Local News Archives

Whirlpool Recalling Microwaves For Fire Hazard

More than 15,000 microwave ovens are being recalled by Whirlpool. Manufactured in China between January 2014 and April of this year, the microwaves pose a fire hazard. There have been five reports of problems, including one house fire. The recalled items are microwave hood combinations in black, stainless steel and white. The recalled microwaves should be unplugged immediately and not used. Whirlpool says internal arcing during use can ignite a plastic component. More information is available on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website and at repair.whirlpoolcorp.com, including a list of model and serial numbers included in the recall.... [Read Full Story]

Report: More Money, More Votes

As public frustration over the influence of money in politics continues to grow, a new study shows some evidence the US political system is more “one dollar, one vote” than “one person, one vote.” Thomas Ferguson, with the Institute for New Economic Thinking, tapped big data on congressional races and discovered a stark correlation.... [Read Full Story]

State Grant To Boost Algae Bloom Research

Great Lakes researchers have gotten a big boost from the state Department of Environmental Quality. More than $155,000 has been given to Oakland University to create technology to deal with harmful algae blooms that can kill off fish. David Schlagg, assistant Professor of chemistry and environmental science, says the money will go to good use.... [Read Full Story]

WMU Researchers Moving Into Retirement Community

Some occupational therapy students from Western Michigan University are about to begin an unusual project to prepare themselves for working with seniors once they graduate. They’re moving into a retirement community. Director of resident living at Clark on Keller Lake in Cascade Township Nancy Ayers says it’s a pioneering research project. The intent is for the students and the seniors to learn from one another.... [Read Full Story]

BH Schools Looking For Cleanup Volunteers This Week

With the new school year starting next week, Benton Harbor Area Schools is reaching out to the community to ask for a little help in preparing its buildings. Curriculum Director Patricia Robinson says many teachers had to move to new buildings over the summer, and they’re hoping volunteers will come out this week to help them clear some of the clutter.... [Read Full Story]

Dalton Trial Expected Late This Year Or Early Next Year

Kalamazoo mass shooting suspect Jason Dalton is expected to face 16 felony charges when he goes on trial late this year or early next year. That’s according to Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting who says Dalton is currently being evaluated for competency. Getting expects that when the results of the defense-requested exam are in, the prosecution is going to ask for a second opinion.... [Read Full Story]

Cat Rescued In New Buffalo Reunited With Family After Cross-Country Trip

A southwest Michigan Welcome Center has doubled as an animal rescue center, as employees managed to save a cat that escaped from its cross-country bound family. Milkie, a 14-year-old tabby, was traveling in a moving truck with Graham Skelly and his 10-year-old son, Simon, from Seattle to Arlington, Virginia. The father says they stopped August 21 at the travelers’ center in New Buffalo. Skelly says Milkie, who was leashed, became scared by a dog and ran into woods. The Skellys searched for two hours before leaving empty-handed. Center employee Alyson Payne says workers finally safely trapped Milkie on Friday. Graham Skelly drove from Virginia to reclaim the pet Sunday. He says by phone – amid Milkie’s meows – that the family is “grateful” for the rescue.... [Read Full Story]

WMU Football Players Appear In Court For Armed Robbery

Two Western Michigan football players who were kicked off the team after their arrest have appeared in court on armed robbery charges. Bond was set Monday at $100,000 each for freshmen Ron George of Pittsburgh and Bryson White of Mason, Ohio. They’re accused of using a gun and knife to rob a woman at her Kalamazoo apartment Friday night. They’re charged with armed robbery, first-degree home invasion and larceny in a building. George, a linebacker, asked for a court-appointed lawyer. White, a wide receiver, said he has an attorney, but he appeared by video from jail without one. Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck removed them from the team Sunday, saying “we are moving forward.”... [Read Full Story]

Schools Of Choice, Charters Getting Large Share Of MI Students

More than 20 percent of students in Michigan public schools were in a charter school last year or a school in another district. MLive says it analyzed state data on where kids attended public school in fall 2015. The new year in most districts starts next week. MLive says 144,000 students were in charter schools, which get state aid like traditional public schools. Another 182,000 students were in public schools outside their home district. School-of-choice programs can have a negative impact on budgets in urban districts because state aid is based on enrollment.
More than 60 percent of students in the Westwood Heights district in Genesee County came from outside the district, many from Flint. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy says “people are voting with their feet.”... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Gas Prices Rise 7¢

Gas prices have spiked one more time as summer winds down to Labor Day and the last surge of vacationers hits the highway. AAA Michigan says prices are up 7¢ a gallon since last week, averaging about $2.39 per gallon statewide. GasBuddy.com’s Patrick DeHaan says higher crude oil prices are fueling the increase but he expects prices to begin falling again after Labor Day.... [Read Full Story]

State Loses Court Fight Over Welfare Benefits

An appeals court has ruled against the state of Michigan in a dispute over cutting off public aid to some people accused of crimes. In 2015, a federal judge in Ann Arbor said the state can’t stop food aid and other benefits unless someone is intentionally fleeing and is being actively
pursued by police. Judge Judith Levy had put limits on a Michigan policy that was causing severe hardships, especially when law enforcement databases contained wrong or misleading information. In a 3-0 decision Thursday, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati affirmed Levy’s ruling. The class-action lawsuit has affected thousands of people.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Adding More Courthouse Security Staff

Two new security officers for the court system in Berrien County will be hired following action this week by the board of commissioners. On Thursday, they approved adding another bailiff at the St. Joseph Courthouse and a new jail guard at the Niles Courthouse. That follows a security review by a committee, says court administrator Brian Ray.... [Read Full Story]

LMC Celebrates Completion Of Hanson Technology Center

Lake Michigan College’s Hanson Technology Center is now open for business. LMC broke ground on the $12 million facility at its Napier Avenue campus just last year, and on Tuesday, the grand opening was held. LMC President Dr. Bob Harrison says the Hanson Tech Center will serve as a modern manufacturing training ground, but that’s not all.... [Read Full Story]

Reward Offered In Death Of West MI Bison

A $500 reward is being offered to solve the fatal shooting of a 4-year-old bison in western Michigan. The owners had assumed that the bison, named Goliath, died of natural causes this week near Stanton in Montcalm County. The Morning Sun and WZZM-TV report that a taxidermist later found bullet holes. Chad Stewart says Goliath was one of 20 bison at the Douglas Township ranch. He says the other animals knew that Goliath was gone and gathered Wednesday at the exact spot where he died.... [Read Full Story]

Guns, Meth Seized In Van Buren County

A variety of charges are likely to be filed after a raid resulting in the seizure of guns and drugs on Friday on Van Buren County. The sheriff’s department says deputies were sent to a property in the 39,000 block of 76th Avenue in Decatur Township around 8 p.m. to look for a fugitive when they found several suspects there with outstanding warrants. A quick search of them turned up meth, marijuana, and guns. Police also found a couple of stolen pop-up campers on site with meth and guns stashed inside of them, along with a small child. Arrested were 57-year-old Nina Sparks and 35-year-old Walter Nicks, both of Decatur, and a 27-year-old Decatur woman whose name has not yet been released. Another three people, all from Decatur, could also be facing charges once the case is reviewed by the prosecutor.... [Read Full Story]

Man Pleads Guilty To Lying In Missing Person Case

A 47-year-old western Michigan man has pleaded guilty to lying to police about the disappearance of a gas station clerk. Kevin Bluhm appeared Friday in Muskegon County Circuit Court. Bluhm is the cousin of Jeffrey Willis, who is being investigated in the 2013 disappearance of Jessica Heeringa, a clerk in Norton Shores. Authorities say Bluhm told police Willis was responsible, but later told police he made it up. He will be sentenced in September. Willis is charged with abducting a 16-year-old girl in April and the 2014 slaying of 36-year-old jogger Rebekah Bletsch in Dalton Township. Bluhm waived a preliminary examination last month on a charge of lying to police in the Bletsch case.... [Read Full Story]

Party Leaders To Pick Supreme Court Candidates, Other Nominees

Democratic and Republican party activists will meet to pick Supreme Court candidates and other nominees for the November ballot. At their convention Saturday in Grand Rapids, the GOP will tout two incumbent justices – David Viviano for an eight-year term and Joan Larsen to fill a
partial two-year term. Democrats gathering in Lansing are expected to nominate Wayne County Circuit Judges Frank Szymanski and Deborah Thomas. It would be Thomas’ third Supreme Court bid. Convention delegates also will choose nominees for two state Board of Education positions and two spots each on the governing boards of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University.
The parties also will rally activists to help win the presidential race, congressional races and control of the Michigan House.... [Read Full Story]

Lansing Library Books Returned After 40 Years

Two books about NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar have been returned to a library in Lansing nearly 40 years after they were due. The Lansing State Journal reports that the books were found early this week in the book drop at the downtown Lansing branch of the Capital Area District Library system. The books, “Kareem Abdul Jabbar: The Story of Lew Alcindor,” and “Jabbar: Giant of the NBA,” were supposed to be returned to the library December 2, 1976. Scott Duimstra, senior associate director for the library system, says there’s no way to tell which unpunctual patron returned the books because the library doesn’t keep records from 1976. Duimstra said overdue books are common, but that he can’t remember a book returned after such a long period.... [Read Full Story]