Local News Archives

Berrien County Residents Head To The Polls Next Week

There will be plenty on the ballot for next week’s primary elections in Berrien County. First, there’s the Republican race for 79th District state representative, which features four candidates. Ryan Arnt, Mary Brown, Kim Lasata, and Troy Rolling are running to face off against Democrat Marletta Seats in November. Also being decided next Tuesday will be ballot questions in communities all over the county. There are millage renewals to be decided in Bridgman, New Buffalo, Niles, St. Joseph, and Watervliet. That’s not to mention township questions in Baroda, Benton, Coloma, Lake, Lincoln, Niles, New Buffalo, Pipestone, Royalton, St. Joseph, Sodus, and Watervliet Townships. There are also school millage questions in Buchanan, Sodus Township, and Hagar Township. Finally, voters across Berrien County will decide whether to renew the 911, public safety, and senior center millages. You can find out more at BerrienCounty.org/Elections.... [Read Full Story]

MI OK2Say Tipline Has Received Nearly 5,000 Tips

The Michigan Attorney General’s OK2Say tipline has received nearly 5,000 tips in the two years since it was created. Megan Hawthorne, with the AG’s office, says that includes more than 2,100 in the 2015-2016 school year. She says OK2Say gives teens an anonymous way to report troubling situations in their schools.... [Read Full Story]

SWM Democratic Delegate: Time To Move Forward

Delegates to the Democratic National Convention are preparing to head home, and many say they’re ready to move on and fully back their candidate, Hillary Clinton. Southwest Michigan Clinton delegate Sunny Sahu says some Bernie Sanders supporters are still upset about the senator’s loss, but he believes there can be healing by November. Sahu respects the dissent.... [Read Full Story]

Decatur Man Facing Charges Following Break-In, Assault

A Decatur man is facing charges after police say he broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend, attempted to force her into his vehicle, and then pointed a gun at her father. Michigan State Police say it happened at a home in the 61,000 block of 40th Street in Paw Paw Township around 6 p.m. Wednesday. The 28-year-old suspect pulled the gun when he was confronted by the 27-year-old woman’s father during a struggle. The woman managed to get away and the suspect fled. He was later found at a home in Portage and arrested. Police say he was wanted on six unrelated warrants.... [Read Full Story]

Pollutants Found In Two MI Water Supplies

Records show pollutants that have been linked to health problems including cancer and childhood developmental issues have been found in public drinking water supplies for two Michigan communities. MLive reports utilities serving Kent County’s Plainfield Township, near
Grand Rapids, and the city of Ann Arbor reported perfluorooctane sulfonate, known as PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA, in raw and treated water. So far, samples haven’t exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory guidelines for the chemicals. Officials are monitoring the water. The source of the chemicals hasn’t been confirmed, but a closed landfill is suspected as the source in Plainfield Township. They’ve been traced to the township’s backup well field at Versluis Park. In Ann Arbor, they’re coming from the Barton Pond impoundment on the Huron River.... [Read Full Story]

Mike Pence Speaks In Grand Rapids

Mike Pence says he has a lot in common with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump – just not in matters of rhetorical style. The Indiana governor and Trump’s running mate said at a Wednesday campaign stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that the two are “a bit different in style.” He then trailed off and paused for several seconds before adding that their differences also extended to the Pence’s family’s “balance sheet.” But Pence said the two are united by a shared appreciation for hard work and value their families. And he says both had grandfathers who were immigrants to the United States.... [Read Full Story]

Old BHAS Tech Center To Be Demolished

The old Benton Harbor Area Schools Technology Center will soon meet the wrecking ball. A nearly $69-thousand dollar grant to the Berrien County Land Bank Authority from the state will pay for tearing down the abandoned building. It has turned into an illegal dumping site in recent years despite efforts to security the property at 653 Valley Drive. The building is located behind Martin Luther King Elementary and has been targeted by vandals as well. State Representative Al Pscholka calls it a “great example of how state and local government agencies can partner for the greater good.” The grant is one of five issued by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority totalling almost $305,000. The money comes out of a $1 million grant from MSHDA.... [Read Full Story]

Workplace Death Investigated In Edwardsburg

Few details are being released, but Edwardsburg police say a 32-year-old employee at Duo-Form Plastics was killed mid-afternoon Wednesday when he was were crushed in a machine press at the factory. The victim is a man from the Cassopolis area, and police are trying to contact family members. The company produces large plastic panels for the auto industry and plastic sinks, bathroom fixtures and other large plastic products. An investigation is underway to determine why safety equipment designed to prevent such accidents failed in this instance. Police were dispatched to the plant just after 3 p.m., and they are calling it a very tragic accident.... [Read Full Story]

Kalamazoo Police Officer Shoots Pit Bull Attacking Man

A police officer in southwestern Michigan has shot and killed a pit bull as the dog was mauling a 60-year-old man. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that the dog attacked the man late Wednesday morning in Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety assistant chief Donald Webster says the man was riding a bicycle when “the dog came out of nowhere and jumped up and got hold of him.” Other people in the area tried to help the man, but Webster says the dog would not release the man’s arm. The first officer to arrive shot the dog. The victim is hospitalized with extensive wounds to his arm. Police were not able to locate the dog’s owner.... [Read Full Story]

OutCenter Lake Effect Pride Event This Week

Coming up this Friday is the annual celebration of the OutCenter in Benton Harbor. The Lake Effect Pride event is set for 6 to 10 p.m. at the Inn at Harbor Shores. OutCenter Board Chair Todd Dockerty says it’s a fundraiser for the organization, but also a party, in general. He adds it’s a good way for the OutCenter to celebrate its allies in the community.... [Read Full Story]

West Michigan Pike Receiving New Attention

Travel Michigan will be promoting the West Michigan Pike in upcoming materials now that the pike has been named a Pure Michigan Byway. Pure Michigan Byways are routes the travel campaign urges visitors to take. The used to be called Michigan Heritage Routes. Travel Michigan’s Dave Lorenz says they’re not the fastest way to see the state, but they’re the most interesting, enabling tourists to see the most.... [Read Full Story]

Advocacy Groups: Child Poverty Being Ignored In Presidential Campaign

As the presidential campaigns ramp up, some experts are concerned the issue of child poverty is being ignored. Child poverty has gotten worse in many states, including Michigan, since the end of the Great Recession. An estimated one in five children lives in a family below the poverty threshold, meaning they struggle to meet basic needs like food, safe housing, and affordable child care. Bruce Lesley, with First Focus, contends child poverty is a critical matter.... [Read Full Story]

84-Year-Old Man Recovering After Fall Into Cass County Lake

An 84-year-old Indiana man who fell into Cass County’s Diamond Lake and nearly drowned last Friday is now expected to make a full recovery. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department says the quick use of CPR saved Paul Schafer’s life. Family members administered it to him with directions from a County County 911 dispatcher. Schafer was taken by ambulance to a hospital, and initially listed in critical condition. He was scheduled for released this Wednesday.... [Read Full Story]

MI Biker Busted After Bragging On Facebook About Police Chase

A suburban Detroit motorcyclist was apparently fast enough to leave police in the dust during a chase, but not swift enough to stop from bragging about it on Facebook. Lake Orion police say 33-year-old Michael Brown, of Rochester Hills, turned himself in on Tuesday, three weeks after the incident. He’s charged with fleeing police and reckless driving. Police say an officer pulled up to Brown outside a restaurant after seeing
loud motorcycle maneuvers in the street. Brown sped off and the officer eventually stopped pursuing him. Police say Brown boasted on Facebook that he was going “140 in a 35 mph” zone. He added: “#nojailthisweekend.” Someone shared the post with police. Brown doesn’t have a listed phone number and couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday. He’s due in court August 2.... [Read Full Story]

Charges Outlined In Berrien County Deputy Investigation

New information on an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by Berrien County Jail personnel has been released. The prosecutor’s office says it’s reviewed the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department investigation into four deputies and found three had sexual contact with former jail inmates, but none of it occurred at the jail. At least 15 women were interviewed as detectives looked into whether anything illegal was done. In the end, one former deputy was charged. He’s been identified as 23-year-old Keegan Trail, of Eau Claire. Trail this week pleaded no contest to a prostitution-related charge, and was sentenced to fines and community service. The names of the other three deputies have not been released. One still works at the jail.... [Read Full Story]

State Releases 30-Year Water Management Plan

State officials have released the second part of a 30-year plan to manage, protect and improve Michigan’s water resources. The Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes developed the strategy. The portion announced Wednesday says that there should be an
increased focus on sustainable expansion of water recreation and water-based business. The focus includes renewing waterfronts and improving the state’s commercial and recreational harbors. Michigan Office of the Great Lakes Director Jon Allan says in a statement that: “Care for our natural resources and investment in sustainable water-based industries will benefit Michigan citizens and play a key role in moving the state forward.” The initial phase announced in June includes educating citizens about the importance of healthy waters while nurturing and restoring aquatic ecosystems.... [Read Full Story]

Cass County Prosecutor Endorses Undersheriff In Race For Sheriff

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz is putting his support behind Undersheriff Rick Behnke in the race for Cass County Sheriff. Three people are running to succeed the retiring Sheriff Joseph Underwood, and the August 2nd primary will determine who the next sheriff will be as all the candidates are Republicans. Behnke is running against Cass County Deputy Tim Cochran of Niles and Berrien County Sheriff’s corrections officer James Ellis of Edwardsburg. In making the endorsement, Fitz says he has worked weekly with Behnke for the past 13 years and says the sheriff’s department has had “strong leadership” under him and Underwood.... [Read Full Story]

Pinkney Conviction Affirmed

The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction and 30-month prison sentence of Edward Pinkney. The Benton Harbor activist was convicted in 2014 of election law violations in a recall attempt against former Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower. The prosecution had alleged that he changed the dates on some of the signatures on petitions. The appeals court ruled 3-0 on Tuesday against his appeal. Pinkney had claimed the prosecution presented insufficient evidence for a conviction and that the court erroneously instructed the jury, among other things. The appeals court disagreed on all points, and Pinkney remains behind bars.... [Read Full Story]

Benton Harbor, Benton Township Hosting National Night Out

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety and the Benton Township Police Department are teaming up for a second straight year to host a National Night Out event on Tuesday. The program will start at 5 p.m. at the Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park in downtown Benton Harbor. Officers say the event is meant to help foster positive relationships between the public and the police. Free food, snow cones, games and a book bag giveaway for kids will be among the highlights of the night.... [Read Full Story]

Free Well Water Testing In Van Buren County

Van Buren County residents will have a chance to get their well water tested next month, thanks to the Van Buren Conservation District and the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program. The conservation district says samples can be brought in to its office on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the month of August. The office is located at 1035 East Michigan Avenue in Paw Paw, next to the Secretary of State. Samples will be screened for nitrates and nitrites which reach drinking water when nitrogen from the soil works its way deep into aquifers. The sampling is open to anyone with a private drinking water well. To find out more about how to collect your sample, call the Van Buren Conservation District at 269-657-4030, extension 116.... [Read Full Story]

Woman Injured In I-94 Crash Near Lawrence

A woman suffered injuries when her vehicle was struck by a semi on I-94 Tuesday morning. Michigan State Police say the crash happened around 7:30 a.m. on eastbound I-94 in Lawrence Township. The woman told police she was merging into the right lane when she became blinded by the sun. Her vehicle was hit by the semi, struck a guardrail, was side swiped by the same semi, and then went into the ditch. The semi also wound up in the ditch. The woman was taken to Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo with non-life threatening injuries. The semi driver was not hurt.... [Read Full Story]

MI Democrats Hope For Unity

Some of Michigan’s top Democrats believe a united front will emerge at the party’s national convention. The DNC chair will be stepping down after the event, essentially taking the heat after leaked emails indicated party leaders favored Hillary Clinton during the primaries over Senator Bernie Sanders. Progress Michigan Executive Director Lonnie Scott is on the ground in Philadelphia this week, and says Democrats are ready to move forward together.... [Read Full Story]

State Approves Funding For Autonomous Vehicle Testing Site

Michigan has approved $17 million in funding to help convert the site of a former General Motors plant that once pumped out World War II-era bombers into an autonomous car testing facility. Also Tuesday, the Michigan Strategic Fund board approved a $5.7 million performance-based loan for an auto industry supplier in Flint. The American Center for Mobility is planned for 311 acres at the Willow Run site in Washtenaw County’s Ypsilanti Township. The money is for design and construction of research facilities. Governor Rick Snyder says in a statement Tuesday that Michigan is “making a major commitment to the next chapter of the state’s legendary automotive history.” In Flint, the state says C3 Venture plans a $9.7 million investment. The state says about 380 new jobs are expected.... [Read Full Story]