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Big Rapids Daily News
News That Affects You Archives for 2016-07

Local taxes and elected officials to be decided on Tuesday


On Tuesday, Mecosta County voters will decide nearly 20 elected positions along with a number of millage funding requests.


Big Rapids Township voters will decide on a .2 mill tax for library services, Morton Township is asking for an increase of just over .06 mills for their library, Chippewa Township has a 1 mill tax for road repairs, firefighting equipment, and operating expenditures on the ballot, and Wheatland Township has three millage proposals covering their library and road repairs.


There is also a county wide request for .5 mills to cover county park improvements, maintenance, and equipment.


A long list of elected positions ranging from county clerk to the State Representative seat in the 102nd District will also be decided.


To check your voter registration and obtain a sample ballot go to


Recent history indicates only about 18 percent of Michigan voters will head to the polls on Tuesday.




Wish-A-Mile Bike Tour stops in Big Rapids Friday


Nearly 900 bike riders trekking 100 miles from Traverse City made a stop in Big Rapids all in the name of granting kids wishes.


The Make-A-Wish, Wish-A-Mile Bike Tour stopped for an overnight rest Friday on the campus of Ferris State University.


About 1,200 cyclists are expected to raise $2.2 million to help grant wishes for Michigan kids during the three day event.


One rider, Rob Cassalou has been part of this event for the past six years is riding with his daughter for the first time says this is a fulfilling experience for him.


“This is really a wish experience for a rider, cause you go through a lot of challenges and you get great satisfaction knowing you’re doing it for those kids and their families, there is no better feeling.” said Cassalou.


Cyclists will finish on Sunday at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. 


Law enforcement officer deaths up in the first half of 2016


The recent ambush attack that killed five Dallas police officers contributed to a spike in deaths of those across the country sworn to serve and protect.


A biannual review from National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund shows as of July 20th, 67 federal, state and local officers died on the job, an eight-percent increase from the same time period in 2015.


Craig Floyd with the Memorial Fund explains three officers lost their lives in Michigan including a deputy who died in a freak accident.


"Michael Winter served in Branch County, Michigan, with the Sheriff’s office. He was actually thrown from his horse on a Memorial Day parade, suffered fatal injuries and died a day after that tragic accident,” he says.


Michigan court bailiffs Joseph Zangaro and Ron Kienzle were shot after a prisoner grabbed a deputy's gun outside a holding cell at a courthouse.


Despite the rise in deaths in the first half of the year, the report says police fatalities have steadily declined in the U.S. in the past four decades.




DNC winds up and Michigan can expect hard campaigning


The Democratic National Convention is over.


It ended Thursday night with Hillary Clinton formally accepting the party's nomination.


During her speech, the former Secretary of State went right after rival Donald Trump.


Former Michigan GOP chair Susy Avery says Michigan will be one of the states each candidate will hit hard.


I think this is going to be a very acrimonious campaign. Actually you're going to see a lot more activity and we may actually be bringing voter participation up.”


She says Michigan is a potential bell-weather state.




Meet the candidate event held by Mecosta Co. Republicans


In an effort to get more voters informed the Mecosta County Republican Party held a “Meet a candidate” event Thursday at Northend Park in Big Rapids.


Party Chair Ross Meads said this event is a way for those voters who are on the fence with their decision to hopefully get the answers they are looking for.


Candidates from road commission to county commissioner all the way up to State House were in attendance.  


Jason Briscoe of Morley who is running for the first time for State House said as the election gets closer for him, his schedule gets more hectic. 


“As for how excited I am getting closer to the election, I haven’t had time to think about that. I’m just focused on getting across the finish line August 2nd and after that is when the real work begins.” Briscoe said.  


If you would like to know what issues are on the election ballot in August log on to 



Chippewa Twp. voters to decide on a number of issues during primary election including Twp. Supervisor


Voters in Chippewa Township will decide on a number of issues during the August Primary Election.


Current Township Supervisor George Griffis will go up against several other candidates vying for his seat, including Bryan Roels, Edward Tolhurst and Michael Gibson.


The ballot also features two millage renewals for roads and fire protection services.


Each of those proposals asks voters to renew a millage of one mill for the next four years.


Both proposals would raise a little over $55,000 each in its first year, if approved.     




Voters in Big Rapids Twp. to decide library proposal & township trustees Aug. 2nd


Big Rapids Township residents will have a lot to decide on during the August 2nd primary election.


On the township board, there are four open spots and three candidates running which include Travis Williams, Carmen Bean and Tony Geib. Bob McGuire is also a write-in cadidate.      


As for proposals on the ballot, township voters will decide whether or not to approve a millage to fund library services for Big Rapids Community Library and Walton Erickson Public Library.


The proposal calls to levy .2 mill over the next six years.


If approved, the millage would raise just over $28,000 for library services in its first year.   


Pain med abuse by teens leads to problems later in life


A new University of Michigan study confirms what many parents fear.


Teens who misuse pain medications like codeine, oxycodone, and others become more at risk to abuse drugs when they are older.


Researchers say more than half of the high school seniors who took the drugs for fun as older teens reported two or more substance abuse symptoms at age 35.


On the other hand, a majority of those teens who took drugs for a medical issues didn't misuse them when they got older.


Police and health professionals say parents should throw out leftover prescription drugs that aren't being used.




Michigan Rep concerned over public apathy at DNC


With the Democratic National Convention continuing in Philadelphia, Michigan US Representative Debbie Dingell is worried about public complacency when it comes to voting in November.


A lot of people are fed up with the way that things are, they're not happy with the status quo. And some people are trying to send a message but don't understand that the day after the election that there are consequences to what happens on election day,” she says.

Dingell believes the party that does the best job with the "get out and vote" message will ultimately have the advantage in the election.




Schuette and Calley gear up to run for governor


They are considered as two of the most likely GOP candidates to run for governor in 2018 and Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley have raised plenty of money so far.


Donations to Schuete top the $600,000 mark, while Calley has more than $450,000 in his campaign account.


Neither one has made an official announcement to run for governor.




Wexford County man facing child pornography charges


After a year long investigation, a Wexford County man is facing child pornography charges.


Investigators say 22-year-old Randall Passmore of Manton is being charged with ten counts of possession of child sexually abusive material related to incidents in 2014.


Passmore allegedly went online and promised gifts to an underage female if she sent him nude pictures of herself.


He also has eight outstanding warrants on unrelated misdemeanors and is being held on $20,000 bond.




Park officials in Mecosta Co. hope voters approve millage Aug. 2nd.


Mecosta Co. Park Officials will be watching the election closely August 2nd to see if voters approve its millage proposal.


The proposed millage of .5 mill over the next five years, would allow park officials to make renovations and upgrades to its facilities.


Park Superintendent Jeff Abel says it’s an opportunity for residents to voice their opinion on whether they like the improvements already made to the parks and whether they want more.


“One of the biggest projects we would like to tackle if this proposal is approved is getting “full hookup” for our campgrounds because that is one of the high demands from our guests and especially our seasonal guests.” Abel said.  


If approved, the millage would raise over $623,000 in the first year. 


Clinton wins nomination at DNC


Hillary Clinton is now the first female presidential nominee of a major party in the nation's history.


The former first lady, New York senator, and secretary of state was formally installed as the party nominee Tuesday night.


Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence believes Bernie Sanders supporters are starting to come around to support Clinton.


Last night was the beginning of the process and I saw the signs going down and I saw that anti-energy just start dispersing and getting quieter and quieter. So, I am very confident that we, as a party, will come together.”


Clinton will formally accept the nomination on Thursday night.




Man confesses to string of Isabella County B&E's



A number of breaking-and-enterings in Isabella County are no longer under investigation after a suspect's confession.


Police say 22-year-old Jonathan Radabaugh admitted to breaking into seven cars, two houses, and a garage on Monday night in Sherman Township.


Radabaugh is being charged with home invasion, breaking and entering, and larceny.


Items taken during the crimes were recovered.




Four-year-old drowns in Newaygo County


Family and friends are mourning the death of a 4-year-old boy in Newaygo County.


Deputies say they were called to a home in Everett Township late Monday on a missing child report.


The boy, Jacob Michael Arquette of White Cloud, was then found submerged in a backyard pool.


Police performed CPR until EMS crews arrived, but the boy was pronounced dead at the scene.




Salad & sandwiches recalled at Meijer


Meijer is recalling a group of fresh salads and sandwiches over fears of salmonella poisoning.


Officials say the "Markets of Meijer Salads and Sandwiches" were sold in Meijer stores from July 20 to July 25.


A cooked egg ingredient is suspected, although no illnesses have been reported.


Customers can return the products to any Meijer store for a full refund.


A list of the products is available at




Big Rapids DPS gearing up for National Night Out event Aug. 2nd


In an effort to improve community relations, the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety will be hosting its 13th Annual National Night Out event Aug. 2nd from 6-9pm.


Police officers from DPS, Ferris State University Department of Public Safety, Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan State Police will be part of the event, as well as Mecosta County Emergency Medical Services and firefighters from DPS.


Big Rapids Officer Ryan Meyers hopes residents have a fun time enjoying all the activities.


“I’m really excited about interacting with families and the new attractions we will be offering to attendees along with area groups that will be there.” Said Meyers.   


Attendees will also be able to sit behind the wheel of a fire truck or take a look inside ambulances and police vehicles.



ORV crash in Montcalm County


Police suspect speed and alcohol to be factors in an ORV crash in Montcalm County.


The Montcalm County Sheriff's Office says a 23-year-old Greenville man sustained serious injuries when he drove his four wheeler off Evergreen Road on Sunday.


Deputies say the man the was on a narrow gravel section of the road and it was raining at the time.


He was wearing helmet and was taken to the hospital with serious internal injuries.




Wish-A-Mile Bike Tour comes through Big Rapids Friday


Around 900 bike riders will be converging onto the campus of Ferris State University in Big Rapids Friday as part of the annual Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Wish-A-Mile® Bicycle Tour.


Cyclists will depart from Traverse City Friday morning and ride 100 miles each day with stops in Big Rapids and DeWitt and a finish-line celebration at Michigan International Speedway.


1,200 cyclists are expected to raise $2.2 million to help grant wishes for Michigan kids during the bike tour.  





Big Rapids bank robbery suspect arraigned on charges


A Grand Rapids man is now held on $5-million dollars bond in Mecosta County after being arraigned on charges connected to the robbery of Fifth Third Bank in downtown Big Rapids.


22-year old Anthony Oby Loose is facing four felony charges including bank robbery, two counts of unarmed robbery and fourth offense habitual offender status.


Loose stole $5,600 during the bank robbery last week.


He was arrested the next day by Grand Rapids area police after a tip they received on his location.


Loose is expected to be back in court next week. He faces life in prison. 


Former presidential candidate says Americans need to do their homework


Donald Trump is officially the GOP candidate for the president and longtime consumer safety advocate, and former presidential candidate, Ralph Nader says America deserves better, on both sides of the political isle.

“We don't have, really, the kind of choices our country deserves because we don't have the kind of civic engagement and voter demands that our country deserves. So it comes back to us. It's extremely important for citizens to do their homework, to separate fact from fiction, to separate truth from slander.”

Nader was in Michigan on Thursday as part of the 2016 induction class for the Automotive Hall of Fame.




DNC under way with no action on superdelegates


The Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia today with an attempt to end the superdelegate system getting squashed.


On Saturday, the convention's rules committee rejected petitions signed by more than a half-million people calling for an end to superdelegates.


Superdelegates are appointed by party leaders and vote for whomever they choose, regardless of who wins the presidential primary in their state.


The result in several states this year is a division of delegates that don't accurately represent the distribution of votes between the candidates. Representative Aaron Regunberg...


"The mere existence of this system creates a perception among a whole lot of our party's base that the political system is rigged in some ways."


Originally set at 14-percent of all delegates in 1984, over time their numbers grew and by 2008 a full twenty percent of all convention delegates were superdelegates.


There are 17 superdelegates in Michigan.




More Americans favoring gun control


A new poll by the Associated Press says Americans are increasingly in favor of tougher gun laws.


This in light of a number of well publicized shootings in recent months.


Nearly two-thirds of respondents expressed support for stricter laws, with majorities favoring nationwide bans on the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons such as the AR-15 and on the sale of high-capacity magazines holding 10 or more bullets.


Officials say it's the highest percentage of Americans who want such laws since 2013.




Missing person found in Isabella County


A 25-year-old Isabella County man who was reported missing last Monday is now back with his family.


Sheriff Michael Main says Matthew German reported he needed some time alone and spent several days camping in the woods not far from his home.


German had his cell phone turned off but made contact with emergency personnel on Friday.




Drowning on Muskegon River


A 26-year-old man is dead following a an accident while tubing on the Muskegon River.


Police say Kevin Tejchma of Fruitport disappeared under the water while tubing with friends near Bridgeton Township in Newaygo County on Saturday.


Newaygo County Sheriff Pat Hedlund says Tejchma was pronounced dead at the scene.


The Newaygo County Sheriff's Office is investigating whether alcohol was involved.




Big Rapids robbery suspect arrested


A 22-year-old Grand Rapids man who was arrested on unrelated charges is now being charged with last week's bank robbery in Big Rapids.


Police say the man was arrested last Thursday and surveillance photos helped identify him as the suspect.


He is being charged with one count robbery, two counts unarmed robbery, and habitual offender.


His name is not being released at this time.




Reed City church members camp out for a cause


Members of Reed City's Trinity Lutheran Church are getting together this weekend for the Great American Campout.


Event organizer Lori Pruitt explains the campout on Trinity's campus is part of aN effort by the National Wildlife Federation to form a deeper desire to protect wildlife and wild places.


They ask people to pledge to camp and then for every camper you pledge, they donate one dollar toward wildlife conservation efforts,” she says.


The NWF says the benefits from outdoor play are well-documented and numerous and create a lasting connection to nature and wildlife that will help you have a happier, healthier family.


Pruitt notes it's a great opportunity to use some of the local natural resources while benefiting a good cause.




Health officials warn of heatstroke


Heat is one of the top weather-related killers in the nation and Michigan will be part of a heat dome over the next few days.


Dr. Brad Uren with the University of Michigan's Department of Emergency Medicine explains that children under age two and elderly adults cannot regulate their temperatures as well as others and sometimes emergency help is needed.


"If you see a change in mental status, if they appear to be confused that can be a sign of heat stroke which is a medical emergency. If you someone that you believe is overheated and confused that is a medical emergency and you should have that person brought to an emergency department right away,” he says.


Temperatures are expected to range from the low to mid 90s through most of the weekend with heat indexes of well over 100.





Pedestrian killed in motorcycle hit-and-run


A pedestrian is dead after being struck by a motorcycle in Montcalm County.


State Police say 32-year-old Jerud Schneider of Wyoming was struck by the biker while walking on Stanton Road in Pierson Township at around 5:30 Friday morning.


The driver fled the scene but was located by police a short time later and charges are expected to be filed.




Mecosta Co. Parks officials give tips to campers on staying cool this weekend


With temperatures this weekend reaching highs of as much as 100 degrees with humidity, Mecosta County Parks officials are advising their campers on ways to stay cool.


Parks Superintendent Jeff Abel says campers should use sun block and drink lot of water throughout the daytime to stay hydrated but when you want to cool off jump in the lake. 


Abel adds that campers should put their tent or trailer in as much shade as possible and to soak a towel in water and wrap it around your neck or head if they're feeling over heated.     






Michigan's straight-party voting ban blocked by federal judge


Straight-party voting is once again legal in Michigan.


Federal Judge Gershwin Drain has blocked the measure that Governor Snyder signed in January.


Some lawmakers criticized the bill as a way to discourage turnout among minorities noting that more than 70 percent of ballots have been cast as straight-party in some voting districts.


Attorney General Bill Schuette defends the law saying 40 other states ban straight-party voting, but the judge says that argument is irrelevant.




Health insurance rate hike hits elderly especially hard


The cost of health insurance is about to go up for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders at the start of next year and the rate increase could be significant for the elderly.


They're going from $122 per month to $293 a month for 79-year-olds. Even if they have health conditions they can shop around through an independent agent and not be captive to one carrier.”

That's Paul Sizeland with Blue Cross Blue Shield.


He says some subsidies for low-income seniors are available through the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.




GM recalls Impalas over airbag problems


More airbag problems for General Motors.


The automaker is recalling more than 290,000 older Chevrolet Impalas because the air bags might not inflate in a crash.


Government testing indicates the front passenger seat frame can rub against the wiring for a passenger detection sensor and damaged wires cut power to the air bag.


The recall covers Impalas from the 2009 and 2010 model years.


A schedule for repairs is not yet available.




Fatal motorcycle accident in Montcalm County


Alcohol is suspected in a fatal motorcycle crash in Montcalm County.


Police say Tom Male ran his motorcycle into a tree on Bailey Road near Howard City.


He was pronounced dead at the scene.


The accident occurred last Sunday.




Contaminated hot dogs recalled


Thousands of pounds of hot dogs and corn dogs are being recalled over fears of listeria contamination.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Bar-S Foods is recalling the products made with chicken and pork that could be contaminated.


The recalled items were made between July 10 and 13 and are stamped with an establishment number of EST. P-81A.


Michigan retailers that may have sold the hot dogs include Meijer, Family Fare, Wal-Mart and Dollar Tree.


The recall includes:


  • 16-oz/1-lb. packages of Bar-S Classic Bun Length Franks made with chicken, pork added | Use by date of 10/11/2016 | Case code 209

  • 12-oz. packages of Bar-S Classic Franks made with chicken, pork added | Package code 6338 | Use by date of 10/10/2016 | Case code 6405

  • 24-oz./1.5-lb. cartons of Signature Pick 5 Corndogs – 8 Honey Batter Dipped Franks On A Stick | Use by date of 4/6/2017 | Case code 6071

  • 42.72-oz./2.67-lb. cartons of Bar-S Classic Corn Dogs – 16 Honey Batter Dipped Franks On A Stick | Use by dates of 4/7/2017 and 4/8/2017 | Case code 6396

  • 48-oz./3-lb. cartons of Bar-S Classic Corn Dogs – 16 Honey Batter Dipped Franks On A Stick | Package code 14054 | Use by dates of 4/6/2017 and 4/9/2017 | Case code 14038


Listeria primarily affects older adults, pregnant women newborns and adults with weakened immune systems.


The government says no reports of illness have been linked to the products.



Power outage in Big Rapids


Consumers Energy is reporting a power outage in Big Rapids in an area from Perry Avenue north to 17 Mile Road and 220th Avenue east to North Bronson Avenue.


Officials say a car struck a utility pole and power should be restored sometime this morning.




Mecosta Co. Commissioners to get base pay increase in 2017 & 2018


A pay increase is coming to Mecosta County Commissioners starting in 2017.


The board on Thursday approved a resolution on a 4-3 vote that would give a two-percent raise in base pay next year and in 2018.


In addition, the chairperson of the commission, who historically received $1,000 in addition to base pay, will now receive $2,600.


Commissioner Jerrilynn Strong did not agree with the chairperson getting an increase in additional money, saying she did not see any more work now for the chairperson then when she was a commission back in the early 2000’s.


Current Chairperson Eric O’Neil disagreed with Strong, saying working on the board of commission has taken up a substantial amount of time and there is more work now than in the past. 


Enbridge settlement intensifies calls for action on Line 5


The settlement reached in the Kalamazoo River oil spill is intensifying calls from citizen and environmental groups to shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.


A $177 million federal oil spill settlement with Enbridge Energy Partners was announced by U.S. Department of Justice Wednesday for the 2010 pipeline rupture.


Concerned Citizens of Cheboygan and Emmet County spokesperson Deb Hansen contends the settlement is inadequate and shows the risk the state is taking for continuing to allow Enbridge pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.


"We are seeing a pattern of inaction in Lansing around critical issues related to water. That would include Flint, that would include the water shut-off in Detroit, and that would include Line 5 in the Straits."


She says the cost of an oil spill in the Great Lakes would cost billions of dollars, far more than the current settlement.


Studies commissioned by Governor Rick Snyder analyzing Enbridge’s pipelines through the straits will not be available until next year.


Hansen and others argue oil transport should be stopped at least through the winter months until the reports are released.




Gas station offers reward in unsolved robbery case


A Lake County gas station is offering a $1,000 reward for information on an armed robbery suspect.


Police say a Wesco gas station in Baldwin was robbed in May by a man wearing a black, full-faced helmet, a dark long-sleeved pullover shirt, dark pants, black Nike shoes, and gloves.


The suspect was armed and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.


Anyone with information should contact the Lake County Sheriff's Department.




Arrest made in fatal Montcalm County accident


A man is being charged in connection with a two month old fatal accident in Montcalm County.


Police say Joel Ibarra crashed head-on into Raymond and Mary Wrona killing the couple.


The crash happened in Belvidere Township in May and police say Ibarra was under the influence of a controlled substance at the time.


Ibarra was taken into custody on Monday.




Local businesses react to bank robbery in downtown Big Rapids


Local business owners in the downtown Big Rapids area are in shock after a bank robbery took place early Wednesday evening at Fifth Third Bank.


Blue Cow Cafe Owner Connie Freiberg says she's was surprised this happened but doesn't feel unsafe.


"I was kind of shocked; it was news to us at the restaurant because it's not something that happens often in our town, Big Rapids is a very, very safe town." "We have a great community here that has a good relationship with its police" She said.


Police are currently searching for the suspect who stole $5,600.  


Big Rapids Police search for suspect in Fifth Third Bank armed robbery


Police in Big Rapids are searching for a suspect they say robbed Fifth-Third Bank in the downtown area.


It happened around 4:15 late Wednesday afternoon on the corner of Michigan Avenue.


Detective Brian Miller of BRDPS says the suspect entered the bank with a gray plastic bag, walked up to a teller, said he had a gun and demanded money.


Once the teller gave him the cash she had, he went to a second teller and demanded the same. 


The suspect then left through the back entrance of the building and headed south. 


Miller said he got away with $5,600. 


The suspect is described as a white male, mid-20's to early 30's between 5'6-5'7 tall, medium build wearing an orange rustic colored shirt with a black baseball cap. 


If you have any information about the suspect or incident contact Detective Brian Miller at 231-527-0005


Police looking for missing Isabella Co. man

The Isabella County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public's help in finding 25-year old Matthew German, who was reported missing by his family yesterday.
German's family stated that they have not heard from him in the last couple of days.
He does not have an active phone or vehicle at this time that we are aware of. He also left all of his belongings including his wallet and I.D. behind at his residence. 
Matthew was last seen at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort where he is employed around Midnight, July 18th 2016.
His mental health status is unknown at this time.
Matthew is described as a white male, 6'5 tall, 160 lbs, Dark Hair with a slender build. He was last seen wearing a Black T-shirt, Black skinny jeans with Grey Converse High Top shoes. 
If you have any information,  please contact the Isabella County Central Dispatch at 989-773-1000.


Off-duty police officer arrested for drunk driving in Osceola Co.


An off-duty Cadillac Police Officer is in hot water after allegedly driving drunk in Osceola Co.


Court documents show 45-year old Jeffery Daniel Izzard was involved in a single vehicle crash May 28th in Marion Township.


Izzard is now charged with one count of operating while intoxicated.


He waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday in Osceola Co. Court and will have a pre trial conference next month.


If convicted, Izzard faces up to 180 days in jail and/or between $500 and $700 in fines and/or 360 hours of community service. 


Off-duty police officer arrested for drunk driving in Osceola Co.


An off-duty Cadillac Police Officer is in hot water after allegedly driving drunk in Osceola Co.


Court documents show 45-year old Jeffery Daniel Izzard was involved in a single vehicle crash May 28th in Marion Township.


Izzard is now charged with one count of operating while intoxicated.


He waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday in Osceola Co. Court and will have a pre trial conference next month.


If convicted, Izzard faces up to 180 days in jail and/or between $500 and $700 in fines and/or 360 hours of community service. 


Officials advise lock in propane prices now


State officials say Michigan residents who heat their homes with propane should lock in prices now instead of waiting until it gets cold.


Executive Director Valerie Brader of the Michigan Agency for Energy says signing contracts early can produce significant savings for customers.


About eight percent of Michigan households use propane as their primary heating fuel.


Michigan has more residential propane customers than any other state.




Pokemon GO causing problems on Michigan roadways


The warning you never thought you'd have to hear: Don't Pokemon and drive.


The Pokemon GO craze has now found its way into the driver's seat, says State Police Lieutenant Mike Shaw.


We have seen it, some of our officers have already seen people that have been stopped at lights – instead of tweeting now, or texting, or doing other things, now they're playing Pokeman GO. We have had incidents of traffic crashes already.”

Shaw says nothing against the latest craze, but you really need to keep your eyes on the road...not the screen.




Michigan teachers say they want their money back


Michigan's teachers are saying they want their money back.


Many protested in Lansing on Tuesday and Michigan Education Association spokesperson Doug Pratt says the courts have already ordered the state to return the three per cent of teachers' pay taken by the state to help balance the educators' retirement fund.


But, Governor Snyder plans to file another appeal.


The governor just decided to re-appeal a decision that would have meant almost a half-a-billion dollars going back to 200,000 school employees that was illegally taken from them several years ago. So, all those things add up and, I think, impact moral, but also impact the ability for school districts to keep the best and brightest in education,” says Pratt.


State Attorney General Bill Schuette says he will NOT handle the governor's appeal and the Governor will have to use an outside law firm.




FSU students say university handles sexual assault properly


Officials at Ferris State University say 80 percent of their students believe the school takes reports of sexual assault seriously and that it responds effectively.


That according to a recent student survey in which 26 percent of women and just over 10 percent of men reported they had experienced unwanted sexual behavior while they attended Ferris.


Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanine Ward-Roof says, “Any and all types of sexual misconduct are both deeply troubling and unacceptable.”




ARC of Mecosta County gets $500 gift


The Animal Rescue Coalition of Mecosta County is little better able to help care for their charges.


ARC has received $500 from Great Lakes Caring Home Health and Hospice as part of the “Shred for Bread” program.


GLC Clinical Coordinator Nena Isabell says the program is a competition between their 22 branch locations in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio to make sure their patient's medical and personal information is protected.


She notes it's often too easy for their staff to forget they have patient names, phone numbers, contact information, medical details, etc. with them as they travel from assignment to assignment.


We asked all of our field staff to bring in any documents that were patient related to protect the patients. It was an idea to remind everyone to bring this stuff into the office, get it shredded to keep them (the patients) protected,” she says.


And, of the 22 GLC branch offices, GLC in Big Rapids came in first in the competition.


Isabell says they had 100 percent participation from their staff to win the $500 first prize.


GLC Big Rapids then chose to donate the money to the Animal Rescue Coalition of Mecosta County.


Isabell notes that many of their staff know the volunteers at ARC and felt they could use the cash.


It's a no-kill shelter, they don't turn away any animals. We thought that it would be super helpful to donate the money to them for that.”


ARC Director Cate Arroe says they know exactly how to best use the windfall.


We will primarily use it for medical bills for our dogs and cats. We spend around $25,000 a year for medical costs so this will be very beneficial for that.”


And, she says, on behalf of the ARC staff and the many animals they take care of...


I am just very grateful for this organization to help us out and give us such a nice check and to especially choose us for their charity.”




Big Rapids Department of Public Safety to start citizen police academy


The Big Rapids Department of Public Safety is introducing a new way to connect with its citizens.


The Citizens Police Academy will give those attendees a detailed look of what police officers go through on a daily basis.


Officer Erik Little says this pilot program for up to 14 people will allow them to connect with police officers on a new level.


“The overall goal with this program is to create better lines of communications with the public so we don’t have those miscommunications that are happening all over the country today.” Said Little


The academy will take place on August 9th, 11th, 16th and 18th from 6pm-9pm.


The classes will cover a variety of subjects including the history of BRDPS, the training officers go through and what it’s like to police in a college town.


The program will conclude with a class on police and the use of force.


Anyone interested in applying for the program or those with questions should contact Director Jim Eddinger at (231) 527-0005.


Michigan delegates react to 'dump Trump' effort at RNC


Michigan's Republican delegates are in the thick of political activities at the Republican National Convention.


On Monday they witnessed last-minute efforts to "dump Trump" and, despite protests from the convention floor, party leaders rejected the effort.


Michigan delegate Andrew Richner says he doesn't support the revolt efforts at the RNC.


"Donald Trump won fair and square. He wasn't my candidate but Donald Trump won a majority of the delegates and he deserves the nomination based on the rules of the party."


Michigan state Senator and delegate Patrick Colbeck says many Republicans are united around the issues Trump is promoting, but disagree with how he goes about it.


"He's been doing it by a slash-and-burn approach to party faithful and it's kind of in violation to Reagan's 11th commandment when he's gone off and done that."


The "11th commandment" directed Republicans to not speak ill of one another. 25 delegates from Michigan are bound to support Trump, 17 to Cruz, and 17 to Kasich.




UPDATE: 19-year-old drunk driver identified


The name of the 19-year-old that hit and seriously injured an elderly woman in Union Township is being released.


Isabella County officials say MacKenzie Thayer was arrested for minor in possession of alcohol and the car she was driving was confiscated.


Thayer admitted to hitting the woman and was arraigned on Monday.




Perry Street sidewalk project gets underway in Big Rapids Township


It's been talked about since 2012, but the Perry Avenue sidewalk project in Big Rapids Township is finally under way.


Groundbreaking took place on Monday with officials from the City of Big Rapids, Ferris State University, and Mecosta County on hand.


The sidewalk along Perry Avenue will stretch from the Venlo Place Apartments to the Meijer shopping center near US-131.


Residents of Big Rapids, Big Rapids Township, and FSU students are expected to utilize the sidewalk while shopping at businesses along Perry Avenue.




Ribbon cutting ceremony held for Baldwin Street Bridge in Big Rapids


Business and Community leaders in Big Rapids are celebrating the opening of the new Baldwin Street Bridge.


A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Monday.


Mayor Mark Warba told attendees the construction project added a job boost to the manufacturing sector of Big Rapids.


"When we were applying for funding through the Economic Development Administration we had to persuade the EDA that jobs would be created from businesses served by the bridge and a special thanks goes out to Big Rapids Products, Simonds and Big Rapids Components." "Due to their efforts we had 75 jobs pledged but 108 total jobs have been added." said Warba.   


The bridge has been open since July first. 




Street resurfacing in Big Rapids to start soon


Construction season continues in Big Rapids as more streets will be getting fixed.


The Big Rapids City Commission Monday night approved a bid of over $234,000 from construction company Reith-Riley to resurface four streets and alleys in the city including two blocks of South Michigan Avenue.


Roger Schniedt of Public Works said with this bid will get a lot of work done.


“I’m really happy the city has the opportunity to pave more streets, lately prices have been increasing so locking this price in will really get us ahead of the eight ball.” He said.


Streets to be resurfaced by the end of this year include:


Grant Street (from West Bridge St. to W. Pere Marquette St.)

Sheridan Street (from West Bridge St. to W. Pere Marquette St.)

Rust Avenue (from State St. to Hutchinson St.)

West Grand Traverse Street (from Rose Ave. to Findley Ave. )


South Michigan Avenue (from South side of Linden St. to the North end of Oak St.) will begin next year. 


12-year old child goes on joyride in Reed City


What was thought to be a drunk driver in Osceola County, turned out to be completely different for police in Reed City.


Officers say they were called on Friday to lookout for a possible intoxicated driver. The vehicle was reported to be all over road in route to the Wesco Gas station on US10.  


When officers responded to the Wesco they found the vehicle leaving with no lights on and swerving into both lanes of traffic nearly striking the police car and another vehicle.


Police then pulled the vehicle over, they found the driver and only occupant was a 12-year old child.


The matter has been turned over to Child Protective Services and will be reviewed by the Prosecuting Attorney.


Michigan GOP Chair and famous uncle disagree on Trump


Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel is at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and she says the GOP will unite behind Donald Trump.

I do, I think the voters chose Donald Trump he would be the most votes of any Republican primary candidate that we've had in our history as a party.”


That's despite the fact her uncle, former Republican nominee Mitt Romney, is not attending the convention because he doesn't support Trump.


She says she and her uncle have exchanged emails over the matter.



MSP sends troopers to Cleveland for GOP convention


The 2016 Republican National Convention gets under way Monday and Michigan will have a strong presence, even more than the state's 59 delegates.


Michigan State Police have deployed over 100 uniform personnel to Cleveland. First Lt. Michael Shaw says they'll be helping out with security and crowd management.


They'll be riding their motorcycles and performing escort details for different VIP's or buses or things to get people through traffic, so that will be part of their responsibility. Other part of their responsibility will be working with other state troopers on the perimeter making sure that everybody's safe to come in to the convention."


Shaw says they will also be providing security for any protesters outside the RNC.




Reed City man jailed for growing and selling pot


A Reed City man is in jail following a three month drug investigation by the Traverse Narcotics Team, the Osceola County Sheriff, and the Michigan State Police.


Police say 45-year-old Todd Michael Postema pleaded guilty last week to numerous charges involving the growth and sale of marijuana.


Earlier this year, authorities confiscated 21 marijuana plants, processed marijuana packaged for sale, and a firearm at Postema's home in Reed City.


He will spend the next 60 days in jail followed by two years probation.



Drunk teen hits elderly woman


An elderly woman is recovering after being struck by a drunk driver in Union Township.


Police say a 19-year-old woman struck the victim and left the scene on Saturday. The victim was found in the road bleeding and semi-conscious.


Sheriff's Deputies then found a vehicle in a nearby subdivision that appeared to have recent damage to the front end.


The 19-year-old was found intoxicated and admitted to hitting the victim.


The driver was arrested for minor in possession and the victim was taken to the hospital.


Her condition is unknown at this time.




Roll-over accidents on US-131 send two to hospital


Two people are recovering following separate roll-over accidents this weekend in Mecosta County.


The first occurred on Saturday when a 27-year-old Grand Rapids woman flipped her car near US-131 and Eight Mile Road.


Police say her car had a mechanical issue and she lost control of her steering.


The second, also on Saturday, happened when a 21-year-old woman from Kalkaska fell asleep at the wheel and lost control of her vehicle on southbound US-131 near 13 Mile Road.


Both drivers were taken to Big Rapids Spectrum Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.




Stolen car from Big Rapids found in Newaygo Co. Lake


Deputies in Newaygo County say they discovered a stolen car from Big Rapids submerged in Hungerford Lake Friday morning.


It was found underwater at the boat launch of the lake after a report of a stolen vehicle.


No one was inside the car at the time.


The vehicle has been turned over to police in Big Rapids and now they’re looking for the person who stole it. 


Americans afraid of presidential candidates


A new Associated Press poll says the vast majority of Americans are afraid of at least one of the two major presidential candidates winning the White House, and many say they are afraid of both.


Three-quarters of those polled indicate their pick for president is motivated by a desire to vote against Clinton or Trump, more than those who say they’re voting for the candidate who shares their positions on the issues or is the most qualified to hold the office.




New head of MDEQ criticized


The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has a new director, but already faces criticism.


Governor Snyder announced the appointment of Heidi Grether, a former British Petroleum lobbyist, on Thursday.


Grether replaces Interim director Keith Creagh.


However, Clean Water Action campaign organizer Clay Carpenter calls the appointment a slap in the face to Michigan residents and Sierra Club Michigan Political Director Mike Berkowitz says, “The decision to appoint a former lobbyist for one of the biggest oil companies in the world sends a horrible message to the people of Michigan.”


Grether was the deputy director for the Michigan Agency for Energy and is a former executive at BP America, where she helped manage Gulf Coast restoration efforts after the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010.




Airport going out of business in Mecosta County


An airport in Mecosta County no longer has a manager and may be shut down.


Village of Mecosta Council members are considering closing the Mecosta Morton Airport since the facility has seen little use in recent years.


Village President Steve Bishop says if the airport closes, it will never open as an airport again.


Both Morton Township and the Village of Mecosta must agree to close the facility.




Meth bust in Mecosta Township


A man from Sparta is being charged with operating a meth lab in Mecosta Township.


Police say 49-year-old Daniel Scott Berndtson was arrested while police conducted a search on home where Berndtson pulled in the driveway, then turned around.


Police then discovered an active one-pot meth lab in his truck.


Fifty-nine-year-old Penny Marie Alger of Stanwood was also arrested during the search and faces multiple drug charges.


Berndtson was arraigned on Thursday and Alger is scheduled for a preliminary examination next month.




Pine River Schools hope voters approve operating millage proposal in August



In August, Pine River Area Schools will be asking voters to renew a 18- mill non-homestead property tax operating millage for the next five years.


PR Superintendent Matt Lukshaitis says this millage will not increase taxes for homeowners.


"Non-homestead taxes are assessed only against business, industrial, commercial, rental and some agricultural properties.” He said. 


If approved by voters, the operating millage will raise about $1.94 million in its first year, depending on the precise value of the tax roll. 


Voters in May approved a bond proposal for the district to upgrade and renovate facilities




Bicyclist hit by car near School Section Lake in Mecosta County


A Mecosta man is recovering after being hit by a car while riding his bike in Mecosta County Wednesday.


It happened on 90th Avenue just east of School Section Lake.


Deputies say the 31-year old woman from Rodney was traveling in her vehicle on 90th Avenue when a 61-year old Mecosta man on his bike began to turn in front of her.  


He was unable to avoid the vehicle and collided with it.  


The bicyclist suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital. 


Snyder asks for Supreme Court opinion on state funds for private schools


The recently adopted state budget provides up to $2.5 million in funding for private schools to be used for costs associated with state-mandated requirements.


Governor Rick Snyder is now asking the Michigan Supreme court to issue an opinion on whether that violates the constitution.


Public school groups are criticizing the funding, saying it violates the Michigan Constitution, which has a prohibition on public funding for private schools.




Michigan political expert predicts 'rough and tumble' presidential race


According to a new poll, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is either slightly ahead or tied with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in several key "battleground states."


U of M Institute for Social Research Professor Michael Traugott says get ready for a "rough and tumble" general election campaign.


I think for many Americans this is going to be a disconcerting campaign because of underlying anti-government feelings that pervade the American electorate now,” he says.

Traugott expects Clinton's endorsement from Bernie Sanders to give her a boost.




Evart Funfest gets under way


The Evart Musical Funfest kicks off on Thursday.


The annual event features dulcimer and other non-electric stringed instrument concerts and performances and attracts six to eight thousand attendees each year.


There are also classes, workshops, seminars, and discussion groups that take place all day.


The festival runs through this Sunday at the Osceola County fairgrounds.




Local families enjoy kids day at Mecosta Co. Agricultural Free Fair


Carnival rides, games and elephant ears, oh my! Local families enjoyed themselves during Wednesday’s Kids Day at the Mecosta County Agricultural Free Fair.


From a petting zoo for kids to enjoy there was also a kid pettle car competition as well.


Tara Braun volunteer at the fair loves to see all the children enjoying themselves.


”It’s just a great day for the kids and their families, there a lot of great activities and special deals for games.” “It’s also another way for kids to see friends they haven’t seen since school.” Braun said.


The fair concludes Saturday, July 16th.    


Starting Monday, Business US-131 from 19 Mile Rd. to Maple Street in Big Rapids limited to one lane


Beginning at 6am on Monday, July 18th business US-131 from 19 Mile Road to Maple Street in Big Rapids will be limited to one lane during the daytime for road resurfacing. 



Michigan Department of Transportation officials in Cadillac say during those times when it is reduced to one lane for both directions, there will be a flagger controlling traffic.


The project will last until September 1st.     


Mecosta County Sheriff reacts to Berrien County shooting


An investigation is still under way into the circumstances where an inmate who was being transported from a jail cell to the courthouse in Berrien County managed to disarm a bailiff and shoot several people, two of them fatally, on Monday.


Mecosta County Sheriff Todd Purcell says that it's unlikely such a scenario could be played out in Mecosta County.


Our current procedures are to have both leg irons and belly chains on any inmate that's transferred from the jail to the court.”


Purcell notes that Monday's shooting is a tragedy but it does underscore the dangers inherent in the law enforcement system across the state and the nation.


It does raise the awareness, I believe, in any jail system that transports inmates to court that these things can happen and that they need to continue to be vigilant,” he says.


Even though Purcell says he feels confident that security measures at the Mecosta County building are adequate, it doesn't mean that court personnel are complacent.


Anything's possible but we try to mitigate that as much as possible but it still raises awareness that things can happen.”




Rockford Public Schools coach charged with CSC


A man who was the rowing coach at Rockford Public Schools is facing criminal sexual conduct charges.


Court officials say Timothy Vallier used a hidden camera to record female athletes changing their clothes.


Vallier has admitted to the crime and was fired by the school district after they were contacted about the situation.


He's currently being held on a $100,000 bond.




Crash in Montcalm County kills 28-year-old


A fatal crash in Montcalm county is currently under investigation.


Michigan State Police say 28-year-old Frederick Fahner of Pierson died at the scene when he struck another vehicle Monday night.


The crash happened a Maple Hill and Stanton Roads at around 11 pm. Another Pierson resident, 19-year-old Nathan Mackenzie, was driving the other vehicle and was transported to a Grand Rapids hospital.


His condition is unknown and police are still investigating whether alcohol was a factor.




Volunteer arrested for embezzling money from senior center in Lake Co.


She volunteered at a Lake County senior center - now she's charged with embezzling more than $6,000.


The volunteer admitted to taking the money from the Northwest Lake County Senior Center in Peacock Township.


30-year old Kathleen Mayzes Varney of Irons had been entrusted to deposit money from their Tuesday night bingo meal program.


Instead, she allegedly kept the money and wrote false bank statements over a 13-month period.


Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals holding drug take back days

After a successful first event, Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals are partnering once again with the Ten16 Recovery Network to provide two opportunities for residents in Mecosta and Osceola counties to safely get rid of these unwanted items.
Officials say without proper disposal, some drugs can have harmful effects on both the environment and individuals. Safely discarding medications and needles is key to preventing unnecessary mishaps from occurring. 
Those who use needles to manage their medication or have leftover prescriptions are encouraged to bring them to the hospitals during the specified times for proper disposal.
Unwanted medications including over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, liquids, inhalers, ointments, pet medications and needles will be accepted at the following times:
3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, July 25, in the main lobby of Reed City Family
Practice, located at 300 N. Patterson Reed City, MI 49677
 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26, in the lobby at Big Rapids Hospital, located
at 605 Oak St., Big Rapids, MI 49307
Medications should be in their original container and all identifying personal information on prescription labels should be blocked out. Individuals can stop by at any time during the three-hour window and dispose of unwanted items. For more information, call 231.592.4493.



BREAKING: Consumers Energy shutting off power to 1,211 customers in Mecosta Co. for emergency repairs


UPDATE: Consumers Energy officials say work will now begin at 3:30pm and the outage will effect East of Norwich/Big Rapids Township line, South of Woodward Ave, West of 190th and North of 12 mile.



Consumers Energy says they will be shutting off power to 1,211 customers south of Big Rapids beginning between 2:30pm-3pm this afternoon for emergency repairs of a failed transformer.


Consumers Official Debra Dodd says the outage could last up to the next four hours.


She says normally they send out a post card to customers but this happened so quickly and it needed to be repaired.  


Poll shows parents afraid kids would play with guns at home


A Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll finds four out of five parents of children 9 to 12 years old say they're confident their child would know what to do in an emergency if they were home alone.


But researcher Sarah Clark says that confidence drops when it comes to finding a gun in the house.


Only 53 percent said that they were very confident that their tween would avoid playing with a gun that was discovered when they were unsupervised. That is a stunningly low level of confidence.”


Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health also found seven states, all without safe gun storage laws, have disproportionately high rates of unintentional gun deaths.


Michigan was not on that list.




Cake mix recall



General Mills is recalling some cake mixes for possible E. coli contamination.


The company says Betty Crocker's Delights Super Moist Party Rainbow Chip Cake Mix, Delights Super Moist Carrot Cake Mix, and Super Moist Rainbow Bit Cake Mix are being recalled because they contain Wondra flour that was implicated in another recall earlier this month.


No illnesses have been reported and a complete listing of recalled products and product codes can be found at




Big Rapids native named as new Evart HS principal


Evart High School has a new principal.


Jessica Kolenda of Big Rapids was approved for the position by the Evart Public Schools Board of Education last week.


She is replacing Dennis Peacock who served as principal at Evart High School for four years and retired last month.




Three dead in West-Michigan courthouse shooting


Three people are dead and another injured after shots rang out at the Berrien County courthouse in southwest Michigan Monday afternoon.


Police scanner tapes were captured during the shooting.


Officer down, officer down. Clear, officer down – advising we do have an officer down in the courthouse. We're clear, we have several units in the area.”


Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey says an inmate, 44-year-old Larry Darnell Gordon, disarmed an officer while being moved.


He then shot and killed two bailiffs, 61-year-old Joseph Zangaro and 63-year-old Ronald Kienzle.


Gordon then shot a Sheriff's Deputy in the arm before two bailiffs and several other officers were able to take him down.


The Deputy, 41-year-old James Atterberry, Jr., is reportedly recovering after surgery.


A woman was also injured by the gunfire and is listed in stable condition at a local hospital.




Man sentenced for lying to police in Mecosta County


A man who told police he had been kidnapped and tied to a tree at the Haymarsh Campground in Grant Township is heading to jail.


Earlier this year 31-year-old Johnathan Cross of Pierson claimed he had been assaulted and tied to a tree for about 36 hours at the campground apparently in a scheme to avoid getting in trouble with his wife.


However, a medical exam revealed no signs of injury or exposure and video footage from a local retail store showed Cross buying the rope he claimed he was tied up with.


He later admitted to lying to police and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation on Monday.




Isabella Co. deputies locate a pair of suspects connected to alleged theft


We now have an update on a story we brought to you last week involving a couple police were looking for in relation to a theft at a Celebration Cinema in Isabella Co.


Sheriff Michael Main says the two people they were looking for contacted the sheriff’s office over the weekend after they saw their picture in the news.


He says the investigation is still ongoing with a detective interviewing the two subjects about the alleged theft. 


Big Rapids Township Fire Department becomes first in state to have drone




The Big Rapids Township Fire Department now has its drones and is a few weeks away from using them when an emergency happens.


Township fire officials say they have applied for a license through the Federal Aviation Administration that will allow them to use the drone throughout a 13 county area when there is an emergency.


That process should take five weeks to complete.   


Firefighter Chris London noted that Big Rapids Township is the only fire department in Michigan that has a drone for emergency purposes but he sees that changing in the years to come.


“It’s pretty cool that we are the first fire department in Michigan to have one but I see that changing in the next 5 to 10 years because people will see the benefits of these drones and how it will keep not only firefighters safe but possibly save people.” London said.   


London added along with structure fires the drone will also aide in search and rescue operations, car accidents, wildfires and other emergency scenarios.  


Mecosta County Agricultural Free Fair gets under way


This year's Mecosta County Agricultural Free Fair is under way.


Show animals were checked in over the weekend and the fair opens to the public on Monday.


The midway's rides and food attractions open at 5 o'clock Monday afternoon while events like harness racing, Kid's Day, and others continue through the week.


A complete schedule of events can be seen at




Immigrants concerned over court ruling on DACA program


Thousands of undocumented immigrants are worried that their sign-up information for President Obama's "Dreamers" program now could get them deported.


Last month's Supreme Court decision striking down parts of the president's executive action means a federal judge's pending order for the release of 50-thousand immigrants' names and addresses is a threat.


Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Thomas Saenz says immigrants who registered for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or 'DACA' program had a reasonable expectation that their names and addresses would be kept confidential and the judge's demand has very little to do with the actual case before the court.


"It is intended as punishment for what Judge Hanen believed to be misconduct by the federal government's lawyers. So, the question is whether that's an appropriate sanction on lawyers, at all, and it quite clearly is not."


Saenz says forcing the Justice Department attorneys to hand over the information is unconstitutional.


He adds if the order is upheld, MALDEF plans to immediately appeal it, to block any potential harm to the immigrants on the list.




Michigan's AG criticized for school guidelines lawsuit


Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is facing criticism for what opponents say is an attack on the rights of transgender students.


On Friday, Schuette called the rules unlawful and added Michigan to a lawsuit involving nine other states that attempts to block a guidance from the Obama administration promoting equal treatment of transgender students in schools.


Equality Michigan Executive Director Stephanie White calls the lawsuit a waste of time, and believes the AG should be focused on protecting the rights of all Michiganders.


His time and all of our money would be better served if he didn't take on these kinds of losing battles that only divide us and he should be doing the things that unite us instead,” she says.


In a statement, Schuette said the intent of the lawsuit is to "protect the dignity and privacy of all Michigan students."


Governor Rick Snyder declined to join the lawsuit, and Equality Michigan, Progress Michigan, and the Michigan State Board of Education are among the organizations voicing opposition to it.




Warmer weather brings out scam artists


Summertime often means an increase in scams.


Michigan State Police First Lieutenant Michael Shaw says if something seems too good to be true, it probably is:


People are susceptible, especially those that are having some type of money problems or some other issues that think that this may be their way out. They're willing to pay that $1200, $1500 in order to get money back that never comes.”


Lt. Shaw says a reoccurring scam involves contractors offering to do work for a discounted price, but hardly touching the area in need of labor.


The police department warns consumers to always use common sense.




Free school lunch guidelines issued


The U.S. Agriculture Department is announcing income guidelines for free meals at school.


The Michigan Department of Education says households of four people who make $31,590 or less are eligible for the free lunches.


For families of six, the income guideline is $42,354.


Families should contact their school or school district to fill out appropriate forms to apply.


Some children, who are part of different food assistance or head start programs, automatically qualify for free meals.




Michigan police chiefs react to shootings in Dallas, Louisiana, and Minnesota


They know it's a dangerous job and police officers are on heightened alert following the shootings in Dallas. so says Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police Director Robert Stevenson.


We see there are people that are out there that are going to take advantage of situations to commit violence – premeditated murder is what it is. And [it] just reminds officers what they've always known, it can be a dangerous profession,” he says.


Stevenson says the events in Dallas, along with the recent incidents in Louisiana and Minnesota, will be used as learning tools for cops in Michigan.


And while investigations are ongoing in the police-involved shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, Stevenson believes body cameras on officers – for the sake of transparency and safety – can't hurt the situation.


I think most officers are aware somebody's probably going to be video taping. While body cameras may help, it certainly can not hurt. It's not like most officers are not aware that there is video being taken out there but we are in favor of them.”


Stevenson equates the body-cams as an extension of police dash-cams.




Twelve-year-old killed in ORV accident


One child is dead and two injured following an off-road vehicle rollover accident in Montcalm County.


The Montcalm County Sheriff's Department says it happened Friday afternoon in Bushnell Township when a 12-year-old boy was driving the ORV with two seven-year-old passengers.


He apparently hit a bump and rolled the vehicle. The 12-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene while the other two children suffered minor injures.


Deputies say no helmets or seat belts were being worn during the crash.




Customer credit cards hacked at Wendy's


Customers who used credit or debit cards at Wendy's recently are being urged to check their accounts for any fraudulent purchases.


The hamburger chain says hackers stole card numbers, names, expiration dates and codes on some cards, beginning late last fall.


Wendy's officials say they will offer free one-year credit monitoring to people who paid with a card at any of those locations.


To see if you're affected click here 




Two people sought in Isabella County theft


Police in Isabella County are searching for two persons of interest in a theft that occurred at the Celebration Cinema Theater in Union Township.


The Isabella County Sheriff's office says the man and woman may be driving a red PT Cruiser with a handicap plate or window hanger.


If anyone has any information on the person please contact with Isabella County Sheriff’s Office at 989 772 5911 or Isabella County Central Dispatch at 989 773 1000.




Consumers Energy to temporarily close the East Tail Water site at Croton Dam


Consumers Energy is temporarily closing the East Tail Water site at Croton Dam from July 11 to August 26 to accommodate a construction project to enhance the facility’s left embankment and the fishing access site.


Officials say the enhancements will improve the safety and enjoyment for anglers and others who access the Muskegon River from the east side of the waterway.


While this work is being done, people will still be able to access the river by Croton Dam at the Croton West Tail Water site as well as at the Kimball Park boat launch and fishing access site downstream. 


Mecosta Co. Commissioners approve CMET grant & Area Agency on Aging implementation plan


The Central Michigan Enforcement Team will continue crack down on illegal drug use in Mecosta and three other counties now that it’s received a 2016-2017 operations grant.


The Mecosta County Board of Commission approved the grant Thursday during its first meeting of the month. Steven Brown of CMET says this is a critical grant for his organization.  


“This grant allows CMET and the organizations it collaborates with to crack down on illegal drug use and make the areas we serve better and safer.” Brown said.


In other news, the board of commission approved the 2017-2019 implementation plan for the Area Agency on Aging. 


MSP warn against roadside brush fires


Michigan State Police are warning people to be careful with what they throw out their cars – especially in this dry weather.


First Lt. Mike Shaw says they've been seeing a lot of brush and grass fires along the freeway.


A lot of people don't consider what happens, especially our smoking drivers don't consider what happens when you throw that cigarette butt out the window and it ends up in some dry grass in the median or along the side of the road and we see a lot of these brush fires that kind of break out. Some of them can get pretty big.”

Shaw notes that throwing things out of your car could also cost you a littering fine.




Protesters target AG's home in Midland


A group of protesters say they will continue to target the Midland home of Michigan Attorney General Bill Shuette.


The group Earth First says more than 60 people demonstrated in front of Shuette's residence on Wednesday demanding he take steps to shut down Enbridge Energy’s Line 5.


Schuette spokeswoman Andrea Bitely says protesters violently beat on the door and windows while Schuette's wife was home alone, and they defaced the property.


Earth First says the demonstration was due to Schuette's lack of action.


Bitely says the AG has made clear the pipeline is a risk and is working hard with all groups involved to find a public policy solution that protects the Great Lakes.




Marion woman to plea on embezzlement charges


A Marion woman who was being investigated for embezzlement is expected to enter a plea agreement in the case.


The Osceola County Sheriff’s Department says 43-year-old Rebecca Jeanne Johnson, a former Marion Fair Board member, embezzled nearly $38,000 from the Fair late last year.


The missing money came to light after exhibitors reported they did not receive their money from the sale of livestock.


The embezzlement charge carries a prison term of up to ten years.




West Nile virus likely present in Mecosta and surrounding Counties


The first mosquito to test positive for the West Nile virus in Michigan this year was reported by officials in Southeast Michigan's Oakland County late last week.


However, District 10 Environmental Health Director Tom Reichard says people in Mecosta County and surrounding areas should also be cautious.


West Nile has pretty much gone through the entire bird community here, and we haven't had human cases, but I'm certainly sure that West Nile is present,” he says.


Reichard explains that mosquito testing is only done in a handful of counties in Michigan and they're all located in the southern part of the lower peninsular.


And, as with any disease, prevention is the best way to combat the problem.


The best prevention you can have is to avoid mosquito bites.”


He notes prevention of mosquito-borne diseases is executed on two fronts.


First, by protecting yourself against contact with mosquitoes by using insect repellent and avoiding major outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.


Second, by eliminating breeding areas for mosquitoes, i.e. anywhere standing water can form such as old tires and clogged eves on homes.


Reichard also notes that the Zika virus, which has been in the news lately, is less likely to spread in Michigan because mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus are not common or native to Michigan.


However, mosquitoes that carry West Nile are common in the state.




Mecosta County Parks to host millage educational presentation this weekend


Mecosta County Park officials will be holding a special presentation on it's millage proposal to upgrade and renovate facilities in the park system.


The five-year millage is a .5 mill property tax levy that will raise around $3 million for the system.


After the presentation, there will be a Q&A session for attendees with Park officials.


The meetings will take place at 8:30 AM on July 9 at Gorrel Pavilion in Merrill-Gorrel Park, on July 10 at the Art Barn in School Section Lake Park, on July 16 at the hatchery building in Paris Park and on July 17 at the Art Barn in Brower Park. 


Big Rapids approves HayettPalma report


The city of Big Rapids is moving forward with its downtown plan from consulting firm HyettPalma.


City Commissioners approved the five-year plan recommended by the Downtown Business Association during its meeting at City Hall.


Steve Sobers, Big Rapids City Manager believes this plan will allow business and community leaders to bring new businesses and homeowners to the area.


"This new report doesn't have much capital in it but there are suggestions of recruitment opportunities and it puts the city in a position as we go after grants to score points because Big Rapids has a master plan." Sobers said.  


Nine years ago, HyettPalma made a place for Big Rapids with its recommendations on how to better the area and downtown. Sobers says during that period, the city implemented 85% of what was recommended. 


Seat belt usage up, traffic deaths and injuries down


More Michigan drivers are fastening their safety belts.


Anne Readett from the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning says that having an entire generation of drivers knowing about mandatory seat belt laws helps things along.

“Last year belt use was just under 93 percent and it's up to 94.5 percent and, although those numbers are small, we know that it really comes down to people – our family, our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers.”


Readett adds that the increase in safety belt use directly corresponds to a decrease in highway injuries and deaths – one percent equals about 10 fewer traffic deaths and 100 fewer injuries each year.




West Nile virus found in Michigan earlier this year


Health officials say the first mosquito to test positive for West Nile Virus in Michigan this year has been found.


The health department says that they don't usually see mosquitoes with West Nile this early in the summer.

“We believe that the earlier detection this year is a result of the hotter, drier weather that we've had this year.”


That's Mark Hansel with the Oakland County Health Department where the mosquito was discovered.


West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause inflammation and swelling of the brain.




Teen arrested for possession in Big Rapids


A 17-year-old from Idlewild is under arrest in Big Rapids.


Police say they received a call on Monday about a man on North Michigan Avenue who was pointing a gun at another man.


The suspect was discovered on North State Street and the gun turned out to be a BB gun that two teens playing with.


However, officers discovered one of the two teens had marijuana with him.


He was placed under arrest for possession.




Reducing traffic accidents and improving leadership are main focuses for Big Rapids DPS


Reducing traffic accidents and improving leadership at the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety were key points by Sergeant Liz West and Director Jim Eddinger during a presentation to city commissioners Tuesday night. 


Sergeant West told commissioners traffic calls are going up in the city while crime complaints are going down.


“In Big Rapids, traffic complaints are 16% of our total calls which is a lot however, impaired driving is up 25% since 2014, a lot of those are traffic crash related and a quite a few more drug related.” She said.


Director Eddinger believe DPS can reduce traffic crashes in the city by at least 10% starting in August with an initiative called “Operation Blue Light” which will involve putting a few officers on patrol specifically looking for traffic violators during peak times.


Improving leadership within the police division was another key point by West. She spoke about officers taking leadership classes and the department creating a mentoring program between the veteran officers and rookies.      


Federal agency wants public input on predatory lending


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently announced rules to regulate the payday loan industry – but some groups contend they won't go far enough to protect people from predatory practices.


A 90-day comment period on the proposed rules is underway, and Deborah Adams with Michigan United wants people to voice their concerns.


"What we need to do is to make sure that this sends a strong message to Congress and our politicians that this needs to stop."


Adams' group and others contend the rules should require income and expense underwriting practices with every loan, and end loan rollovers that leave consumers strapped with debt.


Supporters of payday lending say it's sometimes the only option for people with limited income or poor credit to get cash quickly for a financial emergency.




Michigan taking steps to tackle opioid crisis


The opioid epidemic is worsening in states around the nation, and Michigan is among those taking firm action to address the problem.


A legislative review from Stateline, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts, highlights several bills introduced in Michigan this year that would stem the prescription of pain medication and help those who are addicted.


Executive director of Stateline Scott Greenberger says the number of overdose deaths from opioids has skyrocketed in recent years and almost every state is taking action.


"Whether it's putting new safeguards in place to prevent what is called 'doctor shopping' or people going from doctor to doctor to get pills; to making an overdose antidote called Naloxone more readily available."


The House recently passed legislation now under consideration by the Senate (SB 793), allocating two and a half million dollars to overhaul the state's prescription tracking database.


Other bills would allow pharmacies to offer Naloxone without prescription (SB 778/HB 5326), and allow training within school districts for its use. (SB 806/HB 5379).




FSU tuition going up


A new education budget is now in place for the 2016-2017 school year in Michigan.


Included in that budget is a 2.9 percent increase for public universities which is less than some had hoped for.


However, Ferris State University Communications Director Marc Sheehan says the $20 million cut from the governor’s original proposal to increase university funding $61.2 million won't affect FSU too much.


Quite frankly, it's not going to have a big impact. The increase wasn't quite as much as what was in the original proposal, but it is an increase.”


Sheehan says FSU has done a good job of positioning itself in anticipation of the level of support from the state and, while tuition at FSU will be going up by 2.71 percent, that's much less than the average of around four percent at many other colleges.


We've been focused on trying to keep a Ferris degree affordable for people, so I think the 2.71 percent increase is certainly in line with that goal.”


Sheehan also notes that FSU's fees for such things as athletic and laboratory facilities are also much lower than many other schools.


Many Michigan public universities are still recovering from a $213.1 million, or 15 percent, university funding cut enacted by Governor Snyder and the Michigan legislature in 2012.




Man dies in Newaygo County after homemade cannon explodes


A man from Howard City is dead following an explosion in Newaygo County late Sunday night.


Michigan State Police report EMS was called to a home in Croton Township for a possible cardiac arrest.


Apparently Anthony Herman had been shooting a homemade cannon when it exploded and a piece of heavy metal hit him in the chest.


Herman was pronounced dead at the scene.




Cedar Springs woman headed to jail after running over 4-year old boy with vehicle last year


A 70-year old Montcalm Co. woman is going to jail for a year after hitting and killing a 4-year old boy with her vehicle in Greenville. 


Susan Riekman of Cedar Springs was sentenced Thursday. Along with the one year jail sentence, she was also put on probation for five years and will have to perform 150 hours of community service. 


Police say Riekman hit and killed 4-year old Talos Bills when she was turning left onto a street in Greenville in Sept. 2015. Her drivers license was suspended at the time of the fatal accident. 


Ferris State University to begin construction of Swan Annex Building expansion


State lawmakers have approved a $30 million dollar expansion of Ferris State University’s Swan building Annex on its Big Rapids campus.


The annex is being developed to double laboratory space for the university’s Welding program, as well as Advanced Manufacturing instruction.


Both programs have outgrown available space, according to university officials. Tthe State Capital Outlay appropriation is $22.5 million.


The laboratory facilities for Plastics and Rubber, Mechanical Engineering Technology and CAD Drafting and Tool Design will also see significant upgrades.


Construction is expected to begin yet this year, with completion of the expansion and renovation project in 2018.


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