Local News Archives

Several Van Buren County Communities To Vote Next Week

A variety of local ballot questions will be decided next week in Van Buren County. There will be countywide ballot questions on a road tax renewal for four years, and a new 0.1 mill levy to pay for the Van Buren Conservation District. Locally, voters sin several communities will decide on whether to renew road millages. They include Arlington Township and Bloomingdale Township. Also, South Haven voters will decide on a quarter mill levy to pay for the purchase of recreational property, in Decatur, they’ll decide on renewing a fire millage, as will voters in Hamilton Township. The elections are on Tuesday, and polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.... [Read Full Story]

Cherry Farmer Causes Stir By Dumping Part Of His crop

A Traverse City farmer has caused a social media frenzy after posting pictures of tart cherries he dumped on the ground to rot. Marc Santucci says he dumped the crops to comply with an industry agreement which he claims props up the price of cherries. Cherry Industry Administrative Board Executive Director Perry Hedin says that’s not the case, adding he had other options besides simply dumping %14 of his crop.... [Read Full Story]

Illness Shuts Down Western MI Camp

A western Michigan camp has temporarily suspended operations after more than 20 children and staff complained of being ill. Camp Gerber Scout Reservation in Muskegon County’s Twin Lake was hosting a Cub Scout day camp and shut down voluntarily Thursday night. WOOD-TV reports that county health officials suspect the illness could be norovirus. The property was to be disinfected and medical checks were to be conducted. WZZM-TV reports that healthy campers and counselors were being sent to other camps in the system. Cub Scout camps scheduled next week will be hosted at a facility in Kalamazoo.... [Read Full Story]

Nearly $20,000 Awarded To Al-Van Humane Society

The Al-Van Humane Society is receiving a grant of just under $20,000 from the Bissell Foundation. The Grand Rapids-based organization supports animal shelters all over Michigan, and in its latest round of grants announced $19,875 for the shelter in South Haven. The Al-Van Humane Society’s Jennifer Nuernberg says they’re going to use the money for several programs.... [Read Full Story]

Kzoo Police Chief Defends Officer Over Controversial Gesture

A police chief in southwest Michigan is defending an officer who appears to be making a gun-pointing gesture with his hand in a photo that was posted on Facebook. Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley says it’s a misunderstanding. He says the officer is known for pointing when he acknowledges people in his patrol car. The Kalamazoo Gazette says the photo was posted on Facebook by someone who felt threatened by the gesture Friday while standing outside a barber shop. Hadley says the officer was trying to be friendly and is “really broken up” about the reaction on social media. However, Hadley says he also understands “how it raises people’s eyebrows.” Kalamazoo County Commissioner Stephanie Moore says the officer made a poor choice.... [Read Full Story]

Police Agencies Holding National Night Out Events Next Week

National Night Out events are planned for next week in several communities around southwest Michigan. The annual gatherings are a chance for law enforcement agencies across the country to mingle with the public so that everyone is a little better acquainted. The police often do demonstrations of equipment and vehicles, and free hot dogs are provided. All of the National Night Out events are set for next Tuesday. In St. Joseph, there will be one held at St. Joseph Township’s Riverview Park from 5 to 8 p.m. In Benton Harbor, a Night Out will be at Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park, also starting at 5 p.m. In Van Buren County, National Night Out will be at the Lawrence Park Pavilion in Lawrence starting at 6 p.m. Free hot dogs and beverages will be served, and retiring Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler will be honored. Contact your local law enforcement agency to find out what it’s doing for the Night Out.... [Read Full Story]

More Information On State Workers Charged In Flint Water Crisis

Michigan officials say four public employees charged with crimes related to Flint’s lead-contaminated water crisis have been suspended without pay. The Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services departments said Friday that two workers from each department are off the job for now. They are Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook from the DEQ and Nancy Peeler and Robert Scott from HHS. The Associated Press couldn’t reach the employees for comment. The two other people charged Friday had either already retired or were fired. Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office filed the charges. He says they hid the truth about Flint’s problems. The struggling city used the Flint River water for 18 months to save money. Residents consumed improperly treated water that released lead as it coursed through aging pipes. Elevated levels of the toxin were discovered in children.Three public workers previously were charged.... [Read Full Story]

Report Looks At Law Enforcement Deaths

A report from the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund shows that the number of law enforcement officers killed in the United States this year is up over last year. As of July 20, 67 federal, state, and local officers died on the job, an 8% increase from the same time last year. The Memorial Fund’s Craig Floyd says people need to work with law enforcement to build safer communities.... [Read Full Story]

Bailey Talking With County Commissioners About Courthouse Security

Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey is requesting security changes at the courthouse following the shootings there this month. Bailey met with the Berrien County Board of Commissioners on Thursday to voice his concerns. A new ad hoc committee was formed, and it was set to meet with Bailey to start talking about specific procedures and how much new security measures might cost. Bailey isn’t saying yet what his recommendations are. His request comes after the courthouse shootings on July 11 which resulted in the deaths of two courthouse security officers. Two others were also shot by an inmate trying to escape, and they are now recovering. The inmate was shot and killed by officers.... [Read Full Story]

Cass County Man Sentenced In Wife’s Murder

A Cass County man convicted in the fatal shooting of his wife has been sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison. The prosecutor’s office says 43-year-old Terry Ray Steinback shot and killed Laura Steinback during an argument at their Wayne Township home on May 12 of last year. Steinback was convicted of second degree murder, assault with intent to murder and felony firearm on June 10 following a jury trial. Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said at sentencing that the murder was “a senseless execution of a wonderful woman.” He also said that Steinback has deprived their 9-year-old daughter of the person who raised her since infancy. Steinback will serve an additional 2 years for possession of a firearm in the crime.... [Read Full Story]

Suspects In Bloomingdale Bank Robbery Arraigned

A 17-year-old from Grand Junction has been arraigned for the robbery of a Van Buren County bank on Thursday. The sheriff’s department says Ebony Dukes is charged with bank robbery, and her bond has been set at $1 million. She’s accused of walking into the Chemical Bank in Bloomingdale with two others and demanding cash. They made off with an undisclosed amount, and were found later in the day. The money was recovered. The other two suspects are described as a 16-year-old girl from Grand Junction and a 15-year-old boy from Covert. They’re being processed in juvenile court, and their names have not been released. They were also arraigned Friday. All three suspects have their next court dates on August 10.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren County Bank Robbery Suspects Arrested

Van Buren County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested three people who they say robbed the Chemical Bank branch in Bloomingdale early Thursday afternoon. Deputies say they walked into the bank at around 1:15 p.m. suggested they were armed, and demanded cash from the cashiers. They apparently parked their getaway vehicle, a dark blue mini-van at a nearby gas station. They were in custody within hours after the robbery.... [Read Full Story]

$70M For Foundation To Help Kalamazoo Fix Budget, Cut Taxes

Kalamazoo is getting $70 million from philanthropists and others to be used to create a foundation to help solve the city’s budget problems and cut property taxes. The Kalamazoo City Commission decided Thursday to move forward with the idea of creating the Foundation for Excellence. City leaders secured donations from Kalamazoo philanthropists William Johnston and William Parfet, among others, over a 3-year period. Officials expect the foundation would be fully-funded by 2020, so revenue from investments would be available for long-term. It would allow Kalamazoo to cut property taxes by 38% starting in January and spend $10 million annually on “aspirational” projects.... [Read Full Story]

Analyst: Clinton Has Much To Do To Win Over Voters

With Hillary Clinton now the Democratic nominee for president, the former secretary of state and first lady is tasked with essentially reintroducing herself to the country as the person best suited for the job. That’s according to Aaron Kall, director of debate at the University of Michigan. He says Clinton has a tough task ahead of her from a branding standpoint. With a recent FBI investigation into her emails and a fairly high unfavorable rating, he says Clinton has to project confidence and inspire.... [Read Full Story]

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]