Local News Archives

Pokagon Fund To Discuss Needs Study

The results of a Pokagon Fund study on the needs of the communities it serves will be discussed at two meetings on Tuesday. The Pokagon Fund tells us it teamed up with the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, the Council of Michigan Foundations, and several local groups to determine how it could better serve southwest Michigan residents. The Harbor Country Community Needs Assessment will be the topic of discussion at a meeting set for 1 p.m. at the Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce in Three Oaks, and then again at 7 p.m. at New Buffalo Township Hall. Pokagon Fund leaders will talk about key findings, report on activities already taking place, identify leaders for task forces, and solidify volunteers. The Pokagon Fund was set up to give out a small portion of Four Winds Casino slot revenues to community projects. It’s given out more than $25 million since 2007.. ...Read Full Story

MSU Extension Taking PFAS Questions

Michigan residents with questions about PFAS can now turn to an online service of the Michigan State University Extension office. MSU Extension tells us its new PFAS Team is designed to serve as an easily accessible conduit to the appropriate resources. PFAS have been found in communities across Michigan where their use in tanneries, metal plating factories, and fire-fighting foams were once prevalent. PFAS were also routinely used in consumer products like stain-resistant carpeting and non-stick cookware, paints, and fast food wrappers. PFAS contamination was found in the water system of Kalamazoo County’s Parchment this past summer, rendering the water undrinkable. Since then, the state has been working to make sure other water systems are tested for the chemicals. You can find the MSU Extension question page right here.. ...Read Full Story

Part Of Napier Avenue Closing This Week

The Berrien County Road Department will be closing part of Napier Avenue this week for drain work. It tells us Napier between Bainbridge Center Road and M-140 will be shut down on Wednesday of this week for the replacement of a drain by the Berrien County Drain Commission. The road will remain closed through next Tuesday, December 18. A detour that takes drivers on M-140, Empire Avenue, and Bainbridge Center Road will be posted. Homeowners and first responders will be able to access the road up to the point of closure, but will not be able to pass through the work zone at the county drain. Anyone with questions should contact the Berrien County Road Department.. ...Read Full Story

Gas Prices Up 6¢ Statewide After Last Week’s Surge

AAA Michigan says average gas prices statewide are up 6¢ in the past week to about $2.34 per gallon following a string of declines linked to lower oil prices. The Dearborn-based auto club says early Monday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline increased after recently sinking to its lowest level since July 2017. Major oil producers on Friday including the OPEC cartel agreed to cut global oil production – sending oil prices higher. The state’s highest average was $2.42 per gallon in the Marquette area. The lowest was in the Traverse City area at $2.29 a gallon, while the Twin Cities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph are second-lowest along with Flint at $2.32.. ...Read Full Story

Spot Highways For MDOT This Winter

If you have a daily commute that takes you on highways in Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, or Ottawa counties, then the Michigan Department of Transportation could use your input. Spokesperson John Richard tells WSJM News the agency is signing up volunteer Road Watchers for the winter. Volunteers will be polled about highway conditions following winter storms, and their input will be used to deploy winter maintenance crews and identify best practices. The Road Watcher program attracted more than 80 volunteers last year in west Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Calls Continue For Auto Insurance Reform

Now that Michigan lawmakers are in Lansing for a few more weeks as the session winds down, the Insurance Alliance of Michigan is urging them to tackle auto insurance reform. Spokesperson Mark Fisk tells WSJM News now is the perfect time, with the issue no doubt fresh on the minds of legislators.. ...Read Full Story

State Tax Scam Warning

There’s a new scam that targets those who may owe overdue taxes, and the Michigan Department of Treasury is putting out a warning. Spokesperson Ron Leix tells WSJM News the scammer will send a letter through the U.S. Postal Service, telling someone they owe money.. ...Read Full Story

BH Leaders Asked To Help Ox Creek Clean-Up Plan

Berrien County Drain Commissioner Christopher Quattrin is asking Benton Harbor City Commissioners to lend their support to a clean-up project for the Ox Creek drain system. At this past week’s commission meeting, the body was told easements would need to be granted for the drain commissioner to remove dead trees, industrial debris, and litter throughout the creek. About 10% of the adjoining land is owned by the city. Quattrin told WSJM News it will require jurisdiction to make the clean-up happen.. ...Read Full Story

LMC To Introduce CDL Program

Lake Michigan College is starting a truck driving program. At this past week’s meeting of the LMC Board of Trustees, the sale of 6.5 acres of excess LMC property at the Bertrand Crossing campus was authorized for a price of just under $148,000. The buyer is N&M Transfer Company, a trucking firm out of Wisconsin. LMC VP of Academic Affairs Leslie Kellogg tells WSJM News the deal allows for a public-private partnership for the college to use a facility the trucking firm intends to build there. She says students will be able to get a CDL at LMC.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Holds “Shop With A Cop”

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department has helped ten families and 34 kids have a merry Christmas this year. On Saturday, sheriff’s deputies took the children on the annual Shop with a Cop trip to the Niles Wal-Mart. Each child was able to pick out gifts for the holiday. The kids were from the Niles, Berrien Springs, New Buffalo, and Benton Harbor areas. After the free shopping trip, everyone went to the Michiana Christian Embassy in Niles for snacks and gift wrapping. Shop with a Cop is organized by the Berrien County Sheriff ‘s Office Reserve Division Deputies Kimberly Fedison and Katie Bauer. They were able to collect more than $7,000 in donations to cover the costs of the event thanks to area businesses and others. In addition to providing the funds to allow the children to shop, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department also provided holiday food baskets to the ten families.. ...Read Full Story

Upton Talks Remaining House Prioities

There are still several critical tasks Congress must get done before the year ends, and Congressman Fred Upton is confident they will be finished in time. He tells WSJM News the House may have taken some time off to honor former President George H.W. Bush this past week, but lawmakers but there was still plenty lawmakers had to do.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Holiday Village Today

The city of Bridgman will celebrate Christmas today as it opens up its Holiday Village. Several businesses in the downtown area will have sales and special Christmas-related activities going on. Among other things, there will be a poinsettia sale at Small Town Weddings, a pet parade at Paws to Wash, pizza bites at Lake Street Eats, crafts at the library, and reading with Mrs Claus and cookie decorating at the Sandpiper. Additionally, the following Saturday — December 15 — will bring a chili cook-off at Tapestry Brewing with proceeds going to the Southwestern Michigan Humane Society. You can check out the Facebook page of the Bridgman Holiday Village to learn more.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Replace Child’s Stolen Presents

Michigan State Police out of the Paw Paw post have gone the extra mile to save a child’s Christmas. The post tells us one of its troopers was sent out to investigate an apartment break-in in Galesburg on November 19. During the investigation, Trooper Benoit learned from the victim that all of her 9-year-old son’s Christmas presents had been stolen. Without the woman knowing, Trooper Benoit reached out to the State Trooper Outreach Partnership — or STOP — and organized the purchase of the same gifts for young Christopher. The items included Pokémon cards, Beyblades, and most importantly, a lord Voldemort Harry Potter wand. The trooper delivered the presents to the woman on Friday. Michigan State Police tell us STOP is a small non-profit made up of troopers and community members who raise money to help those in need.. ...Read Full Story

$33 Million Donation For U Of M Law School

From the Associated Press — The University of Michigan Law School is receiving $33 million, which officials say is the largest gift in its history and entirely intended for students. The gift announced Thursday comes from Chris and Lisa Jeffries. Chris Jeffries is a 1974 law school graduate and co-founder of Millennium Partners, a real estate development company. The couple previously gave $5 million toward the building of the law school’s South Hall, which the Ann Arbor school’s governing board renamed Jeffries Hall. The money announced Thursday is intended for scholarships, financial aid, summer programs and debt management. Chris Jeffries, who lives with his wife in
Miami, says in a statement that he’s “especially interested in paying the way forward for students who lack financial resources.”. ...Read Full Story

Senior Center Funding Approved

Funding for the year has been approved for seven senior centers by the Berrien County Board of Commissioners. At this week’s meeting, more than $2.3 million from the county-wide senior millage was put aside for the centers in Benton Harbor, Buchanan, Berrien Springs, Niles, Coloma, Harbert, and St. Joseph. Commissioner Mamie Yarbrough noted they each get $333,000.. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Election Bill Approved

Two bills from state Representative Kim LaSata designed to bring consistency to Michigan election rules have been approved by a Senate committee. LaSata’s plan would allow someone running for a township office to submit a $100 filing fee to appear on the ballot, instead of submitting a nominating petition. That option is already allowed for those seeking certain state or county offices. LaSata says no one will be excluded from running for office because they can’t afford the fee. Her bill just makes it possible to go the fee route instead, while leaving open the option of circulating a petition without paying any fees. She worked on the plan with Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. It passed the Senate Election and Government Reform Committee, and now goes on to the full Senate. It’s already passed the House.. ...Read Full Story

Holiday Party for the Animals At SWM Humane Society Saturday

There will be some real party animals hanging out this Saturday at the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan. That’s because they’re holding the annual Holiday Party for the Animals and Open House at the shelter in Royalton Township. Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan Volunteer Coordinator Taylor Michael tells WSJM News everyone is welcome there from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT Talks Road Watching Program

If you have a daily commute that takes you on highways in Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, or Ottawa counties, then the Michigan Department of Transportation could use your input. Spokesperson John Richard tells WSJM News the agency is signing up volunteer Road Watchers for the winter. Volunteers will be polled about highway conditions following winter storms, and their input will be used to deploy winter maintenance crews and identify best practices. The Road Watcher program attracted more than 80 volunteers last year in west Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

US-31 To Be Expanded To I-94

US-31 will finally be expanded all the way to I-94. The office of Congressman Fred Upton announced on Thursday a $20 million grant to the Michigan Department of Transportation for the project. It’s been on MDOT’s build list for a few years, and the problem has always been securing enough funding. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News the project will be done in three parts. Parts one and two involve expanding I-94 to make way for the connect and then expanding the interchange. Schirripa says the third phase is the actual expansion of US-31.. ...Read Full Story