Local News Archives

UPDATE — State Police Trooper In Stable Condition After Being Shot

A Michigan State Police trooper who was shot in the chest on Wednesday in Branch County is in serious but stable condition at a hospital. Michigan State Police tell us the incident happened around 11:15 a.m. in rural Branch County’s Union Township. MSP Detective Sergeant Aaron Steensma of the Marshall post and Trooper Daniel Thayer, also of the Marshall post, were executing a search warrant related to cold case when a suspect fired a long gun at them. Steensma was shot in the chest, and Michigan State Police Director Director Kriste Kibbey Etue says he’s “doing remarkably well for the seriousness of his injury” at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. State police say a round that struck Trooper Thayer in the chest was stopped by his ballistic vest, although his hand was also grazed. The shooting suspect was later found dead on the property. The investigation into the incident continues.. ...Read Full Story

Two State Police Troopers Shot In Branch County

Two Michigan State Police troopers have been shot in Branch County. State police tell us a detective sergeant and trooper were executing a serve warrant related to a cold case investigation around 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday in rural Branch County’s Union Township when it happened. When troopers announced their presence prior to entering the home, the suspect leveled a long gun at them. They were trying to take cover when the detective sergeant was shot in the chest and the trooper received a grazing wound to the hand. The detective sergeant was taken to a hospital where his condition as of late Wednesday afternoon was serious but stable. The suspect in Wednesday’s incident was later found dead.. ...Read Full Story

Former Sports Doctor Sentenced To Up To 175 Years In Prison

From the Associated Press — A judge has told a Michigan sports doctor accused of sexually assaulting women and girls, “I just signed your death warrant.” The remarks from Judge Rosemarie Aquilina came as she sentenced Larry Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison. The sentence capped a remarkable seven-day hearing that brought more than 150 victims or their families to court, including Olympians.
They made riveting statements while confronting Nassar in a Lansing, Michigan, courtroom. He worked at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. Nassar had pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting seven females in the Lansing area between 1998 and 2015, but the hearing was open to all of his accusers. His accusers said he would molest them while they were on a table seeking help
for various injuries. Nassar also has a 60-year prison sentence for child pornography crimes.. ...Read Full Story

Legislature Votes To Reduce Breakwall Fees

From the Associated Press — Michigan would cut state fees assessed on homeowners who have wave-reducing breakwalls near the Great Lakes shoreline under legislation heading to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk. The Republican-controlled Senate approved the bill Tuesday, on a mostly party-line 23-14 vote, after a House vote last week. The measure includes a new fee structure to use Great Lakes bottomlands for forming a private harbor exclusively for noncommercial recreational watercraft. The bill sponsor, Republican Senator Tom Casperson of Escanaba, has said existing fees are too high and have surprised property owners. Democrats have criticized the bill, saying it is not right for people to put structures on publicly owned land without paying adequate fees.. ...Read Full Story

Report Examines Link Between Food Assistance And Healthcare Costs

SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, are linked to improved health outcomes and lower healthcare costs, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Brynne [[ brin ]] Keith-Jennings, a senior research analyst at the center, tells us some of the studies cited in the paper used data going back to the ’60s when the food-stamp program began. Keith-Jennings notes that those studies found long-term health benefits.. ...Read Full Story

Andrews University To Hold Small Business Summit

Andrews University is planning to hold a small business summit this month. The Berrien Springs university tells us there will be eight presentations on how small business owners can better achieve their goals. The presentations will cover subjects like social media, marketing strategy, business planning, and advertising. Speakers will address how to get more from advertising dollars whether online or in print, how to become an expert in a field, and how to develop strategies to grow businesses in 2018. The keynote speaker will be Rob Cleveland, president and CEO of Cornerstone Alliance. The Andrews University Small Business Summit is slated for this Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Chan Shun Hall on the campus of Andrews University. Tickets are $75, and can be bought online. You can find out more right here.. ...Read Full Story

Perrigo Foundation Donates $260,000 To Allegan Projects

The city of Allegan has received a couple of donations from the Perrigo Foundation totaling $260,000. At Monday night’s Allegan City Council meeting, City Manager Joel Dye shared details of the Perrigo gifts. The Foundation is donating $130,000 to build a new splash pad on the site of a former parking lot, and $130,000 to the Allegan District Library. The Perrigo Splash Pad will be part of an ongoing project at Downtown Riverfront Park and will contain places for kids and families to play. The library donation will be used for the new Perrigo Learning Lab for children and the Perrigo STREAM Lab for teens. Perrigo’s Tom Farrington says the drug maker’s “history is intertwined with Allegan’s history.” Allegan is where Perrigo was founded in 1887.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Talks 2018 Priorities In State Of The State Address

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder has touted Michigan’s economic and fiscal gains under his watch, saying his tenure has had “huge ups and downs” but Michigan is better shape today than before he took office. In his eighth and final State of the State address Tuesday night, the Republican governor recapped many past initiatives but said he has an ambitious agenda for his last year in office with a focus on infrastructure and the environment. He told a joint session of the Legislature that next week he will unveil five major policy initiatives related to rural broadband access, recycling, Asian carp in the Great Lakes, water infrastructure and the replacement of money that has dried up for environmental cleanup. And in February, he will detail a “Marshall Plan” for developing talent. A fight is shaping up with the GOP-led Legislature on cutting individual taxes, which Snyder opposes for budgetary reasons.. ...Read Full Story

Police Investigate Shooting In Niles

The Niles Police Department is investigating a Monday night shooting. It tells us officers were sent to the 600 block of Howard Street around 10 p.m. and learned a 35-year-old woman had been shot once in the hand. The injury wasn’t life-threatening, and the woman was taken to a hospital for treatment. Police tell us they do not have a suspect and only know the shooter was wearing a mask and dark clothing. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Niles Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Master Plan Could Be Drafted For Downtown St. Joseph

The city of St. Joseph could draft a master plan specific to the downtown area. At this week’s city commission meeting, Mayor Mike Garey said the state is encouraging cities to come up with plans to vitalize their downtowns. Garey told WSJM News this could be a very long process, with everything starting at a meeting, possibly in March.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Man Arraigned In Shooting Death

The arraignment has been held for a Benton Harbor man charged in the shooting death of a Benton Harbor woman this month. The Berrien County Prosecutor’s office tells WSJM News 37-year-old William Dawun Edwards is charged with open murder in the death of 38-year-old Novena Mathis. It’s alleged Edwards shot Mathis while the two were sitting in a vehicle outside Hayward Wells Apartments on January 7. Mathis is the mother of Edwards’ children. After the shooting, the prosecutor says Edwards fled to Kalamazoo. Edwards was arrested there after a confrontation with his mother. Edwards was charged with some drug offenses in Kalamazoo County and bond in that case was set at $50,000. At his arraignment in Berrien County on Monday, no bond was set. Edwards is due back in court on January 31.. ...Read Full Story

Car Crashes Into Trees

Van Buren County Deputies say it took them an hour and a half to free a man suspected of using drugs from his car, after he crashed the black Lincoln sedan in the 20,000 block of 27th Street in Pine Grove Township at late Monday afternoon. Crews dispatched to the scene found the luxury car on its side in a cluster of trees, the driver trapped inside the wreck. Once they pried and cut him out of the car, they loaded him on board a Life Ambulance for the Trip to Bronson E.R. They found drug paraphernalia in the vehicle and will order blood tests.. ...Read Full Story

Doctor Who Came To U.S. As Child Held By Immigration Authorities

From the Associated Press — A Michigan doctor who came to the U.S. from Poland as a young child has been jailed after being taken from his home by immigration agents. WOOD-TV and MLive.com report Lukasz Niec was arrested last Tuesday and is being detained at a county jail. The 43-year-old legal U.S. resident works at a Kalamazoo hospital. The Associated Press sent an email Monday seeking comment from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. An automatic response said the agency’s public affairs employees weren’t working because of the government shutdown. Niec has two misdemeanor convictions from high school: malicious destruction of property and receiving stolen goods. His wife says he pleaded guilty and was told the convictions wouldn’t be used in a deportation. Niec came from Poland to the Detroit area when he was about 5.. ...Read Full Story

West Michigan Sports Boost

West Michigan’s economy has been getting a huge boost from the youth and amateur sports industry. 76 events last year generated over $61 million. President of the West Michigan Sports Commission Mike Guswiler says they are working with one advantage.. ...Read Full Story

$25,000 Given To Fernwood Trail Project

A walking trail improvement project at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve has received the support of Lakeland Health to the tune of $25,000. The funds were awarded from the Lakeland Health Community Wellness Endowment, established in 2014 to help sponsor local organizations that promote community health. So far, that endowment has awarded more than $500,000 to different projects. Fernwood Director Carol Line says the Lakeland grant will enable Fernwood to improve its trails, expand and enhance its signage, and strengthen existing wellness programs. The next round of Lakeland Community Wellness Endowment grants will be awarded in March.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Expanding Partnership With Faith-Based Groups

Michigan State Police have announced they’re looking for volunteers to join the CAUTION initiative. CAUTION stands for Community Action United Team in Our Neighborhood, and it’s a partnership between the MSP and faith groups working to increase trust and communication between law enforcement and residents. The program was started in 2012 in Flint, and later expanded to communities including Benton Harbor. In 2018, the plan is to expand it to all 30 Michigan State Police posts. CAUTION members meet regularly with post personnel to encourage dialog and information-sharing. They can also be activated to respond alongside law enforcement at crime scenes to ease tensions and provide emotional support to residents. The CAUTION volunteers receive training on community relations and security. Anyone interested in signing up for CAUTION in southwest Michigan can contact the Niles or Paw Paw MSP posts.. ...Read Full Story

Senate Approves Proos Plan For MI Wine Council

The Michigan Senate has approved legislation to revise the makeup of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and update its name. State Senator John Proos tells WSJM News his plan would change the name of the council to the Michigan Craft Beverage Council. Under the bills, the number of members on the council would be reduced from 12 to 10 and would include representatives from breweries and distilleries. Proos says the state group promoting Michigan’s wine industry should also promote beers and other beverages.. ...Read Full Story

MDOT: Track Improvements Have Sped Up Amtrak Routes

The Michigan Department of Transportation says work it did between 2012 and 2016 to upgrade rail lines has resulted in faster traveling times for two Amtrak routes in the state. Spokesperson Michael Frezell tells WSJM News the Wolverine and Blue Water lines are now shorter thanks to the work MDOT did after buying a portion of their tracks.. ...Read Full Story

Car Shot On I-96 In West Michigan

A shooting incident was reported on I-96 in west Michigan early Monday morning. Michigan State Police Lieutenant Chris McIntire told Michigan News Network a vehicle was shot at on I-96 eastbound in Grand Rapids Township at about 4:30 a.m. It hit a driver’s door. How’s the driver?. ...Read Full Story

Former Sports Doctor To Hear More Victim Testimony

From the Associated Press — More young women and girls who say they were assaulted by a Michigan sports doctor are due in court for a fifth day to make victim statements before he is sentenced. Larry Nassar sat in the witness chair last week as more than 80 women and
girls described the impact of being assaulted by him. Nassar has admitted molesting athletes during treatment when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. Roughly 100 victims are expected to make statements or have them read in court during the marathon sentencing hearing that resumes Monday in Lansing, Michigan. Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography crimes. He faces a minimum prison sentence of 25 to 40 years in the molestation case.. ...Read Full Story

Armed Robbery at South Haven Gas Station

Police in South Haven are looking for two suspects involved in an armed robbery. The robbery occurred at the Shell station at Broadway and Superior in South Haven just after 7:00 a.m. Monday morning. The suspects are described as two black men, one in their early 30s, the other between 30 and 40. One of the suspects was wearing dark jeans with a black hooded sweatshirt and covered his face with a dark blue handkerchief, the other was wearing dark jeans and a black jacket with a white hood, covering his face with a Spider-Man mask. Police say both men were armed with semiautomatic handguns. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the South Haven Police Department at 269-637-5151.. ...Read Full Story