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Big Rapids Daily News
News That Affects You Archives for 2016-05

Ferris State University releases water study which finds some areas on campus with elevated lead levels


Ferris State University officials say a recently released water study found several areas on its Big Rapids campus with elevated lead levels and one location even had elevated copper levels. 


Out of 123 samples, seven came back with elevated lead levels.


Two were from drinking fountains in the Automotive building and the Prakken building.  Four were in men’s rest rooms in the Automotive building, and in Clark, Puterbaugh and Ward residence halls. One was from a kitchenette/laundry room in Ward Hall.


FSU Officials say in each case, when there was an elevated finding that source of water was taken out of use and replaced then retested.


Ferris State University says they will continue to test water at additional sites on campus. 


New cabins being built for School Section Lake Veteran's Park in Mecosta County


There will be some exciting additions at School Section Lake Veteran's Park in Mecosta County all thanks to the students at the Mecosta-Osceola Career Center.


Mecosta County Parks Superintendent Jeff Abel says the cabins are almost finished.


“We are going to have two new cabins at School Section Lake; concrete slabs for the cabins are being installed.” “We have purchased some really nice rustic pine furniture for the cabins which are double the size, we have now.” He said.  


The cabins will feature two bedrooms with bunk beds, a common room and a porch area.



Abel is hoping to have the new cabins available sometime in July. 


Snyder recall effort extended for three weeks


A recall effort targeting Governor Snyder over his handling of the Flint water crisis will be extended three weeks so organizers can try to gather more petition signatures.


Reverend David Bullock says his group, "Committee to Recall Governor Snyder," is trying to collect nearly 800,000 valid signatures, but admits they got off to a slow start.


Bullock says they're now also reaching out to people who are upset with Snyder for reasons other than Flint.




VA wants nurses to do more for veterans


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wants nurses to do more for America's veterans.


Proposed regulations would allow nurses to order and read diagnostic tests, administer anesthesia, and prescribe medications.


Training would be required for those procedures but the American Medical Association and the American Society of Anesthesiologists say the move would lower the standard of medical care because current staff shortages already have many nurses overworked.


The VA is accepting comments on the proposed rule change until July 25.


Comments may be submitted online, faxed to 202.273.9026 or mailed to:


Director, Regulations Management (02REG)
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue NW, Room 1068
Washington, DC 20420


Written comments should indicate they are in response to “RIN 2900-AP44-Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.”




New budget increases education spending but lowers spending on higher-ed


The proposed state budget will devote more money to education than at any time in Michigan's history according to state Representative John Bizon.


That would be a very fair thing to say. We are going to be spending more money on education than we ever have before and I am excited about our ability to protect some of our colleges and institutions of higher education from the retirement payment that they had to make in the past.”


Last month, the Michigan House passed an over $16 billion omnibus education funding bill.


However, funding for public universities will remain below 2011 levels due to a deal reached late last week which shaves about $20 million from the governor's original proposal to increase higher-ed funding by $61 million.




Distracted driving fatalities on the rise


So far, NOT so good on Michigan roads with over 330 traffic fatalities, at least 51 ahead of this time last year.


State Police Captain Monica Yesh says most of those deaths can be tied to distracted driving.


You're going fast, you're not paying attention, we're going to have more crashes. And I just think there's more distractions in the vehicle than there ever used to be and I think distracted driving is probably anywhere between 60 and 70 percent of the reason why we have as many fatalities as we do.”

A crackdown on distracted driving this past month had State Police writing 200 tickets.


That campaign is expected to continue this summer.



Prisoner survives suicide attempt at Isabella County Jail


An inmate at the Isabella County Jail is recovering after attempting suicide late last week.


Sheriff Michael Main says 36-year-old Cory Theis from Grand Rapids was being held on a Parole Detainer when he attempted to hang himself in a shower with a bedsheet.


Authorities were able to revive him and he was taken to the hospital where he is currently listed in critical condition.


Theis was also waiting to be sentenced on several felony charges including, Home Invasion 1st Degree, Conspiracy to Commit Home Invasion, Breaking and Entering, Larceny of Vehicles, and Fraudulent activity.




Obama visit to Hiroshima criticized, MSU professor says it's appropriate


President Barack Obama says the world has a shared responsibility to ask how to prevent the suffering that took place in Hiroshima more than 70 years ago.


Mr. Obama spoke Thursday at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan.


Michigan State associate professor of Japanese History, Ethan Segal, says most Japanese people view the president's visit positively and don't expect an apology.

“Much more important in the minds of most Japanese is that the president follow through with some kind of effort to reduce nuclear weapons. Again, many Japanese people see themselves, correctly, as the only people who had an atomic weapon used against them in war and have taken very seriously their commitment to trying to reduce nuclear weapons worldwide.”


Some have criticized the president's visit, saying it makes America look weak.




Takata airbag recall grows by 12 million


Another 12 million cars are being added to a massive recall.


The recall of Takata made airbags is now the largest recall in automotive history.


Authorities say 13 people have been killed and more than 100 people injured because the airbags can inflate with too much force and explode, sending shrapnel into the vehicle.




Court rejects 'dark store' tax breaks for big box retailers, potential millions for local governments


A Michigan State Court of Appeals is rejecting the so called dark store tax argument that some big box retailers like, Mernard's and Meijer, have used to dramatically lower their taxes.


The ruling could mean millions of dollars in property taxes for local governments.


Owners of those stores say the best way of assessing their value for tax purposes is by comparing sales of similar big box stores that have closed and are sitting vacant.


The case pitted Menard’s against the city of Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula.


Menard’s could appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.




Camping in Michigan on the increase


The Department of Natural Resources says camping reservations are up 12% over last year.


Even with the increase, the DNR says there are still plenty of sites available across the state.


Currently, the DNR has 645,000 camping and lodging nights booked through this season.


They anticipate more than 1 million camping and lodging reservations by the end of this year.




Michigan AG accuses Obama administration of 'federal overreach' over bathroom guidelines


Michigan's Attorney General says the Obama administration is guilty of “federal overreach” in telling schools they should allow students to use bathrooms that fit their gender identity.


Attorney General Bill Schuette sent a letter to the Departments of Education and Justice saying the administration has “overstepped its constitutional powers in multiple ways.”


Some Michigan lawmakers say Schuette should sue as well.




Kid's cups recalled for mold contamination


Over 3 million spill-proof cups for kids are being recalled.


Mayborn USA, makers of five types of Tommee Tippee Sippee cups say there is a risk of mold that could cause sickness.


The company has received more than 3,000 complaints because mold forms in a one-piece opaque valve.

Officials say consumers should stop using the cups and contact Mayborn for a free replacement.


More information is available online at or by calling 877.248.6922.




Couple identified in Evart bank robbery


Police are releasing the identities of the couple arrested for armed bank robbery in Evart.


David Dingee and Melissa Nudd are facing multiple charges, including armed robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon, larceny in a building, and fleeing.


The couple lead police on a short chase after allegedly robbing the First Merit Bank in Evart last Thursday.




New tool helps police deal with hard of hearing


Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is rolling out a new communication tool.


It's a card that police officers can use to facilitate safe communication with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing.


Vicki Levengood is with the Civil Rights department.

“You can imagine, if you're driving along and you see those lights in your window, and if you're deaf, you know that there's going to be a moment of difficulty in making sure that officer realizes you're not trying to ignore them,” she says.


You can download the tool - for printout, or for upload to your mobile device - at



Abortion coercion bill passes Michigan Congress


The Michigan Senate is giving the go-ahead for legislation that would make it a misdemeanor to coerce a woman into having an abortion.


The bill would make coercion punishable by a $5,000 fine, but it would be a $10,000 fine if the accused is the father.


The bill now goes to Governor Snyder's desk.




White House trade representative holds Trans-Pacific Partnership round table at Wolverine in Big Rapids


The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement that the White House says will help increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class.


Deputy United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Hollyman was at Wolverine Worldwide offices in Big Rapids on Thursday to host a round table discussion of the TPP.


This is an agreement to help insure that Americans have better opportunities to compete in the fastest growing markets in the world which tend to be the Asia-Pacific markets,” he says.


Holleyman notes the TPP goes beyond the basic issues of trading in a global marketplace.


Insuring we have protection for workers, insuring we have better protection for environment, insuring that we recognize the global nature of our businesses and to really reduce the tariff taxes – 18,000 tariff taxes that will either be cut or eliminated that will make made-in-America products be more competitive.”


How the TPP will affect the US economy is a contentious subject among many economic analysts with some, such as Tufts University, saying it could results in net losses of GDP in the United States and cost as many as half-a-million US jobs.


Wolverine Global Operations Group President Michael Jeppesen says that isn't true, at least as far as Wolverine Worldwide is concerned.


It's not going to affect what we do from a manufacturing perspective, we're still going to continue to make shoes in the United States and TPP will not have any adverse affect on our job situation here in Michigan.”


Footware Distributors and Retailers of America President Matt Priest agrees saying the TPP will be good for American businesses and consumers.


From and industry perspective, we paid $3 billion in duties last year on imports coming in. So for us, this is a once in a generational opportunity for the American footwear consumer, for American footwear companies – when we can cut into that and save about a half-a-billion dollars per year and so for us this is a no-brainer.”


Wolverine Worldwide company officials say they are encouraging members of Congress to support the TPP.


The TPP has been five years in the making and the Obama administration says they hope to see the trade agreement passed by the US Congress this year.




Evart bank robbery lands two behind bars


A pair is behind bars after trying to rob a bank in Osceola County.


It happened Thursday afternoon in Evart at the First Merit Bank.


Police say a man came into the bank brandishing a handgun demanding money. After the teller gave the suspect money, he fled on foot and got into a vehicle.


Police tracked the vehicle down a short time later and arrested the suspect and a woman inside the car.


The money was recovered. The suspects names are being withheld pending arraignment. 


Food donations from Mecosta Co. communities double during this year for Stamp out Hunger Food Drive


Local donations doubled for the “Stamp out Hunger Food Drive” an event put on by the National Association of Letter Carriers.


Local letter carrier, Darryl Pyle says Big Rapids, Rodney, and Paris doubled last year’s  donation amount with 7,500 lbs of non-perishable foodMorley and Stanwood did as well, with 1,200 lbs. and 3,200 lbs respectively.


The donations go directly to local food pantry’s to help out those in need. 


Mecosta County Parks expect a lot of visitors this weekend


It looks like there will be a lot of people expected at the Mecosta County Parks this Memorial Day weekend.


Parks Superintendent Jeff Abel says during this kickoff to the summer season, people are taking advantage of camping.


“Already Brower and School Section Lake Parks are sold out and we expect the rest of the parks to be filled up by the end of the week.” He said.


Abel said there are a lot of different events planned at each park this weekend most notably a concert on Saturday at School Section Lake featuring the Dixie Ramblers.


If you want more information about the Parks, visit


Experts urge swimming safety for everyone


Whether it’s Lake Michigan or a neighborhood pool, safety experts say people need to use caution around water.


U of M emergency physician Dr. Brad Uren says first and foremost, children and adults alike should know the basics of swimming – even if they aren't interested in the water.


"If they find themselves – if they fall off of a boat, if they fall into a pool or into water – to have that really essential life skill of how to swim and how to save themselves, that’s critical. It can be life and death."


And while children under age five are in the group with the highest risk of drowning, Uren says parents should keep an eye on children of all ages when they're swimming.


In 2014, 78 Michiganders lost their lives by drowning.




New bathroom bill being considered in Lansing


A Michigan lawmaker wants to stop transgender students from using bathrooms that don't match their "biological sex."


Senator Tom Casperson says his bill would offer accommodations to transgender students with parental consent.


But the accommodation can't include a bathroom, locker room, or shower used by students "of the opposite biological sex."


The bill is a reaction State Board of Education guidelines that include recommendations on how to address transgender K-12 students.




Annual Big Rapids plant sale set for Saturday


The Old Jail will be the site of the Big Rapids Garden Club annual plant sale this Saturday.


All types of plants, from flowers to vegetables and even trees, will be on sale from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.


Funds from the sale go toward beautification projects in the Big Rapids area.




Anti-meth bill signed into law


A new law is in effect aimed at curbing meth production in Michigan.


Governor Snyder signed bills on Wednesday that bring new penalties for those trying to get someone to buy pseudoephedrine.


The law also contains tougher penalties for those making the drug near schools or libraries and another bill makes it harder to get pseudoephedrine for those already convicted of trying to solicit someone to buy it.




MADD calls for stiffer DUI laws in Michigan


Despite a crackdown on drunk drivers in Michigan, Mothers Against Drunk Driving says the number of alcohol related deaths actually is up 28 per cent over last year.


MADD's State Executive Director Tyler MacEachren is calling on state lawmakers to pass tougher legislation, requiring ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders.


What it does for us is it keeps those of us on the roadways safe from offenders that, if you take away their driver's license, the piece of paper, they're still going to drive and they're still going to drive drunk. So for us, the public maintains a much higher level of safety,” he says.


MADD also wants to make the .08 Blood Alcohol Content limit for drunk driving permanent.


That limit is set to expire in 2018.




Crossroads Charter Academy students donate $3,000 to Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center


Students at Crossroads Charter Academy in Big Rapids are donating $3,000 to the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center.  


Officials say it was a way for the students to honor friends and family who have battled or are battling cancer.


The money was raised through t-shirt and raffle sales during CCA's girls varsity basketball games over the past two years.   


Sue Snavley, Director of the Spectrum Health Foundation Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals says the money raised means a lot to them.


"We are extremely grateful for this donation to our patients at the Wheatlake Cancer Center who will benefit from this donation." "The money will go to wellness center programs which provide free services such as symptom relief therapy and wigs as well as patient transportation." she said.  


The donation check was presented during an assembly May 16th. 




Memorial Day events planned in Big Rapids to honor and say thanks


There are plenty of Memorial Day events around Big Rapids to honor those service men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.


On May 30th at 10am, there will be a ceremony at the Mecosta County Courthouse to honor those fallen soldiers followed by a ceremony at Mitchell Creek Park and Highland View Cemetery.


Veteran Jeanne Bennett, who has taken part in the ceremony for the past ten years says these events are very meaningful for her.


“To me as a veteran, it’s a way to remember our deceased veterans as well as saying thank you our current ones.”She said.    


The AmVets Post 1941 will then be hosting a Chicken BBQ lunch on May 30th from noon till tickets are sold out. Tickets are $10.00.  


For more information, call (231) 796-6998. 


Woman strangled in Montcalm County, hospitalized in critical condition


A woman is hospitalized in critical condition following an argument in Montcalm County.


Police say two mushroom hunters near Greenville heard a call for help and found an injured 19-year-old woman from Crystal.


They took the woman to the hospital where she told Deputies she had an argument with a 28-year-old Devin Tumbleson who strangled her and pushed her out of his car.


Tumbleson is being charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and assault by strangulation.


The case is still under investigation.




Governor Snyder declares energy state of emergency


To ensure an adequate supply of gasoline for the upcoming holiday weekend, Governor Rick Snyder is declaring an energy emergency due to the shutdown of a fuel-pipeline in Wisconsin and an unplanned outage of a refinery in Detroit.


Spokesperson Anna Heaton says this isn't about a shortness of supply.

By changing the rules that govern truck drivers and how long they can be on the road per day, this will allow them to get to the terminal, get checked out, and get that gas where it needs to be so that people who go to the pump can get it.”


However, Senior Analyst Patrick DeHaan says consumers shouldn't worry despite the "emergency."

“While I'm hopeful and positive about what the Governor is looking at, I don't know that it will have a major impact on gas prices since this is a regional supply crunch, not just a Michigan supply crunch.”


Nearly 1.2 million Michiganders are expected to hit the road during the holiday weekend.




Body found in Montcalm County


The Montcalm County Sheriff's Department says foul play is not suspected after someone found the body of a 43-year-old man in a ditch.


Deputies say the body was that of man from Greenville and was discovered along West County Farm Road on Monday.


There were no signs of injury and police are waiting on toxicology reports to help determine the cause of death.




MDOT lifts restrictions for holiday travelers


This Memorial Day weekend, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is removing lane restrictions on more than half of its road and bridge projects to ease traffic delays for holiday travelers. AAA Michigan estimates 1.2 million motorists will be using Michigan roads and bridges during the annual gateway to summer - the highest Michigan travel volume for the holiday period in nine years.

Beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, May 27, and continuing until 6 a.m. Tuesday, May 31, 86 out of 123 projects statewide will have lane restrictions removed. While motorists will see suspended operations in most MDOT construction zones for the weekend, drivers are advised that equipment and certain traffic configurations, like temporary shifts or shoulder closures, may remain in place.

"While the Memorial Day weekend helps launch the busy summer travel season in Michigan, safety is always the top priority," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "Drivers need to remember to buckle up, eliminate distractions and use caution, especially when traveling through work zones. We want to make sure everyone gets to their destination and home safely."

MDOT oversees I, M and US routes and is responsible for nearly 10,000 miles of state highways, which carry more than 50 percent of all traffic and approximately 70 percent of commercial traffic in Michigan. 

For up-to-date information on MDOT projects, view the list of statewide lane closures on the Mi Drive website and app at:

The following is a list of work zones that will remain active or have lane restrictions during the Memorial Day weekend. If necessary, detour routes will be posted at the project location. 

Upper Peninsula 

- M-94 in Manistique, Schoolcraft County, has a posted detour at US-2.

- US-41 in Hancock, Houghton County, has a posted detour for northbound traffic.

- US-41 in Ishpeming, Marquette County, has one lane open in each direction with a traffic shift between Third Street and Second Street.

For more information, contact MDOT Superior Region Communications Representative Dan Weingarten at 906-250-4809. Follow the Superior Region on Twitter at

Northern Lower Peninsula 

- I-75 Business Loop/M-72 in Grayling, Crawford County, is closed at the AuSable River bridge. Detour posted.

- M-27, Cheboygan County, has northbound traffic detoured on I-75 and M-68.

- M-33, Cheboygan County, is closed between M-212 and M-27. Detour posted.

- US-23 in Cheboygan, Cheboygan County, has one lane open with a temporary traffic signal.

For more information, contact MDOT North Region Communications Representative James Lake at 906-250-0993. Follow the North Region on Twitter at

West Michigan 

- Cascade Road in Grand Rapids has one lane closed over I-96 with a traffic shift.

- US-31, Muskegon County, has the southbound entrance and exit ramps at Pontaluna Road closed with a detour posted. The Pontaluna Road bridge over US-31 is closed as well.

- US-31, Ottawa County, has two lanes open in each direction between Ransom Street and Lakewood Boulevard with a traffic shift. The southbound US-31 entrance and exit ramps to I-196 Business Loop (Chicago Drive) are closed with a detour posted.

- US-131 in Grand Rapids has one southbound lane closed between Ann Street and Leonard Street. Also, the Ann Street ramp to southbound US-131 is closed, as well as the southbound US-131 exit ramp to Leonard Street.

For more information, contact MDOT Grand Region Communications Representative John Richard at 616-262-1565. Follow the Grand Region on Twitter at

Southwest Michigan

- I-94, Berrien County, has one lane closed in each direction between Stevensville and Bridgman. Also, the Red Arrow Highway ramp to westbound I-94 at Bridgman (Exit 16) is closed with a detour posted.

- I-94, Kalamazoo County, has a traffic shift in place at 40th Street. All ramps at the interchange are closed with a detour posted.

- US-31, Berrien County, has one northbound lane closed over the St. Joseph River between Niles Buchanan Road and Walton Road.

- US-131, Allegan County, has one lane closed in each direction over Gun River. Also, the 106th Avenue ramp to northbound US-131 is closed with a detour posted.

- US-131, Kalamazoo County, has one lane closed in each direction between U Avenue and I-94 in Portage. Also, the Centre Avenue ramp to northbound US-131 is closed with a detour posted.

For more information, contact MDOT Southwest Region Communications Representative Nick Schirripa at 269-208-7829. Follow the Southwest Region on Twitter at

Central Michigan and Thumb

- I-69, Lapeer County, has one lane closed in each direction between Clark Road and Lake Pleasant Road.

- I-69, St. Clair County, will have one eastbound lane closed between M-19 and Taylor Road.

- I-75, Saginaw County, will have traffic shifted between Dixie Highway and Hess Road.

- M-18 in Beaverton, Midland County, has southbound traffic detoured.

- M-57 in Chesaning, Saginaw County, has one lane open over the Shiawassee River with a temporary signal.

- US-10, Clare County, has one lane open over Chippewa Creek with a temporary bridge.

- US-10 Business Route/M-20, Midland County, has one lane open in each direction over Saginaw Road and Waldo Road.

- US-23, Arenac County, has one lane open over the Au Gres River with a temporary signal.

For more information, contact MDOT Bay Region Communications Representative Jocelyn Hall at 989-245-7117. Follow the Bay Region on Twitter at

Southern Michigan

- I-75, Monroe County, has two lanes open in each direction with a traffic shift between I-275 and Dixie Highway.

- I-96, Ingham County, has two lanes open in each direction with a traffic shift between US-127 and M-99.

- M-14
in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, is closed between Main Street and the Miller Road/Maple Road interchange. A detour is posted.

- M-50/US-127 Business Route (West Avenue) in Jackson, Jackson County, is closed between Ganson Street and North Street with a detour posted.

- M-100 north of Potterville, Eaton County, has one lane open with a temporary signal near Billwood Highway.

- US-12 in Saline, Washtenaw County, has one westbound lane open between Maple Street and Monroe Street with eastbound traffic detoured.

- US-127, Ingham County, has the northbound auxiliary lane closed between Grand River Avenue and Lake Lansing Road. 

For more information, contact MDOT University Region Communications Representative Kari Arend at 517-206-1609. Follow the University Region on Twitter at and

Metro Detroit

Wayne County 

- I-94 has all ramps at Trumbull Avenue, including the eastbound service drive, closed.  

- I-96 will have one lane open in each direction at Evergreen Road.

- I-275 has all southbound lanes closed between the I-96/I-696 interchange and 5 Mile Road.

- M-1 Rail work in downtown Detroit continues, with lane and shoulder closures in each direction on M-1 (Woodward Avenue), I-75, and I-94.

- M-10 will have one lane open on the southbound service drive near Meyers and McNichols roads. 

Macomb County 

- M-53 has one lane open in each direction from the Red Run Drain to 18 Mile Road. 

For more information, contact MDOT Metro Region Communications Representative Diane Cross at 248-752-0336. Follow the Metro Region on Twitter at



Businesses in Big Rapids near Baldwin Street Bridge gearing up for partial bridge opening


After a year of construction, Big Rapids businesses are excited for the Baldwin Street Bridge to partially open up Wednesday on the west side of the Muskegon River.


Alisha, General Manager of the GypsyNickel Lounge says business was down in the winter because of the construction.


She says now with nicer weather and the bridge partially opening up, her staff will be ready for the adjustments construction has in store over the next couple of weeks.  


“It’s going to be exciting to see what happens, they are going open one side and close another which might slow us down because people may get confused on what side is open but we will be ready either way.” she said.


City of Big Rapids officials say the construction will be completed by July 1st


Police in Mecosta County stepping up patrols during Memorial Day Weekend


Deputies in Mecosta County will be out in full force this Memorial Day weekend making sure residents and visitors have a fun and safe holiday.


Sheriff Todd Purcell says he wants residents to have a safe, enjoyable holiday however his deputies will be looking for offenders this weekend.


“This is one of the busier holidays in the area, so there will be traffic on highways and county roads, I suggest motorists slow down, give yourself a little bit of extra time.” “The weather should be really nice and if you’re going to partake in some alcoholic beverages, get a designated driver and please don’t get behind the wheel intoxicated.” Purcell said.


Along with Mecosta County, State Police and other law enforcement agencies will be making sure travelers buckle up and are not breaking the law on state highways through May 30th


Toyota recalls 1.6 million vehicles


Nearly 1.6 million vehicles are being recalled by Toyota Motor Corporation because of potentially faulty front passenger air bag inflators.


The recall includes 2006 through 2011 Toyota, Scion, and Lexus models because the airbags, made by Takata Corporation of Japan, are known to deploy with too much force and spew shrapnel into the vehicle.


Seventeen automakers, including Toyota, are adding as many as 40 million inflators to the 28.8 million that have already been called back for replacement.




Montcalm County animal shelter to stay open


Despite a $1.5 million county budget deficit, the Montcalm County Animal Shelter will remain open for the foreseeable future.


The Montcalm County Board has unanimously rejected a proposal to close the shelter to save money. Officials say the shelter gets about 1,000 calls and takes in anywhere from 900 to 1,200 animals each year.


Montcalm County has been over budget for at least the last two years, according to a state audit.


The county’s new controller plans to meet with county department leaders next month to address the budget issues.




Baldwin Street bridge open to limited traffic


The Baldwin Street Bridge will be partially opened later this week.


Officials say residents will be able to access businesses and the Tioga Park apartment complex on the east side of the Muskegon River from State Street to the west as soon as Wednesday.


However, the bridge will not provide access to streets and neighborhoods to the east of the river.


Baldwin Street on the east side of the river will be closed while construction crews install a storm drain.


The project is still on schedule for completion on July 1st.




Twelve-year-old killed in Newaygo County identified


The Newaygo County Sheriff's Office is releasing the name of the 12-year-old boy who was killed in a car crash on Friday.


Deputies say Luke Snyder from Grant Township was pronounced dead at the scene after bystanders attempted CPR.


A Crisis Intervention Team has been brought to Snyder's school to help with grieving staff and friends.


Deputies say alcohol was not a factor, but the crash remains under investigation.




Big Rapids area gas prices going up!


Going into the Memorial Day weekend, gas prices in the Big Rapids area are going up, according to 


Analyst Patrick DeHann says prices in Michigan and Ohio are increasing an average of 20-cents a gallon.


Right now, prices in the Big Rapids area are 2.39 a gallon but look to go up in the next few hours. 


Summer job outlook for teens in Mecosta County looks good according to Michigan Works! West-Central


Michigan Works! West-Central officials in Big Rapids say now is the time for teens to find their summer Job.


Business Services Manager Michelle Rasmussen says the outlook is good for seasonal employment here in Mecosta County but don't wait. 


“We have a lot of retailers and job openings that are seasonal from May to August for teenagers and college students to fill in that gap and work for the summer. She said.  


Rasmussen advises those looking for seasonal work to be proactive. She also says not to be afraid of applying for a job where you have no experience some employers are looking for people with good work ethic and are trainable. 


Free flowers for Big Rapids residents and businesses


Free flowers are being offered to Big Rapids residents and businesses.


The Department of Public Works is giving out coupons for free flats of zinnias provided the flowers are planted within the city limits where they can be seen by the general public.


The coupons can be picked up at City Hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. this Wednesday through Friday and the zinnias will be available at the Downtown Big Rapids Farmer’s Market on May 31st starting at 1:00 pm.




Officials emphasize importance of life jackets while boating


Boating season is about to kick into high gear and officials are urging Michigan boating enthusiasts to take the proper precautions.


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says there were 107 boating accidents reported in 2014, resulting in 52 injuries and 20 fatalities.


Sergeant Al Bavarska with the Marine Safety Law Enforcement Division says most people who drown in a boating or personal watercraft accident would be alive if they had been wearing a life jacket.


"Most of the boaters comply with the law, but their life jackets are either stored, inaccessible and they can’t be reached. If they’re wearing their jacket, that would avoid most fatalities on the water."


One life jacket is required for each person on a watercraft, and kids under age six must be wearing one at all times.


On a personal watercraft or jet ski, a life jacket is required for those riding or being towed.


National Safe Boating Week runs through Friday.




Lone Star tick invading Michigan


Another tick problem is making its appearance in Michigan.


Michigan State University Extension entomologist Howard Russell says a tick more common to the southeastern states appears to be increasing its numbers in the Michigan.


The Lone Star tick is known to cause a meat allergy in some people.


Russell adds he's getting near daily complaints from people about ticks.




U.S. Senators want Enbridge Line 5 reclassified


Michigan Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Sabenow are asking the U.S. Transportation Secretary to classify Enbridge's Line 5 as a separate offshore facility.


They say that would make Enbridge solely responsible for any cleanup costs if there's ever an oil spill.


Currently the Oil Pollution Act caps liability for cleanup costs of onshore facilities at $634 million, meaning the rest of the financial responsibility would fall on the state.




Bill aims to control costs for cancer patients


Treatment for cancer patients in Michigan may become more affordable.


A bill that would reduce the cost of chemo pills is moving through the legislature.


Currently, chemo pills tend to cost more out of pocket for patients than intravenous chemo therapy.


However, patients taking chemo pills don't have to make trips to health care facilities.


Insurance industries and businesses oppose the bill saying it would increase health premiums on everyone else.




Grant Township man leads police on chase


A Grant Township man is behind bars after leading police on a chase across several counties.


The Newaygo County Sherrif's Department says Kenneth Nelson Jr. took off when deputies were checking on a probationer and finally drove into a field and crashed in Kent County.


Nelson was not injured and will be in court for a preliminary hearing on June 6th.




Suspect in Isabella County armed robbery still at large


Police are still searching for the suspect in an armed robbery in Isabella County.


Sheriff Michael Main says the two victims had pulled off at a park and ride on Pickard Road Near US127 for a rest Sunday afternoon when they were awakened by a man tapping on the window with what appeared to be a hand gun.


The suspect ordered the two men to give him their belongings.


He's described as a Black male with a mustache, in his twenties and about 5’ 10” in height.


The suspect has not been located and the case is still under investigation.




12 year old boy dies in Newaygo Co. Car accident

Sad news coming out of Newaygo County as a 12-year old boy is dead following a car accident. 


The crash happened at the intersection of 22 Mile Rd. Northwest and South Elder Avenue in Grant Townhip. 


Deputies say when they arrived to the scene; a bystander was performing CPR on the 12-year-old boy, who was in one of the vehicles.


He was pronounced dead at the scene.


The driver of the vehicle the 12-year-old was in was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.


The driver and passenger of the other vehicle were treated at the scene.


Alcohol is not a factor and the crash remains under investigation.


Stanwood woman charged with stealing prescription drugs

A Mecosta County woman is in trouble with the law.


Police say 39-year old Brenda Marie Campbell is accused of stealing prescription medications from a home in Morton Township on May 10th.


She is now charged with one count of larceny from a building and one count of possession of hydrocodone and one count of possession of marijuana. 


Campbell faces up to six years in jail, if convicted on all charges.


Her bond was set at $25,000.


UPDATE: Six Lakes man pleads no contest to Killing/torturing dog; homeowner faces animal cruelty charge


We now have an update to an animal abuse case out of Wheatland Township in Mecosta County. 


33-year old Marc Jura of Six-Lakes has pleaded no contest to torturing/killing an animal.


In April, State Police say they were called to a home in Wheatland Township where they found a dog that sustained numerous injuries and significant wounds.


During an investigation it was discovered the owner of the dog no longer wanted the animal asked Jura to kill it.


Police say Jura allegedly shot the dog in the head and face with a pellet gun.


He faces up to four years in jail when he’s sentenced next month.


Meanwhile, the homeowner, 63-year old Barbara Fairchild has been arraigned on a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge. 


Fatal motorcycle accidents on the rise


The Governor's Highway Safety Association says fatal motorcycle accidents rose 23 percent in Michigan between 2014 and 2015.


Co-author Richard Retting says Michigan's repeal of its mandatory motorcycle helmet law in 2012 contributed to the increase along with better weather in 2015 and more vehicles of all kinds on the highways.


The Association's annual report also says there are more motorcycle accidents in Michigan involving alcohol and drug use than other kinds of vehicle accidents.




Governor and legislator's exemption from FOIA may be coming to an end


A package of bills which would subject the governor's office and state legislature to the Freedom of Information Act has passed committee.


State Representative Ed McBroom says it passed unanimously.


You get a chance to really read the bill and see how it works, I think we can tone down a lot of those fears and then I get a lot of support and we hear from the citizenry a lot of support too.”


The bi-partisan legislation now heads to the full House.


McBroom hopes to see it taken up before the legislature's summer break.



CMU professor accused of child pornography


A former journalism professor at Central Michigan University is being charged with possessing child pornography.


Police say Mark Ranzenberger had more than 1,000 images of child porn, although he told investigators he thought he had “gotten rid of all that stuff.”


Ranzenberger suddenly quit his job at CMU with a handwritten note last March.


He also quit his seat on the Mount Pleasant Planning Commission.




Big Rapids resident faces CSC charges


A 63-year-old Big Rapids resident is facing first and third degree criminal sexual conduct charges.


Police say Val Edward Stokely allegedly assaulted a female in Big Rapids early last month.


First-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony punishable by up to life in prison.


Stokely was arraigned this week and is being held in the Mecosta County Jail on $1 million bond.




Mecosta Co. Judge evaluating new probation program


Mecosta County Court officials are evaluating a new probation program that focuses on high-risk offenders.


Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy says nothing is imminent however; he and few others are exploring bringing the program called Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation to Mecosta County.  


He says its “beefed up” probation that would focus on high-risk offenders.


“In this program, there is an expectation of some additional serious interaction between the probationers, Sheriff’s office, judges and probation department.” He said.  


The program is through the State Court Administration.


Currently, Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy is writing a grant application to request over $137,000 which would fund the program.  


Big Rapids to test tornado sirens


The City of Big Rapids is doing maintenance work on its tornado siren system today May 19th, 2016.


Officials want to let residence know that there will be a short siren duration siren tests today only.




State officials say summer job market will be tough


The Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget says it could be a tough summer for teens looking for work during their break from school.


Analyst Jeff Aula says nearly 233,000 teenagers will be looking for a job.

You tend to see in and around April, but especially in May, this significant increase in the number of teens entering the labor market. By sheer numbers that creates high levels of competition.”

He says teens can improve their prospects by starting their job search now.




New overtime rules change employment landscape in Michigan


More than 4-million U.S. workers will become newly eligible for overtime pay under rules issued by the Obama administration.


But could employers just limit hours -- or change people's job titles?


Attorney Terry Bonnette says that may well be the case.


We're not looking at a situation where's there's a magical pot of money out there that suddenly we're going to be able to share this wealth with people in overtime. At some point it might become more financially responsible to hire two part time workers instead of one full time worker that's going to constantly be getting overtime.”


Under the new rules the annual salary threshold at which companies can deny overtime pay will be doubled from $23,660 to nearly $47,500.


That would make 4.2 million more salaried workers eligible for overtime pay.


The policy changes are intended to counter erosion in overtime protections, which date from the 1930s and require employers to pay 1 1/2 times a worker's regular salary for any work past 40 hours a week.


In the fast food and retail industries in particular, many employees are deemed "managers," work long hours, but are barely paid more than the people they supervise.





Tustin woman sent to hospital after running a stop sign in Mecosta Co.


A Tustin woman is recovering in a hospital after being involved in a two car accident in Mecosta County.


Deputies say it happened on 8 Mile Rd and 185th Avenue in Mecosta Township.


That’s where a 58-year old Tustin woman ran a stop sign and struck a vehicle operated by a 57-year old Stanwood woman, who was heading southbound on 185th.


The Tustin woman was taken to a local hospital for her non-life threatening injuries. 


Big Rapids and Reed City couple arrested for fraud


Two people are in trouble with the law after they allegedly defrauded a credit union in Osceola County.


Authorities say 34-year-old Roger Lee Hubbard of Big Rapids and 34-year-old Marie Burrows of Reed City knowingly withdrew or transferred funds from an account at West Michigan Credit Union with intent to defraud.


Both face felony charges that carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 or three times the amount of the funds withdrawn or transferred, whichever is greater.


However, Hubbard faces twice the maximum penalty because of prior convictions.




Two car accident sends two Big Rapids women to the hospital


Two women were sent to the hospital Wednesday after a car accident in Big Rapids.


It happened at the intersection of Ives and Linden.


Police say a 21-year old Big Rapids woman ran a stop sign and struck 55-year old Big Rapids woman.


Both women were taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for their injuries. 


Pesticides killing honeybees, affecting food production


Honeybee populations in the U-S dropped by 44 percent last year, according to a new national survey.


Tiffany Finck-Haynes with the group Friends of the Earth says bees are essential to agriculture, responsible for more than $20 billion of the US economy, and they contribute $217 billion globally.


She isn't convinced that varroa (va-ROW-ah) mites, cited in the report as one contributing factor, are to blame because she says beekeepers have been effectively managing mites for decades.


"What's new and used pervasively, in agriculture and in our own backyards, is pesticides. These pesticides are problematic because they'll kill bees outright. They also weaken their immune system."


Finck-Haynes argues that losing more than 40 percent of all bees every year is unsustainable.


Scientists with Bayer, a leading pesticide producer, say bee losses can be mitigated if mites are managed better and the company suggests colonies can simply be replaced.




Penalties for minors-in-possession may be reduced


A state house committee is talking about modifying the penalties for minor in possession charges.


Senator Rick Jones of mid-Michigan is proposing the changes.

The problem is this is a misdemeanor now, it's a criminal offense, so it makes it very hard for students to get college scholarships. Sometimes it makes it very hard for them to get a job afterwards,” he says.

The Criminal Justice Committee will also consider legislation that allows for the suspension of a drivers license if a kid has three MIP's.




Bill aimed at meth production awaits governor's signature


A pair of bills making it harder for manufacturers to get one of the main ingredients for methamphetamine in Michigan are awaiting the governor's signature.


The Michigan Senate approved legislation Tuesday to stop attempts to solicit someone to buy pseudoephedrine.


The bills would make the crime a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.




Trio arrested for making meth in Mecosta County


Three area residents are under arrest for allegedly making meth in Mecosta County.


Police say 46-year-old Todd Jeremy Schoonmaker of Cedar Springs, 40-year-old Jennifer Mae Hulbert of Big Rapids, and 35-year-old Johnathon Earl Collins of Reed City were operating a meth lab in Mecosta Township.


The trio face multiple drug charges.


Each has bond set at $150,000.




Big Rapids woman charged with felony domestic assault


A Big Rapids woman is facing a felony charge stemming from a domestic altercation over the weekend in Green Township.


The Mecosta Co. Sheriff's Office says 32- year old Simone Smith-Politz was arraigned on one count of felony domestic assault Monday in Mecosta County District Court.


The Sheriff says the charges stem from an early Sunday morning 911 call to Meceola Central Dispatch from a Green Township home requesting a police response.   


Smith-Politz is currently out on $20,000.00 bail pending further court action.


Construction on Big Rapids' Baldwin Street Bridge near completion


Construction on the Baldwin Street Bridge in Big Rapids is on schedule and almost near completion, according to city officials. 


Public Works Deputy Director Roger Schniedt says construction crews just finished the last concrete pour on the bridge Monday and railings should be installed by the end of the week.


The bridge is expected to be completed by July 1st


Report says child-care difficult and expensive


A new report by the Center for American Progress looks at how difficult it can be for low-income families to navigate an underfunded child-care support system.


The study is called "Jumping Through Hoops and Set Up to Fail."


Its author, Judith Warner, says as child-care costs keep rising, quality programs are out of reach for many working families.


She also says keeping up with the government forms that are required can be daunting.


"Imagine doing all those things that you already do, while in addition you have to file a degree of paperwork that goes far beyond all those medical forms and permission forms you normally file just for school."


The report takes a state-by-state look at child-care costs.


In Michigan, the figure is 16 thousand dollars a year for parents with an infant and a four-year-old.


In all 50 states, child care costs more than median rent.




Snyder's testimony before Congress questioned


Governor Rick Snyder says he may have deleted some emails related to the Flint water crisis, backpedaling on testimony he gave before a congressional committee.


Snyder says he misunderstood the question when he was in Washington and some emails prior to April of 2013 may have been deleted.


Congressman Elijah Cummings, who sits on the US House Oversight Committee, says the switch raises a whole new set of concerns about the accuracy of Snyder's testimony before Congress in March.




NWF sues feds over Enbridge Line 5


The National Wildlife Federation is suing the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration over safety concerns about Enbridge's Line 5.


The suit claims that when the PHMSA approved the company's emergency response plan in 2013, it didn't do key, legally required environmental assessments.


As a result, Federation officials say Enbridge has no legal right to pump oil through the Straits of Mackinac.




Third recall on Pilgrim's Pride chicken products

The largest chicken producer in the United States is expanding a recall of its products for the third time.


Pilgrim's Pride says nearly 400,000 pounds of chicken products are being added to the recall bringing the total to over 5.5 million pounds.


The initial recall happened early last month when the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service found “extraneous materials” in the meat.


The Class I recall means there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.


Details on the contaminated products can be found here.




More candidates in the mix for 102nd State House seat


Osceola County resident Morris Langworthy Jr. is throwing his name into the race for the 102nd district State House seat currently held by term-limited republican Phil Potvin of Cadillac.


Four republican candidates are vying for the seat now that Langworthy Jr. is in the mix.


The lone democrat in the race is Reed City resident Douglas Gabert. 


Jim Eddinger announced as new Director of Big Rapids Department of Public Safety


Beginning next month, Jim Eddinger will be leading the Big Rapids Department of Public safety.


Current director Andrea Nerbonne, who is retiring at the end of the month, announced her successor during the Big Rapids City Commission meeting Monday night.


Eddinger said he starting thinking about this position around four years ago.


“Over the last four years, I started to develop professionally and took on the role of supervisor; and what I’m hoping to do is to focus on professional development within my department because I know if we (DPS) are going to be great it’s going to be because of the people around me.” Eddinger said.


Eddinger will be sworn in during the next city commission meeting on June 6th


Lawmakers want $165M down payment on infrastructure upgrades


Lawmakers in Lansing are asking for a $165 million deposit to upgrade underground infrastructures across Michigan.


The legislature is considering the request and Governor Rick Snyder says he wants to use the money to seed a proposed infrastructure fund to upgrade water mains, sewer lines, wastewater treatment plants, energy pipelines, and telecommunications infrastructure.


The budget proposal is among the most significant issues to be resolved in coming weeks, when lawmakers plan to finalize a $55 billion spending plan.




Craft Beer Week highlights Michigan breweries


It is the start of American Craft Beer Week and Scott Graham of the Michigan Brewers Guild says there are more than 300 craft breweries that are now churning out suds across the state.


He says Michigan is well-suited to craft breweries.

“Michigan is very diverse agriculturally and for years brewers have been seeking to use local ingredients which included almost every fruit, vegetable, herb, spice, sugar source like honey, beets, maple syrup that you can imagine.”


Craft beer began to take hold after the Stroh's factory closed in Detroit over 30 years ago, leaving the state with no big-name brewers.




Big Rapids Festival of the Arts wants public input

Officials in Big Rapids are asking for the public's input in organizing next year's Big Rapids Festival of the Arts.


The Department of Public Works is already planning for the festival that had more than 8,000 attendees last year.


More than 70 events are being planned and anyone with suggestions can submit them online at or by calling 231-592-4018.




Local schools may be affected by Presidential directive


Local school districts are considering the ramifications of a directive issued by the Obama administration late last week.


The Justice and Education Departments issued a letter to schools across the country notifying them that transgender students must be permitted to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity.


The letter does not carry force of law, but declares sweeping protections for transgender students under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities.




Enbridge Line 5 spill could cost $1B


Documents released by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette say an Enbridge Line 5 oil spill could cost as much as $1 billion to clean up.


Among other things, the documents detail a hypothetical worst-case scenario where 8,000 barrels of oil leaked in the summer would spread in the straits after six hours and touch land in 48 hours.


In the winter, it could take just 12 hours to hit land.


A Pipeline Task Force and legislators are hoping to have a third party take a look at the aging pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac from St. Ignace in Mackinac County to Mackinaw City in Emmet County.




State budget comes up $500M short, corporate tax credits to blame

Michigan's house and senate fiscal agencies are projecting a nearly $500 million budget shortfall.


Officials at the House Fiscal Agency say business tax credits are coming in higher than projected.


The Senate Fiscal Agency says the value of corporate tax credits has grown $1.6 billion since 2011, leaving Michigan taxpayers on the hook for $3.2 billion in refunds to businesses.


State officials say they will meet Tuesday to make changes before the budget is approved in June.




New Big Rapids Director of Public Safety to be named soon

Big Rapids City Commissioners hope to name a replacement for outgoing Department of Public Safety Director Andrea Nerbonne at Monday's commission meeting.


A final candidate has been selected after officials met with members of the DPS, the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ferris State University Department of Public Safety.


Twelve people had applied for the job since Nerbonne announced her plans to retire at the end of this month.




Pope considers women deacons in church


The Catholic Church could soon allow women to become deacons.


Pope Francis says he is setting up a commission to study the idea.


Michigan Pastoral Council Father Lawrence Ventline says he likes the move.


So it's great. In our history, our story line, we've had Aquilla and Priscalla as deaconesses in The Way. It was called The Way before it became Christianity,” he says.

Deacons are ordained ministers but are not priests, though they can perform many of the same functions.




Gun purchases may get reported to police


If you fail a background check while trying to purchase a gun, the seller may be required to notify police if a bill introduced in the Michigan State House becomes law.


Representative Robert Wittenberg says the goal is to head off illegal purchases of guns.


However, opponents of the legislation say it could affect law-abiding citizens.




Distracted driving sends one to hospital in Isabella County


One man is in the hospital and some school children are shook up following an accident in Isabella County.


Sheriff's deputies say 65-year-old Dan Gardner Lee from Remus was waiting for a stopped school bus on M20 Friday afternoon when he was struck by 60-year-old Robert Wayne Patterson from Mt Pleasant.


Patterson was apparently looking at or moving papers in his vehicle when he looked down and failed to see other vehicles in the roadway had stopped.


Lee and his vehicle were pushed out of the roadway and into a nearby residence.


The residence sustained minor damage. Lee also had a dog in the vehicle with him that was injured and died enroute to a veterinarian.


The school bus was not struck during the incident.


Lee was transported to the hospital with possible leg injuries and Patterson refused treatment at the scene.




Letter Carrier Food Drive is Saturday

A reminder that Saturday is the annual Letter Carrier Food Drive.


Just leave a donation of non-perishable food at your mailbox and postal workers will deliver it to local food banks.


Letter Carriers Union President Sandy Laemmel says it helps families who are "food insecure."

“Some nights I go to bed and wonder how am I going to buy that new patio set that I want. These people go to bed at night wondering how they're going to feed their families tomorrow morning.”


Over one million pounds of donated food was collected in Michigan during last year's drive, as part of 71 million pounds nationwide.




Michigan moms step up to fight for locked up youth


Hundreds of Michigan mothers, along with other family members, feel the daily pain of having a child locked behind bars.


A new report called "Mothers at the Gate" by the Institute for Policy Studies details the effort by family members to challenge the conditions in which their loved ones are held – as well as mass incarceration itself.


The report's co-author Karen Dolan says things that used to be called childish or disruptive are now criminalized.


"Children that have been in a fight, or that have been disruptive in school, or that in some cases have merely watched fights. And all of these behaviors now are becoming so criminalized, especially in areas that are high poverty and that tend to be black and Latino."


An estimated 54,000 kids are incarcerated in the U-S, including about 2,000 in Michigan.




Deadline for Mary Pine Award nominations is June 3rd


A Select number of seniors in Mecosta County will be honored with the Mary Pine Award next month as part of the 28th Annual Senior Enrichment Day.


The award will be given on June 22nd at Big Rapids High School to those senior citizens who use the gifts of a long and productive life to benefit Mecosta County.


If you would like to nominate someone, forms can be found on the senior enrichment day website,


Deadline for nominations is June 3rd.  


Missing Howard City man found in Big Rapids


A man listed as missing from Howard City has been located in Big Rapids.


Police say they received a call about a man dressed all in black riding his bike on South State Street early Thursday morning.


The man turned out to be a 50-year-old Howard City man who had been reported as missing.


The man's caretaker later picked him up.




Potash facility planned for Osceola County


A new employer may be setting up shop in Osceola County.


The Michigan Potash Company says it plans to build anew facility at a location near 120th Avenue north of 23 Mile Rd. about 10 miles outside of Evart.


Company officials say they plan to hire about 170 new workers and could employ as many as 260 during the construction phase.


The area is rich in potash, although the potash ore lies more than a mile-and-a-half below the surface of the ground.


The new facility could begin operations within two to three years.




Reed City athletic facility vandalized


A pair of juveniles from Reed City are in trouble with the law after police say they vandalized a local sport facility.


The two are accused of bending and writing on signs at the Reed City Rocket football field this past weekend.


Officers say one of the youths confessed to the crime.


The case is now in the hands of probate court.




HyettPalma presents community leaders with final report on Big Rapids improvements and future

Community leaders in Big Rapids are setting their focus on the future of downtown.

Business, city and Ferris State officials gathered at City Hall Thursday to receive a final report from City planning firm HyettPalma on the downtown's future. 

Doyal Hyett told attendees business development and marketing are the two most important goals for developing downtown Big Rapids from a good downtown to a great downtown.

He added the downtown should focus on projects such as developing more space for public art and community activities, as well as filling vacant stores and creating additional housing options.  

Mayor Mark Warba is very hopeful for the future. 

“Doyal covered a lot of ground in a very short amount of time; I liked how he told us that we should focus on five areas for improvement which gives us a road map to follow now versus a generalization.” Warba said. 

At the end of his presentation, Hyett commended city leaders on how far they have come since 10 years ago when they first began. 


Big Rapids Women's Bowling Association donates money to the Susan P. Wheatlake Cancer Center

Fun, awareness and money was raised by a local women's bowling league to help those battling cancer.
The Big Rapids Women’s Bowling Association raised $3,471 at their second annual bowling fun day at The Gate in Big Rapids on April 16th.  
Dozens of community members participated in the event to raise money for the Wellness Center in the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center in Reed City. 
The event also included a silent auction and 50/50 raffles. The funds raised will be used to help patients receive integrative and holistic therapies including massage therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, nutrition counseling, patient education materials and patient transportation assistance.


Rep. Potvin says passage of recreation bill would help expand opportunities for Big Rapids


Legislation that would amend the Recreational Authorities Act to add school districts to the list of entities allowed to join a municipal recreational authority is heading to the State Senate floor.


State House Rep. Phil Potvin says the bill would allow Big Rapids to expand its recreational offerings.  


“Especially with that former elementary school (Hillcrest) that Big Rapids officials are looking at turning into a senior center, we are excited about that.” Potvin said.  


Last fall, Rep. Potvin welcomed Big Rapids City Manager Steven Sobers and Big Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Tim Haist to the House Committee on Local Government to testify in support of the bill as they seek to create more recreation opportunities in the Big Rapids area.


New legislation fights meth addiction


Governor Rick Snyder has a bipartisan package of bills on his desk that would further aid in the efforts to combat meth addiction in Michigan.


The bills address the problem of people who attempt to solicit someone else to purchase ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which are used in the production of meth.


Production of the drug has increased in recent years across many Michigan communities.




Michigan 'dragging its feet' on juvenile lifer ruling


Michigan is not complying with a four-year-old U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down prison sentences of automatic life without parole for juveniles.


That according to a federal appeals court ruling.


Attorneys say the state is dragging its feet on adopting a policy that gives more than 350 juvenile lifers a meaningful chance at being paroled.


The ruling allows a challenge filed by juvenile lifers to go forward.




Law would make it a felony to leave animals in cars


It may soon be against the law to leave an animal in your car in conditions that might endanger its health.


Michigan lawmakers are close to passing legislation making it a felony if an animal dies inside a vehicle with a sentence of five years or a $5,000 fine.


If the animal is injured, the offender could face up to one year in jail, or a fine of up to $1,000.


The bills were introduced in the state senate last week, and are being considered by the judiciary committee.


Sixteen other states have similar laws on the books.




Chickenpox cases on the rise in Michigan


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is advising parents to make sure their children are up to date on chickenpox vaccination following reports of increased cases and outbreaks in the state.


Preliminary numbers for 2016 indicate there have been 239 chickenpox cases through April, which is about 57 percent more than that time last year.


Chickenpox spreads easily in schools, households, day care centers, camps, and other group activity settings, especially when there are pockets of low immunization rates in a community.




Montcalm County considers closings to fight $1.5M budget deficit

Montcalm County Commissioners are considering shutting down some parks and even animal control because of a $1.5 million budget deficit.


A recent state audit shows the county has been over budget for at least the last two years.


County officials say some of the problem is because of reduced revenue sharing from the state.


The Commission says it may be forced to close McCarthy, Krampe and Artman parks and could close or reduce animal control services.


The Commission will vote on the closings next month.




Michigan DNR confirms bear killed April 30th is same one that mauled teenage girl in Wexford Co.


Officials with the Michigan DNR have confirmed a black Bear is now dead, three years after the mauling of a teenage girl near Cadillac in Wexford County.


According to a press release, the DNR says a 9-year-old female black bear was killed April 30th by an individual, who wishes to remain anonymous, acting in self-defense. The individual let out a dog, which then immediately ran after what appeared to be a bear cub. The dog was stopped at the end of the tree line barking when the owner saw a bear appear and attack the dog. The individual went to assist the dog and the bear ran off. As the owner attempted to render aid to the injured dog, the bear returned to the scene and approached the resident who then shot the bear.


The situation was reported to the DNR and investigated. It was determined to be a justifiable killing of the bear.


The bear carcass was sent to the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory in Lansing for pathology review.


The family of Abby Wetherell were informed late yesterday of the findings.


Through a process called “cementum annuli analysis,” DNR wildlife biologists examined the bear’s teeth to assess her age and number of litters. They determined this bear had three litters throughout her lifetime, including in 2013 when the mauling took place. It remains uncertain whether cubs were in the vicinity when the attack on Abby occurred.


After the attack on Abby, the DNR put extensive effort into setting traps and responding to bear activity in the area.


“DNR staff is relieved to have this matter resolved for both the Wetherells and the community,” said Keith Kintigh, field operations manager for the DNR’s Northern Lower Region. “Over the last three years, we have been highly responsive to multiple bear issues in the hopes of catching this animal.”



SCAM ALERT: Phone scam popping up in Evart area

Officials with the Evart Police Department are warning residents about a scam occurring in the area.  
Police say the scammer will claim they are from the National Institute of Health and have secured a grant for you in your name. They will then ask you to purchase a prepaid Visa with $395.00 of available funds. 
Once you agree to this,  they will want the details from that card as soon as it is activated.
Instead of loading the card with the money as they have promised, they will promptly charge the card for the $395.00, leaving you absolutely no recourse on the money you just spent.
If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud or are suspicious of an offer of money or property, click here


Ferris State University to offer a degree in craft beer brewing


Ferris State University is now offering a two-year associate's degree program in craft brewery.


Students will learn bar management, entrepreneurship, small business management, and the technicalities of brewing and fermenting processes, safety and sanitation.


Ferris State says its two-year program is the first of its kind in the U-S.


The program will start in the fall of 2017.  


UPDATE: Police release identity of Marion man killed by son


State Police have now released the identity of a Marion man killed by his son during an altercation last Friday.


Police say witnesses reported 81-year old David Alger was run repeatedly over by a truck operated by his son, 48-year old Thomas Alger before fleeing the scene.


Police believe the fatal incident stemmed from Thomas Alger striking a dog with a shovel.


A short time later, Alger was killed at the intersection of M-66 and M-115, after running a stop sign and hitting a van driven by a 39-year old Boon resident, Marcia Matchinski and her 17-year old and 15-year old sons.


All three were taken to the hospital, but are now home recovering. 


Proposal would stop local governments from banning plastic bags in Michigan


A bill passed by the Michigan Senate will prohibit the regulation of plastic bags and food containers by local governments.


Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers spokesperson Dan Papineau says other parts of the country have seen negative effects from banning plastic bags.


A retailer in California saw as much as a 25% decline in business following the implementation of a plastic bag ban. A grocery store outlet in Portland said that they lost over $10,000 to shoplifting because of reusable bags.”

A number of municipalities in the US and other countries have banned single-use plastic bags saying they cause many minor and major issues in geographical terms.


The most general issue with plastic bags is the amount of waste produced.


Even when disposed of properly, they take many years to decompose and break down, generating large amounts of garbage over long periods of time.


If not disposed of properly the bags can pollute waterways, clog sewers, and have been found in oceans affecting the habitat of animals and marine creatures.


The bill will next go to the House for consideration.




Parks and Recreation public hearing


The Big Rapids Parks and Recreation Board is asking for public input on how to improve area parks over the next five years.


A public hearing is schedule for 6:30 Thursday evening at Big Rapids City Hall.


Officials say they want to hear from the public on amenities and other possible improvements.




Study says pot and driving don't mix


A new study by AAA shows a link between an increase in fatal traffic crashes and the legalization of marijuana.


Spokesperson Matt Nasworthy says the study showed fatals doubled in Washington state after voters legalized marijuana.


One in six of the drivers involved had marijuana in their blood.


Washington State's a good example where it's been legalized recreationally and we're seeing it out there more often and it's also showing up more often in fatal crashes. So, that's just kind of a wake up call that folks need to try and get a little bit more ahead of it wherever it's being legalized recreationally,” says Nasworthy.


Currently 20 states allow medicinal marijuana use, while four states and Washington, D.C., allow recreational use.





Bill would allow police to issue cell phone alerts for mass shooters

A mass shooting in the Kalamazoo area earlier this year has prompted a proposal allowing police to issue cellphone alerts under similar circumstances.


The package of bills was approved by the Michigan House on Tuesday in response to a shooting rampage by Uber driver Jason Dalton, who is charged with killing six people and injuring two more in the Kalamazoo area in February.


Representative John Hoadley of Kalamazoo says the bills could prevent people from dying in mass shootings or other dangerous events.




Truck thief from Evart arrested


A man from Evart is behind bars after police say he stole a truck in Osceola County.


Deputies say Jordan Johnson stole the truck from a house near Three Mile road and 230th Avenue in Richmond Township on Saturday.


He then crashed the vehicle and fled on foot by time police arrived, but officers were able to track him down.


He now faces four felony charges of stealing a vehicle and breaking and entering, as well as being a habitual offender.




Fallen police officers honored at 13th Annual Police Memorial at Ferris State University



Police officers from all over the state converged onto the campus of Ferris State University for the school’s 13th Annual Police Memorial.


During the event, Ferris State Public Safety Director Bruce Borkovich told attendees this year’s memorial has extra meaning especially with police officer deaths up over 100% this year alone.


“Yesterday, as I was preparing this presentation, I found out, so far in 2016, there have been 32 officers nationwide killed in the line of duty.” “This is an increase of 167% over last year of the number of officers who are being feloniously attacked/killed by firearms.” Borkovich said.




Along with the playing of taps, fallen officers were also honored with a 21 gun salute and the lowering the U.S.. flag and the placement of a wreath.


Cedar Springs man arraigned on multiple felonies stemming from Aetna Twp. domestic dispute


A Cedar Springs man who was stabbed by his girlfriend during a domestic dispute is now facing charges.


Detective Casey Nemeth with the Mecosta Co. Sheriff’s Office says 34-year old Jamie Scott Hardie was arrested without incident by Sheriff Deputies for Felony Assault by Strangulation, Felony Assault with Great Bodily Harm Less than Murder, and Felony Aggravated Domestic Assault. 


Hardie was also arrested for a Parole Violation for being charged with the three felonies while being on parole from prison. 


He remains in custody at the Mecosta County Jail on a $150,000 surety bond along with his Parole Violation Detainer from the Michigan Department of Corrections.


Proposal would give $5M to private schools


As much as $5 million in state government money is being proposed to reimburse private schools for the costs of state mandates.


Tom Hickson of the Michigan Catholic Conference says the money is tightly earmarked.


Kids need to be protected and there shouldn't be concern with protecting the safety and well being of children. This funding won't go toward anything regarding education, or toward furthering and education, or toward curriculum, or classroom. This is specific to health and safety concerns – it's very narrow.”


Michigan has one of the toughest amendments blocking state funding for private schools.




LGBT advocates argue bathroom laws are bad for Michigan


Supporters of LGBT equality say it’s time to stop gender identity-based discrimination in Michigan.


North Carolina’s new bathroom law, now the subject federal litigation, has spurred talk of a similar bill in Michigan.


Heather Simpson, ally for transgender Michiganders, feels "bathroom bills" are an outrageous attempt to control a minority population.


Simpson argues it’s all based on the false notion that a male dressed as a female would assault someone.


"As if these bathroom bills would prevent that. It doesn’t, nor has there been evidence to say that trans people do these things. So, what is it really about – really? That’s something that people really need to think about."


Not long after North Carolina’s bill passed, Michigan state Senator Tom Casperson indicated he'd introduce similar legislation for students in Michigan.




Legal marijuana question could be on November ballot


Allowing Marijuana to be used by adults, and taxed, is getting closer to being on the Michigan ballot.


MiLegalize says it has 50,000 more signatures than necessary to get the issue in the voting booth this November.


Chairman Jeffrey Hank says pot could provide the State funding for so many needed projects.


We clearly need money for roads, we need money for schools. We're going to end 20,000 arrests of adults for marijuana use or possession every year and if you think that what that does to positive effect on police-community relations. There are so many reasons to do this.”


Hank also says 50,000 new jobs could be created if the ballot initiative passes.




Final public hearing on LGBT guidelines for Michigan schools


The Michigan State Board of Education is holding its final public session Tuesday on LGBT guidelines for schools.


The guidelines would allow students to choose how they are gender-identified, which bathrooms they can use, and what their names and pronouns are.


Board President John Austin says LGBT kids are more likely to skip school, struggle academically, and attempt suicide than other students but opponents of guidelines say they ignore the wishes of parents.




Big Rapids Public Schools getting new phone system with Enhanced 911


Big Rapids Public Schools will soon be outfitted with a new phone system.

The BRPS School Board approved an $82,000 bid from Moss Telecommunications out of Grand Rapids to be the provider.

Director of Technology Joe Bowman said this new system features potential life saving technology.

“The current system we use was built between 1998-2000 and does not have E911 technology which provides the 911 operator with location and the number of that location if there is a disconnection.”Bowman said.

Superintendent Tim Haist told board members this purchase was in the general fund budget and was a planned especially with the E911 initiative. 


Summer construction project on tap for MOISD Career Center

For the second summer in a row, construction will take place on the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District campus.

Beginning June 13th, construction crews will take on renovation and remodel projects at the Career Center building.

Steve Locke, Career Center Director says the project was set to begin last summer but the bids they received were over their budget, so when officials decided to wait another year the new bids came in more budget friendly.

Along with bathroom remodels and security upgrades the $1-million dollar project will also include increasing classroom space for diesel program students by relocating the Automotive and Diesel classrooms more forward in the building. There will also be a redesign and relocation of the student run restaurant “Starting Place” to the front of the building, allowing for better teaching space and improved access for the community.

Locke is hoping the project is completed by the start of next school year. 


Morley resident Jason Briscoe running for State House Representative


Mecosta County resident Jason Briscoe is throwing his name into the running for the 102nd District State House seat.




Briscoe joins fellow Mecosta County resident Ormand Hook and current Manton Mayor Michele Hoitenga vying for the seat held by term-limited republican lawmaker Phil Potvin.




Briscoe, a Marine and Morley resident, believes he brings something that is needed in Lansing, a non-Politian.




“I don’t like everything going on (in Lansing) as far as people addressing the issues.” “So the main thing I hear is we need to fight back, and that’s one of the main reasons I’m running is because we need people who are willing to fight.” “I’m tired of listening to people trying to stop what’s going on with all this negativity.” “It’s not fighting to stop something; it’s fighting to get something going in the right direction.” Briscoe said.   




Along with being pro-life, limited government, 2nd Amendment rights and eliminating common core in our schools are issues Briscoe is very passionate about.




For more information about Jason visit 


Students returning home from college can cause family stress


Are your kids home from college?


Chris Nixon with St. John Providence Health System says a number of parents report having trouble with their kids' new-found independence, but there are ways to combat it:

Once they come home, immediately address it at that point – laundry, household duties, and curfew and that's a big one. Kids will say, well I'm going to stay out later than what they had previously before their launch into college. Often parents aren't comfortable with that.”

Nixon says the sooner the conversation about expectations, the better.




State land up for auction in Northern Michigan


Some public land in Northern Michigan is up for sale.


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources opens its land auction Tuesday and the DNR's Patricia Harlow says there are 37 properties up for grabs.


They are in a number of counties, primarily in northern lower Michigan. Cheyboygan, Clare, Gladwin, Kalkaska, Marquette (that's U.P.), Midland, Muskegon, Newaygo, Roscommon, and Wexford Counties.”


Bids must be postmarked by June 7th. For more information visit




DNR identifies more trout fishing sites



The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is adding more than 60 new sites for trout fishing in Michigan.


The DNR's Trout Trails map now features nearly 200 biologist-verified trout waters that are often lesser known, but are considered outstanding fishing spots.


Anglers can access the web-based Trout Trails application at




Help 'Stamp Out Hunger' in Michigan


This week, helping feed people who are hungry in Michigan will be as easy as putting canned food by the mailbox.


Saturday is the 24th year of the "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive, when letter carriers in Michigan and across the country collect nonperishable foods from homes as they deliver mail.


Anne Schenk with Gleaners Community Food Bank says Michigan letter carriers know their communities and are very willing to help those in need.


"When people are going through tough times, it's very apparent – they deliver the bill collection notices, they deliver the shut-off notices. So, they know that people struggle and they see it every day, and I think that’s what’s motivated the letter carriers to do this."


Schenk notes the food drive comes at a critical time since, during the summer, more kids are in need of food without the meals provided at school.


Gleaners typically collects one million pounds of food during the drive to be distributed in Michigan.




Stop Snyder campaign half way to recall goal


The drive to recall Governor Rick Snyder has around half of the signatures needed to put the recall on the ballot.


With 400,000 signatures collected, the Stop Snyder campaign needs to collect another 400,000 by the end of this month.


Campaign officials say Michiganders will see more activity around the state and note that Michigan’s emergency manager law is a top reason cited by many people signing the recall petition.




Michigan residents wrongly identified in unemployment fraud cases – state could lose $100M


Michigan stands a chance of loosing more than $100 million dollars in federal funding because of problems with its unemployment system.


Between 2014 and 2015 alone, federal officials say, the state flagged nearly 30,000 recipients for fraud and penalized them a total of $57 million.


The U.S. Labor Department directed the state to re-examine all of the roughly 60,000 total cases of alleged fraud and reimburse recipients for any penalties they were forced to pay.


If Michigan does not re-adjudicate those cases, the Labor Department will be required to withhold more than $100 million from the state because it would not be in compliance with the Social Security Act.




Barricaded gunman dead in Lincoln Township


A man is dead following a 12 hour standoff with police in Lincoln Township.


The incident began when Michigan State Police and Clare County Sheriff's Deputies attempted to search a residence on Friday night where it was believed someone with an outstanding arrest warrant was hiding.


The officers were greeted with gunshots and returned fire with the shooter.


After 12 hours, police entered the home and found the suspect dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


No police were injured, but they are still looking for another suspect in the case.




Frost advisory


The National Weather Service is issuing a frost advisory for the following counties:


  • Clare

  • Isabella

  • Lake

  • Mason

  • Mecosta

  • Montcalm

  • Newaygo

  • Oceana

  • Osceola


The advisory is in effect from midnight tonight (Sunday) to 8:00 am Monday.


Temperatures are expected to fall into the middle 30s and areas of frost will be common across central lower Michigan.


Early season tender vegetation will be susceptible to frost.


It is advised to bring early season plants inside or take the necessary precautions.




BREAKING: State Police investigating murder in Osceola County


UPDATE: State Police say the identity of the deceased suspect is 48-year old Thomas Alger of Marion. 
Police in Osceola County are investgating the murder of an 81-year old Marion man. 
State Police say they were called to a home in Marion Township to investigate a domestic assault.
While troopers responded to the scene, neighbors reported to the Meceola Central Dispatch Center that the suspect repeatedly ran over the victim with his vehicle.
The 81-year old man was pronounced dead at the scene.


Troopers say as the 48-year old suspect fled the scene in his vehicle, he collided with a minivan at the intersection of southbound M-66 HWY and M-115 HWY 


The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. 


The female driver of the minivan and her two teenage sons were transported Cadillac Mercy Hospital.


The investigation is still on going. 





Tuition rate increase approved at Ferris State and new residence hall planned


A new residence hall is coming to the Big Rapids campus of Ferris State University while FSU trustees approved tuition rate increases Friday.  


The FSU Board of Trustees approved construction services for the new residence hall to be built on the north end of campus.


The $28.15 million dollar facility is expected to be completed by August of 2017 and hold 350-400 beds.


Next, trustees approved tuition increases for undergraduate students totaling 2.71%. According to university officials, the increase is significantly lower than the 4.8% state tuition restraint schools could go up to.  


Spectrum Health Rehab and Nursing Center in Reed City earns 5-star rating by national group


A rehab and nursing center in Osceola County is receiving praise from a national group.


The Spectrum Health Rehab and Nursing Center in Reed City has been given a 5-star rating by the Center’s for Medicare & Medicaid Services.


Officials say the rating is based on health inspections, staffing and quality measures, and incorporates data reported through March 31, 2016. 


“Our goal is to improve our patients’ quality of life by tending to their physical needs, but also offering activities and social opportunities to help them remain part of our community,” said Michael Ross, director of the Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital Rehab and Nursing Center. “We’re happy about this 5-star rating because it reflects the great work our clinical and support staff is doing.”


The Reed City Hospital Rehab and Nursing Center has been awarded a 5-star rating for more than four years in a row. 


CDC says ask your doctors if they wash their hands


To avoid getting sick and spreading germs you're told to wash your hands often.


But you might be surprised to learn a new study finds your doctor is not always lathering up.


Overall all we think that doctors and nurses clean their hands only about half as often as they're supposed to.”


That's Dr. Arjun Srinivasan with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends patients ask their doctor or nurse if they've washed their hands.



Teachers rally in Lansing


A week when another Detroit teacher sick-out made headlines will come to a close with educators from around Michigan joining forces to build positive energy.


A Teaching Empowered Rally will be held Saturday on the steps of the Capitol building.


President of the Lansing Schools Education Association Chuck Alberts says it's a time to gather and collectively send a message that educating Michigan's children is powerful, it's needed and it's important.


"Educators across the country, but especially in Michigan, we don't hear a lot of positive about the profession, so it's a chance to celebrate why we went into the profession and keep us focused on what the ultimate reason is for this profession which is the students."


Alberts explains that Michigan's teachers have faced a slew of challenges in recent years including an evaluation system linked to test scores, school-funding differences among districts, higher health-care costs and pay freezes.


"It's a profession right now where it feels like it's being legislated versus being created and having open dialogue with those who are actually doing the work."


Saturday's rally coincides with the Michigan Education Association's Spring Representative Assembly in Lansing, as well as the end of Teacher's Appreciation Week.




GM warns owners not to drive recalled vehicles


More auto recalls are being announced, this time from GM.


The automaker says it is recalling about 5,000 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 trucks, Suburbans and Tahoes; GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, Yukons and Yukon XLs; Cadillac Escalades and Escalade ESVs; and a small number of 2017 Silverado early-build trucks.


Poorly welded suspension components can break causing a loss of control.


GM says owners of those vehicles should not drive them until replacement parts become available.




Parents warned of possible marijuana cupcakes at Pine River


Pine River school officials are concerned after a student said she brought marijuana laced cupcakes to a school celebration.


Although it is thought to be a hoax, school officials notified parents that the student said she brought the cupcakes to her Spanish class for a Cinco de Mayo celebration Thursday.


The cupcakes were eaten and no students have reported being ill or feeling under the influence.


The school is asking parents to watch their kids and report any symptoms they might have.




Wolverine Worldwide in Big Rapids donates to Salvation Army's Fresh Start Baby Pantry


Wolverine World Wide's Manufacturing plant in Big Rapids are showing their support for the community by collecting and donating items to the Big Rapids Salvation Army's Fresh Start Baby Pantry.


The donated items included baby clothing, diapers, strollers, diaper bags and hygiene products.


Wolverine World Wide representative Shannon Beaver says "The Wolverine way is to empower. engage and inspire.  With this I am very pleased, as we were able to come together to make the world a better place."


The Salvation Army plans to provide the items to local families in need of supplemental baby supplies.


"We are excited to be working with Wolverine World Wide in an effort to help more people in our community. Especially our little ones and their families." added Chris Vallette, Salvation Army Development Director. 


Mecosta Co. to continue to levy 5.9299 millage rate in 2016


Mecosta County will continue to levy the same millage rate in 2016 for its general fund budget.


Voters approved the fixed millage rate 5.9299 in property taxes back in 2010.


Administrator Paul Bullock told commissioners this collection of taxes is the most important part in the county’s budget.


“This is the largest source of revenue in our budget.” Bullock said.  


 The board of commission approved a resolution to continue that fixed rate on Thursday.



Hersey woman sent to hospital after two car accident in Mecosta Co.


A 47-year old Osceola County woman is recovering at a local hospital after being involved in a two car accident this morning in Mecosta County's Green Township. 


It happened at the intersection of 19-Mile Rd. and Northland Drive. 


Deputies say a Ford Taurus operated by a Hersey woman was traveling south on Northland Drive when a Ford pickup pulling a flatbed trailer operated by a 27-year old Sidney man pulled into the intersection from 19-Mile Rd. 


The Taurus struck the trailer and caught fire. The fire was put out by the driver and passenger of the pickup. 


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


The driver of the pickup was ticketed for failing to yield. 


Saturday is Empty the Shelters Day


This Saturday is "Empty the Shelters Day" at about 24 animal shelters throughout Michigan.


It's being funded by Bissell Pet Foundation of Grand Rapids.


The foundation will pay for adoptions of cats and dogs at those shelters on Saturday.


A list of participating shelters can be found at




Michigan Democrats ponder strategy for Trump nomination



Republican Presidential Ted Cruz suspended his campaign after a loss in Indiana, and now John Kasich has done likewise. With Trump the likely nominee -- what may be the tactics for Democrats?

“Things about his business record, Trump University, those kinds of things. I think you'll also see some attempts to make people very scared about what a Trump presidency would look like, especially on national security – that he sort of shoots from the hip and might endanger the national security.”


That was Dr. Matt Grossman, the Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University.




Foster parents needed in Michigan


Hundreds of children in Michigan are in need of families who will open up their hearts and homes.


During Foster Care Month in May, child welfare agencies are encouraging Michiganders to consider becoming a foster parent to help children whose families are in crisis.


There are about 13 thousand foster children in Michigan – children who Bob Wheaton with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says have been through a traumatic experience and need stability.


"They’ve been through a situation where they’ve had to be removed from their home due to us finding abuse or neglect, so what they really need is a loving home. In some cases it will be in the short term through a foster family while we work with the family so the child can return safely"


Wheaton says the ultimate goal is to reunite children with their families, but in some cases long-term arrangements are required.


According to federal data there were 3,500 Michigan kids waiting for an adoptive home in 2014.


Foster parents must be at least 18 years of age, in good health, and have enough income to meet the basic standards of caring for a child.




Largest recall in history blamed on Takata airbags


The federal government is dramatically expanding the Takata airbag recall, adding between 35 and 40 million airbag inflators to the 29 million already being recalled.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind says this could have been avoided, had Takata acted quickly


This is created by Takata creating a defective airbag that needs to be replaced. And, in fact, because of that duration of how long before it took for us, for everyone to realize what was going on – that's why we went from a small recall to the largest in US history.”


The bags are installed in more than a dozen auto brands, including Honda, Nissan, GM, Chrysler, Ford, Toyota, and Volkswagen and are prone to rupture, spewing metal shrapnel from the inflator into the vehicle.




SOS Ruth Johnson says look twice, save a life during Motorcycle Safety Month


May is Motorcycle Safety Month in Michigan and with the warmer weather Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says a lot of bikers will be out on the road.


We have just a few short of a half-a-million endorsed riders and we know, unfortunately, there are a handful of riders that still aren't endorsed and they're the ones that are involved in almost half of our accidents.”


Johnson says she speaks from experience.


I've been driving for almost half a century actually, and I took a refresher course a few years ago and it and it was really helpful.”


She recently purchased a new Harley Davidson 500 and is looking forward to this year's riding season.


Getting a state endorsement is critical to rider safety as four out of every 10 crashes involve riders that don't have a valid driver's license or motorcycle endorsement.


There has been a steady decrease in the number of motorcycle crashes over recent years – down from 3,600 in 2012 to 2.860 in 2014. Johnson credits Michigan's motorcycle safety training courses with the decrease.


She also emphasizes wearing appropriate gear, such as an approved helmet and bright colored clothing with reflective material.


It's also important for other motorists to be aware of motorcyclists, especially as they are often difficult to see.


You need to give the motorcycle extra room rather than pulling out thinking that they look so small that you have time to do it. But it's at an intersection where most of our accidents happen with motorcyclists,” she says.


Johnson adds that all drivers, whether they're on a motorcycle or in a car or truck, need to be aware of each other.


There's a lot of us on the road – we have to share the road. So I tell people that are driving, look twice, save a life.”




Recall on frozen food from Meijer


There is a frozen food recall that could impact you if you have purchased CRF frozen foods from Meijer.


CRF Frozen foods is doing a voluntary recall because some of their products could be contaminated with Listeria.


The bacteria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infection in the very young and elderly --- and people with weakened immune systems.


All affected products have the best by dates or sell by dates between April 26, 2016 and April 26, 2018.


A complete listing of the recalled products can be found at




President Obama addresses Flint residents


The water crisis in Flint is getting even more national attention following President Obama's visit to the city yesterday.


Before speaking at Northwestern High School in Flint, Mr. Obama met with officials and residents and said the disaster could have been avoided.


This should not have happened in the first place. And even though the scope of the response looks sort of like the efforts we're used to seeing after a natural disaster, that's not what this was. This was a man-made disaster. This was avoidable, this was preventable,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Mr Obama drank a glass of filtered water.




Police Memorial event planned for May 10th on Ferris State campus


The 13th Annual Police Memorial Planned for Ferris State University Campus, May 10th


Supporters of all ages will gather outside of the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education (FLITE) on Tuesday, May 10 at 9 a.m. 


Ferris’ Director of Public Safety Bruce Borkovich said that as part of the ceremony, a Mecosta-Osceola Career Center student will speak at the event. Borkovich and Joy Paquette, MOCC public safety instructor, will review essays that were presented for consideration, and select a student to speak.


“Every year, many in the crowd are from area schools,” Borkovich said. “If classes were in session at that time on our campus, it would be an even bigger event. It’s not just Ferris’ police department taking part, as all aspects of the operation, and our university support the program and attend the event.”


Officers representing local, county, state and federal departments will join Ferris’ contingent at the memorial. The traditional program includes an honor guard, a 21-gun salute, the playing of “Taps,” lowering the U.S. flag and the placement of a wreath.


Voters approve Pine River Area Schools bond proposal


Pine River Area School officials have a bit more pep in their step Wednesday, as voters approved the district's bond proposal.


The $5.8 million dollar bond passed by a vote of 857-551.


Pine River Superintendent Matt Lukshaitis says this will allow the school district to upgrade and renovate school facilities.


"We are very excited about the bond passing" "We will now be able to take care of some infrastructure issues like our school roofs which are sorely compromised at this point" He said.    


LukeShaitis is very hopful to have new roofs on the schools, a new well installed at the middle-high school  and reinforcement of the sanitary leeching basin behind the middle-high school by winter of 2016. 


United Nations taking an interest in Flint water crisis


Experts at the U.N. human rights office in Geneva are asking authorities to "map out a human rights complaint strategy" in response to the Flint Water crisis to make sure it doesn't happen anywhere else.


ACLU attorney Michael Steinberg says the group has filed suit seeking to order all the lead pipes in Flint be replaced.

The value of international human rights bodies taking a stand is to draw attention to the problem. Let the United States and Michigan officials know that the world is watching.”


Governor Rick Snyder is scheduled to meet with President Barak Obama and Mayor Karen Weaver in Flint later today.




Proposal aims to reform criminal justice system in Michigan


Michigan Senator John Proos is announcing a bipartisan legislative package to reform, re-establish and rebuild a criminal justice system focused on lowering recidivism and keeping Michigan safe.

“Fifty percent of the Michigan prison population who are failures on probation and parole – so that we can get that number from 50 percent down to 30 percent. Of 30 percent of failures on parole we really stand a chance of decreasing our overall costs,” he says.


Proos says the reform package gives offenders the best shot at success and reintegration.




New domestic violence law helps protect children


It is now legal for parents to defend their children from abusive partners in Michigan.


Governor Snyder signed a new domestic violence bill earlier this week that allows parents to act and protect their children from any abuse and victims can also expect more protection in the courts.


Snyder says he hopes the law will give victims of domestic violence some peace of mind.




Big Rapids school fund proposals pass, Reed City denies one, voter turnout low


Mecosta County residents do not seem to have much interest in school millages.


An election for school funding proposals in Big Rapids and Reed City was on yesterday's ballot, but as of late in the day, workers at Precincts 1, 2, and 3 in the Big Rapids area had this to say about voter turnout.


Poor. I think we've had 23, 24 people.” - “Low. Very low. We just reached 100.” - “We are at 70. It's been low.”


Both school funding proposals for Big Rapids Schools passed, but Reed City voters passed their first bonding proposal and denied the second. Just over 10 percent of registered voters made it to the polls.




Big Rapids Twp. Fire Department awarded grant to purchase drone

Big Rapids Township firefighters will have a new piece of technology to aide in a fire or an emergency taking place.

Township fire officials say they were awarded a $7,800 grant from TransCanada to purchase a two drone kit. The announcement was made during the township board meeting. 

Firefighter and grant writer Chris London says there will be numerous uses for the drone at local emergency scenes and it will also be used to aide other emergency crews while on a call.

The fire department is hoping to receive the grant money in the next month and get township board approval for the drone purchase shortly after.  


Family Farm & Home coming to Big Rapids

A new retailer is expected to be in Big Rapids this fall.

Family Farm and Home will move into the long vacant K-Mart on Perry Avenue.

The grand opening will be this fall.  That building had been vacant since June of 2014.  

Family Farm and Home is a family-run business with 46 locations throughout Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

It supplies a variety of products and services in departments such as tools, hardware, automotive, pet, work and casual clothing, footwear, farm supplies, horse and livestock feed, bird food, lawn and garden, and alternative

The new store is expected create up to 20 jobs. 


Study says Michigan taxes lower than average


A new report says taxes in Michigan are not as bad as in many other states.


The Citizens Research Council of Michigan ranks Michigan as 35th in state and local tax burdens. Michigan was among the top ten states for taxes back in the 1980's.


The report cites several factors for the ranking including Proposition A which reduced property taxes while increasing the sales tax by two cents.


However, officials say the relative decline in tax revenues can be blamed for bad road conditions, a reduction in police manpower, and cuts to revenue sharing with local governments.




Enbridge fines increase from Kalamazoo River oil spill


Enbridge says it expects to pay millions of dollars more in fines than first anticipated for the 2010 oil spill near Marshall.


In a filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission the company increased its December estimate on fines and penalties by $15 million citing penalties from violations of the Clean Water Act.


An Enbridge oil spill dumped hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude in to the Kalamazoo River and its tributaries in July 2010.


Enbridge expects fines and penalties to total $62.5 million.




Snyder wants to meet with Obama

Following criticism that he would be out of town when President Obama comes to Flint on Wednesday, Governor Rick Snyder is now formally asking to meet with the president and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver during the visit.


Snyder says the meeting would strengthen Michigan's partnership with federal environmental and health agencies and would be an opportunity to discuss how Flint can be supported during the ongoing water crisis.


He also says he expects Medicaid to be expanded next week to an additional 15,000 children and pregnant women in Flint who may have been exposed to lead in their drinking water.




Salmonella outbreak in Michigan linked to chicks and ducklings


A growing number of salmonella cases in Michigan is causing concern among health officials.


Twenty cases of salmonella have been reported since the beginning of March according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.


Officials say the outbreak is being caused by people handling baby chicks and ducklings. Although young poultry can carry the disease, they do not get sick from it like people do.


So far, six people have been hospitalized from salmonella poisoning and officials expect the number to rise.




School millage voting day


Tuesday is school millage election day and local school officials want you to get to the polls.


Big Rapids Public Schools is asking residents to renew an operating millage for 18 mils on businesses, industrial and commercial properties and extend its sinking fund another five years.


Reed City is also asking voters extend and increase the current school millage raising about $15 million.




Big Rapids DPS adds a new firefighter and police officer


The Fire and Police Departments in Big Rapids are welcoming new additions to their respective divisions.


Police officer Sean Kelly and Firefighter Matt Kidd were sworn into office Monday during the Big Rapids City Commission meeting.


Director Andrea Nerbonne says the new hires add new blood to the department.


“Matt Kidd is from the area and brings a wealth of knowledge to DPS, while Sean Kelly comes from Northwest Michigan College police academy and we are excited to have him aboard.” She said.


The fire division now has a full staff with the new hire, while the police department is looking to add one more officer to complete its staff. 


Big Rapids Commissioners receive Baldwin Street Bridge update


Only a couple more months remain until the Baldwin Street Bridge in Big Rapids is complete.


Public Works Deputy Director Roger Schneidt updated Big Rapids City Commissioners Monday night at City Hall.


He says they are almost to the finish line.


“We completed the pouring of concrete last week, now we have to pour concrete on the bridge sidewalks and install lights and complete sidewalk and road work on the east side of the bridge.” He said


The bridge is expected to be completed in July.  


Police in Mecosta County arrest man who lied about being assaulted and tied to tree


A Pierson man is behind bars on $75,000 in Mecosta County after falsely reporting a felony. 


Deputies say on March 21st, 31-year old Jonathan Cross lied  to police saying he was tied to a tree and accosted while at Haymarsh Campground. 


The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office investigation found no evidence to support Cross’s claims at the scene. 


A medical exam revealed no signs of injury or exposure consistent with Crosses claim of being tied to a tree for some 6 hours. 


Through additional investigation the Sheriff’s Office obtained video footage from a local retail store that shows Cross buying the rope that he claimed to have been tied up with by the alleged assailants


Cross remains lodged in the Mecosta County Jail on $75,000.00 bond pending further court action. 



Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital earns "A" grade in new study


For the second time, Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital is being recognized for providing safe, high quality health care.


The hospital received an “A” rating on the Spring Hospital Safety Score released by The Leapfrog Group, an organization that evaluates the safety and quality performance of U.S. hospitals.


“Safety and quality remain our top priorities,” said Mary Kay VanDriel, president of Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals. “Our staff actively embrace new ideas and practices to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients.”


The score is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. This score is for general, acute-care hospitals.


Reed City Hospital does not qualify for a grade rating because it is a critical access hospital.


For the first time, the Hospital Safety Score includes five measures of patient-reported experience with the hospital as well as two of the most common infections, C.diff and MRSA.


To see Big Rapids Hospital’s full score, visit


Elderly couple killed in head on car crash in Montalm Co.


An elderly couple is dead following a head on car accident Sunday evening in Montcalm Co. 


The accident happened on M-66 near Schmeid Road in Belvidere Township.


Deputies say an investigation revealed that a 1999 Buick LaSabre was traveling south on M-66 as a northbound black 2012 Audi S4 was attempting to pass multiple vehicles.


The Audi was not able to complete the pass and took evasive action to avoid a collision.


When both vehicles tried to avoid each other they swerved and collided head on.


Police say the driver of the Buick; 88-year old Raymond J. Wrona was injured and taken to the hospital where he later died. Wrona’s wife Mary a passenger in the car died at the scene.  


The driver of the Audi; 26-year old Joel Ibarra and his passenger 28-year old Maria Mancha were treated for their injuries.


The crash remains under investigation. 


Bloomberg tells Michigan grads demagoguery pervades U.S politics


Businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says demagoguery is running rampant in American politics.


He made the comments during his commencement speech at the University of Michigan over the weekend. Bloomberg told the graduating class that neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party has a monopoly on good ideas, and that each "demonizes the other unfairly and dishonestly.”


He also told the graduates that some of the most useful things they can leave school with is the knowledge of how to study, cooperate, listen carefully, think critically, and resolve conflicts through reason.




Excessive 'screen time' can cause problems


Monday marks the start of International Screen-Free Week, where people are encouraged to discover a life beyond televisions, computers, tablets, and smartphones.


Experts say too much screen time is linked to obesity, sleep disruptions and emotional troubles – especially among children.


Josh Golin with the Campaign for a Commercial Free-Childhood says because kids are always watching their parents, it's important that good habits are practiced in the home.


"So that means when we're having conversations, we’re not distracted looking at our phones. That means we're not bringing our devices to the dining room table. We're absolutely not glancing at our phones when we're on the road because our children will be driving someday and we don’t want to be modeling that behavior as well."


Research shows most eight to 18-year-olds spend about seven hours using screen media every day.




MDEQ offering grants to cleanup of old tires


Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality is encouraging Michiganders to get rid of old tires.


Officials say dumped tires pose a fire hazard and create a place where mosquitoes can breed.


The Department is awarding nearly $300,000 in grants for community scrap tire drop-offs and other tire cleanups.


Recycled scrap tires can be used in asphalt to pave roads, as mulch in gardens and playgrounds, and in manufacturing.


Information about Michigan's scrap tire program is available at the MDEQ web site.




Lawmakers say police need more medical training


A group of Michigan lawmakers say police officers need more medical training.


Representative Hank Vaupel believes some police officers aren't properly equipped to rescue people undergoing heroin or prescription opioid overdoses.


His bill would require all emergency first responders, including police, to stay current on CPR training suited for the overdoses, particularly rescue breathing.


Opioids are known to shut down breathing.


However, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police legislative director George Bascar say the bill is unnecessary since recruits trained in the state's 20 police academies already learn rescue breathing.




Body found on West Michigan college campus


The identity of woman's body found on a West Michigan college campus is still unknown as an investigation continues.


Police say the body was found early Saturday morning on the campus of Grand Rapids Community College. A man was reportedly seen dragging the body near a main building and a parking ramp.


Police say the victim is between 30 and 40 years old and her death is being investigated as a homicide.




West Michigan highway named to honor soldier from White Cloud


A soldier from White Cloud is being honored by the State of Michigan.


A three-mile section of M-37 in Newaygo County was dedicated on Saturday as the "Brian Derks Memorial Highway.”


Derks was a White Cloud native and was 21 years old when he was killed while on patrol in Baghdad in August 2005.


A sign bearing the dedication was placed in the yard of his uncle's property near southbound M-37 at his family's request.




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