Local News Archives

State Representative Dies, Coronavirus Likely Cause

A freshman Detroit state lawmaker has died at the age of 44 from what his family believes was a coronavirus infection. Isaac Robinson died Sunday at Detroit Receiving Hospital just hours after being taken there for breathing problems. His mother, former state Representative Mary Robinson, says he had not received a COVID-19 test before being rushed to the hospital. She tells Crain’s Detroit Business her son had refused to seek medical attention despite having trouble breathing for several days and adds he was dead within five hours of being hospitalized.... [Read Full Story]

WNIT Launching Educational Channel For Duration Of COVID-19 Outbreak

A new channel is being launched by WNIT television in South Bend to help educate children who are home due to COVID-19 shutting down their schools. The PBS affiliate says it will begin broadcasting At Home Learning programs for grades six through twelve on Monday over the air on temporary channel 34.5. The programs will be available from noon to 5 p.m. on weekdays. WNIT advises people to rescan their televisions to find the new channel. Below is a full statement from WNIT:... [Read Full Story]

Detroit Auto Show Canceled As TCF Center Becoming Makeshift Hospital

The North American International Auto Show will not be held this year in Detroit, as the venue is becoming a temporary hospital. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District is working with FEMA on the project, and over 250,000 square feet of the convention facility is being adapted to medical care space. Governor Whitmer has signed off on the change, saying it will help save lives by constructing a large alternate care facility in Detroit. Hospitals in southeast Michigan have been overrun by COVID-19 patients and have been close to capacity. Construction at TCF Center, formerly called Cobo Center, will start within days. McCormack Place in Chicago is also being turned into a hospital.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan COVID-19 Cases At 4,650 With 111 Deaths

A big jump is being reported by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in COVID-19 cases statewide. The new figures released Saturday show an increase of 993 cases to 4,650. An additional 19 have died, bringing that total to 111. In southwest Michigan, Allegan County has gone from 1 to 2 cases; Berrien from 18 to 22; Cass from 1 to 2; Kalamazoo from 11 to 15; and Van Buren County’s number is up from 3 to 4 from Friday. There remain no confirmed cases in St. Joseph County. No one has died from coronavirus in southwest Michigan to date, and the Berrien County Health Department says three of the people in the county who tested positive have fully recovered.... [Read Full Story]

State Launches COVID-19 Volunteer Website

Michigan has launched a website for people to volunteer to help out in their communities as the COVID-19 crisis continues. They’re seeking medical professionals as well as residents who just want to contribute. The office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer has released the following statement:... [Read Full Story]

Humane Society Seeking Funds, Supplies

With many Michiganders sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan is looking for some extra help. It says shelter life has been rough during the pandemic, and its animals need support. The organization notes it has its own particular set of challenges right now, needing resources for supplies, medicine, utilities, staffing, and more. It’s launched a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to collect $30,000 to get through the coronavirus. As of Friday afternoon, the organization had raised $2,250. You can find it right here. The Human Society also needs items like bleach, paper towels, laundry detergent, floor cleaner, postage stamps, and Lysol. They’ve got donation bins outside the shelter on M-139 in Royalton Township.... [Read Full Story]

SWM Home Sales Down In February, Prices Up

Home sales in southwest Michigan were down in February, although prices were up. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors says the number of houses sold in February of this year dropped to 181 from 235 in February of 2019 for a 23% decrease. However, the average selling price was up 12% over the same period. Meanwhile, the median price soared 30%. With fewer houses sold, the total dollar volume, even with higher selling prices, was down 14% in February. The association says housing inventory was down 2% from February of 2019, while the percentage of sold homes that were foreclosures remained the same as January at 7% overall.... [Read Full Story]

State Confirms More Than 800 New Cases Of COVID-19

The number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan rose by 801 from Thursday to Friday. The latest numbers from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also show 32 new deaths. The state’s total number of cases as of Friday afternoon was 3,657. It’s had 92 deaths. Berrien County has seen seven new cases, now with 18 total. Van Buren County has one new case, bringing its total to three. Cass County has one. The city of Detroit is listed as having 1,075 cases of COVID-19 with 23 deaths. Oakland County has 824 with 26 deaths, and Wayne County, which is being counted separately from Detroit, has 735 with 14 deaths. The cases are divided about equally between men and women, while men account for 65% of the deaths.... [Read Full Story]

BH Commission Appoints Ellis Mitchell City Manager

It’s official. Ellis Mitchell has been appointed the city manager of Benton Harbor. At a meeting on Wednesday night, the Benton Harbor City Commission interviewed Mitchell. He’s been serving as interim city manager since July. During his interview, Mitchell said he moved to Benton Harbor before even getting the interim job as he values the community. He also said it’s important to delegate, evaluate staff, and train staff.... [Read Full Story]

Eau Claire Farmer Dies As A Result Of EEE

An Eau Claire farmer who was stricken this summer with Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a rare mosquito-borne illness, has died. Jim Whitright, otherwise known as Tiny, died Saturday from apparent EEE complications. This brings the total deaths in Michigan to six out of the 10 confirmed human cases this year. The St. Joseph County, Indiana Coroner’s Office, along with a family friend, confimed the death. EEE has a 33% fatality rate and first appears as a high fever, quickly becoming worse. Whitright became sick on August 19, and spent four weeks in the intensive care unit at Spectrum Health Lakeland before being transferred to long-term care. He died at Memorial Hospital in South Bend. Meanwhile, state health officials say the risk for EEE is now gone for the year as the weather has gotten cold enough.... [Read Full Story]

MDOT: I-196 Work Wraps Up

Drivers on I-196 who put up with seven miles of one traffic between Benton Harbor and the Hagar Shore Road exit will be glad to hear the construction is done for the year. Removal of traffic cones and barrels should happen soon, according to MDOT’s Nick Schirripa.... [Read Full Story]

Buttigieg Surges To Lead Among Democrats In Iowa

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is surging in Iowa among the Democratic presidential hopefuls. In the latest Monmouth University poll, Buttigieg is on top with 22% support of likely caucus goers in Iowa, up 14 points from August. In second is former Vice President Joe Biden at 19% and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with 18% support. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is in fourth at 13%, and is the only other candidate with double-digit support in Iowa. The Iowa caucuses will be February 3rd and are the first contests of the primary season. The New Hampshire primary will be the next week on February 11.... [Read Full Story]