Local News Archives

Bicyclist Hit By Car In Cass County

A 55-year-old Niles man is recovering at Lakeland Hospital after being hit by a car while riding his bicycle. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is investigating, and says it happened around 1 p.m. Saturday near Ironwood Road and Winkler Drive. A car driven by a 27-year-old from Niles hit Michael Flanigan. Authorities have not indicated if any tickets have been issued, but will say Flanigan was wearing a helmet and alcohol was not a factor in the crash. The extent of Flanigan’s injuries is not publicly known.... [Read Full Story]

Scam Investigated In Hartford

Van Buren County residents are being cautioned about a scam that a Hartford resident fell victim to about a week ago. The sheriff’s department says a gold, tan or bronze-colored Chevrolet pickup pulled into a driveway, and four people got out. The victim tells police the truck had the word “roofing” on the side of the truck as part of a decal, but wasn’t able to determine everything that was there.... [Read Full Story]

Open House For Rocky Gap Park Next Week

The Berrien County Parks Department wants to show off the public all of the improvements that have been made this year to Rocky Gap County Park, and next Thursday, it’s going to do just that. Parks Director Brian Bailey tells WSJM News the park near Benton Harbor has gotten $600,000 in work this year.... [Read Full Story]

Schuitmaker Named MADD Legislator Of The Year

State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker has been named one of Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s legislators of the year. MADD says it wants to recognize the Lawton Republican, along with Oakland County state Representative Klint Kesto, for their efforts to fight drunk driving. Specifically, it says Schuitmaker this year introduced legislation that would allow the Secretary of State to create a MADD license plate to raise funds for the group. Kesto was honored for legislation requiring ignition locks on the cars of convicted drunk drivers. Schuitmaker says drunk driving is “a senseless crime that is 100% preventable,” adding she’s honored to receive the award.... [Read Full Story]

Conservation District Looking For Help Collecting Bugs

Coming up next Saturday will be a chance for everyone to help test the quality of the water in the Paw Paw River in Van Buren County. A.J. Brucks, with the Van Buren Conservation District, tells WSJM News volunteers will take to the river in Lawrence to collect bugs. What kinds of insects they can be a hint about whether the water is polluted.... [Read Full Story]

Grand Opening For Andrews University Observatory Next Week

Andrews University plans to celebrate the completion of its new observatory with a grand opening next week. The observatory was originally built in 1957, and the physics department’s Kelly Youngberg tells WSJM News they’ve rebuilt it to make the dome bigger and automate the shutters, among other things. Andrews makes the observatory available to the public about 30 nights per year.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren Specialty Courts Get $694,000 State Grant

Van Buren County is getting a grant of more than $694,000 to run its specialty courts. The money from the state court administrative office will help continue the county’s drug treatment court, the family treatment court, the Swift and Sure Sanctions Program, and the adult and youth recovery courts. The county has also been awarded a grant to set up a sobriety court for second and third-time drunk driving offenders. Specialty Courts Administrator Rachel Lindley tells WSJM News the programs are designed to help keep some offenders from being stuck in the system indefinitely by giving them extra attention.... [Read Full Story]

St. Joe Fall Festival Underway

Taking place this Saturday downtown is the annual St. Joseph Fall Festival. Everything kicked off Friday with the big bed race down Lake Boulevard, and now St. Joe Today’s Whitney Behnke tells WSJM News Saturday features the St. Joseph Wine Festival and Public Art Auction where you can buy the bug statues that were situated around downtown this summer.... [Read Full Story]

Funeral Held For Slain MI Police Officer

Detroit’s police chief has posthumously promoted a 20-year officer who died five days after being shot while chasing a suspect. Chief James Craig announced the promotion of Sergeant Ken Steil to captain at the end of his funeral Friday at a suburban church. The announcement drew a standing ovation at the packed service. Craig said: “we all love Kenneth Steil.” The husband and father of two sons was nicknamed “Shark” for his diving skills. He was shot in the shoulder and died last Saturday of a blood clot. 21-year-old Marquise Cromer is charged with first-degree murder. Govenor Rick Snyder ordered U.S. and Michigan flags lowered to half-staff Friday in Steil’s honor. A state trooper heading to the funeral was injured when a vehicle struck his motorcycle on a freeway.... [Read Full Story]

SWM Home Sales Up In August

Home sales in southwest Michigan continue to be strong, as the month of August brought an increase in units moved. Gary Walter, with the Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors, tells WSJM News it was a good month for the market.... [Read Full Story]

WMU Seeking Record For Renewing Marriage Vows

Western Michigan University is lining up hundreds of couples to renew their marriage vows as part of a homecoming weekend record attempt.
The Kalamazoo Gazette reports the school on October 8 is seeking to set a new Guinness World Records mark for the largest vow renewal ceremony. Guinness says the current mark of 1,087 couples was set at Miami University in Ohio in 2009. Western Michigan University is asking couples to register in advance to participate in the group ceremony at the Kalamazoo school’s East Campus. Couples must provide a photocopy of their marriage license. The ceremony will be officiated by Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell. The event will include commemorative photo stations, live music, a wedding cake and a toast.... [Read Full Story]

MI Court Revives Lawsuit Over Allegan Corn Maze

Headed to a haunted corn maze during the Halloween season? Watch your step. The Michigan appeals court has given new life to a lawsuit by a man who broke his leg while trying to get out of a tricky maze at night in western Michigan. The court says the wet path may have been open and obvious to Michael Davis back in 2013. But the court says there’s another liability issue — whether Davis was forced by employees to use that path as his only exit from the Witches of New Salem maze in Allegan County. In an opinion released Friday, the appeals court reversed a decision by a judge who had dismissed the lawsuit. The ruling means Davis can take the case to trial.... [Read Full Story]

Automaker Tesla Sues Michigan Over Dealership Laws

Tesla Motors has sued Governor Rick Snyder and other state officials, challenging a 2014 law that clarified that automakers can only sell through franchised dealerships. The federal lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment that the “anti-Tesla” law is unconstitutional and an injunction to prevent its enforcement. Tesla says it prefers that legislation be enacted but was told recently by lawmakers that no hearing will be held.... [Read Full Story]

SWM Economy Flat In 2nd Quarter

The latest business outlook report from the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research is out, and it’s anticipating flat hiring in Berrien County for the third quarter. Regional analyst Brian Pittelko tells WSJM News the main indicators for the third quarter were mixed.... [Read Full Story]

Niles Twp Fire Leads To Discovery Of Marijuana

A Niles area man is facing charges after a fire in his home this week led police to discover marijuana growing there. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells our newsroom the fire was reported in the 1100 block of Stateline Road around 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Firefighters from Niles Township were able to put the blaze out, although about a third of the home was destroyed. Also, 34-year-old Luther Borders suffered minor injuries. When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found evidence marijuana was growing there, and a search confirmed it. They also learned the fire had partly been caused by equipment used to grow the marijuana. Borders was arrested for a probation violation and taken to the Berrien County Jail. Child Protective Services has also been called because children lived in the home.... [Read Full Story]

$600,000 Grant Announced For Van Buren Courts

A grant of more than $694,000 is being awarded to Van Buren County for its specialty courts. The money will be used to run the county’s drug treatment court, family treatment court, Swift and Sure Sanctions Program, and adult and youth recovery courts. The county has also been awarded a grant to set up a sobriety court for second and third-time drunk driving offenders. Court officials say the specialty courts are designed to address the problems faced by specific offenders who could be rehabilitated. The idea is to keep them from re-offending and winding back up in the system. Since their inception, Van Buren County’s specialty courts have been run with state and federal grants.... [Read Full Story]