Local News Archives

Police Investigate Armed Robbery In Benton Harbor

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is investigating an armed robbery this week. It tells us the robbery happened on Monday evening at the Boost Mobile store at 957 Pipestone. The suspect was waiting outside the store in a dark corner and ordered the employees inside after they started closing for the night. The suspect stole some cash and a cell phone before running off. The Berrien County Sheriff’s department brought in a K9, but the suspect was not found. Police say he was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and grey sweatpants with a white bandanna around his face. The suspect was armed with a handgun and police say he stands about 5 foot 4 with a skinny build. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

MSU President Lou Anna Simon Resigns

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon is out. She submitted her resignation last night to the MSU Board of Trustees following the sentencing of former university and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar for sexually assaulting women and girls for 20 years. Simon letter says “to the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment.” She notes she was planning to retire in December 2016, but stayed on after the Nassar scandal broke. Calls for her resignation had come from the likes of US Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, state House Speaker Tom Leonard, state Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, state Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, and two MSU trustees, Dianne Byrum and Mitch Lyons.. ...Read Full Story

Curious Kids Discovery Zone Reopens Thursday

The Curious Kids Discovery Zone in the Silver Beach Center in St. Joseph will return to its regular school year hours beginning Thursday. That’s after the Discovery Zone shut down for some floor work last month. Curious Kids Museum tells us it was able to get the work done on time and is glad to open the Discovery Zone’s doors again. It says admission will be half price, only $3, for the first Family Fun Night of 2018.. ...Read Full Story

Police Arrest Suspect After Chase In Van Buren County

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us it was able to track down a suspect who had escaped from deputies this week when they tried to pull him over. It happened on Tuesday starting around 8:30 p.m. in the 60,000 block of County Road 665 in Paw Paw Township. Police were sent to the area for a possible drunk driver. After finding a car that matched the description, deputies tried to pull the vehicle over, and the driver took off. They eventually wound up in a neighborhood behind Tractor Supply where the vehicle stopped at a dead end. The driver got out and ran, managing to get away. Fortunately for the sheriff’s deputies, a search of the vehicle turned up information identifying the driver as a Justin Ernst. Deputies were able to find him hiding in a garage in the 37,000 block of Red Arrow Highway, and he was taken into custody. He’s now facing charges of fleeing and eluding and resisting and obstructing.. ...Read Full Story

New Rules For MI Licenses Starting In 2020

Michigan residents who want to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities will have to get upgraded I.D. cards by October 1 of 2020. Michigan Secretary of State spokesperson Fred Woodhams tells us the U.S. Department of Homeland Security this week issued a ruling on how the state can comply with the federal REAL ID law.. ...Read Full Story

Prosecutor Praises Newspaper For Exposing Sports Doctor

From the Associated Press — A prosecutor is praising an Indiana newspaper for exposing a former sports doctor’s sexual abuse of gymnasts.
Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis spoke at the sentencing hearing Wednesday for Larry Nassar, saying that the case proves society needs “investigative journalists more than ever.” Nassar has admitted abusing gymnasts at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. He was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison in a case involving seven victims.
Former gymnast Rachael Denhollander alerted The Indianapolis Star to Nassar’s abuse after reading the newspaper’s 2016 investigation of how USA Gymnastics handled sexual abuse allegations against coaches. Povilaitis told the judge that without Denhollander and the newspaper, Nassar “would still be practicing medicine, treating athletes and abusing kids.”. ...Read Full Story

Lawmakers OK Splitting Regional Taxes With Charter Schools

From the ASsociated Press — Legislation heading to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk would let charter schools receive revenue from voter-approved property tax hikes. The Republican-led Senate approved the bill 23-14 Tuesday, largely along party lines. The taxes now go to the counties’ traditional school districts on a per-student basis, on top of their state funding. The legislation would let charter academies get a share of the extra local funding. Charters would only benefit when existing millages are renewed or new millages are approved. The legislation would have the biggest impact in the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas. Wayne County districts now receiving $376 per pupil would get $287 once charters are added. In Kent County, a $212 per-student grant would drop to $183. ...Read Full Story

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