Local News Archives

Veterans Workforce Development Conference Underway In Detroit

The second annual National Veteran Workforce Development Conference is taking place today through Friday at the Crown Plaza in Detroit. The conference represents all different aspects of veteran services with experts in the field to provide educational and employment assistance. Dave Dunkel is a strategy specialist with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and says the number of veterans entering the workforce is significant.. ...Read Full Story

Apparent Drowning Of Indiana Teen In Porter Township Under Investigation

Authorities are investigating the apparent drowning death of an Indiana teenager in Cass County. The sheriff’s department was called to Long Lake in Porter Township at 7:30 Tuesday night when 19-year-old Janelle Miller of Shipshewana took a break from wake boarding with friends and left their boat for a swim. The group called 911 when they couldn’t find her in the water, and then dove in to search. Deputies also were unable to locate her, and neither was West Michigan Air Care as the helicopter scanned the lake. It wasn’t until just before 11 p.m. when the Van Buren County Dive Team and Cass County Marine Division were able to find Miller’s body. She was not wearing a life jacket, but police say alcohol was not a factor in her death.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Agriculture Officials Planning Trade Mission To China

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is planning another trade mission to China. The fourth annual trip is scheduled for November 8-12 and the agency says representatives of Michigan food and agriculture companies will travel to Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Shanghai. It’s part of an effort to better understand the Chinese market and meet with Chinese buyers interested in Michigan products. Michigan officials say China is the state’s fifth-largest export market for food and agriculture products. The Food Export Association of the Midwest will also conduct a trade mission to South Korea on November 6-7, giving Michigan companies another chance to explore trade prospects.. ...Read Full Story

BH School Board To Meet With State Officials Friday

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education will meet with state officials this week to talk about what’s next for the district. At a session on Tuesday night, board President Stephen Mitchell said the meeting will be at Benton Harbor High School at 5 p.m. Friday. Board Vice President Joseph Taylor told us later that representatives from the governor’s office, the Michigan Department of Education, and the Michigan Department of Treasury will be at the meeting. State Superintendent Michael Rice is also expected. Taylor is optimistic.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Declares Child Support Month

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is bringing attention to the state’s child support system now that Governor Gretchen Whitmer has declared this to be Child Support Month. Department spokesperson Bob Wheaton tells us nearly $1.2 billion in child support went out to Michigan families in 2018. 71.4% of those payments were made on time, usually via paycheck withholdings.. ...Read Full Story

Online Map Shows Proposed Injection Wells In Michigan

A new online map helps people find out if any waste injection wells are being permitted near them. The map pinpoints all the sites in Michigan where companies have applied to dump toxic waste from oil and gas exploration. Peggy Case, who heads the group Michigan Citizens For Water Conservation, says even though the waste is injected 4,000 feet underground, Michigan is riddled with old well bores that could allow it to seep elsewhere.. ...Read Full Story

Enrollment Open For Bridge Academy

Fall enrollment for the Bridge Academy in Benton Harbor is now open. Interim director Allie Knapp says enrollment will be open through October 2 as they serve non-traditional students between the ages of 16 and 19, and adults over the age of 20, with the first day of class set for Tuesday, September 3.. ...Read Full Story

Ferris State Scholarship Established To Honor Late South Haven Couple

The memory of the late Norris and Irene Johnson of South Haven is being honored by their adopted daughter and her husband with a $350,000 scholarship endowment at Ferris State University for foster children aging out of the system and wanting to attend the school. That daughter is Patsy Eisler, the wife of Ferris State University President Dr. David Eisler, and she tells our newsroom it was her husband’s idea after recently receiving a bonus from the university.. ...Read Full Story

WMU Secures Grant To Fight Opioid Epidemic

Western Michigan University students will be getting hands-on experience fighting the opioid epidemic hitting the state thanks to a $1.35 million federal grant. The funding is from the Health Resources and Services Administration and will support WMU’s Michigan Youth Prevention and Recovery from Opioid Youth Disorders program, known as MY-PROUD for short.. ...Read Full Story

South Bend International Adds Sarasota, Florida Nonstop Flights On Allegiant

There will be six nonstop destinations from South Bend on Allegiant in the coming months. The carrier is adding nonstop flights twice a week between South Bend International Airport and Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, with those flights going on sale for an introductory price of $69 one-way starting tomorrow. That price will be good on select flights until May 12 of next year. It will be a seasonal route out of South Bend, and the introductory price does not include baggage fees and other additional charges.. ...Read Full Story

Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over Campaign Starts This Week

Michigan State Police are planning another Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign for Labor Day, and it starts this week. Beginning on Wednesday, extra police patrols will be out on the roads watching out for drunk drivers. The three week Labor Day enforcement period will run through September 2. While the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning spokesperson Kari Arend told WSJM News this summer the state has a zero-tolerance drugged driving law.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Today: Bluff Stairs Mural A Hit

It’s a hit. That’s the feeling regarding the butterfly mural painted on the steps leading up the bluff to downtown St. Joseph this summer. The work was commissioned by St. Joseph Today with the city’s approval, and executive director Amy Zapal explained the thought process behind the mural to the city commission on Monday.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Parks Department Taking Comments On Five Year Plan

The Berrien County Parks Department is planning its next meeting to hear from the public on its five year parks plan. The department says the plan covers the developments planned at all county parks from 2020 through 2024. The included parks are Rocky Gap, Silver Beach, Love Creek, Madeline Bertrand, Paw Paw River, Historic Courthouse Square, and Galien River, as well as the Red Arrow Linear Trail. The plan is needed for the county to qualify for state recreation grants. An open house will be held prior to the Berrien County Parks Commission Meeting at the New Buffalo Township Hall on August 21. The open house will be from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Everyone is also invited to submit comments directly to the Berrien County Parks Department. You can send an email to Parks@BerrienCounty.org.. ...Read Full Story

Meth Busts In Benton Township

The Southwest Enforcement Team says it made several meth-related arrests with a couple of busts in Berrien County last week. The first one was on Thursday when police arrested 27-year-old Shaquille Burton at the Quick Way Party Store on South Fair Street in Benton Township. The arrest came after a month-long investigation into the distribution of meth in Bangor, Kalamazoo, and Benton Harbor, and detectives seized about five ounces of meth. Then on Friday came another series of arrests. SWET says 47-year-old James Snow was arrested following a three-month investigation into the distribution of meth at his home in Benton Township. During a search, police say they found two ounces of crystal meth, eighteen guns, and other drug-related items. Snow is charged with possession with intent to deliver crystal meth, possession of a firearm, maintaining a drug house, and a bond violation. Four others were arrested in the home on various charges.. ...Read Full Story

Police Looking For Two Suspects Following Chase In Benton Harbor

Two suspects remain on the loose following a chase with police in Benton Harbor on Sunday night. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says the chase started around 11 p.m. when officers tried to pull over a Jeep Cherokee for a traffic violation on Main Street near Seeley. The Jeep took off, running several stop signs as it sped down Highland, McCord, and Britain. The sheriff’s department gave up the chase, but the vehicle crashed into another vehicle at Britain and Pipestone. The driver and a passenger took off running, leaving a 19-year-old Benton Harbor woman in the vehicle. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries, as did the 17-year-old driver of the car the suspects hit. Police say the suspect’s vehicle was stolen out of Madison, Wisconsin. They continue to look for the driver and his passenger. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Gas Station Hit By Armed Robbers

Niles police are looking for two men accused of robbing the Admiral Gas Station at 640 Chicago Road at gunpoint late Sunday night. The men had their faces hidden and wore gloves while each had a semi-automatic gun. They took off on foot after emptying out the cash register. No one was hurt, but the clerk told police the men fired their weapons both inside and outside the store. The robbery happened just a few minutes before midnight on Sunday. Police have not released descriptions of the suspects, and are asking for tips to be called in to the Niles Police Detective Bureau at 269-683-0404 or submitted anonymously online at tipsoft.com.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer: No State Gov’t Shutdown On My Watch

The last time Michigan had divided government, there were two state government shutdowns in 2007 and 2009, both under former Governor Jennifer Granholm. Not this year, says Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was in the state Senate during both of the previous shutdowns. She says it won’t happen on her watch, and the Republican leaders of the House and Senate are in her corner.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Woman Killed When Hit By Car

A 49-year-old Niles woman has died after being hit by a car just after noon on Sunday on North 5th Street in Niles Township. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says Candace Barna was in the road trying to pick up a piece of clothing lost while she was a passenger on the back of a motorcycle, and 75-year-old Helen Jo Carpenter told deputies she was unable to avoid the crash. Barna was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash is still under investigation, but investigators don’t believe speed or alcohol were factors in what happened. Carpenter told deputies she saw Barna walk into the road, but couldn’t stop in time.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County K-9 Finds Missing Man

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Nellie is the hero of a 70-year-old Cassopolis man. Michael Cox got lost Sunday night in a wooded area near his home, and his caretaker called police when he went for a walk around 7:45 pm and hadn’t come back by 9. The sheriff’s department says Nellie led handler Deputy Graves to Cox, who was found laying behind some thick bush shortly before midnight. He was cleared by medics with Life Care Ambulance and went home. His caretaker had called police due to concerns over the man’s medical issues. The discovery by Nellie followed several hours of searching by friends and deputies.. ...Read Full Story

New Report Has Dire Warning If Asian Carp Reach Lake Michigan

(Traverse City, MI – AP) – A newly released study says if Asian carp reach Lake Michigan, they probably would find enough food to spread farther. The invasive fish have infested the Mississippi River and dozens of tributaries. Authorities are debating how to keep them out of the Great Lakes, where fishing is a $7 billion industry. Some experts have questioned whether there’s enough plankton in Lake Michigan to sustain the invasive carp away from shoreline areas. The lake has seen a drop-off in plankton caused by exotic mussels. But a report released Monday by University of Michigan scientists says the voracious carp could feed on mussel excrement and other organic material when venturing into deeper waters. Officials say that illustrates the need to prevent the carp from getting into the lake.. ...Read Full Story

Car Crashes Into South Haven Bar

A man is being treated for serious injuries at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo after crashing his car into Maple Grove Bar & Grill in South Haven Township Sunday night. South Haven Police say the man hit the traffic island in the roundabout at M-43 and 12th Avenue, which launched the car airborne. He crashed into the side of the restaurant and had to be extricated by first responders from South Haven Area Emergency Services. While the business was closed, there were still employees inside at the time. The owner was in a nearby kitchen washing dishes and was hit by debris, but wasn’t hurt. The crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Man Arrested For Two Bridgman Home Invasions

A 43-year-old man is in the Berrien County Jail awaiting possible home invasion charges for allegedly breaking in to two homes in Bridgman during a three-hour span Thursday night and early Friday morning. The homeowners in the first incident found the man in a bedroom in their home in the 42-hundred block of Orchard Street, and he ran off after being confronted. Bridgman police say the Lincoln Township police K-9 Echo caught the man after the second break-in, laying in the yard behind a nearby shed. That happened in the 97-hundred block of Baldwin Road. The suspect’s name has not been released, and police say he has addresses in both Berrien Springs and Bridgman. Nothing appeared to have been stolen in either case, and no damage was done.. ...Read Full Story

University Of Michigan Installing Locks For Security Push

The University of Michigan will install locks on all classroom and lab doors inside a building where reports of an active shooter triggered campus-wide panic last spring. The active shooter alert occurred in March when a sorority held an event featuring balloon popping at the same time as a vigil nearby for victims of the deadly New Zealand mosque shootings.. ...Read Full Story

Two Injured In Highway Crash

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a Friday crash on I-94 that involved six vehicles. It says deputies were sent to the scene at eastbound I-94 near the Van Buren County line in Watervliet Township around 6:30 p.m. They learned there had been a chain reaction crash where traffic had been backed up due to construction near Hartford.. ...Read Full Story

Muskegon Police Officer On Leave After Apparent KKK Document Seen At Home

(Muskegon, MI – AP) – A white police officer in western Michigan is on paid administrative leave after an apparent Ku Klux Klan document was seen framed on a wall of his home. The Muskegon Police Department opened an internal investigation after Robert Mathis, who is black, posted on Facebook that he saw the document while touring the officer’s Holton-area home, which was for sale. He said he also saw Confederate flags at the house, and said he prayed about what to do for several hours before posting photos he took inside the house.. ...Read Full Story

U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Readies Decision On Underwater Oil Pipeline Supports

(Associated Press) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it’s preparing to decide whether to let Canadian oil transport company Enbridge install supports for its underwater oil pipeline in Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge disclosed Wednesday that erosion had opened a gap beneath one of two Line 5 pipelines in the channel linking Lakes Huron and Michigan. The gap is about 6 feet wider than allowed under a state easement.. ...Read Full Story

BBB: Unlicensed Dowagiac Roofer Sentenced, Business Shut Down

A Dowagiac man will be on probation for three years and his unlicensed roofing business has been shut down after he pleaded guilty to one count of false pretenses between $1,000 and $20,000. The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan’s Phil Catlett says they had been expressing concerns for “some time” about All Tech Repair and Roof Sealants. Company owner Jeffrey Burks was sentenced Friday and a condition of his probation is he’s not allowed to reopen the business. The case against him came from accusations he was collecting money from customers, but not following through with any work. The BBB says All Tech has an F rating due, in part, to the complaints that went unanswered.. ...Read Full Story

Illinois GOP Urges Trump Not To Set Blagojevich Free

The Illinois Republican Party’s chairman is urging President Trump not to follow through on the idea he broached this week of freeing imprisoned former Governor Rod Blagojevich. Tim Schneider said in a written statement Friday that officials found guilty should serve their full sentences, especially in a state where he says “corrupt, machine-style politics is still all too common.”. ...Read Full Story

Suspect In Benton Harbor Triple Shooting Caught

The suspect in the July 31 murder of 29-year-old Arsenio Jordan in Benton Harbor is now jailed. 21-year-old Eric Holbrook was arrested Friday by Benton Harbor Public Safety officers, Berrien County Sheriff’s officers and Michigan State Police troopers at the River Terrace apartment complex. Police also arrested his 24-year-old brother, Dennis Holbrook, for his alleged involvement in the triple shooting along with an unidentified 43-year-old woman. Eric and Dennis Holbrook are expected to be arraigned next week, and are being held without bond in the Berrien County Jail. Authorities are still trying to find one other man, Dondrell Blackamore, Jr., who they want to talk to as a person of interest in the case.. ...Read Full Story

United Flight Attendant Accused Of Being Drunk On Flight To South Bend

A Wisconsin woman is due back in court in South Bend August 29 to face public intoxication charges. Julianne March is a flight attendant with United, and was caught on video by a passenger on an August 2nd flight between Chicago and South Bend appearing drunk on the job. Police say her blood alcohol level was .20, five-times what’s allowed for flight crew members. A passenger also tweeted United Airlines about the incident, saying March appeared “quite drunk” on the brief morning flight. March answered “Chicago” when asked where she was upon being arrested in South Bend.. ...Read Full Story

Charges Filed In July 30 Bridgman Home Invasion, Shooting

A 33-year-old Bridgman is facing a first-degree home invasion charge for a July 30 incident in which police say he forced his way into a home in the 97-hundred block of Evergreen Drive and got into a fight with a 34-year-old acquaintance. The suspect is Christopher Betts, and he is free on bond after being arraigned on Thursday on the charge, which followed his release from the hospital.. ...Read Full Story

New State Superintendent Opposed To Closing Benton Harbor High School

The Whitmer administration is not fully united when it comes to the possibility of closing Benton Harbor High School. Michael Rice, the new state superintendent, tells Bridge Magazine he opposes the proposal by the governor to close the school in exchange for forgiving about two-thirds of the 18-million dollar debt faced by Benton Harbor Area Schools. When the administration made its plan known, Rice was still the superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools, and has only been at the helm of public education statewide for a little more than a week. BHAS board members tell Bridge Magazine they appreciate Rice’s stance, as they are continuing to negotiate with the governor’s office to prevent the high school from closing.. ...Read Full Story

Harbor Country Mission’s David Heyn talks about the death of Bob Klint

Bob Klint, who worked at Harbor Country Mission and spearheaded the idea of medical debt relief that the organization is involved in, was killed last Friday in a horrible car crash in Buchanan.  The crash also took the lives of his wife, daughter and brother-in-law. They are asking that in lieu of flowers that you make donations in Bob Klint’s memory to Harbor Country Mission to support their work helping people who are financially struggling.. ...Read Full Story

Area Peach Crop Non-Existant

From too much rain to a trade war with China, Michigan farmers have more than their share of challenges this year. Peach growers in southwest Michigan have their own struggles, all due to the polar vortex in January that dropped temperatures down to 18-below zero. That killed a large number of trees according to Stover’s Farm Market general manager Kenny Stover in Berrien Springs. He tells our partners at WSBT-TV they have little to no crop.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Public Schools Tout State Ranking On Niche.com

New rankings from Niche puts St. Joseph Public Schools among the best districts in the state. The 2020 rankings have St. Joseph rated 13th best. The criteria used include achievement on the state M-STEP and SAT tests, college readiness, teacher quality, facilities, student and parent perception, student opportunities, and health and safety. In a statement, the district’s director of curriculum, instruction and assessment Kelly Gaideski calls it “rewarding” to be recognized for the ongoing efforts to improve both student achievement and their well-being.. ...Read Full Story

PFAS Meeting Set For August 21 At Hartford High School

There will be an update later this month on the PFAS contamination in Hartford around the site of the former Du-Wel plant. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will hold a public forum along with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department on August 21 at Hartford High School starting at 6 pm. George Friday is the environmental health director for the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department and says 82 residential wells were tested.. ...Read Full Story

Pedestrian Hit By SUV On Napier Monday Dies From Injuries

We have an update regarding the car-pedestrian crash on East Napier Avenue in Benton Township on Monday. Police tell WSJM News that the man who was hit while walking on the edge of the road, 52-year-old David Snyder, has died from his injuries. Sndyer died Wednesday at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. He was airlifted there from Spectrum Health Lakeland with head trauma and a broken leg. Snyder was walking along the fog line in the outer lane when he was struck by an SUV driven by Georgette Lanier. There is no word yet if any charges will be filed, and police say the crash remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

YMCA Of Southwest Michigan Merging With YMCA Of Michiana

The YMCA of Southwest Michigan is getting larger with the approval of its board of directors and the board of the YMCA of Michiana to merge into one organization. It will be effective at the start of 2020, and the YMCAs will collectively serve more than 20,000 members and employ over 500 people. YMCA of Southwest Michigan board member Tom Grant says in the spring of 2018, the association began helping on the management side with the Michiana chapter after that organization lost its CEO.. ...Read Full Story

Missing West Michigan Girl Found In Rhode Island Man’s Home

A 43-year-old Rhode Island man is facing sexual assault charges after police found a 15-year-old west Michigan girl who had been reported missing in is home. Local police acted on information submitted by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department to raid the home in Warwick of Charles Morancey on Tuesday. They arrested him on four charges of third-degree sexual assault and found the girl safe.. ...Read Full Story

Voters Approve All Local Road Millage Renewals In Michigan

Michigan voters are showing their willingness to spend money to fix roads around the state while action by state lawmakers to fund road repairs remain stuck in neutral. During Tuesday’s primary election, the County Road Association of Michigan notes all 14 road millage renewals passed with an average support rate of 75% and all of those have been renewed every time they were on the ballot since 2008.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Conservation District Offering Well Water Testing

Residents in Van Buren County with private wells for drinking water can have their water tested by bringing an unfiltered sample to the Van Buren Conservation District in Paw Paw all next week. Technician Kyle Mead says they will test for nitrates and nitrites in your water, which is basically nitrogen that can occur naturally or from lawn treatments and farm fertilized fields.. ...Read Full Story