A Newaygo man is now facing a murder and child abuse charges in the death of his 14-month old step daughter.
29-year old Wayne Arthur-Scott Brown was arraigned Friday in Newaygo County District Court on one felony count of Murder and first-degree child abuse.
According to court documents, the toddler, who was in Brown's care at the time of her death had old and new bone fractures, bleeding on her brain, and bruising.
It was once one of the largest department store chains in the country – now JC Penney is shrinking its retail footprint, and thousands of employees are being asked to retire early.
Penny says 13 to 14 percent of their stores are only bringing in about five percent of their business.
However, they just posted a quarterly profit as opposed to a loss one year ago.
There are about 20 Penny stores in Michigan and the company won't announce which stores will be closing for several weeks.
On Saturday from 8am until 2pm children up to the age of 14 who don't have dental insurance will have access to FREE dental care. The North American Dental Group is holding their first annual Smile-Palooza event.
“The 800 number is 844-793-1249 and if someone should call we can easily find a location close to their home that is participating in the event,” says NADG spokesperson Beck Alby.
Alby notes they will provide dental cleanings, x-rays, sealant, and fluoride treatments along with t-shirts and balloons.
The body of a missing Montcalm County man has been found.
27-year old Eric J. Hodge of Edmore was reported missing by his roommate after he hadn't been seen since January 26th.
On Tuesday, a physical search with the assistance of Mid-Michigan Working Dogs of Sheridan was conducted in a wooded area near the west end of Pine Street in Edmore where Hodge’s body was eventually discovered.
A police investigation continues and an autopsy will be performed.
Deputies say Hodge’s death does not appear to be suspicious.
The number of mothers who breastfeed their babies has been on the rise in Michigan, but there are fears the trend won't continue if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. The ACA contains many women's preventive-care requirements, including insurance coverage of lactation consultants and breast pumps for nursing mothers. Repealing the law would also put the "Break Time for Nursing Mothers" provision at risk, which requires employers to provide reasonable time and space for workers who are nursing. Jane Whitacre with the Michigan Breastfeeding Network says it's an investment that benefits everyone.
"In giving them accommodations for this really important piece of their lives, happier, more satisfied employees are going to make for a more successful, profitable business."
She adds that breastfeeding has been shown to offer short and long-term health benefits to both babies and mothers, so parents of breastfed infants are less likely to miss work due to illness. According to the U-S Department of Health and Human Services, women with children are currently the fastest-growing segment of the workforce.
One man is dead following a single vehicle crash on Wednesday.
Michigan State Police say 88-year-old James Howard Kellogg of Newaygo was northbound on US-131 near Jefferson Road in Mecosta County when he had an emergency medical event.
Kellogg ran off the road and crashed into a large tree and was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police say no drugs or alcohol are suspected in the crash.
The stepfather of a 14-month-old from Newaygo is the main suspect in the child's death.
Laylah Heether died on Tuesday after becoming unresponsive while at the home of 29-year-old Wayne Brown, the girl's stepfather.
Investigators say Heether died as a result of child abuse.
She had been taken to the hospital last week and Brown reported the girl had fallen off a couch.
Court documents state that doctors found Heether had old and new bone fractures, bleeding on her brain, and bruising.
Hundreds of people showed up last night at Morley-Stanwood High School to learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease and it's effects on Mecosta County's deer population after a recent confirmation of the disease in two doe's at a local deer farm.
Representatives from the Department of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Rural development were on hand to answer any questions attendees had and to give updates on the current CWD situation in the area. State
Wildlife Veterinarian Kelley Straka says there are two things local hunters can do to not spread CWD.
"As hunters, please don't move carcasses from one area to another, that potentially spreads the disease to a new area. Secondly, if you're in a disease zone please try and not congregate deer with feed or other baits," Straka said.
Currently, State officials have identified the two doe's with CWD however they still have not pinpointed where it originally came from.
A Grand Rapids man is heading to prison for more than a decade after being sentenced on charges connected to a bank robbery in Big Rapids back in July.
33-year old Anthony Oby Loose was sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison.
Loose was charged with the robbery of Fifth Third Bank in Big Rapids in July, along with other bank robberies in Ingham and Berrien Counties.
He pleaded guilty in October to robbing the Big Rapids bank in exchange for two other charges to be dropped.
Two people are being recognized for their part in apprehending two bank robbers in Evart.
Evart Police Chief John Beam honored Evart Public Schools employee Carol Reedy and awarded Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy Jed Avery and his dog, Ryker, with commendations on Tuesday.
Last May, Reedy noticed the get-away vehicle rapidly traveling through the school parking lot and phoned it in to Beam who relayed the information to Avery.
Avery and Ryker stopped the car and took defensive positions while waiting for other law enforcement personnel.
The robbers, David Dingee and Melissa Nudd both of Pompano Beach, Florida, were both convicted of the crime.
A dangerous eyesore on the west side of Big Rapids may be taken care of soon. The City of Big Rapids purchased the property at 717 Finley Avenue earlier this year after the house was gutted by fire. City Manager Mark Gifford says it was in the best interest of he city to handle the problem and the property was transferred to the Big Rapids Housing Commission for resolution during Monday's meeting.
Housing Director Mark Sochoki says they may hold onto the property for future development or other options.
“We'll take a hard look at all the potential disposition options and see what fits best.”
But, he notes, one option is urgent.
“I think it's important, though, that we get it down quickly.”
Sochoki says the Housing Commission is willing to front the cost of demolition in order to get rid of the building as soon as possible.
A trio from Marion is behind bars on multiple charges connected to a rash of home and business burglaries around three counties.
Osceola County Under Sheriff Justin Hallady says they had been investigating several break-ins spanning from September 2016 to February 2017.
He says the incidents were primarily been centered in the Marion area with others occurring in neighboring counties of Missaukee and Clare.
47-year old Daniel Weaver, 38-year old Joseph Blake Cruson and 25-year old James Lee Berube were arrested by police after executing search warrants at several homes.
Halladay adds warrants may still be sought for additional suspects or crimes. The investigation continues.
The Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development recently announced the finding of chronic wasting disease in a Mecosta County deer farm facility.
There will be a meeting tonight at 6pm for interested landowners, hunters and deer farmers at the Morley Stanwood High School in Morley.
DNR specialists will be there to answer questions and discuss the effect that Chronic Waste Disease can have on deer and deer populations.
A local veteran is finally getting the recognition he deserves. Retired Army Corporal Ralph Wallace of Paris was presented with four medals as a result of his service in Korea and Viet Nam from 1952 to 1954. Congressman John Moolenaar made the presentation at the AMVETS post 1941 in Big Rapids on Tuesday.
“I believe that courage is displayed where courage is honored. And it's really important that we honor our veterans so future generations know that their service will be remembered as well. Our nation owes so much to all of our veterans including Ralph and his fellow soldiers who served in Korea,” he said.
When asked if what he went through in Korea was worth it...
“Probably yes. I wouldn't want to do it again, but yes,” he says.
Wallace received the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal with 2 BSS, the United Nations Service Medal, and the Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar. He says he's going to frame them and put them up at his home in Paris.
Some state legislators want to de-fund Planned Parenthood in Michigan.
Bills were introduced last week that would would prohibit the state from contracting with any healthcare service providers that perform abortions.
The bills would also prohibit the allocation of any state or federal funds to such agencies. I
f passed, the bills would eliminate any state contracts with Planned Parenthood, which also provides family planning services, breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, and HIV testing in 20 locations across the state.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services acts as a distributor of federal funds to Planned Parenthood, which includes money from Title X and Medicaid.
While many think of Medicare as something only older people need to worry about, its advocates say the program is a fundamental promise to all Americans, and they're calling on Congress and the president to keep it.
Lisa Dedden-Cooper with AARP Michigan says a new voucher plan that's being discussed to replace the current Medicare system would have a negative affect on both current and future retirees. AARP's analysis shows a voucher system would dramatically increase health-care costs and make them unaffordable for many on fixed incomes.
Right now, two-million Michigan residents are enrolled in Medicare, with the numbers going up every day. Dedden-Cooper says it's important to remember the program isn't a handout, noting a retiree with an annual income of less than $25,000 dollars already spends one out of every six dollars on health care.
"Beneficiaries are still responsible for paying monthly premiums and co-payments and annual deductibles, on top of what they've already paid into the system through their paychecks over the years."
She says if saving money is the goal, there are other ways to accomplish that, including a proposal that would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. AARP has posted information online at AARP.org/protectmedicare.
A 29-year-old Lake City man was arraigned in Wexford County on multiple charges after an incident in Wexford County.
Lyle David Vanderwal was charged with two counts of police officer assault, resist or obstruct after an incident back in November in Cadillac.
If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison.
Big Rapids is becoming a monarch friendly city. Mayor Mark Warba signed the National Wildlife Federation's Mayor's Monarch Pledge during Monday's City Commission meeting meaning Big Rapids is pledging to enhance habitat, alter management practices of park areas, and increase public awareness of monarch butterflies. Ferris State University Card Wildlife Education Center Director Carrie Weis Stermer, who is spear heading their effort to save the insects, says people don't often think of what monarch butterflies do for us.
“As Mayor Warba mentioned, it is serious business. It's like the canary in the coalmine.”
Mayor Mark Warba notes that over 90 percent of the monarch population has died off which indicates problems with the nation's environment.
“Twenty years ago, more than one billion eastern monarch butterflies migrated to Mexico, but in the winter of 2014, only 60 million made the trip,” he says.
Stermer adds that FSU's Save Our Monarch organization is working with the city on the problem.
“We will be planting over 5,000 milkweed plugs in the spring and I have three schools involved, over 250 children, who will be learning about monarchs in the classroom. We're providing them with soil and containers and seeds so that they can grow milkweeds.”
That's because monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed and can't reproduce without it. The National Wildlife Federation says the state of monarchs reflects the health of the American landscape and its pollinators. Monarch declines are symptomatic of environmental problems that also pose risks to food production.
Chippewa Hills High School is being recognized for beating the odds by Newsweek magazine.
It's the second year the school has placed among the top 500 schools in the country for outstanding work in preparing their students for college while also overcoming the obstacles posed by students at an economic disadvantage.
Newsweek ranked them as 391 on this list and noted a 98.5 percent graduation rate for seniors while 57.1 percent of their students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.
Research shows Michigan's family physicians are playing an important role in the state's physical and financial health. Dr. Tina Tanner, one of the state's longtime family medical providers, says expanding the state's Medicaid program in 2014 led to 650-thousand lower-income residents having health insurance, many for the first time. Tanner says she has many new patients who, in the past, had to use the hospital emergency room for routine care.
"While they can do it, they do it at a much higher cost than will happen in my office. So, by just shifting that burden from the emergency room into a primary-care office, we’ve saved the state already."
While Michigan is considered a leader for its number and quality of medical schools, Tanner says it's noteworthy that the state ranks 48th in the nation for the average salary of primary care physicians and many medical students can't afford to consider practicing in Michigan because of the heavy student-debt burden they carry.
Police in Isabella County are investigating what they call a 'suspicious death' this morning.
Sheriff Michael Main says deputies were called to the Baymont Inn on Pickard road in Union Township for a 26-year old woman who was discovered face down in a hot tub.
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators are attempting to develop a timeline of events for the victim throughout the
night, and to determine what occurred leading up to her death.
The case is still under investigation.
The Michigan Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service and the tax industry are warning tax professionals to be alert to a new phishing email scam impersonating software providers.
The scam email comes with the subject line, “Access Locked.” It tells recipients that access to their tax preparation software has been suspended due to errors security details and they must click an “unlock” link that goes to a fake web page, where they are asked to enter their user name and password.
Instead of unlocking accounts, the tax professionals are actually providing their information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparers’ accounts and to steal client information.
The Michigan Department of Treasury, IRS and the nation’s tax community remind tax professionals and taxpayers to never open a link or an attachment from a suspicious email. These scams can increase during the tax season.
Tax professionals can review additional tips to protect clients and themselves on the Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself website at IRS.gov.
For tax professionals who receive emails purportedly from their tax software providers suggesting their accounts have been suspended, they should send those scam emails to their tax software provider.
Windows users can this process to help the investigation of these scam emails:
Use “Save As” to save the scam. Under “save as type” in the drop down menu, select “plain text” and save to your desk top. Do not click on any links.
Open a new email and attach this saved email as a file
Send your new email containing the attachment your tax software provider, as well as copy Phishing@IRS.gov.
It's a sign of the times.
The University of Michigan is now offering a new class called "Fake News, Lies, and Propaganda: How to Sort Fact From Fiction.”
Course developer Angie Oehrli says the course is designed to provide students with skills that will allow them to recognize and avoid fabricated stories that pass themselves off as legitimate news.
She says fake and sensationalized news is becoming a serious concern to both consumers and journalists since the presidential election.
A man with a muscle car is being charged with reckless driving and fleeing from police after leading officers on a chase through two counties.
Mt. Pleasant City police officer Jeff Brown says officers tried to pull over a red Mustang Cobra being driven by Rolland Jackson on Mission Street just after midnight on Thursday.
Jackson then took off and led police on a chase reaching 100 miles per hour northbound on US 127.
He was finally stopped by spike strips near Clare.
No alcohol or drugs were involved and Jackson had a clean driving record.
The Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation is asking Governor Rick Snyder to extend the public comment period and impose a moratorium on further withdrawals from Nestle's well near Evart.
In a letter sent to the Governor, MCWC Director Heidi Grether notes the following reasons for the request:
“WE are formally requesting an extension of the comment period for permit
for PW 101 in Osceola County and a moratorium on further withdrawals
from this well until at least July 1, 2017 for the following reasons:
1. Citizens have not had sufficient time to respond to the impact of the
increased withdrawals made from the well since January of 2016 under an
incorrectly drawn permit.
2. Citizens have not yet received the extensive FOIA-requested information
from the MDEQ and therefore have not had access to the information needed
to carefully evaluate the Nestlé request to increase pumping from 150 gpm to
3. Numerous flaws in the permit and inaccurate Nestlé-supplied data on the
present impact of withdrawals demand that citizens be given more time to
gather real time data and independent environmental assessments.
4. No public hearings have been scheduled to date and citizens are requesting
that there be at least 6 of them around the state because Nestlé water takings
are a state-wide issue of concern. At minimum, there must be a hearing in
Evart with time given for the community to assess real data beforehand.
Further hearings are requested in Flint, Detroit, Muskegon, Traverse City,
and Sault St. Marie.
5. Nestlé is in the process of buying further land use agreements in the area
near the PW 101 well, apparently preparing to drill three more wells to feed
into the currently unused 8” pipe running parallel to the 5” pipe in use from
PW 101. Nestlé has yet to acquire the necessary permit for a booster station
from the township, an issue that is on hold until at least April. Affected
citizens have only recently become aware of these additional plans, with no
time to hold public comment.
6. Nestlé may be attempting to cover up evidence of current damage to the
streams in the area by offering at a township public meeting to replace
culverts and “fix” easements for the township. Since the Water Assessment
tool was applied and scored a D, we would like to see the results of the sitespecific
review before Nestlé is allowed to alter any evidence of damage.
7. The only stream monitoring and environmental impact assessments MDEQ
appears to employ in the decision for permitting are those conducted by
Nestlé. Citizens expect that independent study must be employed.
Specifically, we request that a species inventory be conducted by the US Fish
& Wildlife Service or at least the MDNR. We also request that future
monitoring be done by the USGS and that such monitoring agreement be in
place before any permit be considered.
8. Citizens have not been given the data requested on the actual withdrawals
from this well since the improper increase of January 2016 from 150 gpm to
250 gpm, and therefore do not know how much water Nestlé took from the
well which must be returned to the aquifer by a halt to withdrawal. We are
requesting an immediate halt to withdrawal from this well until it is properly
As tax season continues, employees with Mecosta County are being reminded that hackers and scammers are not restricted to targeting them with phishing scams.
Mecosta County Administrator Paul Bullock says he was recently involved in a scam without his knowledge, "Our Financal Officer recieved an email from "me" asking for routing numbers to the county's bank accounts. I was out of the office at the time this happened, but when she read the email, at the end it said "sent from IPhone". "Mindy knows I have a Android cell phone," Bullock said.
Mecosta County Administrator Paul Bullock said scammers have targeted a couple of other counties with some success so they are being proactive in telling their employees to be aware of these types of phishing scams.
Michigan State Police say one man is dead following a rollover accident in Newaygo County's Sherman Township.
It happened Thursday at Gordon and 40th Streets.
Troopers say Richard sellers of Newaygo lost control of his vehicle, left the road and rolled into a field.
Sellers was pronounced dead at the scene.
The crash is still under investigation.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is recommending an increase in the number of bear hunting licenses to be issued throughout the state.
The population of black bears is increasing and so are the number of nuisance complaints, mostly in the northern lower peninsula.
The DNR believes there are about 12,000 black bears in Michigan and about 1,500 are harvested each year.
You can apply for a bear hunting licenses starting May 1.
With President Trump's travel ban temporarily on hold and refugees once again allowed to resettle in Michigan, those who work with them hope people will channel their efforts into helping them adjust. Michigan based Samaritas spokesperson Lynne Golodner says there is still much misinformation about who refugees are, and what they go through to get here.
"What's unbelievable is that there is such a perception of fear of refugees, because refugees have gone through the worst traumas on the planet. When we see the human side of it, I think it changes the conversation."
She says they are currently experiencing almost daily arrivals, including the 28 refugees from Iraq and Syria whose resettlements had to be halted when the White House travel ban first went into place.
At the state capitol, a house tax committee is pushing forward to roll back the state income tax rate. But not everyone is on board. Michigan League for Public Policy president and CEO Gilda Jacobs says the roll back would only really benefit the rich.
“If your making a bunch of money in this state, you're going to be getting back like $3,700. If you are at the lower scale and you're making about $22,000 and trying to help your family, you can get back about $16.”
The measure came out of a House committee yesterday over the objections of Governor Snyder who says he's disappointed by the committee's actions. Opponents of the plan say it would punch a $1.1 billion dollar hole in the state's general fund meaning less money for schools, roads, and infrastructure repair.
A 75-year old Big Rapids man is recovering following a car accident in Mecosta County.
Deputies say the man was traveling on Northland Drive near 13 Mile Road when he suffered a medical issue. His vehicle then left the road and struck several small trees.
The driver was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids for further tests.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says anglers across Michigan get a chance to go fishing for free this weekend.
“Free fishing will still occur whether we have fishable ice or not. Potentially what that means is if we do see these 50 degree temperatures come our way in many parts of the state that people could consider pursuing other types of fishing this weekend. Whether it be shore fishing, I guess you could potentially bust out a boat if you were so interested.”
Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Elyse Walter also says a license is not required to fish on Saturday and Sunday, but all other fishing regulations still apply.
Following months of public input, the Michigan Department of Education is releasing the full draft plan for meeting the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Michigan’s Draft Plan is open for a 30-day public comment period, concluding March 16, 2017. Input will continue to be incorporated until the submission of Michigan’s final plan to the U.S. Department of Education in April.
ESSA replaced the No Child Left Behind Act and is scheduled for full implementation during the 2017-18 school year.
“This ESSA plan is a key component of making Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years,” says State Superintendent Brian Whiston.
“Educators, parents, legislators and community members across the state devoted significant time and effort over the past several months to help us shape this plan. I appreciate their time, vision, feedback and continued collaboration as we finalize and implement our plan,” Whiston said.
Whiston said the proposed plan has a “whole child” focus; will have less student testing; focuses on student academic growth; institutes a Partnership Model for improving low-performing schools; has a school accountability system tied to the Top 10 in 10 strategies; gives schools more flexibility on how they choose to improve; and gives schools greater ownership in how they follow their own plans.
The Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into federal law on Dec. 10, 2015, replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. This law represents a shift from broad federal oversight of primary and secondary education to greater flexibility and decision-making at the state and local levels. ESSA requires states to develop plans that address standards, assessments, school and district accountability, and special help for struggling schools.
There still is time for the public to weigh in. The draft ESSA plan is available for review and comment at www.michigan.gov/essa. You are invited to review and provide comment on the draft state plan through March 16.
A number of cheese products sold under the Meijer and Sargento brands are being recalled because they may be contaminated with listeria.
Meijer is recalling its Colby and Colby Jack cheese sold between November 10th and February 9th.
Sargento says consumers can check if their product is affected by visiting info.sargento.com and using the “Product Check” tool.
Big Rapids residents interested in providing input on the city's proposed skatepark can make their voices heard tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon.
The Parks and Recreation board is holding their first skatepark committee meeting at 3:30pm at the City Hall commission room.
Officials ask anyone who has ideas on designs, location, or operation, or would like to serve on the committee to attend.
Today is Veterans Tax Day in Michigan.
The Michigan Economic Impact Coalition is offering free income tax preparation services at locations across the state.
Any military veteran in Michigan can have their federal, state and city income taxes prepared and filed for free by an IRS certified volunteer tax preparer.
To locate a tax assistance site, or to connect with volunteer assisted self-preparation tools, visit MichiganFreeTaxHelp.org or call Michigan 2-1-1.
One man is dead following a two-car accident in Montcalm County Tuesday.
It happened on Sidney Road in Montcalm Township, that's where a silver Honda driven by a man crossed the center line into the path of a silver Ford F-250 pickup truck.
The Honda driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the pickup truck sustained injuries and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
The cause of the accident is still being investigated, but alcohol is not believed to be a factor.
Grand Rapids based sporting goods chain MC Sports has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
The sporting goods chain says this is part of an ongoing process to restructure the company and that it has initiated voluntary reorganization proceedings under the Chapter 11 of the U.S. Code in Grand Rapids.
MC Sports will begin liquidating all 68 of its stores including its Big Rapids location immediately.
For the second time in as many months, the Mecosta County Road Commission is implementing seasonal weight restrictions on all county roads starting Friday at 6am.
Meanwhile, the Osceola County Road Commission is implementing seasonal and speed restrictions on its county roads beginning at 7am Friday.
Those restrictions, which are in effect until further notice, affect semi truck drivers and those pulling or carrying heavy farming equipment.
Freshman State Representative Michele Hoitenga is making the rounds in Mecosta, Wexford, and Osceola counties. Following visits in Buckley, Cadillac, and Reed City, she made a stop at Cranker's here in Big Rapids on Monday. Being new to the Lansing political scene, she says it's taking some getting used to.
“They say it's like drinking from a fire hose, and they would be right.”
As chair of the House Communications and Technology Committee, Hoitenga notes one issue facing people in her district and across the state.
“A huge issue across the state has been lack of broadband.”
She says internet access has become a part of the state's infrastructure and areas that don't have it are suffering, noting that new voting machines scheduled to be rolled out use the internet and much of the new farming technology is use internet based services, such as GPS mapping. The big question is how to make broadband expansion a reality.
Along with Governor Rick Snyder, Hoitenga says she's also concerned about health care and the Healthy Michigan program.
“Everything's in such limbo right now – we do not know what Trump's going to do,” she says.
She also notes that many of the hot issues that were facing the state have been resolved with the previous administration, such as jobs.
“So it used to be said in Michigan, 'We need jobs, we need jobs, we need jobs,' and now all I'm hearing from employers is, 'We have the jobs and we don't have the people, the bodies to fill these jobs.'”
One point Hoitenga made clear during the meeting was getting local people involved in the political process. She wants her constituents to know what she's doing and to get in touch with her.
“I have a Twitter account, I have FaceBook – you have to have tough skin to be in this game and I can take it. I have opposing views all the time and I challenge people to make me think about things from their perspective.”
You can also contact Hoitenga on the web at
or by calling her office at 517-373-1741, or by email at MicheleHoitenga@house.mi.gov.
The Michigan Senate is adopting a resolution that declares Valentine's Day as Organ Donor Registry Day.
According to Donate Life America, more than 120,000 men, women and children nationwide currently need an organ transplant; every 10 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list; and an average of 21 people die each day waiting for an available organ.
The Trump Administration is looking for a new National Security Adviser.
Michael Flynn has resigned after he reportedly misled White House officials about conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, regarding sanctions on Russia before President Trump was inaugurated.
However, Russia's foreign affairs committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev is defending Flynn saying, “Either Trump hasn’t found the necessary independence and he’s been driven into a corner… or Russophobia has permeated the new administration from top to bottom.”
Thousands of Michiganders falsely accused of fraud by the state Unemployment Insurance Agency may get compensated in the near future. House Democratic Leader Sam Singh.
“There will be a series of bills that will be introduced in the coming weeks. One that would make sure that any individual who was wrongly accused not only gets their payment back but would actually be given interest on top of that since the government has taken their money during that period of time,” he says.
Singh says they also want to make sure any legal or bankruptcy costs are reimbursed to those wrongly accused. He's hoping for Republican support on the bills.
UPDATE: At 8:20am this morning, Deebo was located by deputies in Chippewa Township.
An “off-duty” Saginaw K9 Deputy went missing in Mecosta County and police are asking for the public's help in finding him.
Investigators in Mecosta County say the K9 “Deebo” disappeared around 6 p.m. on Monday from a home on the north end of Chippewa Lake. He was seen in the same area around midnight, but has not yet been recovered.
He is an all black German Shepherd with a black collar that his his name on it.
If you see Deebo, you're asked not to approach the dog. Instead, call dispatchers at 231-796-4811.
Starting on Valentines Day, some deserving children will be getting a boost to their self esteem thanks to the annual Mecosta County Hair Harvest. The event collects hair to be made into wigs for children who have lost their hair.
“It goes to these kids that don't have hair because of chemo or because of alopecia or some other disease,” says organizer Ron Kanitz.
The hair, that should be eight to ten inches in length, goes to two non-profit organizations – Wigs for Kids and Children With Hair Loss. Both organizations provided hairpieces for children who need them at no charge.
The Harvest is sponsored by the Ferris State University Circle K, a Kiwanis organization. Participation by local hair salons is strong and Kanitz notes that donating hair not only helps the children, but can be a good deal for the donor too.
“We have 25 salons in the county that are presently participating. Some will do free cuts and styles, some will give free products.”
Kanitz urges anyone wishing to donate their hair to contact their favorite hair salon to see if they are participating and, if not, ask the salon call him at 231-250-9892 and he will get them signed up. The drive runs until the end of February.
The Healthy Michigan plan is living up to its name when it comes to the financial well-being of the state's hospitals, according to a new study from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. The report found that uncompensated care - which includes both charity care given to uninsured patients without the means to pay, and bad debt from insured patients who can't pay their high deductibles - has dropped by nearly 50 percent since the Medicaid expansion in 2014. Study co-author Tom Buchmueller says the change is particularly noteworthy given that many insurers have raised deductibles.
"You take away the stress of knowing that you're one medical event away from financial catastrophe and that gives you peace of mind, and there's a tangible mental-health benefit there."
About 646,000 residents participate in the Healthy Michigan Plan, which is supported by state and federal funds under Obamacare.
Following the spending blitz of the Christmas holiday, many people find buying gifts for another holiday stressful. RetailMeNot trends expert Sarah Sterple says about 28 percent of people dread the arrival of Valentines Day.
“In the retail world, the holiday hangover, as people tend to call it, and a lot of people spent a lot of money and are still paying off credit card debt and coming out of that 'hangover' as they call it and so now that we have Valentines Day, it's just a little bit stressful. It's a financial burden.”
She notes that on average, people spend about $25 on their significant other for Valentines Day.
A new arrest was made by police in a case involving multiple home invasions with two other men in Mecosta County.
28-year old Dwayne King of Barryton was charged with one count of criminal enterprise and one count of first-degree home invasion.
According to court documents, the charges are in relation to multiple home invasions in Sheridan Township back in August.
King is a co-defendant with 19-year old John Fredrick Turner and 50-year old Anthony Edward Hustin, who were charged in January for their alleged crimes.
King faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted.
Big Rapids now has a vision for what the future holds for its parks. The Big Rapids City Commission recently approved a parks master plan and Neighborhood Services Director Mark Sweppenheiser says it's needed to get state funding for the parks.
“Part of the grant eligibility is that projects are listed and part of the action plan, that lists each park and what we envision in the future.”
Sweppenheiser says the plan is part wish list and part detailed planning. It now goes to the state for approval to ensure grants will be available to the city.
New research shows if there is a swift repeal of Obamacare, the nation would lose 1.2 million jobs and every state would be affected. Josh Bivens with the Economic Policy Institute says immediate repeal would have impacts beyond the loss of coverage for nearly 30 million Americans.
“It also has this terrible side-effect as well, though, it's going to slow down the economy and slow job growth and make full recovery for this economy even further off."
President Trump seems ready to step back from immediate an repeal. During a pre-Super Bowl interview, Trump said a new plan might not be ready until 2018.
Meanwhile, Michigan lawmakers are concerned about the possible loss of insurance for 600,000 newly insured citizens. Uncertain as to what the Trump administration will do about Obamacare, Republican Senator Jim Marleau says...
“Believe me, I've got anxiety – my stomach is like this. But I'm very confident that we're going to take care of this. We have a great team here in the state of Michigan and we're relying on our partners in Washington right now.”
When asked if Mr. Trump will or won't pull the rug out from under Obamacare, he says...
“I don't know.”
Governor Snyder says it could be two to three years before there are any changes to the program.
West Michigan's Betsy DeVos is the new Education Secretary, but Congressman Justin Amash, of Grand Rapids, is co-sponsoring a bill that would eliminate the department.
A spokesperson says that while relatively little federal money for public education comes from Washington, federal bureaucracy and mandates reduce the total amount of resources available to public schools and cannot properly account for the individualized needs of students.
Along with Amash, the bill is being co-sponsored by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. Other co-sponsors include Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.; Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.; Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga.; Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.; and Rep. Raul Labrado, R-Idaho.
Betten-Baker officially took over at the former Trimarco Automotive GM Dealership building Wednesday in Big Rapids.
Betten-Baker GM Brad Schroeder is excited to hit the ground running and ready to serve the Greater Mecosta County area.
“We are very excited to bring the Betten-Baker brand to Big Rapids; it’s more than just a name change. Gary and Lynn (Trimarco) did a phenomenal job growing their business the time they were here and we (Betten-Baker) want to continue that,” he said.
Schroeder says during the transition, Betten-Baker wanted consistency so they retained the whole Trimarco Automotive staff.
He says Betten-Baker will be visible in the community and will be expanding its footprint when it comes to charity activity.
With Betsy Devos as the new U.S. Education Secretary, Michigan Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston says while he has had his disagreements with the schools of choice advocate, he hopes they can work together.
“We have to be honest that we're not performing where we want to be, so let's be researched based in looking at solutions and not just throw ideas out there that maybe haven't worked. Let's work together and let's make Michigan a top ten performing state.”
Whiston says he believes Devos wants what's best for students.
Some lawmakers in Lansing want to exempt certain state business transactions from the Freedom of Information Act.
Senator Rick Jones argues that FOIA requests discourage businesses from bidding on government work because it could reveal trade secrets.
He want to see tighter restrictions on access to bids for state business.
However, the Michigan Press Association says Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act already protects sensitive, proprietary information and the proposed legislation would interfere with the public’s right to examine how government contracts are approved.
The death of an Isabella County jail inmate is being blamed on drugs.
Christopher Hartwell died while in custody back in September after being arrested on drug charges.
The Isabella County Sheriff's Office says toxicology and autopsy reports showed Hartwell had more than 11 opiates and other drugs in his system.
Big Rapids is looking to annex part of Big Rapids Township. Starting in 2006, the area known as the Clay Cliffs was purchased by the City of Big Rapids through a DNR land acquisition grant and private donations.
“Conditions of the grant – the land is to be left natural and it's to be used for public outdoor recreation and the protection of the land for its environmental importance and scenic beauty,” said Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba during a presentation to the Big Rapids Township Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.
However, Clay Cliffs remains within the boundaries of Big Rapids Township. Warba pitched the idea of annexing that property into the City of Big Rapids at Tuesday's Township Commission meeting noting that...
“There's going to be responsibilities for maintenance, responsibilities for public safety, planning for what the future holds for it – it belongs within the footprint of the corporate limits of the city.”
He went on to explain some of the city's plans for Clay Cliffs as outlined in their newly adopted Parks and Recreation Master Plan, including:
“...natural park area with foot trails throughout the park connected to the community pool and park area, looking to incorporate signage and trail heads into the trail system, developing a trail network throughout the park, perhaps a parking lot, foot bridges for crossing over the creek, maybe implementing a sledding hill, creating prairie planting areas, and bird habitat areas.”
Big Rapids Township Supervisor Bill Stanek had previously suggested the land be transferred under a “425” agreement. The purpose of Act 425 is to provide for a means for two local units of government to share tax revenues resulting from new or expanding development in the areas of their jurisdiction.
Mayor Warba believes Act 425 is not applicable because of the nature of Clay Cliffs.
“No residents inhabit it, there's no development on it, it doesn't lend itself to any development, and that's not the purpose or reason behind it,” he says.
It was noted that since the city already owns the property and it is adjacent to city property, it can be legally annexed without the permission of Big Rapids Township. Stanek also noted that Clay Cliffs is not currently on Big Rapids Township's tax rolls.
The Township board decided to schedule a public hearing on the matter before taking any action.
A downstate man is in trouble with the law after being arrested for indecent exposure in Mecosta County.
27-year old Eric Franklyn Sackett of Howell was arraigned on a charge of aggravated indecent exposure.
According to court documents, this isn’t the first time Sackett has been in trouble with the law; he has another case in Mecosta County regarding a prior indecent exposure charge.
His bond was set at $100,000.
A $4.3 billion natural-gas pipeline that will run through Michigan has been given the green light, sparking concerns about safety, the environment and the direction of energy policy in the state.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has given the ET Rover Pipeline its stamp of approval, saying the project's benefits outweigh concerns to landowners or surrounding communities.
But Nancy Shiffler with the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club says the construction will pose numerous environmental risks, in addition to those that come from the hydraulic-fracturing process.
"Parts of the pipeline go through forested areas which are habitat for migratory birds and a couple of invasive bat species, and then the pipeline is going to travel under or through some important wetland areas."
Energy Transfer, the company behind the project, also is responsible for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
A Wexford County man previously charged with sex crimes is in trouble with the law again.
Police say Aaron Beals is accused of touching a young girl this past December and he was convicted on two counts of CSC in 2012.
Following the December accusation, police say they found several photos on his computer.
He's being held on two bonds of $75,000 each and could face extensive jail time as a repeat offender.
Despite the Republican majority in the US Senate, it took a tie breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence to confirm Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.
DeVos has focused on expanding parental choice in education and embracing charter schools, but also on vouchers that can allow students to use taxpayer dollars to pay tuition at private, religious, and for-profit schools.
It was the first time in history that a vice president has been summoned to the Capitol to break a tie on a cabinet nomination.
Due to the weather, Big Rapids Public Schools is releasing their students one hour early today.
Chippewa Hills is letting their middle school students go at 1:30 pm and their elementary students at 1:45 pm.
And, Evart public schools is canceling all afternoon activities.
Syndicated conservative talk show host Ben Shapiro made his way to the campus of Ferris State University last night for an event put on by the College Republicans at Ferris State.
Shapiro did a discussion and Q&A on how today’s culture of liberals blaming others for their own problems is creating what he calls a “victimhood” society.
Protests of Shapiro appearance occurred prior to the event. More than 20 police officers were on hand for security purposes.
The Big Rapids City Commission and the Department of Public Safety are welcoming a new police officer to Big Rapids. Tyler Hanes was sworn in as a full time DPS police officer at the Commission meeting on Monday and Public Safety Director Jim Eddinger says Hanes is no stranger to Big Rapids.
“Tyler worked for the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office from 2009 to 1016 and he started with us on June 6, 2016 as a part-time officer.”
Hanes is originally from Grand Rapids and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2004 where he served in Iraq, Africa, and Italy. He also graduated from Ferris State University in 2009 with a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
Agriculture and trade groups are voicing concerns over President Donald Trump's stance on immigration and his threats to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump's calls to build a wall between the U-S and Mexico and possibly institute a tax on Mexican imports have incited a political crisis between the two countries. He also says he'll either renegotiate NAFTA to benefit Americans or withdraw from it altogether.
Karen Hansen-Kuhn of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy says instead of pitting people in one country against another, NAFTA could be replaced so that it benefits all. She says rural farmers struggle to make a living under the current agreement.
"So much of the focus has been on producing as much as possible and depending on export market. And in the process, both because of provisions on tariffs and changes in investment rules, farmers have lost bargaining power."
She says the Trump administration needs to take public comments, and check with farmers and rural communities, before making changes to NAFTA. The IATP also opposes parts of the Trans Pacific Partnership, but the group supports restoring "country-of-origin labeling" so consumers know where the meat they're buying comes from, and it supports having more laws to regulate the dumping of foreign-grown fruits and vegetables into American markets, affecting local farmers' profits.
Following its request to increase pumping capacity at a well near Evart, Nestle Waters North America will be hosting a community open house on Tuesday from 6-8pm.
The event will be held at the Osceola County Fairgrounds in Evart.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has extended public comment on the permit application until Friday, March 3.
Free counseling is available for Michigan residents who are delinquent on their federal student loans.
The Michigan Treasury Department is teaming up with the National Student Loan Program to offer free financial literacy information and student loan delinquency counseling.
To qualify, individuals must have federal student loans from a public or private nonprofit Michigan higher education institution, currently be delinquent on their student loans and agree to provide their credit score twice during the pilot period.
The pilot program runs until Jan. 1, 2018.
To sign up or learn more about the program, go to www.loanassistmichigan.org.
Another judge is ruling against President Trump's immigration order.
U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle has ruled that a number of states, including Michigan, had standing to challenge Trump’s order and said they showed their case was likely to succeed.
Washington's Attorney General Bob Ferguson says the temporary restraining order applies nationwide.
A number of Washington-based businesses including Amazon, Expedia, and Microsoft are supporting the state’s efforts to stop the order saying it’s hurting their operations.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is suspending enforcement of the immigration order.
The agency says it will revert to its standard inspections of travelers prior to the signing of the travel ban.
And, the State Department says it is reversing the cancellation of visas that were revoked under the executive order providing the visas were not stamped or marked as cancelled.
Following the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease at a deer farm in Mecosta County last month, the Michigan Department of Agriculture says it plans to test the remains of as many as 2,800 deer in Aetna, Austin, Deerfield, Hinton, Mecosta and Morton Townships in Mecosta County and Cato, Reynolds and Winfield in Montcalm County.
Officials say most of the deer tested will be hunter-harvested or road kills although some may be taken by sharpshooters.
Nearly 1.9 million Michigan residents may be at risk after the potential release of their Social Security numbers and names -- part of a software update to the state's unemployment benefits system. David Derigiotis is a cyber security expert.
“Whenever there's a compromise, or potential compromise of social security numbers, you have to be high alert because that is the crown jewel of our privacy and it can be used to open up credit, to file fraudulent tax returns. You have to be diligent, you have aware to what's going on. It may not hurt into filing some type of freeze on your credit report or some type of fraud alert,” he says.
Users of the system who potentially had access include employers and human resources professionals, not unemployment claimants or the general public.
Enforcement of parts of President Trump's immigration action are being suspended by a federal judge in Michigan.
U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts suspended the president’s 90-day restriction on travel by people from seven Muslim-majority countries if they are lawful, permanent residents of the United States.
The order is part of a lawsuit filed by the Arab American Civil Rights League and others in Michigan. The suit names President Trump, the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, and Customs and Border Protect acting commissioner Kevin McAleenan.
Judges in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Virginia have also ruled against Trump's order which was issued Jan. 27.
Federal agents at airports immediately began detaining citizens from the seven countries, including those with U.S. passports.
A Morley man is recovering after being involved in a rollover accident in Mecosta County.
It happened on 100th Ave near 1 Mile Rd.
Police say the 59-year old driver from Morley lost control due to his speed on the icy/snowy road conditions.
The driver was taken to Kelsey hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
The father of a 16-year-old driver is in critical condition following a one car crash in Isabella County.
Police say the Mount Pleasant teen was driving near Wise and Broomfield road in Chippewa Township when he lost control and struck a tree.
The father was a passenger in the front seat and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
The driver was treated for his injuries and released.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Mecosta County is receiving just over $40,000 to make sure that its boundaries are accurate. The grant from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will ensure that the county is in compliance with the State Survey and Remonumentation Act. County Administrator Paul Bullock explains that some time in the past all section corners in Mecosta County had been “monumented” or marked so surveyors could find them. However...
“Many times those were a nail in a white pine tree or they would mark these in various ways,” he says.
The remonumentation program is meant to re-document exactly where the county's section corners, half corners, and quarter corners so that surveyors will have a readily available baseline for their work. Current surveying monuments will be preserved but will also have a concrete monument with an identifying cap put in place. Many of the original monuments were set sometime during the 1800s.
A former employee at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is facing misdemeanor charges after allegedly abusing an 83-year-old veteran who suffered from dementia.
Police say 56-year-old Laurie Lynn Botbyl pushed the wheelchair bound veteran into a desk and was caught on a surveillance camera.
The case was turned over to the prosecutor’s office in April, but no charges were issued until this week after police resubmitted the evidence.
A spokesperson for the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency said Botbyl was an employee of J2S, a much-criticized private firm that provided caregiver services to the vets home until the end of last year, when its contact ran out and was not renewed.
The Michigan Department of Treasury is now processing Michigan Home Heating Credits (HHC) for the 2016 tax year.
The credit assists low-income customers with winter energy bills and the average credit last year was $132.
Forms and instructional materials are available on the Internet at michigan.gov/incometax or by calling 517-636-4486.
Forms are also available at many libraries, post offices, and Department of Health and Human Services branch offices across the state.
Note that you can apply for the Home Heating Credit even if you do not need to file income taxes.