Local News Archives

Krasl Hosting Discussion On Public Art

The Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph is going to hold a panel discussion on the benefits of public art installations this coming Tuesday. Krasl Marketing Manager Matthew Bizoe tells WSJM News they’re going to have artists Richard Hunt and John Sauve on hand for the open discussion. He notes St. Joseph-Benton Harbor has more than 40 public art installations.. ...Read Full Story

Senator Stabenow Backing Impeachment Inquiry

US House investigators have released dozens of text messages between American diplomats in Ukraine discussing President Donald Trump’s demands that the country launch an investigation into Joe Biden’s family. In return, the texts suggest, Ukraine’s new president would get a high-profile visit to Washington.. ...Read Full Story

Unemployment Office Working With LinkedIn On Pilot Program

Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency has announced a new partnership with job searching social network LinkedIn to help clients find new employment. Unemployment Insurance Agency Deputy Director Kimberly Berry tells WSJM News Michigan is part of a three-state pilot being launched by LinkedIn to have special portals for those who are unemployed and receiving benefits.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Reports First Vaping-Related Death

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has announced the state’s first death associated with an outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses. The agency said Friday that it was notified Wednesday of the death of a man whose lung illness was linked to vaping. No other details were released. Of the more than 1,000 confirmed or probable vaping-related illnesses in the U.S., 30 have been reported in Michigan since August. No single device, ingredient or additive has been identified as the culprit. Most of those sickened say they vaped products containing THC, the high-producing ingredient in marijuana. Others say they vaped both THC and nicotine. A smaller group report they vaped only products containing nicotine. Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.. ...Read Full Story

Flush Out Cancer Fundraiser Set For October 11

News/Talk 94.9 WSJM and 98.3 The Coast are again teaming up with City Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning for the fifth annual Flush Out Cancer in downtown St. Joseph on Friday, October 11. Mike Ross of City Plumbing says it started through his friendship with the late Denise Bohn and a collaboration with The Coast. Ross says that happened after his mom was diagnosed with cancer. The proceeds go to Berrien County Cancer Services, and he personally took their money to them last year.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Man Injured After Being Struck By Vehicle

A Benton Harbor man is being treated for critical injuries after he was struck by a vehicle on Friday morning. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety says the crash happened on Main Street near Fair Avenue around 5:40 a.m. Officers arrived to find the 38-year-old man lying in the road and a vehicle that had sustained damage. It was driven by a 61-year-old Benton Harbor woman who had been eastbound. The man was taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland for treatment. The woman was not hurt. The crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Fire At Bridgman Apartment Complex Displaces Dozens

More than 50 people are temporarily displaced from Sunset Landing Apartments in Bridgman after a fire in a third floor unit on Thursday afternoon. It’s believed the fire started by someone cooking. The flames were contained to that unit, but several apartments have water and smoke damage. An inspection and repairs need to be done before residents will be allowed back in. No one was hurt in the fire, which started around 4 p.m. at the complex along Red Arrow Highway. Bridgman police thanked Harbor Country Mission for helping residents with food and water and with the use of their building to allow the Red Cross a spot to help people find a place to stay.. ...Read Full Story

Krasl To Host Forum On Public Art

The Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph is going to hold a panel discussion on the benefits of public art installations next week. Krasl Marketing Manager Matthew Bizoe tells WSJM News they’re going to have artists Richard Hunt and John Sauve on hand for the open discussion. He notes St. Joseph-Benton Harbor has more than 40 public art installations.. ...Read Full Story

Three Killed In Plane Crash Near Lansing

Three people are dead and three others are critically injured after a plane crash near Lansing Thursday morning. The single engine plan carrying the six passengers went down around 9 a.m. in a field near the Capital Region International Airport. Officials say the flight originated in Indianapolis and the plane was attempting to land when the crash occurred. Clinton County Sheriff Larry Jerue says the scene of the crash is not as some might expect.. ...Read Full Story

Report: Six Flags Wants Cedar Point, Michigan’s Adventure

Michigan’s Adventure could be getting new ownership. The amusement park in the Muskegon area is currently owned by Cedar Fair, which also owns Cedar Point in Ohio. Reuters is reporting Six Flags is interested in a merger, and Cedar Fair is considering the cash-and-stock offer. No details have been released about the possible merger. Cedar Fair owns and operates 11 amusement parks and five water parks in the United States and Canada, while Six Flags is the largest amusement park operator in the world with 26 parks in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. According to the Reuters report, Six Flags is viewing the potential buyout of Cedar Fair as a way to increase its ticketing pricing power, which could mean it’ll cost us even more to go to Cedar Point or Michigan’s Adventure if it goes through.. ...Read Full Story

State Officials Select Michigan’s Official 2019 Christmas Tree

This year’s official state Christmas tree will be the fourth from Dickinson County and the 23rd from the Upper Peninsula. The Department of Technology, Management and Budget says the 61-foot blue spruce is being donated by Jordan and Sarah Wolfenberg of Iron Mountain. It will be cut down on October 24 and hauled to Lansing to be placed in front of the state Capitol. The tree will be lit as part of the city of Lansing’s annual Silver Bells in the City celebration on November 22. This will be the 35th annual Silver Bells event, and will include a concert by 1980s pop star Tiffany to wrap up the evening’s festivities.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigating Shooting Death Of Paw Paw Couple

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting deaths of a husband and wife in Paw Paw. Officers were called to the home in the 46-thousand block of 30th Street on a report someone had been found dead just before 10 a.m. Wednesday. Both had been shot, and investigators say there is no threat to the public, indicating a possible murder-suicide. Investigators are awaiting autopsy results, and the sheriff’s office says they will not be releasing the names of the couple until family members are notified.. ...Read Full Story

Activists Seek Net Neutrality Protections

The Trump administration has the right to repeal Obama-era net neutrality protections. That’s the decision Tuesday by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling means internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast, will continue to have the legal right to block or slow down websites they don’t like, or charge more for faster internet service. Timothy Karr with the nonprofit group Free Press, says the ISPs may now be emboldened to push websites that they own, and thus stifle competition and freedom of expression.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Slams Governor Vetoes

State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan is not pleased Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed nearly $1 billion in appropriations approved by the Michigan Legislature this week. Griffin tells WSJM News lawmakers have seen many important programs slashed by the governor.. ...Read Full Story

High School Program To Focus On Local History

An after-school program focused on local history could soon be coming back to Benton Harbor High School. The board of education this week heard from Princella Tobias, who ran the local history program at the school in 2016. She wants to do it again this year, and tells WSJM News she learned the last time that teaching the kids about the history of their own community had a great impact on them.. ...Read Full Story

Spectrum Health Lakeland Auxiliary Pledges $500,000 To Pavilion Project

The Spectrum Health Lakeland Auxiliary has pledged another $500,000 to the Lakeland Medical Center Pavilion project, bringing its total gift to $1 million for the work. This is the organization’s largest pledge to the hospital so far. The $500,000 announced on Wednesday will go toward the renovation of the Courtyard Café and Main Street which will connect the front of the hospital to the new pavilion when it’s all finished in 2020. Spectrum Health Lakeland Auxiliary President Linda Freeze says the group is pleased to renew its commitment to the Lakeland Medical Center Pavilion. Spectrum Health Lakeland says the community has contributed more than $5.7 million to the pavilion project so far. You can follow its latest progress at SpectrumHealthLakeland.org/Pavilion.
. ...Read Full Story

Disability Network Holding Workshop For Employers

The Disability Network of Southwest Michigan is planning a training session for employers to help them learn about what to do when an employee discloses a disability. The workshop is designed to help businesses understand their responsibilities in that situation. The topics will include employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, under what conditions an employee must disclose a disability, why they may not want to, and how to determine what a reasonable accommodation in the workplace is. The Disability Network routinely offers disability disclosure workshops during October when the Department of Labor observes National Disability Employment Awareness Month. It also celebrates the contributions of disabled workers. The workshop will be October 29 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Disability Network’s office in St. Joseph. Employers can register by calling the Disability Network of Southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

EEE Deaths In Michigan Rise To Four

A fourth Michigan resident has died from rare mosquito-borne virus that has been recorded across the southern half of the state. The latest to be claimed by Eastern Equine Encephalitis is 79-year-old Stan Zalner of Battle Creek. WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo reports he died from the illness today.. ...Read Full Story

Flavored Vape Products Ban In Effect

Michigan’s ban on flavored electronic cigarettes is now in effect after a judge said she’s not ready to decide whether to stop it. Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens heard arguments Tuesday about an injunction sought by an Upper Peninsula store owner. The attorney general’s office says the hearing will continue on October 8.. ...Read Full Story

Upton, Dingell Asked If They’re Ready To Make Endorsements For 2020 Presidential Election

Congressman Fred Upton and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell are continuing to spread their message of bipartisanship and the importance of finding middle ground. The pair spoke to the Detroit Economic Club on Wednesday on a variety of topics from their Problem Solvers Caucus to protecting the Great Lakes and finding solutions for immigration and gun violence, but it was the very end of the program when attendees heard anything new.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Talks Health And Human Services Budget

With Governor Gretchen Whitmer having used line item vetoes to do away with several appropriations in the Republican passed state budget, lawmakers are now reviewing what’s next. State Representative Mary Whiteford tells us her committee put together the budget for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. She says she tried to focus on making sure money went to helping people and not administration.. ...Read Full Story

County Road Association Expects Peak Fall Colors Next Week

The peak fall colors are about to appear in Berrien County. Although it’s been warm to start off this week, the County Road Association of Michigan says those fall colors are almost here. It says the peak color driving period in Berrien County starts next Monday. The association’s Dustin Earley tells WSJM News people come to Michigan just to see fall colors.. ...Read Full Story

Nearly $88,000 Raised For Foster Scholarships

From the Associated Press — Nearly $88,000 has been raised to provide college scholarships for young people in Michigan’s foster care system. The state Treasury department says about 300 people attended the annual Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund Benefit Dinner last week in Detroit. The dinner is organized by the Michigan Education Trust and the state Health and Human Services department. The Michigan Education Trust is the Treasury department’s prepaid college tuition program. About 13,500 youth are in the state’s foster care system run by Health and Human Services. More than 540 are eligible to receive the scholarships.
Chief Deputy Director for Administration Elizabeth Hertel says foster youth often lack the family support that others take for granted.. ...Read Full Story

New Buffalo’s Harbor Grand Hotel To Rebuild After Fire

New Buffalo’s Harbor Grand Hotel will remain closed for the next eight to 10 months. On Facebook, the owners of the hotel confirmed the fire on Friday that did extensive damage was started by a lightning strike just before 6 p.m. The entire building suffered extensive water damage from both the effort to put out the fire and the storms that hit southwest Michigan that night. The hotel will be “stripped to the studs and rebuilt,” with the goal of having the lobby and restaurant open in April and guest rooms available again in early June 2020. Robert and Collette Kemper thanked first responders for the work done to put out the fire, and also thanked the community for their “love and support” after the fire. The hotel opened in 1995 on the New Buffalo harbor.. ...Read Full Story

BH Native, Actor Ernie Hudson To Assist Lake Michigan College Play This Fall

Lake Michigan College is getting some Hollywood help with its production this fall of the play “Exit Strategy.” The play by Ike Holter is about a struggling Chicago high school that is facing the possibility of being shut down. Actor and Benton Harbor native Ernie Hudson has agreed to take part behind the scenes as Associate Artistic Producer, and will be providing notes and advice using FaceTime during rehearsals. Hudson will come home to Benton Harbor for the last week of rehearsals and for the opening night performance of th play on November 15. The play will be staged at The GhostLight Theatre in Benton Harbor due to ongoing renovations at the Hanson Theatre on the LMC campus at The Mendel Center. Along with his starring roles in both Ghostbusters movies in the 1980s, Hudson has been in “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle;” “The Crow;” “Miss Congeniality;” and “You’re Not You;” among many others. Television credits include HBO’s lauded series “Oz,” the final season of NBC’s “Law & Order,” and Netflix’s “Grace & Frankie.”. ...Read Full Story

Pure Michigan Among Programs Axed By Line-Item Veto From State Budget

Among the programs being cut by line-item vetoes by Governor Whitmer in the new state budget is the immensely popular Pure Michigan marketing campaign. The governor vetoed 147 line items on Monday, with those carrying a combined total of $947 million, as she signed the 16 budget bills into law and prevented a state government shutdown. On Twitter, the governor talked about the vetoes without giving details.. ...Read Full Story

Four To Take Part In South Haven Council Candidate Forum

South Haven voters can learn more about four of the candidates for city council in a few weeks. A candidate forum will be held at Lake Michigan College’s South Haven campus on Veterans Boulevard from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, October 15. Two of the wards have contested races in November. In Ward 3, incumbent Steve Schlack will face challenger Liji Hanny, and both will be at the forum being put on by the South Haven American Association of University Women. In Ward 2, current councilmember Clark Gruber can’t run due to term limits. Former councilmember Jeff Arnold is running for the seat against Nadine Newman, and they will also be at the forum. Not appearing will be Mayor Scott Smith and Ward 1 council member Letitia Wilkins, as they are both running unopposed in next month’s election.. ...Read Full Story

Search Underway For New Van Buren County Road Department Manager

The search is on for a new managing director at the Van Buren County Road Commission. That’s after the departure of the former manager back in April. The road commission says the ideal new leader is someone who wants to make a difference in the community and be part of the commission’s goal of maintaining a safe and efficient road network. The Van Buren County Road Commission takes care of 350 miles of primary and 980 miles of local roads with a yearly budget of about $18 million. The managing director oversees four department heads and indirectly manages a staff of 51 employees. Applications for the manager position will be taken through October 24. That will be followed by the candidate selection, interviews, final selection, and then a transition phase. The applications are being taken online.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Discusses Moratorium On Recreational Marijuana Businesses

Benton Harbor City Commissioners are looking to establish some rules for recreational marijuana businesses when they begin operating in Michigan. At a Monday meeting, commissioners considered a resolution that would have prohibited recreational marijuana businesses in town until the city can get zoning rules in place. City attorney Richard Racht said as the state deadline approaches for prospective recreational marijuana businesses to put in applications, the city needs to take action.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Works Holding Hiring Events in Benton Harbor

A series of hiring events will be taking place at Michigan Works in Benton Harbor starting October 8 and continuing through the end of the year. Michigan Works says these events will be a bit different from the usual sorts of job fairs it holds. That’s because the employers will be tasked with introducing themselves and explaining why they are a good place to work. It says this “Shark Tank” method of looking for employees will eliminate the uncomfortable feelings job seekers face when they attend hiring events. Plus, it will allow the employers to offer more information about themselves. The hiring days will be at the Michigan Works office on West Main Street in Benton Harbor on October 8, October 22, November 1, November 26, and December 12. They’ll all run from 10 a.m. to noon. Those who want to attend are told to bring an updated resume and to be interview-ready.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Issues Statement On Impeachment Inquiry

Congressman Fred Upton isn’t saying whether he supports the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Upton issued a statement through his office that says he’ll “review the facts that emerge before making any conclusions.” Upton calls recent developments “disconcerting,” but says there “are some people who may want to use this to grind our entire government to a halt, but I’m not one of them. There’s no joy in Mudville.” He says he remains focused on the issues that matter to the people of southwest Michigan. We spoke to Upton last week before the announcement there would be an impeachment inquiry. At that time, he said he was waiting for a transcript of President Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine before weighing in.. ...Read Full Story

Jim Gifford Returning To WSJM

Coming soon to 94.9 WSJM in the morning will be a familar voice to many in the area. Jim Gifford is taking over the WSJM morning show at the end of October as Ray Gustafson moves on to be with family in Minnesota. Gifford will take the lead on WSJM mornings just as Ray departs. You may have heard Gifford over the years in his many roles with WSJM. Among other things, he served as a morning news anchor, morning show co-host, news director, and programming director before moving on to other ventures about four years ago. Now, he’s back to be our new morning host. You’ll be able to hear the G-Unit, as some have called him, weekday mornings on 94.9 WSJM starting in late October.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate After Explicit Video Shown On MI Billboard

From the Associated Press — Police are investigating after drivers traveling through a Detroit suburb were stunned to see a pornographic video playing on an electronic billboard. Auburn Hills police say the video played on the billboard along Interstate 75
near Michigan highway 59 for about a half-hour Saturday night before police contacted the company that owns the billboard and the images were removed. Police say multiple people called 911 after seeing the explicit video. Motorist Chuck McMahon tells WDIV-TV he saw the video and wondered if the billboard was advertising for a strip club. Police are investigating how the images ended up on a billboard, including whether someone hacked into the electronic sign’s system. Dr. Justin Kammo also saw the video. He tells WXYZ-TV he immediately assumed that “someone had hacked it.”. ...Read Full Story

Aerial Spraying For Mosquitoes Rescheduled For Tonight

The Berrien County Health Department says the rescheduled aerial spraying for mosquitoes will take place tonight. The state announced on Friday it would apply the spray to kill mosquitoes in areas that have been affected by Eastern Equine Encephalitis this year. The spraying was supposed to take place Sunday night, but weather forced its rescheduling. The Berrien County Health Department’s Nikki Britten told WSJM News last week that parts of Berrien and Pipestone townships, as well as in the village of Eau Claire, will be sprayed.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Drop 12¢ In Michigan

Gas prices statewide are on the decline. Triple-A Michigan says the average fell 12¢ a gallon over the past week to $2.62, and the auto club expects prices will continue moving lower with the transition to cheaper-to-produce winter blends of gasoline. The highest prices remain in Ann Arbor and Detroit at $2.70, and Saginaw now has the lowest in the state at $2.48. Traverse City had the lowest prices in Michigan for about the past 2 months.. ...Read Full Story

Major Damage At New Buffalo’s Harbor Grand Hotel From Fire, Storm

No word yet when the Harbor Grand Hotel in New Buffalo might be repaired and opened back up after a Friday evening fire. It started during the storms that ripped through southwest Michigan, and witnesses say it appears to have been started by lightning, though the fire department has not issued a cause as yet. Our partners at WSBT talked with Harbor Grand Hotel maintenance worker Jeff Stupar about the damage.. ...Read Full Story

Unit 2 Of Cook Nuclear Plant To Undergo Refueling Outage

The Cook Nuclear Plant will start its 24th refueling outage Tuesday night at 10 for Unit 2. Indiana Michigan Power began gradually reducing the power produced by the reactor on September 9 to prepare to take it offline for the work. Other projects set for the refueling outage include modifying the unit’s solid state protection system, heater drain pump mechanical seal replacements, fuse upgrades in the control room, and replacing the west motor driven auxiliary feed pump room cooling system. The length of the refueling outage is not released by Indiana Michigan Power for competitive reasons. The utility is bringing in about 1,150 contractors to supplement the 11-hundred person staff, and crews will work around the clock doing over 95-hundred maintenance, inspection, and equipment modification job activities.. ...Read Full Story

Weather Postpones Mosquito Spraying

Weather has postponed aerial spraying by the state in high risk areas for Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The spraying was slated for last night to cover around 720,000 acres in parts of Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties along with several others to kill off mosquitoes carrying the illness. In a conference call Friday, state epidemiologist Sarah Lyon-Callo said they were targeting areas where there have been EEE cases.. ...Read Full Story

Kinexus Launching New Pilot To Track Talent Pool

A new partnership between Kinexus Group in Benton Harbor and Irish firm Upskill Enterprise will be launched next month to help local employers better keep track of the skills of their workers. Kinexus Director of Innovation Duane Berger tells WSJM News Upskill has software called TalentSensus to create an inventory of local talent.. ...Read Full Story

Health Experts Examine Racial Disparities In Berrien

Spectrum Health Lakeland Director of Population Health Lynn Todman is working to help the community understand some of the factors that go into a person’s health outcomes, and a big focus is on race. Todman tells WSJM News her studies at Lakeland have shown major racial disparities when it comes to health in the region. She says part of her job is making sure doctors understand that things like the neighborhood where someone lives determines how healthy they are.. ...Read Full Story

Aerial Spraying For Mosquitoes Tonight

State health officials are going to conduct aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes in high risk areas for Eastern Equine Encephalitis this weekend. The spraying will take place in several southwest Michigan counties, covering a total of about 720,000 acres. This will include parts of Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties. In a conference call Friday, state epidemiologist Sarah Lyon-Callo said they’re targeting areas where there have been EEE cases.. ...Read Full Story

Major Grants, Awards From Berrien Community Foundation

Some grants and awards for 2019 have been announced by the Berrien Community Foundation as it held its 67th annual meeting this month in St. Joseph. BCF President Lisa Cripps-Downey tells WSJM News the new Alamar Non-Profit Sustainability Grant of $75,000 was announced for St. Joseph Today so it can provide retirement benefits to its employees.. ...Read Full Story

Harvest Could Last Into November

2019 has been challenging for Michigan farmers, from the polar vortex over the winter that wiped out the peach crop in southwest Michigan to historic rainfall in the spring delaying planting or preventing corn and soybeans from being planted. Tim Boring is the vice president of the Michigan Agribusiness Association and says it will be a long, drawn-out harvest.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Bucks Community College Enrollment Trend

Enrollment at Southwestern Michigan College is up this year. SMC says it’s managed to buck enrollment trends being seen at many other community colleges in Michigan. It’s one of just seven community colleges in the state with increased enrollment for the fall. After processing final drops and adds, SMC showed an overall head count of 2,171, up 1.2% versus the fall of 2018. The college this year welcomed 509 recent high school graduates to campus, an increase of 54, or almost 12%, and more students — 364 of them — now live in the residence halls than last fall. SMC says it’s been able to keep its numbers up because it has been proactive in identifying what makes it unique and clearly explaining to parents and students the value in starting a college journey there. The current freshman class has declared 42 different majors, with health services, business, biology, criminal justice, psychology, and education being the most popular.. ...Read Full Story