Local News Archives

“Baby Kate” Murder Trial Underway In Ludington

A high-profile murder trial five years in the works is now underway in Ludington. Sean Phillips is charged with murder in the death of his four-and-a-half month old daughter, Katherine, in 2011. She quickly became known around West Michigan as “Baby Kate.” The girl’s mother, Ariel Courtland, testified as the trial opened on Thursday and said Phillips wanted her to get an abortion.. ...Read Full Story

Lawrence Couple Pleads Guilty In Animal Neglect Case

Guilty pleas for a Lawrence Township couple in an animal cruelty case. Donald Smith and Melissa Copen reached a plea deal with Van Buren County prosecutors on Thursday, and won’t be allowed to keep their animals. They’ll avoid jail if they complete their probation. Animal control officers and sheriff’s deputies took 108 dogs, six cats and a horse from their home in June. The conditions inside the home were described by Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler as horrendous. She said this summer in an interview with WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids after the animals were seized that they weren’t mistreated and her and her husband got overwhelmed while trying to start an animal rescue program.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Deer Dies From EHD

(St. Joseph, MI – AP) – A deer in southwestern Michigan has died from a disease that killed more than 12,000 in the state in 2012. The Department of Natural Resources says it has confirmed a deer death in Berrien County linked to EHD, a viral disease that is transmitted by a fly. No cases were reported in Michigan in 2014 or 2015. Wildlife biologist and pathologist Tom Cooley believes the dry, hot weather this summer may have played a role in the return of EHD. The disease has been around for decades in many areas of the U.S. The DNR says sick deer lose appetite and fear of humans and often are found unconscious near water. There is no evidence that humans can catch the virus.. ...Read Full Story

Clinton Leads Trump In Michigan By 7% In New Poll

A new poll shows Hillary Clinton with seven-percentage-point lead in the presidential race in Michigan. She has 42% support, compared to 35% for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, 9% for Libertarian Gary Johnson, and 3% for the Green Party’s Jill Stein. The poll was done for “The Detroit News” and WDIV-TV in Detroit. There are still 9% of voters who say they’re undecided. The survey was taken after Monday night’s debate between Clinton and Trump, with 57% saying Clinton is qualified for the Oval Office and 62.5% believing Trump is not qualified. That is up slightly from a poll in August.. ...Read Full Story

Cafe Mosaic Willing To Work With Men Who Robbed Customer This Week

The doors of Benton Harbor’s Cafe Mosaic are could still be open to two young men who snatched a woman’s purse from the business this week. Cafe Manager Gabrielle Engle tells WSJM News the two went in there Tuesday, asking about the Jobs for Life program. They waited a few minutes and then took off with a lady’s purse. Engle says the management has met and decided those are just the kind of folks Cafe Mosaic tries to help.. ...Read Full Story

SMC Working To Enroll Former ITT Tech Students

Southwestern Michigan College is continuing to work with students of ITT Technical Institute now that ITT Tech has ceased all operations. The for-profit chain of schools abruptly shut down this month, and SMC reached out to students right away offering help. SMC Vice President of Enrollment Mike O’Brien tells us a workshop the college held on the 14th attracted 20 nursing students from ITT Tech, along with about a dozen technology and business students. Some came from as far away as Chicago, desperate to find a way to transfer some of their credits. O’Brien says a few were just months from graduation, and SMC is working with the state licensing authority to see if any of their credits can transfer. SMC is hoping to have some of those ITT Tech students enrolled in the spring.. ...Read Full Story

Van Buren Deputies Honored By MADD

Two Van Buren County sheriff’s deputies have been honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for their efforts to keep the roads safe. The sheriff’s department tells our newsroom Deputy Brian Matthews and Deputy Eric Calhoun were recognized at a celebration in Mount Pleasant Thursday. Both are assigned as secondary road deputies specifically dedicated to road enforcement. Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler says they’re instrumental in keeping the county safe.. ...Read Full Story