Local News Archives

Cadillac Destroyed By Amtrak In Hager Township

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is looking for the owner of a Cadillac that was destroyed by an Amtrak train Friday night. It was on the tracks in Hager Township in the 3400 block of Pier Road when the Grand Rapids-bound train hit it around 9:30 p.m. The driver had gotten it stuck and was able to get out of the vehicle before the train hit it. Witnesses say they saw that person running away after the crash.. ...Read Full Story

Extra Police Patrols Continue In Benton Harbor

Michigan State Police are continuing their enhanced patrols in the city of Benton Harbor through October 3. The agency says six troopers and one sergeant were assigned to the community this summer through the Secure Cities Partnership as the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety sought assistance in dealing with disturbances. The MSP staff had been assigned to Benton Harbor through September 18, but now that’s been extended. Michigan State Police say the move is “in response to the positive impact on the community of Benton Harbor and its ongoing public safety challenges.” The agency notes during the fifth and six weeks of additional resources, nine handguns were seized during traffic stops in which individuals were also found to be in possession of cocaine, ecstasy, and more. The stops have also resulted in the seizure of $6,000 in suspected drug money, and arrests have been made for outstanding warrants and other offenses.. ...Read Full Story

State Marking Michigan Trails Week

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is inviting everyone to head to the great outdoors in the next week as it marks Michigan Trails Week from September 20 through September 27. The DNR’s Dakota Hewlett tells WSJM News hiking, biking, or riding through the state’s trail system is a safe way to occupy oneself during the pandemic.. ...Read Full Story

MI Health Insurers Agree Waive Costs For COVID Testing, Treatments

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services have announced a deal between the state and several health insurance companies to continue waiving all out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing and treatments through the end of 2020. That includes copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. The agreements cover more than 92% of the commercial health insurance market in Michigan. The governor says ensuring access to “appropriate testing and medical treatment without financial concern is an important part of fighting this virus.” At least through the end of the year, Michiganders who have insurance through the companies included will not be charged for things like primary care visits, diagnostic testing, emergency room visits, ambulance services, and FDA-approved medications and vaccines. The insurers who have agreed to the arrangement include Blue Cross, Humana, Priority, McLaren, and HAP.. ...Read Full Story

Mackinac Island Wants You To Visit

If you’re working from home and you’re kids are learning from home, why not take it on the road? That’s what officials on Mackinac Island suggest, saying you can do your work and studying on the island. Tim Hygh is the executive director of Mackinac Island Tourism & says the Grand Hotel and Mission Point Resort are providing downloadable lesson plans and executive office spaces.. ...Read Full Story

Trump: Michigan Election Official A ‘Hater’ In Ballot Snafu

From the Associated Press — President Donald Trump is calling Michigan’s top election official a “Democrat Trump Hater” after the state mistakenly created overseas absentee ballots that didn’t list Vice President Mike Pence. The ballots instead paired Trump, a Republican, with Jeremy “Spike” Cohen of the Libertarian Party. The Michigan secretary of state office acknowledged that as many as 400 ballots downloaded by local election clerks may have been erroneous. But the state said the problem was fixed within 90 minutes Tuesday. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says the “computer glitch” was solved.. ...Read Full Story

Fall Weather, Aerial Treatment Could Fight Mosquito Disease

From the Associated Press — Michigan authorities say cooler temperatures expected this weekend should help control the spread of a mosquito-borne virus that has infected one person and 22 horses in 10 counties. Horses can be vaccinated for the disease, known as eastern equine encephalitis, but there is no equivalent for humans. Authorities said reducing exposure to mosquitoes is the best way of preventing human infection, including insect repellent and wearing long sleeves or pants outdoors. Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services also has used aerial spray treatment across more than 226,000 acres to help prevent spread of the disease, including 69,000 acres treated on Thursday.. ...Read Full Story

Judge: Michigan Must Count Absentee Ballots That Arrive Late

From the Associated Press — A judge has cleared the way for more absentee ballots to be counted in Michigan. Envelopes postmarked by the eve of the November 3 election are eligible even if they show up days later. Michigan is anticipating waves of absentee ballots this fall: about 2.3 million have already been requested. Michigan law requires absentee ballots to be received by the time polls close on Election Day to be counted. Judge Cynthia Stephens said Friday that flexibility is crucial in 2020 because of the coronavirus and chronic mail delays. Separately, another judge blocked Michigan’s longstanding ban on transporting voters to the polls.. ...Read Full Story

Commissioners Talk Foreclosure Auction

Berrien County’s foreclosed properties auction is set for September 26, but some county commissioners have concerns about how it’s being handled. Due to COVID-19, Berrien County Treasurer Shelly Weich has announced the auction will be online only, through a vendor called Tax-Sale.info. Taking part will require a $1,000 deposit, something Commissioner Mamie Yarbrough questioned at a Thursday meeting. She said she’s heard complaints from Benton Harbor residents.. ...Read Full Story

Committee Approves Wendzel Child Care Bill

Legislation from state Representative Pauline Wendzel aimed at making child care more available to Michigan parents has been approved by a House committee. She tells WSJM News the bill would increase the number of children that a home-based child care operation could take. Right now, a private home is limited to seven to 12 children, depending on how many adults are present. Wendzel says her bill increases that by a few to make getting child care easier.. ...Read Full Story

Parks Department Told To Paint Over Pier Graffiti

Staff at the Berrien County Parks Department are working to eliminate profane graffiti painted on the south pier in St. Joseph this past weekend. During a Thursday meeting of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners, Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey said although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns the pier, it’s been recommended the county remove the graffiti so it can be taken care of quickly. Parks staff were able to wash away graffiti also sprayed in one area of Silver Beach County Park, but dealing with the pier is a bit different.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer: No Enforcement Of Virus Rules At Trump Rallies

From the Associated Press — Governor Gretchen Whitmer says it doesn’t make sense for Michigan to enforce coronavirus restrictions at President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign rallies and also points to people’s constitutional rights. The Democrat has expressed safety concerns with thousands attending a Trump rally last week, calling it a potential superspreader event. Her order restricts
outdoor gatherings to no more than 100, though there’s an exception for political speech. Her office say attendees still must keep 6 feet apart from non-household members and wear masks if distance can’t be maintained. But Whitmer says it practically doesn’t make sense to try to enforce the rules.. ...Read Full Story

Time Running Out To Apply For Home Heating Credit

Michigan homeowners and renters only have two weeks left to apply for the state’s Home Heating Credit. The Michigan Department of Treasury says the Home Heating Credit helps covers utility expenses, leaving more money available for other needs. It’s designed to aid senior citizens, low income residents, the disabled, and veterans. State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks says applications must be received by September 30. Recipients typically file a Home Heating Credit application when doing their tax return, but applicants don’t need to file an income tax return to get the assistance and can apply for it on its own. The Home Heating Credit application form can be found at Michigan.gov/Taxes.. ...Read Full Story

COVID-19 At GVSU Prompts “Stay In Place” Order

COVID-19 cases are spiking in Allendale Township on the campus of Grand Valley State University. The Ottawa County Health Department has issued a “Stay in Place” order for GVSU students as there have been more than 600 cases since August 23. However, students are expected in classes as administrator Greg Sanial says it’s believed going to class is safe.. ...Read Full Story

Fugitive Arrested In Van Buren County

A 28-year-old Bangor man is in the Kalamazoo County Jail after his arrest Tuesday night at his home. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department was called to County Road 215 to find the fugitive who was wanted for outstanding warrants. As deputies drove up, the man ran inside the house and barricaded himself in a bedroom with a shotgun. Police activated the SWAT team and the man surrendered after what’s described as a short standoff. The investigation continues, and deputies seized the shotgun. No one was hurt.. ...Read Full Story

Official Defends Handling Of Virus In Michigan Nursing Homes

From the Associated Press — A top health official is defending Michigan’s handling of nursing home residents infected with the coronavirus. Robert Gordon is director of the state Department of Health and Human Services. He told lawmakers Wednesday that Michigan’s performance is “strong” compared with other states. He dismissed Republicans’ call for facilities that house only coronavirus patients. Gordon said just two states, Florida and Massachusetts, tried the approach and abandoned it. He says using new facilities for only coronavirus patients would have “limited utility” in a state as large as Michigan. And, he says, “you still need to staff, provide equipment and license that facility.”. ...Read Full Story

Survey Looks At Concerns Of Older Voters

With the nation heading into an election, there are some key matters older Michiganders care about that transcend partisan politics. In a new AARP survey of Michigan voters age 50-plus, 54% said they support Joe Biden, and 40% support Donald Trump. However, they are united in some other areas. Mark Hornbeck with AARP Michigan tells us a majority of older voters would favor candidates who will protect Social Security, strengthen Medicare, and lower prescription drug prices. He adds a majority also say more needs to be done to protect the health of people living in nursing. ...Read Full Story

GVSU Students Ordered To Stay In Place For 2 Weeks

From the Associated Press — Students at Grand Valley State University have been ordered to hunker down for two weeks due to a spike in coronavirus cases linked to the western Michigan campus. There have been more than 600 cases of COVID-19 among students August 23, with the majority among students living off campus. Ottawa County says the stay-in-place order starts Thursday. Students must stick to their on-campus or off-campus residence unless attending classes, exercising, getting food, seeking health care or working at an essential job. Students cannot return to their home community unless there’s an emergency. The move comes a few days after a similar order was issued to students living in fraternities and sororities at Michigan State University.. ...Read Full Story

Hard Rock Cafe Exiting Four Winds New Buffalo

Anyone who was a fan of the Hard Rock Cafe at Four Winds New Buffalo has until Halloween to say goodbye to it. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and Four Winds are replacing it later this year with Kankakee Grille, which is already open in South Bend. Chief operating officer Frank Freedman thanked Hard Rock International for nine years of a “very positive working relationship.” He went on to say the Kankakee Grille has been successful in South Bend and they felt it was a natural progression to bring it to New Buffalo. The new restaurant is named for the Kankakee River, which begins in South Bend and was used by the Potawatomi for food, shelter, medicine, and clothing. It will be open by the end of the year.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Schools To Resume In-Person K-5 Classes

South Haven Public Schools are reopening to in-person education next week. Kindergarten through 5th grades will be in their schools two days a week, staggered by group, and all will be virtual on Wednesdays. One group will be in class Monday and Thursday while the other group is in the building Tuesday and Friday. All K-5 students who enrolled in Ram Connection for 100% virtual learning will remain in that program. Wednesdays will be virtual to allow schools to be deep cleaned every week. The new schedule begins Monday.. ...Read Full Story

Big Ten Football Returns

Big Ten football is set to resume with games on the weekend of October 23 and 24. The Coucil of Presidents and Chancellors this morning adopted significant medical protocols that include daily testing, enhanced cardiac screening and a data-driven approach to decisions about practices and games. Each team will play an eight-game schedule. In addition to the medical protocols approved, the 14 Big Ten institutions will establish a cardiac registry in an effort to examine the effects on COVID-19 positive student-athletes. The registry and associated data will attempt to answer many of the unknowns regarding the cardiac manifestations in COVID-19 positive elite athletes.. ...Read Full Story

Man Aims To Reopen Deer Forest

Several years after it closed, Deer Forest in Coloma could find new life if one man’s fundraising campaign is successful. 36-year-old Blair Struble grew up in Coloma, and says he was heartbroken when he learned the attraction had closed and the property was for sale. He tells WSJM News he and other local kids spent a lot of time there growing up.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Arcade Owner Protests In Lansing

The owner of Rocket Arcade in South Haven was in Lansing on Tuesday to stage a protest over the governor’s refusal to let businesses like his reopen. Ralph Lucius set up a pinball machine at the steps of the Michigan Capitol and questioned why other businesses were allowed to reopen for the summer, but others, like arcades, were forced to stay closed. State Representative Beth Griffin supports his cause.. ...Read Full Story

New Hartford Library Up And Running

Hartford Public Library staff are settling into their new home. After about a year of construction, the brand new Arthur and Bonna Vanderlyn Community Center and Hartford Public Library on Church Street is now open to the public. Library Director Stephanie Daniels tells WSJM News this is a big step up from the old location on Franklin.. ...Read Full Story

Upton, Colleagues Announce Blueprint For Coronavirus Relief Package

The U.S. House Problem Solvers Caucus has unveiled its blueprint for a new coronavirus stimulus and relief bill. The bipartisan group gathered in Washington Tuesday to announce the package, which includes COVID-19 testing, unemployment insurance, direct stimulus, small business and non-profit support, food security, schools and child care, housing, election support, and state and local aid. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News there are a lot of priorities to address.. ...Read Full Story

Nursing Home Visits Now Allowed

Michigan residents are now allowed to visit their loved ones in nursing homes, but it will have to be outdoors for their own safety. Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon says you will have to wait a little while longer to hug anyone though.. ...Read Full Story

Geneva Township House Fire Under Investigation

The cause of a Geneva Township fire that badly damaged a home is not yet known. South Haven Area Emergency Services was called to the scene on County Road 681 just after 10 this morning and needed the help of Bangor Community Fire Department and Columbia Township Fire Department. The residents of the two-story home were not home, and no one was hurt. Firefighters had to shuttle in water to fight the flames as it was fully engulfed when they arrived.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmakers, Whitmer Reach Budget Framework With No K-12 Cuts

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Republican lawmakers and Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer have agreed to a budget framework, saying there will be no cuts to K-12 schools or municipalities despite the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on tax revenues.The deal announced Monday came 17 days before the start of the fiscal year. Few specifics were released, including whether spending will be reduced in some areas. The chairs of legislative budget subcommittee will now take their spending “target” levels and work to iron out bills. Legislators will take final votes next week. The agreement was announced three weeks after the state received a better-than-expected revenue forecast.. ...Read Full Story

New Buffalo Schools Getting Grant From Dollar General

Grants totaling nearly $70,000 are being given by the Dollar General Foundation to schools around Michigan, and among the recipients is New Buffalo Area Schools. The Dollar General says with the grants announced this week, educators at 25 schools and literacy organizations across the Michigan will have extra help to support youth literacy programs. New Buffalo Area Schools is getting a $2,000 grant.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Works Opening New Offices In Cass County

Michigan Works is closing its office in Dowagiac and opening three new locations in Cass County. The agency says the move is being made to reach more people. Michigan Works has already opened an office inside the Niles Southwestern Michigan College Administration building, and says it will soon have staff at the Cass County Department of Health and Human Services building and the Dowagiac Public Library. The current office in Dowagiac will be shut down on October 1. Meanwhile, all Michigan Works sites in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties, including the offices in Benton Harbor, Paw Paw, and Niles, are closed for walk-in services and providing services remotely or by appointment only due to the pandemic.. ...Read Full Story

State To Conduct Aerial Spraying For Mosquitoes

The state of Michigan is going to conduct aerial spraying for mosquitoes this week. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the spraying is in response to cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis that have been detected in 22 horses around the state this year. That’s twice as many animal cases as the same time last year, although to date, no human cases have been identified in 2020, unlike last year. The aerial spraying will be done in the ten counties where EEE has been detected in 2020. Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties are not on that list. The closest county to receive the treatment this week will be Barry County. However additional areas may be selected for treatment if new human or animal cases occur outside of the current zones. The aerial spraying will take place overnight on Wednesday.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Extend Additional Benton Harbor Patrols

Michigan State Police are extending their enhanced patrols in the city of Benton Harbor for another two weeks. The agency says six troopers and one sergeant were assigned to the community this summer through the Secure Cities Partnership as the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety sought assistance in dealing with disturbances. The MSP staff had been assigned to Benton Harbor through September 18, but now that’s been extended to October 3. Michigan State Police say the move is “in response to the positive impact on the community of Benton Harbor and its ongoing public safety challenges.” The agency notes during the fifth and six weeks of additional resources, nine handguns were seized during traffic stops in which individuals were also found to be in possession of cocaine, ecstasy, and more. The stops have also resulted in the seizure of $6,000 in suspected drug money, and arrests have been made for outstanding warrants and other offenses.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Drowning Victim Found

South Haven Area Emergency Management Services says the 18-year-old man who drowned on Labor Day has likely been recovered. The body was retrieved Saturday near the north beach, and SHAES officials say an autopsy will identify the body. He and a 19-year-old, both from Jackson, were struggling in the water a week ago today. The 19-year-old was rescued.. ...Read Full Story

Two Pulled From Lake Michigan In Bridgman

Police in Bridgman say beachgoers puled two teenage girls from Lake Michigan Sunday afternoon. A 15-year-old girl was fine, but her 14-year-old counterpart was unresponsive. Our partners at WSBT 22 report she was first taken to Spectrum Heath Lakeland and then flown to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. Her current condition is unknown.. ...Read Full Story

Police: Argument Led To Fatal Shooting At University Park Mall

(Mishawaka, IN – AP) – Police say a deadly shooting inside a northern Indiana shopping mall happened after an argument between two men. The shooting that killed a 23-year-old man happened Saturday afternoon outside a jewelry store of University Park Mall in Mishawaka and sent frightened shoppers running for safety. The slain man, identified as Delaney Crosby, was shot at least once and died at the scene. Police are searching for the man who shot Crosby.. ...Read Full Story

Soldier From South Haven To Be Remembered With Ceremony This Month

A ceremony will be held this month as the name of a soldier from South Haven is added to the Korean and Vietnam War memorial outside of city hall. American Legion Post 49 Commander Jason Turner tells WSJM News Corporal Earl Janosky died in Korea of encephalitis shortly after taking part in the Pusan Perimeter defense. He was 20 years old. A ceremony adding his name to the local memorial will be at 11 a.m. September 19, 70 years after the day Janosky died. They’ll have a 21 gun salute and more.. ...Read Full Story