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Big Rapids Daily News
News That Affects You Archives for 2016-03

River flood advisory in effect for Little Muskegon River area near Morley

 

A river flood advisory is in effect until Saturday afternoon for those who live on or near the Little Muskegon River above Morley in Mecosta County.

 

According to officials at the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids, the river will rise over four feet by Friday afternoon.

 

Mecosta Co. Emergency Manager Scott Schroeder says during these types of advisories, residents in advisory areas need to be proactive. 

 

“Residents should move critical items of theirs to higher areas of their home; also they should move chairs and tables that they may have put outside for the spring and summer time further from the river area.” He said.

 

Schroeder also advises if residents in the affected area feel their situation near the river is getting worse to call 911.  

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Reed City man facing charges after lighting boxes on fire outside of sheriff's office

 

An Osceola County man is now facing charges after burning cardboard boxes outside of the sheriff’s office last week.

 

According to police in Reed City, officers found 28-year old Matthew David Lathrop in an alley between the sheriff’s office and the court house, lighting cardboard boxes on fire.  

 

They say Lathrop resisted arrest and continued to resist after being handcuffed.

 

He is now facing a handful of charges including two counts of assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer and arson of personal property.

 

Lathrop’s bond was set at $50,000. 

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Snyder makes Forbes list of disappointing leaders

 

Governor Rick Snyder is being listed alongside some dubious company.

 

Forbes Magazine recently published it's list of world's most disappointing leaders which included the governor for his part in and response to the water crisis in Flint.

 

Other's on the list include Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, who faces impeachment for allegedly cooking the government's books; Sepp Blatter, the former chief of the corruption-plagued world soccer governing body FIFA; former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, villainized for huge mark-ups and profit margins on life-saving pharmaceuticals; and former Volkswagen chairman Martin Winterkorn, named for his role in an emissions test cheating scandal.

 

Forbes says Snyder attempted to shift blame for the crisis when testifying before Congress earlier this month.

 

There have been calls for the governor to resign in the wake of the crisis, which he has so far rejected.

 

Snyder spokesman Ari Adler says Snyder is focused on fixing problems, not internet polls.

 

 

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Over 200 pounds of unwanted drugs and needles collected during Spectrum Health take back events

 

Officials at Spectrum Health Hospitals in Big Rapids and Reed City say more than 200 pounds of needles and medication have been safely disposed of after two local safe disposal events.

 

In total, 92.5 pounds of medication and 112.4 pounds of needles were collected to be properly disposed.

 

The hospitals partnered with Ten16 Recovery Network to provide the opportunities for residents in Mecosta and Osceola counties to safely get rid of these unwanted items.

 

Due to the success of the events, additional events will be held later this year at both hospitals. Over the counter medications, prescription, liquids, inhalers, ointments, pet medications and needles will be accepted. For more information, call 231.592.4493.

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DTE lowers natural gas prices

 

DTE says it is lowering its natural gas prices again.

 

This is the second price reduction this year and will save customers an average of $60.00 annually.

 

Officials say reduced prices and warmer than normal temperatures in November and December prompted the price drop.

 

The action brings a total reduction of 16 percent in 2016 and goes into effect on Friday.

 

 

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Michigan's prisoners' funds not handled correctly

 

The Michigan Department of Corrections is not taking adequate steps to ensure proper controls of the system used for recording and processing prisoner monies.

 

That according to Auditor General Doug Ringler. The system tracks prisoner funds and payments made by prisoners, for such things as personal items, medical expenses and victim restitution.

 

The DOC says it agrees with the audit's findings.

 

 

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Class-action lawsuit filed in Flint water crisis

 

There are now at least six lawsuits pending against the state in response to the Flint water crisis.

 

The latest, a class-action suit, was filed in the Court of Claims on behalf of a 15-year-old Flint child who consumed lead-tainted water and displayed elevated blood lead levels.

 

The lawsuit says the child suffered permanent brain damage as a result an is seeking damages for all children 17 and younger who lived in Flint and suffered brain damage as a result of consuming lead-contaminated water.

 

Named in the lawsuit are Governor Rick Snyder, former Flint Emergency Managers Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose, former Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant, several current and former top officials in the DEQ's Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance, Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon and others.

 

 

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Man who shot arrows at police pleads guilty

 

The man accused of shooting arrows at Mecosta County police officers is pleading guilty.

 

Wesley Snyder will be sentenced on May 11th after pleading guilty to two counts of assault with intent to murder.

 

Police say Snyder ambushed officers in January of 2015 while they were investigating an assault at Apple Ridge Apartments.

 

Snyder could spend the rest of his life in jail.

 

 

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Big Rapids man faces jail time on charges connected to break-in of home

 

A Big Rapids man could face up to 20-years in prison connected to crimes he was arrested for over the weekend.

 

25-year old Bradley Scott Sutton was arrested Saturday morning at a home in Mecosta Township.

 

Deputies in Mecosta County say the charges stem from an incident where Sutton allegedly forced his way into the residence and assaulted a man inside.

 

He was arraigned in Mecosta County District Court on one count of first degree home invasion and one count of assault.

 

Sutton's bond was set at $75,000.   

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FSU student newspaper takes 15 awards from the Michigan Press Association

 

Ferris State University's student run newspaper, the Torch, is receiving some high praise. The paper recently garnered multiple awards and Editor in Chief Keith Salowich says those awards come from a group that's been in the business for over 140 years.

 

This was the Michigan Press Association. They award college media the same way they publications all across the state – the Detroit Free Press, the paper in Grand Rapids, etc., all the big ones.”

 

The Torch won 15 statewide awards. Salowich explains they were in multiple areas of journalism, but there are a couple of areas that really stand out.

 

We got third place in all divisions across the board for best web site, but that's really just a full staff effort. And then we just about swept the photography category for our division.”

 

Salowich adds the Torch website has gotten well over 100,000 hits so far this year, and the hard copy edition is also doing well.

 

The print publication is thriving as well. We, over the summer, did a whole overhaul, this big re-design, and I think the paper looks better than what I've ever seen it,” he says.

 

Managing Copy Editor Kira Poncin notes that a basic journalistic philosophy is behind the paper.

 

The function is to represent the students the best way that we can. It's a student run newspaper and it's for the students. We want to write things that interest then and are about them and that concern them.”

 

And, Saloich cites an example of how that philosophy and the team spirit on the paper is used to respond to student concerns.

 

There was an assault reported here at Ferris and an emergency alert text went out – it was like 9:30 pm and right then it's go time and we're 'all hands on deck!'”

 

FSU Assistant Professor and Torch Advisor Steven Fox says the design of the Torch continues to evolve and the efforts of everyone on the staff propelled the Torch to a boost in awards compared to previous years.

 

 

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Stanwood man behind bars after absconding from court

 

A 19-year old Stanwood man is behind bars on after being arraigned on obstruction of justice and absconding charges.  

 

Kavoceya Vanassche was out of jail on bond/tether when he failed to appear in court last week for sentencing on a string of 2015 home invasions in the Big Rapids area.  

 

He fled and hid from authorities for six days until he was arrested Sunday morning in Morton Township by sheriff deputies after a lengthy pursuit that began in Rogers Heights. 

 

Vanassche is being held in the Mecosta County Jail on $100,000.00 bond pending further court action.

 

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Female Ferris State student struck by a car on campus

 

A female student is recovering after being struck by a car on the campus of Ferris State University Monday afternoon. 

 

 

 

University police say the student was hit while walking in a crosswalk near the FLITE Library. They say she was conscious when she was taken to the hospital for treatment. 

 

The driver of the vehicle was ticketed for failing to yield to a pedestrian. 

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Game design program at Ferris State ranks in the top of the country

 

The Digital Animation and Game Design program at Ferris State University is one of the best in the country, according to a report by the Princeton Review.

 

The seventh annual Top Game Design rankings ranked FSU 16th out of 50 other top programs.

 

The report is based on a review of factors such as lab facilities, academic offerings and starting salaries for graduates of the program.

 

It is the fifth time that Ferris has made the Princeton Review’s Top Game Design rankings.

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Big Rapids Cardinals end season with tough loss in basketball State Semi-Finals

 

The Big Rapids Cardinals led by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter, but in the end, they couldn't hold the lead against the lancers. 

 

The Stevensville Lakeshore Lancers came back to beat them 61-60 in the Class B State Semifinals at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center at Michigan State University.

 

Lakeshore started the game on a 5-0 run and were co-led by senior guard Gibson Archer and junior forward Max Gaishin in scoring with 15 points each. Logan Steffes, who helped lead the Lancers in scoring the previous game, added 11. With the win, they improve to 20-7 and will face the Detroit Henry Ford Trojans Saturday at 6:30 in the finals in the same building.

 

Big Rapids ends their season at 23-3, after junior forward Demetri Martin led them with 22 points. Senior guard Kenny Davis registered with 15 points on 4 of 15 shooting from 3-point range.

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DNR announces free ORV weekends

 

ORV riders in Michigan have two weekends this summer where they can use state routes and trails free of charge.

 

The Department of Natural Resources says on the weekends of June 11 and 12 and August 20 and 21, riders can use the trails without a permit.

 

And, the state's second Free Fishing Weekend is also being scheduled for the June 11 weekend.

 

The DNR says a Recreation Passport will not be required at any state park or recreation area that weekend.

 

 

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Michigan obesity rating improving

 

About one in three Michiganders is classified as obese, and a report released by survey company WalletHub names two Michigan metro areas – Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, and Grand Rapids-Wyoming - in its 100 "Fattest Cities in America" list of 2016.

 

Dietitian Pam Kelle says while survey results like this may accurately indicate a societal challenge, they can be harmful to individuals who are actively battling a weight problem.

 

"How can we educate and teach people about healthy living and the risk of obesity without making people feel judged and yet one other thing for people to be looked down upon by size?"

 

According to data from the CDC, nearly one-quarter of Michigan adults engage in no leisure-time physical activity.

 

But on a positive note, the state ranked 17th among 50 states and D-C for obesity in 2014, a drop from fourth place in 1995.

 

 

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Wolverine Big Rapids looking to hire new workers

 

Wolverine World Wide in Big Rapids is looking to hire some new employees.

 

ProStaff Employment Solutions manager Bianca LaFountain says Wolverine needs 100 additional employees for the first and second shifts due to the $30.5 million contract that was awarded to Wolverine by the U.S. Marines last week.

 

LaFountain says anyone interested in these positions can apply online at www.prostaffemployment.com or by calling (231) 709-8002 to schedule an interview.

 

 

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Hash oil lab discovered in Mecosta County

 

Two people are facing felony drug charges after police say they were caught operating a hash oil laboratory in Mecosta County.

 

Thirty-three-year-old Toby Santos of Stanwood and 30-year-old Danielle Santos of Wyoming are both facing up to 10 years in prison and fines of $10,000.

 

Danielle's bond is set at $50,000 while Toby's is $100,000.

 

Both are due in court next month.

 

 

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Animal welfare group warns of labels on egg cartons

 

Animal welfare groups are advising Michiganders purchasing eggs this week not to be fooled by deceptive packaging claims.

 

Animal Legal Defense Fund director of litigation, Carter Dillard, says with increasing consumer interest in humane food production, other states should follow Michigan, which passed a 10-year phase-out of the use of battery cages on egg farms. That’s where hens are confined to small wire cages where they can barely move.

 

"Hens are intelligent social creatures but there are facilities where there are three or four million of them crammed into a cage system with immense suffering. So I think if people care about animals they ought to know how their eggs are produced."

 

And, he says, there's been a rise in labels like "cage-free" or "free-range,” but in those situations the birds can still be confined, but in a larger warehouse or shed.

 

Currently a lawsuit before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals urges federal agencies to regulate the use of animal welfare claims on egg cartons.

 

 

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FSU's welding engineering program receives $50,000 gift

 

Students at FSU's welding engineering program may have a little more money in their pockets.

 

Airgas is donating $50,000 worth of supplies to the program including welding jackets, hoods, gloves and safety glasses.

 

Students often have to purchase their own supplies and that can run several hundred dollars.

 

 

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Closings and delays for Friday, March 25, 2016

 

The following schools are canceling classes for Friday, March 25, 2016:

 

  • CHIPPEWA HILLS SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

Check back for updates as more closings and/or delays become available.

 

 

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Felony charge dismissed against Mecosta man accused of handing out pamphlets outside of courthouse

 

A man from Mecosta who was arrested after handing out pamphlets about jury nullification outside of the Mecosta County Courthouse Building is having his charges reduced.

 

In November, 39-year old Keith Wood was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice and attempting to influence a jury.

 

According to court documents, Wood now faces a misdemeanor count of attempting to influence a jury after Mecosta Co. Judge Kim Booher dismissed the obstruction of justice charge against him 

 

Booher also reduced Wood’s bond from $150,000 to a personal recognizance bond, according to court officials.     

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Marquette woman suffers injuries after rollover accident in Mecosta Co.

 

A 21-year old Marquette woman is recovering after rolling her car over in Mecosta Township. 

 

Police say it happened Wednesday afternoon on Northland Drive near 12 mile road.

 

The woman was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for her non-life threatening injuries. 

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Rep. Phil Potvin withdraws funding to the State Board of Education

 

The House Appropriations Education Subcommittee on Wednesday removed $59,000 from its budget for the State Board of Education.

 

Representative. Phil Potvin, the subcommittee chair, says it's not about the specific policy, which offers school some guidance on LGBTQ students, including bathroom policy, but rather because the board did not communicate with the Legislature.

 

 

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Group calls for CPR training in Michigan schools

 

More than 60 volunteers with the American Heart Association are calling for CPR education in Michigan schools.

 

The group met in Lansing to persuade lawmakers and, they say, more than 300,000 people have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only 8 percent survive.

 

Statistics indicate that CPR can nearly triple survival rates until emergency medical personel arrive.

 

 

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UPDATE: Closings and delays for Thursday, March 24, 2016

 

The following schools will be closed for Thursday, March 24, 2016:

 

  • BALDWIN COMMUNITY

  • BARRYTON HEAD START

  • BIG JACKSON

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #1

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #2

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #3

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #4

  • BIG RAPIDS PUBLIC

  • CADILLAC CHRISTIAN HERITAGE

  • CADILLAC PUBLIC

  • CHIPPEWA HILLS

  • CROSS ROADS CHARTER ACADEMY

  • EVART HEAD START

  • EVART PUBLIC

  • LAKEVIEW COMMUNITY

  • MECOSTA-OSCEOLA ISD

  • MECOSTA-REMUS HEAD START

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD COMMUNITY

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD HEAD START

  • REED CITY HEAD START

  • REED CITY PRESCHOOL

  • REED CITY PUBLIC

  • ST. ANN SCHOOL IN CADILLAC

  • ST. MARY IN BIG RAPIDS

  • ST. MICHAEL IN REMUS

  • ST. PETER'S IN BIG RAPIDS

  • TRINITY LUTHERAN IN REED CITY

 

Also, all lunches and other activities for the Mecosta County Senior Center are canceled and Mecosta-Osceola Transit is closed for the day.

 

Check back for updates as more closings and/or delays become available.

 

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Illinois man heading to jail for sex crimes in Mecosta Co.

 

An Illinois man is heading to jail for up to 60 years after being sentenced on sexual assault charges in Mecosta Co.

 

68-year old James Lamson of Rushville, Illinois was accused sexually assaulting several young boys under the age of 13 during incidents that occurred in 1978/79.

 

In a plea deal with prosecutors, Lamson pleaded no contest to a charge of first degree criminal sexual conduct and gross indecency between males. As part of the deal, prosecutors dismissed a second first degree CSC charge.

 

He will also have to register as a sex offender for life. 

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Police at Ferris State warn students of scam

 

Police at Ferris State University are asking students to be a aware of a scam going around campus.

 

According to a press release, Department of Public Safety officials say students are being contacted by a caller who claims to work on behalf of a local police agency. The caller then advises the student that a warrant has been issued for his or her arrest. The student is then offered an opportunity to avoid arrest, and/or the loss of college credits, if they can deliver an amount of money. 

 

Ferris DPS warns that this call is a scam. Students who receive this call should inform the caller that they are going to immediately call the police. No student should send cash, personal checks, money orders or any other form of payment to this caller.

Any students who believes that they have been targeted, or has any questions, should call the Ferris DPS at (231) 591-5000.

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Wolverine Worldwide in Big Rapids to manufacture new Marine footwear

 

Bates® Footwear, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, announced today it has been awarded a contract to manufacture Temperate Weather boots for the United States Marine Corps (USMC) under a new five year, $30.5 million dollar U.S. Government contract.

 

U.S. Representative John Moolenaar (R-MI) said, “I congratulate all the hardworking men and women at Bates for winning the Marines contract. This is wonderful news for Big Rapids and for manufacturing in Michigan. Marines have been wearing Bates products for decades and this contract means they will be wearing the world’s best boots for another five years.”

 

Although the Temperate Weather boot will be a new production line for Bates Footwear in 2016, the boot itself is not unfamiliar to the USMC as Bates produced a similar Temperate Weather boot from to 2007 to 2014. Each boot is constructed with Vibram® “Sierra” soles to provide superior grip with increased longevity. The boots will be manufactured in Big Rapids, Michigan and will be constructed of 100% American-made materials.

 

“We are very proud to once again provide the United States Marine Corps with a dependable, enduring Temperate Weather Boot. Bates remains committed to upholding the values of the United States Department of Defense and the Marine Corps,” said Andrew Fowler, vice president and general manager, Bates Footwear.

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Big Rapids is heading to the Breslin

 
The Big Rapids Cardinals defeated the Essexville Garber Dukes 42-23 in the Class B State Quarterfinals at Bay Central High School. The cards started the game on a 9-1 run and led 18-12 at halftime before pulling away with a 32-15 lead after three quarters, and they never looked back.  
 
Senior center Ryan Mackall led Big Rapids with nine points, nine rebounds, senior guard Jeff Davenport followed up and eight points and five boards. Braden Childress came off the bench to add seven points and seven rebounds, while junior forwards Demetri Martin and Christian Hector each finished with six points.
 
Garber, finishing at 17-9, was led by junior forward Logan Sella, who contributed off the bench with 11 points, but they only shot 20% from the field.
 
The Cards improve to 23-2 and move on to the State Semifinals at Michigan State University inside the Jack Breslin Center to play 19-7 Stevensville Lakeshore Friday at 7:50pm. 

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MML says Big Rapids lost $5M in state revenue

 

The Michigan Municipal League has unveiled a statewide database, saveMIcity.org, that the public can use in determining how the state has diverted revenue from local cities.

 

League Associate Executive Director Tony Minghine says, quite simply, the state is not investing in local communities.

 

The State of Michigan has had revenues increase – this is according to the U.S. Census Bureau by the way – from 2002 to 2012, their revenues grew 29 percent and at the same time the money that they shared with cities went down 56 percent. We are stratigically dis-investing in our communities right now.”

 

The web site shows the city of Big Rapids has lost over $5 million in revenue sharing since 2002.

 

 

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Michigan nurses protest understaffing

 

Hundreds of Michigan nurses say they are ready to fight for their patients’ health.

 

More than 300 RNs and nursing students are expected at a rally at the Capitol on Wednesday to call for a committee hearing on the Safe Patient Care Act.

 

Michigan Nurses Association president John Armelagos, explains the measure would create a state law establishing minimum nurse-to-patient staffing and limit mandatory overtime in hospitals.

 

"There are no regulations in our state regarding the need of patients when they’re at their most vulnerable in the hospital. That they’re guaranteed to have enough nurses on each floor, on each shift every day."

 

The MNA is also releasing a survey that found RNs believe the quality of patient care in the state’s hospitals has gotten worse rather than better in the past two years, with staffing issues cited as the main reason.

 

 

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Stanwood resident charged with drug violation

 

A 24-year-old Stanwood resident is facing prison time out of Wexford County.

 

Officials say Amos Joel Martin is being charged with possession of Fentanyl following an incident last fall in Haring Township.

 

Martin could be locked up for four years and fined $25,000 if he is convicted.

 

 

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Seasonal weight restrictions on Mecosta Co. roads to be lifted Wednesday

 

The Mecosta Co. Road Commission will be lifting its seasonal weight restrictions Wednesday at 6am on all county roads.

 

The restrictions which were put in place to protect the roads and to minimize damage semi trucks and even some farming equipment could cause. 

 

If you have any questions, call Superintendent Tim Nestle at 231-796-2611. 

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Women's equality movement in jeopardy

 

March is Women’s History Month and, for over a century, women in the U.S. have fought for equality.

 

But despite their advances, persistent struggles within the feminist movement could hinder future progress.

 

That's the view of activist and entrepreneur Mira Krishnan of Grand Rapids.

 

She explains the first wave of feminism was divided by racial struggles and the priority of abolition over voting rights.

 

Now, she says differences in race, socioeconomic status and sexual identity all threaten the solidarity of the modern-day women's movement.

 

"We replicate a lot of the same kinds of toxicities that all women have been subjected to in misogyny. We all live in class-based oppression, we all live in race-based oppression, and we all live in a broader oppression of people who are different in a variety of ways."

 

She contends women must learn about their differences and advocate for equitable progress for everyone.

 

Krishnan is the keynote speaker at the 2016 Michigan NOW conference, coming up April 9th.

 

 

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Number of Michigan residents with health insurance up sharply

 

A recent study by the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation shows a sharp rise in the number of people with health insurance in Michigan.

 

The report credits the Affordable Care act which took full effect in 2014.

 

The demographic group that benefited the most from the ACA taking effect was those under age 35, the study says.

 

And, the improvement wasn't just due to the ACA.

 

The study shows that rising employment rates also helped.

 

Overall, the number of people without health insurance in Michigan dropped from just over 20 percent in 2013 to just over 15 percent in 2014.

 

 

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It will cost more to swim at the Charles E. Fairman Pool in Big Rapids

 

You’ll have to dig a little bit deeper into your pocket, if you want to use the Charles E. Fairman pool in Big Rapids this summer.  

 

Pool rates were approved by the Big Rapids City Commission Monday night.

 

Those rates are $5.00 more than last year across the board due to the increase in minimum wage and operating expenses, according to City Manager Steve Sobers.

 

Mayor Mark Warba told commissioners that the small bump in fees should be acceptable to residents “I think the user fee increase is modest and those who want to use the pool understand that and will pay it.” Warba said.

 

It will cost a Big Rapids resident $80.00 to swim this summer while it will cost a family of 4 $150.00. 

 

 

Here is a list of the increases: 

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Free cancer screenings to be offered next month in Reed City

 

Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital, District Health Department #10 and The American Cancer Society are teaming up once again for the 11th annual free cancer screening day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 1.

 

The one day free screening is targeted to those who do not have insurance or who have insurance that does not cover screenings, are age 64 or under and has not had a cancer screening in at least one year.

 

Screenings include skin cancer, colorectal, prostate, breast exam with mammogram and pelvic exam with Pap smear.

 

The screenings will be available at the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center in Reed City. Free screenings are by appointment only.

 

To make an appointment or learn more, call 231.592.0130 ext. 8659.

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Bonner Group meets with community leaders to discuss former Hanchett property in Big Rapids

 

Community leaders are moving forward with discussions about the redevelopment of the former Hanchett manufacturing site in Big Rapids.

 

Representatives from advisory company,  the Bonner Group met with city and county leaders Monday to discuss what the future could hold for the piece of property on the west side of the Muskegon River.

 

Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba believes the land should be used as housing for young professionals and the city’s aging population.

 

“What we don’t have is, housing for millennial’s and the city’s aging population.” “I hear from young professionals who can’t find a place to live, I hear from seniors who can’t find a place to live.” Warba said.  

 

Officials from Bonner will continue to evaluate the site over the next 6-7 weeks then present a concept plan to Big Rapids officials. 

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Health Department awarding $35M for crime victims

 

Local groups that help crime victims have a chance to win part of 35-million dollars in grants.

 

The state Health Department says it will take applications through April 18th for the three to five-year grants of 50-thousand dollar or more.

 

The groups can be public or non-profit.

 

The money would be used for things such as responding to the immediate needs of victims and helping restore victims' self esteem.

 

 

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Gas prices top $2.00 per gallon

 

Gas prices are up again and now average more than two dollars a gallon.

 

Triple A Michigan says it's the first time since last November that prices have been this high.

 

The average price for a gallon of gas is two dollars and two cents, up five cents from a week ago.

 

Gasbuddy.com says the average price in Big Rapids is $2.06.

 

 

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Child poverty up across the state

 

The Kids Count Michigan Data Book 2016 shows the rate of child poverty in the state increased 23 percent between 2006 and 2014.

 

Kids Count Project Director Alicia Guevara Warren explains poverty is one of the strongest predictors of a child’s health and educational outcomes.

 

"If families have fewer resources, they’re not able to really provide in the same ways; their children are undergoing a certain level of what we call toxic stress, which has a lot of impact on how they perform in school."

 

The report found child poverty is widespread, rising in 80 of 83 Michigan counties and affecting nearly one in four children.

 

There were also increases in the numbers of child abuse victims and kids eligible for food assistance.

 

 

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FSU's Big Event benefits area residents

 

FSU's Big Event, the largest student-run philanthropy event in the state of Michigan, is on schedule for next month.

Ferris State student volunteers will do simple yard and housework for Big Rapids area residents and Student Government Association Representative Patrick Maloney says the latest numbers show this year's event is really big.

 

Currently we have 295 houses that have signed up and are participating and we have just over 13,000 volunteers signed up.”

 

Area residents who want to take advantage of some free help with cleaning up their homes and yards can find the request forms at City Hall, the Ferris Student Government Office, or on the Ferris Student Government website under The Big Event tab.

 

The deadline for turning in the requests is this Wednesday, March 23rd.

 

 

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Community leaders meet with HyettPalma to discuss future of downtown Big Rapids area

 

Learning how to keep downtown Big Rapids moving in the right direction in order to attract new homeowners and businesses was the name of the game Friday.

 

City planners Doyle Hyett and Dolores Palma, of national consulting firm HyettPalma made a presentation to community leaders on how they see Big Rapids moving in the future and how the downtown area can stay viable through business development and marketing.  

 

After the presentation, new Downtown Business Association Director Josh Foor took away a lot of positives, especially for the future of the area. “I’m really excited with the focus HyettPalma brought, giving us a priority of business development and bringing in businesses for its long term benefits for the community ” “I’m also excited to focus on our identity over the next five years” Foor said.

 

Doyle and Dolores both said they are very pleased with how the area looks since their last study of Big Rapids ten years ago.    

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Mobile payments could hurt your financial health

 

Mobile payments for goods and services are becoming increasingly common, but consumer advocates warn that you need to take steps to protect your security and privacy.

 

Consumer Federation of America spokesperson Susan Grant says you should closely examine each app you download for mobile payments and to take steps ahead of time if you lose your device.

 

"Lost and stolen mobile devices are a big problem. You want to have a feature where you can track your device and where you can lock it remotely or even wipe the contents in extreme situations in order to protect yourself."

 

Statistics show Michigan is among the top states for identity theft.

 

Grant says when there is a problem with a mobile transaction, consumer rights can vary widely depending on whether the purchase is made to a credit card, debit card or a bank account.

 

She says there is currently no federal law on payment dispute rights for purchases made with mobile devices.

 

 

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Officials warn of new scam in Mecosta County

 

The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office is warning local individuals and businesses about an overpayment scam that may be showing up in the area.

 

The scammers use a bad check or credit card to pay for an item, but the amount is for more than the item's sale price.

 

The person then asks the seller to have the extra money sent back to them. However, when the seller deposits the fraudulent transaction, they are responsible for repaying the full amount to the bank.

 

 

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Docks, boat slips and more could be on the horizon if grants applications are approved for Mecosta Co. Parks

 

Boat slips, docks and other park improvements could be in the future for Brower and Merrill-Gorrel Parks in Mecosta County.

 

The county board of commission Thursday approved resolutions to move forward with two matching grant applications for the proposed park projects.  

 

The projects include installing docks and 110 boat slips at the Hardy pond boat access in Brower Park and to eliminate problems they have with unusable camp sites due to wet conditions, according to Parks Superintendent Jeff Abel. “The grant money for the campground at Merrill-Gorrel would allow us to get some drainage improvements.” He said.  

 

If the grant applications are approved, Mecosta Co. Parks have two years to use the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant money. 

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Big Rapids secures regional championship beating Sault Ste. Marie 51-45

 
The Big Rapids Cardinals (20-2) traveled to Grayling last night to play for the Class B regional championship against the Sault Ste. Marie Blue Devils (12-12).
 
The Cardinals led 22-15 at halftime however, Sault Ste. Marie came back and tied it up at 29 after 3 quarters, then led for most of the 4th quarter. The Cardinals surged back late in the fourth with a 10-0 run, fueled by senior guard Jeff Davenport’s phenomenal game-winning putback that put them up 46-45 with 1:17 left in regulation to beat the Blue Devils 51-45 to win the Regional Championship. 
 
Big Rapids junior forward Demetri Martin finished the game leading the Cards in scoring with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Hector followed with 15 and 7 boards. Davenport, finished with 11 points, five rebounds, and six steals. Big Rapids improves to (21-2) overall and moves on to the State Quarterfinals at Bay City at Central High School to play the Essexville Garber Dukes.
 
For the Blue Devils, they finish their season dropping to (12-13). Junior guard Ryley Alaspa led the Soo with 16 points, sophomore center Brandon Paul fouled out with nine points and ten rebounds, and senior forward Justin Fountain and junior guard Tristan Johnston each cashed in with ten points.
 
Tip-off between theCardinals and Dukes is Tuesday night at 7:00.
 
 

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Lack of paid sick leave hurts families in Michigan

 

An estimated one-and-a-half million Michigan workers do not have access to paid sick leave and a new report finds that can impact the health of their families.

 

According to the findings from Florida Atlantic University, families without sick-leave benefits are twice as likely to delay health-care treatment.

 

Staci Lowry of Detroit says it became a personal matter for her when her four-year-old daughter suffered a stroke.

 

"Due to her suffering that stroke, a lot of the time that we were in the hospital, once I exhausted family medical leave time, I actually was terminated from my employer. There was no other options available. You shouldn’t have to make a decision between your job and your kid."

 

The study found people in low-wage jobs without benefits are most vulnerable, and sick workers are also more prone to injuries and making mistakes.

 

Only four states – California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon – require employers to offer paid sick benefits.

 

 

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Citizens group aims to stop toxic injection well in Mecosta County

 

An effort is underway to stop an injection well from being approved for Mecosta County. The Mecosta County Water Protectors group held an informational meeting at the Fork Township Hall in Barryton on Wednesday to raise awareness of the dangers of the proposed well.

 

There's a deep injection well that will take toxic oil and gas brine one mile from the village, one mile from our elementary school,” says group spokesperson Linda Travis.

 

The well is owned by W.B. Osborn Oil & Gas Co. from San Antonio, Texas. They want to inject up to 160,000 gallons of brine per day into porous limestone with pressures up to 976 psig. The water would be trucked in from oil and gas wells in Michigan and Travis says tests of that water contain hazardous amounts of known carcinogens – benzene and ethylbenzene.

 

Travis notes that all residences and businesses in Barryton and the surrounding area depend on wells for their drinking water and she doesn't want to see another Flint type disaster happen. However, she feels citizens are being kept in the dark and “steamrolled” by big oil and gas.

 

It's been permitted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. We had an EPA hearing and were able to slow it down and stop it to this point,” she says.

 

And, she points out the EPA said they could not guarantee that fracking waste from other states would not wind up in Fork Township.

 

During the meeting, both the Fork Township Supervisor, John Singer, and the Township Clerk, Roberta Hazen, said they were never officially informed of plans for the injection well.

 

The group is asking citizens to contact their state and federal representatives and ask them to put a stop to the injection well.

 

 

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Cadillac man sentenced to 11 months in jail for break-ins around Mecosta Co.

 

One half of a crime duo, accused of over 30 break-ins in and around Mecosta County is going to jail.

 

23-year old Nicholas John Bailey of Cadillac was sentenced in Mecosta County to 11 months in jail after pleading guilty to breaking and entering with intent for his involvement in the crime spree.

 

Bailey and co-defendant 32-year old Dickie Lee Goodwin Jr. was arrested back in August after a string of break-ins around Mecosta, Osceola and Wexford Counties.

 

Goodwin’s case is currently in Mecosta Co. Circuit court.  Both men have cases in Osceola County as well. 

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Freedom of Information Day highlights Michigan's poor rating for government transparency

 

Wednesday is Freedom of Information Day, part of Sunshine Week – which highlights the need to ensure government isn't kept behind closed doors.

 

As president of the Michigan Coalition for Open Government, Jane Briggs-Bunting explains the annual observance began in 2003 as a reminder of the power of the First Amendment and the importance of transparency and accountability among elected leaders, law enforcement, the court system and all other public bodies.

 

"You cannot have a government that’s a democratic functioning government that doesn’t have its citizens right in the driver’s seat and knowing what’s going on. If you don’t have freedom of information, you don’t have accountability, you don’t have transparency, very soon you won’t have a free democratic country.”

 

She adds that it's a crucial tool for the media and Americans' right to know and the Flint Water crisis is just one example of it's importance.

 

"Without the effort frankly of a reporter at the Flint Journal, a guy named Ron Fonger and Curt Guyette of the ACLU this story never would have gotten the national and international coverage it's getting and now the rush to solve the problem. This problem went on for two years.”

 

Michigan has the worst government transparency and accountability laws and practices in the country, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

 

 

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Big Rapids Commissioners grant Consumers Energy easement

 

An easement is being granted to Consumers Energy in order to comply with city ordinances in Big Rapids.

 

During a special meeting Tuesday, City Commissioners granted the easement to the utility.

 

City Manager Steve Sobers said the easement request by Consumers for a piece of city owned land is part of the Baldwin Street Bridge project to move an electrical poll in order to comply with the law but it would also allow Wolverine Worldwide to expand their facilities, if they so choose.

 

Jim Sandy, President of the Mecosta County Development Corporation believes granting the easement is a big positive for the city. “Six months ago, we were ready to push the panic button in dealing with Wolverine Worldwide and the potential loss of jobs, now they are aggressively trying to back fill some of the contracts they got and are now talking about expansion and hiring more people.”  “I want to thank the city for making this happen because it’s going to be a good thing.” Sandy said.  

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Local politician says officials are doing the best they can with the Flint water crisis

 

Despite ongoing U.S. Congressional hearings and repeated calls for Governor Rick Snyder's resignation over the Flint water crisis, Michigan Representative Phil Potvin says government officials are doing the best job possible for Flint's residents.

 

That's well under control. The water was totally changed over in October so now they're just waiting to get the pipes all lined – keep that moving forward. The Michigan National Guard has been in, knocked on every house, dropped off water at every house. A lot of that water came from right here in the Big Rapids area at Ice Mountain – one-and-a-half million bottles.”

 

Virginia Tech engineering professor Marc Edwards, an expert on water quality, was sent to Flint to study the water supply.

 

His team found extremely high levels of lead, and Edwards said that authorities' actions "exposes a new level of arrogance and uncaring that I have never encountered."

 

Edwards says his team decided to start the study in Flint after being contacted by Flint resident Lee-Anne Walters, whose family suffered from strange health problems after using the Flint River water but was ignored by city and state officials.

 

But, Potvin contends authorities are doing the best they can.

 

Everybody's got new filters if they wanted them on all of their stuff, so the best is being done that possibly can be done,” he says.

 

According to Fox News' Dr. Manny Alverez, the water crisis in Flint is just the tip of the iceberg. He says the aging water infrastructure in this country is deeply flawed and many of the 150,000 public water systems that serve more than 300 million people are based on rusting, leaky pipes and decades-old plans that— if not corrected and replaced— will have devastating and long-lasting effects on our communities.

 

Potvin acknowledges water infrastructure problems are not isolated to the city of Flint, but residents can be proactive about them.

 

There's some individual areas, especially older homes, where you do have lead pipes and [it's] something to be cautious of. The health departments are more than happy to test any water that you bring in to them.”

 

Potvin represents the residents of Mecosta, Wexford, and part of Osceola Counties. He made the comments during a visit to Big Rapids last Friday.

 

 

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Criticism over Governor's legal fees increasing

 

Governor Rick Snyder is taking some serious heat for wanting to use state funds to pay for legal fees related to the Flint water crisis.

 

Last week, Snyder signed contracts with two law firms totaling one-point-two million dollars for legal representation.

 

Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party Brandon Dillon says other public leaders facing legal challenges used a legal defense fund, and he contends Snyder should do the same.

 

"Rod Blagojevich, Kwame Kilpatrick, and Dennis Hastert had the basic decency to at least not bilk the taxpayers for their criminal defense. It's unfortunate Governor Snyder is in even more outrageous territory than those three notorious figures."

 

Meanwhile, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette requested one-point-five million dollars to pay for the investigation into the government’s role in the water crisis.

 

Dillon notes that is money intended to investigate criminal wrongdoing, not defend public officials.

 

 

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Big Rapids Public Schools approve 2016 sinking fund projects

Improvements and renovations are coming to Big Rapids Public Schools in the near future.

 

The Board of Education Monday night approved its 2016 Sinking Fund projects.

 

Superintendent Tim Haist there will be building improvements to the middle school and high School. “There will be improvements to the middle school gym including new gym floor, bleachers, and roof.” “New railing and stairs on the exterior of the middle school building, and repairing our railings at our high school are the top projects this school year.” He said.

 

2015 sinking fund projects focused on the elementary schools.  

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Spectrum Health Hospitals in Reed City & Big Rapids to host medication and needle take back events

 

Spectrum Health Hospitals in Mecosta and Osceola Counties will be hosting two medication and needle take back events this week.

 

Residents can drop off any unwanted medications, including over the counter, prescriptions, liquids, inhalers, ointments, pet medications and needles.

 

Spectrum Health official Katie Grossmeyer says this effort is a way to protect residents and help the environment. “The reason for the event is to make sure unwanted medications and prescription drugs don’t get into the wrong hands but also that these drugs do not get flushed down the toilet and into our water” she said.  

 

The events are in partnership with Ten16, the first will Start on Tuesday, March 15th from 3pm-6pm at the Reed City Family practice lobby. The second take back day will take place Thursday, March 17th from 3pm-6pm at the Big Rapids Hospital Main Lobby. 

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Group says AG should stop fighting neurotoxin reduction regulations

 

An environmental group and other concerned Michiganders are asking state Attorney General Bill Schuette to halt attempts to block regulations to reduce a known neurotoxin.

 

Despite the Supreme Court's recent denial of Michigan and other states' request to stay the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, Schuette has not stopped efforts to restrict the measure.

 

Environmental Law and Policy Center spokesperson Howard Learner contends that continuing litigation before the D-C Court of Appeals is not in the best interest of the state and public health.

 

"Mercury's a neurotoxin. It produces fetal brain damage, it slows the development of IQ and it hurts kids' learning ability. Mercury, once it's in a pregnant woman's bloodstream, passes through the placental barrier; it affects fetal brain development and it harms children,” he says.

 

Schuette and other opponents argue that the new rules are federal overreach and expensive for utilities to implement.

 

But Learner says Consumers Energy and D-T-E already are set to comply with the standards with plans to install modern pollution-control equipment on coal plants.

 

 

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Stanwood man hospitalized following rollover accident

 

A Stanwood man is recovering following a rollover accident in Mecosta County.

 

Sheriff's Deputies say 17-year-old Brendon Garner fell asleep at the wheel will driving on Pierce Road near 170th Avenue in Austin Township late Saturday night.

 

Garner was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

 

 

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Michigan State Police stepping up efforts to curb drunk driving

Starting March 16th and continuing through April 4th, Michigan State Police will be cracking down on drunk drivers.

 

It’s part of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

 

Over 150 police agencies statewide will be participating during the initative.

 

Last year, Police arrested 538 drunk drivers, including 78 “superdrunk” drivers with a blood alcohol level of .17 or higher.

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Town hall meetings to be held to address Pine River Schools bond proposal

 

A series of meetings will be held around the Pine River Area School District to discuss the upcoming May 3rd bond proposal.

 

The $5.8 million dollar bond is an effort by the school district to upgrade and renovate school facilities.

 

Pine River Superintendent Matt Lukshaitis addresses why the P.R. Schools are in need of this bond.  “The intention [of the meetings] is to conduct a forum for discussion about the items on the bond.  The committee wanted to make sure we didn’t design a proposal with any fluff.  We are a tough, hard-working community and we want our kids to be safe, dry, and secure.  We also want our students to have quality facilities during school and after school.  Many of our kids compete athletically; participate in the fine arts, march and play in our bands, and are part of academic clubs.” He Said. 

 

Areas to be addressed by the bond include: roofs at the elementary and middle-high school; secure entries at the main offices of the elementary, middle, and high school offices; parking lots; new well and back-up well at the middle-high school; replacement of boilers and upgrades to heating plants; new doors and windows; bleachers inside the high school gym & track and football field; reconfiguration of the existing band room—renovate and reopen the original stage onto the high school cafeteria; a dedicated wrestling room; replacement of the high school gym floor; replacement of pavement and sidewalks at the elementary and middle-high school; resurface the track; expansion of the upper elementary playground; and reinforcement of the sanitary leeching basin dike behind the middle-high school.

 

The meetings will be held on March 16th at the LeRoy Township Hall, March 24th at the Tustin Community Center, March 31st at the Luther Lions Club and finally April 20th at the Pine River High School Cafeteria. All meetings will take place at 6pm. 

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CDC warns of poisoned pistachios

 

A California company is issuing a nationwide recall for pistachios linked to Salmonella poisoning.

 

At least one Michigan resident has been sickened by the nuts.

 

Wonderful Pistachios says the recall involves pistachios sold under three brands – Wonderful, Paramount Farms, and Trader Joe’s.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating and says two people sickened by the strain have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

 

The “best if used by” date on the recalled nuts are Oct. 26, 2015 to Nov. 6, 2015, but the CDC warns the recalled pistachios have a long shelf life and may still be in people’s homes.

 

 

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Nestle recalls food with possible glass contamination

 

Nestle USA says it is recalling a number of Digiorno, Lean Cuisine, and Stouffer's products because of the potential for glass pieces them.

 

No injuries have been reported but an investigation is ongoing.

 

The source of the glass is spinach that was an ingredient common to the products subject to the recall.

 

Nestlé USA says the recall is out of an abundance of caution after several consumers reported that they had found small pieces of glass in some of the products.

 

A list of affected products and product codes can be found at NestleUSA.com.

 

 

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State Rep. Potvin visiting Big Rapids Friday

 

State House Representative Phil Potvin will be in Big Rapids Friday for March is reading month and to speak with residents.

 

Potvin will be reading the book “The Flying Toasters Spread the Word” to students at Brookside and Riverview elementary schools, and Crossroads Charter Academy.

 

He says reading to young students has been one of his favorite and fun things to do in his six years of being a legislator.

 

Potvin will also take some time out from 2:30-3:30pm to speak with constituents at Crankers restaurant about what’s happening in Lansing and answer any questions residents may have.  

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Treasury continues effort to stop Income Tax fraud with identity quiz

 

The Michigan Department of Treasury is increasing security measures to protect Michigan taxpayers and the state from tax-related identity theft.

 

If an income tax return has been selected for identity confirmation, the taxpayer will receive a letter from the Department of Treasury asking them to confirm their identity by completing a short online quiz. After confirmation of passing the quiz refunds will be issued in 14-21 days.

 

We have found a more effective and efficient way to stop fraud while minimizing the impact on taxpayer,” said State Treasurer Nick Khouri. “Adding the identity confirmation quiz provides an additional layer of identity protection for the taxpayers of Michigan.”

 

For additional information on the quiz, visit Treasury's Identity Confirmation website. Additionally, if a taxpayer suspects they may have been a target of identity theft, they should immediately contact the Department of Treasury at Treasury-ReportIDTheft@michigan.gov and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 1-800-829-0433.

 

In recent years, Treasury has stopped thousands of potentially fraudulent income tax returns, involving approximately $100 million in possibly-fraudulent refunds. The department continues to caution taxpayers to be vigilant about possible identity theft.

 

Treasury has also warned taxpayers of fraudulent phone calls being made to taxpayers from a “spoof” phone number, which has the appearance of being from the Department of Treasury. Taxpayers are told they have committed tax fraud and must pay immediately or they could be arrested. Treasury does not demand immediate payment by phone without first making contact through the U.S. Postal Service nor does the department threaten arrest for not paying.

 

After filing a Michigan return, taxpayers can check the status of their refund on-line, by clicking

the “Check My Income Tax Info” box on www.michigan.gov/incometax. Treasury recommends allowing the department at least 14 days to receive and enter a paper income tax return, before checking on its status.

 

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Michigan schools celebrate National School Breakfast Week

 

Schools around Michigan are celebrating the most important meal of the day during National School Breakfast Week.

 

Director of Michigan Hunger Solutions, Justin Rumenapp, explains universal breakfast - the offering of breakfast at no charge to all students – benefits them physically and academically.

 

"It’s just a great opportunity to fuel up the kids for their day. Kids do better on tests, kids show up on time more often and it helps create sort of a culture of health within the school.,” he says.

 

The U-S-D-A’s Community Eligibility provision allows schools that meet certain guidelines to offer breakfast and lunch to all students free of charge.

 

About 60 percent of eligible schools in Michigan have adopted the provision.

 

 

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Mecosta man sentenced to probation on drug charges

 

A Mecosta man is getting a break from the County Prosecutor.

 

Officials say 24-year-old TJ Dexter Finney is being sentenced to one year in jail after pleading guilty to one count of delivery of cocaine and one count of marijuana possession.

 

Finney could have spent as much as 20 years in prison on the drug charges had he not accepted the plea deal.

 

 

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Big Rapids city officials receive Baldwin Street Bridge update

 

Construction on the Baldwin Street Bridge is still on schedule according to Big Rapids City officials.

 

Members of the Big Rapids City Commission along with City Manager Steve Sobers and Mayor Mark Warba received an update Wednesday on where the construction project is at.

 

Middle beams for the bridge should be installed soon, according to Public Works Deputy Director Roger Schneidt. “We should have them installed by next week depending on the weather and another issue would be weight restrictions that are in place as well” he said.

 

The bridge is scheduled to be complete by July 16th

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Two road millage proposals approved in Osceola County

 

In Osceola County, voters approved to increase taxes up to two-mills for the improvement and maintenance of public roads in Osceola Township.

 

It’s estimated the tax will raise $57,500  this year for roads.

 

In Evart Township, voters renewed the current one-mill road tax from 2016 to 2021.

 

The tax is expected to raise just under $49,000 per year for construction and maintenance of township roads. 

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Voters in Mecosta Co. pick Trump and Sanders; County Clerk says voter turnout was good

 

It is Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders for residents in Mecosta County.

 

Trump beat his republican rivals with just under 37% of the vote; Ted Cruz came in second with31%. On the democrat side, Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton 58%-38%.

 

Mecosta County Clerk Marcee Purcell says 8,210 residents or 33% came out to vote on Tuesday.

 

In 2012, voter turnout was 17% and in 2008 it was 19.5%.

 

Purcell says most precincts were steady all day, but a few were disappointed with the low turnout.

 

As for local school proposals, residents in the Chippewa Hills School District approved an 18.66 mil renewal which is expected to raise just under $6-million dollars by 2017.  

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Help on the way for Michigan's homeless

 

Nearly 260 local homeless housing and service programs in Michigan will split more than $56 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 

The Tier 1 Continuum of Care grants announced Tuesday backs the efforts of President Barack Obama's administration to provide housing and support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

 

 

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Voters OK millage for Chippewa Hills School District

 

The Chippewa Hills School District will be getting the millage renewal and extension they wanted.

 

Voters OK'd the millages during Tuesday's presidential primary that are expected to generate nearly $6 million for the school district.

 

Officials say the millages do not affect primary residences and it is a renewal with no increase.

 

 

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Appeal for Great Lakes restoration sent to presidential candidates

 

Presidential leadership has been key in Great Lakes restoration, and a diverse group says that commitment needs to continue.

 

President of the Council of Great Lakes Industries Kathryn Buckner says keeping the lakes safe is a crucial piece in preventing another Flint from happening.

 

"Everything that we’re trying to do in the Great Lakes is to protect and restore the lakes for the benefit of the people that live here. And public drinking water for 40 million people is at the foundation of what these programs are designed to do."

 

The groups sent a Great Lakes platform to the presidential candidates to maintain at least 300 million dollars annually in federal investment to protect and restore the Great Lakes.

 

 

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Big Rapids man accused of sexually assaulting young girl

 

A 33-year old Big Rapids man is behind bars on charges connected to a sexual assault of a minor.

 

Christopher Clair Corsello is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl this past during January in Grant Township.

 

He was arraigned in Mecosta Co. District Court on charges of first and second degree criminal sexual conduct, distributing sexually explicit visual or verbal matter to a child and accosting a child for immoral purposes.  

 

He faces up to life in prison, if convicted. Corsello’s bond is set at $1-million dollars. 

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City looking for input on Mitchel Creek Park development

 

Big Rapids area residents are being asked for input on the further development of Mitchell Creek Park.

 

The city is applying for a Michigan Department of Natural Resources grant and wants public input on how the money would be spent.

 

Under consideration are a water filtration garden, additional lighting, repairs to the deck, and other upgrades.

 

Public comments and suggestions will be considered during the Department of Parks and Recreation board meeting at 6:30 pm on Thursday, March 10, at City Hall.

 

 

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Big Rapids City Commission approves 2016/2017 capital improvements program prioritization plan

 

Capital improvement projects within the city of Big Rapids are being prioritized for the 2016/2017 year.

 

Monday night, the Big Rapids City Commission approved a resolution accepting the CIP prioritization plan.

 

Mark Schweppenheiser, neighborhood services director says top priorities are city infrastructures. “Roads, roads, roads, are number one because they are the most visible and what our residents use the most.” He said.

 

Currently in the plan local streets and major streets are being recommended $246,300 in total funding. 

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UPDATE: It's unknown whether charges will be pressed against student who lied about campus assault

 

Ferris State University Police now say a female student admitted to lying about being assault by an unknown male while walking on campus Feb. 23rd.  

 

FSU Department of Public Safety officials say while conducting its investigation, the female student later admitted to lying about the situation.

 

Whether charges will be filed against the student is unknown.

 

Ferris State DPS Director Bruce Borkovich told Big Rapids Daily News when they conclude its investigation; the case will be handed over to the prosecutor’s office, who will decide whether or not to press charges. 

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Trump responds to Mitt Romney

 

Former Gov. and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is saying Donald Trump is "anything but presidential" and says he would cast a write-in vote rather than support him.

 

Romney made the statement during a recent interview on NBC's Meet the Press and Trump had a response during Friday's rally in Cadillac.

 

Mitt Romney doesn't have a clue. This poor guy, what's he doing? He's making a fool out of himself. He choked, he should have won the election, and I backed him – I gave him money, I did everything for him.”

 

Trump went on to say he should be getting all the credit for what's happening in the Republican Party while Romney says he can't imagine anyone nominating Trump at the Republican Convention.

 

 

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Flint women in the vanguard during water crisis

 

The women of Flint got the ball rolling on the response to the city's poisoned water.

 

Many Flint residents say they were immediately concerned after the city switched its water source in April 2014. But it was a study months later that finally opened their eyes.

 

Melissa Mays says it wasn't until January of 2015 that notification arrived stating chemicals that are a byproduct of disinfection were in the water.

 

But she notes officials continued to claim the water still was safe for most people.

 

"When they told us that it could cause cancer, that was when we started protesting and started digging in more. We started having our water tested and found out that there were high levels of lead in several people's homes. So that's when we went on this whole mission to expose the truth."

 

Pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s discovery of what she calls a "frightening" increase in lead levels in the children of Flint is credited with being the pinnacle moment in the controversy.

 

 

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Man assaults roommate in Green Township

 

A man is in custody following an assault in Green Township.

 

The Mecosta County Sheriff's office says they responded to a domestic complaint with shots fired Sunday at about 4:00 a.m.

 

A 24-year-old man and his 23-year-old roommate got into an argument and the roommate locked himself in the bedroom.

 

The suspect began beating his way through the door with a hammer nearly hitting the roommate in the head and then fired a warning shot.

 

The suspect's name will be released following his arraignment.

 

 

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Rollover accident in Mecosta County sends man to hospital

 

A man from Leroy is recovering following a roll-over accident this weekend.

 

Police say the 65-year-old man was heading southbound on US131 when he lost control, ran off the roadway, and rolled over near 8 Mile Road.

 

He was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

 

Deputies say weather was a factor in the crash.

 

 

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Assault on FSU campus a fabrication

 

Officials at Ferris State University say an assault on a female student last month didn't happen.

 

The student reported that an unknown male grabbed her and would not release her until witnesses shouted at the attacker and he fled scene.

 

As part of the investigation, the female student who reported the incident has since admitted that she lied to FSU police

 

 

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Protesters sneak into Trump rally in Cadillac

 

Despite having a space set aside for protesters outside of the venue for Donald Trump's campaign stop in Cadillac on Friday, several people who disagree with Trump and his policies did make it into the rally.

 

At one point, a person in the crowd shouted out, “You're bad for our country!”

 

Trump then called for security personnel to, “Get him out of here.”

 

A few minutes later, a group of people began chanting about Trump and the Klu Klux Klan.

 

Trump then told security and the crowd that one of the protesters should be arrested for his actions and for having a “filthy and dirty mouth.”

 

Security personnel escorted the protesters from the premises.

 

 

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Bernie Sanders addresses crowd in northern Michigan

 

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says a corrupt campaign finance system, a rigged economy, crumbling infrastructures such as that in Flint, the high cost of education, and massive income and wealth inequality are all issues that resonate across the country, including Northern Michigan.

 

Sanders made the comments to a standing room only crowd at Streeter's Center in Traverse City on Friday.

 

He will debate his Democratic rival, Hilary Clinton, in Flint on Sunday.

 

 

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Big Rapids man charged with gun theft

 

A Big Rapids man is facing felony charges after police say he stole a handgun.

 

Big Rapids Public Safety officials say 23-year-old Jazeron Charles Knowles stole the weapon from a storage shed on South Third Avenue.

 

Knowles was arraigned in Mecosta County on Friday and could be sent to jail for up to five years if convicted.

 

 

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Mecosta County couple homeless following house fire

 

A home near Morley is in ashes and the couple living there are looking for a place to live following a fire on Friday.

 

Morley Fire Department officials say the Deerfield Township house went up in flames at around 3:30 a.m.

 

It's believed the fire started in the chimney and cold temperatures hampered firefighters as they extinguished the blaze.

 

Everyone made it safely out of the house, including some pets.

 

 

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Donald Trump visits Cadillac

 

Around 4,000 people came out Friday to see republican presidential front runner Donald Trump in Cadillac.

 

One attendee said there needs to be something different than the establishment and Trump is that.

 

During his speech Donald Trump discussed how he would repeal Obamacare, bringing jobs back to the United States and once again, building a wall on the US/Mexico border and making Mexico pay for it.

 

Trump also went after his republican rivals in Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz calling them “Little Marco” and “Lying Ted” and how they are what’s wrong with Washignton.

 

Towards the end of the rally, two different gentlemen were thrown out by Trump after chanting about him and the KKK.   

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State budget needs to address wider range of problems

 

Some policy experts want state government to address problems plaguing all of Michigan’s communities, not just those in Flint and Detroit.

 

The Michigan League for Public Policy’s Gilda Jacobs says Snyder’s budget doesn't tackle racial, economic, and geographic disparities across the state.

 

"We want to put money into improving infrastructure, supporting early education and child care, nutrition and health for low-income families. So, we have to look at systemic policy changes, and start creating a new and stable revenue stream in order to do so."

 

The proposed budget reduces funds for families receiving basic income and food assistance, and Jacobs points out there's no additional money for schools with high numbers of children at risk, or for need-based scholarships.

 

She notes the budget does continue the Healthy Michigan Plan, and expand the Healthy Kids Dental Program.

 

 

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Mecosta Co. opposing section of the governor's budget bill that would privatize mental health services

 

Mecosta County is joining other agencies and counties in Michigan who oppose a section of language in Gov. Rick Snyder’s executive budget bill that would privatize mental health services in the state.

 

The county board approved a resolution that supports their opposition to the section of language.

 

Commissioner Linda Howard said this proposal would not benefit Mecosta County or any county in the state for that matter, who offer these types of services.

 

During the public comment portion of the meeting county resident Michael Gibson applauded commissioners for their stance on the issue.

“People forget when we don’t give people adequate mental health services they could end up in the prison system which is very expensive and is also a danger to the general public” Gibson said.  

 

Since there has been push back by a number of agencies and counties, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley will lead the workgroup in creating a proposal for how state-funded mental health care will be delivered, managed and paid for.

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Reed City schools asking voters for more funding

 

Voters in Reed City are being asked to spend more money on their schools.

 

Two bond proposals will be on this May's ballot, one extending a current millage and another new millage that, in combination, would raise nearly $15 million for the school district.

 

Officials say the funds would be used to make repairs and improvements to current facilities and to add a new multi-purpose facility at the high school that will function as both a gym and an auditorium.

 

District officials will be holding an informational forum March 2 at 6 p.m. in the Porteous Academic Center to discuss the proposals.

 

 

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Sanders opens field office in northern Michigan

 

As part of the buildup to this Tuesday's presidential primary, Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders is making his presence known in northern Michigan.

 

Sanders recently opened a field office in Traverse City.

 

The office has volunteers that will be going door-to-door and working a phone bank to talk with voters across the state and the country.

 

Volunteers say they expect to see hundreds of people in and out of the field office over the next week.

 

 

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New agency to help Michigan's veterans

 

There will soon be a new voice for veterans in Michigan.

 

Senator David Knezek and Representative Tom Barrett are announcing the launch of the Michigan Veterans Institute.

 

Knezek says after the trials and tribulations of tours overseas, the transition home can be difficult for veterans.

 

"After the handshakes and the parades are over you’re left really alone trying to find and trying to navigate your way through life back in the United States. It’s a difficult process, it’s a disheartening process and we want try to make that easier for our veterans."

 

Knezek says the Institute will focus on increasing access to service dogs for veterans managing post-traumatic stress disorder, reducing veteran homelessness, and improving access to education, health care, and job opportunities.

 

There are more than 648,000 veterans who reside in Michigan.

 

 

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Stanwood man identified in drug bust

 

A Stanwood resident is looking at jail time on drug charges.

 

Police say Craig Huntey is being charged with felony manufacturing of marijuana after being arrested last week.

 

Huntley's arrest was part of a large drug sweep by the Central Michigan Enforcement Team that resulted in the arrest of seven other individuals in and around Big Rapids.

 

 

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Plans for new auto parts store in Big Rapids hits a snag

 

Big Rapids Planning Commission members want to see more from a development company who have plans for a new auto parts store at the Big Boy Restaurant location in Big Rapids.

 

Patrick O’Leary of Timothy Patrick Development presented plans of how he and O’Riley’s Auto Parts envision how the new building will look. However, some members for the commission including Sue Bean had concerns with the generic look of the building and not fitting in with the State Street area.

 

“The plan I see here seems to be for a building that would fit more on Perry Street than on State Street, I would also like to see more put in when it comes to the landscaping too." She said.

 

Fellow planning commission member John Schmidt echoed her comments. 

 

The board said they would approve recommendation with the condition that the developer present revised plans on the aesthetics of the building to fit in more with the area and a better landscaping plan to fit in with the city’s ordinance. 

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Big Rapids Township picks construction company to install sidewalks on Perry Avenue

 

Sidewalks on the north side of Perry Avenue in Big Rapids Township are close to being a reality soon, according to township officials.

 

Big Rapids Township Trustees awarded the sidewalk project to Steve Jones Construction out of Big Rapids.

 

The project cost will be just under $348,000.

 

Supervisor Bill Stanek said “it’s a team effort in making this project happen; from the city of Big Rapids to MDOT everyone had a hand in making this project a reality.”

 

The sidewalk will start on the north side of Perry Avenue at the Venlo Apartments and extend to the Meijer store.

 

The next step is getting the proper permits once that happens Stanek is hoping construction will start in the next two months.    

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Semi flips on U.S. 131

 

Winter weather is being blamed for a flipped semi on U.S. 131.

 

Officials say the truck lost control on icy roads and hit a passenger car near the Perry Avenue on-ramp Tuesday at around 8:00 pm.

 

No injuries were reported although traffic had to be rerouted while the semi was removed and a small fuel spill cleaned up.

 

 

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Read Across America Day emphasizes need for literary skills

 

Wednesday is "Read Across America Day" which is also part of National March into Literacy Month.

 

Literacy Center of West Michigan spokesperson Wendy Falb explains strong reading and writing skills are key to securing a solid economic future, especially in the information age.

 

She says now more than ever, educators are armed with knowledge of what’s needed to promote literacy.

 

"We have a lot more drill-down methodologies, and we also know larger contextual issues that impact it – like attendance, literacy practices at the home, the parents' level of literacy, environmental issues that cause chronic absenteeism or even long-term cognitive issues. "

 

Falb says in a technology culture that focuses less on literacy, it's crucial that families focus on it at home.

 

It is recommended that parents read with children starting at a young age, and also model good literacy habits by reading themselves.

 

 

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Wrong-way driver on U.S. 131 puts man in hospital

 

A man is in the hospital after driving the wrong way on U.S. 131.

 

The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says the 41-year-old Fremont resident was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of the freeway near 8 Mile Road at around 7:30 Tuesday night when he hit a semi.

 

The man was taken to Spectrum Big Rapids hospital for non-life threatening injuries while the semi driver was uninjured.

 

Police say alcohol and/or drugs are believed to be a factor in the crash.

 

 

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UPDATE: School closings and delays for Wednesday, March 2, 2016

 

The following schools are canceling classes for Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

 

  • BARRYTON HEAD START

  • BIG JACKSON

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #1

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #2

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #3

  • BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #4

  • BIG RAPIDS PUBLIC

  • CHIPPEWA HILLS

  • CROSS ROADS CHARTER ACADEMY

  • DAYSTAR CHRISTIAN ACADEMY IN EVART

  • EVART HEAD START

  • EVART PUBLIC

  • LAKEVIEW COMMUNITY

  • MECOSTA-OSCEOLA ISD

  • MECOSTA-REMUS HEAD START

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD COMMUNITY

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD HEAD START

  • REED CITY HEAD START

  • REED CITY PRESCHOOL

  • REED CITY PUBLIC

  • ST. MARY IN BIG RAPIDS

  • ST. MICHAEL IN REMUS

  • ST. PETER'S IN BIG RAPIDS

  • TRI COUNTY PUBLIC

  • TRINITY LUTHERAN IN REED CITY

 

Check back for more school closings as they become available.

 

 

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Fmr. Cran-Hill Ranch Camp Counselor headed to prison

 

A former Christian camp counselor in Mecosta County who pleaded no contest to criminal sexual conduct against two young campers is going to jail for at least the next two years.

 

In July, 24-year old William Nealy of Muncie, Indiana was fired from Cran-Hill Ranch in Rodney after accusations surfaced of him inappropriately touching a camper in their bunk bed.

 

In September, another camper came forward accusing Nealy of misconduct.

 

In addition to prison time, he will also have to register as a sex offender for the next 25 years and pay court costs and fines.  

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Nuclear power plants could pollute Great Lakes

 

There are 38 nuclear reactors on the Great Lakes – and a watchdog group says if something isn't done, the world's largest body of surface water will become a nuclear garbage dump.

 

Nuclear Energy Information Service Director David Kraft says people who want safe drinking water should get involved.

 

"Mistakes happen, accidents happen. So, we're concerned that there's quite a cavalier attitude on the part of regulators, on the part of government officials – as we have seen exemplified in Flint – that we can't afford that level of risk on the Great Lakes, to have some sort of a nuclear accident."

 

The Great Lakes supply drinking water for more than 40 million people, and Kraft says with all the nuclear reactors on their shores, it's reasonable for Americans to demand protection.

 

 

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GOP presidential candidates to visit Northern Michigan

 

Two GOP presidential candidates are campaigning Northern Michigan this weekend.

 

Donald Trump will be at the Wexford Civic Center in Cadillac on Friday night while John Kasich makes his appearance at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City on Saturday.

 

 

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