Local News Archives

I&M Announces New Solar Facility

Indiana Michigan Power has announced its next solar farm, and this one will be its biggest. I&M spokesperson Schnee Garrett tells WSJM News the facility in South Bend will be near the Indiana Toll Road and about 10 miles northeast of the University of Notre Dame.. ...Read Full Story

Juneteenth Celebration This Weekend In Benton Harbor

Set for Saturday is a Juneteenth celebration in Benton Harbor. Juneteenth is an annual event to mark the end of slavery in the United States. It started in 1865 on June 19. The local event will begin on Saturday at 1 p.m. with a parade from Broadway Park to the Arts and Cultural Center at 275 Pipestone Road. Once the parade is finished, there will be music, youth groups, vendors, and action tables at the Arts and Cultural Center. Democratic candidate for Congress Jon Hoadley will also be present. All are welcome to take part in the festivities.. ...Read Full Story

Detroit College Closing

From the Associated Press — A Catholic graduate college that has operated in Detroit for 92 years will close in December at the end of its upcoming fall semester. Marygrove College announced Wednesday it had informed staff and its 305 students of the decision due to financial reasons. It closed its undergraduate programs two years ago. Founded by the sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Marygrove opened in 1905 as St. Mary’s College in Monroe and relocated to Detroit in 1927. Marygrove President Elizabeth Burns says the college has accumulated much debt. She said it has reached an agreement with Oakland University to accommodate students who are within a year of finishing their degrees and will make similar arrangements with other schools as needed.. ...Read Full Story

Officials Want Drivers To Be Cautious Around Farm Vehicles

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is cracking down on drivers who illegally pass farm vehicles moving large equipment on public roads. Berrien County Board of Commissioners Chair Mac Elliot tells WSJM News he’s been hearing from farmers about people who recklessly go around them as they’re moving ag equipment. He says those drivers need a little patience.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Warn About Vigilante Actions

A growing number of Michigan residents are playing a version of To Catch a Predator, and police want it to stop. Michigan State Police Lieutenant Liz Rich says it’s happening across the country. It started here about six months ago. Vigilantes taking to the internet looking for those trolling for underage sex.. ...Read Full Story

Area Food Pantries Get Boost

Dozens of food pantries in Berrien and Cass counties have stocked shelves thanks to the efforts of 26 businesses that took part in the United Way of Southwest Michigan’s “Christmas in June” challenge. Over 20,000 items have been delivered to 32 pantries to help those who need it, as summer donations typically fall dramatically and leave people with limited options. The United Way says four companies competed to see which could collect more items: Indiana Michigan Power, Gast Manufacturing, Spectrum Health Lakeland, and Whirlpool. Indiana Michigan Power came out on top with 12,000 food items collected, and between the four accounted for 18,600 of the items donated. Christmas in June is part of a worldwide United Way “Day of Action” effort in June, during which tens of thousands of people across the globe volunteer with local United Ways to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.. ...Read Full Story

Flooding Again Closes Part Of Dunkley Avenue In South Haven

Flooding has part of Dunkley Avenue closed in South Haven. Waves on Lake Michigan today are between six and 10 feet, and the National Weather Service says flooding is likely from the Indiana border north to Grand Haven. For the second time this week, the city of South Haven has shut down Dunkley Avenue north of Dyckman Avenue to just past Black River Park, with a detour taking drivers along Broadway, Phoenix Street, Bailey Avenue, and Wells Street to get to Dunkley Avenue in order to go to the park.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Area Schools Board Of Education To Meet Friday On Whitmer Plan

Facing a deadline of 11:59 p.m. Friday to make a decision on the future of Benton Harbor High School, the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education will meet at noon tomorrow. The agenda includes discussion of the plan put forth by the Whitmer administration to suspend operations at the high school for at least a few years in order to get the district’s finances and academics in order. Board members met with members of the governor’s administration yesterday in Lansing to present their alternative that would keep the high school open, restructure the debt, and improve student achievement. Governor Whitmer was not at the meeting, but her office says she will be reviewing the plan. Whitmer told a crowd at a Benton Harbor church last week that she is open to any viable alternative that can be presented, adding she does not want to have the entire district dissolved by the Legislature. Her plan would wipe out 12-million of the district’s 18-million debt and turn BHAS into a K-8 district for several years.. ...Read Full Story

Group Slams Plan To Slash Transit Funding

Advocates for public transit are sounding the alarm about the Michigan House budget, which had a hearing Wednesday in the House Appropriations Committee. The budget proposal would trim $36 million from public-transit programs and related services, in order to preserve funding for road repairs and lower gas taxes. The cuts include 70% of the funding for senior dial-a-ride shuttle vans, which could lead to 350,000 fewer trips per year. Megan Owens, with the nonprofit community group Transportation Riders United or TRU, says the cuts would hit seniors, people with disabilities and lower-income families the hardest.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmakers Try To Block Spending On Detroit To Canada Bridge

From the Associated Press — Republicans who control the Michigan House are proposing to prohibit the state from spending money on a new bridge between Detroit and Canada, even though Canada has been fully reimbursing the state for its expenses. The change was made by a committee Wednesday and sent to the House. Critics warn the move could halt work on the Gordie Howe International Bridge,
which Canada is paying for entirely. A Republican lawmaker who helped write the transportation budget denies work on the bridge would stop and says he just wants more transparency about spending. Budget plans proposed by the Republican-led Senate and Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer would not include new restrictions against bridge work. The Canadian-financed span over the Detroit River linking Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit is expected to open in 2024.. ...Read Full Story

School Board Presents High School Plan In Lansing

Members of the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education met Wednesday with state officials in Lansing to discuss alternatives to closing the district’s high school. The proposed closure is a move that Governor Gretchen Whitmer is seeking to resolve the district’s $18 million in debt and poor academic outcomes. Whitmer told The Detroit News on Tuesday her plan to at least suspend the high school for a while and send the students to surrounding districts isn’t necessarily set in stone.. ...Read Full Story

Treasurer Talks Fundraiser For Stevensville Woman

A woman who was helped earlier this year by the Berrien County Treasurer’s Hopeful Home Fund could use some more help, and a weekend fundraiser seeks to do just that. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News Shannon O’Brien is battling cancer. She’s a working mom with five kids, three of them triplets, and sought a tax payment plan on her Stevensville property earlier this year. Witkowski says that’s when he thought she could benefit from the Hopeful Home Fund.. ...Read Full Story

Rep. Wendzel Testifies On Bills To Modernize Commercial Fishing Laws

Commercial fishing is not a big business on the Great Lakes, with just six companies fishing in Lake Michigan, but the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the laws governing the industry need overhauling. Three bills are now before the state House Natural Resources Committee, with one sponsored by Representative Pauline Wendzel of Watervliet regarding nets used by commercial fishing operations.. ...Read Full Story

Search Underway For Missing Man In Niles Township

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is trying to find a 47-year-old man reported missing from the Riverfront Park Campground on the Dowagiac River in Niles Township. He is Garen Collins, who lives at the campground. Investigators say his car was found in the parking lot of the Pucker Street Dam, but he was nowhere to be seen. A search is underway by the sheriff’s office and the Niles Township Fire Department. Collins is 6’2″, 265 pounds with short brown hair, brown eyes, and a goatee.. ...Read Full Story

Verdict Reached In Case Against Nassar’s Ex-Boss At Michigan State University

A former dean who had oversight of now-imprisoned sports doctor Larry Nassar at Michigan State University has been found guilty of neglect of duty but acquitted on a more serious criminal sexual conduct charge. William Strampel was also convicted Wednesday of misconduct in office. Jurors found the 71-year-old Strampel not guilty of felony criminal sexual conduct in the second degree. He had been accused of abusing his power to sexually harass female students. The ex-dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine was the first person charged after Michigan’s attorney general launched an investigation in 2017 into how Michigan State handled complaints against Nassar, who pleaded guilty to molesting patients and possessing child pornography. Nassar is serving decades in federal prison for the child pornography conviction, and will spend the rest of his days in a Michigan prison if he lives to the end of his federal term.. ...Read Full Story

Niles-Buchanan YMCA Reaches Matching Grant Threshold

The Niles-Buchanan YMCA is moving closer to its $3 million fundraising goal for an expansion later this summer. They have met the $25,000 threshold for a matching challenge grant from a local foundation, which was contingent on the Y raising the money as part of the community phase of its Changing Lives & Improving Health capital campaign. That phase of the campaign is still going and was launched in March. The goal is to provide access to places for kids and young people to find something to do, have positive role models, and develop a purpose to a clear path to a healthy and productive life. The Y is planning to break ground on the expansion in August, with the building improvements set to include a youth center, a teen center, a new fitness room, and a second gym. It’s expected construction will last six to eight months.. ...Read Full Story

4H Offering Workshop On Livestock

A workshop to teach young people about the ins and outs of owning livestock is being offered by the Cass County 4H program. Coordinator Hailey Harman tells WSJM News “Showing Livestock…Fun, Fair and in My Future!” will be offered at the Cass County Fairgrounds on June 24 and 25.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Pleased Tariffs Avoided

A deal announced over the weekend to avert new tariffs on goods entering the U.S. from Mexico is being called a good one by Congressman Fred Upton. He tells WSJM News it was obvious President Trump was ready to impose the tariffs, and it had to be avoided.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Today Gets Approval For Mural On Bluff Stairs

Last year’s chalk mural on the St. Joseph Today Welcome Center was so well received, the tourism organization wants to put up a new one this summer. Executive director Amy Zapal presented the idea to the St. Joseph City Commission this week to add a mural to the stairs on the bluff after receiving approval from the Parks Board. The artwork would be seen from the beach instead of from the bluff down toward Lake Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Issues Response To London Apartment Fire Lawsuit

Whirlpool and a British company are reacting to a lawsuit filed the victims and families of survivors in a high-rise fire in London two years ago. The Benton Harbor-based appliance maker says in a statement that its two investigations found “no evidence of any fault” with the refrigerator model that was in the unit where the Grenfell fire started. The blaze killed 72 people, and nearly 250 relatives of victims and survivors sued three companies, including Whirlpool, in U.S. federal court in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Whirlpool and U.K.-based Celotex say their “deepest sympathies” are with those impacted by the fire. Celotex says it remains committed to working with British authorities. Its parent company, Saint-Gobain, was surprised to see a lawsuit filed in the U.S. since the Celotex insulation referenced in the suit was manufactured and sold in the U.K.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeshore High School Student Makes History With Lincoln Twp Fire Department

The glass ceiling in the Lincoln Township Fire Department is being shattered… by a high school student. Tatin Keyes is the first female to behired by the department. On Facebook, the Lincoln Charter Township Firefighters note Keyes is a Lakeshore High School student and will be taking firefighter classes next school year. She will continue to train with the department and will observe on calls for the time being.. ...Read Full Story

Free Recycling Event This Weekend In Van Buren County

Set for this Saturday will be a free community recycling event in Van Buren County. Organized by the Van Buren Conservation District, the event is a way for any county resident to dispose of household hazardous waste like cleaning products or batteries, paint, garden chemicals, and tires. Event coordinator Emilly Hickmott tells WSJM News the days always attract a strong response.. ...Read Full Story