Local News Archives

State Releases COVID Numbers For Sunday, Monday

Michigan is reporting 10,428 additional cases of COVID-19 for Sunday and Monday combined. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website says that averages out to 5,214 per day across the two days. Michigan has now had a total of more than 360,000 cases of COVID since the pandemic started. The state recorded 98 additional deaths across Sunday and Monday, and has had a total of 9,134 COVID deaths since March. For Monday, the Berrien County Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard shows the county with 71 new cases over Sunday. The county has had a total of 6,418 with 109 deaths. On Monday, the county was showing 59 non-ICU hospitalizations and 8 patients in the intensive care unit.... [Read Full Story]

Cities Want Community Stabilization Plan

Municipal leaders across Michigan are calling on state lawmakers to adopt a Community Stabilization Plan that addresses the dire fiscal situation facing communities across the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused a host of issues for local governments, including increased costs, decreased tax revenues, and challenges adhering to the Open Meetings Act while also maintaining social distancing protocols. The plan does not call for a tax hike, but does call on the legislature to pass a law that allows the state’s income tax communities to continue collecting income taxes as if the pandemic did not happen.... [Read Full Story]

Man Hurt By Falling Tree In Cass County

A Cass County man is recovering after he was injured by a falling tree over the weekend. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department says it happened at the man’s property in the 18,000 Block of Brownsville Road in Calvin Township just before 6 p.m. Sunday. Sheriff’s deputies were called to assist the Penn Township Fire Department after 40-year-old Ro-Mell Dungey was hurt. He had been trying to remove trees on his property when one of the trees fell on him. His 14-year-old son removed the tree and then went to find help. Fire and EMS personnel removed Ro-Mell from the woods and Medflight took him to South Bend Memorial Hospital in Indiana. His condition has not been released.... [Read Full Story]

Governor Proposes $100 Million COVID-19 Relief Plan

From the Associated Press — Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants state legislators to approve a $100 million COVID-19 relief plan when they return to session during December. The Democratic governor sent a letter to leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature asking for the state-based stimulus program that she said “will provide direct financial support to the families and small
businesses that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.” Whitmer’s request comes as legislators are scheduled for a return to session on Tuesday until December 17 and Congress has been deadlocked in negotiations over potentially billions of dollars in emergency COVID-19 assistance.... [Read Full Story]

COVID Puts Plans For Test Of New Michigan Train Line On Hold

From the Associated Press — The coronavirus pandemic has forced supporters of a new passenger train service to northern Michigan to put off plans for test rides on the proposed 240-mile line. The Detroit Free Press cites backers of the Ann Arbor-to-Traverse City
route as saying those test runs were slated for 2021. They are now on hold. The deputy director of a nonprofit organization leading the push for the new line, James Bruckbauer, says test runs are part of a multistep process that will also include deciding on an operating structure. But he says organizers aren’t sure when they’ll be able to do them “because of COVID-19 concerns.” Advocates say the service would give people along the line flexibility in commuting to jobs.... [Read Full Story]

Detroit Mayor: 5K Residents A Day Could Get Vaccine In 2021

From the Associated Press — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says he expects 5,000 residents a day will receive vaccines once they are made widely available. Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Duggan also discussed the logistics of vaccinating some 700,000 city residents. He says convention centers and parking areas near stadiums would play major roles. Hospital workers, first-responders, those over 65 and other groups more at risk of coronavirus infection were expected to be first in line to receive vaccinations. Duggan said he expected some vaccines to be available to the wider public early in 2021. At 5,000 vaccinations a day,
Duggan said it would still likely take three or four months to complete vaccinations once they start in Detroit.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department Receives CARES Act Funds

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department has received more than $127,000 in federal CARES Act money. The department says it worked closely with the Van Buren County Finance Department to apply for the assistance during the pandemic. It’s already used the federal funds to purchase two trailers, traffic cones, folding tables, chairs, a generator, and an EZ up tent, and plans to use the money for mobile drive-up COVID testing sites, future mobile vaccinations, and similar programs. The sheriff’s department says it also was able to buy in-car computers and laptops for the county’s Emergency Operation Center and administration staff. Sheriff Dan Abbott notes that thanks to the CARES Act dollars, no local taxpayer funds had to be spent on coronavirus needs.... [Read Full Story]

Cass County Fire Kills Two

A house fire Saturday night has claimed two lives in Cass County. The sheriff’s department was called to help the Porter Fire Department in the 70-thousand block of Tharp Lake Road a few minutes after 5 p.m. They found the bodies of 69-year-old Patricia Cloud and 37-year-old Brandon Cloud inside, as they were not able to get out. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

Rite Aid Offering COVID Tests To Anyone 13 And Older

Anyone age 13 or older can now get tested for COVID-19 at Rite Aid stores. The drug store chain announced on Tuesday it’s expanding the testing after previously only offering it to those 18 years of age or older. Rite Aid stores, including those in Berrien County, have been offering drive-through nasal swab tests thanks to a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The tests are offered Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. At all testing locations, patients are required to provide ID and need to pre-register. That can be done at RiteAid.com.... [Read Full Story]

Andrews To Use Grant To Improve Enrollment Of Minority Students

Andrews University is receiving a grant of $2.25 million to help at-risk students succeed and to improve the enrollment of minority students, focusing specifically on the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi in Dowagiac. The U.S. Department of Education grant will allow implementation of a plan that includes streamlining the curriculum and faculty counseling to increase placement rates among students and help them graduate within four years. 20% of the grant is designated for endowment funds, while an additional portion will be allocated to scholarships for underrepresented and at-risk students. Andrews University says the effort to secure the grant was spearheaded by Padma Tadi Uppala, the chair of the School of Population Health, Nutrition, and Wellness. She saw the potential after considering the diversity in students all across the Berrien Springs campus.... [Read Full Story]

More Than 8,000 Additional Cases Of COVID Identified In Michigan For Saturday

Michigan has passed 350,000 total COVID-19 cases and 9,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website shows the state adding 8,080 additional cases of COVID for Saturday. The state added 103 new deaths for the day, 70 of which were identified through a review of vital records. Michigan has now had a total of 350,021 cases of coronavirus and 9,036 deaths since March. For Saturday, the Berrien County Health Department’s COVID dashboard shows the county with 134 more cases of the illness than it did for Friday. The county is now at 6,225 cases and 109 deaths since the pandemic started. The county has 63 non-ICU hospitalizations and seven patients in the intensive care unit.... [Read Full Story]

Rotary Gives Grant To Senior Nutrition Services and Meals on Wheels

The Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor has provided Senior Nutrition Services and Meals on Wheels of Southwest Michigan with a $3,750 grant. The club says it was awarded the funds by the Rotary International Foundation to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The local Rotary says Senior Nutrition Services and Meals on Wheels of Southwest Michigan have provided meals and more to local seniors since 1988. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has experienced a major increase in need and new requests. Prior to COVID, they normally would deliver 300 meals in a day, and in the early weeks of the pandemic, they experienced a 66% increase. That’s about 200 new meal recipients at a cost of $22,000 per month, at a minimum. St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Club President Matt Hanley says the group “takes pride in caring for the people in our community,” and is grateful for the grant from the Rotary International Foundation.... [Read Full Story]

More Than 17,000 New Cases Of COVID Identified In Michigan For Thursday And Friday

Michigan is reporting 17,162 new COVID-19 cases for Thursday and Friday combined. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website says the case count represents new referrals of confirmed cases to the department since Wednesday, November 25. Over the two days, Thursday and Friday, the average number of new confirmed cases is 8,581 per day. The state has had more than 341,000 cases of COVID since the pandemic started. The state reported 172 additional deaths for Thursday and Friday, including 108 deaths identified through a review of vital records. Michigan’s COVID death total is now 8,933 since March. For Friday, the Berrien County Health Department’s coronavirus dashboard showed Berrien 6,091 cases of the illness since the start of the pandemic. The county has had 108 deaths. On Friday, Berrien County had 62 patients non-ICU hospitalizations, and 7 patients in the intensive care unit.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Car Insurance Fee For Medical Coverage Will Drop

From the Associated Press — Michigan drivers who want unlimited personal injury protection benefits will pay $86 a vehicle starting next summer, down from $100 currently. The fee was mandatory for decades but became optional beginning in July under a change in state law. The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, a state-created nonprofit entity that reimburses auto insurers for medical
claims surpassing $580,000, announced the 14% fee reduction Wednesday. It said the cut to the fee is primarily due to health care cost controls and other changes in the 2019 law enacted by Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Republican-led Legislature.... [Read Full Story]

New Michigan Law To Wipe Clean Misdemeanors, Minor Offenses

From the Associated Press — New legislation under Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer will allow thousands of Michigan residents to get their misdemeanors removed from public record. According to the Traverse City Record-Eagle, the “Clean Slate” laws will automatically expunge misdemeanors seven years after sentencing. Felonies will be handled the same way 10 years after sentencing or the end of a sentence. Supporters say the change will allow Michigan residents to seek better employment, apply for housing and have access to previously off-limits opportunities. According to a governor’s office, drunken driving offenses, as well as crimes involving minors, vulnerable elders, assaults, forgery and embezzlement, and other more serious felonies and misdemeanors will not be automatically expunged.... [Read Full Story]

President-Elect Biden Calls Muskegon Nurses

Mercy Health Muskegon’s nurses took a FaceTime call on Thanksgiving from President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill. The surprise call lasted about five minutes before they were called to an emergency. Biden told them their work is critical, thanked them, and he and Jill wanted to hear from them as well.... [Read Full Story]

LMC Touts Refurbished Nature Trail

Lake Michigan College is touting some improvements to its trail system at the Benton Township campus. Speaking in a promotional video from LMC posted to Facebook this week, biology instructor Dr. Jessica Beachy said the public is welcome to tour the nature area.... [Read Full Story]

Police Investigate Suspicious Death In Cass County

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is investigating what it calls a suspicious death on Thursday. The department reports the body of a 29-year-old woman was found in a vehicle around 7:30 a.m. in the southeast corner of the county. The  sheriff’s department has released no further details, but is asking anyone with information on the death to contact police. You can reach the Cass County Sheriff’s Department at 269-445-2481.
... [Read Full Story]

Counselor Has Tips For Making a Meaningful Holiday

The holidays are near, and so is the stress. Kelly Houseman, a licensed professional counselor based in St. Clair Shores, says this year’s stress level may be higher than in past years because of the coronavirus. Houseman says while 2020 is not what we expected, we can navigate the stress starting with caring for ourselves:... [Read Full Story]

Fire Marshal Urges Caution With Cooking Today

Michigan State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer urges safety when cooking this Thanksgiving. He tells WSJM News it’s the number one day for cooking fires each year. In fact, cooking accounts for 77% of fires in residential buildings on Thanksgiving. Sehlmeyer says many fires start due to cooking left unattended.... [Read Full Story]