The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has approved a contract for the sheriff’s department to provide a school resource officer at Benton Harbor High School. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey tells WSJM News the department has been providing two deputies at the school for 25 days now. That’s since a rash of 17 fights happened to start out the school year. Bailey says they’ve had two or three since the deputies were placed at the high school.. ...Read Full Story
Benton Harbor Area Schools have switched to only using bottled water at every building in the district after the announcement by the city this week that eight of 30 homes tested had high levels of lead in the tap water. The district’s food service is also using bottled water for food preparation until further notice. The district’s water is currently being tested, and until confirmation comes back that it’s safe, only bottled water will be available. The city is also offering free water testing for all customers of its municipal water system. The source of the lead hasn’t been determined, but is believed to be older galvanized and lead service lines connecting homes to the city’s water system. The eight families impacted are also being given bottled water by the city.. ...Read Full Story
Landmark opioids legislation has been signed into law by President Trump. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act was put together over about the past year with input from dozens of lawmakers, including Congressman Fred Upton. He tells us it passed the House and Senate with broad support. Upton told us about some of his contributions.. ...Read Full Story
Michigan State Police are warning everyone about a phone scam that’s been reported in southwest Michigan. Sergeant Ryan Schoonveld with the Niles post tells WSJM News this one is wide-spread.. ...Read Full Story
Four finalists are now in place to become the next superintendent of South Haven Public Schools. The job opened up when Robert Herrera moved on to be the CEO of Benton Harbor Area Schools this summer. The school board will interview the finalists next week on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Three finalists are from Michigan, with the other being Dr. Raymond Lechner, the current superintendent in Wilmette, Illinois. He will be the first to be interviewed Monday at 6 pm followed by Nathan Robrahn, a high school principal in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming at 7:30. On Tuesday, the board will hear from Watervliet Public Schools superintendent Kevin Schooley at 6, followed by Grant superintendent Jonathan Whan. The interviews are open to the public and will be conducted at South Haven High School. The board is working to have the new superintendent on the job at the start of January.. ...Read Full Story
A 70-year-old Bangor man has died in a crash between his motorcycle and a pickup truck. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us Bobby Tanner was northbound on M-140 when the pickup driven by 34-year-old Steven Riggs of Watervliet pulled out in front of him on 48th Avenue. Tanner died after being taken to Spectrum Health Lakeland Watervliet. Riggs was not arrested, but the sheriff’s department will send its report to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office for review. Investigators don’t believe alcohol or speed were factors in the crash, which happened at 8 Wednesday night.. ...Read Full Story
A small business coalition is targeting a handful of congressional districts – including Michigan’s 6th district – with a focused message on the GOP tax cut. The message is that the tax cut is a lavish gift to large corporations and the rich leaving small business and working families high and dry.. ...Read Full Story
- Water samples taken from eight homes in the city of Benton Harbor have come back with levels of lead higher than the federal action level of 15 parts per billion.
- The OutCenter in Benton Harbor is blasting some reported plans of the Trump administration regarding transgendered Americans.
- Landmark opioids legislation has been signed into law by President Trump.
- A town hall on the opioid epidemic and what you can do will be held Thursday in Benton Harbor.
- Michigan State Police are warning everyone about a phone scam that’s been reported in southwest Michigan.
- Harbor Habitat for Humanity has a replacement for their old construction truck that had been totaled in a crash.
- Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
- The F-B-I, Secret Service and A-T-F all involved in an investigation into pipe bombs sent to a number of top Democrats and the New York offices of CNN Wednesday.
- Two young girls are in custody after allegedly planning a Satanic attack on their middle school.
A town hall on the opioid epidemic and what you can do will be held Thursday in Benton Harbor. State Representative Kim LaSata tells WSJM News the Berrien County Health Department, the Riverwood Center, the Community Healing Center, and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department will all be there. She wants everyone to come out.. ...Read Full Story
The OutCenter in Benton Harbor is blasting some reported plans of the Trump administration regarding transgender Americans. The New York Times reported last weekend on a memo from the Oval Office to the Department of Health and Human Services directing that department to define gender as either male or female, as assigned at birth. The OutCenter’s Mary Jo Schnell tells WSJM News this is another in a series of blows to transgendered Americans.. ...Read Full Story
With less than two weeks before the election, backers of Proposition One have released their first ad. They’re hoping to convince voters to make Michigan the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational marijuana. The commercial, from the group MI Legalize, argues that the move would reduce dependency on opiates, citing a drop in opiate prescriptions in states that have decriminalized marijuana. Karen O’Keefe, a Michigander with the Marijuana Policy Project, tells us she’s convinced society would be safer if people could buy marijuana in a store instead of on the black market.. ...Read Full Story
A K9 with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department has received a bullet and stab-protective vest thanks to a donation from non-profit Vested Interest in K9s, Incorporated. The K9, Edo, will now sport the vest embroidered with the words “Born to Love – Trained to Serve – Loyal Always.” Its sponsors are Justin and Kristan Goodenough of Allegan. The sheriff’s department tells us the protective K9 vests have a value of more than $1,700. Edo is a two-year-old German Shephard handled by Deputy Blair Kacos. Kacos says the department is grateful for the donation. Since its inception in 2009, Vested Interest has provided more than 3,100 protective vests to police K9s in 50 states with a value of about $5.7 million. This is the third K9 protective vest donated by the organization to the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story
Some state lawmakers from southwest Michigan have gotten praise from the Michigan Manufacturers Association for voting in line with its interests 100% of the time. Michigan Manufacturers Association VP of Government Affairs Mike Johnston tells WSJM News the lawmakers it saluted this month include state Representatives Beth Griffin, Kim LaSata, and Mary Whiteford. He says a top concern for manufacturers is worker development.. ...Read Full Story
The city of Benton Harbor is working with the Berrien County Health Department and the state Department of Environmental Quality to get the word out about lead in the city’s drinking water that was found above the federal action level of 15 parts per billion at 8 homes of the 30 random samples taken this year. Dr. Rick Johansen of the Berrien County Health Department says they’re issuing guidance to parents of babies out of an abundance of caution.. ...Read Full Story
Eight homes in Benton Harbor have lead contamination in the water. The city found those eight above the federal and state action levels of 15 parts per billion for lead in the 30 homes where water samples were taken. Those tap water tests have been done every three years as required by the Michigan Department Environmental Quality and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The Berrien County Health Department is monitoring the blood lead levels of children six and under throughout the county by individual community. They have not detected any increases in the trend of elevated blood lead levels in Benton Harbor kids and there has been a downward trend in those that has continued this year. City Manager Darwin Watson will give an update on the situation today.. ...Read Full Story
Is the economy really a good one for working families? U.S. Rep. Fred Upton says yes. Doug Cunningham reports.. ...Read Full Story
This weekend will bring a chance for anyone to scoop up some slightly-outdated Whirlpool appliances for big discounts. It’s time for the 2018 Whirlpool Fall Appliance Sale. The company’s Gokul Nair tells WSJM News the sale benefits the United Way of Southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story
Big news for South Haven area residents, a new large park is coming is coming between 2019 and 2021. South Haven City Manager, Brian Dissette spoke with WSJM News about it.. ...Read Full Story
This Saturday will bring another statewide drug takeback event. Michigan State Police Sergeant Jason Bailey tells us the Niles MSP post will serve as a point where you can drop off any old, unwanted prescription medications cluttering your cabinet. Bailey says it’s all anonymous.. ...Read Full Story
From the Associated Press — Former President Barack Obama will campaign for Democrats in Michigan. Obama will headline a rally in Detroit Friday for Sen. Debbie Stabenow, gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer, U.S. House candidates and others 11 days before the election. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will also attend. He leads a national Democratic group that is backing Michigan’s anti-gerrymandering ballot proposal to put redistricting in the hands of a commission instead of lawmakers. Obama’s rally was announced Tuesday by the Michigan Democratic Party, which will provide more details later.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders rallied with top Democrats in Ann Arbor last week, while Donald Trump Jr. campaigned with Republicans in Pontiac. The president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is in Michigan Tuesday to support gubernatorial
candidate Bill Schuette and Senate candidate John James.. ...Read Full Story
A pair of robbery suspects are awaiting arraignment after being busted in Niles on Tuesday. Niles City Police Disptach got word from across the Indiana state line an armed robbery had just occurred there, and the suspects may have been headed in the direction of Niles. Niles police positioned themselves strategically to intercept the suspects, and less than twenty minutes later dispatch got a 911 call reporting a robbery at Pete’s Marathon on South 11th Street. Not long after, an officer encountered the two suspects and they were taken into custody. A search of their vehicle turned up illegal drugs and apparently stolen merchandise from the two robberies. The suspects are described as a 33-year-old female and a 30-year-old male from Elkhart, Indiana. The woman is charged with robbery, resisting and obstructing, and possession of methamphetamine, while the man is charged with robbery and being a felon in possession of ammunition.. ...Read Full Story
As many as five million Mega Millions tickets could be sold before tonight’s drawing for the record jackpot of $1.6 billion. Michigan Lottery spokesman Jeff Holyfield says these king-size jackpots bring out the curious as well as the hard core lottery players alike.. ...Read Full Story
We now know the name of the man who died in police custody in Berrien County on Monday. Berrien Springs Oronoko Township Police Chief Paul Toliver tells WSJM News he was 51-year-old Jack Lunneen of Berrien Springs. He was arrested by a Berrien Springs Oronoko Township officer and a county sheriff’s deputy in the parking lot of a bank in Berrien Springs around 1:30 a.m., and authorities say Lunneen resisted arrest and had to be physically restrained. A statement from Toliver does not indicate what the officers did to restrain him, but he says they called for an ambulance when Lunneen began having medical issues. He died at Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph about an hour later. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death, and Michigan State Police are handling the investigation. Both officers are now on paid leave, as is standard procedure.. ...Read Full Story
With the possibility of marijuana being legalized by voters in next month’s election, what will this mean for job applicants? Mary Corrado is president and CEO of the American Society of Employers and told Michigan News Network fewer employers are screening for pot use because if they did, they wouldn’t have any workers.. ...Read Full Story
The city of St. Joseph is saying no to drugs for the time being. The city commission Monday night voted to direct City Attorney Laurie Schmidt and city staff to opt out of allowing commercial businesses involved in recreational marijuana if voters approve the legalization of the drug on November 6. Schmidt told commissioners they’re only looking to keep the businesses out, and can’t stop the drugs.. ...Read Full Story
A non-discrimination ordinance to protect the LGBTQ community will likely be approved soon by the city of St. Joseph. After hearing from OutCenter director Mary Jo Schnell earlier this month, commissioners Monday night voted to have city staff draft an ordinance to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Mayor pro tem Laura Goos talked to Schnell prior to the meeting yesterday.. ...Read Full Story
From the Associated Press — Authorities believe they’ve recovered the remains of a southwestern Michigan woman who disappeared in 2010 while getting her mail. The St. Joseph County prosecutor, John McDonough, tells the Sturgis Journal that Doug Stewart took police to the burial site Monday. In 2011, he was convicted of killing his estranged wife, Venus Stewart, although her body hadn’t been found. Tests will be conducted next to confirm the identity. The Stewarts had been separated for a few months, and Doug Stewart was living in Newport News, Virginia, when his wife disappeared. The evidence against him
included phone records, key testimony from an accomplice and a partial fingerprint on a tarp found outside her parents’ home.. ...Read Full Story
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has stocked lakes and rivers around the state with more than 21 million fish so far this year. The DNR’s Elyse Walter tells WSJM News the fish stocking program goes back well over 100 years with the oldest hatchery dating back to 1901. They breed fish and pump them into waters all over.. ...Read Full Story
A 19-year-old time capsule buried in 1999 by students at Brown Elementary School in St. Joseph has been opened. Brown Principal Kristen Bawks tells WSJM News about 50 people gathered Sunday to retrieve and open the capsule. Inside, they found a Time Magazine with an article about the Harry Potter craze, among other things.. ...Read Full Story
The Palisades nuclear power plant in Van Buren County is shut down for repairs after a transformer experienced a problem. That followed other repairs on a control rod drive seal. Nuclear Regulator Commission spokesperson Viktoria Mitlyng tells WSJM News the seal problem was noticed on October 13, and was minor.. ...Read Full Story
From the Associated Press — The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has awarded $80 million in loans for water and sewer projects intended to boost drinking water quality and protect public health in a number of cities. The funding comes from federal-state programs that provide loans for water-related infrastructure upgrades. They offer loans with lower interest
rates than those on the open market, as well as loan forgiveness opportunities. Among recipients were the Great Lakes Water Authority in southeastern Michigan; Monroe County; and the cities of St. Joseph, Highland Park and Saline. Also, the Huron River Green Infrastructure Drainage District got funding for street tree planting to reduce phosphorus runoff and bacterial contamination.. ...Read Full Story
Indiana Michigan Power expects 90% of its customers in Benton Harbor and Buchanan who lost power due to this weekend’s storms to have the lights back on by 6 p.m. today. Full restoration is expected by 3 tomorrow afternoon. There are currently 4,650 in Berrien County without power and another 750 in Van Buren County who are in the dark. Crews are working on side roads, in yards, and in neighborhoods today and tomorrow to repair the downed power lines. At the peak of the outage, I&M says it had over 31,000 customers without power in Michigan and Indiana.. ...Read Full Story
An investigation is underway into the death of a 51-year-old man while in police custody early this morning. The man had been arrested by a Berrien Springs Oronoko Township officer after a call came in about someone destroying property on West Union Street in Berrien Springs, with the officer spotting the suspect while on the phone with the person who made the complaint. According to Chief Paul Toliver, the man resisted arrest and had to be physically restrained. An ambulance was called after the man started having medical issues, and he died at Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph around 2:30 this morning, roughly an hour after being arrested. The Berrien Springs officer and the Berrien County Sheriff’s deputy involved in the arrest are both on paid administrative leave as an outside agency will handle the probe into the death.. ...Read Full Story
Residents of South Haven who might need some financial help repairing the exterior of their home could be in luck. South Haven City Manager Brian Dissette tells WSJM News that’s after action by the city council this week.. ...Read Full Story
Indiana Michigan Power has issued this updated statement on service restoration efforts around southwest Michigan following Saturday’s high winds.. ...Read Full Story
In west Michigan, the Immigration Centers of America has proposed converting the former Deerfield Correctional Center in Ionia into a federal immigration detention center. Dennis Muchmore, who represents the Immigration Centers of America, told Michigan News Network this week it would cost about $35 million.. ...Read Full Story
The Greater Bridgman Chamber and Growth Alliance is integrating into the Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce. Cornerstone’s Chris Heugel tells WSJM News the Twin Cities-based chamber started helping the Bridgman chamber when its previous leader moved out of town, and over time, it made sense for the two to combine.. ...Read Full Story
Extra drunk driving patrols are out on Michigan roads ahead of the coming Halloween period. The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning’s Kari Arend tells WSJM News officers from around 100 police agencies are taking part in the enforcement crackdown through November 4. In particular, they’re focusing extra attention on those counties with a high number of fatal crashes involving drugs and alcohol. That includes Berrien and Van Buren.. ...Read Full Story
Indiana Michigan Power has issued the following statement regarding power outages from Saturday’s high winds.. ...Read Full Story
The Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph is getting ready to unveil its new outdoor Sculpting Community along with a brand new sculpture by Richard Hunt. The piece from the Chicago artist was shipped into St. Joseph this past week, and then installed at the grounds of the Krasl in the following days. Hunt tells WSJM News it’s about 20 feet high and 40 feet across in two stainless steel pieces.. ...Read Full Story
A workshop on the different types of assistance animals and the rules that apply to them is planned for next month in St. Joseph. Disability Network Southwest Michigan Education Coordinator Miranda Grunwell tells WSJM News there are service animals, emotional support animals, and therapy animals.. ...Read Full Story
Indiana Michigan Power continues to respond to service outages around southwest Michigan by high winds. Below is the utility’s latest statement:. ...Read Full Story
High winds around southwest Michigan on Saturday have led to thousands of power outages and some roads to be temporarily blocked. As of early evening, Indiana Michigan Power was dealing with just under 27,000 outages. The high winds have knocked down tree branches throughout the region, leading to some parts of roads to be blocked while police, fire, and utility crews work to clear them. Police remind everyone to stay away from downed power lines and to report them to 911. You can stay on top of I&M power outages and also report outages at www.indianamichiganpower.com/outages.. ...Read Full Story
Major construction is underway at the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi’s Rodgers Lake campus near Dowagiac. Pokagon Band Government Manager Jason Wesaw tells us they’re doing a major improvement project at a cost of $25 million on the Justice Center and the Pokagon Health Services building. He notes the Pokagon Tribal Police have been working out of a building not intended for law enforcement.. ...Read Full Story
From the Associated Press — A complaint has been filed against a Michigan college for having a religious invocation at its commencement ceremony. The Muskegon Chronicle reports that the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists on Thursday sent Muskegon Community College a letter detailing the complaint. The complaint was filed in response to a prayer said by college Trustee Ann Oakes at the college’s May 9 graduation ceremony. The association’s letter cites two U.S. Supreme Court cases that ban invocations in schools and other public institutions. College President Dale Nesbary says he’s surprised by the complaint. He says Oakes has been delivering the commencement invocation for many years. Nesbary says the college will respond after reviewing the issue. The association has filed several complaints in recent years regarding the separation of church and state.. ...Read Full Story
The AARP of Michigan is hoping the state’s voters will get themselves familiar with the variety of proposals set to appear on next month’s ballot before they hit the polls. Manager of Advocacy Lisa Dedden Cooper tells us Proposal 1 would legalize recreational marijuana for people ages 21 and up. Proposal 2 would amend the state constitution to create a new commission to re-draw Michigan’s legislative districts when the Census comes out every 10 years. Proposal 3 would add several voting-rights provisions to the Michigan Constitution.. ...Read Full Story
Additional trains are being added to several Amtrak lines in anticipation of Thanksgiving. Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari tells WSJM News folks heading home for the holiday will have more chances to take a train. The busiest day in Amtrak’s entire history was on the Sunday following Thanksgiving last year, with more than 160,000 customers.. ...Read Full Story
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the largemouth bass virus that killed hundreds of fish back in the early 2000s has been found in Cedar Lake in Alcona and Iosco counties. DNR Hatchery Manager Martha Van Amberg tells us, for the most, there is no danger to humans.. ...Read Full Story
Brown Elementary School in St. Joseph will dig up a 20-year-old time capsule this weekend. Principal Kristen Bawks tells WSJM News she learned about the time capsule buried by students from Brown’s previous principal, Craig Hubble.. ...Read Full Story
The Van Buren County Road Commission continues to push its road millage proposal as the November 6 elections get close. Road Commission Finance Director Linnea Rader tells WSJM News after the same proposal was shot down by voters in August, the commission decided to ask again.. ...Read Full Story
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration releasing its Winter Outlook prediction. Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, told Michigan News Network there’s good news for us here in Michigan.. ...Read Full Story
St. Joseph Today is reminding kids and parents of the downtown trick or treating planned for this Halloween. It tells us there will be treats to be sought in both downtown St. Joe and the Benton Harbor Arts District on Halloween from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Kids are encouraged to wear their costumes and visit the participating businesses. In St. Joseph, the first 700 youths to stop by the Welcome Center on State Street will receive a trick-or-treat bag from HoltBosse. We have the participating St. Joe and Benton Harbor businesses listed below.. ...Read Full Story
As Michiganders get set to vote on a ballot proposal that would legalize recreational marijuana, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce held a summit Thursday morning to discuss the local implications. Josh Lunger is the chamber’s Director of Government Affairs. He spoke with Michigan News Network.. ...Read Full Story
The jackpot for tonight’s Mega Millions drawing is now $1 billion. Yes, that’s $1 billion. And if no one wins it, the jackpot will jump to $1.6 billion for next Tuesday’s drawing, according to the Michigan Lottery. Tickets are flying out of stores. If anyone wins Friday’s jackpot, the one-time lump sum payment would be $565.6 million. The odds of getting that jackpot are 1 in more than 320 million. A ticket is $2.. ...Read Full Story
Congressman Fred Upton and challenger Dr. Matt Longjohn were featured in a debate broadcast on WSJM and WKZO radio on October 15, 2018. You can hear a podcast of that same broadcast below:. ...Read Full Story
The real estate market continues to show gains in Michigan with the median sales price increasing 3% last month compared to September of 2017. Karen Kage with Real Comp told Michigan News Network the region continues to be a hot market.. ...Read Full Story
Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger will speak Saturday at a rally in East Lansing. It’s in support of Proposal 2, an effort to eliminate gerrymandering in Michigan. Voters Not Politicians Director Katie Fahey tells us Michigan draws its legislative districts every ten years, and the process is directed by elected officials, meaning the ruling party, whoever it is at any given time, gets to set up the system for itself.. ...Read Full Story
An overnight freeze finally happened in west Michigan this week. The temp dropped to below 32 on Wednesday night, and in many places, that was the first hard frost of the season. National Weather Service Meteorologist in Grand Rapids Nathan Jeruzal spoke with WKZO News about the freeze.. ...Read Full Story
Two million people have passed through the gates of the Niles Scream Park since it opened 45 years ago. On Sunday, guest number two million attended. It was Yessica Renteria of Plymouth, Indiana. The Niles Scream Park’s Kellie Welch tells WSJM News this has been a great year at the non-profit attraction.. ...Read Full Story