Local News Archives

City Commissioners Talk About Weekend Demonstration

Benton Harbor City Commissioners are thanking the community for helping to make a weekend demonstration peaceful. The Sunday march and rally in response to police violence against black Americans was held without incident, and City Commissioner Ron Singleton said during a Monday meeting there is still much work to do. He talked about a recent conversation with his daughter that he found striking.... [Read Full Story]

Upton Seeks Answers Regarding Midland County Dam

Congressman Fred Upton has signed on to a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking more information about a dam in Midland County has breached and caused massive flooding. Upton, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, and the leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are asking the commission about safety concerns and non-compliance of the Edenville Dam before it breached. The commission revoked Boyce Hydro Power’s license in September of 2018. The lawmakers also wrote to the Michigan Department of Energy, Great Lakes, and Environment as the state of Michigan maintained primary jurisdiction over the dam since 2018. Upton says the letters ask questions to better understand what happened as part of Congressional oversight responsibilities. Upton and Dingell write that their “inquiry is critical to ensuring this never happens again in any city in America with a high hazard dam.”... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Rotary Announces Scholarships

The South Haven Rotary has announced the creation of four new scholarships for students at South Haven High School. Rotary President Mark Odland says the organization has supported education in the community for many years, and for these new scholarships, the Rotary “looked beyond academic achievement in reviewing applications and considered ways in which the students have applied Rotary’s Four Way Test to their lives.” The Four Way Test is used by Rotarians worldwide as a moral code for personal and business relationships, and can be applied to almost any aspect of life. The recipient of the Pietenpol Scholarship is Sierra Garber. She plans to attend Lake Michigan College and then pursue a nursing degree at Western Michigan University. The Don Hixson Scholarship is being presented to Opal Eddy, who will attend the University of Michigan. The third Rotary Club scholarship is presented to Victoria Loikitis who plans to attend Western Michigan University. Katherine Schooley is the recipient of the fourth scholarship. She also plans to attend Western Michigan University. Since 2004 the South Haven Rotary has donated nearly $200,000 to the Rotary Scholarship Fund held at Lake Michigan College and to the South Haven Schools Fund.... [Read Full Story]

Whitmer Addresses Weekend Violence, Talks Trump

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is urging those who organize protests following the killing of George Floyd to make sure the demonstrations will be safe. Speaking Monday after a weekend of protests and riots in some cities, the governor said she can’t begin to understand the level of exhaustion black Americans feel when it comes to unfair treatment by the justice system. She noted most protesters were peaceful.... [Read Full Story]

State Releases COVID-19 Totals For Monday

Michigan is reporting 135 additional cases of COVID-19 for Monday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says that brings the state’s total to 57,532 since the start of the pandemic. There are 25 additional deaths to report around the state for Monday, making that total 5,516. As of Friday, the state says more than 38,000 patients have recovered. In southwest Michigan, the Berrien County Health Department reports three additional cases of the illness for Monday, making the county’s total 629. There have been three additional deaths, making Berrien County’s total 52. The patients were a male in his 90s, a female in her 70s, and a male in his 40s. 483 patients have recovered from the illness. Cass County is reporting a decrease in cases by one, now at a total of 82. Van Buren County is reporting no additional cases for Monday. Cass County has had three COVID-19 deaths, and Van Buren County has had six.... [Read Full Story]

Governor Lifts Stay Home Order

From the Associated Press — Governor Gretchen Whitmer has lifted Michigan’s coronavirus stay-at-home order. Whitmer said Monday that restaurants can reopen to dine-in customers next week and she has eased limits on gatherings. Some businesses where close contact is necessary, including gyms, hair salons, indoor theaters and casinos, will remain closed for now. Day camps for children and pools can open June 8. Groups of up to 100 people can gather outside as long as they practice social distancing. Gyms and fitness centers can offer outdoor activities such as classes, practices, training sessions and games as long as participants, coaches and spectators stay 6 feet apart.... [Read Full Story]

St. Joseph Public Schools Taking School Of Choice Applications

St. Joseph Public Schools is now accepting Schools of Choice applications for the next academic year. The district says the applications will be taken through June 30. Parents can fill out and submit their student applications online, or they can print an application out and mail it into the district administration office. Applications can also be emailed or faxed into the district. To apply online, click here. To get a printable form, click here.... [Read Full Story]

Man Arrested After Breaking Into Home, Falling Asleep

A 20-year-old man from the Lawton area is facing charges after he broke into a home while intoxicated and fell asleep on Monday morning. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says deputies were called to the home in the 39,000 block of County Road 669 in Decatur Township around 2:30 a.m. The homeowner had called to report a man had come into the home, gone into a bedroom, and then passed out. The homeowner did not know the intruder, and did not give him permission to come inside. A relative was able to detain the suspect until police arrived. On investigation, sheriff’s deputies learned the man was drunk, had crashed his car, and then had walked to the victim’s home. He was arrested and taken to the Van Buren County Jail on charges of breaking and entering, drunk driving, not having insurance, and leaving the scene of crash.... [Read Full Story]

New Chief Starts At South Haven Area Emergency Services

South Haven Emergency Services has a new executive director. Brandon Hinz is taking over for Ron Wise, who is retiring in September but remains on staff as an advisor until then. Hinz has been a firefighter and paramedic with SHAES since 1999. Hinz is a lifelong South Haven resident and in 2012 he was presented the SHAES Leadership Award. Ron Wise has been with SHAES since 1989 and has been chief since 2008. SHAES provides fire and rmergency medical services to the city of South Haven, South Haven Township, Casco Township, Geneva Township, and South Haven Township.... [Read Full Story]

Demonstration Against Police Brutality Held In Benton Harbor

A demonstration against police brutality following the killing of George Floyd was held Sunday afternoon in Benton Harbor. It began with a march from First Congregational Church on Bellview Street to Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park, where around 300 people gathered. Local pastors, activists, and Mayor Marcus Muhammad addressed the crowd with Muhammad saying he is both sad and angry about the deaths of black men at the hands of police. However, he urged everyone not to let that anger become a danger.... [Read Full Story]

Sunday COVID-19 Cases Up 513 Statewide

There are eight more people in Berrien County who have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the county’s total to 626 with 49 deaths and 476 recoveries. In Cass County, the number of cases is up one from Saturday to 83 with three deaths and Van Buren County on Sunday had four more cases for a total of 144 with six deaths. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says there are 513 new cases statewide and 28 additional deaths reported on Sunday compared to Saturday. Since the pandemic began, the state has had 57,397 cases with 5,491 lives lost to the virus.... [Read Full Story]

Police Investigate Fatal Crash In Cass County

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a fatal crash that occurred on Saturday in Volinia Township. It says deputies were called to the scene on Church Street east of Lawrence Road around 6:20 a.m. They learned an eastbound vehicle lost control on Church Street and flipped into a tree. The driver has been identified as 21-year-old Austin Price of Dowagiac. His passengers were 22-year-old Nicholas Carey of Dowagiac and 21-year-old Michael Mortimore of Dowagiac. Mortimore was pronounced dead at the scene, while Price was airlifted to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo and Carey was taken by ambulance to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. All three were trapped in the vehicle when police arrived at the scene. The crash remains under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

State Releases COVID-19 Totals For Saturday

Michigan is reporting 263 additional cases of COVID-19 for Saturday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the total number of cases around the state since the start of the pandemic is now 56,884. 57 additional deaths are being reported for Saturday, bringing that total up to 5,463. The state health department says 38,099 patients have recovered from the illness as of Friday. In southwest Michigan, the Berrien County Health Department is reporting five new cases of COVID-19 for Saturday, bringing the county’s total to 618. Berrien County has had 49 deaths from coronavirus, and 483 patients have recovered. Cass County is reporting two additional cases of COVID-19 for Saturday, bringing the total to 82. Cass County has had three COVID-19 deaths. Van Buren County is reporting four new cases, now at a total of 140 with six deaths.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Graduates Celebrated With Dream Parade

With normal graduation celebrations on hold this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, communities around southwest Michigan are saluting their grads in new ways. That’s what happened on Friday night in South Haven as a “2020 Dream Parade” proceeded through town. South Haven Area Emergency Services was on hand to document the proceeding. This year’s graduating class at South Haven High School numbers 125.
... [Read Full Story]

Governor Whitmer Says More Of Michigan To Reopen In Days

(Lansing, MI – AP) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer is hinting she will soon reopen more regions of Michigan, expressing optimism as long as the rate of new coronavirus cases continues downward and testing increases. She didn’t specify Friday when she may act, alluding to an announcement in “coming days.” The governor’s stay-at-home order remains in effect at least two more weeks, as does a measure keeping closed theaters, hair salons and other places. Six of eight regions are in phase 3. Two in northern Michigan are in phase 4, where restaurants can serve dine-in customers and people can go to retail shops without an appointment.... [Read Full Story]

Palisades Nuclear Plant Gets New Resident Inspector

The Paliades nuclear power plant has a new resident inspector. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says Courtney St. Peters is now on the job along with Senior Resident Inspector Paul LaFlamme. The two are responsible for monitoring the day-to-day operations at the plant and are the NRC’s “eyes and ears at the facility.” St. Peters joined the NRC in 2010 while studying nuclear engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology. The NRC says all resident inspectors are working remotely, but are still making regular visits to plants and following appropriate guidelines.... [Read Full Story]

State COVID-19 Cases Rise By 607

COVID-19 cases in Michigan are up by 607 on Friday to a total of 56,621 with 34 new deaths as that figure has risen to 5,406. Southwest Michigan’s cases are up slightly. Berrien County has seven new cases, bringing the figure to 613 with 49 deaths. Cass County has recorded its first COVID-19 death in quite a while, rising by one to three while the positive cases are unchanged from Thursday at 80. In Van Buren County, two more people have tested positive for coronavirus to bring that total to 136 with a total of six deaths.... [Read Full Story]

Tulip Time Needs $1M To Survive

Holland’s Tulip time Festival is in dire financial straits and needs to come up with $1 million in order to return in 2021. Executive director Gwen Auerda says they had to refund $400,000 in tickets after this year’s festival was scrapped by coronavirus. She says a recent study found Tulip Time generates $48 million for the Holland area.... [Read Full Story]

St. Joseph To Hold Rare Sunday City Commission Meeting

The St. Joseph City Commission will hold a rare Sunday meeting this weekend. The reason for the meeting is to review and vote on changes to the dredging plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps told city officials this week that they were wanting to choose a different specification for the dredging, meaning there could be more sand that would be removed and available to be placed on the shoreline if the city was willing, but they needed to know before getting started. The dredging could begin as soon as early next week, while the city commission wasn’t set to meet until June 8. City Manager John Hodgson tells WSJM News the earliest they could have all five commissioners available to meet over Zoom was 1 p.m. Sunday.... [Read Full Story]

SHOUT For South Haven Postpones Flower Planting Set For Friday

SHOUT for South Haven has indefinitely postponed the planting of flowers set for Friday along the Dyckman Avenue bridge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It says it’s been told by its supplier the flowers are not ready because the supplier was closed. The new date for the flower planting has not yet been established. Everyone’s encouraged to follow SHOUT for South Haven online to keep themselves informed about the latest developments.... [Read Full Story]

Faith Leaders Promoting Census

Faith leaders around Michigan have joined the 2020 Census Be Counted campaign. Pastor Rodney Gulley with New Covenant Community Baptist Church in Benton Harbor tells WSJM News he’s part of the effort because he knows the census will affect programs right in his community.... [Read Full Story]

Health Department Talks COVID-19 Testing

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced this week essential workers can now be tested for COVID-19 even without a doctor’s note. Berrien County Health Department spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News that’s mostly true here in our area. It depends on which testing site you want to visit.... [Read Full Story]