Local News Archives

Clementines, Clementines’s Too Reach Settlement With U.S. Dept. Of Labor

A settlement has been reached between Clementine’s in South Haven, Clementine’s Too in St. Joseph, and the U.S. Department of Labor. On Facebook, the restaurant says they were investigated in November by the Labor Department and told it was random. Issues were found with one job position who received tips from wait staff and bartenders from the tip pool. That job is the “Expeditor,” and that person delivers food to customers at the bar and for take-out orders and trays up the food for the wait staff. To fix the issue, the Labor Department and Clementines have reached a deal where the restaurant will repay the money paid in tips to the Expeditor to the wait staff and bartenders. The statement from Clementines adds “The judgment calls it a ‘minimum wage issue’ because a server is considered, under labor guidelines, a minimum wage employee, even though with their tips they make far above minimum wage. By having them share a small portion of their tips with the Expeditor, their wage, by definition, was below minimum wage.”. ...Read Full Story

Non-Binding War Powers Resolution Passes House; Upton A No Vote

The US House has approved a resolution asserting that President Trump must seek approval from Congress before engaging in further military action against Iran. The war powers resolution is not binding on Trump and would not require his signature. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nonetheless insists it “has real teeth” because “it is a statement of the Congress of the United States.”. ...Read Full Story

Flu Restrictions In Place At Spectrum Health Lakeland

Spectrum Health Lakeland has announced new restrictions for visitors due to the flu. The rules are in place at all of the organization’s hospitals in southwest Michigan. Spectrum Health Lakeland says visitors who have not had a flu shot will be asked to wear a mask while in the facility. Everyone is asked to stay at home if they are sick, have a fever, runny nose, cough, or body aches, or are less than 18 years old. Spectrum also says you should go to the emergency department if you or a loved one are experiencing difficulty breathing, dizziness, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, severe or persistent vomiting, or other severe symptoms. It notes there is no cure for the flu, adding the best protection is getting the vaccine.. ...Read Full Story

MSU Forum To Explore New Redistricting Commission

Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research will host a forum next week to explore the implications of the state’s new redistricting commission. It was created by voters in November of 2018 as a way to reduce gerrymandering of legislative districts. MSU Institute for Public Policy and Social Research Director Matt Grossman tells WSJM News the forum will be next Wednesday at the Anderson House Office Building across from the Michigan Capitol. It will explore how the redistricting commission will work, and more.. ...Read Full Story

Woman Killed In Niles Township Crash

A Goshen, Indiana woman is dead following a crash in Niles Township on Thursday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it happened on US-31 near mile marker 6 just before 2:30 p.m. Sheriff’s deputies learned a Chrysler Concord driven by the 35-year-old Goshen women had been northbound when it crossed the median and struck a southbound Ford Fusion driven by a 17-year-old male from Niles. The 17-year-old and his 16-year-old female passenger were taken by ambulance to Memorial Hospital in South Bend to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. The Goshen woman was also taken to Memorial Hospital, where she later died. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, and the names have not been released.. ...Read Full Story

New Interest In Foreclosed Condos

The Benton Harbor Downtown Development Authority has its eye on a partially foreclosed condo complex on Riverview Drive. According to The Herald Palladium, the DDA met this week and voted to express an interest in the New Harbor Condominiums. 43 out of the complex’s 90 units are in the hands of the Berrien County Land Bank since April’s foreclosure. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News the Benton Harbor DDA has indicated an interest in developing the dilapidated condos.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Public Schools Gets AP Recognition

Bridgman Public Schools has made strides when it comes to getting more students into advanced placement classes. The school district says it’s been placed on the College Board’s 10th Annual AP District Honor Roll for that work. Bridgman Public Schools is one of 250 school districts around the United States and Canada to be on the AP honor roll. In order to qualify, the district had to increase the number of students participating in advanced placement classes since 2017 while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher. The district says getting on the honor roll demonstrates it has been successful in identifying motivated students who are ready for AP.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Man Charged With Child Sexually Abusive Activity

A 36-year-old Benton Harbor man is facing multiple charges including distributing child pornography. Michigan State Police say Matthew Davidson was arrested and arraigned on December 13 of last year after troopers received a tip from the National center for Missing & Exploited Children. No other details have been made available, including when Davidson will next be in court or if there are any local victims in the case.. ...Read Full Story

Mobile Home Destroyed By Fire In Van Buren County

A Van Buren County mobile home is a total loss after a fire in Columbia Township on Thursday. South Haven Area Emergency Services says firefighters from three departments were called out to the blaze on County Road 384 near 52nd Street around 7:40 a.m. By the time they arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames. The residents had gotten out safely. Assisting the Columbia Township Fire Department were firefighters from Bangor and South Haven Area Emergency Services. LIFE ambulance and Michigan State Police were also on the scene. The cause of the fire is under investigation, and there were no injuries.. ...Read Full Story

Fugitive Apprehended After Standoff In Cass County

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department has a fugitive in custody after an all-day standoff on Wednesday in Milton Township. The department says members of the Fugitive Apprehension Street Team working in conjunction with the U.S. Marshal’s Service went to a home in the 33,000 block of Redfield Street around 1:35 p.m. to locate a suspect out of Laporte County, Indiana. The suspect was wanted on several charges. When officers went to the home, they found the fugitive there along with a woman and a child. The sheriff’s department says when the fugitive flashed a gun, officers were forced to “revert to a position of advantage” and set up a perimeter. Negotiators from Cass County Sheriff Office, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, and Michigan State Police talked with the fugitive for several hours as the standoff dragged on. Shortly after 10 p.m. the suspect let the child go, and police stormed the building around 2:30 a.m. At 2:45, the fugitive and the woman exited the home and were brought into custody. Both are now facing charges in Cass County and in Laporte County, Indiana. Their names have not yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

MI Supreme Court Gives Green Light To Phones In Court

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Supreme Court says the public can bring laptops, tablets and phones into state courthouses. The court announced the groundbreaking policy change Wednesday. The new rule covers the use of electronic devices in courtrooms and clerk’s offices, where public documents are stored.The public can bring electronic devices into courtrooms to take notes, use the internet or exchange email and text messages. Photos or video, however, are prohibited unless approved by a judge. Many court clerks opposed the rule because it could reduce lucrative copying fees.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Road Commission Seeking Millage Renewal

A couple of meetings are coming up in Van Buren County for residents to learn about a road millage renewal that will be on their March 10 ballot. Van Buren County Road Commission Finance Director Linnea Rader tells WSJM News this is strictly a renewal, and not a new millage. The road commission asks for voters to re-approve what she calls an essential millage that’s been in place since 1978.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Hails New Trade Deal

The new United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement will be good for the U.S. economy. That’s the thought of Congressman Fred Upton, who hailed House passage of the NAFTA replacement just before Christmas. He tells WSJM News the new agreement will be good for the auto industry.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Talks Trash Bill

Benton Harbor City Commissioners want to avoid a repeat of a situation that arose last year when the trash wasn’t picked up for nearly a week. At a Monday meeting of the city commission, Mayor Pro Tem Duane Seats separated the city’s monthly trash collection bill from the accounts payable listing to propose a motion specifying exactly to whom the trash payment would be made. That’s because there’s a dispute within Wecycle Industrial Sanitation regarding who owns the company. In November, the city’s payment went to the wrong person, leading to the trash not being picked up. Seats said on Monday that can’t happen again.. ...Read Full Story

Bloomingdale Branch Library Hosting Census Worker Application Event

Census workers are needed this year, and there will be an event to get more information out to those who may be interested later this month in Van Buren County. The Bloomingdale Branch Library will host an application day on Tuesday, January 21 from 2-5 p.m. Applications to be a census worker can be filled out at the event. The U.S. Census Bureau does plan to do as much of the population count online as possible, but there will be parts of the country where internet service is either non-existent or unreliable, and there are also some populations of folks who are more difficult to get to participate. The census, done once a decade, determines all sorts of things from government funding for programs to the number of members each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. Michigan is expected to lose a House member following the 2020 census due to population outflow.. ...Read Full Story

Officials Extend Comment Period For Kalamazoo River Cleanup

From the Associated Press — Federal officials are giving the public more time to comment on a proposed settlement with one of the companies responsible for polluting the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department announced the deal last month. It calls for NCR Corp. to pay $245 million to continue a cleanup that began more than 20 years ago. The settlement filed in federal court includes a public comment period that was scheduled to end Jan. 16. But in a notice scheduled for publication Monday, the Justice Department says it will be extended to February 18.. ...Read Full Story

BH Board Approves Contract For New Superintendent

It’s a done deal. The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has approved a contract for new Superintendent Andrae Townsel. The board voted on the agreement Tuesday night with Townsel in attendance. He then sat in with the body for the rest of its meeting. Townsel comes to Benton Harbor from the Detroit area, where he is currently assistant superintendent at Wayne-Westland Community Schools. He tells WSJM News he’ll start February 14, and plans to hit the ground running.. ...Read Full Story

Postal Worker Killed In Crash

A postal worker is dead following a fiery crash in Allegan County on Monday. The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department says it happened shortly before 12:30 p.m. on 10th Street south of Carrie Avenue in Gun Plains Township. When police arrived at the scene, they found a pick-up in the road and a postal vehicle in the ditch, fully engulfed in flames. The postal vehicle was completely destroyed and the body of its driver, 55-year-old Sheila Gay Rackley of Martin, was found inside once the flames were put out. The sheriff’s department says the pick-up was southbound when it crashed into the postal delivery vehicle that was stopped at a mailbox. Neither alcohol or drugs are believed to have been factors in the crash, but toxicology testing will be conducted. The man who was driving the pick-up has not been identified by police as they say charges may be coming.. ...Read Full Story

Twin Cities Sustainable Harbor Project Gets A Boost

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have agreed to a joint meeting between officials from Benton Harbor, the city of St. Joseph, and St. Joseph Township to discuss the Twin Cities Sustainable Harbor Project. The project is an effort, years in the making, to plan for the long-term development of the harbor in the area with all three communities cooperating. At a Monday meeting, the Benton Harbor City Commission heard from a representative of Michigan’s Office of Great Lakes on a series of meetings through 2018 and 2019 that led to the plan for all three municipalities to work together. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said they should talk.. ...Read Full Story

City Commission To Interview Two Candidates For manager

Two candidates for the position of city manager of Benton Harbor will be brought in for interviews by the city commission. The body on Monday approved seeking interviews with current Interim City Manager Ellis Mitchell and former Valdez, Alaska City Manager Elke Doom. They were the final two candidates of ten that applied for the job through a posting at the Michigan Municipal League. At Monday’s city commission meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Duane Seats said he thinks the job should be posted in more places.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan To Host Forums On State Behavioral Health System

From the Associated Press — The state of Michigan is holding public forums on ways to strengthen its Medicaid-funded behavioral health and developmental disabilities system. Forums start Wednesday in Detroit, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Others are scheduled Thursday in Grand Rapids, January 22 in Marquette and Jan. 30 in Saginaw. A virtual forum is planned for February 6. The department will provide an overview of its proposal and answer questions. Information gathered during the forums will help the state design a system that best meets the needs of residents who rely on the services.. ...Read Full Story

Police Searching For 15-Year-Old Girl Missing From Between Bridgman And Sawyer

The Baroda-Lake Township Police Department is looking for a 15-year-old girl who was reported missing on Monday. Police say Vivianna Jenkins was last seen in a yellow Notre Dame hoodie with gray jogging pants and no shoes. She was with 19-year-old David Daily of Dowagiac, who was in jeans and a black hoodie when they left on foot between Bridgman and Sawyer, heading east on Browntown Road in the direction of I-94. Police say Jenkins has a scar under her right eye and has long brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on where Jenkins and Daily may have gone is urged to call Baroda-Lake Township Police at (269) 465-3258.. ...Read Full Story

Shoreline Erosion To Impact Tourism Season

To date, the focus regarding the shoreline erosion along the Lake Michigan coast has been on protecting homes and properties. But there’s another factor looming large a few months from now: tourism. The beach at Rocky Gap County Park is completely gone, Silver Beach County Park has lost a massive amount of frontage, as have Tiscornia Park in the city of St. Joseph and Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor. We asked Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey what the plans are for the summer at Silver Beach, and he’s trying to stay optimistic.. ...Read Full Story

CEOs Of Whirlpool, Consumers Energy, And More Calling For LGBTQ Inclusion In Civil Rights Law

Whirlpool CEO Marc Bitzer is among business leaders in Michigan calling for a statewide ballot initiative to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. LGBTQ advocates have tried several times in recent years to expand the law to include the protections, but have not been successful. Now, the CEOs of several companies including Whirlpool, DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, Herman Miller, Verizon, and the Sam Bernstein Law Firm are teaming up to call for the initiative if the Legislature fails to take action on its own.. ...Read Full Story

Federal Prosecutor’s Nomination For West Michigan Blocked

President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as the top federal prosecutor in west Michigan is being held up by Michigan’s two Democratic senators. The Detroit News reports former state House Speaker Tom Leonard’s nomination, announced in August, is being blocked after Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters declined to meet with him. Typically, a nominee isn’t confirmed without two positive blue slips from his or her home-state senators, but the Republican-controlled Senate has approved some appeals court nominees anyway. Leonard was nominated as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan, which covers 49 counties. He ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2018, losing to Democrat Dana Nessel.. ...Read Full Story

Indiana Michigan Power Upgrading Electrical System In Berrien County This Year

Upgrades are coming to the electric grid in Berrien County. Indiana Michigan Power plans to invest around $62 million in the area over the course of this year to improve the reliability of the system. The Berrien Springs Area Improvements Project, as it’s being called, includes building the Blossom Trail Substation in Eau Claire, connecting that substation to existing lines, upgrading the transmission lines from 34.5 kiloVolts to 69 kiloVolts standards for better reliability, and replacing the Berrien Springs Substation with the new one in Berrien Springs. I&M is also planning to rebuild 4 miles of power line in four smaller segments, which might include re-routing some lines and getting new easements from property owners. Work will begin early this year.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Treasurer Releases Most Popular Dog Names

The most popular dog name in Van Buren County last year was Bella. So says the Van Buren County Treasurer’s office, which runs the county’s dog licensing program. With Bella being the most popular name for dogs, the most popular breed was the Chihuahua. After Bella, the most popular dog names were Buddy, Max, Daisy, and Lucy. After Chihuahua, the most popular breeds were German Shepherd, Labrador Mix, Pit Bull, and Labrador Retriever. Van Buren County Treasurer Trisha Nesbitt says the rate of people getting their dogs licensed has been going up. She urges everyone to get their pooch licensed, saying it provides owners with peace of mind knowing if the dog is lost, it can easily be identified and returned home.. ...Read Full Story

City Seeks Low-Interest Loan For Water, Sewer Work

More than $14 million in water and sewer work will be done in Benton Harbor in the coming years following action Monday night by the Benton Harbor City Commission. The body approved securing a low-interest state loan to do improvements at the water tower and replace water and sewer lines. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said the project may cost $14.5 million, but it’s necessary.. ...Read Full Story

Credit Union Program Helps Employees Donate To Communities

Employees of United Federal Credit Union have been able to donate more than $16,000 around their communities in the past year thanks to the organization’s Pay it Forward program. With Pay it Forward, UFCU gives each employee $15 to donate to those in need. They get to pick who they support. Many times, departments and branches combine their funds to create a more substantial donation. United CEO Terry O’Rourke tells WSJM News Pay it Forward was created at the request of employees.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Removing Brush, Planting Trees Along I-94

Drivers in Van Buren County are being advised to watch out for intermittent lane and shoulder closures along I-94 for the next few years. Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News crews will be doing tree and shrub removal along the highway starting this Tuesday. They will also be planting new pine trees. There’s a reason for that.. ...Read Full Story

Students To Take Part In Driver Safety Campaign

Students at 57 Michigan high schools will take part in the state’s Strive for a Safer Drive program this year. Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning spokesperson Kari Arend tells WSJM News the program is a partnership between the state and Ford Driving Skills for Life. It encourages students to create their own safety campaigns.. ...Read Full Story

K9 Helps Catch Domestic Violence Suspect

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says one of its K9s was able to track a domestic violence suspect over the weekend. Deputies were called out to a home in the village of Lawrence shortly after midnight Sunday on a report of a man who had assaulted his ex-girlfriend and her mother. While one of the victims was on the phone with 911, the 24-year-old suspect grabbed her phone and broke it, ending the call. By the time sheriff’s deputies arrived, the man had run off. However, thanks to a search by a deputy and K9 Kuno, the suspect was found a short distance away from the house and taken into custody. He was found to be on probation out of Van Buren County and had a personal protection order against him filed by one of the victims. He’s now in the Van Buren County Jail on charges of domestic assault, interfering with 911 communication, and violating a PPO.. ...Read Full Story

New Warning To Lock Vehicles Following Five Break-Ins In Bloomingdale

There’s a common message from law enforcement all over southwest Michigan to people: lock the doors of your vehicle. The latest comes from Bloomingdale, as the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says five vehicles were broken into overnight between Saturday and Sunday. There’s no specific location in the village that was targeted other than “in and around” according to deputies. Investigators have also not released details about what was taken from the vehicles, but do say that in every case, the doors had not been locked. The issue has popped up all over Berrien County in recent months as well, even leading to some cars being stolen because the keys were inside.. ...Read Full Story

MSU Federal Credit Union Reports Fake Charges To British Televangelist Group

An official with Michigan State University Federal Credit Union says 2,300 cards were charged with false transactions to an international televangelist network. Officials with the Lansing-area credit union say it’s unclear who was behind the fraudulent charges to Britain’s LoveWorld TV. Each charge was under $100 and will be refunded. The credit union says it is also issuing new cards to members who were affected. Chief Marketing Officer Deidre Davis says the credit union’s security and fraud management teams are investigating, as are officials from Visa. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel last week put out a warning to MSUFCU members to keep a close eye on their accounts after the breach was found.. ...Read Full Story

OK2SAY Goes To The Big Screen

Michigan’s OK2SAY tipline is now appearing on the big screen. The Michigan Attorney General’s office says OK2SAY advertisements are running in movie theaters throughout the state this season. Three different OK2SAY messages began airing on 372 screens in 48 different movie theaters earlier this month and are expected to be seen by more than 1.1 million students and their families. AG Dana Nessel says reaching students when they are outside of the classroom is an important part of the OK2SAY message, and her office wants to remind them they can step up and speak out when they learn of something potentially harmful. She adds, “whether it’s a bully or a friend contemplating self-harm,” it really is OK2SAY. The OK2SAY tipline was launched in 2014 as a way for students to speak up anonymously. To date, more than 22,000 tips have been received, more than 5,500 in 2019 alone. The top tip categories include suicide threats, bullying, drugs, self-harm, anxiety, stress, depression, and harassment. To send a tip, all you have to do is text OK2SAY.. ...Read Full Story

Search Again Suspended For Missing Teen In Lake Michigan At Holland State Park

There is still no sign of a 16-year-old girl from Flushing who was swept off the pier at Holland State Park on New Year’s Day. Eliza Trainer is presumed drowned, and the search has been suspended due to rough conditions on Lake Michigan several times by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. Trainer was with a friend when they were swept off around 11 p.m. on January 1. He made it out of the water and ran for help. The two had made the long drive from the Flint area to Holland just to see Lake Michigan for the first time. On a GoFundMe page set up for her funeral expenses, it says Kade Goodrich and Trainer clung to each other in the water for about five minutes trying to get to rocks along the shore. As Goodrich was on a rock and holding her hand trying to pull her up, another wave hit and swept her away.. ...Read Full Story

City Of Bridgman Taking Public Input On Parks Plan

The city of Bridgman is taking public input on its next five year parks master plan. A draft is now online and will be available for public viewing through January 20. The five year plan outlines the work needed at area parks for the coming years. It’s necessary for a municipality to have such master plans in order to qualify for certain grants. In the case of Bridgman, much of the parks plan focuses on Weko Beach and the surrounding campgrounds, but it also covers Toth Park and Legion Park. The plan also features requests received through surveys of the public. People suggested things that include wifi at Weko Beach, a beach cam, and improved restrooms. Public comments will be taken on the draft plan at Bridgman City Hall through 6:30 p.m. on the 20th. They can also be emailed to the city parks director.. ...Read Full Story

Donations Being Taken For Foster Kid Scholarships

The Michigan Department of Treasury is inviting everyone to contribute to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund. The fund provides college scholarships to young adults who have experienced foster care and are enrolled at a Michigan college or university. Michigan Education Trust Director Robin Lott tells WSJM News kids in foster care face obstacles to higher education.. ...Read Full Story

Phone Scammers Posing As Utilities

The Better Business Bureau of West Michigan and Consumers Energy are warning business owners of the latest phone scam. Consumers spokesperson Roger Morgenstern tells WSJM News with this one, someone calls a business claiming to represent the utility and claiming a bill is past due. They say the business will have its service shut off if they don’t pay up, usually with a wire transfer or a pre-paid card, quickly. Morgenstern says Consumers Energy will not do that.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews U To Hold Documentary Screening Ahead Of MLK Day

Andrews University in Berrien Springs will host an award winning filmmaker and a screening of his documentary this month in preparation for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It says Martin Doblmeier will be at the Howard Performing Arts Center at 11:30 a.m. on January 16 to discuss his documentary, “Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story.” Later that evening, he’ll participate in a screening and panel discussion of the film at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary Chapel starting at 7. Born the grandson of slaves, Andrews says Thurman became a “spiritual foundation” for the Civil Rights Movement, inspiring many of its leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. He was a preacher and writer who authored more than 20 books. The discussion and film presentation featuring Martin Doblmeier will be free and open to the public.. ...Read Full Story

Oak Ridge Boys To Perform At Berrien County Youth Fair

The Oak Ridge Boys are coming back to the Berrien County Youth Fair this summer. The fair tells us the country group will perform on the grandstand Wednesday, August 19 as the headliner for the festivities. The Oak Ridge Boys have played the Berrien County Youth Fair three times previously, in 1973, 1986, and 1988. The youth fair has not yet announced any of this year’s grandstand events apart from the Oak Ridge Boys. Tickets are already on sale for the performance, and you can get them online, at the fair office in Berrien Springs, or over the phone. This will be the 75th year for the Berrien County Youth Fair.. ...Read Full Story

FIRST Robotics Event At LMC Saturday

This Saturday brings the 2020 season kickoff event for FIRST Robotics at Lake Michigan College. Kickoff Program Planner Tim Dunaj tells WSJM News 23 FIRST Robotics teams from local high schools will be at the Grand Upton Hall starting at 8:30 a.m. to hear from some speakers and to talk with local business owners. At 10:30 there will be a livestream from FIRST Robotics leaders.. ...Read Full Story

Meeting Set For January 15 On Empire Avenue Portion Of I-94/US-31 Connection Project

The long-awaited connection of I-94 and US-31 is slated to get underway next year after decades of delays. The Michigan Department of Transportation says the work will involve building several new bridges, but one street won’t go over the soon-to-be extended section of US-31. MDOT instead is planning a cul-de-sac for Empire Avenue on either side of the highway. The department will hold an open house at the Benton Charter Township office on Territorial Road on Wednesday, January 15 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. The I-94 interchange at Exit 33 will also be rebuilt as part of the connection of the highways. In order to accommodate the change in traffic patterns, MDOT is planning to resurface Britain Avenue from Benton Center Road to Hillandale Road, Hillandale Road from Britain Avenue to Empire Avenue, and Benton Center Road from Empire Avenue to Britain Avenue.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan’s Congressional Delegation Reacts To U.S. Killing Top Iranian General

The reaction from Michigan’s congressional delegation to the killing by the U.S. of Iran’s top general is generally supportive, but also measured. Congressman Fred Upton’s response is that Qassem Soleimani “was the ringleader responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. military officials and was likely planning more. I look forward to learning more in briefings when I return to Washington from Michigan next week, but I support the President’s reaction thus far in taking Soleimani out,” and ended that tweet with an American flag emoji. Fellow west Michigan Republican Congressman Bill Huizenga says Iran has killed American troops for years, and the action will “demonstrate that the United States will hold Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, accountable.” Independent Justin Amash wrote “Soleimani was evil. But our system demands consent for war from the people, acting through their representatives and senators in Congress.” Suburban Detroit Democrat Andy Levin wrote “There is no question that Qasem Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. I feel no sadness at the news of his death. But I have serious concerns about this President’s execution of a potential act of war without authorization of Congress.”. ...Read Full Story

$75,000 Donation To Spectrum Health Lakeland Pavilion Project

Spectrum Health Lakeland’s new pavilion project has received another boost. Spectrum says Southwestern Medical Clinic providers have donated $75,000 to the atrium dining areas on the basement level of the pavilion. The contribution will help allow for new food stations, modern decor, natural light, and digital menu screens. The cafeteria and new dining area are already open to the public. Southwestern Medical Clinic Physicians Incorporated President Dan Hayward says the group is honored to be able to help support the Lakeland project. So far, community members have donated nearly $7 million in support of the Spectrum Health Lakeland Pavilion. Phase I of project will be finished next month. Phase II, which includes 80,000 square feet of renovated space, is expected to be completed late this year.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Commission Holds First 2020 Meeting

Mac Elliott remains the chair of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners after the body held a brief meeting Thursday to start out the new year. Elliott tells us not much has changed with the structure of the county board. Commissioner Ezra Scott has been named the vice chair for a one year term. Elliott says he was the only nominee for the post. There have been no changes to the committee structures, with Elliott saying all of the same members remain on the same committees as last year. After some discussion, the board opted to schedule five night meetings in 2020. Elliott says some were suggesting four night meetings and some were suggesting six, and so he proposed five as a compromise. Last year, the county commission held seven night meetings. The night meetings will be held between May and September in different locations around Berrien County. The exact dates and locations will be decided later.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Officials Get To Root Of Odor: Rotting Radishes

From the Associated Press — A mid-Michigan community has solved an olfactory mystery that could be dubbed “The Case of the Rancid Radishes.” Residents called officials in Delta Township last month, concerned about a smell they thought might be natural gas or sewer leaks. The Lansing State Journal reports township Manager Brian Reed and his staff got to the, well, root of the problem: rotting radishes. It was the unseemly smell of decomposing daikon radishes, a Japanese root vegetable. They had been planted in fields in the township and surrounding areas as a cover crop after a wet spring. The soil effort appears to be successful, albeit odorous. Consistently colder weather should nip the stench in the bud.. ...Read Full Story

Niles Police Identify St. Joseph River Kayak Accident Victim

Niles Police say the man who died in a kayak accident on the St. Joseph River on New Year’s Day was 40-year-old Jean Claude Mutabazi of South Bend. The three surviving kayakers have been identified as 37-year-old Pierre Celestin of Berkeley, California, 81-year-old Ted Knudson of South Bend, and 72-year-old Tom Lehman of South Bend. Niles Fire Chief Larry Lamb says rescue crews spent about four hours looking for Mutabazi.. ...Read Full Story

Home Collapses Due To Lake Michigan Erosion In Muskegon County

Lake Michigan has claimed a Muskegon County home. Erosion from high waves, the high water level, and several storms churning up the lake in recent months ate away enough of the bluff under the cottage in White River Township that the home collapsed and fell to the shore around 11 p.m. Tuesday. The owner will have to pay for the cleanup and says it is her vacation cottage and it had been in the family for generations. When it was built, she says Lake Michigan couldn’t even be seen through the trees between the house and the bluff, which has since been completely washed away. No one was at the home when it happened. Muskegon County officials fear at least one other neighboring house could be falling in very soon.. ...Read Full Story

Crews Searching For Missing Flint-Area Girl In Lake Michigan At Holland State Park

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department are trying to find 16-year-old Eliza Trainer’s body in Lake Michigan. The Flint-area girl was washed off the pier at Holland State Park by a large wave last night along with an 18-year-old man, who was able to get back on shore and went for help. The search was suspended overnight due to high waves of around 12 feet. The sheriff’s office says they’re still not able to use everything they’d normally use in a recovery effort because the water remains too rough. The Coast Guard has brought down a helicopter from Traverse City to aid in the search.. ...Read Full Story