Local News Archives

Sheriff: Gordon Was Handcuffed Before Shootings

Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey now says a jail inmate’s hands were cuffed in front when he wrested a gun from a deputy and killed two bailiffs at the courthouse in St. Joseph. Bailey says he had wrong information Monday when he said the inmate, Larry Darnell Gordon of Coloma, was not handcuffed. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Bailey says Gordon got into a fight with a deputy while being escorted to a courtroom from a holding cell. Two bailiffs were killed and two people were injured before Gordon was killed by other officers. The sheriff says an investigation will reveal more details about what happened. The deputy who was escorting Gordon is in a hospital with injuries that aren’t life-threatening.... [Read Full Story]

Names Of Victims In Courthouse Shooting Released

Two Berrien County court officers are dead after an inmate of the county jail grabbed one of their guns on Monday afternoon. Sheriff Paul Bailey identified the victims as 61-year-old Joseph Zangaro and 63-year-old Ronald Kienzle. Police say Zangaro was the supervisor of court security and had worked for the court since 2004. He was a retired Michigan State Police Bridgman post commander. Kienzle had worked for the trial court since 2005, and was a retired Benton Township police sergeant. Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy James Atterberry was also shot, and is recovering at Lakeland Hospital, along with a woman whose name hasn’t been released. The inmate has been identified as 45-year-old Larry Darnell Gordon, of Coloma. Bailey says Gordon was able to get an officer’s gun during a struggle.... [Read Full Story]

Reaction To Courthouse Shootings Coming in From Across The Nation

Support for the victims of Monday’s courthouse shootings in St. Joseph is pouring in from all over the country. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted, “Thoughts and prayers with the victims, and their families – along with everyone at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan.” Closer to home, Congressman Fred Upton writes, “We have lost two very able public servants and we all grieve for them and their families.” Similar sentiments were expressed by U.S. Senator Gary Peters, who wrote he’s “deeply saddened by the tragic shootings at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph.” State Senator John Proos commended the professionalism of local law enforcement in responding, and state Representative Al Pscholka said, “We are in a very difficult time across America right now, and this is hitting very close to home.”... [Read Full Story]

Groups At Odds With Michigan Attorney General Over Transgender Restroom Directive

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette faces some criticism for what opponents say is an attack on the rights of transgender students. Schuette added Michigan to a lawsuit on Friday involving nine other states. It attempts to block a guidance from the Obama administration promoting equal treatment of transgender students in schools, claiming the rules are unlawful.... [Read Full Story]

Elkhart Woman Badly Hurt In Galien Motorcycle Crash

A northern Indiana woman is being treated for serious injuries sustained when her motorcycle hit an SUV head-on Sunday in Galien Township. 50-year-old Gloria Helenbolt wasn’t wearing a helmet. Investigators with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department say she sideswiped two other vehicles on US 12 before going into the east-bound lane and colliding with the SUV. Helenbolt is hospitalized at South Bend Memorial. No one else was hurt.... [Read Full Story]

Michigan’s Lowest Gas Prices In SWMI

We have Michigan’s lowest gas prices in southwest Michigan. According to Triple-A, Benton Harbor and St. Joe stand at $2.13, though some stations in Benton Harbor are down to $2.03. South Haven prices are under $2 a gallon, as are prices in Dowagiac. Triple-A puts the state average at $2.29, down 9-cents from last week and a drop of 60¢ from this time last year. Prices have dropped around Michigan for four consecutive weeks after spiking and giving the state the nation’s second-highest average price in early June. The auto club says Michigan’s average price is the 24th most expensive average in the country.... [Read Full Story]

State Tests Find Botulism In Dead Birds

Type C botulism has been diagnosed in wild waterfowl along the east arm of northern Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay and along Marsh Creek in Wayne County’s Woodhaven. State Natural Resources officials say dead mallards were collected during the first week in July. Tests confirmed type C botulism. Birds catch botulism by ingesting a naturally occurring toxin produced by bacteria in sediments beneath water bodies. Rising Great Lakes levels have created shallow-water areas on previously exposed mudflats, creating conditions for the bacteria to grow. Dabbling ducks and other shore birds that feed in the sediments are vulnerable. As of Thursday, about 20 mallards from Grand Traverse Bay and 50 from Wayne
County were found dead from the condition. Officials say the botulism poses no immediate risk to people.... [Read Full Story]

Smooth Jazz at Sunset Draws Huge Crowd

The weather was perfect for the 2016 Smooth Jazz at Sunset concert, Saturday night at Shadowland Pavilion in St. Joseph. Mindi Abair was the headliner this year who’s career includes two Grammy nominations. She spent two seasons on American Idol which led her to joining Aerosmith as their first saxophonist since 1973. The opening act for Smooth Jazz was Bryan Lubeck, who has sold over 10-thousand CDs. His most recent release, “Tuscan Sky” and spent 15 weeks on the Top 40 Smooth Jazz Radio Charts.... [Read Full Story]

Ten States Sue Over Restrooms Transgender Students Can Use

Ten states are suing the federal government over rules requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms conforming to their gender identity. The lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in Nebraska. The other states involved are Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson says in a news release that the U.S. Education Department and Justice Department have circumvented established law and the process for changing existing laws. Peterson also says the rule takes away the authority of local school districts to deal with such issues on an individualized basis.... [Read Full Story]

Benton Harbor Mayor Talks Police-Community Relations

Following the recent police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana, as well as Thursday’s killings of five police officers in Texas, Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad says police and the communities they serve need to better communicate. Muhammad says he recently attended a national mayor’s conference in Washington, D.C., and was among those asked by President Obama to ask their local police to find ways of addressing police misconduct while also thanking them for their service. Muhammad says he’s spoken with Department of Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis about the issue.... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Pesticide Collection Coming Up

Time is running out to sign up to have unwanted pesticides disposed of by Berrien County. The parks and recreation department says Wednesday, July 27 will be the final Clean Sweep collection of 2016 for unwanted agriculture pesticides. It’s a chance to get rid of those chemicals in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. The registration deadline is July 13, next Wednesday. Anyone who wants to sign up can call Berrien County Environmental Property Manager Jill Adams at 983-7111, extension 8234. Or, you can get a form to sign up at Berrien, Cass, or Van Buren County MSU Extension offices or Conservation District offices. They’ll also provide you with the drop-off site details. More than 2.2 million pounds of unwanted pesticides have been properly disposed through the statewide Clean Sweep program since it started. The next closest Clean Sweep collection site is located in Kalamazoo.... [Read Full Story]

Dry Conditions Not Hurting Southwest Michigan Farmers

Farmers in southwest Michigan are being mostly spared from the abnormally dry conditions that have been threatening crops elsewhere in the state. Mark Longstroth, with the MSU Extension office in Van Buren County, says drought stress is only showing up in some of the corn and soybeans. He says the region’s fruits are faring quite well.... [Read Full Story]

Trump To Appear Next Week With Indiana Governor

Donald Trump is to appear with Indiana Governor Mike Pence at a fundraiser next week. Pence is considered a leading candidate to be Trump’s running mate, and he’s listed as a host of Tuesday’s Indianapolis event on an invitation obtained by The Associated Press. A Pence spokesman confirmed the governor’s plans to attend the private fundraiser. Tickets range from $2,700 per person to $250,000 per  couple. An appearance by Pence would be the latest in a series of apparent auditions for Trump’s vice presidential prospects. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich both appeared  at rallies with Trump this week. Corker has since withdrawn his name from consideration. And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is also being vetted for the post, was set to appear with Trump in Miami on Friday before the event was canceled because of the mass shooting in Dallas. Trump is expected to name his choice in the coming days.... [Read Full Story]

Upton Praises House Action On Opioids

Congressman Fred Upton is hailing U.S. House action designed to reduce the abuse of opioids. Following this week’s passage of the conference report to accompany the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, Upton issued a statement saying the “overwhelming bipartisan vote of 407-5 underscores the urgency” in addressing the nation’s growing epidemic of deaths by opioid abuse. Speaking on the House floor in May, Upton noted the issue has become a major health crisis.... [Read Full Story]

Thousands Turn Out For Krasl Art Fair

The 55th Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff is underway in downtown St. Joseph. Thousands of visitors have taken to the bluff to see and purchase the work of 200 jewelers, ceramic artists, painters, sculptors, glass artists, and more. Krasl Art Center Marketing Director Breeze Ettl says the event is one of the biggest art shows in  the country.... [Read Full Story]

Court Order Could Lead To Thousands Of Deportations

Thousands of undocumented immigrants are worried that their sign up information for President Obama’s “Dreamers” program now could get them deported. Last month’s Supreme Court decision striking down parts of the president’s executive action means a federal judge’s pending order for the release of 50,00 immigrants’ names and addresses still is a threat. The order could be upheld at an August 22 hearing. Thomas Saenz, with MALDEF, says the order affects only some of the millions who registered for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or ‘DACA’ program.... [Read Full Story]

18 Grand Rapids Zoo Animals Killed When Water Pump Fails

Eighteen cownose stingrays and three spotted bamboo sharks have died after an apparent pump malfunction in a lagoon at a western Michigan Zoo. The John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids reports Friday on its website that one of two pumps for the lagoon shut down late Thursday and the backup alarm system designed to notify staff also did not function properly. Officials say flooding from thunderstorms that began moving across the state Thursday may have shorted a circuit connected to the pumps. Staff found the stingrays and sharks dead Friday morning. Low oxygen levels were found in water samples. Officials say the zoo “is currently discussing the best way to honor and memorialize these amazing special animals who brought so much joy and amazement to so many people.”... [Read Full Story]