Local News Archives

Andrews University Holds Change Day

Andrews University is marking another busy Change Day. Held for the second time ever on Thursday, September 13, Change Day 2018 was a chance for faculty, staff, and students to head out across Berrien and Cass counties to make a difference by working on community projects. This time around, about 1,400 people took part at 70 sites in seven neighborhoods. The volunteers spent the day at sites including the YMCA in Niles, the Curious Kids Museum, Habitat for Humanity, the Eau Claire District Library, Shamrock Park, and the Benton Harbor Public Library. Andrews University Diversity and Inclusion Vice President Michael Nixon says he led a team that worked on the Coloma-St. Joseph KOA Campground sites, telling us it was rewarding to see the difference the volunteers made to the grounds. Andrews University classes were canceled for the day to give the campus community an opportunity to join in service. Andrews started Change Day in 2017.... [Read Full Story]

Charges In Bicycle Fatality

A Niles woman is facing charges of operating while intoxicated causing death and failure to stop at a personal injury accident causing death in a crash that killed a Berrien Springs man this month. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us 32-year-old Todd Harrington of Berrien Springs was on his bicycle on Pokagon Road the afternoon of September 15 when he was hit by the woman’s SUV. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The woman allegedly failed to stop at the scene and was later arrested at her home thanks to a witness who provided the license plate number to police. 23-year-old Kyriea Jade Demorrow was taken to the Berrien County Jail and posted bond. The charges in the case were authorized this week by the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office following a review.... [Read Full Story]

Bank Donates Land To Three Oaks American Legion

A donation of land for a new storage space has been made to the Three Oaks American Legion by Horizon Bank. The bank tells us it owned about one acre of excess property in Three Oaks for some time, and when the American Legion told them it could make good use of the parcel, the donation was arranged. The property has two outbuildings, which the American Legion post will use for storage. The post also says the property gives it more space to hold events. Horizon Bank says the land donation is one way the bank could be supportive of the community.... [Read Full Story]

National Emergency Alert Test Next Month

Coming up next month will be a nationwide test of emergency alert systems, and officials in Berrien County want the public to let them know how it goes. Set for Wednesday, October 3 at 2:20 p.m., the Federal Emergency Management Agency in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission will conduct the nationwide test of the IPAWS system. It sends out alerts to smart phones automatically, and users don’t have to sign up it. To get those wireless emergency alerts, though, you may need to look at the system settings in your phone. Berrien County Emergency Management tells us the county also has an opt-in service called B-WARN that people can sign up for. B-WARN allows the Emergency Management Office to send out text messages, phone calls, and emergency emails to residents. The county will put up a survey on its website following the October 3 national test to find out how many people were contacted. You can find it right here.... [Read Full Story]

BBB On New Credit Freeze Law

The Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan is reminding consumers of a new law that could help them protect themselves from identity theft. It says the three nationwide credit reporting agencies in the U.S. — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — will be required by a new law to let people freeze or thaw their credit report for free. The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act went into effect on Friday. Previously, credit freezes were governed by state laws, and could be cumbersome to enact or end. The BBB says, now, freezing and unfreezing your credit will be easier and free. A security freeze prevents the credit reporting agency from releasing someone’s credit report. If you have a freeze in place, you’re given a PIN or password that you have to use in order to unfreeze the report. The new law also allows any parent to freeze their child’s credit. Anyone with questions can call the Better Business Bureau.... [Read Full Story]

Backers Of Marijuana Proposal Strike Back

The group backing the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan is disputing most of the claims made by law enforcement officials this week that passage of the measure in November would be bad for the state. John Truscott is the spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. He told Michigan News Network for every claim made by police and prosecutors this week, they can refute it with statistics.... [Read Full Story]

National Guard Could End Road Project Stoppage

Governor Rick Snyder is considering activating the National Guard to finish road projects now that talks between his office and the two sides have collapsed. Operating Engineers Local 324’s Dan McKernan told Michigan News Network there was an agreement reached in separate talks with Snyder’s office between the union and the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, but MITA had a new list of demands after a handshake deal was reached.... [Read Full Story]

One Killed In Head-On M-51 Crash

A head-on crash on M-51 in Dowagiac has claimed the life of a 35-year-old Decatur man. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department was called to the 54-thousand block of M-51 North around quarter-to-two Friday morning, finding a Dodge van and a Mitsubishi car with heavy front end damage to both. The driver of the Mitsubishi, Cody Jenkins, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the van, 42-year-old Marie Daisy of Hartford, was airlifted to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, and her condition and extent of her injuries have not been released. Deputies have not said which driver crossed over to the other side of the road, but do say alcohol and drugs may have been involved. Daisy was wearing her seat belt, but Jenkins was not buckled in. The crash is still being investigated.... [Read Full Story]

Deputies Receive Life Saving Awards

Some deputies with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department have received Life Saving Awards for their work in the community over the past year. At this week’s Berrien County Board of Commissioners meeting, Undersheriff Chuck Heit saluted Deputy Paul Grenon for his work to help end a standoff in St. Joseph this summer. He also thanked Keith Matthews, Christopher Behrle, and James Kring, who helped Deputy Brandon Crosby arrest someone who was resisting late last year.... [Read Full Story]

Community Mental Health Centers Get Boost

From the Associated Press — Four Michigan community mental health centers have been selected as Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and are getting a boost in funding. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan on Thursday announced the designation for Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Easter Seals Michigan in Auburn Hills; West Michigan Community Mental Health System in Ludington and HealthWest in Muskegon. Stabenow says each clinic will get $4 million in funding over the next two years to provide comprehensive behavioral health and addiction treatment services. The mental health centers are among more than two dozen selected nationwide. The aim is to provide around-the-clock crisis services; outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment services; screenings, risk assessments and diagnoses. They’ll partner with hospitals law enforcement and others.... [Read Full Story]

Transit Study To Be Unveiled

A Berrien County transit study years in the making is soon to be unveiled to the public. Berrien County Commissioner Jim Curran said at this week’s board of commissioners meeting Connect Berrien was put together by transportation consulting firm Nelson Nygaard. Curran was a member of the steering committee. He told WSJM News the goal of the study is to better serve all of Berrien County.... [Read Full Story]

Special Event At Maritime Museum

This Saturday is the Smithsonian Magazine’s 14th annual Museum Day, and the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven is joining in by accepting free tickets you can download from their website, good only this Saturday. The museum’s Ashley Deming spoke with WSJM News about plans for the weekend.... [Read Full Story]

Dozens Of Colleges, Universities At LMC Monday For College Night

High school seniors and their parents are being invited to the annual College Night on the campus of Lake Michigan College on Monday to learn more about dozens of colleges and universities throughout the Midwest. Adults who are going back to school are also being welcomed to meet with representatives from higher education institutions from across Michigan and Indiana. Jeremy Schaeffer is LMC’s director of admissions and recruitment and tells us there will be more than just school reps on hand.... [Read Full Story]

New Register Of Deeds Appointed For Berrien County

Berrien County will again have someone serving as Register of Deeds next month. Lora Freehling of Stevensville has been appointed by a three-member committee of Prosecutor Michael Sepic, Clerk Sharon Tyler and Presiding Probate Judge Mabel Mayfield. She was selected from a field of 23 applicants, which was narrowed to four finalists who were interviewed on Monday. Freehling will take office on October 15 and serve the remainder of the term through 2020 of the late Lori Jarvis, who was killed in a car crash earlier this year. She will be eligible to run for election in 2020. The other three finalists were Stephanie Bean of St. Joseph, Lee Lull of Sawyer, and Rhonda Rockhill of Benton Harbor.... [Read Full Story]

Bicyclist Killed In Cass County

A crash between a vehicle and a bicycle has killed a 50-year-old woman near Edwardsburg in Cass County. According to our partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16, the woman was biking westbound on US-12 near Garver Lake Road when she was hit and killed this morning. The driver who hit her is cooperating with police and stayed on the scene. Police say the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet or any reflective gear.... [Read Full Story]

Recycling Event His Weekend

The Berrien County Parks Department is holding a free household chemical and electronics recycling event this Saturday at Silver Beach. Environmental Property Manager Jill Adams tells WSJM News anyone will be able to drop off items including unwanted garden chemicals, used oil, old gasoline, unused medication, needles, spent batteries, spray cans, oil-based paint, and electronics free of charge. She says having these items recycled keeps them out of the environment.... [Read Full Story]

Niles Area Business Break-In Thwarted

A business break-in in Niles was thwarted by police overnight Wednesday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us deputies on patrol in the area of the 3,000 block of South 11th Street heard loud banging noises coming from Hackers Golf and Games shortly before 1 a.m. When they went to check it out, they saw four people running from the scene. The deputies noticed the backdoor of the building appeared to have been kicked several times, and they were able to catch up with two of the fleeing suspects. One of them had a bandanna, gloves, and suspected marijuana on him. The two suspects were arrested and taken to the Berrien County Jail on charges of attempted breaking and entering. They’ve been identified as a 17-year-old and 24-old year-old from Benton Harbor.... [Read Full Story]

Bronson Healthcare Aims For Updated South Haven Presence

Coming soon to South Haven will be a new hospital and medical complex. Bronson Healthcare South Haven COO Kirk Richardson tells WSJM News the health system is planning a $22 million investment to replace its old medical facility on South Bailey Avenue. That place was first built in the 1940s, and Richardson says the new Bronson complex will be state of the art in way that benefits patients.... [Read Full Story]

Big Cuts To Great Lakes Red Cross Office

Major cuts are coming to the Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region. The American Red Cross announced last month it had made a tentative decision to cut about 230 jobs within the 65 county Great Lakes region due to decreased demand for blood products and a need to consolidate. This week comes word the tentative decision has become permanent. That’s after unsuccessful bargaining with its union. The Red Cross says it’s limiting its operations — mainly mobile blood drives — in the Great Lakes region starting in November. This affects most of Michigan, including southwest Michigan. Red Cross operations in southeast Michigan will be unaffected. The Red Cross says it remains ready to provide disaster assistance when and where needed.... [Read Full Story]

More Than 12 Arrested At Kalamazoo Homeless Camp

From the Associated Press — Police arrested more than a dozen people while clearing out a homeless camp in southwestern Michigan that’s been a focus of protests since last month by those seeking better resources for homeless people. The city of Kalamazoo had set a Tuesday evening deadline for people to leave Bronson Park and police arrived Wednesday morning, about 12 hours after the deadline passed. Police dismantled tents and arrested 14, including protesters who wouldn’t leave.
Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas tells the Kalamazoo Gazette city Commissioner Shannon Sykes Nehring was arrested for resisting and obstructing police. Sykes Nehring, who had joined the protesters, said: “They don’t go without me.” Homelessness has been in the spotlight in Kalamazoo in recent weeks since a proposal to crack down on sleeping and camping in city parks drew criticism.... [Read Full Story]

Schuette Kicks Off New Year For OK2Say

Michigan Attorney General and Republican nominee for governor Bill Schuette is touting the success of his anti-bullying OK2SAY program for schools as it begins its fourth year. He spoke to students at Kentwood’s Crestwood Middle School this week about the anonymous tip line yesterday and said it’s becoming a national model.... [Read Full Story]

Book: Wisconsin Quietly Approved Lake Michigan Water Diversion

From the Associated Press — A decision by Wisconsin officials eight years ago to approve a big, new allotment of water from Lake Michigan to Pleasant Prairie is raising questions of transparency. The 2010 decision gave the Kenosha County community on the Illinois border the right to tap millions of gallons of more water a day for years to come. The decision by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was made in the final year of Democratic Governor Jim Doyle’s administration. Journalist Peter Annin highlights details of the decision in his updated book, “The Great Lakes Water Wars.” Under the decision, the water will go to areas of the village outside the Lake Michigan basin. Those areas have struggled with radium and shrinking groundwater supplies. The DNR told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the agency was following Wisconsin law.... [Read Full Story]

Festival Of Families Saturday

The annual Festival of Families held by Berrien RESA is coming up this weekend. RESA’s Karen Heath tells WSJM News the Festival of Families is an all-ages chance for everyone to have some fun and learn about local education and recreational opportunities.... [Read Full Story]

Upton Introduces Water Quality Legislation

Some PFAS-related legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House by Congressman Fred Upton and three Michigan colleagues. Upton tells WSJM News the Federal Facility Accountability Act urges federal agencies to help states deal with PFAS contamination when it’s found in certain areas.... [Read Full Story]

Ambulance Driver Hurt In Paw Paw Township Crash

An ambulance driver was injured in a collision involving a semi in Van Buren County. The crash happened early Tuesday in Paw Paw Township and prompted authorities to close a stretch of M-51 as crews responded. The sheriff’s office says the truck rolled over after hitting the ambulance. The driver of the ambulance had what were described as non-life-threatening injuries. The ambulance wasn’t carrying a patient.... [Read Full Story]