Local News Archives

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]

West MI Funeral Director Sentenced For Fraud

A former western Michigan funeral director has been sentenced to eight months in jail for fraud. Thomas Clock III also was sentenced Monday in Muskegon County Circuit Court to two months’ probation and fines. Clock pleaded no contest in June in separate cases of common-law fraud. One case included an additional count of providing mortuary services without a license. His January arrest led to the discovery of a woman’s body in Clock’s parked funeral van. Authorities say Clock buried an empty urn and misled relatives that it contained her cremated remains.
He faced another fraud charge after a container intended for the cremated remains of a baby was found empty. Clock owned and operated the former Clock Funeral Home of White Lake in Whitehall.... [Read Full Story]

Upton Praises Signing Of Opioid Legislation

Legislation designed to reduce the number of deaths caused by opioid abuse has been signed into law by President Obama. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act is designed to strengthen treatment options, treat infants born to addiction, and increase state prescription monitoring programs. The plan was championed by Congressman Fred Upton in the House, with Upton saying deaths as a result of opioids have become a national health crisis. The package was approved by both the Senate and House by a wide margin with bipartisan support. Congressman Upton says it’s a “thoughtful solution that attacks the opioid epidemic from all sides — one that zeros in on treatment for addiction and overdoses, reforms prescribing practices, and works with law enforcement.”... [Read Full Story]

St. Joseph Commissioners Approve Changes To Harbor Shores Development

The St. Joseph City Commission has signed off on an amendment for a Harbor Shores planned unit development along the riverfront. At Monday’s meeting, commissioners heard from Andrew VonMaur, a consultant for the development at 800 Whitwam Drive, on the north side of the river. The plan was originally for 138 residential units, and now, they’ve updated it for 78 units of six different types, including cottages and row houses. VonMaur says the somewhat scaled-back development will be better suited to St. Joe.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren County Woman Arrested After Short Chase

A Van Buren County woman is jailed after police say she led them on a low-speed chase while drunk on Sunday night. The Van Buren County Sheriff”s Department says a deputy tried to pull over a LeBaron driven by 31-year-old Jennifer Vernier on 57th Street near Baseline Road around 10 p.m. for driving erratically. The vehicle didn’t stop, and continued on to Baseline for about a half mile. When the driver did pull over, deputies say she resisted them as they arrested her. The woman was found to be drunk, and wanted on a warrant. She was taken to the Van Buren County Jail on charges of resisting and obstructing, drunk driving, possession of open intoxicants in a vehicle, and other offenses.... [Read Full Story]

DNC Attendees Debate Superdelegate Question

The Democratic National Convention has opened up with an attempt to end the superdelegate system being squashed. Superdelegates are appointed by party leaders and vote for whoever they choose, regardless of who wins the presidential primary in their state. There are 17 in Michigan. On Saturday, the convention’s rules committee rejected petitions signed by more than a half-million people calling for an end to superdelegates. Rhode Island state Representative Aaron Regunberg serves on the committee.... [Read Full Story]

Attendance Up At Silver Beach This Summer

Attendance at Silver Beach County Park is up this year, especially when it comes to visitors who live outside of Berrien County. That’s according to Berrien County Parks Director Brian Bailey, who says through the end of June, non-resident attendance was almost double what it was at the same time last year.... [Read Full Story]

West Michigan Pike Named Pure Michigan Byway

The West Michigan Pike has been named a state Pure Michigan Byway. Pure Michigan byways are routes designated by Travel Michigan as ways that visitors can experience historically significant, culturally active and naturally beautiful areas of the state. On Monday, a celebration was held in Muskegon for the West Michigan Pike’s inclusion on the list. The West Michigan Pike is made up of several roads along Lake Michigan, including stretches of I-94, US-12, Red Arrow Highway, and Blue Star Highway. It passes through Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, South Haven, Saugatuck, Grand Haven, Holland, and Muskegon, among other places. The pike was originally designated as a tourist route in the 1920s. The effort to name it a Pure Michigan Byway began in 2006.... [Read Full Story]

Kalamazoo Police Help Woman, Baby Stranded In Heat

Two Kalamazoo Public Safety officers have helped a driver and her 2-month-old baby successfully get back on the road after being stranded in the heat. Carmen Higbee tells MLive that she was driving home from a local farmers market Saturday when she pulled into a gas station to fill up her near-empty tank. But the gas station was out of gas, and her tank hit empty before she was able reach the next one. Higbee called the police department, and officer Larison Suglik responded to the scene. Suglik said there weren’t any businesses nearby. The temperature in the area reached the 90s on Saturday. Suglik had Higbee and her daughter, Myla, sit in her air-conditioned patrol car while officer Ondreya Townsend brought a 1-gallon gas can for Higbee’s tan... [Read Full Story]

Yacht Sinks While Crossing Lake Michigan

A 48-foot yacht sank in a storm while competing in the annual Chicago to Mackinac Island race across Lake Michigan. Chicago Yacht Club spokeswoman Morgan Kinney says the WhoDo yacht’s crew reported it was taking on water Sunday afternoon after the rudder shaft broke
between the hull and the deck. MLive reports that crew members boarded a life raft and were pulled from the water by the crew of another boat. Kinney says none of the crew members requested medical attention and all were reported in good condition. She says conditions this year “have definitely been trying.” She says boats have suffered “a lot of wear and tear.” Nineteen of the 326 boats entered have withdrawn from the 333-mile race, which ends Monday.... [Read Full Story]