Local News Archives

Mosaic CCDA Settling Into New Stroefront

The Mosaic Christian Community Development Association has moved into a new storefront in Benton Township. You can now find their resale store at 1804 M-139 in Benton Harbor, right behind Henry’s Hamburgers. Mosaic CCDA CEO Andrew Robinson tells WSJM News they opened their first resale store in 2009 in the Fairplain area and over the years have moved to downtown Benton Harbor, most recently on Wall Street. Last year, their old location started to get too small.... [Read Full Story]

AEP Donates $50,000 To Buchanan Trail Project

The American Electric Power Foundation has made a $50,000 donation to the city of Buchanan to fund the McCoy’s Creek Trail Extension Project, which will expand the trail another half mile. AEP’s Schnee Garrett tells WSJM News McCoy’s Creek Trail is a roughly five-mile path running along McCoy’s Creek through downtown Buchanan and E.B. Clark Woods. It includes historical markers and natural elements that tell the history of Buchanan and the region.... [Read Full Story]

Andrews University Marks Change Day

Andrews University is celebrating the spirit of community following its fifth annual Change Day. It was held last Thursday, and featured teams of volunteers from Andrews spreading out across southwest Michigan. Andrews Chaplain Jose Bourget tells WSJM News ahead of Change day, the university reaches out to non-profits.... [Read Full Story]

Cass County Man Convicted Of Drunk Driving Following Two Day Trial

A Dowagiac man who was arrested with a blood alcohol level of .26, more than three times the legal limit, faces up to five years in prison following a jury trial that took place this week in Cass County. The Cass County Prosecutor’s office tells us charges were brought against Gary Lee Keen after he drove a Chevy Silverado to the Family Fare grocery store on February 10 of last year. During the trial a manager of the store testified she saw Keen drinking alcohol when she assisted a customer on crutches to his vehicle. She called 911 as Keen was pulling away. The guilty verdict was delivered on Wednesday. Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz says while every defendant has a right to their day in court, “with a .261, this case going to trial was a head-scratcher.” He says Keen did himself no favors by going to trial. He’ll be sentenced in February.... [Read Full Story]

Governor Talks Budget

State lawmakers have send Governor Whitmer a budget, but she may veto some language that was added to the spending plan. Part of the budget calls for the state Health Department to provide more information before imposing emergency orders. Speaking at the Mackinac Policy Conference, Whitmer said her team will look over the entire $70-million plan.... [Read Full Story]

State Lawmakers Still Have Billions In Federal COVID Money To Spend

Michigan lawmakers who have finished passing the state budget will next turn to allocating an unprecedented amount of federal COVID-19 rescue funding – money that largely is flexible and can be spent however the state decides. Mary Whiteford of Casco Township chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee for the Department of Health and Human Services. She told us about her priorities.... [Read Full Story]

State Providing Free Bottled Water, Filters In Benton Harbor

An announcement has been made by the state that it will provide free bottled water and water filters in the city of Benton Harbor while work continues to replace old lead water lines. The Reverend Edward Pinkney is the president of the Benton Harbor Community Water Council and told Michigan News Network city officials first became aware of the problem three years ago when a resident had her water tested.... [Read Full Story]

Diner Reopens Months After Owner Was Jailed Over Virus Rules

From the Associated Press — The doors at a western Michigan restaurant were open before sunrise as the owner welcomed diners for the first time since she spent four nights in jail for ignoring orders related to COVID-19. Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland had been closed since March. But Marlena Pavlos-Hackney now has recovered her food license. Kris Simmons was one of the first customers Tuesday. He says Pavlos-Hackney is a “hero.” Pavlos-Hackney last winter allowed indoor dining, despite state prohibitions, and ignored other rules aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19. She said her customers’ health was up to them. Now Pavlos-Hackney says it “feels so good” to see customers.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Passes 1 Million Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

From the Associated Press — Michigan has recorded more than 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. That figure comes from the state health department. The state crossed that threshold by reporting 6,000 new cases
over the last two days. There have been more than 20,000 deaths in Michigan linked to COVID-19. Nearly 58% of eligible Michigan residents are fully vaccinated. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan told The Detroit News that he believes a “major wave” of cases is coming to Michigan this fall. When coupled with staff shortages in hospitals, Duggan predicts that Michigan is “going to have a major problem.”... [Read Full Story]

Refugees From Afghanistan Expected In Michigan

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans has announced that about 200 Afghan refugees are expected to be making their way to the Detroit area over the next week or so. The plan to help the refugees was announced Wednesday as part of a $20 million partnership to help people with rental assistance. Evans told Michigan News Network this week the county has been welcoming refugees for years.... [Read Full Story]

State Rep Holding Photo Contest

State Representative Beth Griffin is holding a photo contest. She’s inviting residents of the 66th House District to submit their best photos capturing the essence of fall in southwest Michigan. Two winners will be announced when the contest concludes on October 31, and the winners will be posted on Griffin’s social media accounts and website. All photos have to be taken by the person submitting them, and the submissions should include the name, address and contact information of the contest participant. Griffin says Van Buren and Kalamazoo counties are beautiful all year, but especially in the fall. She hopes a lot of young people will take part in the contest. You can send entries to BethGriffin@house.mi.gov.... [Read Full Story]

Candidate Forum To Be Held In South Haven Next Week

As a mayoral and city council election approach in South Haven, a candidate forum is planned for this month. Judy Pollack with the American Association of University Women tells WSJM News mayoral candidates Scott Smith and Ahmmad Goodwin will be there along with those running for both contested and uncontested city council seats. She’s taking suggestions for questions to ask the candidates.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Rotarian Talks About Project To Bring Clean Water To Kenyan Hospital

It took a lot of work, but the Rotary Club of South Haven has been able to raise the funds and find the partners needed to help provide clean water to a hospital in Kenya. Rotarian Art Ayers tells us he got to work on the project for the construction of a 600,000 liter concrete water storage cistern for the Ngoswani Maternal and Child Hospital after being inspired by Rotarian Dr. Marty Graber. Graber has worked for decades to help people in Africa, and Ayers says he’s learned about the need for clean water in some places.... [Read Full Story]

Police Identify Victims In Monday Fatal Crash

Michigan State Police have identified the victims in a double fatal crash that occurred on Monday in Sodus Township. The agency says it happened on Sodus Parkway west of Watson Road when a Toyota Corolla lost control due to wet conditions and crossed into the opposite lanes. It was then struck on the passenger side by a Subaru Outback. The driver of the Toyota has been identified as 42-year-old Robert Keys of Niles and his front seat passenger has been identified as 13-year-old Sylas Keys of St. Joseph. They were both pronounced dead at the scene. State police say they were father and son. Seriously injured was 8-year-old Elliot Keys, who was in the back seat. He is also the son of Robert Keys and brother to Sylas and he remains in critical condition. All three were wearing seatbelts. Police say the three occupants of the other vehicle were a 21-year-old Berrien Springs man, a 21-year-old Berrien Springs woman, and a 21-year-old Arizona woman. They all suffered non-life threatening injuries.... [Read Full Story]

Whitmer Pushes Economic Plan

A new $2.1 billion plan to help grow the middle class, support small businesses, and invest in communities in Michigan has been announced. Governor Gretchen Whitmer outlined the plan this week, saying the money would come from federal American Rescue Plan funds.... [Read Full Story]

Man Charged With Placing Pipe Bombs Outside Phone Stores

From the Associated Press — A northern Michigan man says he placed pipe bombs outside phone stores because he was upset with “immoral content” on phones and cable TV. That’s according to the FBI. John D. Allen of Whittemore was charged Tuesday, days after explosives and notes threatening Verizon and AT&T were found outside phone stores in Sault Ste. Marie and Cheboygan. The FBI says Allen also wrote letters found last month at communication towers across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The letters made demands and claimed to be from the “Coalition for Moral Telecommunications.” There was no immediate comment from Allen’s attorney.... [Read Full Story]

Grand Rapids Health Officer “Broken” After Threats Tied To Mask Order

From the Associated Press — The public health officer in the Grand Rapids area says he’s a victim of “brute mob hatred” after ordering masks in schools in Kent County to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Adam London told county commissioners that a woman tried to run his vehicle off the road in August immediately after the mask order. He’s no longer making public appearances because of concerns about violence. Angry residents have expressed their disgust over the mask order at public meetings. County commissioners can’t overrule London. London says there’s a “sickness in America far more insidious” than COVID-19.... [Read Full Story]

Legislature Approves State Budget

From the Associated Press — Michigan will make more kids eligible for child care subsidies, equip state troopers with body cameras and make permanent a pandemic wage hike for caregivers under the next state budget. The bipartisan spending plan also will boost payments for child care providers and enable them to give $1,000 bonuses to new or existing staff. Michigan’s savings account will grow by $500 million. As part of the deal, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer agreed to a Republican-written provision to prevent the state and local governments from issuing coronavirus vaccine requirements that go beyond plans outlined by President Joe Biden.... [Read Full Story]

Missing Woman Found Dead, Struck By Vehicle

A woman who was reported missing out of Van Buren County this week has been found dead. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says 64-year-old Melody Rohrer was last seen walking in the 84,000 Block of County Road 215 in Hamilton Township on Monday and did not return home. Her body was found Tuesday. The department says she had “been removed from the scene by the suspect driver and taken to another location in another county.” The sheriff’s department and other police agencies were able to identify a suspect, who they say is a 29-year-old White Pigeon man. He and Rohrer’s body were then located. The suspect is being arraigned on charges of vehicular manslaughter, failure to stop at a scene of a serious personal injury accident, and concealing the death of an individual. Police say no other information is being released at this time.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Budget Boosts Child Care, Keeps Caregiver Pay Hike

From the Associated Press — Michigan will make more kids eligible for child care subsidies, equip state troopers with body cameras and make permanent a pandemic wage hike for caregivers under the next state budget. The bipartisan spending plan also will boost payments for child care providers and enable them to give $1,000 bonuses to new or existing staff. Michigan’s savings account will grow by $500 million. As part of the deal, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer agreed to a Republican-written provision to prevent the state and local governments from issuing coronavirus vaccine requirements that go beyond plans outlined by President Joe Biden.... [Read Full Story]

Health Department Promoting Infant Safety

With this being National Infant Mortality Awareness Month, the Berrien County Health Department is hoping to help parents know what they can do to ensure their babies are safe. Family Health Programs Manager Kyna King tells WSJM News infant mortality is when a baby dies before its first birthday. Berrien County has a high rate of infant mortality when compared to the rest of the state.... [Read Full Story]

SMC Rebuilding Basketball, Volleyball, Wrestling Teams

It’s a busy time on campus at Southwestern Michigan College as SMC brings back athletics. The college last year brought back cross country, and then in May of this year, the board of trustees authorized the revival of men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball, and wrestling for the fall of 2022. Rodell Davis Sr. has been hired as athletic director and head coach of men’s basketball, and tells WSJM News he’s building a team now.... [Read Full Story]

Upton Visits COVID-19 Memorial In Washington

Congressman Fred Upton on Tuesday joined Congresswoman Debbie Dingell as they visited the National COVID Memorial in Washington, D.C. They two planted small white flags with messages in honor of Michiganders who have lost their lives to COVID-19. 670,000 flags, each representing the death of a fellow American from COVID, currently surround the Washington Monument in a visual depiction of the toll the pandemic has had on the nation and the world. The memorial is titled “In America: Remember,” and was created by artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg. Upton planted a flag in honor of Bud Baker, the most decorated veteran in Berrien County, who was the first person to die from COVID in the county. He says visiting the memorial was “an incredible and overwhelming experience.” Both Upton and Dingell have committed to returning to the memorial next week to handwrite messages and plant flags at the request of their constituents back in Michigan. You can contact Upton’s office to make such a request.... [Read Full Story]