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Big Rapids Daily News
News That Affects You Archives for 2016-11

Firearm deer season comes to a close

 

It is the end of firearm deer season here in Michigan and although official counts aren't in yet, manager Aaron Pieri of the Ole Gun Shack in Stanwood says he thinks its been a pretty good year for hunters.

 

Guys are saying that they're seeing less deer this year than they did last year, but all in all if you take it into consideration, the average through the whole county wide area, I don't really think much has changed. I think the people who go out there and really hunt hard and they've bagged the deer that they were asking for.”

 

And, as a gun dealer, Pieri does have some advice for hunters.

 

If I could say anything is, remember for next year that if it's broken now it should come in now, not three days before [the] season opens.”

 

You can see current counts for deer taken in Mecosta and any other counties in Michigan at mibuckpole.com.

 

 

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UPDATE: Police arrest Hesperia man wanted for meth making

 

A Hesperia man wanted by police for meth crimes is now behind bars.

 

The State Sheriffs Chiefs Enforcement Narcotics Team says Johnny Linville was arrested on Tuesday and is being held in the Oceana County Jail.

 

Linville has been on the run from police since last February.

 

 

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Business tax breaks being considered for Michigan

 

The Michigan House of Representatives is debating legislation that would provide millions of dollars in tax breaks to attract large businesses to the state.

 

Senators approved legislation on Tuesday that would give businesses that expand or move to Michigan and create jobs up to a 10-year, 100 percent abatement on the personal income tax withholdings of new employees.

 

The incentives are supported by Governor Snyder.

 

 

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United Way Cake & Dessert Auction raises record dollars

 

The United Way Great Cake & Dessert Auction is once again a huge hit.

 

Betty Seelye, Executive Director of the Osceola/Mecosta United Way said the event rose over $7,300 (a new event record) to benefit the local United Way campaign, which is at 80% of its $535,000 goal. 

 

Awards were also handed out as well, highest bid went for Pat Currie’s cake at $1,150; best presentation went to Carl Jefts Insurance and best story went to Linda Telfer. 

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Big Rapids Salvation Army gets ready to help with the holidays

The Big Rapids Salvation Army provides assistance for many people year round, but their work is crucial for many families during the holidays. Development Director Chris Vallette says one program gets under way this week.

 

The Salvation Army is currently helping folks, as far as Christmas goes, with out Angel Tree program. The community provides donated new, unwrapped toys and we work to provide local families with gifts for their children at Christmastime.”

 

And, he adds, anyone who wants to sign up for assistance has to do so soon.

 

Right now we're doing a sign-up between today, the 28th, and this Friday, the 2nd, between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm during the day here at the office.

 

We need identification of the applicant – this could be a driver's license, passport, green card, government issued ID, etc. We need identification for all household members – that could be birth certificates, medicaid cards, government issued ID's. We need documentation of current income – that could be check stubs, social security statements, proof of cash assistance. And then we also need evidence of current address – so we need something like a current lease or a utility bill.”

 

For more information, you cab stop by their office on 325 Linden Street or call 231-796-5597.

 

 

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Montcalm Co. woman arrested on credit card fraud charges

 

A 38-year old Greenville woman is behind bars after being accused of using a stolen credit card to pay for phone calls to her boyfriend who is in jail.

 

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office says Monique Megchiani had been receiving phone calls from her ex-boyfriend from the VanBuren County Jail.

 

Police say she had found the card and used it to make payment for the incoming calls. 

 

Megchiani was arrested and lodged in the Montcalm County Jail on felony possession of a financial transaction device and stealing/retaining a financial transaction device without consent.

 

Her bond is set at $2500.

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Police in Big Rapids warn of new phone scam hitting the area

 

The Big Rapids Department of Public Safety is warning residents about a new scam going around the area known as “telephone spoofing”.

 

Officials say residents are receiving phone calls from what they believe to be local businesses which are harassing or obscene in nature.

 

The caller ID shows a local business or number and not the actual number that made the call.

 

Local police, County Sheriff’s and State Police will not be able to track these numbers, nor will your phone service provider.

 

Victims should contact the Federal Communications Center (FCC) at (888)-225-5322. 

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Man accused of killing Morley teen during drunk driving accident to stand trial

 

A man accused of a drunk driving accident that killed a Mecosta County teenage girl in the Grand Rapids area will be heading to trial.

 

On Monday, 39-year old Ted Vandenbrink was ordered to stand trial for operating while intoxicated causing death.

 

Kent County Sheriff deputies say the crash happened November 13th when Vandenbrink, who was heading west on Six Mile Road NW, failed to stop at a stop sign, causing a three-vehicle crash.

 

17-year old Megan Erin Cook of Morley was a passenger in a van that was struck. She died at the scene.

 

Vandenbrink remains in jail on $100,000 bond. 

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Consumer group urges safety first with toys for gifts

 

As Michigan parents and caregivers tackle their holiday shopping lists, a new report is reminding them to keep toy safety in mind.

 

The U-S Public Interest Research Group's annual “Trouble in Toyland” report lists more than 40 recalls of toys and children’s products that have been announced since January of 2015. However, spokesperson Mike Litt says over a dozen of the items might still be for sale.

 

"The ones that we were still able to find online included those that had exceeded the limits on lead. They were magnet hazards; they also included chargers and batteries that overheated and could cause burns or fires."

 

Litt says toys are safer than ever before, but he cautions that adults should still be vigilant by examining toys for hazards.

 

Recall information can be found online at cpsc.gov.

 

 

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Body of missing Osceola County man found in Lake County

 

An Osceola County man police had been searching for since last Tuesday has been found dead.

 

Fifty-eight-year-old Steve Darling was reported missing by his family last week and was last seen in the Reed City area.

 

The Osceola County Sheriff's office says his body was found in Lake County.

 

No details regarding his death are available at this time.

 

 

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14-year old accidentally shoots self in foot with handgun in Mecosta Co.

 

A Grand Rapids area teen is recovering after accidently shooting himself in the foot with a handgun over the weekend.

 

Mecosta County Sheriff Deputies say it happened in Deerfield Township, that’s where the 14-year old boy from Comstock Park told them he accidently shot himself in the foot with a .22 caliber handgun .

 

The teen was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

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Charges brought in murder of FSU grad

 

Murder charges are being brought against an ex-convict who allegedly shot and killed a police officer at Wayne State University.

 

Officer Collin Rose, who graduated from Ferris State's criminal justice program, was killed earlier this week while trying to arrest 31-year-old DeAngelo Davis.

 

Officials say Davis was riding a bicycle when Rose stopped him and was shot shortly after requesting help from other officers.

 

Davis is being charged with first-degree murder, murder of a police officer, and gun crimes.

 

Rose is the only Wayne State officer ever killed in the line of duty.

 

 

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Police ask for help in locating missing persons

 

Police in Osceola County say they are looking for a pair missing persons.

 

Steve Darling was reported missing by his family earlier this week. He's described as a 58-year-old white male, 6 foot 2, about 200 pounds with brown hair and a mustache. He also wears glasses. He was last seen in the Reed City area driving a tan 1994 Chevy Silverado, with a missing door handle.

 

Seventy-nine-year-old Franz Hofmann went missing from the Marion area on Thursday around 1 p.m. He was last seen driving a two toned blue and white 2004 Chevrolet pickup with a Michigan registration of 7LJR87. He's described as 5'8'' with brown eyes and was wearing a navy blue jacket, white and black plaid shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes.

 

Anyone with information on either Darling or Hofmann should call the Osceola County Sheriff's office at 231-832-2288.

 

 

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Hesperia man sought on drug charges

 

The State Sheriffs Chiefs Enforcement Narcotics Team is trying to find a Hesperia man for making meth.

 

Twenty-eight-year-old Jonny Leslie Linville is described as a white male, 5′ 9″, 145 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.

 

Linville's co-defendant in the case was arrested on earlier this week and is being held in the Oceana County Jail.

 

If you have any information on Linville, police ask that you call 800-994-8477.

 

 

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Man accused of poaching jailed after chase w/ police in Mecosta Co.

 

It wasn’t a happy thanksgiving for one man in Mecosta County who spent the holiday in jail.

 

Sheriff Deputies say they were involved in a chase in Aetna Township Wednesday with a suspect who was accused of a poaching complaint by the DNR.

 

When police were able to stop Robert Seaman’s vehicle they found an unsecured rifle in the passenger seat. 

 

He was lodged on charges of Flee and elude, Possession of a Weapon, Felony Firearm, Possession of Marijuana, Improper plate and was a habitual offender. 

 

Seaman is being held on $75,000 bond.  

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Overtime pay for 4 million blocked by federal judge

 

A federal judge is blocking an Obama administration rule that would extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million salaried workers on December 1.

 

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant, in Texas, agreed with 21 states and a coalition of business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that the rule is unlawful and granted their motion for a nationwide injunction.

 

The regulation would more than double the salary threshold at which employers must pay overtime to their workers.

 

Critics say the regulation would cut into employer profit margins.

 

 

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Safety recalls announced by two auto makers

Another round of recalls may affect some holiday travelers this year.

 

Toyota says 834,000 Toyota Siennas made from 2011 through 2016 are being recalled in North America because the sliding doors can open while the minivan is in motion.

 

Meanwhile, Kia is recalling nearly 72,000 Sportage SUVs because an electrical short in a computer can cause engine fires.

 

Their recall involves the 2008 and 2009 model years.

 

 

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131 Cup on the line

 

Don't forget about tonight's premier hockey game.

 

Every Wednesday before Thanksgiving, ourselves and Cadillac play for a rivalry cup which is called the 131 Challenge Cup. It's always been a great rivalry with Cadillac, a natural rivalry, always an exciting night and it's always our first home game of the year so it's very exciting in that way as well and it's just a nice way to kind of begin the Thanksgiving holiday,” says Big Rapids Cardinal Hockey team head coach Tim Blashill.

 

Blashill adds they hope to take the cup back from the Cadillac Vikings, who've held it for the last three years. The puck drops at 7:00 o'clock tonight at the FSU ice arena. Blashill says this year's theme is military appreciation in honor of our men and women in uniform. Tickets are $5.00 at the door.

 

 

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Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital tree lighting ceremony set for Monday

 

Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital is welcoming residents and families to listen to christmas carols, meet Santa Claus and enjoy festive treats as it kicks off the holiday season by lighting its tree on the corner of Oak Street and Winter Avenue; Monday, November 28th.

 

Sarah Neubecker of Spectrum says this event is always special for them and fun for those attending.

 

"it's a great event to kick off the holiday season it's right after Thanksgiving and it's another way to honor those who have given back to the community."

 

This year, Dr. DesNoyer will be honored for her extensive medical career of delivering babies in the Big Rapids community.                                        

                                                                                                              

 

The ceremony will start at 6pm. 

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Big Rapids City Commission interviews final candidate for City Manager position

 

Big Rapids is one step closer to having a new City Manager. The City Council held a special meeting on Tuesday where they interviewed the last of three final candidates for the post, current Assistant City Manager Mark Gifford, who says he really wants the job.

 

This has been my goal for a long time.”

 

Gifford underwent nearly an hour of questioning by the mayor and city commission members on a broad range of topics ranging from how he would handle being the boss of over people that he's worked with for the past 14 years to neighborhood preservation and redevelopment.

 

Gifford says he is aware of many of the challenges he would be facing, such as budget constraints, an aging infrastructure, economic development, and one that he has recently become aware of.

 

I don't know if it has been apparent to me in the past as it is now, I'm in the process of trying to sell my house, is the comments that you get about taxes,” he says.

 

But, Gifford remains optimistic about the future of the city.

 

Big Rapids has a ton to offer and with that come opportunities.”

 

Gifford was the last of three finalists, along with former Grand Blanc City Manager Paul Brake and New Buffalo City Manager Robert Anderson, who were interviewed by the city commission. The three were winnowed from a dozen people who applied for the position.

 

The city commission did not extend an offer to Gifford but will review the three finalists with a decision expected at their next meeting on December 5th.

 

 

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Two people stabbed at adult foster care home in Isabella County

 

Two people at an adult foster care facility in Isabella County are recovering after being stabbed by a male resident Monday.

 

When police arrived to the scene, they found a 37-year old female employee with several stab wounds.

 

As deputies continued to investigate they also located a 47-year old male resident of the home, who had a stab wound to his thigh area.

 

Deputies arrested 25-year old Lonney Lavoye, who was also a resident of the group home.

 

The two victims were taken to McLaren Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

 

Investigators say the incident stemmed from Lavoye not following certain house rules, he became upset and began to stab the female worker. The second victim intervened to stop Lavoye from continuing the assault and was stabbed in the process.

 

Lavoye surrendered as soon as deputies arrived.

 

He is being held in jail on $600,000 bond. 

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Mt. Pleasant man arrested for recording teenage girl in the shower

 

A Mt. Pleasant man is behind bars after police say he placed a recording device in the bathroom area of a home in order to capture images of a 15-year old girl, who was taking a shower.

 

Sheriff Michael Main says 30-year old Aaron William King admitted to placing the device in the bathroom in order to record a friend’s daughter.  

 

King is now charged with capturing/distributing pornographic images. He is being held on $15,000 bond. 

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The cost of living in Big Rapids is going up, but officials say the community remains competitive for residents and businesses

 

The cost of living is going up in Big Rapids. The City Commission is increasing the city's contribution for health insurance for its employees because, like everyone else, their health insurance rates are going up.

 

I don't know where you can look and not find someone somewhere affected by increases in health insurance,” says Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba.

 

The Commission authorized the increase during Monday's meeting noting that what city employees contribute to that cost is also going up. The overall average premium increase for city employees in 2017 is anticipated to be 7.5 percent 4.2 percent of which is paid by the employee.

 

The Council also passed an ordinance increasing the rates for recycling in Big Rapids. Warba says that's due to an increase in rates charged by the Kent County Recycle Center in Grand Rapids.

 

The increase in recycle rates are being passed through in part because those that take in the recyclable materials are finding that they need to up what they charge.”

 

The contract with Kent County Recycle Center also allows for a 25 percent administrative charged that the city levies for administrative costs. Recycle rates in Big Rapids will rise from $3.67 per month to $4.35 for residential customers and from $13.04 to $14.09 for commercial customers effective January 1, 2017.

 

An increase in rates paid by the city for renting snow removal equipment, in some cases as much as 100 percent over last year, was also approved by the Council.

 

Warba notes that Big Rapids remains a competitive community to live in as is evidenced by the amount of new growth happening in the area, such as Dunham's new store on Perry Avenue, the new O'Rielly Auto Parts store on State Street, new construction on FSU's campus, and others.

 

And with that growth then, it's one of the ways I think we can help moderate what it costs to keep things up and running,” he says.

 

 

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Police investigating shooting incident in Big Rapids Township

 

Police are asking for help in identifying the suspect in a shooting incident in Big Rapids Township.

 

Detective/Sgt. Casey Nemeth says three gunshots were heard at the Oakwood Apartments on 14 Mile Road early Sunday morning.

 

Witnesses say there was a party at the complex and a black male with a handgun was observed in the parking lot.

 

Police are asking anyone with information on the incident to call the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office at 231-592-0150.

 

 

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Sabra hummus being recalled

 

Sabra Dipping Co. is recalling some hummus products and spreads because of possible Listeria contamination.

 

The products were manufactured before November 8th at a plant where Listeria has been found, but the bacteria have not been found in products that have been tested, according to the food and drug administration.

 

Consumers are urged to discard any product with a "Best Before" date through January 23, 2017.

 

That date can be found on the lid of each package. A list of the products recalled can be found on the FDA or Sabra websites.

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North Central Co-op expanding in Newaygo Co.

 

North Central Co-op is planning a $10.1 million expansion of its feed mill in Newaygo County.

 

The city of White Cloud approved for a tax break last month for the facility that will be built in the White Cloud Industrial Park.

 

The expansion project is intended to help the Indiana-based co-op meet future demand, improve quality control, and enhance on site biosecurity, according to NCC Michigan Region officials.

 

The expansion will create three new jobs. 

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Wet roads lead to hospitalization for Big Rapids woman

 

A Big Rapids woman is recovering after she ran off the road Saturday afternoon.

 

Mecosta County Sheriff's Deputy John Bongard says the 27-year-old woman was driving north on 30th Avenue when she lost control due to the wet roads, ran off the roadway and went into the ditch where the vehicle overturned and she was pinned in.

 

Her seven year old passenger did not sustain any injuries.

 

Fork Township Fire/Rescue were able to extricate her from the vehicle and she was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids with non-Life threatening injuries.

 


 

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Some Michiganders to have tax refunds delayed

 

The Internal Revenue Service is reminding Michigan taxpayers who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) to plan on a delay on their entire refund.

 

Federal law changes aimed at making it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent refund fraud requires the IRS to withhold the refund of any tax return claiming either the EITC or ACTC until Feb. 15.

 

By law, the IRS must withhold the entire refund, not just the portion related to those credits.

 

 

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Sportsmen Against Hunger taking donations

 

The Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger organization is working to connect hunters with needy people in the state.

 

The MSAH channels wild game donations into the hands of those in need. Last season, participating processors turned nearly 33,000 pounds of deer meat into nutritious meals for needy families.

 

Michigan leads the nation in hunting license sales and according to the most recent data, 10 percent of Michigan’s working families with children live in poverty.

 

Local hunters can take their deer to one of three processors in Montcalm County or one in Newaygo County.

 

Montcalm

Blanchard's Thriftway

903 S. Main

Crystal, MI 48818

989-235-4240

 

Montcalm

Sage's Meat Processing

9189 Sage Dr

Greenville, MI 48838

616-754-6380

 

Montcalm

Village Market

10715 E. Carson City Rd.

447 Carson City MI 48811

989-584-3167

 

Newaygo

M-37 Meat Shack

12642 N. Woodbridge Ave.

Bitely, MI 49309

231-745-721

 

 

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New government officials visit Mecosta County BOC

 

Two new faces are making themselves known in Mecosta County Government.

 

I'm Tyler Thompson. I'm the former Osceola County prosecuting attorney up until about 11:59 this morning. Then I came down here and was sworn in again and so I'm now the Probation judge for Osceola and Mecosta County and it's good to put faces with last names which I've seen on campaign signs throughout Mecosta County for the last little while,” said newly appointed judge Tyler Thompson.

 

Thompson was appointed to the bench by Governor Rick Snyder last month. He stopped by the Mecosta County Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday along with former Mecosta County Sheriff and newly elected Board Commissioner Mark Solis.

 

It's going to be my honor and pleasure to work with all of you. I'll try to be as [much of a] team player as possible. God gave me two ears and one mouth so I'm going to try to use my two ears instead of my mouth for a while and try to do the best we can to help this community be great,” said Solis as he addressed the BOC.

 

The board also approved a number of issues including funding for the county's Sobriety Court program and a $300,000 loan to the county park commission for improvements to School Section Lake park.

 

 

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Pregnant Michiganders smoking at alarming rates

 

Pregnant women in Michigan are lighting up at higher rates now than they were several years ago according to a report released Thursday by the Michigan League for Public Policy. Project Director Alicia Guevara Warren says smoking by expectant mothers is up 18 percent, which is startling considering all the knowledge available about the risks. She says more can be done in preventing smoking.

 

"In fact, we very minimally support these types of programs and the American Lung Association actually grades Michigan an 'F' in smoking prevention and cessation and also for access to these types of programs."

 

The annual Right Start report on maternal and child health also found the rate of preterm births jumped dramatically, up 20 percent from 2008 to 2014. Smoking during pregnancy is associated with not only preterm births but also low birth weight, infant death and other complications.

 

Warren says state and federal funds for smoking prevention and cessation initiatives in the 2017 budget were down more than one-third from 2008 levels.

 

 

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Eight-year-old boy being charged with stabbing

 

An eight-year-old boy charged with stabbing a 12-year-old boy in Kent County is probably the youngest person charged with a violent crime in west Michigan.

 

Police say the eight-year-old was arguing with some younger siblings when the older boy stepped in and the younger boy stabbed him.

 

The victim is in stable condition.

 

Kent County assistant prosecutor Vicki Seidl says the only way to get help and treatment for the boy is to charge him with the crime.

 

 

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Unsafe children's shoe recalled

 

An unsafe children's shoe sold only at Meijer is being recalled.

 

Skidder's Footwear says some 5,500 pairs of the canvas tennis shoes have rivets with sharp edges that can cause lacerations.

 

No serious injuries have been reported from the sneakers that were sold in sizes 12M, 18M, and 24M between August and October.

 

Consumers can call Skidders toll free at 866.636.1221 or go to Skidders’ website for more information.

 

 

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8-year old suffers serious injuries after ORV accident

 

An 8-year old girl is in the hospital recovering after being involved in an ORV accident in Isabella County.

 

It happened on private property near the 5000 Block West River Road in Deerfield Township.

 

Sheriff Michael Main says the child was operating a Polaris Ranger and had turned too sharply.

 

The ORV rolled, pinning the little girl under it.

 

Family members were able to remove the ORV from the child prior to first responders arriving.

 

The child was taken by Aeromed to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids with serious internal injuries. 

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Camper explodes in Osceola Co.; no one hurt

 

A camper exploded in Osceola County Wednesday.

 

Flames reportedly shot 50 feet in the air, but the fire was put out quickly.

 

Police say a man had lit a burn barrel near the camper earlier and then heard the explosion.

 

No one was hurt.

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Red Kettle campaign kicks off in Big Rapids

 

The Big Rapids Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign is off and running after a community kick off challenge was issued Wednesday by lead sponsor McDonald Chrysler of Big Rapids.

 

As a way to kick things off, the local auto dealer donated $2,000 to the campaign.

 

Chris Vallette, Development Director of the local SA chapter says it’s always special how a community comes together during this time of the year.

 

This year’s goal is to raise $100,000; however they need more bell ringers.  

 

Volunteers can sign up by calling the Salvation Army at (231) 796-5597 or registering online at ringbells.org.

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Snyder visits China while Trump formulates trade policy

 

China may be getting mixed messages from Governor Rick Snyder and president-elect Donald Trump.

 

Snyder is halfway through an eight-day investment mission to China, focusing on promoting job-creating business growth and attracting investment in Michigan, plus pushing the state as a tourism destination.

 

However, as part of his seven point plan to rebuild America's economy, Trump says he will Instruct the Treasury Secretary to label China a currency manipulator and will instruct the U.S. Trade Representative to bring trade cases against China, both in this country and at the World Trade Organization.

 

Snyder returns to Michigan this Saturday.

 

 

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Mecosta County Parks gets donation for children's programs

 

Children's programs at Mecosta County Parks is getting a shot in the arm. The county Park Commission received a check from the Kiwanis Club of Big Rapids during Tuesday's meeting.

 

They run the haunted hatchery event every year and they donate 10 percent of the proceeds back to the parks to utilize for children's programs in the parks. So, that 10 percent this year came out to almost $800,” says Park Superintendent Jeff Abel.

 

Abel notes they will make sure the money goes for children's activities at the parks next year.

 

 

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Moolenaar OK with Trump appointees

 

Many Americans of differing political persuasions are still coming to grips with Donald Trump's victory in last week's election and, as he prepares to take over as president, his appointees are causing controversy as well.

 

Trump recently named former Briebart News chairman Stephen Bannon and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Prebus to head his White House.

 

U.S. Congressman John Moolenaar, who's district includes Big Rapids, Reed City, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland, believes both men have enough political experience.

 

Well, I think that Reince Prebus is someone who is very well known and respected in government and Congress. Mr. Bannon is not known as well, but is someone who has gained the trust of president-elect Trump and has really helped in the campaign,” he says.

 

Neither man has previously held an elected office, but Trump says they will work as “equal partners to transform the federal government.”

 

 

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Man arraigned charged with OWI in fatal accident that killed Morley teen

 

The man accused of a suspected drunk driving accident Sunday in the Grand Rapids area that killed a Mecosta Co. teen is now charged.  

 

39-year old Ted Vandenbrink was in front of a judge Tuesday to listen to a felony charge of operating while intoxicated causing death levied against him.

 

The Kent County Sheriff's Department says a car driven Vandenbrink failed to stop at a stop sign and hit a minivan driven by Beth Cook, of Morley. 53-year old Randall Cook and their daughter Megan was also in the vehicle which was pushed into the path of another vehicle.

 

Megan Cook was pronounced dead at the scene while her parents were taken to a hospital with non life threatening injuries.

 

Vandenbrink faces 15 years in prison, if convicted. 

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Learn computer skills at Big Rapids library

 

The Big Rapids Community Library is offering help for those who may be computer-challenged.

 

Free one-hour computer classes will be held starting at the end of the month covering the basics of personal computers and the online world.

 

Drop-in hours will also be available for specific topics.

 

Classes will be offered from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays beginning Nov. 29, and from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, beginning Nov. 30.

 

You can register for a class by calling the library at (231) 796-5234 or by emailing librarian@bigrapids.lib.mi.us.

 

 

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Hunting not allowed on most Consumers Energy property

 

Consumers Energy offers a reminder that hunting is not allowed on its property, with the exception of its hydro properties in the northern Lower Peninsula.

 

Special provisions apply to Consumers Energy-owned lands encompassing 12,000 acres bordering its Au Sable, Manistee, and Muskegon river hydroelectric facilities, where hunting is allowed.

 

However, constructing blinds, target shooting, baiting, burning and fire pits are strictly prohibited on all Consumers Energy land.

 

 

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Rash of drug overdoses have police on alert

 

Police are warning that there may be a bad batch of heroin in Wexford County after responding to six heroin overdoses in Cadillac, Buckley, and Cherry Grove Township last Friday and Saturday.

 

They say carfentanil, a deadly opioid that is used to tranquilize large animals, may be part of it.

 

 

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Winter parking ban starts today in Reed City

 

Starting today, Reed City will be enforcing its winter parking ban.

 

This ban prohibits the parking of any vehicle on any street between 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m.

 

if you are in violation of this ban, a fine of $30 will be levied as well as impound towing fee if necessary.

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Big Rapids Public Schools in good financial health

 

The Big Rapids Public School system is in good financial health. That's the message the Board of Education received at Monday's meeting from Rehmann Robson, a Michigan based auditing firm, for the school year ending in June of 2016. Board President Peter Kent says he's pleased with the audit results.

 

The audit went excellent. Tina Mills, who's our financial director, she checked it, the board checked it, everything's fine. We got a clear audit, we got a clean audit.”

 

According to the report, the District's total net position increased by $534,366 and, as of the close of the current fiscal year, the District's governmental funds reported combined ending fund balances of $2,559,074, an increase of $455,532 in comparison with the prior year.

 

Kent adds there should be no financial problems for the foreseeable future at Big Rapids Public Schools.

 

 

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Trump tells supporters to stop harassing minorities

 

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights says they are receiving more reports of harassment and bullying following Tuesday's election.

 

U of M president Mark Schlissel says a threatening message was painted on the rock near campus, a student walking near campus was threatened with being set on fire because she wore a hajib, and another student left his apartment to go to class and found a swastika with a message telling him to go home.

 

At Eastern Michigan University, several incidents of racist graffiti targeting African Americans were left on buildings.

 

And, a Traverse City Police officer is under suspension after he allegedly displayed a confederate flag at a "Love Trumps Hate" protest Friday night in Traverse City.

 

MDCR director Agustin Arbulu says the election created a very negative climate for people on both sides, and it's not surprising that there are people struggling with the result.

 

This weekend, Donald Trump told his supporters to stop harassing minorities during an appearance on CBS' “60 Minutes.”

 

 

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Supermoon may affect deer behavior this hunting season

 

Thousands of hunters will be in the woods starting this Tuesday and the start of the firearm deer season brings a number of challenges for hunters, among them, this week's super moon.

 

The Michigan United Conservation Clubs say the moon may change the feeding habits of some deer, with older deer that like more cover not being out as much during the night.

 

They advise hunters to stay in the woods later into early afternoon.

 

The moon is closer to the Earth than it has been in the last 69 years.

 

 

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17-year old Mecosta Co. girl dies in Grand Rapids area car accident

 

A 17-year-old girl from Mecosta County is dead following a three car accident in the Grand Rapids area Sunday afternoon.

 

The Kent County Sheriff's Department says a Taurus driven by a 39-year old Grand Rapids man did not stop at a stop sign and hit a vehicle driven by Beth Cook, of Morley.

 

53- year-old Randall Cook and their daughter Megan was also in the vehicle which was pushed into the path of another vehicle.

 

Megan Cook was pronounced dead at the scene while her parents were taken to a hospital with non life threatening injuries.

 

Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.

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EMS save Big Rapids man during heroin overdose

 

A Big Rapids man is in jail on drug charges after police say emergency crews had to revive the man during an overdose.

 

According to police, a 21-year old man was discovered in a restaurant parking lot slumped over in his car.

 

When EMS arrived to the scene they revived the man using Narcan, a drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Once the man regained consciousness he admitted to using heroin.

 

During its investigation, police officers found damage from the suspect’s car on North State Street and West Avenue, where a utility pole had been hit.

 

The Big Rapids man’s identity is being withheld pending arraignment. 

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Veterans Day ceremony held at Big Rapids' Veterans & Homefront Heroes Memorial in Holland Park

 

Those from all over Big Rapids gathered at Holland Park's Veterans & Homefront Heroes Memorial Friday afternoon for Veterans Day Ceremony.

 

The ceremony was a way to honor those service men and women in the armed forces who have served or are currently serving.

                                                                                                     

 

During the ceremony, emcee Jean Bennett of AMVETS Post 1941 told attendees this day belongs to those men and women who have served their country.

           

 

“They have served with honor and with dignity. They have served in different places and different ways. They have not only fought our wars, they have preserved our peace whether in far away lands or in home stations,” she said.  
 
After the ceremony, Bennett asked attendees to go up to those who have served and give thanks. 

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Reed City veteran receives long awaited medals

 

A native of Reed City now has the recognition he deserves. Russ Nehmer received his Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal during ceremonies in Reed City on Friday. The Purple Heart was presented by Michigan Senator Phil Potvin and Reed City Manager Ron Howell read the presentation for the Meritorious Service Medal which was given to Nehmer by his son.

 

For exceptionally meritorious service in various positions of increasing responsibility, for over 20 years of dedicated military service, Sgt. First Class Nehmer's technical and tactical competence, professionalism and loyalty were essential to mission accomplishment.”

 

Nehmer retired from the Army in 2015 and was supposed to receive the medals then, but they were lost in the paperwork. Nehmer suffered serious wounds from a rocket attack while in Wardak Afghanistan in 2010.

 

 

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Discussions over Brutus dog park grow contentious at Big Rapids Park and Rec Board meeting

 

The Big Rapids Park and Recreation Board is still wrestling with the issue of rules at Brutus Dog park.

 

At a previous meeting, dog park patron Thomas Bratus asked that the rules be changed to allow only spayed or neutered animals at the park because of dog fights and injuries.

 

The discussion between a number of citizens became somewhat antagonistic when it was taken up again at Thursday's meeting.

 

Board member Mark Brejcha and Big Rapids Assistant City Manager Mark Gifford both noted that part of the problem is that the park has become very popular, often being visited by large numbers of people with their dogs.

 

Suggestions for larger signs about the park rules and even expanding the park were discussed, but in the end Board Chair Richard Spedowski tabled the issue until more information on how other cities handle the problem at their dog parks could be gathered for discussion.

 

 

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Hersey elections stand

 

Barring a lawsuit, Robin Marvel will be the next president of the Village of Hersey.

 

Marvel beat John Calabrese by just two votes in Tuesday's election, but some residents who live outside the village limits were inadvertently provided ballots inlcuding the village races.

 

The Michigan Bureau of Elections says the issue does not qualify for another election and the only recourse is if Calabrese asks for a recount which he would have to pay for.

 

 

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Rep. Potvin ready for last few months in office

 

Term-limited State House Representative Phil Potvin of the 102nd District has until January before he leaves and he wants to make the most out of it.

 

Potvin says he is focusing on a few bills that he wants to get passed namely one bill that would expand the state’s boundaries. The Cadillac republican also wants to tackle the state energy package because he says he has concerns about it and doesn’t like where the package is at right now.

 

Potvin did have some advice to the next representative taking over for him, recently elected Michele Hoitenga of Manton. He said when in office she needs to listen to her people, her constituents because that’s her highest priority.  

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Hunters getting ready for firearm deer season

 

Michigan's firearm deer season is right around the corner. The DNR advises hunters should wear orange and follow antler point restrictions and rules on baiting. Ole Gun Shack manager Aaron Pieri has some advice for hunters too.

 

They get their guns out and get them cleaned and test fired before they head out into the woods.”

 

And, with gun season opening up this Tuesday, Pieri says business is good.

 

Definitely. This time of year for us we always get busy. Right now I'm about eight guns deep mounting scopes and bore sighting and stuff of that nature.”

 

Over half a million hunters are expected to participate in the firearm deer season this year.

 

Hunting pumps more than $2.3 billion into Michigan’s economy each year, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

 

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Health officials say diabetes is on the rise

 

Nearly 800,000 people in Michigan have diabetes, and another 2.6 million have prediabetes, which means they're at risk of developing the disease.

 

During National Diabetes Awareness Month, health professionals are trying to get the message out about serious complications that often come with the disease including diabetes related kidney, eye and heart disease, diabetic neuropathy, and circulation problems that can lead to foot ulcers.

 

"Diabetes is actually going up about one percent per year. Probably the greatest two reasons [are] faulty diet and lack of exercise."

 

That's vascular surgeon Dr. Gary Gibbons who adds that as soon as someone is diagnosed with diabetes, they need to be careful because ulcers can lead to amputations and even death.

 

The CDC says diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 80,000 people every year.

 

 

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Edmund Fitzgerald tragedy remembered

 

The Great Lakes area is remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald tragedy, 41 years after the boat sank amid a furious storm on Lake Superior.

 

The Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City is one of several places holding memorials.

 

And for good reason, says academy superintendent Jerry Achenbach , who's spent his career on the water.

 

Great Lakes Maritime Academy cadet David Weiss was lost with all hands on the Edmund Fitzgerald,” he says.

 

Achenbach's predecessor, John Tanner, personally drove cadet David Weiss to the Fitzgerald for his 1975 training assignment.

All 29 crew members on board died in that storm. The exact cause of the sinking is still debated today.

 

 

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Volvo recalls 74,000 vehicles

 

Problems with a seat belt buckle stud is causing Volvo to recall about 74,000 cars and SUVs.

 

Officials say the stud can come loose on the front passenger seat belt preventing it from holding the

passenger in a crash.

 

The recall includes certain 2016 and 2017 S60, S90, V60, XC60 and XC90 vehicles.

 

Dealers will begin replacing the faulty buckles for free starting on December 12th.

 

To see if you vehicle is affected, click on Volvo Recall.

 

 

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Village of Hersey having election troubles

 

The results of the election in one town have been called into question.

 

According to reports, some people voted on races in the village of Hersey that should not have been allowed to because they don't live inside the village limits.

 

It's an issue in the race for president of Hersey Village because just two votes decided the race.

 

Robin Marvel beat John Calabres, but both want the election to be fair.

 

The township clerk says they are waiting to hear from the State Election Bureau about what they should do.

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Public comment period for Nestle's request to pump more water near Evart extended

 

Nestle wants to increase the amount of water it pulls from its well near Evart to be bottled at its plant in Stanwood.

 

The Department of Environmental Quality needs to issue a permit for that to happen and a public comment period is supposed to take place.

 

The Nestle proposal was published last month in the DEQ Environmental Calendar which is not widely read by the general public.

 

Mlive published a story about the request late last week, three days before the public comment period was scheduled to end.

 

Since then, the DEQ has been swamped with emails about the request.

 

They’ve extended the public comment period for Nestle’s permit until December 3 and are planning to hold a public hearing.

 

Under Michigan law, water bottlers don’t have to pay for the water they pull out of the ground.

 

It’s free to them to pump and sell.

 

 

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Veterans Day ceremony to be held at Big Rapids' Veterans & Hometown Heroes Memorial

 

The Big Rapids Veterans and Homefront Heroes Memorial at Holland Park will play host to its first Veterans Day Ceremony Friday.  

 

The event will take place on Friday at 11am.

 

Jean Bennett of the local AMVET’s Post in Big Rapids says this day means a lot to her.

 

“Being able to do a Veterans Day ceremony at the park basically brings me to tears; it’s been a long time coming. There were people who didn’t want the park but we pushed through and made it happen and now it’s time to utilize the park for that it was built for,” she said.  

 

Here is a list of local events planned for Veterans Day on Friday Nov. 11th:

 

9:00am-12pm SOS Breakfast at Big Rapids AMVETS Post 1941

 

10:30am Legion Post 98 Honor Guard gun salute

 

11am Veterans Day Ceremony at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital  

 

Events for Sunday Nov. 13th:

 

4pm FSU Veterans Day Salute at Williams Auditorium 

 

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Trump wins presidency; local election results here

 

Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States.

 

Trump crossed the 270 electoral vote threshold at 2:31 a.m. with a victory in Wisconsin.

 

His democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, called Trump to concede victory a short time later.  

 

In local election news, Former Manton Mayor Michele Hoitenga is the new 102nd State House District representative beating out democratic opponent Douglas Gabbert.

 

Hoitenga takes over for term-limited republican Phil Potvin.

 

Incumbent Congressman John Moolenaar gets another term representing the fourth congressional District after beating his opponents Tuesday night.

 

The Mecosta County Board of Commission will have one change going forward.

 

Mark Solis beat out long time county commissioner Eric O’Neil for the Sixth District Commissioner seat Tuesday.

 

Meantime in Big Rapids Township, Carmen Bean, Tony Geib, Travis Williams and Jerry Everett are the new township Trustees.  

 

According to the Mecosta County Clerk's Office, just under 56% of registerd voters cast their ballot. 

 

For more local results click HERE

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Campaigning isn't cheap for Michigan localities where venues are held

 

With both presidential nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaigning in Grand Rapids on Monday, those visits didn't come cheap.

 

They cost taxpayers some $40,000 for security at both rallies.

 

Grand Rapids Police Sergeant Terry Dixon says they're in charge of the protection and safety of the

community to the best of their ability, while Michigan State Police says they don't track the costs of troopers at political events and don't charge the candidates for those costs.

 

Local communities can recover some of their costs for providing security, but it’s not easy and the likelihood of getting any reimbursement is low.

 

 

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Former State Police Sergeant arrested on embezzlement charges

 

A former Michigan State Police sergeant was arrested on Monday for allegedly stealing from the Cadillac Post evidence room.

 

Malcolm Irwin was arrested on charges of embezzlement by a public official and embezzlement of an agent or trustee $1,000 or more but less than $20,000.

 

Officials say the investigation began in March of 2014 when they were alerted that around $9,600 was missing from the Cadillac Post property room.

 

Irwin was in charge of the evidence room.

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Big Rapids City Commission interviews City Manager candidates

 

The Big Rapids City Commission began the process of interviewing candidates Monday night to succeed outgoing City Manager Steve Sobers.

 

Paul Brake interviewed with city officials last night.

 

Brake was the Former Grand Blanc City Manager and former Meridian Township Assistant Manager in the Lansing area.

 

Over the next month, the City Commission will be interviewing two other candidates, Robert Anderson and Mark Gifford. 

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Trump holds final rally in Grand Rapids

 

Presidential candidate Donald Trump, like the rest of America, is now awaiting the results of today's election. He held a final rally late Monday night in Grand Rapids, finally taking the stage at Devos Place at 12:30 am.

 

Today we are going to win the great state of Michigan and we are going to win back the White House.”

 

During his speech Trump touched on a number of subjects including political corruption, who won the presidential debates, the plight of America's inner cities, immigration, and jobs.

 

A Trump administration will stop the jobs from leaving America and we will stop the jobs from leaving Michigan, that I can tell you 100 percent.”

 

Trump was not without his detractors however. Quinn Gardner of Grand Rapids was protesting along with a group of people outside the venue.

 

I believe that Trump is a threat to this country in the sense that he has absolutely no political experience, he doesn't have a plan, and he says whatever comes to his mind in the very moment,” he says.

 

Trump spoke in front of what he estimated to be 18,000 people.

 

 

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Man leads police on chase through three counties

 

A man is in custody following a police chase across several counties on Sunday.

 

Troopers say the chase began late Sunday night in Weidman when they tried to pull the man over for a traffic stop.

 

The man then took off leading officers on a chase through Isabella County, crossing over into Mecosta County, and then west bound on US 10 in Osceola County.

 

He was clocked at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour during the chase which ended in Evart where the driver took off across a field.

 

He was eventually apprehended and placed under arrest and is expected to be arraigned on multiple charges.

 

 

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Lake City man suffers medical condition; dies in Osceola County car accident

 

A Lake City man is dead following a car accident this morning in Osceola County.

 

It happened on M115 near 100th Ave in Highland Township, Undersheriff Justin Halladay says a semi-truck driven by a 51-year old Lake City man left the road and struck an electrical poll. 

 

Investigators believe the driver suffered a medical condition at the time of the accident.  

 

The Lake City man was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation is still ongoing.

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Reed City man part of new Michigan State Police graduating class

 

The Michigan state police department is getting a new class of law enforcement officers.

 

Governor Rick Snyder welcomed the new recruits to the ranks of the MSP on Friday during a graduation ceremony in Lansing.

 

Caleb Killingbeck of Reed City is being assigned to the Cadillac post and 57 other new troopers are being assigned to posts across the state.

 

 

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FEMA has suggestions for daylight saving fall back

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has some ideas for that extra hour we'll all be getting when daylight saving time falls back at 2:00 am on Sunday.

 

They say we should all verify our carbon monoxide and smoke detectors work, check our emergency kits, and confirm that our insurance coverage and home inventory list are up to date.

 

Officials say those few simple step will make your home more disaster-resilient.

 

 

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Evart bank robber sentenced

 

A Florida man who pleaded guilty to robbing a bank in Evart is apologizing for his crime.

 

Fifty-two-year-old David Raymond Dingee of Pompano Beach, Florida apologized to the court while being sentenced on Friday in Osceola County.

 

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

 

Dingee was sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison for the crime. He was on parole at the time of the robbery.

 

 

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Big Rapids City Council will interview new City Manager applicant at special meeting on Monday

 

Big Rapids City Council will interview new City Manager applicant at special meeting on Monday

 

Big Rapids City Manager Steve Sobers is retiring in December.

 

As a result, the Big Rapids City Commission will hold a special meeting on Monday, November 7th to interview applicant Paul Brake.

 

City officials began searching for a new City Manager in September, posting the job opening online saying they are looking for someone with at least 7 years experience as a city manager or assistant city manager and are offering a $100,000 to $150,000 salary with benefits.

 

Sobers has recommended Big Rapids Assistant City Manager Mark Gifford as his replacement.

 

The special meeting will be held at 5:00 pm at the Big Rapids City Hall.

 

 

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Daylight saving time ends this Sunday

 

The annual ritual of setting clocks back happens at 2:00 am on Sunday as daylight saving time comes to an end for 2016.

 

According to David Prerau, author of "Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time" the long tradition was first started by Benjamin Franklin as a way to conserve energy.

 

Franklin came up with the idea in 1784 so people could take advantage of the extra evening daylight rather than wasting energy on lighting.

 

 

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Newaygo County shooting update

 

We now know the identities of the victim and the alleged murderer in Wednesday night's shooting in Newaygo County.

 

Police say Jason Verhulst is being charged with first-degree murder in the death of Timothy Shoemaker.

 

The shooting happened around 11 o'clock Wednesday night in Lilley Township when Shoemaker's father woke up to the sound of a gunshot.

 

He reportedly found Verhulst naked, standing next to his son's bed holding a rifle.

 

Police say Verhulst admitted to shooting Shoemaker saying, “Something told me to do it.”

 

Verhulst faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

 

 

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Mecosta Co. Parks loan request for park improvements approved by Board of Commission

 

Campsite improvements are on the horizon in 2017 at School Section Lake Veterans Park in Mecosta County.

 

On Thursday, the Mecosta County Board of Commission approved a loan request of up to $300,000 by the Mecosta County Parks for capital improvements at School Section Lake campground.  

 

The plan includes a new septic system and adding septic to 69 campsites, and adding a  new wing to the main bathhouse.

 

Commissioner Eric O’Neil believed with the improvements, the Parks could pay back the loan from the county within 8-9 years. 

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Three arrested for breaking into Montcalm Co. school office

 

A 17-year old and two other juveniles were taken into custody in connection to the break-in of the Montabella Schools Central Office Building last week.

 

During its investigation, Sheriff deputies were able to identify three suspects in the crime.

 

Police say the suspects confessed and deputies were able to recover the stolen property.

 

The Montcalm County prosecutor’s office authorized felony charges on all three suspects including Breaking and Entering, Safe Breaking, Larceny in a Building, and Destruction of Property in excess of $1,000. 

 

17-year old Ethan Hart of Edmore was arraigned on charges.

 

The two other juveniles also from Edmore are being held at a detention facility in Saginaw.    

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Big Rapids man charged with sex crimes against minor

 

A Big Rapids man faces life in prison after being charged with sex crimes involving a minor.

 

The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office says 65-year old Marvin Bowman turned himself into police Thursday after charges were filed against him.

 

He has been charged with first and second degree criminal sexual conduct involving a female victim.

 

A complaint was filed against Bowman on October 28th accusing him of sex crimes against a young girl from 2005-2016 in Big Rapids Township.

 

His bond was set at $750,000.  

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Big Rapids Township officials prepare for new Board of Commissioners

 

The leadership in Big Rapids Township is changing hands.

 

All four of our trustees have decided not to run – Rich Jensen, Jim Toogood, Dave Hamlin, and John Zimmerman.”

 

That's Township Supervisor Bill Stanek who thanked the board members for their service during the final meeting of the current Township Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. There are five people running for the four open seats in the upcoming election and Stanek says they'll have to come up to speed pretty fast.

 

We have five people running for four seats. Jerry Everett, Carman Bean, Travis Williams, Bob Maguire, and Tony Geib. I've given all five of them a copy of the budget, which we gotta approve at the next meeting. The next board meeting is the first Tuesday of December and the new board will take place then.”

 

Stanek says he's talked with three of the candidates so far and plans to talk with the other two beforehand.

 

 

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Construction for new Mecosta County Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce building gets under way on State Street

 

The old Twice Is Nice resale shop on State Street in Big Rapids is now history. Demolition crews began tearing the structure down on Thursday morning to make way for the new Mecosta County Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Executive Director Connie Koepke says they're happy construction is finally underway.

 

It's been about a year and a half now since we partnered with the Chamber [of Commerce] to look into a new location and today's the day.”

 

She says the new building should be ready soon.

 

Early spring or early summer we should have our new building up and ready to go.”

 

Keopke adds the new facility will be bigger and she's real excited for the new welcome center they will have.

 

We're looking at just over a 3,000 square foot building, it's going to house both the Convention and Visitor Bureau offices and the Chamber of Commerce and then we are also very excited, we're going to have a real welcome center for our guests.”

 

And, the welcome center was the driving force behind the need for a new facility, she says.

 

The building, honestly, over the time its served us well – the building is in serious disrepair, there's not enough space for the Bureau to have a welcome center.”

 

Koepke says everyone at the Convention and Visitors Bureau is glad to finally see the project moving forward after more than a year of planning and negotiations.

 

 

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Morley-Stanwood Middle/High School evacuated Wednesday because of smokey smell

 

There was a small scare at Morley-Stanwood Middle/High School Wednesday morning when students and staff noticed a smokey odor.

 

In a statement, Morley-Stanwood Community School officials said staff followed the fire drill protocol and the building was evacuated, the students were taken to the gym at the elementary school, and the fire department was alerted.

 

After a full examination, the students have been allowed to return to the building to resume the school day. 

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Shooting in Newaygo County leaves one dead

 

One man is dead and a suspect in custody following a deadly shooting in Newaygo County Wednesday night.

 

It happened at a home in Lilley Township, that’s where police say they found the body of a 55-year-old Kentwood man with a gunshot wound to the head.

 

A 41-year-old Wyoming man is in custody.

 

The identity of the victim or suspect has not been released.

 

The investigation is ongoing. 

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Why is election day on a Tuesday in November?

Federal law says Election Day must be held on the Tuesday immediately following the first Monday in November.

 

A uniform date was first selected by Congress in 1845 when farming was essential to most American communities, so holding the election in November – after most harvests were complete – was ideal.

 

Elections routinely were held on Tuesday so it did not interfere with the Biblical Sabbath and because most farmer’s markets were open on Wednesdays.

 

Now that our society isn’t so agriculture-focused and Tuesday is considered a “work day” for most Americans, some critics believe we should make changes to Election Day laws.

 

 

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Photo ID not required to vote in Michigan

 

A photo ID is not a requirement to vote in Michigan.

 

The ACLU of Michigan has sent a letter to hundreds of city clerks clarifying the law because, they say, there's still a lot of misinformation about it.

 

They want clerks to post signs at polling places informing voters that they can vote without a photo ID by signing an affidavit.

 

 

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Study says schools are becoming big business

 

What began as an experiment to create innovation through charter schools has become a movement to privatize public education, according to a new report.

 

Stan Salett, the study's co-author, spent more than four decades in public education and helped launch the nation's Head Start and Upward Bound programs. He says in the past two decades, a small group of billionaires – including News Corporation's Rupert Murdoch, who once called public schools an "untapped 500-billion-dollar sector" – have worked to assert private control over public education to make money.

 

"And that's what's at play now. You've got a lot of money on one side going in to create a privatized school system that becomes part of the new marketplace for hedge funds and Wall Street investors."

 

The Independent Media Institute study found 40 percent of the nation's 67-hundred charter schools are part of corporate chains or franchises. Salett says many charters do good work, and are operated by and accountable to their communities. But the report recommends a national moratorium on their rapid growth until the industry’s governing structures and business models can be assessed and improved.

 

 

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Nestle plans to double water pumped for Stanwood bottling plant

 

In addition to a planned $36-million dollar expansion of its Ice Mountain bottling plant in Mecosta County, Nestle Water North America is asking the state for permission to nearly double the amount of water it pulls from the ground at its well site near Evart.

 

Company officials say they currently pump 250 gallons of water per minute from the site.

 

The company claims the impact on the area would be minimal and they expect water levels in nearby wells to drop by a foot.

 

The public can submit comments to the DEQ about the plan by writing to:

 

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance
P.O. Box 30241
Lansing, MI 48909-7741

 

Email comments can be sent to deq-eh@michigan.gov.

 

Comments will only be considered if they’re received by Thursday.

 

 

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Big Rapids Township pays off Perry Avenue sidewalk project

 

The Perry Avenue sidewalk project can now be considered truly done. The Big Rapids Township Board of Commissioners approved the final payment of around $79,000 to the contractor at Tuesday's meeting. Township Supervisor Bill Stanek says its been a long time coming

 

We started working on it when this board came on four years ago.”

 

Stanek notes that it took a lot of cooperation from a lot of people to get the project finished.

 

We had the City [of Big Rapids], Ferris, MDOT, all work together with us – the Township put money in it and then we had a special assessment from the businesses out there. So about 80 percent was paid by the businesses and the other 20 percent was paid by the four organizations.”

 

Although the sidewalk, which runs from Venlo Place Apartments and travels along Perry Avenue to Aldis and Meijer, had a price tag of just under one-half million dollars, Stanek says it was worth it.

 

There's been people out there walking it – every time I've been by there I've seen people out walking it already and it was definitely needed. People are happy.”

 

Big Rapids Township paid the money up front for the sidewalk and businesses along the route have already made two payments to the Township with the rest of the assessment spread over the next six years.

 

 

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Harrison man dies in Mecosta County car accident

 

A Harrison man is dead following a car accident in Mecosta County Tuesday.

 

It happened on southbound US-131 just south of 8 Mile Rd.

 

According to a witness, a tractor trailer driven by 55-year old David Kolp left the road and drove into the trees.

 

When State Police arrived to the scene, Kolp was found unresponsive. He was taken to Spectrum Health Hospital in Big Rapids where he later died.

 

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time, however investigators believe Kolp may have experienced a medical emergency which led to the crash.

 

The investigation is ongoing.

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Area non-profits benefit from Mecosta Co. Community Foundation's Philanthropy day

 

57 area non-profits came together at the Big Rapids Holiday Inn for one goal, raising money for their organizations.

 

The Mecosta County Community Foundation’s Philanthropy Day was held Tuesday.

 

The event, formally known as “Match Day” raised just over $810,000, according to organizers preliminary numbers.

 

The Mecosta County Community Foundation will then match those donations to the registered non-profits and endowment funds.  

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Open enrollment for Michigan's Health Insurance Marketplace begins

 

Tuesday is the day that the Health Insurance Marketplace opens for its fourth round of enrollment. Ten insurance carriers were approved to participate on the Marketplace, and Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services spokesperson Andrea Miller says look around first because there are always new options.
 

If you use the marketplace your eligibility for subsidies depends on your income and available policies in your area. Either of these may have changed from last year, so even if your income and chosen plan have not changed, if there's less expensive options it could affect the amount of subsidies. So we definitely encourage consumers to shop around.”
 

The tax penalty for being uninsured in 2017 is about $700 per person, or two and half percent of annual income. But given rate increases, some people are paying the fine instead of signing up.

 

 

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Big Rapids Hospital ranked among safest in the nation

 

Big Rapids Hospital is being ranked among the safest hospitals in the country after nationwide hospital safety grades were released Tuesday by The Leapfrog Group, a national patient safety watchdog.

 

Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital president Mary Kay VanDriel says they work hard to make patient safety an integral part of the hospital’s culture and a top priority.

 

This is the second year in a row that Big Rapids Hospital has received an “A” in the fall Hospital Safety Grades.

 

 

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The Gate moving from Perry Ave location

 

The Gate is moving.

 

The popular family entertainment center on Perry Avenue is closing down and owners plan to move operations to the former Eastgate Lanes on Third Avenue on the east side of the Big Rapids.

 

High taxes on its current location is being sited as the reason behind the move.

 

The move is expected to take about four weeks to complete.

 

 

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Write-in candidates rarely counted

 

As millions of Americans head to the polls for early voting and Election Day, many are expected to snub major party candidates, opting for write-ins such as House Speaker Paul Ryan or Sen. Bernie Sanders.

 

However, the majority of states, including Michigan, only recognize write-in votes if the candidate has pre-registered with state regulators and nine states ban write-ins completely.

 

The remainder of states have laws that allow write-ins, but some, like the District of Columbia, only tally the names if the raw number of write-in votes outnumber traditional ballots.

 

 

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Newaygo man charged in drunk driving case

 

A man from Newaygo is being charged with drunk driving resulting in injury in Mecosta County.

 

Twenty-two-year-old Kalan Jaegar Hepler was arraigned in 77th District Court on Monday.

 

Police say Hepler was traveling at a high rate of speed on Jefferson Road west of 200th Avenue in Aetna Township last August when he lost control of his vehicle, left the roadway and struck a tree.

 

His passenger, another 22-year-old man from Newaygo, was injured in the crash.

 

Hepler faces up to five years in prison on the charges.

 

 

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Accidental shooting sends two kids to hospital in Clare Co.

 

Two children were shot in Clare after a 5-year old boy found his uncle's gun and accidentally fired it, shooting himself and his 6-year old cousin.

 

According to police, the five year old was hit in the hand, his cousin in the thigh, and both are expected to be okay.

 

The shooting happened inside their grandmother's van while they were waiting to go to home school.

 

Police say keep guns in a safe place, out of the reach of kids.

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Ice Mountain to expand and hire new employees in Mecosta Co.

 

In an effort to improve its purified water distribution, Nestle Waters North America announced that it will be adding around 20 new jobs along with a $36-million dollar expansion to its Ice Mountain bottling plant in Mecosta County.

 

Nestle plans on adding two new bottling lines, the first beginning in 2017 and the second planned for 2018.  

 

Along with new hires, a new 80,000 sq. ft. expansion of production space is in the works at the Stanwood plant. 

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