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Top local news stories of 2019

The May shooting death of a woman by her 9-year-old adopted son was voted the top local news story of 2019, as selected and ranked by editorial staff members of the Sturgis Journal. The incident occurred May 6 in Fawn River Township and resulted in the death of Pauline Randol. In September, probate court judge David Tomlinson ruled the boy …

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SJC Substance Abuse Task Force will launch campaign

St. Joseph County Substance Abuse Task Force is preparing to launch its 2020 Meth Campaign. The annual campaign will focus on recovery, hope and community healing, and conclude with the annual “Voices of Hope and Recovery” program. Task force members will begin a public-awareness effort through a series of emails, Facebook posts, radio interviews and by display messages on St. …

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Dark-sky preserve comes to Cass County

A measure to designate T.K. Lawless County Park in Cass County as a dark-sky preserve was approved this week by the House Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Committee. The measure was supported by State Rep. Aaron Miller. He said there is a high demand for dark-sky preserves. The plan would create an additional location in Michigan for celestial-viewing opportunities, which …

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COA crowdfunding effort reaches goal

A crowdfunding effort by the St. Joseph County Commission On Aging reached its $50,000 goal. COA director Tim Stoll said as a result of meeting its goal, the agency qualifies for a $50,000 match through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Stoll said the funds will help with development of a park at the newly opened Rivers Enrichment Center at the …

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Sheriff Balk announces retirement

St. Joseph County Sheriff Brad Balk announced Tuesday he will retire at the end of January. Balk, 65, said his last day will be Jan. 31, 11 months before the end of his four-year elected term. Sheriff since 2009, Balk appeared before county commission members and read a one-page letter in which he stated his plans to step down. He …

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Conservation District will host annual dinner

The St. Joseph County Conservation District has issued a reminder that its annual Local Food Dinner will be Sept. 11. An allotment of just 200 tickets will be made available for the $25-per-person event. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. and dinner is served at 6 p.m., according to event organizers. The four-course meal, which will feature locally-sourced food prepared by …

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Burglary suspects arrested in Cass County

Two Calvin Township residents suspected of being involved in a number of burglaries throughout the area have been arrested by deputies from the Cass County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Richard Behnke said a large quantity of stolen property was recovered from an address on Brownsville Road after the Cass County Drug Enforcement Team and deputies executed a search warrant related to …

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Long range plan approved for Parks & Recreation

The road map for St. Joseph County Parks and Recreation Department’s next half-decade was approved by county commissioners last week. The agency’s five-year plan includes one major development and a variety of minor tasks. With a portfolio of nine parks, however, the highest priority going forward will center on adhering to a consistent maintenance plan, according to department director Jaymes …

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Burglaries hit Cass County

Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke said the department has fielded an extraordinary number of burglaries in the past month. He advises the public to be especially vigilant in locking their homes and vehicles in order to prevent from being a theft victim. From December 25 through January 15, 20 burglaries and 23 larcenies were reported to the agency. There was …

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