Local News Archives

Fox, Croft To Be Sentenced In December

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jonker says the two men convicted of plotting to kidnap and kill Governor Whitmer will be sentenced in December. Adam Fox will learn December 12 how long he will be in prison, and Barry Croft Jr. will be sentenced December 28. Both could be sent to prison for life. They were convicted this week.. ...Read Full Story

Changes Made To Belle Isle Slide

A giant slide at Belle Isle State Park in Detroit has gotten national attention after videos of people speeding and flying down the slide went viral over the past week. Ron Olson with the Department of Natural Resources, which runs the park, says there’s no doubt the slide will be a popular attraction when it opens again Friday.. ...Read Full Story

Dowagiac Man Charged After 106 Animals Found At Home

Robert Archer the Second is facing a felony charge of abandonment and cruelty toward at least 25 animals after police found 106 animals in his home. He pled guilty in 2020 to abandoning between 10 and 25 animals when he was caught with 77 of them. Cass County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Hubbert told our partners at WSBT 22 Archer’s probation was revoked from that case.. ...Read Full Story

Whitmer Agrees To Two Debates

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has agreed to take part in two televised debates with her Republican opponent, Tudor Dixon. Both debates will be in October, one in Detroit and one in Grand Rapids. Whitmer is seeking a second term. In her first run for governor, she took part in two debates. While she hasn’t committed to any specific dates, Tudor Dixon says debates must start before voting begins, not after as Whitmer is demanding.. ...Read Full Story

Whirlpool Names New Residential Development For Former Benton Harbor Mayor

Whirlpool has named its new 80-unit multi-family housing development on Riverview Drive in Benton Harbor the Emma Jean Hull Flats. Whirlpool Community Relations Director Deb O’Connor tells us the company worked with city commissioners to select a name for the $22 million development. Emma Jean Hull was mayor of Benton Harbor from 1992 to 1996 and led development efforts.. ...Read Full Story

Court Closes Appeals Door For Lawmakers In Abortion Fight

From the Associated Press — Michigan lawmakers have been turned down in their request to appeal a May order that suspends a ban on abortion. A three-judge panel at the Court of Appeals said it found no need for an immediate review. A 1931 law makes it a crime to perform abortions in most circumstances in Michigan. But abortion still remains legal after the fall of Roe v. Wade because two judges in separate cases have stopped any enforcement. The appeals court was focusing on a challenge filed by the Republican-led House and Senate to an injunction issued at the Court of Claims. In May, Judge Elizabeth Gleicher said the law likely violates the Michigan Constitution.. ...Read Full Story

Bangor Auto Repair Facility Gets Cease and Desist

A Bangor auto repair shop has been ordered to stop performing service on vehicles because it has an expired repair facility registration and mechanic certification. The Michigan Department of State has served a cease and desist order on Lenard’s Automotive at 622 West Monroe Street. The shop is owned by Lenard Salinas and a MDOS regulation agent performed an inspection in June and found it performing maintenance, diagnosis, and repair service on a vehicle with those certifications being expired. The mechanic certification expired on January 21, 2009 and the facility registration expired March 17, 2013 and both are still expired. A second MDOS regulation agent visited August 18 and found them still doing work without the state certifications. Anyone who has a complaint against the business is encouraged to call the Office of Investigative Services automotive complaint line at 517-335-1410.. ...Read Full Story

Lake Michigan College Foundation Marks Start Of The LMC Promise

The Lake Michigan College Foundation is preparing for a benchmark year now that it’s provided the primary funding for the LMC Promise. Speaking to the LMC Board of Trustees Tuesday, Foundation Director Doug Schaeffer said the board last year voted to approve a fund for the scholarship program that provides a free college education to anyone with a gross adjusted income of $75,000 or less. Now that ir’s begun, he expects the coming year to tell a lot.. ...Read Full Story

New Restrooms Coming To South Haven’s Dyckman Park

New restrooms will be built next to Dyckman Park and the Huron Street Pavilion starting this fall in South Haven. The Downtown Development Authority had planned to start the construction earlier in the year, but ran into supply chain issues and didn’t want to interrupt the Farm Market or visitor activities. The work will likely start in September and will replace the two unisex bathrooms next to the park. They will be built at the back part of the South Haven Convention and Visitors Bureau building on Phoenix Street. GMB Architecture and Engineering designed the facilities and put a $350,000 estimate on the project in November 2021, but DDA director Sue Brock says that price will likely be higher due to inflation. Bids will be sought by the end of the month for the construction work, and the city will have port-a-potties during the work.. ...Read Full Story

20th Anniversary Of St. Joseph Pier Sculpture Celebrated

The 50-foot sculpture along the south pier in downtown St. Joseph has had its 20th birthday celebration. A reception was held Tuesday night at the Shadowland Pavilion for the occasion as And You, Seas marked two decades. The Krasl Art Center’s Tami Fauver told WSJM News Chicago-based artist Richard Hunt created the massive stainless steel work of art. It was quite a process making it and getting it to St. Joe.. ...Read Full Story

Dissette Sworn Into LMC Board

Now sworn into the Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees is Brian Dissette. He was sworn in as a member of the body Tuesday. The Berrien County Administrator and former South Haven City Manager tells WSJM News he wanted to give back to Lake Michigan College after it helped him.. ...Read Full Story

Two Found Guilty In Whitmer Kidnapping Plot

From the Associated Press — A jury has convicted two men of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020. Prosecutors described the plot as a rallying cry for a U.S. civil war by anti-government extremists. The jury also said Tuesday that it found Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. guilty of conspiring to obtain a weapon of mass destruction. Croft, of Delaware, was also convicted of a third crime. It was the second trial for Fox and Croft after a jury in April couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict. Two other men were acquitted and two more pleaded guilty. The FBI considered it a major domestic terrorism case and embedded at least three informants and two undercover agents in the group. Defense lawyers say Fox and Croft were simply “big talkers” who said vile things about Whitmer and government.. ...Read Full Story

COVID-19 Study In Michigan

A consortium of public health leaders across Michigan have announced plans to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic including the impact of public health enforcement orders on businesses and schools. Norm Hess is executive director of the Michigan Association for Local Public Health, which commissioned the study.. ...Read Full Story

Jury Deliberations Underway In Fox, Croft Retrial

Jury deliberations are underway in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids in the retrial of two men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Matthew Schneider, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, says a key goal of the defense has been to latch onto recent allegations of public mistrust of the FBI.. ...Read Full Story

Animal Hoarding Investigated In Dowagiac

Dowagiac police have found 106 animals inside of a home. Officers found over 20 dogs and puppies in first-floor cages, a dead bird in the garage, and cats, a goat, rabbits, Guinea pigs, ducks, and chickens in the basement. Sergeant Kevin Roman did the search of the home and spoke to our newsgathering partners at WSBT 22.. ...Read Full Story

Democrat Joseph Alfonso To Be On Fourth District Ballot

There will be a Democrat on the November ballot running against Congressman Bill Huizenga after all. Holland resident Joseph Alfonso has been able to get on the ballot with a write-in campaign in the primary. The Board of State Canvassers on Friday certified the results of the primaries after Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater recommended Alfonso be on the ballot despite not officially being on the primary ballot.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Dedicates New Athletics Facility

The new athletics facility at Southwestern Michigan College has had its grand opening with a dedication held last week. SMC President Joe Odenwald tells WSJM News the 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse features a court, video scoreboards, new locker rooms, a training room, and a second-floor skybox. After SMC brought back sports last year with the revival of the Roadrunners cross country team, Odenwald says it’s been exciting on campus.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Seeking Grant To Spruce Up Courtyard

The Bridgman Corridor Improvement Authority is seeking to spruce up a downtown courtyard with some art. It’s applied to the Michigan Municipal League Foundation for a $5,000 Bridge Builders Main Street Microgrant that would pay for the high school art club to design and execute a rug mural in the courtyard off Lake Street. It says the space could be used for live music to attract more people to the downtown on Sundays. The authority says the project will “shine a light on our youth’s artistic talent and its completion will impact a much needed public gathering space,” adding getting the kids involved will help them have pride in the community. Anyone can vote on which microgrant the MML approves at its website. We have a link to vote for Bridgman at our website. In all, nine communities are competing for the grants.. ...Read Full Story

Stevensville Texas Corral Opens At 3 PM

Texas Corral will open at 3 p.m. today on Red Arrow Highway in Stevensville. The restaurant closed on Pipestone in Benton Harbor in 2020 due to a dispute between the building’s owner and the Indiana-based restaurant chain. Texas Corral has eight locations from Highland, Indiana to Kalamazoo. The new Stevensville location is the former Big Boy restaurant and while it’s smaller than other Texas Corral locations, the owners say the location on I-94 made it worth the different layout. It will be open 3 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 to 10 p.m. on Friday. Weekend hours have not yet been determined.. ...Read Full Story

Florida Man Arrested After Van Buren County Motorcycle Chase

Van Buren County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a 24-year-old Florida man on several charges after he tried to outrun police on a motorcycle. A deputy tried to pull him over in the 15-thousand block of 52½ Street in Columbia Township around 2:30 a.m. today, and he took off going 50 to 60 miles-an-hour. He was not familiar with the roads and went down a dead-end part of 52½ Street and crashed in the gravel toward the street’s end. Officers found a Smith and Wesson revolver in the bike that was reported stolen in Illinois. The man is charged with fleeing and eluding, possession of a stolen firearm, felon in possession of a firearm, CCW violation, driving on a suspended license, driving without insurance, and driving an unregistered vehicle.. ...Read Full Story

Man Killed In Van Buren County Crash

A 24-year-old man from Mexico has been killed in a car crash in Van Buren County. The sheriff’s office says he was found dead Saturday evening just before 5:30 in the 58-thousand block of 55th Street in Lawrence Township. Speed appears to have been a factor, but there were no other people or vehicles involved. His Honda Odyssey was on its side against a tree.. ...Read Full Story

Benton Harbor Master Plan Work Continuing

Benton Harbor City Commissioners are preparing for the next phase of work on the city’s new master plan. Planning Week was held in June with workshops including the Planning Commission and residents, and all of those presentations can be found at BestBentonHarbor.com. Speaking to city commissioners this past week, Paul Lippens with McKenna Associates said the community discussions focused a lot on housing.. ...Read Full Story

Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over Campaign Underway

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is conducting extra patrols for the rest of the month as part of the statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. Sheriff Paul Bailey says the department wants to keep the community safe by protecting it from impaired drivers, whatever the substance they’ve been using. Sheriff’s deputies and officers from local police departments will be looking for drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol throughout the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement period. In Michigan, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, although drivers can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer believes they are impaired. The campaign continues through September 5 to cover Labor Day weekend. In 2021, Michigan had 9,557 alcohol-involved crashes with 357 fatalities. It also had just under 3,000 drug-related crashes. Sheriff Paul urges everyone who’s going to be drinking to arrange for a ride.. ...Read Full Story

Bridgman Library Getting New Director

There’s a new director coming to the Bridgman Public Library. The library board of trustees has voted to hire Sarah Skinner for the position. She currently works for the Niles District Library, where she’s served in a variety of roles for the past six years. Skinner says she’s honored to be hired, adding “Bridgman is a lovely city and I am excited to be here.” Library Board President Edward Valauskas says Skinner will improve the library’s already strong relationship with local schools and enhance the experience for library patrons. He notes the Bridgman Public Library has strong community support, with its library millage renewed by voters this month with 77% support. Skinner starts September 1.. ...Read Full Story

Next Round Of DNR Parks Projects To Include $108 Million In ARPA Funds

The next round of recreation projects to be undertaken by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will be done using $108 million in federal ARPA funds. DNR Parks Director Ron Olson tells WSJM News the governor proposed using $250 million of one-time federal dollars for parks, and the Legislature agreed. This will enable the DNR to take care of longstanding needs at state parks.. ...Read Full Story

New Buffalo Area Recreation Authority Launches Survey As It Develops Parks Plan

A parks and recreation master plan is being developed for the New Buffalo area. The New Buffalo Area Recreational Authority is a partnership between the City of New Buffalo, New Buffalo Area Schools, and New Buffalo Township. The authority is now in the process of conducting a public survey on recreation needs in the community as part of the development of a five year Parks and Recreation Plan. Planners say the intent is to create an inventory of existing facilities and resources, identify community recreation and open space needs, and set a plan of action for a five-year timeframe. While the plan focuses on the overall recreational needs in the area, it will also contain specific plans for both New Buffalo Township and the City of New Buffalo. New Buffalo City Manager Darwin Watson says by the city and township working together on plans, the effort is “cheaper than if we were to develop them on our own creating additional value for residents of both the city and township.” The New Buffalo Area Recreational Authority has posted a survey online it’s asking residents to take as it begins the process of drafting the master plan.. ...Read Full Story

Abortion Remains Legal In Michigan Following Judge’s Ruling

Abortion remains legal in Michigan after a judge Friday ruled county prosecutors cannot charge abortion providers with a felony. Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jacob J. Cunningham sided with Governor Gretchen Whitmer in issuing a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of a 1931 state law that bans abortion in virtually all cases. Meanwhile, the governor has asked the  Michigan Supreme Court to find the 1931 law unconstitutional. A decision in that case could take months.. ...Read Full Story

Betsy DeVos Accuses President Biden Of Sexual Harassment

Betsy DeVos, former US Education Secretary and west Michigan native, claims President Biden put his hands on her shoulders and his forehead to hers during a conversation while she was in a wheelchair recovering from a hip injury. DeVos was on the the Megyn Kelly Show podcast and claimed that Biden’s actions would violate the sexual harassment rules he is proposing for the nation’s colleges.. ...Read Full Story