Local News Archives

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

Dems Slam Schuette Over Lawsuit

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is being criticized by Democrats for not taking a stand on a lawsuit brought by 20 Republican attorneys general and the governors of Maine and Missouri against the federal government over the Affordable Care Act. The suit, Texas v. United States, is seeking a preliminary injunction to shut down the ACA until courts decide if the individual mandate that requires everyone have health insurance is constitutional.. ...Read Full Story

BH Street Project

The city of Benton Harbor is going to repave the streets surrounding a housing project this year. Community and Economic Development Director Stephanie Scott-Sims tells WSJM News Buss Avenue and Sickle Street in the area of what’s commonly known as the Buss Project will be rebuilt. This project using HUD Community Development Block Grant funding is years in the making.. ...Read Full Story

Part Of Red Arrow Highway Dedicated For Fallen Trooper

Red Arrow Highway between Glenlord and Hilltop roads is now known as the Trooper Robert J. Mihalik Memorial Highway. A dedication was held Sunday afternoon at Eagle Technologies to remember Mihalik on the 34-year anniversary of his death in the line of duty. His widow, Carol Mihalik, was among the family members who spoke, thanking state Representative Kim LaSata for getting the resolution passed and Assistant Niles MSP Post Commander Mindy Logan for her work to honor her husband.. ...Read Full Story

State Drops Conviction Box From Job Applications

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says the state will no longer ask job applicants and people seeking certain occupational licenses to check a box if they have been convicted of a felony. The governor on Friday announced that the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has removed the box from occupational and construction code
licensing applications. He also will sign an executive order directing state departments and agencies to remove the felony question box from applications for state employment. Snyder is encouraging private employers to follow suit. The box will remain for applications for fields where state law precludes former felons from being licensed, primarily in health care. Snyder told The Associated Press that helping people coming out of prison or jail succeed is a “win for all of us.”. ...Read Full Story

Runs For Special Olympics Underway

Hundreds of law enforcement officers from all over Michigan will be taking part in torch runs for the Special Olympics starting this weekend. Special Olympics spokesperson Aaron Mills tells WSJM News the organization is the official non-profit of police throughout the state, receiving more than $1 million each year thanks to law enforcement fundraisers. The torch runs are part of those efforts.. ...Read Full Story

New Oversight Following MSU Scandal

The impact of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal that rocked Michigan State University is being felt at all of the state’s public universities. State Representative Kim LaSata of Berrien County chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education. She says the budget for higher education for the next fiscal year expands Title IX oversight.. ...Read Full Story

Open House For Palisades

The public is invited to an open house planned for the Palisades nuclear power plant next week. Palisades owner Entergy tells us the informational open house will be held Wednesday at the Palisades Emergency Operations Facility and Joint Information Center on Main Street in Benton Harbor. On hand will be engineers and other officials from Palisades who can discuss various aspects of plant operations and answer questions. The open house will begin with an hour-long poster board session featuring Palisades experts, followed by a formal presentation, and then a public question and answer session. Next Wednesday’s open house will be from 5 to 7 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

Strong Ford Sales

Ford posted a strong sales report for August, led by booming sales of the Lincoln Navigator and Ford F-150 pick up. Auto analyst John McElroy told Michigan News Network this week sales were up just over 4% overall.. ...Read Full Story

Road Group Talks Work Stoppage

Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association VP Mike Nystrom says the employer’s group is continuing to insist that the Operating Engineers union ratify the industry’s labor contract proposal before road and bridge projects will continue.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Day Of Action Coming Up

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is now signing up volunteers for its annual “Rake a Difference” Day of Action for Seniors. The organization’s Julee Laurent tells WSJM News that’s the day when hundreds of volunteers fan out across Berrien and Cass counties to rake leaves and clean gutters for senior citizens.. ...Read Full Story

New Clinic Groundbreaking

Ground will be broken this coming week on a new health clinic in Niles. The Cassopolis Family Clinic Network tells us the new $8.5 million Niles Community Health Center will be 31,500 square feet with more than 20 exam rooms. It’ll be located at the site of the former Eastgate Shopping Plaza on Oak Street. The new Niles Community Health Center will replace a smaller facility located on St. Joseph Street. The new location is expected to double the current capacity. It will offer physician services, OBGYN services, and behavioral health. The ground breaking will be Wednesday at 9 a.m. It’s hoped the new clinic will be up and running in the fall of 2019.. ...Read Full Story

Body Found In River

Michigan State Police are investigating after a body was pulled from the St. Joseph River near Niles Saturday morning. It was spotted by two fishermen. The body of the white middle age male was found just before 11 a.m. in Bertrand Township. Police have not determined the man’s identity, and say tests will be performed.. ...Read Full Story

Straight Party Voting Ban Takes Effect In November

From the Associated Press — The U.S. Supreme Court won’t intervene in a dispute over Michigan’s ban on straight-party voting. The court turned down an appeal Friday, which means the ban will go into effect in the November election. Voters can’t use a single mark to quickly pick all candidates of a single party. A Detroit federal judge said the ban violated the rights of black voters. But an appeals court this week suspended that decision and said the ruling likely will be overturned. The Supreme Court rejected an appeal, although justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg wanted to hear it. The Republican-controlled Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder eliminated straight-party voting, saying people should study candidates instead of simply choosing a party.. ...Read Full Story

Man Revived From Overdose At Crash Scene

An Elkhart, Indiana man had to be revived with the use of Naloxone following a crash in Cass County on Friday. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened just before 3 p.m. on M-60 and Calvin Center Road in Penn Township. Officers arrived to the scene of a crash and learned a 33-year-old Marcellus man had been eastbound on M-60 when a vehicle driven by the 29-year-old Elkhart man failed to stop at the stop sign on Calvin Center Road and pulled out in front of him. The crash resulted in minor injuries to some of the passengers involved. However, the Elkhart man passed out in the driver seat shortly after fire personnel arrived on scene and had to be revived using Narcan and CPR. He admitted to using heroin prior to passing out. The man was taken by ambulance to Elkhart General Hospital for treatment. The case remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Police Mental Health Training Planned

Police officers from all over Michigan will be in New Buffalo this month for training on mental health crisis intervention. Riverwood Center Jail Diversion Supervisor Gretchen Carlson tells WSJM News the training teach those who work with the criminal justice system on how to handle situations involving the mentally ill.. ...Read Full Story

BH Home Repair Program

There’s plenty going on lately at the Benton Harbor Community and Economic Development Department. This week, city commissioners learned more about the HUD-funded home rehabilitation program, now back in action. Community Development Director Stephanie Scott-Sims told them it pays for home repairs for low and moderate income property owners.. ...Read Full Story

Dune Tour Today

Preserve the Dunes is offering a special tour of a Berrien County lakeshore park today. President Marcy Hamilton tells WSJM News an expert from the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy will present information on the environment on this Saturday’s tour of Hagar Township Park and Beach.. ...Read Full Story

Sheriff’s Department Donates Vehicle To ISD

The criminal justice program at the Van Buren Intermediate School District has received the donation of a patrol vehicle from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department. It says the vehicle is a 2012 Chevy Impala that was recently taken out of service on a change over. The ISD says with the unit, students will be able to learn traffic stops, vehicle positioning at scenes, and patrol tactics. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us it’s “nice to be able to donate this unit knowing it’ll be put to great use for future police officers.”. ...Read Full Story

Presentation On Territorial Road History

Coming up next week at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph will be a presentation on Territorial Road and its history. The museum’s Jennifer Richmond-Ananbeh tells WSJM News local teacher and historian Chuck Jager will talk about his experience riding a bicycle all along the route through Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Court Proceeding For Dowagiac Shooting Suspect

The preliminary hearing for a man accused of a fatal shooting outside of a bar in Dowagiac this summer will be next week. The Cass County Prosecutor’s office tells us 24-year-old Rolandis Russell faces a total of eight charges, including first degree murder, assault with intent to murder, and felony firearm. His preliminary hearing, which had been set for Monday, has been moved to Wednesday. The prosecutor says Russell shot and killed 42-year-old Fabian Wesaw following a fight at the Beeson Street Bar in the early morning hours of July 29. Testimony from witnesses is expected to be heard at the preliminary hearing. Russell faces life in prison if convicted on the murder charge.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Sealant Work Next Week

The city of St. Joseph will begin applying sealant to some local streets next Thursday. City Engineer Tim Zebell tells WSJM News the sealant application is a new technique being used by the city to extend the life of some pavement. It will make the road smoother and give the road a uniform black appearance.. ...Read Full Story

False Alarm At Eau Claire High School

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after dispatch got a call about student with a gun at Eau Claire High School on Friday. The information turned out to be untrue. The sheriff’s department tells us the call to dispatch came in around 3:55 p.m. with a male caller saying a teenage male was in the high school restroom with a rifle. The caller did not identify himself and stated his phone was losing power. Responding police searched the building and determined there was not anyone there with a firearm and that no one was injured. In the meantime, students and staff were escorted out of the building so that parents were able to make contact with their children. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it’s now working to identify the unknown caller. Anyone with information as to the identity of that person is asked to call (269) 983-3060. The sheriff’s department has issued the following statement.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Praises Parole Reforms

A plan that will require the state parole board to make objective decisions when considering releasing a prisoner has been approved by the Michigan Senate. State Senator John Proos tells us it will take into account the training a prisoner has completed while incarcerated, and will require that denial of parole for a prisoner who has a high probability of parole, as determined by the guidelines, “must be for a substantial and compelling objective reason.”. ...Read Full Story