Local News Archives

Presentation On Mars Science Lab Coming Up In South Haven

Coming up in South Haven will be a presentation on NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory from a local native who now works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Thanks to the South Haven Public School Foundation, Jim Montgomery will be speaking on Thursday, August 18 at the Listiak Auditorium at South Haven High School. The school foundation says Montgomery got excited about science watching NASA missions, and he credits South Haven Public Schools with nurturing his interest. He went to the University of Michigan and the University of Southern California before winding up at the JPL. Its Mars Science Laboratory delivered the Curiosity rover to Mars in 2012. Montgomery’s presentation will be about the laboratory and Curiosity. Everyone’s invited. It will be free admission for all students, and adults are asked to make a $10 donation to the South Haven Public School Foundation to get in. The presentation starts at 6:30 p.m.... [Read Full Story]

West Michigan Worker Killed In Fall From Roof

A 48-year-old man has died following a two-story fall from the roof of a western Michigan college building. David Torrenga toppled Wednesday from Hope College’s DePree Art Center & Gallery in Holland. He later died at a hospital. The Holland Sentinel reports Thursday that police said Torrenga struck his head during the fall. Hope spokesman Greg Olgers said a crew from East Muskegon Roofing and Sheet Metal Co. was working on the building. Olgers said in a statement that the college is “saddened to learn” of Torrenga’s death.... [Read Full Story]

Snyder Says New Environmental Director Well-Suited For The Job

Governor Rick Snyder says his newly appointed environmental director will do a “fine job” and critics of her extensive time as an oil and gas lobbyist should give her a chance. The Republican governor last month appointed former BP lobbyist Heidi Grether to lead the Michigan Department of Environment, which has been reeling since being called primarily responsible for Flint’s lead-contaminated drinking water. Grether began the job last week. Snyder told reporters Thursday that Grether has a “strong background,” noting that early in her career she was a legislative aide focused on environmental issues. He says Grether has “built a career that she should be proud of.” Snyder says detractors should “get to know her, give her an opportunity and I think you’re going to see good results.”... [Read Full Story]

Brother Of David Krieger Speaks Out

Steve Krieger says justice has been served, but he can never be satisfied. His brother, David Krieger, was shot and killed in December outside of Steve Krieger’s business, Michiana Supply, in Benton Township. Sentenced to at least 35 years in prison for second degree murder in the case is Roy Thompson, who learned his fate this week. The case may seem over, but Steve Krieger says he has not been pleased with some of the things that were said in the last eight months. In particular, what he says are false claims that Dave Krieger sprinted at Thompson during a confrontation.... [Read Full Story]

Two Injured When Tree Falls On Car

Police in Cass County say two people were injured when a tree fell into the road and on to their car Thursday. The sheriff’s department says it happened around 10 a.m. on Decatur Road near Marcellus Highway. 64-year-old Kathy Lull, of Decatur, suffered minor injuries and refused treatment. Her passenger, 91-year-old Oliver Scott, of Niles, was taken to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo for treatment of a non-life threatening head injury. The Cass County Road Commission was called in to remove the tree from the roadway.... [Read Full Story]

State Asks Court To Restore Ban On Straight Ticket Voting

The state of Michigan is urging an appeals court to restore the state’s ban on straight-party voting in the fall election. A Detroit federal judge says the ban violates the rights of black voters. But in a court filing Wednesday, Attorney General Bill Schuette says the law is “rational” and “imposes a minimal burden” on voters. Schuette wants a federal appeals court to quickly suspend an injunction issued by Judge Gershwin Drain. Ballots must be printed soon. The fall election would be the first affected by a new law that ends straight-party voting, the ability to vote for candidates of one party with a single mark, from president to drain commissioner. Straight-party voting is popular in Michigan cities with large black
populations, which tend to vote for Democrats.... [Read Full Story]

Police Investigate Van Buren County Drowning

A 75-year-old Glendale man is dead in an apparent drowning in Van Buren County. Michigan State Police say troopers were called out to Three Legged Lake in Bloomingdale Township around 4 p.m. Wednesday when a boat was spotted anchored in the water with no occupants. Troopers at the scene found reason to believe the 12-foot boat had been occupied, so divers were called in and they began searching. They found the man’s body in about seven feet of water. The victim’s name has not yet been released, and police are investigating.... [Read Full Story]

Road Commission: Use Care When Posting Political Signs

Road commissions in southwest Michigan have a reminder for those who are posting campaign signs around their communities during this election season. They say it’s important to remember the signs should not block any views of the road, driveways, or intersections. The Van Buren County Road Commission’s Larry Hummel says that applies to any sign, in general.... [Read Full Story]

New Scholarship Program Announced For All Buchanan Graduates

A new promise has been made to graduates of Buchanan Community Schools. The Buchanan Promise, a scholarship for all grads, was announced Wednesday. Made possible through a permanent endowment and managed by the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, the program will award up to $2,500 per year, for a maximum of $10,000, to students to pay for college. Foundation President Robert Habicht says this creates a whole new range of possibilities for graduates.... [Read Full Story]

Skunk To Serve As Ambassador To Grand Rapids Zoo

When Turnip the skunk visits schools, nursing homes and other places there will be no need to hold noses. As a sort of animal ambassador for Grand Rapids’ John Ball Zoo, she’s been de-scented ahead of her role to educate people about skunks. The Grand Rapids Press reports Wednesday that Turnip won’t be on exhibit at  the zoo. Instead, she is being trained. She will take strolls with staff and meet zoo visitors.
Zookeeper Sarah Bontinen says skunks often are misunderstood. The zoo wants to see the year-old Turnip to show how interesting and useful the animals can be. Bontinen says “skunks only spray when they feel imminent danger” and “they don’t want to spray unless they feel like they have to.”... [Read Full Story]

Walk To End Alzheimer’s This Weekend

The annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s is coming up Saturday in St. Joseph. Walk manager Kristin Burt says they will welcome anyone, and even their dogs, at the event. She says “anyone with a brain is at risk for this disease, and that’s why we want anyone and everyone to come to this walk and have more awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and help us raise funds that can help find a cure.”... [Read Full Story]

Two Hurt In Motorcycle v. Deer Crash

A Lawrence couple is hospitalized in Kalamazoo after hitting a deer on their motorcycle in Cass County. The sheriff’s department says 65-year-old Leonard and 63-year-old Terri Lee Strefling suffered minor injuries in the crash, which happened around 7:30 last night in Volinia Township. The deer ran out in front of their bike as they were headed north on Decatur Road. Police say both people were wearing helmets, and alcohol wasn’t a factor.... [Read Full Story]

Researchers Using Underwater Robot To Study Lake Michigan

Scientists are retrieving data from an underwater robot for the first time since it was deployed to gather information about the Lake Michigan fish food supply. The U.S. Geological Survey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute launched the vehicle August 1. It is measuring volumes of algae and tiny animals called zooplankton, which form the base of aquatic food chains. Experts say the findings will help develop estimates of how many predator fish Lake Michigan can support. They say it’s been hard to develop accurate measures of algae and zooplankton using conventional technologies. The robot will ply the southern portion of the lake for 25 days, at depths ranging from 9 feet to 150 feet. It’s being removed temporarily Tuesday so scientists can download data and recharge the battery.... [Read Full Story]

Study Examines Progression Of Federal Minimum Wage

According to a new analysis, if the federal minimum wage had grown at the same pace as increases in worker productivity, it would be nearly $19 an hour in 2016. Meanwhile, business groups argue that raising the wage could lead to job loss, especially in the midwest and south. David Cooper, with the Economic Policy Institute, says he doesn’t believe increasing the minimum wage would lead to job losses, as some business groups say.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien Springs Senior Living Community Fire

No one’s injured, but there were some tense moments at a Berrien Springs Senior Living Community Tuesday when a fire broke out in one of the units. The Oronoko Township Fire Department was dispatched to Timber Ridge Manor at US-31 around 6 p.m. when a stove top caught fire. The building filled with smoke, causing residents to be evacuated. Firefighters had the situation under control quickly, and used fans to clear the building while residents waited outside. The building did not suffer any fire damage, nor was there serious damage to the unit where it started. Everyone was let back in by 8 p.m... [Read Full Story]

Two Arrested Following Dowagiac Shooting

Two are facing charges following a Monday shooting in Dowagiac. The department of public safety says a car parked in the 200 block of Halstead Street was damaged by gunfire around 3 a.m. During their investigation, officers identified a possible suspect, and by afternoon, had determined where he could be found. When they went to pick him up, he ran off and hid in a nearby garage, along with a 17-year-old girl. Eventually, they surrendered. Police say their search turned up two sawed-off shotguns and ammunition. The suspect was wanted on a domestic assault warrant, while the 17-year-old was wanted on a bench warrant. The two are now in the Cass County Jail while police seek break-in, felony firearm, and property damage charges against the man. The girl is facing gun charges.... [Read Full Story]

General Motors Testing Autonomous Vehicles In Arizona

General Motors and its autonomous technology company Cruise Automation are testing self-driving cars on the streets of Scottsdale, Arizona.
Testing of self-driving electric Chevrolet Bolts began in Arizona about two weeks ago. It’s the second city for GM’s real-world tests. Autonomous Bolts with Cruise Automation software have been driving around San Francisco since May 20. GM spokesman Kevin Kelly says the company is considering other cities for tests but wasn’t ready to announce locations. He would not say how many Bolts are being tested. Although the cars drive autonomously, Kelly says they all have human backup drivers. GM acquired San Francisco-based Cruise Automation in March for $581 million in cash and GM stock. Kelly says the company has opened an office in Scottsdale.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Youth Fair Next Week

It’s almost time for the 71st annual Berrien County Youth Fair. The event will be next week at the youth fairgrounds in Berrien Springs. Executive Director Karen Klug tells WSJM News, first and foremost, they’ll have a variety of youth exhibits. However, that’s not all.... [Read Full Story]

[VIDEO] Roy Thompson Sentenced for December Murder

A Benton Harbor man convicted in the shooting death of a Benton Township business owner has been sentenced to 35 to 60 years in prison. Roy Thompson was found guilty by a jury of second degree murder in June in the death of David Krieger last December. The 53-year-old was killed during a confrontation with Thompson about a dog the suspect allegedly kicked near Krieger’s family business, Michiana Supply in Benton Township.... [Read Full Story]

Public Invited To Comment On Mackinac Pipeline Support Plan

State officials are taking public comments on a plan by Enbridge Energy Partners to install additional supports for its twin oil pipelines in the waterway where Lakes Michigan and Huron meet. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says a 20-day comment period began Monday for an Enbridge application for a permit to place the steel supports beneath sections of the Straits of Mackinac pipelines.... [Read Full Story]

Three Arrested After Chase, Fiery Crash In Van Buren County

Three people are in the Van Buren County Jail after leading police on a chase before a fiery crash in Arlington Township. The sheriff’s department says a deputy tried pulling over an unregistered car on County Road 665 near 38th Avenue in Waverly Township. 22-year-old Walker Woods of Kalamazoo took off and led the officer on a chase down several rural roads and through a vineyard at speeds up to 85 miles an hour before crashing onto a tree about 15 minutes later on 44th Avenue. The car burst into flames and the three ran off through a swamp before being caught. Woods was wanted for five warrants, while passenger Ryan Grady of Dowagiac had three warrants. A 24-year-old Decatur woman is also facing several charges.... [Read Full Story]