Local News Archives

Man Found Competent For Trial In Kalamazoo Bicycle Killings

A 50-year-old man charged with striking and killing five bicyclists with his pickup truck in Kalamazoo has been found competent to stand trial. A hearing was held Wednesday in Kalamazoo County District Court for Charles Pickett Jr. He was evaluated by the state’s Center for Forensic Psychiatry at the request of his attorney. Pickett is charged with five counts of second-degree murder, four counts of reckless driving causing impairment and driving while intoxicated causing death. Police have reported that Pickett had taken pain pills and muscle relaxers less than two hours before the June 7 crash. Another four bicyclists were injured when he struck them from behind on a two-lane road in Cooper Township, south of Grand Rapids. Pickett faces a September 21 preliminary examination.. ...Read Full Story

Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg To Speak At Notre Dame

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is planning to speak at the University of Notre Dame. University president the Rev. John Jenkins announced that Ginsburg will speak at the Purcell Pavilion on September 12. He says she will talk about a wide range of issues with U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Ann Claire Williams, who is a Notre Dame alumna and board of trustee member.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Moves Millage To May

Voters will not be deciding on the sinking fund millage for Benton Harbor Area Schools in November. The school board has voted to move that to the May primary at a special meeting last night. Board member Stephen Mitchell told our partners at WNDU NewsCenter 16 he’d rather put the question in front of voters now, rather than wait.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac, South Haven Robberies May Be Related

The search is on for an armed robber who pulled a gun at the Quick Stop liquor store in South Haven just before 9:30 Monday night and got away with cash out of the register. Police are looking at surveillance video trying to identify the suspect, who is described as black, about 6-feet-2, and was wearing dark clothing along with a mask and gloves. There is also the possibility according to police that the same suspect robbed a Marathon station in Dowagiac about an hour later. In that robbery, a customer’s wallet was also taken along with money out of the till. A police K-9 was unable to track the man out of the gas station. Anyone with information on the robberies is asked to call South Haven Police or Dowagiac Public Safety.. ...Read Full Story

LMC Board Welcomes New Member

The Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees has welcomed a new member. On Tuesday, the board swore in Jeff Curry to serve in a three-year term replacing Stephen Small, who joined in 2013 and resigned this month. Curry is a past president of the Lake Michigan College Foundation, and a past president and current treasurer of the Niles Board of Education. He’s also a member of the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation and the committee for the Buchanan Promise. Previously, he’s worked with Kinexus, the United Way of Southwest Michigan, and the Niles-Buchanan YMCA. Curry is a St. Joseph native who lives in Niles and works for Stay Metrics. LMC Board President Mary Jo Tomasini says he’s an excellent addition with the insight to help LMC innovate. Curry replaces Stephen Small, of South Haven, who stepped down to teach at the college.. ...Read Full Story

Senator Gary Peters To Be In Van Buren County Thursday

Senator Gary Peters is going to make a stop in Van Buren County this week. Peters is currently on a motorcycle tour of the state, heading to 26 counties and making 12 stops over five days to talk with Michigan residents about things going on in Washington. On Thursday, he’ll stop at Bloomingdale Communications, on West Kalamazoo Street in Bloomingdale, to discuss the work being done to get broadband internet to rural Michigan residents. Bloomingdale Communications is a broadband provider. Peters will roll into town about 11 a.m. Also Thursday, Peters will make stops in Jones and Sturgis.. ...Read Full Story

State Sharing $89 Million For Low Income Heat Assistance

More than a dozen Michigan-based organizations and companies will share $89 million for energy assistance programs for low-income
households or schools. The grants were approved by the Michigan Agency for Energy in conjunction with the state Department of Health and Human Services. The projects include helping low-income utility customers pay their bills on time and assisting them with budgeting to provide for energy expenses. Grants include $17 million for DTE Energy, $15 million for TrueNorth Community Services, $13.7 million for the Salvation Army, $13.2 million for Consumers  Energy and $8.8 million for the Heat and Warmth Fund.. ...Read Full Story

MI Student Test Scores A Mixed Bag

Michigan students improved in slightly more than half of the grades and subjects tested on newer, more rigorous standardized assessments,
but their proficiency declined in other areas. M-STEP results released Tuesday show that fewer than half of the students were proficient in 17 of 18 subject-grade tests. State officials say there’s work to be done, but they’re pleased testing times dropped and results are being released four months earlier than last year — the first time the M-STEP was given. Also being released are SAT college entrance exam scores. The SAT was
administered to 11th-graders for the first time after Michigan switched from the ACT. 60% of students were deemed college and career ready in reading and writing, but just 37 percent were college and career ready in math.. ...Read Full Story

Lincoln Township Residents Warned About Wave Of Car Break-Ins

Lincoln Township police are reminding residents to keep their cars locked, as there’s been a rash of vehicle break-ins lately. Police chief Dan Sullivan says the thieves have been striking mostly unlocked cars since the beginning of August. Most recently, there were 15 reports of car break-ins this past Sunday and Monday. Sullivan says one tip is simply to not leave anything valuable in your car.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Gas Station Robbed Monday

Police are looking for an armed robber who struck a Marathon station in Dowagiac Monday night. Dowagiac police say the suspect walked into the gas station on Spruce Street around 10:40 p.m. flashing a handgun. He made off with the cash from the register, as well as a customer’s wallet. The suspect was wearing a mask and a hood at the time, along with dark clothing. He’s described as being about 6’1 and 200 pounds. A search for him with a police K9 didn’t turn up anything. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the Dowagiac Police Department.. ...Read Full Story

Michigan’s Apple Crop Expected To Set Record

It’s expected Michigan apple growers will harvest a record 31-million bushels or 1.3 billion pounds of apples this year. The Michigan Apple Committee says that’s up by 7-million bushels from last year, and well above the average of 22.8 million bushels for the state. Michigan Apple Committee Executive Director Diane Smith credits excellent weather conditions for growing apples this summer, and says with the heat we’ve had, the flavor is also expected to be as excellent as the size of the crop. Harvest is underway now for early-season varieties, and will continue through the fall. Michigan has over 800 family-run apple farms with over 11-million apple trees in commercial production.. ...Read Full Story

Notre Dame Receives $5M Donation For Business Incubator

(South Bend, IN – AP) – The University of Notre Dame has received a $5 million donation to build the second phase of a business incubator near campus. The donation was made by the late Thomas Quinn and his wife, Diane. The money will fund a 40,000-square-foot, three-level facility located on a 12-acre site immediately south of the campus that will expand Innovation Park. Construction is expected to begin in late fall or early winter.. ...Read Full Story

Kalamazoo Police Believe They’ve Cracked Cold Case From 2013

He has been the prime suspect since an 88-year-old neighbor was beaten to death in his own home on Kalamazoo’s east side three years ago this month. Now, authorities in that city say 43-year-old Todd Maneke is facing open murder charges for allegedly killing Alfred Minka. Kalamazoo Public Safety Captain Victor Ledbetter says the man they arrested was the most likely candidate from the beginning, but it took a lot of good old fashioned detective work and a bit of evidence that had been overlooked to finally put all the pieces in place.. ...Read Full Story

AAA Michigan: Be Safe On Roads Over Labor Day

If you’re planning on going out of town this Labor Day, you’re not alone. Triple-A Michigan expects over one million Michiganders to travel this weekend, making it the third most traveled holiday of the summer season. And with so many people on the roads, spokeswoman Susan Hiltz says the risk factors greatly increase.. ...Read Full Story

Flood Warning For Berrien, Cass Counties

Parts of southwest Michigan are under a flood warning until 3 p.m. today. The National Weather Service says a thunderstorm this morning dropping about three inches of rain an hour from Benton Harbor to Cass County is to blame. Northeastern Berrien and northwestern Cass counties are under the warning, including Stevensville, St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, Dowagiac, Eau Claire and Millburg. The National Weather Service is urging people to not drive through flooded areas, noting most flood-related deaths happen in vehicles.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Recalling Microwaves For Fire Hazard

More than 15,000 microwave ovens are being recalled by Whirlpool. Manufactured in China between January 2014 and April of this year, the microwaves pose a fire hazard. There have been five reports of problems, including one house fire. The recalled items are microwave hood combinations in black, stainless steel and white. The recalled microwaves should be unplugged immediately and not used. Whirlpool says internal arcing during use can ignite a plastic component. More information is available on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website and at repair.whirlpoolcorp.com, including a list of model and serial numbers included in the recall.. ...Read Full Story

Report: More Money, More Votes

As public frustration over the influence of money in politics continues to grow, a new study shows some evidence the US political system is more “one dollar, one vote” than “one person, one vote.” Thomas Ferguson, with the Institute for New Economic Thinking, tapped big data on congressional races and discovered a stark correlation.. ...Read Full Story

State Grant To Boost Algae Bloom Research

Great Lakes researchers have gotten a big boost from the state Department of Environmental Quality. More than $155,000 has been given to Oakland University to create technology to deal with harmful algae blooms that can kill off fish. David Schlagg, assistant Professor of chemistry and environmental science, says the money will go to good use.. ...Read Full Story

WMU Researchers Moving Into Retirement Community

Some occupational therapy students from Western Michigan University are about to begin an unusual project to prepare themselves for working with seniors once they graduate. They’re moving into a retirement community. Director of resident living at Clark on Keller Lake in Cascade Township Nancy Ayers says it’s a pioneering research project. The intent is for the students and the seniors to learn from one another.. ...Read Full Story

BH Schools Looking For Cleanup Volunteers This Week

With the new school year starting next week, Benton Harbor Area Schools is reaching out to the community to ask for a little help in preparing its buildings. Curriculum Director Patricia Robinson says many teachers had to move to new buildings over the summer, and they’re hoping volunteers will come out this week to help them clear some of the clutter.. ...Read Full Story

Dalton Trial Expected Late This Year Or Early Next Year

Kalamazoo mass shooting suspect Jason Dalton is expected to face 16 felony charges when he goes on trial late this year or early next year. That’s according to Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting who says Dalton is currently being evaluated for competency. Getting expects that when the results of the defense-requested exam are in, the prosecution is going to ask for a second opinion.. ...Read Full Story

Cat Rescued In New Buffalo Reunited With Family After Cross-Country Trip

A southwest Michigan Welcome Center has doubled as an animal rescue center, as employees managed to save a cat that escaped from its cross-country bound family. Milkie, a 14-year-old tabby, was traveling in a moving truck with Graham Skelly and his 10-year-old son, Simon, from Seattle to Arlington, Virginia. The father says they stopped August 21 at the travelers’ center in New Buffalo. Skelly says Milkie, who was leashed, became scared by a dog and ran into woods. The Skellys searched for two hours before leaving empty-handed. Center employee Alyson Payne says workers finally safely trapped Milkie on Friday. Graham Skelly drove from Virginia to reclaim the pet Sunday. He says by phone – amid Milkie’s meows – that the family is “grateful” for the rescue.. ...Read Full Story