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Big Rapids Daily News
News That Affects You Archives for 2016-08

Newaygo Police warn residents of phone scam


Police in Newaygo are alerting residents of another phone scam targeting the area in an attempt to steal personal information.


Police advise not release any information by phone that is privileged.


If someone says they are a grandchild, family member, etc, ask questions to confirm they are.


Remember if you know your family is not on vacation in another state or country, this is probably not your family member and do not answer their questions.


If you have questions on how to protect yourself, please call Newaygo Police at 231.652.1657 ext. 214. 


Wolverine Worldwide announces 16,000 sq ft. expansion at Big Rapids factory


It's now official, military boot and shoemaker Wolverine Worldwide is expanding its facilities in Big Rapids.


The $2-million dollar expansion will allow the Big Rapids factory to grow by 16,000 square feet.


The announcement was made Tuesday, when U.S. Senator Gary Peters toured the factory.


Big Rapids City Manager Steve Sobers is excited to see the expansion happen and the impacts on the city.


“This process started around three years ago and a number of things happened that slowed the process down but now that picture has totally changed they have 200 more employees than they had three years ago and contracts with the military,” sobers said. “What Wolverine officials have told us (Big Rapids) is they plan to add a combination 15-25 new hires and transfers from other facilities.”  


Earlier this year, the Big Rapids factory was awarded a five-year, $30.5 million dollar contract to make boots for the United States Marines.   


Governor's legal bills approach $3.4M


Governor Rick Snyder's legal bills stemming from Flint related lawsuits and investigations may reach as much as $3.4 million in public money.


The governor notified the State Administration Board on Tuesday that he has amended two contracts he already has in place for his legal defense increasing the amount to be paid to his law firms.


Some state lawmakers are planning to block Snyder from using public funds.


The state attorney general's office is also providing Snyder with some legal help, but the governor was advised to get private representation.




Rep. Potvin weighs in on presidential race, questions Republican leadership


State Representative Phil Potvin, who represents Mecosta, Wexford, and western Osceola Counties, says there's one dominant concern he's hearing about from his constituents.


The biggest concern, naturally, is the presidential race,” he says.


Potvin was in Cleveland for the GOP national convention last month and says he left there very disappointed because the party didn't pull together.


The presidential candidates that agreed and put their name on paper in agreement that they would support the candidate selected by the constituents. That has failed. It hasn't happened.”


Earlier this month at a gathering in Orlando, Florida, Trump acknowledged that he has been slipping in the polls, particularly in key battleground states such as Michigan where Clinton holds a near seven percent lead over Trump according to five recent surveys.


Potvin puts the blame squarely on the Republican leadership.


Personal selfishness, personal greed on their part, a lack of being responsible, and when we're real quick to point our finger at the Democratic candidate for president and call her a liar, we've got a whole group of Republicans that aren't any better.”


When asked if Trump's flagging support among the Republican leadership might be because their constituents aren't supporting him, Potvin says he doesn't believe that's true and the political system might not be working as it should.


No, it's about the leadership. There are two things that I have found in my five and a half years working as a state rep in Lansing is, it's about two things. It's about power and it's about money.”


Potvin says he encourages everyone to get to the ballot box in November and that a strong turnout of voters is critical if there is to be a change in America.




Mecosta Co. Sheriff: Be responsible during Labor Day weekend


It's hard to believe that September is almost here, but that means Labor Day Weekend is fast approaching! 


Mecosta County Sheriff Todd Purcell wants those traveling this weekend and enjoying festivities to do it in a safe manner.


"Since it’s the last big holiday of the summer, if you’re going to be traveling outside of Mecosta County please give yourself some time to get to your destination because there will be a lot of traffic,” Purcell said. “If you’re going to any party or events that are serving alcohol please be responsible and get a designated driver.”  


As part of Labor Day, Big Rapids City Hall will be closed September 5th. 


M-STEP results are in: 3rd-7th graders show most improvements at Big Rapids Public Schools


Scores for the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress or M-STEP are now available.


Statewide, 47% of students were proficient in English language arts in grades 3-8, while 37% were proficient in math. In science, just 24% were proficient, and 30% were proficient in social studies.


Big Rapids High School students had an average SAT score of 985 out of 1600.


When it comes to M-STEP Big Rapids third graders through seventh graders made the biggest gains.


To see where your school stands click here  


Here are 2016 test scores for Big Rapids Public Schools compared to 2015.



M-STEP 11th grade


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M-STEP 5th grade




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Microwaves recalled for fire hazard


Michigan based Whirlpool Corporation is recalling more than 15,000 microwaves because of a fire hazard.


Corporate officials say a plastic component inside the units can ignite because of internal arcing.


Five incidents have been reported involving fires and smoke, although no one has been injured.


The home appliance maker says owners "should immediately stop using the microwave and unplug the unit."


A list of affected microwaves is available at




Police busy as FSU students return


The return of students for the fall semester is a challenge for local law enforcement in many college towns.


But in Big Rapids, the weekend before classes started at Ferris State University was relatively quiet. Big Rapids Public Safety Director Jim Eddinger says police were kept busy with mostly minor infractions, although a couple of incidents stood out.


We had one felony arrest on North State Street, it was a carrying a concealed weapon – that was kind of a surprise. Another case, a traffic stop where the two subjects fled from the vehicle while it was still rolling – that was sort of interesting.”


Eddinger notes that alcohol was a problem, but mostly things like minor in possession and urinating in public. He does recall a time when the student culture was much different.


I would say there was a time when I was here when it was adversarial – now, for the most part, with school being as expensive as it is, with us having the padlock ordinance, and with all of the student population that lives outside of the city now, the density's been reduced and it's just not the problem that it once was.”


Big Rapids' padlock ordinance addresses such issues as furniture on lawns, noise complaints, and excessive litter on the premises, which can earn offenders fines from $50 to $500 or even imprisonment for 90 days.


It also allows authorities to temporarily revoke a place of residence if three or more citations are issued in a calendar year.


Big Rapids police did handle multiple alcohol violations over the weekend, but Eddinger says it doesn't compare to many other campuses, such as Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant where more than 340 citations were issued and over 30 people were arrested over the weekend.


And even though students are settling into a routine now that classes have started, Eddinger cautions that police aren't being complacent about the weeks to come.


We learned our lesson in the past and the second you start to assume, that's the time when you have the party of 450 people somewhere.”




Unemployment rates jump in Mecosta & Osceola Counties


Unemployment rates for Mecosta and Osceola Counties are going up.


According to state labor officials, Mecosta County’s jobless rate increased a half-percent in July to 6.0% overall, while Osceola County’s unemployment rate jumped a full percent to 6.2% last month.


Labor officials say statewide, job gains were in manufacturing, government, professional and business services and education and health services.


Job losses were reported in trade, transportation and utilities industries. 


Operation Blue Light continues this week in Big Rapids


An initiative by Big Rapids police to reduce traffic accidents in the city by ten percent continues on Tuesday.


So far during “Operation Blue Light”, officers have pulled over 50 motorists and handed out six citations for various offenses.  


Police are focusing on State Street from Maple Street to Perry Avenue.


DPS Officer Erik Little says this initiative is not about just pulling people over but making them aware of how to be safer on the road.


“We will be looking for anything and everything, but that doesn’t mean we will be giving out tickets for everything,” Little said.  “We will be making stops for broken tail lights, a license plate light being out but primarily we will be looking for things that cause crashes.”


"Operation Blue Light" runs through the rest of the year. 


Mecosta County deputies searching for burglary suspect



Police in Mecosta County are investigating a burglary of a Barryton grocery store early this morning.


Detective Drew Nielsen of the Sheriff’s office says the suspect stole cash and merchandise from the Riverside Hometown Grocery Store.


The suspect also unsuccessfully attempted to break into an ATM,  causing significant damage to the machine.


The thief was recorded on security cameras while inside the store and appears to be a white male wearing a ski mask, sweatshirt & jeans, of medium height and weight.


Anyone that might recognize the suspect or have information about this incident is asked to call the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office. 


Fatal deer-motorcycle accident


A motorcyclist is dead after he collided with a deer in Grant Township.


State Police say John Maurkiewicz III of Harrison hit the deer late Saturday afternoon.


He was transported to Midland where he later died.


Maurkeiewicz reportedly was driving on a suspended license, had no motorcycle endorsement, and an improper registration.


Police say the crash is still under investigation.




Big Rapids feels the pinch of state tax policies


A recent study by the University of Michigan indicates more local government leaders are feeling insecure about their fiscal health than in years past.


Thirty-one percent said they were better able to meet their fiscal needs than the previous year, down from 38% last year, mostly due to cuts in state aid and a reduction in property tax values.


City Manager Steve Sobers says state aid for Big Rapids is actually improving slightly.


We've kind of bottomed out on state aid. In the last two years they've gone up modestly and we are expecting additional money this year, especially for streets.”


He notes that Big Rapids is in a reasonably neutral position especially in relation to inflation.


However, tax revenues are another story.


What's starting to kill us is the whole assessment issue.


What's vogue in assessing at the state level is kind of a 'dark store' approach,” says Sobers.


In recent years, the Michigan Tax Tribunal has used the "dark store" assessing theory when determining the assessed value of fully functional big box retail stores.


The result is much lower than expected property valuations because, instead of the true cash value, the property is compared to the sales of vacant structures that most often have deed restrictions that severely limit their use.


Sobers says many retailers are trying to take advantage of this trend which has the potential to take away from modest gains in state support.


We're getting a lot, I say 'a lot' for small town, five or six appeals from the box stores who would like to see a substantial reduction in their assessed value.”


As a result, Sobers doesn't see an easy time for the city.


We'll see a difficult year for the City of Big Rapids and I would I would probably put us with the majority of the folks who say it's potentially not as good a year.


But I wouldn't either say that we're wringing our hands and going, 'Oh, am I going to be able to make the budget?' No, we'll balance out a budget.”


In general, Sobers sees Big Rapids is a little behind the economic roller coaster experienced by larger metropolitan areas such as Detroit and Big Rapids, especially as Ferris State University is the city's economic engine and it doesn't follow the highs and lows of most other industries.


But the bottom line is Sobers would love to see the state government be more responsive to local governments.




Update: suspect turns self in to police

Update: suspect Jonathan Anderson turned himself in and is currently is lodged at Mecosta County Jail.
Police in Mecosta County are searching for a parole absconder and needs the public's help.
Deputies say they attempted to make a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by a parole absconder on New Millpond/McKinley Rd in Big Rapids Twp. 
The driver then fled police for a few miles before losing control of the vehicle on 140th Ave/16 Mile Rd in Colfax Twp to avoid spike strips which had been deployed. 
The suspect was able to exit the vehicle while the vehicle was still in motion and ran into the woods and swampy area before Deputies lost site of him. 
The male suspect is white with dark hair and was wearing a Dark Navy blue shirt with blue shorts with a white stripe down the side and sunglasses on his head.  
Deputies are still in the area looking for the subject at this time and a K-9 is also on scene.


The female passenger was arrested on scene for a Parole absconder warrant.  


Anyone who observes someone matching the male's description is urged to contact the Mecosta County Sheriff Office or Central Dispatch.




Family loses home in Isabella County fire


An Isabella County family is looking for a new home after a fire destroyed their house. Fire fighters say they were called to the house on Battle Road in Gilmore Township at around 1:30 Thursday afternoon.


A woman, a man, and two dogs who were home at the time made it out safely but a firefighter was taken to the hospital for heat exhaustion.


The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.




Meijer Mania welcomes Ferris State University freshmen Saturday


Around 3,000 incoming freshmen students at Ferris State University will be kicking off their first semester of college at Big Rapids' Meijer store this Saturday for the retailer's 9th annual back to college party "Meijer Mania". 


The party will feature a live remote from Big Rapids radio station Y-102 WYBR, a DJ, photo booth, games and contests, food sampling, coupons and giveaways. 


Officials say the event serves as a great opportunity for students to socialize with their new peers, and Meijer helps students make a smooth transition by offering all the dorm and classroom essentials to set them up for success.


The event starts at 7pm and continues until 10pm. 


Ferris State University being recognized as veteran friendly


Ferris State University is one of 44 colleges and universities in the state to receive gold-level status from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for their dedication to student veterans and dependents who utilize their GI Bill and other educational benefits.


The award is from the MVAA’s Veteran-Friendly School program.  


Overall, 44 schools were awarded gold, 17 earned silver and four took home the bronze.


Some of the criteria schools were ranked on included having an active student-operated veterans club or association; veteran-specific career services or advising; on-campus veteran’s coordinator and awarding credit based on prior military training and experience.


Michigan SOS warns of new phone scam


The Michigan Secretary of State is warning residents about phishing phone calls in which people are posing as state workers.


The scam involves callers claiming to be from a business or government office.


The scammers are also using what is known as “caller ID spoofing” so the ID displays a valid number of a Secretary of State office or another state agency which makes the call look legit.


Authorities say people should never give out credit card or social security information over the phone.




Michigan veterans missing out on benefits


Some 640,000 veterans live in Michigan, and data indicates many are not taking advantage of benefits they've earned through their service.


AARP Michigan and the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency are teaming up to get the word out to veterans about what's available.


Melissa Seifert with A-A-R-P Michigan explains there is a slew of dollars being left on the table for things such as health care, education, and vocational training because veterans may not know how to apply, or are unaware they exist.


"Some of those could be aid and attendance where you could be able to stay at your home and have a home aid worker come and take care of you if you’re homebound. There's also a trust fund if you need additional money to put a new roof on your house or a ramp on your house you can apply,” she says.


Education and outreach events around the state over the next several weeks will connect veterans to benefits and resources.


According to federal data, Michigan ranks fifth last among states for federal spending per veteran, with only 22 percent of veterans using their health benefits in 2013.




Ford recalls 88K cars and SUV's


More than 88,000 Ford cars and SUV's are being recalled by the automaker.


The recall includes Tauruses, Police Interceptors, Flex wagons, Lincoln MKS's, and Lincoln MKT SUV's manufactured from 2013 through 2015.


All of the models have 3.5 liter turbocharged six-cylinder engines with fuel pump control models that can fail causing the engines to either stall or not start at all.


Ford says dealers will replace the control modules free of charge.




Police investigating unusual B&E on Woodward Avenue


Big Rapids Police are reporting an unusual instance of breaking and entering.


Detectives say a woman woke up early Wednesday morning to find two men in her home on Woodward Avenue.


The woman then yelled at the men who fled, but not before they threw a potato at her.


The suspects are described as around 20-years-old, one with longer blonde hair, khaki pants, bad teeth, and a gold watch.


The other had short blonde hair, basketball shorts, and gray athletic shoes.




Alcohol given to 12-year-old at Hemlock Park


Police in Big Rapids are investigating after a 20-year-old man allegedly gave a 12-year-old girl alcohol.


The incident happened Wednesday at Hemlock park and officers say the man allegedly made inappropriate moves.


The suspect reportedly admitted the girl drank the alcohol but denied any inappropriate behavior.


An investigation is underway, with charges expected.




Ferris State University senior starts student food pantry to give those in need basic essentials


As the fall semester nears, one Ferris State University senior wants to make sure fellow students have food and basic essentials to make it through the school year.


While volunteering her time with Wesley House, FSU student Olivia Johnson saw the need for a student food pantry.


“When I was helping out at an event, I reached out to Wesley House officials about starting up a food pantry and at that time FSU Professor Dr. David Pilgrim did the same thing, so we put our heads together and made it happen.”


In order to use the pantry, Johnson says you must present a valid FSU ID.


The pantry will open on August 29th.


If you would like to make non-perishable food donations the pantry is located at 625 Warren Avenue in Big Rapids or call 231-796-8315.  


Deadline approaching for Home Heating Credit


The Michigan Agency for Energy is reminding residents that the September 30 deadline to apply for Michigan’s Home Heating Credit in 2016 is quickly approaching.


The credit assists low-income people and qualifying senior citizens with winter energy bills. Customers do not need to file a Michigan tax return to apply and officials say the average credit paid out in 2015 was $132.


Eligible customers must have their homestead in Michigan, must own or rent the home they live in, and their income must fall within certain limits.


More information on the Home Heating Credit can be found at here.




Suspect with stolen gun identified


Police are releasing the identity of the Manton man who they say was carrying a stolen gun and then overdosed in jail after being arrested.


Twenty-three-year-old Cullen Kelly was arrested last week at a Traverse City Best Buy store when employees noticed a gun sticking out of his pants.


While in custody he apparently managed to overdose on what officials suspect was oxycodone.


He is recovering after being given an overdose reversing drug.




House fire in Big Rapids


Big Rapids Department of Public Safety officials are investigating a house fire.


Officials say the fire broke out at a residence on Bjornson Street at around 10:30 Tuesday night.


The fire was called in by passersby.


Firefighters say no one was home at the time and the blaze was quickly extinguished with minimal damage to the structure.




Ferris State University students come back Friday for school year


It's a ritual that will play out across the state over the next couple weeks. College students moving into their dorms, apartments or houses.


Around 3,000 new Ferris State University students will begin their journey Friday.


As part of welcome weekend, Bulldog Beginnings kicks off on Friday, Aug. 26th, to get students involved and comfortable with campus and the community, as well as Meijer Mania on Saturday and Founders’ Day, on Thursday, Sept. 1st.  


Classes start on Monday, Aug. 29th.


Road work on U.S. 131 under way


Another road construction project is under way.


The Michigan Department of Transportation began resurfacing more than five miles of U.S.131 south of Manton on Monday.


The half-million dollar project is expected to take two weeks to complete.


Officials say to watch for single lane closures and because of weekend travelers, no work will be done on the northbound lanes on Fridays.




Michigan Representative for Newaygo, Lake, and Oceana Counties says jobs are the biggest issue in his district


Michigan's 100th District Representative Jon Bumstead is making the rounds to find out what his constituents are most concerned about. He held a local “coffee hour” meeting in Fremont on Monday where he said the main concern he's hearing about is jobs, but not in the way you might think.


The 100th District, which I cover Newaygo, Lake, and Oceana County, is pretty quiet. What I'm hearing most is job providers out there looking for people that want to work.”


Bumstead believes the economy in West Michigan is turning around as is evidenced by the number of employers looking for help.


They're looking for young people that can weld or electronics or contractors are looking for people that can build or young kids who can build and I think that's where we need to focus on is career tech training and that type of thing.”


And, he says, it's not just the skilled trades that are in demand.


This year too, in this district, we have a lot of fruit and vegetable growers, they're all looking for help. And all the processors, shortly, are going to be scrambling for help too so if you're willing to work and want to work, there's jobs there.”


Of course, as a politician, Bumstead has his take on the current presidential race.


I find it very interesting. You have two candidates, one from each party – I don't think either one of them are hugely liked by a lot of people. We'll see what happens but at the end of the day, personally, I think Trump will do alright.”


Bumstead is term limited and is finishing out his tenure in the Michigan House of Representatives. Looking to the future however, he is working on a possible run for the Senate.


Bumstead's remainin “coffee hours” for August include...


    • Pink Elephant, 207 S. State St., Hart: 8-9:30 a.m.

    • Good Stuffs, 111 S. Hancock St., Pentwater: 10-11 a.m.

    • Brown Bear, 147 N. Michigan Ave., Shelby: noon-1 p.m.


on Monday, August 29.


For those unable to attend, Rep. Bumstead and his office can be reached during normal business hours by phone at (517) 373-7317, or by email at




Big Rapids police officers looking for traffic violators during Operation Blue Light


Starting Wednesday, police in Big Rapids will be making sure you’re not breaking any traffic laws.


It’s all part of “Operation Blue Light”, an initiative to decrease the amount of traffic accidents in the city by ten percent.


Since 2012, traffic crashes in Big Rapids have increased by 18%.


During the initiative, DPS Officer Erik Little says they will be focusing on some specific areas during peak traffic times.


“We will be focusing our attention on S. State Street from Maple Street to Perry Avenue as that is a high crash area.”


Operation Blue Light will last for the rest of the year.


If you have any questions, contact Big Rapids DPS at 231-527-0005. 


Alcohol and drugs found at scene of deadly rollover


Alcohol and drugs are suspected in a fatal rollover crash in Wexford County.


Michigan State Police say 52-year-old Robert Kline III of Charlotte was found dead at the scene of the accident early Sunday morning.


A passerby alerted authorities to a vehicle in a ditch covered by tall weeds on U.S. 131 in Haring Township. Investigators say the accident probably happened several hours before police arrived and alcohol and drugs were found at the scene.


The crash remains under investigation.




One dead one hospitalized in Newaygo County crash


One person is dead and another is hospitalized following a crash just west of Fremont in Newaygo County.


Police say the crash happened around 12:45 pm on Sunday at the intersection of W. 48th Street and Croswell Avenue.


Both occupants of the car were ejected in the crash.


One was pronounced dead at the scene and the other was airlifted to a local hospital.




Trump rallies in Michigan, adds more campaign workers in light of polls


Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says rival Hillary Clinton would raise taxes and would rather give jobs to refugees instead of to young people in urban areas.


Trump claims he's the candidate who will bring jobs to America.


My administration will go to work for you as no one has ever done before. We will work. We will bring back jobs. We will work.


Trump made the remarks at a rally near Lansing on Friday.


He also guaranteed that at the end of four years he would get over 95 percent of the African-American vote.


In a break with tradition Republican Governor Rick Snyder did not attend the rally and has yet to endorse Trump.


Meanwhile, protesters outside the rally said Trump's jobs plan would severely hurt middle class families and they criticized him for not supporting the auto bail out.


They also say their factories in Lansing have seen significant growth under the Obama administration and that Trump would only bring them backward.


Trump trails Clinton in some Michigan polls by as much as ten percent.


As a result, a number of experienced staffers are being added to the Donald Trump campaign-team in Michigan.


Trump Campaign Michigan State Director Scott Hagerstorm who says they're focused on the entire state.




Drunk Pinconning man threatens local boaters with gun in Wexford Co.


A Pinconning man is behind bars in Wexford County on numerous charges including felonious assault and operating a boat while intoxicated after police say he was pulled out a gun in front of a boat of people while trying to fish on the backwaters of Hodenpyl dam near Mesick.


State Police say a boat with three adults and a young child headed out for an evening of fishing on the water.


When they encountered 54-year old Thomas Steven Mast's boat, who allegedly proceeded to engage the victims verbally about staying out of his fishing spot. After some words were exchanged, police say Mast allegedly displayed a handgun and according to a witness pointed it at the head of one of the males in the victim boat.


Troopers responded and made contact with Mast at the boat dock. Further investigation revealed the man was intoxicated with a .17 BAC.


A 9mm semi-automatic handgun and 1 spent shell casing also was recovered from Mast's boat. 


DEQ workers charged in Flint water crisis get pay reinstated


Six suspended employees who face criminal charges in connection with the Flint water crisis are having their pay reinstated.


DEQ spokesperson Michael Shore says the six, who face a total of 18 felony charges because of failed oversight, were initially suspended without pay, but that decision was reversed on Monday.


The employees are also being provided with attorneys to represent them against criminal charges brought by Attorney General Bill Schuette which is not required by civil service rules.




Justice Department decides against private prisons


The U.S. Justice Department says it is phasing out its use of private prisons.


This following an investigation that showed private prisons have more security and safety issues than ones run by the government.


The DOJ has not yet identified which prisons may be affected, such as the GEO North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin.




Groups work to avert 'bee crisis' at the retail level


Beekeepers across the United States lost 44 percent of their honey bee colonies during the year spanning April 2015 to April 2016 according to the Natural Resource Defense Council.


Researchers say about one third of the food in the American diet is, in some way, a product of honeybee pollination—from fruit to nuts to coffee beans.


And because bees are dying at a rapid rate (42 percent of bee colonies collapsed in the United States alone in 2015), our food supply is at serious risk.


But there is some good news for bees – new tests find significant decreases in the use of bee-killing pesticides on “bee-friendly” plants.


Friends of the Earth and the Pesticide Research Institute took samples of plants in 13 U.S. cities and compared them to samples taken in 2013 and 2014.


They were looking for neonicotinoid insecticides in plants sold to gardeners and home owners. In the previous tests, half of the plants tested positive for the toxins – this time, only 23 percent did.


Friends of the Earth spokesperson says Tiffany Finck-Haynes retailers are starting to sell "bee-friendly" plants.


She explains bee losses have to stop, and notes some retailers are still selling plants pre-treated with pesticides.


She hopes consumers will put pressure on those companies.


"Over 50 percent of Americans are more likely to shop at a Lowe's or a Home Depot because they've made that commitment to stop selling these bee killing pesticides. So, this really demonstrates to Walmart, Ace and True Value that they could potentially lose their customers if they don't make these formal commitments,” she says.


She adds more than 100 businesses, cities, universities, states and countries have restricted use of pesticides that are lethal to bees.


A survey by Greenhouse Grower magazine found nearly three-quarters of growers who supply mass merchants and home-improvement chains said they will not use neonicotinoids this year.




Health officials remind parents of back-to-school immunizations


As Michigan families prepare for the upcoming school year, physicians and nurses across Michigan are reminding parents to get their children up-to-date on their vaccinations before the first day of class.


When children are vaccinated, they are protected from preventable diseases,” says Michigan State Medical Society President Dr. David M. Krhovsky. “Checking in with a child’s pediatrician should be on every parent’s radar as they prepare to send them back to school. Vaccinations don’t just keep immunized children safe—they help protect children who cannot safely be vaccinated from deadly diseases as well.”


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently released final immunization waiver rate numbers for the previous school year, revealing that waiver rates in Michigan dropped by over 35 percent in the last year.




Sheriff: Beware of asphalt scam going around Mecosta Co.


There is an asphalt scam going around Mecosta County and the sheriff wants to make sure you don’t get duped.


It’s being reported that a male with a truck of asphalt is going around the area telling residents and businesses that he just got done with a construction job and if they want the rest of the asphalt.


When the victim says yes, the scammer then pours the asphalt on the ground spreads it around then demands $40,000.


Sheriff Todd Purcell says residents need to do their homework before making any decision.


”When making any big business decisions you should always do your own research, go online, look at company reviews and what their reputation is then make the decision.”


This same type of scam occurred a few years ago on the eastside of Big Rapids. 


State Rep. Potvin announces office hours in Mecosta and Osceola Counties


102nd District State House Representative Phil Potvin only has a few months left on the job and he’s not slowing down.  


The Cadillac republican is inviting residents to attend office hour sessions in Tustin, Reed City, Barryton and Remus on Aug. 24 and 25.


“I always look forward to these informal meetings,” Rep. Potvin said. “They offer a great opportunity for me to listen to what matters to people here in our community, and for me to share information about what is going on in Lansing.”


Office hours have been scheduled at the following times and locations:


Wednesday, Aug. 24

·         9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Lisa’s Grille, 112 E. Church St. in Tustin


·         11 a.m. to noon at Pere Marquette Bistro, 102 E. Upton Ave. in Reed City


Thursday, Aug. 25

·         10 to 11 a.m. at Williams Café, 19636 30th Ave. in Barryton


·         11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Wheatland Avenue Grill, 172 W. Wheatland Ave. in Remus


Study ranks Michigan worst in U.S. for bullying


Homework isn't the only thing some Michigan kids dread as they head back to school.


A new nationwide analysis ranks Michigan worst for bullying according to the online-survey site WalletHub.


Adolescent violence expert Janet Olsen with Michigan State University Extension recommends parents and students know the differences between simple peer conflict, bullying, and harassment.


She explains federal law forbids discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, gender, and disability - under which certain types of harassment fall.


"If my daughter reports to me that the boys in a particular class continue to make remarks about her body or jokes about sexual favors, that’s contributing to a hostile climate, and that’s harassment based on sex."


She adds parents should also discuss tolerance with their children, and encourage them to speak up for others who may be victims of bullying.




Big Rapids man pleads no contest in CSC case


The trial of a Big Rapids man accused of sexual assault is over – even before it began.


The trial was scheduled to begin on Wednesday, but the Mecosta County Prosecutor's Office says 33-year-old Christopher Clair Corsello has entered into a plea agreement.


In exchange for pleading no contest to one count of first-degree criminal conduct, four other CSC charges and a habitual offender notice are being dropped.


He still faces a minimum of 25 years to a maximum of 35 years in prison.


Corsello is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old in Grant Township.




Three people hospitalized in White Cloud stabbing


Police in Newaygo County say three people are recovering from knife wounds following a stabbing in White Cloud.


A 20-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman, both from White Cloud, and a 20-year-old from Grant are hospitalzed with non-life threating injuries.


Police also say the house where the stabbings took place was on fire when they arrived on scene at about 11 o'clock Wednesday night.


No arrests have yet been made and the incident is still under investigation.




Police ask for help identifying Newaygo County B&E suspect


Michigan State Police are asking for help in identifying a break-in suspect in Newaygo County.


They say the break-ins happened at a Choice One Bank and the Depot Restaurant in the City of Grant last week.


Contact the Michigan State Police at (231) 873-2171 or the Grant Police Department at (231) 834-7212 if you recognize the person in the photos.




Man accused of Big Rapids bank robbery now indicted on other robberies around state


A man accused of robbing the Fifth-Third Bank in downtown Big Rapids last month, is now being connected to other bank robberies around the state.


In addition to the July 20th robbery of Fifth-Third Bank in Big Rapids, 33-year old Anthony Oby Loose has been indicted in connection to a Comerica Bank robbery in Lansing on June 3rd and a June 13th robbery of a credit union in Niles, according to court documents. 


During the robbery on July 20th, Loose got away with around $5,600. 


Salvation Army to open thrift shop in September; in need of donations


The Salvation Army in Big Rapids will soon be offering a store for those shoppers looking for a great deal but they need donations.


Development Director Chris Vallette says the Salvation Army Family Store is looking to open by mid-September at the former Big Rapids Furniture building just south of City Hall.


They are seeking donations of household and kitchen items, clothing, furniture, and more. 


Vallette says this store will allow the Salvation Army to fund current programs and create new ones for its residents.


“In order for us to grow those programs and serve the community more than we ever have, we felt the need to have some extra revenue and the thrift store will provide that.”


They are looking for part time employees for the store; anyone interested should call the office at (231) 796-5597.   


Two Barryton men charged with break-ins around Green Township



Two Barryton men sit in Mecosta County jail after being arrested for a number of break-ins around Green Township.


50-year old Anthony Edward Hustin and 19-year old John Frederick Turner were arraigned Tuesday in Mecosta County District Court.


The two men are accused of breaking into numerous cars and possibly homes earlier this month.


Both Turner and Hustin are charged with one count each of receiving and concealing stolen property valued between $1,000 and $20,000.  


Both men are expected to be back in court by the end of the month. 


Back to school – sports means dealing with criticism


Back to school often times means playing a sport, and with that can come criticism from a coach.


So how should parents and kids handle it?


Lori Edleson, director of the Birmingham Maple Clinic, says parents should be present at practices and games.


While I know it requires time and attention I think it's important for parents, when there are complaints like this, to be present at practice – to see what's going on so that they can then address the issue directly, not through hearsay.”


The Michigan High School Athletic Association says they often receive complaints from those who want to better understand why things happen as they do in their niche of school sports.




Mecosta Senior Center yard sale largest yet


The Mecosta County Senior Center is in the middle of its largest fund raising effort of the year.


Their Sixteenth Annual Yard Sale got underway Monday and runs through this Friday.


Senior Center Board Chair, Louise Christensen, who has been running the sale for the past 10 years, says the response from the community is overwhelming.


We have about 18 to 20 volunteers and then the whole town comes out and buys and donates everything we have.”


It's their largest sale yet covering the pavilion and three large tents behind the center's main facility. Christensen notes the proceeds are earmarked for one purpose.


To the Mecosta Senior Center itself, it's the main money maker they have.”


This covers operating costs for the Center aside from Meals-On-Wheels and other recreational, educational, and leisure activities.




Manton man with stolen gun arrested, OD's in jail


A Manton man is recovering after a drug overdose while in jail.


Police say the 23-year-old was arrested at a Traverse City Best Buy store when employees noticed a gun sticking out of his pants on Tuesday.


It was later found the suspect had two guns in his possession, one of them stolen.


While in custody the man apparently managed to overdose on what officials suspect was oxycodone.


He was given an overdose reversing drug.


Police say the case is still under investigation.




Trial for Big Rapids man charged with CSC gets under way


The trial of a Big Rapids man on CSC charges is under way.


Witnesses are expected to take the stand Wednesday in Mecosta County’s 49th Circuit Court in the trial of 33-year-old Christopher Clair Corsello.


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


He faces charges of first and second degree criminal sexual conduct, distributing sexually explicit visual or verbal matter to a child, and accosting a child for immoral purposes.


Corsello was previously convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2004 in Mecosta County.


Officials expect the trial to run through Thursday.




Elderly Osceola Co. woman safe after spending the night in the woods


A 79-year old woman is now safe after spending 24 hours lost in the woods in Osceola County.


According to police, the woman was found by search crews last night; she had been lost since Sunday in Orient Township near Evart.


They say Grethel Spratt and her husband went for a walk Sunday night, but got lost and she hurt her knee.


Her husband went to find help, but then had trouble remembering where he had left her.


Grethel was taken to a hospital, but is expected to be fine.


Cargill Salt and Salvation Army packing book bags full of school supplies to give to Evart students


The school year is almost here and officials from the Salvation Army in Big Rapids and Cargill Salt in Hersey are making sure over 300 students at Evart Elementary have school supplies.


Over a dozen volunteers from the two organizations have been loading up book bags full of supplies this week to give to students. 


It’s all part of Osceola County's “Tools for Schools Program”.


Patty Esch of Cargill said it’s always good when we can give back to the community especially schools kids.


“This is awesome, to be able to give back to our community especially the school kids where we know there is a great need.”  


According to Salvation Army Development Director Chris Vallette, the Cargill Cares team provided funding for the program and over dozen volunteers to pack the bags, while his group was responsible for administrative logistics.   


Rollover in Fork Township sends 22-year-old to hospital


A 22-year-old man is recovering after he rolled his vehicle in Mecosta County.


The County Sheriff's Department say Jacob Myers was westbound on 18 Mile Road near 20th Avenue in Fork Township when he lost control and left the roadway striking a tree stump and a large rock.


Deputies say his vehicle rolled over several times.


The accident happened around 8 o'clock Monday morning. Myers was taken to Spectrum Hospital in Big Rapids.




New MDEQ director says Pipeline 5 shutdown 'premature'



Michigan's newly appointed Department of Environmental Quality Director Heidi Grether says calls to shut down Enbridge's aging Pipeline 5 are premature.


Grether made the remarks last Friday and added environmental groups don't have enough information to pursue their position.


The Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club has suggested Grether should recuse herself from any Line 5 decisions because of her ties to the oil industry.


Grether was a registered lobbyist for BP America in Lansing from 1993 to 2008.


She plans to meet with environmental groups this week.




Woman charged with embezzlement from Marion Fair pleads guilty



The woman charged with embezzling thousands from the Marion Fair is pleading guilty.


Court officials say 43-year-old Rebecca Jeanne Johnson, a former fair board member, was originally charged with embezzlement of more than $20,000, but less than $50,000.


She agreed to plead guilty to embezzlement of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000 and had the original charge dismissed last week.


Johnson is accused of embezzling more than $37,000 from the fair from January 2014 to September 2015.


She faces up to five years in prison and fines of more than $100,000.


Her sentencing date is set for September 23rd.




Mother, son write kid's guide to Clay Cliffs Nature area in Big Rapids


A new guide to the Clay Cliffs Nature Area in Big Rapids will give readers what kids enjoy most at the park.


Authors of the Kids Guide to Clay Cliffs Nature Park, Jenny long and her son, Preston, gave a presentation to Big Rapids City Commissioners about why they decided to make the book.


Long said she and her family have enjoyed Clay Cliffs for awhile now but they noticed a lot of families that did not know about the nature area or where it was.


“And that’s why we decided to make our guide book,” Long said.


The guide will be available for purchase at the Arts and Crafts Show in Big Rapids during Labor Day weekend.  


MRWSA holds workshop on reducing pollutants in the Muskegon River


A number of area residents are now more aware of their impact on the Muskegon River.


The Muskegon River Watershed Assembly held a free workshop over the weekend in Newaygo County about the future of the river and our responsibility to it.


MRWSA Board Member George Heartwell says we don't always realize how many people affect the Muskegon River's health.


Quite honestly, people who need to be concerned about the river are any who are living in the watershed. Now, that encompasses an enormous area. You may not think that you're part of the Muskegon River system because you live seven miles from the river, but what happens on your property, what you do with your property affects the health and the quality of the river itself, even though it's seven miles away.”


A total of 440,000 people live on the watershed which covers 2,700 square miles of land. Executive Director Julie Chamberlain says what we do on that land makes a difference.


We're very interested in helping to preserve, protect, and restore the river. If you think back into pre-lumber days, this whole area was forested and that meant that the soil that was on the land pretty much stayed on the land.


Now, every time we have a downpour or a snow melt, it's all flowing right into the river, and guess what it's carrying with it – the little oil spots that we leave in our driveways, the extra fertilizer that may have been put on our lawns, any kind of animal manures – we don't want those things in the river.


We want everyone to understand what they can do to slow down this rushing water and allow it to filter in. So that's why we're talking about rain gardens, we're talking about putting in native buffers along lake shorelines and river shorelines to filter out some of those pollutants so they can't even reach the river.”


Chamberlain says the MWSA has has conducted over $3.4 million in projects to improve the health of the Muskegon River and they plan to do more.




Third party candidate could play spoiler this November


Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are dominating the headlines, but in many states, other names will be on the November ballot.


Former GOP congressional aide Evan McMullin announced his candidacy last week. He joins third-party and independent candidates, including Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein with the Green Party.


Western Michigan University Political science professor John Clark says he expects minor parties to play the role of spoiler this November similar to Ralph Nader's Green Party in the 2000 election.


"This may or may not be that kind of super-close election, but there’s every reason to think that it's not going to be a huge landslide. And if that’s the case, then siphoning off votes from one of the major-party candidates could mean that one of these minor-party candidates is a spoiler."


A poll last week showed in a four-candidate race, Clinton was ahead of Trump, 44 to 38 percent.


Libertarian Gary Johnson had 10 percent of the vote and Green Party candidate Jill Stein got four percent.




Michigan SOS supports online voter registration, gets accolades for election performance


With the 2016 election just a few months away, Michigan is getting praise for its election performance.


A Pew Center study recently rated Michigan's election system as a “high performer” based on measures including data completeness, a reduction of absentee ballot issues, and for having more ballots from military and overseas returned and accepted.


Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says Michigan can score even higher if lawmakers approve expanded secure online voter registration.


Michigan is one of 19 states that do not offer online voter registration.




Michigan has highest number of meth incidents in America


Great Lakes Bay Region methamphetamine busts have more than doubled in the past year.


The Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team has responded to 64 meth incidents, an increase of 128 percent. BAYANET covers Clare, Isabella, Gladwin, Bay, Saginaw, and Midland counties.


As of August 10th, police have responded to 412 meth incidents across the state, topping the country.


Ohio is in second place with 305.




Mecosta County man arrested on drug and gun charges


In Mecosta County, a Chippewa Lake man is behind bars on drug and gun charges.


Officials from the Central Michigan Enforcement team say 56-year old Calvin Ray Sain is charged with one count of receiving and concealing a stolen firearm, two counts of delivery of Dilaudid, one count of possession with intent to deliver a mixture containing hydromorphone and one count of felony firearm.


If convicted, Sain faces up to 20 years in jail.


His bond was set at $100,000. 


Two men who took police on multi-county chase are arraigned


Two men that took Isabella County Sheriff deputies and State Police on a multi-county chase are now facing charges.


Deandre Anthony Currie-Lamar from Detroit and Daryl Deandre-Maurice Larkin from Ypsilanti face multiple charges including unarmed robbery, receiving and concealing stolen property and third degree retail fraud.


Sheriff Michael Main says police were following up on a call of two men who reportedly stole items from a Walmart in Union Township.


When deputies tried to pull over the suspect’s car they were taken on a police chase through multiple counties eventually ending in Birch Run.


There are possible charges being reviewed in Saginaw County and from the Detroit Police Department on additional matters.


Fatal crash in Wexford County


One man is dead and three other people are in the hospital following a two car crash in Wexford County.


Police say two men in a Jeep, who were not wearing seatbelts, ran a stop sign and hit another vehicle on East 48 Road Thursday afternoon.


One of the men in the Jeep, a 22-year-old from Cadillac, died in the crash.


The other was taken to the hospital along with two people from the other vehicle.




Reed City man jailed on meth charges in Mecosta County


Two people are now in jail for making meth in Mecosta County.


Court officials say 35-year-old Jonathon Earl Collins of Reed City was sentenced to one year in jail and two years probation after reaching a plea agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office.


In June, 46-year-old Todd Jeremy Schoonmaker of Cedar Springs also reached a plea agreement and was sentenced to just over eight months in jail and two years probation.


Both had prior drug convictions and were arrested along with 40-year-old Jennifer Mae Hulbert of Big Rapids.


Hulbert's case is ongoing with a trial set for October.




Big Rapids residents learning what it takes to be a police officer during the Citizen's Police Academy this week


Big Rapids residents are learning the ins and outs of what police officers go through on a daily basis as part of the “Citizens Police Academy” going on over the next week at the Department of Public Safety building.


Big Rapids DPS Director Jim Eddinger said in its first year, nine people are participating in the academy.


He hopes this program will give those attendees more of a connection to law enforcement and new perspectives.


”I think we are kind of taking a hit in the media right now and I think if we can educate the public about what we do, it will give them a more accurate idea of who we are,” Eddinger said.  


He hopes to expand the academy to include the fire department as well.  


Teen suffers minor injuries after being involved in a rollover accident in Mecosta Township


A 19-year old man was sent to the hospital after being involved in a rollover accident in Mecosta Co.


It happened on US-131 just north of 6 Mile Rd in Mecosta Twp.  


The 19-year old driver stated that he was tired and was driving home from work and ran off the road.  


He went into the ditch and rolled his vehicle several times.  


He was taken to Spectrum Big Rapids Hospital with minor injuries.



AT&T to refund $7.75M


You may be due a refund if you have an AT&T landline.


The Federal Communications Commission says the telecommunications giant has agreed to pay $7.75 million to settle a case with over a sham directory assistance service.


They say thousands of customers had a $9 per month fee tacked onto their bill from Discount Directory, Inc., or Enhanced Telecommunications Services for the past four years.


The refunds are expected to be on affected customer's bills in the next few months.




Getting ready for the school year includes adjusting sleep schedules


Back to school is just around the corner and for many parents that means trying to drag their teens out of bed at early morning hours.


However, a little pre-planning can help your teen make the transition from the lazy days of summer to the classroom according to sleep expert Dr. Harneet Walia.


Maybe two to three weeks before the school starts the parents should try to ensure that their kid is getting enough sleep and they should try to move the sleep schedule in small increments by 15 minutes every day and move it closer to the school sleep time,” she says.


The National Sleep Foundation also advises keeping electronics out of the bedroom including video games, televisions, computers, and cell phones.




Health officials warning of rabies in Michigan


The Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Health and Human Services and Natural Resources say rabies is present in 14 Michigan counties including Newaygo and Kent.


Officials say rabies peaks in August and both bats and skunks have tested positive this year.


They caution residents about handling wild animals, especially those that normally avoid human contact.


They advise if you find a wild animal that seems like it may have rabies, contact your local health department and the Department of Natural Resources.




Remus man pleads guilty to CSC charges


A man accused of sexually assaulting a girl in Remus is pleading guilty.


The Mecosta County Prosecutor’s Office says 45-year-old Tyler Jay Soderberg was arrested in 2015 for allegedly assaulting the girl from 2002 through 2004.


He was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, but agreed to a plead guilty to fourth-degree CSC.


He will be on probation for five years and must register as a Tier II sex offender for 25 years.




Veterans Homefront Heroes Memorial at Big Rapids' Holland Park is now reality


After three years of planning the Veterans Homefront Heroes Memorial at Holland Park in Big Rapids, it's finally reality.


A ceremony was held over the weekend to dedicate the memorial.


Planning for the memorial began in 2013, when Sgt. Matthew Webber died from injuries he sustained during the Iraq war.


Jean Bennett, Co-Chair of the Memorial committee has tremendous pride knowing this memorial is finally up for residents and visitors to see.


“There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears that went into this memorial.” Bennett said.  


The memorial at Holland Park is located at the corner of Madison and State streets in Big Rapids.


Michigan credit unions suing Wendy's for credit card security breach


From fraudulent charges to frozen accounts, thousands of Michiganders are dealing with the fallout from the massive data breach at Wendy's restaurants – and so are their financial institutions, which is why the state's credit unions say they're fighting back.


The Michigan Credit Union League has joined a class-action lawsuit against Wendy's, alleging the crisis was due to poor security measures and a slow response to the breach.


Spokesperson Ken Ross says the suit is just the first step. He says when it comes to financial transactions, credit unions and banks are held to a high security standard – but there's a weak link in the chain.


"There's simply no similar requirements that exist for retailers, and that's really the source of the problems, is that retailers don't have the protections in place to protect their customer data."


Federal legislation is pending that would hold retailers accountable for data breaches and require them to provide prompt notification when a breach occurs.


Ross says similar data breaches at Target and Home Depot stores in 2013 and 2014 cost Michigan credit unions nearly $4.5 million, including reissuing new cards and refunding members' lost money.




Officials say Michigan's school funding lags behind other states


Don't cut funding-- invest more.


That's the message from Board President John Austin after a state-funded Education Finance Study was presented to the state Board of Education on Tuesday.


He says the school funding system in Michigan needs changing.

“The legislature reminds the state board that they have the purse strings. Now these studies, and others, say we've got to invest more, not the austerity regime of cutting support for education if we're going to see results.”


Austin says the study indicates higher-performing states spend more per student than Michigan – about $8,600 dollars per pupil.


Average spending per student in Michigan is between $7,500 and $8,200.




Child support payments made easier


Child support payments can be made a little easier starting this week.


Now those charged with making those payments can go online to, do some clicking, and take the cash to a 7-Eleven or Family Dollar store, where the payments will be applied electronically.


Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Bob Wheaton says it's a matter of convenience.

“We just want to make it more convenient for people to pay their child support, realizing that that's best for children and families, so anything we can do to make that more convenient.”

There is a $2 fee for the service.




West Nile virus moves into West Michigan


West Nile virus is making it's way into west Michigan.


After initial reports of the virus being found in southeast Michigan last month, health officials in Kent County are now confirming mosquitoes have been found with the virus in Grand Rapids.


Administrative Health Officer Adam London says the virus will likely spread until at least the first frost of the season.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.


Severe cases can result in serious neurologic illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis.




Robbers lead police on high speed chase across state


Two men are in custody after leading police on a chase across the state in a stolen vehicle.


Isabella County Sheriff Michael Main says the pair reportedly stole some merchandise from a Walmart in Union Township and when deputies attempted to stop the vehicle the suspects took off.


A high speed chase ensued on M-20 where Isabella County police terminated pursuit at the Midland City area.


Other agencies from Midland County and Bay County continued the pursuit which eventually ended with the apprehension of the men near Birch Run, over 70 miles away.


The vehicle in question was reported stolen from a carjacking in the Detroit area.


The two male suspects were described from that incident to have had a gun and a knife during the carjacking.




Michele Hoitenga resigns as Manton Mayor to focus on State House campaign


Manton Mayor Michelle Hoitenga is resigning from her position of leading the city to focus on her campaign to seek the 102nd district State House seat.


Hoitenga won the August 2nd Republican primary.


She will now go up against democrat Doug Gabbert of Mecosta County in the November general election. 


DEQ wants public input on Enbridge Pipeline 5 project


Enbridge Energy wants to install more screw support anchors on Pipeline 5.


This following an announcement last week by Attorney General Bill Schuette that Enbridge is violating it's legal agreement to have supports no more than 75 feet apart.


The Department of Environmental Quality wants public input on the project before giving Enbridge the go-ahead.


A 20-day comment period runs through the 28th of this month and comments can be submitted on-line at the DEQ's new MiWaters online portal.


To view the public notice, Enbridge application, and make comment, click here. Under the Add Comment tab, type "Enbridge" for the Applicant Name.




Study says minimum wage not keeping up with inflation


This summer marks the seven-year anniversary of the last time the federal minimum wage was raised – from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour.


Meanwhile, the buying power of those dollars has fallen by ten percent because of inflation according to a new analysis from the Economic Policy Institute.


David Cooper, the study's author, says until the 1960s the wage was raised at roughly the same pace as increases in worker productivity.


Had that trend continued since 1968 and we had continued to raise the minimum wage pretty regularly every year, we would have a minimum wage today of close to $19 an hour.”


Cooper's study also found that if the wage had kept pace with the average growth for a typical worker's income, today's minimum wage would be almost $12 dollars an hour.


Groups opposing initiatives in several states to pay workers at least that amount claim the move could lead to thousands of jobs being cut. Cooper disagrees.


"The effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment is probably the most studied topic in all of labor economics. Modest increases in the minimum wage have little to no effect on employment, I mean, that debate is basically settled."


The Democratic Party recently added a $15-an-hour minimum wage to its platform, and Donald Trump has also come out in favor of an increase.


Cooper says raising the wage floor also helps middle-class workers get paid more, and has a positive impact on local economies.


Research from the Cato Institute says, among other studies, the first 25-cent minimum wage in 1938 resulted in significant job losses.


According to the National Federation of Independent Business, raising the federal wage isn't possible for all businesses, especially in the South and parts of the Midwest.


At $8.50 an hour, Michigan's minimum wage is higher than the federal level.



Michigan to get $6M from Barclays of London, non-profits to be reimbursed


British multinational banking and financial services giant Barclays of London is paying the State of Michigan over $6 million.


Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says it is part of a $100 million national settlement over allegations of fraudulent and anti-competitive conduct involving the manipulation of LIBOR by Barclays.


LIBOR is a benchmark interest rate that affects financial instruments worth trillions of dollars and has a widespread impact on global markets and consumers.


Schuette says government entities and not-for-profit organizations in Michigan were defrauded of millions of dollars because of Barclay's actions.


Michigan entities that entered into LIBOR-linked swaps and other investment contracts with Barclays between 2005 and 2010 will be notified if they are eligible to receive restitution from the $6,288,359.48 given to Michigan from a damages fund of $93.35 million.


The balance of the settlement fund will be used to pay costs and expenses of the investigation and for other uses consistent with state law.




Man thrown from vehicle in Osceola County


A motorist is hospitalized in serious condition following a rollover accident in Osceola County.


Police say the driver was heading North on 130th Avenue towards M-115, when he veered off of the right side of the road around 6 pm Monday night.


The man was thrown from the vehicle and police say they do not know if alcohol was a factor in the accident.




Big Rapids Public Schools hires new Middle School Principal & teachers


There will be new faces teaching and leading Big Rapids Public Schools this upcoming School year.


On Monday night, the school board hired Mitch Cummings as new Big Rapids Middle School Principal.


He takes over for Lenore Weaver, who is the new Superintendent of Central Lake Schools.


With the new hires, Superintendent Tim Haist thinks is a great time for BRPS.


“We have hired eight teachers over the past two months and have been able to add almost 20 new employees in the district this summer. I feel our team is very strong.” Haist said.   


Other teachers hired include Tyler O’Dell as High School Science teacher, Erin Seidner as High School English teacher, Christina Hearth as Elementary Math teacher and Kari Rayburn as a Early Childhood Special Education teacher.  


Fire at Newaygo Co. recycling center extinguished


Firefighters in Newaygo County have put out a grease fire that occurred this afternoon at a recycling center in Fremont. 


According to fire investigators, the blaze started a little after 12pm at the Restaurant Recycling Services building. 


No one was injured during the fire and it's unknown how much damage occurred. 


ORV's ride for free


Off-road vehicle enthusiasts can ride free of charge on state-designated routes and trails for a limited time later this month.


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has scheduled a free-ORV weekend for August 20th and 21st.


No ORV license or trail permit will be required on those two days.


It's one of two free weekends each year.




Intense meteor shower expected this week


The sky over Michigan and the rest of the world will be lit up next week.


If you look to the sky late next Thursday, and before dawn on Friday, you could see the best Perseid Meteor Shower since 2009.


Delta College Astronomer and Planetary Manager Mike Murray says in recent years only eighty meteors were visible an hour, but this year is different.

“This year it could be well above a hundred especially if your in someplace dark where you can see the fainter meteors,” he says.


Murray says a good rule of thumb -- look to the northeast.




Bridge construction on White Pine Trail


Hikers and bikers on the White Pine Trail in Montcalm County can expect detours for the next few months.


State officials say work is beginning on the bridge over Rice Creek near Howard City Monday.


Crews will place a 60-foot prefabricated bridge over the creek and an 84-foot prefabricated bridge will be placed over Tamarack Creek.


White Pine Trail is being rerouted to a Federal Road with detours posted. Both projects are expected to be finished in November.




On-line Michigan job fair this week

Job seekers in Michigan can attend an internet based job fair this week.


It's called MIvirtual Career Fair and Ken Silfven, of the Michigan Talent Investment Agency, says it's all online.


We bring employers and job seekers together, but instead of the old fashioned way of everyone having to drive somewhere and spend hours walking around various booths and displays, not to mention carrying around stacks of resumes to hand out, you can do it all from the convenience of your home or office with just a few keystrokes.”


Silfven says you can register at




Trump campaigns in Michigan amid controversy over fallen Muslim Army officer


While Donald Trump’s campaign is hoping to shift attention away from the controversy over his dispute with the parents of a fallen Muslim Army officer, many Michiganders aren’t ready to back away from the issue.


Trump plans to give a major economic speech in Detroit Monday.


While Trump has said he has strong support in the military community, and his campaign believes the spat with the Khan family will soon blow over, Dale Evans, a Vietnam veteran now living in Frankfort disagrees.


"I think that's very condescending and insulting to veterans who died saving this country and defending its freedoms,” he says.


Active-duty personnel, veterans, and their families have historically been one of the largest voting blocs in the country, a group that usually leans Republican.




Man killed in Wexford County motorcycle accident


A man from downstate is dead following a motorcycle accident in Wexford County.


Police say 57-year-old Robert Everett from Burton collided with another vehicle as it turned in front of him on M-115 late Friday afternoon.


Everett was thrown from his motorcycle and later died.


Police say the crash remains under investigation.





Money recovered from Big Rapids bank robbery


Police say the have most of the money stolen from a Big Rapids Bank last month.


The FBI was able to locate the cash after a letter written by Anthony Loose was intercepted by authorities.


The location of the stolen money was contained in the letter.


Loose is accused of robbing the Fifth-Third Bank at Maple and Michigan Avenue on July 20.


He is facing three charges of bank robbery and could spend the rest of his life in prison.




BREAKING: Multi-vehicle priority 1 accident a 16 Mile Rd. and 172nd in Mecosta County


Emergency personnel are on the scene at a multi-vehicle priority 1 accident on 16 Mile Road near 172nd in Mecosta County.


At least one person has reportedly suffered serious head injuries and AeroMed is standing by.


16 Mile Road is blocked to traffic.


We will have more details as they become available.




Big Rapids motorcyclist suffers minor injuries after being thrown from bike


A 55-year old Big Rapids man was sent to he hospital this morning after being involved in a deer/motorcycle accident. 


It happened on 180th Avenue and Hoover Rd. in Mecosta County. 


Deputies say the 55-year old male rider hit the deer and was thrown from his bike. 


He was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and suffered road rash and other minor injuries. 


Defective door latches lead to Ford recall


Ford Motor Company says more than 830,000 vehicles are being recalled because of problems with door latches.


The automaker says side door latches on the recalled models can break causing the doors to open while the vehicles are moving.


The recall covers certain 2013 to 2015 Ford Escape SUVs and C-Max cars and 2012 to 2015 Focus cars as well as 2014 to 2016 Ford Transit Connect vans, Ford Mustang sports cars, and Lincoln MKC SUVs from 2015.


As part of the recall, Ford dealers will replace the door latches at no cost to owners and will also launch a program to replace latches from other vehicles not covered by the recall if they suffer the same problem.


Ford says they will begin notifying owners of affected vehicles in the coming weeks.




Two teens hospitalized after rollover crash near Manton


Two teenagers are hospitalized following a one car rollover crash in Wexford County.


Police say the pair were traveling on North 45 Road near Manton Thursday afternoon when their vehicle left the roadway and rolled several times down an embankment.


An 18-year-old woman from Manton and another 18-year-old from Kingsley were taken to the hospital.


One of the girls was thrown from the vehicle and police are still investigating the crash.




Mecosta Co. Park Board member reacts to millage proposal defeat


It’s back to the drawing board for the Mecosta County Park Commission after voters said no to a millage proposal that would improve the parks system.


On Tuesday, the millage was defeated 52% to 47%.


Eric O’Neil with the Park Commission was disappointed with the outcome but didn’t rule out another attempt later down the line.


“I was sad when I heard the proposal was defeated, we put a lot of hard work into it. There were some concerns from residents and we did our best to address those areas, in the future if we decide to put this millage on the ballot again there will be some tweaking to it.” O’Neil said.


He added the Park Commission would probably wait a while and regroup before deciding on another millage proposal.




Enbridge says Pipeline 5 supports are OK, Michigan AG disagrees


Michigan State Attorney General Bill Schuette says supports for Enbridge Energy's Line 5 are not in compliance with an Enbridge statement to the State of Michigan.


According to that document, the supports on Pipeline 5 are supposed to be 75 feet apart, but a permit application submitted by Enbridge a few days ago shows that's no longer true.


The supports help keep the pipeline stable amidst the currents of the Straits of Mackinac.


Enbridge spokesperson Ryan Duffy says the company believes it remains in compliance with the easement terms, and the situation is not a safety concern.


He says the supports themselves are not shifting, but the lake bed is shifting due to erosion.




Summer activities bring blood shortage, health officials ask for help


Health officials are asking Michiganders to consider saving a life during the dog days of summer.


The organization "Michigan Blood" is the sole blood provider for 60 Michigan hospitals, and spokeswoman Amy Rotter says there's typically a spike in traumatic injuries during the summer – while at the same time, blood donations drop.


They are looking for donors of all blood types, but she notes there's a critical need for 'O Negative blood,' the universal blood type.


"It’s especially important in emergency situations, when doctors might not have time to check a patient’s blood type. Because only nine percent of the Michigan population has type 'O Negative' blood, we’re encouraging 'O Negative' donors to not only come in to donate, but to donate regularly."


Rotter says donating blood typically isn't top-of-mind this time of the year, and high schools and colleges – which account for about a quarter of the blood supply during the school year – are on break.


Donors must be in good general health, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old, or 16 with signed parental consent.




Fears of E. coli prompts recall from West Michigan cheese maker


A West Michigan cheese maker is recalling nearly 10 tons of it's product over fears of E. coli contamination.


The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says Grassfields Cheese LLC of Coopersville says the cheese could contain Shiga toxin-producing E. coli which causes serious illness in humans.


The recall involves all types and sizes of organic cheeses manufactured by Grassfields between Dec. 1, 2015 and June 1, 2016.


Consumers who have bought any of the cheeses should return them to the place of purchase.


Consumers with questions may contact Grassfields Cheese at 616-997-8251 or by emailing




Email fraud claims to be from Michigan Attorney General's Office


A new email fraud purporting to be from the Michigan Attorney General's Office is turning up at businesses across the state.


The email, with a subject line of “The Office of The Attorney General Complain” has an attachment that, according to the email, is a complaint against the business and requires a response.


Clicking on the attachment installs malware which steals confidential information from the computer.


The AG's office says if you get this email to simply delete it.


If you are concerned about an email purporting to be from the Michigan Attorney General, call the Consumer Protection Division at 1.877.765.8388.


Here is a sample of the email:


From: The Office of The Attorney General [] Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2016 3:46 PM


To: * * * Subject: The Office of The Attorney General Complaint


Dear Business Owner:


A complaint has been filed against your Business. Enclosed is a copy of the complaint which requires your response. You have 10 days to file a rebuttal if you so desire. You may view the complaint at the link below.


Rebuttals should not exceed 25 pages and may refer to any additional documents or exhibits that are available on request.


The Office of The Attorney General cannot render legal advice nor can The Office of The Attorney General represent individuals or intervene on their behalf in any civil or criminal matter.


Please review the enclosed complaint. If filing a rebuttal please do so during the specified time frame.




The Office of The Attorney General”






Salvation Army's Fresh Start Baby Pantry looking to serve more families in need


The Big Rapids Salvation Army Fresh Start Baby Pantry has been a hit with the community now they want to serve more people in need.


The baby pantry started five months ago to serve area families in need with newborns and providing them with diapers, baby wipes and other infant items.


Salvation Army Development Director Chris Vallette says the pantry has really taken off but there are more people they want to serve.


“We are very excited with how well this program has taken off and how much community support we have gotten. We are serving 50 families right now but are looking to help out more.” Vallette said.


If you want more information about the pantry and its requirements call the Salvation Army office at 231- 796-5597. 


Truck hits horse and buggy in Newago County


The driver of a horse and buggy is in critical condition after being hit by a truck.


Police say the 84-year-old man was hit by the livestock hauler at M82 and Baldwin Avenue in Garfield Township in Newaygo County.


The accident happened Tuesday night and the victim was airlifted to Grand Rapids in critical condition.


The truck driver suffered only minor injuries.




High speed and alcohol put two in hospital in Mecosta County


Two people are hospitalized following a high speed crash in Mecosta County.


Police say neighbors heard screeching tires and a loud crash at around 8:30 Tuesday night on Jefferson Road in Aetna Township.


Investigators say a 23-year-old man from Newaygo County was speeding and lost control in the curves, striking a tree.


He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.


A 22-year-old male passenger, also from Newago County, was airlifted to Grand Rapids in critical condition.


The accident is still under investigation and it appears that alcohol may be a factor.




Mecosta County election results


Michigan's August 2016 primary election is over.


The seat being vacated by term limited State House Representative Phil Potvin was won by Republican Michele Hoitenga of Manton. 


Other notable winners in contested races include George Griffis for Chippewa Township Supervisor and Michele Graham for Mecosta Township Supervisor.


Millage proposals for libraries and roads in Big Rapids Township, Chippewa Township, Morton Township, and Wheatland Township all passed.


However, a county wide millage proposal for Mecosta County Parks was defeated.


A complete listing of all the voting results in Mecosta County can be seen HERE.




Big community turnout for Big Rapids DPS National Night Out


The National Night Out event at the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety had a little bit more added meaning especially with the tragic events involving police happening around the country.  


Area police and fire departments along with community organizations offered free hot dogs, fun games as well as other kid friendly activities to area families all in the name of getting the community more familiar with those who serve in law enforcement.


Director of Big Rapids DPS Jim Eddinger said it was a great turnout this year.


“It’s a fantastic turnout, whenever you have an event like this that brings together the public and police it’s to everyone’s advantage.”Said Eddinger.   


This is the 13th year for the event. 


Police in Isabella County arrest arsonist


The Isabella County Sheriff says they have a man in custody that is accused of arson at a Mount Pleasant apartment complex last week.


Michael Main says deputies spoke to 27-year old Joshua Berne Driver of Union Township, who confessed to lighting a dumpster fire at the Deerfield Apartment Complex last Wednesday.


During its investigation, police viewed security video that showed Driver committing the crime.


He was arrested on arson and probation violations.


Driver is being held on $7,000 bond.  


Manton woman hospitalized in critical condition


A Wexford County woman is hospitalized in critical condition following a high speed crash.


Deputies say 37-year-old Sharon Phillips of Manton was driving northbound on 14 Road when she lost control and struck a tree near North 37 Road.


She was thrown from the car upon impact.


The Wexford County Sheriff's Department says they are still investigating.




Osceola County man found guilty on CSC charges


A 54-year-old man from LeRoy is heading to jail on CSC charges.


Timothy Boyd Adams was taken into custody in March and a jury found him guilty on three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second degree CSC last week.


The victim, who was younger than 13 years old at the time of the attack, testified at the trial along with a police officer who said Adams confessed to sexually assaulting the girl.


Adams was also charged as a habitual offender with three prior felony convictions and faces life in prison.


He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.




Portion of Charles E. Fairman Pool in Big Rapids to be resurfaced after season this year


The Charles E. Fairman Community Pool in Big Rapids will be getting some much needed repairs after this pool season.


The Big Rapids City Commission Monday night approved up to $50,000 to resurface a portion of the pool.


The money comes of out the pool remarcite fund.


That portion would be the shallow end for kids.


This season there have been a few incidents of attendees and employees cutting or scraping their feet on the surface of pool.


Pat Horan, Pool Director is overjoyed by the commissioner’s decision to approve the resurfacing.


“It’s wonderful; there has been a lot of hard work on my staff’s part to keep the pool going and running year after year.” Horan said.


Repairs are expected to begin sometime after the season ends on August 11th


New study says Michigan's income gap is growing, other experts disagree


New data suggests Michigan's rich are getting richer while many others struggle to make ends meet.


According to a fact sheet from the Michigan League for Public Policy, the top one percent of earners in the state make 22 times more than the bottom 99 percent.


Legislative coordinator Rachel Richards explains that after similar growth for three decades, from 1979 to 2007 incomes for the top one percent rose 100 percent while slightly declining for the rest of workers.


"The gap was actually fairly small in 1979. The top one percent still made more than the bottom but the top one percent of Michigan households held only about nine percent of the total income in the state."


That share nearly doubled to almost 18 percent by 2013.


And Richards notes women and people of color are particularly hurt by the gap.


Women earned about 75 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2014, and workers of color made three dollars less per hour than white workers in 2012.


However, Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute says many studies looking at low-income Americans fail to account for non-cash social-welfare benefits such as food stamps, housing subsidies, and Medicaid.


Fully accounting for all of these factors suggests that the gap between rich and poor may not be nearly as large as thought, and that inequality may not be growing at all.


He also maintains there is little correlation between poverty rates and inequality and for most of human history inequality was the norm.


Michigan's income gap is the eleventh worst nationally.




Officials say Michigan's cherry dumping farmer had other options


You may have seen the Facebook post by a Traverse City cherry farmer who claimed he had to dump 20-tons of his crop because of a federal marketing order.


The post went viral, with 6,000 comments that mostly said it was a shameful waste.


Cherry Administration Board Executive Director Perry Hedin says the farmer had other options.


Had he so chosen, he could have taken that fruit and worked with a processor and made a charitable contribution of those cherries in a finished good.”


Hedin points out the marketing order was established and enforced by the growers to stabilize cherry prices.


And with a bumper crop of cherries this year, officials say market prices would have dropped below the cost of production.



Car pedestrian accident sends 15-year-old from Morley to hospital

A 15-year-old boy from Morley is recovering after being struck by a car over the weekend.


Mecosta County Sheriff's Deputy Jack Sutherby says the boy ran into the street on N. Cass St. near Seventh St. in the Village of Morley when he was struck by a vehicle driven by a 35-year-old woman, also from Morley.


The boy was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.




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