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News That Affects You Archives for 2016-10

Casting ballots more than once allowed in Michigan, but only for absentee voters

 

Most major polls say around nine percent of the voting public is still undecided heading into next Tuesday's election.

 

In Michigan, if you have already cast an absentee ballot and you change your mind, you can change your ballot.

 

Michigan Secretary of State spokesperson Fred Woodham says there's no set limit on the number of times a person can re-submit an absentee ballot up to election day, although it happens infrequently.

 

He says if someone wants to re-vote, they should go to their clerk's office and obtain a new absentee ballot.

 

So far, nearly 750,000 absentee ballots have been cast in Michigan.

 

 

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Man dies after falling from tree stand in Newaygo Co.

 

A man is dead following a fall from a tree stand in Newaygo County on Sunday.

 

Michigan State Police said in a press release, 39-year old Domingo Castro of Spring Lake was putting up a tree stand at a home in Newaygo County’s Ensley Township when he became unbalanced and fell from the top of the stand.

 

Troopers sayCastro was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

 

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Big Rapids charity drive key to many Mecosta County NPOs

 

The superstore of charity in Mecosta County is about to take place in Big Rapids. The Mecosta County Community Foundation's Philanthropy Day 2016 will be held on Tuesday, November 1st.

 

It's at the Holiday Inn from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. We have the entire ballroom this year, we'll have upwards of 60 non-profit organizations and funds of our foundation that will be there.”

 

That's Foundation Vice President Nick Scheible who says the event was started seven years ago as “Match Day” and is meant to bring all of the county's non-profits together to help teach and work with them on ways to collect funds and reach the community.

 

The first couple years were a huge success and so we kept doing it. A couple years ago we had a million dollar day which is unbelievable.”

 

And, even though we hear about fundraisers and donation drives from one organization or another throughout the year, Scheible says this event is key for many charitable groups.

 

What a lot of groups have done is really geared a lot of their fundraising around this event.”

 

Those who wish to donate but can't make it to the Holiday Inn on November 1st can mail their donations to the Foundation payable to the HPO they wish to help or payable to the Mecosta County Community Foundation for Foundation endowed funds. However, any donations must be made by November 1st to qualify for matching funds from the Foundation which is why Scheible urges people to make it to the event.

 

We'd love to see everybody there and make sure that we're getting our organizations the funds that they need.”

 

NPOs will receive all donated money at the conclusion of he event and those organizations that qualify for matching funds from the Foundation will be mailed checks in January.

 

For more information, go to mecostagives.com online or call 231-592-8347.

 

 

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Deer causes two car accident in Mecosta County

 

Three people are recovering at a local hospital after a two car accident in Mecosta County's Green Township. 

 

It happened on Northbound US-131 just north of 19 Mile Rd.

 

Sheriff Deputies say an investigation revealed a 45-year old Marshall man was driving when he struck a deer which disabled his vehicle in the road.

 

While the vehicle was disabled it was rear ended by a vehicle driven by a 56-year old Kentucky man which caused both vehicles to leave the roadway.

 

Both drivers and an 81-year old female passenger were taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. 

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Wanted man arrested by State Police

 

Michigan State Police have a man in custody they say has been on the run since July.

 

Troopers arrested 35-year old Leslie Robinson after a lengthy chase Friday morning.

 

They say Robinson had numerous warrants for his arrest on charges  out of Wexford County that included assaulting a police officer, operating a meth lab, destroying property and resisting arrest.

 

He is now in Jail on those warrants and new pending charges connected to the police chase. 

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Crash involving an ambulance sends two to the hospital in Montcalm County

 

Two people are recovering, one of them and emergency medical technician, after a car-ambulance crash in Montcalm County.

 

Michigan State Police say the accident happened at the intersection of Fenwick and Town Hall Roads in Bushnell Township Thursday afternoon.

 

An American Medical Response ambulance had stopped then continued through the intersection when it was hit by a car driven by a 20-year-old Carson City woman.

 

The EMT from the ambulance and the woman driving the car were taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

 

The ambulance did not have it's lights or siren on and was taking a patient home at the time.

 

 

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Big Rapids man sentenced on sexual assault charges

 

A Big Rapids man will be spending the next year in jail for assaulting a teenage girl in Mecosta County.

 

Twenty-one-year-old William Nathan Clemons is pleading guilty to assault with intent to commit sexual penetration after police say he assaulted a girl between the ages of 13 and 15 in February of 2014.

 

He had originally been charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, but had that charged dismissed as part of the plea deal.

 

Clemons was also sentenced for a separate drug case. In addition to jail time, he will be on probation for the next five years.

 

 

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Spectrum Health Foundation Hosts Annual Festival of Trees Nov. 9th

 

Some call it the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season in Big Rapids, the “Festival of Trees” will once again be held November 9th.

 

The event, which allows participants to decorate trees, wreaths and other items and then be put up for auction to benefit the Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals Foundation.

 

Spectrum Spokesperson Sue Snavely says this is always a special event for them every year.

 

"We are always amazed by the generosity of the community, people coming forth with their creativity on the trees and wreaths." "Alot of people look forward to it every year." 

 

The event will take place at 6:30pm at Chemical Bank in Downtown Big Rapids.

 

Organizers hope this year’s event will raise up to $17,000 for the Foundation.

 

Tickets are $25 and available at Chemical Bank (Michigan Avenue location), Gary Trimarco Automotive and Patterson’s Flowers.

 

You may also contact Angie Bennett at 231.592.4280

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Betten-Baker purchases Trimarco Automotive in Big Rapids

 

After 17 years of business in the Big Rapids area, Gary and Lynn Trimarco of Trimarco Automotive are selling their car dealership to Coopersvile based Betten-Baker Automotive.

 

The Trimarco’s made the announcement of their decision to sell the business this week.

 

Pete Richards of Betten-Baker told Big Rapids Daily News that they are very excited to have a new dealership in the Big Rapids area.

 

“The decision to expand to Big Rapids was a great opportunity, it’s a great market.” “We’ve had a great run with General Motors products and Trimarco Automotive has a solid foundation for us to build on in the future.”  

 

Betten-Baker expects to open its new dealership by January.  

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Distracted walking blamed for pedestrian accidents while walking to school

 

A new report looks at the dangers of walking to and from school. According to the latest Safe Kids Report, 24 Michigan children were killed in pedestrian accidents last year, many of them occurring shortly before or after school. Safe Kids Worldwide president and CEO Kate Carr says part of the problem is distracted walkers.

 

The number of teens that have cell phones has grown from 45 percent in 2004 to 88 percent in 2015. And we know that our teens are very involved in internet usage and texting.”

But Carr says distracted drivers are also partly to blame. They recommend stricter police and school enforcement regarding speed limits, crossing guards, and drop off/pick up policies.

 

 

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Spending on Halloween to top $8.4 billion

 

Halloween is big business. The National Retail Federation says spending on Halloween is expected to exceed $8.4 billion this year.

 

Its survey found more than 171 million Americans plan to celebrate Halloween, spending an average of $82.93, up from last year’s $74.34.

 

Of the total, $3.1 billion will be spent on costumes, $2.5 billion on candy, $2.4 billion on decorations, and $390 million on greeting cards.

 

 

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Child health coverage reaches historic high

 

It’s being called a historic milestone – a report released Thursday shows 95 percent of children in the U.S. had health care coverage in 2015, following the largest two-year decline of the uninsured rate on record.

 

In Michigan, the uninsured rate for kids dropped by 24 percent between 2013 and 2015, according to the analysis from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

 

President and C-E-O of Michigan’s Children Matt Gillard says strengthening the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and CHIP are important to keep the trend moving in improving access to health insurance. But he says there's also a need for reinvestment in programs that serve the educational, social-emotional and economic needs of families.

 

"While we're doing well on the health insurance side, and that's certainly important, there's many other areas that we'd love to see policymakers and the administration focus on to make sure that we're doing all that we can for kids and families here in Michigan. "

 

The report shows there are still an estimated 68 thousand uninsured Michigan children.

 

 

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Bills may ban assault weapons in Michigan

 

A package of bills is being introduced in the Michigan House by Democrats in an effort to cut down gun violence.

 

One bill calls for banning assault weapons.

 

Opponents of the bill say it would ban two thirds of the guns Michigan hunters use for deer hunting.

 

Bill sponsors say the bills would keep guns from children and others who shouldn't have them.

 

 

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Rollover accident sends Big Rapids man to hospital

 

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

 

Sheriff Deputies say the accident happened on Mckinley Rd east of 160th Ave in Colfax Twp. 

 

They say the 40-year old driver, went off the road and rolled his vehicle several times.

 

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

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Health officials warn of possible problems using nasal sprays this cold and flu season

 

The start of the cold and flu season is upon us and many people get relief using a nasal spray. However, Pharmacist Angela Giallourakis says when using a nasal spray never direct it at the nasal septum, that’s that middle portion of your nose.

 

When you push a spray directly on to it, it can cause some damage on that tissue and you can end up with some irritation or a bloody nose. So making sure it's pointed more towards the back so that you're actually able to inhale the product.”

 

Experts also caution that overuse of nasal sprays can lead to a rebound phenomenon where using the product too often causes your stuffy nose to get worse.

 

 

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Mecosta County Parks to ask County Commission for $300,000

 

The number of seasonal campers at Mecosta County parks is on the rise and superintendent Jeff Abel wants to keep that trend going. One thing he'd like to see happen is a major improvement project a School Section Lake Veteran's Park.

 

This would be adding septic service to camp sites 1 though 69, which are 50 amp, and now they'll be 50 amp with septic so our seasonsals will be able to utilize those services.”

 

There's a half million dollar price tag attached to the project and Abel says they're going to ask the County Commission for some help.

 

Whether that's a loan or another source that the county's able to come up with to help us out, we'll be approaching them to see if they can assist us with that initial cost to the terms of about $300,000.”

 

Abel says the project would be a major advancement for School Section Lake and for Mecosta County campgrounds in general.

 

 

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Body cameras could be coming to Osceola Co. Sheriff's Dept.

 

In a growing trend among police departments, Osceola County sheriff deputies could soon wear body cameras while on patrol.

 

The sheriff’s office was recently approved for a USDA grant worth just over $15,000 to put towards the potential purchase.

 

The total cost of 23 cameras which includes the offset of the grant would be a little over $29,000.

 

That money would come out of the sheriff capital request fund in 2016 and part of the proposed county budget for 2017.

 

Officials hope to have the camera ready by the new year. 

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Two boys with ties to Newaygo die in Florida car accident

 

Two young boys with ties from the West-Central Michigan area, have died in a car crash in Florida.

 

According to police, their mother, Tonya Cappalia-Eason was behind the wheel and allegedly was driving drunk with eight children in her vehicle.

 

9-year-old Nicholai and 8-year-old Nehemia were killed.

 

Six others were hurt when police say she hit a utility pole and rolled the SUV.

 

The father of the boys and their stepmother live in Michigan, both are firefighters at the Newaygo Fire Department, which has started a Go Fund Me Page to help the family.

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ACA health care premiums going up

 

Health care premiums under Obamacare are going up.

 

The Obama administration is confirming that premiums will go up sharply next year under the Affordable Care Act.

 

Health plans sold on Michigan's insurance exchange are expected to see an average increase of just over 17 percent.

 

Last year, the state's Department of Insurance and Financial Services granted every insurer their requested rate increases for individual market plans.

 

Administration officials are stressing that subsidies provided under the law, which are designed to rise alongside premiums, will insulate most customers from sticker shock.

 

 

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Trump camp feels confident while Clinton plans aggressive campaigning in Michigan

 

The general election is November 8th and Michigan campaign director for Donald Trump, Scott Hagerstrom says they feel confident.

 

The polls have tightened up quite a bit here – there's still a number of undecided voters,” he says.

 

Meantime, a senior advisor for Hillary Clinton, Stephen Neuman, says they'll have a series of one-on-one conversations statewide in person and by phone.

 

We're very hopeful that that very aggressive one-on-one conversations, that aggressive ground game, that aggressive get out the vote effort is going to be what helps us ensure that Hillary Clinton is the next president of the United States.”

 

MRG polling data says early voting results in Michigan show Clinton beating Trump by 14 points with nine percent of the voting public casting early ballots.
 

 

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FSU ranked among top colleges in the U.S.

 

Ferris State University is being included among the top 500 institutions of higher learning by the The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education, a British publication that ranks colleges in the United States.

 

Ferris is the only publicly-funded institution in west Michigan in the report, ranked 492nd of the 500 schools included. 100,000 college students responded to the survey, and Ferris’ result in the Engagement category was the highest among all Michigan schools at 17 out of 20 points.

 

The university also received the highest score in terms of respondents’ willingness to recommend the school, at 8.92 on a 10-point scale.

 

 

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Big Rapids police officer charged with assault settles case

 

A Big Rapids police officer is settling her case.

 

Thirty-two year-old Simone Smith-Politz was charged with felonious assault and domestic violence in May after pulling a knife during an argument with friend.

 

She was scheduled to be sentenced last week, but the sentence is unknown because her case was designated as non-public.

 

 

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Mecosta Co. Sheriff offers Halloween safety tips

 

Halloween is a fun night for kids but one that comes with a lot of responsibility for parents who need to be vigilant while they’re out taking the little ones trick-or-treating.

 

Mecosta County Sheriff Todd Purcell says if your child is going out for candy to make sure they have something reflective on so cars can see them, check your child's candy after they come back from trick or treating to make sure there isn't anything that's already been opened and finally don’t  let them go up to houses that don’t have a porch light on.

 

Another thing to take into consideration is your pets, Purcell says they may not recognize you when you’re in costume so try and not scare them. 

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Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center in Big Rapids holds grand opening

 

There is a new store in Big Rapids that will help out with all your bargain needs while also giving back to the community.

 

The Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center held its Grand Opening Monday.

 

During a ribbon cutting ceremony, Lt. Chris Karlin said this is a long time coming and one of his dreams come true.

 

"This whole process started four years ago when my wife and I came to the area, this was a dream of mine to open a store to benefit the community but also help out those in need in our coverage area with programs we offer."

 

Proceeds from the store will help families throughout Mecosta, Osceola, Lake and Newaygo counties, with things like rent assistance, after school programs and more.

 

The store hours are Monday thru Saturday 9am-6pm. 

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Police deal with 'creepy clowns' at FSU

 

Another creepy clown incident last week, this time at Ferris State.

 

Police say three students dressed in clown suits were being disorderly near the South Quad.

 

One of the clowns knocked a fan out of a window at a residence hall.

 

The trio was referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

 

 

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Study says youth prisons expensive and ineffective

 

Kids should not be kept behind bars – that’s the message of a new report examining the ineffectiveness of youth prisons in Michigan and other states.

 

The research from the Annie E. Casey Foundation pulls together evidence of the failings of youth correctional facilities and recommends they all be closed.

 

Casey president and C-E-O Patrick McCarthy says these prisons have high recidivism rates and do not improve long-term outcomes for youth. He calls them "factories of failure."

 

"These institutions fail at protecting the community, they fail at turning young lives around, they are unconscionably expensive, they are prone to abuse, they defy reform and the bottom line is we have alternatives. "

 

McCarthy notes there is an enormous financial toll for youth prisons. He says states pay on average about $90,000 dollars a year for every youth in a juvenile facility.

 

 

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Cadillac man suffers injuries in Mecosta Co. rollover accident

 

A Cadillac man is recovering after a rollover accident in Mecosta County over the weekend.

 

Police say it happened on 11 mile Rd east of 120th Ave in Morton Twp.

 

That’s where the 24-year old man was traveling southbound on 120th Ave and lost control while attempting to make the curve onto 11 mile Rd.

 

The vehicle left the road rolling over several times onto a wire fence.

 

The Cadillac man sustained minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.    

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Major renovations celebrated at School Section Lake Veterans Park stone pavilion

 

A milestone is being celebrated by the Remus Area Historical Society and the Friends of School Lake.

 

We have been working on this project for going on two years and have reached our goal of $75,000 and the work is now completed.”

 

That's Society President Linda Howard who was on hand for a Donor Recognition Event on Saturday at the School Section Lake Veterans Park stone pavilion. Howard says the money raised has been used to replace the original windows that had been installed in the 1940's, repair the stonework on the building's chimneys, and...

 

The last part of the project is the steel roof – the new roof was installed just recently, finished up this last week,” she says.

 

The structure has been inspected by licensed contractors and stone masons who say the foundation is in excellent shape and Society Board Trustee Pamela Burke says great care was taken to preserve the historical integrity of the building.

 

The building has stood for 85 years serving the public. So, as we look up there's wainscoting with the original logs that form the roof and the stonework you can see on the interior as well as the exterior.”

 

Burke notes the current project has been a real grass roots effort involving many people and countless hours of effort. The Society has received over 500 donations, grants and gifts, held four fundraisers, and numerous raffles. And, Burke says, even though they are celebrating the completion of this project, they're not done yet.

 

Our commitment was the exterior of the building and now the Park Board is going to be looking at the upgrades that are needed on the interior of the building.”

 

The pavilion was built in the 1930's under the Works Project Administration, part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal program that was signed into law during America's Great Depression. The WPA was criticized at the time as being a “hotbed of Communists.”

 

 

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Accidental shooting in Big Rapids Township parking lot

 

A woman is recovering after accidentally shooting herself in the hip in Big Rapids Township.

 

Sgt. Mike Mohr of the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says the woman was attempting to holster her handgun while she was in the parking lot of the Big Rapids Walmart at around 3:30 on Friday afternoon.

 

The gun went off and an off duty nurse who was on the scene provided first aid.

 

EMS took the woman to the hospital where she was treated for a non-life threatening gunshot wound.

 


 

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Republican candidate Michele Hoitenga concerned about 'trickle down' politics

 

This year's presidential campaign can at least be described as factious and Republican State House candidate Michele Hoitenga is very aware of that.

 

The political environment is vicious this year, it's very contentious,” she says.

 

As a Republican, Hoitenga is concerned about how campaign events at the national level may effect local elections.

 

I do think that trickles down to the lower ballots and so I just really want people to know that I'm going to represent everybody.”

 

She stopped by the Mecosta County Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday to say, if elected, she would be reaching out to the Board for advice. And, she said Republican candidate Donald Trump's appeal can be attributed, at least in part, to the American public's antipathy with the powers-that-be.

 

They are fed up with politicians in general and politics as usual. And so, I think, people are reaching and looking for something different – and he's definitely different.”

 

Hoitenga won the primary for state representative in the 102nd district and faces Democrat Douglas Gabbert for a seat in the Michigan House on November 8th.

 

 

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Former CMU professor to be sentenced on child porn charges now has new charges filed against him

 

A former Central Michigan University instructor facing sentencing in Federal Court will be brought to Isabella County for new charges involving sex crimes.

 

61-year old Mark Ranzenberger faces sentencing in January on child pornography charges however he’s now accused of raping a girl younger than 12 on repeated occasions between 1999-2003 in Isabella County.

 

Court officials say there is a hearing on Oct. 27th to see if there is enough evidence against him.  

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Mecosta County veterans donation drive lagging

 

The Grand Rapids Veterans Home Donation Drive is under way at the Mecosta County Senior Center. Activities Coordinator Beth Whyte says it's an annual event that provides clothes, gift cards, and other sundry items for veterans. But, she says, the drive isn't as robust as it has been in the past.

 

I get a big box from one of the local stores and we just try to fill it up. Generally, it's filled up two or three times, it's overflowing and this year we're not even half way full yet.”

 

The drive runs through October and the Senior Center presents the veterans with the donations in November.

 

Usually they come for our Veteran's Day program and this year it's going to be on November 10th. They usually bring about twenty people from the Grand Rapids home for veterans. They bring a bus.”

 

Whyte hopes the donations will increase before then so they match the generosity shown in previous years.

 

A lot of times we can only send part of it. We have so much that we'll end up taking two or three vans down loaded with goodies for them.”

 

Whyte explains that the Grand Rapids Veterans Home is the nearest facility to Mecosta County that houses veterans and it helps many of the veterans from this area.

 

If something happened to one of our veterans here in this area and they had no place to go, more than likely that's where they would go to live. And, a lot of our veterans go down their for medical care.”

 

The drive runs through November 10th. Wyte says you can get more information by calling 231-349-4354.

 

 

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Taco seasoning recall

 

McCormick is pulling its 24-ounce Club Size Original Taco Seasoning Mix off store shelves.

 

The mix, with best buy dates of June 27, 2018 and September 16, 2018, is being recalled because some dairy-free bottles were accidentally filled with a product that would cause severe reactions to people allergic to milk.

 

The mix has already been shipped to stores across the country.

 

 

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Rigged election not likely in Michigan

 

The question of a rigged presidential election continues to surface.

 

How concerned is Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson about voter fraud?

“I feel confident in Michigan. We have a great system in that it will run properly with all the checks and balances we have,” she says.

 

Johnson adds that Michigan's system is conducted by more than 1,600 municipal clerks using paper ballots that are scanned into a machine.

 

That guards against fraud by ensuring no single agency has control over the collection of results.
 

 

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Big Rapids woman charged in two separate cases involving child abuse and drugs

 

A Big Rapids woman accused of selling drugs to an undercover detective is now facing new charges.

 

27-year old Tricia Marie Cody was arraigned in Mecosta County on charges of second-degree child abuse and fourth-degree child abuse.

 

It’s alleged in court documents that Cody caused serious physical or mental harm to a child by “carrying and swinging an 18-month old around by the neck and leg. 

 

Last September, Cody was arrested after she allegedly sold drugs to an undercover detective from the Central Michigan Enforcement team.

 

Cody is expected to be back in court next month. 

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Changes may be coming to make Big Rapids' dog park safer

 

At least one Big Rapids resident would like to see some changes at the city's dog park.

 

Tom Bratus made a presentation to the Big Rapids Park and Recreation Board last week regarding the practice of allowing “in-tact” or un-neutered male dogs in the park.

 

He told the board the the biological imperative for breeding causes male dogs to become overly aggressive and he would like to see them prohibited in the park.

 

We're not going to be able to prevent fights 100 percent no matter what you do. Sometimes it's a toy, sometimes the dogs look the wrong way at each other, but the biological imperative, that's a biggie. That almost always generates a fight.”

 

Bratus says he has consulted with Big Rapids veterinarians Wendell S. Weber, who is also one of the preeminent veterinarians in the midwest.

 

Weber recommends not allowing unneutered dogs in the park in order to minimize altercations between dogs and minimize the risk of human injury.

 

Bratus notes the biological imperative in male dogs is not something to be taken lightly.

 

Dog's are that way 24 – 7. They want to make more dogs more than they want to eat, more than they want to find shelter, more than anything.”

 

Many other dog parks in Michigan have banned in-tact males because it's a safety issue.

 

Bratus says his dog, Oscar, has been attacked numerous times while in the park and he himself was bitten in the calf by a dog weighing nearly 100 pounds.

 

Again, people have been bitten. One was a little child actually that got bit on the hand. It wasn't bad but it certainly upset the mother quite a bit.”

 

Board member Mark Brejcha agrees the problem should be addressed, especially as it involves injury.

 

I think we need to re-address the rules – if we are going to put new signs up, I think we ought to do a draft and then bring it back to the board and get it approved,” he says.

 

Brejcha says it may take as long as a month to get the rules changed and the signage put in place.

 

 

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State ranks 33rd in nationwide gun violence study

 

A new report lists where each state stands in terms of gun violence, and Michigan fared better than many others, with a ranking of 33rd.

 

However, that still means every eight hours, someone in Michigan dies from gun violence according to researchers with the Center for American Progress.

 

Report co-author Chelsea Parsons says states with the strictest gun laws have the lowest levels of violence.

 

"What we found is that the ten states that have the weakest gun laws collectively have rates of violence that are more than three times higher than the ten states with the strongest gun laws."

 

Between 2005 and 2014, more than twice the number of people were killed with guns in Michigan than U-S soldiers killed fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan according to the study.

 

A recent poll found 86-percent of Michigan voters support requiring a background check for every gun sale.

 

 

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Record number register to vote in Michigan

 

More people than ever are now registered to vote in Michigan.

 

The Secretary of State's office says 7.5 million people are registered to vote with more than 120,000 people added to the registry in the last three months.

 

In the last presidential election, just over 7.4 million people were registered to vote in Michigan, but only 42 percent of them actually cast ballots on election day.

 

 

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More people are using Mecosta County Park sites than ever

 

Attendance by seasonal campers is on the rise in Mecosta County Parks.

 

Park Superintendent Jeff Abel says he hopes to run out of room at the park campgrounds soon.

 

We were up significantly in 2016 and now we're up another 20 seasonals for 2017, so the trend is good. At some point, we hope to get to a point where we have to hit out limit 'cause we do have limits in the campgrounds.”

 

He notes that good weather helps boost that number, but there are other factors at play as well.

 

We've made a lot of improvements in the parks but also the economy helps. When gas prices are low people like to spend extra money and go on vacation more or spend their weekends away from home more.”

 

Abel delivered the good news at Tuesday's Park Commission meeting and adds that people probably came for a weekend or two this year, experienced what the parks have to offer, and decided they want more.

 

You have a great year like this year it gets people thinking, 'Well, what am I going to do next summer,” and then they start making their plans.”

 

He says plans for more full sanitary hookups at the parks should keep the trend going.

 

 

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Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center in Big Rapids to open Oct. 24th

 

After a little hiccup, the Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center in Big Rapids is opening its doors next week. The grand opening will take place at 9am on Monday, Oct. 24th.

 

Chris Vallette of the local Salvation Army chapter says they are very excited it’s finally happening.

 

”This is the first store we’ve ever had and the great thing about it is that all community donations and purchases will go towards local Salvation Army programs and services.”  

 

The family store will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday- Saturday.

 

Donations of household items, appliances, furniture, clothes, books, toys and more are being accepted. 

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Arrive Alive event to teach Big Rapids teens consequences of distracted driving

 

Big Rapids High School students are learning the consequences of impaired or distracted driving.

 

It all happened Tuesday at BRHS during the Arrive Alive event sponsored by Scott’s Body Shop in Big Rapids.

 

Nearly 250 students took part in the drunk driving virtual reality simulation.

 

Max Vandewater, of Arrive Alive says after the three minute simulation they speak with the student about how their decisions can have very real and high financial consequences.

 

“When the student goes into the simulation they will have to not speed, avoid people walking out into the road, other cars making surprise turns all while having distractions of their peers, and other noises around them. When they are done, we issue them a “citation” with all of their mistakes and educate them on what consequences they have,” Vandewater said.

 

Arrive Alive will be at Morley-Stanwood High School today. 

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Help available with utility bills

 

Consumer's Energy is working with five non-profit agencies to get help to people who are struggling to pay their energy bills.

“Sometimes there can be long term concerns, or sometimes it may must be a temporary hardship. So, we at Consumer's Energy are contributing $4-million. These five non-profit agencies are matching $8-million in additional [funds] and that should help up to 30,000 families get assistance this winter,” says Consumer's spokesperson Brian Wheeler.

 

Wheeler also says people from all 68 Lower Peninsula counties are eligible to receive help.

 

If individuals are in need of assistance for heating or electric bills they can call 2-1-1 or go to the Consumer's Energy web-site.

 

 

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Changes coming to Michigan's health insurance marketplace

 

Michigan residents will have four fewer choices when it comes to health care next year.

 

While ten insurance carriers will stay as part of the state's Marketplace, four companies will be leaving the program.

 

Harbor Health Plan and United Healthcare Community Plan, which had offered HMO plans, are not participating when the enrollment period begins November first.

 

Priorit Health Insurance Company and Alliance Health and Life Insurance Company, which offered PPO plans, are also withdrawing for next year.

 

About 750,000 Michigan residents are involved with the marketplace.

 

 

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New pest poses threat to Michigan produce

 

It's a new threat to Michigan's fruits and vegetables.

 

Michigan Entomologist Howard Russell says he's getting calls from homeowners who are seeing stinkbugs in their homes.

 

The bugs come in to hide from the cold in the Fall.

 

They're shaped like a shield and a half inch wide by a half inch long.

“They're a serious plant pest especially tree fruit and even some vegetables. They can be a real problem.”

 

Russell recommends spraying the outside walls of the home to try and prevent them from multiplying.

 

 

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Police ID victims of double fatality in Isabella County

 

Police are releasing the names of two men that were killed in a car crash in Isabella County.

 

Lt. Larry Green says 21-year-old Nathan Anthony Marsh of Sanford and 21-year-old Joseph Adam Babosh of Coleman were pronounced dead at the scene after the single-vehicle crash near Lincoln and River Roads in Isabella County last Saturday.

 

Green says the crash is still under investigation.

 

 

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O'Reilly Auto Parts on State Street in Big Rapids back under construction

 

Recent activity on the site of the old Big Boy restaurant on State Street in Big Rapids has spurred rumors that the Culver's restaurant slated to be build on Perry Street in Big Rapids Township would be built there instead.

 

However, Big Rapids City Manager Steve Sobers says that's not true.

 

The deal for an O'Reilly Auto Parts store on State Street hit some rough spots, but is now back on track.

 

Well, it had fallen apart, then it came back together,” says Sobers. “The guy that owns it is going to lease it to O'Reilly's, so they're doing their due diligence on contractual kinds of things. In the mean time, he's tearing out the old restaurant to start over.”

 

Sobers says the new facility will serve more than one purpose.

 

My understanding, it isn't just the sales of auto supplies. It's kind of a distribution [center] and there will be two or three others that will be at least partially served out of the store that's here.”

 

No date for the opening of the new store has been set.

 

 

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20-year old woman taken to hospital after rollover accident in Colfax Township

 

A 20-year old woman is recovering in the hospital after losing control of her car this morning in Mecosta County.

 

It happened on 16-Mile Rd. near 140th Ave in Colfax Township.

 

Deputies say the 20-year old woman from Holt was driving too fast and was unable to negotiate the curve causing her to lose control and overturn. 

 

She was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for Non-Life threatening injuries. 

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State expands animals of concern list, changes fishing regulations

 

Michigan's animals of concern list is being updated to include the mudpuppy, Fowler's toad, pickerel frog, Butler's garter snake, and smooth green snake.

 

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission says it is now illegal to kill or trap those animals or remove them from the wild.

 

The commission also approved several changes to state fishing regulations dealing with commercial bait and bow and spear fishing.

 

One of the revisions sets rules for taking minnows, wigglers and crayfish for commercial purposes and lists waters closed to personal taking of minnows.

 

 

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Group mentors troubled teens in Michigan

 

Being a teen is tough enough, especially without a supportive adult around.

 

In Michigan, the GoodGuides youth mentoring program is working to help at-risk youth get on the right track for future success.

 

Spokesperson Kim Owens says they are targeting kids ages 12 to 17, who face risk factors such as school failure, family violence, delinquency, poverty, and other disadvantages.

 

"Seventy-five percent of our students are probably on the free lunch program because they can't afford to bring lunch. A lot of them eat breakfast at school as well. A lot of the kids are missing not just nutritional value but they're missing that parent, that moral support that they need at home to finish school. "

 

GoodGuides mentors spend at least four hours a month with a youth, working on career exploration and skill advancement.

 

Owens says the goal is to offer kids a pathway out of poverty and crime through positive youth development.

 

 

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Two injured in two car accident in Mecosta Co.

 

Two people were sent to the hospital over the weekend after a two car accident in Big Rapids Township.

 

Mecosta County Sheriff Deputies say they found that a pickup, driven by a 71-year old Rodney man, made a left turn onto Perry Street into the path of a westbound passenger vehicle driven by a 56-year old Saint Clair Shores woman. 

 

Both passengers in the westbound vehicle were sent to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. 

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Ohio man arrested after trying to break into Osceola Co. home

 

An Ohio man is behind bars in Osceola County, after trying to break into a home in Cedar Township.

 

Sheriff Deputies say they were called to a home where the suspect was trying to gain entry. He then fled the scene when the homeowner denied entry.

 

Police located the suspect in Hersey Township and took him into custody on charges of second degree home invasion along with assault and battery.

 

According to deputies the Ohio man was seen in the area of Reed City and Cedar Township causing disturbances as well.

 

An investigation into the matter continues.    

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Two dead following car accident in Isabella Co.

 

Two people are dead following a car accident in Isabella County.

 

State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash, which resulted in a vehicle fire, on S. Lincoln Road just north of the intersection at E. River Road, Union Township. 

 

Preliminary investigation revealed that a 2004 Nissan 350z was northbound on S.Lincoln Rd.with two occupants.

 

The driver lost control, went off the roadway and overturned several times causing the vehicle to catch fire.

 

Both occupants were deceased on scene.

 

Troopers say it appears alcohol may have been a factor. This crash is still under investigation and pending notification of next of kin.

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Drunk driver gets into car accident and assaults police officer in Mecosta County

 

A man is behind bars after he drove drunk and assaulted a Mecosta County Deputy.

 

It happened when police were responding to a car accident on 14 Mile Rd near 110th Ave.

 

Deputies say the accident occurred when the driver lost control of the vehicle and overturned in a cornfield. 

 

The driver was taken to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries. 

 

When the driver was being checked on at the hospital he assaulted a deputy.

 

The deputy received minor injuries and did not seek medical attention.

 

The male driver was cleared from the hospital and was arrested for assaulting a police officer and operating while intoxicated.

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New rules aim to protect consumers using prepaid credit cards

 

Consumer groups are praising the new rules on prepaid credit cards just released by the feds.

 

The regulation, issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, goes into effect next fall and will make prepaid card issuers follow many of the same rules that apply to credit cards.

 

Graciela Aponte-Diaz, with the Center for Responsible Lending, says prepaid cards often are used by low-income families who may not have a bank account.

 

But the cards can come with hidden fees, something that will change with the new "know as you go" provision.

 

It ensures that the prepaid card issuer lets the consumer know what the exact fees are, if there's a monthly fee, if there is a fee when you go to the ATM. Is there a fee when you reload the card with cash?"

 

The new rules would force card issuers to underwrite a consumer's ability to repay a loan on their prepaid card and would impose limits on companies' rules for repayment, in an effort to make the process more fair.

 

 

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Heating bills likely to rise this winter

 

The Federal Department of Energy says it will cost more to heat your home this winter.

 

Analysts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration believe we will have a colder winter. That combined with slightly higher energy prices will make heating a typical home this winter more expensive.

 

Last winter, above-normal temperatures reduced nationwide demand for heating fuels to the lowest level in at least 25 years.

 

 

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BRPS hires new school nurse, shares with Reed City

 

Big Rapids Public Schools has a new program that is unique in this part of the state – a school nurse. Superintendent Tim Haist says it's been a long time coming.

 

We've not had a school nurse in as long as I can remember ever.”

 

Haist says a lack of school nurses in Michigan means BRPS is one of the few schools on the northwest side of the state that has a school nurse. He introduced their new employee at a recent BRPS board meeting.

 

We're very fortunate to have Mary Underhill with us. She's a Big Rapids graduate as well, so we're very excited to bring her back to Big Rapids. She's in charge of all of our schools and the schools in Reed City as well.”

 

Underhill is an employee of Spectrum Health in partnership with Big Rapids Public Schools and Reed City Public Schools. Haist says she splits her time between the two school districts.

 

She's two days a week in Reed City, two days a week in Big Rapids, the alternates every other Friday.”

 

However, Haist explains that with technology, Underhill is able to be on-call all the time.

 

If there's an issue in Reed City and she's down in Big Rapids, they're able to use the Med Now network which will allow her to have access to their students at the same time that she's on site here.”

 

Med Now allows Underhill real-time access to either Big Rapids or Reed City school students using a webcam across the internet.

 

Haist notes that having Underhill on staff will give peace of mind to both parents and students, particularly those with significant medical needs.

 

Underhill will also help with the school's medical emergency response teams and will monitor all of the district's health plans.

 

 

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UPDATE: Police arrest man connected to hit & run in Isabella Co.

 

In a story we’ve been following for you out of Isabella County, Sheriff Michael Main says they have a person in custody they believe was involved in a hit and run of a 19-year old woman.

 

The incident took place last Saturday on the 2000 Block of West Coleman Road in Gilmore Township.

 

Main says with help of the media and social media, police received a lead that led to the discovery of the vehicle and suspect a 24-year old Trenton man. 

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Big Rapids wants to expand its recreational amenities, but it won't be cheap

 

Big Rapids city officials are looking to expand the recreational amenities offered to its citizens.

 

A number of ideas were brought up at Thursday's Parks and Recreation Board meeting, such as a new splash pad, or a outdoor skating rink, or new tennis courts.

 

One issue that Assistant City Manager Mark Gifford brought to the forefront is replacing the playscape at Hemlock Park.

 

Gifford pointed out that the structure was recently inspected for safety and it's still in good shape. However...

 

It's 20 years old, they're designed to last 20 years. Ours has been maintained very well so we're getting a little extra life out of it,” he says.

 

Gifford notes that the playscape is not only aging, but it also is not in in compliance with current Americans with Disability Act rules.

 

We're at the point where we need to start looking into the future about how we're going to replace that equipment.”

 

And, a new structure is not a minor investment.

 

To put in a whole new playground system is $250,000 approximately,” says Gifford.

 

He explains, however, it is an investment in the community that people have come to expect.

 

It's a big issue. A lot of people in the community appreciate having it there, it's used very, very much.

 

The board noted that word needs to be gotten out to the community so that planning and fund raising can begin similar to the “Friends of Playscape” effort that was utilized in the 1990's.

 

 

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Armed fugitive sought by MSP in northwest Michigan

 

A man described as armed and dangerous is being sought by Michigan State Police.

 

Officials say Leslie Robinson is wanted for attacking a police officer, destroying property, and operating a meth lab.

 

He may be in the Cadillac or Manton area and friends and family may be helping him to allude authorities.

 

Anyone with information on Robinson should call the Michigan State Police.

 

 

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Research says parents influence how teens drive

 

A AAA survey of driving instructors has shown there are three major mistakes teens make when learning to drive.

 

Speeding, distracted driving, and poor visual scanning.

 

Public Affairs specialist Gary Bubar says parents are also contributing to mistakes.

 

The parent becomes the primary teacher for that child and it's imperative that all parents set a good example for their kids and monitor what they do – and monitor what they themselves as parents drivers do with their kids in the car.”

Bubar says research has shown parents who impose more strict driving limits, including passenger limitations, reported fewer crashes and traffic violations.

 

 

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Big Rapids Firefighters visit Eastwood Early Childhood Education Center to teach students about fire safety

 

Fire safety is the name of the game during a presentation by Big Rapids Firefighters to students at Eastwood Early Childhood Education Center Thursday.

 

Firefighter Russ Bell showed head start students all of the safety gear he uses when he is battling a fire.

 

                                                                                

 

He says the goal of the presentations is to make the kids aware of fire safety. 

 

“Not to play with matches, making sure their home has smoke detectors and just the basics of stop, drop and roll if your clothes are on fire and not to hide in a structure when a fire is occurring.”

 

 Bell adds he gets tons of enjoyment from teaching younger children.

 

“it’s always great when I see the kids from classes I’ve taught in the past and their parents come up to me and tell me all of what their child has learned about fire safety, ” Bell said.

 

The Big Rapids Fire Department has been holding fire safety presentations at Big Rapids schools all year. 

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Snyder accused of misusing tax dollars to defend himself in court

 

A one-person grand jury is being requested to investigate Governor Rick Snyder's use of tax payer funds for his personal legal defense in connection with the Flint water crisis.

 

Attorney Mark Brewer filed the action.

 

He says the Governor bypassed all procedures in State law for procuring funds.

 

Last winter the Governor unilaterally authorized an expenditure of at least $2 million to defend himself in criminal investigations arising out of the Flint water crisis.”

Brewer, who is the former head of Michigan's Democratic party, says his request is not political because the judge that will hear the case, if authorized, is independent.

 

Snyder's office says he did not break the law.

 

 

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'Dark store' taxing practices put to the test as community leaders challenge Walmart

 

City Commissioners in Sault Ste. Marie are following through on their threat to take on Walmart over the so called dark store theory that allows large corporations to undermine the taxable value of their properties.

 

They've formed a coalition with Chippewa County political leaders that will be in Lansing for a tax hearing this January.

 

Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba is also concerned about the dark store tax practice.

 

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.

 

Walmart is hoping to recoup more than $268,000 from the Michigan Tax Tribunal in the Chippewa County case.

 

There is legislation that was recently passed by the Michigan House of Representatives to put an official end to the loop hole associated with dark store taxes.

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New overtime laws affects thousands of Michigan employees

 

More than 100,000 employees in Michigan will be affected by new overtime laws that will go into effect in December.

 

The law lowers the minimum threshold for salaried employees to just under $47,500 — meaning those with salaries less than that must be paid time-and-a-half for time worked past 40 hours each week.

 

The current threshold is just over $23,600.

 

Proponents say the change is long overdue but many business owners are concerned about the change believing it will have a negative impact on their profit margins.

 

 

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Manton man pleads guilty to having child sexually abusive material

 

A 33-year-old Manton man will likely be going to prison on sex charges.

 

Court officials say Randy Dewayne Passmore is pleading guilty to three counts of child sexually abusive material.

 

Police say the charges stem from incidents at a residence on East 10 1/2 Road back in 2014.

 

Passmore faces up to four years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine at sentencing.

 

 

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Big Rapids cell phone repair shop reacts to Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall

 

Samsung has announced it's ending production of the Galaxy Note 7 around the world, pulling the plug on the phone after a months-long controversy over its defective, dangerous batteries. 

 

Dan Walsh, owner of i Fix Tronix in Big Rapids says in his 21 years in cell phone repair business, he’s never seen anything like this.

 

“I’ve seen batteries on cell phones catch fire before because the phone got ran over and the battery was punctured but to have it spontaneously combust after it leaves the factory is unheard of, I’ve never seen that.”

 

Walsh recommends anyone with the Galaxy Note 7 to return it to where it was purchased immediately. 

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Remus woman sent to hospital after 16-year old driver failed to yield while coming out of driveway

 

A 60-year old woman is recovering after a two car accident in Mecosta County.

 

It happened in Morton Township on 11 Mile Rd east of 90th Ave. 

 

Sheriff Deputies say a 16-year old male driver from Mecosta was exiting a private driveway and failed to yield to a vehicle driven by a 60-year old Remus woman who was traveling westbound on 11 Mile Rd.  

 

She was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

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Wexford Co. man takes police on chase ends up locking himself in business

 

A Mesick man is in trouble with the law after fleeing police and locking himself in a business, refusing to come out.

 

It all happened late Monday night in Wexford County’s Hearing Township, when State Police tried to pull over the suspect’s vehicle and he fled into a parking lot.

 

Troopers say the 37-year old suspect then fled on foot into a nearby closed business.

 

Efforts to talk the suspect out of the business failed, that’s when they were contacted by the business owner and were provided with a key.

 

Officers made entry and arrested the Mesick man without incident.

 

He has been charged with fleeing and eluding, resisting and obstructing a police officer and driving on a suspended license. 

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Wolverine Worldwide holds ground breaking ceremony for 16,000 sq ft. expansion at Big Rapids factory

 

Wolverine Worldwide is expanding another 16,000 square feet at its Big Rapids factory.

 

A ground breaking ceremony was held Tuesday that featured Congressmen John Moolenaar and Bill Huizenga along with Mecosta County and Big Rapids City Officials .

 

Moolenar told attendees that not only does this expansion keeps jobs in the United States but will also outfit the nation’s best.

 

“This is a great thing, making footwear here in the United States and serving the men and women of the Armed Forces. As a parent of two kids that have served in the Army, we appreciate that Bates Footwear is making products for the men and women of the military.”

 

The one-million dollar expansion is expected to produce just over two dozen new jobs.

 

Construction is expected to be completed by early 2017. 

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Cost to state for Flint crisis could have been less

 

With no formal bidding process, the state of Michigan likely paid hundreds of thousands of dollars too much for emergency supplies related to the Flint Water Crisis.

 

According to a study done by the Detroit Free Press, the state relied almost exclusively on one out-of-state company with ties to a top aide to Governor Rick Snyder.

 

FEMA, which in some cases paid more than 20-percent less than what the state was charged for the same item, bought from six different vendors.

 

 

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Educational inequality persists in Michigan schools

 

A new report by the Michigan League for Public Policy says persistent racial disparities in educational opportunities still plague our state.

 

League president and C-E-O Gilda Jacobs says racial disparities exist in nearly every area of public policy.

 

She says there is a need for statewide, systemic policy change.

 

"The kids that are being educated in our schools are the workers of tomorrow, they're the parents of tomorrow, and it's really important that we go in and address these disparities head on because we really need this not only for these people but also the economic state of Michigan."

 

The report found that African-American students in Michigan are twice as likely to be economically disadvantaged than white students and, with the exception of Asian students, fewer children of color are completing high school on time compared with their white peers.

 

 

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BRVS helps area kids who can't attend regular classes

 

An alternative to tradition education is growing in Big Rapids.

 

The Big Rapids Virtual School was started four years ago with the aim of providing a program of alternative education for students who are not able to attend classes at the high school.

 

Coordinator Tim Buckingham says it's surprising how many young people are caught in unfortunate situations.

 

You would be amazed at the stories – just sad stories of these kids that have been in charge of their families since they were ten years old, homeless kids, and the battles they have fought to get to where they need to be.”

 

Buckingham says they had 23 students at the school's inception and this year they hope to graduate 103.

 

He notes BRVS is not adult education and covers grades 9 through 12.

 

 

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Thompson appointed new Probate judge in Mecosta & Osceola Counties

 

Tyler Thompson is the new judge to the 18th Probate Court of Mecosta and Osceola Counties.

 

He was appointed Monday by Governor Rick Snyder.

 

Thompson has served as the elected Prosecuting Attorney in Osceola County since 2013.

 

He replaces Marco Menezes, who retired last month. 

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Isabella Co. Deputies looking for hit and run suspect

 

Police are looking for a suspect they say struck a 19-year old woman with a car while she was jogging in Isabella County.

 

The incident happened on 2000 Block of West Coleman Road in Gilmore Township, Sheriff Michael Main says when deputies arrived they found a 19-year old victim who had been struck by a darker colored maroon 4-door mid-sized vehicle.

 

The suspect vehicle failed to stop and render aid and fled the scene.

 

The damage to the vehicle would be passenger side mirror (missing) and passenger front bumper. There will also be damage to the passenger side headlight or turn signal.

 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Isabella County Central Dispatch or the Isabella County Sheriff’s Office.

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UPDATE: Police identify victims in deadly shooting in Newaygo County

 

State Police have now released the identities of three people involved in a deadly shooting in Newaygo Co. 

 

The incident happened around 2am Monday morning in Garfield Township when police were called to a home for a domestic dispute.

 

The Newaygo County Prosecutor says when officers arrived; they found the bodies of 49-year-old Thomas Wolver and 38-year-old Kristie Wolver.

 

18-year-old Tomas Stebleton was injured and taken to the hospital and listed in stable condition.

 

Police say there were two other people in the home at the time of the shooting but they were not hurt.

 

The investigation into what happened continues. 

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Suspect in Evart bank robbery pleads guilty to first degree armed robbery

 

A man accused of robbing the First Merit Bank in Osceola County is taking a plea deal from prosecutors.

 

According to court documents, 52-year old David Raymond Dingee of Florida will plead guilty to one count of first degree armed robbery. In exchange, prosecutors will dismiss the rest of the charges against him.

 

Also the plea agreement specifies he will be sentenced to 25-50 years in prison.

 

Dingee, along with 30-year old Melissa Renee Nudd, also of Florida, were arrested and charged with the robbery of First Merit Bank in Evart on May 26th.  

 

Dingee is expected to be sentenced next month. 

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Intoxicated man struck by car in Big Rapids Saturday

 

A man trying to cross a street in Big Rapids was hit by a car over the weekend.

 

Police say a female driver hit the man early Saturday morning on State Street.

 

He was taken to a hospital.

 

Police say he was drunk and was cited for failing to yield to traffic. 

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Shooting in Newaygo Co. leaves two dead and one injured

 

Two people have been shot and killed in Newaygo County this morning and a young man injured.

 

It happened around 2am this morning in Garfield Township when police were called to a home for a domestic dispute.

 

The county prosecutor says when officers arrived; they found the bodies of a 49-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman.

 

An 18-year-old man was injured and taken to the hospital.

 

The shooter has yet to be identified. 

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UPDATE: Firefighters battle blaze on 3rd Avenue in Big Rapids

 

UPDATE:

An investigation is under way to determine the cause of a fire that gutted a house on 3rd Avenue in Big Rapids on Sunday.

 

Paul Johnson, who lives a few blocks from the house, says he was just out for a bike ride when he came across the blaze.

 

We were just riding out bikes and this was three and a half, four hours ago – the place was torched, it was just going up. The fire department's been on hand for at least three or four hours. I guess somebody was using a space heater which, this time of the year, it happens.”

 

Big Rapids Deputy Director of Public Safety Steve Schroeder says the cause hasn't yet been determined.

 

We're still investigating the cause, the actual cause. However, it looks like it started high in that first floor, between the first and second floors.”

 

Schroeder says the blaze was called in at around 8:00 pm and, being an older home, the construction of the building meant there were lots of “nooks and crannies” where the fire spread.

 

We ended up actually having extensive overhaul operations for hot spots.”

 

Schroeder says the fire does not look suspicious and that everyone made it out of the building safely.

 

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

As of 11:30 pm on Sunday, Big Rapids firefighters are still working to completely put out a blaze at a home on 3rd Avenue between Maple Street and Washington Street.

 

Paul Johnson, a neighbor who lives a few blocks from the house that caught on fire, says he believes it was a space heater that went bad.

 

He says the house was engulfed in flames earlier on and it took firefighters nearly 3 and a half hours to get the blaze under control, although he didn't see anyone injured in the blaze.

 

We'll have more details on this story as they become available.

 

 

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FSU Trustees approve room and board rate hike

 

Starting next fall, Ferris State University students will have to dig a little bit deeper into their pockets to live in on-campus housing.

 

The FSU Board of Trustees approved a rate hike of 2.5% for room and board during the 2017/2018 academic year.

 

Officials say the rate increase reflects increased food, labor and utilities costs.

 

Also during the meeting, trustees approved renovation of the Swan Building.  

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Evart man sentenced to 13 years in prison

 

An Osceola County man is heading to prison for the next 13 years after being sentenced on child abuse charges.

 

Police say 21-year old Marc Steven Hartnett of Evart was watching his girlfriend’s toddler but when she got home from work she found her baby with severe injuries.

 

He pleaded guilty to child abuse first-degree and an assault charge earlier this year.

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White Cloud man accused of drive-by shooting in Newaygo Co.

 

A White Cloud man is in jail after police say he’s alleged to have involved in a drive-by shooting.

 

The incident happened Thursday night on Pine near 40th Street in Big Prairie Township.

 

Troopers say the suspect; a 24-year old White Cloud man is accused of pulling up to the victim’s parked car and shooting inside the vehicle.

 

The victim was not hurt.

 

The suspect is awaiting arraignment on the charge of assault with intent to commit murder.

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Mecosta Co. Parks to receive $25,000 grant from TransCanada Cooperation

 

The Mecosta County Parks Commission will be presented with a $25,000 grant from TransCanada. 

 

The grant will allow for the creation of a hiking trail that will lead to a bluff area overlooking the Hardy Pond. The overlook and trail will contain educational signage related to historic and environmental aspects of the Hardy Pond. 

 

Park Commissioner Marilynn Vargo is excited for all the new opportunities this grant will provide.

 

"The grant will be used for enviromental projects that families in the community can enjoy and it will be a great way for kids to get up and out of the house."  

 

A check presentation to Mecosta County Park Superintendent Jeff Abel will be held next week. 

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West Michigan Forensic Pathology Services Authority formed to oversee county morgue

 

An authority board is now formed to oversee operations at the new morgue in Mecosta County.

 

The Mecosta County Board of Commission on Thursday approved a resolution to form the West Michigan Forensic Pathology Services Authority.

 

This is a partnership with Newaygo County, who approved the same resolution last month.

 

The authority board will consist of two members each from Mecosta and Newaygo counties.

 

With the formation of the authority, Mecosta County Administrator Paul Bullock hopes this partnership with Newaygo County will grow in the future. 

 

Bullock and County commissioner Eric’O’Neil will represent Mecosta on the authority board.    

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Antiquated voting systems could affect election

 

As the presidential race tightens, voter turnout could play a decisive role, and a new study warns that some Americans may have a harder time casting ballots than others.

 

Spencer Overton with The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies says a lack of resources and planning are largely responsible for delays at polling places.

 

"Amusement parks and other public venues manage wait times and lines with a science called 'queueing theory' where they collect data and they make sure adequate resources are in place. This should be applied to voting."

 

To reduce wait times, he suggests states, counties and cities should adopt and enforce minimum wait-time standards, provide adequate funding for voting machines and workers, expand early vote days, and add the option of voting by mail.

 

 

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Supreme court has no opinion on private school funding from state

 

Not an "appropriate exercise" of the court's powers.

 

That's what the Michigan Supreme Court said in denying the governor's request to issue an opinion on the legality of the $2. 5 million that has been budgeted to reimburse private schools for complying with health and safety requirements from the state.

 

Public schools oppose the funding, saying the state Constitution prohibits public money going to nonpublic

schools.

 

 

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Proposed bill limits fracking waste in Michigan

 

Lawmakers in Lansing are trying to address gaps in Michigan laws regarding the disposal of fracking waste.

 

The bill's sponsors suggest that fracking threatens Michigan's land, air and water.

 

Among the items being addressed are banning radioactive fracking waste from landfills, requiring that water used in fracking be compliant with state guidelines, and to require oil and gas well operators to reduce methane released by 99 percent.

 

 

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Multiple people sent to hospital following three car accident in Mecosta County

 

Multiple people are recovering after a three car accident in Mecosta County’s Wheatland Township.

 

It happened Wednesday evening on Costabella Ave just south of 8 Mile Rd.

 

Sheriff Deputies say a pickup driven by a 42- year old Remus man was traveling southbound on Costabella Ave and was making a left hand turn into a private driveway.  

 

He failed to yield to a minivan driven by a 28- year old woman from Stanton travelling north on Costabella Ave causing a collision.  

 

The two vehicles were then struck by a third vehicle driven by a 43-year old Rosebush man who was also travelling north on Costabella Ave.  

 

All drivers and a 38-year old male passenger in the second vehicle were taken to a hospital in Mt Pleasant.

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Reed City woman, McBain man arrested in drug bust

 

More drugs are being taken off the streets thanks to the Traverse Narcotics Team and area law enforcement.

 

TNT officials say they received a tip about heroin sales in the Cadillac area and set up an undercover drug “purchase”.

 

Following the undercover drug purchase two suspects were arrested, a 27-year old Reed City woman and 27-yar old McBain man.

 

The pair was charged with conspiracy to delivery heroin and delivery of a counterfeit controlled substance.  

 

Officials expect more charges in the case as the investigation continues. 

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Mecosta County motorcycle accident sends one woman to hospital

 

A motorcycle accident in Mecosta County sent one woman to the hospital with injuries.

 

It happened on 157th Ave North of 15 Mile Rd in Colfax Twp.

 

Sheriff Deputies say a motorcycle driven by a 58-year old Cheboygan man was heading northbound, when he lost control of the bike in heavy rain and spun out.

 

The passenger, a 56-year old woman was injured in the crash. She suffered non-life threatening injuries.  

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Ford F-150 recall may be extended

 

Ford Motor Company may be recalling about 280,000 F-150 pickup trucks.

 

Last May the automaker recalled over a quarter million 2013 and 2014 F-150's because of possible brake failures caused by an internal brake fluid leak.

 

Now, safety regulators are looking to expand the recall for the 2015 and 2016 model years as well.

 

Officials say at least 25 of the newer model truck owners reported sudden brake failures.

 

Truck owners can check to see if their vehicle is affect online at the Ford Vehicle Service Actions web site.


 


 

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Snyder orders study on public trust with police

 

Given recent national events that have strained relationships, the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards will be producing a report that addresses public trust in police.

 

Governor Rick Snyder signed an executive directive on Tuesday mandating the study.

 

Snyder says steps must be taken to promote law enforcement in Michigan.

 

The MCLES is responsible for promoting public safety by setting standards for selection, employment, licensing, and funding in law enforcement and criminal justice.

 

 

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Montcalm County couple arrested when stolen goods show up in Gratiot County

 

A Montcalm County couple are being charged with breaking and entering.

 

Police sat Paul Green and Brandy Joe Sisco broke into a storage unit early last month.

 

Their arrest happened after deputies found the stolen items in Gratiot County.

 

The items have since been returned to their owner.

 

 

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No parking zone extended along Locust at State streets in Big Rapids

 

The intersection of State and Locust streets in Big Rapids may become a little easier to negotiate.

 

Big Rapids Public Safety Director Jim Eddinger proposed eliminating 150 feet of parking along Locust at Monday's City Commission meeting.

 

When someone comes off of south State and travels east onto Locust, right after the dentists office on the south side of the street there's some legal parking that causes traffic to be pinched off,” he says.

 

Big Rapids City Manager Steve Sobers agrees with the proposal saying it's difficult to see traffic in the area.

 

There are two lanes coming out of Locust onto State and one coming off of State into Locust that creates kind of a visual challenge as folks come around that corner or as they leave.”

 

Eddinger notes parking along the stretch of Locust leading up to State needs to have no parking signs posted.

 

When I drive through that hundred block I see a lot of partially yellow painted curbs and I don't really see anything in our statutes about yellow curbs. I do know that they need to be signed.”

 

The City Council voted unanimously to approve the signage at Monday's meeting.

 

 

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Culver's sets aggressive schedule for Big Rapids Township restaurant

 

Culver's announced last week that they plan to open a restaurant in Big Rapids Township and Township Supervisor Bill Stanek says they're not wasting any time.

 

Yesterday they purchased the property, so it is official now. They plan on having pavement in and they plan on opening around the first of the year. That's very aggressive, but they're ready to break ground immediately.”

 

Stanek made the announcement at Tuesday's Township Board meeting.

 

The new restaurant will be located just east of the Meijer gas station on Perry Street.

 

 

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Mecosta man jailed after trying to elude police

 

A Mecosta man is in jail after trying to elude police.

 

Detective Casey Nemeth of the Mecosta Co. Sheriff’s Office says police were serving 36-year old Anthony Ward two arrest warrants when he fled on foot back into his home, locking detectives out. 

 

After attempts to talk Ward out of his residence failed, entry was obtained by police after a key-holder for the residence was located and he was taken into custody.

 

Ward was arraigned on his original two charges, along with his added Resisting and Obstructing Felony charge.

 

He remains in custody at the Mecosta County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

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Watch out for deer when traveling this fall, according to one group

 

The Michigan Deer Crash Coalition says the next three months are big for deer versus car crashes.

 

According to their data, 44-percent of all deer crashes in 20-15 occurred in the fall.

 

In 2015, there were 737 deer-vehicle crashes in Mecosta County compared to 792 in 2014. There were 588 deer vehicle crashes in Osceola County in 2015, down from 608 in 2014.

 

According to Michigan Deer Crash Coalition officials, Vehicle-deer crashes cost Michigan drivers at least $130 million in damage annually.

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Osceola Co. woman arrested for selling drugs to undercover detective

 

An Osceola County woman is behind bars after she sold methamphetamine to an undercover detective.

 

Officials from the Traverse Narcotics Team say they were conducting a methamphetamine investigation in August that resulted in a 36-year old Marion woman selling the drug to an undercover TNT detective.

 

The Marion woman was arrested on September 30th on a traffic stop by Osceola County Sheriff Deputies.

 

During the suspect’s time in jail, TNT officials were able to complete their investigation and secure an arrest warrant for the meth sale.

 

The suspect’s name is being withheld pending arraignment. 

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Winter expected to be colder with more snow than average

 

Bad news for Michiganders who don't look forward to the winter season.

 

AccuWeather has its annual outlook and Meteorologist Bob Larson says we can expect colder than average temperatures with above average snowfall.

 

Not an early start to the lake effect season – there's some years we see that kick in very quickly in October. Not likely [to] be the case this year but once it gets going, we suspected there will be a significant amount of lake effect snow enhanced by a number of clipper type storms that will move across the region.”

 

He says temperatures will be one-or-two degrees colder than average, but coming off of last year's mild winter, it may seem worse than it really is.

 

 

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Voter registration closes next week

 

This year's presidential election is just over a month away, but if you haven't registered, you need to act soon.

 

The close of registration is October 11th,” says Mecosta County Clerk Marcee Purcell.

 

Purcell notes it's easy to check if you're not sure if you're registered and she expects the turnout to be above average.

 

It's probably going to be one of our highest I would imagine.

 

I've only talked to a few township clerks, but they both said that their absentee ballot requests were up.

 

It's an important right for everyone to get out and vote so make sure they're registered.

 

If they're not sure, they can call the county clerk's office, there's a web site they can get online to do that, but make sure they do it before the close of registration so that they can vote in the upcoming election.”

 

The state of Michigan is also making sure polling places will be ready to go come November 8th.

 

The Bureau of Elections is sending helpful hints for the upcoming election, how many booths to have on hand, just constant communication from the Bureau of Elections to help us prepare for it,” Purcell says.

 

You can check your voter registration status by calling the Clerk's office at 231-592-0783 or by going online at vote.michigan.gov.

 

 

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State Police investigating camper trailer explosion in Montcalm Co.

 

A camper trailer exploded in Montcalm County.

 

According to police, a man tried to shoot himself in Langston Monday, but his sister got the gun away from him. Police say he went into the camper and it exploded, sending him flying.

 

He tried to grab the gun again, but a neighbor took it away from him.

 

The man suffered third degree burns.

 

State Police are investigating what caused the explosion.

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Elderly man injured in two car accident in Mecosta County

 

An 80-year old man is recovering in a Grand Rapids hospital after a car accident in Mecosta County.

 

It happened on 15mile rd/157th Ave in Colfax Twp.

 

Deputies say a car driven by 24-year old Richard O’Brien was heading eastbound on 15 Mile Rd when he ran a stop sign at 15 Mile Rd and 157th Ave and struck a vehicle being driven by 80-year old Stanley Maneke, who was making a left turn off of 157th Ave onto 15 Mile Rd. 

 

Maneke suffered injuries in the accident and was taken to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. 

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Bank scandals spur growth at credit unions in Michigan

 

Another round of scandals in the banking world has many in Michigan rethinking their accounts.

 

Credit union membership in the state now stands at close to five million – or roughly half the population – with one of the highest membership gains in recent history in the last year.

 

Northwest Consumers Federal Credit Union CEO Philip Heinlen says more people are turning to not-for-profit financial cooperatives in part because of a desire to feel more connected to their communities.

 

He says a backlash against the overwhelming role of technology and automation is also part of their frustration.

 

"We might think that's what they want. We want to steer them to that because it's easier. The 88-year-old probably doesn't want to go online at all. That 18-year-old still wants to know you're here. They'll walk through the front door knowing, 'You know what, I can go in and they're going to take care of me, because they know who I am.'"

 

Just last week, Wells Fargo Bank agreed to pay an additional 24-million dollars to settle allegations that it mistreated members of the military, including illegally repossessing vehicles.

 

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen has promised greater scrutiny of big banks, and to remove some of the regulatory red tape faced by credit unions and community banks.

 

 

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Fees may be going up again at Big Rapids Fairman pool

 

Although swimming isn't at the front of most people's thoughts at this time of year, the Big Rapids City Commission is already discussing next's year's swimming season.

 

This past summer the Charles E. Fairman pool was in need of emergency repairs, including some concrete replacement, says City Manager Steve Sobers.

 

It has been done, the pool was kept in operation for the extra 28 days so that it would set up properly for next year's swimming season.”

 

The Commission unanimously approved a payment of $52,900 for those repairs at Monday's meeting.

 

Sobers adds there were additional costs incurred from keeping the pool open for that extra 28 days, all of which will impact the pool's budget for 2017.

 

We'll need to watch next spring and see if we can make sure that the pool still comes in under budget if that's possible.”

 

Mayor Mark Warba says the Commission has always supported the pool and will continue to do so. However...

 

It never seems to be without a need for increased expenses, but I think we need to look a ways to increase revenue,” he says.

 

Warba has instructed City Manager Steve Sobers and the Parks and Recreation Board to find ways to increase revenue at the pool in 2017.

 

This follows a $5.00 across the board fee increase that was put in place this last summer.

 

 

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Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center to host free cancer screening day

 

Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital, District Health Department #10 and The American Cancer Society are teaming up once again for a free cancer screening day on Friday, October 14th.

 

The free screenings will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are targeted to those who do not have insurance or who have insurance that does not cover screenings, under the age of 64 and have not had a cancer screening in at least one year. Screenings include skin cancer, colorectal, prostate, breast exam with mammogram and pelvic exam with pap smear.

 

The screenings will be available at the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center in Reed City.

 

Free screenings are by appointment only.

 

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

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UPDATE: Police release identity of Big Rapids man accused in attempted armed robbery

 

UPDATE: Clark has been arraigned on one count of larceny from a person. 

 

Police in Isabella County have now released the identity of the Big Rapids man who they say is accused of attempted armed robbery of a Starbucks in Mount Pleasant.

 

Isabella County Sheriff Michael Main says 36-year old Nathan Christopher Clark is charged with attempted armed robbery after he 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 Big Rapids man then paid for a cup of coffee and before leaving the counter told the clerk that he had a gun, but it was not a very big one.

 

Police were then alerted and made contact with Clark without incident.

 

No weapon was found on Clark.

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Speed/Alcohol are factors in weekend rollover accident in Mecosta Co.

 

Deputies in Mecosta County believe speed and alcohol were factors in a car accident that sent one Remus woman to the hospital over the weekend.

 

Police say they were dispatched to a one vehicle rollover on Costabella Ave/8 Mile Rd Saturday morning just after midnight.  

 

The driver of the vehicle, a 39-year old woman from Remus was sent to the hospital after sustaining non-life threatening injuries from the accident.

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Inmate found dead at Isabella Co. Jail

 

A 30-year old inmate at the Isabella County Jail is dead after police say the man was found unresponsive early Friday morning in his cell.

 

Christopher Michael-Paul Hartwell of Mt. Pleasant was in lockup after being arrested for drug charges. Police say Hartwell was checked out at hospital before being jailed.

 

Michigan State Police is investigating.

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