Local News Archives

Van Buren County Road Commission Worker’s Funeral Held


The funeral procession for 58-year-old Rene Rangel of Decatur brought road workers to Van Buren County from as far away as Farmington Hills and Clinton County. The Berrien County Road Department and Cass County Road Commission both had vehicles in the procession. Rangel was killed on the job for the Van Buren County Road Commission on March 3 when he was hit by a vehicle in a construction zone in Lawrence. His funeral was a private affair with family and the road commission in attendance. No arrest has yet been made, with that pending the autopsy and lab results. We have video of the procession on the WSJM Facebook page.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren County Fentanyl Bust Connected To Sinaloa Cartel


A Van Buren County judge says the four kilograms of fentanyl found in a duffel bag during an Interstate 94 traffic stop this week near Paw Paw is connected to the Sinaloa drug cartel. Brahajan Martinez-Garcia of California was arraigned yesterday on possessing over a thousand grams of fentanyl with intent to deliver, with the drugs being enough to kill two-and-a-half million people according to Judge Michael McKay. McKay added the Van Buren County Jail was likely the safest place for the 25-year-old suspect because he lost six-million-dollars of cartel fentanyl. Martinez-Garcia told the judge he was afraid of prison, believing he will be killed there.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Harbor To Be Dredged


The South Haven harbor will be dredged this spring. The US Army Corps of Engineers has allocated $610,000 for the project and the sand will be placed on South Beach according to Assistant City Manager Griffin Graham. The Corps dredged the harbor in August of last year as well. They placed roughly 18-thousand cubic yards of sand from the channel on South Beach last summer to help make up for what has been eroded over the past few years. Other harbors that will be dredged this year include Saugatuck and St. Joseph.... [Read Full Story]

Man Charged In 2021 Assault


A 24-year-old Battle Creek man is charged with felonious assault and assault with intent to do great bodily harm for an attack on an 86-year-old veteran in 2021. Richard Ward-Perry was charged yesterday in court in Allegan County. He allegedly punched Bill Simpson in the face at a Circle K gas station on November 3, 2021, sending Simpson to the hospital. The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office says he later died from causes not directly related to the attack.... [Read Full Story]

Vigil Held For Van Buren County Road Commission Employee


The Van Buren County Road Commission has held a vigil for 58-year-old Rene Rangel, who was killed Friday morning when hit by a vehicle in a construction zone on County Road 681 north of Lawrence. His sister said he was an inspiration, while road commission interim director Linnea Rader said his dedicated work ethic made everyone around him happy.... [Read Full Story]

Flags Ordered To Half-Staff For Paw Paw Firefighter


Flags are being ordered to fly at half-staff Saturday by Governor Whitmer in honor of Paw Paw firefighter Ethan Quillen. He died in the line of duty last week when he was hit by a falling power line during the ice storm. Whitmer says Quillen’s “commitment to his loved ones and his community was inspiring.” He was a Michigan Department of Transportation employee and a volunteer with the Paw Paw Fire Department. Quillen’s funeral is Saturday at Paw Paw High School and he is survived by wife Katelyn and their two-year-old son. Whitmer says flags will return to full staff on Sunday.... [Read Full Story]

Lawton Couple Arrested After Son Takes Meth To Preschool


A couple is in the Van Buren County Jail after their four-year-old son took a bag of meth to his preschool. The drugs were found in his backpack, and teachers called Lawton police when they saw it. The Van Buren County Narcotics Unit responded by raiding the parents’ home yesterday and finding a large amount of cocaine. Charges against the two are pending.... [Read Full Story]

Paw Paw Community Supporting Fallen Firefighter’s Family


Paw Paw residents are busy supporting the family of Lieutenant Ethan Quillen after the firefighter was killed last week by a downed power line. GG Sweets bakery has donated the proceeds from special baked goods to his family, H2Design & Company is selling a special candle with that money going to his family, and Country Market Pork Store has a firefighter’s boot for donations. A GoFundMe has also raised over 130-thousand-dollars. Quillen’s funeral will be Saturday at Paw Paw High School.... [Read Full Story]

Bangor Township Home Destroyed In Early Morning Fire


A Bangor Township mobile home has been destroyed by an early morning fire. Five fire departments were called to the home on 48th Avenue west of County Road 681 just after 2 a.m. today for the blaze. The home was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived and the senior citizen who lived there was able to get out without being hurt. The Red Cross is helping the victim find somewhere else to live. The fire’s cause is still under investigation.... [Read Full Story]

Hours Set For South Haven’s Dyckman Avenue Bridge


The city of South Haven says the Dyckman Avenue Bascule Bridge will go into operation April 3. It will operate every 30 minutes on the hour and half-hour seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. Starting May 1, it will operate on the hour and half hour from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. until 12 a.m. on Friday, and 6 a.m. until 12 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Any other time the bridge needs to be opened needs to be arranged 24 hours in advance. Boaters can call 269-637-0737 to make those arrangements.... [Read Full Story]

Republicans Not Supporting Gun Bills Before State Senate


Getting bipartisan support on the dozen new gun bills before the Michigan Senate does not appear likely. Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt of Van Buren County says he wants to see majority Democrats work on something that is “actually enforceable instead of us creating a bunch of new laws that you won’t have certain prosecutors enforce anyway,” and added “doing something that doesn’t solve the problem is just as bad as doing nothing.” The bills were introduced last week after three Michigan State University students were killed and five others injured on campus. Nesbitt says he would rather have federal law requiring background checks on all gun purchases enforced.... [Read Full Story]

Paw Paw Firefighter Taken To Funeral Home In Procession


The body of fallen Paw Paw Fire Department Lieutenant Ethan Quillen has been taken to a funeral home with a procession on Red Arrow Highway attended by several hundred Saturday. The 28-year-old was killed Wednesday night when he was hit by a falling power line in Almena Township. That happened during the ice storm that hit southern Michigan hard.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Doing Lead Pipe Inspections, Replacement


South Haven is inspecting and starting to replace lead water service lines now on Broadway Street from LeGrange to Phoenix streets and along Phoenix Street from Prospect Street to Cherry Court. The inspections are being done at properties that overlap with anticipated road work from the Michigan Department of Transportation that will start in April. Property owners will be contacted by South Haven city staff as the inspection includes the water service lines at the water main, meter pit and inside the homes at the location the service enters the house. All or part of the pipes will be replaced if the pipes have lead. Streets will stay open to traffic and the work is expected to wrap up by March 31.... [Read Full Story]

Plainwell Man Arrested Near School With Gun


A 24-year-old Plainwell man has been arrested after pointing a gun at another man close to two schools. Public safety officers say it happened around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday after he allegedly pointed the gun at a man on West Bridge Street. He was arrested near West Bridge and South Sunset streets after police talked him into dropping the gun. The nearby schools did not go into lockdown, as the situation was resolved before they had the chance to do so. He will be charged with felonious assault and resisting and obstructing police. A search of his home turned up parts to assemble a semi-automatic pistol.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office Says Animals Weren’t Focus Of Warrant


The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office says the 45 animals they rescued from a Columbia Township property this week were not the focus of the search warrant they helped the U.S. Department of Homeland Security carry out. Sergeant Richard Rennhack says they noticed the animals without food and water while they were doing perimeter security for the federal agents. He says it appeared no one had been there to care for the animals for “quite some time.” One man was taken into custody, but law enforcement has not found the people that had been staying at the home.... [Read Full Story]

Two Arrested In Van Buren County


Two men have been arrested in Van Buren County on several outstanding warrants. The sheriff’s department says they arrested 48-year-old Gary Covell Jr. on seven criminal bench warrants in the county and two felony warrants from Cass County. They also arrested 23-year-old Aval Ortiz-Ruiz for two outstanding Van Buren County warrants after the two were found hiding in a barn on Burgess Road in Decatur Township around 1 a.m. Wednesday. A third man was questioned and released. Deputies were on the scene after getting a tip that a fugitive with several warrants was there and they noticed him through a hole in a wall.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren County Authorities Seize 45 Animals In Columbia Township


Around 45 animals have been seized by Van Buren County authorities after executing two search warrants at a home on 50th Street in Columbia Township on Monday. Sheriff’s deputies found the animals in distress without food and water, and also noticed several animals dead and decomposing in the pens with other animals. They seized a horse, a cat, goats, chickens, ducks, and dogs. The animals have been taken to facilities where they can be cared for. No one was arrested. The sheriff’s office was helping the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with the first search warrant around 7 p.m. and got a second with Animal Control to seize the animals.... [Read Full Story]