Local News Archives

No Bottled Water Distribution In Benton Harbor Monday

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is advising Benton Harbor residents the bottled water distribution center will be closed on Monday, July 4. Therefore, it’s recommended everyone pick up their bottled water before the holiday. City of Benton Harbor residents can pick up water at the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor’s Fettig Youth Campus on Nate Wells Sr. Drive Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. The Southwest Community Action Agency is hosting water pickup on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Also, a water bottle recycling trailer is now located in Housing Commission parking lot on Nate Wells, Sr. Drive. Bottled water is being given to Benton Harbor residents for free while the project continues to replace all lead water service lines in the city. The goal is to be finished next spring.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien Springs Pickle Festival Monday

Taking place on Monday is the Berrien Springs Pickle Festival. The event was held in Berrien Springs each summer from 1995 to around 2005 and then brought back last year. Organizer Rhiannon Cizon tells WSJM News it was a big success, drawing a larger crowd and more vendors than expected. So, why pickles?... [Read Full Story]

Group Donates More Than 9,000 Diapers To Berrien County Health Department

A donation of more than 9,000 diapers and 5,600 baby wipes has been delivered to the Berrien County Health Department from United Through Motherhood, a group looking to start a diaper bank. The diapers were collected by a coalition of churches, students, and local groups including Kiwanis. They departed from Temple B’Nai Shalom in Benton Harbor Thursday to be delivered. United Through Motherhood’s Ruth Kremer tells WSJM News one in three families struggles with having enough diapers for their babies.... [Read Full Story]

Two Hurt After Motorcycle Hits Deer

Two Elkhart, Indiana residents are hospitalized after their motorcycle hit a deer Wednesday night. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says 35-year-old Matthew Cooper and 37-year-old Casandra Raley were sent to South Bend Memorial Hospital. Their conditions are not known. Deputies say they were northbound on Conrad Road near the borders of Jefferson, Milton and Ontwa townships just before 11 p.m. when the crash happened. Neither was wearing a helmet. The crash remains under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

BHAS Board Names Interim Superintendent

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education has named an interim superintendent for the district. Dr. Kelvin Butts will lead Benton Harbor Area Schools as the board seeks a permanent replacement for Andrae Townsel, who leaves July 1 for a superintendent post in Maryland. Butts is the principal of Fair Plain Middle School and will transition to the superintendent role upon Townsel’s departure. Board President Dashuna Robinson says the body is “confident in Dr. Kelvin Butts’ ability to serve as interim superintendent as we move forward with leading the district in achieving the mission, vision, and goals of Benton Harbor Area Schools.” She asks the community to continue to fight with Tiger Nation as the school district revitalizes itself. Butts holds a master’s degree in teaching and a doctoral degree in educational leadership. He says he’s humbled to receive the appointment.... [Read Full Story]

Study To Look At Racial Disparity At Berrien County Jail

A study is being done by Andrews University, working with Berrien County and Interfaith Action of Southwest Michigan, on racial disparities in the inmate population at the Berrien County Jail. The percentage of inmates who are Black is higher than the percentage of the Berrien County population that is Black. ALPACT’s Dr. Larry Feldman tells WSJM News the study will look at length of jail stay, whether an inability to make bail is a factor, and more.... [Read Full Story]

MDOT Starts Work On I-94, Pipestone

Work has started on a Michigan Department of Transportation project on I-94 that will have a lane closed in each direction from around Stevensville to Benton Harbor through mid-November. Also, Pipestone Street under the I-94 bridge has been narrowed to one lane in each direction. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa tells WSJM News there will be more.... [Read Full Story]

Whitmer Announces $6 Million For State Scholarship Rcipients

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced another $6 million investment in the state’s Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs to help adults without a college degree earn one at a community college. She said Wednesday in addition to trouble paying tuition, many prospective college students in the state face obstacles like transportation, the cost books, childcare, and high speed internet access.... [Read Full Story]

Man Recovering After Cass County Boating Crash

A 86-year-old South Bend man is recovering after a boating accident in Cass County on Tuesday. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department says a 74-year-old South Bend man was operating his 16 foot boat near the south end of Diamond Lake by Diamond Island’s ferry when he crashed into a fishing boat occupied by a 70-year-old St. Joseph man and a 73-year-old Three Oaks man. 86-year-old Robert Schmitt of South Bend was thrown from the 16 foot boat and was unconscious in the water. The men in the other boat pulled him out of the water. A Cass County marine unit then helped everyone get back to shore where Schmitt was treated for his injuries. The crash remains under investigation and police say alcohol was not a factor.... [Read Full Story]

State Police Trooper From Niles Post Receives Medal of Valor

A Michigan State Police trooper has been awarded the Medal of Valor and a Purple Heart for his actions during an incident while he was working for the Niles MSP post. State police say on October 6 of 2021, Trooper Jason DeVries conducted a traffic stop and placed the driver into custody for not having a driver’s license. When Devries went to search the man’s vehicle, the suspect pulled out a gun and shot Devries in the leg. After being shot, DeVries and the suspect fell to the ground in a struggle, and DeVries was able to reach for his own gun. He shot the suspect twice. Other troopers responded to the scene and got the suspect into custody. Trooper Devries received his awards at a Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police reception in northern Michigan this week. State police say “the courage and heroic actions demonstrated by Trooper DeVries undoubtedly saved lives, including his own.”... [Read Full Story]

Study Says Sperm Cells’ Age May Play Role in Reproductive Success

A new study found an association between what researchers are calling the biological age of sperm and reproductive success. While age is considered a major factor for women thinking of becoming pregnant, it is not often considered in male reproductive health, because men continually produce sperm throughout their lives. Dr. Rick Pilsner, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Wayne State University School of Medicine who led the study, said chronological aging — or the normal passage of time — does not always capture the aging process of the sperm.... [Read Full Story]

Niles Applies For State Loan To Replace Lead Pipes

The city of Niles needs to replace over 26-hundred lead water service lines. Utilities manager Jeff Dunlap tells our newsgathering partners at WSBT 22 it will cost the city $18 million, but says they don’t have the cash for that. The state has issued a mandate that all lead pipes need to be replaced, and Niles has a $300,000 in the budget every year to have 50 lead pipe replacements on an emergency basis. Overall, replacing the pipes and updating fire hydrants and water meters in Niles will cost over $26 million and the city council has approved applying for a low-interest loan from the state. Repaying that would cost water rate payers $1.50 a month more for the next 20 years for every $3 million borrowed. Niles was not approved for a state loan for their past dam project, which cost $12 million. They will find out in August if they are approved this time.... [Read Full Story]

Whirlpool Exiting Russia

Whirlpool is getting out of Russia and will sell its operations there to an appliance company based in Istanbul, Turkey. The deal includes Whirlpool’s manufacturing site in Lipetsk, sales organization in Moscow, and sales operations in Kazakhstan and elsewhere in eastern Europe. The Benton Harbor-based company expects to love between 300 and 400-million dollars in the second quarter of this year from the sale. It is expected to be finalized later this year.... [Read Full Story]

Commissioners Waiting For Update On Scooter Rental Status

St. Joseph City Commissioners are waiting on an update on the Bird Scooter situation from the company. Bird Scooters started offering motorized scooter rentals in town over Memorial Day weekend. Soon after, there were complaints about scooters being left all over the city and rider behavior. Bird later told commissioners it would reduce its number of scooters and hire a fleet manager for St. Joseph. During a Monday city commission meeting, City Manager John Hodgson said that fleet manager quit and said the program would not be profitable with fewer than 50 scooters in town. Mayor Lara Goos said the commission should wait to hear from Bird at its next meeting.... [Read Full Story]

Lincoln Township Library Gets New Director

The Lincoln Township Public Library has a new director. Joelle Wake will join the library as director on July 18. Wake most recently served as Youth Service Manager for Chicago Heights Public Library. She has served in leadership roles for several libraries in Illinois and Indiana throughout the past decade and has experience in personnel management, programming, budgeting, and community services. Lincoln Township Library Board of Trustees President Megan Yore-Norbey says the board is “thrilled to have Joelle join our library. She has a history of bringing value to the organizations she serves by developing innovative programming, acquiring grants, and leading progress as patron needs change.” The Lincoln Township Public Library serves residents of Lincoln, Royalton, and Baroda townships. About 72% of residents in the library service area have a library card.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Works To Hold Expungement Fair

There will be an expungement fair at Michigan Works in Benton Harbor next month. Kamau Sandiford with Michigan Works tells WSJM News the fair will bring employers, educators, and social service organizations together for a day of exploration on Saturday, July 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Michigan Works Training Center on West Main Street. Those with criminal convictions on their record will learn about possibilities for getting that record cleared. The law changed last year to allow that to happen more often.... [Read Full Story]

Legislature Approves Economic Development Package

From the Associated Press — Michigan lawmakers have approved a $101 million package as they try to encourage large companies to invest and create jobs in the state. Ford in return has promised to invest $1.14 billion in five production plants
throughout the state and create over 3,000 jobs. The tax-funded incentive will be paid in increments and is contingent on Ford hitting promised employment targets. The incentive package comes just weeks after Ford announced plans to add 6,300 new jobs in the Midwest and invest $3.7 billion in manufacturing facilities across Michigan, Ohio and Missouri.... [Read Full Story]