Local News Archives

Gas Prices Tick Slightly Higher In Michigan; Stable In BH/SJ

The average price for a gallon of unleaded gas in the state is up 3¢ from a week ago. Triple-A Michigan says the average is $2.91, but notes prices have slipped from a high for the year of $2.93 on Friday. Saginaw has the highest price in the state at $2.95, while the lowest prices are in Traverse City at $2.81-cents a gallon, and the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor area is in the middle at $2.90. That price is steady with a week ago. AAA says prices will keep flirting with the $3 per gallon mark through the end of the month.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Arrested After Smoking Meth, Taking Off Clothes

A disorderly conduct charge is being faced by a 36-year-old Dowagiac woman who was arrested late Friday night while naked and high on meth. Police were called to the 200 block of Dewey Street around 11:30 pm on a report of the woman laying in several yards, in the road, and taking off her clothes. She told police upon her arrest that she had recently smoked meth, and it was making her do it. One neighbor told investigators the woman had been walking through gardens and looking into windows in the area as well.. ...Read Full Story

Police Seek Help In Arson Investigation

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department has released two surveillance photos as part of the investigation into a recent fire at the Niles Walmart. The Walmart was evacuated the afternoon of April 27 when a fire broke out in the clothing department. No one was injured and the fire was quickly put out. The sheriff’s department on Monday posted the surveillance photos to its Facebook page, saying it’s trying to “find the identity of the female that may have information reference the Niles Walmart Arson that occurred on 4/27/19.” The sheriff’s department says anyone with information is asked to give it a call at 269-983-1747, extension 7224.. ...Read Full Story

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