Local News Archives

Walgreens Installing Drug Kiosks

28 Walgreens stores will be part of an expansion into Michigan to provide drug kiosks so customers can get rid of unwanted medications. Spokesman Phil Caruso says millions of pounds of unused drugs have already been collected in the past two years, and there have been no problems with people trying to steal the drugs.. ...Read Full Story

POW Discussion At North Berrien Museum

The North Berrien History Museum is hosting a program called The German POW Experience in Michigan tomorrow. The program will feature Dr. Howard Poole speaking about the 400,000 German prisoners of war being placed in 32 camps in Michigan, including Coloma, Benton Harbor and Hartford. Dr.Poole will shed light on the experiences of the captured men like, their transportation from Europe to Michigan and back after the war. Some of the former POW’s chose to come back to the United States to live. The program will be held at the North Berrien History Museum on the evening of Tuesday, May 15th, free to the public at 7 p.m. The museum’s website can be viewed at NorthBerrienHistory.org.. ...Read Full Story

House Speaker On Legalized Pot

It looks like there will be a statewide vote of the people in Michigan to decide if recreational marijuana should be legalized. Speaker of the Michigan House Tom Leonard has reaffirming a vote by the people will have the final say on the measure in November. He told Michigan News Network the matter will not be decided by legislative Republicans.. ...Read Full Story

Record Memorial Day Travel Forecast Issued

A record number of Michigan residents are planning to hit the road for Memorial Day. Triple-A Michigan is projecting nearly 1.3 million of us in the state are planning a trip, up nearly 5% from last year. If realized, it will be the busiest Memorial Day weekend for tourism in over a dozen years in the state. Most people – 1.1 million – plan to drive, with air travel projected to be up 8% from last year at nearly 70,000 people. The auto club says the worst time to head out is going to be Thursday, May 24 and Friday, May 25 due to how many others will be traveling at the same time. The projection marks the sixth straight year of increases in Michigan in the estimated number of people planning to travel for the holiday.. ...Read Full Story

Two Watervliet Gas Stations Have State’s Lowest Prices

There’s a price war at a pair of southwest Michigan gas stations, but it’s not impacting the average in the area according to Triple-A Michigan. The Casey’s General Store and the Shell on M-140 in Watervliet are both selling unleaded for $2.60 a gallon, which GasBuddy notes is the lowest price in the state. Triple-A’s weekly survey of gas stations puts the statewide average at $2.93, up 7¢ from last week and up 52¢ from this time last year. The Benton Harbor/St. Joseph average price is up by three pennies to $2.88 per gallon. Michigan’s most expensive gas is in Ann Arbor at $2.97, while the lowest average prices are up north in Traverse City at $2.85. AAA says gasoline inventories in the Great Lakes region have been falling steadily over the past eight weeks, helping to push our prices up.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Opposes Watercraft Tax

State Representative Kim LaSata is among the Michigan lawmakers calling on the Michigan State Waterways Commission to drop plans for a tax on small watercraft like canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. She tells WSJM News the House overwhelmingly voted this week for a resolution opposing the move.. ...Read Full Story

New Vendor Approved For Beach

There will be another vendor selling hot dogs at a St. Joseph summer attraction this year. On Monday, the St. Joseph City Commission gave its thumbs up to Myles Hambley to have a hot dog cart at Lions Park Beach. He told commissioners he plans to keep it simple, serving a few different types of dogs to beach goers along with a few other treats. Lions Beach is one of five locations where the city allows things like hot dog carts to be located in the summer months, and there was a vacancy there. Also Monday, the commission voted to allow Scoot Joe’s to put up a 20 by 30 foot tent on its property to protect a fleet of bicycles the places rents out in the summer.. ...Read Full Story

Senate Effort To Preserve Open Internet

An effort is underway in the United States Senate to block the FCC from implementing its repeal of net neutrality protections, and Senator Gary Peters of Michigan is a part of it. Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Peters said it’s necessary that Americans have access to open internet so they can compete with the rest of the world.. ...Read Full Story

POW Presentation At Local Museum

The North Berrien History Museum is hosting a program called The German POW Experience in Michigan tomorrow. The program will feature Dr. Howard Poole speaking about the 400,000 German prisoners of war being placed in 32 camps in Michigan, including Coloma, Benton Harbor and Hartford. Dr.Poole will shed light on the experiences of the captured men like, their transportation from Europe to Michigan and back after the war. Some of the former POW’s chose to come back to the United States to live. The program will be held at the North Berrien History Museum on the evening of Tuesday, May 15th, free to the public at 7 p.m. The museum’s website can be viewed at NorthBerrienHistory.org.. ...Read Full Story

Homeowners Reminded Of Tax Program

If you’re behind on your taxes, Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski wants you to know a state program to help pay them off is still available. Last year, Witkowski and other treasurers promoted the Step Forward Michigan program. It was offering $35 million in no-interest loans around the state to homeowners who needed some help. Witkowski tells WSJM News there’s still plenty of money available.. ...Read Full Story

Students, Others Help In Puerto Rico

A group of 20 Andrews University faculty, staff, students, and graduates have returned from a trip to Puerto Rico to help provide mental health services there following Hurricane Maria. Andrews Associate Professor of Psychology Melissa Ponce-Rodas tells WSJM News following natural disasters, mental health issues do arise.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Talks Veterans Issues

State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan is hailing word that Van Buren County has now hired a veterans services officer. She’s been behind legislation to create grant programs for counties to have full-time staff that work to connect veterans with services that can help them.. ...Read Full Story

Public Safety Planning For Summer

St. Joseph City Commissioners and the public have been updated by Public Safety Director Brian Uridge on plans to better police the community this summer. Last summer, St. Joe Public Safety changed traffic patterns to reduce congestion while making more parking spaces available, and this summer will bring a return to many of those practices. Uridge also said at Monday’s city commission meeting there will be more community engagement from police this summer.. ...Read Full Story

Troopers Watch Out For Tailgaters

You can expect to see more Michigan State Police troopers on patrol on I-94 this spring and summer, all the way from the Indiana border to Wayne County. As traffic crashes on I-94 went up last year, MSP Fifth District Commander Captain Kyle Bowman told Michigan News Network this week they’ll be looking for distracted driving, aggressive driving , and drivers who follow too closely.. ...Read Full Story

Big Parks Grants Approved By Senate

The Michigan Senate has signed off on the recommended Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund parks grants for the coming year. State Senator John Proos tells WSJM News the trust fund is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeshore Considers Options

There is still work ahead for leaders at Lakeshore Public Schools after this week’s failure of a bond proposal. Voters rejected the $21 million bond on Tuesday on a vote of 2,300 to 1,907. Lakeshore Superintendent Phil Freeman tells WSJM News the need for building improvements and new technology is still there.. ...Read Full Story

State Issues Bear Reminders

As people start to spend more time in woodland areas this season, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has some tips to avoid conflict with bears. Katie Keen with the DNR tells us the agency has to put down some bears each year because the animals venture out of the woods and get too comfortable being near humans. She says homeowners who live in areas inhabited by bears should remove all bird feeders and only put garbage cans out just before the pickup time.. ...Read Full Story

Manufacturer Honored For Saving Energy

A check for $50,000 was presented Friday to Kay Manufacturing in St. Joseph by Indiana Michigan Power for Kay’s efforts to become more energy efficient. Kay Manufacturing President Brian Pelke tells WSJM News the company has invested $115,000 in installing LED lighting in its 120,000 square foot facility.. ...Read Full Story

Pagel To Hold Senior Safety Event

State Representative Dave Pagel is hosting a senior safety event on Monday. Set to take place at the senior facility, Brentwood at Niles in Niles, the gathering will be held with the help of the Michigan Attorney General’s Consumer Education Division. Pagel tell us the presentation will be focused on teaching seniors how to detect phone, email, mail, and text scams. He says it’s important for those who are the most common target for scammers to be aware of what to look out for and the problems they can cause. The senior safety event will be Monday from 2 to 3 p.m. and everyone is welcome.. ...Read Full Story

KitchenAid Saluted This Month

Now on display at businesses throughout Berrien County are specially-decorated KitchenAid stand mixers. St. Joseph Today’s Amy Zapal tells us it’s a project called “Stand Mixers on Parade,” intended to thank the appliance maker for its support of the community as the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship takes place at Harbor Shores this month. You can find the stand mixers at businesses from Stevensville to St. Joe.. ...Read Full Story

Cook Plant Unit Back Online

Unit 2 at the Cook nuclear power plant is now back up and running. Cook plant spokesperson Bill Schalk tells WSJM News the unit was shut down in March for a regular refueling outage. The 67 day outage featured a variety of repairs and other maintenance in the reactor.. ...Read Full Story

OutCenter Lake Effect Pride Event

The OutCenter in Benton Harbor has announced the details of its 2018 Lake Effect Pride event. The annual party is held to recognize the organization’s successes for the year and to celebrate the LGBTQ community. This year’s Lake Effect Pride event will be held on Saturday, July 16 at Four Winds Casinos’ Silver Creek Event Center in New Buffalo. The theme this year will be “Bet on Love, You Will Always Win,” and the party will also raise funds for OutCenter programs. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Girl Scouts Give Cookies To Veterans

372 boxes of cookies are being given to southwest Michigan American Legion posts by a Girl Scout troop as the girls thank veterans for their service. On Friday, Elise Voglewede and Alexandria Smith from Girl Scout Community 201 stopped by the Y Country Radio studio to hand off 31 cases of s’mores — that’s more than 5,000 cookies — to morning host Matt Malone. Smith told us it’s for Y Country’s May We Say Thank You Tour.. ...Read Full Story

St. Joe Street Project

A major street reconstruction project is about to get started in St. Joseph. City Engineer Tim Zebell tells WSJM News they’re going to get to work on June 11 not only repaving but also installing new water mains on Wallace Avenue. The work will be from Lakeshore Drive to South State Street and Stadium Drive from Wallace Avenue to the St. Joseph High School entrance. Traffic to the west side of the high school will be maintained this summer, but Wallace between Lakeshore Drive and Lakeview Avenue will be closed.. ...Read Full Story

Relay For Life Registrations

Relay for Life of Van Buren County is once again holding its yearly event at Bangor High School. If you are a cancer survivor or know someone who is, there’s an open invitation for you to attend the event on Saturday, June 9. You’re encouraged to pre-register this Friday at Peace Lutheran Church in South Haven from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or, on Saturday at the Lawrence Library from 10 a.m. to noon. The Relay for Life event on June 9 will feature purple carpet photo ops, sparkling juice, a celebratory Survivor lap around the track, a Survivor speaker, and a dinner in honor of all the survivors. All activities are free and open to all who have survived cancer. You can find out more about Van Buren County’s Relay for Life event right here.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Salutes Police

Local police have been honored by the Berrien County Health Department with its 2018 Friend of Public Health Award. Spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News the award is given each year to an individual or organization that has advanced public health. Police were picked this year because of all their efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. Conrad tells us police in Berrien County have been at the forefront when it comes to including anti-overdose medications in their equipment.. ...Read Full Story

Grant For Niles Library

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has picked the Niles District Library to be the recipient of a grant. This week, the foundation announced a round of more than $145,000 in grants for organizations around Michigan that include schools, non-profits, and libraries. The Niles District Library is receiving $2,000 for its adult, family, and summer literacy programs. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is giving out 35 grants this summer around the state to organizations within a 20 mile radius of one of its stores. The library in Niles is the only Berrien County organization selected.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Honored By Firefighters

The Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union has named state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker its Legislator of the Year. Schuitmaker, a Republican from Lawton, is also running for Michigan Attorney General, and says it’s an honor to receive the award. She shares it this year with state Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, a former county sheriff. Schuitmaker tells us we “depend on first responders in difficult situations in life and we are truly grateful for their courage, skill, and professionalism.” She has previously been named the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association Legislator of the Year.. ...Read Full Story

Engler Addresses Nassar Case

Former governor and now Michigan State University President John Engler spoke about the Larry Nassar sexual abuse at a breakfast event in Birmingham Thursday morning. He said he was surprised with how things were being handled at MSU when he took the job.. ...Read Full Story

I&M Offers New Renewable Energy Program

If you support renewable energy and want Indiana Michigan Power to invest more in it, you now have a chance to put your money where your mouth is. I&M spokesperson Tracy Warner tells WSJM News the company has now rolled out its Green Power Option to Michigan customers. With it, you can sign up to attribute a portion or all of your monthly energy usage to I&M’s renewable energy programs.. ...Read Full Story

Health Department Talks Lyme Disease

This is the time of year when infections of Lyme disease increase, and the hazard is a particular concern here in southwest Michigan, Berrien County Health Department spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News Berrien County has a much higher rate of Lyme disease infections than the rest of state. We’ve got the terrain that ticks love.. ...Read Full Story

More Info On Fatal Crash

A 23-year-old Hartford Township man is dead following a crash last week. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us the crash happened on the evening of Wednesday, May 2 on County Road 362 east of 70th Street in Keeler Township. Witnesses told sheriff’s deputies the vehicle lost control and ran off the south side of the road while headed east. It overturned several times and then ejected the driver, Adam Lee Hess. Despite life-saving efforts made by first responders, Hess died at an area hospital. Police say blood work shows the driver’s blood alcohol level was within the legal limits.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Talks GOP Debate

State Senator John Proos liked what he heard in Wednesday night’s Republican gubernatorial debate. Dr. Jim Hines, state Senator Patrick Colbeck, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley squared off at a forum organized by WOOD TV. Proos tells us the issues discussed matched when he hears about in southwest Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Cracking On I-94 Drivers

You can expect to see more Michigan State Police troopers on patrol on I-94 this spring and summer, all the way from the Indiana border to Wayne County. As traffic crashes on I-94 went up last year, MSP Fifth District Commander Captain Kyle Bowman told Michigan News Network this week they’ll be looking for distracted driving, aggressive driving , and drivers who follow too closely.. ...Read Full Story

Peters Makes Open Internet Appeal

An effort is underway in the United States Senate to block the FCC from implementing its repeal of net neutrality protections, and Senator Gary Peters of Michigan is a part of it. Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Peters said it’s necessary that Americans have access to open internet so they can compete with the rest of the world.. ...Read Full Story

AARP Grants For Cities

With the nation facing an aging population, many communities are examining ways to become places where people of all ages can thrive. Now, cities and towns in Michigan ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work on livability projects have an opportunity to get some financial help. Mark Hornbeck with AARP Michigan tells us the AARP Community Challenge is offering grants for innovative improvement ideas that will allow all residents to make the most out of where they live.. ...Read Full Story

Lawmaker Praises Veterans Office

State Representative Beth Griffin of Mattawan is hailing word that Van Buren County has now hired a veterans services officer. She’s been behind legislation to create grant programs for counties to have full-time staff that work to connect veterans with services that can help them.. ...Read Full Story

GOP Gubernatorial Candidates In Michigan Hold 1st Debate

Republicans running for Michigan governor have made their cases to voters in their first debate. Attorney General Bill Schuette emphasized his endorsement from President Donald Trump and his plans to cut taxes and auto insurance rates during a Wednesday night debate hosted by WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids. Rival Brian Calley touts Michigan’s economic gains during his time as lieutenant governor and calls Schuette a “career politician.”. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Short-Term Rental Moratorium

The South Haven City Council has approved a six month moratorium on new short-term rentals in Wards 1 and 2. Those wards consist of the southern portion of the city along the lakeshore and the eastern portion of the city south of the Black River. City staff will not accept or process applications for new rentals in Wards 1 and 2. Mayor Scott Smith tells us the city has been gathering data about what’s working and what needs improving under the current ordinance. Year-round residents have expressed displeasure over noise levels, parked cars blocking emergency vehicle access, and the behavior of some of the people renting houses short-term in the city. Short term rentals have long been a controversy in South Haven. The six-month moratorium on them was approved on Monday by the South Haven City Council.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Talks “Kayak Tax”

State Representative Kim LaSata is among the Michigan lawmakers calling on the Michigan State Waterways Commission to drop plans for a tax on small watercraft like canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. She tells WSJM News the House overwhelmingly voted this week for a resolution opposing the move.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Company Saluted For Energy Efficiency

A check for $50,000 will be presented this week to Kay Manufacturing in St. Joseph by Indiana Michigan Power for Kay’s efforts to become more energy efficient. Kay Manufacturing President Brian Pelke tells WSJM News the company has invested $115,000 in installing LED lighting in its 120,000 square foot facility.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews Team Helps In Puerto Rico

A group of 20 Andrews University faculty, staff, students, and graduates have returned from a trip to Puerto Rico to help provide mental health services there following Hurricane Maria. Andrews Associate Professor of Psychology Melissa Ponce-Rodas tells WSJM News following natural disasters, mental health issues do arise.. ...Read Full Story

Lakeshore Leaders Look Ahead

There is still work ahead for leaders at Lakeshore Public Schools after this week’s failure of a bond proposal. Voters rejected the $21 million bond on Tuesday on a vote of 2,300 to 1,907. Lakeshore Superintendent Phil Freeman tells WSJM News the need for building improvements and new technology is still there.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Speaker Series Tomorrow

“Why Our Political Is Behaving So Oddly” is the topic South Haven Speaker Series guest Phil Power address on Thursday, May 10th at the Lake Michigan College South Haven campus. Speaker Series Board President Mark Odland tells WSJM News Power is the founder of the Center for Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

House Opposes “Kayak Tax”

It doesn’t look like you’re going to be forced to pay any fees to register paddle boards, canoes, and kayaks with the state. The Michigan House has voted overwhelmingly to oppose the so-called “kayak tax” floated by the Michigan State Waterways Commission. Representative Curt VanderWall of Ludington sponsored the resolution, which received bipartisan support.. ...Read Full Story

Roadside Park Arson Under Investigation

An arson at the Flowing Wells Roadside Park in Bainbridge Township is under investigation. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells WSJM News someone noticed the bathrooms at the park on fire around 10 p.m. last Friday and called 9-1-1. The sheriff’s office and Fire Marshall’s Division of the Michigan State Police determined the fire had been intentionally set, and a reward is being offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. At this point, authorities have not identified any suspects. The roadside park and the structures on the property are owned by the Michigan Department of Transportation.. ...Read Full Story

State Police To Target Dangerous Driving On I-94

Michigan State Police plan to target dangerous driving behaviors of motorists using Interstate 94 between the Indiana state line and Wayne County in southeastern Michigan. More troopers will be assigned to patrol the highway during the spring and summer, focusing on distracted and aggressive driving, following too closely, improper lane use and excessive speed.. ...Read Full Story

Treasurer Reminds Homeonwers Of Tax Program

If you’re behind on your taxes, Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski wants you to know a state program to help pay them off is still available. Last year, Witkowski and other treasurers promoted the Step Forward Michigan program. It was offering $35 million in no-interest loans around the state to homeowners who needed some help. Witkowski tells WSJM News there’s still plenty of money available.. ...Read Full Story

Mackinac Conference This Month

1,700 business leaders and politicians will attend the Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island later this month. Highlights include a keynote speech from former Speaker of the House John Boehner and a governor’s debate between the top three candidates from each party. Ray Telang is the Mackinac Policy Conference Policy Chair and told Michigan News Network beyond the programs, networking is important.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Election Results

Voters headed to the polls on Tuesday is some communities around Berrien County, in all cases deciding school funding. The biggest was a bond for Lakeshore Public Schools, which voters rejected. The vote was 2,300 no to 1,907 yes. The district was seeking $21 million in bonds for building improvements, the purchase of equipment, and work on athletic facilities and playgrounds. Now, it’s back to the drawing board.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren County Election Results

A couple of Van Buren County communities held elections on Tuesday. In South Haven, voters were asked to renew the operating millage for South Haven Public Schools. It accounts for more than 42% of the district’s operating revenue, and voters approved it. There was also a city council election in Bangor, but it was uncontested. Elected to the city council were Fred Hicks and Steven Lowder.. ...Read Full Story

Commission Approves Medical Marijuana Rules

Medical Marijuana is a step closer to coming to Benton Harbor. At a Monday meeting, the city commission approved updated zoning rules recommended by the planning commission that will permit up to 25 medical marijuana facilities in the city. The commission also approved a resolution in support for the sale of the vacant Alreco Metals property to medical marijuana outfit the Harvest Group. Harvest Group has offered the Berrien County Land Bank more than $400,000 for the foreclosed 11 acre property to produce medical marijuana there. It’s said its plans would mean $7 million in investment and between 150 and 200 jobs. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski tells WSJM News the land bank can now act more quickly to approve the Alreco sale to Harvest.. ...Read Full Story

More Testimony On Nassar Legislation

Victims of Larry Nassar are at the state capitol this week to testify in favor of new child protection legislation. Former diver Sterling Riethman from Kalamazoo was abused by Nassar at his MSU clinic. She testified on Tuesday that many girls don’t report the abuse until later in life.. ...Read Full Story

SJ Public Safety Plans This Summer

St. Joseph City Commissioners and the public have been updated by Public Safety Director Brian Uridge on plans to better police the community this summer. Last summer, St. Joe Public Safety changed traffic patterns to reduce congestion while making more parking spaces available, and this summer will bring a return to many of those practices. Uridge also said at Monday’s city commission meeting there will be more community engagement from police this summer.. ...Read Full Story