Local News Archives

10-Year-Old Boy Hit By Vehicle, Killed, In Kalamazoo County

Authorities say a 10-year-old boy has died after being struck by a vehicle while crossing a street in Kalamazoo County. Police in Kalamazoo Township say the boy was trying to cross Wednesday night in an area where there was no crosswalk or stoplight. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports
he was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name wasn’t immediately released. Conditions were described as dark and rainy at the time. Police earlier said the boy was among a group of young people in the area. Police say the 52-year-old Kalamazoo man who was driving the vehicle wasn’t injured. The child’s death is under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

Audit: One Doctor Approved 11,800 Marijuana Patients In One Year

A state audit says one physician was able to certify more than 11,800 Michigan medical marijuana patients in one year. The audit released Thursday criticized the state’s medical marijuana program for not verifying doctor certifications to combat potential fraud. Auditors found 22 other physicians who certified nearly 47,000 applicants, an average of eight per work day. The state says it began randomly auditing doctor certifications in late September. Under Michigan law, 211,000 patients registered with the state are growing their own marijuana or obtaining it from 37,000 designated caregivers who supply a limited number of people. Patients can legally use marijuana if they have a “debilitating medical condition” such as cancer and or a disease with side effects such as seizures or severe and chronic pain.... [Read Full Story]

Trump Urges Early Voters To Change Their Ballots

Donald Trump is urging some early voters for Hillary Clinton to change their ballots for him. But it’s unlikely enough will heed his call to affect the presidential race. Trump urged early voters in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan on Tuesday to change their ballots for him if they’re having a “bad case of buyer’s remorse” after voting for Clinton. Those states do allow early voters to change their ballots. But the deadline was Tuesday in Minnesota and deadlines in the other states are fast approaching. Election officials say voters rarely change absentee ballots. University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist Barry Burden says he doesn’t expect large numbers of people will change their minds this year. He said early voters tend to be especially enthusiastic about their favorite candidate.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren Road Commission Marks 100 Years

It’s been 100 years for the Van Buren County Road Commission, and this week, they’ll hold a birthday celebration. The road commission’s Greg Pardike tells WSJM News the agency was formed a few years after a 1909 state law called for uniformity in road standards. It had one employee, and the roads then were much different.... [Read Full Story]

Prosecutor: Shooting Of Inmate Was Justified

The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office has found the July 11 shooting of a jail inmate by court officers to be justified. The office released its analysis of the incident on Wednesday, laying out the circumstances that led to inmate Larry Gordon seizing of an officer’s gun and killing two security officers before being fatally shot by bailiffs. The report says Gordon knew he was facing a lengthy prison sentence, and had told other inmates in the Berrien County Jail he would not be able to do serve it. He also asked them about the courthouse layout. The prosecutor describes how Gordon came to get a gun, take hostages, and then shoot two officers. It says no criminal charges will be filed in Gordon’s shooting. You can see the full analysis below.... [Read Full Story]

Police Seize $30,000 Worth Of Drugs In BH Raid

Two people are facing charges following a drug bust in Benton Harbor Wednesday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department tells us officers raided an apartment at 525 Columbus Avenue around 7 a.m. finding 92 grams of heroin, 188 grams of crack, and three loaded semi-automatic handguns. Police say the estimated value of the drugs alone is about $30,000. The two people arrested both have criminal records. They’re now facing a variety of new charges. Police note the apartment building is less than 1,000 feet from a school.... [Read Full Story]

Cass County Standoff Ends Peacefully

A standoff that began after two women on horseback were struck by a vehicle in Cass County has ended peacefully. Michigan State Police say a man surrendered Wednesday morning after barricading himself in his Cass County home Tuesday night. Troopers tell us the man intentionally struck them on Tuesday night, and the women and horses have minor injuries. The standoff began after the 32-year-old refused to talk with investigators, and negotiators were called in because the suspect had weapons in the home. The man, whose name wasn’t immediately released, faces charges of assault and driving without a license.... [Read Full Story]

EMU Students Protest Racist Graffiti

Students at Eastern Michigan University are protesting after more anti-black graffiti was discovered on campus this week. The protests include a sit-in early Wednesday at the EMU Student Center on the school’s Ypsilanti campus. The university says the graffiti was discovered Monday spray-painted on the exterior of Ford Hall and was immediately removed. On Tuesday, school President Jim Smith announced the creation of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. He says in a message to campus that the vandalism is “hateful” and says the school is working to foster respect, equity and inclusion. The university has said that a reward for information about similar graffiti that appeared in late September has been doubled to $10,000 and applies to the latest incident as well. The earlier graffiti led to protests.... [Read Full Story]

Cancer Claims Van Buren 911 Dispatch Director

The director of 911 dispatch in Van Buren County has died from cancer. Jeri Tapper was 59 and died yesterday after a four-year battle against the disease. According to her obituary, Tapper had been at the helm of Van Buren County 911 Dispatch for 29 years. The Paw Paw native is survived by her husband, two children, seven grandchildren, both parents, and two sisters. Tapper’s visitation will be Friday morning at 10 at Adams Funeral Home in Paw Paw, with her funeral to follow at noon.... [Read Full Story]

Pscholka To Receive Farm Bureau Award

A special honor is being given to state Representative Al Pscholka this week. The Berrien County Farm Bureau is presenting him with its Distinguished Service to Agriculture award. The bureau says it’s for Pscholka’s ongoing support of ag interests in Lansing. Among other things, it says Pscholka has worked with state and federal agencies on the great freeze that damaged crops in Southwest Michigan in 2012, and ensured there’s money in the budget for fruit research. Pscholka tells us he started his campaign six years ago at Radom’s Farm in Bainbridge Township to highlight the ag heritage of southwest Michigan, so it’s kind of fitting for his service to come full circle with the award. He’ll get it Thursday.... [Read Full Story]

Palisades Firefighters Return From Competition

Firefighters for the Palisades nuclear power plant are back home after spending last week competing in the Scott World Firefighter Combat Challenge in Alabama. Fire Brigade Marshal Bill Gruppen tells WSJM News the team took part in what ESPN has called the toughest two minutes in sports. It helps them stay on their toes.... [Read Full Story]

SWM Racers Rally To Help Boy With Leukemia

The mother of a 5-year-old southwest Michigan boy who is battling leukemia is thanking the local racing community for its outpouring of support. Leah Dibble, who co-owns the Hartford Motor Speedway with her husband, Tim, says their son Timmy was diagnosed with the disease last month. He’s been in a Kalamazoo hospital since.... [Read Full Story]

Allegan Fire District Chief Arrested On Child Porn Charges

Michigan State Police have arrested the suspended chief of the Allegan Fire District for allegedly making child pornography. Troopers say 34-year-old Matthew Donald Gillies is charged with second degree criminal sexual conduct and manufacturing child sexually abusive material, among other things. They accuse him of uploading videos of himself engaged in sexual activity with a child to the internet. Gillies was suspended last month when the investigation began. If convicted, he could get up to 20 years in prison.... [Read Full Story]

Clinton Campaign Buying Ads In Michigan

Hillary Clinton is also making plans to air TV commercials in typically Democratic Michigan and New Mexico. Her campaign said Tuesday it will spend more than $100,000 on TV commercials in each of the two states. That announcement came shortly after Republican Donald Trump’s campaign said it would be advertising there. Clinton’s campaign earlier confirmed it will be advertising in Colorado for the first time since July. And it also is deploying ads in Virginia for the first time since early August. Clinton spokesman Jesse Ferguson said the Trump campaign sees a path through these states, but “we’re going to make sure those doors remain shut.” Trump has to win some traditionally Democratic states to secure the 270 electoral votes needed for the presidency.... [Read Full Story]

Mackinac Bridge Marking Birthday Today

On this day in history, the Mackinac Bridge opened to traffic 59 years ago in 1957. We take it for granted now, but what did people do to go from the lower to upper peninsula and vice-versa before the bridge? Mackinac Bridge Authority Executive Secretary Bob Sweeney has an answer.... [Read Full Story]

One Of Berrien County’s Most Wanted Fugitives Caught

One of Berrien County’s most wanted fugitives is now behind bars. Michigan State Police tell us 50-year-old Steven Duane Clark of Benton Township was arrested last evening in the area of Blue Creek and Territorial roads in Benton Township around 6:30. Clark was wanted for a three-count felony warrant for sex offender violations, forgery, and child support. Troopers got a tip of where he might be working yesterday and learned he hadn’t had that job for months. More interviews followed, leading investigators to his vehicle for a traffic stop. Sergeant Steve Barker says the arrest was made “much to the glee of the trick-or-treaters in the area,” and adds parents were also relieved. Clark is now in the Berrien County Jail.... [Read Full Story]

Campaign Causing Uneasy Feelings In MI Classrooms

In what used to be a perfect time for a lesson in how government works, the tone of the presidential campaign this year is creating uncomfortable conversations in high school classrooms. Some civics teachers say they’ve been faced with questions that would typically not be topics of conversation in their classrooms. Biology teacher Frank Burger, of Flint Township.... [Read Full Story]

Candidate Forum In Benton Harbor Tuesday

Some candidates for Benton Harbor-area offices and for the state House are expected to appear at a forum in Benton Harbor Tuesday. Partly organized by the Twin Cities Chapter of the NAACP, the forum will be at the library starting at 6 p.m. Organizer Dorothy Parker tells WSJM News everyone can take part.... [Read Full Story]

MI Secretary Of State To Keep Some Offices Open Election Day

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office says some branch offices will remain open on election day next Tuesday. Most Michigan government offices will be shut down for the day, but Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says select locations will be staffed for anyone who has emergency business to conduct. Among them is the office in Benton Harbor. Johnson adds that late fees for licenses and registrations expiring on November 8 will be waived if customers renew the next day. She also notes many transactions, like vehicle plate tab and driver’s license renewals, can also be done at ExpressSOS.com.... [Read Full Story]

Trump Campaigns In Michigan

Donald Trump is warning again about voter fraud – but has a solution for his supporters. The Republican nominee once again said there is widespread voter fraud, a claim for which he has produced no evidence. But he told supporters at a rally Monday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that they should “get out and vote by the millions and we won’t have to worry about what is taking place behind the scenes.” Trump made his pitch during a foray into Democrat-leaning Michigan. The state hasn’t gone for a Republican since 1988, but may prove essential for Trump’s
electoral map. Several studies suggest that voter fraud is extremely rare. Trump’s warning in Michigan came a day after he criticized the mail-in voting system in Colorado, suggesting that it is ripe for fraud.... [Read Full Story]

Buchanan Veteran To Receive World War II Medals Tuesday

An 89-year-old Buchanan man is finally receiving the honors he earned while serving in World War II. Oris Aldrich is to be presented with his service medals by Congressman Fred Upton Tuesday morning. Aldrich was just 17 when he joined the US Navy in 1945. He was assigned to the USS Leo, which was in the Pacific Theater of the war, where he served for 15 months. He sought help from Congressman Upton’s office to get the medals he believed he should receive, and his request has been approved by the Navy. Adrich will get a total of of eight honors on Tuesday.... [Read Full Story]