Johnson receives Distinguished Service Award

KALAMAZOO — Van Johnson of Dowagiac, Bill Hammer of Allegan and Roger Cornelius of Gull Lake where honored by the Wolverine Conference with its Distinguished Service Award its annual banquet last fall at Western Michigan University.

Johnson was honored for his many years of coaching golf at Dowagiac. He also coached track for the Chieftains.

Johnson was elected into the Michigan Interscholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013.

He was named Conference Coach of the Year, MIGCA District Coach of the Year twice and Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

Hammer coached cross country and track at Allegan, while Cornelius was the Gull Lake tennis coach.

The Wolverine conference also honored its Coaches of the Year for the winter sports of 2016-17, spring sports for 2017 and fall sports for 2017.

Edwardsburg’s Jon Pobuda and Jesse Becraft were honored for girls basketball and wrestling, while the Eddies’ Sean Jesse shared the boys soccer honor with Garry Snyder of Plainwell.

Edwardsburg’s A.J. Gaideski shared the baseball honor with Brian Deal of Vicksburg.

Former South Haven baseball, football and wrestling coach Jim McCloughan, who was awarded the National Congressional Medal of Honor in 2017, was the special guest.


Winter 2016-17

Boys basketball: Larry Ash, South Haven

Girls basketball: Jon Pobuda, Edwardsburg

Boys bowling: Jim Tolfree, Three Rivers

Girls bowling, Tonia Lamb, Allegan;

Scott Spahr, Sturgis

Competitive cheer: Stefanie Miller,

Paw Paw; Stephanie Smith, Sturgis

Wrestling: Jesse Becraft, Edwardsburg

Spring 2017

Baseball: A.J. Gaideksi, Edwardsburg;

Brian Deal, Vicksburg

Boys golf: Matt Rayman, Otsego

Girls soccer: Ernesto Diaz, Paw Paw

Softball: Paul Gephart, Vicksburg

Girls tennis: Jennifer Aldrich, Allegan

Boys track: Matt Grile, Otsego

Girls track: Justin Scott, Otsego

Fall 2017

Boys cross country: Lucas Wolhuis,


Girls cross country: Steve Long,


Football, J.J. Wagner, Three Rivers

Girls golf: Ken Schau, South Haven

Boys soccer, Sean Jesse,

Edwardsburg; Garry Snyder, Plainwell

Boys tennis: Gary Ellis, Allegan

Volleyball: Katrina Miller, Vicksburg

Berrien County

Michigan stepping up speed enforcement during regional traffic safety campaign


Edwardsburg man sentenced to Adult Treatment Court following home invasion


Benton Harbor man gets jail for role in Dowagiac fight

Cass County

Man involved in Dowagiac murder sentenced to 26-50 years in prison


Community members speak out against ‘culture of bullying’ at Cassopolis Public Schools

Cass County

Cass County commissioners approve sidewalk leveling, cleaning contract


Community rebuilds Little Free Library dedicated to late sister following vandalism incidents


Niles bicycle shop to host Pride Ride


Berrien Springs woman dies when vehicle collides with semi in Buchanan

Berrien County

Berrien County Board of Commissioners to resume in-person meetings July 1

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 893,002 cases, 19,598 deaths

Cass County

Dowagiac man, daughter injured in Newberg Township crash

Berrien County

Michigan 4-H eliminates participation fee

Berrien County

Michigan Works! announces new Jobs NOW hotline

Berrien County

Gov. Whitmer announces state will open to full capacity on June 22


Dowagiac Fire Department to host corn and sausage roast fundraiser

Cass County

Cass County Tractor Pullers to host fundraiser for cancer patients

Berrien County

Spectrum Health, Beaumont Health take first step toward creating new health system


Local law enforcement hosts Bike with a Cop event in Cassopolis

Cass County

As residents begin summer construction projects, county urges them to take preventative steps against erosion


Local EAA chapter to host 34th pancake breakfast fly-in


Monday night music coming to The NODE

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 892,830 cases, 19,578 deaths


Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce hosts ribbon tying ceremony for Diva’s Fashion and More