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News That Affects You Archives for 2015-07

New rules for school immunization waivers this year

 

With the start of school scheduled for the end of August, parents who have signed immunization waivers in the past for their kids have a few extra steps to go through this year.

 

The state is requiring parents to sign the paperwork at their county public health department and sit through a 30 minute educational course on vaccines…

“They're nervous to come in, they think that they're going to be attacked or belittled for their beliefs, and that's not what we're here for. Of course we believe in vaccination, we think scientifically it's proven that the risks are not as great as the benefits, but we don't attack people,” says Washtenaw County Public Health spokesperson Chris Karpinski. “It's a conversation, and nobody leaves here without getting their waiver.”

Karpinski also says parents have until the start of school to come in and sign the waiver.

 

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State asks your help defeating another invasive species

 

The state is hoping you can help keep an insect that burrows into maple trees and destroys them out of Michigan.


Michigan State University Extension educator Julie Crick says the Asian long-horned beetle - which is black with white spots and has a blue antenna - leaves behind some evidence when it burrows in to a tree including a pencil-sized hole, sawdust and maybe some sap coming out of the hole.


She says now is the best time to spot one as the adult insect can be found outside of the tree.
 

The invasive insect isn’t a problem now which is why the state wants you to keep an eye out for them.
 

If you think you see an Asian long-horned beetle or think a tree is infested, call 800-292-3939.

 

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Meth lab discovered in Cadillac

Police up in Wexford County found a one-pot meth lab at a home in Cadillac.

 

The Traverse Narcotics Team executed a search warrant Thursday at the residence on Maurer Street and discovered the ingredients to make methamphetamine.

 

The investigation is ongoing and police anticipate criminal charges for those individuals living at the home.

 

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Court rulings change prison sentencing, minimums no longer mandated

 

A major shift in administering justice for people on both sides of the bench is on the way.

 

Mandatory minimums will be seeing big changes across the state after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that state minimums aren’t mandatory.

 

In a 5-2 ruling, the Supreme Court decided that it’s now up to local judges to decide the minimum lengths of prison sentences in their area.

 

State Representative Kurt Heise says it’s up to lawmakers to change state law to respect the Court’s ruling

 

For the time being we know that various portions of state law have been ruled unconstitutional,” he says. “We would like to go back and physically clean that up, and straighten that out.”

 

This follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said it’s up to the states to decide various mandatory minimums.

 

 

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Traverse City man will not stand trial for his wife's murder

 

A Traverse City man charged with murdering his wife is incompetent to stand trial, according to district court.

 

Michael Rode, 51, had called 911 on June 6th and told dispatchers that he had possibly murdered his wife, 72-year-old Sandra Rode.

 

Michael Rode has been undergoing mental health evaluations, and will be receiving treatment until he’s found competent to stand trial.

 

State law states there’s a 15-month limit of mental health evaluations before Rode’s case can be closed.

 

Psychiatrists will report on Rode’s condition every 90 days until he’s either been deemed competent to stand trial or exceeded the 15-month limit.

 

 

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Non-human case of West Nile Virus found in Kent Co.

West Nile Virus has been found in Kent County, however it is not a human case.

 

The virus was discovered as a result of a massive mosquito surveillance project conducted by the environmental health division at the Kent County Health Department. The positive sample was found in a pool of tested mosquitoes in the city of Grand Rapids. The sample that yielded the positive result was collected between Tuesday July 28th and Thursday July 30, 2015. The health department has been capturing and testing mosquitoes in 11 traps strategically placed throughout the county since early June.

 

“This finding is significant because this is our first alert to the presence of West Nile as it begins to surface at this time of the year,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer with KCHD. “The fact that we have found West Nile in only one area does not mean that it is confined to that Zip Code. We expect West Nile to be present to some degree until the first frost. We want people to be aware that they can greatly reduce their own risks by taking some simple precautions.”
 
Prevention is critical in the fight against WNV an illness that can be deadly in some people, especially those with weakened immune systems and the elderly. The Kent County Health Department recommends wearing a mosquito repellant that contains 10 – 35% DEET, wearing light colored clothing and staying indoors during dusk. You can help stop mosquitoes from breeding by removing any standing water in your yard and keeping your lawn and shrubs cut.

 

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Clare Co. woman arrested on meth charges

A Harrison woman is behind bars, accused of making and delivering meth.

 

Deputies say they received a tip about someone making methamphetamine at home in Hayes Township. When they arrived to the scene, they found Jillian Husted making the drug.

 

She was arrested on scene and taken to Clare County Jail.  

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Police ID two victims of fatal Midland Co. car accident

Police have ID two victims of a fatal car accident in Midland County.

 

Police say 30-year old Daniel Hill of Mt. Pleasant and 53-year old Mark Goltowski of Shepherd were killed Tuesday when Hill failed to stop at the end of the road. He then drove over a street sign, through some heavy brush and landed upside down in the Chippewa River.

 

 

Speed appears to be a factor in the crash, but police are waiting on toxicology reports to determine if drugs or alcohol were also involved.

 

The crash remains under investigation.


 

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Labor unions defeated in Supreme Court ruling on right-to-work laws

 

The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that Michigan's right-to-work laws, which prohibit requiring employees to join a union or pay a union fee, also apply to state employees.


The court ruled in a 4-to-3 decision.
 

The high court also ruled the state law requiring state employees to contribute four percent toward their retirement is also constitutional.
 

The rulings are a defeat for labor unions in Michigan which represent about 36-thousand state employees.
 

They had argued only the Michigan Civil Service Commission can set conditions of employment for civil servants, not the legislature.

 

 

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Happy birthday Medicare, officials say it's effective and efficient

 

Thursday is the 50th anniversary of the institution of Medicare. The program provides health care to 55 million people age 65 and older, including nearly two million in our state.

 

Michigan Nurses Association President John Armelagos says Medicare has proved itself to be not just an effective program, but an efficient one.

 

It spends less than 2% of its budget in overhead, compared to private insurers who spend about 18% and a lot of that 18% goes towards profit.”

 

A resolution to expand Medicare to all U-S residents has been introduced by Michigan Congressman John Conyers. However, opponents of a universal health-care system call it government overreach. A rally in support of the measure will take place at 11:30 a-m at Detroit's Central United Methodist Church.

 

 

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Beer is good for Michigan's economy

 

The beer industry is having a big impact on Michigan’s economy. A study by the Beer Institute and National Beer Wholesalers Association finds beer sales have a $6.6 billion impact on the state’s economy.

 

And that just doesn’t mean brewers and beer distributors. Michigan Brewers Guild President Scott Graham says it includes farmers too.

“What we've seen is just a remarkable growth and development in a very few years in Michigan's hop industry and I think that ultimately it's going to be known as a great hop region.”

The state ranked 8th in total jobs and 14th in economic output for the beer industry.

 

 

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Officials warn of increased fire danger through the weekend

 

Fire dangers are very high in many parts of Michigan according to the Department of Natural Resources.

 

Fire prevention specialist Dan Laux says recent warm temperatures and a lack of rain will keep the fire danger status at very high through the weekend.

 

He note portions of the state are starting to see elevated drought conditions and urges residents to use caution with any outdoor fires.

 

 

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Michigan man wins open carry case where dashcam contradicts police

 

A man who says he was wrongfully arrested for openly carrying his gun is $35,000 richer after settling his case out of court.

 

John David McMorris reached an agreement with Flint Township Police and Sergeant Russell Fries on Tuesday.

 

McMorris says he had been walking down the street openly carrying a pistol when a Flint Township police officer stopped and arrested him.

 

While Flint Township police’s official opinion is that McMorris had concealed the gun, dashcam evidence from the stop seems to show him openly carrying the weapon.

 

McMorris has already been found not guilty of carrying a concealed weapon by criminal court.

 

 

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Rollover into Chippewa River leaves two dead

 

Two people are dead after an SUV crashed into the Chippewa River.

 

The Midland County Sheriff's Department says a 30-year-old Isabella County resident drove the SUV over a street sign and through heavy brush in Lee Township on Tuesday night before landing upside down in the water.

 

The driver and his passenger were pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Their identities are being withheld at this time.


 

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McBain woman sentenced to jail for meth lab case

A Wexford Co. woman is going to jail for at least the next five years for operating a meth lab.

 

33-year old Patricia Posey of McBain was sentenced Tuesday in Wexford County. She along with a man from White Cloud were arrested back in March on drug charges after an investigation by police.

 

Posey was also fined $300.  

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Study questions effectiveness of Michigan's Schools of Choice program

 

A program designed to give students in Michigan the option to go to what may be a better school in a neighboring district is having trouble keeping kids in the program. That’s just one of the findings of a study led by Associate Professor of Education Policy Joshua Cowen Michigan State University.

“Only about 40% of kids who enter a neighboring district via Schools of Choice stay in the program for all of their elementary school career, all the way from kindergarten through fifth grade,” he says.

Research also indicates students most likely to enroll in the program are black, poor and don’t test well in math. The next step in the study is to find out how bouncing from district to district impacts the student’s performance.

 

 

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Second suspect charged with breaking into Osceola Co. marijuana grow operation

A Cadillac teen accused of breaking into a marijuana grow operation in Osceola County is being charged for his crimes.

 

18-year old Robert Scott McQuestion has been charged with one count of breaking and entering, one count of conspiracy to commit breaking and entering and one count of attempted larceny in a building, according to court documents. Both McQuestion and 19-year old Anthony Shurlow are accused of breaking into a home in Rose Lake Township last week and trying to steal marijuana plants when they were confronted by the homeowner with a gun and were shot.

 

Bond for both men is set at $100,000 each.

 

Police are still trying to get in contact with the homeowner who shot the two teens.

 

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Group says Mackinac oil pipelines unstable, will sue US DOT

 

A major environmental group is ready to sue the US Department of Transportation. The group wants the DOT to be more aggressive in ensuring oil pipeline safety in the Great Lakes, based largely on fears regarding the condition of nearly 60-year old pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

 

National Wildlife Federation spokesperson Mike Shriberg says there's evidence the pipelines are deteriorating.


“Filmed underwater footage of the pipeline in 2013 that showed them suspended over the lake bed, showed some original supports broken way, and some sections of the suspended pipeline covered in large piles of unknown debris.”

Shriberg says a 25 year old federal law requires oil and pipeline companies to draft safety plans for approval by the US DOT. But the feds have never even created criteria for emergency response plans.

 

 

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CMU gears up for school shooting scenario

 

Students at Central Michigan University can rest a little easier following an exercise by campus police.

 

The University Police Department held training on campus to prepare for acts of violence, such as school shootings.

 

The mock scenarios were set up so officers could experience clearing rooms and addressing on-campus threats.

 

Simulation plastic rounds were used leaving a red or blue mark on targets.

 

CMU Police conduct trainings both on campus and at Camp Grayling throughout the year.

 

 

 

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Planned Parenthood protests hit the streets

 

Pro-life groups are calling for federal funding for Planned Parenthood to be cut off.

 

A number of organizations led a protest in Lansing following videos released by pro-life groups in which Planned Parenthood officials seemingly talk about the sale of aborted fetuses.

 

Maria Gatica of Students for Life of America says it’s lawmakers’ responsibility to take action.

 

We want our presidential candidates to pledge that they’ll no longer be funding it federally,” she says.

 

The SFLA also wants America to lead an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s apparent illegal activities.

 

 

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Man dies after rollover accident in Isabella Co.

 

 

A rollover accident in Isabella County claims the life of a Grand Ledge man.

 

The accident happened this morning on E. Bluegrass Rd., just west of Encore Blvd in Union Township. Police say car driven by a 43-year old Grand Ledge man ,was traveling west on E. Bluegrass Rd. when he lost control, ran off the road, hit a telephone pole, ran through the parking lot of AT&T and rolled over multiple times. The driver along with his passengers, a 41-year old woman from Grand Ledge and a 24-year old Mt. Pleasant man were trapped in the vehicle and required the “Jaws of Life”. The female passenger was airlifted to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids while the male passenger was taken to a local hospital.  

 

Deputies believe alcohol was a factor in the accident. The crash remains under investigation.  

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Senator wants medical marijuana treated like any other business

 

State Senator Coleman Young II wants Michigan's banks and other financial institutions to accept money from medical marijuana businesses. Young says medical marijuana is legal in the state and it's time we begin treating medical marijuana facilities as legitimate businesses. That means allowing them to invest their money in banks and that police stop raiding them.

“I think it's a waste of police time, I think it's a waste of police resource, I think it's a taxpayer dollar issue and I think they should be going after real criminals,” says Young.

Selling or possessing marijuana is still against federal law.

 

 

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Lawmaker wants no Trump in Michigan

 

The chairman of Michigan’s Democratic Party says Republicans should rescind their invite to Donald Trump to speak at an event here next month. Trump is scheduled to speak at a Lincoln Day event on August 11th in Birch Run. Party Chair Brandon Dillon thinks Trump shouldn't be campaigning in the state.

“This wouldn't be an issue was not resonating with Republican primary voters, and I think that is the really sad part is that the more outrageous and bigoted and crazy things he says, the higher he goes up in the polls,” he says.

Dillon calls Trump’s campaign a carnival show and says it shouldn’t be coming to Michigan.

 

 

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Fire in Isabella County leaves local business damaged

 

Damage is being assessed at a wood pellet mill following a fire in Isabella County Monday afternoon.

 

Workers at Isabella Pellet noticed a fire spreading at around 3:00.

 

Fire crews were able to contain the flames about an hour and a half after it had started.

 

Everyone at Isabella Pellet was able to evacuate the building safely, and no one was hurt.

 

What caused the fire is still unknown.

 

 

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Boy killed while playing with gun identified

 

The identity of a young boy who died while playing with a gun in Antrim County is being released.

 

Police say 11-year-old Thomas Belanger from Alba was shot at his grandparents home.

 

Belanger was apparently playing with his brother when he tripped and fell causing the gun to go off hitting him in the face.

 

The Antrim County Sheriff says a report is being sent to the prosecutor's office for review

 

 

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Mecosta teen faces charges after breaking and entering

A 19-year old is behind bars, accused of breaking into a building in Mecosta last week.

 

Police say Jordan Christopher Harper is charged with one count of breaking and entering and one count of possession of burglar tools. Police believe the Mecosta teen was working with a second suspect during the July 21st break-in and are still looking for that person.

 

Harper's bond is set at $50,000  

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Two airlifted to hospital after accident involving three motorcycles

An accident in Isabella Co involving three motorcycles, sent two people to the hospital.

 

The accident happened on W. Blanchard Rd., just west of S. Coldwater Rd, in Rolland Township. Deputies say a group of four motorcycles were traveling west on W. Blanchard Rd., when the lead motorcycle slowed down because of rough pavement. The next motorcycle in line, also slowed down but the third motorcycle operated by a St. Johns woman did not see the other two who slowed down and ended up striking the motorcycle in front of her. A Lansing man, operating fourth motorcycle in line, ended up laying his motorcycle down in an effort to avoid running into the motorcycles ahead of him.

 

All three of the operators were ejected from their motorcycles. Both the woman from St. Johns and Lansing man were airlifted to hospitals in Midland and Lansing respectively. Their conditions are unknown at this time The second rider suffered minor injuries and refused treatment.

 

The accident remains under investigation.   

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Rising water levels in Lake Michigan causing problems

 

Lake Michigan is on the rise and rebounding quickly from historically low water levels just a few years ago. That's causing problems in Spring Lake, according to its public works director, Roger Belknap.

“During the winter months, that water being closer to the sidewalk, underneath it, undermined it with the sidewalk breaking in two. We have trip hazards now that we didn't have before, so it just requires continual monitoring,” he says.

A sea wall has been compromised by the rising water levels. Belknap says they had 40 feet of beach two years ago, which has now shrunk to just 12 feet. Lake Michigan is six-inches higher than average and ten-inches higher than this time last year.

 

 

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Statue raises religious hackles

 

Some Michigan residents are upset following an apparent exercise in religious freedom over the weekend.

 

Hundreds of people voiced their anger at a church service after a statue of Satan was unveiled in Detroit Saturday evening.

 

The Satanic Temple decided to show off their statue in Detroit after Oklahoma’s Supreme Court banned religious displays from being shown at their Capitol.

 

Over 200 people attended Mass at St. Joseph Church in Detroit to protest the Satanic event.

 

However, the event went off as scheduled, and supporters were able to see the statue after getting tickets.

 

The Satanic Temple plans to erect the statue in Arkansas.

 

 

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EPA Clean Power Plan benefits Michigan residents

 

A new report from Synapse Energy Economics says the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan may be a good thing for Michigan. Report co-author Elizabeth Stanton says if the state's leaders make wise choices in implementing the plan, good things will follow for consumers.

 

Michigan households taking advantage of energy efficiency programs under the proposed Clean Power Plan would save $33 a month on average and their bills would be $80 a month in 2030.”

 

In contrast, a second report from the Georgia Institute of Technology predicts that not implementing the Clean Power Plan will result in the average electric bill rising nine percent over the next 15 years.

 

 

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Gay marriage lawsuit could cost state millions

 

Lawyers for a Hazel Park couple who helped legalize same-sex marriage are asking a federal judge to force to the state to pay nearly $2 million in legal fees.

 

The state opposed April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse’s case, which was decided by the U-S Supreme Court earlier this year.

 

Court records show one attorney sold her house to keep the case going. Lawyers acknowledge this might the largest legal bill in the fight for same-sex marriage.
 

 

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Prosecutors will not pursue case against former HS Athletic Director

 

Prosecutors in Kalamazoo County are not pressing charges against the former athletic director at Gull Lake High School.

 

March Throop, who spent 27 years with the district and 20 years as A-D was fired months before he was set to retire.

 

He was let go after the school found financial irregularities in the athletic department and feared he had embezzled money.

 

Prosecutors say they did not find enough evidence that Throop committed a crime so they’re not moving forward with the case.

 

 

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Man in critical condition after standoff with police

 

A 48-year-old Allen Park man is in critical condition after a five hour standoff with law enforcement in Oscoda County.

 

Police say the man threatened to harm himself and others who came near him at a residence around 3:00PM on Saturday.

 

Deputies entered the building around 8:00PM after the police made several unsuccessful attempts to talk the man out of the residence.

 

He was found unresponsive and suffering an apparent self-inflected injury. The man's name is not being released at this time.

 

 

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Residents wary after break-ins in Manistee County

 

Manistee citizens are on alert after two break-ins in the city earlier this week.

 

Police say members of both households were asleep in their beds when their houses were broken into sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning on the 400 block of Third Street.

 

One home was unlocked and the other had a door preyed open, purses, checkbooks and jewelry were taken by the intruders.

 

Manistee Director of Public Safety Dave Bachman says the department doesn’t know whether they’re dealing with one or more suspects. Bachman says he suspects the perpetrators have a drug problem.

 

 

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Cadillac man wounded while trying to steal pot

 

A 19-year-old Cadillac man is facing charges after allegedly breaking into a Tustin building to steal marijuana.

 

Authorities say Anthony Gabriel Shurlow was shot and wounded while attempting to break into the building.

 

Shurlow is being charged with two counts of breaking and entering and one count of larceny in a building. His condition isn't known at this time.

 

 

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Wish-A-Mile cyclists hit Big Rapids for a great cause

More than 900 Cyclists from around Michigan are in Big Rapids as part of Make-A-Wish Michigan's biggest fundraiser of the year “Wish-A-Mile Bike Tour.

 

Tour riders travel across Michigan during the three-day WAM 300 tour, a ride that stretches across 300 miles of the state’s countryside all to raise money to help grant wishes to Michigan children with life threatening illnesses.

 

First-year rider Genie Burger of Ionia with the team "Tour De Wish" said today's 100 mile trip to Big Rapids was a little hilly but the great weather made the ride a lot easier. Burger decided to participate in the bike tour because of the geat cause, so it wasnt that hard of a decision especially after her friends who have participated in the past encouraged her to join their team. 

 

Cyclists will camp out this evening on the campus of Ferris State, then will leave Saturday morning for their next stop in Dewitt.

 

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Not pulling over could cost you more

 

Drivers could face fines and even prison time if they don’t move over for a police car, fire engine or ambulance and cause an accident. State Senator Curtis Hertel is sponsoring a bill that would enforce pulling over for emergency vehicles. He says people are getting more and more distracted behind the wheel.

“I think people get distracted with music and other things and obviously we have a lot more options in our car than we did before. But you still have to pay attention to what's going around you and if there's an ambulance behind you you need to make sure you pull over.”

The fines and prison time would increase if you’re found guilty of causing a crash that injured or killed a first responder.

 

 

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Officials say watch out for bikers in Big Rapids this weekend

 

The Wish-A-Mile 300 Bicycle Tour, or “WAM” as it is affectionately known by riders, is passing through Mecosta County and Big Rapids this weekend. Bike riders are expected to be in Big Rapids from 2:00P – 5:00P on Friday says Big Rapids Public Safety Officer Steve Schroeder.

 

They're going to be all through western Mecosta County this afternoon. They're coming in on the west side and it looks like they're ending today at Ferris State University.”

 

Although tour organizers did not request any road closures, Schroeder says motorists should be aware of the bikers.

 

The biggest safety measure is just make sure everybody's being alert, keeping track of bicycles, checking their mirrors, those kind of things before they change lanes.”

 

And, he says, keep a sharp eye out Saturday morning as well.

 

Tomorrow morning they're starting out at the Student Recreation Center and it looks like they're heading down, they're going to end up in Morley passing into Montcalm County.”

 

The Wish A Mile 300 Bicycle Tour is the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s single largest fundraiser

 

 

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Big Rapids teen faces new charges connected to Riverwalk assaults

A Big Rapids teen facing two counts of sex crimes now is being charged with a new felony.

 

17-year old Daniel Kuhns is being charged with fourth degree criminal sexual conduct in connection to an assault of a woman this month on Riverwalk. The Big Rapids teen was arrested in May and again this month for similar crimes involving different women. Kuhns sits in jail on $25,000 bond.

 

Big Rapids Detective Brian Miller is asking anyone who has been assaulted by Kuhns to come forward. .  

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Boy fatally shot while playing with handgun

 

One of two young brothers is dead after the two were playing with a handgun in Antrim County.

 

While the boys’ names and ages have not yet been released, Antrim County Sheriff Daniel Bean says that both are under 14.

 

The two boys were in a fort on their grandparents’ property in Star Township when one of the boys produced a handgun.

 

Deputies responded to the incident before 10 AM Thursday morning, finding the boy dead in the fort.

 

Police are investigating who owned the handgun and how the boy obtained it.

 

 

 

 

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Former Beal City football coach pleads

The fomer head football coach of Beal City High School in Isabella Co. charged with a number of crimes involving his former players has pleaded "no-contest" to the alleged crimes. 

 

Lou Rau was set to go to trial on Monday but entered his plea Thursday. He was accused of inappropriate behavior with five football players who were between the ages of 13 and 17 years old a the time of the crimes. A criminal investigation started back in January, when school officials received complaints from parents about inappropriate text messages sent to student-athletes, including some showing pornographic material.

 

With his plea, prosecutors dropped other charges, including accosting a minor for immoral purposes and three counts of selling or distributing alcohol to minors, according to court records.  Rau is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 10th. 

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Lake Co. Sheriff announces plans to retire

After 36 years of service with the Lake County Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Robert Hilts announced his plans to retire.

 

Hilts said it was a tough choice but after examining how well the department is running, which he says, is the best it's ever been and those currently in charge, it was time to go and tackle new challenges.

The sheriff says he will miss the daily interactions with residents in the county and helping those residents with whatever problem they have but most of all he will miss the students he coached for the past 20 years at Baldwin High School.

 

Hilts says he wants to be remembered as a sheriff who was very approachable and available whenever residents had any problems.

 

Hilts last day on the job is Oct. 31st

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Human trafficking in state may be a bigger problem than reported

 

Only three cases of human trafficking were reported in Michigan last year, according to State Police. But Andrea Bitely of the Attorney General's office says, due to the nature of the crime, victims often don't self-report and the prevalence of human trafficking in the state is likely higher.

 

We need to make sure to continue to promote and make aware human trafficking as a crime in the State of Michigan,” she says.

She says it's also difficult for police to distinguish victims from criminals. Bitely notes the Michigan Commission on Human Trafficking is working to make sure law enforcement is trained to identify victims of the crime.


 

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Proposal could break political grid lock, at least in Michigan

 

Michigan would be the second state in the country to adopt a non-partisan, unicameral, or single chamber, legislature under a resolution introduced in the Michigan House.

 

The proposal, sponsored by State Representative Martin Howrylak, would shrink the legislature from a House and Senate to one legislative body made up of 56 members.

“In both chambers, the leader of the chamber, who happens to be of the majority party can control all of the bill flow... Let's say for example, Senator Meekhof doesn't want a bill to come to a vote, he doesn't have to,” he says.

There would be no party affiliations under the proposal and the presider over the chamber would have limited power. Nebraska is the only state that currently operates under a non-partisan, unicameral legislature.

 

 

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Women in Michigan may see increased access and protection regarding birth control

 

Lawmakers in the Michigan House plan on introducing a series of bills as soon as next month to give women more access to birth control. State Senator Curtis Hertel says a woman’s health has long been a controversial issue, but it shouldn’t be…

“Too often, legislators play games with women's health, hiding behind political ideology and claims of protecting women. But in reality it's families that pay the price, affecting not only their health and well being, but their economic stability as well,” he says.

One of the bills would require health care facilities to make emergency contraceptives available to women who were sexually assaulted. Another would prohibit employers from discriminating against women who use birth control.

 

 

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Michigan National Guard beefing up security

 

The Michigan National Guard is boosting security in wake of the deadly attacks on military facilities in Tennessee.

 

Major General Gregory Vadnais says the guard is planning more rigorous "active shooter" drills and creating defensible positions inside armories and recruiting centers, so staff have a place to go in case of a shooting.

 

Vadnais says the Guard is also allowing military and civilian personnel with concealed-carry licenses to carry their own handguns inside National Guard facilities.

 

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Spectrum Health shutting down second facility

 

Following it's announcement that it is eliminating Aero Med emergency flights out of Big Rapid's Roben-Hood Airport earlier this week, Spectrum Health is closing another facility on the west side of the state.

 

The not-for-profit health system announced on Wednesday that it is shutting down its inpatient rehabilitation unit at Big Rapids Hospital.

 

Vice President of Patient Services Caroline Ring says that re-purposing the space the unit was housed in will allow the hospital to serve more patients.

 

The hospital will, however, continue to provide outpatient physical, speech and occupational rehabilitation, as well as cardiac and pulmonary rehab.

 

People that would have been treated at the IRU will be referred to Reed City Hospital, Kelsey Hospital in Lakeview, or Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids.

 

The unit is scheduled to stop treating patients by August 28th.

 

 

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Mecosta Co. Parks approve charging day passes for Paris Park visitors

Beginning in August, people who want to have access to Mecosta County's Paris Park for activities other than camping will be charged a day pass.

 

Paris was the only campground in the Mecosta County parks system not charging visitors. Parks Superintendent Jeff Abel says Mecosta Co. Parks receive no federal or state funding and cost of maintenance or repairs in the parks have gone up, this is a way to offset those costs.

 

Visitors to the park will have to enter by the park office and purchase either a $6.00 day-use parking pass or a $25.00 season pass which allows access to all Mecosta County parks.   

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Teen uninjured after striking tree with car in Montcalm Co.

A 16-year old girl came away uninjured after hitting a tree with her car in Montcalm County.

 

Deputies say it happened last night at the intersection Tamarack Road and Lake Road in Belvidere Township. They say the Stanton teen was traveling east on Tamarack Road when she ran the stop sign at Lake Road and continued east then veering off the right side of the road towards the shoulder, over corrected and lost control. The teen then went through a field and through the front yard of a nearby home striking a large tree.

 

Police say the driver was distracted by the use of a cell phone. Speed is also believed to be a contributing factor in the crash. The driver was cited for failure to maintain control of her vehicle. This incident remains under investigation.

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Big Rapids DPS gearing up for National Night Out

Big Rapids Department of Public Safety is gearing up for its annual community gathering National Night Out.

 

The event is slated for August 4th. One of the goals of NNO is to strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships. DPS Director Andrea Nerbonne is hoping for a great turn out this year, she says there will be fun for the whole family,  fingerprinting, children activities, and a cookout.

 

This years event will involve more than 16,124 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world.

 

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Lawmaker wants to curb campaign contributions in Michigan

 

A Michigan Democrat is making another run at revamping campaign finance laws in the state. State Representative Jim Townsend is sponsoring a bill to prohibit someone who is doing contract work for a local government from making campaign contributions to a local office holder.

“We have very loose regulations in the State of Michigan when it comes to campaign finances. So, if somebody wants to influence an election, they can do it through a political action committee, they can do it through a 501C4 nonprofit group and, in that case, they can even do it in secret,” he says.

A similar bill impacting contractors on the state level has also been introduced. Neither bill has been heard in a House committee. Lawmakers are currently on summer break and won’t return to Lansing for a month.

 

 

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Michigan may remove credit check in hiring process

 

Employers couldn’t use credit checks when making hiring decisions under a bill introduced this session in the Michigan House. State Representative Henry Yanez is sponsoring the bill.

“When you look at the overall picture of the person you're hiring, their work history, any recommendations from a former employer, I think you have to look at all of that not just their credit history,” he says.

Yanez says the recession years ago was the driving force when this bill was first introduced. And while he concedes most people’s credit scores have rebounded since then, another economic downturn can happen again.

 

 

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Lyme disease risk increasing in Michigan

 

Michigan's risk for Lyme disease continues to grow, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Jennifer Smith of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says those who spend time in wooded areas are more at risk because the illness is spread by infected deer-ticks. Smith advises checking yourself if you have been in the woods.

“If you identify a tick and are able to successfully remove it within 24 to 48 hours of attachment, your risk of developing Lyme disease is greatly reduced,” she says.

In 2013, Michigan had 165 cases of Lyme disease, about a 60-percent increase from 2012.

 

 

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Identity released on hit and run victim, police still looking for driver

 

Police are releasing the name of the man who was hit and killed on an Osceola County road this weekend.

 

Dwane Lowrie of Evart died in the hit and run incident near the intersection of M-66 and Meceola Road on Saturday.

 

The Osceola County Sheriff's Department says they are still searching for the driver of the car that struck and killed Lowrie and are asking anyone with information to come forward.

 

 

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Ohio man killed in northern Michigan explosion

 

A man from Ohio is dead following an explosion in Antrim County.

 

Police say Charles Lundy was brazing an axle to an enclosed metal drum at a garage on Birch Lake Road and was apparently unaware that the drum had gas trapped inside it which ignited, causing an explosion.

 

Relatives say the end of the drum blew off striking Lundy in the head. Antrim County Sheriff Dan Bean says Lundy was likely killed instantly.

 

 

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Brothers sentenced in 26 year old Newaygo County murder case

 

Two Newaygo County brothers will be spending time in prison after being found guilty of a 1989 murder.

 

Matthew and Paul Jones were sentenced on Tuesday for the killing of Shannon Siders back in 1989.

 

Matthew Jones, who was found guilty of first-degree murder, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In contrast, Paul Jones was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison after being found guilty of second-degree murder.

 

The case of Siders’ murder was reopened by a cold case task force in 2011, and the Jones brothers were arrested for the crime last year.

 

 

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Big Rapids Commissioners given Baldwin Bridge Project update

The Big Rapids City Commission was given an update on the upcoming Baldwin Street bridge project.

 

Todd Richter of the engineering firm Fleis & Vandenbrink gave commissioners a presentation of its bridge bid analysis. Richter said total cost of the project is just over $5.9 million dollars, the cost to the city is around $260,000. However, Richter said the analysis is $90,000 over what was originally thought for the total cost.

 

Big Rapids City Manager Steve Sobers told commissioners the $90,000 difference between the bids and the estimate made two years ago is not an insurmountable sum especially since the payment can be made of over two years.

 

The project should begin by the end of this year.  

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Lansing lawmakers leave town with no deal on road funding

 

Lawmakers will not be returning to Lansing for a one day session to talk about road funding Tuesday.


The House announced on Monday there won’t be any attendance or votes taken, signaling there still is no deal on a road funding solution.

 

Legislators are currently weighing a bill that passed the Senate which includes a 15 cent gas tax increase.

 

Lawmakers aren’t due back in Lansing until August 18th.

 

 

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More children live in poverty in Michigan than other states

 

A new report says there are now more Michigan children living in poverty than there were during the Great Recession. The "Kids Count" report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation says while most states have seen improvement in child well being over the past five years, Michigan kids continue to lag.

 

Spokesperson Laura Speer says one in four, totaling more than a half million Michigan children, now live in poverty.

 

Keeping state income tax credit programs could make a huge difference for working families, especially as wages have not yet recovered,” she says.

 

Speer notes the economic recovery clearly hasn't hit everyone.

 

The report recommends beefing up the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit, which targets poor working families, and more taxpayer spending on programs for both children and parents.

 

 

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Human trafficking charges possible in Traverse City drug bust

 

One of three people arrested for allegedly selling drugs at a Traverse City hotel is being formally charged.

 

25-year-old Cassandra Crick from East Jordan was arraigned on Monday. Grand Traverse County Prosecuting Attorney  Bob Cooney says another one of the trio could face human trafficking charges for allegedly forcing a female to engage in both sex and selling drugs for money.

 

All three are expected to face a number of drug-related felony charges.

 

 

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Changes by Spectrum Health will affect emergency medical care in west Michigan

 

Some significant changes are coming to those who may need emergency medical care in western Michigan.

 

Starting next year, Spectrum Health’s Aero Med service will no longer be running out of the Roben-Hood Airport in Big Rapids.

 

In a partnership with Munson Healthcare’s North Flight, all of Aero Med’s emergency pilots and helicopters currently at Roben-Hood will be transferred to Traverse City.

 

Roben-Hood manager Mike Lafferty says that people suffering from trauma or life-or-death matters will now have to wait 22 minutes longer for emergency crews to arrive, as they’ll have to fly north from Grand Rapids.

 

This involves Evart… Reed City… Baldwin… everything surrounding us, clear over to Ludington. Everybody’s service will suffer by at least this 22-minute factor.”

 

Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba still has hope that the community can stop the move from taking place if their voices are heard.

 

If we rally support – not just from the city and supporters of the community airport but those in the region affected by it – maybe it’s not too late to ask Spectrum Health to step back and consider what it means to us,” he says.

 

The move is scheduled to take place in the first quarter of next year.

 

 

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Police in Osceola Co. investigating shooting

Police in Osceola County are investigating a reported shooting complaint that occurred this morning at 4am.  The incident occurred at a home on 15 mile road near 130th Ave. in Rose Lake Twp.   Deputies were initially contacted by Cadillac Mercy Hospital when the shooting victims went there for treatment of injuries.  Deputies responded to the hospital and made contact with the two shooting victims.  One victim was treated and released from the hospital but the second victim was transported to Munson Medical in Traverse City receiving treatment for injuries received.

 

The investigation revealed  two victims/suspects shot were breaking into a marijuana grow operation located in the home owner’s unattached garage.  While they were removing the plants the home owner then confronted them and shot the two suspects.  The weapon used was reported as being a shotgun.

 

Deputies attempted to contact the home owner, but have not been able to locate or make contact with the individual.  

 

The suspect/victim who was treated and released from the hospital was arrested for home invasion and lodged at the Osceola County Jail.  Charges will be sought for the suspect admitted to Munson.  

 

This incident is currently continues to be under investigation.   

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Road funding focus; expiring energy policy looms for state lawmakers

Even though road funding is getting most lawmakers attention, big issues still remain, namely Michigan's expiring energy policy. 
Earlier this spring, members of the House Energy Policy committee held multiple hearings on the issue but to no avail. 
 
Last March,  State Representative Aric Nesbitt, offered a plan that goes back to a fully regulated market for electricity and maintains but does not increase a mandate that utilities get 10% of their energy from renewable sources, like wind and solar. His plan also does away with mandates to increase energy efficiencies. Other lawmakers have introduced bills that would either open up the electricity market to competition or maintain a program started in 2008 that allowed 10% of the electricity customers in the state to leave the established big utilities and choose their own energy supply.
 
State Representative Phil Potvin says customers having a choice in a utility and keeping cogeneration plant's big and small here in Michigan are his concerns. Even though Potvin is not on the Energy Policy committee, he says he's willing to lend a hand or offer up any advice to committee members when need be since he has 30 years experience on a utility company board. 

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Update: Police identify Evart man as fatal hit & run victim

Deputies in Osceola County have identified 38- year old Dwane William Lowrie of Evart as the victim of a fatal hit and run over the weekend in Orient Township. 

 

UnderSheriff Justin Halladay says Lowrie was found lying on Meceola Rd appeared to be struck by a vehicle around 1:30am Saturday Morning. Police investigated the scene, surrounded the area and attempted to contact homes nearby. 

 

The Sheriff's office is asking anyone who knows something or saw the incident to come forward with your information.

Contact the Sheriff's office at 231-832-2288.   

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Man dubbed "Respectful Robber" shot & killed in Wisconsin

A man connected to numerous bank robberies in Michigan and Wisconsin has been killed. 38-year old Steven Snyder was killed during a police shootout in Wisconsin. Snyder dubbed the “respectful robber” is accused of a bank robbery in Newaygo County in 2013.

 

FBI and Police tracked down Snyder after he robbed a bank in Wasaukee, Wisconsin. Shortly after, he shot and killed a 59-year old man who confronted him about parking on his property. Hours later, State Police Trooper Trevor Casper located Snyder's car, Casper began to follow him and that's when Snyder made a U-turn exited the vehicle and shot the trooper. Casper then exited his patrol car, returning fire, hitting Snyder, who ran a short distance and died on scene. Casper also suffered fatal gun shot wound. 

 

 

Through DNA analysis, police have linked Snyder to nine bank robberies in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin from 2011-2013.

 

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Legislators look to increasing fees for road funding

 

The more you drive the more you pay – that’s the idea behind a bill introduced in the Michigan House. State Representative Robert Kosowski is sponsoring the measure and says the idea is to charge people $50 for every 10,000 miles they drive…

“There's not going to be a tracker on your car, there's not going to be any of that. When you register your car every year, it's going to be another step process that they have to go look at the odometer and get the reading and you have to pay it right there,” he says.

This fee would be on top of the yearly registration fee drivers already pay. All of the money collected from the mileage fee would go towards funding road repair projects.

 

 

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Speed limits going up on Michigan's roads?

 

Legislation being considered by lawmakers would up Michigan's speed limit to 80 miles-per-hour.
Wanda from southeast Michigan, who was riding a motorcycle to Dexter says she'd like to get to her destination faster.

“Eighty is good, I think 80 is fast enough. You know, you're doing 70 and everybody is approaching you so fast, you know you're either moving out of their way or trying to keep up to be safe. So 75 is good, I think 80 would be better,” she says.

Wanda's not the only one that likes the idea of increasing the speed limit. Michigan State Police have also expressed support

 

 

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Heroin and cocaine confiscated at hotel in Grand Traverse County

 

Police say around 23-thousand-dollars worth of drugs are off the streets following a drug bust at a hotel in Traverse City.

 

The Traverse Narcotics Team arrange a controlled purchase at a local hotel on Munson Avenue this weekend and arrested a 42-year-old male from Highland Park, a 29-year-old female from Union Town, Pennsylvania, and a 25-year-old from East Jordan.

 

Detectives say they confiscated 55 grams of heroin and 63 grams of crack cocaine.

 

Due to multiple investigations along Munson Avenue, law enforcement officials have started calling the street “heroin alley.”

 

 

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Teen drowns in Missaukee County

 

A 14-year old is dead following an swimming accident in Lake Missaukee on Sunday.

 

Officials say that the accident took place just after noon.

 

The Missaukee County teenager slipped off an inflatable tube and struggled in the water.

 

Two other swimmers tried to help the 14-year-old, but were unable to before the victim drowned.

 

Deputies from the Missaukee County Sheriff’s office performed CPR on the teenager after arriving at the scene, and the victim was later pronounced dead at the Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital.

 

The incident is currently under investigation.

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Fatal hit and run in Osceola County

 

 

Police are still searching for the driver of a car that hit and killed a man this weekend in Osceola County.

 

Officials say the man was hit while walking on M66 near Meceola Rd. in Orient Township around 1:30am on Saturday.

 

The name of the victim is not being released at this time. Anyone with information is asked to call the Osceola County Sheriff's Department.

 

 

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Tornado watch in effect

 

Tornado Watch until 12:00AM Sunday

 

 

 

 

TORNADO WATCH 438 REMAINS VALID UNTIL MIDNIGHT EDT TONIGHT FOR THE FOLLOWING AREAS IN MICHIGAN THIS WATCH INCLUDES 18 COUNTIES IN CENTRAL MICHIGAN GRATIOT ISABELLA MECOSTA MONTCALM IN SOUTH CENTRAL MICHIGAN CALHOUN CLINTON EATON INGHAM IONIA JACKSON IN SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN ALLEGAN BARRY KALAMAZOO KENT OTTAWA VAN BUREN IN WEST CENTRAL MICHIGAN MUSKEGON NEWAYGO THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF...ALMA...BATTLE CREEK...BIG RAPIDS... CHARLOTTE...FREMONT...GRAND RAPIDS...GREENVILLE...HASTINGS... HOLLAND...IONIA...JACKSON...JENISON...KALAMAZOO...LANSING... MOUNT PLEASANT...MUSKEGON...SOUTH HAVEN AND ST. JOHNS.

* AFFECTED AREAS: ALLEGAN ... BARRY ... CALHOUN ... CLINTON ... EATON ... GRATIOT ... INGHAM ... IONIA ... ISABELLA ... JACKSON ... KALAMAZOO ... KENT ... MECOSTA ... MONTCALM ... MUSKEGON ... NEWAYGO ... OTTAWA ... VAN BUREN

 

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Storms leave thousands without power

 

A small band of thunderstorms passed through the Big Rapids area Saturday morning leaving many without power. Crews from Consumer's Power and Great Lakes Energy will be in the field working to get the lights back on for those affected.

 

Soon after the storms, Consumer's reported as many as 1,000 customers without power in and around Big Rapids, mainly south of the city, and an equal number in an area around Hesperia.

 

Great Lakes Energy showed over 500 customers in the dark over a wide area with outages reported near Baldwin, Custer, Bitely, White Cloud, Sand Lake, and Cedar Springs.

 

Consumer's Power asks that you call 800-477-5050 to report any downed lines. Great Lakes Energy asks that you call 800-678-0411. Both companies have online reporting capabilities at their respective web sites.

 

 

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Rough weather imminent in Big Rapids area

SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY...

AT 911 AM EDT...THE PUBLIC REPORTED A LINE OF STRONG THUNDERSTORMS
ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM NEAR DUBLIN TO NEAR BALDWIN TO NEAR
LAKEWOOD CLUB...AND MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.

WIND GUSTS AT LEAST 40 MPH WITH SOME DOWNED TREE LIMBS WILL BE
POSSIBLE WITH THESE STORMS.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
BIG RAPIDS...          GREENVILLE...          NEWAYGO...
EVART...               STANTON...             WHITE CLOUD...
BALDWIN...             FREMONT...             REED CITY...
HOWARD CITY...         EDMORE...              CARSON CITY...
LAKEVIEW...            HESPERIA...            GRANT...
MARION...              MORLEY...              MECOSTA...
BARRYTON...            LUTHER...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TORRENTIAL RAINFALL IS ALSO OCCURRING WITH THESE STORMS...AND MAY
LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE THROUGH FLOODED
ROADWAYS.

FREQUENT CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING IS OCCURRING WITH THESE STORMS.
LIGHTNING CAN STRIKE 15 MILES AWAY FROM A THUNDERSTORM. SEEK A SAFE
SHELTER INSIDE A BUILDING OR VEHICLE.

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Aunt of Hersey man shot & killed by Police in Osceola Co. defending law enforcement

A family member of a man shot and killed this week by Michigan State Police in Osceola County is defending troopers. 
 

Alice Blackledge is the aunt of Eugene Kailing and says the troopers were only defending themselves. Kailing – who suffered from a mental illness and was off his medication – kept coming at police armed with a metal pipe. 
 

The investigation into the shooting continues. 

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Family argument turns into felonious assault.

 

An 86-year-old man is in custody in Isabella County after he apparently tried to solve a family argument with a handgun.

 

The suspect was arguing with his great-grand son at a residence on E. Baseline Road in Chippewa Township. During the disagreement, the suspect produced a .22 handgun. A struggle ensued during which the gun discharged striking the floor of the living room.

 

No injuries were reported, but the victim is of Saginaw Chippewa Indian decent meaning the case will be prosecuted by Federal authorities.

 

 

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Credit cash gas pricing under fire

 

A bill introduced in the Michigan House would ensure the price you see at the pump is the price you pay according to Representative John Chirkun.

“They have one price on the marquis that says, pay this amount, then when you get to the pump, it's a nickel higher if you use your credit card,” he says.

The bill, if it became law, would prohibit a gas station from listing a price for gas on their sign or at the pump and charging people more if they use a credit card to pay for it.

 

 

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Experts say lock in propane prices before the cold weather hits

 

Michigan's propane users are being encouraged to lock in their price now.

 

Judy Palnau of the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) says propane supplies are above the five-year average. She says signing propane contracts now, rather than waiting for the heating season, can result in cheaper rates for customers.

 

Palnau also says it's good to establish a relationship with a propane provider early, because it may be hard to get a contract if there is a propane shortage.


 

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State Senator wants Planned Parenthood investigated for possibly selling body parts

 

State Senator Phil Pavlov is calling for the state to investigate Planned Parenthood to make sure it's not selling fetal tissue in Michigan.

 

Pavlov says he wants an investigation by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). That agency is questioning whether it has the authority to investigate the association. But Pavlov says he feels it does.

“Look, they take care of all licensing in the State of Michigan. These facilities, maybe not, they might not directly fall under there, but I think that they do,” he says.

Pavlov's action follows a recent undercover video by an anti-abortion group showing a Planned Parenthood staff member seemingly pricing body parts.

 

 

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West Michigan man sought, considered armed and dangerous

 

Police are searching for a man considered armed and dangerous. The Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team says 56-year-old Ronald David Marlatt and and unnamed 40-year-old woman fled their Kalamazoo Township residence when police attempted to execute a search warrant.

 

Marlatt is wanted on charges of operating and maintaining a meth lab, fleeing and eluding, and other outstanding warrants.

 

He's described as a 5-foot-11, 210-pound white male with blue eyes and a birth mark between his eyes. He also goes by the name Ronald Cole Marlatt or Ronald Cole.

 

Marlatt was last seen driving a 1998 Chevrolet S10 pickup truck with Michigan license plate AKD108.


 

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Two Shepherd residents charged in multiple break-ins

 

Police are another step closer to solving a string of breaking and enterings in Isabella County earlier this week.

 

Michigan State Police Detective Gary Green says 38-year-old Bobby Ritter and 25-year-old Brock Campbell, both of Shepherd, were arrested late Thursday afternoon in connection with a number of incidents near Shepherd.

 

Both men are being arraigned on charges of Home Invasion 1st Degree, Conspiracy to Commit Home Invasion, Attempted Safe Breaking, and multiple Weapons Charges.

 

Police credit dozens of tips received from the public following the media release of a surveillance video.

 

 

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Update: MSP releases more details on deadly officer involved shooting in Osceola Co.

We now know more details on what lead to the deadly shooting in Osceola Co. Wednesday afternoon. 

 

Michigan State Police say the trooper from the Mount Pleasant Post was dispatched to a report of a suspicious situation near the intersection of M-115 and 20 Mile Road in Osceola County. A caller reported a car was on its side, up against a house on the southeast corner of the intersection with a male subject frantically running around.  The trooper arrived and made contact with the male subject.

 

Preliminary investigation and witness statements indicate the subject rushed toward the trooper with a metal pipe.  The trooper discharged his Taser at the subject, but the device had no effect and the subject continued toward the trooper with the pipe.  The trooper then fired his service weapon striking the suspect.   The deceased subject is 43-year old Eugene Kailing, of Hersey. The incident remains under investigation.  An autopsy is being conducted today in Grand Rapids.  

 
Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or saw Kailing at this location on either July 14 or 15 is asked to contact the MSP Mount Pleasant Post at (989) 773-5951.

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Nurse sentenced to jail after boyfriend assaults patient

 

A Chippewa County nurse is heading to jail.

 

Police say Melissa Greiser was taking care of a disable woman confined to a wheelchair when she left the patient alone with her boyfriend, who is a registered sex offender.

 

The boyfriend, James Shaul, sexually abused the woman while Greiser was gone.

 

Grieser is being sentenced to nine months in jail and Shaul faces 90 years in prison.

 

 

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Fugitive sex offender caught

A man who was on the run from the law in Grand Traverse County is now in custody.

 

Police say they were serving a warrant on 33-year-old James Michael Snyder in Garfield Township when Snyder shut the door on the officer’s hand, locked the door, and exited a window on the other side of the residence.

 

Police eventually tracked Snyder down. He's currently on probation for failing to register as a sex offender and has not been checking in with his probation officer.

 

 

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Man threatens resident with knife, wants to smoke pot with him

 

A 36-year-old man is in jail after breaking into a home with a knife and threatening the homeowner to smoke marijuana.

 

The break-in occurred on East Mason Street in Wexford County around 2:40 Wednesday morning.

 

The victim had been sleeping when the suspect burst in carrying a knife. The suspect then told the victim to smoke the drug with him.

 

The victim was able to persuade the suspect to put the knife down, then grabbed the knife and fled to a neighbor’s house for help.

 

Police found the suspect behind the home and took him into custody.

 

He is currently being charged with home invasion, resisting and obstructing police officers and violating probation.

 

 

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Suspects apprehended in video-taped B and E

 

Two men are under arrest in connection with several break-ins around Chippewa Township.

 

Police say dozens of tips came in after they posted a surveillance video of a pair of men breaking into a home near Shepherd last weekend.

 

An investigation lead police to a home in Jasper Township where the men were taken into custody and a number of stolen items were recovered.

 

The men's identities are being withheld pending arraignment.

 

 

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Michigan State Police Trooper involved in Osceola County shootout

Michigan State Police have confirmed a trooper was involved in a shootout with a suspect in Osceola Co. Wednesday afternoon. 

 

Police say the trooper responded to a suspicious situation at the intersection of M-115 and 20 Mile Rd. involving an erratic subject in a car on its side. Police comfirmed the officer was not injured however the suspect was killed. 

 

The incident is being investigated by detectives from Sixth District Headquarters based out of Rockford.

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Reed City man sentenced to jail on drug and retail fraud charges

An Osceola Co. man has been sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to maintaining a drug house and retail fraud charges. 

 

27-year old Michael Steven Morris of Reed City, was accused of stealing from a WalMart Store in Cadillac back in January. Morris also admitted to making meth at a home too. Along with a year in jail, Morris was also put on probation for 24 months and ordered to pay over $2,000 in fines and court costs.   

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Legislators look to ban tar sands and heavy crude in the Straits of Mackinac

 

A new pipeline task force report is making recommendations to protect the Straits of Mackinac from oil spills.
 

Attorney General Bill Schuette says spills of heavy crude oil into open water cannot be effectively cleaned up, so... 

“We're banning the transportation, transmission of heavy crude and Alberta tar sands,” he says.

Among other things, the report also calls for Enbridge to be fully insured to cover damages caused by oil leaks, better reporting on pipeline conditions, and the creation of a public advisory board on pipeline safety.

 

 

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Rockford High student expelled after making terrorism threats

 

A Rockford High School student who made over 20 terrorism threats will no longer be attending the school after being expelled.

 

The 16-year-old had previously been arrested for his involvement in a number of bomb threats and swatting incidents.

 

The to-be junior was charged with a 20-year felony of false report or threat of terrorism.

 

The Rockford school board voted unanimously to expel the student during a closed session on Monday.

 

 

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Little progress from lawmakers on road funding problems

 

Lawmakers in the Michigan House are one day in to a two day session and don’t appear to be any closer to finding a road funding fix. They spent most of Tuesday huddled behind closed doors talking about different road funding options. A spokesperson says progress was made but wouldn’t say if it’s enough for any floor votes today. So what happens if nothing is voted on this week?

“Ah, well we'll continue to work. You know, I think we'll vote when we're there,” says House Speaker Kevin Cotter.

 

A special roads committee was due to meet this morning but the hearing was canceled late Tuesday.

 

Meanwhile, The Michigan House Democrats have rolled out a $1.2 billion road funding plan. It comes on the same day Republicans in the House huddled up to talk about a funding plan that’s already passed the Senate. The Senate plan includes a 15 cent gas tax increase. The Democrats plan does not, however it does include a corporate income tax increase and tougher restrictions on big, heavy trucks.

 

The Speaker of the House questions the timing of the announcement as his caucus closes in a final road funding fix.
 

 

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Mt Pleasant B and E suspects sought by police

 

Michigan State Police are looking for two men who broke into a woman’s bedroom while armed.

 

The two men broke into the house on Shepherd Road in northeast Mount Pleasant at about 11 P.M. Monday Night.

 

Both men were visibly armed with weapons in a surveillance video recorded in the bedroom, and proceeded to search the room for valuables for about five minutes.

 

Anyone with information should notify the Michigan State Police in Mt. Pleasant.

 

 

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Pot found in burning barn

 

No one is yet in custody after police found a large marijuana growing operation in Garfield Township.

 

Firefighters were responding to a pole barn fire at Keystone and Hoch Road when they found pot plants in the building.

 

A search of a nearby home found marijuana plants, loaded guns, more than 15 pounds of processed marijuana, and 6-thousand dollars in cash.

 

Three suspects are being sought by police.

 

 

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Stanwood man sentenced to at least six years in jail on burglary charge

A Stanwood man is going to jail for the at least the next six years after he was sentenced on home invasion charges in Mecosta County.

 

38-year old John Miesiaczek, was sentenced from 6 to 22 years in prison on a second-degree home invasion charge, according to court documents.

 

The charge stems from a June of 2014 incident, when Miesiazcek was arrested after breaking into a home in Colfax Township and stealing money. 

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Mecosta Co. economy improving; More companies hiring

With Mecosta Co. unemployment rate sitting at 6.9%, confidence is building among local businesses and in turn more of those companies are hiring. Michigan Works! West Central Business Services Director Michelle Rasmussen says locally, there's been a boom in the manufacturing sector and those companies have positions to fill.

 

Because of the improved economy locally, big companies and even smaller companies are getting more job orders, which in turn, is creating an increase in hiring” she says.

 

Rasmussen added it's just not Mecosta County seeing its job forecast improve, Lake County is seeing steady improvement with the GEO Prison opening back up which is adding hundreds of jobs and also in Osceola County where Ice Mountain just hired 20 new employees and Tubelite who is looking to hire more workers.    

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One woman dead two others injured after three car accident in Isabella Co.

One woman is dead following a three car accident in Isabella County.

 

Deputies say it happened at the intersection of S. Shepherd Rd.and E. Broomfield Rd. in Chippewa Township. Police say the driver, 89-year old Gene Roland Hetzman and his passenger and wife 90-year old Mary Ellen Hetzman were traveling eastbound on E. Broomfield Rd., when he stopped at a stop sign and then proceeded through the intersection. That's when Hetzman's car was struck on the passenger side by a pickup truck driven by a 19-year old Mt. Pleasant man. Hetzman's wife was pronounced dead at the scene. During the initial two vehicle crash, a third vehicle was struck. 37-years old Sarah Gail Martinez of Mt. Pleasant was stopped at the stop sign (she was traveling west bound on E. Broomfield Rd.) She was struck by Mr. Hetzman’s car.

 

Mr. Hetzman and Ms. Martinez were taken to McLaren Central Michigan for non-life threatening injuries. The 19-year old pickup truck driver was not injured. 

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Two charged with CSC in Mason County

 

One man from Ludington and another from Fountain are being charged with sex crimes involving the same 15-year-old girl.

 

The Mason County Sheriff's Department says a mother claimed James Gigante exchanged inappropriate photos with her 15-year-old daughter which lead deputies to Troy Ambrose who is being accused of having inappropriate relations with the girl.

 

Authorities say the arrests are the result of an investigation that began in January.

 

 

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Two sent to the hospital after a three car accident in Montcalm Co.

Police in Montcalm Co. are investigating a three car accident that happened Friday which sent two people to the hospital with injuries. 

 

Deputies say the accident occured on the corner of M-57(Carson City Rd) and M-66(Sheridan Rd), that's where 35-year old Ashley Nichole Nielsen of Spring Lake was traveling west bound in a 2012 Volkswagon Jetta, on E. Carson City Rd.  58-year old Mark Steven Williams and his passenger 55-year old Rocky Allen Lockhart both of Leroy were north bound on S. Sheridan Rd.

 
An investigation of the accident revealed that Williams, ran a red light at the intersection driving a 2004 Ford F350 pulling a farm implement. His vehicle struck the Volkswagon. The two vehicles slid into a 2007 Kenworth semi, owned by J & H Oil, parked facing south bound waiting to make a right hand turn onto W. Carson City Rd. Nielsen was taken to Sheridan hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Lockhart was taken by Aeromed to Butterworth hospital in Grand Rapids for his injuries.

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Apple crop predicted down in northwest Michigan

 

A late May frost in Michigan took its toll on some of the state’s apple crop. However, Michigan State University Extension specialist Nikki Rothwell says it was nothing like a frost that nearly wiped out all of Michigan’s apples in 2012.

“All the apple crops went way down, from the southern part of the state to the middle part of the state. And I would say growers up here in northwest Michigan... a third to a half of a crop,” she says.

The biggest issue from this year’s frost is frost rings, which are discolored bands around an apple that don't affect its taste, but make the fruit less appealing. Michigan's apple harvest won’t begin for another two months.

 

 

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Taking over a key law-making practice by the people may be a hard sell in Michigan

 

A recent US Supreme Court decision which allows states to take away lawmakers' authority to draw legislative district lines has prompted some to look at the possibility of a petition drive in Michigan to create a special commission to draw the lines. But it may not be as easy as it sounds.

 

Longtime political pollster Bernie Porn of EPIC MRA says it's a hugely important but complicated issue that tends to result in glassy eyed responses from people.

“This is not something that people pay a great deal of attention to, but it probably has more of an impact on the government that they have than their choice of who they're going to vote for,” he says.

When legislative district lines are drawn by lawmakers, a process known as gerrymandering, it is often done to achieve political gain for legislators. The practice involves the manipulation of district drawing in aims to leave out, or include, specific populations in a legislator's district to ensure his/her reelection.

 

Porn says they tried to survey alternative approaches to redistricting many years ago and the public "did not grasp concepts in the survey and we ended up bagging it."

 

 

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Armed robbers in Cadillac face additional charges

 

Two men who are under arrest in connection with an armed robbery in Cadillac are facing additional charges.

 

Authorities say Troy Allen Jaeger of Rockford and Edward James Werthman of Lake City broke into a home in Selma Township earlier this year. The pair allegedly held the residents at gunpoint during the robbery.

 

Jaeger is now facing a habitual offender fourth offense charge that could send him to prison for life. Werthman received a habitual offender second offense charge that could result in 30 years.

 

 

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Northern Michigan man drowns in Elk Lake

 

A 25-year-old man is dead following a swimming accident on Elk Lake.

 

The Grand Traverse Sheriff's Department says Jamil Cooper of Traverse City drowned while he was swimming with three friends on Saturday.

 

Cooper reportedly was away from the boat and wasn't able to get back before vanishing beneath the surface. His body was found late Sunday morning.

 

Deputies say they suspect he wasn't wearing a life jacket.

 

 

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Heroin use on the rise in Michigan

 

Recent reports concerning drug use in Michigan emphasize the fact that heroin use has dramatically increased 63 percent since 2002 across the U.S. That's according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Tim Scholander with the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team says the UP is not immune to the problem.

“We've seen a huge increase in prescription pill abuse in the early 90's and this basically led to prescription drug users using other drugs, specifically today heroin,”he says.

Scholander
says the Upper Peninsula's rural environment means dealers from bigger cities can charge higher prices for the drug.

 

 

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Body of missing boy found

 

The mother of a 9-year-old boy missing since July 4th says his body has been found in a lake near Flint.
 

A major search effort had been put on for Omarion Humphrey since his disappearance from Lake Callis Recreation Complex in Genesee County’s Davison Township.

 

His body was found in Lake Callis Friday morning.

 

 

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Search for missing Howard City man called off

 

Officials in Montcalm County have called off a search for a missing man.

 

Police say 51-year-old Allen Russell was reported missing Thursday evening in Howard City.

 

Russell's mother told police he is mentally impaired and diabetic and gets disoriented when his blood sugar is low.

 

Russell was found at the Horseshoe Lake boat launch Friday afternoon.

 

 

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Houghton Lake drowning remains under investigation.

 

Police in Roscommon County continue to investigate a drowning in Houghton Lake.

 

Officials say a woman's body was found on the south east end of the lake.

 

The 32-year-old woman, who's mother lives in the area, is not being identified at this time.

 

Police say her body had been in the water for awhile.

 

 

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Couple arrested on meth and retail fraud charges

A couple was arrested last night on meth and retail fraud charges in Isabella Co.

 

Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski says that a 25 -ear old Harrison man and a 19-year old Lake woman were being detained last night at a Wal-Mart in Union Township. When deputies arrived the Harrison man attempted to flee, but was apprehended after a short foot chase. During the investigation police searched the couples car and found a bottle containing methamphetamine, along with other ingredients to make the drug were found. The plastic bottle was used to make the meth.

 

The pair is currently awaiting arraignment   

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Two Wexford Co. men arrested for delivery of heroin

Two Mesick men are behind bars on a host of drug charges.

 

Detectives from the Traverse Narcotic Team say they followed up on an anonymous tip that the two men were traveling downstate to pick up heroin. Members of TNT arrested a 28-year old and 29-year old man during a traffic stop. During an investigation authorities found a large amount of heroin and other drug paraphernalia.

 

The pair are now charged with delivery of heroin, conspiracy to deliver, possession with intent to deliver and maintaining a drug vehicle.   

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Emergency Management search Marion area after report of plane with engine trouble

Emergency management officials in Osceola County are investigating a report of a possible small plane incident early Thursday night.

 

Officials say they received a report of a small plane possibly experiencing engine malfunction in the Marion area. Emergency crews conducted a search of the area but have found no indication of a downed aircraft. There were also, no reports reports of missing or overdue aircraft by aeronautical sources.

 

Officials are asking residents if they saw anything in the area of Marion near 18 mile and 50th Avenue between 5:30-6:00pm to contact Central Dispatch at 231-832-3255  

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Guilty plea in Wexford County

 

A 24-year-old Falmouth resident is pleading guilty to drug and alcohol charges in Wexford County.

 

Brent Mark Thompson pleaded guilty to operating while intoxicated second offense and possession of marijuana in connection with an incident occurring on May 27 in Cadillac.

 

Thompson was also recently charged in connection with a robbery in Clam Lake Township.

 

He is awaiting sentencing on the drug and alcohol charges and further proceedings for various larceny and breaking and entering charges.

 

 

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Heroin dealer in Cadillac arrested

 

A Cadillac woman is in custody after police say she was dealing heroin in the city.

 

Jessica Lilleberg was arrested at her home and is facing charges of possession, intent to deliver, and maintaining a drug house.

 

Police say she could be connected to another heroin case that happened on June 29.

 

Lilleberg could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

 

 

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Woman suffers injuries after hitting tree

A Morley woman suffered non-life threatening injuries after striking a tree with her car. 

 

Police in Mecosta County say it happened on 155th Ave., north of 6 Mile Rd. in Austin Twp, that's where a northbound vehicle, driven by a 27-year old woman from Morley, went off the road in to a ditch, striking a small tree.  

 

She was transported by EMS to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital. 

 

 

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Update: Bald Eagle hit in Isabella Co.

UPDATE: A veterinarian has examined the eagle and determined that it has suffered paralysis, but it does not appear to have a fractured back.  The eagle has a 50% chance of surviving.  

 

 

Deputies in Isabella County responded to a report of a bald eagle who was hit by a vehicle on the 1200 block of E. Remus Rd. in Union Township.

 

The eagle was originally found lying in the road. It eventually was able to limp off the road, but could not fly. The eagle appeared to have at least one broken leg according to police. 

 

DNR officials responded to the scene and took possession of the eagle. It was transported and turned over to the Wildlife Recovery Association in Shepherd for rehabilitation. 

 

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Like it or not, area school start dates are set

 

Here is a list of area school start up dates:

 

August 31st

Big Rapids Public Schools

Morley-Stanwood Community Schools

Reed City Public Schools

Evart Public Schools

Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District

 

September 1st

Chippewa Hills School District

 

September 8th

Crossroads Charter Academy

Pine River Public Schools

White Cloud Public Schools

 

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Police arrest two men accused of Montcalm Co. break-in

Montcalm County Deputies arrested two Cedar Springs men in Reynolds Township.

 

The two had broken into a vacant home and were stealing plumbing for scrap metal. A neighbor had spotted the men removing things from the house and confronted them. When they couldn’t answer questions about the homeowner, he became suspicious and called the Sheriff’s Office. The men fled the scene on foot but were later located by Deputies. The 22-year old and 32-year old men were arrested for breaking and entering and possession of burglary tools. They were lodged in the Montcalm County Jail. 

 

Their names are being withheld pending arraignment 

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Wet weather brings bumper crop of mosquitoes

 

If you think the mosquitoes in Michigan are bad right now you’re not alone. Howard Russell, an entomologist at Michigan State University, thinks so too…

“We have just tremendous swarms of just hungry, nasty mosquitoes,” he says.

Heavy rains over the last few weeks are to blame. And, Russell says, there are enough different kinds of mosquitoes in Michigan that you can get bitten round-the-clock, not just at dusk or dawn.


 

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Credit card security breach at Firekeepers casino

 

About 85,000 people may have been affected by a data breach at FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek.

 

An investigation found information including credit card and debit card numbers, cardholder names, verification codes and the card expiration dates were compromised between September and April.

 

However, the casino says hotel reservations, cash advances and ATM transactions were not affected by the breach.
 

 

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Attempted arson at Crossroads Academy

 

The Big Rapids Department of Public Safety is reporting a breaking and entering at the Crossroads Charter Academy over the holiday weekend.

 

Authorities say the incident happened sometime late Saturday or early Sunday and blocks of concrete were used to break open a restroom door and a concession stand.

 

The suspects apparently tried to burn or blow up the concession stand by turning on the gas of a propane grill, then plugging in and turning on an electric heater.

 

Emergency crews were able to ventilate the gas buildup before an explosion occurred.

 

 

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Guilty plea in White Cloud infant death case

 

The man accused of concealing the death of an infant in White Cloud is pleading guilty.

 

Officials say Matthew Bradley entered the plea in the case of baby Natallya Rich who was found dead in a basement crawlspace last May.

 

Bradley told police he fell asleep while watching Natallya and when he woke up, she was dead. He says he then panicked, put her in a car seat and then put her in the basement crawlspace.

 

 

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Big Rapids teen charged with assaulting woman on Riverwalk

A Big Rapids teen faces more charges of Criminal Sexual Conduct after allegedly assaulting a woman for a second time in as many months on Riverwalk.

 

17-year old Daniel Leroy Kuhns was arraigned in Mecosta County District Court on charges of Second Degree CSC and Fourth Degree CSC connected to an incident that occured on Sunday according to police.

 

Police say Kuhns is accused of following a woman on Riverwalk near Hemlock Park running up to her and grabbing her chest, then running away. The Big Rapids teen already faces charges for a similar incident that occured in May. His bond was set at $150,000.   

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No-fault insurance may be changing for state motorists

 

Road funding and Detroit Public Schools aren’t the only issues on the minds of legislative leaders this summer – no-fault auto insurance is too. A bill to make sweeping changes to no-fault, which cleared the Senate months ago, still awaits a hearing in a House committee. House Speaker Kevin Cotter says he’s still trying to line up the votes to pass the bill.

“The hangup has really been on kind of the broader cost containment, if you will, and what providers, whether they be hospitals or others, are able to charge for services.”

Meanwhile, in the Senate, a bill to make no-fault auto insurance changes for people living in Detroit and other big cities awaits a vote on the floor.

 

 

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Big Rapids Twp. looks for City's support for Perry Avenue Sidewalk Project

 

Big Rapids Township officials are looking for support from the City of Big Rapids with its Perry Avenue Sidewalk Project. The Project that goes from the Venlo Apartments on Perry Street to Waldron Way to Meijer and Aldi's on the other side of the road.

 

The topic of the city's support for the project came up during the Big Rapids Commission meeting Monday. City Manager Steve Sobers says the total cost of the project would be half-million dollars, but there has been discussion with the township officials at possibly helping out with winter maintenance of the new sidewalks for a five-year period at roughly $3,400 per year.

 

Big Rapids Township President Bill Stanek says the township sees the need for it with many people walking, using their bikes or motorized wheelchairs.  

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Suspect in Mt. Pleasant stabbing identified. Victims are mother and stepfather.

 

The suspect arrested in a stabbing last week is now being charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with intent to murder, one count of carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon (felonious assault), and two counts of aggravated domestic violence.

 

The Isabella County Sheriff's Department says 22-year-old Juan Romero III of Mount Pleasant stabbed 43-year-old James Scott-Allen Pitawanakwat and 43-year-old Christina Lynn Keshick in Chippewa Township last Thursday.

 

Pitawanakwat suffered multiple stab wounds while Keshick was stabbed in the face. The two victims are Romero's stepfather and mother.

 

Romero is currently being held in the Isabella County Jail on $800,000 bond.

 

 

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UPDATE: Howard City toddler dead. Meningitis confirmed.

 

 

UPDATE:

Montcalm County health officials are confirming that it was meningitis that killed 14-month-old Audrey Rose Congdon.

 

The girl was taken to the hospital last Thursday with flu-like symptoms and went home for the night. She was found dead the next morning.

 

Officials say Audrey contracted the haemophilus influenzae bacteria which is extremely rare and deadly. They emphasize, however, that the bacteria is not very contagious.

 

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

A 14-month-old girl from Howard City is dead of suspected meningitis.

 

Family members of the little girl say Audrey Rose Congdon became ill on Thursday with flu-like symptoms and died later the same evening.

 

The Mid-Michigan District Health Department would like to hear from anyone ho may have come into contact with the child recently.

 

 

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Autistic boy missing

 

An Amber Alert is currently in effect for a nine year old boy who’s been missing since Saturday.

 

Omarion Humphry has autism and was last seen at the Lake Callis Recreational Complex in Davison Township just east of Flint. Police do not think the boy was abducted.

 

Omarion is four feet tall, weighs 70 pounds and was last seen wearing black shorts with a red stripe and no shirt or shoes.

 

 

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Alcohol and ATV prove fatal

 

Family and friends are mourning the death of an Algoma man in Antrim County over the weekend.

 

Police say family members found the body of Joseph Claus on a two track near Elder Road and Smith Lake Road in Custer Township.

 

Claus apparently lost control of his ATV and hit a tree while returning to his family's home following a fireworks show at Torch Lake.

 

Police say alcohol was a factor in the accident.

 

 

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UPDATE: Man identified in fatal kayaking accident

 

 

UPDATE:

The man who died in a kayaking accident over the weekend is now being identified.

 

State Police say William Seitz drowned on Martin Lake at around 3:00 am on Sunday. Seitz was on the lake with a friend when they both flipped their kayaks.

 

Seitz drowned while his friend made it safely to shore. Police suspect alcohol was a factor in Seitz's death.

 

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

A man is dead following an early morning kayaking trip this weekend in Newaygo County.

 

Michigan State Police say the man drowned at around 3:30 Sunday morning when he and a friend flipped their kayaks on Martin Lake. The man reportedly couldn't swim and his friend was unable to rescue him.

 

Officials say alcohol appears to have been a factor. The victim's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

 

 

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Lakeview man accused of sex crimes

State Police in Montcalm County are investigating a Lakeview man accused of sex crimes. 

 

Troopers say the suspect is accused of texting a 13-year old girl and askling her to meet up with him. An undercover operation was set up for the two to meet. When the suspect arrived to the meeting he was arrested for solitciting a minor for immoral purposes. He is being held in the Montcalm Co. Jail.

 

The suspect's name is being withheld pending arraignment.  

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Mt. Pleasant man arrested on attempted murder charges connected to stabbing

A 22-year old Mt. Pleasant man is behind bars on attempted murder charges after stabbing a couple at their home.

 

Police in Isabella County say a 43-year man and 42-year old woman suffered multiple stab wounds during an incident that occurred at a home in Chippewa Township Thursday. Both victims were flown to hospitals in Lansing and Saginaw respectively.

 

Their conditions are unknown at this time. Police are continuing to investigate.

 

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Expansion of Elliott-Larsen act urged

 

A group of Senate Democrats want action on a bill to expand Michigan's civil right's law to protect gay and transgendered people.

 

Ten Democrats signed a letter sent to the Senate Majority Leader to take up the legislation. Senator Coleman Young II says those opposed to the expansion are out of step with public opinion.

“People who are against this issue, to me, they're a lot like people who want Morse Code in a Samsung Galaxy universe. I mean, they're just outdated.”

The bill awaits action in a Senate committee.

 

 

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Whooping cough on the rise in west Michigan

 

25 cases of whooping cough are being reported in three northern Michigan counties.

 

Health Department epidemiologist Norman Keon says the cases were reported in June in Missaukee, Osceola and Wexford counties. No one has been hospitalized.

 

Symptoms include runny nose, low-grade fever and a cough that becomes worse over time.

 

Keon says the best prevention is immunization.

 

 

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Officials stress safety with fireworks

 

The Michigan Fire Marshal is offering some advice to help keep you safe this July 4th weekend. Richard Miller says it's best to keep fireworks displays in the hands of professionals. But if you plan to do your own, make sure you get your fireworks from the right place.

“If your going to purchase them, we recommend that you purchase only from facilities (and you'll see on the side of the road the tents or the permanent structures) that are licensed and/or have a certificate from the State of Michigan,” he says.

Miller also says to use common sense. Make sure to read all the instructions and wear safety equipment like gloves and goggles and keep a bucket of water on hand.

 

 

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Sheriff's deputy arrested for DUI

 

A Clare County Sheriff's deputy is in trouble with the law.

 

Officials say the deputy was arrested after the Clare County Sheriff's Department received a call about a drunk driver crashing into a ditch earlier this week.

 

Sheriff John Wilson says the deputy was arrested near Farwell because he was driving drunk.

 

The officer has resigned his position.

 

 

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Two Florida men charged with making meth in Big Rapids

Two Florida men face up to 20-years in jail after being charged with maintaining a meth lab in Big Rapids.

 

31-year old Chad Joseph Criscitello of  Palm Coast, Florida and 31-year old Allen Blair McGurren of Sebastian, Florida were charged with one count of manufacturing methamphetamine and two counts of operating and maintaining a meth lab. The charges stem from a complaint of someone potentially making meth at a home in Big Rapids.

 

Both men are being held at the Mecosta Co. Jail on $100,000 bond. 

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Holiday gas prices lowest in five years

 

Nearly 42 million Americans will travel between July 1 and July 5 to celebrate Independence Day, the most in eight years, according to AAA. This year’s numbers are up 0.7 percent from last year’s numbers, in addition to be the highest level of travelers since 2007. In addition to fireworks on the 4th, drivers will also see the lowest Independence Day gas prices in at least five years.

The national average for a gallon of gas is $2.78, 88 cents less than the average price on Independence Day last year.  In the past three years, gas prices have declined in June and July, hovering above that year’s lowest prices to that point.

Gasoline prices are falling because of lower crude oil prices, which account for about two-thirds of the price U.S. drivers pay for a gallon of gasoline. Where will they go next? The US has increased oil production overall and many refineries are resuming normal production. But, there are still some problems. For example, California, a state that relies on a lot of regional production, has had problems with their refineries. As a result, California’s gas prices are the highest in the US at $3.46 per gallon.

Based on EIA’s gasoline price forecast, the average U.S. household is expected to spend about $700 less on gasoline in 2015 compared with 2014, as annual motor fuel expenditures are on track to fall to their lowest level in 11 years.

 

 

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Road funding plan advances through legislature

 

The state Senate has approved a $1.5 billion plan to fix Michigan's roads that would increase the gas tax by 15-cents over three years, redirect $700 million in General Fund money to roads, and rollback the income tax based on growth in the state's economy.

 

The upper-chamber opted not to vote on a bill in the package that would have eliminated the earned income tax credit for the working poor. Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Jim Ananich says there should be a better way to fund roads.

“At some point in time we've have to stop putting all the burden on the backs of working families, gutting the EITC is wrong.”

Lawmakers must now iron out differences between the Senate's and a House plan.

 

 

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Ohio woman busted in Wexford County

 

A 26-year-old woman from Ohio is facing drug charges in Wexford County.

 

Police say Vanessa Pearson from Wooster, Ohio is charged with possessing controlled substances including oxycodone and marijuana.

 

If convicted, she faces up to four years and/or a $25,000 fine for the oxycodone charge and up to one year and/or a $2,000 fine on the marijuana charge.

 

 

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Michigan residents support equal civil rights

 

A statewide poll says 68-percent of Michiganders support including sexual orientation in the state's civil rights law protections. Twenty-five percent are opposed to such a move.

 

Seventy-six percent of Democrats and 60-percent of Republicans support the idea.

 

In the meantime, just over 50 percent oppose allowing adoption agencies to receive state money if they refuse potential parents on religious grounds. Thirty-four percent say they should still get the state support.

 

The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling.
 

 

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Suspected heroin dealers caught in Cadillac

 

A Cadillac woman and a Southfield man are behind bars after police say they were dealing heroin in the area.

 

57-year-old Ruth Loomis of Cadillac is being charged with maintaining a drug house. 53-year-old Rodney Bolden of Southfield is charged with delivery or manufacture of heroin, conspiracy to deliver or manufacture heroin and maintaining a drug house following an incident on June 29 in Cadillac.

 

Bolden also had a habitual offender, fourth offense notice added, and if convicted, he could face up to life in prison.

 

 

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Fireworks don't spell fun for pets in Mecosta Co.

Expect fireworks to light up the sky this weekend, as people celebrate the Fourth of July. The bright colors and loud booms are dazzling, but officials from the Animal Rescue Coalition of Mecosta County they can also be dangerous for pets.

 

Cynthia Glazier, Manager of the shelter says there are a number of things pet owners can do to get their animal more at ease when people are celebrating this weekend. She says make sure your doors and windows are closed in your home as well as your fences. Owners can put their animal in room with a television or radio on with toys and treats to help keep them occupied, you can buy a “thunder jacket” for your animal that could help calm them. If your animal is very anxious during fireworks, owners can consult their veterinarian about a mild tranquilizer to calm their pet.

 

If you pet gets spooked during fireworks and runs away, make sure you have the proper identification on your animal with address and phone number. The Shelter will be closed July Fourth but will reopen on Sunday from 11am-1pm. 

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Road funding plan closer to reality?

 

The Michigan Senate is set to vote on a road funding plan on Wednesday. The proposal includes a gradual increase of the gas tax by 15-cents, $700 million in redirected General Fund money, elimination of the earned income tax credit for the working poor and an income tax cut.

 

Senate Majority Leader, Republican Arlan Meekhof says the plan is a great way to look at constraining government while finding a way to fund the roads.

 

But Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Jim Ananich says his caucus doesn't want a solution that balances a road funding fix on the backs of taxpayers.

 

 

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State moves toward expanding the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act

 

A state lawmaker wants the legislature to act on expanding the state's civil rights law to protect gay and transgendered people. State Senator Curtis Hertel says most people support equal rights and it's the lawmakers' duty to legislate as a reflection of those they represent.

“People believe in equal rights for all. People don't want to live in a state their friends, their neighbors, or themselves are discriminated against,” he says.

Legislation was introduced earlier this year in both the House and Senate to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

 

 

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Cadillac being sued by defendant in dismissed murder case

 

A former Cadillac resident is suing the city saying his civil rights were violated.

 

David Ferris II and his wife, Jesse Ferris, are seeking monetary judgments for compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages, attorney fees, costs and interest.

 

The suit alleges law enforcement officials conspired with medical examiners to frame and wrongfully charge Ferris with murder in the February 2013 death of 19-month-old Kalla Jade Fisher.

 

The toddler was the child of his wife, Jesse, who was his girlfriend at the time.

 

The case against Ferris was dismissed in 2014.

 

 

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Prison near Baldwin filled with inmates from Kentucky

 

The North Lake Correctional Facility near Baldwin is now home to nearly 300 prisoners from Vermont.

 

Florida-based GEO Group says they finished transferring the inmates from a facility in Kentucky on Monday.

 

Authorities in Vermont had been using the facility in Kentucky for nearly 20 years and they say the prison in Lake County is more modern and secure than that one.

 

 

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