Local News Archives

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]

Straight Party Ticket Ban Struck Down By Judge

A federal judge has blocked Michigan’s new ban on straight-party voting, a law that was passed by Republicans but criticized by Democrats as a
way to discourage turnout among minorities. Judge Gershwin Drain signed an injunction Thursday, a week after hearing arguments. He says the law would place a “disproportionate burden” on the rights of black citizens to vote in the fall election. Lawyers say more than 70 percent of ballots in Detroit and Flint have been cast as straight-party — votes that go for all candidates of one party with just a single mark. The state attorney general’s office, which is defending the law in court, says Michigan joined 40 other states in banning straight-party voting. The judge says that’s irrelevant.... [Read Full Story]

Cotter: Prevailing Wage Repeal Off Table

It was a priority for Michigan Republicans when this legislative session began, but not anymore. Speaker Kevin Cotter says an attempt to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law is off the table for the remaining 20 legislative days in this session. Cotter told Michigan’s Big Show that the Governor opposes the bill because it is contrary to his efforts to promote and encourage skilled trades in Michigan.... [Read Full Story]

Report: Courthouse Shooter Was School Volunteer

New information coming from our reporting partners at WKZO radio in Kalamazoo that Larry Gordon, the man who shot and killed two bailiffs at the Berrien County Courthouse, was also a volunteer at his daughter’s elementary school. Watervliet Public Schools superintendent Kevin Schooley confirms they only do security screens using fingerprints for employees, and did not know of Gordon’s extensive criminal history.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan Conference Seeks To Help Combat Human Trafficking

Efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking and combat the problem will be the focus of a fall conference in Ann Arbor. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission on Thursday announced the September 29 event. The commission, the State Court Administrative Office and the Department of Health and Human Services are involved. The conference is open to law enforcement, legal professionals, victim service providers, protective services workers, judiciary staff and other human trafficking-related groups. Details are posted online. Michigan has stepped up efforts in recent years to shield minor victims from prosecution and crack down criminals involved in human trafficking. Notices are being posted at rest stops, airports and bus stations to educate the public and
offer help for victims.... [Read Full Story]

South Haven Welcomes Two New City Officials

Some new city officials are in place in South Haven. This month, the city welcomed Travis Sullivan to serve as the new clerk. He comes to South Haven from Kalamazoo, where he worked in several positions in city government, as city records coordinator most recently. Sullivan has a Bachelor of Science degree in History and a Masters of Public Administration in public management from Grand Valley State University. Also welcomed this month was William Hunter, the new department of public works director. He comes from Grand Haven, where he also headed up DPW. He’d previously supervised the water plant there..... [Read Full Story]

National Police Night Out Next Month

The annual police National Night Out is coming up next month. The event is held each year in communities all over the country to help the public get better acquainted with their law enforcement agencies. Locally, the Night Out will be in St. Joseph Township at Riverview Park on August 2. St. Joe Township Police officer Rick Knapp says, in light of recent events, it would be a good thing if there’s a strong showing from the community.... [Read Full Story]

Rock Collectors Flock To Van Buren State Park

Rock collectors have been flocking to a state park in Covert that has seen broad expanses of stone because of high water levels. MLive reports that Van Buren State Park is typically known for its massive dunes and sandy beaches, but now visitors are coming out in force this summer
searching for everything from beach glass to fossils. Albion College geology student Jennifer Nelson, who working at the park this summer, says whether beaches are sandy or rocky is determined by how much sand the lake’s tide consumes. Nelson says fossils, granite and shiny, colorful stones have been particularly popular among young collectors. Adult collectors often look for Petoskey stones, which are somewhat rare but possible to find. She says visitors are allowed to collect 25 pounds of rocks per year from state land.... [Read Full Story]