Local News Archives

Fugitive Arrested In Van Buren County

A 28-year-old Bangor man is in the Kalamazoo County Jail after his arrest Tuesday night at his home. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department was called to County Road 215 to find the fugitive who was wanted for outstanding warrants. As deputies drove up, the man ran inside the house and barricaded himself in a bedroom with a shotgun. Police activated the SWAT team and the man surrendered after what’s described as a short standoff. The investigation continues, and deputies seized the shotgun. No one was hurt.. ...Read Full Story

Official Defends Handling Of Virus In Michigan Nursing Homes

From the Associated Press — A top health official is defending Michigan’s handling of nursing home residents infected with the coronavirus. Robert Gordon is director of the state Department of Health and Human Services. He told lawmakers Wednesday that Michigan’s performance is “strong” compared with other states. He dismissed Republicans’ call for facilities that house only coronavirus patients. Gordon said just two states, Florida and Massachusetts, tried the approach and abandoned it. He says using new facilities for only coronavirus patients would have “limited utility” in a state as large as Michigan. And, he says, “you still need to staff, provide equipment and license that facility.”. ...Read Full Story

Survey Looks At Concerns Of Older Voters

With the nation heading into an election, there are some key matters older Michiganders care about that transcend partisan politics. In a new AARP survey of Michigan voters age 50-plus, 54% said they support Joe Biden, and 40% support Donald Trump. However, they are united in some other areas. Mark Hornbeck with AARP Michigan tells us a majority of older voters would favor candidates who will protect Social Security, strengthen Medicare, and lower prescription drug prices. He adds a majority also say more needs to be done to protect the health of people living in nursing. ...Read Full Story

GVSU Students Ordered To Stay In Place For 2 Weeks

From the Associated Press — Students at Grand Valley State University have been ordered to hunker down for two weeks due to a spike in coronavirus cases linked to the western Michigan campus. There have been more than 600 cases of COVID-19 among students August 23, with the majority among students living off campus. Ottawa County says the stay-in-place order starts Thursday. Students must stick to their on-campus or off-campus residence unless attending classes, exercising, getting food, seeking health care or working at an essential job. Students cannot return to their home community unless there’s an emergency. The move comes a few days after a similar order was issued to students living in fraternities and sororities at Michigan State University.. ...Read Full Story

Hard Rock Cafe Exiting Four Winds New Buffalo

Anyone who was a fan of the Hard Rock Cafe at Four Winds New Buffalo has until Halloween to say goodbye to it. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and Four Winds are replacing it later this year with Kankakee Grille, which is already open in South Bend. Chief operating officer Frank Freedman thanked Hard Rock International for nine years of a “very positive working relationship.” He went on to say the Kankakee Grille has been successful in South Bend and they felt it was a natural progression to bring it to New Buffalo. The new restaurant is named for the Kankakee River, which begins in South Bend and was used by the Potawatomi for food, shelter, medicine, and clothing. It will be open by the end of the year.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Schools To Resume In-Person K-5 Classes

South Haven Public Schools are reopening to in-person education next week. Kindergarten through 5th grades will be in their schools two days a week, staggered by group, and all will be virtual on Wednesdays. One group will be in class Monday and Thursday while the other group is in the building Tuesday and Friday. All K-5 students who enrolled in Ram Connection for 100% virtual learning will remain in that program. Wednesdays will be virtual to allow schools to be deep cleaned every week. The new schedule begins Monday.. ...Read Full Story

Big Ten Football Returns

Big Ten football is set to resume with games on the weekend of October 23 and 24. The Coucil of Presidents and Chancellors this morning adopted significant medical protocols that include daily testing, enhanced cardiac screening and a data-driven approach to decisions about practices and games. Each team will play an eight-game schedule. In addition to the medical protocols approved, the 14 Big Ten institutions will establish a cardiac registry in an effort to examine the effects on COVID-19 positive student-athletes. The registry and associated data will attempt to answer many of the unknowns regarding the cardiac manifestations in COVID-19 positive elite athletes.. ...Read Full Story

Man Aims To Reopen Deer Forest

Several years after it closed, Deer Forest in Coloma could find new life if one man’s fundraising campaign is successful. 36-year-old Blair Struble grew up in Coloma, and says he was heartbroken when he learned the attraction had closed and the property was for sale. He tells WSJM News he and other local kids spent a lot of time there growing up.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Arcade Owner Protests In Lansing

The owner of Rocket Arcade in South Haven was in Lansing on Tuesday to stage a protest over the governor’s refusal to let businesses like his reopen. Ralph Lucius set up a pinball machine at the steps of the Michigan Capitol and questioned why other businesses were allowed to reopen for the summer, but others, like arcades, were forced to stay closed. State Representative Beth Griffin supports his cause.. ...Read Full Story

New Hartford Library Up And Running

Hartford Public Library staff are settling into their new home. After about a year of construction, the brand new Arthur and Bonna Vanderlyn Community Center and Hartford Public Library on Church Street is now open to the public. Library Director Stephanie Daniels tells WSJM News this is a big step up from the old location on Franklin.. ...Read Full Story

Upton, Colleagues Announce Blueprint For Coronavirus Relief Package

The U.S. House Problem Solvers Caucus has unveiled its blueprint for a new coronavirus stimulus and relief bill. The bipartisan group gathered in Washington Tuesday to announce the package, which includes COVID-19 testing, unemployment insurance, direct stimulus, small business and non-profit support, food security, schools and child care, housing, election support, and state and local aid. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News there are a lot of priorities to address.. ...Read Full Story

Nursing Home Visits Now Allowed

Michigan residents are now allowed to visit their loved ones in nursing homes, but it will have to be outdoors for their own safety. Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon says you will have to wait a little while longer to hug anyone though.. ...Read Full Story

Geneva Township House Fire Under Investigation

The cause of a Geneva Township fire that badly damaged a home is not yet known. South Haven Area Emergency Services was called to the scene on County Road 681 just after 10 this morning and needed the help of Bangor Community Fire Department and Columbia Township Fire Department. The residents of the two-story home were not home, and no one was hurt. Firefighters had to shuttle in water to fight the flames as it was fully engulfed when they arrived.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmakers, Whitmer Reach Budget Framework With No K-12 Cuts

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Republican lawmakers and Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer have agreed to a budget framework, saying there will be no cuts to K-12 schools or municipalities despite the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on tax revenues.The deal announced Monday came 17 days before the start of the fiscal year. Few specifics were released, including whether spending will be reduced in some areas. The chairs of legislative budget subcommittee will now take their spending “target” levels and work to iron out bills. Legislators will take final votes next week. The agreement was announced three weeks after the state received a better-than-expected revenue forecast.. ...Read Full Story

New Buffalo Schools Getting Grant From Dollar General

Grants totaling nearly $70,000 are being given by the Dollar General Foundation to schools around Michigan, and among the recipients is New Buffalo Area Schools. The Dollar General says with the grants announced this week, educators at 25 schools and literacy organizations across the Michigan will have extra help to support youth literacy programs. New Buffalo Area Schools is getting a $2,000 grant.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Works Opening New Offices In Cass County

Michigan Works is closing its office in Dowagiac and opening three new locations in Cass County. The agency says the move is being made to reach more people. Michigan Works has already opened an office inside the Niles Southwestern Michigan College Administration building, and says it will soon have staff at the Cass County Department of Health and Human Services building and the Dowagiac Public Library. The current office in Dowagiac will be shut down on October 1. Meanwhile, all Michigan Works sites in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties, including the offices in Benton Harbor, Paw Paw, and Niles, are closed for walk-in services and providing services remotely or by appointment only due to the pandemic.. ...Read Full Story

State To Conduct Aerial Spraying For Mosquitoes

The state of Michigan is going to conduct aerial spraying for mosquitoes this week. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the spraying is in response to cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis that have been detected in 22 horses around the state this year. That’s twice as many animal cases as the same time last year, although to date, no human cases have been identified in 2020, unlike last year. The aerial spraying will be done in the ten counties where EEE has been detected in 2020. Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties are not on that list. The closest county to receive the treatment this week will be Barry County. However additional areas may be selected for treatment if new human or animal cases occur outside of the current zones. The aerial spraying will take place overnight on Wednesday.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Extend Additional Benton Harbor Patrols

Michigan State Police are extending their enhanced patrols in the city of Benton Harbor for another two weeks. The agency says six troopers and one sergeant were assigned to the community this summer through the Secure Cities Partnership as the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety sought assistance in dealing with disturbances. The MSP staff had been assigned to Benton Harbor through September 18, but now that’s been extended to October 3. Michigan State Police say the move is “in response to the positive impact on the community of Benton Harbor and its ongoing public safety challenges.” The agency notes during the fifth and six weeks of additional resources, nine handguns were seized during traffic stops in which individuals were also found to be in possession of cocaine, ecstasy, and more. The stops have also resulted in the seizure of $6,000 in suspected drug money, and arrests have been made for outstanding warrants and other offenses.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Drowning Victim Found

South Haven Area Emergency Management Services says the 18-year-old man who drowned on Labor Day has likely been recovered. The body was retrieved Saturday near the north beach, and SHAES officials say an autopsy will identify the body. He and a 19-year-old, both from Jackson, were struggling in the water a week ago today. The 19-year-old was rescued.. ...Read Full Story

Two Pulled From Lake Michigan In Bridgman

Police in Bridgman say beachgoers puled two teenage girls from Lake Michigan Sunday afternoon. A 15-year-old girl was fine, but her 14-year-old counterpart was unresponsive. Our partners at WSBT 22 report she was first taken to Spectrum Heath Lakeland and then flown to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. Her current condition is unknown.. ...Read Full Story

Police: Argument Led To Fatal Shooting At University Park Mall

(Mishawaka, IN – AP) – Police say a deadly shooting inside a northern Indiana shopping mall happened after an argument between two men. The shooting that killed a 23-year-old man happened Saturday afternoon outside a jewelry store of University Park Mall in Mishawaka and sent frightened shoppers running for safety. The slain man, identified as Delaney Crosby, was shot at least once and died at the scene. Police are searching for the man who shot Crosby.. ...Read Full Story

Soldier From South Haven To Be Remembered With Ceremony This Month

A ceremony will be held this month as the name of a soldier from South Haven is added to the Korean and Vietnam War memorial outside of city hall. American Legion Post 49 Commander Jason Turner tells WSJM News Corporal Earl Janosky died in Korea of encephalitis shortly after taking part in the Pusan Perimeter defense. He was 20 years old. A ceremony adding his name to the local memorial will be at 11 a.m. September 19, 70 years after the day Janosky died. They’ll have a 21 gun salute and more.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Recycling Event Coming Up

A community recycling event is planned for this month at Silver Beach County Park in St. Joseph. Berrien County Parks Department Environmental Property Manager Jill Adams tells WSJM News they’ll take foam, household electronics, and household chemicals. The county has had to cancel two other recycling events this year due to coronavirus, and Adams says there was pent-up demand for the events that went on as scheduled.. ...Read Full Story

Fundraiser This Month For Avenue Family Network

The Avenue Family Network in Benton Harbor is preparing for an online fundraiser this month. Director Joseph Goepfrich tells WSJM News the organization has seen demand for its services rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, but donations go down. They’re hoping that “Contribute To Change: A Day of Giving” on September 28 will help. It’s taking place on the agency’s 129th birthday.. ...Read Full Story

New COVID Testing Site Opens In Niles

There’s a new COVID-19 testing site in Niles. The Michigan Department of the Health and Human Services says saliva tests will now be taken at Hope Community Church, at 2390 Lake Street. It opened this past Wednesday. The hours of operation will be Mondays from 10 to 5, Wednesdays from 10 to 5, and Thursdays from noon to 7. The Niles site is one of five locations announced this week. They were chosen in part to help address racial and ethnic disparities that had existed prior to the pandemic and were exacerbated by the virus. Those who want a test are advised to make an appointment at Michigan.gov/CoronavirusTest, although some walk-ins will be accepted. The testing will be free.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department: Get a Flu Shot

The Berrien County Health Department is advising everyone to get their flu vaccine as the weather cools. Spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News they tell everyone to get the flu shot every year, but COVID-19 makes it all the more important fewer people get the flu this year.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Ready To Accept Students Through New State Program

Lake Michigan College has already been hearing from prospective students interested in the state’s new free tuition program for frontline workers. Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday announced the Futures for Frontliners program, which will pay the tuition for someone without a degree who had to continue going to work during the earlier months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lake Michigan College Vice President of Student Affairs Nygel Likely tells WSJM News the college is ready to start taking those students.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan House Moves To Ease Licensing For People With Criminal Past

From the Associated Press — The Michigan House has unanimously approved bills designed to lift restrictions that prevent people with a criminal record from obtaining occupational licenses. The bipartisan legislation, which was sent Thursday to the Senate for future debate, involves the consideration of an applicant’s “good moral character” in the licensing process. The measures would prohibit the consideration of a conviction unless it is a felony and regulators also determine the specific offense is grounds for a denial. The tighter requirements would not apply when licensing child care providers, lawyers, law enforcement officers and workers in nursing homes.. ...Read Full Story

State COVID Numbers For Friday

Michigan is reporting 1,313 additional cases of COVID-19 for Friday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says there have been a total of 110,832 cases of the illness in the state since the start of the pandemic. The state reports nine additional deaths for Friday, bringing that total to 6,578. For the day, Berrien County reported 17 additional cases for a total of 1,531 with 72 deaths. Cass County reported ten new cases for a total of 420 and 16 deaths. Van Buren County reported eight additional cases for Friday for a total of 616 cases and 14 deaths.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Clarifies Order: Masks Not Required For All Sports

From the Associated Press — Governor Gretchen Whitmer has clarified her order requiring masks in organized sports, saying they must be worn in training and competition only when athletes can’t consistently keep 6 feet apart. The measure issued Wednesday explicitly mentions football, soccer and volleyball as sports where face coverings are a must due to the coronavirus pandemic. But it also now exempts sports in which athletes can keep distance “except for occasional and fleeting moments” – such as tennis, golf, cross country, baseball and softball. Her initial order to let additional organized sports resume required all athletes to wear a mask except when swimming.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Confident FDA Will Thoroughly Vet Vaccine

President Trump started out the week by suggesting a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready in time for the election in November, raising some concerns the administration could pressure the FDA to speed up the vaccine’s approval for political reasons. Congressman Fred Upton tells WSJM News he’s sat through hearings on the vaccine, and is sure it will be properly tested before anything is released.. ...Read Full Story

Virtual Learning Could Be Better For Sex Ed

Virtual learning could prove to be a benefit for teaching Michigan kids about sexual health. The Michigan Department of Education worked this summer on a series of sex education webinars for educators. Brittany Batell, with the Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health, worked with the department and says teachers shared that student engagement dropped when schools went virtual in the spring. However, she tells us students in the schools that continued to teach sex ed online didn’t lose interest in the topics of health and relationships.. ...Read Full Story

County Leaders Discuss Management Of Federal COVID Money

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners is thinking about how to handle all of the COVID-19 funding the county has been getting from the federal government. During a Thursday meeting, Commissioner Mamie Yarbrough said the Finance Committee was advised this week by Berrien County Financial Services Director Doug James to set up a special CARES Act fund.. ...Read Full Story

Better Business Bureau Warns About Door To Door Paving Scams

The Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan is warning about a driveway paving scam. It says a woman in Mecosta County has reported a man going by the name of Angelo George coming to her door with an offer to pave her driveway. She asked for more information about the company and was given a business card. The company identifies itself as A&G Paving, which the man said is based out of Big Rapids. The card includes the BBB Logo and a toll-free phone number. The woman declined to sign up on the spot, and instead said she would look into it and get back with them. Since then, the BBB has been unable to locate A&G Paving in Big Rapids or anywhere else in west Michigan. It says there is no company by that name accredited with the Better Business Bureau, and the phone number on the business card goes to an automated message selling medical alert systems. Regional BBB President Phil Catlett says the woman in this story did the right thing by taking time to research the company in question.. ...Read Full Story

State COVID Numbers For Thursday

Michigan is reporting 924 additional cases of COVID-19 for Thursday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says there have been a total of 109,519 cases of the illness in the state since the start of the pandemic. The state reports 17 additional deaths for Thursday, bringing that total to 6,569. However, nine of those deaths were identified through a review of vital records. For the day, Berrien County reported 12 additional cases for a total of 1,514 with 72 deaths. Cass County reported three new cases for a total of 410 and 16 deaths. Van Buren County reported four additional cases for Thursday for a total of 608 cases and 14 deaths.. ...Read Full Story