Local News Archives

State Announces Increased Food Assistance

The more than 1.2 million people in Michigan who are eligible for food assistance will receive an additional payment by the end of January that raises their monthly amount by 15%. The move was announced Thursday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. It says the increase was included in the recently passed Congressional relief bill. As a result, Michigan food assistance recipients will see the 15% increase added to their Bridge Cards by the end of January in addition to benefits they received earlier in the month. Food assistance will increase by $102 per month for a household of four, which will now receive $782 per month. The maximum SNAP benefit now available for a single person is $234 per month. In subsequent months, the 15% increase will be added to Bridge Cards from January. The increase is in effect through June.... [Read Full Story]

Health Department Gives COVID Update To County Commission

COVID-19 in Berrien County has slowed down since its peak levels back in November, and the county appears to be in a plateau with about 40 to 50 new cases identified per day lately. That’s according to Berrien County Health Officer Nicki Britten, who gave an update to the county board Thursday. She said deaths have slowed and hospitalizations hover around 40 or 50 per day while the percent positive goes down. The big news lately is the vaccine. Britten said the Berrien County Health Department is keeping three goals in mind as it vaccinates people.... [Read Full Story]

Upton Named House Energy Subcommittee Republican Leader

Congressman Fred Upton has received a new leadership role in the U.S. House. On Thursday, Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers named Upton the House Energy Subcommittee Republican Leader. Upton says there will be plenty of critical issues to come before the Energy and Commerce Committee in the next couple of years, including energy prices during COVID, cybersecurity and the electric grid, and climate change. As always, he promised to select an “all of the above” approach to energy sources. He issued a statement saying “our subcommittee will continue to govern in a bipartisan fashion, as has become tradition with the Energy and Commerce Committee as a whole.” He adds he looks forward to working with the new administration.... [Read Full Story]

State Adds 2,100 COVID Cases For Thursday

Michigan has reported 2,165 additional cases of COVID-19 for Thursday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website shows the state has reported a total of more than 544,000 cases of COVID. It recorded 148 additional deaths for Wednesday, 128 of which were identified through a review of vital records. The state’s death total is now 14,053. The state coronavirus website on Thursday showed Berrien County with 55 more cases than on Wednesday, with a pandemic total of 9,730 and 199 deaths, an increase of four over Wednesday. Van Buren County was listed with a total of 4,348 cases, an increase of 15 over Wednesday, and 81 deaths, an increase of one.... [Read Full Story]

Commissioners Share COVID Vaccination Experiences

Some Berrien County Commissioners have received the COVID-19 vaccine, and during a Thursday meeting they shared their stories. In response to an inquiry from a member of the public regarding side effects, Chair Mac Elliott said he got his first jab and had arm soreness for the rest of the day. It was gone the next day. Commissioner Mamie Yarbrough had something similar.... [Read Full Story]

Sheriff’s Deputy Rescues Dog From Freezing Water

A deputy with the Cass County Sheriff’s Department is being credited with saving a dog that fell through ice in a pond. The department says Deputy Taryn Shields responded to the 56,000 block of White Temple Road in Penn Township on Wednesday after a call came in about a dog that had fallen through some ice in a pond and was struggling to get out. Deputy Shields arrived to see the dog struggling to stay above water, so she went in after him. In the process, she herself wound up in the water, but she was able to rescue the dog and get back to shore safely. Both deputy and dog, whose name is Leo, are doing fine.... [Read Full Story]

U.S. Attorney In Detroit Resigns

The U.S. Attorney in Detroit has resigned. Matthew Schneider submitted his resignation to President Biden yesterday afternoon. His last day will be February 1st, and he’ll then join a private law firm based in Detroit. As he prepares to depart, Schneider says law enforcement continues to need to rebuild trust with the community.... [Read Full Story]

Covert Man Arrested For LSD

A 24-year-old Covert man is in jail for three outstanding warrants for dealing LSD and will be facing more drug, gun, and resisting police charges. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office sent detectives to his home in the 45-thousand block of 72nd Street Wednesday night, and he charged at them when then entered the house, trying to assault them. He was subdued and detectives got a warrant to search the house. They found over 100 tabs of acid, Psilocybin mushrooms, amphetamine pills, an AK-47, an AR-15, a sawed-off shotgun and several hunting rifles. He also had several pounds of seeds for mushrooms. Police say his marijuana stash will not be prosecuted.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Man In UP Charged In Investigation Of Capitol Riot

From the Associated Press — A man in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is accused of joining the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Karl Dresch is charged with violent entry and other crimes. Dresch appeared in court by video Wednesday. Dresch was arrested Tuesday in Calumet in Houghton County. The FBI also filed search warrant requests to search his car and home. Those documents are loaded with details about Dresch’s social media posts related to the assault at the Capitol. He joked about the use of tear gas by police. Dresch said, “I love masks now!” The government wants to keep him in custody.... [Read Full Story]

Andrews University To Host Presentation By Coronavirus Researcher

A leading COVID-19 vaccine researcher will make a presentation with Andrews University this month. Andrews says its chemistry department will host Dr. Kizzmekia Shanta Corbett on January 28 at 4:30 p.m. She will give a virtual presentation on the safety and effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines. Corbett works at the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as a research fellow. She has spent several years working on a universal flu vaccine. Dr. Anthony Facui himself has praised her by saying she worked on the “very vaccine that’s one of the two that has absolutely exquisite levels – 94% to 95% efficacy against clinical disease and almost 100% efficacy against serious disease that are shown to be clearly safe.” Andrews University will host her presentation on Zoom and anyone can attend.... [Read Full Story]

Benton Harbor Gets Clean, Unmodified Audit

Clean and unmodified. That’s the audit finding for the city of Benton Harbor by auditing firm Rehmann [[ ray-men ]] Robson, their best rating. Benton Harbor City Commissioners heard the annual audit report on Tuesday night during a meeting. Auditor Paul Matz said the city’s fund balance, or cash on hand, went down by $260,000 for the year ending June 30, 2020. However, the amended budget had anticipated a decrease of $683,000, and some COVID funds that have come in from the state may not have been received by the audit date. When asked by Mayor Marcus Muhammad what grade he would give the city’s finances, Matz said he would give them something in the B range.... [Read Full Story]

2,000 Additional Cases Of COVID Identified In Michigan For Wednesday

Michigan has reported 2,031 additional cases of COVID-19 for Wednesday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website shows the state has reported a total of more than 542,000 cases of COVID. It recorded 40 additional deaths for Wednesday, bringing the death total to 13,905. The state coronavirus website on Tuesday showed Berrien County with 48 more cases than on Tuesday, with a pandemic total of 9,675 and 195 deaths, an increase of one over Tuesday. Van Buren County was listed with a total of 4,333 cases, an increase of 15 over Tuesday, and 80 deaths, an increase of zero.... [Read Full Story]

Niles Man Busted For Drugs

A 47-year-old Niles man is in the Berrien County Jail for delivering and manufacturing cocaine and maintaining a drug house. He was arrested Wednesday afternoon when the Southwest Enforcement Team executed a search warrant in his home in the 11-hundred block of Phoenix Street. Officers seized over an ounce of cocaine, an unregistered pistol, and other evidence of drug trafficking. SWET detectives began this investigation after receiving a tip of suspected narcotics trafficking at the venue. Charges are being sought against others who were at the home.... [Read Full Story]

Police Investigate Shooting At Pilot Travel Center

The Benton Township Police Department is investigating a shooting incident at the Pilot Travel Center on Napier Avenue Tuesday. It says officers were called to the scene on a report of shots fired. They learned there had been gunfire inside the business. Officers say two Black males approached the victims, an 18-year-old and a 17-year-old from Benton Harbor, and started an argument. That confrontation led to gunfire, but neither victim was hit, and they remain uninjured. The suspects have not yet been found. Police ask anyone with information on the incident to contact them.... [Read Full Story]

Online Gambling And More Sports Betting Legal Friday In Michigan

It’s official: online gaming and sports betting starts this Friday at noon. Nine operators, including Detroit’s three casinos, were authorized by the Michigan Gaming Control Board this week. Rick Kalm, the board’s executive director, says they collaborated with New Jersey and used some of the same regulations they have there, but Michigan is the first to license Tribal casinos to take bets online.... [Read Full Story]

Vice President Harris Makes History

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have taken office, history has been made in more ways than one, as Harris becomes the first person of color and the first woman to hold the position. Michelle Piskulich, Oakland University Associate Professor of Political Science and Senior Associate Provost, calls this a turning point for women in politics.... [Read Full Story]

Verlyn William Cowgill

Verlyn’s life began December 14, 1937, in Coloma, Michigan. He was raised in Watervliet where he attended school and lived most of his adult life.  Verlyn worked for the Watervliet Paper Company for 25 years until retirement.  He also did body work on vehicles and during retirement worked at The Movie Library in Watervliet.  Verlyn enjoyed being outside gardening and landscaping his yard.  When he couldn’t be outside you could find Verlyn bowling or watching Westerns. Verlyn was an active member of his church First Missionary Baptist in Coloma where he taught Sunday school for many years.... [Read Full Story]

Trump Commutes Sentence Of Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

From the Associated Press — President Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who has served about seven years of a 28-year sentence for corruption. The announcement Wednesday morning was part of a flurry of clemency action in the final hours of Trump’s White House term. A White House statement noted that prominent members of the Detroit community had supported the former Democratic mayor’s commutation and it said that while in prison Kilpatrick “taught public speaking classes and has led Bible Study groups with his fellow inmates.” Kilpatrick was convicted in 2013 of racketeering
conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes. The government called it the “Kilpatrick enterprise,” a yearslong scheme to shake down contractors and reward allies.... [Read Full Story]

ALPACT Planning Forum On Racism And The Justice System

Berrien County ALPACT and the Interfaith Action group are planning a forum on racism and the criminal justice system for next month. Set for February 1, “Racism, Justice and Criminal Justice Disparities in Access and Outcomes” will feature guest speakers including US Attorney for Western Michigan Andrew Birge, Berrien County Trial Court Administrator Carrie Smietanka-Haney, Berrien County Prosecutor Steven Pierangeli, and Anthony Lewis from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. The Zoom presentation will be free and open to the public. It’s to take place on the first from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Anyone who wants to register can email AlpactSouthwest@gmail.com.... [Read Full Story]

Lakeshore Superintendent Retiring

Lakeshore Public Schools Superintendent Phil Freeman is retiring. He presented a letter to the board of education Tuesday saying he officially retires on June 30 after 34 years of service in public education. Freeman came to Lakeshore in 2013 and started his career as a teacher and coach at Garden City Public Schools. In his letter, Freeman writes he “will never be able to fully express my appreciation to the Board of Education, the staff, and this community for offering me the opportunity to lead such an outstanding district and supporting my efforts over the past eight school years.” He calls it a privilege to have worked with the district’s staff, parents, and students. Freeman writes that he “never lost sight of the enormous responsibility entrusted to me and did all I could to protect and advance the community’s most important asset.” He announced his retirement now so the board of education has time to find a suitable replacement. Board President Jason Beckrow says the district has been “incredibly fortunate” to have Freeman at the helm. The board will consider Freeman’s retirement letter at its next meeting.... [Read Full Story]