Local News Archives

South Haven Officials Discuss Marijuana Options

There is a lot of interest among South Haven residents to see what direction the city takes on marijuana businesses. An overflow crowd packed city council chambers for an informational meeting Monday that included a presentation from the city attorney and an outside consultant, with the intention to help the city council give direction to the Planning Commission. City Manager Brian Dissette says the council went person-by-person to lay out what categories for both recreational and medicinal marijuana they wanted studied by the Planning Commission.. ...Read Full Story

Three Oaks Police Looking For Credit Card Theft Suspect

Three Oaks Police are asking for help identifying a woman accused of stealing credit cards from vehicles and then using them at gas stations and stores south of the border in South Bend and Mishawaka. Authorities have released surveillance photos of a silver Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and of the suspect. Details such as when the thefts began and exactly where they’ve happened have not been released. The suspect is a white woman, who had her hair covered by a knit hat and her neck covered by a scarf in a Meijer store in the surveillance photos released by Three Oaks Police.. ...Read Full Story

Details Still Being Hammered Out For St. Joseph Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Work is progressing toward the city of St. Joseph potentially becoming the 45th local government in the state to add specific civil rights protections for the LGBT community into a local ordinance. A draft of the proposed non-discrimination ordinance is likely about a month away from being presented to the commission by city attorney Laurie Schmidt. Mayor Pro Tem Laura Goos tells us the city will be moving forward as it doesn’t look likely that the state House and Senate will take up any potential changes to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act anytime soon. We asked her about the reaction from residents and businesses around the city she’s spoken with.. ...Read Full Story

Treasurer To Hold Meetings With Property Owners

A series of three meetings is planned over the next couple of months for Berrien County property owners who are behind on their taxes to get signed up on a payment plan. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News letters have gone out to the folks who still owe for 2016 and 2017. He says he’s bringing staff to meetings around the county to talk with those who are behind.. ...Read Full Story

Report: Enrollment At MI Universities Down

From the Associated Press — Figures show enrollment at Michigan’s public universities has declined for the seventh consecutive year. MLive.com reports the collective headcount at the 15 institutions totaled 286,854 in the fall off 2018, down 3,884 or nearly 1.4 percent from the fall of 2017. Enrollment peaked in the fall 2011 at 301,919. It’s declined largely because of a shrinking number of college-age students in Michigan and nationwide. The Michigan Association of State Universities ` 2018 enrollment report notes that freshman enrollment was a bright spot, with the schools having 41,452 first-time freshman in fall 2018, up 1.5 percent in fall 2017. Currently, about 60 percent of Michigan students enroll in college the fall after they graduate high school. About 34 percent of Michigan adults age 25 to
34 have at least a bachelor’s degree.. ...Read Full Story

Top Auto Awards Go To Hyundai And Ram

From the Associated Press — The Hyundai Genesis G70, Hyundai Kona and the Ram pickup have received North American car, sport utility and truck of the year awards. The awards were announced Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This year’s car finalists also included the Honda Insight and Volvo S60/V60. Truck finalists included the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500.
SUV finalists also included the Acura RDX and the Jaguar I-Pace. Last year’s winners were the Honda Accord, Lincoln Navigator and the Volvo XC60. About 55 automotive journalists serve as judges. Eligible vehicles must be new or substantially changed. Organizers accept no advertising, though automakers try to capitalize on the marketing value of the awards, which are now in their 25th year.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven City Council To Talk Marijuana Tonight

Marijuana will be discussed tonight in South Haven. The City Council has a special meeting starting at 6 p.m. to get a presentation on the legal status of both medicinal and recreational weed in the state. Following public comment and remarks by experts, the council will be asked to come up with direction and guidance for city staff and the Planning Commission for possible ordinances for both.. ...Read Full Story

Thieves Hit Vehicles In Grand Junction Neighborhood

A 21-year-old Grand Junction man and two men from the Holland area who are 20 and 18 are in the Van Buren County Jail after being caught breaking into vehicles in the Grand Junction area early Sunday morning. They are accused of breaking into two vehicles and a work trailer in the four-thousand block of 48½ Street in Columbia Township. The three were caught due to their tracks in the snow leading Van Buren County Sheriff’s deputies to a nearby home. All the stolen items were recovered. The three are facing charges of larceny from a motor vehicle, and the youngest suspect is also going to be charged with breaking and entering of a vehicle. They’re being held without bond pending their arraignments.. ...Read Full Story

Decatur Library Picked For Traveling Exhibit On Small Town Life

The Smithsonian is bringing a traveling exhibit to Van Buren County this year. The Van Buren District Library’s Kay McAdam tells us the Decatur branch will host “Main Street’s Crossroads: Change in Rural America” this fall. It’s one of six locations in Michigan to be selected as a site for the display. It’s all about how small towns became centers of commerce, trade, local politics, and culture in the United States. McAdam says they also have to put together locally-relevant programs.. ...Read Full Story

CEO Looks To Work With School Board

A meeting of the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education could take place this coming week as district CEO Robert Herrera aims to work more closely with trustees on a vision for the district. After this Tuesday’s CEO meeting, Herrera said he was working to set a meeting date with the board as three new trustees have been elected and another needs to be appointed. He told WSJM News after much organization since he was brought in working under the state, he’d like school board input.. ...Read Full Story

Dryers For Gloves Donated To Area Schools

Berrien RESA has been charged with delivering more than 500 glove dryers to schools throughout the county thanks to a donation from Consumers Energy. Consumers spokesperson Roger Morgenstern tells WSJM News the Green Glove Dryer School Project is a statewide effort involving K through fifth grade schools.. ...Read Full Story

Wife Of Murdered Soldier In Jail On Murder Charges

The wife of an Army sergeant who was shot and killed on New Year’s Eve in St. Joseph Township is in jail on murder charges, according to several news outlets. Berrien County Jail records show 22-year-old Kemia Nekenah Hassel was booked Saturday on murder charges involving a gun and a family member. The St. Joseph Township Police Department tells us two people have been arrested in the death of 23-year-old Tyrone Hassel III. He was shot several times at a home in the 2,000 block of Colfax Avenue while home on leave. Police say a tip that came in on Friday led to the two arrests. They have not released the names of either suspect. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office is expected to release more information on the case Monday.. ...Read Full Story

Program Has Teens Teach Each Other About Safe Driving

Students at Benton Harbor High School will take soon take part in a driver safety program offered by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and Ford Motor Company. Office of Highway Safety Planning spokesperson Kari Arend tells WSJM News Strive For a Safer Drive is a peer-led traffic safety campaign that allows the kids to use a $1,000 grant to reach out to their classmates about safe driving.. ...Read Full Story

State AG Reviewing Law On Pipelines

One of Governor Whitmer’s first acts was to ask state Attorney General Dana Nessel to deliver a legal opinion on the validity of Public Act 359 – the law authoring a petroleum pipeline replacement in the Mackinac Straits. But can the governor come up with a compromise that works or will it be a politics as usual decision pleasing some while alienating the other half of the state?. ...Read Full Story

Arrests Made In Murder Of Active Duty Soldier

The St. Joseph Township Police Department says it’s made arrests in a fatal shooting that occurred on New Year’s Eve. Tyrone Hassel III was shot several times at a home in the 2,000 block of Colfax Avenue. Hassel was an active duty Army sergeant who was home on leave. St. Joseph Township police say they got a tip in the case on Friday, and that resulted in the arrest of two suspects. No names are yet being released. More information will be released on Monday. The St. Joseph Township Police Department was assisted in the investigation by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police.. ...Read Full Story

Public Input Sought On Parks Plan

As the Berrien County Parks Commission works to create a new five year plan for parks, the public has a chance to offer its thoughts. Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey tells WSJM News there will be two town hall-style meetings this coming Wednesday for input on the plan. The document will guide parks development from 2020 to 2024. Bailey says it includes planned improvements. He gave us some examples.. ...Read Full Story

Discover Winter Nights Returning To Cass County Park

The Cass County Parks and Recreation Department is gearing up to resume Discover Winter Nights for the season. Discover Winter Nights is a program held at Dr. T.K. Lawless Park each year. Now that the snow’s here, the celebrations will resume January 19 and be held each Saturday through February 9. It’ll include lighted hill tubing, three miles of lighted cross-country ski trails, a bonfire, crafts for the kids, tractor-pulled sleigh rides, winter biking, and star gazing. Discover Winter Nights takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. and each date is weather permitting. It’s $2 to get into Discover Winter Nights, and you can find more information right here.. ...Read Full Story

Court Launches Education Program For Moms

The Van Buren County Circuit Court is starting a new program for mothers to help them better communicate with their children and the fathers of their children. “Understanding Dad: An Awareness and Communication Program for Moms” will be a nine week program delivered through two hour weekly sessions starting January 17. The circuit court’s Amanda Hoefle tells WSJM News it’s intended to help families going through a divorce.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Economy, Revenues Expected To Be Stable In 2019

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s economy will keep growing but at a slower rate, resulting in stable tax revenue growth at a time new Gov. Gretchen Whitmer begins working to put her imprint on state spending. That is among the takeaways from Friday’s semiannual meeting where the state treasurer and legislative fiscal experts agreed to consensus economic and tax projections. The Democratic governor will use the numbers when drafting her first budget proposal, due to the Republican-led Legislature in March. Economists gave a largely positive update to state officials but also warned of risks. U.S. auto sales are expected to dip, impacting a state that is bracing for job cuts at General Motors. Economists said Michigan’s strong labor market should help some workers who lose their jobs find work more quickly.. ...Read Full Story

United Way Organizations To Merge

The Van Buren County United Way is merging with the United Way of Southwest Michigan. The merger will be complete on July 1, and the back office operations are being combined immediately. According to a statement from the United Way of Southwest Michigan, the consolidation is being done to “increase efficiencies, reduce duplications and build on the collective thought.” UWSM CEO Anna Murphy and VBCUW executive director Vera Sebree say the merger will also provide more resources for residents and nonprofits in Van Buren County. Sebree says both organizations are excited about the move.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Discusses Fuel Spill In County Drain

Someone dumped around 500 gallons of fuel into a Berrien County drain, and the county board of commissioners would like to know who it was. At this week’s meeting, the Berrien County Board of Commissioners instructed County Administrator Bill Wolf to study options when it comes to paying for the clean-up of the drain at Napier Avenue and Park Road in Bainbridge Township. Drain Commissioner Christopher Quattrin tells WSJM News the spillage was discovered last week when the drain was reported clogged. A contractor found red fuel in a manhole. Quattrin says, fortunately, the blockage in the drain stopped the fuel from spreading far.. ...Read Full Story