Local News Archives

Firewood Quarantine Proposed By MDARD

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is proposing an exterior firewood quarantine to prevent the introduction of unwanted plant pests and diseases into Michigan. The department says public comments need to be made by November 19. More than 140 pests and diseases can be moved by firewood, including Asian long-horned beetle, mountain pine beetle and spotted lanternfly. These pests are not known to exist in Michigan but could be accidently brought into the state by travelers transporting firewood.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien Springs To Get USDA Loans For Water Work

Berrien Springs will receive a loan from the USDA to replace more than a mile of watermain along with the associated hydrants, valves, water services, and more. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said the over $1.3 million loan is essential to maintaining the integrity of the water distribution system. Berrien Springs will use a second loan of nearly $1.75 million to replace manholes and 7,000 feet of sewer main. These improvements will protect local ground water. The department is giving $27.4 million in loans for modernizing rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in seven rural Michigan communities.. ...Read Full Story

Border Residents Rejoice As US Says It Will Lift Travel Ban

From the Associated Press — Beleaguered business owners and families separated by COVID-19 are celebrating after the Biden administration says it will reopen U.S. land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze. Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to workers whose jobs are deemed essential. New rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason starting in early November. The ban has had enormous economic, social and cultural impact, preventing cross-border shopping and family gatherings when relatives live on different sides of the border.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Not Optimistic About Infrastructure Plan

Things aren’t looking good for an infrastructure package in Congress. Congressman Fred Upton tells us a vote on a bipartisan package already approved by the Senate was delayed over and over again in the House as some Democrats tried to tie it to a $3.5 trillion spending package. Now, it’s looking like nothing will be passed.. ...Read Full Story

United Federal Credit Union, SJ Schools To Welcome Guest Speaker To Promote Diversity

United Federal Credit Union and St. Joseph Public Schools are teaming up for a series of presentations this month on inclusion and diversity. UFCU Community President Rick Dyer tells WSJM News national business motivational speaker Dr. Adolph Brown will come to the high school on October 18 to present “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Action.” Dyer says with the school district’s commitment to equity, Brown is a good fit.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Today, Silver Harbor Brewing Unveil New Downtown Mural

A new building side mural has been unveiled in downtown St. Joseph. St. Joseph Today’s Amy Zapal tells WSJM News the organization worked with Silver Harbor Brewing Company to secure a mural featuring apple blossoms on the side of the brewery’s property at 721 Pleasant Street. Artist Kumpa Tawornprom, of out Florida, was brought in after he painted a temporary mural there in 2019.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien, Cass County Road Agencies Work Together On Project

The Berrien County Road Department and the Cass County Road Commission have teamed up to improve local roads. The Berrien County Road Department tells us they’ve embraced cooperation by working on a prime and double sealcoating project in Cass County. The Berrien entity operates, runs, and maintains its own sealcoating crew while the Cass County group operates, runs, and maintains its own asphalt paving crew. Cass inquired if Berrien’s sealcoating crew could work on a prime and double sealcoating project for Nubour Road. The Berrien County Road Department staff worked with their Cass County counterparts to use a limestone aggregate in the operation. The operation took an existing unpaved road, Nubour Road, from gravel to a sealcoat surface. The Berrien County Road Department says the cooperative project helped provided benefit to Cass County drivers, and also enabled Berrien road staff to explore a different aggregate material for future sealcoat projects. The road department released the below video:. ...Read Full Story

Former Michigan Congressman Dale Kildee Dies

From the Associated Press — Former Michigan Congressman Dale Kildee, who served in Congress for 36 years, has died. He was 92. Kildee’s death was announced Wednesday by his nephew, Congressman Dan Kildee, who succeeded him after his 2012 retirement. Dale Kildee, a Democrat, was first elected to the House in 1976 and represented Flint and surrounding areas. Dan Kildee says Dale Kildee – a former teacher – was always proud that he was from Flint and was passionate about improving others’ lives through education, learning and mentorship.. ...Read Full Story

Medal Of Honor Recipient, South Haven Icon Duane Dewey Dies

A Medal of Honor recipient who was well-known in South Haven has died. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society this week announced Duane E. Dewey passed away on Monday in Saint Augustine, Florida at the age of 89. Dewey was given the Medal of Honor for courage in the Korean War. On April 16, 1952, Dewey was injured by a grenade near Panmunjom. While he and a fellow machine gunner were being treated by a medic, another grenade landed nearby and Dewey smothered the grenade under his body. He told the corpsman, “Doc, I’ve got it in my hip pocket!” He was credited with saving the lives of the two other men and spent 50 days recovering in hospitals. When Dewey was given the Medal of Honor by President Dwight Eisenhower on March 12, 1953, Ike remarked, “You must have a body of steel.” Dewey was born in Grand Rapids, and later was a foundry worker at National Motors in South Haven. After the war, he returned to South Haven and ran a repair shop for typewriters and office machines. In his later years, he split time between Florida and South Haven. Burial arrangements are pending. He is survived by his children.. ...Read Full Story

Large African Cat Escapes Owner, Prowls Detroit Suburb

From the Associated Press — A large cat native to Africa is on the loose in a suburb north of Detroit after escaping from its owner. Authorities say the caracal was reported missing around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday in Royal Oak. The cat’s weight is estimated at 50 pounds. It was among four big cats held in cages that allowed them to go in and out of the owner’s garage. Two escaped through a gate
that was left open. The Detroit Free Press reports that the owner used raw meat to lure one back to the enclosure. The missing cat last was seen near an elementary school.. ...Read Full Story

Biden Appoints Debra Shore To Lead EPA Midwestern Office

From the Associated Press — President Joe Biden has appointed Chicago wastewater official Debra Shore to direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Midwestern office. Shore will oversee EPA’s Region 5, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin – along with 35 indigenous tribes. The office oversees efforts to clean up the Great Lakes and deals with matters including industrial and agricultural pollution and tainted drinking water. Shore is an elected member of the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. That agency handles wastewater treatment and stormwater management.. ...Read Full Story

State Announces More Lead Related Services For Benton Harbor Residents

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is offering additional resources to Benton Harbor residents as it continues to respond to the high levels of lead found in the drinking water of some homes. Among the services are blood tests for children. The department says patients at InterCare Family Health Network are eligible for free lead testing, along with those who are enrolled WIC participants at the Berrien County Health Department. It’s also telling residents they may be eligible for services to find and remove lead hazards from their homes, including lead-based paint. Residents could be eligible for a home lead inspection, testing for lead in drinking water, and help fixing lead hazards. They can learn more by calling the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at 866-691-5323. Meanwhile, MDHHS continues to distribute bottled water to Benton Harbor residents. It says it’s given out more than 23,000 cases since September 30. Information on upcoming locations and dates can be found at Michigan.gov/MiLeadSafe.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Awards Lead Line Replacement Bid

The St. Joseph City Commission has awarded a contract to B& Z Construction to replace lead water service lines around the community. St. Joseph City Engineer Tim Zebell told commissioners Monday the 2022 project will replace lead and galvanized lines near properties where testing found results near or above the acceptable level for lead. He told WSJM News the lead lines were installed as the city developed, and as it does various infrastructure projects, it has to replace those lines that will no longer meet changing state standards.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Voting No On Debt Ceiling Increase

As the U.S. House prepares to vote on increasing the debt ceiling Tuesday night, Congressman Fred Upton has announced he will  be voting no. He told WSJM News that’s after Democrats in Congress and the president pushed through a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package this year. He said he’s not helping increase the nation’s credit limit.. ...Read Full Story

Buchanan Residents Asked To Fill Out Parks Survey

A survey has been launched by the Buchanan Area Recreation Board as it works on a joint parks and recreation plan for Buchanan City and Township. The board says the plan will lay out a five year action plan for improving park and recreation facilities and opportunities for the Buchanan community. It’s asking residents to fill out a roughly ten minute survey to offer their thoughts. The survey asks about things ranging from how often they visit the various area parks to what improvements they would like to see to where they would like playground equipment to be installed. We have a link to it at WSJM.com. Buchanan area residents are asked to take the survey by October 31. You can find it right here.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Department Of Public Safety Wins Fire Prevention Award

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety has received the 2021 Leland Gayheart Prevention Award. It says Leland Gayheart was a 23-year-old firefighter who lost his life due to a burn injury in 1991. As a tribute, the Leland Gayheart Prevention Award was created to encourage prevention programs at local fire departments. It’s given out by the the Gayheart family in conjunction with the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center. Benton Harbor Public Safety has been selected for the honor this year thanks to its prevention efforts in the community. It says during 2020, it installed more than 1,100 smoke alarms throughout Benton Harbor in a partnership with MI-Prevention and the Sound-Off Program. In fact, it says Benton Harbor was the number one city in the state for smoke alarms installed in 2020. With residents being quarantined at home due to the pandemic and children home from school, the department had on duty public safety officers install smoke and CO alarms in homes. It also gave away smoke detectors at food drives.. ...Read Full Story

School Concerned About Sportsmanship After New Soccer Record

From the Associated Press — A school board in northern Michigan plans to send a protest over sportsmanship following a soccer player’s 16-goal record-setting game against a winless team. The backlash over Kevin Hubbell’s performance continued Monday night at a meeting of the Kingsley board. There’s support for sending a protest to the Benzie Central school board. Hubbell is one of the best
players in Michigan. He scored 16 goals in a 17-0 victory by Benzie Central over Kingsley, setting state and national records for most goals. Kingsley Superintendent Keith Smith says it was a “cheap shot” against a young team. The Benzie Central coach says he wasn’t trying to humiliate an opponent by keeping Hubbell on offense.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Redistricting Panel Advances Maps To Hearing Stage

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s redistricting panel has voted to advance multiple draft congressional and legislative maps to public hearings and gave commissioners more time to submit their own plans. The proposals that received support Monday were collaboratively drawn by the commission of four Democrats, four Republicans and five members who affiliate with neither major party. They would be fairer to Democrats than gerrymandered lines created by the GOP-controlled Legislature after the 2010 census. They also could provide more opportunities to elect minority candidates, though there is concern in the Black community that “unpacking” Democratic voters may actually result in fewer Black lawmakers.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeshore Schools Adopts Mask Mandate

Lakeshore Public Schools has implemented a mask mandate to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The board of education approved the update to its Return to Learn plan Monday night. Superintendent Greg Eding issued a statement after the meeting saying the policy requires indoor masking by students, staff, visitors, and volunteers. He says the rule is effective immediately and has been approved to ensure the district provides as normal of an experience as possible for students. Parents addressing the Lakeshore Public Schools Board of Education Monday said COVID cases have led to student quarantines that are proving to be a burden. The district says quarantine guidelines from the Berrien County Health Department allow for fewer quarantines when a universal mask rule is in place in a school. The district says in the last eight days, with no mask mandate in place, Lakeshore schools have averaged eleven quarantined students per case. It’s hoped the mask rule will mean fewer quarantines and therefore fewer disruptions to learning.. ...Read Full Story

Lazy Ballerina Planning New Location For Its Tasting Room

Lazy Ballerina Winery in St. Joseph is moving its tasting room to a new location that’s just a few doors down from its current location. The St. Joseph City Commission signed off on the move Monday night and signaled as much to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. The Lazy Ballerina tasting room will relocate to 321 State Street, at the northeast corner of State and Broad Street. The winery’s Lauren Kniebes tells WSJM News they’ve outgrown their location at 315 State Street.. ...Read Full Story

Ribbon Cutting For New YMCA Addition This Week

The YMCA of Greater Michiana will hold a ribbon cutting for a new addition to its new location in Niles this week. Work on the new $2.6 million, 14,000 square foot addition started in June of last year, and it includes a gym, a youth room, a teen room, a fitness studio, a wellness room, a personal training mezzanine, and office space. The ribbon cutting to celebrate the project’s completion is this Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA on North Front Street in Niles. The YMCA says the new space will provide age-appropriate activities for young people to learn, grow, and thrive in a productive environment. The space will also allow for more programming. The ribbon cutting Tuesday is part of a Business After Hours co-hosted by the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce and the Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce. Those who want to attend can RSVP with the chambers.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joseph Public Schools To Hold Presentation On Diversity And Equity

St. Joseph Public Schools will host a couple of presentations this month on diversity, equity, and inclusion with students, parents, staff, and the community. Dr. Adolph Brown will present “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Action” at the John and DeDe Howard Auditorium at St. Joseph High School. During two presentations on Monday, October 18, Brown will explore the prejudice of making decisions solely based on outward appearances and their cost on meaningful encounters. He’ll guide guests on a journey to provide opportunities for self-exploration of implicit biases and provide the tools to adjust automatic patterns of thinking to help reduce discrimination. The engagements will be at 3 p.m. and at 6 p.m. They are possible thanks to a partnership between St. Joseph Public Schools, the St. Joseph Public Schools Foundation, and United Federal Credit Union.. ...Read Full Story

Suspect In Custody Following Threats To Cassopolis Public Schools

A suspect is in custody after threats were made to Cassopolis Public Schools this week. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department says the district had a heavy police presence on Monday after a tip came in on Sunday. The suspect was arrested Monday and charged with making terrorist threats. The suspect’s name hasn’t been released. The sheriff’s department asks anyone with information to contact it.. ...Read Full Story

Spectrum Health Lakeland Holding Drug Takeback Day This Month

Spectrum Health Lakeland is working with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department to hold a drug takeback day this month. The hospital says it will be a chance for the community to dispose of unneeded prescription drugs in a safe way. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 23 near entrance B at the Center for Outpatient Services on Hollywood Road in St. Joseph. Spectrum Health Lakeland says medications will be accepted in their original containers or dumped in a zip-lock bag. The drop off day is anonymous and part of the 19th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, held by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. Once drugs are collected, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department will oversee their disposal. Residents with unneeded medications are advised to drop them off at a collection event rather than allow them to remain in the medicine cabinet so they don’t wind up in the wrong hands.. ...Read Full Story

New COVID-19 Cases Rise 9,137

The state of Michigan has gained 9,137 new COVID-19 cases for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The Department of Health and Human Services says there have been 1,064,557 people to test positive for the virus since March 2020. There were 36 deaths for those three days to bring the pandemic total to 21,349.. ...Read Full Story

State Providing More Bottled Water In Benton Harbor This Week

The bottled water distribution effort continues in Benton Harbor as the Michigan Department of Health and Humans Services has announced the pickup sites for this week. The department says water will be available on Tuesday at Abundant Life Church of God on Columbus Avenue from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Wednesday, water can be picked up at the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency on Miller Street from 1 to 3. Thursday’s location will be the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency from 4 to 6, and Friday’s location will be God’s Household of Faith on Pipestone from 2 to 6. Benton Harbor residents can also call the Berrien County Health Department this week to schedule drop offs. Residents are being encouraged to use bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, rinsing foods, and mixing powdered infant formula. The state started providing bottled water in Benton Harbor last week as the effort to replace old lead service lines continues.. ...Read Full Story

Gift Helps U-Michigan Put Emphasis On Environmental Justice

From the Associated Press — The University of Michigan says it plans to expand environmental justice efforts after a $11.1 million gift. The school will establish the Tishman Center for Social Justice and the Environment, a scholarship fund and new faculty positions. The money is coming from Dan and Sheryl Tishman and their NorthLight Foundation. The Tishmans believe environmental justice “is at the heart of solving the greatest environmental challenges of the day.” Jonathan Overpeck, dean of the School for Environment
and Sustainability, says minorities often are disproportionately affected by air pollution, toxic waste and flooding.. ...Read Full Story

Schlissel Says He Can Always Teach After U-M Presidency

From the Associated Press — The president of the University of Michigan says he’ll return to teaching and research “if nothing more interesting comes along.” Mark Schlissel spoke Thursday, two days after saying he would leave the presidency in 2023 after nine years. He noted that he’s a tenured member of the university faculty. Schlissel described himself as “just an old biology professor” before his career took him to university leadership. Schlissel is paid $927,000 a year. He will be paid his presidential salary for up to two years after June 2023, under an agreement with the Board of Regents. The university will also provide a lab and $2 million to get it running.. ...Read Full Story

$6 Million Federal Grant Going To Cass County Industrial Park

A grant of $6 million has been announced for the Midwest Energy and Communications Southwest Michigan Advanced Research and Technology Park in Cassopolis. The grant will be used for the construction of road, sewer, and water infrastructure needed for the 234 acre industrial park. Congressman Fred Upton helped to secure the grant through the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. He spoke with WSJM News about the park.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Working On New Trail Network Near Headquarters

A new network of biking trails will be coming to the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area thanks to Whirlpool. The Benton Township Board this past week approved a multi-phased project to create the network of trails in and around Whirlpool Corporation’s Global Headquarters campus. Cornerstone Alliance President Rob Cleveland tells WSJM News this is a start to a larger system of trails they have planned.. ...Read Full Story

Flu Shot Clinics Being Held By Van Buren/Cass Health Department

The Van Buren/Cass District Health Department is planning flu vaccine clinics to be held at multiple locations across the two counties this month. The department says getting vaccinated against the flu reduces the spread of the illness, which is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. It urges everyone to get a flu shot to keep themselves healthy and to prevent spreading the illness to loved ones or co-workers. The flu shot clinics will be held at health department offices in Lawrence and Dowagiac, and also at the Covert Fire Department, Southwestern Michigan College, Marcellus High School, and the Antwerp Township Hall. They’ll take place starting this past week through October 26, and we have the schedule below. Flu vaccinations are covered by most insurance plans and those who go are asked to bring their insurance cards. COVID-19 vaccines will also be available at the flu shot clinics.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Proposes $6.3M To Reduce Backlog Of Felony Cases

From the Associated Press — Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proposed spending $6.3 million in federal rescue funding to reduce a backlog of felony cases in Michigan courts that was caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The governor’s office says there are more than 6,200 cases, the most common being gun cases, that have been awaiting adjudication for roughly five months or longer. The funding, if approved by the Legislature, wouldbe used to create “virtual backlog reduction dockets” – teamed by visiting judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, court clerks, probation officers and other staff.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman To Get Visit From Veggie Van This Month

The Veggie Van will be making a stop in Bridgman this month. Spectrum Health Lakeland says the mobile farmers market will be available from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19 at Southwestern Medical Clinic on Red Arrow Highway. The Veggie Van provides locally grown fruits and vegetables to residents free of charge. It makes stops all over southwest Michigan. The Bridgman event will be drive through style, and a total of 100 bags will be given away. The goal of the program is to ensure fruits and vegetables are available to people who otherwise have limited access to fresh produce. The Veggie Van is supported by Spectrum Health and the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids in partnership with Spectrum Health Lakeland and the YMCA of Greater Michiana.. ...Read Full Story

Cass County Parks To Hold Harvest Fest

The Cass County Parks Department is planning to celebrate the fall and Halloween with a Harvest Fest. Parks Director Scott Wyman tells WSJM News Cass County 4-H is also holding its Trunk-or-Treat event at the same time as the Harvest Fest, promising an exciting afternoon for those who attend. To take place at Dr. TK Loveless Park on October 16, the Trunk-or-Treat portion of the event will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. while the Harvest Fest will be from 2 to 5. Wyman says it’ll feature food, hayrides, and more.. ...Read Full Story

Area Agency On Aging To Explore Dementia With Presentation

The Area Agency on Aging of Region 4 is planning a presentation to help people better understand dementia. “A Journey Through Dementia Minds” will be held at the Heritage Center in St. Joseph and also over Zoom on Thursday October 21, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. It will be an interactive presentation by eight people living with dementia. In the performance, you’ll experience their journey beginning with the recognition that something was wrong, testing, diagnosis, and depression that often follows the diagnosis. The area agency says participants can experience the passage from the darkness of depression into the light of acceptance and the discovery of new meaning. It says the event will be emotional, humorous, and powerful. There will be a dialogue after the presentation. Those who want to find out more can go to CampusForCreativeaging.org.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Fatal Crash In Niles Township

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says a 20-year-old Niles woman is dead after a crash in Niles Township on Friday. Deputies were called to the 2,600 block of Old US-31 around 3:40 p.m. on a report of a single vehicle crash. They found a passenger car pinned against a tree. The driver of the vehicle, a 20-year-old Niles woman, was trapped in the car. Life saving measures were attempted, but the driver died of her injuries. A passenger, an 18-year-old man from Berrien Springs, was thrown from the vehicle in the crash. He was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Vetoes Bill To Ease Restrictions On Feeding Birds

From the Associated Press — Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed a bill that would have eased restrictions on feeding birds in areas where deer and elk roam. Whitmer says the bill clashes with state efforts to keep certain animals from congregating and spreading disease. Feeding birds is not illegal. But it’s illegal to put out food that can lure or attract deer. State Representative Ken Borton’s bill would have explicitly allowed people to place or spread feed within 300 feet from their house. The Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Farm Bureau opposed the bill. Years ago, Borton was accused of not doing enough to keep deer from his feeders in Otsego County. He said the case was dismissed.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Candidates Discuss Affordable Housing

A shortage of affordable housing is a problem nationwide, and it’s also being felt in southwest Michigan communities. During a forum with candidates for the St. Joseph City Commission this week, the candidates were asked how St. Joe could encourage housing development. Michael Sarola said the city should look at its zoning and try to find developers interested in areas where there currently isn’t much housing.. ...Read Full Story

Reapportionment Commission Approves District Maps For Berrien County

Berrien County will soon have a new map of county commission districts following a vote Friday by the Berrien County Apportionment Commission. The county currently has twelve commissioners, and that won’t change. However, their district lines will look different. Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler told the Berrien County Board of Commissioners Thursday the new maps are needed after each census. She noted there were population changes in the county from the previous census.. ...Read Full Story

Paquette Slams RESA Sick Leave Policy

State Representative Brad Paquette is expressing opposition to a new policy at Berrien RESA granting ten additional paid sick days to employees who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Paquette says the policy allows staff to use the extra sick days if they are vaccinated and have been exposed to the virus. Unvaccinated employees are not given the same. An email from RESA says to use the extra sick days, an employee must provide verification of vaccination status. Paquette says the policy is “discriminatory and unacceptable.” He goes on to say the “policy clearly discriminates against those who have decided that vaccination is not the right personal health choice. All employees should receive the same number of sick days regardless of vaccination status, no questions asked.” He also calls the RESA policy a violation of privacy. Paquette is now working on legislation that would ban such sick leave policies in Michigan. He says it will be introduced soon.. ...Read Full Story

Police Release Sketch In Grand Mere Sex Assault Case

A sketch of the suspect in a sexual assault reported at Grand Mere State Park last month has been released by police. The Lincoln Township Police Department says the assault happened on September 20. A woman reported she’d been assaulted while lying in a hammock in the dunes. The suspect is described as a white male in his 30s and about six feet tall. He’s also described as having dark hair and an athletic build. He may be driving a silver or grey SUV. The Lincoln Township Police Department says it’s received several tips in the case and evidence has been submitted to the MSP crime lab in Grand Rapids. It says officers from the department have patrolled the park as often as shift coverage, call volumes, and resources allow ever since another assault reported there in April. The department notes Grand Mere is a state property and it has no jurisdiction to place surveillance devices there. However, it noted it’s working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources on some possible security measures, and it says the DNR has stepped up patrols through Grand Mere.. ...Read Full Story

Marijuana Festival Saturday In Ypsilanti

Riverside Park in Ypsilanti will be the site of the Canna Jam tomorrow, a state-licensed cannabis event featuring music, comedy, dancing and plenty of food. The organizer is attorney Michael Komorn, he says the goal is to show the positive impact of marijuana consumption in social settings.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Candidates Talk Short Term Rentals

Short term rentals are a hot topic in the city of St. Joseph as a bill has been proposed in the Michigan Legislature to strip local control over the number of short-term rentals allowed in a community. During this week’s forum with candidates for the St. Joseph City Commission, those running had a variety of thoughts. Michelle Binkley, the lone incumbent, said she supports the current city policy on short-term rentals.. ...Read Full Story

County Hiring Firm To Help Manage ARPA Funds

With Berrien County expected to receive around $29.8 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, the board of commissioners is bringing in some help to manage some of that money. During Thursday’s meeting, the board hired Public Sector Consultants to discern how the funds can be spent based on federal guidelines and how much lost county revenue can be replaced with ARPA dollars. The Michigan Association of Counties has qualified Public Sector Consultants for that kind of work. The cost of its services to the county will be $3,500.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Man Wins $500,000 In Lottery

A Van Buren County man has won $500,000 in a Michigan Lottery game. The Lottery tells us 65-year-old James Watson bought his winning Power 777 instant ticket at the BP station on Phoenix Street in South Haven. Watson says he was watching a football game when he scratched off his weekly $20 lotto purchase. He didn’t have his glasses on and thought he had a $5,000 winner, but when he had a clerk scan the ticket the next day, it was for $500,000. He says when he heard that, he couldn’t catch his breath and almost fell over. With his winnings, Watson plans to buy some property, a new vehicle, and then save the remainder.. ...Read Full Story