Local News Archives

Group Purchases West MI Sand Dune Property

Officials from the Land Conservancy of West Michigan say White River Township in Muskegon County has closed two acres of Lake Michigan sand dunes after raising $970,000 to purchase the land. MLive reports that the announcement Wednesday comes after a year of fundraising and a decades-long fight to protect the area from development, including a drive that would’ve run through the middle of the dunes. The Land Conservancy and White River Township began a campaign in July 2015 to raise the funds to purchase the property from its current owner, Bro G Land Company, and expand the White River Township Barrier Dunes Sanctuary. The property will be added to the sanctuary, which is just north of White Lake. A dedication will be held Aug. 15 to celebrate the protection of the property.. ...Read Full Story

Mackinac Island Restricts Use Of Drones

Mackinac Island is restricting drones amid worries that such unmanned aircraft may startle the island’s horses and interfere with its historic charm. The Detroit News reports the restriction is expected to go into effect July 26 requiring visitors and residents on the northern Michigan island to seek permission from officials before flying drones. City Council recently approved the ordinance. According to the ordinance, potential drone operators will need to request a permit before flying their devices. Violators could be subject to a fine. Officials note that the island has a tourist-based economy that is heavily reliant on its historic character, its prohibition of motor vehicles and its use of horse-drawn vehicles. City Clerk Michelle Wightman says the ordinance builds upon one for the island’s state parkland.. ...Read Full Story

Body Of Missing South Haven Man Found

The body of a South Haven man missing since July 5 has been found. Police say Matthew Morin’s remains were located Tuesday in Barry County and identified by fingerprints. Authorities are not disclosing a possible cause of his death, but do say they have a person of interest in custody on unrelated charges. South Haven police were helped in the investigation by Michigan State Police in the search for Morin.. ...Read Full Story

Funeral Arrangements Announced For Ron Kienzle

Funeral arrangements are now set for Berrien County court bailiff Ron Kienzle. Visitation will be Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. at Starks and Menchinger Chapel in St. Joseph, with his funeral Monday at 1 p.m. at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center. Those are the same locations for the visitation today and the funeral tomorrow for Joe Zangaro. Both men were shot and killed by an inmate in the courthouse on Monday when he was being transfered from a holding cell to a courtroom. The suspect, Larry Gordon, was shot and killed by responding officers.. ...Read Full Story

South Haven PD: Fewer Arrests July 3 Than Reported

Turns out,there were some inflated arrest numbers following the disturbance on North Beach in South Haven prior to the “Light up the Lake” fireworks on July 3. South Haven police tell us there were 13 arrests, not the 50 that had been widely reported. None of the arrests were people from South Haven, as three were from Kalamazoo, three came from Battle Creek, two were in town from suburban Detroit, another two arrested are from Otsego, and one was from suburban Indianapolis. One of the Kalamazoo suspects is charged with inciting a riot.. ...Read Full Story

MI Democrats Propose Constitutional Amendment To Expand Early Voting

Michigan Democrats are proposing a constitutional amendment to expand early voting that’s unlikely to gain support in the Republican-controlled legislature. The measure announced Wednesday calls for “no-reason” absentee voting and in-person early voting starting 15 days before an election. Another provision would provide for automatic voter registration for people issued a driver’s license or state ID card.
Democratic Representatives Gretchen Driskell, of Saline, and Jon Hoadley, of Kalamazoo, call their proposal a “voter bill of rights.” They say voting access must be improved especially after Republicans eliminated straight-party voting in January. A spokesman for House Speaker Kevin Cotter says the resolution has been referred to committee. The constitutional amendment would need support from two-thirds of the House
and Senate by September 9 to qualify for a statewide vote in November.. ...Read Full Story

Pokagon Fund Points To Land Conservation Efforts

The Pokagon Fund is highlighting its land conservation efforts around southwest Michigan. It says since it awarded a $900,000 grant to Chikaming Open Lands in 2011, the organization has been able to preserve 242 acres in southern Berrien County. Chikaming Open Land’s Bob Tatina says that’s among roughly 1,600 acres the group has preserved since its inception. It buys property that would otherwise be developed, and preserves it for educational and recreation purposes.. ...Read Full Story

Local Candidate Forum Set For This This Week

A forum with local political candidates is planned for this week. It’s being organized by the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, and will be held at the Super 8 Conference Center on Red Arrow Highway in Stevensville. On hand will be Democratic congressional candidate Paul Clements, as well as a representative of Congressman Fred Upton, four candidates for the state House in the 79th District, two candidates for Berrien County Drain Commissioner, and some candidates for county commission. The forum will be Friday at noon. Organizers say everyone’s welcome to come out and bring some questions for those running.. ...Read Full Story

Berrien County Deputy Released From Hospital

Berrien County Deputy Sheriff James Atterberry Jr. has been released from the hospital. Atterberry was shot on Monday when jail inmate Larry Gordon grabbed his gun while being led out of a courtroom. Two court security officers, Joe Zangaro and Ron Kienzle, were killed in the incident, while Atterberry was taken to Lakeland Hospital for treatment. A civilian, Kenya Eliis, was also shot and taken to the hospital. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says Atterberry is now recovering at home, and his family asks for privacy. Meanwhile, the sheriff’s department is planning a press conference for Thursday morning to give an update on its investigation into Monday’s courthouse shootings.. ...Read Full Story

Good Samaritan Expansion Moving Forward In State Senate

An expansion to state Representative Al Pscholka’s Good Samaritan legislation has taken another step forward. On Wednesday, the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee approved the plan to remove the age limit on who can be exempt from criminal prosecution when reporting an overdose of certain controlled substances. Pscholka’s original Good Samaritan legislation allowed the exemption for only those under 21. The current Good Samaritan law was introduced by Pscholka last year following the overdose death of 16-year-old Mason Mizwicki, of Watervliet. He died of an overdose that others knew about but didn’t report. The expansion now goes on to the full state Senate. It’s already been approved by the House.. ...Read Full Story