Local News Archives

Flick Pick – John Wick: Chapter 3

Flick Pick is a podcast about movies. In today’s episode, Andrew Green reviews John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. In this film, Keanu Reeves is back as America’s favorite assassin, John Wick. Throughout the film, John Wick kills countless other assassins who all want to…well, assassinate him.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Signs Legislation To Move Medically Frail Inmates

Legislation designed to allow for some medically frail inmates in Michigan to be moved out of prisons and into medical facilities has been signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan told WSJM News earlier this year the plan is intended to reduce prison costs by having Medicaid pay for the care of those who are severely ill.. ...Read Full Story

OutCenter Provides Inclusivity Training To Local Business

The OutCenter in Benton Harbor is marking the first time it’s provided inclusivity training to a southwest Michigan business. OutCenter Director Mary Jo Schnell tells WSJM News on May 2, staff provided the training to the Moersch Hospitality Group’s management team. Moersch owns Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant, Free Run Cellars, and Round Barn Winery. Schnell says OutCenter volunteer Caroline Jones worked on a scenario-based program for the group.. ...Read Full Story

State Teacher’s Union: Benton Harbor High School Proposal Not Ideal, But Best Option

The head of the state’s teacher’s union is supporting the proposal to close Benton Harbor High School after the coming year. Michigan Education Association President Paul Herbart says the proposal is not ideal, but is the “best solution for students and families” adding it’s “far better than closing down Benton Harbor’s schools and leaving that community, its students and its school employees without options.” However, that isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. If the Benton Harbor Area Schools board of education votes down the proposal, state officials say the Legislature will have to step in. In previous instances, they have moved to completely shut down struggling districts. Herbart goes on to call the proposal from the state “a bold solution that will put Benton Harbor students on a path to success.” She adds the MEA is ready to partner with all 8 districts in the area which will be taking in Benton Harbor students starting in the fall of 2020.. ...Read Full Story

Governor, Lawmakers Reach Deal On Auto Insurance Reform

It’s a compromise years in the making, as Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Republican leaders of the state House and Senate have a bipartisan agreement to reform the no-fault auto insurance system in Michigan. The Legislature is holding a rare Friday session, and if both chambers pass it, the Michigan News Network reports the governor could sign the reform bill today. In a statement, Whitmer says the “agreement in concept” will “lower costs and protect coverage for Michigan drivers.” Details weren’t immediately released, but she says the deal will cut rates for drivers and offer choices among coverage levels.. ...Read Full Story

Lawsuit Filed To Block New Ballot Requirements

From the Associated Press — Voting-rights advocates and a campaign-finance ballot drive group are challenging Republican-enacted requirements that make it harder to qualify proposals for the ballot. A lawsuit filed Thursday in the Michigan Court of Claims comes a day after Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel said a law passed in December’s lame-duck session is unconstitutional. Her opinion is binding on state officials, but courts will have the final say. The law says no more than 15% of petition signatures can be counted from any
one of Michigan’s 14 congressional districts. The suit was filed by the League of Women Voters of Michigan, the ballot committee Michiganders for Fair and Transparent Elections, and individual voters. They say the law is an unconstitutional attempt by lawmakers to amend the state constitution by statute.. ...Read Full Story

Foster Care Open House Set For Friday

There will be an open house for Van Buren County’s foster care system on Friday. Van Buren County Friend of the Court Lynn Bullard tells WSJM News the Judicial Court building in Paw Paw will host the event as speakers recognize the county’s current foster care parents and information is presented on how to become a foster parent. Bullard says there are 147 foster kids in the county now. There’s always a new need for more foster parents.. ...Read Full Story

Street Repaving Coming Up In South Haven

The city of South Haven is notifying drivers about some street paving starting next week. On Friday, May 31 the city will begin repaving Pearl Street from Erie Street to Church Street. During construction, the streets will remain open to local traffic, but there will be traffic disruptions on the days when the old asphalt is removed and new asphalt is installed. Property owners will be notified if the concrete and gutter are being replaced at their driveway approaches. The major work is set to be finished by June 28, and the final restoration is planned to be finished by July 3. Anyone with questions can contact the city engineer’s office.. ...Read Full Story

Cornerstone Chamber Changes Its Name

Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce has changed its name. The organization is now to be called the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber. After nearly 25 years of operating under the old name, the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber says its new name represents an attempt to adopt an attitude of regionalism and to represent a widening membership. Chamber President Chris Heugel says one of the first steps in that procees was the chamber’s announcement of a partnership with the Greater Bridgman Chamber and Growth Alliance last year. The Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber plans to begin using its new name and a re-fashioned logo over the next few months.. ...Read Full Story

Future Of Benton Harbor High School In Limbo

Rumors are flying and things appear up in the air for Benton Harbor High School. An announcement could be coming out of the governor’s office today regarding the school’s future and possible forgiveness of some of the school district’s debt. Multiple sources tell WSJM News there is a 9 a.m. meeting in Lansing involving Governor Whitmer, the Treasury and Education departments, and at least two members of the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education. After that is where things get cloudy.. ...Read Full Story

RESA Offering Summer Camps For Young People On Autism Spectrum

Berrien RESA is planning some special summer camps for autistic children this year. It tells us “Makin’ Waves in Berrien County” will be a day camp for kids of middle and high school age on the autism spectrum or with other disabilities. The goal is for teams of students to encourage each other as they take part in a variety of camp activities while strengthening connections, learning to support each another, and growing friendships. It’s hoped that will help the students when they begin their next school year. The camps will take place at Love Creek Nature Center in Berrien Center on July 16 and Riverview Park in St. Joseph on July 23. The registration deadline is June 13. Anyone looking for more information can call Berrien RESA.. ...Read Full Story

Area Housing Market Remains Tight

The housing market is heating up with the warmer weather in the area. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors says existing home sales in April were up 27% from March and set a record with 297 homes sold. That figure is up 7% over last year, and year-to-date, the number of homes sold is higher than last year by 5% at 941 compared to 900. The average sales price was up 2% from April 2018, at $218,607, while the median price set a new record for April at $170,000. That was a 10% jump from last year. It remains a sellers’ market, as inventory of homes for sale is 1,484, a 5.8-month supply. The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all sales fell to 3%, the lowest it’s been at any time since 2009.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Boost Mobile Store Robbed

Benton Harbor Public Safety is looking for two men who robbed the Boost Mobile store on Pipestone this week. The department has just released information today regarding the Sunday afternoon armed robbery, which happened around 3:30 pm. One suspect had a semi automatic handgun, and they made off with several cell phones and an unknown amount of cash. Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis says this is the fourth time in four years the store has been robbed. Both men are black, one 6’1″, skinny, and wore all black with a hood covering his face. The other is 5’9″ with a medium build and was also dressed in all black but with a white scarf over his face.. ...Read Full Story

New Exhibit Compares 1950s South Haven To Present Day South Haven

A new exhibit on the history of South Haven will debut this weekend, and it’ll practically be like traveling through time. The Historical Association of South Haven’s Jim Ollgaard tells WSJM News they’ll host “Coming Home — South Haven, 1956.” Ollgaard says iconic local photographer Richard Appleyard spent a week in 1956 going around town taking photographs to preserve the memory of South Haven before the post-World War II boom changed things.. ...Read Full Story

Viticulture Field Day Next Month

Around 200 winemakers and grape growers will be in Benton Township on June 13 for the 2019 Viticulture Field Day. Organized by MSU Extension and the Lake Michigan College Viticulture Program, the event will be a full day for growers and makers to talk about improving their techniques. MSU Extension educator Michael Reinke tells WSJM News this comes after a damaging winter for southwest Michigan wine producers.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Updates Animal Ordinance

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have approved an update to the animal ordinance. At Monday’s meeting, City Manager Darwin Watson explained the ordinance amendment was intended to establish that certain kinds of farm animals aren’t allowed in city limits if they’re not being used for agriculture. However, he told commissioners this doesn’t mean the city would be going around checking homes to see what animals people have. The amendment is intended to make enforcement possible when someone complains about a disturbance.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Ring Lardner Middle School Selected For DON’T QUIT Fitness Center

Ring Lardner Middle School in Niles is one of three schools in the state picked to receive a DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center. Governor Whitmer and National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils chairman Jake Steinfeld made the announcement Wednesday, selecting the state’s most outstanding schools for demonstrating leadership in getting and keeping students fit. Along with Lardner, Burton’s Atherton Elementary and Lincoln Park Middle School in suburban Detroit were selected for the $100,000 fitness centers. Each fitness center is paid for by a public/private partnership with companies like Coca-Cola, Anthem Foundation, Wheels Up and Nike, and does not rely on taxpayer dollars or state funding. TuffStuff Fitness International provides all the fitness equipment, which is manufactured in the United States.. ...Read Full Story

Gop Frowns On, But Doesn’t Punish Amash Impeachment Call

From the Associated Press — Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy says Representative Justin Amash, the lone Republican to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, is an outlier. But neither he nor the most conservative House members are punishing the
Michigan Republican. And Amash isn’t backing down. Amash told The Associated Press Tuesday that “their pressure doesn’t have
influence” on him, adding, “I really am not concerned about what Kevin McCarthy thinks about it.” McCarthy told the AP that Amash has long voted in conflict with Republicans, including on Trump’s failed attempt to declare a national emergency to build his border wall.
Amash, a libertarian, is a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and remains a member of the group. The caucus voted to condemn his comments on impeachment, but did not oust him.. ...Read Full Story

OutCenter Preparing For Lake Effect Pride Event

The OutCenter in Benton Harbor is gearing up for its annual Lake Effect Pride event. Set for Saturday, June 8 at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Lake Effect Pride is a chance for the OutCenter to celebrate its accomplishments of the past year and also recognize allies. Director Mary Jo Schnell tells WSJM News they’ll give out their annual Ally of the Year Award, and the winner is the St. Joseph City Commission.. ...Read Full Story

Report Looks At Local And County Road Needs

The County Road Association of Michigan has released a plan for getting roads under the jurisdiction of counties back into good condition. Its “Michigan County Road Investment Plan” concludes another $2 billion in annual funding is needed for the state’s county road and bridge network. Association Director Denise Donahue tells WSJM News there isn’t often an assessment of local road needs.. ...Read Full Story