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Big Rapids Daily News
News That Affects You Archives for 2016-02

Big Rapids City Manager set to retire at end of contract

 

Big Rapids City Manager Steve Sobers says he will retire at the end of his contract in December.

 

Sobers made the announcement during a commission retreat at City Hall.

 

He also recommended Public Works Director Mark Gifford as his successor, when he retires. Gifford told commissioners he loves the city and would love to be considered a candidate.

 

Even though sobers' contract expires at the end of December he told the commission he would stay on until the end of January. 

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Eight people arrested in Big Rapids area on drug and gun charges

 

Eight people are in custody at the Mecosta County jail after members of the Central Michigan Enforcement Team served arrest warrants in and around Big Rapids and Ferris State University.

 

Officials say the arrests are on charges that include delivery of marijuana, delivery of ecstasy, and delivery of butane oil and gun offenses. CMET officials also confiscated additional ecstasy and just under $6,000.

 

All suspects names are being withheld pending arraignments. 

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Environmental groups slam Snyder's stance on Clean Power

 

Activists will take to the steps of Michigan's Capitol on Monday to show their outrage over Governor Rick Snyder’s stance on the Clean Power Plan.

 

After initially showing strong support for the regulations to reduce carbon pollution, the governor reversed his position when the Supreme Court stayed the Plan pending an appeals court ruling.

 

Michigan United spokesperson Dorothea Thomas explains energy production in Michigan is hazardous.

 

"Some of our members will have gas masks and face masks on to resemble the fact that if we don't act now, just like the water that has been poisoned in Flint, our air will be continuously poisoned."

 

Thomas says the groups also will give Snyder a letter demanding environmental justice be put first.

 

She adds that cleaner sources of energy will provide opportunities to improve health, jobs, and the economy.

 

 

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Cultural diversity a core value at FSU

 

Ferris State University announced its latest in a series of Diversity Plans late last year, drawing praise from around the world, most recently from Hindu statesman Rajan Zed for plans to develop dedicated prayer spaces on campus.

 

FSU Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Dr. David Pilgrim says those plans are not limited to Hindus.

 

The university is committed to designating prayer spaces for any number of groups. We have a growing Muslim population on our campus, but we also have Jews on our campus, we have other people that could benefit from having multiple spaces where there could be prayer and meditation,” he says.

 

Pilgrim notes that those plans are not meant to promote any type of religion, but to make the diverse religious backgrounds of FSU students and staff a part of the school's welcoming atmosphere.

 

We want to be a campus where every student, every staff member, feels that the campus belongs to them as much as it belongs to anyone else.”

 

Ferris State University has more than 14,000 students, and more than 20 percent of the student population is non-white, many coming from other states and other countries.

 

FSU founder Woodbridge N. Ferris created an institution that he wanted to be welcoming, going so far as to bring African-American students from the south in the early 1900's to complete their education at FSU. The Diversity Plan is meant to continue that work says Pilgrim.

 

The way things are in this world, you have to be intentional about those efforts. So, if you want to make sure, for example, that students from other nations feel comfortable, that requires work – that requires planning.”

 

And, cultural diversity isn't limited to just religious affiliation. Pilgrim points out a recent Diversity Audit at FSU found there are many people that don't quite feel comfortable at the university.

 

In that audit we discovered that people with disabilities, people of color, people with different sexual orientations – there were several populations that did not feel or believe that they were as welcome here as we would like them to be,” he says.

 

He also acknowledges that there are people who are less than tolerant of those they consider different from themselves.

 

Those people have the right to see the world that way. That's not the way we function here at Ferris. Diversity is one of our core values, being an ethical community is one of our core values. We believe that we are at our best when we, at this institution, create an environment where people feel welcome.”

 

 

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Fmr. Marion Fair Board Treasurer arrested for embezzlement

 

An investigation by police of the Marion Fair Board over missing money has led to the arrested of a former board treasurer for embezzlement.

 

43-year old Rebecca Jeanne Johnson of Marion, is charged with one count of embezzlement by an agent or trustee of more than $20,000, but less than $50,000. 

 

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Department started investigating the Marion Fair Board in September, after exhibitors from the July fair reported they had still not received their money from the sale of livestock. Shortly into the investigation, Johnson and the board president resigned from their positions on the board. 

 

In October, the Marion Fair Board was able to pay the $37,541.00 owed to 39 kids awaiting their checks.

 

Johnson faces up to ten years in jail, if convicted. 

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UPDATE: Body found in Muskegon River near Evart identified

UPDATE:

 

The deceased person located in the Muskegon River near Evart on February 26th, has been positively identified as Donald Tiegen, 60 years old, from Evart.

 

Tiegen has been missing since November 29, 2015.

 

The manner of death is still under investigation pending the results of an autopsy.

 

The incident is being investigated as accidental in nature.

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

Police have recovered the body of an unidentified male. An autopsy will be performed to confirm identity and cause of death. 

 

According to reports, a body has been discovered in the Muskegon River in Evart today. Police say the body was found by a bridge near South Main and Eleventh streets in Evart.

 

We will have more information on this story when it's available. 

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Two people hospitalized following rollover in Mecosta County

 

Icy roads are being blamed for a rollover accident in Mecosta County that put two people in the hospital.

 

Mecosta County Sheriff's Deputies say the accident happened on Pierce Road near 110th Avenue in Morton Township at around 6 o'clock Thursday night.

 

A 25-year-old woman from Wayland hit a patch of ice, lost control, and rolled her car.

 

She was treated at the scene for minor injuries while two backseat passengers were taken to Spectrum Big Rapids for non-life threatening injuries.

 

 

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School closings for February 26, 2016

 

The following schools are closed for Friday, February 26, 2016.

 

  • LAKEVIEW COMMUNITY

  • TRICOUNY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

 

Check back often as more school closing may become available.

 

 

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Osceola Co. Woman accused of stealing Christmas presents arraigned

A Reed City woman accused of stealing Christmas presents from a car is now facing charges. 

 

Detective Casey Nemeth says 36-year old Sarah Haslam was arraigned on three counts of larceny from a vehicle from incidents that stem from back in December in Mecosta Co. 

 

The charges stem after video surveillance showed Haslam stealing multiple bags of Christmas toys out of a vehicle on Dec. 18th.

Haslam's second count of Larceny from a Vehicle stems from her being identified on surveillance video at Big Rapids Tow stealing cash from a vehicle on Dec.15th.

 

Haslam's third count of larceny stems from her being charged for stealing from vehicles parked at a Church on the west side of Big Rapids which was investigated by the Michigan State Police.

 

Haslam posted a $5000 surety bond and was released from jail.  She has a schedule pre-trial court date of March 23rd.


 

 

 

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Spectrum Health Big Rapids Home Care rating exceeds state, national average

 

Spectrum Health Big Rapids Home Care is being awarded a 4.5-star Quality of Patient Care Star Rating by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

 

The ranking is one of the highest among all other home care agencies in the area.

 

Deb Sella, administrator of Spectrum Health Big Rapids Home Care said they are very excited to receive such a high rating. “It’s all because our staff provides personal care to each of our patients. Each patient is important to us, and that shows in our rating.” Sella Said.

 

The highest ranking is 5 stars. A 4 or 5-star rating means that the agency performed better than other agencies on the nine measured practices and outcomes. The national average is 3 stars, and the average for the state of Michigan is 3.5 stars.

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Lawmaker wants citizens to oversee air and water quality in Michigan

 

Given the water crisis in Flint and air quality troubles in Detroit, some state leaders want to ensure the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is working for the people.

 

On Wednesday, Representative Stephanie Chang announced a package of bills to bring back citizen oversight commissions for air and water quality. Chang says citizens feel their voices are not being heard.

 

"Residents feel like they’re going to hearing after hearing and not getting the results that they need and that it’s just a process of rubber stamping and not really focused on environmental protection. "

 

Despite worries from critics that it would limit citizen oversight, the commissions were eliminated in 1991 by Republican Governor John Engler.

 

 

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Two car accident puts Stanwood man in the hospital

 

A man from Stanwood is recovering following a two car accident in Mecosta County.

 

The Mecosta County Sheriff's office says the 25-year-old was struck at around eight o'clock Wednesday evening when a 24-year-old man from Langsburg was traveling southbound on 120th Avenue and was unable to maneuver the curve at 11 Mile Road.

 

The Stanwood man was taken to Spectrum Big Rapids for non-life threatening injuries.

 

 

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UPDATE: School closings and delays for Thursday, February 25, 2016

 

The following schools are closed for Thursday, February 25, 2016.

 

  • BALDWIN COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

  • BARRYTON HEAD START

  • BIG JACKSON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #1

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #2

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #3

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #4

  • BIG RAPIDS PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • CADILLAC CHRISTIAN HERITAGE

  • CADILLAC PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • CHIPPEWA HILLS SCHOOL DISTRICT

  • CROSS ROADS CHARTER ACADEMY

  • DAYSTAR CHRISTIAN ACADEMY IN EVART

  • EVART HEAD START

  • EVART PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • LAKEVIEW COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

  • MECOSTA-OSCEOLA ISD

  • MECOSTA-REMUS HEAD START

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD HEAD START

  • PINE RIVER AREA SCHOOLS

  • REED CITY HEAD START

  • REED CITY PRESCHOOL

  • REED CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • ST. ANN SCHOOL IN CADILLAC

  • ST. MARY CATHOLIC IN BIG RAPIDS

  • ST. MICHAEL CATHOLIC IN REMUS

  • ST. PETER'S LUTHERAN IN BIG RAPIDS

  • TRI COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • TRINITY LUTHERAN IN REED CITY

 

Check back for more school closings and delays as they become available.

 

 

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Ferris State University Police continues investigation of campus assault; offers students tips to stay safe at night

 

With a recent assault on campus of a female Ferris State student, university police want students to take precautions to stay safe and be on high alert.

 

Ferris DPS Director Bruce Borkovich says when walking at night, students should stay in groups and carry a cell phone. Students can also request an escort by DPS student foot patrollers, if they are available.

 

Borkovich says the investigation into the assault is ongoing and is asking anyone with information to come forward. He also would like talk to and thank the two witnesses who were in the area at the time and told the suspect to let the victim go.

 

Any person with information regarding this assault is asked to call DPS dispatch at (231) 591-5000. 

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Pressure mounting to shut down Enbridge pipeline

 

Calls are intensifying in Michigan to shut down an aging Great Lakes oil pipeline.

 

On Tuesday, citizen, business and environmental groups delivered over 8,000 letters to the governor and attorney general demanding immediate action on Enbridge’s Line 5 through the Straits of Mackinac.

 

Food and Water Watch’s Lynna Kaucheck explains there are concerns the line could rupture, considering it is over 63 years old, yet built to last just 50 years. She maintains it's a roll of the dice to keep it open.

 

"It’s running through 20 percent of the world’s fresh available surface water so it’s a tremendous responsibility that comes with protecting that resource and even a pinhole leak in the pipeline could be devastating,” she says.

 

Enbridge was the operator of the pipeline involved in the 2010 Kalamazoo River disaster, the largest inland oil spill in American history. And Sean McBrearty with Clean Water Action in Lansing says given the company's track record there are a fears of a repeat with Line 5.

 

"When Line 6B first broke in Kalamazoo, these were the people saying that we had five thousand gallons of oil that we were dealing with when it really wound up being closer to a million. So the fact that their own numbers are 1.5 million gallons being spilled into the Straits of Mackinac are cause for concern."

 

More than 20 communities have passed resolutions asking the governor to use his authority to shut down Line 5 or calling for other action to prevent an oil spill. Kaucheck believes the water crisis in Flint is opening people's eyes to the importance of clean water.

 

"We are seeing a change in tone around infrastructure, specifically aging infrastructure in Michigan and what sort of risk that may pose to the environment and to people and human health,” he says.

 

Line 5 carries about 540 thousand barrels of crude oil and natural gas liquids a day, with about 30 percent of the oil staying in Michigan. The owner, Canada-based Enbridge, contends the line has operated safely since day one, and says there are procedures in place to maintain safety.

 

 

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Pine River Schools want $5.8M for improvements

 

Voters in the Pine River Area School District are being asked to support a $5.8 million bond proposal in May.

 

Superintendent Matthew Lukshaitis says the money would be used to improve facilities and amenities for students.

 

If approved, fixing school roofs and replacing aging boilers are top on the list of things to be addressed.

 

The proposal will be on the May 3 ballot.

 

 

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Female Ferris State student grabbed while walking on campus

 

Ferris State University police are asking students to be on high alert after a female student was grabbed by an unknown man while walking on campus last night.
 
The incident happened around 7pm in the area of State and South Streets.
 
FSU Public Safety officials say the female student was approached by a white male in his early 20's around 6'2 tall and wearing a black hoodie and sweatpants.
 
Several other people were in the area and told him to let the female go. He released the female. The female student is unharmed and safe. The suspect is unknown and not in police custody.
 
The Ferris State University Department of Public Safety has asked that any person with information regarding this assault call DPS dispatch at (231) 591-5000. Ferris DPS would like to talk with the witnesses of this incident. Information can also be forwarded using the text system: BulldogsTextTip@ferris.edu. The DPS Campus Crime Hotline can also be called at (231) 591-5900.

 
 

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UPDATE: Mecosta County Sheriff searching for suspect in Remus

 

UPDATE: The female in the picture has been identified, according to deputies at the Mecosta Co. Sheriff's Office. The investigation is ongoing. 

 

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The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office is looking for a person of interest suspected of retail fraud at Fates Grocery store in Remus.

 

Anyone with information is urged to contact Deputy Chad Thompson at 231-592-0150.

 

Fates is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

 

 

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Mecosta Co. Road Commission implementing weight restrictions Wednesday

 

Weight restrictions will be implemented on all Mecosta County roads beginning at 6am Wednesday, Feb. 24th. 

 

The restrictions, which are set to protect Mecosta County roads from cracking and other damage, affect certain semi-trucks and even some trucks hauling farm equipment. 

 

Superintendent Tim Nestle says the restrictions typically last 3-6 weeks to allow frost leave the ground however is dependent on the weather. 

 

If you have any questions, you can contact the road commission at 231-796-2611. 

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Social Security retiree benefits to drop as much as 25%

 

Michigan’s March primary is right around the corner, and some voters say they're concerned about the future of Social Security.

 

The most recent Social Security Trustees' report shows the program is solvent through 2034, and AARP Michigan spokesperson Lisa Dedden Cooper explains without action, retirees' benefits will drop about 25 percent.

 

"2034 sounds like it’s a long ways off, but left on their own, Congress tends to wait until there’s immediate crisis to do anything. In this case, with Social Security, the longer leaders wait, the harder the problem will be to solve, and the less time workers will have to prepare for the future."

 

Over two million Michiganders receive Social Security, with an average yearly benefit of 16-thousand dollars.

 

Cooper says Social Security lifts more than 500,000 in the state out of poverty.

 

AARP is tracking information on Social Security plans put forward by the candidates online at '2016takeastand.org.'

 

 

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Osceola burglars charged in Mecosta County

 

Two men accused of a number of break-ins in Osceola County are now facing similar charges in Mecosta County.

 

Thirty-one-year-old Dickie Lee Goodwin Jr. and 22-year-old Nicholas John Bailey were arraigned last week in Big Rapids.

 

The pair are accused of breaking into the Falcon Head Golf Course.

 

Goodwin and Bailey are each facing 24 charges related to break-ins in Osceola County and could be sentenced to life in prison.

 

 

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UPDATE: Winter storm watch upgraded to warning

 

The National Weather Service is upgrading a winter storm watch for Big Rapids and the surrounding area to a winter storm warning, in effect from 10:00 am Wednesday through 4:00 pm Thursday.

 

Meteorologists say to expect there is a possibility of six to ten inches of heavy wet snow with the heaviest snowfall on Wednesday night.

 

Strong north winds of over 40 mph are also predicted with the possibility of power outages and a potential for school closings on Thursday. Some blowing and drifting is expected Wednesday night.

 

A winter storm warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Only travel in an emergency. if you must travel. Keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

 

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Polar Plunge to be held this weekend in Chippewa Lake

 

People from all over the state will converge on Chippewa Lake this weekend for the Polar Plunge, benefitting Area-5 Special Olympics Michigan.

 

Registration for the event will begin at 11am Saturday at the East Bay General Store with the plunge happening at 12:30 p.m. in front of the Chippewa Lake Public Access.

 

Pat Rosales, Special Olympics Area 5 director says this event is special because of the people it benefits and how much fun it is. "The event is special because it brings the community together and it puts more focus on Special Olympics as well" Rosales said.

 

Money raised during Saturday's event will go to the equipment for athletes and event they have.  

 

For more information, contact Pat Rosales at area05@somi.com or (231) 867-5713.

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Climate change affecting wildlife in Michigan

 

According to findings from the National Wildlife Federation, warming temperatures caused by climate change are shifting habitats for some smaller mammals in Michigan. Federation spokesperson Frank Szollosi says one example is the flying squirrel, which is already being pushed northward.

 

"These squirrels have webbing between their arms and legs and body that allows them to glide through the air, it’s really quite a sight. Climate’s already have an impact in pushing these species further north in Michigan and away from backyards in southern Michigan."

 

Szollosi adds some southern creatures, like the armadillo, will eventually make their way as far north as some Midwestern states. The report also predicted habitat shifting for other species in Michigan including the snowshoe hare, whose population is already dwindling, and the pine marten, a species recently re-introduced in the state, but not thriving.

 

And, he says, efforts to stem carbon pollution from a variety of sources is what’s required to protect small animals from the threat of climate change and the report says the Clean Power Plan is an important first step.

 

"The legal and policy merits continue to be on the side of compliance with the Clean Power Plan, and certainly the science and our moral obligation to confront climate couldn’t be more clear."

 

The report also suggests reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas industry and speeding the transition away from fossil fuels.

 

 

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Big Rapids homeless shelter needs volunteers

 

Our Brothers Keeper Shelter in Big Rapids says they need volunteers and may have to close if they don't get them.

 

Shelter Vice President James Young says if they can get some new volunteers to work as little as four hours a week, it will relieve their current volunteers who, he says, are over worked.

 

Training for new volunteers will be held this Saturday at the Shelter on 3rd Street.

 

 

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Kids who know more than one language are smarter study says

 

Research in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology shows children learning two languages perform better at certain problem-solving tasks than their monolingual peers.

 

Cristina Crivello, who led the study, says one-and-a-half-year-old bilingual children have abilities that are beneficial for people at any age.

 

"It's these specific cognitive abilities, like selective attention and cognitive flexibility, where they have to focus on relevant information and ignore distracting information."

 

Although there is no consensus yet on exactly how learning other languages improves the brain, Crivello suggests that switching between languages mirrors the process of switching between tasks.

 

 

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Mecosta Co. Commissioners accept new EMS fee schedule

 

Starting next month, it’s going to cost you more if have a medical emergency and need an EMS.

 

The Mecosta County Board of Commission approved a resolution to accept increased EMS fee schedule.

 

County Administrator Paul Bullock says the rates were increased for two reasons. “The rates are established by Medicare and Medicaid and there is inflation, you also have to take into account employee pay, mileage, the cost of our ambulances, it’s not a cheap thing to run.” Bullock said.  

 

                                                    Current             Effective 3-1-16

Basic life support:                     $433.66           $442.33

Advanced life support:              $539.49           $550.28

Advanced life support2:            $709.85           $724.05

Skilled care transport:               $838.92           $855.70

Mileage:                                    $12.32/mile      $12.57/mile 

 

The new fee schedule goes into effect March 1st.   

 

 

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Firefighters battle house fire in Big Rapids

 

A home in Big Rapids is a total loss after a fire broke out this morning.

 

Officers say the fire started around 10am at the house on Rose Avenue and no one was in the residence at the time of the blaze.

Big Rapids DPS Lead Shift firefighter Bryan Marek said it looks like the fire started in the rear of the building on the lower level. 

 

Around 20 firefighters from Big Rapids DPS Fire Division and Big Rapids Township were on scene to put out the blaze. 

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Big Rapids Salvation Army to open Fresh Start Baby Pantry

 

The Salvation Army in Big Rapids will be offering a new program for local parent’s with infants starting next month.

 

Chris Vallette of the local SA chapter says the Fresh Start Baby Pantry will start on March 7th with a focus of helping young families with newborns and providing them with diapers and baby wipes. “It’s a two-fold process of providing families with supplemental diapers, baby wipes and other infant items which in turn, hopefully will help them free up some extra income so they can pay bills.” Vallette said.  

 

In the beginning, the pantry will help families who meet certain income criteria.  

 

The baby pantry is in need of diapers and baby wipes donations, if you would like to help out, you can drop off donations at the Salvation Army office in Big Rapids during office hours of 9am-4pm, Monday thru Friday. 

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Reed City officials receive water supply review

 

On the heels of the Flint water crisis, officials with Reed City are reassuring the public about the safety of its water supply after recent lead testing.

 

In a press release, officials say they do not get their water from the Hersey River, but instead use four wells from 94-220 feet deep that are pumped up into two towers that is then distributed to users.

 

City Manager Ron Howell is happy with the results of the testing. “The primary purpose was to inform the Council that our water supply is from wells vs. a river (Flint) and is safe.” Howell said. “We are confident our water is safe and have the test results to substantiate those beliefs.” Howell added.

 

If a homeowner is concerned that they may have lead piping in the home, they may obtain a test kit from a home supply store or the Central Michigan Health Department in Reed City. 

 

If any resident have more questions, they are asked to contact City Hall. 

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Pediatric dentistry available for low-income Michigan children

 

It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month and Michigan based pediatric dentist Dr. Martin Makowski says nearly 40 percent of toddlers age three and younger in Michigan have never been to a dentist.

 

But he says they're trying to reduce some of the barriers to oral health care faced by low-income families through the Healthy Kids Dental program.

 

"Years ago, Medicaid was just a real jumble, and it was very hard to manipulate the system. And now they’ve made that very easy. It’s increased the amount of access for young children to be seen."

 

The program is available in every county, and benefits about 810-thousand kids.

 

Poor oral health care is linked to problems with nutrition, sleeping and learning in children.

 

 

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Big Rapids residents & city officials discuss future of Clay Cliffs Nature Area

 

The future of the Clay Cliffs Nature Area in Big Rapids was a topic of discussion during a public hearing at City Hall.

The city recently purchased 21 acres of land in the nature area to go with the 50 acres already owned.  Residents and city officials brainstormed many ideas to improve the area that included easier accessibility, small bridges that go over wet and muddy areas on the trails and removing brush to improve visibility.

Organizer Mark Gifford thanked all the attendees for their input. “It was great having everyone here and listening to their ideas on how the area can be improved.” Gifford Said.

The next step is having design company Manning Design review all the ideas presented and make a draft plan for the area.   

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UPDATE: Police in Mecosta Co. locate missing man with Alzheimer's

 

UPDATE: Mr. Pate has been located and is back at his home. 

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Deputies in Mecosta Co. are searching for a man who's been missing since the late morning hours. 

 

The missing male is identified as 65-year old William Chele Pate.  Pate suffers from Alzheimer's and is unable to verbally communicate.  

 

He was last seen this morning on 14 Mile Rd. and Northland Dr. south of the city of Big Rapids, around 11:00 am. 

 

Pate was last seen wearing a green ball cap, dark jacket, sweat pants, and tall rubber boots.  He is a 6' white male with a stock build. 

 

If anyone has seen Pate, they are asked to contact the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office at 231-592-0150 or Meceola Central Dispatch at 231-796-4811.

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General Motors recalling vehicles due to airbag problem

General Motors is recalling over 200,000 SAAB and Saturn vehicles because of an airbag inflator problem. 

Officials say Takata inflators can explode with too much force in a crash and hurl metal shrapnel into drivers and passengers.

At least 10 people have died worldwide and 139 have been hurt due to the problem. The GM recall includes the Saab 9-3 from 2003 to 2011 and the Saab 9-5 from 2010 and 2011. Also included is the Saturn Astra from 2008 and 2009.

GM will notify owners when parts are available. 

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Experts say many don't need to pay to have their taxes done

 

According to the National Society of Accountants, the average family spends anywhere from $150 to $450 on income-tax preparation.

 

And Michigan Economic Impact Coalition spokesperson Ross Yednock says because the multi-billion dollar tax preparation industry is unregulated, it can be tough to know exactly what you're paying for.

 

"The vast majority of people don’t have very complicated taxes, and don’t need to be shelling out $300 or $400, particularly when you can go to an IRS-certified tax volunteer and get them done for free."

 

People earning $54K a year or less can receive free, in-person tax preparation assistance at sites across the state, and households bringing in less than $62K can file federal taxes online, also free, with the help of a trained volunteer by phone.

 

Sites can be found by dialing 2-1-1 or at "MichiganFreeTaxHelp.org."

 

 

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Experts say many don't need to pay to have their taxes done

 

According to the National Society of Accountants, the average family spends anywhere from $150 to $450 on income-tax preparation.

 

And Michigan Economic Impact Coalition spokesperson Ross Yednock says because the multi-billion dollar tax preparation industry is unregulated, it can be tough to know exactly what you're paying for.

 

"The vast majority of people don’t have very complicated taxes, and don’t need to be shelling out $300 or $400, particularly when you can go to an IRS-certified tax volunteer and get them done for free."

 

People earning $54K a year or less can receive free, in-person tax preparation assistance at sites across the state, and households bringing in less than $62K can file federal taxes online, also free, with the help of a trained volunteer by phone.

 

Sites can be found by dialing 2-1-1 or at "MichiganFreeTaxHelp.org."

 

 

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UPDATE: School closings/delays for Tuesday February 16, 2016

 

The following schools are closed for Tuesday February 16, 2016:

 

  • BIG JACKSON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #1

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #2

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #3

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #4

  • BIG RAPIDS PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • CROSS ROADS CHARTER ACADEMY

  • MECOSTA-OSCEOLA ISD

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD HEAD START

  • REED CITY HEAD START

  • REED CITY PRESCHOOL

  • REED CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • ST. MARY CATHOLIC IN BIG RAPIDS

  • ST. PETER'S LUTHERAN IN BIG RAPIDS

  • TRINITY LUTHERAN IN REED CITY

 

 

And Newaygo and Tri County public schools are running on a 2 hour delay.

 

Other closings and delays:

 

The Mecosta County Commission on Aging's meals programs has cancelled all meals for today.  that means there will be no home delivered meals or congregate site meals. The Mecosta County Senior Center's activities have also been cancelled for today.

 

 

Check back for more schools closings and delays as they become available.

 

 

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Big Rapids' Baldwin Street Bridge construction project still on schedule

 

The Big Rapids Baldwin Street Bridge project is moving along during the cold winter months.

 

According to city officials during the Big Rapids Commission meeting, construction crews are currently installing bridge abutments on the east and went end of the bridge.

 

Todd Ritcher of the engineering firm Fleis and Vandenbrink, believes crews are one installation away this week from being on schedule. “Construction crews were scheduled to break after Christmas but decided to keep going and if we get beams installed this week or next we will be on schedule” Ritcher said.

 

Officials are eyeing July 16th as its completion date.  

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Two vehicle crash in Big Rapids Township sends three people to the hospital

 

Three people are recovering following a two vehicle crash in Mecosta County.

 

Sgt. Mike Mohr of the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says the crash happened at about 3:00 pm on Monday in Big Rapids Township.

 

Sixty-one-year-old Donna Vanantwep of Stanwood apparently turned left into the path of a vehicle driven by 18-year-old Michael Behl II of Leroy at the intersection of Perry and 215th Avenue near the Isabella Bank.

 

Thirty-two-year-old Tina Vanantwerp of Standwood, a passenger in Donna's car, had to be extricated from the vehicle.

 

She was treated at the scene and then taken to Spectrum Big Rapids Hospital along with both drivers for treatment.

 

 

 

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Clean Air Power Plan goes on in Michigan despite court ruling

 

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling currently has implementation of the E-P-A's Clean Power Plan on hold pending a U.S. appeals court review.

 

But Liesl Clark with the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council explains the ruling doesn't overturn the Clean Power Plan, and says the state will continue to cut carbon pollution.

 

"Michigan has the oldest coal fleet in the nation. Our coal plants are over 50 years old and many of the plants are scuttled for retirement. These are still important conversations for the state of Michigan that will continue to happen whether there is a pause on the rule’s implementation or not. "

 

The E-P-A's standards call for Michigan to reduce 31 percent of carbon emissions from 2012 levels by 2030.

 

Several states, utilities and industry groups claim the rules would result in lost jobs and reduced electric-grid reliability.

 

According to the E-P-A, the Clean Power Plan will provide nearly 54-billion dollars in climate and health benefits.

 

 

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Montcalm County man dead after falling through ice

 

A man from Montcalm County is dead following an ORV accident.

 

Police say Lee Avery was riding with three other people on Crystal Lake on Saturday when he lost control of his ORV and fell into a hole cut in the lake ice for a Polar Dip event earlier in the day.

 

Avery was taken to the hospital where he died.

 

A woman is hospitalized in critical condition while the two remaining riders got out of the icy water on their own

 

 

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Osceola Co. man sentenced for break-in

 

An Osceola County man will be serving up to ten years behind bars after being sentenced on charges related to a break-in back in September.

 

26-year old Gabriel Donald Blake of LeRoy was arrested in October on charges connected to a break-in of a property with two other men from Farwell. The trio stole an ATV, guns, tools and other numerous items.

 

The two other defendants in the case are expected to be sentenced for their roles, later this month.  

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Volunteers needed for annual bird count

 

If you have 15 minutes free over the next few days you could help contribute to one of the biggest annual citizen-science projects.

 

Volunteers are needed in Michigan for the Great Backyard Bird Count, which runs February 12-15.

 

Michigan Audubon spokesperson Rachelle Roake explains there are too many of our feathered friends for scientists and researchers to monitor alone, and the data collected locally contributes to a better understanding of how bird populations are changing in response to the environment.

 

"This data can be used to look at changes in species distribution. It can look at fluctuations in population numbers and it’s a great indicator of changes in the environment such as climate change,” she says.

 

A set of binoculars is not needed just a good set of eyes and 15 minutes to observe and record birds in the backyard or at a local greenspace.

 

Michigan residents can register for the count online at gbbc.birdcount.org.

 

 

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Police looking for snowmobile trail vandals in Reed City

 

Police in Reed City are looking for vandals that have been damaging signs along snowmobile trails in the city.

 

Officials say the vandals have been pushing the signs over, snapping them off their posts.

 

Aside from the costs of repairing the signs, police are concerned that snowmobilers may run through posted stops creating a safety hazard.

 

Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to call the Reed City Police.

 

 

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Barryton man faces prison for sexual assault

 

A Barryton man is heading to jail after pleading guilty to sexual assault.

 

Forty-four-year-old Frederick Carl Anderson entered the plea in Mecosta County’s 49th Circuit Court on Monday.

 

Officials say Anderson assaulted two 13-year-old girls near his home between 2008 and 2010.

 

He faces a maximum of 22 years in prison and must register as a Tier 3 sex offender.

 

 

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Chippewa Lake Community Center total loss after fire

 

The Chippewa Lake community center is a total loss after it went up in flames Thursday evening. 

 

35 firefighters from four different departments battled the blaze, which is believed to have started in the attic of the building according to Assistant Chief Brian David of the Chippewa-Martiny Township Fire Department.

 

He says this is a big community loss. "Its a big loss, lots of local organizations use the center for activities and gathering through out the community." David said.  

 

No one was in the building at the time of the fire. 

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Preview: Big Rapids City Commission to hold last meeting of February on Monday

 

The Big Rapids City Commission returns to City Hall for their last meeting of the month on Monday.  

 

Tentatively on the docket, is an update on the Baldwin Street Bridge project by Public Works Deputy Director Roger Schneidt. A public hearing will also be held to review the Amended Special Assessment Roll No. 15-518 2014/2015 Sidewalk Improvement Project.

 

The meeting begins at 6:30pm. 

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State Rep. Potvin against Gov. Snyder's $715 million dollar proposal to get Detroit Public Schools out of debt

 

In his budget proposal this week, Governor Rick Snyder announced a plan to pull money from a different source to cover the $715 million debt of Detroit Public Schools.

 

However, State House Representative Phil Potvin; R-Cadillac says he’s against the Governors initiative and questions why Snyder is rewarding a failing school district.

 

“As a legislature we have balanced our budget five years in a row, however the governor wants to reward a group that has failed, and my question to the governor would be, what do I tell my people who have been working hard and being successful in balancing their budgets?” Potvin said.   

 

Initially money for the plan was going to come from the School Aid Fund, which would have dinged every district in the state. Instead, the governor is now eying the tobacco settlement fund as the source to fund the plan.

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Public hearing to be held about the future of Big Rapids' Clay Cliffs Nature area

 

Big Rapids City officials are inviting the public next week to city hall to get their input about what changes or improvements should be made at the Clay Cliffs Nature area.

 

Public Works director Mark Gifford says the city recently purchased 21 acres to go with the 50 acres they already own, located north and west of the Community Pool.

 

Officials from Manning Design will be on hand to give their presentation on what future plans they have for the area and answer any questions residents may have. 

 

Gifford says it will be a very informal setting those attending. “We are looking for residents who currently use the area, residents that have used the area in the past and get their input on what changes or improvements should be made in the future.” Gifford said.

 

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 16th at 6:30pm.   

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MDE volunteers ready to help with applications for student funding

 

For getting to college, good grades can only go so far – you also need a way to pay.

 

Throughout February, experts are available across Michigan to help prospective and current students apply for financial aid.

 

Bill DiSessa with the Michigan Department of Education says at "M-I College Goal" sites, volunteers can assist with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or "FAFSA."

 

He explains the form is critical for anyone who needs financial aid for college and vocational training.

 

"The FAFSA is very, very important. The form can be quite intimidating; it asks a lot of financial questions, family finances and everything else. And many students, many parents, frankly, can use some help with that form,” he says.

 

There are nearly 40 M-I College Goal sites around Michigan, and DiSessa says many will hold events this Sunday, February 14th, but others are open on other dates as well. Michigan’s deadline for the FAFSA for the 2016-2017 school year is March 1st.

 

On the website 'MICollegeGoal.org' students can find an event and register. DiSessa says those under age 23 should bring a parent along, and make sure they also bring the necessary documents.

 

"A completed 2015 federal tax return, the 1040 if possible; or W-2 and 1099 forms. That’s the type of information you are going to need to provide to the volunteers, so they can give you the best service."

 

Over 100 million dollars in state assistance is available annually in Michigan for student aid in the form of grants and scholarships.

 

The U-S Department of Education offers about 150-billion dollars a year in grants, work-study dollars and low-interest loans.

 

 

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Home Heating Credit can affect assistance programs for Michigan residents

 

Michiganders who receive food assistance are encouraged to file for a Home Heating Credit to make sure they get the full amount of benefits they are eligible to receive.

 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is making Michigan residents aware of the potential effect the credit can have on federal food assistance benefits available through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

 

Some renters could qualify for increased monthly food assistance if they receive a Home Heating Credit of more than $20 in the current month or any of the previous 12 months and then notify their MDHHS caseworker.

 

The credit in some cases is a factor in determining the amount of food assistance for renters who don’t pay their heating costs separately.

 

The Home Heating Credit is available to customers who meet income requirements and own or rent a home in Michigan. Apply by filling out Form MI-1040CR-7 for 2015. It is available without filing a Michigan tax return. To get a form:

 

  • Visit the Michigan Department of Treasury website at gov/treasury and enter “Home Heating Credit” in the search box.

  • Pick up a paper copy at a public library, post office, MDHHS office or other locations where income tax forms are available.

  • Call the Department of Treasury at 517-636-4486.

  • If you are hearing- or speech-impaired, contact the Michigan Relay Center, 800-649-2777 or 7-1-1.

 

Call 2-1-1 to find local agencies that provide assistance with completing tax forms. Michiganders should file as soon as they know their household income for 2015. The deadline is Sept. 30.

 

Frequently asked questions about the credit and food assistance can be found on the MDHHS website.

 

 

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Family of inmate who hanged self suing Mecosta Co. Sheriff's Office

 

The family of an inmate who committed suicide at the Mecosta County Jail is suing the sheriff’s office for negligence.

 

According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, the family of 32-year old Raymond Paul Holmes allege in the evening hours of September 14th, a corrections officer who was supposed to be watching him was instead watching a football game.

 

It also alleges it took 30 minutes for Holmes to be taken to a hospital where he died two days later.

 

Holmes’ family in the lawsuit, alleges they notified jail personnel of his medical and psychological needs.

 

Sheriff Todd Purcell said he cannot comment on any pending litigation. 

 

Holmes was arrested on August 29th on retail fraud and drug charges.  

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Big Rapids bakeries celebrating Fat Tuesday

 

Big Rapids donut shops are celebrating “Fat Tuesday” today.

 

Van Brocklin’s Bakery is expecting to sell ten times the amount of donuts today than a normal business day. Lynn Van Brocklin said her husband and son were making paczki’s since 6pm on Monday and there was a line of customers at 5:50am.

 

She says today is special; it’s like a holiday for her bakery.

 

Fat Tuesday or Paczki Day as it’s also known, proceeds Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. 

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Business owners in Michigan want more changes to forfeiture laws

 

Small business owners in Michigan want to see more reforms to the state’s “civil asset forfeiture” laws which allow the police to seize private property, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. Last year, Governor Snyder signed legislation that included new reporting provisions to track civil asset forfeiture seizures and also raised the standard of proof for seizing assets from a “preponderance of the evidence” to a higher “clear and convincing” standard. NFIB supports the changes, but says that its small business members want to carry the reforms further in 2016.

 

Civil forfeiture laws allow the government to seize private property from a citizen or small business owner without ever charging them with a crime or providing evidence prior to seizing assets and the government (typically police departments) often pockets the proceeds while providing no prompt way to get a court to review the seizure,” said NFIB State Director Charlie Owens. “There is no incentive or requirement for the government to charge the business owner with a crime. Once the property is seized, government agencies are free to keep the property until the business owner pursues return of the property, which is often a costly and lengthy legal process that is stacked in favor of the government.”

 

Owens said that a recent survey of NFIB small business members found that they support taking the reforms further. Specifically, when asked: “Should Michigan’s laws on Civil Asset Forfeiture be changed so that private property is seized only after a criminal conviction is secured?” 74 percent of business owners said “Yes”, 12 percent said “No” and 14 percent were “Undecided”.

 

We applaud Governor Snyder and the Legislature for passing much needed reforms to Michigan's civil asset forfeiture laws last year,” said Owens. “However, the current laws still lack due process and need to be changed so that private property is seized only after a criminal conviction is secured”.

 

Owens said that NFIB is also encouraged by recent legislation introduced by State Representative Peter Lucido (House Bill 4629) that would repeal a requirement for a property owner to provide a cash bond before they could contest a civil forfeiture seizure of their property. The bill is currently in the House Committee on Oversight and Ethics.

 

Many small business owners carry large cash sums to the bank and to other business locations for use in making change or deposits and other small business owners still use cash to make large supply purchases”, said Owens. “All of these and other scenarios create a situation where small business is exposed to the potential of civil forfeiture seizures”.

 

 

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Woman rolls car on US-131 in Mecosta County

 

A Cedar Springs woman is hospitalized after driving the wrong way on U.S. 131.

 

The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says the woman was witnessed traveling at high speeds southbound in the northbound lanes of U.S. 131 and ran several vehicles off the roadway.

 

The driver then collided with a semi truck in Mecosta County and rolled over in the median near mile marker 128.

 

Police say unknown substances and speed are believed to have played a critical role in the accident.

 

 

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Mecosta Co. named in best places to get a mortgage list

According to New York financial technology company Smart Asset, Mecosta County has placed in a list of the top ten best places to get a mortgage. 

 

Officials say the base the best mortgages by comparing the likelihood of mortgage approval by county, in addition to mortgage rates, average five-year borrowing costs and property taxes. 

 

Mecosta County cracked the list at number eight in Michigan, up from their rank of 69 in 2015. 

 

 

Here is a link to the study? https://smartasset.com/mortgage/mortgage-rates#michigan 

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Big Rapids Public Schools to ask residents to extend sinking fund tax levy

 

Big Rapids Public Schools will be asking residents during a special election in May to approve a five-year extension of its sinking fund tax levy.

 

BRPS board of trustees, during its meeting, approved a resolution to ask for the .75 mill tax levy after a presentation by Superintendent Tim Haist.

 

Haist said over the past three years, the fund has helped provide numerous building improvements including better security and playground equipment. This extension would let BRPS to continue those improvements without sacrificing in other areas.

 

The special election will be held on May 3rd. The school district will also be asking residents to approve an operating millage as well.   

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UPDATE: Police investigating student death at CMU

 

Michigan State Police are investigating the death of a Central Michigan University student.

 

Officials say 23-year-old Jonathon Ray Justice of Farmington Hills, was found unresponsive by his roommates on Saturday at the Deerfield Village apartment complex in Union Township.

 

He was pronounced dead at the scene and an autopsy revealed no signs of physical trauma. The investigation pends the results of toxicology screenings, which could take up to four weeks.

 

 

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Childhood obesity affects boys and girls differently according to new study

 

Childhood obesity is linked to multiple health problems for both boys and girls, but new research shows how extra weight has a different impact on boys than girls at puberty.

 

Most studies have found puberty starts early in girls who are overweight or obese.

 

With boys, most research links simply being heavy with early puberty.

 

But Dr. Joyce Lee at the University of Michigan School of Medicine led a new study that finds a difference in puberty's onset when boys are separated into different weight categories.

 

Lee says the findings are important for pediatricians as they evaluate a child’s growth and health. She thinks parents shouldn't be as worried about the timing of puberty, as other health factors that are influenced by excess weight.

 

"High cholesterol and high blood pressure, and risk for diabetes probably are things that parents should be more concerned about than puberty, per se. But it shows that there are effects of the excess weight that’s happening inside the pediatric population."

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the obesity rate for kids ages six to 11 is 18 percent. For those between ages 12 and 19, it is 21 percent.

 

 

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Police ask for public's help solving Howard City break-in

 

The Montcalm County Sheriff's Office is looking for the public's help in identifying the persons responsible for a break-in at a business in Howard City.

 

Deputies say an alarm went off at Rustic Enterprises, also known as Rustic Sports, late last week.

 

A surveillance video shows two people breaking into the facility.

 

An inventory is being conducted to determine if any property was stolen.

 

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call The Montcalm County Sheriff's Office.

 

 

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Trans-Pacific Partnership signing sparks protests in Michigan

 

The fight over a controversial trade deal is not over in Michigan.

 

On the same day 12 nations, including the United States, signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, opponents rallied in protest in dozens of other cities Thursday night.

 

President Obama and other supporters of the trade pact say it will give the U-S an edge over China and other leading economies.

 

But Grace Alexander with Stop the TPP in Michigan argues that, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, it will send thousands of jobs out of the U-S.

 

"This TPP is NAFTA on steroids, and we're already getting reports that there could be up to a half million jobs lost in this country once it's signed."

 

Alexander adds that the deal was drafted in secret and elevates corporate interests over human rights and democracy. The countries involved in the agreement make up 36 percent of the world economy, and each has two years to approve the agreement.

 

Alexander adds that the TPP would empower foreign corporations to bypass national courts to seek taxpayer compensation for local, state or federal laws that threaten expected profits. Additionally, she explains that companies can set up arbitration clauses that prevent lawsuits.

 

"We won't be able to use our court system for redress in cases of negligence by a company. And along with that, they will attack citizen decisions whether it's toxic chemicals, building permits or minimum wages."

 

The trade deal also would delay the introduction of low-cost generic medications and allow additional 20-year patents for new uses of drugs already under patent. Alexander says it will raise health care prices and reduce access to medicine.

 

"We see it as a drawback to the poor and minorities that will virtually put them out of the ability to pay for medication that is, in most cases, a life-saving medication."

 

Obama contends the deal will minimize trade barriers and urged swift passage by Congress.

 

 

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Mecosta Co. Parks millage effort continues

 

A millage proposal by the Mecosta County is moving forward. County

 

Commissioners Thursday, approved a resolution to write up ballot language for the proposal.

 

Mecosta County Parks want to levy .5 mill for five years (non-renewal) in order to help pay for renovations, repairs and upgrades in its parks system.

 

Superintendent Jeff Abel says the millage will allow Mecosta County to return to a self sufficient, thriving operation.

 

"If the millage is approved, we would plan to look at our current infrastructure first and try to improve the things we have in place that are not in the best condition." "then we would look to upgrade services like full hookup on campsites and add amenities like boat slips." Abel said. 

 

Officials hope to have the proposal on the August primary ballot. 

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Mecosta Co. Commissioner Art Adleman resigning from seat

 

Mecosta County Commissioner Art Adleman is resigning his seat on the commission, effective March 31st.

 

The news came during the regular board of commission meeting Thursday.  

 

Adleman said he is resigning his seat because the home he will be moving into is not part of the 5th district (parts of Big Rapids Twp and Austin and Mecosta Twp) which he represents and that is one of the requirements of being a commissioner.

 

Administrator Paul Bullock says interested residents who are registered to vote and live in the 5th district, can go on the county website and fill out an interest questionnaire, here

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Presidential candidates to debate in Flint next month

 

The 2016 presidential race is heating up, with close finishes for both parties this week at the Iowa caucuses. And now Michigan will be in the spotlight just days before its presidential primary.

 

The Democratic National Committee has announced a debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on March 6 in Flint.

 

Political expert Aaron Kall with the University of Michigan believes it’s a great idea.

 

"That debate occurring just days before voting, I think, will really draw a lot of attention and could cause an even greater interest and higher turnout than normal because the eyes of the whole country will both on the state of Michigan and Flint,” he says.

 

Clinton narrowly beat Sanders in Iowa, and on the Republican side, Ted Cruz edged out Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. Michigan's primary is March 8th, and voters have until Monday, February 8 to register.

 

 

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Area quilters to celebrate National Sew Day this weekend

 

As a way to celebrate National Sew Day this weekend, area quilters are holding an event in Big Rapids to give back to area veterans. 

 

Mary Picucci, Director of the area chapter of Quilts of Valor, says they will be having an event from 9am-6pm on Saturday a the old jail in Big Rapids where members will be making quilts and giving them to veterans. This is the second year for the event in Mecosta County and Picucci says it's a great way to say thanks to those men and women who served in the armed forces.  

 

The group is hoping to make at least three quilts on Saturday and all are welcome to come and join. 

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Evart increasing water rates

 

Residents in Evart will be paying a little more for their water starting this month.

 

Evart City Council OK'd a three percent increase to water rates during a council meeting earlier this week.

 

Council members say the increase is needed due to a decrease in revenue caused by Ventra and Ice Mountain reducing their water usage in the city.

 

 

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UPDATE: School closings and delays for Wednesday, February 3, 2016

 

The following schools are canceling classes for Wednesday, February 3, 2016

 

  • BALDWIN COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

  • BARRYTON HEAD START

  • BIG JACKSON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START 1, 2, 3, AND 4

  • BIG RAPIDS PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • CADILLAC CHRISTIAN HERITAGE

  • CADILLAC PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • CHIPPEWA HILLS SCHOOL DISTRICT

  • CROSS ROADS CHARTER ACADEMY

  • DAYSTAR CHRISTIAN ACADEMY IN EVART

  • EVART HEAD START

  • EVART PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • LAKEVIEW COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

  • MECOSTA-OSCEOLA ISD

  • MECOSTA-REMUS HEAD START

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD HEAD START

  • PINE RIVER AREA SCHOOLS

  • REED CITY HEAD START

  • REED CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • ST. MARY CATHOLIC IN BIG RAPIDS

  • ST. MICHAEL CATHOLIC IN REMUS

  • ST. PETER'S LUTHERAN IN BIG RAPIDS

  • TRI COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • TRINITY LUTHERAN IN REED CITY

 

Also, these schools are running on a 2 hour delay:

 

  • FREEMONT PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • NEWAYGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • WHITE CLOUD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

 

Check with us often as more school closings and delays become available.

 

 

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Big Rapids Twp. Trustees approve fire officials to look for bids for fire hall addition

 

The Big Rapids Township Fire Department is being given the green light by trustees to see how much it would cost to put an addition on the fire hall.

 

Trustee Dave Hamelund still had questions as to why the addition is needed, especially since the township gets help from other townships and the city of Big Rapids during emergency calls.

 

However, Fire Chief Jim Tubbs told township trustees it doesn’t cost anything to get bids and it’s time to stop procrastinating. 

 

In the end, trustees approved the department to look for bids.

 

In related news, trustees hired two new firefighters and approved to buy three sets of turn out gear for the fire department. 

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This year's presidential race could change the face of politics in America

 

Last night's Iowa caucuses kicked off this year's presidential nominating process and it's a "pivotal election," says Gerard Lameiro, a retired college professor and the author of a new book, "Great News for America."

 

Lameiro conducted research about American elections going back to the early 1800s, and says the foundation is in place for 2016 to be another game-changer.

 

"Any time the American people have come out, they have solved problems. When they come out with a big voter turnout, it means they're sending a message to their future politicians that they're about to elect and saying, 'We want these problems solved. We're fed up with you not having these problems solved.'"

 

He believes millions will vote for the first time this November, resulting in an historic turnout and a fundamental change in the party political system.

 

 

 

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Michigan Department of Treasury warns of tax phishing scam

 

With the beginning of tax season the Michigan Department of Treasury is warning taxpayers of fraudulent phone calls being made to taxpayers from a “spoofing” phone number.

 

This number has the appearance of being from the Department of Treasury.

 

The taxpayer is being told that they have committed tax fraud and if they don’t pay an amount immediately they could be arrested.

 

Phishing (as in “fishing for information” and “hooking” victims) is a scam to trick taxpayers into providing personal and financial information which can be used to steal the taxpayers’ identity and swindle them out of money.

 

The Department of Treasury will not:

  • Demand immediate payment without first mailing you a letter

  • Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance require that you pay over the phone with a prepaid debit card

  • Threaten to call the police or other law enforcement agencies to arrest you for not paying

 

Please use caution and NEVER provide personal information unless you are positive that the situation is legitimate.

 

For more information about fraud and tax scams or how to report suspicious calls please visit the IRS website for additional information about these types of scams.

 

 

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City of Big Rapids looking at new ways to prevent contaminants from entering water supply

 

Big Rapids residents with an underground irrigation system on their property could be the first people contacted by city officials to be asked to install a cross control back flow preventer to help keep the water supply clean.

 

This was a recommendation by the Department of Environmental Quality in its review of the city's water plant.

 

City Manager Steve Sobers says the back flow preventer will allow for the prevention of contaminants from getting into the city's water supply. The cost for the part and installation would be around $150 and city officials would have to inspect the back flow preventer every 3-4 years.

 

Mayor Mark Warba believes the cost to the resident is small especially when you see and hear what's going on in Flint.  

 

Overall, Sobers says the findings in the DEQ review were very positive. 

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Big Rapids DPS Director Andrea Nerbonne set to retire in May

 

The City of Big Rapids is now in the process of finding a new leader for its public safety department after Director Andrea Nerbonne announced she will be retiring at the end of May.

 

Nerbonne said it’s the right time for her to leave, having achieved all the goals she set for herself and the department when she first got to Big Rapids four years ago. “I had a five year plan when I first arrived; I have met all of my goals and believe the department is in very good hands.” Nerbonne said.

 

City Manager Steve Sobers said Nerbonne was a dream to work with in her time with the city. Mayor Mark Warba echoed the same and wished her well in her future endeavors.  

 

The city hopes to have candidates in place for interviewing by the third week in March, so it can have a replacement by June 1st

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Firefighters put out truck fire on US-131 near Morley

Mecosta Co. Sheriff deputies say US-131 was shut down for a brief time this morning after a cargo truck caught fire. 

 

It happened on northbound US-131 near 4 Mile Rd, that's where police say the truck caught fire due to electrical problem. The driver in the vehicle exited the truck without injury.

 

The driver tried to put out the fire with a extinguisher he had onboard, but was unable to do so.

 

Firefighters from the Mecosta-Austin Twp. Fire Dept. were able to put out the fire a short time later.  

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Michigan's presidential primary election is next month

 

Michigan's presidential primary election is next month on March 8th.

 

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson lists 14 Republicans and four Democrats on the official ballot.

 

The latest polling data from RealClearPolitics.com shows Donald Trump as the Republican leader and Bernie Sanders leading the Democrats in the New Hampshire primary.

 

The registration deadline is a week from tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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February is American Heart Month

 

Michiganders are reminded to remember their hearts and not just because of Valentine's Day.

 

It’s American Heart Month, an annual observance to bring awareness to cardiovascular disease, the nation’s number one killer.

 

Anna Pitt of Hemlock says she’s lucky to be alive after suffering what’s known as a “widow maker” heart attack, which comes on suddenly.

 

She was getting her son on the school bus when she collapsed.

 

"They told me at that time that I had no pulse. They used the defibrillator on me in the driveway, and also three times on the way to the hospital. Now, they said if my son hadn’t done CPR I wouldn’t be here,” she says.

 

Pitt explains that she had had no symptoms, and with good cholesterol and blood pressure would have never imagined she would be the victim of a heart attack.

 

According to the American Heart Association, one-in-three women will die of heart disease, about 46 women in Michigan each day.

 

 

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White Cloud residents hospitalized following accident in Stanwood

 

Two people from White Cloud are recovering following a two vehicle accident on Northland Drive.

 

The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says Deputies responded to the accident near 8 mile on Sunday when a truck pulling a trailer full of wood driven by a Reed City man had a mechanical issue loosing control of the steering as he came into a curve.

 

The truck crossed the road and a mini van coming the other way was hit on the front passenger side.

 

The driver of the truck was not injured.

 

The driver of the minivan along with a passenger were taken to the hospital for non life threatening injuries.

 

 

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UPDATE: School closings for Monday, February 1, 2016

 

The following schools are closed for Monday, February 1, 2016.

 

  • BIG JACKSON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START 1, 2, 3, AND 4

  • BIG RAPIDS PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • CHIPPEWA HILLS SCHOOL DISTRICT

  • CROSS ROADS CHARTER ACADEMY

  • FREMONT PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • MECOSTA-REMUS HEAD START

  • MECOSTA-OSCEOLA INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT

  • MORELY-STANWOOD COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

  • MORELY-STANWOOD HEAD START

  • ST. MARY CATHOLIC IN BIG RAPIDS

  • ST. MICHAEL'S CATHOLIC IN REMUS

  • ST. PETER'S LUTHERAN OF BIG RAPIDS

  • WHITE CLOUD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

 

Check back as more school closings become available.

 

 

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