Local News Archives

Woman’s E-Mail Sparks Conversation On Workplace Mental Health

A Michigan woman’s story of using her sick days to cope with anxiety recently went viral after an exchange with the company’s chief executive, and one expert is calling it a model for how to talk about mental health in the workplace. Kevin Fischer, with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, tells us the conversation is moving in the right direction, and it could shift the societal understanding of mental illness.. ...Read Full Story

Foxconn Building Plant In Wisconsin

It looks like southwest Michigan won’t be getting a Foxconn plant anytime soon. There had been word the company was considering the region for a new plant to make smartphone displays, with Moody on the Market reporting a Foxconn corporate jet landing at the Southwest Michigan Regional Airport last month. Also, Congressman Fred Upton sent a letter to the Taiwanese company last week extolling the virtues of southwest Michigan and also pointing to tax incentives the state legislature recently approved. Nevertheless, word came Wednesday Foxconn has chosen southeastern Wisconsin to be the site of its new plant. The $10 billion facility is expected to create about 3,000 jobs there. The Trump administration says the plant could eventually lead to thousands of additional jobs in nearby states, including Michigan.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Approves “Good Jobs” Plan

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a package of bills that provide incentives to large companies that create more than 250 jobs in the state. The jobs also have to pay at least the regional average wage. Standing at the site of a former landfill in Oakland County Wednesday, the governor said while the legislation is focused on large companies, he doesn’t want to look past small business.. ...Read Full Story

Child Killed At Portage Summer Camp

From the Associated Press — Authorities say a 7-year-old boy who was attending a summer camp run by a school district has died after being struck by a vehicle in southwestern Michigan. Portage police say Nicolaus Moehle of Texas Township died in the collision Tuesday afternoon in the city just south of Kalamazoo. The Portage Public Schools district says the boy was participating in the “Bug Science” camp with about 20 other children in first through third grades. District spokeswoman Michelle Karpinski tells the Kalamazoo Gazette that the children had been on a field trip when the child was struck at or near a crosswalk near 12th Street Elementary School. She says the class was supervised by three adults. Karpinski says school administrators have cancelled this week’s remaining sessions. The collision remains under investigation.. ...Read Full Story

Traverse City Film Festival Underway

It’s a party atmosphere in downtown Traverse City as the Traverse City Film Festival gets underway. They shut down part of the downtown area Tuesday for the opening night gala. Traverse City Film Festival Creative Director Meg Weichman tells us they’re showing 125 feature films over the six day festival.. ...Read Full Story

Legislation Changes State Benefit System For Live-In Partners

Legislation is being introduced in the Michigan Senate to change how state benefits are offered to employees now that same sex marriage is legal. The Granholm administration enacted a policy of allowing same sex partners to be covered by a state worker’s benefits. However, state Senator Rick Jones tells WKZO News, now that such couples can marry, the policy should be changed.. ...Read Full Story

Heritage Museum To Hold Presentation On Early Automotive Industry

Coming soon to the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph will be a presentation on the history of the American auto industry with a special guest speaker perfectly suited to discuss the subject. Matt Anderson, the curator at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, will be in St. Joseph on August 10. Heritage Museum Interim Director Tracy Gierada tells WSJM News he’ll talk about the origins of one of Michigan’s most important industries.. ...Read Full Story

Man Pleads Guilty In Cass Co Murder Case

A man charged with murder in a 40-year-old death in Cass County has pleaded guilty. The prosecutor’s office says Raymond Richmond killed his cousin, Robert Stasiak, in 1977. The death was originally ruled a suicide, but in January of this year, a volunteer group called Seeking Justice began looking at the cold case again, leading to the charges. Richmond has pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the Ontwa Township death, which was the result of a shooting. As part of the plea deal, he’ll be sentenced to between 12 and 18 years in prison. A gun charge was dismissed. Sentencing will be September 15.. ...Read Full Story

Snyder Vetoes Acceleration Of Auto Sales Tax Break

From the Associated Press — Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed bills that would have accelerated sales tax breaks on car trade-ins. Snyder said Tuesday that the legislation conflicts with a compromise made with lawmakers in 2013. He says the bills would “create additional financial
strain” for the state. Under current law, a car owner trading in a vehicle for another pays sales tax on the difference between the two. But there are limits; this year, for example, it’s $3,500. The limit grows each year. The House Fiscal Agency says legislation vetoed by Snyder would have cost the Treasury about $15 million by 2021 if it had become law. The bills’ supporters say Michigan can afford greater tax breaks because the
economy has improved.. ...Read Full Story

Man Charged In Niles Murder

A 52-year-old man is now charged with open murder in the death of a Niles woman last week. James Parker Huffman walked into the Niles Police Department on Monday and confessed to the killing of 52-year-old Angela Cluver. Police found her body in her home in the 900 block of South 14th Street not long after. An autopsy will be performed, but they believe she was strangled. Police say the victim’s body was in an advanced state of decomposition when they found it. Huffman was arraigned on Tuesday in Niles and bond was set at $1 million. He could get life in prison if convicted. Police believe Huffman and Cluver lived together at the home where the murder took place.. ...Read Full Story

Court: Charges Can Be Filed If Found Drunk Driving On Own Driveway

From the Associated Press — The Michigan Supreme Court says a driveway is no refuge for a drunken driver. The court says authorities in suburban Detroit could charge Gino Rea with drunken driving, even if his car never left the driveway. The court says a driveway is “generally accessible to motor vehicles” under state law, even if on private property. Northville police went to Rea’s home three times one day to respond to noise complaints in 2014. At one point, an officer saw him drive out of the garage and pull back in. His blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit. In a dissent Monday, justices Bridget McCormack and David Viviano say the court should be “hesitant to assume” that lawmakers wanted to extend their reach to the private property of homeowners.. ...Read Full Story

Former Veterans Home Employees Facing State Charges

From the Associated Press — Eleven former workers at a state veterans home in Grand Rapids have been charged with keeping false records.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says staff skipped room checks but reported that they performed the requirement. He announced felony charges Monday. Schuette’s office began investigating after a report by Michigan’s auditor general in 2016. The report found the veterans home failed to properly investigate allegations of abuse and neglect, among other problems. James Redford, head of veterans affairs, says the charges filed by Schuette go back to 2015. He says the company that supplied the nursing assistants was replaced. Schuette also released a five-page report with details on injuries or deaths of five people. He says there isn’t enough evidence to pursue charges.. ...Read Full Story

Presentation On History Of Hartford Next Week

Anyone interested in learning about the history of Hartford will have a chance to do so next week at the library. It’s offering a “History of Hartford” presentation on Wednesday starting at 6 p.m. The program is led by local history expert Bob Latus [[LAY-tus]], who tells us the town began around the 1840s, and really saw a development boom in the 1870s with the expansion of railroads. His presentation next week will focus on that, as well as the significant role the Pokagons have had on the area. He’s also asking people who have old photos of Hartford to bring them by so they can be copied and kept at the library. Anyone can show up.. ...Read Full Story

Preparations Underway For Cass County Fair

Preparations are now underway for the 166th Cass County Fair. The Cassopolis event is set for next week, and all kinds of attractions will be offered. The fair board tells us Sunday, the first official day, will feature the opening parade at 5 p.m. followed by the grandstand event at 7 p.m. It’s the Street Legal Pickup Truck and Semi Tractor Pulls. Next Monday will be Veterans Day, meaning free admission for vets, along with the opening of the carnival at 5 p.m. and the talent show at 7. Next Tuesday will be Kids Day with the NTPA Regional National Truck and Tractor Pulls at 7 PM. Wednesday will be Senior Citizens Day with country singer Caroline Kole on the grandstand. Other headlining events the following days will be SJO Motocross and a monster truck show. You can find the schedule at MyCassCountyFair.com.. ...Read Full Story

Police Look For Suspects In Break In To Van Buren Bar

The owners of a bar in Paw Paw are cleaning up after a couple of suspects broke into the place early Monday and did a large amount of damage. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department tells us the two broke into McCarty’s North 40 Bar on M-40 around 2 a.m. They cut the wires to some of the bar’s many security cameras, but police have been able to get a few images. The suspects were wearing bandannas over their faces and matching striped shirts. In addition to the damage, the two stole some money. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department.. ...Read Full Story

Man Arraigned In SWM Murders

From the Associated Press — A man has been arraigned in the death of his ex-wife’s husband – one of two Michigan slayings in which he’s a suspect. MLive reports that 32-year-old Zachary Patten appeared Monday in St. Joseph County District Court on murder, home invasion and gun charges. Shane Richardson was shot Thursday night in Florence Township, just north of the Indiana state line. Patten also is a suspect in the fatal shooting of 31-year-old Graciela Portillo-Esparza in Kalamazoo about 45 minutes before the 29-year-old Richardson was shot. No charges have been filed in that killing. Patten was arrested Friday after he approached officers in South Bend, Indiana, and told them he “needed to be arrested.” A judge assigned Patten a court-appointed lawyer. An Aug. 15 preliminary examination has been scheduled.. ...Read Full Story

Man Confesses To Killing Woman In Niles

One man is in custody for the murder of a woman in Niles. The Niles Police Department says the suspect walked into the police station on Monday and confessed to the killing. A woman’s body was then found in a home in the 900 block of South 14th Street. Police say the victim appears to have been in her 50s, and they believe she was strangled on Friday. An autopsy is planned. The suspect’s name hasn’t been released, but police says he is in his 50s. He remains locked up in Niles.. ...Read Full Story

Two Busted For Drugs In Dowagiac

An Indiana man and a Dowagiac man are in the Cass County Jail this morning on drug charges after a bust Saturday. Dowagiac officers pulled over a vehicle after recognizing the driver, who had an outstanding warrant. That driver, a 25-year-old former Dowagiac resident who now lives in Elkhart, was arrested on several warrants while his passenger, a 24-year-old man, was busted for a parole violation. Officers found narcotics and evidence of drug dealing while searching the car, and both men are facing several charges as a result. They are expected to be arraigned today.. ...Read Full Story

Tribal Casino Opens Employment Office In South Bend

(South Bend, IN – AP) – A tribal casino set to open its doors in South Bend next year has opened an employment office in the northern Indiana city. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians says the new office was scheduled to open Monday in downtown South Bend’s Union Station. It will be the primary human resources office for the 1,200 workers expected to be hired for the Four Winds Casino South Bend.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan Gas Prices Up 5¢ In Past Week

Our state continues to have some of the most volatile gas price swings in the country. According to the latest survey from Triple-A Michigan, the state had the fourth largest change in average price in the past week, going up a nickel to $2.40 a gallon. The most and least expensive cities remains unchanged for the third straight week, with our prices in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph being the state’s lowest at $2.36, up 8¢. Jackson has the highest average at $2.43. GasBuddy puts the prices in South Haven between $2.29 and $2.39 a gallon.. ...Read Full Story