11-10-2016 Berrien County Sheriff’s Victim Services Unit named unit of the year; Lake Michigan Colle

Berrien County Sheriff’s Victim Services Unit named unit of the year

 The Berrien County Sheriff’s Victim Services Unit has been named this year’s Victim Services Unit of the Year by the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association (MSA). The award is presented annually to a Victim Services Unit (VSU) that has provided exemplary service to victims in their community.

The Berrien County Sheriff’s VSU has been operating for seven years. The Unit responded to 58 calls for service this past year and assisted 686 victims. They have never turned down a call for service. Earlier this year, Berrien County experienced its own need for the Victim Services Unit. Two Court Security Officers were killed during a shooting at the Berrien County Courthouse.  The volunteers distributed bottled water, hugs and listening ears for deputies and courthouse employees. Words cannot express the pride Sheriff L. Paul Bailey, Sheriff of Berrien County, has in his unit, not only as individuals, but more importantly, as a team. Berrien County Sheriff’s VSU represents the Office of Sheriff professionally and with pride. They are constantly trying to improve the unit through monthly meetings, continuing training and community involvement.

MSA’s Victim Services Program began in 1995 to provide support for crime victims and their families, as well as relieving some of the stress from certified officers.  When the program started, teams of two volunteers would accompany deputies when a death notification was given and stay with the next of kin until a personal support team (family, friends or clergy) arrived.  Today, many sheriffs have expanded the use of these teams to provide help in search and rescue efforts, assist in natural and man-made disasters such as flooding or school incidents and provide support in the aftermath of any crime.

The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association was founded in 1877 and is Michigan’s oldest law enforcement organization.  For more information on victim services and other programs MSA supports please visit www.misheriff.org.

Lake Michigan College Guitar Fest

 Local musicians will come together for a free public Guitar Fest on Tuesday, November 15 at 7 p.m. at the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center.

LMC music students will perform along with a variety of Southwest Michigan’s premier guitarists, including LMC guitar instructor Rob Lunn; master luthier Jan Burda; guitarist and Grammy Award-winning sound engineer Dave Carlock; Notre Dame and LMC guitar instructor Don Savoie; and bassist Jonathan Kohn.

Educational clinics will be offered for electric, acoustic and base guitars, and ukulele.

Guitar Fest is open to the public and free to attend. It will be located in the Deckmann Studio of the Mendel Center on LMC’s Benton Harbor campus at 2755 E. Napier Avenue.

Please contact Director of Music John Owens at jowens2@lakemichigancol-lege.edu with questions regarding Guitar Fest.

For information about LMC’s performing arts programs, visit www.lakemichigancollege.edu.

Stonegate Manor opens as new wedding/event venue in Southwest Michigan

 The year-long journey which has allowed Tom and Prudy Nelson to lovingly awaken the beauty of the property at 2251 Riverside Road in Benton Harbor has now reached completion.

Stonegate Manor is now open and accepting reservations for weddings, family reunions, corporate gatherings and other special events of nearly every size.

This homestead was originally settled by the Robert Dickinson family in the mid 1800s.  The Victorian Manor house was built in 1847 and is believed to be one of the oldest in Benton Township.  The home was occupied by several generations of the Dickinson family until 1942.  Thereafter, it was abandoned for some 40 years before it was secured by the Siriano family who restored it largely to its current elegance.

Some 15 years ago, the Nelsons purchased the back 21 acres of the original property which abuts the Paw Paw River and is directly across the river from Sarett Nature Center.  Late last fall, the entire 27 acres was again combined to become Stonegate Manor LLC, slated to be one of the area’s premier wedd