Local News Archives

Van Buren County Woman Freed After Nine Years For Husband’s Murder

A Van Buren County woman will be home for the holidays for the first time in 9 years after she was convicted of murdering her husband. Linda Stermer was released Thursday after a federal judge ruled that she did not get a fair trial, citing errors by prosecutors. She was charged with setting her house and her husband on fire, and then running him over with a truck after he emerged from the burning home. She has claimed all along that was not what happened. Stermer was convicted largely on circumstantial evidence. She was released on $10,000 bond, suggesting that the judge does not consider her to be a flight risk. The Attorney General’s office has some decisions to make and may appeal the ruling. If that fails, they will have to decide whether to retry the case or drop it. That decision is very likely to fall on Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel.. ...Read Full Story

Counselor Talks New Year’s Resolutions

Do you make a New Year’s resolution every year but find it difficult to stick with it? You’re not alone. A new survey from Wallet Hub shows that 92% of Americans say they fail at keeping their resolutions. Anahid Lisa Derbabian is a counselor in Troy who spoke with Michigan New Network about why that might be,. ...Read Full Story

Alliance For Great Lakes Thanks Volunteers

The Alliance for the Great Lakes is looking back at 2018 as a successful year when it comes to cleaning up pollution, and it’s thanking volunteers for that. Each year, the alliance works with tens of thousands of people to hold beach cleanup events. It tells us in 2018, 15,000 people mobilized in the eight Great Lakes states, picking up more than 37,000 pounds of trash. 85% of it was plastic. The alliance thanks all of those who came out, and notes it will continue to pick up along the lakes. You can go to GreatLakes.org and search for cleanup opportunities in your area.. ...Read Full Story

Commissioners Saluted As They Step Down

Two longtime Berrien County Commissioners have been honored as they step down from their posts. Commissioners Debra Panozzo and Jeanette Leahey have served on the board since 1997 and 2003, respectively. Resolutions were approved by the county commission at its Thursday meeting to thank them. Leahey told WSJM News it’s been a long, eventful ride.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Would Allow Mid-Level Dental Providers In MI

From the Associated Press — Legislation heading to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder would authorize midlevel dental providers to work in the state. Dental therapists could perform a variety of routine procedures now handled by dentists. They would need a license and could practice if they reach an agreement with a supervising dentist. Supporters say the bill that won final Senate approval 23-15 Wednesday would help ensure treatment for more patients in underserved populations, including in rural areas. They say Michigan has an uneven distribution of dentists, leaving people without access to basic care. Opponents, such as the Michigan Dental Association, say there is no shortage of dentists. They say dental therapists with less training than dentists should not perform irreversible procedures.. ...Read Full Story

Police Look For Missing Woman

Michigan State Police are looking for a woman missing out of Van Buren County. Troopers from the Paw Paw post say 41-year-old Natily Nacole Franklin of Decatur has been missing since November 2. She was last seen with friends in South Bend on that date. Her purse, clothing, money, and cellphone were all left behind, and she’s had no contact with family since. She’s known to have a small chihuahua dog with her most of the time. The dog is described as a red-brown dog. Natily is described as a white female, about five foot eight, 140 pounds, with curly brown hair that has highlights. She also has a sleeve tattoo on her right arm. Anyone with information on her location is asked to contact Michigan State Police.. ...Read Full Story

Medical Issue Causes Niles Man To Crash Into Building

A 37-year-old Niles man is being treated at St. Joseph Hospital in Mishawaka after crashing his car into the side of a building. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department tells us it happened due to a medical problem just after 8 pm Wednesday at US-12 and Beebe Road in Milton Township. Jerry Gross went off the road and slammed into the cinder block building. He complained of minor injuries when first responders arrived. Police say he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.. ...Read Full Story

Proos Corrections Bill Gets Final Approval

A state commission that studies possible corrections reforms in Michigan will continue its work for another year under legislation from state Senator John Proos that is now on its way to the governor. Proos tells us Senate Bill 844 extends the Criminal Justice Policy Commission’s deadline from December 31 of this year to September 30 of next year. He says the commission was created in 2014 and charged with collecting, analyzing, and compiling data on prisons, jails, sentencing guidelines, prison population trends, and the effects of efforts to reduce recidivism. Proos adds the governor last year signed restorative justice reforms that will result in better outcomes, and the commission should be allowed to complete its job.. ...Read Full Story

$90,000 Awarded To Be Healthy Berrien

The Be Healthy Berrien partnership has been awarded a $90,000 grant to continue work on some south Berrien County recreation and nutrition programs. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced the funds from the Michigan Health and Wellness 4×4 Grant Program, which aims to fight obesity. The $90,000 grant will be used by Be Healthy Berrien to work on exploring opportunities to extend the Indiana-Michigan River Valley trail, do a study on expanding Niles Dial-A-Ride, create a Niles historical bicycle tour, and to work with businesses to serve healthy foods. Be Healthy Berrien is a partnership between the Berrien County Health Department, the United Way, Lakeland, the YMCA, and the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission to reduce obesity in Berrien County.. ...Read Full Story