Local News Archives

State Targets Improper Tax Breaks For Cottages, Second Homes

Records say thousands of summer cottages, second homes and other Michigan properties have lost a valuable tax break in recent years amid state Treasury Department audits. The Detroit News reports that the crackdown on improper exemptions affects a wide range of property owners, including Detroit landlords and billionaires with multi-acre compounds. Records show 23,800 property owners have been ordered to pay more taxes after audits since 2013. The audits target properties that claim a 100 percent principal residence exemption. The tax break saves property owners on school district taxes. The audits were instituted in 2005 to determine whether property owners getting the tax break owned and occupied the home as a primary residence. In numerous cases, people ended up losing the tax break on rental properties and vacation homes.... [Read Full Story]

Grassroots Group Looks To Help Berrien County Police

A group of Berrien County residents is hoping to help police in the area following last month’s fatal shootings at the Berrien County Courthouse. Berrien County Strong — Community in Action was formed on Facebook by Gretta Volkenstein soon after the July 11 incident. On Thursday, members met to talk fundraising, among other things. Volkenstein says they’ll start by raising money for the Berrien Community Foundation’s sheriff’s department challenge grant.... [Read Full Story]

Fallen MSP Trooper To Be Remembered In Niles

A Michigan State Police trooper who died in the line of duty in 1981 will be remembered with a ceremony in Niles next week. On Saturday, there will be a memorial at the Niles Law Enforcement Complex for Allan Peterson. The 37-year-old trooper died on August 29 of 1981 as a result of exposure to toxic fumes while responding to a train derailment in Bridgman on August 7. He had a massive heart attack caused by a prolonged coughing fit which doctors linked to the train incident. Peterson was the 34th state police trooper to die in the line of duty. Next Saturday’s ceremony will be at 3 p.m.... [Read Full Story]

Stevensville Residents Asked For Input On Master Plan

Work is getting started on the next master plan for the village of Stevensville, and residents are being asked to offer their input. Ryan Fellows, with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, says the master plan will govern development in Stevensville for the next ten years. Folks can take an online survey to give their thoughts.... [Read Full Story]

Suspect Arrested In Series Of Covert Area Break-Ins

One suspect has been arrested in a series of home break-ins reported in the Covert area over the past month. The township police department says officers searched a home on North Watervliet Road Wednesday after getting a tip some of the stolen property was stashed there. With the help of Berrien County sheriff’s deputies and Michigan State Police, they found about $5,000 of it. The suspect was arrested on an unrelated matter, and could be looking at charges of receiving and concealing stolen property. His name has not yet been released.... [Read Full Story]

Flint To Begin Replacing Old Water pipes

Flint is moving forward on an effort to replace old lead and galvanized steel water lines amid the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water. A kickoff for the latest phase of the Fast Start program is Friday. Mayor Karen Weaver says it’ll result in the replacement of service lines at 200-250 homes. This fall, her office says the next phase of the replacement program that started in March will cover 5,000 additional homes. Under work starting Friday, replacement will take place with the approval of homeowners. The project has replaced dozens of lines and is being paid for with $2 million from the state. Over 18 months, lead leached from old pipes into Flint’s water supply when the city used water from the Flint River. The water wasn’t treated for corrosiveness.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan To Auction Off 380 Tax-Foreclosed Properties

(Lansing, MI) – The state of Michigan will auction 380 tax-foreclosed properties located in eight counties next week. The auctions are scheduled for August 23-24. Roughly 230 parcels in Iosco, Keweenaw, Luce and Mecosta counties will go to auction Tuesday at the Ramada Inn in Grayling. Another 150 properties in Branch, Clinton, Livingston and Shiawassee counties will go to auction next Wednesday at the Ramada near Lansing.... [Read Full Story]

$1.2M To Improve Access To Care For Children With Epilepsy

Michigan is getting $1.2 million to help improve access to health care for children with epilepsy in rural and medically underserved areas. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it recently got the 3-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal Child and Health Systems Branch. The funding will support the Michigan Pediatric Epilepsy Project.... [Read Full Story]

State Police Investigate Hagar Twp Robbery

An armed robbery at the Riverside Food Market in Hagar Township is under investigation. A white man in his late 30s or early 40s is accused of pulling a gun on the clerk around 5 a.m. Tuesday and getting away with an unknown amount of money along with cigarettes. Michigan State Police investigators say the suspect is about five-feet-8 with a medium build and thin wire glasses. When he held up the store, he was dressed in flip flops, a gray Michigan State University hoodie, black pants and a dark baseball hat.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Seeks Emergency Appeal To Reinstate Straight Party Ticket Ban

Michigan says it will file an emergency appeal asking the entire 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider the state’s new ban against straight-party voting. A panel of three judges at the Cincinnati-based federal court rejected Wednesday the state’s request to immediately halt a lower ruling that blocked the Republican-sponsored law. Attorney General Bill Schuette says Michigan “is no different” than 40 other states that do not allow straight-ticket voting, which lets voters cast votes for all candidates from one party with a single mark. U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain blocked the law last month, saying it would cause long lines and place a “disproportionate burden” on black voters in November’s election.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Youth Fair Continues Through Saturday

You still have time to take in the Berrien County Youth Fair this week. The event continues through Saturday, and Thursday will bring a classic rock show to the grandstand when the Happy Together Tour, featuring members of several rock acts, takes the stage. Youth Fair Director Karen Klug says Friday will feature the rodeo-like Bullmania, and then Saturday’s grandstand show is Diesel Domination.... [Read Full Story]

Immigration Court To Review Parlak Case

Ibrahim Parlak has been granted a little more time in his fight to remain in the United States. This week, the Board of Immigration Appeals sent his case back to a Detroit immigration judge, finding there was reason to believe Parlak could be tortured if he was sent back to his native Turkey. Parlak friend and spokesperson Martin Dzuris.... [Read Full Story]

Work Begins To Replace Chikaming Township Culvert

The Berrien County Road Commission has begun work on a Chikaming Township culvert replacement. The culvert under Red Arrow Highway near Cherry Beach Road is in danger of collapsing, and the road commission earlier this year upset local business owners when it announced Red Arrow would be shut down all summer for the work. It eventually bowed to pressure to reschedule for August. The road commission’s Mike Juengling says the road was closed Monday.... [Read Full Story]

New Details Released On Watervliet Industrial Accident

Police say a 75-year-old Hartford man who was killed in a Tuesday industrial accident near Watervliet fell 25 feet when scaffolding he had climbed collapsed. According to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, Carl Lee Stone was working to wire a light at 8901 Industrial Park Drive when the accident happened. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Also, 28-year-old Joshua Stone, of Lawrence, suffered a broken arm and possible internal injuries in the fall. He was taken to Lakeland Hospital in Watervliet. Police continue to investigate the cause of the collapse.... [Read Full Story]

Kalamazoo Rampage Victim Receiving More Surgery

14-year-old Abigail Kopf, the youngest survivor of February’s shooting rampage in Kalamazoo, is undergoing more surgery. An update to her recovery Facebook page says that skin near her head wound from the shooting is not healing properly. Due to an infection, Abbi in June had to undergo surgery for doctors to remove a 3D-printed plate they previously used to reconstruct her skull. The family learned last week that replacing the affected skin will require cosmetic surgery. She was shot outside of a Cracker Barrel restaurant near Kalamazoo in February’s attacks. Four others were shot dead there, allegedly by 45-year-old Jason Dalton.... [Read Full Story]

MI Jobless Rate Down

Michigan’s jobless rate dipped to 4.5 percent in July, a slight drop from the previous month and lowest in 15 years. The state said Wednesday it’s the lowest rate since January 2001’s 4.4 percent, but officials say it corresponds with a significant drop in labor force and employment levels. Total employment fell by 20,000, while the number of unemployed fell by 8,000. The Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives says Michigan’s unemployment rate has incrementally dropped this year, following a mostly decreasing trend since July 2009.
Gov. Rick Snyder says in a statement the creation of 475,000 private sector jobs in the past 5 1/2 years is “something to be proud of,” but adds “demanding challenges remain.” The U.S. jobless rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent in July.... [Read Full Story]

Pure Michigan Getting Fall Campaign Ready

Pure Michigan has some exciting things planned for their Fall campaign. Vice President Dave Lorenz says they’ll continue to feature fall color tours and opportunities to enjoy the heritage around the state. As for what else is being planned, Lorenz is being coy. “We’re working with McDonalds and Coca-Cola on a ‘Share a Coke’ program,” he says. “You’re going to hear about that in just a couple of weeks. I can’t go into too much detail.”... [Read Full Story]

Naked Home Intruder Caught In Van Buren County

A 23-year-old Bloomingdale man is in the Van Buren County Jail after a break-in last night in Columbia Township. He was found naked in a nearby outbuilding by sheriff’s department deputies. The homewoner called 911 just before 9 p.m. to report someone was breaking in. The suspect is facing four charges, including home invasion and indecent exposure. No names have been released.... [Read Full Story]

LMC To Celebrate New Hanson Technology Center

The completion of Lake Michigan College’s new Hanson Technology Center will be celebrated next week with a grand opening and open house. The $12 million facility has been built to house some of LMC’s career and technical programs, including those for energy production, engineering, machine tool, skilled trades, and welding. It’s replacing the old M-TEC center. Students will start to attend classes at the Hanson Center this fall, and LMC says everyone’s welcome to come check the place out next Tuesday. The open house will run from 2 to 6 p.m.... [Read Full Story]

One Dead In Watervliet Industrial Fall

One person is dead and another is hurt following a Watervliet-area industrial accident Tuesday. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says it was called to 8901 Industrial Park Drive shortly before 6:45 p.m. on a report that some scaffolding and ladders had collapsed. Two people fell. The sheriff’s department says Carl Lee Stone, of Hartford, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Joshua Stone was injured. He was taken to Lakeland Hospital for treatment. The cause of the collapse is under investigation.... [Read Full Story]