Local News Archives

McDonald’s Donating 1,000 Christmas Trees To Detroit Families

McDonald’s restaurant owners are donating 1,000 live Christmas trees to Detroit-area families. Five hundred trees, tree stands and gift cards will be given at a private event Saturday morning to families pre-selected by area churches. The remaining trees will be available from 1-3 p.m. on a first-come basis at the McDonald’s on Eight Mile Road near Woodward Avenue. The trees are 5 feet tall to 6 feet tall. Event organizers say Detroit-area McDonald’s restaurant owners also have donated turkeys, hats and scarfs, school supplies and other items to families in need as part of their support for the community.... [Read Full Story]

Moon Rock Coming To West MI Museum

A moon rock from the 1971 Apollo 15 mission is coming to a western Michigan museum. The rock will be displayed starting Monday at Calvin College’s Bruce Dice Mineralogical Museum in Grand Rapids. A reception will be held at the museum Monday night. It will remain in the museum until Feb. 16, 2017. The rock is on loan. Museum director Renee Sparks says the lunar sample is “not a very exciting rock, but something truly beyond value.”... [Read Full Story]

Edwardsburg Official Resigns Over Conflict Of Interest

A township official from southern Michigan who faced conflict of interest allegations has resigned from a local board. The South Bend Tribune reports Frank LaPierre recently resigned as chairman of Ontwa Township’s wastewater board. Edwardsburg businessman Robert J. Donnelly had publicly criticized LaPierre for being board chairman while working for an engineering firm the township contracts with for consulting and wastewater system work. LaPierre claimed Donnelly had threatened him, but Donnelly denies that allegation. Police investigated allegations Donnelly had threatened LaPierre and others but did not recommend that prosecutors pursue charges. LaPierre’s resignation letter cites a growing workload but also says disruptions created by some individuals had “made it, not only uncomfortable, but impractical to participate in a secure and safe environment.”... [Read Full Story]

State Waives Park Fee For Black Friday

Here’s a Black Friday deal that won’t cost a dime: free entry to Michigan state parks if you don’t have the annual recreation passport. The state is waiving fees Friday at 103 state parks and recreation areas and 138 rustic campgrounds. Parks chief Ron Olson says a hike “is the perfect way to
burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories.” The Department of Natural Resources is joining a national effort to get people outside on the day after the holiday. It was started last year by outdoor recreation retailer REI.... [Read Full Story]

Homeless West MI Man Finds New Home

A homeless man who was ordered to tear down a shanty in the Grand Rapids area has found a new home — with a piano. John Foster Bentley tells WOOD-TV that he’s been “overwhelmed” by the kindness of others. A business owner, Mike Rose, heard about Bentley’s ordeal and said he could live in one of his rental homes in exchange for fixing it up. Bentley built a shanty on public land in Wyoming, a Grand Rapids suburb. He was ordered to tear it down by Thanksgiving. Bentley got offers of food and shelter after the TV station reported about the order. The 53-year-old says he’s a former factory worker who doesn’t have a job.... [Read Full Story]

Study Looks At Healthcare Needs Around SWM

A year-long study done by Lakeland Health has given us a sense of what communities need to help residents live healthy, and also what folks around southwest Michigan are concerned about. The 2016-2019 Community Health Needs Assessment took about a year to compile, and points to several things weighing on the public’s mind, says Lakeland’s Dr. Lynn Todman.... [Read Full Story]

Chronic Wasting Disease Suspected In MI Deer

State wildlife regulators say another deer in southern Michigan may have been found with chronic wasting disease. The Department of Natural Resources says a hunter shot the 1 1/2 -year-old buck last week in Clinton County’s Eagle Township and took it to a check station. Preliminary tests came back positive for chronic wasting disease. A federal lab in Iowa is studying the carcass to see if the diagnosis was accurate. If so,
this would be the ninth free-ranging deer in Michigan to test positive for the fatal disease. DNR biologist Chad Fedewa says the find underscores the importance of taking deer killed during this month’s firearms hunting season to stations for examinations. The checks are mandatory in the Core CWD Area, which includes 17 townships in Ingham, Clinton, Shiawassee and Eaton counties.... [Read Full Story]

Break-In, Robbery Under Investigation In Buchanan

Police could use the public’s help in solving a break-in and robbery in Buchanan this week. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us it was reported about 7 p.m. Tuesday at a home on East Glendora Road. Deputies were told a woman came home to find a man there. He demanded her purse and then took off. It’s not known if he had a vehicle. Police say the suspect is described as about 55 or 60 years old, around 5’10, and with light brown and grey hair. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 983-7111.... [Read Full Story]

SWM Home Sales Down Slightly In October

Southwest Michigan’s housing market has been strong throughout 2016, although sales took a bit of a breather in the month of October. The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors’ Philip Amodeo tells WSJM News sales for the month were down 6% from October of 2016. However, the year as a whole remains strong.... [Read Full Story]

MI Election Official: Recount Unlikely To Change Anythng

New questions have been raised about the presidential election count. So, could there really be a recount in Michigan? J Alex Halderman at the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security is among those raising the alarm about possible tampering here and in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Chris Thomas, of the Michigan Department of Elections, casts doubt on any fraud here, though.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien Sheriff’s Department Warns About Fundraising Scam

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is warning everyone about a new scam. It says it’s gotten reports of well-dressed young men, ages about 16 to 22, hanging around the parking lots of some Benton Township area shopping centers, claiming to be selling candy bars to raise money for the Tigers football team or the Boys and Girls Club. They will sometimes say they don’t have change to get bigger donations. Both Benton Harbor High School and the Boys and Girls Club have told the sheriff’s department they’re not currently holding any such fundraisers. The department has also gotten a tip the scammers come up from Indiana. It asks folks to report any suspicious activity they see while out and about shopping.... [Read Full Story]

Governor Wants Phone Makers To Lock Drivers Out Of Most Apps

The government wants smartphone makers to lock out most apps when the phone is being used by someone driving a car. The voluntary guidelines unveiled Wednesday are designed to reduce crashes caused by drivers distracted by phones. The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration also wants automakers to make infotainment systems easy to pair with smartphones. Traffic deaths spiked 10.4 percent in the first six months of this year. That followed a 7.2 percent increase in 2015. The agency says 10 percent of fatal crashes last year involved distracted drivers. Drivers could still make calls but the phones and automaker systems would lock out the ability to enter text. Internet browsing, video not related to driving, text from books and photos also would be locked out. Navigation systems would be permitted.... [Read Full Story]

Court Finds 2014 Michigan Wolf Hunt Unconstitutional

A Michigan appeals court has found that the state’s 2014 wolf hunt was unconstitutional and the law allowing it should be struck down. The Detroit Free Press reports a three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals made the unanimous ruling in an opinion released Wednesday. The judges found that a provision of the law that allows for free military hunting, fishing and trapping licenses isn’t connected to the law’s object of providing for scientific management of wildlife habitats. The judge said that violates a clause in the Michigan constitution that says
the object of a law must be expressed in its title. The ruling is in favor of the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected and overturns an earlier ruling from the Michigan Court of Claims.... [Read Full Story]

Man Hospitalized After Catching On Fire

A man is being treated at South Bend Memorial Hospital after being found “covered in smoke” and lying on the ground in Niles Township. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened around 8:20 pm Tuesday at Birchcrest Estates in the 2300 block of East Main Street. They were called to the scene on a report of a man on fire. There are no details regarding his condition, identity, or what was happening when he caught on fire.... [Read Full Story]

Wounded Wayne State University Police Officer Dies

A Wayne State University police officer has died after being shot in the head while on patrol near the school’s campus in Detroit. The university announced Officer Collin Rose’s death Wednesday evening in a news release. Detroit police Sgt. Michael Woody confirmed the 29-year-old Rose
died about 5:45 p.m. Rose was shot Tuesday night in Detroit’s Woodbridge Estates neighborhood after radioing in that he was about to speak to someone about possible thefts from vehicles in the area. A suspect was arrested Tuesday night, but has not been charged. Rose, a five-year campus police veteran, had been released from surgery earlier Wednesday. University President M. Roy Wilson said Rose is the only Wayne State officer to “fall in the line of duty.”... [Read Full Story]

NCAA Hits Notre Dame – Irish Have To Forfeit 21 Wins

The NCAA has ordered Notre Dame to vacate all 21 victories from the 2012-13 seasons because of academic misconduct. A former trainer was found to have done substantial course work for two players and impermissibly helped six others. Among the forfeited wins are a 12-0 run that vaulted the Fighting Irish into the national title game against Alabama. Notre Dame says it will appeal. University president Reverend John Jenkins says the NCAA has never before vacated the records of a school that had no involvement in the underlying academic misconduct. The Division I Committee on Infractions panel put Notre Dame on probation for a year and ordered a $5,000 fine, penalties the school agreed with.... [Read Full Story]

Wayne State University Police Officer Shot In Detroit

A Wayne State University police officer who was shot in the head while on patrol near campus has been released from surgery, and authorities said they were interrogating a man about the attack. The officer was identified as 29-year-old Collin Rose, a five-year veteran of the department who works in the canine unit. Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Rose was on duty Tuesday evening when he radioed to say he was investigating possible thefts of navigation systems from vehicles and was about to speak to someone. Officers who arrived on the scene found the officer injured on the ground, Craig said.... [Read Full Story]

MI House To Pay $515,000 Settlement Over Firing Of Aides

The Michigan House of Representatives will pay $515,000 in a settlement with two former legislative aides who alleged they were wrongfully fired and publicly humiliated after reporting two lawmakers’ extramarital affair and other misconduct. An agreement released Tuesday says Keith Allard and Benjamin Graham will be paid about $170,000 each. Their lawyer’s firm will receive $175,000. The men sued nearly a year ago, saying they alerted House Speaker Kevin Cotter’s office about their two married Republican bosses’ affair, but it was covered up at the behest of ex-Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. Gamrat was expelled from office, and Courser resigned. In a joint statement, Cotter and the plaintiffs say the settlement “is in the best interest of everyone, including the House as an institution and the Michigan taxpayers.”... [Read Full Story]

Three Berrien Co. Deputies Complete Corrections Officer Academy

Berrien County has graduated three new corrections deputies. They just finished a four-week corrections officer training program at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, studying a variety of disciplines for jail officers. Those include custody and security, defensive tactics, first aid, suicide awareness, and communications. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey congratulated all three, saying they’ll help to safely manage the county jail population. Deputies Erik House, Kenyon Ellison and Amanda Scurek are all now ready to be jail guards.... [Read Full Story]