Local News Archives

Recall Issued For Frozen Strawberries

The Berrien County Health Department is working with the state on making sure no recalled strawberries remain on store shelves. The frozen strawberries have been found to be contaminated with Hepatitis A. Guy Miller, with the county health department, tells WSJM News he’s reached out to the distributor of the strawberries to local stores.... [Read Full Story]

Dowagiac Man Charged In Standoff

A man is facing charges after police say he intentionally struck two women on horseback with a vehicle in Cass County. The prosecutor’s office says 32-year-old Adam Robert Biek faces assault with intent to do great bodily harm, malicious destruction of property, and driving on a suspended license charges. He was arraigned Thursday and returns to court November 16. Police say Biek surrendered Wednesday after barricading himself in his Cass County home. According to authorities, the Dowagiac man struck the women on Tuesday night. Prosecutors say at least one woman and one horse had minor injuries. The standoff began after the 32-year-old refused to talk with investigators.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Man Charged With Murder

A South Haven man has been charged with murder in the death of a man reported missing this summer. The South Haven Police Department says 39-year-old Matthew Morin was reported missing on July 9, and his body was found in a wooded area of Barry County on July 12. 48-year-old John Joseph Calgaro was identified as a suspect, and taken into custody on a parole violation charge. He’s remained jailed since. On Friday, police announced he’s been charged with open murder, although they haven’t released any other details. South Haven police and Michigan State Police are working together on the case.... [Read Full Story]

Political Signs Bring Eviction Notices In Traverse City

Public housing residents in Traverse City have removed campaign signs after officials threatened to evict them. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan sent a letter to the Traverse City Housing Commission, calling the eviction notices “heartless.” Michael Steinberg of the ACLU says a ban on displaying window signs without approval is a violation of the First Amendment. The Traverse City Record-Eagle says the housing commission took action after some residents displayed signs in favor of a public vote on buildings taller than 60 feet. That question is on the local ballot Tuesday. Housing director Tony Lentych says some residents complained. He says the signs violate the lease. Lentych says, “If they want to sue us, they can sue us all they want.”... [Read Full Story]

Oldest Mackinac Island Ferry To Stop Service

Mackinac Island’s oldest and longest-running ferry boat company is leaving the passenger business and selling its boats to a competitor.
The Detroit Free Press reports that the financially-struggling Arnold Transit Company is preparing to halt all passenger service to the island for the first time since the 1800s, leaving just two ferry boat services to the island next summer. Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry officials announced Thursday that it tentatively plans to buy six of the Arnold boats, as well as its boatyard and several docks. Terms of the sale, which is expected to close in coming weeks, haven’t been disclosed. Star Line CEO Jerry Fetty says his company plans to refurbish the six Arnold vessels and reintroduce them as Star Line boats.... [Read Full Story]

MI Ballot Selfie Fight Over For Now

The fight over selfies at Michigan voting booths appears to be over for now. A federal appeals court said Thursday it won’t revisit the decision of one of its three-judge panels. A federal judge in Grand Rapids had signed an injunction suspending Michigan’s ban on ballot photos. But in a 2-1 decision, the order was set aside by the appeals court last week. The challenge to Michigan’s ban isn’t dead. But the lawsuit by Joel Crookston
won’t be fully litigated until after the election. Crookston argues that the ban on photos violates the First Amendment. The state says voters are free to declare their political preferences to the world – if they do it away from a polling place. The state says it’s trying to avoid “chaos.”... [Read Full Story]

Secretary Of State Reminds Voters Of Election Day Rules

Voters are being reminded of the rules they need to follow when they head to the polls next Tuesday. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says the ballot selfie ban remains in effect, so don’t take any pictures or video while you’re in the polling place. Also, you’re not allowed to wear any t-shirts or buttons in support of a particular candidate or party. The secretary of state adds that it’s illegal to show your ballot to anyone under the secret balloting rules. Finally, everyone who votes has to bring along a valid ID. You can find out all the information you need about your polling place at Michigan.gov/Vote.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren County Stuff The Bus Food Drive Saturday

The Van Buren County United Way will collect food for local pantries this Saturday with its annual Stuff the Bus drive. The organization’s Vera Tanier-Sebree tells WSJM News they hold the event each fall to help out. A school bus from each district in the county will be stationed at a grocery store Saturday taking donations.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Victims Service Unit Given Award

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department’s Victims Services Unit has received an award. It’s been named the Victims Services Unit of the Year by the Michigan Sheriff’s Association. The Berrien County VCU has been around for seven years now. It works to support crime victims and their families while relieving some stress for certified police officers. When the program started, teams of two volunteers would go along with deputies when a death notification was given and stay with the next of kin until their friends or family could come. The Berrien County unit handled 58 calls in the past year, helping 686 victims.... [Read Full Story]

SWM Tourism Leaders See Benefits Of Pure Michigan

A report from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy this week concluded there’s no evidence that the Pure Michigan tourism campaign is worth the money, but if you ask local tourism leaders, they’ll tell you otherwise. Millicent Huminsky, with the Southwest Michigan Tourism Council, tells WSJM News the boom that the industry has seen recent years is partly due to the ad campaign.... [Read Full Story]

All Clear At Three Oaks School After Thursday Evacuation

Everything’s clear at Middle High School in Three Oaks after a threatening note was found in a bathroom Thursday. The building was evacuated while police were called in to check the place out. The school district sent parents a message to let them know what was going on and moved all of the kids to other buildings, depending on their grade level. A bomb sniffing dog was brought in by Michigan State Police and found nothing. The school says the message was found written on a bathroom stall around 10 a.m., and all was clear by 2:30. The case remains under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

Chicago To Honor Cubs With Parade Friday

Chicago plans to honor its World Series champion Cubs with a parade and rally on Friday. The celebration will start about 10 a.m. when the team leaves Wrigley Field and heads for downtown Chicago. The official parade is scheduled to start at 11 a.m., traveling along Michigan Avenue and then along Columbus Drive near Lake Michigan before heading to Grant Park. Fans are encouraged to line that route. Officials expect the Cubs motorcade to arrive in Grant Park around noon, when there will be a rally at Hutchinson Field. The rally and parade come two days after the team won its first World Series championship in 108 years. The city says closed water bottles will be allowed into the rally and food vendors will be on site.... [Read Full Story]

Voting Open In Latest Celebrated Service Awards

Voting has opened in the sixth annual Celebrated Service Awards. The awards are handed out each year by Celebration Cinema to recognize businesses in each of its service areas that give their customers the best treatment. In the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area, the nominees this year are All Star Family Chiropractic, Biggby Coffee, Buffalo Wild Wings, Cafe Mosaic, the Chatterbox Bar & Grill, the Hilton Garden Inn, Jimmy Johns of Benton Harbor, the Mason Jar Cafe, Silver Harbor Brewing Company, and Zoup. The winner will receive special promotions on Celebration Cinema screens and $5,000. You can vote for your favorite at CelebratedService.com. Or, you can vote via text message this year. Below are the instructions.... [Read Full Story]

Report Recommends Slowing Pace Of Charter Schools

The rapid growth of charter schools could lead to the privatization of America’s public school system, according to a new report from the Independent Media Institute. It says 40% of the nation’s 6,700 charter schools are part of corporate chains or franchises. Stan Salett, report co-author, says most major -S cities are now divided into private and public tracks, and argues the future of one of the nation’s few institutions where people from diverse backgrounds come together is at risk.... [Read Full Story]

10-Year-Old Boy Hit By Vehicle, Killed, In Kalamazoo County

Authorities say a 10-year-old boy has died after being struck by a vehicle while crossing a street in Kalamazoo County. Police in Kalamazoo Township say the boy was trying to cross Wednesday night in an area where there was no crosswalk or stoplight. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports
he was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name wasn’t immediately released. Conditions were described as dark and rainy at the time. Police earlier said the boy was among a group of young people in the area. Police say the 52-year-old Kalamazoo man who was driving the vehicle wasn’t injured. The child’s death is under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

Audit: One Doctor Approved 11,800 Marijuana Patients In One Year

A state audit says one physician was able to certify more than 11,800 Michigan medical marijuana patients in one year. The audit released Thursday criticized the state’s medical marijuana program for not verifying doctor certifications to combat potential fraud. Auditors found 22 other physicians who certified nearly 47,000 applicants, an average of eight per work day. The state says it began randomly auditing doctor certifications in late September. Under Michigan law, 211,000 patients registered with the state are growing their own marijuana or obtaining it from 37,000 designated caregivers who supply a limited number of people. Patients can legally use marijuana if they have a “debilitating medical condition” such as cancer and or a disease with side effects such as seizures or severe and chronic pain.... [Read Full Story]

Trump Urges Early Voters To Change Their Ballots

Donald Trump is urging some early voters for Hillary Clinton to change their ballots for him. But it’s unlikely enough will heed his call to affect the presidential race. Trump urged early voters in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan on Tuesday to change their ballots for him if they’re having a “bad case of buyer’s remorse” after voting for Clinton. Those states do allow early voters to change their ballots. But the deadline was Tuesday in Minnesota and deadlines in the other states are fast approaching. Election officials say voters rarely change absentee ballots. University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist Barry Burden says he doesn’t expect large numbers of people will change their minds this year. He said early voters tend to be especially enthusiastic about their favorite candidate.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren Road Commission Marks 100 Years

It’s been 100 years for the Van Buren County Road Commission, and this week, they’ll hold a birthday celebration. The road commission’s Greg Pardike tells WSJM News the agency was formed a few years after a 1909 state law called for uniformity in road standards. It had one employee, and the roads then were much different.... [Read Full Story]

Prosecutor: Shooting Of Inmate Was Justified

The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office has found the July 11 shooting of a jail inmate by court officers to be justified. The office released its analysis of the incident on Wednesday, laying out the circumstances that led to inmate Larry Gordon seizing of an officer’s gun and killing two security officers before being fatally shot by bailiffs. The report says Gordon knew he was facing a lengthy prison sentence, and had told other inmates in the Berrien County Jail he would not be able to do serve it. He also asked them about the courthouse layout. The prosecutor describes how Gordon came to get a gun, take hostages, and then shoot two officers. It says no criminal charges will be filed in Gordon’s shooting. You can see the full analysis below.... [Read Full Story]

Police Seize $30,000 Worth Of Drugs In BH Raid

Two people are facing charges following a drug bust in Benton Harbor Wednesday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us officers raided an apartment at 525 Columbus Avenue around 7 a.m. finding 92 grams of heroin, 188 grams of crack, and three loaded semi-automatic handguns. Police say the estimated value of the drugs alone is about $30,000. The two people arrested both have criminal records. They’re now facing a variety of new charges. Police note the apartment building is less than 1,000 feet from a school.... [Read Full Story]

Cass County Standoff Ends Peacefully

A standoff that began after two women on horseback were struck by a vehicle in Cass County has ended peacefully. Michigan State Police say a man surrendered Wednesday morning after barricading himself in his Cass County home Tuesday night. Troopers tell us the man intentionally struck them on Tuesday night, and the women and horses have minor injuries. The standoff began after the 32-year-old refused to talk with investigators, and negotiators were called in because the suspect had weapons in the home. The man, whose name wasn’t immediately released, faces charges of assault and driving without a license.... [Read Full Story]

EMU Students Protest Racist Graffiti

Students at Eastern Michigan University are protesting after more anti-black graffiti was discovered on campus this week. The protests include a sit-in early Wednesday at the EMU Student Center on the school’s Ypsilanti campus. The university says the graffiti was discovered Monday spray-painted on the exterior of Ford Hall and was immediately removed. On Tuesday, school President Jim Smith announced the creation of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. He says in a message to campus that the vandalism is “hateful” and says the school is working to foster respect, equity and inclusion. The university has said that a reward for information about similar graffiti that appeared in late September has been doubled to $10,000 and applies to the latest incident as well. The earlier graffiti led to protests.... [Read Full Story]