Local News Archives

Adopt A Highway Cleanup Week Starts Saturday

This weekend will bring the start of the next Adopt a Highway cleanup week in Michigan. Dan Weingarten, with the Michigan Department of Transportation, says more than 3,000 groups of all stripes from around the state will take to roads to pick up trash. He says their efforts make a big difference each year.... [Read Full Story]

Unity Walk Planned For Sunday

A unity walk is coming up this weekend. The event is planned by the Mosaic CCDA in response to recent violent events in the news around the country, including Monday’s Berrien County Courthouse shootings. Organizer Jameel McGee says they want everyone to get together and talk with police and other groups about maintaining trust in the community.... [Read Full Story]

Arraignments Held Tuesday For Some Arrested In South Haven Beach Disturbance

Court cases stemming from the Fourth of July weekend melee at South Haven’s North Beach have started to get processed. Van Buren County court officials say about ten people arrested during the disturbance were arraigned Tuesday, with charges that included disturbing the peace, resisting police, and assault. Police say a total of about 50 arrests were made on July 3 when the crowd at North Beach got rowdy. The beach was also evacuated. Additionally, large number of citations were issued for having alcohol on the beach. City officials say they’re reviewing how to to handle next year’s Light Up the Lake fireworks show, and also whether to hold it all.... [Read Full Story]

Courthouse Shooter’s Record Goes Back To 1992

The Berrien County Jail inmate who police say shot and killed two court officers on Monday had been facing a variety of criminal charges. Larry Darnell Gordon had been charged with criminal sexual conduct, first degree, and a host of other offenses that included assault with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence. He was arrested in April over an incident that allegedly occurred in February. Police also say he had a criminal record going back to 1992 which included convictions for crimes including unarmed robbery, fleeing a police officer, third degree, and burglary. Gordon was fatally shot by a Berrien County sheriff’s deputy after he shot and killed two court security officers Monday. He also shot a sheriff’s deputy who is recovering and a woman identified as Kenya Ellis, who is also recovering.... [Read Full Story]

Security At Berrien County Courthouse To Be Reviewed

Security procedures at the Berrien County Courthouse will be reviewed following Monday’s fatal shootings. Berrien County Chief Judge Gary Bruce says a report will be done, and all of the right questions will be asked in the coming weeks. Speaking to WSJM Tuesday, he said questions about handcuffing practices and other security-related matters at the courthouse will be addressed soon... [Read Full Story]

Berrien County Courthouse To Remain Closed To Public Wednesday

The Berrien County Courthouses in both St. Joseph and Niles will remain closed to the public Wednesday. The closure is in response to Monday’s shooting incident. The Berrien County Administrator’s office says court staff should still report for work, and there will be grief counselors on hand for them. It’s not saying when the courthouse will be reopened to the public, and advises everyone to monitor news media for further information. Meanwhile, the Berrien County Health Department at the Niles location will be open Wednesday.... [Read Full Story]

Mattawan Man Arrested Following Suspicious Situation

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says a Mattawan man is facing charges after police say he was caught intoxicated with a shotgun Tuesday. It happened around midnight after deputies were called to a home in the 27,000 block of County Road 364 on a report of a possible prowler. Soon after arriving, they heard someone yelling, and found the 19-year-old suspect in a yard. He had a 12-guage shotgun, and police say he was drunk. The man tried to run, but was caught after a short time. He’s now charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, minor in possession, and possession of a firearm while intoxicated. His name has not yet been released.... [Read Full Story]

[VIDEO] Fallen Bailiffs Honored In Walk to Law Enforcement Memorial

Citizens of Berrien County are honoring the fallen law enforcement officials of Monday’s shooting at the courthouse.
Hundreds braved the heat Tuesday to pay tribute to Joseph Zangaro and Ronald Kienzle, the Berrien County Court Bailiffs who were killed during the shooting incident Monday afternoon. The crowd gathered in the courthouse parking lot, and proceeded to walk to the Law Enforcement Memorial on Lake Boulevard, where flowers were placed on the memorial wall and local leaders offered words of encouragement.... [Read Full Story]

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]