Local News Archives

4,700 Additional Cases Of COVID In Michigan For Tuesday

Michigan is reporting 4,730 additional cases of COVID-19 for Tuesday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website says the state has had a total of more than 442,000 cases of COVID since the pandemic started. It reported 183 additional deaths for Tuesday, 71 of which were identified through a review of vital records. The state’s COVID deaths now total 10,935. For Tuesday, the Berrien County Health Department’s COVID dashboard showed the county with 59 additional cases of COVID over Monday, bringing its total since March to 7,952. The county had four additional deaths, bringing its total to 139. Berrien County on Tuesday had 59 non-ICU hospitalizations and 6 patients in the intensive care unit. Van Buren County’s numbers were delayed in getting reported Tuesday.. ...Read Full Story

Workers At 2 Michigan Hospitals First To Get Virus Vaccine

From the Associated Press — Frontline health care workers at two Michigan hospitals have become the first in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Among those receiving vaccinations Monday was 46-year-old pulmonary and critical care physician Marc McClelland at Spectrum Health Butterworth in Grand Rapids. Vaccinations also were carried out at Michigan Medical in Ann Arbor. They came as the state reported 7,205 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and 90 deaths Sunday and Monday. The state says additional Michigan hospitals are expected to begin vaccinating health care staff later this week. Health care workers across the country began receiving the vaccine Monday – marking the start of the biggest vaccination campaign in American history.. ...Read Full Story

Rotary Announces $65,000 In Grants

$65,000 in grants for local non-profits have been announced by the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Club Foundation. The Rotary held a virtual meeting Monday to announce the 2020 grant recipients. Foundation President Rick Villa tells WSJM News the grants are supported by a fund established 30 years ago and grown through fundraisers, campaigns, and investments. It’s led to a lot of support for the community.. ...Read Full Story

Bangor Man Facing Charges After Police Chase

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department was able to bring a 19-year-old Bangor man into custody after he led deputies on a chase Saturday. The department says the man took off when a deputy tried to pull him over for a traffic violation in Hartford Township around 5:30 p.m. The chase continued for several miles until the man crashed in a plowed field. He then ran into some woods, but deputies and K9 Bruno were able to find him hiding on the ground. The suspect was taken into custody with no further problems. He’s now facing felony charges.. ...Read Full Story

New Buffalo City Manager Dies

The city manager of New Buffalo has died, weeks after being hospitalized with coronavirus. A message posted to the city’s website says David Richards “will be sorely missed because he was a great city leader, friend, and coworker.” The city announced in early December he was hospitalized with COVID-19 complications. At the time, he was one of five city hall employees to have the illness. The city council this month appointed Police Chief Rich Killips acting city manager. The city’s website says Richards had served as city manager since 2017, and he “brought the community “into a strong financial position which was not the case when he took office, and a brand new downtown.”. ...Read Full Story

State Reports 7,200 Additional COVID Cases Over Sunday And Monday

Michigan is reporting 7,205 additional cases of COVID-19 for both Sunday and Monday combined. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website says that works out to an average of 3,602 per day for the two days. Michigan has had a total of more than 437,000 cases of COVID since the pandemic started. The state reported 90 additional deaths for Sunday and Monday, bringing the total to 10,752. For Monday, the Berrien County Health Department’s COVID dashboard showed the county with 109 additional cases of COVID over Sunday, bringing its total since March to 7,893. The county had one additional death, bringing its total to 135. Berrien County on Monday had 62 non-ICU hospitalizations and 5 patients in the intensive care unit. Van Buren County on Monday reported a total of 3,459 cases since March, an increase of 57 since Saturday. Van Buren County has had 61 confirmed COVID deaths.. ...Read Full Story

COVID-19 Vaccine Shipments Begin In Historic US Effort

(Portage, MI – AP) – The first of many COVID-19 vaccine doses are making their way to distribution sites across the United States, as the nation’s pandemic deaths approach the horrifying new milestone of 300,000. The rollout Sunday of the Pfizer vaccine, the first to be approved by the FDA, ushers in the biggest vaccination effort in U.S. history – one that health officials hope the American public will embrace, even as some have voiced initial skepticism or worry. The first of two shots are expected to be given in the coming week to health care workers and nursing home residents.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Legislature Looks To Create Child Abusers Registry

(Lansing, MI – AP) – After Macomb County resident Erica Hammel’s son Wyatt nearly lost his life to child abuse she started campaigning for a child abuse registry. It’s been years of effort, but on Thursday the Michigan Senate passed legislation to create the registry. If it passes the House in the lame duck session, it will be called Wyatt’s Law. The measure would require the Michigan State Police to compile a computerized database of individuals convicted of child abuse offenses in the state, including their name and date of birth, which are often needed to find court records.. ...Read Full Story

Trucks With First COVID-19 Vaccine In US On Road

The first trucks carrying a COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use in the United States are on the move from Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Portage. The shipments Sunday morning will set in motion the biggest vaccination effort in American history. The shots that are critical to stopping the nation’s coronavirus outbreak are destined to reach states a day later. Initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be likely be limited to health workers and nursing home residents. The Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of the vaccine Friday, saying it is highly protective and presents no major safety issues.. ...Read Full Story

More Than 4,400 Additional Cases Of COVID In Michigan For Saturday

Michigan is reporting 4,486 additional cases of COVID-19 for Saturday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website shows the state with a total of 430,780 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. The state added 206 deaths on Saturday, 176 of which were identified through a review of vital records. Michigan has had a total of 10,662 COVID deaths. For Saturday, the Berrien County Health Department’s COVID dashboard showed the county with a total of 7,714 cases of the illness since March. The county has had 134 COVID deaths. For Saturday, Berrien County had 59 non-ICU hospitalizations and 6 patients in the ICU. Van Buren County reported 3,402 COVID cases and 61 confirmed COVID deaths since March.. ...Read Full Story

Senate Targets Virus Restrictions; OKs Jobless, Water Bills

Michigan Senate Republicans have voted to limit the length of coronavirus restrictions issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration, unless they are extended by the GOP-controlled Legislature. The bill would be vetoed if it reached the Democratic governor’s desk. Senators did find common ground, though, on other pandemic-related measures late Thursday. They voted unanimously to keep intact unemployment changes for an additional three months and to provide $250 million in funding. Water shutoffs would be prohibited statewide under a separate bill. The voting set the stage for final House action next week before lawmakers adjourn for the year.. ...Read Full Story

Palisades Decommissioning Panel Announced

The Van Buren County Board of Commissioners is forming the Palisades Community Advisory Panel to educate people on the decommissioning of the nuclear plant. Entergy is shutting it down in the spring of 2022, and Palisades completed its final refueling outage in October. Details about the CAP will be released after the new year. Members will be diverse in interests, backgrounds, and professional expertise. That includes state, tribal, and local governments, public health, education, the general public, and more. Palisades has been part of the community for nearly 50 years, and Van Buren County Board Chairman Richard Godfrey says decades of work remain there after it’s done producing electricity. Decommissioning will start after the plant’s closure and reactor defueling under the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s regulations.. ...Read Full Story

Vincent Adam Grzesick

Vincent was larger than life in many ways, and a dependable rock of never ending support. His life was a testimony to the power of personal strength, perseverance, kindness, understanding, goodness, faithfulness and love. He achieved his pain free, peaceful self on December 7, 2020, after a hard fought battle with Covid.. ...Read Full Story

New COVID-19 Cases At 5,157

Michigan’s COVID-19 cases are now at 426,294. The state added 5,157 cases Friday and 61 deaths. Since March, 10,456 people in Michigan have died from coronavirus. In Van Buren County, 47 new cases were recorded Friday for 3,359. One person died there for a total of 57. In Berrien County, there are 7,626 cases, up 98 from Thursday, and the deaths from COVID are up by five to 132.. ...Read Full Story

Investigation Ongoing Into F-16 Crash In Upper Peninsula

The name of the pilot of an F-16 fighter jet who was killed in a crash in the Upper Peninsula has still not been released. The Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing will not identify him until 24 hours after the family is notified. During a news conference this morning Colonel Bart Van Roo, commander of the 115th Fighter Wing, said there will be an extensive investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Whitmer Allowing Tax Relief

The governor is temporarily suspending tax payments for restaurants and entertainment venues that have been closed by health orders. Whitmer is calling it a “postponement.” Starting immediately, all places that rely on indoor dining can postpone their sales, use and withholding tax payments through the 20th of next month.. ...Read Full Story

Thursday COVID Numbers Rise From Wednesday

For the first time this week, the number of new COVID-19 cases is higher than the day before. On Thursday, 5,937 new cases were recorded to bring the total to 421,137. The Department of Health and Human Services says 182 additional deaths have been recorded, with 132 being from reviews of vital records. In all, 10,395 Michiganders have died from COVID-19.. ...Read Full Story

New Protect Michigan Commission

There is a new Protect Michigan Commission in the Department of Health and Human Services. Governor Whitmer has created the bipartisan task force, which will be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, former Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, and seven others.. ...Read Full Story

Mike Duggan Announces Run For 3rd Term As Detroit Mayor

(Detroit, MI – AP) – Mike Duggan will seek a third consecutive four-year term as Detroit’s mayor. Duggan announced his reelection campaign Wednesday during a livestreamed message to city residents and supporters that included endorsements from Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Detroit NAACP branch President the Reverend Wendell Anthony and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans. The nonpartisan primary will be held in August. The top two vote-getters then will face off in the November 2021 general election. Duggan easily defeated then-state Senator Coleman Young II in the 2017 general election. Young is the son of Detroit’s first Black mayor, Coleman Young.. ...Read Full Story

Lawton Drug Bust

Two Lawton residents are in the Van Buren County Jail on drug charges. The sheriff’s department says they’ve been investigating drug activity in the 500 block of North Street and had several warrants on Jason Daggitt for meth and Victoria Nagy for possession of meth. Detectives witnessed possible drug activity Tuesday and arrested both. They also got a warrant to search the home and took more meth and packing material for dealing the drug.. ...Read Full Story

Rayonte Bell Wins Berrien County Board Election After Recount

It was tied after the November election, with Bruce Gorenflo being declared the winner after a slip of paper drawing. Both he and Rayonte Bell, however, said regardless of that, they’d have a recount in the Berrien County Commission race. Bell paid for it and will get his $200 back, as he actually won by four votes. He talked to our partners at WSBT 22 after the recount.. ...Read Full Story

Buchanan Area Senior Center Close Until December 21st

The Buchanan Area Senior Center has had to close immediately for at least the next two weeks. The BASC says it’s due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19 and the entire staff needing to quarantine. They say no one has had any symptoms and the infection was found thru “routine testing.” They will post on Facebook when they will reopen and say December 21 will be the earliest. Senior Nutrition Services and Meals on Wheels will continue though maybe with some changes. Same goes for transportation to existing medical appointments, food commodities, and the Compassionate Callers Club.. ...Read Full Story

Senator Nesbitt Wants MDHHS Director Gone

State Senator Aric Nesbitt is calling for the resignation of Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon. Nesbitt remains upset about the pause order that’s been extended by Gordon for 12 days banning dine-in restaurant service and closing down movie theaters, bowling alleys, and other businesses. He says Gordon has “issued statewide mandates shutting down small businesses without providing them the opportunity to operate safely – a move that has pushed these hardworking small business owners into bankruptcy through no fault of their own.” Nesbitt says Governor Whitmer should replace him with “an independent leader who will bring much-needed organization and a spirit of partnership to this administration.”. ...Read Full Story

Illinois Man Arrested After Chase

A 21-year-old Illinois man is in the Berrien County Jail on several charges following a police chase Tuesday morning. Darrien Connor was spotted by a sheriff’s deputy doing 88 miles an hour on I-94 eastbound near US 12 and gave chase. Connor pulled off at John Beers Road and turned north on Red Arrow Highway. Police stopped the chase due to speed and the erratic driving of the suspect. Another deputy then saw the vehicle pull into a driveway on Lakeshore Drive and run. He was tracked into a wooded area, with a boot being left behind and was finally caught in the 2700 block of West Garden Lane in Shoreham. Great Lake Drone Company was called in to help find Connor. Police found a loaded gun in the SUV.. ...Read Full Story

Man Shot, Killed At Briarwood Apartments

A 27-year-old Benton Township man has died after being shot in the chest early this morning at Briarwood Apartments on Union. Township police were called to the scene just after 4 a.m. and learned two men were in an argument, and two to three shots were fired. The victim was already in the emergency room at Spectrum Health Lakeland and had died before officers got there. The other man has not been arrested or identified yet. Anyone who has information on the shooting is asked to call Benton Township Police Detective Bureau at 269-925-1135 or Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP.. ...Read Full Story

COVID Cases Up 9,350 Since Saturday

Michigan’s COVID-19 cases are up by 9,350 for Sunday and Monday. The Department of Health and Human Services says deaths rose by 93 since Saturday and are now at 9,947. Total cases since March are at 404,386. In Berrien County, there are 7,195 cases and 121 deaths. Van Buren County has 3,144 cases and 53 have died there.. ...Read Full Story

Two Hurt In Cass County Gun Mishap

Two people are hospitalized in South Bend after being hurt in an accidental shooting Sunday night. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department says 28-year-old David Williamson and 8-year-old Jeremiah Crago were target practicing shortly before 9 p.m. when deputies say the gun malfunctioned. The two are listed in stable condition at South Bend Memorial Hospital. Edwardsburg police helped with the investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Serving As Co-Chair Of Biden Inauguration

One of five co-chairs of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration will be Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The Biden team announced the five on Monday, and it will be chaired by Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina. Also serving as chairs are Congressman Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, Congresswoman Lisa Rochester of Delaware and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Whitmer said she is humbled by the honor, and also co-chaired Biden’s campaign. Biden’s inauguration is set for January 20. The ceremony will be quite a bit different from past years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and plans are still being made.. ...Read Full Story

$500,000 Grant To Help Area Agency On Aging Work With Hospital

A $500,000 grant is going to the Region IV Area Agency on Aging so it can help to improve health outcomes among seniors. Agency CEO Christine Vanlandingham tells us a 2019 study found seniors need help addressing social determinants of health. That would include things like housing, transportation, and recreation that affect health, but aren’t direct ailments. The Area Agency on Aging will work with Spectrum Health Lakeland to address those determinants when a senior seeks care.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Teacher Honored By Farm Bureau

A Berrien County teacher has been named as the Michigan Farm Bureau’s 2020 Educator of the Year. Steve Rigoni retired from Countryside Academy at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. He was nominated for the statewide honor by the Berrien County Farm Bureau, which says his lineup of courses included botany, zoology, agriculture, food science, natural resources, and wildlife management. Rigoni designed Countrysuide Academy’s educational barn, structuring the pens, water systems, lighting, temperature controls and storage to handle many livestock species throughout the school year, and he also led students through propagating flower and vegetable plants from seed, which the students later took home. Berrien County Farm Bureau President Ed Kretchman says Rigoni “has been a teacher, mentor, adviser and role model for his students.” He received the Michigan Farm Bureau’s Educator of the Year Award during its virtual recognition event on Monday.. ...Read Full Story

Free Books For Kids Available In Van Buren County

Children in Van Buren County can now get free books thanks to a program at the Van Buren District Library. It says participants in the November Read to Give Challenge logged 790 books during the month, far surpassing the original goal of 500. Once that goal was reached, the district library’s Friends groups purchased a variety of books to be distributed through United Christian Services. They’re now available at the charity’s offices, as well as the Porch and Linda’s Closet. Anyone who wants to find out more can call the Van Buren District Library.. ...Read Full Story

Scholarships Announced For United Way Volunteers

The United Way of Southwest Michigan has announced its Volunteer United Youth Scholarship Awards for the season. The group says scholarships are going to Anna Glomski of Paw Paw High School, Jonathan Leach of Ross Beatty High School in Cassopolis, and Zoey Martin of Niles High School for their efforts on behalf of the community this year. Glomski volunteered with Young Explorers, the Van Buren Youth Fair, the Paw Paw Youth Soccer Camp, and the Key Club Adopt A Family, while Leach volunteered with Backpack Ministry, Operation Christmas Child, Adopt a Highway, and the Cass County Medical Facility. Martin volunteered weekly with the disabled in assisted living as she has for several years. The United Way says its scholarship recipients have “demonstrated a commitment to volunteerism through innovation, dedication, and advocacy for community improvement.”. ...Read Full Story

Fifth Graders Invited To Submit Entries In Missing Kids Day Poster Contest

The Michigan State Police Missing Children’s Clearinghouse is taking entries in this year’s National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest. The agency’s Jolene Hardesty tells WSJM News the contest seeks fifth graders to draw up posters bringing attention to the issue of missing children with the theme of “Bringing our Missing Children Home.” Entries come in from kids across the state each year, and Hardesty says it’s interesting to see what they come up with.. ...Read Full Story

6,000 New Cases Of COVID Identified In Michigan For Saturday

Michigan is reporting 6,004 additional cases of COVID-19 for Saturday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website says the state has now had a total of more than 395,000 cases of COVID since the pandemic started. The state recorded 193 additional deaths on Saturday, 145 of which were identified through a review of vital records around the state. Michigan has had a total of 9,854 COVID deaths since March. For Saturday, the Berrien County Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard shows the county with 109 new cases over Friday. The county has had a total of 7,000 cases with 117 deaths, an increase of one over the previous day. On Saturday, the county was showing 64 non-ICU hospitalizations and 7 patients in the intensive care unit. Van Buren County on Saturday reported 35 additional cases of COVID-19 for total of 3,034 since march. Van Buren County has had a total of 51 COVID deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Armed Robbery Leads To High Speed Chase

A Texas man is facing charges after police say he robbed a gas station in St. Joseph and then led officers on a high speed chase early Friday morning. The St. Joseph Township Police Department says officers were called to the Citgo station on Niles Road in St. Joseph shortly before 1 a.m. Friday. Security video showed them a suspect had gone in and handed the clerk a note demanding money from the register. He also brandished a handgun. The suspect left the store with money, and not long after, police got a report of a vehicle matching the description of the Dodge Charger he’d been driving. From there, a chase began that took the suspect and police on I-94 and all the way to Mattawan. That’s where the suspect crashed and tried to run, but he was caught after a short while. Police found a handgun in his vehicle and the suspect was taken to the Berrien County Jail on a variety of charges. He has been identified as a 24-year-old Texas man. No one was hurt in the robbery.. ...Read Full Story

Donation Means New Ski Equipment At Love Creek County Park

Love Creek County Park now has some brand new skiing equipment, thanks to a donation from the Bitzer Family Fund. The Berrien County Parks Department says without the generosity of the fund, it wouldn’t have been possible for the county to get such high-quality cross country ski equipment. Parks Director Brian Bailey says, “Their support of our ski program here at Love Creek is remarkable and we are extremely grateful.” Additionally, the parks department has announced more support has come into Love Creek County Park from the Bike Michiana Coalition, hosts of the Love Biketober Fest event in 2019. Although that event couldn’t take place this year, the department says Love Creek County Park is still reaping the benefits of the 2019 event in the form of funds and volunteers.. ...Read Full Story

Health Official Talks About Latest COVID Developments

Berrien County saw a slight dip in reported COVID cases in the week after Thanksgiving, but that could be because some testing sites closed down for the holiday. Speaking Friday, Berrien County Health Officer Nicki Britten said it will still be a few days before we learn how much of a jump in COVID the area will see due to Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, the CDC has updated its quarantine rules for those who may have been exposed.. ...Read Full Story