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Investigators increase reward in fatal 2018 Lake Co. house fire

A reward for information leading to an arrest in the 2018 slaying of a 79-year-old woman whose remains were found following a house fire in Lake County's Ellsworth Township has been increased to $15,000.


The body of Evelyn Louise Ware was found on January 10th, 2018. The reward had stood at $5,000 since shortly after the fire.


The additional reward money is coming from an anonymous donor and the Detroit Crimes Commission. Investigators haven't released how Ware died


Montcalm Co. man charged with child porn counts

A Montcalm County man is facing life in prison after investigators say he shared child pornography.


Sheridan resident, Robert Howard is facing federal charges for possession and distribution of child porn.


Investigators say Pennsylvania authorities traced explicit images back to Howard in August.


Last week they searched his home and officers found more child pornography on his cell phone.


Back n 2012, Howard was also convicted of possession of child porn in Charlevoix County.


With these new charges, Howard could spend up to 60 years behind bars.


CWD found in three deer at Newaygo Co. deer farm

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has confirmed chronic wasting disease in three white-tailed deer from from a Newaygo County deer farm.


To date, CWD has not been detected in free-ranging deer in Newaygo County.


Since 2008, CWD has been detected in four additional privately-owned facilities from Kent, Mecosta, and Montcalm Counties.


The deer farm in Newaygo County is the fifth Michigan farm in which CWD has been detected.


Big Rapids woman sent to hospital following two vehicle accident this morning

A Big Rapids woman was suffered non-life threatening injuries following a two vehicle accident this morning on Northland Drive.


Mecosta County Deputies say they responded to a two vehicle personal injury accident that occurred in front of 4700 Northland Dr in Morley.


An Investigation revealed that a 39-year old women from Morley attempted to turn Northbound onto Northland Dr and did not see a Southbound vehicle driven by a 29-year old female from Big Rapids.


The 29-year old from Big Rapids was transported to Spectrum Big Rapids Hospital for non life threatening injuries.


Big Rapids Police Blotter for 1/9-12

Here is the Big Rapids Police Blotter for January 9-12th:


January 9th

6:43pm Officers were dispatched to a disorderly person complaint at Curries. A male was intoxicated and had been hanging around the parking lot asking people for rides.  The male had been asked to leave several times but refused to do so. The male did leave upon arrival and was advised to not come back for the evening.


January 10th 


200 block N Michigan.  A 26 year old male was cited for open intox.


700 block of N 4th.  Verbal argument over money.  



January 11th


12:36AM  Ferris Dr. / State St.  A 20 year old female was cited for MIP 2nd offense and an 18 year old male for MIP 1st.  The male driver was stopped for obstructed vision.


2:03AM OWI 2ND STATE ST. / FULLER ST.  A 22 year old male was arrested for OWI 2nd offense.


January 12th 


Open Door in the 700 block of N State.  Small area was searched and door was secured.





Hungry Howies Pizza in Big Rapids to open Wednesday and will celebrate by giving back to local schools

Hungry Howies, originator of the flavored crust pizza, is celebrating the opening of their Big Rapids location by offering a special deal on large one-topping flavored-crust pizza for $6.99 for a limited time.


Additionally, to commemorate the new location, the brand will be donating 10% of sales on January 15th to Brookside Elementary and 10% of sales on January 16th to Riverview Elementary.


Pizza baron Robert Leger have been a part of the Hungry Howie’s family for more than three
decades. His franchising journey began after he graduated from Ferris State College in 1984. Upon
graduation, he relocated from Michigan to Tampa, FL, to pursue a career in law enforcement. In
Florida, he worked part-time at Hungry Howie’s Pizza, and eventually made his way to becoming a
full-time business manager in the pizza business. In 1987, he opened his first franchise in Orlando
with the help of his father by his side. In 1991, Robert left Florida and moved back home to
Michigan after opening 5 Hungry Howie restaurants. Since then, Robert and his business partners
have played a pivotal role in the brand’s growth, having opened more than 65 Hungry Howie
locations throughout Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida.

“I’ve had the honor of being a Hungry Howie’s franchisee for over 30 years but opening a store in
Big Rapids, on my college campus, has been a goal and a dream of mine for many years,”
franchisee Robert Leger. “My time at Ferris seems like a lifetime ago, but I learned so much from
my professors and educators, and had so many great life experiences that helped to make me who
I am today. I will always cherish my time as a Bulldog and continue to do my best to support the
city of Big Rapids. It begins with bringing flavored curst pizza to the students and faculty.”

“We admire Robert’s dedication and compassion to his community,” said Jennifer Jackson, Vice
President of Development at Hungry Howie's. “Robert personifies our company values and his
passion and enthusiasm for the brand are inspiring. We know he’ll continue being an asset to our
team with much success. We look forward to building Hungry Howie’s fanbase within the Big Rapids


Hungry Howie’s Big Rapids is located at 103 S State St., Big Rapids, MI 49307 and opening on this Wednesday, January 15th


Consumers Energy to test Hardy Dam siren January 13

Consumers Energy will be testing one siren near Hardy Dam on the Muskegon River on Monday, January 13 at approximately 9:30 a.m.


The siren to be tested that day is downstream of Hardy Dam near E. 44th Street. The energy provider said they will be performing maintenance on that siren and testing its operation. It’s possible the siren will sound multiple times Monday morning.


No other sirens are scheduled to be tested. The tests will include a voice message, a 30-second siren and a second voice message. The public does not need to take any action during the tests.


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires hydroelectric facilities to be able to quickly notify residents and visitors of any developing emergency at the plants. Typically, Consumers Energy performs the test once in August and in December each year.


In the event of an emergency, the siren/speaker units’ initial warning will be supplemented by information on radio and television stations along with Newaygo and Mecosta County emergency notification systems.


Big Rapids Police Blotter for 1/7-1/8

The following incidents took place on Janurary 7th and 8th: 


Janurary 7th: 


Warrant arrest at State/Oak of a male. Child Neglect Warrant; lodged.


Fraud/suspicious fake $50 bill passed at Taco Bell. Under investigation.


Traffic Stop State Perry resulted in a male being cited for No Insurance.  Impounded by Big Rapids Tow.  


Janurary 8th: 


W Bridge- domestic reported.  Male and female.  To be reviewed by city attorney.


Maple St- arrest warrant.  Arrested a male on child support warrant out of Montcalm County


N State- Mental/Assist to County.  Female showed up at this residence not knowing her name, address or any other information.  Mom, was contacted.  They were transported to ER.


Loudon St-Check Well being,  Male was extremely intoxicated and saying how he was going to drink himself to death.  EMS transported to ER.


Milton Ave- Dispatched for a suicidal female.  Ex-boyfriend called saying the female took a bunch of pills.  We were greeted by the bf who said the females ex, was harassing them.  Female was fine just intox.

Alarm at Applebees no key holder responded. building secured.





Suspected drunk driver arrested after causing two vehicle accident

One driver was arrested for suspected drunk driving after a two-car accident on US-131 near 11 Mile Rd. in Mecosta County.


Deputies say the two vehicles involved swerved to avoid a third vehicle that was travelling northbound in the southbound lane. 


The third vehicle continued northbound and was subsequently stopped by a MI DNR officer and the driver was arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol.   


A 54-year-old male from Newaygo in one of the first 2 vehicles was transported to the Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. 


Local Spectrum Health Hospitals enact visitor restrictions

Spectrum Health hospitals are working to meet the challenge of caring for our community amid an influx of respiratory illness. Because one of the most important tools in fighting the transmission of infection is limiting exposure, only healthy visitors may visit patients in the hospitals or outpatient locations.


Michigan is among the hardest hit states for respiratory illnesses this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Respiratory illnesses, including RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), can be especially dangerous to the young, frail or elderly.


Visitors are asked to respect the following restrictions:


  • If you are ill, please refrain from visiting the hospital
  • All visitors are expected to be healthy and the hospitals are taking active steps to protect patients, staff and visitors.
  • A healthy visitor is someone who does not have the following symptoms:


  • Fever, greater than 100.4 F
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Rash or draining sores


These restrictions apply to visitors at all Spectrum Health hospitals and are effective until further notice.


The measures are designed to protect vulnerable patients, as well as staff members. Spectrum Health will continue to monitor the situation and stay in contact with clinical leaders at health systems across the state to collaboratively and effectively address the situation.


Anyone who is experiencing respiratory or flu-like symptoms should consider a video visit with a Spectrum Health Now provider or a trip to a Spectrum Health Walk-In Clinic.


Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital Walk-In Clinic, at 650 Linden Street, Suite 1 in Big Rapids is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital Convenient Care Walk-In Clinic, at 300 N. Patterson Road in Reed City is also open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Newaygo Co. Emergency Manager: Prepare now due to possible flooding

As of January 8th, area rivers, drains, streams, creeks, and lakes are still recovering from the heavy rain that fell in late December. The Muskegon River near Croton is currently 1.5 feet higher than the 24 year daily median height. In addition, soils remain saturated and ground absorption is extremely limited.


It is looking increasingly likely that Lower Michigan will see several rounds of heavy rain late this week and this weekend. Recent forecast trends suggest at least 2 inches of rain is likely across virtually all the Grand and Kalamazoo River basins, as well as much of the Muskegon River basin. As much as 3 inches of rain is possible. Per the NWS Hydrologist, this has the potential to send many of our rivers higher than they have been at any point in the last 1-2 years.


There are still a lot of unknowns as to where the warm side of the storm system vs the cold side of the storm system will set up. Some of the rain in our area could fall as snow/sleet/freezing rain, which makes a big difference on the effect this has on the river levels.



People living in flood prone locations should monitor forecasts this week on this developing hazardous weather situation. Now is the time to think about preparedness and plan for impacts in the event the heavy rainfall and flooding materialize. Significantly rising rivers and flooding is possible through next week.


Three USGS River Gauges are used to determine the river levels.  As of 3:30 pm, the Muskegon River near

  • USGS Croton Streamgage was at 6.94 feet with flows at 3,700 cubic feet per second. Flood stage is at 9.0 feet.
  • USGS Newaygo Streamgage was at 9.36 feet with flows at 3,890 cubic feet per second. Flood stage is at 11.0 feet.
  • USGS Bridgeton Streamgage was at 10.76 feet with flows at 3,990 cubic feet per second. Flood stage is at 13.0 feet.  


  • The National Weather Service Office may issue a Flood Watch when conditions are favorable for flooding to occur. This typically takes place within a day or two before the event if river levels are forecasted to reach or exceed flood stage.
  • The National Weather Service Office will issue a Flood Warning when river levels are approaching and likely to exceed flood stage. This occurs at 9.0 feet at the Croton Gage, 11.0 feet at the Newaygo gage, and 13.0 feet at the Bridgeton gage.
  • All River Access Sites will close when the river reaches 10.0 feet at the Croton Gage, 12.0 feet at the Newaygo gage, and 14.0 feet at the Bridgeton gage.

Watch for rapidly changing water levels. Don’t wait for an evacuation directive if you feel threatened. Residents within the areas anticipated to be impacted by flood waters may be directed to by public safety personnel to evacuate if a Flood Warning is issued.
Follow these checklists (if time allows) to give you and your home the best chance of surviving a flood.
Inside the House

  • Shut and lock all windows and doors.
  • Gather and elevate important documents, belongings, furniture, and other priceless items including pictures, irreplaceable mementos, and other valuables. 
  • Check your emergency preparedness kit and store supplies so you can grab them quickly if you need to evacuate. This includes prescription medications.
  • Prepare to unplug appliances and turn off your main breaker in your homes electrical box if you need to evacuate.


  • Gather up items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, trash cans, grills, etc.).
  • Strap down propane tanks.
  • Prepare to turn off propane tanks if you need to evacuate.
  • Put your Emergency Supply Kit in your vehicle.
  • Back your car into the driveway with vehicle loaded and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you.
  • Don’t wait for an evacuation directive if you feel threatened.
  • Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave.


  • Locate your pets and keep them nearby.
  • Check your emergency preparedness kit for your pets and store supplies so you can grab them quickly if you need to evacuate.
  • If you need to evacuate, take your pets with you.


  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! ®
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
  • Do not drive over bridges that are over fast-moving floodwaters. Floodwaters can scour foundation material from around the footings and make the bridge unstable.
  • Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.


  • ONLY CALL 9-1-1 TO REPORT EMERGENCIES!   Emergency operators and phone lines are needed to support this incident, please continue to monitor Nixle for updates or call 2-1-1 (not 9-1-1) for general safety information.
  • ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WILL BE RELEASED!   Continue monitoring your radio, Nixle, and Newaygo ES’s Facebook Page for additional information.

There are still a lot of unknowns as to where the warm side of the storm system vs the cold side of the storm system will set up. Some of the rain in our area could fall as snow/sleet/freezing rain, which makes a big difference on the effect this has on the river levels.


Newaygo County Emergency Services is coordinating with Consumers Energy and the National Weather Service Grand Rapids Office to actively monitor the changing conditions and communicate information out to residences impacted by the rising floodwaters. As the situation changes, additional information will be released by Newaygo County Emergency Operations Center utilizing Nixle.



Lake Co. Standoff on Tuesday ends with suspect surrendering

Six officers were shot at Tuesday in west Michigan during a standoff.


Michigan State Police say they went to a camper in Yates Township, near Baldwin, to serve an arrest warrant, and when they arrived, the 50-year-old man began firing shots at officers.


No officers were hit, but the suspect barricaded himself inside the camper for several hours.


When he gave up, police say he had a self inflicted gunshot wound to his face and was being treated.


He was wanted for failing to appear on a drug related charge.


Big Rapids Police Blotter for 1/6

The following incidents are from Janurary 6th in Big Rapids. 


Larceny from 516 Rose Ave of a pallet of wood stove pellets.

@7:16pm 516 S Michigan Ave #2  Called for a male and female walking toward South Admiral together.  We were called back again later where they were found at a near by apartment.  The female attempted to leave thru the window, but decided not a good idea.  Female was lodged for probation violation.

@ 8:53pm Linden & Winter Traffic stop resulted in a female from, Michigan Center, MI female, was cited for expired license.

@ 10:29pm Applebees  Disorderly.  Dispatched for two people arguing with another group.  The two individuals were outside upon our arrival. Applebee staff said a male began arguing with other patrons using racial slurs.  1 Male was trespassed from Applebees.  The two took a taxi to Applebees.  The same male was being himself and forgot his phone in the taxi.

@ 11:51pm 523 N Michigan Ave # 1 Civil argument between a male and female.  They didn't want to come to the door but things were worked out.


Big Rapids City Commissioners approve deer cull

The city of Big Rapids has approved a resolution last night to allow a deer cull because of overpopulation.


The city will be working with the DNR to get deer tags for 15-20 deer and then members from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services will use suppressed firearms and work at night using thermal energy cameras.


The cost of the deer cull will be $5,600. 


All of the deer meat will be donated to Sportsmen Against Hunger.


Big Rapids Police Blotter for 1/3-1/5

Janurary 3rd, 2020
1:40pm Suspicious at library. Subject was waiting for bus to pick him up.

Janurary 4th, 2020
@1am Assisted EMS.  20y/o male  passed out in a yard on S. Third Ave.

@ 3:39pm Assist to ER with mental patient.  52 y/o female having psychotic episodes, officers stood by while patient was restrained by ER staff.

@ 5:46pm Lost firearm, 606 Bjornson Lot L 8, Male believed he threw away pistol while cleaning his house. Bersa 40 cal, entered into LEIN.  Later located by caller

Janurary 5th, 2020
PDA State/Pere Marquette. At fault driver cited for VBSL

Requested to assist County with PDA 14 Mile/205th while they were tied up. At fault cited.

@8:45pm Spring & Clark misdemeanor traffic.  Male was cited for No Insurance



Lake Co. home total loss following fire Saturday morning

A home is a total loss following a fire over the weekend in Lake County.


The Reed City Fire Department says when they arrived at the home on 48th Street in Chase Township Saturday morning, 50% of the home was engulfed in flames.


No one was injured.  


The cause of the fire is unknown.


Female driver suffers possible life threatening injuries following rollover accident

A 26-year old woman is facing life threatening injuries following a one vehicle rollover accident in Mecosta County Sunday.


It happened on U.S 131 North Bound at mile marker 140. 


A 26-year old female was traveling North bound when she left the roadway, rolled, and was ejected from the vehicle.


EMS transported the woman to Butterworth hospital for possible life-threatening injuries.


State minimum wage increases; other laws go into affect 2020

Some new laws go into effect this new year.


The minimum wage goes up from $9.45 an hour to $9.65 and it's set to increase to $12.05 by 2030.


Internet gaming and sports betting are expected to go into effect by March. The Michigan Department of Treasury says the new gaming will add $19 million in revenue in the state and will increase the School Aid Fund by $4.8 million and the first-responder fund by $4 million.


Auto insurance reform will go into effect in July.



Two adults, two children involved in Mecosta Co. rollover accident

Two adults and two children are recovering following a rollover accident in Mecosta Co.


It happened last night on 70th Avenue north of 8 Mile road.


Deputies say the occupants of the vehicle, two adults and two 7-year-old children were treated for non-life threatening injuries on scene by EMS.


State Regulators approve recreational marijuana delivery

If you partake and don't want to leave the house, the state regulators have approved home delivery of recreational marijuana.


Under the state law, it would be similar to medical marijuana delivery where customers place orders online and provide an I-D to verify they are 21 or older. Payments can be made online or by cash.


As for the businesses, delivery drivers must be 21 or older, can’t carry more than 15- ounces of marijuana, the product must be secured and the vehicle must have a G-P-S track its locations at all times.


Only three shops located in Evart, Battle Creek and Burton have been licensed to make deliveries.


Currently, the state says there are 45 adult-use licenses in Michigan but, not all shops have opened yet.


Tires stolen in Wexford County

Apparently someone thought it was better to take than to give on Christmas and that has Wexford County authorities on the lookout.


Sheriff's deputies say they received a report someone stole four tires and rims off two new GMC Yukons at the Highpoint Auto and Truck Center in Cadillac on Christmas day.


Investigators believe the tires were removed, rolled across a vacant field, and then loaded into a waiting vehicle sometime between Christmas eve and early Christmas morning.


Anyone with information is urged to contact the Wexford County Sheriff or Silent Observer.


Wexford Co. father charged with infant son's death

A Wexford County man is being charged with the death of his eight-week-old son.


Tyler Russell is charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter and a count of firstdegree child abuse.


Prosecutors say the Michigan State Police found the newborn - Xavier Russell - unresponsive in the family's Mesick home.


The boy was taken to a Traverse City hospital where he later died.


An autopsy showed the boy died from brain and spinal injuries due to shaking.


Russell is expected to be in court today for a probable cause hearing.


Suspect arrested on outstanding warrant connected to 2018 armed robbery in Big Rapids


A 25-year old man has been charged in a 2018 armed robbery case in Big Rapids.


James Joshua-Ray Baldridge was arrested by officers Monday in the Grand Rapids area on an outstanding warrant for a July 2018 armed robbery of an indoor marijuana grow operation.


He has been charged with with armed robbery and given a $250,000 bond.


Baldridge remains in Mecosta County Jail.


Ebels Family announces Reed City general store location

It looks like a new grocery store is coming to Reed City.


On Friday, the Ebels Family announced on Facebook that they had bought a piece of property and would be operating a grocery store.


The popular Ebels General Store located in Falmouth offers a variety of products, including meat, jerky, catering, clothing and more.


The post also said they look forward to serving the Reed City Community.


A formal announcement would be coming in the future.


Cheboygan man struck and killed by pickup in Mecosta Co.

One man is dead after being hit by a pickup truck in Mecosta County on Sunday.


Deputies say it happened on Northbound, US-131 near mile marker 147, Officers found the body of 27-year old Clyde Edward Hopkinson, of Cheboygan, alone wearing dark colored clothing, laying in the right lane.


The vehicle that had struck Hopkinson had not stopped.


While Deputies were investigating the scene, the driver of the vehicle had called 911 reporting that he had struck something in the roadway.  The suspect had stopped at a gas station in Osceola County and waited for officers to arrive and look at his vehicle.


Deputies were able to identify the driver of the pickup as 18-year old Isaac DeRuiter of Caledonia.


Deputies say they believe speed and alcohol were not factors in this crash. 


Deputies are still investigating how and why Hopkinson came to be on US-131 as there was no vehicle associated with him located in the area.


Mecosta County Sheriff's Deputies are asking anyone with information on Hopkinson's death to contact police at 231-592-0150