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Big Rapids Daily News
News That Affects You Archives for 2015-12

Newaygo man pleads no contest in sexual assault case

A Newaygo man accused of assaulting a mentally disabled relative in Mecosta County a few years ago is pleading no contest to charges against him.

53-year old Richard Allen Sale is accused of sexually assaulting his relative in Aetna Township during an incident sometime between 2009-2010, according to court documents.

Sale’s “no contest” plea to first degree criminal sexual conduct is part of a deal with prosecutors. He faces up to life in prison when sentenced in February.  


Faith based groups hope for peace and tolerance in Michigan in 2016


From Governor Rick Snyder’s unwelcoming stance on refugees to racial tensions fueled by police shootings – 2015 seemed to be lacking “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.”


But some faith groups are optimistic that 2016 can bring about tolerance and respect.


Director of the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network Randy Block says what makes the United States unique is its diversity.


And in a civilized country, he adds, people should be able to agree to disagree without hate.


"We should have respect for the worth and dignity of each person, even if they don’t agree with us. If we have that kind of respect and tolerance for differences among us, then we have more hope of communication and working out common solutions,” he says.


While there are no simple solutions to the world’s problems, Block explains it can begin at the individual level with people truly listening to others and gaining a better of understanding of their perspectives and needs.


At the policy level, he believes social justice cannot be achieved without fair laws that treat each person as an individual, and don't discriminate based on race, religion, economic status or other factors.




Big Rapids firefighters battle blaze on Locust Street


The residents of a house on Locust Street in Big Rapids are safe following a large fire.


Firefighters say one woman had to be rescued by ladder from the second floor of the house after the blaze broke out yesterday afternoon.


The structure sustained extensive fire and water damage as crews from four fire departments worked to extinguish the fire.


The American Red Cross is assisting those who lived in the house while the fire remains under investigation.




Minimum wage increases Friday; area businesses react

Area businesses are bracing for another increase of the state’s minimum wage to $8.50 per hour. The 35 cent increase gets implemented Friday. 

Kathy Bowman owner of the Long John Silver’s and KFC resturnat in Big Rapids, she employs just over 30 people and thinks the increase makes it difficult for her business to keep prices down for her customers.

“It’s increasing costs.”Bowman said “If you add that in with the increasing costs of food, paper supplies, fuel costs and health care, it has become increasingly difficult to keep your prices at a point to where your customers come in to buy your product. “

Michigan's minimum wage will eventually increase to $9.25 per hour. That will happen in 2018.   


Stolen dogs returned to owner, investigation continues


Two white German Shepherd dogs that were stolen from a residence in Morton Township are back home safe.


The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says Max and Ruby were returned to the owner's property over the weekend and are in great condition.


However, police still want to talk to the person or persons who took the dogs.


They're asking the dog-nappers to come forward and, they say, an investigation is ongoing.




Big Rapids Elks plan big party for New Year's


The Big Rapids Elks Lodge has some big plans for New Year's Eve. It's the third year they will be having a New Year's Eve ball drop and organizer Mark Solis says it's going to be a family oriented affair.


What we do is we block off the downtown area and put the ball so people can see it and we open the doors up to the public – the Elk's Lodge.”


Solis says the doors will be open from 9:00 pm until midnight and all are welcome. And, he hopes the weather will be better this year.


Last year it was terrible. It was cold, wet, windy, oh my it was just terrible. This year's going to have a lot better turnout.”


Free hot chocolate will be available along with games and Dynamite the clown. Solis says it's a tradition they're trying to keep up and he hopes kids of all ages will be there.




Jobless rates decline in Mecosta & Osceola Counties

Unemployment rates in both Mecosta and Osceola Counties declined in November, according to state officials.

Mecosta County’s jobless rate dropped four-tenths of a percent to 4.6% last month.

In Osceola County, its unemployment rate declined even more, at five-tenths of a percent to an overall of 4.9%. 


Psychologist says make a plan first before starting your new years resolution


Whether it’s losing weight, making more money or quit smoking, whatever you choose as your “New Year’s resolution”, Psychologist Dr. Matthew Clark of Human Resources Associates in Big Rapids says to achieve your goal you must first make a plan.


Clark says all too often when someone picks a goal without a plan; it sets that person up for failure. He says not to call it a “resolution” but a goal or a lifestyle change. Clark also says when you make a plan for your goal; give yourself small achievable goals so when you’re successful you’ll want to continue your plan.


Dr. Clark also recommends not to use the word “try” because that could set you up for failure, he says tell yourself “I will” or “I’m going to do this”  


You could be owed a refund from Verizon or Sprint, but you'll have to act fast


Verizon and Sprint customers only have a few more days to claim their refunds for unauthorized charges on their wireless bills.


The two wireless carriers settled with the Federal Trade Commission after allowing third-party companies to charge customers for “premium” text messages without their prior consent and allegedly burying them in bills. The activity is known as “cramming.”


Verizon Wireless agreed to pay $90 million while Sprint will pay $68 million to settle the charges. 


Current and former subscribers who had paid for unauthorized texts since July 1, 2010 can file a request no later than December 31, 2015 to get a refund.


If you think your cell phone bills may have been unfairly inflated, you can head over to either to log your complaint. 


Police ask for public's help in locating armed robbery suspect


Police in north and western Michigan are searching for the suspect in an armed robbery.


The Benzie County Sheriff's Office says the suspect held up the Honor Bank in Lake Ann yesterday afternoon.


Undersheriff Kyle Rosa says a masked man came into the bank holding a gun in his right hand and what looks like a grenade in his left, demanding money.


The man is described as 5'9'' to 5'11'', wearing a black jacket with red lettering, red mask, camouflage gloves and black pants.


He was driving a green Dodge Dakota, with gray trim around the bottom.


Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to call the Benzie County Sheriff's Department.




Three hospitalized following head-on collision in Big Rapids Township


Police say weather was not a factor in a crash in Big Rapids Township.


The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says deputies were dispatched to the scene of a two vehicle accident right around noon on Monday.


An investigation at the scene on New Millpond Road showed a northbound SUV driven by a 33-year-old woman from Cedar Springs crossed the center line and hit a southbound pickup truck driven by a 27-year-old man from Hesperia.


The driver of the SUV as well as 2 passengers were transported to the Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.


The other driver suffered only minor injuries.




Road crews in Mecosta Co. ready for winter storm

Road crews in Mecosta County will be ready as a strong winter storm rolls into the area today with potential of a half inch of freezing rain and snow.


Joyce Randall, Manager of the Mecosta Co. Road Commission offers up some tips to keep residents safe during the messy conditions while county plows are out.


“Don’t crowd the plow, is what we say here.” Randall said. “The plow trucks are doing a job and when they have to clear an area and may not see you, so motorists should give them enough space because there are times they will have to back up”.


Randall also reminds residents not to put snow in the roadway when shoveling their driveway, as it is a hazard for snow plows especially if the snow pile ices overnight. 


Home caregivers may soon get help from the state


As they applaud successes this year in supporting older adults, some Michigan policy advocates are looking ahead to 2016’s legislative priorities.


AARP Michigan spokesperson Melissa Seifert says the unanimous passage of the CARE Act (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable) by the Michigan Senate is a step in the right direction.


It would help prepare caregivers of soon-to-be discharged hospital patients for the tasks required once the patient is home.


"They do so much work for their loved ones. They’re really these unsung heroes that are not being paid and doing it because they love doing it for their family members. But it is quite a burden,” she says.


She adds more than 70 percent of people in a recent survey said they support the CARE Act. It now goes to the House, where it is also expected to pass.


Siefert says AARP will be ready to work with hospitals and the two million caregivers in the state on implementation.




Mecosta County Sheriff looking for dog thieves


The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office is looking for the person or person responsible for stealing a pair of dogs.


Police say the theft occurred just before Christmas in Morton Township.


The white German Shepherds named Max and Ruby are both one year old's weighing around 75 to 90 pounds.


Max had a 2" wide black nylon collar with up to date tags and Ruby had a 2" wide red nylon collar with up to date tags.


A possible suspect vehicle is described as a gray 1 1/2 sized cab Chevrolet pickup with rust on the rear of it.


Anyone with information is asked to contact the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office at (231) 592-0150.




Ice storm heading for Big Rapids


The National Weather Service says a winter storm warning is in effect from 10:00 am Monday until 6:00 am Tuesday for Big Rapids and the surrounding area.


Sleet and freezing rain is expected to change over to all freezing rain with accumulations of a quarter to a half an inch of ice possible.


Strong east winds will accompany the rain with gusts of 40 to 50 miles an hour.


Significant icing is expected on trees and power lines and travel may become dangerous to nearly impossible.




Two Ferris State University students arrested on burglary charges


An investigation of a home invasion by detectives in Mecosta County has led to the arrest of two Ferris State University students.


Detective Casey Nemeth says the home invasion occurred in the early morning hours of December 19th at the Campus Creek Apartments in Big Rapids Township. He says that led to the arrest of  24-year old Dandre Jones and 21-year old Mahogany Young both Ferris State students and both residing in Big Rapids at Campus Creek Apartments.


A search warrant was executed on Jones and Young's apartment and stolen property from the Home Invasion was located in their possession.  The couple had sold some of the stolen items online on a local "For Sale" site on Facebook and were in the process of selling the other items online.   The search also resulted in the confiscation of Marijuana.


Jones was arrested for Home Invasion and Possession of Marijuana and was arraigned in the 77th District Court and remains in custody on a $75,000 bond.


Young, who is currently on Felony Probation, was arrested on Probation Violation, Possession of Marijuana, and a Violation of Conditional Bond from a prior arrest,  and was arraigned in the 77th District Court and remains in custody on a $ 60,000 bond.  Charges are being reviewed by the Prosecutor on her involvement in the Home Invasion.



High-tech tracking system keeps an eye on Santa

A bi-national effort to keep Santa on course on his annual Christmas Eve flight continues Thursday for its 60th Year.


Lt. Marco Chouinard with the NORAD Tracks Santa Team explains the program began in 1955 in Colorado, when a misprint in a newspaper advertisement directed kids trying to call Santa to a number at the Continental Air Defense Command.


"The phone started ringing over there and Col. Harry Shoup was on call that night and so they started answering the call and then he indicated, you know, to all his operators to track Santa on the radars and tell all the kids that were calling where Santa was."


When the North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, was created years later, it continued the tradition.


Of course, technology has since improved, and kids who want to know Santa’s whereabouts can check online at You can also get updates from Facebook, Skype and Onstar; or call NORAD at 1-877-Hi-NORAD.




Scattered power outages plague Big Rapids area residents


Both Consumer's Energy and Great Lakes Energy are reporting numerous scattered outages within the Big Rapids Radio Network listening area due to high winds.


Both utilities have crews out working on their respective outages and company officials urge their customers to use caution and to report any downed power lines immediately.


Outages can be tracked on-line at for Consumer's Energy and at for Great Lakes Energy customers.




Morley woman hospitalized after leading police on a high speed chase

A 21-year old woman from the Morley area is recovering from her injuries after taking Mecosta County Sheriff Deputies on a high speed chase this afternoon. 


The chase started when a deputy tried to pull over the suspect's car for an infraction on Jefferson Rd. near 200th Ave. and the suspect continued at a high rate of speed. The suspect continued to lead police on a high speed chase into Newaygo County where she lost control of her car, ran off the road then rolled the car over several times and hitting a number of trees. 


The suspect was taken to a Grand Rapids hospital for her injuries. She has been charged with fleeing and eluding police. 


New Masters program and student housing approved by Ferris State Trustees


Ferris State University will be offering a new masters program for its students in the College of Health Professions as well as expanding its student housing on its Big Rapids campus.


Ferris State Board of Trustees approved the new program and housing projects during its meeting Dec. 18th.  


Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Blake said of the new Masters program: “The master’s degree in Healthcare Administration is a welcome addition to the College of Health Professions’ curriculum,”  “It will provide online course delivery, content concentration options, and will prepare students for healthcare management positions.” Blake said.


The first students will enroll in the program for the Fall 2016 semester.


The board also gave final approval for expansion of the West Campus Apartments of the Finch Court neighborhood, with construction designed to accommodate single students.

In addition to expansion of West Campus Apartments, the trustees also gave the authorization needed for the university to proceed with the retention of pre-construction services for the new north campus residence hall project. The university’s goal, in response to student feedback, is to add modern housing options on the northern end of campus near the FLITE library and University Center.


The plan is for a building that would be consistent with the architecture of that area of campus with approximately 350 to 400 semi-suite beds. The trustees’ action moves this project forward at a pace to have students living in the new housing facility in August of 2017. 


Two Grand Rapids men arrested for selling drugs in Mecosta County

Two Grand Rapids men are behind bars on felony drug charges after an investigation by the Central Michigan Enforcement Team.


An investigation revealed 22-year old Shaquille Saunders and 27-year old Darrius Jones were selling narcotics in Mecosta County. Both Saunders and Jones were taken into custody last week, during a traffic stop on US-131, according to police.


They have been charged with one count each of delivery of cocaine less than 50 grams. 


Bond for Jones has been set at $300,000, while Saunders’ bond was set at $225,000. 


Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital releases top baby names for 2015


Anna and Mason are the most popular baby names in Mecosta County and surrounding area according to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital’s 2015 Top 10 Baby Name List.


According to officials, the Big Rapids Birthing Center delivered 590 babies to date in 2015. Of that total, 283 were girls and 307 were boys. 


Top 10 Names for Girls in 2015


1. Anna/Annabelle/Annalease

2. Ava

3. Natalie/Natalia

4. Sophie/Sophia

5. Elizabeth

6. Adalyn

7. Abigail

8. Elaina/Alaina

9. Aria/Arya

10. Mia/Mya


Top 10 Names for Boys in 2015


1. Mason

2. Hunter

3. Jackson/Jaxon

4. Liam

5. Carter

6. Eli/Elijah

7. Luke/Lucas

8. Ryder/Ryker

9. Carson

10. Noah


Over two-thirds of consumers expected to hit the stores after the holidays


Most Americans plan to take advantage of post-holiday sales this year.


That according to In the latest edition of its Shoppers Trend Report, the digital offers web site says 67% of consumers intend to shop the end-of-the-year sales and plan to spend an average of $270 during that time.


The report indicates the biggest motivators for consumers to shop the post-holiday sales are retail discounts and offers and gift cards received as a holiday gifts.


They also say one in three consumers will return a gift they received during the holiday season.




Big Rapids City Commissioners accept new contract for custodial services


The city of Big Rapids will continue its partnership with Hi-Tec Cleaning Services for its custodial services.


The city commission during its last meeting of the year approved a new three-year contract totaling $26,400. Those cleaning services include City Hall, Big Rapids Community Library and the Wastewater Treatment Plant.


In other news, commissioners also approved a new three year contract with the Big Rapids Patrol Officers Unit. 




Mecosta Co. Sheriff offers home security tips for the holidays

Tis the season for expensive gifts under the tree and festivities that often take people out of the house. That means It’s prime time for burglars, who see nearly every home as a target this time of year and look for signs that the occupants are elsewhere.


That's why Mecosta County Sheriff Todd Purcell says it's important to take some precautions.


He says always lock your doors when leaving to go anywhere, keep your house lights on, keep a radio or TV on. Purcell also says to trust a neighbor, if you’re going to be gone, have a neighbor you trust look after the home and make checks on it.  


Purcell says if a neighbor is not around during this time, a resident can always come into the sheriff’s office and fill out a home security check form. This will allow for a deputy to do a home check for you while you’re gone. 


Wolverine Worldwide Big Rapids facility awarded $27 million dollar contract

Bates Footwear , a division of Wolverine Worldwide in Big Rapids will manufacture new boots for allied forces on the ground in Afghanistan.


The $27-million dollar contract was awarded by the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency to allow the Big Rapids facility to make Temperate Weather Combat boots.


“Bates continues to produce some of the world’s most technologically advanced footwear for men and women in combat,” stated Blake Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President. “We are committed to being the leader in providing footwear solutions for all branches of the U.S. military and are privileged to supply these performance benefits inherent in our Michigan-made combat boots.”


The Temperate Weather Combat boots use Vibram® soles to provide superior grip with rugged longevity. In addition to the Vibram soles, the boots are built with GORE-TEX® technology, which provides comfort and protection during intense activity by keeping water out while allowing sweat vapor to easily escape. Valued at $27 million, the contracts call for the production of boots in both black and tan colors. 


Former Big Rapids mayor passes away


Former Big Rapids Mayor Ed Burch has passed away at the age of 79.


Burch led the city of Big Rapids from 1999-2007.


Along with serving as mayor, Burch was very active in the Big Rapids community, serving on the alumni board for Big Rapids Schools. He also was a 50 year member of the Knights of Columbus Council #1300 in Big Rapids and a 4th degree Knight in Assembly #2773.


A mass of Christian burial will be held on Wednesday, December 23rd at 11am at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Big Rapids. Interment will follow at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery. Visitation will take place December 22nd from 4pm-7pm at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with Rosary to follow at 7pm.  


Teen found dead at Northern Michigan farm


Police are investigating the death of a teenage girl in Northern Michigan.


The Grand Traverse Sheriff's Office reports 17-year-old Heather Marie Barley was found in a building on a farm in Grant Township at around noon on Friday.


Barley was reported to have been a worker on the farm.


Detective Captain Randy Fewless says there is no indication of foul play, but an autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death.




Barryton man pleads guilty to sex crimes


A Barryton man will be sentenced next month after pleading guilty to sex crimes involving a minor.


As part of a plea agreement with Mecosta County Prosecutors, 44-year old Frederick Carl Anderson pleaded guilty to the third degree CSC charge; in exchange, prosecutors will dismiss the rest of the charges against him.


Anderson was accused of sexually assaulting two girls under the age of 13 who lived near him in Fork Township during incidents in 2008, 2009 and 2010.


Anderson was arrested back in June while living in Kentucky. 


Lake City man accused of accosting a child

A Lake City man is behind bars after police say he's accused of accosting a child.


The arrest stems from an investigation that began in September, that alleged 29-year old Robert James Boyer II had solicited a child in Wexford County, who was  less than 16 years old for an immoral sexual purpose.


MSP Computer Crimes Unit in Traverse City assisted with the investigation.

The Wexford County Prosecutor’s Office charged Boyer with 1 count of Felony Accosting a Child For Immoral Purposes, 1 Count of Felony Distributing Sexually Explicit  Material to a Minor Child, and 2 counts of Felony Use of a Computer to Commit a Crime.




Michigan loosing billions each year to corporate tax loopholes

Educators and tax reform advocates are calling on Congress to close offshore corporate tax loopholes.

Americans for Tax Fairness says Michigan loses $3.3 billion in state revenue each year when corporations avoid paying taxes on profits hidden overseas.


ATF spokesperson Frank Clemente says lawmakers should stand with working American citizens and eliminate the loopholes.

“Instead, too many politicians are standing with big, profitable corporations that are shifting profits and jobs offshore and they're getting tax payer subsidized bonuses for their exorbitant pay,” he says.

A spokesman for the American Federation of Teachers Michigan says the revenue could be used to fund Michigan schools, roads and transportation systems.




Grand Rapids man guilty in Wexford County



A Grand Rapids man is likely heading for prison after pleading guilty to assault, alcohol, and drug charges in Wexford County.


Officials say 24-year-old Samuel Reyes si accused of assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer, operating a motor vehicle with a high blood alcohol content, and possession of marijuana.


Reyes' bond has been revoked and he faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible $25,000 fine.




Police in West Michigan intercept major drug shipment


Michigan State Police say it's the largest drug bust of its kind in West Michigan.


Forty-nine-year-old George Joseph Yellowboy of Nebraska was stopped on I-94 in Van Buren County’s Hartford Township around 1:30 Wednesday afternoon for driving below the minimum speed limit and defective equipment.


A search of his vehicle revealed approximately seven pounds of pure methamphetamine stuffed inside the box of an orbit sander.


Yellowboy admits to being part of a large Mexican drug trafficking ring that transports meth to the Northeastern United States and was traveling from Colorado to Detroit.




Cadillac woman pleads to bringing drugs to prisoners


A Cadillac woman, accused of bringing drugs to prisoners in Wexford County, is pleading guilty to the crime.


Wexford County sheriff's deputies say Tiffany Edwards was arrested at the jail earlier this year.


She is admitting to one count of delivery of methadone and attempting to steal from a building.


As part of the plea, charges of giving contraband to prisoners and conspiracy were dropped.


Edwards faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible $25,000 fine.




Police asking for help in locating missing woman


Police are searching for a missing woman who was last seen in Grand Traverse County.


Twenty-three-year-old Brittany Mehlberg of Florida was visiting family Mancelona when she was taken to Munson Hospital in Traverse City.


Family members say Mehlberg has health issues and left Munson Hospital on foot around 9:30 Wednesday night.


If you know of her whereabouts please call the Traverse City police at (231) 995-5150.




Phone scam popping up in Osceola Co.

As the holiday season draws near, police in Evart are warning residents in Osceola County about a new phone scam that has popped up in the area.


Officials say this particular scam occurs over the phone and will have the scammer saying that you have won a large amount of money but before they can send the money to you, you have to pay fines, fees or taxes. 


They say the scammers have thick foreign accents, and are targeting land line phone numbers and older residents.


Officials say residents should always be cautions of such calls, email or regular mail offers.


Grant from Consumers Energy leads to book packs for 1,400 MOISD students


Over 1,400 students and their families in the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District are receiving book packs.


The book packs were made possible through a grant from Consumers Energy.


The MOISD Great Start Collaborative teamed up with the Great Start to Quality Western Resource Center to provide literacy training opportunities for Early Childhood professionals, and pass out the books.


The Evart GSRP teacher, Jenny Junker stated, “They LOVE them- even the active boys!” 


She also shared that the children find a place during free choice time to stop and read and they especially like the board books.


They send the book packs home on Mondays, and they are returned on Thursdays.  Parents and children are talking about the books, and enjoying the activities suggested in the packs.


The Evart classroom has a Mom who is making six more bags, and they are getting book donations, so every child in the class can take books home every week. 


Northern Michigan lawyer pleads guilty to embezzlement


A former Northern Michigan lawyer may be looking at some jail time.


Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says 67-year-old Michael Kennedy of Petosky is pleading guilty to one count of embezzlement over $100,000 from an elderly woman who was his client.


The woman suffered from Alzheimer's and passed away last summer.


Schuette says Kennedy's assets have been seized for forfeiture in order to pay restitution to the victim's family.


He is facing a possible 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine upon sentencing.




Pair charged with home invasion in Kingsley


Two Grand Traverse County men are behind bars after police say they broke into a home in Kingsley.


Eighteen-year-old Tyler Durga of Kingsley and 18-year-old Brendon Anderson of Grawn are being charged with home invasion, breaking and entering with intent, receiving and concealing firearms, larceny of firearm, and felony firearm.


Deputies say the investigation of the robbery is ongoing.




Wexford County man charged with receiving stolen goods


Police say a Wexford County man is guilty of receiving and concealing stolen property.


Twenty-eight-year-old Ronald Duane Pedrin Jr. of LeRoy man is facing up to seven and a half years in prison for receiving and concealing three stolen chainsaws in Cadillac earlier this year.


Authorities say Pedrin is also a habitual offender which is why his possible sentence is so high.


He is due in court on the charges next week.




Trial for Big Rapids man accused of rape continues


The rape trial of a Big Rapids man continues on Thursday.


Twenty-six-year-old Joseph Solis is charged with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from an incident in 2014.


Solis' alleged victim testified in court on Wednesday how Solis had gone home with her after drinking at The Gate and raped her.


The victim testified she had broken up with Solis in 2013.


After the incident at her home, the victim also took out a personal protection order against Solis.


Solis' defense attorney alleges the victim's claims are exaggerated and she potentially had a drinking problem, with a history of getting very drunk and ill afterward.


Testimony continues Thursday in Mecosta County’s 49th Circuit Court.




Local Police help area kids pick out gifts for the holidays


Sixteen area kids and their families will be having a better Christmas this year in Mecosta County thanks to local law enforcement and Walmart.  


Officers from State Police, Big Rapids DPS, Ferris State University and Mecosta County partnered with area kids and took them around the Walmart store in Big Rapids to find gifts for their family and themselves as part of the “Shop with a Cop” event Wednesday.


As part of the event, Walmart donated $2,200 for the kids to shop with.


Deputy Josh Reed who organized the event says it was a huge undertaking this year and a lot of hard work was put in by a lot of people but it’s all worth it when you see the excitement in the kid’s faces.  


Sheriff Todd Purcell believes it’s important for his deputies to take part as a way to give back to the local community and to help those in need. 


Man charged with CSC in Wexford Co. now facing new charges in Grand Traverse Co.

An Interlochen man accused of sex crimes in Wexford County is now facing new charges in another county.


State Police say 25-year old Kyle Bradley Herzfeld was arrested Tuesday on seven counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct. He is accused of sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 16 during incidents between May 2014 and September 2015.


Investigators say the Interlochen man has two new charges of CSC out of Grand Traverse Co. involving the same victim. 


Construction on Big Rapids' new Baldwin Street Bridge on schedule, according to officials


Construction on the new Baldwin Street Bridge in Big Rapids is on schedule, according to city officials. 


Public Works officials say two new piers for the bridge are in the water and ready for the next phase of construction.  An interesting note about the piers, the north and south ends have a triangle shape to break up ice during ice flows on the Muskegon River rather in the past, ice would sometimes pile up around the old bridge.


Roger Schneidt with Public Works says there were a few hiccups with construction but the warmer weather has helped crews out, bringing the project back on schedule. He says currently, crews are working on sewer and drainage systems on the east side of the bridge. 


Construction is expected to be finished by July.  


Prescription drug ring busted


Police say they've broken up a prescription drug ring in the Upper Peninsula.


The investigation started months ago and culminated in the arrested of six people in three different homes in Sault Ste. Marie.


Detectives say they found evidence of more than $12,000 in bank accounts all related to selling the drugs.


The six suspects are facing a total of 20 felony charges.




Marijuana dispensaries suspected of non-compliance


Four medical marijuana dispensaries in Kalkaska County are being investigated.


Police say warrants were served to the U.S 131 Provisionary in Rapid River Township, New Dynamics in Clearwater Township as well as Magic Buds and The Cedars in the Village of Kalkaska.


Money, marijuana, and other items were taken as evidence.


Investigators say the facilities are suspected of operating outside of the medical marijuana act guidelines.




Gladwin County woman killed in car-buggy accident


Family and friends of an Amish woman from Gladwin County are mourning her death.


Police say Sarah Stutzman was killed when the buggy she was driving was struck by a van earlier this week.


Sheriff Mike Shea says weather may have been a factor in the accident.


Stutzman's three children, who were in the buggy with her, were taken to the hospital and are expected to recover.




Cadillac woman charged with attacking police


A Cadillac woman is now facing multiple domestic violence and assault charges.


Officials say 30-year-old Valerie Marie Desch was charged Monday with two counts of assaulting, resisting and obstructing a police officer for allegedly assaulting members of the both the Wexford County Sheriff’s Department and the Cadillac Police Department.


She is also being charged with one count of domestic violence for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend.


If convicted, Desch could face more than two years in jail and over $2,000 in fines




Out of state man accused of abusing a two-month old baby

A man in Wexford County is in jail after being accused of abusing a two month old baby.


State Police in Cadillac say they were called to Munson Healthcare on Sunday after hospital staff determined the baby’s injuries were severe and were the result of child abuse.  


Information from the mother and other persons living at her residence revealed that 25-year old Luis Alberto Fuentes, who had ties to Nevada and Florida, was watching the child when it was injured.


An Investigation into the actions of that man led to his arrest on 1st Degree Child Abuse Charges. 


Based on the investigation, the Wexford Prosecutor’s office brought charges of three counts of Felony 1st Degree Child Abuse, two counts of Felony Torture, 1 count of Felony 3rd Degree Child Abuse, and 1 count of Misdemeanor 4th Degree Child Abuse.


McBain man arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a minor

A McBain man is behind bars on sexual assault charges involving a minor.


State Police say 30-year old Rickie Lee Johns is charged with four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.


Troopers say the charges stems from an investigation that began in November 2015 involving a young girl under the age of 16. The charges involve several incidents that occurred between December 2013 and February 2015 in Wexford County. 


Further, investigators say Johns had been out on bond since May 2015 when he was arraigned on multiple counts of first and second degree criminal sexual conduct, child sexually abusive material, and prostitution with a different victim.


One person injured after three car accident in Big Rapids

One driver is recovering after a three car accident in Big Rapids.


The accident happened Monday at Perry Street and Division. Police say an 81-year old Big Rapids resident was turning left from eastbound Perry onto Division and failed to yield to a pickup truck driven by a 45-year old Big Rapids man heading westbound. The 81-year old driver then struck a car driven by a 19-year old Holland woman, who was stopped on Division waiting to turn westbound onto Perry Street.  


The 81-year old driver was ticketed for failing to yield the right of way. 


Two Big Rapids women accused of embezzlement from Walmart

Two women are now charged with embezzling from the Big Rapids Walmart store.


36-year old Collette Nichole Brown and 21-year old Barbra Dakala Watson are accused of discounting items or not scanning items for other co-workers, friends and ex-employees during incidents in October and December while working for the big box store.


Both women are charged with one count each of embezzlement of between $1,000 and $20,000. 


Puppy mill shut down in Oscoda County


More than 50 dogs are now receiving medical care at an emergency shelter after being rescued from a puppy mill in Oscoda County.


The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the dogs—ranging from English Bull Dogs to Schnauzers—were discovered living in small wire cages stacked in a crowded, filthy basement and in ramshackle outdoor pens.


Most dogs had no access to food or water, and responders on the scene found many of the dogs to be unsocialized and fearful when handled by humans.


The dogs were seized from the the facility in Mio Monday afternoon after warrants were served, and criminal charges are expected to follow.


Michigan is among a minority of states without any regulation of puppy mills.


The ASPCA is urging state lawmakers to pass H.4898, a bill that would require large-scale dog breeders to register with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and to follow guidelines that would help ensure the humane treatment of dogs.




One dead, another hospitalized following fire in Mason County


A man is dead and a woman in the hospital following an apartment fire in Ludington.


Officials say the blaze happened Monday night on North Rowe Street where crews found the man and woman lying in different parts of the apartment.


Both were taken to the hospital where Benjamin Wolff was pronounced dead.


The woman is listed in stable condition.




MDOT recruiting road watchers for when the weather turns wintry


Though winter is curiously absent so far, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is bringing back its "Road Watchers" program in the northern Lower Peninsula for when the snow returns.


For the third year, MDOT is recruiting "Road Watchers" in the northernmost 21 counties in Lower Michigan to participate in periodic surveys measuring winter highway conditions.


MDOT compiles the survey results to with the goal of improving winter maintenance practices and response time.


To volunteer, visit




Crews work to right derailed train in Clare County


Crews have their work cut out for them Tuesday after a train derailed in Clare County.


Officials say it happened on the Ann Arbor Trail Line in Clare Monday afternoon.


The Great Lakes Central Railroad train was working on switching when one car jumped the tracks.


Crews will bring in a crane lift the car up and put it back.




Big Rapids Public Schools Finance Director Nick Scheible to step down at end of year

Big Rapids Public Schools is looking for a new Finance Director for its district in 2016.


The news came during the Big Rapids School Board meeting Monday night.


Nick Scheible will hold the finance position with BRPS until the end of the year. Superintendent Tim Haist says Scheible is a true cardinal for his contributions to the district and will be greatly missed.


Last month, Scheible stepped down from his other position of Cardinal Athletic Director. Dawn Thompson took over as interim AD.


Haist hopes to have a new finance director at next month’s school board meeting. 


Consumers Energy to tests its siren systems in Mecosta & Newaygo Counties


Consumers Energy is reminding residents in Mecosta and Newaygo Counties that it will be testing its siren systems at its Rogers, Croton and Hardy hydroelectric generating plants on the Muskegon River Thursday.


The test will happen at 10am, it will include a voice message, a 30-second siren and a second voice message.


Utility officials say the public does not need to take any action during the tests.


The siren systems are tested each August and December.  


Nissan recalls 34K Rogues


Another recall is under way, this one involving Nissan.


The automaker is recalling nearly 34,000 2015 Rogues.


A defect caused by a faulty shift selector knob allows the car to move out of park -- even without your foot on the brake.


The defect affects Rogues manufactured from mid-February through mid-May 2015.


Nissan is contacting owners of the affected cars this month.




Parents can help kids deal with terrorism


The recent acts of terrorism in California and Paris may have occurred far from Michigan, but experts say they can be distressing for anyone, especially children.


Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Michigan State University Jeannette Scheid says recent events are an opportunity to discuss the differences between people while avoiding generalizations and stereotypes.


She adds parents should also check their own behavior.


"Children are watching their parents' reaction to events all the time. So, limiting access and being able to manage distress with reasonable honesty is probably going to be helpful," she says.


Scheid says it’s a good idea to shield kids from what she calls the "bombardment of news” from the media.




Despite warm weather, Great Lakes dangerously cold


In spite of the unseasonably warm temperatures so far this winter, the U.S. Coast Guard is reminding people that the Great Lakes are still dangerously cold.


Boating Safety Specialist Mike Baron says water temperatures in the Great Lakes continue to hover around 40 degrees and Great Lakes weather can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially during seasonal transitions.


He adds that cold water drains body heat up to 25 times faster than cold air, and he encourage boaters to always dress for the water temperature and not the air temperature.




Nineteen-year-old killed in drunk driving accident


A 19-year-old old man is dead following a two car crash in Chippewa County.


Michigan State Police say the crash happened Friday night in Sault Ste Marie.


One of two 19-year-olds in one of the vehicles died of his injuries while the driver of the other car, a 23-year-old woman, was arrested for drunk driving.


The identities of those involved are not being released at this time.




New law could protect cities from lawsuits


A new law aimed at shielding municipalities from lawsuits filed by people who trip and fall on sidewalks is making its way through the Michigan legislature.


Supporters say budget-strapped cities pay millions of dollars annually in settlements and should be able to use the same legal defense currently available to businesses.


Under the proposal, cities aren't liable unless someone proves the city knew or should have known about the defect at least 30 days before the injury and the unevenness in the walkway is at least 2 inches.


Critics say the bill effectively make cities entirely immune and removes the incentive to properly maintain sidewalks.




Man robs party store in Southwest Michigan, shoots clerk in the face


Police in Southwest Michigan are looking for a man who robbed a party store and shot the clerk in the face.


The robbery took place at Bottlenecks party store in Grand Rapids just before midnight on Saturday.


Police say the suspect entered the store, spoke with the clerk and then fired a gun, hitting the clerk in the cheek.


The suspect fled the scene with an undetermined amount of money.


The clerk is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries.


The suspect is described as a black man, 6 feet tall wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, quilted flannel shirt and black pants.


Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Grand Rapids Police Department.




NWS issues hazardous weather warning for Mecosta County and surrounding area


The National Weather Service is issuing a hazardous weather statement for the following counties:


Allegan, Barry, Clare, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, Ottowa, and Van Buren.


Dense fog will cover the area from Holland to Lansing north to Route 20 early tonight (Saturday) and the fog will expand north of Route 10 before midnight. Visibility will be near zero and times.


The fog is expected to lift by mid-morning on Sunday. However, wind gusts could top 40 mph on Monday with slick travel conditions on Friday due to lake effect snow showers.



Marijuana-laced brownies found in teacher's lounge


Teachers in a Southeastern Michigan school district are wary after someone apparently left marijuana-laced brownies in a teacher's lounge.


Huron Valley Schools Superintendent Jim Baker says a teacher went to the hospital after she started feeling sick last week.


Officials tested the brownies she had eaten and found pot in them.


The school district is working with law enforcement to figure out who brought the brownies to school.


District officials say they don't know whether they were put out intentionally or brought by mistake.


The district serves several Oakland County communities, including Highland Township.




Spectrum Health Big Rapids penalized for infections


Spectrum Health Big Rapids is being penalized along with 23 other hospitals in Michigan for having a high number of patient infections.


The health facilities are being disciplined by the Centers of Medicare and Medical Services for conditions including ulcers, bloodstream infections, surgical site infections and urinary-tract infections.


The hospitals will see their Medicare payments reduced by 1-percent in 2016.


The goal of the program is to hold hospitals accountable for hospital acquired infections and to shift hospitals into a thought process of giving higher quality and care performance, rather than higher volume of services.


Other area hospitals singled out include Mercy Health St. Mary's in Grand Rapids, Spectrum Health Butterworth in Grand Rapids, and MidMichigan Center in Clare.




Big Rapids landlord guilty of soliciting


A Big Rapids landlord is facing jail time and fines for soliciting a potential tenant for prostitution.


50-year-old Craig David Chapman was found guilty during a bench trial on Friday.


Chapman was charged with soliciting a 26-year-old woman while he showed her one of his rental units.


Accosting or soliciting prostitution is a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.




FSU student arrested on sexual assault charges

A 20-year old Ferris State University student is being accused of sex crimes during two separate incidents on campus.


Zachary Carl Douglas of Grand Rapids is accused of sexually assaulting another student during incidents in February and November, according to court documents,


Douglas has been charged with two counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct.


He faces up to 15 years in prison, if convicted.


DNR says Michigan man can't keep 92 pound Petoskey stone


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is confiscating a 92 pound Petoskey stone found in Lake Michigan.


Tim O'Brien of Copemish says he hunts Petoskey stones and was proud of his find back in September, but the DNR says people are not allowed to take more than 25 pounds of the stone per person per year on state managed land.


They say they're working to find a public place to display the stone for everyone to enjoy.




Michigan Rep. Potvin weighs in on Trump's stance on Muslims


Earlier this week, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump caused a storm of controversy by calling for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S.


Michigan State Representative for the 102nd district, Phil Potvin, believes the media is causing the controversy.


“The papers have taken this way out of context. He's looking at putting a hold, at the moment, on bringing in people indirectly, but not a ban,” he says.


Potvin likens Trump's proposal regarding Muslims to that of the policy taken by Governor Rick Snyder regarding Syrian immigration to Michigan. Snyder announced last week that that he would back off — at least temporarily — from an effort to relocate Syrian refugees in Michigan.


In a recent campaign stop, Trump said, “It is obvious to anybody the hatred [among Muslims] is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why, we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”


Fellow GOP presidential candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich, reacted by stating, “This is just more of the outrageous divisiveness that characterizes his every breath and another reason why he is entirely unsuited to lead the United States.”


Another GOP presidential candidate, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, issued a statement on Twitter saying Trump's stance on Muslims is inflammatory an could put the lives of U.S. Troops abroad in Muslim countries at risk, adding that Trump has “has gone from making absurd comments to being downright dangerous with his bombastic rhetoric.”


Potvin, however, says he agrees with Trump on at least one point in particular.


“We should be over [there] helping helping secure the safety in their own countries so they can stay at home,” he says.




Judge hears arguments in Keith Wood case


A case against a former pastor charged with jury tampering and obstruction of justice will move forward.


39-year old Keith Wood of Mecosta is accused of handing out pamphlets to people in front of the Mecosta County Courthouse Building which described juror rights that are typically not given by judges during jury instructions before a trial.


During Wood’s preliminary hearing, Judge Kim Booher heard arguments from Prosecutor Brian Thiede and Defense Attorney Dave Kullman regarding rules of discovery and whether or not the prosecutor should be made to take the stand during a possible trial.


Kullman says his client's case is a struggle of first amendment rights of free speech, he's entitled to do it whether the judge and prosecutor like it or not. 


Booher said she would write an opinion on both sides arguments before moving forward in the case.    


Female lawmakers hit 'glass ceiling' in state legislature


A government "of the people, by the people." New research says that portion of Abraham Lincoln's adage rings only somewhat true in Lansing.


A new series from the Pew Charitable Trusts' Stateline project examines the demographics of state legislatures.


When it comes to gender, Stateline editor Jeffrey Stinson says nationally, the percentage of female state lawmakers has increased from the 1970s, when it was just five percent. But it has stalled over the last decade.


"Women now only have about 25 percent – now that's far greater than it was 50 years ago. But it's plateaued even as the percent of women in population has grown. "


In Lansing, 21 percent of seats are held by women.


The Stateline research also found that nationally, one in three Democratic state legislators is a woman, but just one in five Republican state lawmakers is female.




Lawmakers consider paying teens less in Michigan


Teen workers in Michigan may soon be getting paid less.


Lawmakers in Lansing are considering a bill that would lower the minimum wage for 18 and 19 year old workers.


Michigan's minimum wage is $8.15, and it's going up to $8.50 in January.


Supporters of the bill say it would give small businesses incentives to hire the younger workers who often struggle to find a job.


But opponents say young adults deserve the regular minimum wage, and the bill is just another form of trickle-down economics which hasn't worked in the past.




GM recall due to fire hazard


A recall by GM is being hampered due to a parts shortage.


The automaker says they will replace some key engine parts to stop oil leaks that have caused over 1,000 fires, but the parts aren’t available yet.


The recall covers 1.4 million vehicles with 3.8-liter V6 engines made from 1997 through 2004 and includes the Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Intrigue, Pontiac Grand Prix and the Chevrolet Impala, Lumina and Monte Carlo.


General Motors is recommending owners of the recalled vehicles park their cars outside until the repairs can be made.




Roll-over accident in Mecosta County sends two minors to the hospital


Two people are recovering from injuries following a roll-over accident in Mecosta County.


Police say the accident occurred Wednesday afternoon on New Millpond near McKinley Road in Big Rapids Township.


A mechanical problem caused the 19-year-old driver from Morley to lose control and roll the vehicle.


Two minors who were also in the vehicle were taken to the hospital for their injuries.


The driver was unhurt.




Local police gear up for Mecosta Co. shop with a cop event

Local law enforcement is gearing up for this year’s “Shop with a Cop” event in Mecosta County.


This year’s event will take place on December 16th at the Walmart store in Big Rapids.


The event pair’s 16 kids in Mecosta County with a police officer who in turn helps them pick out Christmas gifts for their family members and themselves.   


Sheriff Todd Purcell believes it’s important for his deputies to take part as a way to give back to the local community and to help those in need.


Osceola County will also have a “Shop with a Cop” event this Saturday at the Big Rapids Meijer.


Crime stats for Grand Traverse County coming to the web


Information on criminal activity in Grand Traverse County is now available to the public on the web.


The Traverse City Police Department and Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office are now using which Captain James Bussell says gives visitors and residents a direct connection to local law enforcement.


Only class one felonies are listed, including assaults, vandalism, fraud, burglaries, drugs and weapons violations.


It also has the date, time, type of incident, and where it happened, which Captain Bussell says is helpful information for the community.


The site will go live next week.




Board approves new street light due to increased traffic and fatal accident


The Green Charter Township Board of Trustees say an increase in traffic at the intersection of Ash Drive and 20 Mile Road warrants a new street light.


They say the traffic increase is being caused by the closure of the Baldwin Street Bridge in Big Rapids and contributed to the death of 30-year-old Jason Bull, who died on Nov. 16, after losing control of his vehicle on the curve heading north on Ash Drive.


Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday in support of adding a street light at the intersection.


The cost and installation date has not yet been determined.




Felonious assault in Clare County


A Farwell man is under arrest after threatening people with a knife.


The Clare County Sheriff's Office say 24-year-old Daniel Faust was threatening people with the knife outside of DJ's Lounge in Surrey Township this weekend.


Faust had been in an altercation with another person and then threatened others at the scene with the weapon.


He's being charged with felonious assault and is currently out on bond.




DNA evidence leads to the arrest of a Mesick man for home invasion

Investigators in Wexford County say DNA evidence found at the scene of a burglary case almost a year ago, has led to an arrest. 


State Police say they arrested a 25-year old Aaron Jacob Kendall of Mesick after a DNA sample was found at the scene of a Springville Twp. home invasion in January of 2015. Police say they sent the sample to a forensics lab in Grayling where it matched Kendall's after it went through a DNA database for convicted and arrested felony offenders.


He has been charged with 3rd degree felony home invasion and one count of malicious destruction of property.    


Spectrum Health's Road to recovery program offers free transportation to its cancer patients

Osceola County’s Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center along with the American Cancer Society is making it easier for patients to get to and from cancer treatments.


As part of Spectrum’s “Road to Recovery” Program, hospital officials say a handicap-accessible van is now available for patients in Lake, Manistee, Mason and Oceana counties to receive free transportation to Reed City for cancer treatment at the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center.


“We saw a huge need for transportation services within the communities we serve,” said Irene Balowski, director of the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center. “Not having a car or a ride to get to and from vital, life-saving treatment is an unnecessary stressor for our patients, when they need all of their energy to heal. The Road to Recovery program is a way for us to meet our patients’ needs.”


The Road to Recovery program is also available for cancer patients in other areas, utilizing volunteer vehicles.


Murder suspect on the loose in Southwestern Michigan


A murder suspect is being sought by police in Southwestern Michigan.


The Holland Department of Public Safety says the suspect shot and killed two people at an apartment building in the 300 block of Stratford Way.


Police say the victims, a 37-year-old woman who lived at the residence and 40-year-old man, were both trying to flee the ground-floor apartment when they were shot.


Their names have not yet been released.


The suspect is described as a 5-foot-4, heavy-set Asian man with a dark complexion and short, black hair. Police say his car may be a silver or gold four-door Lexus or Honda.


The suspect is believed to be armed.




Police on the lookout for Northern Michigan hit-and-run driver


Police in Northern Michigan are looking for a hit-and-run driver.


The Alpena Police Department says the driver of a dark colored Ford Taurus was traveling North East on Ninth Ave when it hit a parked trailer and truck, causing major damage this weekend.


They say the car will have extensive front end wreckage.


Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Alpena Police.




Wanted man busted for meth in Clare County


A Clare County man is facing charges for possession of methamphetamine.


Police say 32-year-old Kenneth Husted was arrested this weekend while walking out of a downtown Harrison convenience store.


Deputies say they knew Husted had pending warrants out for his arrest and found the drugs on him when he was taken into custody.


He is currently behind bars at the Clare County Jail with a bond set at $75,000.




Sanitation rates to go up in Big Rapids

Big Rapids residents will soon have to pay .11 cents more to process their curbside recyclables.


The Big Rapids City Commission voted unanimously to hike residential sanitation rates from its current rate of $2.76 per cart to $2.87 per cart starting in the next 20 days.


The increase is due to a $10.00 per ton surcharge Kent County is implementing to process recyclables.


Mayor Mark Warba believes the increase is modest for residents in the city especially if you take into consideration taking business elsewhere and bigger costs like fuel associated with that. 


Commercial customers will be $10.51 per cart.  


Big Rapids man arrested on burglary charges

A Big Rapids man with an extensive criminal history in Florida is now behind bars in Mecosta County on home invasion charges.


25-year old Dontee Christopher Ingraham was arraigned on a pair of charges of Home Invasion. The charges are connected to incidents that occurred during the Thanksgiving holiday.


Investigators say a search warrant was executed at Ingraham’s home that resulted in thousands of dollars in stolen items recovered.


His bond is set at $75,000. 


24-year old man killed in Montcalm Co. car crash

Police in Montcalm County are investigating a fatal car accident that occurred over the weekend.


It happened on W County Farm Rd near S Holland Rd. in Sidney Twp. That‘s where deputies say they found a 2002 Ford F150 pickup truck that had collided with a tree on the north side of the roadway.


The pickup was driven by 24-year old Michael Hansen, of the Stanton area. Hansen was pronounced dead at the scene. The Stanton man was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident and the vehicle’s airbags had deployed.


The accident remains under investigation. Alcohol is suspected and may have been a factor in the crash.    


Michigan State Police searching for suspect in counterfeit car sale


Michigan State Police are searching for a man who bought a car with counterfeit money in Southwest Michigan.


The bogus purchase happened in White Pigeon Township where police say the man bought a black four-door 2003 Saab Vector using fake $20 and $100 bills.


The suspect is described as a 6-foot black male in his mid-20s. He had a goatee and went by the name “Bo.”


He is believed to have driven to Michigan from the Chicago area to buy the car, which had been advertised on Craigslist. A woman was with him.


Anyone with information about the suspects or whereabouts of the stolen car are asked to call the Michigan State Police Marshall Post at 269.558.0500.




Seven-year-old killed in murder-suicide in Southeast Michigan


A 7-year-old girl is dead in what Police are calling a murder-suicide in Southeast Michigan.


The girl, Emma Nowling, and her 37-year-old mother, Sharon Watson, were both gunned down by 57-year-old Tim Obeshaw outside a sports complex in Taylor.


Police say Obeshaw then killed himself. Obeshaw was described as a family friend but was mentally unstable.


Watson is currently listed in serious condition at a local hospital.




Rodney man injured after hitting tree with vehicle

A Rodney man is recovering after hitting a tree with his vehicle this morning in Mecosta County. 


It happened on 16 Mile Rd. and 135th Ave. Deputies say an investigation revealed that the driver, a 34-year old Rodney man, failed to stop at a stop sign and lost control and struck a tree.


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


Cabin fire in Grand Traverse County leaves one dead


A man living in a cabin in Grand Traverse County is dead following a fire.


Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department spokesperson Kyle Clute says crews got the call that the cabin at Mac's Landing in Acme Township was engulfed in flames early Sunday morning.


The body of a man in his 40's was found inside the cabin once the fire was extinguished.


Firefighters say the cabin is a total loss and investigations on the man's death and the cause of the fire continue.




Study says renewable energy sources feasible and beneficial for Michigan


Global leaders in Paris are hammering out the details of a pact to reduce emissions spurring climate change, and here at home new research highlights the feasibility of a transition to 100 percent renewable energy in Michigan and other states.


Stanford engineering professor Mark Jacobson explains that it's technically and economically possible for every state and 139 countries to switch to 100-percent wind, water and solar energy by 2050.


"Most people aren't aware that it's possible. There's very little downside. It's technically feasible. We can do it at low cost. The main barriers are social and political."


The analysis found the transition would save money and add about 147 thousand jobs in Michigan in construction and operation by mid-century.


Critics of renewables argue they would raise the price of electricity, but Jacobson says that's only true if you ignore the negative health impacts of air pollution.


"We are all paying higher taxes, higher insurance rates, higher workmen;s compensation rates, because of coal, oil and gas air-pollution health problems – asthma, cardio-vascular disease, respiratory illness."


And Jacobson argues there is too much at stake to not make a transition, including threats to national security.


"We'd see international conflicts growing because we still have fights over fuels that are overseas, whereas we could have just transitioned to local fuels. And we'd have a higher terrorism risk because we still have centralized facilities where we'd have fewer with wind, water, solar.” he says.




Wexford County man dead after one car accident


A Wexford County man is dead following a one car accident.


The Wexford County Sheriff's Office says Ronald Haught of Slagle Township ran his vehicle off the road where it went airborne before crashing into a fence on Friday.


Haught was the lone occupant of the vehicle and was taken to the hospital where he later died.


The accident remains under investigation.



Evart man's child abuse case heads to circuit court

The case against a 20-year old Evart man accused of child abuse is now heading to circuit court in Osceola County.


State Police say Marc Steven Hartnett is accused of critically injuring a 19-month old child during an incident back in September while the child’s mother was away.


The 19-month old boy was taken to DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids where he recovered.


Harnett has been charged with first degree child abuse, one count of assault with intent to murder and one count of torture. No trial date has been set. 


Spectrum Health Big Rapids & Reed City Hospitals receive top honors

Two area hospitals are receiving high honors by an organization that evaluates hospital safety and quality performance in the U.S.


Both Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals were recognized by the Leapfrog Group.


“At Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals, it’s important to us that patients receive the highest quality of care in the safest manner,” said Mary Kay VanDriel, president of Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals. “It’s an honor to be recognized by The Leapfrog Group for the high standards we set for ourselves.”


Reed City Hospital earned the 2015 Leapfrog Top Rural Hospital award.


“Leapfrog’s Top Hospital award is widely acknowledged as one of the most prestigious distinctions any hospital can achieve in the United States. By achieving Top Hospital status, Reed City Hospital has proven it prioritizes the safety of its patients,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group.


Meanwhile Big Rapids Hospital, earned an “A” on the Fall 2015 Hospital Safety Score.


“Big Rapids Hospital’s “A” grade is a powerful reminder of its commitment to putting patient safety above all else,” Binder said. “We are pleased to recognize the persistent efforts of clinicians and staff to protect patients.”



Security upgrades planned for Mecosta Co. Courthouse building

The Mecosta County Courthouse building is getting a big security upgrade starting Jan. 1st.  


County officials say there will be a new video surveillance system installed as well as a metal detector at the front entrance of the court.


Sheriff Todd Purcell says in the past they would have mobile metal detectors installed for high profile trials and currently use hand-held devices for trials. This year, the Sheriff says the new judges wanted the new security upgrades and now is the time to install them.  


Purcell added with the new metal detector, two officers will also be checking bags, purses and other items before entering the building, so residents should plan accordingly. 


Mecosta County Commission on Aging goes bowling for dollars


On Saturday, December 5, 2015, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, the Mecosta County Commission on Aging is holding their 12 annual Bowl-A-Thon at the Remus Bowling Center in Remus.


Correct, 12 years we've been doing the Bowl-A-Thon,” says Commission volunteer Cil Nicholson.


The Bowl-A-Thon is held to raise funds that reimburse volunteer drivers. Nicholson notes it's a dedicated group.


We have 20 volunteers, a lot of them that are seniors themselves. Using their own vehicles they transport senior citizens that cannot drive to medical appointments. The Medical Transportation Department has 261 seniors that they transport. And, just last year, these 20 volunteers, using their own vehicles, drove 67,341 miles.”


The Bowl-A-Thon's goal this year is to raise $10,000 to help pay for the volunteer driver's gasoline. And, even with the recent drop in gas prices, Nicholson says the volunteers often make some long trips that use a lot of fuel.


Some of these seniors are veterans and so they'll take them as far as Saginaw, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids to the VA hospitals.”


Nicholson says the Commission is hoping for a good turnout at the Remus Bowling Center and, for those who don't bowl, carnival style games, a live auction, and a number of raffles are being held. Everyone is welcome and she knows the residents of Mecosta County won't disappoint them.


We are so grateful for everything that the community has done for us. The businesses, the individuals, the volunteers. I can't say enough about Mecosta County and I know the staff at the Commission on Aging feels the same way. They're just awesome, they just give so much,” she says.




Police search for suspect in Mt. Pleasant retail fraud case

The Clare County Sheriff's Office is still trying to identify one of three people they say stole a number of items from Jay's Sporting Goods in Clare.


Police released surveillance photos of the trio and, with help from the public, have been able to identify two of the individuals.

They have identified the woman and the man in the black shirt, but not the man in the tan shirt.


If you have any information about these people in the photos or the theft, contact the Clare County Sheriff's Office.




Mecosta Co. resident Ormand Hook announces candidacy for 102nd State House seat

There is a new name running on the republican ticket for the 102nd District State House seat in 2016.


Mecosta County resident Ormand Hook announced his candidacy Thursday.


Phil Potvin of Cadillac currently holds the position but is term limited.


Hook currently works as a school psychologist with the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District. During his campaign for the 102nd District seat, Hook wants to focus on issues like the economy, education.


Manton Mayor Michelle Hoitenga is also running for the state house seat in 2016.  


If you want more information, visit his website at 


Mecosta Co. Commissioners approve 2016 budget

With commissioner approval, Mecosta County goes into 2016 with balanced budget.  


The county board of commission approved its over $7.8 million dollar budget Thursday during its meeting.


Commissioner Marilynn Vargo says everyone from commissioners to department heads were all on the same page, which made for a very smooth budget process.


Administrator Paul Bullock echoed Vargo’s sentiments saying there were no hiccups in the process and he’s happy everything went well.   


Isabella Co. Sheriff resigns


The Isabella County Sheriff is deciding to call it a career with the department to take on a new challenge. 


Leo Mioduszewski will be the new Chief of Police at Saginaw Valley State University beginning Dec. 18th. 


Mioduszewski has been with the Sheriff's office for 31 years and 11 as Sheriff.


Isabella County Prosecutor Risa Hunt-Scully, along with Judge William Ervin and County Clerk Minde Lux will appoint an interim sheriff to fill the position until Dec. 31 of 2016.


The seat is open for election in November, and a newly-elected sheriff would begin his or her term in January of 2017.



MADD honors those killed or injured by drunk drivers


While the holidays are generally a time of great joy, celebrating the season can be difficult for the victims and survivors of drunk driving crashes.


On Thursday, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Michigan is honoring lives lost by impaired driving with a National Day of Remembrance.


Tyler MacEachran with MADD in Michigan says an alarming number of lives are impacted by drunk driving during the holiday season.


"That just really increases the risk that people are going to consume the alcohol and then not make a safe decision. It’s definitely the most intense period of the year with the most drunk driving crashes, the most fatalities and the most injuries resulting from it."


He notes that in Michigan, 255 people were killed and over 46-hundred injured in alcohol-related car crashes in 2013.




Police search for suspects with stolen credit card in Northern Michigan


A man and a woman believed to be using a stolen credit card in Northern Michigan are being sought by police.


Officials say the pair were last seen at Grumpy's Market in Leelanau County this weekend.


Deputies say the woman is described to be in her 60's, traveling with a man with a hunting-type dog with white fur.


They are believed to be traveling in a burgundy SUV with a small utility trailer.


Anyone with information about the two are asked to call the Leelanau County Sheriff's Office.




FedEx warns of Christmas package thieves


The holidays seem to bring out the good and the bad in people. And, as more people do their Christmas shopping online, a recent report reminds us that 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their homes before they could open them.


FedEx spokesperson Tim Miller says they expect to ship a record 317 million packages this season.


He says sending gifts to your workplace, making people sign for a package when delivered, or even downloading a new app FedEx recommends called the Slice app, are just a few ways to stop package thieves this Christmas season.




New food safety rules being finalized


The Food and Drug Administration is putting new food safety rules in place.


The FDA is finalizing rules for three basic categories of groceries – produce, imports and processed foods.


Sandra Eskin with The Pew Charitable Trusts says it's an important step.


"We have a safe food supply in this country, but it can be safer. And it’s made safer by rules like these that are going to make the people who grow and import the food responsible for the safety of it."


Eskin says many of the rules will be enforceable – rather than voluntary – for the first time.


And, she says, under the new rules foods will be guaranteed to have minimal contamination.




Cadillac business target of repeated break-ins


One Cadillac business seems to be attractive to thieves.


Cadillac City Police say Up North Specialty Meats was broken into twice, once late last month, and then again this weekend.


Both times the thieves got into the building by smashing a window.


Other local business owners say they're nervous and are making sure their doors are locked and valuables, such as cash boxes, are hidden after hours.




New meth activity in Northwestern Michigan


More meth activity in Northwestern Michigan, this time in Mason County.


Police say 18-year-old Jordan Stein and 24-year-old Donald Pickel-Simer are pleading guilty to charges of possession of methamphetamine.


The felony charges carry a 10 year prison sentence.




17-year old girl dies in Newaygo Co. car accident

A 17-year old Norton Shores girl is dead following a car accident in Newago Co. this morning. 


State Police say it happened on 13 Mile Rd. near N. Beech Ave. in Barton Township, that's where it was determined a passenger vehicle lost control on slippery roads and went into the oncoming lane and was struck by a pickup truck.


The driver of the passenger car, a 17-year old girl, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the pickup truck sustained minor injuries.


The crash is still under investigation.  


High-speed chase in Wexford County ends in one arrest, drunk driving suspected


A driver in Wexford County is in trouble with the law after leading police on a high-speed chase.


The Wexford County Sheriff's Department says deputies spotted Romel Fajardo driving over 100 miles per hour near Mesick.


When deputies tried to pull Fajardo over, he attempted to loose them by going down a gravel road where he lost control and crashed.


Police say alcohol is suspected as a factor in the incident.




Man arrested for handing out pamphlets in front of Mecosta Co. building

The Mecosta County Prosecutor is now issuing a statement regarding a former Colorado pastor who was arrested for handing out pamphlets to people entering and exiting the Mecosta County Courthouse building, which describe juror rights that are typically not given by judges during jury instructions before a trial.


39-year old Keith Wood of Mecosta has been charged with jury tampering and obstruction of justice. Both charges carry a maximum sentence of 6 years in jail, if convicted.


The office of Mecosta County Prosecutor Brian Thiede issued the following statement about the case: 


In order to protect a criminal defendants' right to a fair trial, the prosecutor's right to speak freely is curtailed. The most that any representative of this office would be able to share is contained in the public record. It appears all of that information has been already acquired by the media. Thank you for your understanding and respecting our ethical duties.


The charges against this individual are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. 


Wood is expected to be back in court Dec. 8th for a preliminary examination. 


UPDATE: Big Rapids man charged with high speed chase

A Big Rapids man is now arraigned on charges after taking police on a high speed chase Friday in Mecosta County. 


28-year old Michael Hallock is charged with third-degree fleeing and alluding police and habitual offender third offense. 

Police in Big Rapids say Hallock reached speeds of more than 110 miles per hour.

They stopped him at 175th and 21 Mile Road in Mecosta County.

His bond was set at $100,000.        


Big Rapids DPS Fire Chief offers up some fire safety tips for the holidays

In the next few days, several Christmas trees, lights, candles and other decorations will be put up both inside and outside of homes in Mecosta County. However, all those Christmas lights and a dry Christmas tree could be a recipe for disaster. 


Big Rapids DPS Fire Chief  Steve Schroeder says residents need to be mindful of watering their Christmas tree daily because if their tree is dry the Christmas lights on it can cause a rapid fire.


He also adds that residents should not put lit candles near decorations because that also makes for a fire hazard.   




Irons man injured in rollover accident in Mecosta Co.

An Irons man is recovering after being involved in a rollover accident on US-131 in Mecosta County.


The accident happened on southbound US-131 near Jefferson Rd. in Aetna Twp., police say that’s where a 2000 Ford Taurus driven by a 29-year old man, lost control and struck the side of a semi-truck.  The vehicle then went down into the median and rolled over.  


The Irons man was taken to the Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.  


The 29-year old driver did not have a valid license and is facing charges for operating without a valid license.


Police searching for West Michigan bank robber


A bank robber in West Michigan is the subject of a man hunt by police.


Authorities say the robbery occurred at a Flagstar Bank on the southeast side of Grand Rapids Monday morning.


Police say the suspect, a man between 40 and 50 years old, walked in the front door and sat down with an employee, implying he was armed and demanded money.


After receiving the money, he left through the front door.


He's described as a black male, around 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall with a medium build.


He was wearing a dark Detroit Tigers hat, glasses, green pants and a black jacket.


No one was hurt in the robbery.




Remains of man missing for two years found in Upper Peninsula


A grisly discovery by hunters in the Upper Peninsula is being identified as the body of man who has not been seen for two years.


Police say dental records show the remains are that of 40-year-old Victor Salvo who relatives say lived a transient lifestyle and wasn't reported as a missing person.


Foul play is not suspected in his death. Salo may have been camping near the site in Alger County's Munising Township.


Police said the remains were discovered on Oct. 30.




Man arrested after pulling gun in Isabella County road rage incident


A Greenville man is in jail in connection with a road rage incident in Isabella County on Monday.


The suspect vehicle was blocking the Farwell man from passing on US-127, so he flashed his headlights at the suspect vehicle.


As he was passing, the 58-year-old suspect pointed a .40 cal handgun at him.


The Farwell man reported the incident to police.


The suspect was later arrested during traffic stop in Clare County.


The suspect was carrying the handgun legally, but is being charged with Felonious Assault.




Harrison man hospitalized following car-pedistrian accident

A 35-year-old pedestrian is in the hospital after being hit by a car in Clare County.


Police say Jonathan Rauch of Harrison was crossing the road at Main and First streets when he was hit by 70-year-old Barbra Brow of Harrison.


Brow says she did not see Rauch in the road as she was turning onto Main Street.


Rauch was transported to Mid-Michigan Medical Center in Clare for treatment of his injuries.


Deputies say Brow was cited for careless driving.




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