Local News Archives

Court: Sex Offender Registry Changes Cannot Be Retroactive

A federal appeals court says changes to Michigan’s sex offender registry rules cannot be applied retroactively to thousands of sex offenders. In a 3-0 decision Thursday, a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it’s unconstitutional to impose new restrictions on people convicted before the state’s registry law was updated in 2006 and in 2011. Michigan began prohibiting registrants from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of a school in 2006. Five years later, lawmakers added requirements that offenders be divided into three tiers based on the seriousness of their crimes. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland ruled last year that those changes could be imposed retroactively. He ruled other portions of the law unconstitutional, but the 6th Circuit didn’t rule on those provisions.. ...Read Full Story

Pagel Bill Provides $6.5M To Bring Fresh Food To Underserved Areas

A southwest Michigan lawmaker is advocating for $6.5 million in funding to make fresh and nutritious food available in underserved communities across Michigan. The legislation from Representative Dave Pagel will be promoted Thursday at a farmers market on the Capitol lawn in Lansing. It would provide grants and loans for grocery stores and local public health agencies. The goal is to help retailers open, renovate or expand grocery stores primarily in low- and moderate-income areas without enough fruit, vegetables and other fresh food. Entities receiving the financing would have to accept cards from residents who qualify for government food assistance. Pagel is an apple farmer who says expanding access to healthy food will help people live healthier lives.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Commission Voting On Adding Bailiffs

A vote will be held this morning by the Berrien County Board of Commissioners to add two bailiffs to the county courthouses. One would be in St. Joseph and the other in Niles. The commission is considering reinstating the funding for the positions following the shooting deaths last month of bailiff Ron Kienzle and courthouse security director Joe Zangaro during an escape attempt by an inmate, who was killed moments later by responding officers.. ...Read Full Story

MSP Looking For Missing Decatur Woman

A 60-year-old Decatur woman is missing and Michigan State Police are asking for the public’s help trying to find her. Debra Fitz disappeared at some time yesterday, and troopers say she has medical conditions that cause her to become disorientated and confused. Fitz was last seen around 11:30 a.m. yesterday at her home, and family members returned last evening to find her gone with her personal belongings in the house. Anyone with information is asked to call Michigan State Police in Paw Paw or Van Buren County dispatch.. ...Read Full Story

Parents Who Challenged Trump To Speak In Michigan

The Muslim-American parents of a soldier who criticized Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention are expected to visit suburban Detroit to get an award from the Arab American Civil Rights League. Khizr Khan and wife Ghazala Khan will be honored at the group’s Fight for
Justice gala in Dearborn on September 29. A Detroit-area attorney, Nabih Ayad, tells the Detroit Free Press that the Khans rightly spoke against bigotry. Khizr Khan criticized Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, for his comments about Muslim immigrants. Their son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Niles Post To Offer Citizens Academy

Anyone interested in learning more about how Michigan State Police do their job will have a chance to do so with a class coming up next month. The state police post in Niles will host a citizens police academy, an eight week course. It’s designed to give citizens a chance to learn about state police procedures, meet local troopers, and understand law enforcement’s role in the community. The classes start September 6 and run through November 1. You can find out about signing up at 683-4411.. ...Read Full Story

Large Turnout For Benton Harbor Schools Pride Event

Students at Benton Harbor Area Schools are prepared to begin the new school year with a roar. On Wednesday, a back to school pride event took place all day at the high school. The program featured a cook off, a basketball tournament, raffles, and school supply giveaways. It was organized by students in the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, and director Julie Earle says the kids did a bang up job.. ...Read Full Story

MI Lawmakers Continue To Talk Opioid Abuse Prevention

Michigan lawmakers are expected to continue looking at ways to reduce deaths from the abuse of opioid prescriptions when they return to work in the coming weeks. Just last Friday, more than 250 people turned out for a summit on opioids at Southwestern Michigan College, and among them was state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker. She was part of a governor-appointed task force to talk opioids, and says one way to fight the epidemic is to make an anti-overdose drug more widely available.. ...Read Full Story

State Fair Officials Still Deciding Whether To Show Pigs This Year

Lots of animals will be at the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair in Novi over Labor Day weekend, but we’re not sure if pigs will be among them. That’s as eight people have caught the swine flu , a variant of Influenza A H3N2 from pigs at county fairs in Muskegon, Cass, & Ingham Counties. That’s according to Jackie Scramlin , co-director of livestock at the state fair.. ...Read Full Story

MI School District Cancels First Day Of Classes Due To Flat Tires

Someone wasn’t eager to start the new school year in a Jackson County community. The first day of classes in the Concord district was canceled Wednesday because tires were deflated on all 10 buses. Superintendent Dan Funston tells the Jackson Citizen Patriot there wasn’t enough time to refill the tires. Funston says it’s “awfully disappointing,” especially after a successful open house Tuesday night. Concord will try again Thursday, although teachers didn’t get a break. They still had to report to classrooms Wednesday. Of course, they don’t ride school buses.. ...Read Full Story

Edwardsburg Man Found Dead In Kalamazoo Parking Lot

A grisly discovery in a Kalamzoo parking lot. A 32-year-old Edwardsburg man’s body was found Tuesday morning inside his pickup truck in the parking lot near the Planet Fitness on Stadium Drive. Kalamazoo Public Safety investigators aren’t sure how long Stephen Heuer had been dead, but say there were no obvious signs of foul play, they do say it was obvious that the body had been there for a long period of time. The scene was secure and the city’s forensic team spent some time collecting samples for testing. It’s being treated as a suspicious death until an autopsy has been conducted and determines the cause of death. Heuer had been reported missing.. ...Read Full Story

Governor Snyder Seeks To Undo Court Order In Flint Water Probe

(Lansing – AP) – Governor Rick Snyder is challenging a court order that bars a Flint hospital from contacting state health authorities on any future issue related to the city’s water woes. Snyder says the Aug. 17 order by a Genesee County judge has “tied the hands of state employees” to protect the public. The Detroit News reports that the order tells McLaren Hospital to talk only to the county health department on Flint water-related matters. Andrea Bitely, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, says investigators are trying to protect health data related to lead poisoning and deaths from Legionnaires’ disease. Bitely says an amended order will be sought. But she says any suggestion that the state health department can’t do its job “is simply untrue.” Flint’s water supply was contaminated by lead.. ...Read Full Story

State Police Review Thousands Of Blood Alcohol Tests

A Michigan State Police spokesman says no one was wrongly prosecuted for drunken driving as a result of blood-alcohol tests that were  incorrectly analyzed. Lieutenant Mike Shaw says the problem involved a high-tech processing file on a machine at the state police lab. It affected 4,001 cases statewide over a four-month period. But Shaw said Tuesday that a new round of tests showed only “minute” differences. Half the tests didn’t require any correction. Shaw says the revised results also didn’t have an impact in cases where the blood-alcohol level was initially
found to be near 0.08, the threshold for drunken driving. In 18 cases, Shaw says the new results put the blood-alcohol level at 0.17 or slightly higher, the threshold for “super drunk.” New reports are being sent to prosecutors.. ...Read Full Story

Auto Supplier Preparing To Show Off Autonomous Car Technology

Auto supplier Delphi is working to have autonomous vehicle technology ready to sell to automakers by 2019. CEO Kevin Clark says there are several reasons why self-driving cars are attracting interest. First, regulators want fewer traffic injuries and fatalities. Also, municipal planners want less of a need for parking. He adds consumers are expressing interest, as well.. ...Read Full Story

MI Rally Held To Protest Trade Deal

A rally was held Tuesday in Ann Arbor by those opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a new trade deal being pushed by the Obama administration. Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO, says the agreement would lead to more American jobs being shipped elsewhere. He says Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, State Representative Gretchen Driskell, and Macomb County Prosecutor Suzanna Shkreli were to be among the political leaders in attendance.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven Area Emergency Services Rescues Iguana From Tree

It was a harrowing rescue conducted by South Haven Area Emergency Services on Tuesday. Police were called out to a home near South Haven Place and Bailey Avenue in the afternoon hours on a report of an iguana on the loose. When officers arrived, the iguana, named Harold, scampered up the tree. So firefighters brought in a ladder truck. After several minutes of coaxing, they managed to catch the two-foot lizard. Meanwhile, Harold’s owner appeared at the scene and told officers he had escaped about a month ago. Harold, who appeared to be healthy, was reunited with the owner. Responders say it’s not known exactly what Harold had been up to while on the run.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Celebrates Opening Of Hanson Technology Center

Lake Michigan College’s Hanson Technology Center is now open for business. LMC broke ground on the $12 million facility at its Napier Avenue campus just last year, and on Tuesday, the grand opening was held. LMC President Dr. Bob Harrison says the Hanson Tech Center will serve as a modern manufacturing training ground, but that’s not all.. ...Read Full Story

Morton House To House Salvaged Mercy Hospital Pieces

The Morton House in Benton Harbor has agreed to help preserve what’s salvaged from the former Mercy Hospital building once it’s demolished next month. Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski says the letters spelling out the name of the facility will be handed over to the Morton House, along with any cornerstones that are found. Also, the group could sell bricks from the building.. ...Read Full Story

Interviews For St. Joseph Clerk Today

The St. Joseph City Commission will hold a special meeting today to interview four candidates for the position of clerk and finance director. The interviews will start at 10 a.m. at city hall and last through after 2 p.m. Commissioners have set aside one hour for each interview, with one at 10, the next at 11, a break for lunch at noon, and then the others at 1 and 2 p.m. The candidates are Tonia Betty, currently the clerk for the city of Watervliet, Ian Haight, current clerk for Hagar Township, Lisa LaValley, an accountant at Shepherd Caster Corporation, and Sara McCallum, the treasurer of Pere Marquette Township in Mason County. Today’s interviews will be open to the public. City Manager John Hodgson tells us once the position of clerk/finance director is filled, commissioners will move on to finding a new public safety director.. ...Read Full Story

Tornado Doesn’t Stop Grand Rapids Couple From Marrying

Not even tornado sirens could stop a Michigan couple from saying “I do.” As the sirens blared across Grand Rapids, Brandon Warner married Breane Proctor in front of family members and guests at a church. Warner told The Grand Rapids Press that he decided to proceed with Saturday’s ceremony, despite the storm threat, and that if they “were going to get hit, maybe it was meant to be.” The new bride said, “We just kind of shrugged our shoulders and went down the aisle.” After exchanging vows, storm sirens sounded again and everyone stood beneath
the church’s balconies, away from its stained-glass windows. The newspaper reports that a little less than an hour after they said “I do,” a tornado reportedly touched down less than three miles away.. ...Read Full Story