Niles woman sentenced for drug possession

NILES — A Niles woman is receiving probation following a narcotics possession case in Berrien County.

Heather Staggs, 32, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and was sentenced to two years’ probation Monday by Berrien County Trial Court Judge Sterling R. Schrock. Staggs’ driving privileges were suspended for 365 days and she was also sentenced to 30 days at TRI-CAP in Saginaw.

TRI-CAP is a correctional facility with a drug treatment component.  According to its website, residents are sentenced to TRI-CAP by the court system because they have not been successful in a community setting while on probation or parole and would benefit from a more structured environment. Intensive substance abuse counseling in a supervised residential atmosphere is available there.

“There are going to be people there who aren’t necessarily going to help you,” Schrock said. “Many people there are in the same situation that you’re in. “You’re going to have to fight for yourself to be successful in that program.”

Staggs, who previously pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and operating/maintaining a lab involving methamphetamine in 2015, was also ordered to pay $598 in costs and fees.

“You’re right on the edge of a prison sentence,” Schrock said. “Keep that in mind as motivation to overcome your situation.”

In another sentencing, Travis Thornton, of Niles was sentenced to two years’ probation after pleading guilty to assault. Thornton received credit for 46 days in jail and was ordered to pay $658 in fees, in addition to $1,106 in trial court fees stemming from past charges.

Schrock ordered Thornton to apply with a jobs program in order to find steady employment.

According to his attorney, Kaitlin Locke, Thornton does some tree removal work through his friend’s business.

“Occasionally cutting down trees is not good enough,” Schrock said. “You need to get a steady job. A jobs program as a condition of your probation is more than appropriate.”

In a different sentencing, a 23-year old Indiana man pled guilty to third degree arson for setting fire to a portable toilet owned by Pride The Portable Toilet Company. They were sentenced to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service. The man was ordered to pay $754 in restitution to Pride and $658 in costs and fees.

With the guilty plea, the man was granted Holmes Youthful Trainee Act status. HYTA gives a young offender, ages 17 to 23, a chance to keep a criminal offense, including felonies, off his or her record.

Cass County

Dowagiac man pleads guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct

Business

Dowagiac business cited for COVID-19 safety violations

Cass County

Cass County Chief Judge talks COVID’s impact on treatment court

News

Historians, archaeologists with ties to Fort St. Joseph to give free lectures

Buchanan

Commission votes to make One Buchanan official city board

Berrien County

Businesses in Berrien, Cass counties report disparities in mandate enforcement

Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg/Ontwa Township Police Log: Jan. 11-18

Berrien County

Berrien County’s only homeless shelter raising money for repair

Cass County

Cass County commissioners approve five-year parks plan

Cass County

Woman ordered to pay back money taken from disabled son

Dowagiac

Ascension CAO provides vaccine update to Rotary

Berrien County

Spectrum Health Lakeland, Berrien County Health Department give joint update on COVID-19 immunizations, numbers

Cass County

Niles man sentenced to probation, jail time for 27th criminal conviction

Berrien County

Michigan indoor dining to resume Feb. 1 with restrictions

Berrien County

Lakeland, health department seeking COVID-19 vaccination volunteers

Business

Canceled Ice Time Festival to impact local businesses

Berrien County

New Berrien County prosecutor eyes crime prevention, support services

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien, Van Buren counties report new COVID-19 deaths

Cass County

Cass County deputy saves dog from icy pond

Berrien County

Slow vaccine rollout hinders southwest Michigan distribution

Buchanan

Andrews University’s urban design studio arrives in Buchanan to kickoff revitalization project

Berrien County

Berrien County vaccine supplies remain limited, residents urged to have continued patience

Buchanan

‘Freddie the Stoner’ says Jimmy Kimmel changed his life

Cassopolis

Dowagiac charity campaign doubles fundraising goal