Benton Harbor

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio


A next step has been approved in Benton Harbor on a plan with the state of Michigan to improve student and financial outcomes. The Benton Harbor Community Engagement Advisory Committee approved the draft financial and academic plan in a virtual meeting Monday night.

The Advisory Committee was created to make a plan to overhaul Benton Harbor Area Schools academics and finances. It was created after community outcry against a state plan to close the district’s high school last spring.

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio


The advisory committee tasked with creating a plan to turn Benton Harbor Area Schools around is accepting public comment on a draft plan until a meeting Monday night.

The plan is a response to community outcry against a state plan to close the high school last spring.

Michigan Deputy Treasurer Joyce Parker says they’re pushing ahead with the draft plan even while schools are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic so the district can begin implementing changes for next fall.

Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

Five states have primaries and one state is caucusing today. Political analysts say Michigan is the state to watch. 

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio


Benton Harbor Area Schools chose Dr. Andrae Townsel as it's new superintendent Monday night

The two final candidates, Townsel and interim superintendent Patricia Robinson spent all day Monday meeting with students, teachers, administrators and community members.

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a 66-year-old southwestern Michigan woman was shot when a bullet tore into her home.

Benton Harbor public safety officers say the woman was lying in bed watching on TV Saturday night when a bullet went through a wall and struck her. She was taken to a hospital, where she’s in critical condition.

Police say several people were seen running from a nearby park, where the gun likely was fired. They add she doesn’t appear to have been a target.

Benton Harbor Trash Pickup Stops Amid Cash Controversy

Nov 17, 2019

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Trash is piling up in Benton Harbor.

No curbside trash was picked up Friday for the third consecutive day amid a controversy over payments to the contractor, Wecycle Industrial Sanitation.

Wecycle manager Willie “Curly” Williams says a monthly payment of $39,000 was given to a former employee. Williams says the trash hauler won’t resume pickup until it gets another payment from Benton Harbor.

Benton Harbor Incumbent Mayor Holds Off Challenger

Nov 6, 2019
Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

Marcus Muhammad, the current mayor of Benton Harbor, has won another term following Tuesday's election. 

According to unofficial results out of Berrien County, with 100% of precincts reporting, Muhammad got 612 votes while his challenger, Ron Singleton, got 521 votes. 

Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

In Benton Harbor voters are choosing between incumbent mayor Marcus Muhammad and Ron Singleton. Both are Democrats. 

There are also city commissioners on the ballot in Benton Harbor. 

Naomi Clark says she’s been voting every time she could since she turned 18. She says those who don’t vote, can’t complain.


"If someone get in that you don't want in, that you think shouldn't have been in, then you don't have anything to say if you didn't vote," Clark says.

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio


The Benton Harbor Area School Board has voted to create an advisory committee with the state. The committee will create and operating plan for the struggling district. 

In May the state of Michigan suggested closing Benton Harbor High School as a way to pay down the districts debt and focus on academics for kindergarten through 8th grade students. After staunch resistance, the plan was dropped.

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio


The Benton Harbor School Board voted last night to create an advisory board that would make plans to turn the district around.

The board voted unanimously to create the committee. The Michigan Department of Treasury presented the idea at a meeting on August 16th. This is the plan proposed by the state after its initial plan to close the district’s high school met with staunch opposition in the community.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio


Benton Harbor parents now have a place to go to get help with their kids and be directed to other local, state and federal programs for services.

The Family Resource Center is a classroom at the high school. It’s walls are painted gray and covered in inspirational artwork. Donated furniture and computers, and parenting books fill the room. 

Traci Burton is Family and Community Coordinator at BHAS. She said the idea is to help parents help their kids.

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio


The Benton Harbor Area Schools board declined to vote Tuesday night to create an advisory committee for the district.

The advisory committee is a state plan, from the Michigan Department of Treasury. It would be made up of representatives from the state, the district and the community. 

They would be tasked with coming up with an operational plan that would pay down the district’s debt and get students back on track academically.

The family of a mother and five children that died in a fire at a Benton Harbor motel last summer have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the motel’s owner. 

The lawsuit was filed back in April but the Curtis family’s attorney recently publicized the information in an email.

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio


The Benton Harbor Area School Board has put up an online survey for people to weigh in on a state plan that proposes major changes for the district.

The online survey asks parents, district staff and community members to voice their opinion on the Michigan Department of Treasury’s plan. 

The Berrien County Prosecutor has announced that after more than a year, no criminal charges will be filed following a motel fire that killed a woman and five children.  Careless use of a hot plate ignited the blaze according to investigators. You can read the entire release here.