Local News Archives

Former SMC Professor To Face Trial In Criminal Sexual Conduct Case

A former professor for Southwestern Michigan College who is facing several charges of criminal sexual conduct has waived his preliminary exam and been bound over to Cass County Circuit Court for trial. The prosecutor’s office tells us 57-year-old George Field on Monday cleared the way for an as-yet unscheduled trial. He’s facing charges of criminal sexual conduct in the first, second, and fourth degrees, along with practicing psychology without a license. The prosecutor says the matter came to light after Southwestern Michigan College was told about an incident at the Family Center in Dowagiac and encouraged the victim to contact police. In addition to practicing at the Family Center, Field was an SMC professor at the time of the incident. Police allege the crime occurred between September of 2015 and June of 2016. If convicted of the most serious charge, Field could get up to life in prison.. ...Read Full Story

Bangor Man Sentenced In Shooting

A Bangor man will serve between seven and 15 years in prison for a fatal shooting at a local park early this year. Prosecutors say 20-year-old Thurman Fletcher shot 28-year-old Eddie Holland of Hartford at Lions Park in Bangor on the night of February 3 when a drug deal went bad. Holland died at a Watervliet Hospital, while Fletcher was taken to a South Haven Hospital with gunshot wounds to the leg and foot. He pleaded guilty last month to felony firearm and manslaughter as part of a deal that meant a murder charge was dropped. Fletcher was sentenced on Tuesday in Van Buren County Circuit Court. Another man, Nikolas Abbot, is also facing charges in the case for allegedly supplying a gun to Fletcher. Abbott is the son of the Van Buren County sheriff. That case is still pending.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Volunteers Pack Meals For Seniors

A team of Whirlpool volunteers has chipped in to make the upcoming winter a little better for area seniors. They helped the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency pack meal packages on Tuesday in Benton Harbor. The action agency’s Yvonne Vidt tells WSJM News the organization always needs the help.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool, Sears Part Ways

Whirlpool has parted ways with Sears. On Monday, Sears announced it will no longer be selling Whirlpool, Kitchenaid, or Maytag appliances. That’s after a pricing dispute with Whirlpool. Sears says it can no longer afford to sell the appliance maker’s products. The two companies had been business with each other for more than 100 years. The Washington Post reports that Sears makes up about 3% of Whirlpool’s sales. This latest announcement is seen as yet another blow to Sears, which has closed hundreds of stores just this year.. ...Read Full Story

Arson Suspect Arrested In Van Buren County

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department says it has caught a serial arson suspect. Sheriff Daniel Abbott tells WSJM News a string of fires at abandoned houses and barns were reported to his office last week. They were scattered throughout the Keeler, Hartford, Bangor, and Watervliet areas between September 29 and October 20. It took a local fire chief to notice their similarities. Abbott assigned a deputy to investigate, and not long after, a suspect emerged.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Woman’s Death Ruled Accidental

Police say a woman whose body was found in a Lincoln Township lake earlier this month drowned. Lincoln Township Police Chief Gary Soper has issued a statement saying the medical examiner’s report is complete, and it finds 57-year-old Anna Hyszczak’s death was accidental. Her body was found in North Lake not far from Grand Mere State Park on October 4. She’d been missing since the day before. Police say family found Hyszczak’s bicycle parked near some woods near Grand Mere after she went missing. Lincoln Township police have sent the case on to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s office for review, and the prosecutor says no further action will be taken.. ...Read Full Story

Non-Profits To Get $872,000 In Workplace Safety Grants

From the Associated Press — Grants totaling $872,000 are being awarded to 20 employer groups, labor organizations and other nonprofits in Michigan to support worker safety and health. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the grants will fund projects that include crane rigging and signaling, ergonomics, tree trimming and chain saw safety, emergency actions plans, machine emergencies and workplace violence prevention. The Consultation Education and Training grant program is designed to increase the number of employers and employees receiving occupational safety and health education, training and prevention services, especially employers with less than 100 workers. Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Chief Deputy Director Al Pohl says “every dollar spent toward improving workplace safety and health is a wise investment that benefits Michigan employers and workers in so many ways.”. ...Read Full Story

Loy Norrix Principal on Paid Leave

Kalamazoo Public Schools have put the Principal of Loy Norrix High School on Administrative Leave with pay, but they are not saying why. The notification came down early last evening that Principal Rodney Prewitt is on leave, and that Johnny Edwards, former Principal at Loy Norrix and current director of secondary education, will serve as the interim principal. It follows press reports that a former female employee at Loy Norrix filed a federal lawsuit charging Prewitt with sexual harassment. The district issued a statement that they felt the allegations were without merit. Whether that is connected to Prewitt being put on leave remains speculative.. ...Read Full Story

Meijer Issues Produce Recall

From the Associated Press — Midwest retailer Meijer Inc. says it’s recalling some packaged produce items in six states due to potential listeria contamination. The recall affects certain Meijer-brand produce sold in Meijer stores in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. The items were purchased between September 27 and October 20 and are in plastic containers or foam trays with printed labels. They include broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, squash and peppers. A full list is posted on the Grand Rapids-based company’s website. Meijer says no illnesses have been reported, but an issue was discovered with a supplier. Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. It can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Otherwise healthy adults can experience flu-like symptoms.. ...Read Full Story

Both Men And Women Warned About Breast Cancer Risks

This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and doctors are reminding everyone that it’s not just women who can get the disease. Men can also get breast cancer. About 2,500 of them will be diagnosed this year, compared to about 250,000 women. Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses Lynn Erdman tells us family history is something everyone ought to know about.. ...Read Full Story

Invasive Species Threaten Great Lakes King Salmon Population

From the Associated Press — King salmon has helped create a multibillion-dollar sport fishery in the Great Lakes, but ripple effects of invasive species have left the fish’s future less certain. The Detroit Free Press reports that the king, or chinook, salmon was first transplanted into the Great Lakes about 50 years ago. The species led a turnaround in the area’s fishery, helping create a $7 billion economic impact. But the spread of invasive zebra and quagga mussels has led to steep population declines of another species that serves as the salmon’s almost exclusive diet. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reducing its salmon stocking to regain balance between predator and prey. Stocking is when fish are raised in a hatchery and released into the lake to increase the existing population.. ...Read Full Story

Flood Watch This Afternoon and Tomorrow

The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids has issued a Flood Watch for this afternoon through Tuesday morning. The affected areas include Van Buren, Allegan and Ottawa counties. One to three inches of rain is expected with some areas receiving over five inches. Much of the watch area recently received significant rainfall and any addtional rain could overwhelm local drainage systems.. ...Read Full Story

Shots Fired in Dowagiac Apartment Complex

One man is in custody after hiding from Police in his Dowagiac apartment and fired a shot into the ceiling. Around 9:30 Sunday Night, Police responded to the Eagle’s Wood apartments in Dowagiac after receiving reports of a man yelling and waving a handgun. The man ran inside his apartment once police arrived. Police then report hearing a gunshot from inside the apartment where the man’s sister, as well as three kids, were as well. Police cleared the area, and made contact with the man’s wife, who was able to convince him to come outside and surrender. Once inside the apartment, Police found several more weapons. No one was hurt and the gunman is now in custody, and Police believe the man had been drinking. Dowagiac Police arrested the 34 year old Dowagiac resident on charges of Assault With A Deadly Weapon, Resisting & Obstructing Police, and Possession of a Firearm While Intoxicated.. ...Read Full Story

The Importance of Children Getting A Flu Shot

The importance of vaccinating children during flu season is on the rise. Every year thousands of kids are hospitalized and some die due to the flu. Doctors say during the past flu season, over 100 kids in Michigan died and 80% of those kids were not vaccinated. It’s recommended everyone 6 months of age and older to get the flu shot. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children get vaccinated by the end of October, as it takes two weeks for the shot to take effect.. ...Read Full Story

Fatal Farm Accident in Silver Creek Township

A Benton Harbor man is dead as a result of a fatal farm accident. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office was called to Dixon Street in Silver Creek Township around 5:45 Saturday night. They report 69-year-old Roger Molter, from Benton Harbor, was parking a cherry picker in the barn for the winter. While he was re-positioning the equipment, he ended up pinning himself between the cherry picker and the wall, causing his death. Molter was discovered in the barn by a family member, and emergency medical services were called. Molter was pronounced dead at the scene.. ...Read Full Story

Child His By Bus In Dowagiac

A 12-year-old from Dowagiac is being treated for severe head trauma after he was smacked by the rearview window of a passing bus. The middle school student was struck as he walked home from school, taken to a local hospital and then airlifted to Bronson Methodist in Kalamazoo for emergency surgery. His name and condition have not been released. The Driver of the Dowagiac Dart, a local municipal transport, will be investigated but police say, alcohol was not a factor and it appears to have just been a terrible accident.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan State Police Director Punishment

The punishment for Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue wasn’t enough — that’s the message from activists delivering 85-thousand petition signatures to the governor’s office calling for her removal. State Representative Leslie Love, a Detroit Democrat, says the signatures were collected nationwide…. ...Read Full Story