Local News Archives

Police Increase Patrols For Drunk Drivers

You may notice an increased police presence on Michigan roads for the next few weeks, as the latest Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is now underway. Melody Kindraka, with the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, says it started last week and runs through Labor Day. The goal is to keep state roads safe for the end-of-summer holiday.... [Read Full Story]

Rain Keeps Berrien Youth Fair Attendance Slightly Down

Leaders at the Berrien County Youth Fair are already planning for next year, now that the 71st annual event has wrapped up in Berrien Springs. Fair Director Karen Klug says heavy rain last week did keep attendance down a bit. The fair saw 118,000 visitors, compared to 125,000 in 2015. Still, Klug says the staff and exhibitors all came together to brave the weather.... [Read Full Story]

National Weather Service Confirms Van Buren County Tornado

The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down in Van Buren County Saturday. Meteorologists tell WSJM News an EF-1 level twister formed around Bangor, and made its way up to Grand Junction. They’re still trying to determine whether it was the same tornado that continued on into the Grand Rapids area, or whether it fizzled out in Allegan County. Tornadoes are ranked in intensity from EF-0 to EF-5. An EF-1, like Saturday’s, would come with winds of over 100 miles per hour. The weather service says the last time an EF-5 hit in Michigan was in the Hudsonville area in 1956. Saturday’s Bangor tornado brought down power lines and trees all over town.... [Read Full Story]

Tornado Assessments Continue Today

Cleanup is continuing today in West Michigan from a tornado outbreak over the weekend. Survey teams from the National Weather Service are headed back out to Allegan, Kent, Ottawa and Van Buren counties today to survey tornado damage. The NWS says there is preliminary evidence of EF-1 damage in Van Buren, Allegan and Ottawa counties along with EF-0 damage in Kent County.... [Read Full Story]

Gas Prices Rise 7¢

Michigan’s average gas price is up to $2.32 a gallon, the ninth-highest price in the country according to Triple-A Michigan. Prices at the pump jumped 7¢ a gallon from last week. Of the ten metro areas surveyed by the auto club, the highest price is in Marquette at $2.38, while drivers in Traverse City are enjoying the state’s lowest average at $2.27. In Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, our average price stands at $2.28, up 12¢ in the past week. South Haven prices range from $2.24 to $2.39 this morning. GasBuddy.com spotters put the lowest price at two-dollars-four-cents at a gas station in Belding, near Grand Rapids.... [Read Full Story]

Notre Dame’s Kelly Kicks Redfield Off Team, Suspends Butler

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly says he has kicked starting safety Max Redfield off the team and suspended reserve cornerback Devin Butler indefinitely after they were arrested in separate incidents. Kelly says four others arrested with Redfield after state police say they found marijuana and a loaded handgun inside their car are subject to internal discipline. He also said in a statement released Sunday the players could still face additional discipline from the university.... [Read Full Story]

Most Power Restored From Saturday Storm

Nearly all the lights are back on in West Michigan from Saturday’s strong storms that spawned tornadoes from Van Buren County to Montcalm County. The Associated Press reported early this morning there were still nearly 20,000 in the dark, but updated numbers from Consumers Energy show considerable progress in getting repairs made. As of 5 a.m., the utility had just over 400 of its customers who were still without power. Of those 400, one customer is in Van Buren County and three are in Allegan County.... [Read Full Story]

Over 19,000 Still Without Power From Saturday Storms

More than 19,000 homes and businesses in West Michigan remain without power after a storm that spawned at least four tornados. Consumers Energy reports the Grand Rapids area was hardest hit by Saturday’s storm. Kent County has 18,370 customers without power, Allegan County has nearly 500 and Ottawa County more than 400. There are just three Consumers Energy customers in Van Buren County who were without power as of early this morning. The National Weather Service says an EF-1 tornado with winds of 90 mph touched down about 3:10 p.m. Saturday. Crews are out determining whether there were any others. The tornado touched down near Orleans, 30 miles east of Grand Rapids, and was on the ground for eight miles through Ionia and Montcalm counties. The weather service says the tornado brought down several large trees, including one that landed on a house, and blew out a garage wall.... [Read Full Story]

NWS Confirms Van Buren County Tornado

The National Weather Service is confirming what witnesses already know: a tornado ripped through Van Buren County Saturday afternoon. The NWS says damage indicates the tornado was an EF-1, but no official determination of the twister’s strength has been announced. It was one of several tornados to hit West Michigan during storms along a path from Bangor to Grand Rapids.... [Read Full Story]

Next Phase Of Flint Pipe Replacements Begins

Contractors will be out in Flint neighborhoods as part of the latest effort to replace old lead and galvanized steel water lines amid the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water. A kickoff for the latest phase of the Fast Start program was Friday. Mayor Karen Weaver says it’ll result in the replacement of service lines at 200-250 homes. She says contractors will be out in neighborhoods to seek permission from residents. This fall, her office says the next phase of the replacement program that started in March will cover 5,000 additional homes. The project has replaced lines at 33 homes during the first phase. Over 18 months, lead leached from old pipes into Flint’s water supply when the city used water from the Flint River. The water wasn’t treated for corrosiveness.... [Read Full Story]

Planning Underway For Second Annual Launching Hope Event

Child and Family Services of Southwest Michigan is planning its second annual Launching Hope event for this October, and it’s now taking registrations from those who want to build catapults to be used for launching pumpkins as part of the festivities. Pumpkin Chunkin’ was a part of Launching Hope last year, but Child and Family Services Director Joseph Goepfrich says you can now sign up to make your own device for doing so. You never know just how far a pumpkin will go.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Residents Hoping To Help Police

A group of Berrien County residents is hoping to help police in the area following last month’s fatal shootings at the Berrien County Courthouse. Berrien County Strong — Community in Action was formed on Facebook by Gretta Volkenstein soon after the July 11 incident. On Thursday, members met to talk fundraising, among other things. Volkenstein says they’ll start by raising money for the Berrien Community Foundation’s sheriff’s department challenge grant.... [Read Full Story]

State Drawing Water Out Of Failing SWM Dam

Michigan environmental officials say they have stepped in to begin the emergency drawdown of water from a southwestern Michigan dam. The Department of Environmental Quality announced Friday it’s acting at the Centreville Dam amid recent and forecast heavy rainfalls – and a dispute that’s left the dam without an operator. The department recently ordered the owner to take action, but he hasn’t been able to gain access to the Prairie River dam because of a legal spat with an adjacent landowner. Luke Trumble, a state dam safety engineer, says officials intervened because overflowing water could cause the dam to fail and threaten residents’ health and safety. He says somebody needs to operate the dam’s movable gates during heavy rainfall or floods. The drawdown is expected to be done by Wednesday.... [Read Full Story]

Input Sought On Stevensville Master Plan

Work is getting started on the next master plan for the village of Stevensville, and residents are being asked to offer their input. Ryan Fellows, with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, says the master plan will govern development in Stevensville for the next ten years. Folks can take an online survey to give their thoughts.... [Read Full Story]

Active Shooter Survival Training To Be Offered In Van Buren County

Training on how to survive an active shooter situation will be offered this month by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department. A three-hour class will be held at the Columbia Township Hall on Monday, August 29. It’s based on the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events course developed by law enforcement training group ALERRT. The class is intended to provide strategies, guidance, and a plan for making it through an active shooter event. The class is limited to 100 people, and you have to register in advance to attend. You can do so by calling the Columbia Township Fire Department. The number is 269-434-6266.... [Read Full Story]

Pickleball Now Offered At SJ Ice Arena

There’s a new feature at the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena in St. Joseph. They’re now offering pickleball. Pickleball is a raquet sport that combines parts of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, and it can be played at the arena through October 19. Open play will be held each Monday and Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. It’ll be $5 for drop-in play or $40 if you want a season pass. Beginner classes will also be offered every Monday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. starting on August 22.... [Read Full Story]

Cornerstone Alliance Announces New Director Of Investor Relations

Cornerstone Alliance has announced the appointment of a new director of investor relations. Berrien County native Christina Frank will lead fundraising activities and work to develop local investment opportunities in the position. Before coming to Cornerstone, Frank was the Executive Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien & Cass, Inc. She’s also a former member of the United Way campaign design team. Cornerstone Alliance President Rob Cleveland says the dedication Frank has shown to the children of Berrien County is “evidence of her desire to make Berrien County a better place in which to live and work.” Frank says she’s thrilled to be part of the team. She starts in mid September.... [Read Full Story]

World Humanitarian Day Recognized Friday

Friday was World Humanitarian Day, an observance set by the United Nations to recognize aid workers around the world, including those in Michigan, who give their time to humanitarian service. This year there’s a call for global solidarity for those who need assistance to survive, including refugees resettling in the United States. Ken Grunow, the Michigan coordinator for Amnesty International, says humanitarian workers not only respond to crisis, they also strengthen communities, build peace and advocate for those without a voice. This year’s World Humanitarian Day theme is “One Humanity.”... [Read Full Story]

Back To School Pride Event Next Week At Benton Harbor High School

A back to school pride event is set for next week at Benton Harbor High School. “We ROAR” will be Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The day will feature information on district programs, a basketball tournament, a chicken cook-off, a talent show, and a back to school clothing drive. It’s free of charge and everyone’s invited. Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker says students in the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, along with staff, were challenged to set up the event. She says the day will give everyone a chance to know what it is to be a Tiger.... [Read Full Story]

Candidates For St. Joseph Clerk, Finance Director To Be Interviewed

Interviews with four candidates for St. Joseph City Clerk and Finance Director will be held on Tuesday. The city commission has scheduled a special meeting for 10 a.m. to speak with the applicants. They are Tonia Betty, currently the clerk for the city of Watervliet, Ian Haight, current clerk for Hagar Township, Lisa LaValley, an accountant at Shepherd Caster Corporation, and Sara McCallum, the treasurer of Pere Marquette Township near Ludington. In all, the city received eight applications for clerk and finance director, which is one position. Tuesday’s interviews are expected to last into the afternoon hours.... [Read Full Story]