Local News Archives

Allegan Public Schools Sued Over Sexual Abuse


Former Allegan Public Schools officials are being sued by a former student for not acting against an accused child predator who is facing decades in prison if convicted of sexually assaulting four girls at schools in metro Detroit. James Baird was a part-time teacher along with the aquatics director and swim coach at Allegan High School from August 2005 until March 2010, and attorney Ven Johnson says former administrators knew in 2007 he was sexually harassing several girls on the swim team. The district investigated in 2007 and banned him from working with female students, but Johnson says nothing else was done. Baird was fired in 2010 for inappropriate behavior.... [Read Full Story]

MDOT Meets With Allegan Residents On Roundabout


The Michigan Department of Transportation has met with a few dozen Allegan residents about a roundabout that will be built at the intersection of M-89, M-40, and Hubbard Street. Construction is expected to begin in March or April of 2024. MDOT engineers say the roundabout will create a smoother traffic flow and be safe for semis and pedestrians. A “truck apron” is also planned for the inside shoulder to give semis room to drive on the parts of the roundabout that are tighter. People expressed their worries about detour routes and were told those routes will be posted before the work begins.... [Read Full Story]

Murder-Suicide In Decatur Township


Michigan State Police are investigating a murder-suicide in Decatur Township. A man and a woman were found shot to death Friday night in a home in the 38-thousand block of 82nd Avenue. Their names have not been released and neither has any information about what led to their deaths.... [Read Full Story]

MDOT To Hold Public Meeting In Allegan Next Week


A public meeting will be held next Thursday at Allegan City Hall by the Michigan Department of Transportation regarding the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of M-89 and M-40. The project is scheduled for next year. MDOT officials will give details along with proposed detour routes and the scheduling information. The meeting will be open from 5 to 7 p.m., and people can stop by anytime in those two hours to learn more. M-89 will also be resurfaced from M-222 to 29th Street.... [Read Full Story]

Five Men To Face Trial This Summer In Whitmer Kidnap Plot


The five remaining defendants accused of plotting to try to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 will stand trial this summer. Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer told attorneys to check their schedules for possible trial dates from May through August yesterday. Forty-year-old twins Michael and William Null of Plainwell and Shelbyville; 40-year-old Shawn Fix of Belleville; and 38-year-old Eric Molitor of Cadillac are charged with providing material support for an act of terrorism and possessing a firearm while committing a felony. Fifty-three-year-old Brian Higgins of Wisconsin is charged with one count of providing material support for an act of terrorism.... [Read Full Story]

Police Identify Man Who Drove Into Lake Macatawa


The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office has identified the Otsego man who died when he drove his vehicle into Lake Macatawa in Park Township early Sunday morning. He was 52-year-old Jon Dowler, whose eight and ten-year-old daughters survived after the rear hatch on their Nissan Rogue opened up. The two girls got to shore and sheltered on a porch for several hours Sunday. Police say they don’t yet know how the hatch opened and are wondering if Dowler may have helped the girls.... [Read Full Story]

Lucky Girl Brewing Company Catches Fire In Paw Paw


The Lucky Girl Brewing Company at the corner of M-43 and M-40 in Paw Paw will be closed for a while after a fire this morning. Crews were called to the scene early in the morning and had the flames out by 1:30 a.m., and were called back after it rekindled around 4 a.m. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office says it may have started in the electric panel on the building’s west side and it’s too early to tell if it was intentional. Deputies also won’t comment if it is linked to previous vandalism in the area. No one was hurt.... [Read Full Story]

Draft Palisades Economic Recovery Plan Released


The University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute has released the most recent draft of the assessment part of the Palisades Economic Recovery Plan as the Covert Township plant has closed and is being decommissioned. Senior project manager Carmen Wells Quigg says ten industries will be hit, with employment services having a major impact.... [Read Full Story]

Two Children Survive, Dad Dies After Car Drives Into Lake Macatawa


Two girls ages eight and ten have survived after their 52-year-old father from Otsego crashed their car into Lake Macatawa in Park Township overnight Saturday or early Sunday morning. He was found dead in the vehicle, while the girls got out, sheltered on a nearby porch that night, and got help Sunday morning. The girls knocked on the door of Kevin Macleod, who let them in and his wife helped warm them up. The man’s name has not been released.... [Read Full Story]

SHAES Purchases New Harnesses With Grant


South Haven Area Emergency Services has upgraded its equipment for confined space rescues. A $5,000 grant from New Covert Generating Facility has allowed SHAES to purchase seven sets of harnesses and seven 200-foot-long ropes. Firefighter and paramedic Zachary Kenreich says the harnesses can be put on quicker than what they used to use and they can also be used in water rescues. New Covert Generating Facility is a natural gas-fired, combined-cycle plant and SHAES would be one of the mutual aid responders should an emergency requiring confined space rescues occur.... [Read Full Story]

Income Tax Cut Possible In Michigan This Year


An income tax cut is possible in Michigan this year due to a revenue surplus of around $9.2 billion. The rate would automatically drop from 4.25% to 4.05% if the general fund grows faster than the rate of inflation due to a 2015 road funding bill signed by former Governor Rick Snyder. Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt of Van Buren County is urging majority Democrats to keep the cut in place. Nesbitt says he wants to return as much money as possible from the surplus to taxpayers. Democrats are in the majority in both the House and Senate and have the governor’s office as well for the first time in nearly 40 years. Democrats have introduced plans for tax cuts, and Governor Whitmer wants the pension tax in place for senior citizens repealed.... [Read Full Story]

Van Buren County Adds Property Mapping Site


Van Buren County now has a new mapping and parcel viewing website online. The site gives people easy access to geographic information including property boundaries, legal descriptions, and parcel ownership information. There is also an interactive map viewer allowing for specific searches for locations that will provide detailed information. The parcel mapping site is among the ways the county says it is working to improve access to information and resources for its citizens. The site can be viewed at vanburencountymi.gov.... [Read Full Story]

Hartford Police Chief Out


Hartford Police Chief Tressa Beltran has resigned from the department amid an Attorney General’s Office investigation into missing pills from the drug disposal box at the police station. She had been with Hartford police since 1989, became chief in 2016, and had been on leave since June 30, 2022. Beltran is accused of taking 24 Hydrocodone pills from bottles dropped off by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Team on June 24. She was the only staff member with a key to the Red Med Box and had taken the pills off the property when investigators returned on June 29 to get the medication to be destroyed.... [Read Full Story]

Former Nickel Plating Facility Designated PFAS Site


The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team has identified a former nickel plating facility in South Haven as Van Buren County’s third designated PFAS site. MPART says Four Star Corporation was in business from 1964 to 1983 and eight of the eleven groundwater samples taken have exceeded the safety criteria. The state Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will work with health officials to evaluate nearby residential drinking water wells. Groundwater from the site on Kalamazoo Street flows west into a creek which then flows into Lake Michigan.... [Read Full Story]

Man Arrested For Erratic Driving, Chase On I-94


A 27-year-old Sterling Heights man is in the Van Buren County Jail after erratic driving on I-94 and a chase that followed him being pulled over in Paw Paw Township near the 59 mile marker. Gino Miller allegedly drove between 85 and 100 miles an hour during the chase shortly before 1 am today, avoiding attempts from several police agencies to stop him using spike strips. Miller was finally stopped in Berrien County when sheriff’s deputies successfully used spike strips to blow his left side front tire. He kept driving at slow speeds and tried to swerve at police vehicles that were attempting to get him off the road. Miller stopped near the 38 mile marker and was arrested. Police seized a small amount of fentanyl and found he had a Berrien County warrant for fleeing and eluding and possessing cocaine and a felony warrant from Illinois.... [Read Full Story]

Dyckman Park Wintertime Gathering Spot Approved


The South Haven City Council on Monday unanimously approved the SHOUT proposed construction of a wintertime gathering place at Dyckman Park. The project earlier received endorsements from the Downtown Development Authority and the South Haven Parks Commission. SHOUT president Bob Copping told the council about the money raised for the project.... [Read Full Story]

Allegan County To Expand Broadband To All


Allegan County will be expanding broadband internet availability to the entire county in the next two years. The county board of commissioners on Thursday approved paying Southfield-based 123.net $18 million for the project to get the service to around 12,000 homes. Board chairman Jim Storey called it a “milestone agreement” that is an example of what they can do through teamwork and a “spirit of togetherness.” The start date for the work has not yet been set. Allegan County’s 2021-22 Strategic Plan called insufficient internet access a primary concern for county residents.... [Read Full Story]

Two Arrested For Damaging Plainwell Golf Course


Two juveniles are in custody on the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office and charged with vandalism at the Lake Doster Golf Club in Plainwell in November. The damage is estimated at over $75,000. Tire tracks were found around and on the greens of the sixth and seventh holes on November 26. The course might be forced to use temporary greens in 2023 on those holes due to the damage.... [Read Full Story]