Police and Fire Reports
By Annette Christie
Winter Storm causes State of Emergency for Michigan
Due to the ongoing emergency weather conditions impacting the State of Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer states, “All Michiganders are encouraged to stay inside as the temperature continues to drop,” and adds, “If you must leave, make sure you layer up, wear the warmest clothes you have, cover your mouth, and try to limit the time out of your home. For your safety and the safety of our first responders, do not take unnecessary risks.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 29 at approximately 1:43 p.m., the National Weather Service had issued multiple winter weather warnings across the State of Michigan beginning Tuesday. Those warnings predicted extremely cold weather as an arctic air mass settled over the region bringing record or near record low temperatures.
Accompanied by gusty winds, wind chills were predicted as low as 50 degrees below zero in many places. Possible effects include disruption in travel and commerce and the threat of frost bite hypothermia or even death if proper precautions are not taken.
These extreme conditions are predicted across the upper and lower peninsula and will extend to areas less accustomed to extreme low temperatures such as the metropolitan Detroit area. Such wide spread extreme conditions have not occurred in Michigan for many years. Under the Emergency Management Act, Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a State of Emergency for the State of Michigan.
As of the end of the day Tuesday, the National Weather Services reported that life-threatening cold was expected to occur late Tuesday and into Thursday with wind chills as low as 45 to 55 degrees below on Wednesday morning and early afternoon. Lake effect snow was expected to continue through Thursday with white out conditions into Wednesday. Wind gusts expected as high as 35-40 mph.
Area schools had been closed through Wednesday as well as many businesses and government offices.
On Tuesday, January 29, 2019 Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey called for the residents of the county to stay off the roads when possible.
Michigan State Police warns of scam
The Michigan State Police has recently received complaints from citizens about a possible scam that involves rental properties over the internet. The intent is to receive money from victims while posing as the owner of a property for sale.
In this case, the victim found a local property for rent on the internet and requested more information. The victim contacted the real-estate agent selling the property and was informed the actual home owners were not renting the property. The person posing as the property owner provided a tenant application and requested a security deposit. The Michigan State Police would like to remind citizens to be cautious when these incidents occur and not to respond in any way.
Tips to protect you from scams: Never respond to an offer you don’t understand thoroughly; never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons; if you receive a letter from anyone asking you to send personal or banking information, do not reply in any manner. Send the letter to the U.S. Secret Service, your local FBI office, or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. You can also register a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant.
If you know someone who is corresponding in one of these schemes, encourage that person to contact the FBI or the U.S. Secret Service as soon as possible.
Guard your account information carefully.
Children’s Advocacy Center gains comfort dog
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan (CAC) recently obtained a service dog to serve the children of Southwest Michigan. “Pawnee” is a 15-month-old female chocolate lab who came to the CAC through the Canine Advocacy Program in collaboration with the Leader Dogs for the Blind program in Rochester Michigan.
Pawnee is a “career change” dog who was deemed not compatible with the Leader Dog for the Blind program and was career changed into the Canine Advocacy Program (CAP). She is trained to provide emotional support to people, and especially children. She will be utilized as a support animal in a therapeutic setting, and as a calming presence for children and adults in the community who are partaking in abuse prevention lessons offered by the CAC.
Pawnee will also be able to work with CAC clients during their court prep in the mock courtroom located in their agency. Once at the courthouse, the children will be able to testify with the help of another CAP dog “Mr. Weeber”, who works at the Berrien County Courthouse through the Prosecutor’s Office.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan is a non-profit agency that assists in the prevention, investigation, and treatment of child abuse in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties. Their mission is to support children, through a coordinated response to child abuse and neglect and they are excited to now have Pawnee to provide additional support and comfort to the children they serve.
The CAC’s principal program, established in 2002, carries out this mission through a multidisciplinary approach to the investigation and treatment of child abuse. Since that time, the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) has served almost 7,000 children who were alleged to have been victims of sexual or severe physical abuse. The CAC’s highly-trained forensic interviewers conduct developmentally appropriate, legally-sound interviews of child victims, and their licensed therapists provide crisis counseling and on-going therapy to child victims and their non-offending family members. The CAC also seeks to prevent child abuse by offering age appropriate, school-based, prevention education to children pre-k – 12th grade, as well as education for adults who work in child-serving settings. All these services are always provided at no cost to the individuals, schools, or organizations.