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News That Affects You Archives for 2017-01

Seniors may be exempt from increase on vehicle registration

 

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich is introducing a bill that would protect seniors from additional financial burdens caused by the roads bill package passed last session.

 

The legislation would exempt individuals aged 65 and older from the new increase on vehicle registration fees.

 

The registration increase is a byproduct of the legislature's attempt to fund fixes for Michigan's roads.

 

 

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BSA to allow transgender kids in boys only programs

 

The Boy Scouts of America will now allow transgender children who identify as boys to enroll in its boys only programs.

 

In a statement, BSA said restricting enrollment based on the gender listed on a child’s birth certificate is no longer sufficient.

 

Leaders decided in 2013 to allow openly gay youth as scouts and lifted a blanket ban on gay troop leaders and employees in July 2015.

 

The national Girl Scouts organization, which is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts, has accepted transgender members for years.

 

 

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DeVos nomination moves on to full Senate

 

A senate committee has approved the nomination of Michigan's Betsy DeVos as education secretary.

 

Sen. Lamar Alexander, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, rejected a request for a second hearing with DeVos, sparing her what would probably be a contentious hearing.

 

The Michigan billionaire and private school voucher advocate has become one of Trump’s most controversial Cabinet picks.

 

The nomination now moves on to the full senate.

 

 

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Barryton woman involved in rollover accident

 

A 50-year old Barryton woman is recovering after being involved in a rollover accident in Mecosta Co.

 

It happened on Mckinley Rd west of 160th Ave in Colfax Twp.  

 

Deputies say the Barryton woman was traveling eastbound on Mckinley Rd when she tried to pass another vehicle.  She then lost control on the icy road and left the road and struck a boulder and a fence and then overturned.  

 

The 50-year old female driver was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

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Fight to repeal Michigan's pension tax goes on

 

A number of lawmakers say they won't give up efforts to repeal Michigan's senior pension tax even if the governor says "no".

 

I guess it would not be the greatest news, I would have loved it if he said 'yes' but we negotiate these things and again, I think the governor realizes that he has to work with the legislature to achieve his priorities as well as ours and there is some give and take that happens with that.”

 

That's Republican Rep. Tom Barrett who also says, “It is fundamentally unfair to tax our retirees in a way that they could not anticipate throughout their working careers.”

 

 

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Immigration order effects Michigan businesses, universities, and others

 

With one of the largest populations of Middle Eastern immigrants in the nation, Michigan is feeling the ripple effects of President Trump's executive order. Christine Sauve heads the Welcoming Michigan project at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, and she says the order combination of the "extreme vetting" order halting refugee resettlement and the suspension of visas for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries will touch virtually every community, corner and industry in the state.

 

"Refugees who were planning to arrive in Michigan certainly this week, this month. It affects international students. It affects folks who've been abroad for business. There's faculty that are from abroad. There's students from abroad. There's employees from abroad."

 

While a federal judge issued a stay blocking the order, the Department of Homeland Security continues to enforce it, which is why Sauve says her office is advising foreign nationals from the countries listed in the order not to travel, as it's not clear they'll be able to return.

 

Meanwhile, Ford Motor Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said in a statement to employees that the company does not support what it called a new U.S. travel ban. He joins Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein who is the first major Wall Street chief to say he does not support the immigration policy.

 

 

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Residents being warned of new phone scam

 

A new phone scam warning is going around the area.

 

Victims reported recieving a phone call from a familiar, but unknown, number. The scammer might claim to be from a business and ask "Can you hear me?" People are urged to avoid answering or hang up right away.

 

The fraudster, who sounds like an actual person on the other end -- is aiming to get you to say 'yes,' in order to record you as a way to authorize charges on a phone, utility or credit card bill.

 

Authorities say just hang up -- don't respond. The scam is a variation of one that began late last year.

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Police investigating murder/suicide in Mecosta Co.

 

Detectives in Mecosta County are investigating a murder/suicide that occurred Sunday.  

 

Det. Drew Nielsen of the Sheriff’s Office says deputies were called to the scene of a fatal shooting in Colfax Township.

 

An investigation revealed 33-year old Gabrial Harkins of Rodney had shot and killed his live together girlfriend, 48 year old Kathleen Blackburn.  

 

Harkins then shot and killed himself. 

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ALA offers vouchers for home heating upgrades

 

The American Lung Association in Michigan wants to improve indoor and outdoor air quality by replacing or retrofitting inefficient, higher-polluting wood or coal-burning stoves or hydronic heaters.

 

The ALA is launching its Michigan Woodstove Changeout Program that offers homeowners in the lower peninsula vouchers for up to $4,000 to improve their heating systems.

 

ALA CEO Barry Gottschalk says the program will help improve air quality for the over 9 million residents of the Lower Peninsula while protecting their health and homes.

 

Program details are available at mistovechangeout.org or by calling 1-800-LUNGUSA.

 

 

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Snyder to promote Michigan as welcoming immigrants in face of executive action

 

Governor Rick Snyder isn't completely on board with President Trump's executive action on immigration.

 

Trump's action instructs the Homeland Security secretary to engage with governors and local officials about agreements under which local law enforcement officials could investigate, apprehend and detain people in the country illegally.

 

However, Snyder says he doesn’t view immigration enforcement as one of the “primary” functions for state and local police and that he will “continue to promote Michigan as a welcoming place for immigrants.”

 

 

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Seasonal Weight restrictions to be lifted Monday in Mecosta Co.

 

After unseasonal weather came into the area a few weeks ago, road commission officials say seasonal weight restrictions will be lifted on all Mecosta County roads on Monday, January 30th

 

The restrictions currently affect semi truck drivers and those who are pulling heavy farming equipment. 

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CMU police searching for hit and run suspect

 

Police on Central Michigan University’s campus need the public’s help in identifying a person they say was involved in a hit and run Thursday evening.

 

According to police, the incident happened at the intersection of Washington and Preston Streets in Mount Pleasant. One woman received minor injuries and a second unknown victim has yet to come forward.

 

Police are looking for a red four door car.

 

If you have any information, call CMU police at 989-774-3081.

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Pioneer Group sold to New York based media company Hearst

 

New York based media company Hearst has acquired Big Rapids’ Pioneer Group. 

 

According to a press release by Hearst, This acquisition furthers Hearst Newspapers’ connection to the local Michigan communities that has been built through the strong reporting at Hearst’s Huron Daily Tribune and the Midland Daily News.

 

The Pioneer group, founded in 1862 had been owned by the Batdorff family over four generations. 

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Phone scam reported in Reed City area

 

The Reed City Police Department says individuals claiming to be representatives of Consumers Energy are calling residents stating their electric service will be cut off unless the bill is paid immediately.

 

A call back number that is answered as “Customer Service” is given and officials at Consumers says it is a scam.

 

They say if you believe you have received a scam call do not give out any personal information or money over the phone and contact Consumers Energy directly to verify the validity of the phone call.

 

 

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New scam hits northwest Michigan

 

A new scam involving Cragslist is showing up in northwest Michigan.

 

Michigan State Police out of the Hart post say a victim sold a vehicle through the website and had the buyer send the money via electronic transfer.

 

The bank verified the funds and the vehicle was picked up, but the funds to the bank were later reversed leaving the victim with no vehicle and no money.

 

Troopers warn people to not give out account information or any personal data to unknown entities.

 

 

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Study: Mich. auto insurance one of the highest in U.S.

 

It probably doesn't come as a surprise to you, but a new study says drivers in Michigan are paying some of the highest auto insurance premiums in the country.

 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says Michigan drivers, on average, paid $1,350 in 2014 for their auto insurance premiums, almost twice as much as drivers in neighboring Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin.

 

Mark Fisk, of the Michigan Insurance Coalition, says “It also shows that Michigan’s auto no-fault laws are in desperate need of reform to make car insurance more affordable for drivers across the state.”

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Business organization argues against Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines

 

Some businesses are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s actions allowing the controversial Keystone X-L and Dakota Access pipelines to go forward. The American Sustainable Business Council, which claims to represent more than 250-thousand business owners, executives and investors, says the move will harm businesses by accelerating carbon pollution and climate change.

 

Polling that we’ve done of businesses across political alignment has shown us that they’ve already been impacted by climate change, therefore it’s having a tremendous business and economic impact,” claims CEO David Levine.

 

Trump says the Keystone X-L pipeline would create 28-thousand jobs but Levine argues those jobs will do little to help local economies over the long term.

 

Levine maintains that the pipelines will primarily benefit the bottom line of the fossil fuel industry and that investments in energy-efficiency and renewable-energy technologies now are creating three to four times more jobs than oil and gas.

 

And these jobs are sustained over the longer term, not in this boom and bust economy that moving forward with the Keystone pipeline or other fossil-fuel pipeline projects will get us,” he says.

 

In December, the World Economic Forum announced that renewable energy is now as affordable or even cheaper than fossil fuels in more than 30 countries.

 

The more than 800,000 bpd Keystone XL pipeline would bring heavy crude from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The project was conceived nearly a decade ago, but since then the U.S. shale revolution has redefined oil flows, with domestic refiners finding themselves awash with supply and needing fewer imports.

 

 

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Michigan's pension tax coming under fire

 

An effort to repeal the senior pension tax is picking up support in Lansing. The center piece of Governor Rick Snyder's economic recovery plan is getting criticism from both Democrats and Republicans and should be repealed says senator Curtis Hurtel Jr.

 

I think the pension tax was a bad plan when we put it in there. I think that people who live on a fixed income shouldn't have had their taxes increased, we shouldn't do it on the backs of people when we cut $1.7 billion in corporate taxes, so I'm all in favor of it.”

 

All pensions (private and public) and retirement benefits are taxable in Michigan except US Military pensions, Michigan National Guard pensions, Social Security, and Railroad benefits.

 

 

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MCWC challenges Nestle request for increased water withdrawal capacity from Evart well

 

Despite assurances by the Nestle Corporation, a number of Michigan citizens are concerned about the company's pending request with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to increase its water pumping capacity from its well near Evart. The Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation held a press conference on Tuesday near the Ice Mountain plant in Stanwood where MCWC president Peggy Case said there's more to the request issue than just the well in Evart.

 

We believe the whole state is affected by this issue and that state laws, state policies are in disconnect from what's really going on.”

 

In addition to environmental concerns, Case says there's financial issues as well.

 

They're paying next to nothing for this water and they're taking it out of the watershed when there are people in the watershed who don't have water.”

 

Case noted that there are no state laws limiting the amount of water that can be withdrawn by a company. She also cited Detroit where people are having their water shut off for non-payment of bills for using less than 60,000 gallons per year while the Nestle request would allow them to pump up to 210 million gallons per year for a permit fee of $200. And, she says Flint residents are paying an average of $910 per year for contaminated water.

 

The MCWC, based on hydrology studies that were done in the past, believes damage has already been done to the environment, but they want the data from Nestle to back that up.

 

They offered to share their data for their 16 years worth of monitoring these two creeks up in Evart – we're waiting to see that. We'd like to see that data.”

 

MCWC vice president Jeff Ostahowski noted that they have freedom of information request in to get the data from Nestle and the DEQ, but they were told it would cost the group $14,000 to get it.

 

Case says a public hearing is being planned by the DEQ, but no date has yet been set and, she says, there needs to be more.

 

They were only planning to have one in the city of Big Rapids – not Evart, but Big Rapids. So we're saying, 'no, that's not enough.' We need one in Evart, for sure, that's where the well is, and we also need it in Flint and Detroit, Muskegon, Sault Ste. Marie, and Traverse City so that it's a state-wide look at the issue of water taking and the issue of privatization of water.”

 

The group is urging citizens to request multiple hearings from DEQ Director Heidi Grether (GretherH@michigan.gov) and Governor Rick Snyder (Rick.Snyder@michigan.gov)

 

In response to the MCWC press conference, Nestle Waters North America Natural Resource Manager Arlene Anderson-Vincent issued a statement saying, “Nestlé Waters North America is committed to being a responsible steward of Michigan’s water resources and maintaining an open dialogue with the local community. We strive for full transparency in our operations and communications...”

 

The statement also noted that Nestle has invested more that $181 million in the area over the past 15 years and that the Stanwood bottling plant currently employs approximately 250 people with an annual payroll of $19 million. The request to increase pumping capacity is part of a planned $36 million expansion in Stanwood which, they say, will create another 20 new jobs in 2017.

 

 

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Officials warn of ID theft during tax season

 

Not only is it tax filing season, it's also open season for identity thieves trying to steal your personal data. Michigan based Plante Moran partner Karen Cady says there's only one way that the IRS initiates correspondence with taxpayers.

 

The IRS never calls and never emails. They always correspond via the mail. The one thing that's a trigger is when you electronically file your return, if you get a rejection notice then that means someone beat you to the punch in terms of filing under your social security number.”

Cady says your best bet to ward off other people swiping your tax info is to file as early as possible.

 

 

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U.S. pulls out of the TPP, Michigan farmers concerned

 

President Trump's decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has some Michigan farmers worried.

 

Many agricultural groups say trades agreements like the TPP are good for farmers because they prompt foreign countries to buy Michigan's food.

 

Michigan Pork Producers Association CEO Mary Kelpinski says their group hoped the TPP would go through and they had also hoped to work with the Trump administration on an open trade market.

 

Michigan agricultural leaders signed an open letter to President Trump earlier this month, stressing the importance of trade deals to the state's economy.

 

 

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Texas man arrested on meth charges in Wexford Co.

 

A man from Texas is behind bars after police arrested him on methamphetamine charges in Wexford County.

 

Michigan State Police say they received a tip about 32-year old Levi Travis Dougherty dumping a trash bag with what looked like components to make meth inside of the bag.

 

Police executed a search warrant at Dougherty's home in Cadillac and found three “one pot” meth labs among other evidence.

 

Dougherty was jailed on charges of making meth and maintaining a drug house. 

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Accident takes the life of 96-year-old in Isabella County

 

Family and friends are mourning the unexpected death of a Mt. Pleasant man.

 

Isabella County Sheriff Michael Main says 96-year-old John Gage was driving near Remus (M20) and Winn roads on Saturday morning when he collided with another vehicle.

 

Although no serious injuries were apparent at the time, Gage complained of arm pain and was taken to the hospital where he later died.

 

Further investigation revealed Gage had a medical issue brought on by the accident.

 

 

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New federal guidelines for fish consumption issued, Michigan fish still suspect

 

If fish is on the menu, you don't have to pass it up entirely to eat safely. New guidelines offer strategies for safe consumption, especially for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. The F-D-A and E-P-A say more than 90-percent of fish are safe to eat. Elizabeth Southerland with the E-P-A's Office of Water says fish that are safe to eat contain essential nutrients and fatty acids that are beneficial for pregnant women.

 

"They're a high-quality source of protein, which is especially important for fetal development and for young children. Again, the only concern we have about eating a lot of fish is if you're eating a lot of fish that's high in mercury."

 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommends limiting consumption of more than 90 percent of fish caught in Michigan because of mercury contamination.

 

 

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Mortgage payments going up

 

In his first executive action, President Donald Trump is blocking an Obama administration policy that would have cut the cost of mortgages for millions of home buyers.

 

This change will increase the monthly MIP payment by $29 a month and that totals about $500 a year,” says Inland Home Mortgage loan officer Marla Thomas.

 

She says the action will affect millions of homeowners with FHA-backed mortgages. William E. Brown, the president of the National Association of Realtors, says the cut would have allowed more people to qualify for a mortgage because more borrowers could meet the debt-to-income ratio required to borrow money.

 

During his campaign, Trump promised Day One executive actions repealing Obama policies on immigration and health care, so the change in mortgage premiums that Trump signed on Friday took many by surprise.

 

 

 

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New study says Big Rapids water system in good shape

 

In light of the Flint water crisis and plans by some communities to pump their drinking water from Lake Michigan, Big Rapids is in good shape. The engineering firm Fleis and Vanderbrink recently completed the first draft of a water reliability study for the city and found foresight by city officials has paid off says project manager Todd Richter.

 

The city staff and the city has approached their capital improvements over the years and your system is in great shape.”

 

Richter says the study covered the city's entire water system from supply to storage and distribution. He notes Big Rapids uses a lot of water on a daily basis.

 

On an average day the city's treating and putting about 1.2 million gallons out into the system for use.”

 

The system can handle up to 3.6 million gallons per day and the city has a DEQ approved well head protection program in place to help assure the safety of the city's water supply.

 

And, even though the water is filtered and treated, Richter adds that the decision to move the city's water source from the Muskegon River to four wells in 2001 was a good decision.

 

The ground water that is pumped in the city actually meets drinking water standards as it comes out of the ground.”

 

The study which is mandated by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act is conducted every five years. This year's draft will be finalized for approval by the City Commission at their next meeting on February 6th.

 

 

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State Lawmakers introduce bill to give college grads tax breaks

A state Senator has introduced legislation that would offer tax breaks for graduates who live and work in the Michigan.
 
The bill from East Lansing Democrat Curtis Hertel Jr would offer tax credits for a portion of a student's debt.
 
The amount would be capped at about $2,300.
 
Hertel says college grads are one of the state's most valuable resources and lawmakers should be doing what they can to keep them in Michigan and help them succeed.

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Trump moves to eliminate ACA health coverage

 

President Donald Trump is moving ahead on his promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

 

Hours after delivering his inaugural address, Trump signed the order that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus says is aimed at “minimizing the economic burden” of the “Obamacare” law.

 

The order notes that Trump intends to seek the “prompt repeal” of the law.

 

In a weekend interview Trump says he is nearing completion of a plan to replace President Obama’s signature health-care law with the goal of “insurance for everybody,” while also vowing to force drug companies to negotiate directly with the government on prices in Medicare and Medicaid.

 

 

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CWD found at Mecosta County deer farm

 

The Michigan Department Natural Resources says chronic wasting disease has been confirmed at a Mecosta County deer farm.

 

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose.

 

This is the second time the disease has been found in a farmed deer facility in Michigan.

 

In 2008, a white-tailed deer from a Kent County deer farm tested positive.

 

The affected farm has been quarantined and all other deer farms in a 15-mile radius will undergo a records audit, fence inspection, and increased surveillance testing.

 

An informational meeting for deer farmers is scheduled at the Big Rapids Holiday Inn on Wednesday, February 1 at 7 p.m.

 

 

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Guns fired from car in Isabella County, two arrested

 

Two men are being charged with weapons crimes in Isabella County after reportedly firing semi-automatic weapons from their car.

 

Rahman Muhammad and Andrew Vasquez were apprehended after police received a report about men shooting from their car near Shepherd and Weidman roads.

 

The pair reportedly had been drinking Wednesday night and police say they found two uncased semi-automatic rifles and spent casings in their car.

 

 

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UPDATE: Stabbing suspect sought by FSU police apprehended

 

 

UPDATE:

A man accused of stabbing his brother in Big Rapids is under arrest.

 

Police say 22-year-old Tylor Gerard Snyder of Stanwood got into an argument with his brother on Friday afternoon at the Appleridge Apartments.

 

He reportedly stabbed his brother in the leg three times and then fled the scene on foot.

 

Police apprehended him a short time later and he's now facing charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and assault with a dangerous weapon.

 

 

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

A stabbing suspect is being sought by Ferris State University police.

 

Officials say 22-year-old Tylor Gerard Snyder was last seen at the Big Rapids Walmart and is described as a white man, 5'11”, 175 pounds with brown hear and eyes wearing all black clothing.

 

Police ask anyone knowing of Snyder's whereabouts to call 911 or the Ferris State DPS at 231-591-5000.

 

 

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Trio arrested on drug charges in Mecosta County

 

A trio in Mecosta County is behind bars following a drug investigation by the Central Michigan Enforcement Team.

 

Mecosta residents 46-year old John Scott Johnson, 49-year old Zana Rosetta Howard and 28-year old James Jamal Howard face charges including delivery of heroin, possession of cocaine and accessory after the fact to a felony.

 

According to court documents, the crimes were allegedly committed between January 12th and 17th, in Morton Township. 

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Sector policing initiative starting this weekend in Big Rapids

 

Starting this weekend officers with the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety will be going around to area neighborhoods, knocking door to door to speak with residents about any issues they may have regarding their neighborhoods as part of its sector policing initiative.

 

The goal is for officers to get to know the people they serve, and for those residents to get to know the police on a more personal basis.

 

With better two way communications, we hope to empower the community in assisting police in resolving neighborhood issues.

 

Anyone with questions or concerns can contact Director Jim Eddinger at DPS at (231) 527-0005.

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Suspected Walmart thieves identified

 

The names of two men accused of stealing items from a Walmart in Isabella County are being released.

 

Sheriff Michael Main says 22-year-old Shawn Bierschbach from Weidman and 29-year-old Jeremy Smith from Ionia face first degree retail fraud, conspiracy, and other charges after they were taken into custody earlier this week.

 

The pair were observed leaving the store in Union Township without paying for items valued at over $200 last Friday.

 

 

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Runaway youth a problem in Big Rapids area

 

The Mecosta / Osceola Youth Attention Center is expanding and will be getting some new help. The Mecosta County Board of Commissioners approved the hiring of a new case worker at Thursday's meeting. Youth Attention Center Executive Director Amy Eddinger says it's because they're growing.

 

We are expanding our services to Newaygo County. So we had previously worked in just Mecosta and Osceola and we will now be working in Newaygo.”

 

The new case worker will be working with runaway and homeless youth between the ages of 12 and 21 providing outreach and case management services. Eddinger adds there are more runaways and youth with families in crisis that many people think.

 

We have a lot of youth that are homeless in our counties,” she says.

 

The Youth Attention Center has been in operation since 1977.

 

 

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MHHA says Obamacare repeal will hurt Michigan hospitals

 

A repeal of the Affordable Care Act would not be a good thing for Michigan's hospitals.

 

Michigan Health and Hospital Association senior vice president Laura Appel says the ACA needs improvement but repealing it would have negative consequences.

 

The number of people coming to the hospital without insurance has decreased by 50 percent and the rate of uncompensated care has gone down under the ACA.

 

Nearly one million Michigan residents are covered under the ACA or the Healthy Michigan program.

 

 

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Road Commission to impose seasonal weight restrictions on Mecosta County roads

 

The Mecosta County Road Commission will be implementing seasonal weight restrictions on all Mecosta County roads starting at 6am on Friday, Jan. 20th. 

 

The restrictions effect semi truck drivers and those pulling heavy farming equipment. 

 

If you have any questions, contact Superintendent Tim Nestle at 231-796-2611. 

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Icy road causes car accident in Montcalm County

 

A Grand Rapids woman is recovering after hitting a tree with her SUV in Montcalm County.

 

Deputies say it happened in Eureka Township, on Satterlee Rd. near Baldwin Rd.

 

 An investigation revealed, 28-year old Elizabeth Vanvels was traveling southbound on Satterlee when she failed to negotiate the curve at Baldwin Road, left the road and struck a tree.

 

Vanvels was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. 

 

Police say Icy roads played a factor in the crash. 

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Cost of mail going up Sunday

 

Starting Sunday, it will cost you more to ship a package.

 

The United States Postal Service says the cost of a stamp will increase from $.47 cents to $.49.

 

There are increases on small, medium and large flat-rate boxes and changes to flat-rate envelopes including regular, legal and padded flat-rate envelopes.

 

The changes in price represent a 3.9 percent increase according to the USPS.

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Reed City event aims to help solve 34-year-old murder case

 

A brutal murder in Reed City remains unsolved after 34 years.

 

Janette Roberson's killer has never been caught and the annual Justice for Janette walk is meant to raise awareness about Janette's death and to generate tips that could bring and end to the cold case.

 

The walk was started by Janette's sister, Lana Jarvie, in 2013 and police say it has brought renewed interest in the case.

 

The event takes place this Saturday at noon in Reed city.

 

Anyone with a tip regarding Janette's murder is encouraged to contact the Michigan State Police at (989) 773-5951, Reed City Police Chief Chuck Davis at (231) 832-3743 or Michigan State Police Crime Stoppers Tipline at 1-800-773-2587.

 

 

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Snyder touts jobs and progress in the Flint water crisis during State of the State Address

 

Governor Rick Snyder, touting the state's economy during his 7th State of the State address.

 

He says since 2010, 500,000 jobs have been created and unemployment is at the lowest rate in 15 years.

 

Snyder says progress has been made on the Flint water crisis, but there's still a lot of work to do.

 

When it comes to crime, Snyder says Detroit, Flint and Saginaw have seen a double-digit decrease in violent-crimes since 2012.

 

Democrats aren't staying quiet, following the governor's address. Michigan House Democratic Leader Sam Singh says the state's economy has only really improved for the wealthy -- because wages haven't risen enough for the middle class.

 

He says we must invest in our roads, schools, and safe and strong communities.

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New Big Rapids City Manager officially takes over

 

It's official. Mark Gifford is now Big Rapids' new city manager after he was sworn in by City Clerk Tammy Gillis during Tuesday's City Commission meeting. Gifford's family watched as he took the oath of office and he says he's looking forward.

 

My wife Megan, my son Mason, and daughter Maria, my mom and dad William and Sue are here – thankful again to the Commission for the opportunity and very much thankful to Steve [Sobers] for his time spent with me and I'm excited,” he said.

 

Gifford replaces former City Manager Steve Sobers who officially retires at the end of this month.

 

 

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UPDATE: School closings for Wednesday, January 18, 2017

 

The following schools are closed for Wednesday, January 18, 2017

 

  • BALDWIN COMMUNITY

  • BIG RAPIDS PUBLIC

  • CADILLAC CHRISTIAN HERITAGE

  • CADILLAC PUBLIC

  • CHIPPEWA HILLS

  • CROSS ROADS CHARTER ACADEMY OF BIG RAPIDS

  • DAYSTAR CHRISTIAN ACADEMY IN EVART

  • EVART HEAD START

  • EVART PUBLIC

  • LAKEVIEW COMMUNITY

  • MECOSTA-OSCEOLA ISD

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD COMMUNITY

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD HEAD START

  • PINE RIVER AREA SCHOOLS

  • REED CITY HEAD START

  • REED CITY PRESCHOOL

  • REED CITY PUBLIC

  • ST. ANN SCHOOL IN CADILLAC

  • ST. MARY IN BIG RAPIDS

  • ST. PETER'S IN BIG RAPIDS

  • TRINITY LUTHERAN IN REED CITY

 

Check back for updates as more school closing become available.

 

 

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Suspected thieves caught in Isabella County

 

Two men suspected of retail fraud in Isabella County are now in custody.

 

Sheriff Michael Main says help from the media and social media led to the identification of the pair suspected of stealing items from the Walmart in Union Township last week.

 

He says the investigation is ongoing and the report will be submitted to the Isabella County Prosecutors Office for review and warrant requests for retail fraud.

 

It's believed the suspects made off with more than $200 worth of goods from the store.

 

 

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Gov. Snyder to deliver 7th State of the State address tonight

 

Governor Rick Snyder delivers his seventh State of the State address before lawmakers tonight.

 

As the state continues to deal with the Flint water crisis, you can expect to hear an update on the situation and more about updating the infrastructure across the entire state.

 

Last month, the Governor's 21st Century Infrastructure Commission submitted 100 recommendations regarding infrastructure that will cost about four billion dollars a year. It's unclear if the Governor will talk about where the money will come from.

 

A spokesman for the Governor says the address will also include numerous accomplishments and priorities, including those in the areas of mobility, educational accountability, and strengthening our communities.

 

The State of the State address is scheduled to begin at 7 o'clock.

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Police in Mecosta Co. need help in identifying shoplifting suspect

 

Deputies in Mecosta County need the public’s help in identifying a suspect they say stole from a Wal-Mart store in Big Rapids.

 

Police say the male suspect was seen driving a Toyota mini-van.

 

If you know this person or have information you're asked to the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office at 231-592-0150.

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School closings for Tuesday, January 17, 2017

 

The following schools will be closed on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 due to the weather:

 

  • BALDWIN COMMUNITY

  • BARRYTON HEAD START

  • BIG JACKSON PUBLIC 

  • BIG RAPIDS PUBLIC

  • BIG RAPIDS HEADSTART 1,2,3,4

  • CHIPPEWA HILLS

  • CROSS ROADS CHARTER ACADEMY OF BIG RAPIDS

  • DAYSTAR CHRISTIAN ACADEMY IN EVART

  • EVART HEAD START

  • EVART PUBLIC

  • FREMONT PUBLIC 

  • LAKEVIEW COMMUNITY

  • MECOSTA-OSCEOLA ISD

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD COMMUNITY

  • MORLEY-STANWOOD HEAD START

  • NEWAYGO PUBLIC 

  • PINE RIVER AREA

  • REED CITY HEAD START

  • REED CITY PRESCHOOL

  • REED CITY PUBLIC

  • ST. MARY IN BIG RAPIDS

  • ST. PETER'S IN BIG RAPIDS

  • TRINITY LUTHERAN IN REED CITY

  • TRI COUNTY PUBLIC 

  • WHITE CLOUD PUBLIC 

 

Check back for more school closings as they become available.

 

 

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CNN and MSNBC contributor to speak at FSU MLK celebration

 

A political contributor to CNN and MSNBC will be speaking at Ferris State University as part of the University's 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration.

 

The keynote presentation by Bakari Sellers will take place at 7:00 pm this Wednesday at the FSU University Center. The event is free and open to the public.

 

Sellers says he considers himself a child of the civil rights movement and at age 22, became the youngest African American elected official in the nation, when he defeated a 13-term incumbent in the South Carolina House of Representatives.

 

Sellers also says the timing of his visit, and Ferris’ MLK celebration, is particularly significant, as this Friday, a new administration begins in the White House, with the inauguration of Donald Trump

 

 

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Improvements planned for Mitchell Creek Park after Big Rapids awarded grant

 

It's a little early to be thinking of enjoying a day at the park, but the Big Rapids Parks and Recreation Board already has plans. Big Rapids has been granted a Michigan Department of Resources Passport grant for improvements to Mitchell Creek Park says current Assistant City Manager Mark Gifford.

 

Parking lot improvements, we're going to redo the trail, add a couple new pedestrian lights, we'll have some more seating. It's just going to be a nice improvement for the whole downtown and and especially the park and its users.”

 

Big Rapids received the maximum $45,000 allowed by the state and must match it with $55,000 in local funds for the project. Gifford says residents can expect to see construction begin this summer.

 

 

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UPDATE: Local schools closing early

 

In anticipation of an ice storm, the following schools are dismissing their students early and/or cancelling after school activities:

 

Big Rapids Schools are releasing all students as of 2:00 pm today and all sporting events are being canceled.

 

Morely-Stanwood schools are dismissing their students at 2:05 pm and canceling their sporting events as well.

 

Chippewa Hills is dismissing their secondary school students at 2:00 pm, their elementary students at 2:15 pm and canceling all events for the evening.

 

 

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Hit and run involving snowmobile being investigated

 

Police up in Wexford County are investigating a hit and run involving a snowmobile.

 

Deputies say they were dispatched to a snowmobile injury accident in Cedar Creek Township.

 

When police arrived to the scene, the victim and driver was gone. According to a witness, both individuals left the scene.

 

A follow up investigation was conducted and revealed the victim left the area without seeking medical attention or reporting the accident.

 

It’s unknown if alcohol was a factor in the accident.

 

The case has been turned over to the prosecutor’s office for review. 

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Police in Isabella Co. looking for two men accused of Walmart Store theft

     

 

The Isabella County Sheriff’s Office needs help in ID’ing two men accused of theft at a Walmart store in Union Township.

 

Deputies say the two male suspects left the store with multiple items in a shopping cart without paying for them.

 

Store personnel observed them placing items into the trunk of their vehicle During this time, one of the suspects observed the store employee watching them and quickly closed the trunk and left the parking lot. Several items were left in the shopping cart.

 

The Isabella County Sheriff’s Office is looking for anyone with information leading to the identification of the two suspects who were caught on security cameras within the store. If you have any information on these two men, you are asked to contact the Isabella County Central Dispatch at 989 773 1000. 

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State Police needs public's help in identifying car break-in suspect

 

Michigan State Police in Mt. Pleasant are asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect accused of multiple vehicle break-ins Friday.

 

Troopers describe the suspect as a black male, 6’0 ft. tall with a medium build. He was wearing a black jacket with fur around the hood and tan colored pants.  The suspect was also wearing a ski cap.

 

Police believe the suspect may have been driving a Silver or Light-Blue in color SUV.

 

If you have any information about the suspect or thefts contact State Police in Mount Pleasant at 989-773-5951. 

 

 

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Lady Liberty to appear as a black woman on U.S. currency

 

A new coin is being minted by the U.S. Mint and Treasury department in celebration of its 225th anniversary.

 

What's unusual about the coin is it's the first time Lady Liberty will be portrayed as a black woman on United States currency.

 

Federal law requires all coins to feature an impression emblematic of liberty and U.S. Mint chief of staff Elisa Basnight says the $100 coin is meant primarily for collectors.

 

She notes that future designs will include Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Indian Americans, and others "to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States."

 

 

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Rule governing aggressive dogs at Big Rapids' Brutus Park to remain as is

 

The effort to ban certain dogs from the Brutus Dog Park in Big Rapids died quietly during Thursday's Parks and Recreation Board meeting. The Board voted to keep the park's rules as is after a push by some citizens to restrict use by only neutered or spayed dogs. It was noted that there are no other public dog parks in the state with such a rule and City Attorney Eric Williams says the city is not legally liable for any problems with dogs at the park.

 

The fact that people can do things in parks that cause injury to other people or property doesn't make the government or municipality that owns the park liable for that behavior.”

 

It was also noted that there has never been a police report involving problem dogs at the park and the Board agreed that the current rules against aggressive dogs is sufficient.

 

 

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Ford expands airbag recall

 

Ford is expanding the number of vehicles covered under the big Takata airbag recall.

 

It involves 816,000 vehicles from Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury.

 

They're all at least five years old, some within 10 years old.

 

All have front passenger air bag inflators that could deploy with too much force and spew metal shrapnel.

 

Faulty Takata airbags have been blamed for 16 deaths worldwide.

 

The Takata recall is now the largest in automotive history.
 

 

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Stage being set to repeal Obamacare

 

The U.S. Senate is taking the first steps in eliminating the Affordable Care Act.

 

A measure was passed early on Thursday on a nonbinding Republican-backed budget measure that eases the way for action on subsequent repeal legislation as soon as next month.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says they must act quickly to bring relief to the American people even though president-elect Donald Trump has not yet come up with a promised replacement program.

 

An increasing numbers of Republicans are expressing anxiety over obliterating the law without a replacement to show their constituents.

 

 

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Tax refunds delayed this year

 

The IRS will begin accepting 2016 income-tax returns on January 23rd, but because of new anti-fraud measures, anyone filing early and claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit won't likely see their refunds until late February. Ross Yednock with the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan says many people rely heavily on getting that refund.

 

"Folks will kind of plan their year out knowing, 'I will be getting a good chunk of change, I can take care of this auto payment, pay my property taxes, get caught up on rent,' what have you. And if they've planned this way and done this way the last few years, this year's going to be different."

 

The IRS says it will hold all refunds until at least February 15th. However, given the Presidents Day holiday on the 20th, Yednock says it could be closer to the end of the month before refunds are received.

 

The I-R-S does have a "Where's My Refund?" tool on its website, that filers can check after February 15th for the status of their refund.

 

 

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Evart man charged with drunk driving, faces life in prison

 

Jeffery Allen Boroff of Evart may wind up in jail on a third drunk driving charge.

 

The 42-year-old Boroff was arrested earlier this month and charged with operating with a high blood alcohol content.

 

He was arraigned this week in Wexford County.

 

He faces one to five years in prison along with fines but had a habitual offender and fourth offense notice added to the charges meaning he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

 

 

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Osceola Co. man charged with CSC

 

An Osceola County man has been charged with sex crimes involving a minor.

 

19-year old Darrin Rasheed Martin of Marion was arraigned on three counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct.

 

The alleged incident occurred at a home in Marion in late October, according to court documents.

 

He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the CSC charge. Martin’s bond was set at $200,000. 

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Secret meetings in Washington worry health and environmental advocates

 

 

Closed-door sessions in Washington, DC, are raising red flags with some public health and environmental advocates, who believe Congress is trying to roll back important safeguards. The Midnight Rule Relief Act, which passed the House last week, could eliminate any rule finalized in the last several months of the Obama administration with a single vote. And the REINS Act would require any new regulations be approved by the House of Representatives in order to take effect. Former EPA Administrator Carol Browner says when it comes to the health and well-being of the American public, it's no place for political rhetoric.

 

"They want it both ways. They want to be able to pass laws saying 'We're for clean air,' but they don't really want the agencies to ever implement those laws and require actual reduction in greenhouse-gas pollution, air pollution that contributes to things like asthma and premature death."

 

She adds that the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA also concerns her, given his previous attempts to overturn climate regulations. Pruitt's confirmation hearing has not yet been scheduled.

 

 

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Drug dealer from Detroit busted in Wexford County

 

A man accused of trafficking heroin and crack cocaine in northwest Michigan is now behind bars.

 

Police say Brian Posey of Detroit was selling the drugs in Wexford and Missaukee counties.

 

The Traverse Narcotics Team started their investigation of Posey in 2015 and he is now being charged with trafficking the drugs in both counties.

 

He remains behind bars at the Kinross Correctional Facility.

 

 

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Stanek delivers state of the township speech to Big Rapids township residents

 

During his “State of the Township” Address, Big Rapids Township Supervisor Bill Stanek has a big vision for the future and what the township could be.

 

Along with reflecting over his last four years in office and what the township accomplished during that time, Stanek called on board members to look at issues that would benefit its township residents like a new fire hall addition and repairing more roads. "Our township has changed considerably and so has firefighting techniques.

 

After looking at many options, the most economical improvement was to stay here and add on to the current building," He said.  "We have been saving up for three years and finally have the money to add on."

 

Other issues Stanek would like the township board to consider this year is what to do with the 1884 building at Highland View Cemetery.    

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Nestle says they want people to know their groundwater pumping operations in Osceola County are responsible and sustainable

 

Nestle Waters North America is hoping to allay any fears Michigan residents may have for it's plans to increase the amount of water it pulls from the ground at its well site near Evart. As part of that effort, the company held an informational meeting at the Morton Township Firehall in Mecosta County on Tuesday.

 

Nestle Waters North America Natural Resource Manager Arlene Anderson-Vincent says there are more questions than concerns about their pumping operations and they want people to know they are operating responsibly.

 

We've been operating now for over 15 years and we monitor, we have over 100 monitoring points, we do our due diligence and we monitor the streams and the flows and the groundwater. We do aquatic studies on top of groundwater levels and stream flows, which is very unique.”

 

Anderson-Vincent notes that their operation uses less than a fraction of a percent of all bottled water pumped in the state and the well in Osceola County is an eight inch diameter well that is smaller than many irrigation wells.

 

And, she says, their request to increase their pumping capacity to 400 gallons per minute from the current 250 gallons per minute doesn't mean they will use that much water.

 

Our water withdrawal in 2015 was 60 gallons a minute, so we don't pump at the total capacity. There are times, short durations that we may pump [that much], but we don't run it at full permitted capacity around the clock.”

 

Company leaders at Nestle say they’re expanding to meet increased demand. The Ice Mountain plant in Stanwood has seen a 13 percent increase in demand over last year and for that, they need more water, officials say.

 

Anderson-Vincent adds they do a lot to improve ground water quality in the area because they have a vested interested in making sure their operation is sustainable.

 

 

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Area counties declared crop disaster areas by USDA

 

Mecosta, Montcalm, and Osceola are among 15 Michigan counties being declared crop disaster areas by the USDA.

 

The designation means there were sufficient production losses during 2016 to allow farm operators to apply for assistance from the Farm Service Agency, including emergency loans.

 

Farm operators have eight months to apply for assistance.

 

More information is available at local Farm Service Agency offices.

 

 

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Cancellations for Tuesday evening, January 10, 2017

 

Per the Big Rapids Varsity Boys Basketball coach the games against Newaygo tonight are canceled. No information on make up games are yet available.

 

And Resurrection Life in Big Rapids has canceled all evening classes.

 

As always in this kind of weather it's best to call ahead with any activity you plan to attend.

 

 

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CMU student hurt during Ft. Lauderdale Airport Shooting

 

A Central Michigan University student was hurt while taking cover during the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting.

 

Senior Tricia Dwyer was injured after falling down a flight of cement stairs while she was running to find a safe place with her mother and brother.

 

Tricia says a security guard pointed to a nearby door that had a flight of stairs by the planes where she and her family took cover.

 

After about three hours, travelers were moved to the other side of the airport where authorities began to escort people to safely get their personal belongings.

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Confirmation hearing for DeVos scheduled for Wednesday

 

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Michigan charter-school advocate Betsy DeVos to be U.S. Secretary of Education. A confirmation hearing is set for later this week. DeVos is chair of the American Federation for Children, a group which pushes for the expansion of charter schools and voucher programs. Dr. Joseph Kretovics , a Western Michigan University professor of educational leadership, says are controversial.

 

She believes that charter schools, vouchers, virtual education, anything that doesn't require 'public' is good,” he says.

 

The hearing for DeVos is set for 10 o'clock Wednesday morning. Trump says Devos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate.

 

 

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Nestle to hold meeting in Mecosta County on increased water pumping request

 

Nestle will answer questions about their plan to pump more groundwater at its well in Osceola County during a meeting on Tuesday, January 10, in Mecosta County.

 

The meeting will be held at 6:00 pm at the Morton Township Fire Department, 8260 100th Avenue, in Canadian Lakes.

 

Currently, Nestle is pumping up to 250 gallons per minute from its White Pine Springs well just northeast of Evart and it wants to increase that to 400 gallons per minute.

 

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is accepting public comment on the proposed pumping increase until March.

 

There will also be a public hearing before the department issues a final decision on the permit request.

 

 

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Two dead following two car crash in Wexford County

 

Two people are dead following a two car accident Sunday up in Wexford County.

 

It happened on North M-37 near Guthrie Road in Hanover Township.

 

Deputies say while traveling south on M-37,  41-year old Rebecca Quade of Mesick, lost control of her vehicle crossed the centerline and struck a northbound vehicle driven by a 52-year old Irons man. 

 

Quade was pronounced dead at the scene while a back seat passenger of the northbound vehicle 77-year old Jacquelyn Ursum also of Irons was pronounced dead at the scene as well.  

 

Police believe speed and road conditions played a factor in the accident. The crash remains under investigation. 

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Morley man charged with sex crimes involving a minor

 

A Morley man faces up to 15 years in prison now that he has been charged with sex crimes involving a juvenile boy.

 

44-year old Joey Allen Hulbert was arraigned on one charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor.

 

The alleged incident occurred in Austin Township around August of 2015.

 

Hulbert’s bond was set at $50,000. He’s expected to be back in court later this month. 

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Free radon testing kits offered by local health department

 

Free radon test kits are being offered by District Health Department No. 10.

 

One in eight homes in Michigan are expected to have a problem with the naturally occurring gas that is found in rock and soil.

 

Often, radon can enter a home through cracks in its foundation, and the gas has the potential to build up and become harmful.

 

Radon is invisible, odorless, radioactive, and is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

 

The kits can be ordered by calling the Mecosta – District Dept. #10 at 231-592-0130.

 

 

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New representative for Mecosta, Osceola, and Wexford counties sets up shop in Lansing

 

State Rep. Michele Hoitenga says her office is now open and ready to serve residents of the 102nd House District.

 

Hoitenga replaces former representative Phil Potvin who was term limited.

 

My goal is to make sure the voices of the people in Wexford, Mecosta and Osceola counties are heard in Lansing,” she says. “I encourage residents to contact me so I can hear the challenges they’re facing and help come up with sensible solutions.”

 

She can be reached at 517-373-1747 or by emailing MicheleHoitenga@house.mi.gov.

 

Residents can view updates from Rep. Hoitenga or subscribe to her newsletter by visiting www.RepHoitenga.com.

 

 

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Director of Michigan's Unemployment Agency resigns over invalid fraud cases

 

The director of Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency is no longer in that position.

 

Sharon Moffett-Massey has resigned after it was discovered that her agency wrongly accused at least 20,000 Michiganders of fraud.

 

The computer system used by the agency had an error rate of 93% in auto-adjudicated cases between October 2013 and August 2015.

 

Of the 22,000 cases reviewed, fraud determinations were upheld in just over 1,400 cases.

 

 

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Morel bill vetoed

 

Morel hunters will still have to get their mushrooms inspected in Michigan.

 

Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed a bill that would have allowed anyone to pick and sell morel mushrooms without an inspection.

 

Snyder says there's been an increase in poisonings related to morel mushrooms and says it's important they meet the same safety standards as other foods.

 

The bill's sponsor, Representative Triston Cole, says the legislation was brought about by restauranteurs that were and are continuing to struggle to purchase fresh picked, seasonal morels.

 

 

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Two dead in Montcalm Co. car accident

 

Two people are dead following a late night car accident in Montcalm County. 

 

The accident happened just before midnight Thursday on Evergreen Road, just east of Town Hall Road.

 

Michigan State Police say the victim's car hit a tree after going off the road and then caught fire.

 
The driver and passenger were pronounced dead at the scene, their identities have not been confirmed.
 
The accident remains under investigation. 

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Big Rapids Salvation Army exceeds $100,000 Red Kettle Campaign goal

 

 

After being $20,000 short of their red kettle campaign goal heading into the last week of fundraising, the Big Rapids chapter of the Salvation Army announced it has exceeded its goal of $100,000 all thanks to residents of the community and area businesses.  

 

Officials say they raised over $110,000 to go towards programs and services for residents throughout the year in Mecosta, Lake, Osceola, and Newaygo Counties. 

 

Lt. Chris Karlin thanked all the volunteer bell ringers thoughout the campaign season. 

 

"It is amazing to see how many people sign up to ring each year", said Karlin, " between Ferris Students, community members and local students...we continue to have more volunteers every year."

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New asset forfeiture law signed into law

 

If police in Michigan seize your property during a law enforcement operation, you no longer have to pay to get it back if you're not charged with a crime.

 

Governor Snyder has signed the new law that was passed by the legislature over concerns that police were taking cash, vehicles and assets from owners who were never convicted of the crimes.

 

Under the old law, owners had to pay a bond to get the items back.

 

 

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Barryton men face new charges connected to home invasions

 

Two men arrested in August for the robbery of a Green Township home in Mecosta County now face new charges.

 

19-year old John Frederick Turner and 50-year old Anthony Edward Hustin, both of Barryton were arraigned in Mecosta Co. District Court on a charge of conducting a criminal enterprise.

 

The new charge stems from an alleged break-in of a Sheridan Township home during the same time the Green Township home invasion occurred.

 

Turner’s bond is set at $100,000, while bond for Hustin is set at $150,000.  

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EPA meeting on potash mine brings citizens' concerns to light

 

A lot of people in Mecosta and Osceola counties have serious concerns about a proposed potash mine in Evart and Hersey Townships. The EPA held a hearing on the project at Reed City High School on Wednesday and many residents expressed strong opinions both for and against the mine.

 

Farmer and Osceola County Farm Bureau Board member Rick Johnson says the mine is needed not just for Michigan, but for the country.

 

Currently, less than five percent of potash used in this country actually comes from the United States.”

 

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation spokesperson Jeff Ostahowski believes there are safety issues and that everyone needs to understand the implications of the mine.

 

At this point in time, there needs to be a lot more information provided than has been provided,” he says.

 

Ostahowski notes that a geological survey of the area has not been done and the EPA doesn't even know which direction the contaminants will flow.

 

 

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Big Rapids Township State of the Township Address set for next week

Big Rapids Township Supervisor Bill Stanek is preparing for his second annual State of the Township address next week. Stanek is encouraging anyone with an interest in the township to attend.

 

We'd like to invite all of our Township residents, and those that are even interested in the Township, to come on in – it will only take about a half hour and then we'll have some public time for suggestions.”

 

Stanek wouldn't tip his hand as to what will be in his speech, but notes there's good reason to show up.

 

To find out what we're really looking at five years down the road, ten years down the road, and my challenge to the [Township] Board.”

 

The address will be at the Big Rapids Township Fire Hall at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, January 10th.

 

 

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New flood warning system to be installed along the Muskegon River

 

Newaygo County is expanding it's flood warning system along the Muskegon River.

 

The County Board has approved a $239,000 grant to put in a new flood system along 35 miles of the river.

 

The system will allow advanced warning of flood threats.

 

Officials estimate there have been millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses along the river because of flooding since 1964.

 

 

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Big Rapids DPS to host 2nd Citizen's Police Academy later this month

 

The citizen’s police academy is back this month in Big Rapids.

 

Officials from the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety say along with police perspective, this second installment will offer attendees a glimpse at what fire fighters go through on a daily basis.

 

If you would like to participate in the eight week course, applications are due on January 20th.

 

The academy begins on Wednesday, Jan. 25th from 6-9pm and will continue every Wednesday for eight weeks, four weeks focusing on police and four weeks focusing on firefighting. 

 

if you would like more information, call the DPS at 231-527-0005 

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Fourth and fifth graders can ski for free as part of 'Discover Michigan Snow Sports Month'

 

January is 'Discover Michigan Snow Sports Month' and although some areas of the state are not seeing snow on the ground, it doesn't mean you can't hit the slopes. Michigan Snow Sports Industry Association director Mickey MacWilliams says every year resorts in the state spend big bucks on state of the art snow-making equipment.

 

We have webcams set up a ski areas all across the state and on our web site, goskimichigan.com, there's a tab that says 'webcams' – you can click on that tab and you can see people in real time out on the slopes so you'll know that there's snow before you go.”

 

MacWilliams also says 4th and 5th graders can get a passport letting them ski up to three times for free at each of 30 participating ski areas (go to http://goskimichigan.com/michigan-ski-programs/michigan-ski-cold-is-cool). She notes that no matter where you live in Michigan you are no more than two hours away from a ski-resort.


 

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EPA hearings on waste injection wells in Osceola County

 

The EPA is holding a question-and-answer session and a public hearing on proposed waste injection wells in Osceola County.

 

The wells are part of Michigan Potash Operating LLC's plan to construct a potash and salt plant in Hersey and Evart townships.

 

The Q and A session starts at 6:00 pm Wednesday, January 4 with the public hearing immediately after at the Reed City High School. The plant is expected to produce 800,000 tons of potash and 1 million tons of food-grade salt each year.

 

 

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Winter related car crashes account for 20 percent of all accidents in Mecosta Co. between 2011-2015

 

About 12 percent of all Michigan traffic accidents in 2015 occurred on snowy or icy roads, according to data by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

 

Between 2011-2015 there were a total of 1,788 car accidents on snowy/icy roads, meaning 20% of total car accidents here in Mecosta County occur during the winter time.  

 

In Osceola County, winter car crashes are a higher occurrence at 23% between 2011-2015. During that time, a total of 5,495 car accident occurred but 1,240 accidents occurred on snowy/icy roads. 

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Fmr. CMU professor to be sentenced on child porn charges

 

A former Central Michigan University professor will be sentenced Thursday in Isabella County.  

 

61-year old Mark Thomas Ranzenberger pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of possession of child pornography involving a child under the age of 12.

 

He was arrested last year when Central Michigan University Police detectives launched an investigation after a student reported that Ranzenberger inadvertently showed pictures to his class that appeared to be pornographic in nature

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New year comes with a sense of angst for some Michigan residents

 

The pending Trump presidency and sharp divisions in America's political and social landscape means some people are starting the new year with a lot of anxiety. Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network director Randy Block says people are frightened and concerned about potential changes in policy and attacks on progress made on human rights, the environment, health care and other issues.

 

"We're seeing that the antidote to some of that depression and that frustration is to work with groups that are pushing back or resisting some of these potential changes."

 

Block notes that Michigan parallels Washington, D-C, right now – with control held by one political party – and says it's important to have all voices heard, not just those that are conservative.

 

 

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Skilled jobs plentiful in 2017

 

It's a new year and some businesses in Michigan are still having trouble filling skilled trades positions. Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development spokesperson Dave Murray says 2017 will be a great year for jobs.

 

There's great opportunity in the skilled trades in Michigan. We're seeing shortages across the skilled trades and one of the things that the state and Governor Rick Snyder are working on are making sure our students and parents realize the opportunities for good paying jobs that are there.”

Murray says mitalent.org has nearly 83,000 jobs currently posted and that number continues to rise.

 

 

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Michigan hospitals concerned over proposed plans for Obamacare

 

Some hospital administrators in Michigan are worried about what will happened if Congress repeals Obamacare this year.

 

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association says the state's hospitals will lose about $7 billion in reimbursements if there isn't some kind of replacement program in place.

 

More than 300,000 Michiganders now get health care insurance through the Affordable Care Act and another 600,000 have signed up for expanded Medicaid coverage.

 

President-elect Trump says he will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare on the first day of his administration later this month.

 

 

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Criteria for Amber Alert System changed

 

Michigan State Police have changed the criteria for issuing Amber Alerts.

 

The emergency response system that disseminates information about missing children will only be used for child abductions.

 

Amber Alerts had been authorized for missing children with severe mental or physical disabilities who wandered away and could not care for themselves.

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Fatal crash on New Year's Eve

 

Two people are dead following a crash in Isabella County on New Year's Eve.

 

State Police say it happened just before midnight at the intersection of E. Broomfield and S. Leaton roads in Chippewa Township when a driver failed to obey a stop sign at the intersection and broadsided another car.

 

The driver, a 63-year-old man from Centerline, and a passenger, a 57-year-old-woman also from Centerline, were pronounced dead at the scene.

 

There were no reports of injuries to the five passengers in the other car.

 

It's not clear if alcohol was a factor and the crash remains under investigation.

 

 

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