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News That Affects You Archives for 2019-12

State Regulators approve recreational marijuana delivery

If you partake and don't want to leave the house, the state regulators have approved home delivery of recreational marijuana.


Under the state law, it would be similar to medical marijuana delivery where customers place orders online and provide an I-D to verify they are 21 or older. Payments can be made online or by cash.


As for the businesses, delivery drivers must be 21 or older, can’t carry more than 15- ounces of marijuana, the product must be secured and the vehicle must have a G-P-S track its locations at all times.


Only three shops located in Evart, Battle Creek and Burton have been licensed to make deliveries.


Currently, the state says there are 45 adult-use licenses in Michigan but, not all shops have opened yet.

Tires stolen in Wexford County

Apparently someone thought it was better to take than to give on Christmas and that has Wexford County authorities on the lookout.


Sheriff's deputies say they received a report someone stole four tires and rims off two new GMC Yukons at the Highpoint Auto and Truck Center in Cadillac on Christmas day.


Investigators believe the tires were removed, rolled across a vacant field, and then loaded into a waiting vehicle sometime between Christmas eve and early Christmas morning.


Anyone with information is urged to contact the Wexford County Sheriff or Silent Observer.

Wexford Co. father charged with infant son's death

A Wexford County man is being charged with the death of his eight-week-old son.


Tyler Russell is charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter and a count of firstdegree child abuse.


Prosecutors say the Michigan State Police found the newborn - Xavier Russell - unresponsive in the family's Mesick home.


The boy was taken to a Traverse City hospital where he later died.


An autopsy showed the boy died from brain and spinal injuries due to shaking.


Russell is expected to be in court today for a probable cause hearing.

Suspect arrested on outstanding warrant connected to 2018 armed robbery in Big Rapids


A 25-year old man has been charged in a 2018 armed robbery case in Big Rapids.


James Joshua-Ray Baldridge was arrested by officers Monday in the Grand Rapids area on an outstanding warrant for a July 2018 armed robbery of an indoor marijuana grow operation.


He has been charged with with armed robbery and given a $250,000 bond.


Baldridge remains in Mecosta County Jail.

Ebels Family announces Reed City general store location

It looks like a new grocery store is coming to Reed City.


On Friday, the Ebels Family announced on Facebook that they had bought a piece of property and would be operating a grocery store.


The popular Ebels General Store located in Falmouth offers a variety of products, including meat, jerky, catering, clothing and more.


The post also said they look forward to serving the Reed City Community.


A formal announcement would be coming in the future.

Cheboygan man struck and killed by pickup in Mecosta Co.

One man is dead after being hit by a pickup truck in Mecosta County on Sunday.


Deputies say it happened on Northbound, US-131 near mile marker 147, Officers found the body of 27-year old Clyde Edward Hopkinson, of Cheboygan, alone wearing dark colored clothing, laying in the right lane.


The vehicle that had struck Hopkinson had not stopped.


While Deputies were investigating the scene, the driver of the vehicle had called 911 reporting that he had struck something in the roadway.  The suspect had stopped at a gas station in Osceola County and waited for officers to arrive and look at his vehicle.


Deputies were able to identify the driver of the pickup as 18-year old Isaac DeRuiter of Caledonia.


Deputies say they believe speed and alcohol were not factors in this crash. 


Deputies are still investigating how and why Hopkinson came to be on US-131 as there was no vehicle associated with him located in the area.


Mecosta County Sheriff's Deputies are asking anyone with information on Hopkinson's death to contact police at 231-592-0150

Mecosta Co. Parks to put millage proposal on Aug. ballot

The Mecosta County Parks will be asking residents to approve its proposed county-wide millage of up to one-half mill over five years on the August 2020 ballot. 


Superintendent Jeff Abel said in a press release the park system has operated without a tax appropriation for over 50 years, however not all park and recreation areas within the system generate enough revenue to pay for their operating costs. These parks  have been supplemented with funding from other Mecosta County parks in order to remain open. As large-scale maintenance items have been deferred for many years, due to lack of funding, it is inevitable that some of the parks will require an additional funding source in order to remain in operation.


This millage proposal is community based and solely prioritizes day use amenity improvements, outdoor recreation opportunities, community partnership initiatives and events. This proposal, if approved, would allow for the enhancement of community related projects and would bring the focus back to “county park” related services vs campground-oriented priorities.

The addition and replacement of playground structures within each of the County Parks is one of the top priorities of the proposal. Park Superintendent Jeff Abel stated that “there are many grant opportunities out there, especially for playground development, but those grants require matching funds. This millage would allow us to have the funds available to go after these grants, which in turn, would bring additional funding back into the park system and ensure that we are making the most of any tax revenue received.”
Keeping parks available to the community is another key component of the proposal.


Abel stated “not only would we like to keep our existing facilities available to the community, but we would like to expand the operating season at many of our parks.”

Abel noted an expanded season could mean services such as boat launches and playgrounds being open during non-operating seasons, the addition of vault restrooms for off-season users and incorporating winter activities into the parks event schedule.


Additional benefits, if passed, would include an overhaul to ADA accessibility accommodations throughout the park system, adding generators to park bathhouses to provide the community with water and shower resources during emergencies, creating better swimming areas and day use amenities, upkeep of existing trail systems, renovation of deteriorating buildings and public use facilities, possible addition of youth
sports, a spray park, or mini golf within the system and re-branding as a Parks and Recreation entity with community first priorities.

In addition to the proposed park enhancements, if approved, county residents would be given a discount on both season vehicle/season boat and daily vehicle/daily boat permit charges when visiting the parks. The current fee of $30 for a season pass would be reduced to $20 for county residents and day use passes would be reduced from $7 to $4 each for county residents.

If this funding initiative fails, some facilities that are not able to cover operating expenses, or where renovation costs are too great for the Park Commission to absorb, may be closed or removed as park amenities. Capital expense projects would be prioritized by return on investment and business outlook vs. community service initiatives to ensure sustainability of the system.

The Park Commission has held multiple public input opportunities within the past few years, which have helped in gathering feedback related to capital improvement plans, community events, trails, park user statistics, quality of park experiences, benefits of the parks, camping amenities, and the millage proposal. Superintendent Abel stated “in 2019 four Park Masterplan public comment sessions were held within the county parks” and that “those sessions provided much of the feedback utilized to ensure this millage
proposal was created in accordance with what the local community is seeking from the park system.”

Abel noted that there are many benefits to having quality park services and outdoor space available within your community and that the county parks are a tremendous economic driver for Mecosta County. Many businesses are able to operate within the county due to the visitor traffic created by the park system. Real estate is proven to be more valuable in areas with quality park offerings, with parks being a draw toward bringing working families into the community. Most recently, personal health as it relates to outdoor recreation has shown to be extremely important from both a physical and mental health aspect. Abel states “Parks are a place to hit the reset button and recharge your internal batteries from the stresses of everyday life. County Parks provide a venue for families to spend time together away from technology and for school friends to meet, play and exercise outside of the classroom. Parks provide a venue for rest, relaxation and recreation with friends, family and community, creating lasting memories together.” 

Montcalm Co. teen sentenced to prison for death of infant son

A Montcalm County teenage mother will be spending up to 40 years in prison for the 2018 death of her infant.


A judge sentenced Mistie Moyer on Thursday to 12 to 40 years in a state prison for the death of her 3-month-old son, Fred LeRoy Wallace III.


Moyers pleaded guilty to murder after a medical examiner ruled the toddler's death a homicide.


Officials say the baby had signs of previous injuries, including a broken arm and broken ribs.


Moyer, who is from the Morley area, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on October 22nd and multiple other charges were dismissed.

Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital releases top baby names list

Of the almost 500 babies born this year at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital Family Birthing Center, Grace and Jaxon, including all spelling variations, were most popular. 


Jaxon, Jaxson, Jaxton, Jackson and Jack lead the list for boys for the 3 rd year in a row, while Grace, Gracie, Gracelyn, Gracelynn and Gracylin took top female honors, passing last year’s most popular female name, Adaline, which came in 2 nd place for most popular. 


To date, 493 babies have been born at the Big Rapids Hospital birthing center this year, down from 545 last year.


The complete list for 2019 and 2018:


Top 10 Girl Names - 2019

1. Grace, Gracie, Gracelyn, Gracelynn, Gracylin

2. Adaline, Adalyn, Adalynn, Adeline

3. Emma, Emmalynn

4. Olivia

5. Paityn, Payton, Peighton, Peyton

6. Amelia

7. Evelyn

8. Everleigh, Everly

9. Harper

10. Natalie


Top 10 Boy Names - 2019

1. Jaxon, Jaxson, Jaxton, Jackson, Jack  

2. Ethan

3. Grayson

4. Alexander

5. Asher

6. Caleb

7. Dakota

8.  Johnathan, Jonathan

9. Levi

10. Liam


Grace and its variations didn’t make the list for top girl names in 2018, but it jumped all

the way to the top spot this year.


Top 10 Girl Names - 2018

1. Adaline, Adalyn, Addilynn, Addison, Addisyn, Adeline, Adilynne

2. Paisleigh, Paisley, Paislyn

3. Aria, Arielle, Arya

4. Ava, Avery

5. Josephine, Josophine, Josie, Josselyne

6. Lilian, Liliana, Lilly, Lily

7. Madalynn, Madelyn, Madelynn, Madison

8. Nevaeh

9. Olivia, Alivia

10. Raelynn, Raylee, Rylee, Ryleigh, Rylie


Top 10 Boy Names - 2018

1. Jaxon, Jaxson, Jaxton, Jackson, Jack

2. Parker

3. Liam

4. Maverick

5. Ryker

6. Axel, Axle, Axton

7. Carter

8. Greyson, Grayson

9. Jordan, Jordyn, Jordynn

10. Levi

Deer cull in the future? Big Rapids Commissioners to vote on deer cull next meeting

At their January 6th meeting, the Big Rapids City Commission will be voting on a resolution to have a deer cull.


City Manager Mark Gifford says historically the city have had deer culls however there were none in 2019 and some residents have noticed an increase in the deer population within their area.


“The area we are proposing would be in and around the hospital which has a lot of deer in it and there have been a number of residents who have asked for the deer cull.” Gifford said. “Also we've had residents who live in and around the area of the community pool voice their concern about the deer population as well.” Gifford added.


If passed, the city work with the DNR to get tags for 15-20 deer and then would hire the USDA Wildlife Service to perform the cull at the selected locations.


Meat from the cull would be tested and donated to various food pantries.

Three inmates charged in jail contraband case in Osceola Co.

Three inmates are now facing new charges following an investigation into drug contraband at the Osceola County Jail on Thursday.


Sheriff Ed Williams says an inmate notified Jail Staff that there were other inmates using Meth.


An investigation revealed that 39-year old Brent Matthew Mitchell of Reed City was arrested on 11/27/2019 for Obstructing Justice.  


On 12/12/2019 a search warrant was obtained in conjunction with the investigation and Mitchell was found with Methamphetamine stored in a container inside his lower body cavity.


Investigation also revealed that Mitchell had distributed Meth to two other inmates while in Jail, 34-year old Joshua James Abraham from Marion and 39-year old Edward Charles Deluge from Leroy.


All three were arraigned last week on the following charges:


Brent Matthew Mitchell

3 counts Violation of Controlled Substance, Meth, Deliver, Felony

Jails, Prisoner Possessing contraband, Felony

Smuggling Contraband into county jail, Felony

2 counts Jails, Furnishing contraband to Prisoners, Felony

Possession of Methamphetamine, Felony

BOND: $150,000


Joshua James Abraham

Possession of Methamphetamine, Felony

Violation of Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine, Use, Felony

BOND: $100,000


Edward Charles Deluge

Possession of Methamphetamine, Felony

Violation of Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine, Use, Felony

BOND: $100,000

MSP: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign starts today

The national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign starts today and runs until January 1.


Increased police enforcement, along with statewide messages about the dangers of impaired driving, aim to drastically reduce traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries on the roadways.


In Michigan, of the 905 fatal crashes in 2018, 31.7 percent involved alcohol.


During last year's Christmas holiday, there were 13 fatal crashes, with nine crashes involving alcohol.


Over the New Year's holiday last year, there were nine fatal crashes, with one crash involving alcohol.

Big Rapids Police Blotter for 12/17/19

Here is the Big Rapids Police blotter for 12/17/19:


  • Trespassing in the 400 block of S Third.  A 21-year old male was hanging out in the parking lot.   Staff said they did not see him trying to get in. Contacted the male, who stated he was trying to get into the building to talk to friends. When confronted about the trespass warning he made veiled threats to officers.  Seeking warrant for Trespass and willfully threaten.


  • Called in as male passed out in a vehicle in the drive thru in the 1000 block of S State.  A 48-year old male was arrested for OWI 2nd.


  • Suspicious in the 600 block of S State for a vehicle running for 30 minutes in the parking lot.  A male and female advised they had gotten food through the drive thru and decided to stop there to eat. Staff just wanted them checked on.


Mecosta & Newaygo Counties awarded grant money for development of Dragon Trail

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board recently recommended $25 million in grant money for outdoor recreation development and land acquisition projects that would improve access to public recreation sites throughout the state.


Mecosta and Newaygo Counties will receive grant money totaling over $385,000 to expand tails along the Michigan Dragon trail system as the completed trail will run in both counties.


Newaygo County would receive $180,100 and Mecosta County would receive $205,000.


The planned route is 42 miles in length and will include six trail heads, 13 designated trail overlooks and parking at existing recreation sites. The trail will have a natural surface and will be two feet wide when completed. It is intended for bicycle and foot traffic only.


“I’ve always been an avid outdoorsman and will stand in support of both of these projects when they reach the Legislature,” State Senator Jon Bumstead said. “I am happy to see these developments in our communities moving forward so we can continue passing down the love for Michigan’s outdoors.”


Now that the approved projects have been selected, legislation will be introduced to provide the funding. Once introduced, the bill will be referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations and move through the standard legislative process.

Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital to be honored tonight with Top Rural Hospital award

Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital will be recognized tonight as a top rural hospital by the leapfrog group during their annual Awards Dinner and Ceremony in Washington, D.C.


The elite award is one of the most competitive honors American hospitals can receive in safety and quality.


The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit watchdog organization that rates hospitals on how well they protect patients from errors and infections, as well as the effectiveness of procedures and other care they provide.


The standards achieved by Top Hospitals reflect the high expectations set by Leapfrog and its expert panels, which starts with a commitment to transparency,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We are honored to spotlight the hospitals that have truly gone above and beyond in their pursuit of excellence that protects patients and saves lives.”


The Top Hospital award is given to teaching, general, rural and children's hospitals that publicly report their performance through the Leapfrog Hospital Survey and meet the high standards defined in the Top Hospitals Methodology. This includes infection rates, maternity care and a hospital’s ability to prevent medication errors, among other standards.


To see the full national list of institutions honored as 2019 Top Hospitals, please visit


New Michigan law will charge "porch pirates" with a felony

It's now a felony in Michigan to steal packages off porches across the state.


The new law means second-offenders will face a five-year felony, if convicted.


The first offense will be a misdemeanor with up to a year in prison.


Officials say 2019 is expected to be a record year for mail theft in Michigan, and while there are federal penalties in place, they have not been effective.

Police in Mecosta County make arrest in arson/ break-in cases


The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office has recently made an arrest for a series of felonies committed on the east side of the county.


Detectives identified the offender after an  attempted arson of an occupied home in the village of Remus on December 7th

Sheriff’s investigators believed this heinous act to be related to the arson of another occupied home in Martiny Twp. on May 5th. 

The offender who was Identified as 24-year old Harley Raglin of Blanchard was subsequently arrested and charged with several felonies in 77th District Court as follows: Burglary/forced entry, Arson of a residence, Arson/preparation to burn, Weapons offense/explosives/incendiary device/using, Arson preparation to burn, Aggravated/Felonious assault/Attempt murder, Arson of a residence.

The burglary charge was the result of an additional break in that The MCSO had investigated in Sheridan Twp in July.


Raglin is being held in the Mecosta County Jail on $250,000 bond pending further court action.



Big Rapids City Commission takes up a few items during meeting tonight

The Big Rapids City Commission meets tonight at City Hall at 6:30pm. 


According to the agenda, City Treasurer Aaron Kuhn will begin the meeting and give commissioners a quarterly investment report. 


During the study session portion, Library Director Lauren Moran will give a library update. 


In general business, commissioners will vote on a couple items regarding the airport that include a resolution that extends a lease agreement with Jim Dunkel of Heavy Duty Towing Company.


Commissioners will also appoint board members to the Roben Hood Airport Advisory Board. 


Commissioners will also vote on a few resolution regarding public works, they include; 

Performance Resolution for Governmental Agencies – Right of Way ii.


Resolution Authorizing the 2020 Urban and Community Forestry Grant.


Resolution Dedicating Land in French’s Addition and Tioga Water Power Addition to the Road Right of Way of Pere Marquette Street.




Icy roads to blame for two car accident in Green Township Saturday

The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says icy roads are to blame for a two vehicle accident Saturday night in Green Township. 


It happened on Northbound US-131 near 22 Mile Rd. 


An Investigation revealed a northbound vehicle lost control on the icy roads and went into the median. 


A short time later, a second vehicle lost control and struck the first vehicle causing injury to the driver of the second vehicle. 


The driver was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids for non-life threatening injuries. 

Three vehicle accident in Green Twp. sends two people to the hospital

A three vehicle accident in Mecosta County sent two people to the hospital with injuries.


It happened Friday afternoon on Northland Drive just north of 19 MIle Rd.


The Mecosta Co. Sheriff’s Office says a 25-year old Big Rapids woman was stopped waiting to turn into Speedway when a 22-year old Reed City man heading southbound rear ended her, pushing her vehicle into oncoming traffic and striking a vehicle driven by a 21-year old Reed City man.


Both the Big Rapids woman and the 21-year old Reed City man were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.   

Police in Mecosta Co. involved in high speed chase; suspect arrested

Deputies from Mecosta County Sheriff's Office were involved in a high speed chase involving a suspect connected to a break-in in Osceola County.


According to a press release, deputies from the Sheriff’s Office attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a passenger car in Big Rapids Township.  The vehicle fled as soon as the Deputy turned around to follow it .  The vehicle ran a stop sign and accelerated heading eastbound towards the City of Big Rapids.  The pursuit was called out and stop sticks were set up inside the City of Big Rapids.  The suspect then drove around the stop sticks and continued fleeing.  The suspect then turned down a dead end street and when officers attempted to block him in, the suspect accelerated nearly striking the patrol car.  The suspect continued fleeing through the City of Big Rapids and then through the edge of Ferris State University.  


The vehicle headed south and then headed westbound into Newaygo County.  Deputies continued to pursue the vehicle and the suspect driver then began throwing items out of the fleeing passenger car.  Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office joined the pursuit near Woodville.  The fleeing suspect continued fleeing spike strips were used on the suspect.  The suspect swerved at pursuing patrol cars and continued for several miles and also continued throwing items from the vehicle.  A Newaygo County Patrol car did receive damage as it was struck with some of the items thrown from the suspect.  The suspect drove off the road down a private 2-track and eventually back onto the road.  The pursuit continued for several more mile where the suspect eventually collided with a patrol car and left the roadway.  The suspect was then blocked in and was taken into custody. 


No officers or civilians were injured during this pursuit.  The vehicle was found to be full of stolen property and the driver admitted to have committed a Breaking and Entering in Osceola County just prior to fleeing from the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office.  Deputies were able to also recover many stolen items that were thrown from the suspect vehicle during the pursuit.   Deputies were able to identify the address where the theft had taken place and the Michigan State Police did respond to and address in southwestern Osceola County and took a related Breaking and Entering complaint.  Deputies were assisted by Ferris State University Police, Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, and the Michigan DNR.  Anyone with information regarding any breaking and entering’s in the area urged to contact their local Sheriff’s Office or the Michigan State Police – Mt. Pleasant Detachment.


2nd passenger charged in fatal Osceola County crash


The second passenger involved in a fatal Osceola County car crash last month, has been charged. 


It happened on Mackinaw Trail near 160th Avenue in Sherman Township.


On Thursday, 17-year old Brock Gordon Nelson was arrested and arraigned on one count of felony Obstruction of Justice and one count of accessory after the fact to a felony.


The Osceola Co. Sheriff’s Office says Nelson was a passenger in a car accident last month that killed 17-year old Tim Rizor of LeRoy.


The driver, 17-year old Creed Watson has already been charged with operating while intoxicated causing death, leaving the scene of an accident causing death and lying to police.     

Newaygo Co. Sheriff's Office investigating Croton Twp. home invasion

The Newaygo County Sheriff's Office is investigating a home invasion and needs your help.


Deputies say they received a call about a home invasion Thursday morning around 10:20am in Croton Township.


An investigation revealed the home owner came home after being gone for two hours and found a white male, approx. 5’07”, 170 pounds, wearing a dark colored ski mask, real tree type camo coat, tennis shoes, jeans in her kitchen. Suspect ran out the door with several firearms, jewelry, coins, and medication.


Home owner fired several rounds at the suspect as he ran away.


A possible suspect vehicle is a maroon in color “Jeep” type SUV that had a white male with a black colored thick but trimmed beard.


Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 231-689-7303.

Text to 911 now available in Mecosta & Osceola Counties


There is a new tool available for residents and those visiting the area, if they're in an emergency situation.


Text 911 is now available for residents in Mecosta and Osceola Counties.


The service launched earlier this month, Director of Meceola Central Dispatch, Megan Erickson says this new tool will break down a barrier so that dispatchers can help those who have a hearing impairment, speech impairment, maybe an intruder is in your home, a domestic situation is occuring or can benefit those in areas where wireless service is limited.


Erickson added to please remember to call when you can; text when you can’t.


There are a few more tips to remember when texting to 911. Send a brief message without using abbreviations or any slang. Be prepared to communicate your exact location and the emergency help that is needed. Stay with your wireless device and be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from a 911 dispatcher.


For more tips click HERE and HERE

Korean War Veteran from Reed City honored for service

Photo credit: John Moolenaar 


A Korean War Veteran from the Reed City area was honored last week for his service to his country. 


U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, State Sen. Curt VanderWall and State Rep. Michele Hoitenga awarded 87-year old Rudy Grahek  with several medals including the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the United Nations Service Medal. 


photo credit: Julia Lttle 


Grahek says these medals bring back a lot of memories from his time serving in the military.


During my service from 1952-1954, I was in line in front of my company commander and I volunteered for a lot of night patrols that started at midnight and I would patrol along mountainous hills in Korea and try to locate where the enemy was hiding.”Grahek said. 

Grahek was drafted in 1952 and sent to Camp Atterbury in Illinois after graduation, he was part of the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. Grahek was discharged in 1954.


Later in life, he started working as “Dynamite the Clown” appearing at various events around the state. 


Even at 87-year old, Grahek says he appeared at 37 events this past Summer.




  Photo's courtesy of Bill Yontz

Mecosta Co. Toys for Tots still in need of donations as distribution day nears

The Mecosta County Toys for Tots program is having its distribution day tomorrow at the Big Rapids Eagles Club and is still in need of donations for families in need during the holidays.


Region 4 Mecosta County Coordinator Angela Malek says they had a great start with donations in the beginning, but it started to slow down and now are short and still looking for toys for boys ages 10-12 and toys for infant boys and girls.


Donations will continue to be accepted at the Sheriff's Department in Big Rapids until 5 p.m. tonight or at the Big Rapids Eagles Club until 8 p.m. tonight.  


Toys will be distributed on Saturday Dec. 7th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., for registered families.


Walk-ins will be welcome as well on Saturday.


The Toys for Tots program is also in need of storage donation for any toys that weren’t taken for distribution to be held for next year.

Mecosta County's Cora Okkema wins Michigan Farm Bureau Discussion Meet


Cora Okkema of Mecosta County took the top spot at Michigan Farm Bureau's (MFB) 2019 Young Farmer Discussion Meet Dec. 4 at MFB's 100th Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids.


Cora received her Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from Dordt University in Iowa and is currently studying livestock behavior and welfare at Colorado State University graduate school.

Okkema’s roots are in Blanchard, Mich., where her family runs a 675-head Holstein dairy farm.


While this is her first year competing, Okkema has been involved in county Farm Bureau activities such as Breakfast on the Farm, Young Farmer events, and being a liaison between her research at school and sharing it with farmers to utilize on their operations.


“I had such an amazing time working with my colleagues during this discussion meet and going through topics that are really current in this industry,” Okkema said. “In my opinion, the most interesting subject we tackled was the consumer-based question where we talked about consumer values and their changing needs. I thought it was interesting because we competitors come from different ag sectors and have our own issues with the subject. But we were able to come together in unity, address the issue and evolve as an industry to work with consumers and their new-found values, while at the same time realize our values are truly the same.”


Farm Bureau discussion meets test young farmers ages 18 to 35 in a unique public speaking challenge; participants are rewarded for their knowledge of current agricultural issues, their cooperative demeanor and the tact and civility of their delivery. As the contest moderators explain in their opening remarks, these are discussions, not debates.


After 11 regional contests across the state, nearly 35 participants competed in two opening rounds. Round three saw the field cut to 16 semifinalists, then four finalists faced off to determine the statewide winner.


The other three finalists were Bradley Love of Branch County, Elizabeth Wernette of Hillsdale County, and Kyle McCarty of St. Clair County.


This year's discussion topics addressed four current issues of concern among the agricultural community:


  • Preliminary Round 1: The customer is always right. How do farmers and ranchers think and respond, through the lens of consumer priorities and marketing trends, to build common values and confidence in modern production methods to build consumer acceptance?

  • Preliminary Round 2: The 21st-century agricultural economy is threatened by labor shortages. Without a clear solution for accessing foreign guest workers as a component of immigration reform coming from Congress, what are some creative and legal ways for agriculture to address the labor needs of a modern production system?
  • Sweet 16 Round: With abundant productivity, farmers are in need of new markets, including outside traditional food and feed channels. How do we develop, invest and commercialize to innovate new uses of agricultural products and by-products to benefit all of agriculture?
  • Final Round: Products like cell-based food products have demonstrated the food system is rapidly changing. How can future food technologies and related products be beneficially integrated into modern agriculture production without hampering the success of traditional products and the farmers and ranchers who grow them?


As the state-level winner, Okkema received a $2,000 cash prize from AIS Equipment and a paid trip to compete in the national-level Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet at the American Farm Bureau Federation 101st Convention and Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, Jan. 17-22, 2020. All four finalists also receive a suitcase courtesy of Michigan Farm Bureau Health Services and a Yeti cooler sponsored by the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture.


The AFBF YF&R program helps young Farm Bureau members shape their future and American agriculture through leadership development and personal growth opportunities. Three competitions enable members to showcase their leadership experience, communication skills and successful business plans as they compete against the best of the best from each state Farm Bureau.


As part of the YF&R competitions, the top four competitors in the Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Ag areas receive:


  • Winner: a new Ford vehicle (up to a value of $35,000) and paid registration to the AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, courtesy of Ford.
  • Runner-up receives: Case IH Farmall 50A, courtesy of Case IH.
  • Third-place finisher receives: Case IH 40-inch Combination Roll Cabinet & Top Chest and $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH plus $2,200 worth of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise (PROTO, DeWalt, Stanley, Lenox & Irwin), courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker.
  • Fourth Place receives: Case IH 40-inch Combination Roll Cabinet & Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH.

Consumers Energy to test Rogers, Hardy & Croton Dam sirens Dec. 12th

Consumers Energy announced the emergency public warning siren systems near its Rogers, Hardy and Croton hydroelectric generating plants on the Muskegon River will be tested on Thursday, December 12 at approximately 9:30 a.m.


The tests will include a voice message, a 30-second siren and a second voice message. The public does not need to take any action during the tests.


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires hydroelectric facilities to be able to quickly notify residents and visitors of any developing emergency at the plants. Typically, Consumers Energy performs the test once in August and in December each year.


In the event of an emergency, the siren/speaker units’ initial warning will be supplemented by information on radio and television stations along with Newaygo and Mecosta County emergency notification systems.


Consumers Energy offers a safety caution to those who visit dams in the winter.


“Ice on a reservoir near a hydroelectric facility is not reliable and should be avoided by snowmobilers, anglers and others,” said Bill Schoenlein, Consumers Energy’s executive director of renewable generation. “Also, ice-covered water down river from a hydroelectric facility should never be considered a safe place to walk.”

Mecosta teen arrested for sex crimes against a minor



Mecosta County Sheriff Deputies arrested a Mecosta teen Tuesday on a warrant for crimes connected to a sexual assault of a minor. 


17-year old Dylan Snyder was arraigned on two counts of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Mecosta Co. 77th District Court Wednesday. 


Detective Casey Nemeth says the arrest stems from an investigation into incidents that occurred in 2017 and 2018 with a minor child in the Village of Remus.  


Snyder posted $25,000 and is released on bond until his next court date.


Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital earns trauma certification

Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital emergency department staff have been recognized for their work with trauma patients after being designated as a Level IV trauma facility by the State of Michigan.

The three-year certification follows a site visit and documentation review by the Michigan
Department of Health and Human Services to the facility in October.

“We’re very pleased with the designation,” said Jeff Hotsinpiller, a trauma coordinator for
Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals. The certification validates the
good work our teams have done in making trauma care a top priority of our emergency

Big Rapids Hospital is also a Level IV trauma facility

Trauma accounts for nearly half of deaths for people ages birth to 44.

Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals have worked together creating a trauma program to
find and treat injuries quickly and efficiently. The program includes a partnership for
continuous education provided to EMS and other agencies to improve first responder
practices. Community education was also included to highlight fall prevention and
tourniquet application to control bleeding.

“Through these efforts, our emergency department can provide efficient and evidence-
based trauma care, ensuring the very best care for trauma patients starting at the scene
of injury so they heal quicker and have the best possible outcome,” Hotsinpiller said.

Osceola Co. man arrested on numerous felony charges including felonious assault


A Chase man is charged with a handful of counts following a string of incidents after a staged intervention.


It happened on Sunday, Osceola County Sheriff deputies say they were called to the area of 220th Avenue near 10-Mile Road, in Lincoln Township where it’s was reported the suspect, 25-year old Trevor Joesph Smith became combative after a family attempted to have an intervention for drug use.


According to police Smith was recklessly discharging an AR-15 at a family members pickup, then continued to discharge the firearm and then fled on a stolen ATV just prior to deputies arrival. Sheriff Ed Willaims says deputies tracked Smith from the home to another residence in Lake County and was taken into custody without incident.


Illegal drugs are thought to be a factor in this incident.


Smith was arraigned in the 77 th District Court today on charges of Felony Damage to Property Weapons, Firing Reckless Felony, Motor Vehicle Theft and Felonious Assault. 

Smith's bond was set at $75,000 and is currently lodged in the Osceola County Jail

3-Judge Panel: Nestle's bottling operation in Osceola Twp. "not essential public service"

A three judge panel has sided with Osceola Township against the proposal for a new building for Nestle Waters North America.


The Michigan Court of Appeals agreed with the Township that Nestle's plan violates the zoning ordinance.


The intent of the new building would be to increase their water bottling efforts to by carrying Nestle groundwater to a loading station in Evart.


The appeals court said Nestle's bottling operation was not an “essential public service.”

Rep. Hoitenga: Plan to end deer baiting ban sent to governor's desk

State Rep. Michele Hoitenga’s plan to restore the practice of baiting and feeding deer in Michigan has been sent to the governor for her consideration.


The plan would end the ban issued by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in August 2018 amid concerns about the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD).


Hoitenga, of Manton, said the baiting and feeding ban puts unnecessary restrictions on Michigan hunters with little evidence it will prevent the spread of disease. Her plan, House Bill 4687, would allow people to engage in baiting during open seasons on deer and elk in Michigan.


“The NRC banned baiting, but that didn’t eliminate the natural instinct of deer to herd for warmth and food,” Hoitenga said. “The baiting ban is hurting the situation by driving people away from the sport. Hunting prevents overpopulation – and that is key to preventing the spread of disease.”


Hoitenga said the decrease in hunting license sales will hurt Michigan’s conservation efforts, as well as the rural and northern Michigan communities that receive an economic boost from hunting activity.


Last year, hunting and fishing license sales made up 20 percent of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ entire annual budget, equal to $83.5 million. These funds were used to aid the recovery of endangered and threatened species, including restoring thousands of acres of habitat and wetlands.


According to one recent study, 171,000 jobs are created and supported annually across Michigan by hunting and fishing activity. Hunting generates around $8.9 billion in economic impact, the study said.

Three people arrested in connection to meth/stolen property case in Mecosta Co.



Two men and a woman were arraigned on charges connected to a case involving methamphetamineand stolen property out of the village of Morley last Friday.  


37-year old Robert Thomas Wright Jr, of Morley was charged with possession of methamphetamine and retail fraud 2nd degree, he remains jailed with a $110,000.00 bond.


46-year old Tammy Lynn Wright, of Morley was charged with retail fraud 1st degree and remains jailed with a $5000.00 bond pending further court action.


56-year old Timothy Allen Dahlke, of Saginaw was charged with possession of methamphetamine and remains jailed with a $100,000.00 pending further court action.


On Friday, deputies from the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Village of Morley to arrest a suspect on an arrest warrant for a Retail Fraud charge. Deputies attempted contact with the suspect’s family and located the suspect as he attempted to flee the area. Deputies stopped the suspect driving an unregistered vehicle attempting to leave the area. The suspect was arrested on traffic charges as well as the outstanding theft warrant.


Additional investigation led to the detention of a (2nd) male suspect at the residence who was also wanted by another agency. Information was obtained at the residence was that drugs were hidden prior to the suspect leaving the residence. Deputies were able to obtain consent and conducted a search based upon the information received. Deputies located a quantity of Methamphetamine.


Deputies then obtained a search warrant for the residence to obtain additional evidence. Deputies were able to locate numerous items of (new) stolen property. The total amount of the stolen property recovered is in excess of $1000. Deputies arrested both males on Possession of Methamphetamine charges. The wife of the suspect was also arrested and lodged theft charges as well.


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Local High School Schedule & Scores

CSAA Baseball

District 37 @Big Rapids HS

  - 5/28: Ludington 5 @ Newaygo 4

  - 6/1:

     10a: Ludington @ Fremont

     12n: Whitehall @ Big Rapids

     District Final: Whitehall/Big Rapids @ Fremont/Ludington

District 39 @Comstock Pk HS

  - 5/28: Sparta 5 @ Grant 1

  - 6/1:

     10a: Sparta @ Belding

     12n: Comstock Park @ Tri County

     District Final: Sparta/Belding @ Comstock Park/Tri County

District 70 @Evart

  - 5/28: Pine River 8 @ Harrison 4

  - 6/1:

     10a: Pine River @ Evart

     12n: McBain @ Reed City

     District Final: Pine River/Evart @ McBain/Reed City

District 72 @ Montague

  - 6/1:

     10a: Montague @ Ravenna

     12n: N Muskegon @ Kent City

     District Final: Montague/Ravenna @ N Muskegon/Kent City

District 74 @ Chip Hills

  - 5/28: Clare 15 @ Farwell 0

  - 6/1:

     10a: Clare @ Lakeview

     12n: Chip Hills @ Morley Stanwood

     District Final: Clare/Lakeview @ Chip Hills/Morley Stanwood

District 77 @Pewamo-Westphalia HS

  - 5/28: C Montcalm 4 @ Ovid-Elsie 3

  - 6/1:

     10a: C Montcalm @ St Louis

     12n: Pewamo-Westphalia @ Ithaca

     District Final: C Montcalm/St Louis @ Pewamo-Westphalia/Ithaca


CSAA Softball

District 37 @Shepherd HS

  - 5/29: Big Rapids 2 @ Freeland 3

  - 6/1:

     10a: Freeland @ Swan Valley

     12n: Shepherd @ Alma

     District Final: Big Rapids/Freeland/Swan Valley @ Shepherd/Alma

District 38 @Newaygo HS

  - 6/1:

     10a: Tri County @ Newaygo

     12n: Sparta @ Fremont

     District Final: Tri County/Newaygo @ Sparta/Fremont

District 72 @Chip Hills HS

  - 5/28: Chip Hills 10 @ Morley Stanwood 11

  - 6/1:

     10a: Morley Stanwood @ Lakeview

     12n: Evart @ Reed City

     District Final: Morley Stanwood/Lakeview @ Evart/Reed City

District 73 @Montague HS

  - 5/28: Grant 1 @ Kent City 7

  - 6/1:

     10a: Kent City @ Montague

     12n: N Muskegon @ Ravenna

     District Final: Kent City/Montague @ N Muskegon/Ravenna

District 95 @Bullock Creek

  - 5/29: Ithaca @ St Louis

  - 6/1:

     10a: Ithaca/St Louis @ Bullock Creek

     12n: C Montcalm @ Hemlock

     District Final: Ithaca/St Louis/Bullock Creek @ C Montcalm/Hemlock

District 108 @ Marion

  - 5/28: Pentwater 8 @ Mason County Eastern 4

  - 6/1:

     10a: Pentwater @ White Cloud

     12n: Marion @ Holton

     District Final: Pentwater/White Cloud @ Marion/Holton


CSAA Softball Standings

1.) Big Rapids: 16-0

2.) Reed City: 16-2

3.) Newaygo: 11-3

4.) Kent City: 9-6

5.) Central Montcalm: 7-5

6.) Grant: 6-8

7.) Morley Stanwood: 4-7

8.) White Cloud: 3-11

9.) Lakeview: 2-12

10.) Chip Hills: 0-10

11.) Tri County: 0-10

(from available data)

CSAA Baseball Standings

1) Big Rapids: 17-1 | +172 -42 (+130)

2) Chippewa Hills: 11-5 | +91 -57 (+34)

3) Grant: 12-6 | 107 -57 (+50)

4) Newaygo: 12-6 | +104 -65 (+39)

5) Central Montcalm: 10-6 | +109 -71 (+38)

6) Reed City: 11-7 | +125 -81 (+44)

7) White Cloud: 8-10 | +79 -117 (-38)

8) Morley Stanwood: 6-12 | +57 -117 (-60)

9) Kent City: 5-13 | +86 -144 (-58)

10) Tri County: 4-14 | +89 -147 (-58)

11) Lakeview: 0-16 | +60 -181 (-121)

This Week's Poll

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