Local News Archives

Woman Sentenced For 2021 South Haven Murder

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32 to 62 years is the sentence for 24-year-old Tiah Sutton in the July 2021 murder of Shondell Newell in South Haven. He was shot during an argument near Elkenburg Park and then tried to leave in a vehicle before crashing it at the Pizza Hut in town. Witness Tommy Echols testified that Newell’s last words were “she shot me in the heart, I’m dead” as he pointed to his chest. Sutton put her pistol in the side of David Taylor in his car and ordered him to keep driving according to police. Defense attorney Caleb Grimes tried to argue that Sutton fired the shots in self-defense, saying Newell had threatened her earlier that day and right before the shooting.... [Read Full Story]

Niles, South Haven, Cassopolis Receiving Downtown Business Grants

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Niles, South Haven, and Cassopolis are all recipients of state grants aimed at supporting small businesses and strengthening downtowns. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced 35 recipients of Match on Main grants this week. Niles, South Haven, and Cassopolis will each get $25,000 to give to downtown businesses for improvements. In the case of Niles, the grant will go to S&K Cornerstone. In South Haven, the grant will go to Decadent Dogs, and in Cassopolis, the funds will go to Curtis Place LLC. Each will use their grant for expenses that could support interior building renovations, activation of an outdoor space, business infrastructure related to COVID-19, marketing, or inventory. The MEDC says the 35 grants announced statewide this week will create or retain 296 full-time jobs and generate a total investment of more than $2.7 million.... [Read Full Story]

Scholarships Available To South Haven High School Students

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Nearly $80,000 in scholarship funds will be awarded to South Haven students attending college next fall by the South Haven Area Community Foundation. It says 22 local scholarship applications are now available for South Haven High School seniors online. The application process is provided through a partnership with the South Haven Area Community Foundation and South Haven Public Schools. The foundation says the scholarships are only available for South Haven High School students. There are more than a dozen available. The deadline to apply is March 1 and you can find applications here.... [Read Full Story]

Former Family Video In Holland Township Might Become Emergency Veterinary Clinic

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An all-hours emergency veterinarian clinic is being proposed for a former Family Video location on 136th Avenue in Holland Township. The township’s planning commission has approved the application from O’Brien Veterinary Group that will save people from having to drive to Grand Rapids for emergency care. The Emergency Veterinary Care Center business development director Deana Scheidt tells the Holland Sentinel having the clinic there could mean a pet’s life can be saved with the shorter drive. Scheidt says some primary care offices have become overwhelmed and some no longer offer care after hours.... [Read Full Story]

Two SWMI Parks Receive State Grants

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Two southwest Michigan parks are among 14 to receive a Recreation Passport grant from the state. Governor Whitmer says the Weesaw Township Park Development will receive $135,500 in Berrien County. The city of Allegan will receive $112,000 for improvements to Rossman Park. Whitmer says the money is from the recreation passport program, initiated 12 years ago to boost visitation and funding for Michigan state parks. She says it is delivering more funding to improve local and community parks and trails statewide.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren County Mom Charged With Murder

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A 31-year-old Van Buren County mother is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree child abuse in the death of her one-year-old daughter in August 2021. Coty Lyon was arraigned this week in Kalamazoo County. The babysitter of Olivia Stripling called police when she found the little girl unconscious less than an hour after picking her up on August 7. Olivia died the next day at a hospital and the autopsy found she had bleeding on her brain and a cracked skull. Lyon admitted to police she had been up for several days doing meth and was frustrated that she could not sleep. She also said she had kicked her daughter off the bed but it was not intentional.... [Read Full Story]

Allegan County Stuff A Blue Goose On December 17

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Michigan State Police from the Wayland Post will hold their annual “Stuff A Blue Goose” food and toy drive next Saturday, December 17 at the Plainwell Walmart. Troopers will take donations of non-perishable food along with toys for families in need over the holidays. State police say food banks see an increase every day during the season of people who need help, with the most-requested items being canned fruit and vegetables, canned meat like tuna and chicken, boxed potatoes, peanut butter, cereal, and cooking oil. All donations will be accepted and distributed soon. Donations will be delivered to Christian Neighbors Food Pantries in both Plainwell and Wayland and the toys will go to Community Action of Allegan County.... [Read Full Story]

Credit Card Skimmer Found In Plainwell Gas Pump

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The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office says a credit card skimmer has been found at a gas pump at the Admiral gas station on M-89 in Plainwell. The device collects card numbers and deputies say it is not known how long it had been there. Customers are being urged to check their statements for any suspicious activity.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Maritime Museum Announces Concert

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The Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven will welcome in folk singer and songwriter Lee Murdock for “The Christmas Ship Concert” on Wednesday, December 14. The show will be an hour and start at 6:30 p.m. Murdock will feature songs of Michigan history along with his original tune “The Christmas Ship,” as well as other maritime songs and holiday music. It is part of the museum’s Holiday at the Heritage Center on their newly rebuilt campus on the Black River. Murdock is acknowledged as “the premier interpreter of songs and stories about the Great Lakes.” His “The Christmas Ship” song tells the story of delivering Christmas trees to Chicago and the loss of the Christmas tree ship, Rouse Simmons, in 1912. Tickets are $10 for Michigan Maritime Museum members and $15 for non-members.... [Read Full Story]

Fundraising Goal Reached For South Haven Gathering Place

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The donations for building a wintertime gathering place at Dyckman Park in South Haven have met the fundraising challenge. Assistant City Manager Griffin Graham says as of the end of the business day Tuesday, they had raised $40,284, eclipsing the $40,000 goal. The project to build a fireplace and more will cost $105,000. The money raised will be matched with a $40,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and a $25,000 donation from SHOUT. The president of SHOUT, Robert Copping, says the response by the community was “humbling” and says money came from South Haven along with Chicago, Denver, Florida, and Maryland. The goal of the project is to create a wintertime gathering place, visible from the street for residents and visitors to enjoy. It will also complement the nearby pavilion’s ice rink. The intent is to have the project completed in time for winter 2023-24. Donations are still being accepted to cover additional construction costs.... [Read Full Story]

Vandals Damage Holes At Lake Doster Golf Club

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Two holes at Lake Doster Golf Club in Plainwell have been badly damaged by a car. Head golf professional Matt Townsley says the greens at holes six and seven were destroyed with tire tracks and they may have to use temporary greens in 2023 as the damage is repaired. He is concerned they will have to completely resod both greens and are working to save what they can. No arrests have been made.... [Read Full Story]

Missing Allegan County Man’s Body Found

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Sheriff’s deputies from Ottawa County have found the body of Avel Martinez of Allegan County. Martinez was found near the shore of Lake Michigan in Park Township near Riley Street and Lakeshore Avenue on Monday, not far from where his car had been found last Tuesday. Police say no foul play is suspected in the 42-year-old’s death. He had been reported missing last Monday.... [Read Full Story]

SHAES Fire Protection Rating Improves

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The Insurance Service Office has upgraded the fire protection rating for the area served by South Haven Area Emergency Services as of March 1, 2023. SHAES executive director Brandon Hinz says by securing lower fire insurance premiums for communities with better public protection, the Public Protection Classification program “provides incentives and rewards for communities that choose to improve their firefighting services.” The ISO rating typically appears on a property owner’s insurance bill. Property owners are encouraged to contact their insurance carrier should this change not be reflected on a future bill. The ISO rating is a numerical grading system and is one of the primary elements used by the insurance industry to develop premium rates for residential and commercial businesses. It analyzes data using a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule and then assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 being the best to 10. ISO has rated the area protected by SHAES a Class 3/5. The previous rating established in 2016 was 4/6. In 2004 it was 5/6. SHAES marked its 25th year in 2021. The department is comprised of 16 fulltime staff and 25 paid-on-call firefighters protecting 97 square miles of land and several miles of Lake Michigan shoreline from three stations. In 2021 the department responded to a record 2,592 fire, emergency and medical calls. The department is on pace this year to set a new response record.... [Read Full Story]

Small Fire At Bangor Adult Foster Care Facility

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A fire at the Cornerstone Adult Foster Care facility in Bangor is under investigation. South Haven Area Emergency Services responded Saturday morning around 9 to the blaze in a room. A Bangor police officer put out the fire with a fire extinguisher and no one was hurt. Officials removed a mattress, box spring, bed frame and curtains from the room and are investigating how it started. The foster care facility is on M-43.... [Read Full Story]

One Killed In Allegan County Crash

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A Saturday afternoon crash on M-40 in Allegan County has claimed the life of a Plainwell-area woman. County sheriff’s deputies say she was headed north when she went into the southbound lanes, then went off the road and hit a tree. She was dead by the time officers arrived. The woman’s name and age have not been released, and the cause of the crash is still being investigated. It happened near 110th Avenue in Trowbridge Township, and no other vehicles were involved. The investigation resulted in M-40 being closed for a time, but it reopened Saturday.... [Read Full Story]

Bittersweet Ski Resort Opens Today

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Otsego’s Bittersweet Ski Resort is opening today. General manager Nick Ross says they began making snow several days ago and also received over a foot of snow from the 16th to the 20th. Cannonsburg Ski Area north of Grand Rapids plans to open as early in December as they can and they began making snow on Friday. Both resorts are still hiring for the season.... [Read Full Story]

Allegan County Community Health Improvement Plan Released

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The Allegan County Community Health Improvement Plan, or CHIP, has been released. It was developed by Ascension Borgess Allegan Hospital, Allegan County Health Department, United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties, OnPoint, Allegan County Food Pantry Collaborative, Allegan Area ESA, Gun Lake Tribe, and Allegan County Multi-Agency Collaborative Council. The goals of CHIP are behavioral health, housing, access to medical care, and food security. It’s objectives are for the four priority areas, as well as specific tactics on how to implement the identified strategies in the community. The CHIP is a long-term, systematic effort to address public health issues identified through a Community Health Needs Assessment survey. The next step is to put the identified strategies into action.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Holds Food Truck Discussion

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The South Haven City Council has held a discussion on a proposed ordinance for food trucks. Assistant City Manager Griffin Graham laid out the proposal to four council members last night after they decided not to vote on the issue a few weeks ago. He said they wanted to break things into focus areas.... [Read Full Story]

Police Asking For Help Finding Allegan County Teen

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Michigan State Police are trying to find a 16-year-old Allegan County girl who has been missing since October 21st. Troopers say Raven McBride was last seen around 8:30 p.m. that night when she told her family she was taking their dogs outside. McBride is five-foot-three, 175 pounds with bright red hair and brown eyes. Troopers believe she may be with someone she knows, but have no leads.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Council To Have Food Truck Meeting

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South Haven will hold a workshop tonight to review and discuss a proposed ordinance for food trucks. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5 pm at City Hall. The discussion came about after a city council meeting on October 17 when the council declined to vote on the ordinance and voted instead to discuss it more. The owner of the Dairy Queen on Phoenix Street wants to turn his parking lot into a food truck park with access to the restaurant for businesses, but that is not currently allowed. Other concerns are where people could locate a food truck and when they can be open.... [Read Full Story]

Man Hurt In Van Buren County Crash

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A 37-year-old man is hospitalized at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo after rolling his 1994 GMC Yukon Thursday afternoon in Keeler Township. The Decatur-area man lost control when he was on 62nd Street near 79th Avenue and rolled the SUV several times. He was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. Air Care flew him to the hospital for treatment, and he was the only one in the Yukon. No names have been released, and his condition is not known. Police say they don’t know if alcohol and speed were factors. The crash is still under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

Kirk And Julie Cousins Buy Saugatuck Golf Course

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Clearbrook Golf Course in Saugatuck is now owned by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and his wife, Julie. They write in a letter to the community they purchased the course from friends Jim and Candy Jeltema, who continue to own and operate The Grill Room restaurant and the clubhouse. In their letter, they call west Michigan a “special community” and say they have enjoyed living in the Saugatuck/Douglas area since building a home there in 2018. They agreed with Jim that the course was a community treasure and needs to remain a golf course as it has since 1926. The Cousins say they have no plans to change the course at this point, but say they will start burying power lines that are over the course and adding perimeter landscaping. Kirk Cousins grew up in Holland and played college football for Michigan State.... [Read Full Story]

Aric Nesbitt Named Senate Minority Leader

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Senator Aric Nesbitt has been elected the Minority Leader of the Michigan Senate for the term starting in January. The Lawton Republican won reelection this week for his second and final term in the Legislature. Democrat Winnie Brinks of Grand Rapids will be the Senate Majority Leader, and Representative Joe Brooks of Detroit will be the first Black Speaker of the House. Democrats won the majority in both chambers this week along with the governor’s office for the first time since the early 1980s.... [Read Full Story]