Local News Archives

Funeral Today For Ron Kienzle

Southwest Michigan says goodbye to Berrien County Courthouse bailiff Ron Kienzle today. His funeral is set for 1 p.m. at the Mendel Center on the campus of Lake Michigan College. Kienzle was shot and killed along with courthouse security director Joe Zangaro last Monday by an inmate who was trying to escape after a court appearance. There will be road closures starting at 9 a.m. when Yore Avenue is shut down between Empire and Napier. Crystal Avenue will be closed from Empire to Napier from 2 until 4 p.m., and the outside westbound lane of Napier Avenue will be closed from Yore Avenue to Pipestone Road from 1:30 to around 4 p.m. Police will also close the exit ramps from I-94 to Napier in both directions from 1:30 to around 4 p.m.... [Read Full Story]

Hundreds March For Unity, Love

Love and unity – those were the themes of a march Sunday afternoon from Cafe Mosiac in Benton Harbor to the Berrien County Courthouse. Organized after the shooting deaths of two court officers, the march also stemmed from recent violence nationwide with police shooting and killing two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana and the ambush that killed five Dallas police officers. Cafe Mosiac’s Andrew Collins, a former Benton Township police officer, says there’s too much negativity in the world, “lot of people who want to scream and holler about what the problems are.” He tells WSJM News “we felt it was necessary to bring some talk about the solution, and we believe that through Christ the only solution is love. We’re touting the L-O-V-E and we have an acronym with that. The L is learn about the community that you work in, or that you live in, or that you serve in. The O is have an open heart and open mind to those who may not look or sound or think like you. The V is to volunteer in those communities which you may not be a part of, and the E is to empower other people to do the same.”... [Read Full Story]

AAA Report Finds Most Drivers Get Road Rage

A new AAA report reveals road rage continues to be a major concern. The agency conducted a survey of 2,700 drivers around the country, finding nearly 80% of them experienced aggression or anger while behind the wheel in the past year. AAA’s Gary Bubar says some people will create dangers on the road because of anger.... [Read Full Story]

Local Candidate Forum Set For Next Week

A forum with local political candidates is planned for next week. It’s being organized by the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, and will be held at the Super 8 Conference Center on Red Arrow Highway in Stevensville on Friday. On hand will be several candidates for local office, including county commission and drain commissioner. The forum will be at noon. Organizers say everyone’s welcome to come out and bring some questions for those running.... [Read Full Story]

Man Picked Up On Warrant While Playing Pokemon GO

A man with a warrant for his arrest was taken into custody after showing up at a Detroit-area police station while playing the Pokemon GO game. The Detroit News reports Milford police say the 26-year-old, who was wearing pajama pants, rode a bike to the Milford station Thursday.
Police Chief Tom Lindberg says officers recognized him because they’ve had contact with him in previous years. He was booked on a warrant for missing a court date and released. The newspaper says he was originally charged with breaking and entering. The location-aware smartphone game gives digital incentives like “Pokeballs” as rewards for visiting real places. The locations are known as “Pokestops” and “Gyms.” According to Milford police, the station is the site of a “Gym” as part of the game.... [Read Full Story]

Historic Southwest Michigan Bridge To Be Moved

A historic bridge that’s the last of its kind in Michigan is going to be replaced by a new span that’ll be the first of its kind in the state. The Elkhart Truth reports that the Michigan Department of Transportation plans to begin removing the M-86 bridge over the Prairie River near Centreville
on July 18. It’ll be relocated to Cass County. In its place, the department will build a new 104-foot bridge that’ll be the first in the state to include carbon fiber composite strand reinforcement. It’ll be the second span in the state to include concrete T-beams. The department says pairing the bulb T-beams and the carbon fiber strands will reduce concrete cracking, deterioration and corrosion common in traditional steel-reinforced bridges. The $4.9 million project is scheduled for completion in November 2017.... [Read Full Story]

MDOT Begins US-12 Project Monday

The Michigan Department of Transportation is advising drivers about a construction project set to begin in Berrien County on Monday. It says there will be shoulder paving on US-12 between M-139 and M-60 in Niles. The work will mean single lane closures at various times. It starts Monday and will run through Wednesday, August 10. You can keep yourself up to date on all of MDOT’s summer projects by installing the agency’s MIDrive app. It’s available free for both iPhone and Android.... [Read Full Story]

AAA: Stop Playing Pokemon GO While Driving

AAA of Michigan is warning drivers to put down their Pokemon GO games while behind the wheel. Spokesperson Gary Bubar says there have already been reports of crashes caused by players, with one man in New York hitting a tree because he was trying to catch ’em all while driving. Bubar says playing with a phone app behind the wheel is a recipe for disaster.... [Read Full Story]

Suspect Faces Additional Charges In West MI Shooting

A 21-year-old western Michigan man faces additional charges in connection with the shooting of three people outside a high school basketball game in February. The Muskegon Chronicle reports that Clarence McCaleb was arraigned Friday on six charges, including three for assault with intent to commit murder. He previously was charged with pointing a gun at a sheriff’s deputy and other crimes. Two females and one male were shot February 9 outside Muskegon Heights Public School Academy, northwest of Grand Rapids. Two of the wounded were students. Authorities say McCaleb was shot and wounded by a deputy after refusing to drop a pistol. Defense attorney Scott Pederson didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. McCaleb is jailed on a $1 million bond. His preliminary examination is scheduled for August 1.... [Read Full Story]

Lakeview Avenue Work Set For Saturday

Work to resurface part of Lakeview Avenue in St. Joseph will cause some traffic disruptions this weekend. The city says contractors will be installing storm sewer crossings at Colonial Avenue and Lakeview Avenue Saturday. The work was scheduled for the weekend so as to minimize problems for the Area Agency on Aging. Residents within the construction area on Lakeview will be able to enter and exit to the north, and they’re asked to use caution and allow for extra time. The road’s surface will be restored by the end of the day. The city says storm sewer construction will be done next week, which may mean water shut offs to individual homes to move piping.... [Read Full Story]

More Than $33,000 Raised For Lakeland Watervliet

More than $33,000 has been raised for Lakeland Hospital in Watervliet, thanks to the Community Hospital Foundation’s annual golf outing held recently at Lake Michigan Hills Golf Club in Benton Harbor. Lakeland says the event hosted 120 golfers who attended an awards lunch and took part in several raffle drawings for things including Whirlpool appliances and a trip to a resort. Lakeland says the annual golf outing is made possible thanks to donors and foundation advocates who helped with registration and served as rangers on the golf course.... [Read Full Story]

Woman Arrested Following Van Buren County Hit & Run

A Van Buren County woman is facing charges after a hit and run crash reported Thursday morning. Michigan State Police out of the Paw Paw post say they were called about a man who’d been hit by a pickup while walking his dog in Porter Township, near Lawton. The 65-year-old was hit in the arm and the ribs when the pickup crossed the centerline and went into the other lane. It then continued on. Not long after their investigation began, troopers found the suspect vehicle at a home nearby. A 50-year-old woman told troopers she’d been reaching for her cell phone and thought she’d hit a mailbox when the incident happened. She said she knew she’s lost her driver’s side mirror, but didn’t stop. The woman was arrested for failure to report an accident causing injury. The victim was treated and released at a local hospital.... [Read Full Story]

Service Held For Slain Berrien County Officer

A service for slain Berrien County Courthouse security chief Joseph Zangaro has been held. The service to remember his life drew thousands to Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center in Benton Township Friday afternoon. A 21-gun salute was held in Zangaro’s honor, a bugler played taps, blue ribbons were seen all over the property, and police agencies from across southwest Michigan were represented. Hundreds of officers were in attendance. Zangaro was shot and killed Monday by a Berrien County Jail inmate who was trying to escape. Also killed was jail security officer Ronald Kienzle. Kienzle’s service will also be at the Mendel Center on Monday at 1 p.m. Visitation will be Sunday from 1-5 p.m. at Starks & Menchinger Chapel in St. Joseph.... [Read Full Story]

Attorney: Kalamazoo Bike Crash Driver Didn’t Intend Harm

A defense lawyer says a man accused of killing five people by plowing his speeding pickup truck into a group of Kalamazoo area bicyclists hadn’t intended to harm them. The comment from lawyer Alan Koenig followed the release this week of police reports saying 50-year-old Charles Pickett Jr. had taken pain pills and muscle relaxers less than two hours before the June 7 crash in Kalamazoo County. Koenig offered thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families in an email to The Associated Press on Friday. Pickett is charged with second-degree murder and driving while intoxicated causing death. He returns to court next month. Another four bicyclists were injured when they were struck from behind on a two-lane road in Cooper Township.... [Read Full Story]

Report: Two-Thirds Graduate From MI Universities Within Six Years

Nearly two-thirds of students who enroll in Michigan universities earn a degree within six years, according to a state report. Just 36% graduate within four years. The success rate for students at community colleges is lower. About 35% earn a two-year degree or a transfer to a four-year institution within six years of enrollment. The figures were reported for the first time this week using what officials say is a new and improved methodology. It reflects both part- and full-time enrollment and adjusts for students transferring between colleges. Officials say the data will keep schools accountable and help the institutions better serve students. Michigan’s Center for Educational Performance and Information began collecting student-level data in 2009-10, so this is the first cohort with six years of available data.... [Read Full Story]

Large Turnout Expected For Zangaro Funeral Today

Hundreds of people are expected to attend the funeral today for Joe Zangaro, one of two bailiffs shot and killed Monday at the Berrien County Courthouse. His visitation was yesterday at Starks & Menchinger Chapel in St. Joseph, and Berrien County Chief Judge Gary Bruce spoke with our partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16 about the loss of Zangaro and Ron Kienzle.... [Read Full Story]

Lakeland Health Now Posting Estimated Waiting Times Online

You can now find out how long you’ll be waiting to see a doctor when going to the emergency department and walk-in clinic at Lakeland Health. It’s now got a waiting time posted right on the front page of LakelandHealth.org. The new service will help patients know how much time to set aside for their visit. Ray Cruse, Lakeland Vice President of Business Strategy and Hospitality Services, says the new service also allows patients to make a more educated decision about where they choose to receive care while offering transparency. Lakeland notes that those experiencing serious, life-threatening emergencies continue to receive treatment immediately.... [Read Full Story]

Program Allows Free State Park Access With Library Card

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, state Senator John Proos has a suggestion — check out one of the state’s parks using a free pass you can get at your local library. Proos says the state’s Michigan Activity Pass Program enables anyone to print out a pass to a state park using their library card. Just go to the library, and then take in some of southwest Michigan’s most scenic places.... [Read Full Story]

AAA Foundation: Drivers Admit To Road Rage

A new AAA Foundation report reveals road rage continues to be a major concern. The agency conducted a survey of 2,700 drivers around the country, finding nearly 80% of them experienced aggression or anger while behind the wheel in the past year. AAA’s Gary Bubar says some people create dangerous situations on the road because of anger.... [Read Full Story]

Local Candidate Forum Rescheduled

A local candidate forum organized by the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce has been rescheduled. The event had been slated for Friday in Stevensville, but the chamber has moved it to next week out of respect for the Berrien County court security officers who were killed this week. Services for court security chief Joseph Zangaro are planned for this Friday, and a chamber representative tells us they didn’t want to have their forum the same day. It’s now been bumped back to next Friday, July 22. The candidates who had been scheduled to appear have been notified, and most of them can still make it to the rescheduled event. It will still be held at noon at the Super 8 Conference Center on Red Arrow Highway.... [Read Full Story]

Cass County Sheriff’s Department Identifies Suspects In High School Break In

Surveillance video has helped the Cass County Sheriff’s Department quickly solve a school break in case. It says three suspects broke into Ross Beatty High School in Cassopolis overnight Tuesday. They damaged IT equipment, fiber optic lines, and the school’s server. Some items were also stolen. Some images from surveillance video were send around to other law enforcement agencies and put on the sheriff’s department’s Facebook page, leading to the suspects being identified within 45 minutes. The sheriff’s department thanks the public for its help in solving the case.... [Read Full Story]

This Is National Disability Voter Registration Week

During National Disability Voter Registration Week, advocates are hoping to convince county election officials around Michigan before the November election to make sure polling places are set up for people with disabilities. RoAnne Chaney, Executive Director of the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition, says some election policies can also block access or create long lines that are difficult for some people to stand in.... [Read Full Story]