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