asking for help getting a gun to shoot others at school. Authorities were notified shortly before 4:30 Wednesday afternoon of the threat and took the teen into custody. He is facing a felony with a 10-year sentence if convicted. The Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Police Department says no weapons were found, and the suspect was unable to get his hands on a gun, and add the school’s safety and security plans worked as designed. The school district has been promoting the OK2SAY tip line as a way to report any unsafe activity.. ...Read Full Story

Student Art Contest To Be Part Of South Haven Sesquicentennial

As South Haven celebrates 150 years of existence, the public is invited to view and vote on works of art by students from South Haven Public Schools at the South Haven Center for the Arts. Students were asked to imagine how the town looked in the past, present and future through art. You have a chance to vote on your favorite pieces through Friday from 10 to 4, Thursday until 7. The winning entries will be displayed at the sesquicentennial Kick-Off Picnic on Friday, May 10th and continue at the Art Center through May 18th. Visit the Art Center website at southhavenarts.org for more information.. ...Read Full Story

Kinexus Gets Grant For Certified Nursing Assistant Apprenticeship Program

Kinexus is announcing more than $224,000 in grants secured to train 100 Certified Nursing Assistants by creating an apprenticeship program. The money is part of $1.3 million recently awarded by the federal government to the state’s Talent Investment Agency’s Workforce Development Agency. Kinexus Sector Strategy Coordinator Erin Sunlin tells WSJM News there will be a projected 19-hundred job openings in the Berrien-Cass-Van Buren county region between now and 2028.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Orders Study Of Insurers’ Use Of Non-Driving Factors

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer is ordering a review of how Michigan auto insurers use non-driving factors to set rates and how they price policies in which medical coverage is coordinated with drivers’ health insurance. The Democratic governor made her directive to the Department of Insurance and Financial Services Wednesday. The move comes as Republican lawmakers prepare legislation designed to lower auto premiums that are the highest in the country.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Commencement Sunday To Feature Jenna Dolezan As Student Speaker

Lake Michigan College will bestow 505 degrees and certificates on 485 students at Sunday’s commencement at the Mendel Center Mainstage. The student speaker for the 72nd annual exercise will be Jenna Dolezan, a 2017 St. Joseph High School graduate and native of Benton Harbor who is receiving an Associate in Business Administration. She chose to go to LMC after her mother was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer during her senior year of high school, saying she wanted to stay home for college. Dolezan is a first-generation college student and got involved immediately by joining the Student Senate in the second week of her freshman year. She will attend Grand Valley State University in the fall, seeking a bachelor’s degree in marketing with the goal of having a career in sports marketing management.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Man Busted For Stealing Motorcycle From Shed To Pay For Meth

A 42-year-old Dowagiac man is in the Cass County Jail after being arrested for allegedly breaking into a shed and stealing a motorcycle. Police say James File admitted he stole the bike and other items with the intent of selling them to fund his “severe” meth addiction. The incident happened overnight between March 26 and March 27, with the homeowner noticing the break-in just before 7 a.m. Everything that was taken has been recovered. Police spent the next month investigating, and arrested File Tuesday morning on North Lowe Street in Dowagiac. He’s being held on a $30,000 bond and is also facing charges for not appearing to be sentenced on a pair of larceny from vehicles charges from last fall.. ...Read Full Story

2019-2020 Speaker Series Lineup Announced For Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan

The lineup is set for the next season of the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series. The season kicks off October 16 with retired US Air Force Colonel Nicole Malachowski, who was the first female Thunderbird pilot and also was a combat veteran, fighter squadron commander, and a White House Fellow and advisor. She will be followed on November 2 by Emmy Award-winning journalist Ann Coury. On December 2nd, Detroit Free Press columnist, author, and Detroit radio host Mitch Albom will come to Benton Harbor. After a few months off, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will address the Econ Club on March 18, followed by National Geographic Live underwater photographer Brian Skerry, and the season wraps up on May 19 with the Fonz, actor Henry Winkler. The Young Professionals special presentation speaker will be Nic Sheff, the author of “Beautiful Boy,” who is also a recovering addict. All keynote presentations next season will be in the Mendel Center Mainstage, a change from past years when the address was given in the Grand Upton Hall.. ...Read Full Story

AMBER Alert Issued For Kalamazoo County Teen

Michigan State Police are looking for a 16-year-old Kalamazoo County girl missing since early Tuesday afternoon. They issued an AMBER Alert for Calista Kay Rose early this morning, saying she might be with 45-year-old Samuel Chrispens. Both are white, and he is believed to be driving a gray 2011 Chrysler four-door sedan with the Michigan licence plate 1MC-W51. Police have not said what the relationship is between the teen and the man. She was last seen in a black T-shirt and a pink winter coat. Anyone who spots her is urged to call 911.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joe Today Preparing For BBQ, Blues, and Bluegrass Festival

St. Joseph Today is busy making preparations for the seventh annual BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival. Set for Saturday, May 18, the event will feature headliner JD McPherson performing with his back to Lake Michigan starting at 6:50 p.m. at Whirlpool Centennial Park. St. Joe Today’s Daniele Crevier tells WSJM News McPherson isn’t the only performer. There will be a lineup of six beginning at 12:30.. ...Read Full Story

Upton, Colleagues Announce Legislation to Prevent College Sex Assaults

New legislation in the U.S. House and Senate is intended to help prevent a repeat of the Larry Nassar debacle at Michigan State University. At a Tuesday press conference, Congressman Fred Upton joined colleagues to announce the ALERT Act. The act would require university leaders to certify they have reviewed any reports of sexual abuses perpetrated by university employees each year. Upton said he’s found backing for the idea among local education leaders.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Signs Bill Delaying Teacher Evaluation Changes

From the Associated Press — Michigan will delay a key change in its evaluation system for teachers and schools administrators under legislation signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The laws enacted Tuesday will halt, at least for a year, a requirement that student growth and assessment data be given greater weight in educators’ year-end performance evaluations. Such information now accounts for 25% of an
evaluation but was scheduled to rise to 40% this academic year under a 2015 law. The change will now be delayed until the 2019-20 school year. The Democratic governor says test scores are “only one piece of the puzzle and not the whole story.” The legislation is supported by teachers unions, school districts and groups representing administrators. Legislators say Michigan’s main standardized test, the M-STEP, does not adequately measure students’ learning over time.. ...Read Full Story

State AG Threatens To Shut Down Pipeline If Talks Fail

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s attorney general says she’ll move to shut down an oil pipeline in the Great Lakes if the governor can’t find a “swift and straightforward” resolution. Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer is open to allowing construction of tunnel beneath the lakebed to house a new segment of Line 5 in the channel where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet. But she has concerns her predecessor’s plan would keep the existing pipeline in the water too long. During her campaign, Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel pledged to sue to close the pipeline – saying operator Enbridge has violated a state easement. Nessel released a statement Monday saying if Whitmer’s ongoing talks to resolve the contentious issue fail, she’ll use “every resource available to our office” to shut the pipeline to protect the lakes.. ...Read Full Story

Ferris State Student Rescinds Sexual Assault Allegation Against SB Mayor Buttigieg

A Ferris State University student says he was coerced by a right-wing Washington lobbyist and podcaster and another conservative social media personality into making up false claims he was sexually assaulted by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Twenty-one-year-old Hunter Kelly put out a statement Tuesday denouncing his earlier claim, saying he has never met the Democratic presidential candidate. “The Detroit News” reports the student added that the accusation against the mayor on the Medium blog site was the work of lobbyist Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl. Burkman is standing by the allegations, posting on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that he believes the original story and says the mainstream media bullied Kelly and his family “into submission.”. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Senate Waives Makeup Requirement For 4 Snow Days

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Michigan lawmakers may be closer to forgiving schools from potentially having to make up four snow days that occurred during a state-declared emergency. Legislation approved unanimously by the Senate Tuesday would exclude the period from Jan. 29 through Feb. 1 from counting as snow days. That’s when an arctic deep freeze shut down many normal activities, including school.. ...Read Full Story

Former School Employee Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement

A former employee of the Village Adventist Elementary School in Berrien Springs is admitting stealing thousands of dollars. Our partners at WSBT 22 report 50-year-old Sarah Kurtz pleaded guilty today to embezzling up to $100,000 from the school. She will have to pay $272,000 in restitution, but the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office is not recommending a sentence any longer than a year. If the judge agrees, that would keep Kurtz out of prison, but she could still be sentenced to up to a year in the Berrien County Jail. Kurtz will be sentenced in June.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Man Sentenced For Daughter’s Death

The father of a three-year-old Almena Township girl will spend at least the next 22 and a half years locked up for her murder. A Van Buren County judge has sentenced Corey Kucsera to 22.5 to 50 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his daughter, Sophia. The little girl’s stepmother, Kate George, also pleaded guilty to child abuse and second-degree murder and was sent away for 31 to 50 years. The little girl was found unresponsive in their home last September, bound to a car seat with a sock taped into her mouth for 24 hours. Authorities removed two other children from the home, and say Sophia had been abused for some time before her death.. ...Read Full Story

Credit Card Fraud Ringleader Sentenced To Federal Prison

The leader of a multi-state fraud ring that stole credit cards from the mail and used them at retailers throughout Michigan last year is headed to prison for nearly five years. 29-year-old Travis Rolle of Miami, Florida was sentenced in federal court in Grand Rapids and ordered to pay over $311,000 in restitution to the three financial institutions that suffered losses. His crime ring hit Berrien County along with Calhoun, Eaton, Kalamazoo and Kent according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Rolle and six others were charged by a federal grand jury in a 18-count indictment last September, with the crimes happening between March and mid-July of 2018. All but one have so far pleaded guilty and have been sentenced, with the seventh to be back in court to be sentenced in July. All seven worked together to steal and use credit cards and gift cards.. ...Read Full Story

City Commission Approves Water, Sewer System Applications

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have approved applications to the Michigan Drinking Water Revolving Fund and the State Revolving Loan Fund for loans to pay for water system and sewer work. After an April 15 public hearing where they learned about the affected areas, which are all over the city, the body met Monday to approve the applications. Commissioner Sharon Henderson noted a failure in the past to maintain infrastructure leaves current leaders with the need to take action.. ...Read Full Story

Cherry Beach Project Trying Again

Organizers of the Cherry Beach Project are hoping the second time will be the charm. After last year’s failed effort to raise enough money to qualify for a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant to buy four acres of beachfront property in Chikaming Township, the project is giving it another go. Chikaming Township Supervisor David Bunte tells WSJM News the land directly next to the public Cherry Beach is up for grabs.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Looking To Fill Some Board Vacancies

Berrien County is looking to fill some board vacancies. Administration says there are vacancies on the Community Corrections Advisory Board, the Public Works Board, the -1-1 Advisory Board, and the Land Bank Authority. Anyone interested in serving on any of those boards cab contact the Berrien County Administration office for an application, or you can find the applications at BerrienCounty.org. You can also find descriptions of each board. The deadline to apply is May 10.. ...Read Full Story

Forum On Civil Discourse Set For May 15

Coming up in May in Berrien Springs will be a forum on civil public discourse. Put together by the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties, the OutCenter, and the Three Oaks Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the event will feature a panel of local leaders and candidates, and a moderator from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. League of Women Voters President Marilyn Klawiter tells WSJM News many people these days seem to have forgotten how to disagree without being disagreeable.. ...Read Full Story

Illinois Governor OKs First Steps To Block Asian Carp

From the Associated Press — The governor of Illinois is authorizing steps toward the installation of technologies in a Chicago-area waterway to prevent Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan. Democrat J.B. Pritzker told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers he’s willing to move ahead with preconstruction, engineering and design work for the project at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Illinois. The location is considered a crucial choke point where the invasive carp could be prevented from migrating upstream toward the lake. Illinois officials previously have agreed to work with the Army Corps and other Great Lakes states on the project while raising concerns about its cost and potential harm to commercial shipping. Pritzker said in a letter to the Corps Friday that he wants discussions about reducing the project’s price tag, estimated at $778 million.. ...Read Full Story

Runaway Teen With Autism Found Safe In Van Buren County

A 14-year-old boy is safe and back with his family after running away for a bit Sunday night. The boy has autism and was reported missing from a home in the 28-thousand block of County Road 388 in Pine Grove Township just after 7 p.m. Police learned the last sighting of the teen was about 40 minutes prior to him being reported missing when he was outside the home. The boy was found walking along southbound M-40 near 26th Avenue by a passerby, who called police. The search involved the Van Buren County Sheriff’s office and K-9 teams from both that department and South Haven Police, and Michigan State Police troopers also worked to try to find the teen.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor-St. Joseph Area Tied With Marquette For Highest Gas Prices

The highest average gas prices in the state are right here in the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area. According to Triple-A Michigan, the average price in the Twin Cities to start the week is $2.93, up 8¢ from last Monday and tied with Marquette in the Upper Peninsula for the highest average. The state’s lowest prices are in Flint and Traverse City, where drivers are paying $2.85 a gallon. Statewide, the average is $2.88, up 3¢ from where we started last week, but let’s not forget the jump last Monday afternoon to $2.99 a gallon. Triple-A says prices will continue to fluctuate as they’ve been doing for the next month, as Memorial Day is typically the peak for prices every year.. ...Read Full Story

Arizona Woman Rolls Truck In Cass County Crash

An Arizona woman is recovering at Elkhart General Hospital after crashing her car in Cass County’s Mason Township. 45-year-old Kristi Shuler was headed east on US 12 when she fell asleep, went over the center line and off the north side of the road, where her truck rolled over near the intersection of Starbrick Road. No other vehicles were involved, and Shuler was wearing a seat belt. The crash happened just after 4 a.m. Monday, and police say alcohol does not appear to have been a factor. The extent of Shuler’s injuries has not been released.. ...Read Full Story

State Taking Applications, Donations For Foster Kids Scholarship Program

The Michigan Department of Treasury is accepting applications for its Fostering Futures Scholarship program. Michigan Education Trust Director Robin Lott tells WSJM News program was set up as a way to help young people who have been in the foster care system get a college education. She says only 10% of the kids who went through foster care after their 13th birthday makes it to college even though most want to go. Fostering Futures is one way to help them.. ...Read Full Story

Major Grant Awarded To South Haven Development

A development project in South Haven is getting a $750,000 state grant. The office of state Representative Beth Griffin tells us South Haven Center, LLC is getting the Michigan Community Revitalization Program grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund for a mixed-use development planned downtown. The plan includes 18 residential units, retail or commercial space, and parking. It’s expected to generate total investment of $4.5 million. The goal is to add density and promote walkability in the downtown area of South Haven while increasing the tax base. Griffin says she appreciates “the Michigan Strategic Fund recognizing South Haven as a place worth investing.”. ...Read Full Story

Energy Upgrades At LMC Mendel Center

Lake Michigan College is about to start a major upgrade project for the Mendel Center and Grand Upton Hall. At a meeting of the LMC Board of Trustees this past week, bids were awarded for the $3.2 million plan. LMC Vice President of Administration Anne Erdman tells WSJM News the goal is to improve energy efficiency and comfort.. ...Read Full Story