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Big Rapids Daily News
News That Affects You Archives for 2016-09

Rainy weather can't dampen BRHS homecoming festivities, Cardinals victorious

 

Cardinals fans are celebrating after the Big Rapids High School football team came out victorious over the Stanton Central Montcalm Hornets at Top Taggert field on Friday.

 

This following the homecoming parade through downtown Big Rapids that capped off Spirit Week for the Cardinals.

 

More than 40 people participated in the parade to an enthusiastic turnout despite the rainy weather which also couldn't dampen the team spirit on the field.

 

Despite being down 18 – 8 at the end of the third quarter, the Cardinals came roaring back in fourth for a 24 – 18 victory in their homecoming 2016 game putting them at 3 – 3 on the season.

 

 

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In contrast to the much the state, BRPS has no problem with chronic absenteeism

 

A recent report from the John Hopkins University School of Education says Michigan ranks third in the country for school districts with chronic absenteeism.

 

Nationwide, chronic absenteeism is about 13% and Michigan stands at 18%.

 

However, Big Rapids Public School Board President Pete Kent says it's not an issue here.

 

I haven't heard one thing about absenteeism as far as students or teachers, either one. So, if it was an issue, we'd know about it.”

 

 

A student who misses 15 days of school a year for any reason is considered chronically absent, whether or not the absence is excused.

 

Kent says there are no reports of chronic absenteeism at any of the Big Rapids Public Schools.

 

 

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Suspected thief arrested after stolen item found online

 

A man suspected of multiple thefts from cars in Isabella County is under arrest.

 

Deputies were able to track down the man after finding one of the stolen items, a camera, for sale on Facebook.

 

Officers went undercover and were able to purchase the camera after which they arrested the suspect.

 

He's believed to be responsible for a string of thefts in Union Township of the last few months.

 

People who believe they may have been a victim of the thief should call the Sheriff's office at 989-772-5911.

 

 

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SOS says voter lists safe from hackers

 

Michigan election officials say they're on high alert since the FBI has warned states that voter registration systems could be compromised.

 

The Michigan Secretary of State's Office says Michigan voter registration records have not been compromised.

 

Spokesperson Fred Woodhams says they're confident in their system and they use the latest encryption and security methods to protect their voter lists.

 

 

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New poll says Clinton leads Trump in Michigan

 

The latest poll shows that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the first presidential debate, and now leads Donald Trump by seven percentage points – 46 to 39 in Michigan.

 

The WDIV/Detroit News poll finds that Clinton got a boost from Monday night's debate.

 

But Trump leads Clinton among independent voters, 34 to 27 percent.

 

Libertarian party nominee Gary Johnson and Green party nominee Jill Stein were well back in the polls.

 

 

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Big Rapids man arrested on attempted robbery charges

 

A 36-year old Big Rapids man is behind bars in Isabella County after police say he tried to rob a Starbucks inside a Target store in Mt. Pleasant Thursday.  

 

Sheriff Michael Main says the Big Rapids man allegedly told a clerk at the Starbucks counter (after he was asked what he wanted to order), that he wanted all the money in the register and then laughed at her.

 

The suspect then paid for a cup of coffee but before leaving the counter he told the clerk that he had a gun, but it was not a very big one.

 

The 36-year old suspect then walked away into the store.  

 

Several law enforcement officers converged onto the scene for perimeter security and made contact without incident with the suspect.

 

The Sheriff says interviewing the suspect, he was placed into custody for attempted armed robbery. No weapon was found on the suspect.

 

The Sheriffs Office will forward a report to the prosecutor’s office for review.

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Legislation expands ORV use

 

ORV enthusiasts will now be able to ride deeper into Michigan's forest lands.

 

Governor Rick Snyder recently signed legislation that expands the use of trails by off-road vehicles on forest roads in the Lower Peninsula and calls for trails across the state to be mapped.

 

The Department of Natural Resources is to complete the mapping of trails in the northernmost regions of the Lower Peninsula by the end of 2017 with the remaining regions to be mapped by the end of 2018.

 

Snyder says the legislation will help market Michigan as a premier destination for outdoor recreation.

 

 

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Report ranks safest colleges in Michigan

 

A recent ranking by Background Checks.org is reporting the safest colleges in Michigan for 2016.

 

The annual report combines data from recent FBI Crime Reports, Department of Education Statistics, student surveys, social media sentiment analysis, and their own research to create a ranking of the Safest Colleges in Michigan.

 

The top three are Cornerstone University, Davenport University, and Calvin College, all in the Grand Rapids area.

 

Ferris State ranks at 27th, just ahead of Michigan State University at 28th.

 

 

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Mecosta County's McKinley Road set for re-pavement Oct. 11th

 

McKinley Road in Mecosta County is set for repaving in two weeks, according to road commission officials.

 

Mecosta Co. Road Commission Manager Joyce Randall says they are currently trimming trees on both sides of the road in order to get ready for the October 11th start of its re-pavement from just off of M20 to New Millpond Road.

 

She says the project is weather dependent and they are hoping to finish by the end of the month.     

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Creepy clown reported in Big Rapids

 

Halloween may have started a little bit early for some as a creepy clown was allegedly spotted in a Big Rapids neighborhood late Tuesday night.

 

Big Rapids DPS officers were called to the 1200 block of Colburn Avenue on a report of a person dressed as a clown staring at people as they walked by.

 

One witness told police, the clown was dressed in a blue costume with reddish/pink hair and stood eerily on the side of a property looking at some residents across the street.

 

The clown then ran off behind the house when police were called. 

 

The area was searched extensively, but officers were unable to locate the clown.

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Retirement planning workshops available through Michigan's Department of Insurance and Financial Services

 

More than half of Michiganders are retired by age 62, but experts say it’s never too early to begin planning.

 

And help is available through a series of Securing Mi Financial Future workshops in October.

 

AARP associate state director Jennifer Munoz says while people are rebounding from the recession the future of Social Security is a concern.

 

"If Social Security doesn’t have any changes to it, people aren’t going to get their full benefits. In about 18 years its going to be reduced by up to 25 percent. So if people don’t have the full benefits of Social Security to depend on then they will have to continue working."

 

The average retirement income for Americans age 65 and older is about $31,000 a year.

 

Building Mi Financial Future events for 25-49 year-olds will be held from 5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at the following locations:

 

  • Detroit - October 8, 2015 - Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Detroit Branch

  • East Lansing - October 13, 2015 - MSU Henry Center

  • Adrian - October 15, 2015 - LISD Tech Center

 

A resource fair, financial “QuickChecks”, lifestyle simulation and complimentary strolling dinner reception will be provided.

 

Reinventing Mi Retirement events will be held from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the following locations:

 

  • Bay City - October 19, 2015 - Doubletree Riverfront Hotel

  • Traverse City - October 26, 2015 - Park Place Hotel

 

A resource fair, financial “QuickChecks”, workshops and complimentary breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Attendance is free, but registration is required.

 

Residents interested in attending or learning more can call 877-999-6442, visit www.michigan.gov/difs.

 

 

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Law enforcement database abuse in Michigan

 

Some police officers in Michigan are allegedly abusing confidential law enforcement databases.

 

According to a study by the Associated Press, more than 40 cases of database misuse resulted in discipline between 2013 and 2015 in Michigan.

 

The study used records requests from all 50 states and found many police officers across the country misuse confidential law enforcement databases to get information on romantic partners, business associates, neighbors, journalists, and others for reasons that have nothing to do with daily police work.

 

 

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Reed City and Evart get grants from DEQ

 

Public water systems in two Osceola County cities will be safer thanks to the DEQ.

 

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is giving matching grants to Reed City and Evart as part of the Source Water Protection program.

 

Reed City is getting $4,500 and Evart is getting nearly $13,000.

 

The grants will be spent on identifing potential contaminants and implementing management strategies and educational activities to protect their water supplies.

 

 

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First responder families guaranteed five years medical insurance

 

Families of fallen first responders in Michigan are now guaranteed five years of medical insurance.

 

Governor Rick Snyder signed the bill on Tuesday that expands on current benefits to include five years of medical insurance in addition to an existing one-time payment of $25,000.

 

The law applies to any first responder who has died in the line of duty since October 2015.

 

 

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Walmart may be sued over dark store taxing, Big Rapids officials concerned about the practice

 

Commissioners in Sault Ste. Marie are taking on Walmart.

 

They've taken an initial vote to sue Walmart over taxes.

 

The so called dark store taxing practice allows big box stores like Walmart to use a loophole so they pay less in property tax.

 

Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba expressed his concern about the practice at a recent City Commission meeting.

 

We need to be on top of that and lobbying for the changes to the legislation to make it more fair. Not to the big box retailers, but to the municipalities affected by it,” he says.

 

Sault Ste. Marie Commissioners say the practice has cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars that they could have used for police services.

 

 

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Local health department looks to get a jump on flu season by hosting flu shot clinic

 

Flu season doesn’t officially begin until October, but the District Health Department #10 is looking to get an early start on combating the virus by hosting a flu shot clinic Thursday.

 

Officials say the clinic will be held Thursday at the health department office in Big Rapids from 9am to 12pm and again from 1pm to 4pm. The annual flu vaccination is recommended for anyone six-months and older.

 

Mecosta County Public Health Nurse, Nicki Croel says it’s important to get the shot especially if you work or live around people with health problems.

 

”We encourage everyone to get the flu shot, to help protect the elderly in our communities as well as people who are more at risk of complications from the flu virus,” Croel said.   

 

If you want more information about the flu shot clinics call the health department at 231-592-0130.

 

Here is a list of future flu shot clinics hosted by the District Health Department #10:

 

Oct. 14th. 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm 

 

Oct. 28th. 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm

 

Nov. 4th.  9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm

 

 

 

 

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Former CMU professor admits to child abuse and pornography

 

Mark Ranzenberger, a former Central Michigan University journalism instructor, has pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and also guilty of repeated sexual abuse of a child between 1995-2002.

 

The investigation of Ranzenberger began when he mistakenly showed the pornographic images from his computer in front of his classroom.

 

He faces many years in prison.

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Clean Power Plan boosts Michigan competitiveness

 

As the merits of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan are argued at an appeals court Tuesday, recent data is adding more backbone to arguments in favor of the rules to reduce carbon emissions.

 

Separate reports from Georgia Tech and the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency show how implementation of the Clean Power Plan can boost competitiveness for manufacturers in Michigan and other states.

 

Clean energy consultant Douglas Jester says in Michigan it’s clear that energy efficiency strategies reduce energy bills.

 

"These studies have shown that industrial customers of electric utilities save money if the utilities follow the policies driven by the Clean Power Plan rather than business as usual."

 

According to the Alliance report, industrial energy efficiency can save businesses nearly 300 billion dollars from avoided electricity purchases.

 

 

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Isabella County police chase update

 

Isabella County police are now releasing the identity of the man who lead them on high speed chase this past weekend.

 

Twenty-seven-year-old Matthew Williams of Shepherd has been arraigned on two counts of fleeing police, one count of operating while intoxicated, and one count of driving reckless.

 

Williams was able to allude police in Gratiot County but was later pursued by Isabella County Police.

 

He eventually lost control and rolled his car off Blanchard Road.

 

 

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Big Rapids man sentenced to more than 25 years in Jail

 

A Big Rapids man is heading to prison for at least the next 25 years after he was sentenced on sex crime charges Monday.

 

Back in August, 33-year old Christopher Clair Corsello pleaded no contest to first degree criminal sexual conduct of a minor under a plea agreement reached with prosecutors.

 

He was accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl on multiple occasions in Grant Township.

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Big Jackson School students receive backpacks from AT&T

 

A small school in Mecosta County is receiving a big donation.

 

On Monday, AT&T Michigan Pioneers along with State House Representative Jon Bumstead of Newaygo came to Big Jackson Public School in Paris to hand out backpacks filled with school supplies to its students.

 

Dr. Lori Tubbergen-Clark, Superintendent of Big Jackson School, is very appreciative being selected to receive the backpacks.

 

“Big Jackson is part of the Reading Now Network, so that’s exciting about the back packs is the students will be able to use them for take home books, so we can promote reading every single night in these children’s homes with new reading material.”  

 

In addition to Big Jackson, AT&T Pioneers plan to distribute more than 2,600 backpacks to students across Michigan this fall.

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Culver's restaurant coming to Big Rapids Township

 

A restaurant started by the grandson of a Wisconsin cheese maker is coming to Big Rapids Township.

 

Culver's, a family oriented restaurant chain that features ButterBurgers and frozen custard, is planning on building a new facility in Big Rapids Township according to Township supervisor Bill Stanek.

 

They have told us they would like to start soon is all. The location that they've applied for is across [from] the Meijer gas station – just east of the Meijer gas station.”

 

Stanek notes that although no date for groundbreaking has been set, the project is definitely moving forward.

 

It is yes. They've gone a long way already. They have site plan approval and they've applied for the building permit.”

 

Based out of Sauk City, Wisconsin, Culver's currently has 560 franchises across 22 states.

 

 

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Stanwood pair arrested after Molotov cocktail thrown at trailer in Big Rapids Township

 

Two people from Stanwood are being held in connection with trailer fire in Big Rapids Township.

 

Police say people at the College Park Mobile Village just off Catherine Street had gotten into a fight over stolen alcohol on Friday morning.

 

A 23-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman, both from Stanwood, were taken into custody.

 

Police determined that a Molotov cocktail had been thrown at the trailer although no one was hurt in the fire.

 

 

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Big Rapids city officials consider warranty for water and sewer lines

 

The water crisis in Flint has brought the condition of water systems in America to the forefront.

 

Many communities are facing crumbling infrastructure issues and elected officials in Big Rapids are considering a city endorsed warranty program for residential sewer and water customers.

 

At a recent City Commission meeting, City Attorney Eric Williams noted that most homeowner insurance plans don't cover residential sewer and water lines.

 

At the city's request, Williams contacted a number of Michigan cities who are participating in a warranty program offered through the National League of Cities.

 

The results, frankly, were a little startling. The results were all positive and they were not just mildly positive,” he says.

 

The NLC has been in touch with city officials and is asking for a city endorsement for their program.

 

Mayor Mark Warba agrees that something should be done to address he issue.

 

We see and hear about frozen water pipes – that's not going to abate, I think, any time soon and maybe residents would appreciate knowing that at least there's some ability if they want to insure against it that they have some options.”

 

At the mayor's request, Williams will be looking into alternatives before the city officials consider endorsing the NLC program.

 

The NLC says their service line warranty program gives a warranty that will provides repairs for a monthly fee with no deductibles or service fees.

 

The work is performed by licensed, local plumbers who will call the customer within one hour of filing a claim and the repair is typically done within 24 hours.

 

 

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Students at Big Jackson School to receive backpacks full of school supplies from AT&T

 

This afternoon, AT&T Michigan Pioneers will present 30 backpacks filled with school supplies to school administrators at Big Jackson Public School.

 

Teachers and educators will deliver the backpacks to students in need who are enrolled at the school.

 

The packs will include folders, paper, pencils and other essential school supplies.

 

AT&T Pioneers plan to distribute more than 2,600 backpacks across Michigan this fall.

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Midland man dies in Newaygo Co. motorcycle accident

 

A Midland man was killed over the weekend after his motorcycle crashed into an SUV in Newaygo County.

 

The motorcycle rider, George Fernandez, was pronounced dead at the scene in Wilcox Township.

 

The woman and two children in the SUV were not hurt.

 

The accident is being investigated.

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Shepherd man arrested after drunken high speed chase

 

A Shepherd man is behind bars after taking Isabella Co. Sheriff Deputies on a lengthy high speed chase.

 

It happened early Sunday morning; deputies say they got a call about a suspect being chased by Gratiot County deputies near county line road but lost sight of the vehicle.

 

Deputies from Isabella County then took over the chase of the 27-year old suspect's vehicle who went down on Loomis Road to Blanchard Road and then towards Wise Road.

 

The suspect then lost control of his car and rolled it into a field.

 

The driver was taken to the hospital and then to jail.

 

Deputies say they are still investigating but alcohol appears to be a factor. 

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Two Rodney men suffer injuries after car accident in Mecosta County

 

Two Mecosta County men are recovering after a being involved in a car accident in Chippewa Township over the weekend.

 

Sheriff Deputies say the driver; a 29-year old Rodney man suffered a medical issue and passed out while traveling on 20-Mile near 60th Ave.

 

The passenger, 27-year old man also from Rodney, tried to stop the vehicle however the car went off the road and struck some landscaping rocks. 

 

The driver and passenger were taken to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.  Alcohol and drugs were not factors in the crash.

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American teens more likely to use drugs

 

When it comes to drugs, alcohol and tobacco use, how do teens in this country compare to those in Europe?

 

A survey of about 100,000 15 and 16-year-olds in 35 European countries – along with teens in the U.S. – finds American teens use more illicit drugs than teens in Europe according to University of Michigan researcher Lloyd Johnston.

“Thirty-one percent of the American students have used cannabis in their lifetime, and about half that, 16 percent, in Europe. So that's a fair difference,” he says.

 

But when it comes to cigarette smoking and alcohol use, the American teens had the lowest use of any of the countries.

 

 

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Unemployment rate drops in Mecosta County

 

The unemployment rate is improving in Mecosta County.

 

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget says unemployment dropped by nearly 20 percent for the month of August bringing the yearly rate down by about 7.5 percent.

 

In August, all West Michigan non-metro counties saw jobless rate reductions. Every county had a monthly rate drop of at least -0.5 percentage points. The largest rate decreases were felt in Osceola County (-1.3 percentage points), Lake County (-1.1 percentage points), and Ionia and Mecosta counties (-1.0 percentage points).

 

These rate cuts reflected sharp double-digit percent reductions in the number of unemployed, generally due to fewer summer and seasonal jobseekers. Over the year, all counties experienced jobless rate reductions between -0.1 and -1.0 percentage points.

 

 

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Social media posts could cost you a job

 

If you are looking for a job or maybe heading off to college, you may want to review your social media posts.

 

That's because college admissions officers and prospective employers are looking according Julie Fisher, CEO and founder of Social U, a Michigan based social media management program.

 

About 5 percent of admissions officers at college check social media and between 92 and 93 percent of employers are looking at social media profiles before they make hiring decisions.”

Fisher says they're likely to pass on anyone with posts that are discriminatory, violent, or related to illegal activity.

 

 

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Secretary of State gathers food for those in need

 

If you have to make a trip to the Secretary of State's office over the next couple of months, take some non-perishable food items with you.

 

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says they have their annual Harvest Gathering Food Collection at offices statewide.

 

Donations will be given to the Food Bank Council of Michigan and distributed to those in need.

 

The food drive runs through November 23rd.

 

 

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Yahoo user information hacked

 

Yahoo says hackers have been stealing personal information from it's users for the last two years.

 

The stolen data includes users’ names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, hashed passwords, and security questions — and answers — that verify an account holder’s identity.

 

The company says it just recently discovered the break-in as part of an internal investigation.

 

They recommend users change their passwords and, so far, there isn't any evidence that information about bank accounts, credit, or debit cards were swiped.

 

 

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TV ratings for first presidential debate expected to approach Super Bowl levels

 

Move over Monday Night Football.

 

This coming Monday, the focus will be on the first of three presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

“Last year's Super Bowl, I think, was about 115 – 120 million, so it would approach that. In 2012 the first debate between Romney and Obama had 67 million, it's easily going to surpass that and I would not be surprised with 100 million.

 

Just looking at the primaries, 25 million tuned in to the first republican debate in Cleveland, 17 million to the first democratic debate in Las Vegas so yes, surveys have shown that the vast majority of people plan on tuning in.”

 

That's Aaron Kall, Director of Debate at the University of Michigan, who adds that both Clinton and Trump are above average debaters with very different styles.
 

 

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FSU homecoming week winds up with big game on Saturday

 

FSU's homecoming week is wrapping up with the big game against Ashland on Saturday.

 

However, Director of Alumni Relations Brandi Behrenwald says even though it's about FSU, it's really about the whole town and the whole experience.

 

We promote not only coming to the football game and being a part of our tailgate, be we promote going down to the parade [and] stopping in the businesses.”

 

Behrenwald notes that they tried holding activities on campus during past homecomings, but found out that's not what the alums want.

 

What we heard from our alums is, 'We want to go to Schuberg's, we want to go back to the places that we remember and have a burger, grab a beer, sit down and talk with our friends.'”

 

And, she notes, traffic may be a little bit more congested in the area.

 

We have alumni registering from Virginia and Alabama and Illinois and Colorado and California and Tennessee. So we know that not only are they coming from around Michigan, but they're coming from out of state.”

 

The pre-game tailgate starts at 11:30 am on Saturday, the parade gets underway at noon in downtown Big Rapids, and kickoff for the Bulldogs against Ashland is set for 3:30 pm at Top Taggert Field.

 

 

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Newago County gets $5K for ergonomic workstations

 

Newaygo County is among nine counties splitting $28,000 from the Michigan Counties Workers’ Compensation Fund.

 

Newago County will be getting nearly $5,000 to purchase ergonomic workstations for county employees.

 

The MCWCF says the grants are designed to help reduce employee accidents and injuries.

 

 

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Homelessness decreases in Michigan, especially among veterans

 

Some good news from a new report that indicates the state of Michigan has seen a 6 percent drop in homelessness and a 15 percent decrease in veteran homelessness.

 

Chief Housing Solutions Officer Kelly Rose says there are a number of targeted areas that have helped to improve these numbers.

 

Increasing access to affordable housing, increasing leadership collaboration and civic engagement at the local levels, really looking at economic security – how do you really get people back into jobs and also, if they're disabled, how do we make sure that they're getting their disability benefits.”

 

Rose adds there is still much work to be done noting there were nearly 70,000 people that experienced homelessness in Michigan last year.

 

 

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Michigan joins lawsuit to stop overtime pay increases

 

Attorney General Bill Schuette does not want more salaried workers to become eligible for overtime pay.

 

Michigan has joined 20 other states in an effort to block the Obama administration's efforts to require employers to pay overtime to white-collar workers who earn less than $913 weekly.

 

That's about twice the current cutoff of $455 per week.

 

Attorney General Bill Schuette says the rule could have a significant impact on taxpayers and job creation.

 

Overtime protections have diminished over the decades, applying to 62% of full-time salaried workers in 1975 down to just 7% today.

 


 

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FOIA reforms advance in Michigan legislature

 

The Michigan House wants to see more transparency in state government.

 

On Wednesday they put their stamp of approval on proposals subjecting the governor’s office and the legislature to the state's public record laws.

 

Michigan’s 40-year-old Freedom of Information Act explicitly exempts the governor’s office from records requests and in 1986 lawmakers also excluded themselves.

 

Michigan is one of two states to wholly exempt the governor’s office from FOIA.

 

Michigan also is among a minority of states where lawmakers are exempt.

 

 

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Governor signs medical marijuana legislation into law

 

Landmark legislation regulating Michigan’s medical marijuana industry is now law.

 

Governor Rick Snyder signed the three bill package on Wednesday that creates a framework to license and regulate the industry and expands access to non-smokable forms of cannabis for patients.

 

Michigan Cannabis Development Association vice president Willie Rochon calls it a watershed moment and says his organization and over 200,000 medical marijuana patients in Michigan thank the governor and the legislature for making the landmark proposal a reality.

 

 

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Mecosta County Park Commission struggles to bring WIFI to campers

 

In keeping with the times, the Mecosta County Park Commission wants to provide WIFI internet access for it's campers.

 

The Commission has been working with Michigan based Skyweb to erect a 60 foot tower in Brower Park that would provide WIFI to the entire park.

 

Commission Chair Marilynn Vargo says they've been working on it for a while.

 

Several months. We had applied for a special use permit, got that, but then these plans just seem to be a little onerous for what we really need.”

 

Vargo says everything is ready to go on the project, but red tape from Mecosta Township, where the tower would be located, is holding things up.

 

She says the Township's requirements for the 60 foot tower aren't reasonable.

 

We can't get them to budge to give us an exception of any kind. It's the same requirements that a 300 foot tower would need.”

 

Vargo notes that many campgrounds in Michigan now provide WIFI and their customers have come to expect it.

 

Campers want it. Campers want to have their tablets with them, their cell phones to use internet. It's the way of the world now, people need to have their machines with them.”

 

 

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Lobbyists spend record amounts in Lansing

 

A new report by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network says lobbyists are spending more money in Lansing than ever.

 

A record $21.7 million has been spent on lobbying during the first seven months of 2016, up from $21 million during the same period last year.

 

Executive Director Craig Mauger notes that the numbers are probably higher since lobbyists are not required to report all of the money spent trying to influence lawmakers.

 

 

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Evenflo recalls booster seats

 

This is Child Passenger Safety Week and ironically, Evenflo is recalling nearly 30,000 combination booster seats.

 

The Evolve three in one seats have a harness that children can loosen increasing the risk of injury in a crash.

 

There have been no reports of injury, but the company has received 27 complaints.

 

Evenflo says they will notify registered owners and provide a remedy kit.

 

 

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Montcalm County fire destroys resale business

 

An investigation will be conducted by the fire marshal to determine what caused a fire that destroyed a resale shop in Montcalm County.

 

Officials say the fire broke out Sunday night in Edmore and the owner got out of the store and wasn't hurt.

 

The fire department believes a wire might have overheated.

 

Home Township Fire Chief Tim Irwin says unfortunately, the owner did not have insurance on the contents of the shop.

 

 

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Rockford coach pleads guilty to sex charges

 

A former Rockford rowing coach is pleading guilty to federal sex charges.

 

Police say 30-year-old Timothy Vallier of Plainfield Township is pleading guilty to attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography, according documents filed in federal court on Tuesday.

 

Vallier was arrested earlier this year for taking videos of minors changing in a boathouse at the Rockford Public Schools’ Freshman Center.

 

He faces up to 30 years in prison.

 

 

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UPDATE: Fatal ORV crash in Isabella County, GoFundMe page has been established for the pregnant wife

 

UPDATE:

 

A GoFundMe page has been established for the pregnant wife of a man killed in an off road vehicle crash in Isabella County.

 

Thomas Anderman's O-R-V flipped over in Sherman Township Monday night.

 

Police say the vehicle owner admitted to driving it and he was arrested for operating while intoxicated.

 

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

 

One man is dead and another is under arrest following an ORV crash in Isabella County.

 

Police say 30-year-old Thomas A. Anderman of Lakes was a passenger and was ejected and killed when the ORV rolled over on him.

 

The incident took place near Jordan and Wyman Roads in Sherman Township late Monday night.

 

The driver and owner of the ORV, a 44-year-old Mt. Pleasant man, was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated.

 

The incident remains under investigation.

 

 

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Reed City man faces 15 years in prison

 

A 19-year-man from Reed City may be spending the next 15 years in prison.

 

Court officials say Quinton Taylor Aemisegger is being charged with unlawful imprisonment, assault by strangulation, felonious assault, felony firearm, and interfering with an electronic communication device causing injury or death.

 

The charges stem from an incident last month where Aemisegger allegedly assaulted a woman with a BB gun.

 

He's being held on $500,000 bond.

 

 

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Survey shows Michigan teachers demoralized and discontented with their jobs

 

A survey of 11,000 school employees in Michigan reveals widespread disappointment, demoralization and discontent.

 

The American Federation of Teachers and the Michigan Education Association have posted the results of the survey online.

 

They provide a chilling picture of the state of education in Michigan, revealing low morale, exhaustion from needless testing, high job insecurity, and disgust with policies from Lansing saying they hurt rather than help student achievement.

 

The full report can be found at http://www.mea.org/sites/default/files/images/AFT-and-MEA-Survey-Presentation-for-Media.pdf

 

 

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Kellogg recalls Eggos with possible listeria contamination

 

Possible listeria contamination is prompting Kellogg to recall about 10,000 cases of Eggos waffles.

 

The company says the recall affects Eggo Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat Waffles in 10-count packs with "used by" dates of November 21st 2017 and November 22nd 2017.

 

More details on the recall can be found at https://www.leggomyeggo.com/en_US/alert.html.

 

 

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Conference urges presidential candidates to support the Great Lakes

 

The 12th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference kicked off on Tuesday and a broad coalition wants both presidential candidates to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has spurred nearly three thousand projects over the past seven years.

 

Gildo Tori is with Ducks Unlimited and he wants to see clear support for the Great Lakes noting the Flint water crisis highlights the need for clean-water investments

 

"And the Great Lakes are big picture – there's 30 million people who rely on them for drinking water and there's about a million and a half jobs that are directly connected to the Great Lakes. Anybody that's a president is going to realize, my goodness, this Great Lakes region can be really compared to its own state or country, in and of itself."

 

A 2016 poll of voters in Great Lakes states found more than six in ten strongly support continued funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

 

It also revealed voters would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate promising cuts to federal restoration funds.

 

 

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Two drug busts in two days in Mecosta County

 

Two men are facing charges in separate drug busts in Mecosta County.

 

Police say 36-year-old Glenn Qiani Strawder of Blanchard was arrested last Wednesday in Hinton Township and charged with manufacturing more than 200 marijuana plants and felony firearm.

 

The next day, 33-year-old Jack Daniel Harris of Morley was arrested in Deerfield Township and charged with growing marijuana with intent to deliver.

 

Both have prior drug convictions.

 

Strawder is being held on $150,000 bond while Harris is being held on $75,000 bond.

 

 

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Big Rapids City Commission considers new marijuana laws

 

Legislation governing medical marijuana facilities in Michigan is currently awaiting Governor Rick Snyder's signature.

 

Snyder is expected to sign the bills which would impose a new tax and establish a state licensing system to grow, process, sell, transport or test marijuana.

 

The Big Rapids City Commission is already looking at how Big Rapids might handle the possibility of marijuana dispensaries in the city.

 

I think we need to study that and get up to speed, ready to decide are we going to opt in or opt out,” says Mayor Mark Warba.

 

The Commission touched on the subject briefly at Monday's meeting where City Attorney Eric Williams quoted from the legislation noting the immediate concern Big Rapids would have under the new law.

 

A marijuana facility shall not operate in a municipality unless the municipality has adopted an ordinance that authorizes that type of facility.”

 

Williams recommends the Commission start looking at a number of issues that will be raised.

 

What's it look like for markets, what's it look like for what would happen in this kind of community. We'd probably want to have input from the university, the school districts, and plan for it rather than just not analyze it,” he says.

 

Mayor Warba agrees and wants to be ready if and when Governor Snyder signs the legislation into law.

 

I think it's better to be proactive and out ahead of it than reactive to something, and now's the time to do it as this legislation is going to get rolled out I think.”

 

Some people opposing the proposed law say it sets up a system that caters to big, out of state businesses over local distributors.

 

 

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Child Passenger Safety Week highlights need for proper car seat and belt use

 

Car accidents are among the top causes of death among kids in the U.S., but experts say the risk can be reduced with proper use of restraints.

 

Child Passenger Safety Week runs through Saturday with the goal of educating parents and caregivers about proper seat-belt and car-seat use.

 

Kendell Wingrove with the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning says every 33 seconds a child age 13 or younger is involved in an auto accident.

 

In Michigan, ten child occupants age eight or younger were killed in vehicle crashes during the year 2015 and 544 children age eight or younger were injured in vehicle crashes.”

 

Michigan law requires kids under age four to ride in a car seat in the back seat.

 

Children must also be in a car seat or booster until they are either eight years old or four-feet-nine-inches tall.

 

Wingrove says once a child grows out of a car seat or booster, seat belt use always should be reinforced.

 

And he recommends children stay in the back seat until they are at least teenagers.

 

 

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Deer-car crashes on the rise

 

New data from State Farm finds that Michigan drivers are 14 percent more likely to collide with a deer than they were last year.

 

That's based on claims filed with the auto insurer.

 

The odds drivers will hit a deer in Michigan are 1 out of 85, about twice as high as the national odds.

 

Michigan ranked eighth in the U-S for car-deer crashes—West Virginia was first.

 

October, November, and December are the most popular months for such accidents.

 

 

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Homecoming week kicks off at FSU

 

Ferris State's homecoming week gets underway on Monday starting off with a puppy bowl fantasy draft that supports the United Way campaign and a kickball trournament at Top Taggert Field at 7:00PM.

 

Other events are planned throughout the week culminating with the big game against Ashland on Saturday at 3:30 pm.

 

The contest is being shown on the American Sports Network, allowing fans from across the country to enjoy the clash between the Bulldogs and the Eagles.

 

Details on all the week's events can be found here.

 

 

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Mecosta County EMS workers to get pay raise

 

Mecosta County's EMS workers will be getting a raise starting July 1st of next year.

 

The County Board of Commissioners approved a contract amendment at Thursday's meeting that changes the way EMS employees are compensated.

 

Controller/Administrator Paul Bullock says it will help with recruiting and retention.

 

The system that we're transitioning from was the old fire service type system and just about everyone in this area is getting away from that. They're going to more 24 hour pay and I think we're one of the last in the area to go to 24 hour pay.”

 

Bullock says the effective pay raise is well deserved although how it is going to be paid for isn't clear yet.

 

There will be some additional costs. However, our hope is that we can identify additional revenue streams to cover the majority of that.”

 

Bullock notes the county will also tap into a millage that is used to support EMS.

 

 

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Fiat Chrysler recalls over one million cars due to airbag problems

 

Airbag problems tied to three deaths are forcing Fiat Chrysler to recall nearly one and a half million cars.

 

The vehicles involved include 2010 Chrysler Sebrings, 2011 to 2014 Chrysler 200's, and 2010 to 2012 Dodge Calibers, Avengers, and Jeep Patriot and Compass vehicles.

 

A potentially flawed computer can keep airbags from deploying during a crash.

 

 

 

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Big Rapids Township fall clean-up day

 

Saturday is the Big Rapids Township 2016 Fall Clean-up Day at the Big Rapids Township Airport Industrial Park.

 

Dumpsters will be provided for Township residents to dispose of miscellaneous garbage such as furniture, iron, and other metals.

 

Appliances, old tires, and building materials will also be accepted.

 

However, the only toxic items being accepted are batteries and oil and no yard waste will be taken.

 

The collection runs from 9:00AM til noon.

 

For more information on what will or won't be accepted call 231-796-3603.

 

 

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BRPS sector policing initiative postponed

 

An initiative by the Big Rapids Public Safety Department to increase community involvement and trust is being postponed.

 

The BRPS sector policing initiative was scheduled to kick off this week, but Public Safety Director Jim Eddinger says that plan didn't work out.

 

Actually, it has not started this week. I'm short a whole bunch of folks. I got a message from the Sargent saying, 'Could you push this back to the middle of October?” And I said yes.”

 

The plan to have police officers and firefighters stop and homes and businesses throughout the city now has a tentative start date of October 10th.

 

Eddinger notes that the President's task force on 21st century policing emphasizes legitimacy and trust within the community.

 

I think here in this community we have a rather high level of legitimacy, it's the trust portion that I think we could add to,” he says.

 

Eddinger says when people interact with someone they know it creates a different paradigm and it's easier to communicate when you trust someone.

 

We've isolated ourselves from the community in these police cars. It's time to get out and get back in touch with them.”

 

Eddinger doesn't want people to be alarmed when they show up but they are just coming to have a conversation. He asks anyone with questions about the program to contact him at (231) 527-0005.

 

 

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Police arrest White Cloud man for shooting a gun while under the influence of drugs

 

A White Cloud man is in some hot water with the law after he allegedly fired a handgun inside a home while under the influence of drugs.

 

Deputies in Newaygo County say they were called to a residence in Wilcox Township early Thursday morning to investigate a report of gun shots.

 

During an investigation, police determined that the 44-year old man shot a handgun several times inside and outside of the home.

 

A 19-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man were present during the shooting but were not injured.

 

Deputies were able to locate the White Cloud man while he was driving his motorcycle on M-37. He was taken into custody on charges of felonious assault, being a felon in possession of a firearm, a concealed carry weapon violation and operating under the influence of drugs.

 

The suspect's name is being withheld pending arraignment.

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Paris Park may be kept open for hunters this fall

 

Plans are in the works to keep Paris Park in Mecosta County open for hunting season.

 

Park Commission Chair Marilynn Vargo says the commission has been thinking about it for a while.

 

I was told that many, many years ago we used to leave it open for hunters. Why they got away from it I'm not sure.”

 

Vargo speculates that the park commission got away from the practice because people were gutting their deer in the park and leaving a mess.

 

She says they will have to make sure things like that don't happen again and that Mecosta County Park Superintendent Jeff Abel is amenable to the idea.

 

The new superintendent is willing to open it up and find a way to make it work.”

 

Vargo adds that keeping Paris Park open for hunting season is a good idea and it won't affect the regular park closing schedule.

 

I think it would be an asset to the community and give people a place if they don't have a hunting cabin to go to or whatever.”

 

The commission hopes to have the details worked out as soon as next week.

 

 

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Hyundai recalling 41K SUV's

 

A software glitch is causing Hyundi to recall about 41,000 SUV's in the U.S.

 

The recall covers 2016 Tucson models with seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions.

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the vehicles may not accelerate after the gas pedal is repeatedly cycled.

 

Hyundai says dealers will reprogram the transmission computer.

 

 

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Zika virus spreading in west Michigan

 

Nine cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in west Michigan in Ottawa County.

 

Kristina Wieghmink, with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, says they are all travel related cases in people ranging in age from a teen to 50, but there are no pregnant women infected.

 

She has advice for anyone traveling to countries where Zika is prevalent.

 

Making sure people are cautious when traveling to these areas where's there's Zika virus. Making sure you're wearing your bug spray and stay indoors whenever possible,” she says.

Wieghmink says they do have other pending cases of Zika in the county and there have been other cases throughout the state.

 

 

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Medical marijuana bills head to governor's desk

 

A package of pot bills which advocates say will help vulnerable cancer and Aids patients will now head to the Governor for finalization.

 

Patients will now be permitted to use non-smoking forms of cannabis, including capsules, edibles, liquid forms for oral dosing, and topical oils.

 

All of the medicine will be screened and regulated for safety something legislative policy director and patient advocate Robin Schneider says will give people piece of mind.

“To know that every time they go to the store to get their medicine that same medicine has the same dose and the same product will be available to them every single time.”

 

Schneider says the new bills will also create jobs for growers, processors, transporters, and safety compliance facilities.
 

 

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Thief arraigned on charges connected to Morton Twp. home burglaries

 

A man is being charged with the robberies of two homes in Morton Township.

 

28-year old Ryan Michael Hayner is being charged with four counts of felony larceny.

 

Detective Drew Nielsen of the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office says an investigation revealed Hayner being responsible for two home burglaries in Morton Township.

 

Firearms, power tools / equipment, and jewelry were stolen from two residences in Morton Twp.

 

Hayner is being held in The Mecosta County Jail on $65,000 bail pending further Court action.

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Proposed bill in Michigan House would increase beer tax by 200%

 

It may cost you more to drink a beer in Michigan.

 

A bill was introduced in the State House Wednesday to increase the tax on beer to over six-cents per 12-ounce can and just under $22.00 per barrel.

 

It's currently $6.30 per barrel, or about 1.9 cents per 12-ounce can.

 

The extra money raised would help fund treatment programs.

 

The tax would only be on beer and would not include wine or liquor sales. 

 

The president of the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association called the proposal "shortsighted" and said a tax increase would hurt a growing industry that includes brewpubs.

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State Rep. Potvin to make appearance in Barryton for office hours

 

After having to cancel an appearance in Mecosta County last month, State House Representative Phil Potvin will be back in the area on Monday, September 19th.

 

Potvin will be appearing at Williams Café in Barryton from 9:30-10:30am next Monday to hold office hours and talk to residents.

 

Potvin said he hopes people take the opportunity to come out on Monday and speak with him about their concerns on what’s going on in the district and in Lansing.

 

No appointment is necessary for office hours. 

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Driver who caused thousands in damage at Isabella County Fairgrounds identified by police

 

The Isabella County Sheriff's Office says they have identified the man who caused thousands of dollars in damage at the county's fairgrounds late last week.

 

Sheriff Michael Main says social media helped in locating the driver who left the roadway on Mission road, went through a ditch, and then drove straight through a building.

 

The suspect has confessed to having a medical condition while he was driving.

 

The matter is being turned over to the prosecutor for possible charges.

 

 

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The Alliance commends Mayor Warba for declaring September 'General Aviation Appreciation Month'

 

Washington DC based Alliance for Aviation Across America is commending Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba for proclaiming September “General Aviation Appreciation Month”

“Mayor Warba’s proclamation helps highlight the economic benefits and valuable service that general aviation provides to the City of Big Rapids and the State of Michigan,” said Selena Shilad, Executive Director of the Alliance for Aviation Across America. “We sincerely thank the Mayor and the City of Big Rapids for recognizing this vital industry.”

 

In Michigan, general aviation contributes over $4 billion to the state’s economy.

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Osceola Co. man pleads guilty to first degree child abuse and other charges

 

In a story we continue to watch in Osceola County, a 21-year old Evart man is taking a plea deal from prosecutors connected to a case of child abuse of a one and a half year old toddler.

 

Marc Steven Hartnett is pleading guilty to first degree child abuse and one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.

 

Back in September of 2015, the baby’s mother came home to find her child unresponsive with severe injuries; Hartnett was watching the child at the time of what happened.

 

He faces 13 to 40 years behind bars when he’s sentenced next month. 

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Big Rapids Middle School video goes viral

 

A video made by the Big Rapids Middle School has gone viral.

 

The video shows students on their first day of classes reciting the Pledge of Allegiance out in front of the school building.

 

Middle School Principle Mitch Cumings says the idea started out two years ago as a cool way to start the year.

 

It was a simple idea by Mark Brejcha, a former service member. (He) was in the United States Air Force, retired from the Air Force, now teaches sixth grade social studies.”

 

Cumings says Brejcha approached him about continuing the ceremony as a yearly tradition.

 

Let's start the new school year with a new flag. We'll go out, we'll play reveille which signifies the new day, really it's just a new start.”

 

Students are given the option to attend the ceremony or not and band Director Albie Todd plays reveille.

 

Cumings caught the moment on his smartphone and posted it to the Big Rapids Middle School Face Book page.

 

It was then picked up by Fox News under the headline, “Meet the public school that loves America.”

 

We didn't expect it to be a viral video. I think the reason it resonates so well with people, so deeply with people, is that it really is a true organic simple gesture of patriotism,” says Cumings.

 

The video has since gone on to get 10,000 shares and 1 million views. Cumings says the video can be seen at the Big Rapids Middle School Face Book page under videos, or by searching the Fox News web site.

 

 

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UPDATE: Barryton man charged with breaking into Hometown Riverside Grocery

 

A 23-year old Barryton man is in jail on charges connected to a break-in of a grocery store last month. 

 

Shane Allen Hunt is in the Mecosta County Jail on $500,000 bond. 

 

Detective Drew Nielsen says Hunt is charged with breaking and entering into a building, safe breaking and larceny from a building during August 29th at the Hometown Riverside Grocery in Barryton. 

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MHSAA says concussions too common in high school athletes

 

A new reports says an average of six student athletes at every high school in Michigan suffered a concussion during the last school year.

 

It was the first time the Michigan High School Athletic Association ordered every high school to report concussions in it's athletes.

 

Concussions can happen from a head hitting the ground, being whipped around – some of these sports do some pretty violent things to the body and they do it pretty fast. And a concussion does not always have to happen as a result of an impact, it can be that the body gets whipped around and the brain is suspended inside.”

 

That's spokesperson John Johnson who adds over 4,400 concussions were reported last year.

 

 

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Meijer recalls potato chips because of food allergy danger

 

Meijer is recalling No Salt Added Kettle Cooked Potato Chips due to undeclared soy and milk.

 

People who have allergies to soy or milk products run the risk of allergic reaction if they consume the products.

 

The recalled chips come in an 8.5 ounce bag and were distributed to Meijer stores from August 10th until September 8th.

 

Customers who have purchased the recalled product can return it to its place of purchase for a full refund.

 

 

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Four vehicle accident in Montcalm County sends four people to the hospital

 

Four people are recovering following a four car accident in Montcalm County.

 

Police say 55-year-old Nancy King was traveling north on Greenville Road in Eureka Township on Sunday but didn't notice traffic in front of her stopped.

 

She swerved into oncoming traffic striking three other vehicles.

 

King, along with 54-year-old Donald Carlton, 77-year-old Eugene Carlton, and 39-year-old Jennifer Modasik were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

 

Police blame distracted driving for the accident.

 

 

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Operation Blue Light begins again today in Big Rapids

 

An initiative to curb traffic accidents in the city of Big Rapids by 10% compared to last year, continues this afternoon. 

 

 

Big Rapids DPS officer Erik Little says “Operation Blue light” will take place today from 2:30pm-5:30pm on State Street from Maple Street to Perry Avenue.

 

Officers will be looking for any traffic violations but focusing on violations that cause traffic accidents.

 

The initiative continues until the end of the year.  

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Ferris State University takes steps to assist students in the wake of ITT's sudden closure

 

With the recent announcement of ITT Tech’s sudden closure of all of its campuses nationwide, Ferris State University is taking action to find help for those affected students.

 

Ferris has taken steps to make a transfer to Ferris easy for the former ITT students. A list of ITT course equivalencies has been developed, at Ferris.

 

Officials say the Big Rapids University will work with students to assist them with a seamless transfer or starting a new degree program.

 

Students may transfer with as few as 12 credit hours.  

 

Deedee Stakley, director of the Office of Transfer and Secondary School Partnerships said in a press release, they want students to know that a college education is still within reach at Ferris Sate. 

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Amish family thrown from buggy after car accident in Mecosta Twp.

 

An Amish family is recovering in a Big Rapids hospital after being ejected from their buggy last night in Mecosta County.

 

It happened on Northland Dr. near Polk Rd. in Mecosta Twp.

 

A 22- year old Morley man stated that he was traveling southbound when he crested a hill and struck the buggy, which was in the middle of the road also heading southbound.  

 

A 35-year old male, his 34-year old wife and 1-year old son were all ejected from the buggy. All three were taken to the Big Rapids Spectrum Hospital for non life-threatening injuries.

 

 

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Three people sent to hospital after car hits tree in Mecosta County

 

Three people were sent to the hospital after the car they were traveling in hit a tree in Mecosta County’s Deerfield Township.   

 

Sheriff Deputies say the vehicle was traveling west bound on Washington when it came over the hill and attempted to avoid a tree limb in the road. 

 

The driver attempted to correct the vehicle however lost control and went off the roadway and struck a tree. 

 

The driver, a 20-year old Big Rapids man and a passenger were taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital with non life threatening injuries while a third passenger was taken to Grand Rapids Spectrum Health Hospital for his injuries. 

 

Alcohol, drugs and speed appear to be factors in this accident, according to deputies. 

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Big Rapids Public School Board of Education greets new hires

 

Some new faces are now officially part of the Big Rapids Public School system.

 

The BRPS Board of Education approved seven new hires and/or promotions during Monday's meeting.

 

Superintendent Tim Haist says the new school year is looking good for both students and staff.

 

We've had a great summer of hires. I feel like we have a very strong team. We've been able to hire people with great experience, very dedicated to our students, and I'm looking forward to having them be a part of our team.”

 

And, he says, the seven people approved at the meeting were just a fraction of those added to BRPS.

 

Over the course of the summer we've hired over 20 people. We have a couple more para-pro positions that we are still working to fill but we're hopeful we'll have those filled by the end of the week.”

 

Those approved by the board on Monday include:

 

  • High School Guidance Counselor Heather Woodworth

  • High School Physical Education Teacher Josh Easler

  • Middle School Math Interventionist Brandon Bennett

  • Middle School Special Education Teacher Michelle Flachs

  • Elementary Music Teacher Jeanna Lamar

  • Elementary Specials Teacher Megan O'Hara

  • High School Assistant Principle Joshua Bull

 

 

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Consumers Energy credit card scam returns

 

An old phone scam is making the rounds again.

 

Consumers Energy says they have received 982 complaints through September 8th involving phone calls demanding immediate payment using a prepaid credit card.

 

That's up from 860 for September of last year.

 

Officials say thieves have netted more than $58,000 using this method.

 

Consumers says they never demand payments over the phone using a prepaid credit card.

 

 

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Study suggests youth can get trapped in the legal system if they're poor

 

It's not just the consequences of their own actions a young person must face when involved in the juvenile-justice system.

 

New research finds youth in Michigan can be pulled deeper into the system due to excessive court-related costs.

 

According the Juvenile Law Center, fees and fines in Michigan include the cost of tests and evaluations, rehabilitation, and court operation.

 

Associate director Jessica Feierman says many families simply cannot afford them.

 

"We're creating two separate systems of justice. This is really a glaring example of justice by income. We really can do better. We can set a system that's fair to all young people, not just the ones who have access to money."

 

She notes the consequences of these costs can increase recidivism and detour a young person from getting on the right track.

 

The report recommends that states eliminate costs, fines, and fees on youth by establishing more sustainable and effective models for funding court systems.

 

 

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Drug bust by Big Rapids Police takes over two pounds of marijuana and cocaine off the streets

 

Police in Big Rapids made a significant drug bust at a home last week.

 

It all started Thursday night when central dispatch received a few 911 hang up calls from a home that prompted Big Rapids DPS officers and Mecosta County Sheriff Deputies to visit the residence.

 

During its investigation, officers discovered a handgun, along with 2.5 pounds of marijuana, seven grams of powdered cocaine.  

 

Big Rapids DPS Detective Brian Miller says it’s always a good thing for a community when you take drugs off the streets.

 

“I think from a public safety stand point and community safety this drug bust is huge because its drugs that would have been available are now out of the criminal’s hands.”  

 

Police arrested a 58-year old man at the home at the time of the investigation while subsequent surveillance led to the arrest of 51-year old man a 43-year old man on probation violations.

 

A 38-year old man from Baldwin who also lived at the home is expected to face charges of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and maintaining a drug house.

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Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center in Big Rapids to open Friday

 

A new store will be opening up in Big Rapids this week aimed at those shoppers looking for a great deal and maybe something unique.

 

The Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center will be opening on Friday; Chris Vallette of the local Salvation Army chapter is very excited to hit the ground running.

 

“After three months of collecting items and getting things set up and ready at the store, the Salvation Army is really excited to see everything come to fruition and be able to open the doors to the public and serve their needs which will allow the Salvation Army provide more programs to the area we serve.”

 

The new facility will occupy 22,000 square feet of space in a portion of the former Big Rapids Furniture store.

 

Much like other Salvation Army Stores, the store in Big Rapids will sell donated items from the public, including gently used clothing, household goods, electronics, furniture, appliances, books, sporting goods and general merchandise.  

 

The store's hours of operation will be Monday through Saturday 9am-6pm (closed Sundays).

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Former FSU Professor and State House Rep. Phil Potvin testify about state boundary lines

 

A former professor of Geography at Ferris State University along with State House Representative Phil Potvin testified in support of a bill that will place the boundaries for the state of Michigan in statute.

 

House Bill 4264, sponsored by Rep. Potvin, will clearly lay out Michigan’s boundaries with neighboring states and Canada.

 

Potvin says the boundaries of Michigan have not been fully spelled out in state law or the constitution for more than 50 years, and his legislation remedies that.

 

During testimony, former FSU Professor, Richard Santer said Michigan educators, geographers, historians and others need an updated boundary description to communicate the true area of citizen responsibility. 

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Isabella Co. Deputies looking for person who drove through building on county fairgrounds

 

Police in Isabella County are looking for a person they say caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to a building at the county fairgrounds.

 

Sheriff Michael Main says the suspect and vehicle left the roadway on Mission road and went through a ditch and then drove straight through the building.

 

One of the main support beams of the building was broken off, along with other parts of the structure.

 

The vehicle tracks indicated that the driver drove in circles in the building prior to exiting the building.

 

Police recovered part of a grill from the early 2000’s Dodge truck from the scene which is believed to be from the suspect vehicle.

 

The Sheriff’s Office is asking for any information on this accident or if anyone knowns or has seen a Dodge vehicle missing a portion of the Honeycomb design grill to call Central Dispatch at 989 773 1000.

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Spectrum Health Big Rapids exceeds national benchmarks for patient infections

 

A ranking by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid late last year sited Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital as being among the lowest health rankings due to a high number of patient infections.

 

However, over the last year, they've worked to improve those numbers says Spectrum Health spokesperson Sarah Neubecker.

 

The report released in December 2015 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is based on data from 2012 to 2014.

 

With focus, diligence, and the hard work of our team, Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital has reduced the reported catheter associated infections and surgical site infections.

 

Over the past year, Big Rapids Hospital has seen a reduction in its hospital acquired condition score and now exceeds national benchmarks.

 

We consider this a significant accomplishment.

 

An updated report will be released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the very near future and will show this vast improvement,” she says.

 

The goal of the rankings by the CMS is to hold hospitals accountable for hospital acquired infections and to shift hospitals into a thought process of giving higher quality and care performance, rather than higher volume of services.

 

 

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Organizations ask politicians to keep public lands public

 

Sportsmen, wildlife and environmental groups from states around the country, including Michigan, have a request for those running for the White House: keep public lands in public hands.

 

Forty organizations released a letter Thursday asking the presidential hopefuls to commit to protecting federal public lands for future generations.

 

They are also asking candidates at the state level to oppose turning over control of public lands to states or selling them to private interests.

 

National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Outreach Coordinator, Frank Szollosi, says incidents like the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation in Oregon are concerning threats.

 

"Those were extremists who were trying to accomplish with the point of a gun what some in Congress are trying to do with the point of a pen – and that is, wrest control of public lands from all Americans into the hands of a privileged few."

 

O'Mara contends people need to keep fighting to maintain access to public lands.

 

The federal government owns an estimated 640 million acres of land, including about 3.6 million acres in Michigan.

 

 

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Report shows drug and alcohol use on college campuses a mixed bag

 

Some highs and some lows as it pertains to drug and alcohol use among college students.

 

The national Monitoring the Future study released this morning by the University of Michigan shows more and more college students are smoking marijuana.

 

The report says 38-percent of college students have smoked weed.

 

Researchers say more students don't think of marijuana as dangerous and that should be a concern for

administrators, parents and students because frequent marijuana use can affect academic performance and college completion.

 

The report shows the use of heroin has been low among college students for many years and dropped again in 2015.

 

Cigarette smoking continues to decline gradually among college students, but alcohol is very popular among students.

 

The study shows nearly eight in ten students have drank alcohol in the past year.

 

While 40-percent of those students questioned said they binge drink, or have five or more drinks at one time, researchers say the greater concern is "extreme binge drinking," where students have ten to 15 drinks at one sitting which can lead to alcohol poisoning or serious accidents.

 

The study involves between 1,000 and 1,500 college students.

 

 

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Evart Police needs public's help in identifying suspect

 

Police in Evart needs the public’s help in identifying a woman they say is accused of stealing a wallet from a customer at a convenience store.

 

They say the suspected woman is accused of stealing another customer’s wallet at Dollar General located on US-10 in Evart.

 

The person of interest on the right in the photo, is described as a white female, short brown hair, wears glasses and was last seen wearing a red t-shirt and blue capris.

 

If you have any information about the suspect, contact Evart Police at 231-734-5911.  

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USDA says hunger is still a problem in Michigan

 

While the state's economy has improved in recent years, a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says one in seven Michigan households still struggles to avoid hunger.

 

Food Bank of Central Michigan executive director Phillip Knight says while economic insecurity is an underlying factor in food insecurity, hunger must be addressed first in order for families to get ahead.

 

"If you're hungry, you only have one problem. Your mind's really not free to think about education, or health care or getting a better job. You're thinking about what am I going to eat today and what am I going to give my kids."

 

There are 602,000 low-income Michigan children receiving free or reduced-price lunches, but only about half of them are getting a school breakfast, which experts say is one way to reduce food insecurity among children.

 

 

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State being sued for $4B in local revenue sharing

 

The State of Michigan is being sued over local revenue sharing payments.

 

Wayne State University law professor John Mogk filed the law suit saying the state owes local governments $4 billion.

 

Mogk says the state has been playing a shell game by improperly claiming payments made to schools and for road repairs against local governments' share of sales tax revenue.

 

That, he says, is an illegal tax shift under the state constitution’s Headlee Amendment.

 

 

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Michigan Senate Oks new head of DEQ

 

It looks likely that Governor Rick Snyder's pick to lead the Department of Environmental Quality will be confirmed.

 

Former BP lobbyist Heidi Grether was questioned by the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday during confirmation hearings.

 

The panel did not vote on Grether which means her appointment will take place automatically next week.

 

Grether says she will strike a balance between environmental protection and “real world” economic prosperity.

 

 

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Head-on crash closes Northland Drive

 

Three people are recovering following what rescue workers called a near head-on collision in Aetna Township.

 

The crash happened just after noon on Wednesday when two on coming cars collided on Northland Drive near 180th Avenue.

 

The road was shut down for about an hour and two of the three injured parties had to be extricated from their vehicle.

 

All three were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

 

 

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Remus woman injured in two car accident

 

A female driver is being treated for injuries after a two car accident in Remus.

 

Mecosta Co. Sheriff Deputies say the Remus woman was attempting to pull out of a street side parking spot at Sheridan Ave near Wheatland Ave when she was struck by another vehicle heading westbound. 

 

The Remus woman was taken to Kalsey Memorial Hospital for non-life threatening injuries  

 

The male driver in the other vehicle was not injured. 

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Flood watch in effect for Mecosta Co.

 

A flood watch is now in effect until 8am Thursday for Mecosta County and much of west-central Michigan.

 

Mecosta County Emergency Manager Scott Schroeder says when you have potential flooding, residents who live on or near water should make a preparedness kit.

 

“Put stuff in your kit you can’t live without, like a cell phone and charger, your computer and its charger and important documents like insurance papers and such put in a tote bag so you’re ready to leave if need be.”

 

When weather like this happens, Schroeder stresses that residents monitor on radio or television what’s happening because weather can change quickly.   

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New bill would ban hand held cell phones in cars

 

A new bill introduced by State Representative Martin Howerlak would ban drivers from the use of all cellphones and electronic devices that are NOT mounted in the car and voice-activated with a single touch.

“We want to be on top of things and jobs today require people to do probably a lot more than people should be required to do. However, at the end of the day, if we are not alive or if we have interrupted somebody else's life, that's more important than whatever it is that we think we may need to do at that very moment with a handheld device,” he says.

 

The bill carries a penalty of $250, which rises to $500 upon a second offense.

 

 

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Michigan employers to give 3% pay raises in 2017

 

Despite economic growth and continued low unemployment, a report from the American Society of Employers shows that Michigan employers are budgeting for employee pay raises of 3% in 2017, a number that has remained constant for several years.

 

Vice President of ASE Kevin Mars says the economy is still in a position of low inflation.

“There hasn't been, arguably, a lot of pressure on employers to raise salaries. However, us as Employers' Association, are looking at the current state of unemployment to see what pressure that places on employers to increase salaries.”

 

The report also states that wage freezes remain low with only 4% of employers anticipating a wage or salary freeze in 2017.

 

 

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Officials aim to crackdown on underage drinking on Michigan's college campuses

 

A new effort to crackdown on underage drinking on college campuses will kick off today.

 

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and a safety coalition, including Michigan State Police and the Liquor Control Commission, are announcing the "21 To Buy, Not Supply" campaign.

 

The idea is to alert students of the consequences of providing alcohol to minors.

 

Johnson says those who give alcohol to younger students could be fined up to $1,000 and spend 90 days in jail.

 

 

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Mecosta County farmers hurting due to weather

 

Michigan's apple growers are on track for a record harvest this year, but other crops, not so much. MSU Extension Grazing & Crop Management Educator Jerry Lundquist says Mecosta County's primary crops – hay, corn, and soybeans – aren't doing so well mainly because of the weather.

 

Crop growth and maturity is quite variable across Mecosta County and the surrounding regions. We've had above normal heat, but many areas have had below normal rainfall,” he says.

 

Lundquist says wheat, corn, and soybean yields across Mecosta County are below normal and with corn and potato harvests starting this week and other crops to follow, there isn't much time left to recover.

 

And, again because of unusual summer weather, Mecosta County's largest crop, hay, is a mixed bag.

 

The first cutting hay yield was above normal for most farms, but then the second cuttings and somewhat the third cuttings were below normal.”

 

But the worst news, says Lundquist, is that commodity prices are down.

 

Corn prices have fallen dramatically, wheat prices fell this summer, the soybean price is down, and hay prices are down as well.”

 

He notes that the most farmers in the area can hope for is more rain before the harvesting season is over.

 

 

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Police officers recognized for their effort in apprehending Fifth Third Bank robbery suspect

 

As a way to say thanks for their hard work in helping solve a July 20th Fifth Third Bank robbery in downtown Big Rapids, Public Safety Director Jim Eddinger recognized detective Brian Miller as well as other police officers for their effort in apprehending suspect, Anthony Loose.  

 

During the ceremony Tuesday, Miller told attendees at City Hall the award is not about him but is about his team.

 

“This is a team effort, I’m part of this big team and when we got the call July 20th you could see we had that area saturated with officers from all over.”

 

Anthony Loose is currently in Mecosta County Jail without bond in connection to the armed bank robbery.  

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Labor Day ATV accident sends one to the hospital in Osceola Co.

 

Two people from Ohio are recovering after being involved in an ATV accident in Osceola County.

 

It happened Monday in Sherman Township on 23 Mile Road near 130th Avenue.

 

Deputies say the driver of the ATV lost control and struck a tree and the two were thrown.

 

The driver was taken to the hospital with injuries while the passenger suffered minor injuries.

 

Both were not wearing a helmet at the time of accident and it appears alcohol and drugs were not factors, according to police. 

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Weidman man suffers injuries after car accident in Mecosta Co.

 

A Weidman man is recovering after being involved in a car accident in Mecosta County’s Martiny Township.

 

Sheriff Deputies say the 53-year old driver lost control at 18 Mile Rd and Lost Lake Rd after trying to avoid deer in the road.

 

The vehicle left the road and struck guy wires from a power pole before hitting a tree.

 

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

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College grads in Michigan average $30K in student debt

 

Michigan college students are digging into the fall semester, but eventually many will be digging themselves out of a mountain of debt.

 

A report released Tuesday by the Michigan League for Public Policy shows 62 percent of university students in Michigan are graduating with debt averaging close to $30,000 dollars.

 

Senior Policy Analyst Peter Ruark says given Michigan's decline in manufacturing, investment in higher education is crucial to ensure the state has an educated workforce for the jobs of the future.

 

"People could graduate from high school, get a job and get on-the-job training through the years and slowly move up to really good-paying jobs. But now that those kinds of jobs have left people are expected to have a good number of skills even for entry-level jobs."

 

Ruark also suggests lawmakers restore and increase state budget funding for higher education and promote tuition restraint or reduction requirements.

 

He notes community colleges in Michigan are doing much better, with the state ranking 34th nationally for highest tuition among community colleges.

 

 

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Schuette takes straight-party voting issue to SCOTUS

 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is filing an emergency request with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it intervene and overturn a lower court ruling that allows straight-party voting in the state next month.

 

He says the 6th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals has wrongly blocked the ban.

 

The ban would prevent voters from supporting all candidates from one party with a single mark.

 

Opponents say the practice is a tool of party politics because most who vote "straight ticket" are Democrats.

 

 

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Samsung recalls Galaxy Note 7 smartphones

 

Millions of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones are being recalled by Samsung following reports that the devices can catch fire while charging.

 

Samsung said Friday it is halting sales in 10 countries, including South Korea and the U.S.

 

It will offer customers a new product for free in the coming weeks to replace the 2.5 million units that have been sold.

 

 

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DNR warns of fire risks during outdoor activities

 

With so many people enjoying the outdoors this weekend, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources wants everyone to check the level of fire danger in their area before starting any outdoor fires.

 

Grasses, ferns, and other underbrush are beginning to dry out making fires a greater risk.

 

Fire danger status in Mecosta County is currently at moderate but in neighboring Manistee National Forest, the status is high.

 

To check the fire danger status near you, click here.

 

 

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Straight-party voting ban blocked by court

 

Following a decision on Thursday, Michigan residents will have the option to vote by straight party ticket this election.

 

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request to uphold the ban against straight party ticket voting, agreeing with a lower court that it is unconstitutional.

 

Mark Brewer represented the plaintiffs in the case.

 

We have one of the longest ballots in the country, we have some of the longest lines in the country and so that makes the ability to vote straight-party all the more important. And if it's taken away, the millions of voters who would otherwise use it are going to end up standing in line,” he says.

 

Opponents, mostly Republicans, say the practice is a tool of party politics because most who vote "straight ticket" are Democrats.

 

Attorney General Bill Schuette now has to decide whether to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

The deadline to finalize ballots is less than a week away.

 

 

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Camping popular for the weekend, but other outdoor activities available

 

The Labor Day holiday is the last official summer bash for many people.

 

And according to the Department of Natural Resources, every reservable campsite in the state is booked.

 

But spokesperson Maia Turek says there are other options for those looking to get outdoors.

 

When you're thinking about Michigan, especially when you're talking about our state parks and some of our forest campgrounds, we have some absolutely stunning destinations. We've got views and vistas – many of them are attached to great recreational opportunities like kayaking, paddle-boarding, biking, fishing. And so it's that combination of so many great things that you can do that, it's easy to fill up a weekend that's fun and it's relatively inexpensive.”

For those still bent on camping, Turek adds many campers change their holiday plans last minute.

 

If not, there are first-come, first-served park options.

 

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Trump to visit Michigan on Saturday

 

As part of a continued appeal to African-American voters, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will be in Michigan Saturday at an African American church.

 

Meantime, Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine says even though Hillary Clinton leads in the polls in Michigan...they're not being complacent.

 

You can be sure that Hillary Clinton and I are going to be in Michigan often and I suspect not just us, I suspect between President Clinton, President Obama, we're very mindful of the importance of Michigan,” he says.

 

Former president Bill Clinton is expected to attend Detroit's Labor Day parade on Monday.

 

 

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Daughter sentenced in the death of her father

 

A woman from Surrey Township in Clare County is going to jail in connection with the death of her father.

 

Court officials say Angela Hempel agreed to a plea deal and plead guilty to lying to a peace officer, concealing the death of an individual, and being an accessory to a felony after the fact.

 

Last May the body of Hempel's father, Leonard Hempel, was found by friends and family in the backyard of the house where he lived with Angela and her boyfriend James Kuhns.

 

Both Kuhns and Angela Hemple were charged with open murder.

 

She was sentenced Thursday to one year in jail and five years of probation. Kuhns is scheduled for a preliminary exam in October.

 

 

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Be responsible and safe if you go out on the Muskegon River this weekend

 

Floating the Muskegon River is a popular summer staple in Mecosta County and Sheriff Todd Purcell wants those who plan on having fun on the river this weekend to do it safely and responsibly.

 

Over this summer, there have been two drowning deaths on the river.

 

Purcell says even if you’re a good swimmer, you should always wear a life jacket.

 

“First and foremost, if your tubing down the river you should always being wearing a flotation device, even if you think you’re a good swimmer,” he said. “Tubers always need to be aware that river conditions are always changing and just because conditions start out good doesn’t mean they will be good in the end.”

 

The sheriff also advises tubers to stay in your tube while floating down the river and to refrain from alcohol.   

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New research shows predatory lending still a problem in Michigan

 

Opponents of payday and car-title lending say they lead to financial abuse of consumers.

 

The Public Interest Research Group in Michigan analyzed close to 10,000 recent complaints made to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

 

They found that 91 percent involved aggressive debt-collection practices, bank-account closures and/or long-term cycles of debt.

 

Kelly Griffith with the Center for Economic Integrity says the feds should adopt a proposed rule that would force lenders to determine, ahead of time, a borrower's ability to pay and still afford such necessities as rent and food.

 

"This is more of a lending scheme or scam, and they lend based on their ability to collect, not on the borrower's ability to repay."

 

The report also found that around 15 companies accounted for more than half the complaints, many charging triple-digit interest rates.

 

The report says some of the biggest offenders are doing business under the names CashNetUSA, NetCredit, Check ‘n Go, and ACE Cash Express.

 

 

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Majority of violent crimes in Michigan go unsolved

 

 

A new report from Michigan State Police shows a majority of violent crimes are not solved.

 

Statistics show there were more than 131,000 violent crimes in 2015, including murder, kidnapping, rape, assault and human trafficking.

 

Only 37-percent of those crimes were solved.

 

Howeve, the "solve" rate has gone up over the past ten years.

 

State Police say the Secure Cities Partnership, which has troopers working with local police investigators, has helped reduce violent crime.

 

 

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Michigan Senator visits Osceola County, works to expand broadband access

 

In addition to his stop at Wolverine Worldwide in Big Rapids, Michigan Senator Gary Peters recently stopped in Osceola County to learn about efforts to expand broadband Internet.

“I've been meeting with providers and holding meetings as to how we can find the resources and coordinate activities to expand broadband. Everybody, no matter who they are, no matter where they live, and especially those in rural areas where it's more problematic.”

 

Peters also presented medals and honors to the family of a deceased World War two veteran and toured Camp Grayling the largest National Guard training center in the country.
 

 

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Michigan's DHH gets $2.25M to combat opioid abuse

 

Michigan is getting some help in the fight against overdoses on prescription opioids.

 

The Department of Health and Human services will be receiving $2.25 million over the next three years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

The money will be used to improve data collection and analysis, develop a strategy to combat the problem, and work with communities to develop more comprehensive opioid overdose prevention programs.

 

State health officials say there was a four-fold increase from 1999 to 2014 in unintentional fatal drug poisonings.

 

 

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