Local News Archives

Road Commission: Use Care When Posting Political Signs

Road commissions in southwest Michigan have a reminder for those who are posting campaign signs around their communities during this election season. They say it’s important to remember the signs should not block any views of the road, driveways, or intersections. The Van Buren County Road Commission’s Larry Hummel says that applies to any sign, in general.... [Read Full Story]

New Scholarship Program Announced For All Buchanan Graduates

A new promise has been made to graduates of Buchanan Community Schools. The Buchanan Promise, a scholarship for all grads, was announced Wednesday. Made possible through a permanent endowment and managed by the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, the program will award up to $2,500 per year, for a maximum of $10,000, to students to pay for college. Foundation President Robert Habicht says this creates a whole new range of possibilities for graduates.... [Read Full Story]

Skunk To Serve As Ambassador To Grand Rapids Zoo

When Turnip the skunk visits schools, nursing homes and other places there will be no need to hold noses. As a sort of animal ambassador for Grand Rapids’ John Ball Zoo, she’s been de-scented ahead of her role to educate people about skunks. The Grand Rapids Press reports Wednesday that Turnip won’t be on exhibit at  the zoo. Instead, she is being trained. She will take strolls with staff and meet zoo visitors.
Zookeeper Sarah Bontinen says skunks often are misunderstood. The zoo wants to see the year-old Turnip to show how interesting and useful the animals can be. Bontinen says “skunks only spray when they feel imminent danger” and “they don’t want to spray unless they feel like they have to.”... [Read Full Story]

Walk To End Alzheimer’s This Weekend

The annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s is coming up Saturday in St. Joseph. Walk manager Kristin Burt says they will welcome anyone, and even their dogs, at the event. She says “anyone with a brain is at risk for this disease, and that’s why we want anyone and everyone to come to this walk and have more awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and help us raise funds that can help find a cure.”... [Read Full Story]

Two Hurt In Motorcycle v. Deer Crash

A Lawrence couple is hospitalized in Kalamazoo after hitting a deer on their motorcycle in Cass County. The sheriff’s department says 65-year-old Leonard and 63-year-old Terri Lee Strefling suffered minor injuries in the crash, which happened around 7:30 last night in Volinia Township. The deer ran out in front of their bike as they were headed north on Decatur Road. Police say both people were wearing helmets, and alcohol wasn’t a factor.... [Read Full Story]

Researchers Using Underwater Robot To Study Lake Michigan

Scientists are retrieving data from an underwater robot for the first time since it was deployed to gather information about the Lake Michigan fish food supply. The U.S. Geological Survey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute launched the vehicle August 1. It is measuring volumes of algae and tiny animals called zooplankton, which form the base of aquatic food chains. Experts say the findings will help develop estimates of how many predator fish Lake Michigan can support. They say it’s been hard to develop accurate measures of algae and zooplankton using conventional technologies. The robot will ply the southern portion of the lake for 25 days, at depths ranging from 9 feet to 150 feet. It’s being removed temporarily Tuesday so scientists can download data and recharge the battery.... [Read Full Story]

Study Examines Progression Of Federal Minimum Wage

According to a new analysis, if the federal minimum wage had grown at the same pace as increases in worker productivity, it would be nearly $19 an hour in 2016. Meanwhile, business groups argue that raising the wage could lead to job loss, especially in the midwest and south. David Cooper, with the Economic Policy Institute, says he doesn’t believe increasing the minimum wage would lead to job losses, as some business groups say.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien Springs Senior Living Community Fire

No one’s injured, but there were some tense moments at a Berrien Springs Senior Living Community Tuesday when a fire broke out in one of the units. The Oronoko Township Fire Department was dispatched to Timber Ridge Manor at US-31 around 6 p.m. when a stove top caught fire. The building filled with smoke, causing residents to be evacuated. Firefighters had the situation under control quickly, and used fans to clear the building while residents waited outside. The building did not suffer any fire damage, nor was there serious damage to the unit where it started. Everyone was let back in by 8 p.m... [Read Full Story]

Two Arrested Following Dowagiac Shooting

Two are facing charges following a Monday shooting in Dowagiac. The department of public safety says a car parked in the 200 block of Halstead Street was damaged by gunfire around 3 a.m. During their investigation, officers identified a possible suspect, and by afternoon, had determined where he could be found. When they went to pick him up, he ran off and hid in a nearby garage, along with a 17-year-old girl. Eventually, they surrendered. Police say their search turned up two sawed-off shotguns and ammunition. The suspect was wanted on a domestic assault warrant, while the 17-year-old was wanted on a bench warrant. The two are now in the Cass County Jail while police seek break-in, felony firearm, and property damage charges against the man. The girl is facing gun charges.... [Read Full Story]

General Motors Testing Autonomous Vehicles In Arizona

General Motors and its autonomous technology company Cruise Automation are testing self-driving cars on the streets of Scottsdale, Arizona.
Testing of self-driving electric Chevrolet Bolts began in Arizona about two weeks ago. It’s the second city for GM’s real-world tests. Autonomous Bolts with Cruise Automation software have been driving around San Francisco since May 20. GM spokesman Kevin Kelly says the company is considering other cities for tests but wasn’t ready to announce locations. He would not say how many Bolts are being tested. Although the cars drive autonomously, Kelly says they all have human backup drivers. GM acquired San Francisco-based Cruise Automation in March for $581 million in cash and GM stock. Kelly says the company has opened an office in Scottsdale.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Youth Fair Next Week

It’s almost time for the 71st annual Berrien County Youth Fair. The event will be next week at the youth fairgrounds in Berrien Springs. Executive Director Karen Klug tells WSJM News, first and foremost, they’ll have a variety of youth exhibits. However, that’s not all.... [Read Full Story]

[VIDEO] Roy Thompson Sentenced for December Murder

A Benton Harbor man convicted in the shooting death of a Benton Township business owner has been sentenced to 35 to 60 years in prison. Roy Thompson was found guilty by a jury of second degree murder in June in the death of David Krieger last December. The 53-year-old was killed during a confrontation with Thompson about a dog the suspect allegedly kicked near Krieger’s family business, Michiana Supply in Benton Township.... [Read Full Story]

Public Invited To Comment On Mackinac Pipeline Support Plan

State officials are taking public comments on a plan by Enbridge Energy Partners to install additional supports for its twin oil pipelines in the waterway where Lakes Michigan and Huron meet. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says a 20-day comment period began Monday for an Enbridge application for a permit to place the steel supports beneath sections of the Straits of Mackinac pipelines.... [Read Full Story]

Three Arrested After Chase, Fiery Crash In Van Buren County

Three people are in the Van Buren County Jail after leading police on a chase before a fiery crash in Arlington Township. The sheriff’s department says a deputy tried pulling over an unregistered car on County Road 665 near 38th Avenue in Waverly Township. 22-year-old Walker Woods of Kalamazoo took off and led the officer on a chase down several rural roads and through a vineyard at speeds up to 85 miles an hour before crashing onto a tree about 15 minutes later on 44th Avenue. The car burst into flames and the three ran off through a swamp before being caught. Woods was wanted for five warrants, while passenger Ryan Grady of Dowagiac had three warrants. A 24-year-old Decatur woman is also facing several charges.... [Read Full Story]

Search For New St. Joseph Officials Progressing

The city of St. Joseph is currently in the process of replacing two key officials, and the applications are in. City Manager John Hodgson says, first, the city is looking for fill the job of clerk and finance director, which will remain combined. After that, they’ll look at hiring a new public safety director.... [Read Full Story]

Thousands Of Pounds Of Trash Removed From West MI River

More than 3,200 beverage containers, about 1,500 pounds of lumber, 17 pairs of sunglasses and a folding bed have been pulled from a western Michigan river. The Muskegon Chronicle reports Monday that volunteers in the Fifth Annual Muskegon River Cleanup also removed 400 pounds of scrap metal, seven tires, 74 shoes, four inflatable rafts and two cellphones from the waterway. About 300 people helped remove trash Saturday from the river, northwest of Grand Rapids. Some volunteers were on the river in kayaks, canoes and inflatable tubes.... [Read Full Story]

Donation Makes Bulletproof Vest Possible For Van Buren K9

A Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department K9 has received a bulletproof vest, thanks to a donation from a Gross Pointe Shores organization. The department says Tico, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois who’s been with the department for two years, will have extra protection due to the generosity of Sharon Peters and Vested Interest in K9s. Tico works with the department’s Deputy Jason Stasienko in narcotics enforcement. Tico is also certified in tracking, handler protection, and building searches, among other things. The sheriff’s department says Vested Interest in K9s is an organization that works to protect police K9s throughout the country. It thanked Vested Interest, calling it a “wonderful organization.”... [Read Full Story]

Goff Saluted For 30 Years On SJ City Commission

St. Joseph City Commissioner Mary Goff has been honored for serving 30 years on the body. At a Monday meeting, commissioners commended her for her service, saying it’s been a pleasure to work together. Goff told us she’s proud to have been able to help guide the city as it’s grown over the years. She pointed to a few accomplishments of the commission.... [Read Full Story]

Trump Greeted By Protesters In Detroit

Donald Trump gave a major economic policy speech in Detroit Monday, and on hand were plenty of protesters. Trump’s ongoing dispute with the parents of a fallen US Army officer has continued to be a topic of controversy. While Trump has said he has strong support in the military community and his campaign believes the spat with the Khan family will soon blow over, Brandon Dillon, who heads up the Michigan Democratic Party, says the state’s Republicans should take a stand.... [Read Full Story]

Centennial Celebration Planned For South Haven’s Ratcliffe Field

A celebration is planned for next month to mark the 100th birthday of South Haven’s Ratcliffe Field. The South Haven Rams have played football at the field on Hubbard Street since 1916, making it one of the state’s oldest continually-used high school sports fields. South Haven Public Schools Marketing Coordinator Tara Wilkinson says the school and the local historical association are teaming up to celebrate the field on September 9.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien Springs Carbon Monoxide Death Remains Under Investigation

Police say they are investigating whether a Berrien Springs woman accidentally left her car running while it was parked in her garage, leading to her carbon monoxide death on Sunday. 78-year-old Anna Bacchiocci was found dead in her home on Appian Way Sunday evening, along with her dog. She was discovered by her son and daughter in law who had gone to check on her. Responding officers performed air quality tests and found the home had a high level of carbon monoxide, and six people had to be treated. They were all released at the scene. The Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Police Department says a check of possible carbon monoxide sources ruled out several possibilities, but it’s still looking into whether the car was left running in the attached garage.... [Read Full Story]

Couple Arraigned In Alleged Allegan County Crime Spree

An Otsego couple has been arraigned in a string of break-ins and auto thefts in southwest Michigan last week. The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department says the man and woman’s crime spree went on from early Thursday morning through the evening. They allegedly broke into three homes, in two cases taking off in stolen vehicles. The two were ultimately found at the man’s home. 34-year-old Kenneth Lapham and 21-year old Haley Jenkins were arraigned Monday. Lapham is charged with breaking and entering, unlawfully driving away an automobile, and felony firearm. Jenkins is charged with breaking and entering and unlawfully driving away an automobile. The two remain in the Allegan County Jail.... [Read Full Story]

Thompson Sentenced In Benton Twp Murder

A Benton Harbor man convicted in the shooting death of a Benton Township business owner has been sentenced to 35 to 60 years in prison. Roy Thompson was found guilty by a jury of second degree murder in June in the death of David Krieger last December. The 53-year-old was killed during a confrontation with Thompson about a dog the suspect allegedly kicked near Krieger’s family business, Michiana Supply. The victim’s brother, Stephen Krieger, remembered him in court.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Gas Prices Up; Bucking National Trend

Gas prices nationwide are heading lower, but that’s not the case in Michigan this week. AAA Michigan reports the average statewide price is up 16¢ a gallon to $2.33, with the lowest average in Traverse City at $2.19 and the highest prices in the Saginaw/Bay City/Midland region at $2.38. Our prices locally jumped 21¢ over the past week to an average of $2.30 in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, while GasBuddy spotters put the prices in South Haven between $2.28 and $2.30. National oil market analyst Trilby Lundberg notes crude oil prices have been weak and supply is outpacing demand nationally, leading to a drop across the country of 6¢ in the last two weeks to $2.16. AAA Michigan says refinery issues in Illinois, Kansas, and Ohio are to blame for our latest spike.... [Read Full Story]

High School Football Practices Begin

Football season around the state of Michigan officially begins today as the Michigan High School Athletic Association allows teams to practice for the first time this morning. St. Joe, Lakeshore, and Benton Harbor will have their first games on Friday, August 26th. South Haven and Lake Michigan Catholic will be among the schools that have their first contest on Thursday, August 25th. Each team will be adding more and more of their gear as the week goes on, with helmets only on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday players can start wearing shoulder pads before gearing up in full pads for full contact practice on Friday. Of course our radio stations will have live coverage of all South Haven, Lakeshore, St. Joseph, and now Benton Harbor games this fall.... [Read Full Story]