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Big Rapids Daily News
News That Affects You Archives for 2015-09

Northern Michigan man hospitalized with severe burns


A Grand Traverse County man is recovering from severe burns after his home near the intersection of M-72 and U.S. 31 went up in flames.


The 57-year-old told paramedics that there was something cooking on the stove and he smelled something burning in the kitchen.


A passerby saw the home on fire and called 911.


The man's dog was reported to be in the home when it caught fire, but was found safe in the backyard.


The home is thought to be a total loss.




Police arrest Lake Isabella man accused of larceny & embezzlement from golf course

An Isabella County man is in hot water with police after being accused of stealing money and merchandise from a Mount Pleasant golf course.


Police say Taylor Baumann of Lake Isabella is accused of stealing money and other merchandise from his employer Buck's Run Golf Club from May 2014 through August 2015.


Baumann is now charged with larceny and embezzlement. 


New chief of police appointed in Cadillac


The City of Cadillac has a new chief of police.


The Cadillac Police Department named Lieutenant Todd Golnick the new police chief Tuesday.


Golnick was chosen after an examination process by the city's Civil Service Commission.


He's a 23-year veteran of the department and says it's an honor to continue to serve the people of Cadillac.




Body found in river identified


The body of a man found in the Boardman River in Traverse City earlier his week is now identified.


Police say 43-year-old Abraham Parker was found Monday morning under the South Union Street Bridge between 6th and State Streets.


Parker was a homeless Native American.


Police say every body they find is considered a homicide until they can prove it otherwise and they are waiting on the results of an autopsy.




Woman hospitalized after being hit by truck in Mecosta County


A 30-year-old woman is hospitalized after being hit by a truck.


Police say a 62-year-old man from Lake Isabella was driving his pickup along 30th Avenue in Barryton and did not see the woman crossing the road on foot.


He reportedly slammed on the brakes and swerved to the right in an attempt to miss her, but was unable to avoid hitting her.


She was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids hospital for non-life threatening injuries




Stanwood woman & Cadillac woman taken to hospital after car accident

Two women are recovering at a local hospital after being involved in a two car accident. 


It happen this afternoon on Northland Drive and Lincoln Road,  Mecosta County Sheriff deputies say Timothy Mapes and his wife Diana of Stanwood  were waiting to turn left off of Northland Drive when their vehicle was rear ended by a car driven by a Cadillac woman.


Diana Mapes and Liza Yurack of Cadillac were both taken to Big Rapids Spectrum Health Hospital for nonlife threatening injuries


State wide sweep yields more credit card skimmers


A two week sweep for credit card skimmers at gas stations across the state turned up 12 devices used to steal credit card information.


The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development checked 6,000 gas pumps over the 14 day stretch.


Investigators had to open up each one to inspect it as the skimmers aren’t visible from outside the pump.


MDARD says they confiscated anything that looked suspicious and turned it over to police.


Officials advise that if you think your credit card information may have been stolen while filling up, call your bank and keep an eye on your account.




More equine encephalitis found in Michigan


The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is cautioning horse owners after two more cases of equine encephalitis have been discovered in the state.


The often fatal disease was discovered in two horses in Calhoun and Van Buren Counties.


Both had been euthanized before blood tests showed they tested positive for the virus, which is carried by mosquitoes.


Another case in Barry County was announced earlier this month.




Trade group says repealing prevailing wage law bad for Michigan


An organization of construction and trades groups says repealing the state’s prevailing wage law is not good for the state.


Michigan Prevails says getting rid of prevailing wage will push skilled trades’ workers out of the state.


Mike Stobak of Barton Malow construction says he saw it happen in the 1990’s when the prevailing wage was repealed and the result was shoddy work and lawsuits.

“A bunch of the safety issues where, maybe people got hurt and then they just end up suing everyone. It was because of lack of quality where we weren't accepting the work and contractors were pushing back and it became a litigation issue.”

But Protecting Michigan Taxpayers, the group backing the repeal, says the prevailing wage law is driving up costs on taxpayers.




Northern Michigan man sues for wrongful imprisonment after 17 years in jail


A 40-year-old Kalkaska man is out of jail and he's suing for wrongful imprisonment.


Jamie Peterson is suing the County of Kalaska, the Village of Kalaska and several law enforcement officers after spending 17 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit.


Last year, a judge threw out Peterson's conviction in the rape and murder of 68-year-old Geraldine Montgomery in 1996.


The lawsuit alleges that 'investigators coerced Peterson into confessing, fabricated evidence, withheld exculpatory evidence, and maliciously prosecuted him.'


DNA evidence has now linked another man, Jason Ryan, to the Montgomery assault and murder.




Body found under bridge, police call it suspicious


Police are investigating a body that was found in the water under a bridge in Traverse City.


Officials say the body was found in the Boardman River under the walkway located below the S. Union Street bridge.


Police have confirmed that the man found dead had actually told them hours earlier that he saw a body floating in the same waterway.


Police did investigate the man's original call but were unable to locate anything suspicious.


The next morning, a 911 call was made by a passerby who reported a person in the river.


A dive team was called in and pulled the body of the man who made the earlier report from the river.


The incident is being investigated as a suspicious death.




Big Rapids teen heading to prison for sexual assaults on Riverwalk


A Big Rapids teen accused of assaulting a number of women on Riverwalk is heading to prison.


17-year old Daniel Kuhns is going to jail for the next 5 to 15 years after being sentenced Monday in Mecosta Co. 


Kuhns plead guilty to second degree criminal sexual conduct after reaching a plea deal with Mecosta Co. Prosecutors last month. In exchange, prosecutors will not pursue charges in two other cases involving the Big Rapids teen.


Reed City Public Schools offering online learning opportunities for grades K-5

Reed City Public Schools is now offering an online learning program for K-5 students in its district.


Katie Eisinger, Director of Curriculum for RCPS says in previous years online learning was only available to grades 6-12 but a grant received from the state will now help pay for online learning opportunities for students in K-5.


The online program is accepting 30 students, if you would like more information you can call 231-832-2201


Legislation aims to eliminate 'puppy mills'


Large-scale dog breeders will have to register with the state and provide owners with paperwork so they know what kind of dog they’re getting – and what kind of health it’s in – under a bill introduced in the Michigan House.


Representative Mike McCready is sponsoring the bill and says it would supersede any local ordinances already on the books.

“It varying in every community, so if they go to a community and they have rules and these breeders, they'll get pushed out of community, they'll go find an area where they're not going to get bothered.”

McCready says a uniform set of rules will ensure puppy mills have nowhere to hide in the state.




Invasive species crowding out salmon in Lake Michigan


Invasive species are having an impact on food supply for salmon in Lake Michigan.


Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Jay Wesley says the invasion of quagga and zebra mussels have negatively affected the population of alewives, a major food source for salmon.


Consequently, the DNR is stocking fewer salmon in the lake.

“If we did not do that, we could see disease outbreaks like we had in the eighties with bacterial kidney disease, or we could also see a collapse in the whole salmon population like happened in Lake Huron,” he says.

About 560-thousand salmon were stocked in Lake Michigan last year, two-thirds less than three years ago.




Rock hunter faces possible legal action over 92-pound Petosky stone


A rock hunter from Manistee County may be in trouble with the law. Tim O'Brien of Copemish found a 92-pound Petosky stone and posted pictures of it on Facebook last week.


The pictures went viral and the story was picked up by ABC and NBC television as well as The Weather Channel.


However, state law says removing a rock or mineral specimen from state-owned land that weighs over 25 pounds is prohibited and subject to a 500-dollar fine.


The DNR says they would like to talk with O'Brien.


O'Brien says he has reached out to the DNR, but they have not returned his calls.




Authorities concerned over high levels of E. coli in Chippewa River


Officials in the Village of Lake Isabella are trying to determine why e-coli levels are so high in the Chippewa River.


Testing indicates that e-coli levels have been above safe standards for most of a ten week testing period.


Village Manager Tim Wolff says DNA from the E. coli will be tested to determine if it is human or animal-based which will help pinpoint the source of the contamination.




Man drives SUV into lake, hospitalized in critical condition


An 85-year-old man is hospitalized in critical condition after he drove his SUV off a boating launch in Grand Traverse County.


Police say the man and a family member were trying to load a pontoon boat back onto a trailer from Long Lake and instead of pushing on the brakes, the man accelerated the vehicle and drove straight into the water.


Deputies say he was fully submerged for about 2 minutes before he was rescued.




Cadillac HS student in custody after making threats

A  15-year-old Cadillac High School student is in custody after he allegedly attempted to obtain a gun and made threats against his fellow students this week.


Police in Cadillac they received word about the situation when a fellow student told a liaison officer. School Staff took the student in question out of class.


The student was taken into custody and is currently being held in a facility in another part of the state. The name of the student is being withheld because he is a juvenile.  


Big Rapids Cardinals lose heartbreaker to BC John Glenn

The Big Rapids Cardinals lose a heartbreaker to Bay City John Glenn 28-21.


The Cards were led on Offense by  Brenton Childress with 2 touchdowns and 60 yards rushing.  Alex Graham led BR's Defense with 10 tackles.


The Cardinals (4-1) host Reed City next week. 


Michigan universities defend tuition hikes


A pair of universities in Michigan are defending tuition increases which greatly exceed a state cap.


By going over the cap both Eastern Michigan University and Oakland University lose some state funding.


Oakland University President George Hynd says they’re increasing tuition nearly nine percent because they don’t get enough money from the state…

“We have had to manage an increasing budget demand with $4.1 million less than in state funding we had that was available in fiscal year 2009.”

EMU’s president says they’re increasing tuition almost eight percent after keeping tuition lower than other state universities for nearly ten years.




Child abuse investigation at Lake City Elementary


Lake City School officials and police are investigating a possible child abuse incident at Lake City Elementary.


A mother says she found bruises on her daughter's arm that happened at the school.


Jennifer Gilbett says her daughter, who has special needs, had an outburst in the classroom.


She says she was lying on the floor when someone picked her up and put her in a chair, using enough force to leave bruises.




Beal City HS football coach sentenced on porn charges


A former Beal City High School football coach is heading to prison.


Louis Rau was sentenced to six months in jail and four years probation for possession of obscene materials.


Sixty days was added to the sentence for supplying alcohol to minors.


Rau had won a state championship for the Isabella County high school but resigned earlier this year.




Cadillac resident dies in multiple motorcycle accident


A 63-year-old Cadillac resident is dead after he lost control of his motorcycle.


Police say the accident happened on US-131 in Wexford County when an SUV driven by a 51-year-old Cadillac man braked suddenly in front of a group of motorcyclists.


The 63-year-old man lost control of his bike and crashed in the road.


His wife avoided the crash, pulled over and flagged down an oncoming vehicle for help.


The man died en route to an area hospital.


A second couple, a 53-year-old man and his 54-year-old wife, also from Cadillac, struck the back of the SUV and left the roadway sustaining serious injuries.


They were airlifted to Traverse City, where they are listed in critical condition.




Two year old from Big Rapids in state custody


A child found near a vacant home in Big Rapids is now in state custody.


Police say the two-year-old was found unattended near the home in the 300 block of West Avenue on Wednesday and the mother was found passed out in the garage.


The woman reportedly ingested a combination of alcohol and prescription drugs and will likely face charges for child neglect and trespassing.




Newaygo man dies in three car accident

A Newaygo man is dead following a three car accident in Newaygo County's Ensley Township.


The accident happened Thursday on S. Elm Ave at 120th St. Police determined that a pickup truck driven by a 75-year old Newaygo man traveling on S. Elm Ave. at 120th St. failed to stop at a stop sign, crashing into a another pickup truck heading west on 120th St. then both vehicles crashing into a third car traveling east on 120th St.


The 75-year old man sustained injuries from the accident, he was taken to a hospital where he later died.


The other drivers involved in the accident, a Howard City man and Sand Lake woman suffered injuries and are listed in stable condition.


Alcohol is not a factor.  


UPDATE: Evart man arraigned on child abuse charges; toddler remains in critical condition


UPDATE: An Evart man is facing life in prison after being charged with crimes connected to child abuse allegations.


20-year old Marc Steven Hartnett is charged with one count of first-degree child abuse, one count of torture and one count of assault with intent to murder in Osceola Co. District Court.


Hartnett's bond was denied, a preliminary hearing is scheduled for next month.



A 20-year old Osceola County man is behind bars on child abuse charges.


State Police in Reed City were called to a home in Evart to investigate a case of child abuse. Troopers say an Evart woman came home to find her 19 month old child unresponsive with severe injuries.


After conducting an investigation, police arrested the mothers 20-year old boyfriend on first-degree child abuse charges.


The toddler was taken to DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, where it is undergoing surgery for life-threatening injuries.


The child is listed in critical condition. 


investigation done; report expected soon regarding recent suicide at Mecosta Co. Jail

A report is expected to be released soon regarding a recent suicide at the Mecosta Co. Jail.


Police found the inmate hanging in his jail cell Sept. 14th, he had been serving jail time on meth and breaking and entering charges. The inmate was then taken to a Grand Rapids hospital where he later was taken off of life support two days later. An investigation on the incident was conducted by the Michigan Sheriff's Association concluded Monday. 


Sheriff Todd Purcell says the he is extremely confident in his officers and the way they handled the situation and there was no wrongdoings in this case.


The name of the inmate will not be released.      


Federal law banning crude oil on the Great Lakes in the works


US Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan are introducing legislation in Washington to ban the shipment of crude oil by vessels in the Great Lakes.

“We know that folks are considering that as an option, to move more oil on the Great Lakes with ships. We need to put in law to make sure that that does not occur,” says Peters.

The measure also requires a review of hazardous materials pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac region, in an effort to ensure against spills and be able to react quickly when a spill occurs.


While the proposal bans shipping of crude, no such shipping has taken place as yet, but federal law also doesn't ban it.


Peters says the measure also addresses cleanup during icy conditions.




Lawmaker doesn't want to see expelled colleagues back in office


State Representative Lisa Posthumus Lyons is working on legislation that would ban any lawmaker who is expelled from office from running again.


The Kent County Republican says it's in direct response to former Representative Cindy Gamrat trying to win back the seat from which she was expelled on September 11th.

Lyons said a similar situation needs to be prevented in the future.


Gamrat was kicked out for misconduct in office for using state resources to hide an affair with Representative Todd Courser, who resigned an hour before her expulsion and is also trying to win back his seat.



Annual Mecosta County Republican dinner


The annual Mecosta County Republican party Austin Blair dinner is being held at the Tullymore Golf Resort in Stanwood on Thursday. This year's special guest is Blaze Radio Network reporter Robyn Walensky. Wakensky says she is going to talk about patriotism in American in the post-9-11 era and, she feels she has the background to address the topic.


I was in the Wold Trade Center bombing back in 1993, I covered the federal trials of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and Ramzi Yousef. It's been 14 years and so much has happened in our country,” she says.


The dinner is named in honor of Austin Blair who was governor of Michigan from 1861 to 1865. The event has been a long standing tradition with the Mecosta County Republican party.




DNR needs help in fighting chronic wasting disease


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is conducting an aggressive campaign to stop Chronic Wasting Disease.


The fatal neurological disease threatens white-tailed deer and three cases have been found in Michigan this year.


DNR spokesperson Dan O'Brien says everyone has to stay on top of the problem because left unattended, it can be devastating .

“Because the secretions and carcasses of infected animals contaminate the soil, they contaminate plants, and as those prions are bound to soil, they actually become more infectious,” he says.


Prions, or proteinaceous infectious particles, is the agent by which the disease is spread from animal to animal.

O'Brien says they've been reaching out to hunters and landowners to cooperate with them, saying that's the only way to successfully fight the disease.




Two people arrested in Clare County B&E's


Two people are under arrest accused of breaking into more than a dozen houses in Clare County.


Police say Robert Frayer Junior and Vincent Ponder face multiple counts of home invasion after break-ins at 14 homes in Lincoln Township.


Frayer already has a larceny conviction downstate, and Ponder was convicted of child abuse in 2012, so they're also being charged as habitual offenders.


The Clare County Sheriff's Department says they were able to make arrests based on stolen property found in a nearby shed.




UPDATE: Wheelchair swing at Big Rapids' Hemlock Park repaired after being vandalized


UPDATE: Officials from the City of Big Rapids say repairs to the wheelchair swing are now complete and open for use. 


Police in Big Rapids are asking for the public's help to try find those responsible for vandalizing the recently installed wheelchair swing at Hemlock Park.


Police believe the swing was vandalized between Saturday and Sunday. Latches on the swing appear to be bent, but repairs to the swing could happen by the weekend.


Big Rapids Parks and Recreation Director Heather Bowman says they plan on purchasing additional security cameras for the park.


If you have any information about this incident please contact DPS at 231-527-0005   


West Michigan prison warden suspended, investigation ongoing


The longtime warden of two Muskegon-area prisons is under investigation.


Department of Corrections spokesperson Holly Kramer says warden Mary Berghuis has been suspended from her job and was placed on “stop order” Tuesday.


She declines to say why, citing an ongoing investigation.


Kramer says it's an administrative step is taken so an employee cannot interfere with an investigation.


Berghuis has been warden since 2000. She’s worked for the agency since 1966.




Construction company and financier approved for Reed City Library renovation project


Reed City is moving forward with library renovations at the new library building located at the former St. Phillip School site.


The library board recently approved Wakefield Construction out of Houghton Lake to do the renovations and Lake Osceola State Bank to be the financier.


Reed City Library Director Heather Bassett says there has been a lot of community support for the renovation project and they look to diversify services and meet more needs of their patrons.


Construction is expected to begin soon and be completed by the second quarter of 2016.



Mother and son rescued from burning car by two passersby


A mother and her son in Otsego County are alive today thanks to two brothers.


Police say the 18-year-old son was driving in Hayes Township with his mother in the car when he swerved to miss hitting a deer.


The vehicle ran off the road, hit a tree and flipped over and a fire started in the engine compartment.


A 50-year-old man from Farmington Hills and his 52-year-old brother from Plymouth, who were on their way to Mackinac Island, spotted the accident and managed to free the mother and son just before the car burst into flames.


Troopers believe that if not for the heroic actions of the two brothers, one or both of the car's occupants would have burned to death.




Cadillac teen sentenced for vandalism


One of three teens accused of vandalizing city property in Cadillac is heading to jail.


Jeffrey Ebel pleaded guilty to destroying sinks in both the men's and women's public bathrooms near the Chestnut Street boat launch.


Ebel has been sentenced to 180 days in jail, 80 hours of community service and must pay nearly $1,000 in fines and restitution.




Wexford County woman headed to jail


A 58-year-old Wexford County woman will be spending some time in jail after admitting to running a drug house.


Ruth Loomis pleaded guilty after deputies found her and man in possession of heroin at a home in Wexford County.


Loomis has been sentenced to 300 days in jail and 200-dollars in fines.


The man -- Rodney Bolden -- is still facing charges in the same case.




Man dies after being swept into Lake Michigan


A northern Indiana man is dead after being swept off a pier into Lake Michigan by a large wave.


Indiana conservation officer Shawn Brown say 24-year-old Earl Helmuth was with friends in Michigan City taking photos from Washington Park's Lighthouse Pier this weekend when a wave swept the group into the water.


Everyone but Helmuth was able to get out of the lake on their own, or were rescued by the Coast Guard.


Helmuth's body was found in about 12 feet of water on Sunday.




Northern Michigan man busted with child porn on his computer


A 66-year-old Drummond Island resident is under arrest after investigators say they found thousands of images and videos of child pornography on his computer.


The Chippewa County Sheriff's office says Robert Henning faces charges of 10 counts of possession of child pornography, 10 counts of computer to commit a crime as well as manufacturing marijuana.


Anyone with information on Henning is asked to call the Chippewa County Sheriff's office




Head-on crash sends man to hospital with life threatening injuries


A 20-year-old man from Trufant is fighting for his life following an accident in Mecosta County.


Deputy Jack Sutherby says the accident happened Monday night at around 8 o'clock when the man crossed the center line on Perry Street west of 215th Avenue and struck a pick up truck head on.


The driver of the truck, a 58-year-old Big Rapids resident, was uninjured, but the Trufant man was airlifted to Grand Rapids with serious life threatening injuries.


Identities of the people involved are not being released and the accident remains under investigation.




Big Rapids man sentenced to 15 years on drug charges

A Big Rapids man is heading to jail for the foreseeable future.


61-year old Harry Craig McDonough, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.


Under the deal, the Big Rapids man pleaded guilty to one count of manufacturing 45 kilograms of marijuana (second offense) and one count of maintaining a drug house.


Back in April, an investigation by the Central Michigan Enforcement Team led them to find more than 200 plants of marijuana at McDonough’s home, which is near Big Rapids Middle School and the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety.  


Big Rapids veteran honored for service after 45 years


It's taken 45 years, but Ted Zimmerman of Big Rapids is finally getting the recognition he deserves from the U.S. Government. Zimmerman was a Specialist 4th Class in the Army and served in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970 where he earned multiple honors as an artillery gunner. However, until Monday, he had not received the medals he had earned and can't explain why.


“I don't know. I kept trying to find out how to get them, everybody kept telling me I had to have certain paperwork and I could never pin anybody down on the paperwork,” he says.


After contacting U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga, who referred the matter to Representative John Moolenaar, Zimmerman was awarded his medals at the Disabled American Veterans Hall in Big Rapids by Congressman Moolenaar.


“The U.S. Army's seven values are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage, and you've demonstrated all these values. And your meritorious service has earned you the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and The Republic of Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars,” said Moolenaar as he presented the medals.


Zimmerman says he'd been working for 45 years on getting his medals, but Congressman Moolenaar was able to resolve the situation in about 45 days. He says now he wishes he could get the Veterans Administration to move as fast on his disability case.


“My wife said she hoped the VA would work that fast, because I've been waiting five years. They told me I qualify for 100% unemployability, but then denied it. So now I've got to wait to see a judge, and it's been five years now waiting to see the judge,” he says.




BR City Commission approves tentative offer to Kuhn as new City Treasurer

The City of Big Rapids is now a step closer in hiring their next treasurer.


The Big Rapids City Commission approved a resolution to tentatively offer Midland native Aaron Kuhn. Kuhn has worked the past 8 years in governmental auditing where he would work with small communities like Big Rapids.


City Manager Steve Sobers says Kuhn's experience with working with those communities makes him a great fit as treasurer. The offer is pending a physical, if passed, an appointment by the commission could happen by Oct. 19th


Big Rapids City Commission supports resolution asking state lawmakers to repeal Fireworks Safety Act

Big Rapids City Commissioners want the city to be a little quieter during Fourth of July.


During its meeting Monday night, commissioners supported a resolution that requests state lawmakers repeal the Fireworks Safety Act of 2011.


The act regulates the sale of fireworks, both aerial and explosive in various retail locations around the state.


The commission previously approved a similar resolution last year but City Attorney Eric Williams says he included new language with the new bill. Big Rapids isn't the only community in Michigan asking lawmakers to repeal the fireworks law, Sturgis, Allen Park and numerous other cties and townships have as well.  


Computer giant Hewlett-Packard in trouble with the state


The state of Michigan is suing Hewlett-Packard for failing to deliver on a $49 million contract.


The lawsuit was filed in Kent County Circuit Court claiming the computer maker never finished replacing the aging computer systems at Secretary of State offices around the state, despite having ten years to do it.


Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says she inherited the stalled project when she came into office and despite her office’s aggressive attempts to hold HP accountable and ensure the company delivered, they failed.


HP was contracted in 2005 to replace the SOS mainframe-based computer system by 2010.




Laws proposed to help veterans with service dogs


Michigan veterans that use service dogs could more easily prove their dogs are service animals, under bills headed to the state Senate.


The legislation would allow vets to obtain identification, tags and a service patch for their dogs from the state.


Representative Tom Barrett says the idea is to extend the protections that people with physical disabilities have.

“To those with invisible wounds, like post traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury or another service connected disability like that.”

The bills also create penalties for people who misrepresent their dogs as a service animals.




Drones could be banned in Michigan for safety reasons


Legislation is being introduced in the Michigan House to ban the use of drones around police officers, firefighters, the military, and utility workers.


State Representative Kurt Heise is sponsoring the bills.


People film these things with drones because they think it's fun. And, 'Oh look at this guy up on top of a 500 foot tower, I want to photograph that guy.' But, you know, you're interfering with my work site and my safety at that point,” he says.


A second bill would prohibit drones from flying near prisons. Heise says that bill was prompted by an incident at an Ohio prison where a drone dropped drugs into the prison yard causing a brawl.




Michigan straw poll puts Rand Paul on top for president


Weekend attendees at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference say Kentucky U-S- Senator Rand Paul should be our next president.


Paul got 22-percent of the vote in a straw poll.


Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina was second with 15-percent.


Rounding out the top five was Ohio Governor John Kasich, Texas U-S Senator Ted Cruz, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.




Hunter attacked by black bear in Clare County


A hunter in Clare County is recovering from minor injuries he received when he was attacked by a black bear.


Michigan Department of Natural Resources Sgt. Jon Wood says the man was hunting porcupine from a ground blind in Greenwood Township when the bear came from behind, knocked him down and attacked him.


The man says he stabbed the animal with a hunting knife.


The DNR is placing a bear trap in the area.




West Michigan man arrested for child pornography


A man suspected of dealing in child pornography in western Michigan is in jail.


Police say the 65-year-old suspect was arrested at a home in Manistee over the weekend.


He is facing charges of possession and production of child porn involving images of seven and eight year old children.


Michigan State Police say the man had a "sizable library" of images and videos.


He faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted. His name is not being released at this time.




Tight curves and speed put Big Rapids motorcyclist in the hospital


A Big Rapids resident is recovering from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident.


The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says the 23-year-old man was northbound on 165th Avenue south of Alma Lake Road in Grant Township when he lost control of his motorcycle, left the roadway and laid the bike down.


Deputies say he was going too fast for the curves in the road.


He was taken to Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids with non-life threatening injuries, including a broken leg.




Car/deer crashes down in West-Central Michigan region

The number of car-deer crashes are down in the West-Central Michigan region.


Lori Conarton of the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition says in total, there were 45,690 car accidents involving deer in the state, down 3,515 from the previous year.


In the West-Central Michigan region, the only county to increase in car/deer incidents was Newaygo County which increased by 56 accidents from 2013-2014.


2013   2014


820      792 Mecosta Co.

917      823 Isabella Co.

1,073   968 Montcalm Co.

648      608 Osceola Co.

498      554 Newaygo Co.



Inmate suicide at Mecosta County Jail spurs investigation


An inmate from the Mecosta County Jail is dead following an apparent suicide.


Sheriff Todd Purcell says the inmate was discovered by deputies around 10:30 Monday night.


CPR was performed, but the officers were not able to get a pulse started again.


The inmate was taken by EMS to Big Rapids Hospital and later flown to Grand Rapids where he died on Wednesday.


Purcell has contacted the Michigan Sheriffs' Association who will be conducting an investigation of the incident on Monday.




Wild game against the Vikings puts Cardinals on top 39-36


It was one of the wildest football games in a long time Friday night. The Big Rapids Cardinals hang on for a 39-36 win over the Tri County Vikings. Seventy-five points scored on the evening and the Cardinals with over 500 yards rushing.


Big Rapids started quickly, out 19-0 just nine minutes into the contest, but the Vikings would get on the board early in the second quarter to make it 19-7. By halftime, the Cardinals were up 26-14, but the scoring didn't stop until midway through the fourth quarter after the Cardinals had jumped out by eleven again. An 85 yard punt return for a touchdown by Jordan Wainright of the Vikings made it 39-36 with the two point conversion good by Colton Harris But that would be the end of the scoring, the Cardinals would control the clock the rest of the way to put it away.


Over 500 yards rushing by Big Rapids led by Desaun Griffin, 19 carries 153 yards. He scored three touchdowns, one of those from 71 yards out. Mekhi Urban with 143 yards rushing and one touchdown. Brenton Childress was a substitute running back, he still rushed for over 106 yards, and Avery Montgomery added two touchdowns as well, one an electrifying 53 yard touchdown run.


Colton Harris, the Tri County quarterback, an outstanding ball game. He rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns himself, including a 19 yarder.


But the Cardinals won it 39-36. That improves Big Rapids to 4-0. They will be hosting Bay City John Glenn in a non-league game this coming Friday night at Ferris State's Top Taggart Field.


A hard luck loss for the Tri County Vikings, their record drops to 1-3. They will be back home to host Chippewa Hills next Friday night.


But the Big Rapids Cardinals survive 39-36 over Tri County.




Michigan Baptist pastor charged with sex crimes


A 62-year-old Upper Peninsula man is under arrest charged with criminal sexual conduct.


Prosecuting Attorney Dennis McShane says Jonas Moses Jr. was arrested last week in Wisconsin and waived extradition to Michigan.


The American Indian Mission's website lists Moses as Missionary Pastor Jonas Moses and says their goal is to reach tribes in northern Michigan by starting independent Baptist churches on each reservation.


Moses is being held without bond while an investigation continues into a number of suspects and sexual assaults.




Courser & Gamrat to run for their former seats in the State House

Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat will both be running in a special election, to seek their old seats.


Courser resigned under pressure last week following a house probe into misusing public resources to hide an illicit affair the two of them were having. And Gamrat was expelled for the same reason. The governor has scheduled primary and special elections to fill the vacancies. But lawmakers now say they're running for the open seats.


Gamrat says local voters should decide her fate. Critics of her decision say it's an insult to voters.


Courser, who made his announcement Friday on CNN, is from Lapeer. Gamrat is from Plainwell.


Gladwin County man killed in police shoot-out


A 50-year-old man is dead following a shoot-out in Gladwin County.


Michigan State Police say Mark Richard Gary was found walking down Shock Road when they responded to a shots fired complaint.


Gary began firing at the deputies with a high-powered rifle.


He then fled to a home where he proceeded to shoot at officers who had surrounded him.


One of the officers shot Gary, which eventually led to his death.


Authorities say an investigation is ongoing.




Anti-government resident evicted from home, bomb squad called in


An Isabella County man is in jail after he refusing to honor an eviction notice.


Police say Ted Visner was evicted last month but told the Isabella County court he had no plans to leave.


Visner is known to be anti-government and took to social media saying he wouldn't leave the home without a fight.


Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski says he had a bomb squad come to the house to search for booby traps.


Visner was supposed to be arraigned on Thursday, but he did not cooperate and is now held in contempt of court.




Head-on accident kills woman from Weidman


Mount Pleasant police say an Isabella County woman is dead after being hit head on by a truck.


Officers report a 79-year-old Mt. Pleasant man drove across the center line on High Street near Henry Street in Mt. Pleasant striking the 79-year-old woman from Weidman.


Police spokesperson Jeff Browne says the man most likely fell asleep at the wheel and crossed the center-turn lane.


The woman was pronounced dead at the scene and her name is being withheld pending notification of family.




Stanton man recovering after hitting a cow with his motorcycle

A Montcalm County man is recovering at a Grand Rapids hospital after hitting a cow with his motorcycle. 

It happened Wednesday night on Sidney Road near Hillman Road. Police say 57-year-old Mark Olmstead of Stanton was traveling east on Sidney Road when he struck the cow.
Olmstead is in stable condition after receiving multiple injuries. 


Wheelchair swing at Big Rapids' Hemlock Park a hit with residents


A picture of a wheelchair swing is now reality at Big Rapids' Hemlock Park.


The idea to build the swing came to Travis Bowman two years ago when a person on facebook posted a picture. Travis' wife, Sarah says seeing the kids use the swing makes everything worth it.


A ceremony at the park was held Thursday morning to dedicate the swing. Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba called the donation by Travis and Sarah Bowman a wonderful addition to the city of Big Rapids.


Guns taken from barn in Wexford County

Michigan State Police are searching for whoever stole some guns from a pole barn in Wexford County. Authorities say the break-in happened on East 34 Road in Haring Township.


The pole barn was pried open and a large gun safe containing four firearms and a number of old silver 50 cent pieces was taken.


Police are asking anyone with information on the incident to call the state police.




Body found lying in the road


Police are waiting for the results of an autopsy on the body of a man found lying in the road near Hanover Township.


Troopers say the body of Gerald Cedarstaff of Grand Ledge was found on a dirt road in a wooded area.


His body was found about a half mile away from his vehicle which was stuck in the sand and foot impressions in the area suggested he had spent some time trying to free it.


Authorities say Cedarstaff most likely walked the half a mile before collapsing in the road and foul play is not suspected.




Rollover in Mecosta County sends man to hospital


A man from Rodney is in the hospital after rolling his car over in Mecosta County.


Police say 46-year-old George Karach was northbound on 45th Avenue just north of Arthur traveling at a high rate of speed when he lost control, striking several trees. The vehicle then overturned.


Karach was transported to Spectrum in Big Rapids, than later air lifted to Grand Rapids.




Lawmaker looking to curb sexual assaults through sex-ed courses


School sex education classes will need to go beyond teaching ‘no means no,’ under a bill being introduced at the state Capitol.


State Senator Curtis Hertel is backing legislation that would require sex ed courses teach that a person needs their partner’s consent before engaging in sex and that consent can be revoked at any time.

“I just think if someone consents for one act doesn't mean that they are willing to do another. It also means that if, in the process, that they decide they do not want to do it, the person has to stop,” he says.

Hertel says the bill is aimed at curbing sexual assaults on college campuses.




GVSU launches new app for on-campus safety


On the same day chaos broke out at Greenville, Mississippi’s Delta State University, Grand Valley State University announced they're stepping up safety measures for its students, faculty and staff.


The Grand Valley Police Department is offering a free campus safety app called Rave Guardian.


Once loaded onto mobile phones the app creates a virtual safety network of friends, family and law enforcement officials.


A panic button immediate connects the user with campus police displaying the users GPS location along with person profile information such as medical conditions, course schedule, campus ID photo and other critical data.




Gray wolf confirmed in northern Lower Peninsula


A gray wolf is being confirmed on the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indian reservation near Petosky.


The Natural Resource Department found wolf-size tracks and fresh scat back in the winter of 2014.

A motion activated a camera took several large photos.


DNA testing confirmed suspicions that the siting was indeed a gray wolf.


This marks the first confirmed wolf on the reservation after years of reported sightings.




Eastern Equine Encephalitis confirmed in West Michigan


Michigan has its first confirmed case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE.


The mosquito-borne illness was found in a horse that died in Barry County.


The state is asking horse owners to clear any standing water from their property to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and move horses inside at dusk and dawn to prevent mosquito bites.


Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development spokesperson Jennifer Holton says getting horses vaccinated is an option too.




Police chase Royal Oak woman across two west Michigan counties


A 43-year-old woman is behind bars after leading police on a chase across two counties.


Police say Kimberly Fairchild-Joyce of Royal Oak was reportedly throwing pop cans and bottles out of her vehicle's window on M-55 in Missaukee County.


She and, another motorist who had reported the incident, were stopped on the road when police arrived.


Deputies say Fairchild-Joyce then took off at a high rate speed leading officers on a chase through Kalkaska County.


Stop-sticks were used to disable Fairchild-Joyce's vehicle on M-66. She was taken into custody and remains in Missaukee County Jail.




Police search for hit-and-run driver


Police in Traverse City are looking for the driver of car that hit a bicyclist and then fled the scene.


Officers say a silver or light colored Mitsubishi Eclipse hit the cyclist shortly after 10 o'clock Tuesday night. The person on the bike was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.


Anyone with information should call the Traverse City police department.




Case against Fmr. Cran-Hill Ranch camp counselor bound over in Mecosta Co.

A Mecosta County Judge has ruled there is enough evidence to bound over a case against a former Cran-Hill Ranch camp counselor accused of sex crimes.


Judge Ron Nichols listened to testimony from the 13-year old victim describing the events during a night in July where 24-year old William Nealy of Muncie, Indiana allegedly touched him. Nealy is charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of criminal sexual conduct with intent to commit sexual penetration.


He also faces another set of charges stemming from allegations of inappropriate behavior towards another camper on June 22nd.   


2-year old injured in lawnmower accident in Mecosta Co.

A lawnmower accident in Mecosta County sent a 2-year old to the hospital. 

It happened at home in Deerfield Township, deputies say a 31-year-old woman was on a riding lawnmower when her 2-year old was running around in the yard and came up behind the mower. The mother then backed up a short distance without seeing the child and struck the child with the mower.  
The child received serious/severe injuries to her forearm.  
The child was taken to Devos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids by helicopter.


No fault auto insurance reform on lawmakers agendas

No fault auto insurance reform is a big topic for republican lawmakers as they head into their fall session. 


State House Representative Phil Potvin says there hasn't been much activity on the reform as of late but when things get ramped up, he sees some challenges ahead on the issue.  "The challenges I see are in the fees that hospitals charge, if you have been in an auto accident because the insurance companies pay those, not the individual, those need to be adjusted" Potvin said  Also the Cadillac Republican says auto insurance companies need to be more tansparent.  


The insurance industry says the current system is plagued with unsustainable costs.  


AAA and Safe Kids Michigan co-sponsor child car seat safety inspections


AAA Michigan is teaming up with Safe Kids Michigan to make sure your child safety seat is properly installed.


Spokesperson Gary Bubar says between half and three-quarters of all child safety seats are not being properly used or are the incorrect seat for the child.


He also says, if you have the right seat, make sure your kids use it.

“Whether it's an infant seat, a convertible, or a booster seat, keep them there until they outgrow it.”

Bubar says child seats protect kids from crash impacts, so it’s important they stay in them when the car is moving.


Those interested in getting a safety inspection can find out where at




Deer-car crashes less likely this year but will costs drivers more


Insurance claims data shows the likelihood of a driver hitting a deer in Michigan has gone down slightly this year, but the cost of the resulting repairs has gone up.


State Farm spokesperson Angie Harrier says drivers that hit a deer will have to pay more to fix the damage.

“The cost has gone up slightly this year. The average cost per claim... was a little over $4,000, it's up about six percent,” she says.

Harrier says some tips to avoid a car deer crash include, using extra caution in known deer zones, drive on familiar roads, use high beams when possible.




First ever case of bubonic plague in Michigan

Michigan has recorded its first ever case of bubonic plague.

A Marquette County woman, who recently returned from a trip to Colorado, is being treated for the illness.

Human cases are rare and are typically contracted from a flea bite. People spending time outdoors at campsites are most at risk.

The Department of Health and Human Services says the woman was at a site in Colorado where plague activity had been recorded.

She isn’t contagious and the illness isn’t spread from humans to humans.

This is the 14th reported case of bubonic plague this year in the United States. Four people have died in 2015 after contracting bubonic plague.



Mecosta Co. man accused of sex crimes against girl

A Mecosta County man is behind bars accused of sex crimes against a minor. 


Mecosta Co. Sheriff's Detective Casey Nemeth says 44-year old Tyler Soderberg of Remus is facing three counts of felony criminal sexual conduct against a minor.


The charges stem from a nearly two year investigation into accusations of Soderberg sexually assaulting a young girl between 2002-2004.


Soderberg remains in jail on $1-million dollars bond.  


Man accused of killing Lansing firefighter charged with murder


The man who police say deliberately hit and killed a Lansing firefighter last week is being formally charged.


22-year-old Grant Taylor of Lansing is being charged with homicide - open murder, failure to stop at the scene of accident when at fault resulting in death, and two counts of third degree fleeing a police officer.


Taylor reportedly hit firefighter Dennis Rodeman with his pickup truck following a traffic altercation.


Rodeman was collecting donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.




Cadillac man faces three years in prison


A 26-year-old Cadillac man could be heading to prison for three years for allegedly assaulting a police officer.


Police say Patrick Michael Nolan faces charges of police officer assault, resist or obstruct; domestic violence and malicious destruction of personal property, as well as being a habitual offender following an incident earlier this month in Cadillac.


He was charged in 84th District Court in Wexford County




Mason County woman assaults police


A Mason County woman is behind bars after police say she assaulted deputies over the weekend.


Amanda Johnson allegedly began spitting and scratching deputies when they responded to a domestic violence call at her Sherman Township home.


She told deputies she has hepatitis-C when they tried to arrest her.


She's been arraigned on two counts of assaulting a police officer, two counts of domestic violence and charged as a habitual offender.




Ferris State University community mourning loss of professor


Ferris State University Students, faculty and staff are mourning the loss of a professor. 


Lon Green, a longtime College of Arts and Sciences professor died on Sunday after a motorcycle accident.


In 30 years, Green served as an administrator, program coordinator and faculty member in the Humanities department. He taught numerous Communication classes, and his professional interests included: conflict resolution, leadership and relationships communication. 


Visitation will be hosted at the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids in Thursday, Sept. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. Mohnke Funeral Home is located at 128 S. Warren Avenue in Big Rapids. The funeral will be held on Friday, Sept. 17 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Big Rapids. The church is located at 1325 Woodward Avenue.


'Dark Stores' loophole costing tax dollars


How much is a loophole of sorts used by big stores to get their property taxes lowered costing small communities in Michigan?


State Representative Scott Dianda, who represents the 110th State House District in the Upper Peninsula, wants to find out. He’s introducing a resolution asking the state to study the issue.

“It's coming to your backyard. It's not just going to happen in the U.P. It's going to come into these heavy metropolitan areas where there's a lot of the big box stores, and they're going to pay the price like we're paying in the U.P.” he says.

The stores are using the “Dark Store” theory to get their property taxes lowered.





Rep. Potvin: OK2SAY great school safety program but more needs to be done



OK-2-Say is a school safety program that lets students submit anonymous tips to help prevent a tragedy in their school from happening is more than a year old.


State House Rep. Phil Potvin says so far it's been a success but there is more to do.

“We need to do more to implement this into our local schools.” Potvin said “During the Fall, I will be working with local schools, police and community members”.


1,400 tips from students across the state of Michigan were submitted during the 2014/2015 school years. Most of those tips were related to bullying, cyberbullying and suicide.



Naked man arrested while running through traffic


A Johannesburg man is under arrest after police say they found him running naked into traffic.


The man allegedly damaged a number of vehicles at a local car dealership and a music store in Gaylord. Damages at the car dealer is estimated at $16,000.


It's believed he was high on LSD at the time.


He's facing charges of indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and malicious destruction of property.




Welcoming Week for immigrants in Michigan


This week is welcoming week in Michigan.


Governor Snyder made the designation in hopes of showing the state as a welcoming place for immigrants.


Exhibit A is an event Wednesday at Macomb Community College, which is designed to share ways communities can be more welcoming to immigrants as well as helping them integrate.


Welcoming Week began Saturday and runs through Sunday.



Cars and drugs lead to the arrest of a man from Mesick


A 29-year-old man is behind bars on multiple charges involving cars and drugs in Wexford County.


Police say Bryan Stanley Curtis of Mesick is being charged with one count of possession of marijuana; operating a motor vehicle while license suspended, denied or revoked; and operating a motor vehicle without security, all as second or subsequent offense, in addition to unlawful use of a license plate, registration or title.


If convicted, he faces over two years in prison and 4-thousand dollars in fines.




Syrian refugees coming to Michigan


The Michigan-based Arab American Chaldean Council is preparing to help relocate additional refugee families from war-plagued Syria. ACC founder Dr. Haifa Fakhouri says southeast Michigan already has one of the largest domestic populations of Syrian immigrants in the country.

“You have the infrastructure in place, you have community institutions, you have the business community, you have the religious community on both sides – Muslim and Christian – and they are welcoming the new refugees,” he says.

President Obama has committed the U.S. to accepting at least ten-thousand people escaping war in Syria. Fakhouri calls that total an insufficient response to the growing crisis.


Over the past four years, Michigan and California have taken most of the 1,600 Syrian refugees taken in by the U.S. In contrast, Syria's middle eastern neighbors have taken in over 3.2 million refugees according to Amnesty International.



Police looking for those responsible for Pocket Park vandalism in Evart

Police in Evart are looking the public's help in finding those responsible for vandalizing Pocket Park in Downtown Evart. 


Police say the women's bathroom mirror was destroyed between 6:30pm on Saturday and noon on Sunday. If you have any information about this incident please contact police at (231)-734-5911. 


Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announces special election dates to fill seats of former Reps

A special election will be held to fill the seats of former Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.


Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley announced a primary election will be held on November 3, 2015, and a general election on March 8, 2016.
Courser resigned his seat and Gamrat was expelled. Both were involved in a scandal to cover-up an extramarital affair.

Calley says holding the special election on existing election dates will keep the cost to taxpayers down and give voters enough time to research the candidates.


Bill to allow people w/ disabilities to hunt on personal mobility devices

Disabled hunters with certain permits could hunt from a personal mobility device, like an electric wheelchair, in Michigan, under a bill moving through the state legislature.

Trevor VanDyke of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says they already issue permits to people who can’t walk to hunt from parked motor vehicles, but this legislation would expand that to also allow hunting from personal mobility devices.The legislation also changes the safety zone that prevents bow hunting and trapping 150 yards from a structure. But the safety zone will not change for firearms hunters. 


The bill already cleared the full House and a Senate committee.


State Lawmakers focus on top issues on agenda this fall

Fixing Michigan’s roads is at the forefront of agendas in the state House and Senate, but the Senate Majority Leader says they’ll have a couple other big issues to tackle this fall.

Senator Arlan Meekhof says work continues on coming up with a deal to fund the state’s roads, but they will also work on a plan to revamp Michigan’s energy policy.He says lawmakers also will work on a plan to help the financially troubled Detroit Public Schools (DPS). He says it’s important to put a sustainable solution in place to ensure the kids get an education.


HS Football: Big Rapids wins at Grant 20-14

Big Rapids Cardinals are 3-0 for the first time since 2009 with a 20-14 win over Grant Friday night.


The Cardinals offense was led by RB Desean Griffin who had two touchdowns and 94 yards on the ground. Mekhi Urban scored the game winning touchdown in the 4th Quarter for the Cardinals on a 15 yard run. 

The Big Rapids defense came up huge late in the 4th quarter when Jeffery Davenport intercepted a pass from Grant QB Tristan Sheraton to seal the win. 
Big Rapids hosts Tri-County next week at 7pm. 


Students at Big Rapids Middle School learn importance of 9/11


Students of Mr. Brejcha 6th Grade Social Studies class at Big Rapids Middle School received a presentation from DPS Firefighter Sean Wethington on the importance of September 11th.


Standing in front of the 9/11 memorial at the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety Building, Wethington spoke to the sixth graders about the significance of those events 14 years ago and why it's important to honor those who died that day.


This is the third year Mr. Brejcha has taken his class to the 9/11 memorial in Big Rapids to speak about the importance of those events. 


Road closed for seven years in Wexford County, residents upset


Residents in Wexford County are upset about a road closure that has lasted seven years.


A portion of 14 Mile east of M-37 was closed in 2008 due to a culvert failure.


The Wexford County Road Commission says it would cost up to a million dollars to replace the culvert so it was decided to keep the portion of 14 Mile near 15-and-a-half Mile closed.


Local residents say the detour is causing a safety hazard and that the Road Commission is not keeping promises they made to fix the road.




Michigan House honors fallen on 9-11


Before launching into a marathon stalemate over what to do with embattled State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat the Michigan House honored soldiers and first responders who died in 2014 and 2015 and those who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.

Lawmakers representing 16 Michigan first responders and soldiers who died in the last year read their names aloud.

House Speaker Kevin Cotter says those brave men and women – and many others -- help make the American way of life possible.




Recall on RAM pickups


A pair of recalls are being issued for Fiat-Chrysler RAM pickup trucks, both involving air bag issues.

The first action covers over one-point-three million RAM 15-hundred, 25-hundred and 35-hundred pickups, where airbags may activate due to a short circuit in the steering column.


The second recall covers two-hundred thousand RAM Quad Cab pickups built in 2014 and 2015, where side curtain airbags do not meet federal safety standards.


The automaker will be notifying owners of the issues and how to have their vehicles repaired.




Cadillac suicide case re-opened


What was thought to be a case of suicide in Cadillac is being re-opened after the medical examiner changed the cause of death.


30-year-old James Wesley Strobel was found dead after being reported missing in 2013.


The original autopsy determined the cause of death to be suicide, but Wexford County Medical Examiner Dr. Fred Wreford has changed that to “undetermined.”


He says Strobel's mother, Michelle, shared new information with him about her son's death in January.




UPDATE: Courser resigns, Gamrat expelled


Following two failed votes and a day of political drama, State Representative Todd Courser is resigning from his House seat.


The resignation ends a controversial sex and cover-up scandal that has rocked the State legislature for the last month.


In his resignation letter Courser says, “I hereby tender my resignation from the Michigan House of Representatives effective immediately.. It has been an honor serving with the dedicated members and staff of the House of Representatives."


Course handed in the resignation letter at about 3 o'clock Friday morning.


And, just after 4:00 AM, lawmakers voted to expel Representative Cindy Gamrat in a 91 – 12 vote. Gamrat was then escorted off the House floor.




Special House Committee votes to expel State Reps Courser & Gamrat

A special Michigan House committee has voted to expel State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. 


The recommendation now goes to the full House, which could vote on the resolutions today.


The committee, made up of four Republicans and two Democrats, voted 4-0 -- with Democrats abstaining -- to expel both. 
Committee chair, State Representative Ed McBroom, told the two they have brought national disrepute to the House and that – in his mind – neither can regain the public’s trust.


State Representative Kurt Heise says the scandal has dragged the Michigan House into a hole, a dark place, and the committee has to get the chamber out quickly. As the judgement was handed down Gamrat looked dismayed, while Courser had a blank look on his face.


The House convenes at noon.  


Welston man killed in three car accident in Osceola County

A 53-year old Welston man is dead following a three car accident in Osceola Co.


The accident happened on Sept. 4th on US-10 just west of US-131 in Richmond Township. Deputies say a Ford pickup truck driven by a 41-year old man struck a Chevy Blazer which in turn rear ended another Ford pickup. The Blazer driven by a 19-year old man had three passengers, two teenage girls and a 53-year old man who died in the accident.


The deceased was identified as Mark Kemp. All three other passengers were taken to Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital and released.  


Reed City man takes plea deal in CSC case

A Reed City man charged with sex crimes is going to jail for the foreseeable future. 


45-year old Mark Wayne Ireland accepted a plea deal from prosecutors in Osceola Co. He was accused of criminal sexual conduct involving a child under the age of 13. 


According to the plea agreement, Ireland is pleading "no contest" to a new charge of third degree criminal sexual conduct. In exchange, prosecutors are dissmissing two charges each of first and second degree CSC. 


The Reed City man faces between 10 and 25 years behind bars when he is sentenced. 


Lake County police searching for fugitive


Police in Lake County are asking for the public's help in tracking down a fugitive.


Authorities say Darrin Thomas is wanted on several warrants.


He was stopped in a car Wednesday night in Lake County, but managed to escape.


Anyone with information on Thomas is asked to call the Lake County Sheriff's Department.




Rollover leads to police chase and arrest in Isabella County


Police in Isabella County are investigating a roll-over accident that turned into a police chase.


The Sheriff's Department says a 25-year-old man failed to negotiate a turn on Carment Drive, and ran off the road where the vehicle turned over.


A neighbor helped the driver exit the vehicle and the suspect then fled on foot. He then knocked on the door of a Siesta Lane residence and forced his way past the occupant.


He eventually left the residence and was apprehended by police while walking along Queensway Drive.


The man faces charges of leaving the scene of an accident, illegal entry, and OWI.




Drug dealer from Detroit busted on the way to Traverse City


A suspected drug dealer is behind bars after police received a tip that he was on a bus in Cadillac.


Deputies say they found $6,000 worth of drugs on him, including marijuana, cocaine, crack and heroin. Police intercepted the bus in Cadillac which was heading to Traverse City from Detroit.


The man is being held in the Wexford County jail on multiple drug charges.




Lt. Governor wants schools to stop using restraint and seclusion on special ed students


Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is recommending Michigan lawmakers put into law what the State Board of Education has already recommended: eliminating any use of seclusion and restraint of misbehaving special education students unless they pose a danger to themselves or others.


The board adopted the policy in 2006, but it was never put into state law, and Calley says some schools continue to use restraints when they shouldn't.


He also says there is no requirement for a school to report when restraints are used.




Businesses targeted by scam artist in Cadillac


City officials in Cadillac say local businesses are being targeted by a scam artist.


Apparently, businesses are being contacted and told that their utilities accounts are delinquent and that they need to pay up immediately or their services will be shut off the next morning.


City officials say this activity is a phone scam and the city normally contacts delinquent customers by mail.




Attempted theft leads to police chase and arrests in Clare County


Two suspects are under arrest in a home invasion in Clare County.


Police say Deputies spotted a pickup truck use as a getaway vehicle after receiving a call of someone trying to steal a motorcycle on Monday. That truck had been reported stolen earlier in the day.


When stopped, a passenger in the truck fled on foot. The driver, a 38-year-old woman from Harrison was arrested and the passenger was picked up after police receive another report of an attempted vehicle theft in Harrison.


The suspect then led police on a chase which ended up in the second arrest of a 28-year-old Harrison man.


Both suspects are in the Clare County Jail pending arraignment.




Fmr. MOISD teacher losses appeal in student sex case

A former teacher in the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District lost her appeal to overturn her conviction of having sex with a 16-year-old student.
Attorneys for 35-year old Janet Brown allege the jury convicted the former Ashmun school teacher because they were tired and wanted to go home.
In a four-page decision written by a three-judge panel, the court stated nothing was on record to suggest the jury could not leave before handing down the verdict.
Brown was arrested in 2012 after accusation surfaced that she had sex with a 16-year-old boy at the school.


Five in custody for credit card 'skimming' in West Michigan


Five people are behind bars in connection with a number of “skimming” incidents at West Michigan gas stations.


The Kent County Metropolitan Fraud and Identity Theft Team says 29-year-old Yunier Cudello-Albelo, 36-year-old Yaimari Gonzalez-Santos, 43-year-old Elisabe Hernandez-Perez, 17-year-old Maria Sanchez-Figueredo, and 23-year-old Juan Antonio Ledesma all face charges of possession of an automated sales suppression device (a “skimmer”) and conducting a criminal enterprise.


Skimmers are devices placed inside gas station pumps that can steal customers’ credit or debit card information. Because they are inside the machines, customers can’t see them when they pay at the pump.

The skimmers have been recently discovered at gas stations in unincorporated Belmont north of Grand Rapids, Byron Township, Grand Rapids, Dowagiac in Cass County and in Shiawassee County.


The five suspects, all of whom have ties to Miami, Florida, were arraigned on Friday and are being held on a $1 million cash or surety bond.




Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba to send letter to Spectrum Health regarding possible relocation of AeroMed

Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba will be sending a letter to Spectrum Health asking them to reconsider the possible relocation of AeroMed.


Currently the AeroMed Helicopter is in a hanger at Big Rapids' Roben Hood Airport but that could change beginning in the first quarter of 2016 due to an agreement reached by AeroMed and North Flight which is owned by Munson Medical.


Mayor Mark Warba says he can't sit and do nothing, “We either can sit down and do nothing, or we can let our voices be heard” Warba said. “I'm not a person to sit and do nothing”


If the relocation is made, AeroMed would only be flying out of Grand Rapids and Traverse City.   


Big Rapids Commissioners receive construction update on Baldwin Street Bridge

Construction is moving along on the Baldwin Street Bridge in Big Rapids.


During the City Commission meeting Tuesday night, Roger Schneidt of Public Works says crews will begin to remove the middle of the bridge this week.


The city is also working with businesses located around the construction area by putting up signage,  so people know they are open. The $5-million dollar project is expected to be completed by July of 2016.  


Big Rapids ranked in "Best Sports Cities" list

Big Rapids has been ranked as one of the best sports cities in the country.


The list is from,  ranked Big Rapids as 298th best sports city in the United States. The ranking is based on data such as the performance level of the local team, average ticket prices, attendance and the number of sports bars.


Other Michigan cities that made the list include, East Lansing (3), Ann Arbor (8) Detroit (11) Kalamazoo (78), Ypsilanti (93), Mt. Pleasant (94), Rochester (200), Houghton (302), Marquette (308), and Sault Ste. Marie (309). Number one overall was Boston.


Alcohol a factor in Labor Day car accident in Mecosta Co.

Police in Mecosta Co. believe alcohol is a factor in a car accident that sent a Big Rapids man to the hospital.


It happened Monday on New Millpond Rd. near 15 mile Rd. Deputies say the Big Rapids man was traveling southbound when he ran off the road and struck a ditch.


The driver was taken to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.



Ferris State U. enrollment up again!

This fall, 14,715 students are enrolled on Ferris State University campuses, systemwide, officials announced on Friday, including 10,216 students on main campus in Big Rapids.


The 14,715 total enrollment figure, a university record, marks an increase of 115 students from the Fall 2014 total of 14,600. This semester’s main campus total has increased by 259 students over the previous fall semester’s mark of 9,957. Ferris President David Eisler was pleased by this fall’s enrollment numbers. He commended the effort and time invested by many faculty and staff who collaboratively make Ferris a first choice for students and families.


“This reflects the very hard work by our people to tell the good story of a Ferris education,” Eisler said. “It’s clear that the career-oriented personal attention that Ferris provides is a significant interest to students, and our numbers reflect this. I’m very proud of our university, our university community and everyone who makes Ferris such a welcoming place.


Diversity in this fall’s enrollment numbers reflected strong gains in Hispanic and international student enrollment. Ferris’ Hispanic student population increased by 140 students, over the Fall 2014 total, to 696 this fall. The number of International students has increased by 97 to a Fall 2015 total of 536.


Enrollment for the Spring 2015 term was 14,146 students, overall, and 9,618 on main campus. More than 1,000 students graduated during commencement in December 2014.




Researcher says problem with wolves on Isle Royal is due to climate change


Michigan Tech University wildlife ecologist John Vucetech says the problem with wolves on Isle Royale is man-made and man needs to fix it.


Vucetech has spent the better part of the last two decades studying wolves and moose on Isle Royale and he says the National Park Service should introduce new wolves now.

“Climate change, or climate warming, has caused for fewer ice bridges, and with fewer ice bridges the population has been more isolated in recent decades than it has been in previous decades. And the isolation comes about because ice bridges are a way for wolves to occasionally come to Isle Royale,” he says.

Vucetich says the three wolves on the island have stopped killing moose which has caused the moose population to explode and that could pose a threat to vegetation.




One vehicle fatal in Wexford County


The Wexford County Sheriff's office says one person is dead and four are hospitalized following a one vehicle crash on South 31 Road near West Lake Mitchell Drive.


Deputies say the fatality was pronounced dead at the scene at around 3 o'clock Sunday morning.


The incident remains under investigation.




Head of special committee on Courser and Gamrat says rules need to be followed, especially in government


A third term Republican who’s in charge of a special committee deciding the fate of State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat plays the French horn, is a choir director at his church, and used to be a substitute teacher.


But State Representative Ed McBroom is also a stickler for rules and says he tries to make sure everyone follows them.

“I've introduced a lot of reforms to internal ways the government works and functions to make it more transparent, make sure the public has access to things and I want to go after problems in departments and fix things. That's why I love taking on the audits.”

The Upper Peninsula dairy farmer doesn’t take his role lightly. Courser and Gamrat are accused of having staffers do political work on taxpayer dollars.


The group of six lawmakers, four Democrats and two Republicans, could recommend Courser and Gamrat be censured, expelled or that they could continue to serve in the House.

The committee is meeting on Wednesday.



Police investigating fatal accident in Isabella County


A fatal accident in Isabella County is still under investigation.


Police say a Cheasning woman was killed on south bound US-127 near the Pickard Road exit in Union Township.


Investigators say the 43-year-old driver lost control of the her vehicle, left the roadway and struck a guard rail. She was pronounced dead at the scene.


A 38-year-old passenger, also from Cheasning, was released from the scene without injuries.


Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash.




Dozens of classics featured at Big Rapids car show


There are always great local events being held on Labor Day weekend in Big Rapids.


One of those is the Big Rapids River Valley Car Club Classic Car Show, which held its 17th annual event on Labor Day.


Nearly 50 classic cars and vehicles were at the car show, which took place at Mitchell Creek Park and along Pine Street.


People from all over, including Grand Rapids and Traverse City, came to Big Rapids to see the Labor Day event.


Officials plan to hold the show again next year.



Artist petitioning to remove public vote at ArtPrize


A Grand Rapids artist is looking to get rid of the public vote at the city’s ArtPrize.


Artist Alan Carriero would prefer for voting to be limited to a few judges, as he believes pieces in main locations have an unfair advantage over others.


“If your art is in the center of town, you’re gonna get a ton of potential voters,” he says. “If you’re way out on Leonard Street, not that many people are gonna see your art.”


But ArtPrize’s Todd Herring says that voting isn’t going away anytime soon.


“A desire to silence or kill it really goes against the mission of our organization,” he says.


So far, only a handful of people have signed Carriero’s petition.



Police searching for suspects in Mecosta County break-in


Police are searching for suspects who stole several spools of copper wire from a Mecosta County business.


Multiple suspects broke into a pole barn at Tri-County Electric in Blanchard Friday night, stealing the copper wire and making a getaway in a Tri-County Electric truck.


While police later recovered the vehicle, the suspects and wire are yet to be found.


Anyone with information on the break-in and suspects is asked to call the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department at 231-592-0150.



Man in critical condition after Newaygo County crash


A man is in critical condition after crashing his motorcycle Sunday in Newaygo County.


The accident took place on M-37 near Nine Mile Road in Newaygo County just before 1 p.m.


Both the driver of the motorcycle and a passenger on the vehicle were seriously injured in the crash.


The driver, a 52-year-old male from Allegan, was transported to Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids while in critical condition.


The passenger, a 52-year-old female also from Allegan, was transported to Spectrum Hospital in Big Rapids. While she has serious injuries, they’re not critical.


Deputies say neither the driver nor the passenger were wearing helmets.



Police investigate fatal accident in Isabella County

State Police in Isabella County are investigating a car accident that killed a Cheasning woman. 


Troopers say the accident happened Friday on south bound US-127 near the Pickard Road exit in Union Twp, Isabella County.  


The initial investigation found that a south bound vehicle, a 2001 Chevrolet Luminabegan swerving on the roadway, lost control and left the roadway, striking the guardrail face on south bound US-127 at the exit ramp for Pickard Road (M-20).  The vehicle was occupied by two people.  The driver was a 43-year old woman from Chesaning, who was pronounced dead at the scene.  The passenger was a 38-year old man also from Chesaning.  The passenger was released from the scene without injuries.  


Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash.  The investigation is ongoing.


Mackinac bridge walk set for Monday


More than 40,000 people are expected to walk across the Mackinac Bridge this Labor Day.

Bridge Authority spokesperson Bob Sweeney says the event kicks off at 7 o'clock Monday morning.

“There's no need to register, you can just simply show up. Have someone drop you off or park your car in downtown St. Ignace and use our free shuttle to the bridge.”

Sweeney says buses will be available to shuttle walkers back across the bridge for $5.


More details on the walk are available at mackinacbridge-dot-org.




Ecstasy use rising on college campuses


Ecstasy is making a comeback on college campuses, according to University of Michigan's Lloyd Johnston.

“It's made something of a resurgence in the past few years. Since 2007 its more than doubled and currently five percent of college student indicate using ecstasy within the prior year,” he says.

Johnston heads up a yearly survey of college students. He says cocaine and amphetamine use are also on the rise while the use of synthetic marijuana, salvia and tranquilizers is on the decline.




Home invader caught in Manistee


A 33-year-old man is in custody in connection with a series of home invasions in Manistee.


Christopher Perski faces one count of receiving and concealing stolen property and one count of possession of marijuana.


Police say victims have come forward and identified their stolen property and there will be more charges from the investigation.




President Obama speaking in Michigan next week


President Barack Obama will be speaking in Michigan next week.


The President plans to give a speech at Macomb Community College focusing on the economy and the “importance of investing in skills.”


Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden will also be at the event.


This will be Obama’s first visit to Michigan since this January, when he spoke at a Detroit-area Ford plant.


Obama’s speech on the economy comes as the U.S. unemployment rate is at its lowest point in five years and the Michigan unemployment rate is at its lowest point since 2001.


The visit to a community college also coincides with the President's plan to make the first two years of community college free for all low- and middle-class Americans.



West Nile Virus infecting Michiganders for first time this year


West Nile Virus is back in Michigan after five cases of it in humans were reported for the first time this year.


A person from Ottawa County was reported to have contracted the virus, as well as people from Macomb and Monroe Counties.


Two other Michiganders were found to have West Nile Virus after donating blood, although neither has shown symptoms.


While most people who contract West Nile Virus don’t have serious symptoms, it has been known to cause fatal neurologic illness.


Officials are advising people in Michigan to empty standing water around their homes, wear long-sleeved clothing and apply insect repellant that contains DEET.



Record numbers of holiday travelers expected this weekend, police step up enforcement


Michigan holiday travelers are expected out in record numbers this Labor Day weekend.


Triple-A Michigan is projecting 1.2 million people in the state will travel 50 miles or more from home. That's a 1.5 percent increase, and the most since 2008.


The auto club estimates 89 percent of those travelers will drive to holiday destinations and four percent will fly.


And to help keep motorists safe, extra officers are patrolling Michigan’s roads to make sure drivers buckle up and drive sober. Officers from 163 agencies are participating in the campaign.


Highway Safety Planning director, Michael Prince, says officers will be looking for drunken drivers and unbuckled motorists.


Over the holiday last year, five of the six fatal crashes involved alcohol and one driver was not wearing a seat belt.


The stepped up enforcement period runs through Monday.




Freedom of Information laws being considered for state government


Should the legislature be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests?


The Michigan House’s refusal to release mounds of evidence from an internal investigation into misuse of taxpayer resources by two lawmakers has brought new life to the issue.


State Representative Jeremy Moss is leading the charge.

“We're only one of two states. Forty-eight states subject their legislature and Governor's office to FOIA and we're only one of two states that does not,” he says.

He is co-sponsoring a bill introduced in March to make the legislature and governor’s office subject to FOIA requests.




Contaminated food recall


Pork sausage patty products shipped to Michigan and ten other states are being recalled because they may contain small pieces of metal.


At issue are nearly 90,000 pounds of Johnsonville Grillers cheddar cheese and bacon flavor produced in May of this year.


The containers are 24 ounce cartons and 13 and one-half pound cases. The establishment number is 425B and the "best flavor by date" is December 29, 2015.


They were shipped to Michigan, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Texas and Wisconsin.




Cadillac woman recovering from rollover crash


A woman from Cadillac is expected to recover after rolling her car over in Cheboygan County.


Police say 77-year-old Victoria Kelly was driving on I-75/B in Nunda Township when she lost control of the vehicle, over corrected, and ran off the road.


Kelly had to be extricated from the car while two passengers got out uninjured.




Lake Leelanau drowning victim identified


The name of the man who drowned in Lake Leelanau earlier this week is being released.


Officials say the body of 56-year-old John Gleason of Benzie County was found in about 12 to 15 feet of water after deputies received a report of a man going under in Lake Leelanau near East Kenenske Drive.


Gleason was the lead pastor at Inland Baptist Church in Interlochen.




Cardinals keep their record spotless at 2 and 0 against the Newaygo Lions

The Big Rapids Cardinals are 2 – 0 on the young season as the Cards top the Newaygo Lions in the team's divisional opener on Thursday. The final, 33 – 15.


The Cardinals took the lead midway through the first quarter on 48 yard touchdown run by Avery Montegomery. The extra point was blocked, but the Cardinal's were up 6 – 0.


Newaygo got their first and only lead in the ballgame midway through the second quarter after a drive was kept alive on a fourth and two conversion in midfield, then a Cardinal interference penalty, the Lions got the ball down deep and scored on a one yard touchdown run from their sophomore quarterback, Dalton Jones. Two point conversion put the Lions ahead 8 – 6, that would be the only lead they would enjoy all night.


The Cardinals answered quickly with a 55 yard touchdown run by Avery Montgomery and a two point conversion pass from Hunter Walch to Braeden Childress. That left the the Cardinal's leading 14 – 8 at halftime.


Big Rapids in the third quarter on a fourth and five play score from 36 yards away – Walch hits Braeden Childress on the pass, Cardinals lead 20 – 8. They would add to that lead later in the quarter, Jeffrey Davenport from 58 yards to Braeden Childress on the halfback option. Dakota Sanders added the extra point, the Cardinals lead 27 – 8. The Cardinals added one more on a 19 yard quarterback keeper by Hunter Walch, extra point blocked, the Cardinals up 33-8.


Newaygo would make it 33 – 15 on a late four yard touchdown run by Cooper Heinzman. The extra point was good, but the Lions were down 33 – 15 at that point and that's the way the game would end.


So the Cardinals are now 2 – 0, they'll be on the road next week against the Grant Tigers and the Newaygo Lions start their season 0 – 2, they will host the Reed City Coyotes.




Men charged with giving drugs to Wexford County Jail prisoners

Beamesderfer (left) and Edwards (right).


Two Wexford County men are facing charges for delivering drugs to Wexford County Jail inmates.


Rickey Beamesderfer and Robert Edwards are both charged with conspiracy to furnish methadone to a jail prisoner.


Beamesderfer, from Cadillac, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to furnish contraband, methadone, to a jail prisoner.


Edwards, of Mesick, is also charged with one count of conspiracy to furnish contraband, methadone, to a jail prisoner, as well as one count of conspiracy to deliver or manufacture methadone, less than 50 grams.


According to authorities, both men were seen smuggling drugs into Wexford County Jail on July 13.


While Beamesderfer faces over seven years in prison if convicted, Edwards could face up to 40 years in prison, as he’s also facing charges for delivering heroin in a separate incident in July.



Crude oil banned from moving under Straits of Mackinac


Heavy crude oil will never flow down the Straits of Mackinac through the Line 5 pipeline after the state of Michigan and Enbridge have signed an agreement banning it.


The Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force recommended the ban in a report released in July.


The U.S. Coast Guard says that they wouldn’t be able to properly tend to a heavy crude oil spill in the Mackinac Straits.


While heavy crude oil had not previously been traveling through the pipeline, this agreement ensures that Enbridge will never be given the opportunity to transport it down Line 5.


This ban comes on the same day that Governor Rick Snyder created the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board through an executive order.



Mecosta Co. Sheriff's Dept. Marine Division receives help

The Mecosta Co. Sheriff's office is receiving grant money for its marine division.


The grant for $9,300 comes from the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources, which will provide financial help to fund many needs including, boat repairs or replacements, new equipment and boating classes. 


The Mecosta Co. Board of Commission approved the grant during its meeting. 


More credit card skimmers found at gas stations

The search is on for suspects who have been putting credit card skimming devices in gas pumps around the state. 

The Michigan Department of Agriculture inspected over 1,000 pumps on Tuesday alone, and found skimmers in Kent and Genesee counties. 
Ionia County Undersheriff Charlie Noll says his department is working with the Michigan State Police instead of launching separate investigations. 

In many cases, the devices are placed in the pumps farthest from the cashier. Gas stations that are closed at night are easy targets, as the thieves can put in the equipment without being seen. 


Few people without power this morning in Mecosta & Osceola Counties


There are a few residents in Mecosta and Osceola Counties that are without power as heavy thunder storms passed through the area this morning according to officials at Great Lakes Energy.


They say 69 residents are without electricity. Officials say they hope crews will have power restored soon.   


Legislators still wrestling with road funding, proposed plan would cut other state services



Lawmakers could have to make some tough decisions in a few years if they move forward with taking $600 million from the general fund to pay for road repairs across the state.


Citizens Research Council of Michigan spokesperson Bob Schneider says doing so would force lawmakers to cut nearly $500 million in social services, higher education, and the state’s prison system.

“Seventy-five percent of that is tied up in those three things and you either need to cut those things, which are usually tough votes for lawmakers. Or, to avoid those, you need to make even bigger cuts somewhere else,” he says.

Schneider notes that while the state is expecting to bring in some new money over the next few years, it will also be paying for things it hadn’t been in the past, like an expansion of the Medicaid rolls.


Governor Rick Snyder says he’s worried taking that much money out of the pool shared by state agencies would force some to make significant cuts. He didn’t offer a dollar amount that would be more palatable.

Lawmakers will continue their back and forth on road funding when they return to Lansing next week.





Barricaded gunman under arrest


A man is under arrest after police say he fired multiple gunshots inside his house in Manistee County.


Authorities say the 66-year-old man barricaded himself inside the home in Norman Township at about 1:30 Wednesday morning and he appeared to be hallucinating while under the influence of prescription medications.


An emergency response team had to remove the man after he refused deputies attempts to negotiate with him.


He was taken to West Shore Medical Center for treatment, medical and mental health consultation and is currently lodged in the county jail pending possible criminal charges.




Police searching for vandal at CMU


Police at Central Michigan University are searching for a man they say damaged campus property.


Two buildings were damaged this weekend in Mount Pleasant when a rock was used to shatter two windows, one at Grawn Hall and the other at Warriner Hall.


Police are asking the public's help in identifying the suspect.




Body allegedly found of man who fell overboard in Lake Leelanau


Authorities believe they have found the body of a man who fell off a boat in Lake Leelanau this Wednesday.


Multiple emergency crews spent the afternoon looking for the 56-year-old man, who had gone overboard at around 3:30 p.m.


The man wasn’t wearing a life jacket when he fell into the lake.


While the search was originally a rescue operation, it turned into a recovery operation by the time crews found the body.


Officials will be able to confirm both the man’s identity and his cause of death once the body is inspected by an examiner.



More college students smoke marijuana regularly than cigarettes


A new University of Michigan study has some interesting findings.


According to the study, more college kids smoke marijuana 20 or more times a month than do cigarettes.


Lloyd Johnston, who’s leading the study, emphasizes that just because cigarette use is declining doesn’t mean that students aren’t taking more of other drugs.


“Cigarette smoking is on the decline, but we’re seeing that college students and high school students are taking up some other forms of use of tobacco and/or nicotine,” he said.


Nearly 6 percent of students surveyed said they smoke pot daily, while only 5 percent said the same for cigarettes, down from 19 percent 15 years ago.



Ferris State DPS Director commends students for safe Welcome Weekend

Students a Ferris State University had fun responsibly during “Welcome Weekend”.


FSU Director of Public Safety Bruce Borkovich says last weekend was relatively quiet, his officers only wrote one minor in possession citation and issued one possession of marijuana charge.


Borkovich applauded the student body for being responsible. "There are exceptions at any college campus, students are going to have their fun but overall the conduct of students over the weekend was pretty remarkable." Borkovich said


Central Michigan University Police say they issued close to 200 citations during its Welcome back weekend.



Fmr. Cran-Hill Ranch Camp Counselor facing new charges


A former christian summer camp counselor in Mecosta County charged with sex crimes is now facing additional charges.


24-year old William Joseph Nealy of Muncie, Indiana is charged with Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and Criminal Sexual Conduct with intent to commit sexual penetration. The new charges stem from an incident on June 22nd. Nealy was previously charged with the same counts connected to an incident on July 9th at the Rodney camp. Cran-Hill leaders fired Nealy as soon as they heard of the allegations.


He is currently being held on $200,000 bond.  


State goes its own way on carbon emissions


Michigan is opting to come up with its own clean energy plan rather than going with a federal model.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a carbon emission rule that gives states the option to create their own emissions reduction plan or abide by a federal one.

Michigan Agency for Energy spokesperson Valerie Brader says the state will work with stakeholders in developing a plan to make sure Michigan’s values, priorities and policies are represented.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality spokesperson Dan Wyant says going with a state plan will work better to meet the state’s needs.

The state will submit its plan by September 2016, the federal deadline.



Michigan goes easy on bad drivers

Michigan ranks poorly among the strictest states in the treatment of high risk drivers. ranks Michigan 47th in the country, making it the fifth most lenient state.


The ranking is based comparisons of insurance premiums for high-risk drivers, DUI laws and penalties for driving violations.


Arizona was the strictest. South Dakota was most lenient.




Gamrat says voters should decide


Embattled State Representative Cindy Gamrat wants voters in her district to decide if she shouldn’t be in office anymore – not a special House committee.


Gamrat made the statement after the committee’s first hearing on Tuesday. When asked if she feels betrayed by Representative Todd Courser, Gamrat said,

“I'm not going to comment on someone else's actions. I'm here because I want my colleagues to know that I want to be part of the solution moving forward so we can get this taken care of and get back to the business of the people of Michigan.”

According to a House report, Gamrat and Courser misused taxpayer resources to cover up their affair and further their political careers.


Records show both are paid nearly $1,400 per week plus benefits as members of the House.




Tribal Council member faces more sex charges


A former tribal council member of the Grand Traverse County Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, already facing criminal sexual conduct charges in Leelanau County, is being faciing more CSC charges in Grand Traverse County.


Derek Bailey is accused of sexually abusing young girls.


County Prosecutor, Bob Cooney says one of the teenage victims told a school social worker Bailey sexually abused her for seven years.


He is being charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct first degree and one count of being a sexually delinquent person.


He is already facing five counts of criminal sexual conduct in Leelanau County.




Isabella County woman competent to stand trial for murder


Authorities say a woman accused of murder in Isabella County is competent to stand trial.


52-year-old Mary Bigford allegedly shot and killed 39-year-old Lawrence Howard, Jr. while he sat in his car at the Chase Run apartment complex in Mount Pleasant earlier this year. Howard Jr. was shot multiple times in the chest.


Bigford is the maternal grandmother of Howard Jr.'s child.


Tips from the community led to Bigford's arrest at her home in Lake. She is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 28 on charges of Homicide-Murder First Degree, Homicide-Open Murder, Weapons-Dangerous Weapon, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, and Weapons-Felony Firearm.




Michigan State University a 'sexually hostile environment,' according to federal report


The U.S. Department of Education says that Michigan State University didn’t properly deal with multiple sexual assault complaints.


Federal investigators said in a report released Tuesday that the way MSU dealt with sexual assault complaints wasn’t compliant with Title IX regulations, which promote gender equality on campus.


The university also didn’t promptly investigate the complaints received, although MSU eventually took action.


According to the report, the way Michigan State dealt with sexual assault issues “caused and may have contributed to a continuation of a sexually hostile environment for numerous students and staff on campus.”


As a result of the report, MSU has agreed to 15 changes to improve the way they handle on-campus sexual assault.



Michigan AG Schuette advocates for state-based sanctions against Iran


Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says it’s now the states’ responsibility to fight back against the country’s nuclear deal with Iran.


Schuette, with Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, published a letter Tuesday advocating for the states to levy their own sanctions against the middle-eastern country.


That would include actions such as banning state employee pension systems from investing in companies doing business in Iran.


The United States’ nuclear deal removes national economic sanctions on Iran, while setting limits on the country’s nuclear program.


As of this April, 25 states, including Michigan, already had sanctions against Iran.



Road construction on US-131 in Mecosta & Osceola Counties expected to be completed later this month

Construction on a 8 mile stretch of road on north and southbound US-131 from northern Mecosta County to Reed City in Osceola County should wrap up at the end of this month.


Jeff Cranson, Communications Director with the Michigan Department of Transportation says major work of road paving has just been completed, now construction crews need to reseed areas disturbed during construction, finish the gravel part of the shoulders, install rumble strips and finish clean up.


Cranson says the total cost of the project is about $7.5 million dollars. 


Pair arrested on retail fraud & drug charges in Mecosta Co.

A Big Rapids woman and White Cloud man sit behind bars on retail fraud and drug charges.


19-year old Amber Lynn Bennett and 32-year old Raymond Paul Holmes are accused of stealing from a Walmart in Big Rapids and operating a meth lab in Mecosta Township. The duo faces up to 40 years in prison on the meth lab charge alone, due to their previous drug convictions.


Bennett's bond stands at $100,000, while Holmes' bond is $250,000.  


Michigan's top Democrat says scandal report insufficient


The top Democrat in Michigan wants the state attorney general to step in and investigate misconduct allegations against two state lawmakers who had an affair.


State Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon says the report issued by the House Business Office Monday doesn’t go far enough.

“It only reinforces the need for Attorney General Bill Shuette to get involved in this so that he can do a proper criminal investigation as to misuse of taxpayer resources and to find out who knew what and when they new it,” he says.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General says he’s received the report and is reading through it.




MSP trooper honored


U-S flags within the State Capitol Complex and on all state buildings are at half-staff on Tuesday in honor of Michigan State Police Trooper Chad Wolf, who died from injuries sustained while on duty Friday.


Wolf was on his motorcycle when he was hit and dragged by a car towing a trailer in northern Oakland County.


The 38 year old was a seven year veteran of the Michigan State Police.


A funeral ceremony is scheduled at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday at Fenton High School.



Storm damage cleanup continues in northwest Michigan


As state residents and businesses in northwest Michigan continue to cleanup following severe storms in August, Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services spokesperson Andrea Miller has some tips.

“It's important when working with insurance companies to make sure that you thoroughly document your damages and know your coverage rights,” she says.

Miller says some key points to remember are to take pictures of the damage, make a list of all destroyed or damaged property, and know you’re entitled to make small repairs to prevent further damage, but don’t make big repairs or your claim could be denied.




House committee meets on Courser-Gamrat scandal


A House special committee that is deciding the fate of two state lawmakers who allegedly used taxpayer resources to cover up their affair holds its first meeting on Tuesday.

“The committee has subpoena power and they may request specific subpoenas from the House for any particular evidence that they find lacking,” says spokesperson Gideon D’Assandro.


D'Assandro also says the report released Monday states State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat had their staffers conceal their affair and do political work on state time.


The two have refused to resign.


The committee could dole out a number of punishments, including expulsion from the House.




FSU sees funding increase from the state


Ferris State University is more than a million dollars richer this year.


FSU spokesperson Marc Sheehan says a recent increase in funding for Michigan public universities by the state combined with FSU's performance means the school will see an additional $1.1 million this year.


The performance ranking is based on certain metrics set by the state.


The better a school does in that ranking, the more money they receive.



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