Local News Archives

Freak Lake Michigan Accident Injures Man

A Grand Rapids man found out the hard way that water isn’t soft when you’re bouncing off it while being pulled by a jet ski. 19-year-old Conner Carruthers had to be taken to South Haven Hospital after being thrown off the watercraft and getting tangled in the rope used to pull someone on an inner tube. Carruthers was smacked against the water as he was dragged by 16-year-old Hannah Ash of Fort Gratiot, suffering cuts, bruises, and possibly even a broken leg. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says Carruthers was acting as a spotter for Ash when he was tossed off Saturday afternoon near Van Buren State Park.... [Read Full Story]

Grand Rapids Lagoon Shut Down Following Death Of 21 Animals

An outdoor lagoon at a western Michigan zoo is being shut down following the deaths of 21 stingrays and sharks. MLive reports Friday that the exhibit at the John Ball Zoo has been dismantled. 18 cownose stingrays and three spotted bamboo sharks were found dead July 8 after mechanical malfunction shut off one of two pumps to the lagoon. Low oxygen levels were found in water samples. Zoo Chief Executive Peter D’Arienzo says “staff intends to work with aquatic consultants to determine what is needed to build a state-of-the-art stingray facility that is weather protected and includes the redundancies that might be needed to assure the animals’ safety.” D’Arienzo says “no new stingray exhibit will be built” until zoo officials “know that can be done.”... [Read Full Story]

Andrews University To Hold Summer Commencement Next Week

Andrews University in Berrien Springs will hold its summer commencement celebration next weekend. Everything will begin with the Friday evening consecration service at Pioneer Memorial Church, while Saturday night will bring the president’s reception, and Sunday will feature the commencement ceremony. The commencement address will be given by Myrna Costa, Vice President of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. It’s title will be “What God Wants to Teach You,” and it’s set for 9 a.m. at Pioneer Memorial Church. Commencement seating is by ticket only, while a live stream of the event will be provided at Andrews.edu/Graduation.... [Read Full Story]

Grand Rapids Art Exhibit Celebrates The Olympics

A new exhibit celebrating the Olympics and western Michigan athletes is going on display. The exhibit titled “An Olympic View” opens Saturday at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. It allows visitors to learn more about this summer’s host city of Rio de Janeiro as well as the history of ancient Greece. Artifacts include jewelry and Brazilian coins. In the modern era, the museum says a dozen athletes from Grand Rapids have
competed in the Olympics. “An Olympic View” also lets visitors explore the locations of the modern Olympics. And an interactive photo opportunity allows visitors to pose as a gold medalist. The display, which is being promoted as a mini-exhibit, ends August 21.... [Read Full Story]

State Releases Eat Safe Fish Guides

Officials have released the 2016 editions of Michigan’s regional Eat Safe Fish Guides. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the guides help to ensure that people who eat fish are minimizing exposure to chemicals that can build up in fish. Chemicals in fish are a worldwide problem, but officials say it’s important to note that fish from some areas in Michigan and the Great Lakes region are more contaminated than others. MDHHS tests the portions of fish that people eat, typically the filets. The results from the state laboratory are used to determine what is safe for people to consume over the long-term. The guides aren’t laws or regulations, so following them isn’t required but is recommended. The guide is free online at Michigan.gov/EatSafeFish.... [Read Full Story]

MI Trump Delegates Satisfied With Candidate

Michigan’s Donald Trump delegates to the Republican National Convention this year say they’re pleased with what they heard from the candidate. West Michigan delegate Matt Hall was on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena when Trump have his acceptance speech Thursday, and says he liked the billionaire’s message.... [Read Full Story]

First Michigan Case Of West Nile Virus This Year Found

Michigan’s first human case of West Nile virus this year has been found in Livingston County. The state health department said Friday an “older adult” is recovering. No other details were released. Mosquitoes pick up the virus from infected birds and then pass it to people. The elderly and people with a weak immune system are considered to be at greatest risk for death. Thirteen birds have tested positive for West Nile. Michigan has plenty of what the virus needs to become potent: hot weather. Many people who are infected won’t develop any symptoms, which can include
body aches, joint pain and diarrhea.... [Read Full Story]

Woman Arrested On Weapon And Drug Charges Following Traffic Stop

A Dowagiac woman is facing multiple charges after police say they found drugs and weapons in her vehicle during a traffic stop this week. Around 1 a.m. on Thursday, officers stopped 20-year-old Cheyenne Kiggins on Edwards Street near East Division Street. They learned Kiggins did not have a valid driver’s license. Officers then used a K9 to search the vehicle, leading them to 30 packages of suspected methamphetamine, a small amount of suspected heroin, and various methamphetamine-related items. Police also found two loaded handguns, multiple knives, and brass knuckles. Kiggins was arrested and charged with various drug and weapons offenses. She remains in the Cass County Jail with bond set at $20,000.... [Read Full Story]

SWM Housing Market Strong In June

The housing market in southwest Michigan remains strong, with prices up for the month of June, while total unit sales were slightly down. Gary Walter, with the Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors, says the most striking thing about the month was the average price.... [Read Full Story]

Whirlpool Reports Record Second Quarter Earnings

Whirlpool Corporation has reported record second-quarter financial results. The latest numbers were released Friday, showing second-quarter net earnings of $320 million, or $4.15 per diluted share, compared to $177 million, or $2.21 per diluted share, reported for the same period last year. CEO Jeff Fettig says the Benton Harbor-based appliance maker “delivered another quarter of record earnings and margin expansion while overcoming challenges in several key countries through focused execution of our plans.” Whirlpool says second-quarter net sales of $5.2 billion were flat compared to the same prior-year period, and excluding the impact of currency, sales increased by 3 percent. Fettig added the company is confident it can continue delivering record financial results.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Animal Control Shows Off New Shelter

The public has had a chance to check out the new Berrien County Animal Control facility in Benton Township. An open house was held Friday as residents came out to tour the shelter and see all of its new features. Animal Control Director Val Grimes says the shelter is an improvement over the old one in Berrien Center in a variety of ways.... [Read Full Story]

Health Officials Warn About Extreme Heat This Weekend

We have another day, and experts are warning people to be careful. Dr. Brad Uren with the University of Michigan’s Department of Emergency Medicine explains children under age two and elderly adults cannot regulate their temperatures as well as others and are particularly vulnerable to extreme heat. He notes signs to look for that may indicate emergency help is needed.... [Read Full Story]

New Information Released On Courthouse Shooting

Larry Gordon planned his attempted escape from the Berrien County Jail and courthouse last Monday in an incident that ended with his death and the deaths of courthouse security director Joe Zangaro and bailiff Ron Kienzle. Sheriff’s Department Detective Greg Sanders says officers found a letter Gordon had written to his ex-wife in his cell.... [Read Full Story]

Sheriff To Update Courthouse Shooting Investigation

We will know more later today about the shootings at the Berrien County Courthouse last week that killed two court officers. Sheriff Paul Bailey will give his first press conference in over a week at 10 a.m. to detail what their investigation has discovered so far. What we know for sure is jail inmate Larry Gordon somehow managed to get a gun out of the holster of Deputy James Atterberry Jr and shoot him, Kenya Ellis of Benton Harbor, and bailiffs Joe Zangaro and Ron Kienzle. Zangaro and Kienzle were killed, and other officers killed Gordon. The shooting happened as he was being led back to a holding cell after a court appearance. WSJM plans to carry the press conference live this morning, and it will also be available on our podcast page later today.... [Read Full Story]

Lansing Serial Killer Up For Parole

A man who admitted to killing four mid-Michigan women in the 1970s is up for parole. The Lansing State Journal reports Thursday that 61-year-old Donald Miller is scheduled to meet next month with a member of the state parole board. Miller was sentenced to 30 to 50 years in 1979 for the rape and attempted murder of two Delta Township teenagers. He also confessed to killing four women, but a lack of evidence forced the Ingham County prosecutor to offer him reduced charges in exchange for leading them to the bodies. Seven parole hearings were held between 1989 and 1997. Relatives of the dead women and officials have opposed parole over the years. Miller is being held at a correctional facility in Jackson and declined an interview.... [Read Full Story]

Open House At Berrien County Animal Shelter Friday

Anyone interested in seeing the new Berrien County Animal Control facility in Benton Township will have a chance to do so Friday. Animal Control Director Val Grimes says everyone is welcome to come out between 1 and 7 p.m. to take a tour and even walk a dog. She says she’s very pleased with the new building and the public should see it.... [Read Full Story]

Prosecutor Files Sentencing Motions In Ten Juvenile Murder Cases

Sentences of life in prison without parole are being sought for a second time by the Berrien County Prosecutor’s office in ten cases that go as far back as 1967. The prosecutor’s office on Thursday announced it has filed motions seeking that sentence in response to a couple of Supreme Court rulings striking down mandatory life without parole sentences for juvenile offenders. Since the 2012 ruling, judges have the option of handing down life without parole to a juvenile, but they can also impose a lesser sentence. The ruling in 2016 was made retroactive. The prosecutor’s office says in all ten local cases affected by the rulings, it’s asking once again for just that sentence. The prosecutor had until the end of this week to file motions with the request. All ten cases involve murder.... [Read Full Story]

Kalamazoo Spill Settlement Renews Calls To Shut Down Line 5

The settlement reached in the Kalamazoo River oil spill is intensifying calls from citizen and environmental groups to shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. A $177 million federal oil spill settlement with Enbridge Energy Partners was announced Wednesday for the 2010 pipeline rupture. Deb Hansen, with Concerned Citizens of Cheboygan and Emmet County, contends the settlement is inadequate, and says it shows the risk the state is taking for continuing to allow Enbridge pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.... [Read Full Story]