Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was in Benton Harbor Aug. 3 to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new 80 unit multi-family housing development. The $20 million project is being funded by Whirlpool Corporation and is being built across the street from the company’s Global Technology Center and across the river from its Riverview Campus.

Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE

On July 31, Niles hosted its first ever recreational cannabis festival. And from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. the city’s riverfront park was filled with dispensaries, vendors, live music and people.

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Alissa Eckert, MS


Berrien County is continuing to see low COVID-19 cases. During a July 7 press conference, county health officer Nicki Britten said that on average, they’re seeing less than three cases per day. About three percent of tests are coming back positive, and the county currently has nobody in the ICU with COVID-19.

Britten also said the county has not detected any cases of the highly contagious Delta variant yet, but that does not mean there are none in the area.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

New, loosened COVID-19 restrictions took effect in Michigan on Monday.

With over 50 percent of eligible residents at least partially vaccinated, Michigan officials have lifted capacity limits on outdoor gatherings and increased indoor capacity to 50 percent. Additionally, masks are now only required for unvaccinated individuals indoors. 


Photo Provided by State of Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is traveling to Midland and will provide an update at 11:30 AM regarding the state’s response efforts to COVID-19. You can also listen live on 88.1 WVPE.  

You can watch it live here.

Michigan will expand the use of a COVID-19 treatment in hopes of substantially reducing climbing hospitalizations and deaths. Additional doses of monoclonal antibodies will be given to hospitals and other providers, which will be asked to add infusion sites.

The treatment has concentrated doses of lab-made antibodies to fight coronavirus infections and is geared toward people who are at high risk for severe symptoms or hospitalization.

Leaders Of GM, Ford Among Objectors To Voting Restrictions

Apr 13, 2021

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The leaders of three-dozen major Michigan-based companies, including General Motors and Ford, have announced their objection to Republican-sponsored election bills that would make it harder to vote in Michigan and other states. The businesses issued a joint statement Tuesday saying they are united for principles such as equitable access to the ballot and the avoidance of moves that reduce voting — particularly among historically disenfranchised communities. They stopped short of weighing in on specific legislation.

CDC Chief Urges Michigan To 'Close Things Down' Amid Spike

Apr 12, 2021
Courtesy of the Governor's Office

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Michigan should “close things down” to help address surging coronavirus infections. Dr. Rochelle Walensky's statement Monday comes as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer instead urges people to voluntarily restrict certain activities. Whitmer wants the federal government to send additional doses to the state, but the administration of President Joe Biden has stuck with allocating proportionally by population. Walensky says shutting things down would help flatten the curve.

Whitmer Vows To Keep Pushing For More COVID-19 Vaccines

Apr 12, 2021
Courtesy of the Governor's Office

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vowed to keep pushing the White House for more COVID-19 vaccines as the state experiences a spike in cases. The Democrat on Sunday told CBS’ “Face The Nation” that she plans to work with the White House but wants to do everything she can to get additional vaccine doses. President Joe Biden has said Washington will give Michigan more federal resources to support vaccinations and testing but not additional vaccines.

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan's health director says the state is focusing on getting more people vaccinated, not imposing new restrictions on the economy, despite a wave of COVID-19 cases. Elizabeth Hertel notes that indoor high school sports, a source of infections, are wrapping up soon, and spring sports are outdoors. All teen athletes must be regularly tested. Michigan lately has been No. 1 in the U.S. for new COVID-19 cases. The health department says about 37% of residents 16 and older has had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Two Die In Benton Harbor Morning House Fire

Apr 6, 2021

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A house fire killed two people before dawn in southwestern Michigan. The roof had collapsed when Benton Harbor firefighters arrived after 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. One victim was in a front room while the other was in the kitchen. Their names and ages were not immediately released. The Public Safety Department in Benton Harbor says the cause is under investigation.

Gov. Whitmer Gets First COVID-19 Vaccination Dose

Apr 6, 2021
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

DETROIT (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has gotten her first COVID-19 vaccine shot, touting it as the most effective way to protect people and to return Michigan to normalcy. The 49-year-old governor was vaccinated at Ford Field in Detroit alongside her 19-year-old daughter, a day after eligibility expanded to everyone ages 16 and older. Whitmer is urging parents to ensure their high school- and college-age kids are inoculated, too. Michigan is facing the country’s highest rate of new coronavirus cases in the past two weeks.


Arsenic is a problem for many private wells in Michigan. Now a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey finds a drought could make things even worse. 

Arsenic occurs naturally in many places. Unfortunately, it’s toxic. Too much exposure can damage people’s health in a variety of ways including increasing their cancer risk. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates more than 225,000 Michiganders may already get too much arsenic from their private wells. And the agency says in times of drought, almost 100,000 more could be at risk.

COVID-19 Cases Surging In Michigan

Apr 4, 2021
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The number of new coronavirus cases in Michigan topped 8,400 Saturday, the highest daily total since early December. The health department also reported 57 deaths from COVID-19, including 51 that were identified through a records check and had occurred earlier. The weekly number of new cases was 24% higher than the previous week. At the same time, vaccines are being administered statewide, with the minimum age dropping to 16 Monday. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says there's light at the end of the tunnel — but Michigan still is “in the tunnel.”

Whitmer Warns Against Spring Break Travel To Florida

Apr 3, 2021
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says a factor in Michigan’s surging COVID-19 cases is fewer people were infected earlier in the pandemic than in other states. She also is concerned about spring break travel, particularly to Florida. Florida and Michigan have reported the highest and second-highest number of cases of a more contagious variant that was first identified in the U.K. Michigan had the United States' worst infection rate in the past two weeks. Whitmer on Friday recommended that people get tested after in-state, out-of-state or international travel.

UPDATE: Michigan Board Censures GOP Regent For 'Witches' Comment

Apr 2, 2021

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan's board has censured a Republican regent who called Michigan's female Democratic leaders "witches" whom the GOP would prepare for a "burning at the stake" in the 2022 election. Ron Weiser, who chairs the state Republican Party, said Friday he takes "full responsibility" for his comments but won't quit despite the board's call for his resignation. Weiser sparked outrage when he referred to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson as "witches" multiple times. Also, he joked about "assassination" when pressed about Republicans who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump.


Today Michigan health officials announced that the state's first case of the COVID-19 Brazil varient has been detected. Health officials say this particular variant has been associated with increased transmissibility and there are concerns it might affect both vaccine-induced and natural immunity.

Captured via Facebook Live

Berrien County health officials say the county’s increase in COVID-19 cases hasn’t been as steep as in other areas of Michigan – but they say cases are once again on the rise. 

County Health Officer Nicki Britten said the rise could be partly attributed to the presence of more contagious variants in the county. She said Berrien County has had 12 confirmed cases of the U.K. variant so far.


Whitmer Doubles Michigan's Daily Vaccination Goal To 100,000

Mar 31, 2021
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is doubling Michigan's daily COVID-19 vaccination goal to 100,000 shots. She cites continuous week-over-week increases in allotments and an expanded number of providers that can administer doses. She calls vaccinations safe, effective and essential to getting the country back to normal. Michigan's direct allotment of doses will total about 620,000 next week, a record. That is 12%, or roughly 66,000, more than this week and includes a substantial boost in the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


PORTAGE, Mich. (AP) — Pfizer is expected to start building a new pharmaceutical production facility in western Michigan. MLive.com reports that the drugmaker will break ground Wednesday on the building on Pfizer’s global manufacturing campus in Portage. It is expected to bring 450 new jobs to the area. The $465 million facility is expected to be in operation in 2025. Pfizer says the new facility will initially manufacture the pain medicine known as Dynastat, which is supplied to several international countries.

Whitmer Asks White House For Extra Vaccines For Hot Spots, More Shots Coming Next Week

Mar 30, 2021
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

UPDATE: Michigan's governor has announced that more vaccine will be coming to the state following a recent rise in cases. 


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan barber who defied Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and reopened his shop last spring during the coronavirus pandemic was fined $9,000 for violating licensing rules, including joining a protest where hairstylists cut hair on the Capitol lawn. Karl Manke will appeal the penalties in court. The Board of Barber Examiners on Monday accepted an administrative law judge’s findings and issued the fines for violations, including barbering on the Capitol steps — premises where he was not licensed to operate.


ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — A man is missing after a large wave swept him off a pier in southwestern Michigan. Police say two men were on the pier at Silver Beach in St. Joseph when the wave swept both of them into Lake Michigan around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Director Steve Neubecker of the St. Joseph Public Safety Department says one of the men was able to get back up safely on the pier and tossed a life ring to his friend still in the water. The man in the water was pulled closer to the pier but then lost his grip. Police have been unable to find him.

(AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

High school students in Michigan now have a little more time to apply for college financial aid.

The Michigan Department of Treasury announced it will extend the application deadline for the Michigan Competitive Scholarship and the Michigan Tuition Grant from March 1 to May 1. 


Photo provided by the State of Michigan

Health experts say Michigan is in a race to vaccinate as many adults as possible, before the state is again overwhelmed by cases of COVID-19. 

Michigan’s rate of new COVID cases is among the highest in the nation. The number of reported cases per day is at levels not seen since before Christmas. 

Some health officials say variants of COVID which spread more easily are helping drive the surge. 

Photo provided by the State of Michigan

Friday Gov. Whitmer visited a vaccination site in Benton Harbor. It was one of two stops Whitmer made on her tour. Earlier in the day she toured a vaccination site in Battle Creek. 


(You can read more in the release below.) 


LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Whitmer toured vaccine facilities in Battle Creek and Benton Harbor to observe ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts and ensure that vaccines are being distributed efficiently and equitably.  


Photo provided by the State of Michigan

Governor Whitmer is visiting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Benton Harbor to observe ongoing vaccination efforts and ensure that the safe and effective vaccines are being efficiently and equitably distributed.  

Photo Of The Week - Spring Arrivals

Mar 25, 2021
John L. Trapp

WVPE's latest Photo of the Week captures an image of 'Spring Arrivals.'

Thanks to John L. Trapp of Buchanan for sharing this image he took earlier this month near Buchanan. 


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Hundreds of Michigan school districts have to offer at least 20 hours a week of in-person instruction to receive their entire $450 minimum per-student increase in pandemic funding.


Michigan Announces New Guidelines For Youth Sports As COVID-19 Cases Trend Upward

Mar 19, 2021
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is easing outdoor stadium capacity restrictions before baseball's Opening Day but ordering weekly testing of teen athletes amid a climbing coronavirus case rate that ranks fourth nationally over the past week. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday that, for now, she does not plan to tighten COVID-19 restrictions — noting ongoing vaccinations while also citing concerns about variants that more easily spread. Under a revised health order that starts Monday, outdoor arenas — including the Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park — can seat 20% of their capacity. Starting April 2, athletes ages 13 to 19 must participate in a weekly testing program.