Local News Archives

Oberon Day Celebrated

Beer enthusiasts celebrated Oberon Day Monday as Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo released its iconic beer for the season. The brewery describes the beer as “a wheat ale fermented with Bell’s signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas.” CEO Laura Bell is the daughter of Bell’s owner Larry Bell, and she spoke with Michigan News Network about Oberon Day.. ...Read Full Story

Policy Group Questions Pure Michigan Value

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has taken another shot at the Pure Michigan tourism advertising campaign. Mackinac Center Policy Analyst Michael LaFaive tells WSJM News a Michigan Auditor General review found more than $13 million in state tax dollars were excluded from the return-on-investment calculations made by the state’s tourism consultant for Pure Michigan in 2016. The Mackinac Center views the Pure Michigan program as not worth it.. ...Read Full Story

40 Under 40 List Unveiled

The first ever 40 Under 40 list has been released, and it includes a cross section of southwest Michigan’s best and brightest go-getters under the age of 40. Announced on Monday’s Moody in the Morning show, the 40 Under 40 represent the future of the region in a new program just started by Moody on the Market and Mid-West Family Broadcasting. The United Way’s Charlotte Becker told WSJM News the 40 Under 40 come from the world of big business, small business, non-profits, and community groups.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Fatal Friday Crash

A 6-year-old girl is dead following a crash in Van Buren County Friday. Michigan State Police tell us it happened on 66th Street near 26th Avenue in Bangor Township shortly before 6 p.m. The driver of a southbound vehicle was distracted and swerved off the road. The vehicle then went down an embankment and hit a tree. There were four people in the vehicle at the time, the adult driver and three children, all from Bangor. A 6-year-old girl in the backseat was killed. The driver and the other two passengers were taken to Bronson Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.. ...Read Full Story

State Park Cleanups This Month

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is planning some clean-up events at west Michigan state parks this month, and it could use some volunteers. Specifically, it tells us those who show up will be removing invasive plant species from dune areas. The work will be taking place on Saturday, March 31 at Saugatuck Dunes State Park and Warren Dunes State Park. Volunteers are invited to stop by at 10 a.m. to work through 1 p.m. at both parks. They will be removing honeysuckle, Japanese barberry and other invasive shrubs that threaten the dunes. In each case, volunteers are reminded to dress for outdoor work. Volunteers can show up to either state park at 10 a.m. on the 31st and go to the parking area.. ...Read Full Story

It’s Getting Expensive To Fill Up Again

A big 14¢ jump at the gas pump is threatening to put a dent in the budget of drivers around southwest Michigan. According to the latest survey from Triple-A Michigan, prices in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph rose as much as the rest of the state with a 14¢ jump to an average of $2.70. The statewide average is a penny higher, and that’s up 42¢ from this time a year ago. GasBuddy spotters say South Haven’s prices, which are typically lower, aren’t that much cheaper right now and range from $2.65 to $2.68 a gallon. The auto club says the highest prices are in Jackson at $2.77, while drivers in Marquette have the lowest prices at $2.64. Triple-A isn’t offering much of an explanation for the increase other than seasonal volatility in prices.. ...Read Full Story

Pep Rally, Parade For State Champion BH Tigers

Benton Harbor High School will hold a pep rally today for students, staff, parents and relatives of the Class B state champion boys basketball team. The Tigers defeated Grand Rapids Catholic Central in overtime on Saturday at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, 65-64, for their first state title since 1965. Sophomore Carlos Johnson hit the game-winning three pointer with under five seconds to go, and the defense held to preserve the one-point win. Today’s celebration is set for 10 a.m., and a parade is also being planned for Thursday evening starting at 6. The parade will start in the Empire parking lot of Benton Harbor High School.. ...Read Full Story

Local Grower Picked For State Panel

A local fruit grower has been picked by Governor Rick Snyder to sit on the Michigan Tree Fruit Commission. Herb Teichman, owner of the Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire, will be on that body created in 2014. Teichman’s appointment to the commission was announced by the governor Thursday. Also announced Thursday for Michigan Tree Fruit Commission will be James Nugent of Suttons Bay and Christopher Kropf of Lowell. Members will serve three-year terms expiring March 1, 2021. The appointments must be approved by the Michigan Senate. The governor says, “I thank these individuals for their commitment to enhance Michigan’s tree fruit industry.”. ...Read Full Story

LaSata Talks Shoreline Protection

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation from state Representative Kim LaSata intended to strengthen a program for the clean-up of waterways in the state. LaSata tells WSJM News confusion was created several years ago when the Michigan Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality were combined. After they separated, it was not clear which one was to run the Adopt-a-River and Adopt-a-Shoreline programs.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Approves Road Renaming

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation from state Representative Kim LaSata to rename a stretch of Red Arrow Highway in Berrien County in honor of a fallen state police trooper. She tells WSJM News Red Arrow Highway between Glenlord and Hilltop Roads will now be called the Trooper Robert J. Mihalik Memorial Highway.. ...Read Full Story

Missing Teen Back Home

A 15-year-old girl reported missing last week is back home with her family in Benton Harbor. The city’s public safety department tells WSJM News Anna Mae Taylor was located and returned to her family as of Friday. Someone purporting to be her posted on Taylor’s Facebook page within hours of police putting out word she was missing last week that she was okay. Benton Harbor Public Safety is continuing to investigate her disappearance.. ...Read Full Story

Double Murder Suspect On Run

Benton Harbor Public Safety officers are looking for a double murder suspect who may be headed to Indianapolis. Officers tell WSJM News 40-year-old Antwan “Tank” Mims is accused of shooting and killing 22-year-old Cortez Miller and 29-year-old Michael Johnson early Sunday morning. The victims died after being taken to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph. They were found shot at a home in the 900 block of LaVette in Benton Harbor. Anyone who knows where Mims may be is urged to call Crime Stoppers, Benton Harbor Public Safety, or 9-1-1.. ...Read Full Story

School Spirit Tournament Update

State Senator John Proos is congratulating the schools left in his annual Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament. He announced the Elite 8 this week, telling WSJM News we’re now down to Michigan Lutheran versus Lake Michigan Catholic, River Valley versus Grace Christian, Berrien Springs versus Coloma, and Edwardsburg versus Marcellus. They’re competing in a bracket-style tournament to prove their school spirit by sending Proos photo evidence they’re the best.. ...Read Full Story

Donations Sought For Softball Team

A new effort is underway to collect equipment for the Benton Harbor Tigers girls softball team. Benton Harbor Area Schools Varsity Softball Coach Chris Glisson tells us he started the collection drive to get all sorts of equipment when he realized his players were under-equipped.. ...Read Full Story

School Financial Info Online

A new website has been launched by the state of Michigan Treasury Department to make financial information about public school districts available to parents. Treasury spokesperson Ron Leix tells WSJM News the site is easy to use, breaking down the state on a map, district by district.. ...Read Full Story

New Tax Scam

The IRS is warning taxpayers about the latest scam. Spokesperson Alejandra Castro-Nunez tells WSJM News this one happens when a scammer gets ahold of some of your previous tax information and banking info.. ...Read Full Story

Allegan Clerk Running For MI Senate

Running for Michigan Senate in the 20th District is a familiar name in west Michigan politics. Former Republican state Representative and current Allegan County Clerk Bob Genetski is hoping to replace state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker when she’s term limited out of office this year. He tells WSJM News reducing auto insurance rates is a big priority.. ...Read Full Story

Anti Suicide Coalition Promotes Resources

A meeting held at the Berrien County Health Department Tuesday aimed to spread the message that 911 is the number to call when a loved one is feeling suicidal. Berrien County Suicide Prevention Coalition founder Trent Watford told WSJM News 911 will connect someone who needs help with resources available.. ...Read Full Story

Essay Contest For Honor Flights

A student essay contest is being held by Talons Out Honor Flight. The organization provides veterans of World War II and the Korean War with free trips to Washington, D.C. to see their war memorials each year, so far making those visits possible for more than 800 vets. Director Bobbie Bradley tells WSJM News as Talons Out Honor Flight prepares for trip number 13, it’s asking middle and high school students to identify a veteran of Korea or World War II who has passed away.. ...Read Full Story

Inventory Slows Home Sales

The latest housing numbers are out from the Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors, and they show the regional market slightly sluggish in February. The association’s Alan Jeffries tells WSJM News the number of units sold in February was down by three from February of 2017.. ...Read Full Story

No-Wake Zone Could Be Extended

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources can now hold a hearing on extending the no-wake zone in the St. Joseph River in the area of St. Joe and Benton Harbor. That’s because Benton Harbor City Commissioners on Monday agreed to let the DNR move forward. City Manager Darwin Watson told WSJM News people with boats at Pier 1000 asked that the no-wake zone be extended.. ...Read Full Story

Parks Department Looking For Extra Help

The Berrien County Parks Department is preparing for a busy summer, and it’s looking for some help. Parks Director Brian Bailey tells WSJM News they need the usual lifeguards for Silver Beach, but also staff to do a wide variety of temporary work at all of the other county parks like Love Creek and Rocky Gap.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Addressing Housing, Infrastructrure

The South Haven City Council has its priorities for the upcoming fiscal year following a meeting this week. The top three priorities for the year are development of “missing middle” housing options, economic development, infrastructure repairs. South Haven Mayor Scott Smith told WSJM News how the priorities list is put together.. ...Read Full Story

Plan Encourages Craft Breweries

State Senator John Proos has introduced legislation designed to provide relief to small distillers who use Michigan-grown grain. He tells WSJM News his plan would change how liquor sales are handled in the state by reducing Michigan Liquor Control Commission markup prices for small distillers that use at least 40% of Michigan-grown grain.. ...Read Full Story

Robotics Competition Underway

It’s a big competition in west Michigan Friday and Saturday. It’s the First Robotics District Competition at Grand Valley State University. Referee Nicki Bonczyk told Michigan News Network a lot of kids come to watch the high schoolers compete.. ...Read Full Story

Local At-Risk Youth To Compete In Lansing

A Kinexus program that works with at-risk young people to make sure they graduate high school will head to Lansing next week to have some of its kids show off the skills they’ve learned. Youth Solutions Incorporated Director Kristin Harrington tells WSJM News the local Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program will take kids from Benton Harbor, Dowagiac, Hartford, and Cassopolis to the 9th Annual JMG Career Development Conference.. ...Read Full Story

Police Seek More For School Security

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s law enforcement and education leaders are calling on the state legislature to spend $100 million annually to staff schools with more police officers and counselors after last month’s massacre at a Florida high school. The plan outlined Thursday also proposes spending $20 million to harden schools against threats. Under the proposal, every school building in the state
would be visited by law enforcement to identify safety issues. It would be mandatory for threats against schools to be reported to law enforcement. Sheriffs, police, prosecutors and groups representing school administrators and school boards say enough is enough, and it is time for meaningful change to address school shootings and bomb scares.. ...Read Full Story

Residents To Get New Trash Cans

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad has an update for residents regarding the city’s new garbage contract. At Monday’s meeting, Muhammad said the final contract with We-Cycle Industrial Sanitation is signed, and the trash cans to be used for pick up will soon be available.. ...Read Full Story

House Acts Against Cyberbullying

From the Associated Press — The Michigan House has approved legislation making cyberbullying a crime. Lawmakers voted 91-17 Thursday on the measure that now heads to the Senate. It would be the first time the state has tacked such punishment for threatening behavior specifically on the internet. The bill defines cyberbullying as “harassing or intimidating behavior.” Depending on the severity, penalties as high as a felony sentencing could be tacked on offenders should their actions lead to serious harm. One recent example was the death of 11-year-old Tysen Benz, the Michigan boy who took his own life last year after an online prank convinced him that his girlfriend had done the same.In 2015, Governor Rick Snyder signed a law directing school districts to apply anti-bullying policy to internet harassment as well.. ...Read Full Story

Upton: Spending Bill A Win

Congressman Fred Upton is praising a deal reached this week on an omnibus spending bill in the U.S. House. He calls the spending plan a win for Michigan, telling us it maintains full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, funding to address the opioid crisis, funding for mental health initiatives through the 21st Century Cures Act, and tightened gun background checks. H.R. 1625 is the omnibus appropriations bill that allocates funding for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018 to virtually every federal department. Lawmakers reached an agreement on the plan this week as a possible federal government shutdown loomed on Friday.. ...Read Full Story

Police Warn Students About School Threats

Police chiefs all over Michigan are warning young people about the dangers of making threats against their schools. Warren Police Chief William Dwyer tells Michigan News Network he is talking to students, going to school assemblies and emphasizing that making a threat of terrorism will likely get them arrested and charged with a 20 year felony. Dwyer says school threats have now become a national problem.. ...Read Full Story

Nesbitt Steps Down As Lotto Commissioner

A change has been announced for former state Representative Aric Nesbitt. On Thursday, the Republican from Lawton told us he’s resigned from his post as Michigan Lottery Commissioner. Nesbitt, who has held that job for 13 months, tells WSJM News it’s been a productive time at the Michigan Lottery. ...Read Full Story

Proos Talks Judiciary Budget

State Senator John Proos is pleased with a judiciary budget approved by the Michigan Senate Judiciary subcommittee this week. He tells WSJM News the new budget, which covers corrections, is a 1.1% increase over last year’s spending plan and includes money for technology upgrades, problem-solving courts, and the Swift and Sure Sanctions Program.. ...Read Full Story

Former Bangor Chief Charged In Vehicle Case

The Michigan Attorney General’s office has announced charges against seven police officers from around the state for allowing improper salvage vehicle inspections. Included on the list of those charged is a former police chief from Bangor. Attorney General spokesperson Megan Hawthorne tells WSJM News it is the job of police to allow re-certifications for vehicles once deemed salvage and then repaired.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Stolen Guns

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is investigating a stolen guns case. It tells WSJM News a home on Green Avenue in the city was broken into on Monday. The culprit made off with several handguns, assault rifles, and ammunition. Police have collected evidence at the scene, and ask anyone with information on the break in to contact them. You can call the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety at 927-0293, or Crimestoppers at 1-800-342-STOP.. ...Read Full Story

Anti-Bullying Event In South Haven

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is bringing the Relentless Tour, which is an anti-bullying initiative to South Haven High School Friday afternoon. The speaker is a Michigan State basketball award winner. South Haven Public Schools Becca Teunissen told WSJM News who it is.. ...Read Full Story

Police Look For Missing Benton Harbor Girl

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is looking for a 15-year-old girl reported missing this week. The department tells us Anna Mae Taylor was last seen at her home around 12:20 p.m. Wednesday. She was reported missing by her mother. She is believed to be wearing blue jeans with holes in them and grey leggings underneath, a grey T-shirt, and a blue Pelle-Pelle jacket with a fur lined collar. Anna has a pierced nose and a long black and blond weave in her hair with two earrings in the tops of her ears. She also wears a gold cross necklace. Anna is described as being about four feet eleven inches tall and 112 pounds with brown eyes. Benton Harbor Public Safety says it’s investigating the case as suspicious. Anyone with information on Anna’s location is asked to contact the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety at 269-927-0293.. ...Read Full Story

GLRI Funding Restored In Budget

Funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative appears safe. President Trump wanted to cut that spending from $300 million to $30 million, but the GLRI is fully funded in a deal struck by U.S. House and Senate leaders. They hope to start voting as soon as today on a sweeping $1.3 trillion budget bill that substantially boosts military and domestic spending. A stopgap measure may be needed to ensure federal offices don’t shut down at midnight Friday when funding for the government expires. The White House says President Donald Trump backs the legislation, though he grumbled in a tweet, “Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.”. ...Read Full Story

Deadline Approaching For Pokagon Fund Grants

The deadline to apply for a Pokagon Fund grant this year is fast approaching. The fund tells us organizations looking for its support have until April 15 to get their paperwork in. To be qualified, an organization must be classified as 501(c)3 of the IRS or a public school. Since 2007, the Pokagon Fund has given out grants to community projects focused on education, the arts, recreation, environment, health, and other areas using a portion of Four Winds Casino revenues. Since its inception, the fund has given out more than $22 million. You can find out more about Pokagon Fund grants at its website.. ...Read Full Story

Municipal League Hoping For More Female Managers

Just 16% of Michigan’s municipal managers are women when women represent 50% of the population. That’s why the Michigan Municipal League is launching the 16-50 Project to draw more women to those management positions in local government. The League’s Emily Kieliszewski told Michigan News Network this week they plan to do it by removing barriers for women, and professional development.. ...Read Full Story

World Water Day Today

Folks from all ends of the state are being called upon to raise their voices for clean water. World Water Day is Thursday, and a coalition of organizations is rallying in the capital city to show elected leaders that affordable and protected water is a priority in Michigan. Shannon Abbott with the Grand Rapids Water Protectors says from Flint to the Straits of Mackinac and beyond, water contamination has been largely ignored by state officials.. ...Read Full Story

Bangor Schools Closed Due To Threat

Bangor Public Schools will be closed on Thursday due to a threat found written on one of the stalls in a restroom. Bangor Interim Superintendent Lynn Johnson says in a letter to parents a custodian found the threat after school was dismissed Wednesday. Johnson says the situation is being investigated by police, and as a precaution, classes will be cancelled Thursday, March 22. Johnson adds the school district is “consistently working to prevent any acts of violence in our schools. We have strong working relationships with all local, county and state police departments, and take all threats seriously.”. ...Read Full Story

Part Of Road Renamed For Trooper

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation from state Representative Kim LaSata to rename a stretch of Red Arrow Highway in Berrien County in honor of a fallen state police trooper. She tells WSJM News Red Arrow Highway between Glenlord and Hilltop Roads will now be called the Trooper Robert J. Mihalik Memorial Highway.. ...Read Full Story

Final Eight In School Spirit Tournament

State Senator John Proos is congratulating the schools left in his annual Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament. He announced the Elite 8 this week, telling WSJM News we’re now down to Michigan Lutheran versus Lake Michigan Catholic, River Valley versus Grace Christian, Berrien Springs versus Coloma, and Edwardsburg versus Marcellus. They’re competing in a bracket-style tournament to prove their school spirit by sending Proos photo evidence they’re the best.. ...Read Full Story

Unemployment Edges Up

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s unemployment rate edged upward to 4.8% in February. Figures released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget show Michigan’s jobless rate last month rose from 4.7% in January. It was seven-tenths of a percentage point above the national rate of 4.1 percent in February and unchanged from the state’s February 2017 rate of 4.8 percent. The agency says total employment was essentially unchanged over the month while the number of unemployed increased by 1,000.The February jobless rate increase was Michigan’s first since a minor uptick recorded in September. Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives Director Jason Palmer says the number of jobs statewide increasing by 16,000 over the first two
months of the year.. ...Read Full Story

House Approves Bike Passing Bill

From the Associated Press — A bill advancing in Michigan’s Legislature would require drivers to allow 3 feet (0.9 meters) of clearance while passing a bike, unless it’s impracticable. Wednesday’s 98-10 vote in the House comes after months of hearings and behind-the-scenes work. Michigan is among 11 states with no “safe passing” law, and bicyclists have been pushing lawmakers to act as more riders are killed by
motorists. As introduced, the legislation would have required 5 feet (1.5 meters) of clearance. But the House settled on a 3-foot distance.
Another bill approved 105-2 would mandate teen drivers receive at least one hour of instruction on laws pertaining to bicycles, motorcycles and other “vulnerable” roadway users including pedestrians. The legislation next moves to the Senate, where a 5-foot passing distance has
been proposed.. ...Read Full Story

Home Sales Slightly Down

The latest housing numbers are out from the Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors, and they show the regional market slightly sluggish in February. The association’s Alan Jeffries tells WSJM News the number of units sold in February was down by three from February of 2017.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Dowagiac Shooting

The Dowagiac Police Department is investigating a Wednesday shooting. It tells us officers were called to a home in the 300 block of Pokagon Street shortly before 11 a.m. when a woman called 911 to report she shot her boyfriend during a fight. Arriving officers found the 49-year-old man had been shot twice in the lower legs. He told police his girlfriend shot him with a handgun during an argument. He was taken to South Bend Memorial hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. Officers seized the gun, and the 31-year-old woman was arrested on charges of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm. The names are being withheld pending arraignment.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Leaders Set Priorities

The South Haven City Council has its priorities for the upcoming fiscal year following a meeting this week. The top three priorities for the year are development of “missing middle” housing options, economic development, infrastructure repairs. South Haven Mayor Scott Smith told WSJM News how the priorities list is put together.. ...Read Full Story