Local News Archives

21 Youths Graduate From MSP Leadership Academy

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have saluted 21 young men who graduated from the Michigan State Police Youth Leadership Academy this year. At Monday’s meeting, they were introduced to the latest graduates. MSP trooper Maurice Burton says the kids who join are sent to a five-day camp where they do physical training and also take part in sessions to learn a variety of skills.... [Read Full Story]

Lawrence Third Grader Wins Contest To Paint A Plow

Some Van Buren County school children have helped out with painting one of the road commission’s plows. Van Buren County Road Commission Engineer-Manager Larry Hummel says the agency held a contest, asking kids from all over the county how a plow should be decorated. With 93 submissions, the winner was Lawrence Elementary’s Hailey Camp, a third grader. They painted the plow to her specifications.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren Youth Fair Underway

It’s time once again for the Van Buren Youth Fair. The event is now underway at the fairgrounds in Hartford, with activities scheduled through Saturday. The Youth Fair Board’s Paul Garrod says, in addition to the 4H displays, food, and rides, there will be a variety of entertainment all week.... [Read Full Story]

Service Held For Ron Kienzle

Two Berrien County Courthouse security officers killed last week in the line of duty have been laid to rest. On Monday, the service for Ronald Kienzle was held at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center with a thousands in attendance. They included hundreds of police officers from all over Michigan. Kienzle’s graveside service also took place Monday afternoon at Crystal Springs Cemetery, with nearby roads closed as the procession went by. Kienzle was shot and killed last Monday by a Berrien County Jail inmate who also killed courthouse security chief Joseph Zangaro. Zangaro’s service was last Friday.... [Read Full Story]

State Board Approves Detroit Schools Bailout

A state board has approved a $150 million emergency loan and other facets of a plan to address massive operating debt in the Detroit school district and to return control to locally elected officials. The three-member Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board OK’d the proposal Monday. It voted to transfer assets of the Detroit Public Schools to a new district and to authorize the elimination or restructuring of debt by borrowing $235 million through the sale of bonds. The votes effectively begin implementing a $617 million state bailout that was enacted into law in June. Current school board members and others urged the board to reject the plan and to implement their proposed alternative. They say the laws, which allow the new district to hire noncertified teachers, are unconstitutional.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan To Get Facility For Autonomous Vehicle Testing

Plans to convert the site of a former General Motors plant that once pumped out World War II-era bombers into an autonomous car testing facility are moving forward. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust on Monday announced a $1.2 million purchase agreement for the acquisition of 311 acres at Willow Run in Washtenaw County’s Ypsilanti Township. The project was highlighted by Governor Rick Snyder during his state of the state address in January, when he said he was working with Michigan’s congressional representatives to help make it happen. The nonprofit American Center for Mobility was formed to develop the project. The RACER Trust took over sites around the country left behind in Detroit-based GM’s 2009 bankruptcy reorganization.... [Read Full Story]

[VIDEO] Unity March Draws Hundreds

A call for unity and love is being heeded in Berrien County. Cafe Mosiac’s Andrew Collins and several others got together to call for a march from the Benton Harbor business to the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph yesterday following weeks of violence across the country, capped off by the shooting deaths of two court officers at the courthouse last Monday.... [Read Full Story]

Gas Prices Up 9¢

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 9 cents per gallon in the past week. The Dearborn-based auto club says the average price for self-serve regular u nleaded gasoline was about $2.36 per gallon on Sunday. That’s about 39 cents less than it was at the same point last year. This is the first time in five weeks that the statewide price of gas has increased. The lowest average price was about $2.29 per gallon in the Traverse City area, while the highest average was about $2.42 per gallon in the Ann Arbor area. In Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, we have the second-lowest average price at $2.30.... [Read Full Story]

Funeral Today For Ron Kienzle

Southwest Michigan says goodbye to Berrien County Courthouse bailiff Ron Kienzle today. His funeral is set for 1 p.m. at the Mendel Center on the campus of Lake Michigan College. Kienzle was shot and killed along with courthouse security director Joe Zangaro last Monday by an inmate who was trying to escape after a court appearance. There will be road closures starting at 9 a.m. when Yore Avenue is shut down between Empire and Napier. Crystal Avenue will be closed from Empire to Napier from 2 until 4 p.m., and the outside westbound lane of Napier Avenue will be closed from Yore Avenue to Pipestone Road from 1:30 to around 4 p.m. Police will also close the exit ramps from I-94 to Napier in both directions from 1:30 to around 4 p.m.... [Read Full Story]

Hundreds March For Unity, Love

Love and unity – those were the themes of a march Sunday afternoon from Cafe Mosiac in Benton Harbor to the Berrien County Courthouse. Organized after the shooting deaths of two court officers, the march also stemmed from recent violence nationwide with police shooting and killing two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana and the ambush that killed five Dallas police officers. Cafe Mosiac’s Andrew Collins, a former Benton Township police officer, says there’s too much negativity in the world, “lot of people who want to scream and holler about what the problems are.” He tells WSJM News “we felt it was necessary to bring some talk about the solution, and we believe that through Christ the only solution is love. We’re touting the L-O-V-E and we have an acronym with that. The L is learn about the community that you work in, or that you live in, or that you serve in. The O is have an open heart and open mind to those who may not look or sound or think like you. The V is to volunteer in those communities which you may not be a part of, and the E is to empower other people to do the same.”... [Read Full Story]

AAA Report Finds Most Drivers Get Road Rage

A new AAA report reveals road rage continues to be a major concern. The agency conducted a survey of 2,700 drivers around the country, finding nearly 80% of them experienced aggression or anger while behind the wheel in the past year. AAA’s Gary Bubar says some people will create dangers on the road because of anger.... [Read Full Story]

Local Candidate Forum Set For Next Week

A forum with local political candidates is planned for next week. It’s being organized by the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, and will be held at the Super 8 Conference Center on Red Arrow Highway in Stevensville on Friday. On hand will be several candidates for local office, including county commission and drain commissioner. The forum will be at noon. Organizers say everyone’s welcome to come out and bring some questions for those running.... [Read Full Story]

Man Picked Up On Warrant While Playing Pokemon GO

A man with a warrant for his arrest was taken into custody after showing up at a Detroit-area police station while playing the Pokemon GO game. The Detroit News reports Milford police say the 26-year-old, who was wearing pajama pants, rode a bike to the Milford station Thursday.
Police Chief Tom Lindberg says officers recognized him because they’ve had contact with him in previous years. He was booked on a warrant for missing a court date and released. The newspaper says he was originally charged with breaking and entering. The location-aware smartphone game gives digital incentives like “Pokeballs” as rewards for visiting real places. The locations are known as “Pokestops” and “Gyms.” According to Milford police, the station is the site of a “Gym” as part of the game.... [Read Full Story]

Historic Southwest Michigan Bridge To Be Moved

A historic bridge that’s the last of its kind in Michigan is going to be replaced by a new span that’ll be the first of its kind in the state. The Elkhart Truth reports that the Michigan Department of Transportation plans to begin removing the M-86 bridge over the Prairie River near Centreville
on July 18. It’ll be relocated to Cass County. In its place, the department will build a new 104-foot bridge that’ll be the first in the state to include carbon fiber composite strand reinforcement. It’ll be the second span in the state to include concrete T-beams. The department says pairing the bulb T-beams and the carbon fiber strands will reduce concrete cracking, deterioration and corrosion common in traditional steel-reinforced bridges. The $4.9 million project is scheduled for completion in November 2017.... [Read Full Story]

MDOT Begins US-12 Project Monday

The Michigan Department of Transportation is advising drivers about a construction project set to begin in Berrien County on Monday. It says there will be shoulder paving on US-12 between M-139 and M-60 in Niles. The work will mean single lane closures at various times. It starts Monday and will run through Wednesday, August 10. You can keep yourself up to date on all of MDOT’s summer projects by installing the agency’s MIDrive app. It’s available free for both iPhone and Android.... [Read Full Story]

AAA: Stop Playing Pokemon GO While Driving

AAA of Michigan is warning drivers to put down their Pokemon GO games while behind the wheel. Spokesperson Gary Bubar says there have already been reports of crashes caused by players, with one man in New York hitting a tree because he was trying to catch ’em all while driving. Bubar says playing with a phone app behind the wheel is a recipe for disaster.... [Read Full Story]

Suspect Faces Additional Charges In West MI Shooting

A 21-year-old western Michigan man faces additional charges in connection with the shooting of three people outside a high school basketball game in February. The Muskegon Chronicle reports that Clarence McCaleb was arraigned Friday on six charges, including three for assault with intent to commit murder. He previously was charged with pointing a gun at a sheriff’s deputy and other crimes. Two females and one male were shot February 9 outside Muskegon Heights Public School Academy, northwest of Grand Rapids. Two of the wounded were students. Authorities say McCaleb was shot and wounded by a deputy after refusing to drop a pistol. Defense attorney Scott Pederson didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. McCaleb is jailed on a $1 million bond. His preliminary examination is scheduled for August 1.... [Read Full Story]

Lakeview Avenue Work Set For Saturday

Work to resurface part of Lakeview Avenue in St. Joseph will cause some traffic disruptions this weekend. The city says contractors will be installing storm sewer crossings at Colonial Avenue and Lakeview Avenue Saturday. The work was scheduled for the weekend so as to minimize problems for the Area Agency on Aging. Residents within the construction area on Lakeview will be able to enter and exit to the north, and they’re asked to use caution and allow for extra time. The road’s surface will be restored by the end of the day. The city says storm sewer construction will be done next week, which may mean water shut offs to individual homes to move piping.... [Read Full Story]

More Than $33,000 Raised For Lakeland Watervliet

More than $33,000 has been raised for Lakeland Hospital in Watervliet, thanks to the Community Hospital Foundation’s annual golf outing held recently at Lake Michigan Hills Golf Club in Benton Harbor. Lakeland says the event hosted 120 golfers who attended an awards lunch and took part in several raffle drawings for things including Whirlpool appliances and a trip to a resort. Lakeland says the annual golf outing is made possible thanks to donors and foundation advocates who helped with registration and served as rangers on the golf course.... [Read Full Story]

Woman Arrested Following Van Buren County Hit & Run

A Van Buren County woman is facing charges after a hit and run crash reported Thursday morning. Michigan State Police out of the Paw Paw post say they were called about a man who’d been hit by a pickup while walking his dog in Porter Township, near Lawton. The 65-year-old was hit in the arm and the ribs when the pickup crossed the centerline and went into the other lane. It then continued on. Not long after their investigation began, troopers found the suspect vehicle at a home nearby. A 50-year-old woman told troopers she’d been reaching for her cell phone and thought she’d hit a mailbox when the incident happened. She said she knew she’s lost her driver’s side mirror, but didn’t stop. The woman was arrested for failure to report an accident causing injury. The victim was treated and released at a local hospital.... [Read Full Story]