Local News Archives

Deadline Soon For Home Heating Assistance

Time is running out to apply for the Michigan Home Heating Credit this year. The deadline is September 30, and Consumers Energy spokesperson Brian Wheeler tells us thousands of Michigan residents who might quality for that home heating assistance may be missing out. He says people shouldn’t be reluctant to apply.. ...Read Full Story

New Anti-Crime Effort In Benton Harbor

“Stop the violence, stop the silence.” That’s the message from Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad as he and other community leaders spearhead a new initiative to reduce violent crime in the city. At a Thursday press conference, Muhammad stood with police and church leaders to appeal for unity in Benton Harbor.. ...Read Full Story

Grant Application Mistake Addressed By Berrien County Board

A massive project to clean up Ox Creek in Benton Township and Benton Harbor will continue with grant money from the state after the Berrien County commission approved a resolution to protect the county from being stuck holding the bag if the Department of Environmental Quality demanded any money back. The DEQ approved a grant of $743,000, but it was later discovered the Drain Commissioner’s office used the county’s tax ID number by mistake on the application. Drain Commissioner Christopher Quattrin said Ox Creek is the dirtiest creek in the county, and one of the dirtiest in the state, adding there are several things their project will address.. ...Read Full Story

Plan To Lock Up Opioids

A plan to require that Schedule II controlled substances be placed in special lockable bottles when they’re prescribed to patients in Michigan is before a state House committee. State Representative Joe Bellino of Monroe tells WSJM News the technology is available.. ...Read Full Story

Universities Team Up To Fight Opioids In Detroit

From the Associated Press — The University of Michigan and Harvard University are teaming up to tackle poverty and opioid addiction in Detroit. The schools announced Wednesday they will work with the city to identify steps to improve low-income residents’ livelihoods. The effort pairs Michigan’s ongoing Poverty Solutions Initiative with Harvard’s statistical and
computational research into forces influencing economic success or failure. The universities also will share what they and other experts know about the opioid epidemic and plan national summits in the Detroit and Boston areas. University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel says he called Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, who grew up in Pontiac near Detroit, after
learning of Bacow’s interest in working on national problems. They discussed areas of potential collaboration, and poverty and opioids rose to the top of their lists.. ...Read Full Story

Life Expectancy Report

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services hopes to use a new report on U.S. life expectancy to help guide health policy. Spokesperson Bob Wheaton tells WSJM News the data from the U.S. Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project has made it possible for the first time to examine neighborhood by neighborhood life expectancy. He says the numbers can vary wildly in small areas.. ...Read Full Story

Library Offers Tutoring

Sometimes it can be difficult for kids to get after school help with homework, especially if both parents are working. Now, the Van Buren District Library is offering help to students of all ages with live one to one help from professional tutors online. Anyone with a valid Van Buren District Library card can access the learning suite online. If you have access to the internet, go to VBDL.org. Downloads of apps for smartphones and tablets are available as well. The offering comes from The Princeton Review with real-time tutoring from educators that are credentialed and vetted. The program also provides self-study tools and tutoring is available from three to ten daily. For more information, visit VBDL.org or call your local Van Buren District Library.. ...Read Full Story

Four Shot In Three Shootings Overnight In Benton Harbor

Four people are hospitalized, with one critically wounded, after several overnight shootings in the city of Benton Harbor. According to Deputy Public Safety Director Michael Clark, the first shooting happened in the 1000 block of Bishop around 11:40 pm when a 28-year-old man was shot in the leg. Six minutes later, officers were sent to the emergency room at Lakeland when a 29-year-old man showed up with a gunshot wound suffered in the 1000 block of Jennings. In a statement, Clark notes that man suffered serious injuries. As officers were on the scenes of those incidents, they heard shots fired at 12:30 am in the 600 block of Empire, finding two men who had been shot several times. One of those victims is in critical condition. Police have seized three long guns and a handgun, but have no information on any suspects. It’s not known if the three shootings are related.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Twp Park Improvements To Be Unveiled

A ribbon cutting will be held this month to mark the opening of a new feature at Lake Township Park in Bridgman. Township Treasurer Bob Clark tells WSJM News a renovation project two years in the making for the disc golf course is wrapping up. The disc golf course originally built in 2004 has expanded thanks to the 2016 purchase of ten acres next door. Clark says this expanded court will be a big improvement over the old one.. ...Read Full Story

Volunteers Needed For Lakes Cleanups This Weekend

This Saturday will bring the biggest effort to clean up Great Lakes of the year. Alliance for the Great Lakes spokesperson Jennifer Caddick tells WSJM News hundreds of beach cleanups are being held throughout the Great Lakes region, and everyone’s welcome to show up. The Alliance for the Great Lakes cleanup made a big difference last year. ...Read Full Story

Plenty Going On At BH Schools

It’s been a busy time at Benton Harbor Area Schools. At a Tuesday meeting, CEO Robert Herrera told the board of education about some of the things being done as the new school year gets underway. Among them are a couple of online learning programs to help students with credit recovery. Herrera told WSJM News this is the first year Benton Harbor Area Schools has applied for a state Seat Time Waiver to have online learning.. ...Read Full Story

Bear Hunt Getting Underway

From the Associated Press — Bear hunting season is getting under way in Michigan. Opening dates and hunting periods depend on location. The season began Monday in the Upper Peninsula. It starts Thursday in some parts of the Lower Peninsula
and Sunday in others. Officials say 7,140 licenses were available this year. Over half of Michigan is open to regulated bear hunting. Officials say scientific indicators and public input help determine how many bears can be killed. Wildlife management specialist Kevin Swanson of the state Department of Natural Resources says hunting is an important part of making sure Michigan has a healthy bear population with suitable habitat. The state’s black bear population is estimated at 14,000 adults, including nearly 11,000 in the Upper Peninsula and nearly 3,000 in the northern Lower Peninsula.. ...Read Full Story

Naloxone Training Tomorrow In Niles

There will be a training session on the use of anti-overdose drug Naloxone on Wednesday in Niles. To be led by Nancy King with Families Against Narcotics, the event will give everyone a chance to get a better understanding of opioid addiction. King tells WSJM News efforts to spread awareness and get more Naloxone into the community have helped, and at a critical time.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Now A Judge

Berrien County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Smith is moving to the other side of the courtroom. Governor Snyder has appointed her to the 2nd Circuit Court for the county, filling the judicial vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Scott Schofield. Smith has been with the prosecutor’s office for over 20 years and had been the Chief Assistant Prosecutor since 2013. She is also on the Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force and serves on the Board of Directors for the Southwest Michigan Children’s Assessment Center and the Lakeshore Youth Baseball and Softball Association. Smith lives in Stevensville and will serve the remainder of Schofield’s term through 2020. She can run for the office in November of that year.. ...Read Full Story

Polls Give Whitmer Big Leads Over Schuette In Gubernatorial Race

One Republican consultant and pollster says the question is not if Democrat Gretchen Whitmer will win the governor’s race in November, but will she have a double-digit margin of victory. John Yob’s Strategic National polling firm gives Whitmer a 10% lead right now over Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette, 49-to-39%. Another new poll released this week by the Glengariff Group for “The Detroit News” and WDIV-TV shows Whitmer with an even bigger lead, 49.8% to 36.1% with just 10% undecided and 2.3% backing Libertarian Party candidate Bill Gelineau.. ...Read Full Story

Proposals For Marijuana Operators

Benton Harbor is now taking applications for medical marijuana businesses seeking to operate in the city. In a notice put out this week, the city says those proposals could be for any medical marijuana business currently legal under Michigan law. That would include grow facilities, processors, provisioning centers, safety compliance facilities, or transporters. The Benton Harbor City Commission late last year voted to allow up to 25 such businesses in the community. In order to qualify for permission, an operator must provide the city with information on their knowledge and experience, their understanding of the law, and how they intend to operate their facility as an “integrated part of the community.” The applications come with a $5,000 fee, and must be turned into the clerk’s office by the end of business on October 1. So far, NoBo Partners out of Colorado has pursued the former Alreco Metals property, paying a deposit of $20,000 to the Berrien County Land Bank for the foreclosed parcel.. ...Read Full Story

Consulting Firm Hired To Help Plot Future Of Downtown St. Joseph

A Chicago-based consulting firm headed up by a St. Joseph native will tackle shaping the future of the city’s downtown. Houseal Lavigne Associates was hired by the city commission Monday to begin the study. The firm is led by John Houseal, who says growing up here helps him fully understand the unique needs of the city when it comes to figuring out the best way to address the needs of the entire community.. ...Read Full Story

Proos STEM Bill Signing

State Senator John Proos is pleased to see some STEM education legislation he sponsored received its final, ceremonial signing by the governor. Last Thursday, Proos tells WSJM News he invited local students and educators to Lansing for the signing of bills that would create a special STEM certification on the transcripts of high school students.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Seeks New Marina

The city of South Haven is taking steps to acquire another marina. City Manager Brian Dissette tells WSJM News the city council last week voted to send a grant application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund for assistance in buying All Seasons Marine along the Black River.. ...Read Full Story

Report Recommends Payday Lender Regulations

A new report sheds light on the dangers of payday loans, prompting consumer advocates to call for new regulations in Michigan. Community Economic Development Association of Michigan Senior Policy Specialist Jessica AcMoody tells us by charging annual percentage rates equivalent to 340%, payday lenders cost Michiganders more than $94 million in 2016 alone. She says these loans target the vulnerable.. ...Read Full Story

BH 9/11 Ceremony Tuesday

A memorial service to remember the victims of terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 will take place Tuesday at the Resiliency Plaza in downtown Benton Harbor. The plaza is located right across the street from Benton Harbor City Hall, and is the site of a 500 pound steel beam taken from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Hosting Tuesday’s memorial will be Berrien County Strong – Community In Action. They plan a wreath laying at 12:15 p.m. and to have some featured guests, including local leaders, the honor guard, and first responders. The ceremony will also include a moment of silence. Tuesday is the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.. ...Read Full Story

Charges In Fatal Highway Crash

A Coloma woman is facing charges over a drunk driving crash early Sunday morning that resulted in the death of an Ontario, Canada woman. The Benton Township Police Department tells us it happend around 3:15 a.m. near the 33 mile marker of eastbound I-94. Upon arrival, first responders found 33-year-old Erum Nazir injured. They performed CPR and took her to Lakeland Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Police learned Nazir had been a passenger in a minivan that had been struck in the rear by a Mustang driven by 32-year-old Amber Garton of Coloma. Garton’s blood alcohol level was later determined to be .21%, well above the legal limit. She was taken to the Berrien County Jail on a charge of operating while intoxicated, causing death.. ...Read Full Story

Drug Raid Nets Three Arrests In Dowagiac

Three people are in the Cass County Jail on drug charges, and warrants are being sought for several others. The sheriff’s department raided a home in the 200 block of East High Street in Dowagiac Monday based on suspicion of meth dealing and arrested a 28-year-old woman, a 30-year-old woman, and a 21-year-old man. All three are facing possession with intent to deliver charges, while he is also charged with possession of stolen firearm. Police found a pistol reported stolen out of Mishawaka during the search, and also seized more than 2.5 ounces of meth, over an ounce of ecstasy, an undisclosed amount of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. No names have yet been released.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Gas Prices Go Up Post-Labor Day

We’re paying 6¢ more per gallon on average this week than last. Triple-A Michigan says its weekly survey found the average price for regular is just under $2.93 a gallon. The jump follows an increase to nearly $3 a gallon right after Labor Day last week. There is a wide swing between the highest and lowest averages in Michigan, with Ann Arbor drivers paying $2.96 on average and the price in Traverse City coming in at $2.76. In Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, the auto club says our average is $2.90, a rise of 9¢ from last week. According to GasBuddy, South Haven’s prices range from $2.79 to $2.89 to start the week. No Van Buren County stations are included in Triple-A’s weekly price survey.. ...Read Full Story

Republican Lt. Gov Nominee’s Home Destroyed In Fire

The suburban Grand Rapids home of Republican lieutenant governor nominee Lisa Posthumus Lyons is believed to be a total loss after a Sunday afternoon fire. Authorities say it started in the garage and spread to the rest of the house. At this point, there is no indication the fire was intentionally set, but investigators will be on scene today to look for clues as to the origin of the blaze. Attorney General Bill Schuette, who picked Lyons as his running mate, said in a statement the family is looking for somewhere to stay.. ...Read Full Story