Local News Archives

Benton Harbor Riverfest Slated For August 6-7

The return of the Benton Harbor Riverfest will be on August 6 and 7 at 880 Riverview Drive. The Riverfest will be a celebration featuring music and more, says organizer and Benton Harbor City Commissioner Sharon Henderson. She tells WSJM News there was a Riverfest held many years ago, and she wants to recapture its spirit.... [Read Full Story]

LaSata Legislation Would Give Car Dealerships More Flexibility With Operating Hours

A Michigan House committee has approved legislation from state Senator Kim LaSata to give car dealerships more flexibility with their operating hours. LaSata tells WSJM News current state law requires Class A and B dealerships to be open at least 30 hours per week, 52 weeks a year. The law is designed to ensure fly by night car dealerships don’t pop up and sell cars to people before abruptly closing.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Rotary Awards Grants To New Hospital

The South Haven Rotary has celebrated the opening of the new $22 million Bronson South Haven Hospital with a tour of the facility and the presentation of two Rotary grants for Bronson. The Rotary says one grant is for a new telehealth initiative and the other is in support of a history wall featuring the story of healthcare in the community. The two grants total nearly $17,000. The Rotary says the history wall will tell through photos the story of healthcare in South Haven, with longtime physicians in the community pictured. Also included are the cornerstone and bricks from the 1941 hospital building. Two display cases will feature items representative of healthcare over the years. The Rotarians were joined in the presentation of the checks by past District 6360 Governor Margie Haas.... [Read Full Story]

WMU Offers Prize Money To Students Who Get Vaccinated

From the Associated Press — A couple jabs in the arm could make college less expensive at two Michigan schools. Western Michigan University says it will hold a series of drawings to give away more than $100,000 to students who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. There will be 60 winners. The biggest prizes are five worth $10,000 each. The money can be used for tuition, fees, campus housing and campus dining. Meanwhile, Albion College is giving a year of free tuition to a lucky immunized student.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan County Seeks Vote Recount

From the Associated Press — A rural county in northern Michigan wants an audit of its 2020 presidential election results. The Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 Tuesday to seek the state’s permission to recount the ballots and hire an outside firm to examine its voting equipment for signs of manipulation. President Donald Trump carried the county with 64% of the vote last November. But Joe Biden won statewide. The push for an audit is similar to efforts by Trump supporters in other states to raise doubts about Biden’s victory.... [Read Full Story]

Blinken meeting European allies to brief on Putin summit, rally to counter China

Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Fresh from accompanying President Joe Biden on his first overseas trip, Secretary of State Antony Blinken returns to Europe for his first visits to Germany, France, Italy and the Vatican, in what a senior U.S. diplomat called another key trip focused on “rebuilding our relationships with allies.”... [Read Full Story]

City To Offer Rent, Water Bill Help To Residents

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have signed off on a program to help residents who are struggling with rent and water bills. At a Monday meeting, the commission approved spending $600,000 for rent assistance and $300,000 for water assistance. All of that money comes from the federal government as a result of the American Rescue Plan. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said the city has so far received about $4.9 million of $9.8 million of expected federal COVID aid. He later said the city has seen revenues down during the pandemic.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Reminds Everyone Of Fireworks Rules

The city of South Haven is reminding residents of the rules for fireworks as the Fourth of July approaches. It says the law allows Michigan residents to only use “consumer fireworks,” or things like firecrackers, bottle rockets, or Roman candles. They may only be used certain times of the year. Those are on December 31 between 11 a.m. and 1 a.m. on January 1; from 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day; from 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. from June 29 through July 4; and from 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday ahead of Labor Day. The city of South Haven says it’s illegal to use fireworks on public or private property without the permission of the owner. That includes in parks. Fireworks violations can carry a fine of up to $1,000.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Adjusts Police Allocations For Summer

The South Haven Police Department is adjusting how it uses its staff as the busy summer continues and fewer applicants for positions as police officers come in. Chief Natalie Thompson sent a note to the city council this month she has pulled detectives to help with uniform patrol. City Manager Kate Hosier tells WSJM News another problem is that the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department can’t provide as much supplemental support this year.... [Read Full Story]

Upton Announces Draft For Cures 2.0 Legislation

Congressman Fred Upton and Congresswoman Diana DeGette have announced the draft legislation for the Cures 2.0 bill. Upton tells WSJM News Cures 2.0 is the following up to his 2016 21st Century Cures legislation that allocated more funding for medical research and aimed to speed up the approval of new drugs. This new bill compliments that, and also establishes a new federal advanced research agency called ARPA-H.... [Read Full Story]

Wendzel Hails News Of Grant For Whirlpool Development

State Representative Pauline Wendzel is hailing news that Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment LLC has received a $750,000 Michigan Community Revitalization Program grant for its Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment project. The project is a planned apartment complex on Riverview Drive in Benton Harbor that will also include commercial space. News of the grant came Tuesday at the same time as news of the Michigan Strategic Fund approving a brownfield work plan to support Whirlpool’s Global Laundry and Dishwasher Technical Center in St. Joseph. The two major projects were announced by Whirlpool this year. Wendzel says the company’s announcement “once again proved their commitment to our community and the 400 full-time employees of their tech center.” Wendzel says she “couldn’t be happier they’ve chosen to make this investment right here in Southwest Michigan.”... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Lifts COVID-19 Restrictions

The state of Michigan is back open after 15 months under coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Restaurants and other businesses can go back to full capacity and residents no longer need to wear masks indoors or outside. Even though restrictions have been lifted, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical director, still asks that people remain on guard against COVID-19.... [Read Full Story]

Commissioners Hear About Needed Water System Work

Some major water system work will be happening in Benton Harbor over the next couple of decades. City Commissioners on Monday held a public hearing on the proposed Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund Project Plan. Abonmarche’s Jason Marquardt told the commission the plan is needed to seek low interest loans and other funding to be in compliance with water quality rules. Benton Harbor’s needs are many. Take the number of lead water lines.... [Read Full Story]

Late Spring Frosts Take Bite Out Of Michigan Cherry Harvest

From the Associated Press — Late spring frosts have taken a bite out of the cherry harvest in parts of western Michigan, leaving some farms without any cherries at all. Cold weather in April and May has left Moelker Orchards in Grand Rapids with no sweet or tart cherries for sale this season, and instead looking ahead to a good apple harvest in September. But WOOD-TV reports that Wells Orchards, located in Ottawa County, managed to escape the cold weather with half of its cherry population. Co-owner Scott Wells says his customers will be able to start picking cherries at his orchard next weekend.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Court Asked To Change Dates To Draw Political Maps

From the Associated Press — A clash over the Michigan Constitution has hit the state’s highest court. A commission that must draw seats for Congress and the Legislature is asking for new deadlines to produce maps because of a delay in detailed census data. New district maps must be in place by November 1, according to the constitution. But the commission is not expecting final census date until September 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The commission says some census data could be available by August but those numbers aren’t favored and might be unreliable. The Supreme Court’s two most conservative justices seemed very reluctant to change dates that were put in the constitution by voters.... [Read Full Story]

Tickets For Mendel Center Season Go On Sale This Week

Tickets for the 2021-2022 season of performances at the Mendel Center will go on sale this week. After a year of virtual events and postponements due to COVID, the Mendel Center announced this month the return of in-person events. They all kick off on August 28 with a Drive-in Live Concert with Gary Roland and The Landsharks Band. The first Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series engagement will be September 28 with presidential historian Jon Meacham. Other Mendel Center engagements will include a Motown All-Star Spectacular, ABBA Mania, and a Winter Delights Festival. Tickets for Mendel Center events will be available for purchase at TheMendelCenter.com/events and in-person starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday.... [Read Full Story]

United Federal Credit Union Helps The Alex Mandarino Foundation Raise $35,000

More than $35,000 was raised for the Alex Mandarino Foundation over the weekend by the 9th Annual Alex’s Duck Duck Run for childhood cancer research. United Federal Credit Union says the run in St. Joseph attracted around 500 participants. The Alex Mandarino Foundation was founded by Tony and Katie Mandarino to honor their son, Alex. The foundation raises money to fight childhood cancer. Regarding Saturday’s run, Tony Mandarino says, “To have people come out and to do this in remembrance of Alex does our hearts good as we know he isn’t forgotten with the passage of time.”... [Read Full Story]