Local News Archives

Meth Busts In Benton Township

The Southwest Enforcement Team says it made several meth-related arrests with a couple of busts in Berrien County last week. The first one was on Thursday when police arrested 27-year-old Shaquille Burton at the Quick Way Party Store on South Fair Street in Benton Township. The arrest came after a month-long investigation into the distribution of meth in Bangor, Kalamazoo, and Benton Harbor, and detectives seized about five ounces of meth. Then on Friday came another series of arrests. SWET says 47-year-old James Snow was arrested following a three-month investigation into the distribution of meth at his home in Benton Township. During a search, police say they found two ounces of crystal meth, eighteen guns, and other drug-related items. Snow is charged with possession with intent to deliver crystal meth, possession of a firearm, maintaining a drug house, and a bond violation. Four others were arrested in the home on various charges.. ...Read Full Story

Police Looking For Two Suspects Following Chase In Benton Harbor

Two suspects remain on the loose following a chase with police in Benton Harbor on Sunday night. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says the chase started around 11 p.m. when officers tried to pull over a Jeep Cherokee for a traffic violation on Main Street near Seeley. The Jeep took off, running several stop signs as it sped down Highland, McCord, and Britain. The sheriff’s department gave up the chase, but the vehicle crashed into another vehicle at Britain and Pipestone. The driver and a passenger took off running, leaving a 19-year-old Benton Harbor woman in the vehicle. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries, as did the 17-year-old driver of the car the suspects hit. Police say the suspect’s vehicle was stolen out of Madison, Wisconsin. They continue to look for the driver and his passenger. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Gas Station Hit By Armed Robbers

Niles police are looking for two men accused of robbing the Admiral Gas Station at 640 Chicago Road at gunpoint late Sunday night. The men had their faces hidden and wore gloves while each had a semi-automatic gun. They took off on foot after emptying out the cash register. No one was hurt, but the clerk told police the men fired their weapons both inside and outside the store. The robbery happened just a few minutes before midnight on Sunday. Police have not released descriptions of the suspects, and are asking for tips to be called in to the Niles Police Detective Bureau at 269-683-0404 or submitted anonymously online at tipsoft.com.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer: No State Gov’t Shutdown On My Watch

The last time Michigan had divided government, there were two state government shutdowns in 2007 and 2009, both under former Governor Jennifer Granholm. Not this year, says Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was in the state Senate during both of the previous shutdowns. She says it won’t happen on her watch, and the Republican leaders of the House and Senate are in her corner.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Woman Killed When Hit By Car

A 49-year-old Niles woman has died after being hit by a car just after noon on Sunday on North 5th Street in Niles Township. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says Candace Barna was in the road trying to pick up a piece of clothing lost while she was a passenger on the back of a motorcycle, and 75-year-old Helen Jo Carpenter told deputies she was unable to avoid the crash. Barna was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash is still under investigation, but investigators don’t believe speed or alcohol were factors in what happened. Carpenter told deputies she saw Barna walk into the road, but couldn’t stop in time.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County K-9 Finds Missing Man

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Nellie is the hero of a 70-year-old Cassopolis man. Michael Cox got lost Sunday night in a wooded area near his home, and his caretaker called police when he went for a walk around 7:45 pm and hadn’t come back by 9. The sheriff’s department says Nellie led handler Deputy Graves to Cox, who was found laying behind some thick bush shortly before midnight. He was cleared by medics with Life Care Ambulance and went home. His caretaker had called police due to concerns over the man’s medical issues. The discovery by Nellie followed several hours of searching by friends and deputies.. ...Read Full Story

New Report Has Dire Warning If Asian Carp Reach Lake Michigan

(Traverse City, MI – AP) – A newly released study says if Asian carp reach Lake Michigan, they probably would find enough food to spread farther. The invasive fish have infested the Mississippi River and dozens of tributaries. Authorities are debating how to keep them out of the Great Lakes, where fishing is a $7 billion industry. Some experts have questioned whether there’s enough plankton in Lake Michigan to sustain the invasive carp away from shoreline areas. The lake has seen a drop-off in plankton caused by exotic mussels. But a report released Monday by University of Michigan scientists says the voracious carp could feed on mussel excrement and other organic material when venturing into deeper waters. Officials say that illustrates the need to prevent the carp from getting into the lake.. ...Read Full Story

Car Crashes Into South Haven Bar

A man is being treated for serious injuries at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo after crashing his car into Maple Grove Bar & Grill in South Haven Township Sunday night. South Haven Police say the man hit the traffic island in the roundabout at M-43 and 12th Avenue, which launched the car airborne. He crashed into the side of the restaurant and had to be extricated by first responders from South Haven Area Emergency Services. While the business was closed, there were still employees inside at the time. The owner was in a nearby kitchen washing dishes and was hit by debris, but wasn’t hurt. The crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Man Arrested For Two Bridgman Home Invasions

A 43-year-old man is in the Berrien County Jail awaiting possible home invasion charges for allegedly breaking in to two homes in Bridgman during a three-hour span Thursday night and early Friday morning. The homeowners in the first incident found the man in a bedroom in their home in the 42-hundred block of Orchard Street, and he ran off after being confronted. Bridgman police say the Lincoln Township police K-9 Echo caught the man after the second break-in, laying in the yard behind a nearby shed. That happened in the 97-hundred block of Baldwin Road. The suspect’s name has not been released, and police say he has addresses in both Berrien Springs and Bridgman. Nothing appeared to have been stolen in either case, and no damage was done.. ...Read Full Story

University Of Michigan Installing Locks For Security Push

The University of Michigan will install locks on all classroom and lab doors inside a building where reports of an active shooter triggered campus-wide panic last spring. The active shooter alert occurred in March when a sorority held an event featuring balloon popping at the same time as a vigil nearby for victims of the deadly New Zealand mosque shootings.. ...Read Full Story

Two Injured In Highway Crash

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a Friday crash on I-94 that involved six vehicles. It says deputies were sent to the scene at eastbound I-94 near the Van Buren County line in Watervliet Township around 6:30 p.m. They learned there had been a chain reaction crash where traffic had been backed up due to construction near Hartford.. ...Read Full Story

Muskegon Police Officer On Leave After Apparent KKK Document Seen At Home

(Muskegon, MI – AP) – A white police officer in western Michigan is on paid administrative leave after an apparent Ku Klux Klan document was seen framed on a wall of his home. The Muskegon Police Department opened an internal investigation after Robert Mathis, who is black, posted on Facebook that he saw the document while touring the officer’s Holton-area home, which was for sale. He said he also saw Confederate flags at the house, and said he prayed about what to do for several hours before posting photos he took inside the house.. ...Read Full Story

U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Readies Decision On Underwater Oil Pipeline Supports

(Associated Press) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it’s preparing to decide whether to let Canadian oil transport company Enbridge install supports for its underwater oil pipeline in Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge disclosed Wednesday that erosion had opened a gap beneath one of two Line 5 pipelines in the channel linking Lakes Huron and Michigan. The gap is about 6 feet wider than allowed under a state easement.. ...Read Full Story

BBB: Unlicensed Dowagiac Roofer Sentenced, Business Shut Down

A Dowagiac man will be on probation for three years and his unlicensed roofing business has been shut down after he pleaded guilty to one count of false pretenses between $1,000 and $20,000. The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan’s Phil Catlett says they had been expressing concerns for “some time” about All Tech Repair and Roof Sealants. Company owner Jeffrey Burks was sentenced Friday and a condition of his probation is he’s not allowed to reopen the business. The case against him came from accusations he was collecting money from customers, but not following through with any work. The BBB says All Tech has an F rating due, in part, to the complaints that went unanswered.. ...Read Full Story

Illinois GOP Urges Trump Not To Set Blagojevich Free

The Illinois Republican Party’s chairman is urging President Trump not to follow through on the idea he broached this week of freeing imprisoned former Governor Rod Blagojevich. Tim Schneider said in a written statement Friday that officials found guilty should serve their full sentences, especially in a state where he says “corrupt, machine-style politics is still all too common.”. ...Read Full Story

Suspect In Benton Harbor Triple Shooting Caught

The suspect in the July 31 murder of 29-year-old Arsenio Jordan in Benton Harbor is now jailed. 21-year-old Eric Holbrook was arrested Friday by Benton Harbor Public Safety officers, Berrien County Sheriff’s officers and Michigan State Police troopers at the River Terrace apartment complex. Police also arrested his 24-year-old brother, Dennis Holbrook, for his alleged involvement in the triple shooting along with an unidentified 43-year-old woman. Eric and Dennis Holbrook are expected to be arraigned next week, and are being held without bond in the Berrien County Jail. Authorities are still trying to find one other man, Dondrell Blackamore, Jr., who they want to talk to as a person of interest in the case.. ...Read Full Story

United Flight Attendant Accused Of Being Drunk On Flight To South Bend

A Wisconsin woman is due back in court in South Bend August 29 to face public intoxication charges. Julianne March is a flight attendant with United, and was caught on video by a passenger on an August 2nd flight between Chicago and South Bend appearing drunk on the job. Police say her blood alcohol level was .20, five-times what’s allowed for flight crew members. A passenger also tweeted United Airlines about the incident, saying March appeared “quite drunk” on the brief morning flight. March answered “Chicago” when asked where she was upon being arrested in South Bend.. ...Read Full Story

Charges Filed In July 30 Bridgman Home Invasion, Shooting

A 33-year-old Bridgman is facing a first-degree home invasion charge for a July 30 incident in which police say he forced his way into a home in the 97-hundred block of Evergreen Drive and got into a fight with a 34-year-old acquaintance. The suspect is Christopher Betts, and he is free on bond after being arraigned on Thursday on the charge, which followed his release from the hospital.. ...Read Full Story

New State Superintendent Opposed To Closing Benton Harbor High School

The Whitmer administration is not fully united when it comes to the possibility of closing Benton Harbor High School. Michael Rice, the new state superintendent, tells Bridge Magazine he opposes the proposal by the governor to close the school in exchange for forgiving about two-thirds of the 18-million dollar debt faced by Benton Harbor Area Schools. When the administration made its plan known, Rice was still the superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools, and has only been at the helm of public education statewide for a little more than a week. BHAS board members tell Bridge Magazine they appreciate Rice’s stance, as they are continuing to negotiate with the governor’s office to prevent the high school from closing.. ...Read Full Story

Harbor Country Mission’s David Heyn talks about the death of Bob Klint

Bob Klint, who worked at Harbor Country Mission and spearheaded the idea of medical debt relief that the organization is involved in, was killed last Friday in a horrible car crash in Buchanan.  The crash also took the lives of his wife, daughter and brother-in-law. They are asking that in lieu of flowers that you make donations in Bob Klint’s memory to Harbor Country Mission to support their work helping people who are financially struggling.. ...Read Full Story

Area Peach Crop Non-Existant

From too much rain to a trade war with China, Michigan farmers have more than their share of challenges this year. Peach growers in southwest Michigan have their own struggles, all due to the polar vortex in January that dropped temperatures down to 18-below zero. That killed a large number of trees according to Stover’s Farm Market general manager Kenny Stover in Berrien Springs. He tells our partners at WSBT-TV they have little to no crop.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Public Schools Tout State Ranking On Niche.com

New rankings from Niche puts St. Joseph Public Schools among the best districts in the state. The 2020 rankings have St. Joseph rated 13th best. The criteria used include achievement on the state M-STEP and SAT tests, college readiness, teacher quality, facilities, student and parent perception, student opportunities, and health and safety. In a statement, the district’s director of curriculum, instruction and assessment Kelly Gaideski calls it “rewarding” to be recognized for the ongoing efforts to improve both student achievement and their well-being.. ...Read Full Story

PFAS Meeting Set For August 21 At Hartford High School

There will be an update later this month on the PFAS contamination in Hartford around the site of the former Du-Wel plant. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will hold a public forum along with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department on August 21 at Hartford High School starting at 6 pm. George Friday is the environmental health director for the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department and says 82 residential wells were tested.. ...Read Full Story

Pedestrian Hit By SUV On Napier Monday Dies From Injuries

We have an update regarding the car-pedestrian crash on East Napier Avenue in Benton Township on Monday. Police tell WSJM News that the man who was hit while walking on the edge of the road, 52-year-old David Snyder, has died from his injuries. Sndyer died Wednesday at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. He was airlifted there from Spectrum Health Lakeland with head trauma and a broken leg. Snyder was walking along the fog line in the outer lane when he was struck by an SUV driven by Georgette Lanier. There is no word yet if any charges will be filed, and police say the crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

YMCA Of Southwest Michigan Merging With YMCA Of Michiana

The YMCA of Southwest Michigan is getting larger with the approval of its board of directors and the board of the YMCA of Michiana to merge into one organization. It will be effective at the start of 2020, and the YMCAs will collectively serve more than 20,000 members and employ over 500 people. YMCA of Southwest Michigan board member Tom Grant says in the spring of 2018, the association began helping on the management side with the Michiana chapter after that organization lost its CEO.. ...Read Full Story

Missing West Michigan Girl Found In Rhode Island Man’s Home

A 43-year-old Rhode Island man is facing sexual assault charges after police found a 15-year-old west Michigan girl who had been reported missing in is home. Local police acted on information submitted by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department to raid the home in Warwick of Charles Morancey on Tuesday. They arrested him on four charges of third-degree sexual assault and found the girl safe.. ...Read Full Story

Voters Approve All Local Road Millage Renewals In Michigan

Michigan voters are showing their willingness to spend money to fix roads around the state while action by state lawmakers to fund road repairs remain stuck in neutral. During Tuesday’s primary election, the County Road Association of Michigan notes all 14 road millage renewals passed with an average support rate of 75% and all of those have been renewed every time they were on the ballot since 2008.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Conservation District Offering Well Water Testing

Residents in Van Buren County with private wells for drinking water can have their water tested by bringing an unfiltered sample to the Van Buren Conservation District in Paw Paw all next week. Technician Kyle Mead says they will test for nitrates and nitrites in your water, which is basically nitrogen that can occur naturally or from lawn treatments and farm fertilized fields.. ...Read Full Story

Detroit House Explosion Investigated

(Detroit, MI – AP) – Fire officials in Detroit are investigating the cause of a house explosion on the city’s east side. The explosion collapsed the home Tuesday afternoon and an ensuing fire scorched at least one neighboring house. No injuries were reported. Officials were looking into a possible natural gas leak.. ...Read Full Story

Buttigieg Ramps Up Outreach To Democratic Superdelegates

South Bend Mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is ramping up his outreach to Democratic Party superdelegates with a phone call to them outlining the scope of his 2020 presidential campaign. The outreach suggests Buttigieg’s campaign is looking beyond the early primary states to the possibility of a convention fight for the nomination.. ...Read Full Story

Power Out For Some Of Downtown St. Joseph

Power is out to a good chunk of downtown St. Joseph this afternoon. Indiana Michigan Power says over 11-hundred customers are impacted, and the outage started just before 12:30. The Berrien County Courthouse is closed for the rest of the day, as is the Berrien County Administration Building due to the outage. County officials say those will reopen at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. The utility expects the lights to be back on around 5 tonight. WSJM News is told the cause of the outage is work being done to dismantle and rebuild the power plant next to Clementine’s Too.. ...Read Full Story

Dr. David Mathews Retiring As Southwestern Michigan College President

A change is coming at Southwestern Michigan College. After 18 years as president, Dr. David Mathews is retiring, and his last day will be December 31. Mathews joined SMC in 1997 as Dean of Arts and Sciences and Instructional Innovation, and became vice president of instruction the next year. He was appointed the school’s seventh president in 2001. The college says he’s developed and executed 18 consecutive balanced budgets, with investments in student success and facilities improvements all being done within those constraints. Under his guidance, the SMC Foundation grew from $1.3 million in assets to over $12 million, which Board of Trustees chairman Thomas Jerdon says has had a “huge impact” on wider scholarship availability for students.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Mayoral Primary Today

Voters in the city of Benton Harbor will be narrowing down the field of mayoral candidates today. Six candidates are on the ballot: Mayor Marcus Muhammad, City Commissioners Juanita Henry, CF Jones, and Ron Singleton, along with Margie Carter and Jamie Davis. Commissioner Henry urged as high a voter turnout as possible during last night’s city commission meeting.. ...Read Full Story

Recreational Marijuana Question Headed To November Ballot In South Haven

The South Haven City Council has voted not to adopt an initiated ordinance to prohibit the manufacture and sale of recreational marijuana. The Concerned Citizens of South Haven submitted a petition with over 100 signatures to prohibit recreational marijuana. The city council voted to put the issue on a public ballot in November. Mayor Scott Smith says he didn’t like what they were being asked.. ...Read Full Story

NRC To Hold Webinar On Decommissioning Of Nuclear Plants This Week

The upcoming decommissioning of the Palisades nuclear power plant will be the topic of a public meeting by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission this fall. The NRC will hold a webinar this Thursday at 1 p.m. in conjunction with the 11 forums staff will hold across the country at sites of soon-to-be-closed nuclear power plants. No date or location has been set as yet for that meeting regarding Palisades. The Covert Township power plant is set to be shut down in 2022, but decommissioning the facility will take several years of work after the reactor is idled for good. Entergy agreed to sell the facility last August to Holtec International for the decommissioning. That sale includes the transfer of licenses, spent fuel, and Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts.. ...Read Full Story

Man Airlifted To Kalamazoo Hospital After Being Hit Walking On Napier In Benton Township

A 53-year-old man is in critical condition at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo after being hit by a SUV on East Napier Avenue near Columbus in Benton Township this morning. The Benton Township Police Department says David Snyder suffered a broken leg and head trauma in the crash, which closed down Napier for a few hours just after 11 a.m. The driver involved has been identified as 48-year-old Georgette McKinney. According to police, Snyder was walking in the outer lane near the fog line when he was hit. Both Snyder and McKinney are from Benton Township. He was airlifted to the Kalamazoo hospital after first being taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph.. ...Read Full Story

Stolen Bikes And More Recovered By St. Joseph Twp Police

Items stolen in St. Joseph Township are slowly being recovered by police. In Facebook posts, the township police department says several bicycles reported stolen in the Fairplain area along with the city of St. Joseph and Shoreham areas have been found and they’re asking those who have been victimized to call to see if their bike is among those recovered. Additionally, police say they’ve been able to take in several items believed stolen from vehicles in the township. Those include a digital camera and a handheld gaming system. Proof of ownership will be needed to claim those items. Police say in late July, there was a rash of vehicle larcenies, with items being swiped from unlocked cars and trucks in neighborhoods north and south of Napier Avenue.. ...Read Full Story