Local News Archives

State Program Offers Scholarships To Those Seeking To Become Teachers

Applications are being taken for a new state scholarship program aimed at those entering the teaching profession. Lake Michigan College Associate Dean of Regional Campuses Jeremy Burleson tells us the Mi Future Educator Fellowship program would provide $10,000 scholarships for college students and $9,600 per-semester stipends for student teachers. He says this is a new program.. ...Read Full Story

SHOUT For South Haven Seeks Volunteers For Flower Removal

SHOUT for South Haven is seeking volunteers for its latest project. It says with the drawbridge’s flowers now fading due to the coming of winter, it’s inviting volunteers of all kinds to come and help remove the flowers and dirt from the planters. In the spring, volunteers plant the flowers each year. SHOUT says those who wish to help with removing them can come this Tuesday at 9 a.m. Be sure to bring some gloves, protective eye wear, and a trowel if you have one. City staff will be there with the Big Michigan Loader to haul the dirt away. That volunteer opportunity is Tuesday only.. ...Read Full Story

Harbaugh Expects Four Players To Be Charged

From the Associated Press — Jim Harbaugh expects the four suspended Michigan State football players involved in roughing up two members of Michigan’s team to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Michigan’s coach said Monday that he can’t imagine the MSU players’ actions will not result in criminal charges. Harbaugh said defensive back Gemon Green was punched by a Spartan in the Michigan Stadium tunnel shortly after the fourth-ranked Wolverines beat their in-state rival on Saturday night and teammate Ja’Den McBurrows tried to help. McBurrows is seen on a video shared on social media being pushed, punched and kicked by multiple Michigan State players.. ...Read Full Story

Powerball Jackpot Up To $1 Billion

The Powerball grand prize continues to grow as no one hit the jackpot in Saturday night’s drawing. The jackpot is now estimated at $1 billion for tonight’s drawing, and the cash value is over $497-million. If you did win the jackpot, what would you do with it? Jake Harris spokesman for the Michigan Lottery, says many winners want to help others.. ...Read Full Story

Former Grand Rapids Cop To Face Trial For Murder

From the Associated Press — A former Michigan police officer who shot a Black motorist in the back of the head will stand trial for second-degree murder. That’s the decision a judge in Grand Rapids, Michigan, announced Monday morning. Patrick Lyoya was shot at point-blank range last April. The 26-year-old briefly ran after a traffic stop then grappled with Christopher Schurr across a front lawn before the white officer shot him. The confrontation was recorded on video by a man who was a passenger in Lyoya’s car. Judge Nicholas Ayoub heard testimony and watched the video last week. The judge only had to find probable cause to send the case to trial, a low standard of evidence at this stage. Schurr’s attorney says Lyoya was killed in self-defense.. ...Read Full Story

Doctors Tell of Patients’ Hardships after Roe is Overturned

“We had hoped the decision would come down on one of the days we were not doing procedures,” Dr. Sanithia Williams said. “We had a waiting room full of people. People were horrified and desperate. There were people crying. There were people begging. Some people offered to pay extra if we could just do the procedure-not fully understanding what was happening. We had to turn all those people away.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Groups Hope To Preserve Historic Bridge

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is planning a $5 million improvement project for the Kal Haven Trail in the next few years, and that has caused some concerns about the fate of an iconic bridge near the South Haven trailhead. The Donald F. Nichols covered bridge was once a railroad bridge that was abandoned in the 1970s and later incorporated into the Kal Haven Trail. South Haven Visitors Bureau Director Jen Sistrunk tells WSJM News the bridge is a popular attraction.. ...Read Full Story

SWM Homes Sales Slowing, Inventory Stabilizing

Homes sales in southwest Michigan continue to cool off while prices rise and the inventory slowly recuperates. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors says September home sales were down 15% from September of 2021, while the yearly overall sales are down 13%. The average price in September was $340,000, compared to $324,000 in September of 2021. The inventory, or homes available for sale, was down 3% from September of the previous year, although for the year overall, the inventory of houses for sale increased to a 4.1 month supply available for buyers. To compare to another year, there was a 17 month supply of inventory in September of 2010. For September, there was only one bank-owned, or foreclosed, home sold in the region. That represented 0% of the sales. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in September was 6.70, up from 5.50 in August for a 30-year mortgage. A year ago, the rate was 3.01.. ...Read Full Story

I&M Supporting FIRST Robotics Programs

FIRST Robotics teams from around southwest Michigan can now apply for grants from Indiana Michigan Power. I&M spokesperson Corey Ohlenkamp tells WSJM News the grants will boost interest in science, technology, engineering, and math for local students while helping them compete in robotics at the pre-kindergarten through high school level. There are different grants for different levels of competition.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Drive Project Inching Forward

St. Joseph City Commissioners have approved hiring Abonmarche to do the engineering and design for the complete reconstruction of Upton Drive from the St. Joseph River to Momany Drive. At a meeting this past week, commissioners were told much depends on a patchwork of grants and low-interest loans coming through the state and federal government for the overall $6.85 million project to take place. City Engineer Tim Zebell told WSJM News a lot of funds are available thanks to work Whirlpool is doing in the area.. ...Read Full Story

County Commission Seeking Grants For Trail Expansion

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has voted to seek a couple of grants to help with the extension of a trail along M-63 near St. Joseph. At a meeting this past week, the board authorized County Administrator Brian Dissette to seek Transportation Alternatives Program funding to the tune of $1.4 million for the Lakeview trail. Commissioner Jim Curran said at a meeting last week this trail is near the Whirlpool headquarters.. ...Read Full Story

Heart Transplant Recipient Meets Mother Of Lifesaving Donor

An emotional meeting took place this weekend between the recipient of an organ donation and the family of the man whose donation saved her life. The Indiana Donor Network organized the gathering between the families of Sharon Culbreath, the organ recipient, and Joseph Reaume, the organ donor. Sharon, of Elkhart, developed a heart problem in 2020 that left her on the transplant list. When Joseph Reaume died unexpectedly, she received his heart. Sharon reached out to Joseph’s mother, Teena Smith, in the hope of meeting her. That happened Saturday at Papa Vino’s in St. Joseph. Sharon told us it was special to meet the mother of the man whose heart saved her life.. ...Read Full Story

Indiana Michigan Power Teacher Grants Available

Indiana Michigan Power is taking applications from teachers for its Teacher Vision Grants to boost academic growth throughout the region. Spokesperson Corey Ohlenkamp tells WSJM News I&M and AEP give out the grants to help teachers buy robots, circuity boards, construction tools, and to sponsor Science, Technology, Engineering and Math camp scholarships, among other things.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Township Police Involved In Chase, Exchange Of Gunfire

The St. Joseph Township Police Department says it’s investigating after an officer-involved shooting this week. It says an officer spotted a vehicle police believed to have been involved in an armed robbery in Berrien Springs. When the officer tried to engage the vehicle, it took off, leading to a chase while the suspect fired multiple shots at the officer from the moving vehicle. The chase ended at the intersection of Columbus and Division in Benton Harbor, where the suspect turned their vehicle toward the officer. This time, the officer returned fire, although it’s not believed the suspect was hit. The suspect took off, and a search with a K9 did not find them. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the St. Joseph Township Police Department .. ...Read Full Story

Judge To Decide Whether Former Grand Rapids Police Officer Faces Trial

From the Associated Press — A judge is expected to rule by next week on whether a former Michigan police officer who fatally shot a Black motorist in the back of the head during a struggle over a Taser will stand trial for second-degree murder. Grand Rapids District Court Judge Nicholas Ayoub said Friday during the final day of Christopher Schurr’s preliminary examination that he will review the evidence and issue a written opinion on Monday. Schurr is charged in the April 4 slaying of 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya following a traffic stop, short foot chase and scuffle in a Grand Rapids neighborhood. The traffic stop, struggle and shooting were captured on video. Schurr, who is white, later was fired by the police department.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Get 340 Additional AEDs

Michigan State Police have announced the purchase of 340 automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs, for posts statewide. Using funding from MSP vacancies, the agency was able to buy the new equipment for $486,000. Lieutenant Duane Robinson with the MSP Fifth District in Benton Harbor tells WSJM News the AEDs have long been among the equipment in department vehicles, and he has personal experience with them.. ...Read Full Story

Construction To Close Part Of Pipestone Road Staring Monday

Pipestone Road at I-94 in the Benton Harbor area will be closed for a few weeks in November as the Michigan Department of Transportation repairs the eastbound I-94 bridge over Pipestone and removes equipment used to build a temporary lane. The work is all part of the I-94 rebuilding project between Red Arrow Highway and Britain Avenue set for 2023 and 2024. MDOT says starting Monday, drivers can expect single-lane closures on eastbound and westbound I-94, while Pipestone Road will be closed and detoured in the area of the highway. The Pipestone detours will take northbound drivers on Pipestone to eastbound I-94, westbound Napier Avenue, and westbound I-94 back to northbound Pipestone Road. Southbound Pipestone divers will be detoured to westbound I-94, southbound M-139, and eastbound I-94 back to southbound Pipestone Road. The work starting Monday is expected to continue through November 18. The project is intended to widen the freeway and improve the driving surface.. ...Read Full Story

Great Lakes Advocates Urge Voters To Research Candidates

With the November 8 election just about here, the Alliance for the Great Lakes is asking voters to keep the interests of the lakes in mind when considering which candidates to support. Spokesperson Jennifer Caddick tells us, for one thing, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which supports all kinds of lakes programs, is something advocates want to continue.. ...Read Full Story

Auto Prices Slowly Creeping Back Down

From the Associated Press — Average prices on new and used vehicles have begun easing from their record highs, and more vehicles have become available at dealerships. The average used vehicle price in September was down 1% from its peak in May. Even so, auto purchases remain unaffordable for many, with average prices still 30% to 50% above where they were when the pandemic erupted in early 2020. The average used auto cost nearly $31,000 last month. The average new? $47,000. With monthly payments on a new vehicle averaging above $700, millions of buyers have been priced out of the new-vehicle market and are now confined to used vehicles.. ...Read Full Story

Effort Underway To Preserve Covered Bridge Near South Haven

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is planning a $5 million improvement project for the Kal Haven Trail in the next few years, and that has caused some concerns about the fate of an iconic bridge near the South Haven trailhead. The Donald F. Nichols covered bridge was once a railroad bridge that was abandoned in the 1970s and later incorporated into the Kal Haven Trail. South Haven Visitors Bureau Director Jen Sistrunk tells WSJM News the bridge is a popular attraction.. ...Read Full Story

Commissioners Seeking Grant For Trail Extension

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has voted to seek a couple of grants to help with the extension of a trail along M-63 near St. Joseph. At a Thursday meeting, the board authorized County Administrator Brian Dissette to seek Transportation Alternatives Program funding to the tune of $1.4 million for the Lakeview trail. Commissioner Jim Curran said at a meeting last week this trail is near the Whirlpool headquarters.. ...Read Full Story

Six From Benton Harbor Charged COVID Relief Scam

Six people from Benton Harbor are charged with wire fraud for illegally obtaining more than $1 million in COVID-19 related unemployment benefits and small business loans. The U.S. Attorney in Grand Rapids says 45-year-old Roshell Beaty, 21-year-old Melvin Clinton, 28-year-old Danielle Branch, 22-year-old Christopher Bates, 24-year-old Brianna Rimpson, and 27-year-old Christopher Branch were part of a scheme to illegally acquire COVID-19 relief funds. It’s alleged that between April of 2020 and December of 2021, the defendants conspired to commit wire fraud by submitting false for pandemic unemployment benefits, in their own names and in the names of third parties, some of whom were victims of identity theft. According to the indictment, the six submitted at least 98 fraudulent unemployment claims in the names of at least 61 people. As a result, the states of Michigan, Indiana, California, Illinois, and Arizona paid out more than $764,000 in pandemic unemployment benefits. Also, the U.S. Attorney says five of the six defendants are charged with varying counts of wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with the fraudulent receipt of loans intended to relieve small businesses.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Springs Man Charged In Coloma Arson

A Berrien Springs man is facing charges after an apartment arson in Coloma. The Coloma Township Police Department says officers responded to an explosion at a three story apartment building at 226 Ellendale Drive on October 13. They found smoke coming out of the windows and a vehicle on fire in the back of the building. After the fire was put out, a resident of the building told police they had video of the vehicle fire, which was found to show a man setting the vehicle on fire intentionally. After an investigation, police identified Glynn Miller, Junior of Berrien Springs as a suspect. He was arrested on October 19 and faces charges including arson and malicious destruction of property. Miller was arraigned Monday with bond set at $75,000. He’ll be back in court November 9. Police say no one was hurt in the apartment fire.. ...Read Full Story

Hartford, Cassopolis Schools Getting EPA Grants For Electric Buses

Hartford Public Schools will get over $1.5 million dollars from the Environmental Protection Agency to purchase four electric buses. The grants through the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program totaling $54 million in Michigan were announced by US Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters. Cassopolis Public Schools will receive nearly $1.2 million to buy three electric buses. EPA’s Clean School Bus Program helps states accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles, produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities, and save schools money. This program will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs.. ...Read Full Story

More Than 60 Years On The Air, ‘Academic Challenge’ Returns to 94.9 WSJM

WSJM’s Academic Challenge is back with quiz bowl competition pitting area schools against each other to compete for points in hopes of becoming Academic Challenge Champions.  The program that rewards scholarship, rather than athletic prowess has been a staple of Twin Cities radio since the 1950s.  It has been broadcast on News-Talk-Sports WSJM for more than 25 years.. ...Read Full Story

State Elections Official Seeks To Ease Concerns About Voting Issues

In an effort to clear up questions that still may exist about the counting of absentee ballots, and the eventual certification of those results, Michigan election officials Wednesday addressed concerns that some county canvassers may opt not to certify results if challenges are brought forward. Tony Daunt is the Republican chair of the State Board of Canvassers, whose job it is to eventually certify Michigan’s statewide results.. ...Read Full Story

Southwest Michigan Homes Sales Continue Cool Down In September

Homes sales in southwest Michigan continue to cool off while prices rise and the inventory slowly recuperates. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors says September home sales were down 15% from September of 2021, while the yearly overall sales are down 13%. The average price in September was $340,000, compared to $324,000 in September of 2021. The inventory, or homes available for sale, was down 3% from September of the previous year, although for the year overall, the inventory of houses for sale increased to a 4.1 month supply available for buyers. To compare to another year, there was a 17 month supply of inventory in September of 2010. For September, there was only one bank-owned, or foreclosed, home sold in the region. That represented 0% of the sales. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in September was 6.70, up from 5.50 in August for a 30-year mortgage. A year ago, the rate was 3.01.
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I&M Supporting FIRST Robotics Programs

FIRST Robotics teams from around southwest Michigan can now apply for grants from Indiana Michigan Power. I&M spokesperson Corey Ohlenkamp tells WSJM News the grants will boost interest in science, technology, engineering, and math for local students while helping them compete in robotics at the pre-kindergarten through high school level. There are different grants for different levels of competition.. ...Read Full Story

Organ Recipient To Meet With Family Of Donor In St. Joseph

A rare intimate gathering is planned for this weekend in St. Joseph as the recipient of an organ donation will meet the family of the donor who saved her life. The Indiana Donor Network tells us 31-year-old Sharon Culbreath was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and an enlarged heart, and despite years of treatment, she was told she needed a new heart. The day Joseph Reaume died unexpectedly in Florida, Culbreath was placed on the transplant list, and the next day, Reaume’s heart was inside Culbreath’s chest. On Saturday, Culbreath will meet Tenna Smith, the mother of Joseph Reaume, in St. Joseph, and give to her a Build a Bear she had made that contains a recording of Smith’s son’s heartbeat. The Indiana Donor Network tells us nearly 90% of organ recipients never meet the families of their donors. This is a rare exception. Saturday’s meeting between Culbreath and Smith, a St. Joseph resident, will include a host of family members on both sides to celebrate Reaume’s life and his family’s decision to donate. It is planned to be a private gathering.. ...Read Full Story

Three Found Guilty In Whitmer Kidnapping Plot

From the Associated Press — Three men have been convicted of supporting a plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor. It’s a victory for state prosecutors after months of mixed results in the main case in federal court. Joe Morrison, Pete Musico and Paul Bellar were found guilty Wednesday of providing “material support” for a terrorist act as members of a paramilitary group, the Wolverine Watchmen. They held gun drills with a leader of the scheme, Adam Fox, who was disgusted with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and said he wanted to kidnap her. Defense attorneys argued that the three men had broken ties with Fox by late summer 2020 when the Whitmer plot came into focus. Separately, Fox and three others were convicted of a kidnapping conspiracy in federal court. Two men were acquitted.. ...Read Full Story