Local News Archives

South Haven’s Beach Flag System Done For Year

The city of South Haven’s Beach Flag Safety Program is done for 2022. South Haven Area Emergency Services says it runs from mid-May until mid-September to let people know about conditions on Lake Michigan. The flags were taken down for the final time of the year on Sunday. South Haven had three drowning deaths this summer. Beach hazard notifications are still available from the National Weather Service through the Nixle text-alert system by texting BEACHES to 888777. SHAES executive director Brandon Hinz called 2022 a “difficult summer,” but added the crew and the work they performed was “top notch.” In addition to the Beach Flag Safety Program ending, South Haven ended its beach parking enforcement September 15.... [Read Full Story]

Lawton Man Sentenced To Five Years In Prison

A 53-year-old Lawton man will spend the next five years in prison for claiming over $260,000 in benefits after he was determined to be faking injuries. Joseph Gray had claimed he could not use his legs or his left hand due to an injury he suffered in the Gulf War and entered an exam at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center in a wheelchair in October 2017, and was seen walking into a restaurant a few minutes later. Gray was also carrying his leftovers in his left hand. He received benefits that were for veterans who can’t care for themselves due to injuries suffered in the service.... [Read Full Story]

Five Firefighters From South Haven To Be Added To State Memorial Wall

Five South Haven firefighters will be honored for their combined 118 years of service to the city when they are added to the Memorial Wall of the Michigan State Firemen’s Association in Roscommon. The service will be Saturday, as the third Saturday in September is dedicated to firefighters from across the state and their families gathering to remember the men and women of the Michigan Fire Service who have passed.... [Read Full Story]

Allegan County Fair Starts Friday

The 170th Allegan County Fair starts Friday and runs through September 17. Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias starts off the entertainment with his stand-up comedy Friday night at 8 pm, followed by Sam Hunt on September 10, Jimmie Allen on September 15, and Lynyrd Skynyrd on September 16. An Off Road Derby will be September 11 at 6 p.m., with a free parade Monday night at 7, a Flying Star Rodeo Tuesday night, NTPA Truck and Tractor Pulls on Wednesday, the State Championship Demo Derby on the 16th and free harness horse racing on both Monday and Wednesday at noon. Children’s Discount Day will be on Monday with kids from 1st through 12th grades admitted free. Veteran’s Day will be Thursday the 15th with all military veterans admitted free and getting free parking. A new ride will also be brought to the Allegan County Fair with the Downdraft taking riders on a high-speed elevated spin. There will be approximately 30 midway rides.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Council Backs MDOT Studies

South Haven city staff has been authorized by the city council to support a study by the Michigan Department of Transportation of the intersection of Phoenix Street and Blue Star Highway. Public Works director Bill Hunter will take 10 years of crash data for the intersection to MDOT.... [Read Full Story]

Over $79,000 Raised For South Haven Hospice At Home

Spectrum Health Lakeland says more than $79,000 has been raised in the annual South Haven Hospice at Home benefit. It was held on the South Beach bluff in South Haven on August 6 with the Wine & Beer Tasting for Caring Circle. There were 16 local vendors supplying the wine and beer, and Taste & Friends provided the hors d’oeuvers. Caring Circle CEO and vice president of continued care services at Spectrum Health Lakeland Dr. Melinda Gruber thanked Dan and Mary Nulty for hosting the event over the past 10 years. She says community support “ensures that we can continue to meet the hospice care needs of those in our community.” The event was a sell out.... [Read Full Story]

Paw Paw Township To Start Its Own Senior Services

Senior Services of Van Buren County will end service in Paw Paw tomorrow. Paw Paw Township will start its own service. Township treasurer Lisa Zinkil tells WWMT-TV that Senior Services of Van Buren County wanted to ask for a one mill tax rate for eight years for funding and says that’s “a lot to ask for taxpayers when times are very tougher now.” Clerk Rebecca Payne adds they feel Senior Services “would like to see us fail,” but executive director Diana Rigozzi disputes that. Rigozzi says that is not true and says they have given the township anything they’ve asked for. Voters in the township approved a half-mill tax rate for two years for the new senior services program. It will start January 1 and bring in $134,000 a year.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Township To Vote On Cannabis Businesses

Voters in South Haven Township will have an opportunity in November to override the township ordinance that bans cannabis retail businesses from operating. Andrew Newell turned in 126 valid signatures to the township clerk’s office, more than the 79 needed. The township would be able to allow three adult-use cannabis businesses and gives the township the option of either a moratorium after that or allowing more on a case-by-case basis. No grow facilities, processors, or transportation facilities for the cannabis would be allowed. If approved, it will take effect February 1, 2023. The city of South Haven along with Geneva and Casco Townships all ban recreational cannabis sales and only New Age Laboratories in the city of South Haven is allowed to do testing.... [Read Full Story]

Tourism Remains Big For The South Haven Area

Tourism is big all along the Lake Michigan shoreline, and the South Haven Van Buren County Convention and Visitors Bureau is launching a campaign highlighting the impact on the economy. In 2019, the most recent year they have figures for, $118.3 million dollars were brought to the community from visitors. CVB executive director Jen Sistrunk tells us people are coming to the area from everywhere.... [Read Full Story]

SHAES To Hold Pancake Breakfast Sunday

South Haven Area Emergency Services will have a pancake breakfast for people on Sunday from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. It will be at the SHAES headquarters at 90 Blue Star Highway in South Haven. Adults can eat for $10, kids 4 to 14 will cost $5 to feed, and kids younger than 4 will eat for free. The breakfast is both sit down or drive-thru. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage links and drinks are available. SHAES will use the proceeds to purchase a new pediatric EMS training advanced life support mannequin.... [Read Full Story]

Bangor Auto Repair Facility Gets Cease and Desist

A Bangor auto repair shop has been ordered to stop performing service on vehicles because it has an expired repair facility registration and mechanic certification. The Michigan Department of State has served a cease and desist order on Lenard’s Automotive at 622 West Monroe Street. The shop is owned by Lenard Salinas and a MDOS regulation agent performed an inspection in June and found it performing maintenance, diagnosis, and repair service on a vehicle with those certifications being expired. The mechanic certification expired on January 21, 2009 and the facility registration expired March 17, 2013 and both are still expired. A second MDOS regulation agent visited August 18 and found them still doing work without the state certifications. Anyone who has a complaint against the business is encouraged to call the Office of Investigative Services automotive complaint line at 517-335-1410.... [Read Full Story]

New Restrooms Coming To South Haven’s Dyckman Park

New restrooms will be built next to Dyckman Park and the Huron Street Pavilion starting this fall in South Haven. The Downtown Development Authority had planned to start the construction earlier in the year, but ran into supply chain issues and didn’t want to interrupt the Farm Market or visitor activities. The work will likely start in September and will replace the two unisex bathrooms next to the park. They will be built at the back part of the South Haven Convention and Visitors Bureau building on Phoenix Street. GMB Architecture and Engineering designed the facilities and put a $350,000 estimate on the project in November 2021, but DDA director Sue Brock says that price will likely be higher due to inflation. Bids will be sought by the end of the month for the construction work, and the city will have port-a-potties during the work.... [Read Full Story]

Florida Man Arrested After Van Buren County Motorcycle Chase

Van Buren County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a 24-year-old Florida man on several charges after he tried to outrun police on a motorcycle. A deputy tried to pull him over in the 15-thousand block of 52½ Street in Columbia Township around 2:30 a.m. today, and he took off going 50 to 60 miles-an-hour. He was not familiar with the roads and went down a dead-end part of 52½ Street and crashed in the gravel toward the street’s end. Officers found a Smith and Wesson revolver in the bike that was reported stolen in Illinois. The man is charged with fleeing and eluding, possession of a stolen firearm, felon in possession of a firearm, CCW violation, driving on a suspended license, driving without insurance, and driving an unregistered vehicle.... [Read Full Story]

Man Killed In Van Buren County Crash

A 24-year-old man from Mexico has been killed in a car crash in Van Buren County. The sheriff’s office says he was found dead Saturday evening just before 5:30 in the 58-thousand block of 55th Street in Lawrence Township. Speed appears to have been a factor, but there were no other people or vehicles involved. His Honda Odyssey was on its side against a tree.... [Read Full Story]

Paw Paw-Area Man Arrested After Chase

A 37-year-old Paw Paw-area man is in the Van Buren County Jail on several charges after leading sheriff’s deputies on a chase early Wednesday morning. A deputy tried to pull Christopher Miller over for suspicion of drunk driving on Red Arrow Highway near County Road 652 in Antwerp Township just after 2 a.m. Miller took off and reached speeds of around 75 miles-an-hour before stopping on 30th Street near 40th Avenue. He then ran into the woods. A Van Buren County K9 tracked him down. Miller admitted to deputies that he had been drinking before getting in the vehicle. He was jailed for multiple warrants along with fleeing and eluding, operating while intoxicated, and having open intoxicants in the vehicle.... [Read Full Story]

Semi, Toyota Prius Involved In I-94 Crash

A Mishawaka woman suffered only a minor neck injury early Sunday morning when her Toyota Prius was hit by a semi truck on I-94 westbound near the County Road 657 overpass in Antwerp Township. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office says deputies were amazed that she wasn’t badly hurt. Her car had lost power due to a mechanical failure and she came to a stop in the middle of the highway a few minutes after midnight. The truck swerved to try to avoid the car and lost control, hitting a support structure of the bridge. It stopped about 400 yards away and the Michigan Department of Transportation says it did just minor cosmetic damage to the bridge. The Prius had a little bit of contact damage on the entire driver’s side, but nothing major. The semi had a refrigerated trailer full of watermelons.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren County Road Commission Has Opening

The Van Buren County Road Commission board has an opening. The candidate picked will serve through December 31, 2024. Anyone interested needs to send an email to admin@vanburencountymi.gov or submit a Committee Appointment Application to the County Administration Office, 219 E. Paw Paw Street, Suite 201, Paw Paw, MI 49079. The county adds that not all candidates will be interviewed. Any questions on the responsibilities of a board member should be directed to the Road Commission board secretary, Jill Brien, at 269-674-8011 extension 236 or through email at jillbrien@vbcrc.org. You can also visit www.vbcrc.org/commissionervacancy for more information. All of the contact information is also available on our website.... [Read Full Story]

Semi Driver Sentenced For Crash Injuring MSP Trooper

Semi truck driver Easton Norby-Vardac of Virginia will be in prison for up to five years for a crash in April that hurt a Michigan State Police trooper in Van Buren County. He pleaded no contest to reckless driving causing serious impairment and not using care when passing a stationary emergency vehicle. Norby-Vardac hit the vehicle of trooper Cole Knaup on Interstate 94 near Lawrence, trapping Knaup inside. MSP released the footage of the crash from the dash cam. The department used the crash for it’s “Move Over” campaign to get drivers to change lanes and slow down when approaching a police car, ambulance, fire truck, tow truck, and more.... [Read Full Story]

Two Drown In South Haven

Two people have drowned in Lake Michigan in South Haven. South Haven Area Emergency Services Chief Brandon Hinz says a 22-year-old man from Novi and a 22-year-old woman from Columbus died at the hospital after both were pulled unresponsive from the lake at South Beach yesterday afternoon.... [Read Full Story]

Whitmer, Others Will Build EV Chargers Around Lake Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the governors of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin will install electric vehicle chargers around Lake Michigan. Whitmer says the Lake Michigan EV Circuit Tour will have a network of chargers spanning eleven-hundred miles of drivable shoreline. She says the announcement shows the country that the Midwest “is the place to be for clean energy and small business growth.”... [Read Full Story]

Nesbitt Wins Senate Primary, LaSata Goes Down

Following Tuesday’s primaries, Republican state Senator Aric Nesbitt will head into November’s general election facing Democrat Kim Jorgensen Gane after defeating two challengers. Nesbitt says he’s “honored for the opportunity to work side-by-side with Tudor Dixon and Republican candidates up-and-down the ticket to earn big wins in November. Meanwhile farther to the south in the 17th District, Jonathan Lindsey of Bronson beat state Senator Kim LaSata in the Republican primary. Lindsey will face Democrat Scott Rex in November. The 17th District covers the southern half of Berrien County and extends east through Cass, St. Joseph, and Branch counties, also including part of Hillsdale, Jackson and Calhoun counties.... [Read Full Story]

Update On Deadly South Haven Plane Crash

Two people have died in the crash of an Aerospace 600 plane about a mile from the South Haven Regional Airport in South Haven Township. Police were called around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday by the Federal Aviation Administration in Chicago as it had not had any contact with the plane since early Tuesday morning when it was leaving. A 70-year-old Lawton man, who was the owner of the plane, and a 70-year-old Wayland man who was the flight instructor have both been found dead. The National Transportation Safety Board is now investigating. The plane went down in a wooded area near 12th Avenue and 72nd Street just after takeoff.... [Read Full Story]