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News That Affects You Archives for 2020-04

Judge allows Nestle Water to extract more water from Osceola Co. well

Nestle Waters North America has won a key decision in its effort to pump more water from a well in western Michigan.


An administrative law judge last week upheld a state permit allowing the company to pump 400 gallons a minute from a well near Evart in Osceola County.


That's a 60% increase over current levels.


Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians had challenged a permit approved in 2018 by Governor Rick Snyder's administration.

Mecosta County Deputies respond to Sunday accidents

Police in Mecosta County believe speed and alcohol played a factor in an early Sunday morning car crash that sent a Big Rapids woman to the hospital.


It happened on Northland Dr. south of 4 Mile Rd in Aetna township.  


The 31-year old Big Rapids woman lost control of her vehicle, went off the road and rolled down an embankment into a patch of trees.


She was taken to a local hospital for non life threatening injuries.



Meanwhile a 39-year old man suffered a broken leg and other injuries after an ATV accident Sunday evening in Mecosta County's Chippewa Township.


Deputies say it happened on 22 Mile Rd. that's where a 39-year old man was operating and fell off an ATV.


He sustained a fractured leg and other possible injuries.


He was taken to Spectrum Butterworth  Hospital in Grand Rapids.

Gov. Whitmer extends Stay At Home order through May 15th

At 11:00am today, Governor Whitmer declared that she is extending the ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ executive order through May 15th as a necessary means to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives.


Though the Governor decided to lengthen her executive order, several previous restrictions have been lifted.


Several components of the new order include:

  • Requiring individuals to wear cloth face coverings over their nose and mouth in any enclosed public spaces such as grocery stores and pharmacies
  • Employers must provide non-medical grade masks or face covering to their in-person employees

Several restrictions lifted in the new order include:

  • Lower risk sectors such as landscapers, lawn-service companies and plant nurseries may resume operations if strict social distancing and safety precautions are followed
  • Stores selling nonessential supplies can reopen for curbside pickup and delivery
  • Big box stores no longer must close off garden centers and areas dedicated to selling paint, flooring and carpet
  • People with multiple in-state homes can resume traveling between them, though highly discouraged
  • Motorized boating and golfing, without the use of carts, has been reinstated, again as long as strict social distancing measures are followed

“District Health Department #10 continues to support the Governor’s Executive Orders and we ask that every individual within our ten-county jurisdiction, whether full-time residents or seasonal visitors, adhere to these orders,” stated Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for DHD#10. “We’re seeing the curve flatten; however, the numbers continue to rise in Michigan each day and we have the power to slow them down if we continue to do our part.”


Read the complete Executive Order 2020-59 for all the details.


For more information about COVID-19, go to:,  or

Clare Co. man leads police on a three county chase

It was an hour long chase covering more than 50 miles.


Police say Robert McAulay was behind the wheel when they tried to pull him over in Clare County’s Redding Township.


He took off and led police through Clare, Missaukee and Osceola counties before deputies deployed stop sticks and he crashed in Osceola County.


McAuley has been charged as a repeat offender.

Ferris State University holding virtual open house today

Ferris State University will hold a virtual open house via Zoom today from 11:00am – 7:00pm.


There will be staff available from all of their campuses to answer questions, and some students may be able to apply for admission and be accepted on the spot.


You will need to register for this virtual open house.


Ferris state is also planning on doing virtual orientation in June.

UPDATE: Suspect arrested; victim identified in fatal shooting near CMU



Information has come out regarding the man killed in a Mount Pleasant shooting that happened around 6:00pm on Monday night at The Edge Apartments near the CMU campus. Police say 21-year-old Raven Tree-Von Deepen, a former CMU student, was killed. There is a suspect in custody in the Isabella County jail with an arraignment pending.




Mount Pleasant officials are investigating a deadly shooting that took place near Central Michigan University last night.


Officers found a 22-year-old man dead around 6 p.m. after they heard reports of a shooting on the 700 block of Edgewood Drive off of Broomfield Road..


The police have notified a "person of interest," and are interviewing witnesses.


They are still looking for the suspect this morning.

Big Rapids Police Blotter 4/16-4/19



20-542-Check Well Being in the 400 block of Ives.


20-543-UDAA/Larceny in the 300 block of S Stewart.  Female reported that her vehicle had been taken by a male while she was sleeping.  She later learned that he was using her debit card in the Mount Pleasant area.  A second female, who had been present, also reported that the male had taken $600 cash from her.  The female later learned that her vehicle was located in Blanchard and she was able to recover her vehicle.  Attempts to contact the male have been unsuccessful.  Investigation will be continued.




No significant calls for service.




20-544 - 100 block of Maple for an assist.


20-545 @ 0041 100 blk of N Stewart Suspicious.  Called for a report of people egging cars.  Didn't locate any cars with egg on them, but located the back door to residence in block open.  Made contact with one resident who said a few other residents are in the house.  


20-546, 547 & 548 @ 0159 800 block of N Fourth Ave for possession of heroin, probation violation, warrant arrest, and domestic.  20 year old male called stating his girlfriend, a 25 year old female, had drugs in the house and wanted to turn them over to police.  Girlfriend claimed she was assaulted by the male.  No signs of abuse.  She was lodged for possession and probation violation, contempt of court warrant.  Submitting on the domestic.




40-200548 – Suspicious / Harassment – Caller reported an ex-roommate is posting online about him. Handled via tx.


20-549 @ 1904 1800 block of Milton Ave for a missing juvenile.  He came home as officers were on scene.  He was playing in a different part of the complex.

Coronavirus cases starting to slow according to state officials

The curve continues to flatten in Michigan, as state officials report less than 700 additional cases Sunday, bringing the total to nearly 31,500 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.


83 people have died from the virus since the last update.


The Detroit metro area has been hit hardest with over 24,000 cases.


In the west central Michigan area, Isabella County continues to have the highest number of cases with 52 currently, Mecosta County has 12 cases, Montcalm county has 24 cases, Newaygo County has 7 cases and Osceola County has 6 cases of COVID-19.


The state is also reporting that 3,237 have recovered from the coronavirus.


Meantime, Governor Whitmer is expected to announce this week a plan to start reopening businesses.


The Governor says she's been talking with labor and business leaders to come up with the plan that keeps workers and the public safe.


She says she'll also be considering risks like if workers share tools and machinery, if they work with the public and if they are next to each other at their jobs.

Senator Outman part of bi-partisan workgroup to present recommendations in hopes of re-opening enconomy

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Lansing are creating a plan of recommendations for Governor Whitmer so Michiganders can get back to work sooner than later. 


Back on March 23rd, the Governor issued an extension of her "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order directing all non-critical businesses to stay temporarily closed and all Michiganders to stay home or stay six feet away from others during the coronavirus pandemic. 


State Senator Rick Outman says the number one priority for this workgroup which consists of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle is the health and safety of Michigan workers so they need to be smart about what they're recommending. 


“What we’re looking at is how do we strategically open certain businesses in certain parts of the state and start relaxing those orders? We’re putting together a comprehensive plan that we’re hoping to present to the governor. Hopefully, she takes a good look at it and says this makes sense because certainly we have to get back to work.” Outman said. 


The No. 1 goal of this committee is really the heath and safety of Michigan employees. There has to be a balance between fighting this virus, but we can’t let our economy tank. There are certainly jobs right now that will never come back online after this.” Outman added. 


Outman says the work group is taking all the necessary steps to gather the information they need to present an informed recommendation to the Governor.  


"We have talked with health experts this week and some business owners and department heads like MiOSHA (Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration) discuss what constitutes a safe workplace.” Outman said.


The workgroup plans present its recommendations to Whitmer by the end of the month.


Spectrum Heath addresses COVID-19 Financial Impact

Spectrum Health today announced steps it will be taking to respond to the financial impact of COVID-19.


Health systems, including Spectrum Health, rely heavily on clinic appointments, surgeries and procedures to generate revenue. To respond to COVID-19 and in accordance with Governor Whitmer’s executive order, Spectrum Health canceled more than half of all non-emergency and non-urgent surgeries and procedures to prepare for a possible surge of patients. This represented a multimillion dollar reduction in revenue in just one month.


While revenue is decreasing, expenses have increased, reflecting the costs associated with responding to COVID-19. For example, Spectrum Health purchased large quantities of personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure it could protect its team members and patients, spending more in one month than it would typically spend in one year on these supplies.


While West and Southwest Michigan have yet to experience a patient surge comparable to other parts of the state and country, the impact on Spectrum Health’s finances and operations are dramatic. The health system expects that unemployment and economic pressures will continue to impact people’s ability to pay for health services in the future. The financial impact is far-reaching and will suppress the health system’s revenues for the remainder of the year, making a course correction imperative.


“Our team members have done an outstanding job of rising to the challenges presented by COVID-19, and to help take care of the community we serve. I could not be more proud of our team,” said Tina Freese Decker, President & CEO, Spectrum Health. “None of us would have chosen to be in this COVID-19 storm and experiencing this level of disruption, but we must adapt. We are making very difficult decisions that will reshape our organization going forward. We will maintain our unwavering commitment to high-quality patient care and innovative health insurance products—offering value in ways that matter most to people, such as affordability, convenience and personalization.”


The following temporary actions have been put in place:

  • Executive compensation: Tina Freese Decker, President & CEO, will take a 40% reduction in pay. Her direct leadership team will take a 30% reduction. 
  • Executives are donating surplus paid time off (PTO) to the organization’s Close Enough to Care fund to help team members in need of extra PTO.
  • Matching contributions to employee retirement accounts will be stopped from July through December.
  • Aggressively reducing expenses and prioritizing what must be done in 2020.


With the accelerated rate of change in the organization’s operations, there will be some positions that will not be needed in the future. These are not roles that care for patients.

“Our job is to act responsibly and lead for the long-term so that Spectrum Health is able to serve our communities for years to come,” said Freese Decker.

Nestle Waters Bottling Plant in Stanwood Hiring

Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) announces that they are actively hiring for seasonal positions offering excellent compensation at our bottling facility in Stanwood.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has determined that food and grocery industry workers are essential to maintaining the food and grocery supply in the U.S., which includes bottled water. We take this classification as a responsibility to continue operations to provide healthy hydration options for American consumers.


NWNA encourages anyone who is seeking employment in these challenging economic times to consider joining us in our effort to produce and deliver our water products for consumers at a time when they are depending on us. 


NWNA is hiring for Stanwood seasonal production and warehouse positions to support Ice Mountain® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water. Seasonal positions have the possibility of transitioning to full time.


WHO:   All those seeking employment in these challenging economic times, especially Veterans and separated service members, are encouraged to apply


WHAT: Positions with highly competitive wages-- Seasonal Production Operator and Seasonal Warehouse Operator


WHERE: Ice Mountain Bottling Facility in Stanwood, MI


Full position descriptions with responsibilities, qualifications and a link to an easy online application can be accessed at the following links. Some onsite applicant testing may be required depending on the position. Offers are subject to completion of a background check, drug screen, and physical.



  • Seasonal Warehouse Operator: Responsible for safe operations of forklift, maintaining and sanitization of palletizers and forklifts to ensure that lines are running, and timely and accurate movement of product.


WHEN: Applications available immediately

WHY: Working for a stable company with a strong track record for growth, excellent compensation,

potential for career advancement, and a safe work environment. Candidates can also visit for additional information about building a career at NWNA.


How NWNA is Helping Protect the Health and Safety of its Employees from COVID-19

As we meet our responsibility to deliver essential goods, the health and safety of our people, customers and the communities where we operate is of the utmost importance to us. We are following the guidance from local public health experts, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), and have instituted further precautions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include providing 24-hour cleaning for our factories; staggering employee schedules to create social distance; and converting meeting rooms in our factories into break rooms to enable employees to spread out on their breaks.


We have also advised all our employees to continue implementing the everyday preventative actions that the CDC recommends, including frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds and consulting a doctor immediately if they start to exhibit flu-like symptoms. All the aforementioned precautions are in addition to the stringent standards we already had in place in our factories for the manufacturing of bottled water that are consistent with current Good Manufacturing Practices.


How NWNA is Supporting Employees in these Challenging Times

As employees rise to the new challenges this crisis brings, we are providing extra support to make sure they are properly taken care of. Here’s how we’re supporting them:


  • Guaranteeing 12 weeks of regular wages in the event of a full or partial facility closure.
  • Paying eligible frontline employees an additional 12% of their earnings for at least 12 weeks.
  • Providing additional time off without reducing sick or vacation balances if employees are impacted by coronavirus.
  • Expanded health benefits for telemedicine and prescription delivery, mental health care, childcare, and covering medically necessary testing for COVID-19 at no cost.
  • Increased the number of Employee Assistance Program counseling visits during this period of time from 5 to 10 visits; free of charge to employees.
  • Continuing to hire, train and support thousands of employees across our business.
  • Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all employees.


For a more detailed overview of the steps we are taking to help support our employees and help ensure their safety and that of our consumers and the communities where we operate, please visit our website.

COVID-19 cases reach over 29,000 in Michigan

There are now over 29,200 positive coronavirus cases in Michigan.


The state says there were 1,204 NEW cases confirmed Thursday.


Here in the West-Central Michigan area, Isabella County has 45 confirmed cases, Mecosta County still sits at 11 cases, Montcalm County has 23 cases, Newaygo County has 7 cases and Osceola County has 6 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday.

Representatives send letter to Gov. Whitmer to ease executive orders

Representatives Jack Bergman, Paul Mitchell, Bill Huizenga, John Moolenaar, Fred Upton, and Tim Walberg have sent a letter to Governor Whitmer expressing serious concern with the most recent update to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order.


In the letter to Governor Whitmer the Members stated, "The COVID-19 pandemic is a nearly unprecedented public health emergency. You were right to issue your initial executive order to slow the spread of the virus in an effort to “flatten the curve”.


You also are well within your rights and authorities as governor – while working with the state legislature and within the bounds of the Constitution – to issue directives and guidance that you feel best serves our state. Unfortunately, your latest order is far too restrictive and includes provisions that seem arbitrary and internally inconsistent."


The Members continued, “If businesses fail to establish and enforce proper social distancing or if citizens’ actions begin to endanger each other, then the state could take additional well defined action. But most people recognize the dangers of coronavirus and will act responsibly."

Big Rapids Police Blotter for 4/10-4/12



20-522-Gas drive off in the 500 block of S Third.  Accidental and driver returned to pay.


20-523-100 block of N 2nd.  MDOP to car window.  


20-524/525-400 block of W Bridge.  Mutual pushing between male and female.  There were people there who will make sure no more issues.  TOT CA.


20-526-1100 block of Catherine for a natural death.  Nothing suspicious.  


20-527-Assist to county in checking on subject from Morley, who took a bunch of ibuprofen and then ended up on Perry Ave.  No transport.  No CMH.  




20-528-800 block of Rose.  Larceny of older style white/pink bike from porch.  Porch damaged in order to steal the bike.  


20-529-Mental in the 1300 block of Catherine.  


20-530 @ 2008 Traffic stop State/Sanborn led to drivers, two 19 year old males, both being cited for drag racing.


20-531 @ 2035 Assault complaint in the 300 block of S. Stewart. Caller, advised that her 8 year old son  had been thrown down some stairs by 11 year old boy who is a upstairs neighbor.  Report completed and juvenile petition completed.




20-534 – Stand by / civil dispute between male and female.


20-533 – Civil issues with male and female.  Male wants her to to leave after she has been staying there for a few weeks.  He was not on scene at the time.


20-532 – Check well being on male.  Messages were found of him claiming to be suicidal; came in their hand. Spoke with him about his feeling and he advised that he was okay and did not feel suicidal. He was advised to call if he needed any help and we could get him in contact with CMH.



20-535 @ 1906 200 bloc of Pemberton Ave Called in as a disorderly  Male and female are going through a divorce.  43 year old male struck his daughter in the face then fled the scene.  He was located by MCSO.  He was lodged felony domestic, probation violation, and warrant out of Osceola County


20-536 @ 2134 100 block of E Grand Traverse Domestic between male and female. He stated he was slapped by her.  No evidence of him being hit.  Report sent to city attorney. 

Reed City Police Blotter for 4/5-4/11

Sunday 4/5 …
While on foot patrol Officers found an unlocked door to a business. The officer performed a security check
finding nothing out of the norm. The Keyholder arrived and confirmed nothing was damaged or missing and
locked the door.

Officers were dispatched to a vacant house regarding a suspicious situation. The owner stated he was
driving by and noticed an open window and requested an Officer assist with inspecting the inside to be sure
the house was empty. Nothing appeared to be damaged or missing, the owner was unsure how the window
could have been opened.

Officers issued a citation for vehicle noise to a 32-year-old male who was playing his music loud. He also
found to hold an out of range warrant out of another county. The man was advised and released.

Monday 4/6 …
Officers were dispatched to respond to a larceny complaint, the matter is under investigation.

Tuesday 4/7 …
Officers were dispatched to a well-being check. The responding Officers found the man in question raking
his yard. The Officer advised the man to make contact with his health care provider as they were concerned
about him.

Wednesday 4/8 …
Officers were requested to assist in an investigation of child abuse. After the DHHS interview, the Officer
advised the 24-year-old father he had outstanding warrants he need to take care of.

Thursday 4/9 …
Officers received a complaint of a pool care business performing non-essential services. The matter was
investigated. In addition to the vehicle being the person’s normal mode of transportation, the service being
performed was for a spa at a physical therapy center which is essential for the recovery and well-being of

Officers were contacted to investigate a possible larceny of appliances. The loan company believed them to
be stolen. The family of the recently deceased individual stated the appliances were non-working and were
disposed of as they were unaware the loan service had any claim.

Officers responded to a verbal dispute between roommates.

Officers were dispatched to the Spectrum Health Hospital regarding a homeless man who had just been
released from jail and wanted to speak with an officer. The man told the Officer he was cold and wanted to
go to the jail. He added that he would assault him so he would have to arrest him. The Officer explained
that he would help the man find a place to stay and get him some food as long as he agreed not to cause any
trouble. The man was given food and a place to sleep was located for him.


Friday 4/10 …
Officers were dispatched to a local apartment complex in reference to significant damage to an entry door.
The matter is under investigation and video is being reviewed.

Saturday 4/11 …
Officers took a complaint of damage to a vacant commercial building. The matter is under investigation.

When stimulus checks may arrive

Here's the answer to the question many Michiganders have been asking: When will I get my check from Uncle Sam?


The federal government’s timeline for issuing direct stimulus payments to Americans has been announced.


In short, if you already have direct deposit set up with the federal government for your tax refund, you should expect the money to appear in your bank account next week or soon after.


If you don't have direct deposit, look for your check in the mail beginning in early May; and the lower income you are, the sooner you'll get it.

Big Rapids Police Blotter for 4/3-4/6



20-495-Assist at Parkview.  Officer keyed into because medical alarm was going off.  He found the tenant had fallen.  He helped her back into bed along with EMS.  


20-497 @ 9:13pm Domestic in the 600 block of Bjornson. Started out as a civil between boyfriend and girlfriend.  While on scene the male reported the female had  hit him in the head twice at 0900. TOT CA


20-498 @ 10:46pm 200 block of S Bronson.  Boyfriend and girlfriend got into an argument.  A second female decided to get involved and the situation got more intense.  The male decided to take all of his things and leave. 




20-500  @  8:30pm  Agency Assist 18 mile and Northland Dr.  Assist FSU with domestic. 


20-501  @ 9:15pm  Suspicous  Security called in a possible B&E in the 1200 block of Perry.  It was the managers leaving late from unloading trucks.


20-502  @  9:39pm CIVIL in the 1800 block of Milton.  Child custody spill over from Newaygo.  




20-506  @  10:35pm  VCSA, whlie serving a search warrant in the 800 block of  N. Fourth in reference to prior complaint of 20-458.


20-507  @  3:40am  CIVIL in the 700 block of N. Fourth for a civil dispute between boyfriend and girlfriend.




0-508 – Civil, continuation complaint from night shift in the 700 block of N Fourth. 


20-509 – Juvenile who had a verbal altercation with his grandmother and left carrying two knives. Juvenile was spoken to about it and returned home. No crime was committed.



20-510  @  7:57pm 800 block of Water Tower. Started as a noise complaint possible shots fired. Turned into a large sign in apartment falling off the wall  



Reed City Police Blotter for 3/29-4/3

Sunday 3/29 …
Officers were dispatched to an apartment regarding a possible child abuse in progress. The father was found
to have 3 valid warrants. The 37-year-old male was placed under arrest for Domestic Assault, the warrants,
and transported to the Osceola County jail, where he was lodged without incident.

Officers were dispatched to apartment complex regarding a complaint of the upstairs tenants stomping
around on the floor. Officer spoke with the upstairs tenant who reported she just got her children to settle
down and watch a movie for the night. She requested the Officer convey her apologies to the caller for her.


Monday 3/30 …
Officers were dispatched to a possible fight in progress. Upon arrival Officers spoke with the home owner,
who reported he had been arguing with his adult son. He added that there was no physical contact and that
his son left town prior to the Officers arrival. The Officers were given the man’s phone number and learned
he was living in a camper on his father’s property. A phone call confirmed the argument was not physical
and a verbal warning issued stating that living in the camper was violation of a city ordinance and he needed
to make other living arrangements.

Tuesday 3/31 …
Officers were called to a dog sitting outside a business, unattended and without a leash. The Officer spoke
with the owner regarding the dog not having a leash sitting outside the business doors was intimidating to
some people. The Officer issued a verbal warning for a violation of the city ordinance requiring a leash.
Officers were dispatched to a complainant of an intoxicated male causing a scene as his ex-girlfriend was
packing her belongings to move out. The officers stood by while she finished packing and attempted to calm
down the emotional and intoxicated man.

While knocking on an apartment door to serve a felony warrant for Felonious Assault/Mayhem, officers
could hear a heated argument in progress. The wanted 56-year-old man answered the door and was placed
under arrest. He was transported to the Osceola County Jail where he was lodged without incident. Further
domestic charges submitted to the prosecuting attorney’s office for review.

Wednesday 4/1 …
Officers were assisted by MSP and Osceola County deputies after being dispatched to an apartment complex
regarding a complaint of someone yelling for someone to get out of their house. Officers arrived and found
the woman and her children were ok and that she had just kicked a man out of her apartment. The Officers
located and spoke with the man a short time later about the incident and he stated he was waiting for a ride
out of town. Officers were dispatched back to the apartment regarding an assault. The Officers arrested a
30-year female on felony charges of domestic violence after finding evidence she may have cut the man with
a knife. The Officers also will be requesting a warrant for the 50-year-old male on charges of unlawful entry
into a residence. His injuries were treated and were not life threatening. She was transported to the Osceola
County Jail and lodged without incident.

Thursday 4/2 …

Officers were dispatched to respond to a suspicious situation of a man sitting in a car watching a business. It
was discovered that he works nearby and was just in the area waiting for his shift to start.

Friday 4/3 …
Officers received a report from dispatch regarding a daughter breaking into her father’s home and stealing
clothes and jewelry. Officers were unable to make immediate contact and later received a message that there
had been a misunderstanding and the items were returned.

Officers received a call regarding concerns on whether or not a local company is an essential business under
the emergency orders. The caller reported concerns for the employees and the lack of social distancing.
Contact was made with the company and at this time there is no evidence to support they are operating in

Officers were notified of a 20 year old male that had been in an apartment in which the property manager
had previously had a no trespass order placed on him. Officers arrived to find he had left. Officers did speak
with the man who admitted to being there. The matter has been turned over to the prosecuting attorney’s
office as this was a violation of the man’s bond condition release order. A warrant had been requested for

Friendship, family and the season that wasn't for the Evart Wildcats

Angie Reagan and Brenda Henry sat in adjacent chairs and watched their sons come off the field following their final baseball game of the 2019 season. Angie’s son Donavin played first base, Brenda’s son Parker occupied left field, and the two of them had just suffered a 3-2 extra inning loss to Beaverton in a Division 3 MHSAA Regional Final game.


Despite the sorrow they felt for their children and their loss, they knew each of their children had one more chance to reach their goals of a state championship. Parker and Donavin were part of a seven-person class that was returning for their senior year, each sharing the same mindset. While all seven were upset about the result, they knew they would get another chance to be in the same moment one year later. After all, there’s always next year.


But in this case, there is no next year.


Last week,the MHSAA announced the cancellation of the remainder of all winter sports aswell as the entirety of spring sports due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, leaving these seven seniors without another chance to chase their dreams.


The cancellation ends the senior season of Reagan, Henry, Nolan Rohen, Sebastian Calderon, Justin O’Dell, Justin Buckner and Ty Sochocki.


“It’s unfortunate, it sucks,” Rohen said.


Rohen is among the seniors who have aspirations to play baseball collegiately. Justin O’Dell, a pitcher, has already committed to play at Cornerstone and several others have opportunities to try out with teams at the next level.


Though they have chances to play after they graduate, these seniors will not have another chance to play together for their hometown team. They’ve bonded together in search of a championship since T-Ball but have lost their last chance due to an unforeseen set of circumstances. This group has been at the heart of a culture change within the Evart baseball program.


“Last year was the big breakthrough season,” Wildcat coach Josh Johnson said. “This year will always be what might’ve been.”


Relationships build optimism in time of doubt

The Wildcats were able to squeeze in their first week of practice before schools were shut down to observe the statewide quarantine. As a team, the group decided that they were good enough to contend for both the conference and state championships. The goals did not seem out of reach for any of the seniors, who were confident in their abilities after their prior breakout season.


“We expected to win the conference by ourselves,” Johnson said. “We expected to get back to that regional and win that regional this year and then make our way to Lansing.”


O’Dell added that practices were upbeat and positive, Reagan was excited to see what the team would become and Henry was ready to make all of his offseason work with his pitching coach pay off. Sochocki was a returning all-conference and all-district shortstop. Expectations were rightfully high.


“That first week of practice, it was great,” Johnson said. “We had guys so fired up, they were just talking about baseball.”


By Friday, March 13, the practices were over. Ken Ranjel, who doubles as an assistant for Evart’s football and baseball teams, devised an at-home workout plan for the players to follow to stay in shape during the break. Nobody believed the season would come to a close before it began.


On that Friday, Johnson addressed his 2020 squad in person for the last time.


“He told us to stay active and keep throwing and hitting because we will have a season and just think positive through everything,” O’Dell said.


“(We were) just hoping for the best, man,” Henry added. “Not much you can really do in those situations.”

The players bought into the workout regimen, posting their scores and times from each session in the team group chat. O’Dell kept his teammates updated on findings in a players only group chat as well. Three weeks into the quarantine, the players remained optimistic.


“For three weeks, every kid was doing the work,” Johnson said. “We had a workout of the day on Wednesday and kids are recording their video, what they were doing. I mean they were fired up. For three weeks, the kids had no thoughts but, ‘We’re going to still play baseball.’”


The parents were just as positive.


“I kept saying, ‘Nope, they can’t cancel the whole season,’” Angie Reagan said. “I thought maybe we’d get to play in June or July because I know for a fact that every last one of those seven seniors would be back to play.”


The players continued to communicate with one another, still sharing goals and dreams of hoisting a championship trophy. On April 2, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the closing of all schools for the remainder of the school year.


A day later, the MHSAA shut down the spring sports season.


“When I got the news, I looked at my mom and said, ‘I can’t believe that regional final game was my last game in high school,’” O’Dell said.


“I was upset about it being closed and everything, but it’s going to be what it’s going to be,” Henry added.


Lasting bonds and lessons

Reagan and Henry have traveled across the Midwest to watch their sons play baseball over the last decade. Parker and Donavin have played together every year in Evart since age three, and the two of them even spent two years together on a travel team in Cadillac. Both Angie and Brenda were at every game with their husbands, Jeff and Scott, Angie keeping score in her scorebook and Brenda doing the same on her iPad.


“Brenda and I are just kindled spirits with the whole baseball thing,” Angie said. “We love to watch our kids play, we love to cheer them on. (We’re) both dedicated moms and dedicated to our kids and to the sports that they play and do what we have to do to make everything the best for them. Donavin did football and Parker didn’t, Parker did cross country and Donavin didn’t. So I think it was the one connection that we really had. It was baseball with our side-by-side chairs rain or shine or snow, we were there watching the boys play.”


“We always planned ahead and had coolers and drove together,” Brenda added. “It was fun to do it with her and I’m sad to see it over.”


Donavin was also able to strike up a bond with O’Dell. The two worked out together often in the offseason and played football alongside one another as well.


“He was a really great teammate,” O’Dell said of Reagan.


For Parker, baseball served as an introduction to leadership and an expedition that allowed him to become assertive as both a player and a teammate.


“It’s really given him a lot of self-confidence,” Brenda said of her son. “Having that team spirit, playing as a team, he knows what that’s like now.”


No different than parents of athletes all across the state, both Henry and Reagan cried when they heard the MHSAA’s decision. Though both of their children have goals to play after high school, it likely won’t be together.


O’Dell, who has already signed a letter of intent to play at Cornerstone next spring, noted that he’ll be playing with a little extra motivation the next time he takes the field.


“You know, it just sucks,” he said. “I’m definitely going to be playing in college for them. I’ll have them in my heart. I’ll be playing for them.”


‘We were going to do what we did last year and more’

Despite the impending decision, Johnson remained optimistic Friday morning.


He found out about the decision at the same time as everyone else, seeing the 1 p.m. press release. He commended the way it was handled by Mark Uyl, the MHSAA’s executive director and respects the decision.


After the decision, Johnson called each of his seniors personally to congratulate them on their success and compliment their offseason efforts.


“I basically treated it as an end of season banquet,” he said. “I based it off the four years I had them and what they did over the winter to get ready for this season.”


This group of seniors will forever be the question without an answer. A group of talented athletes who were unable to take the field in their final season.


Though these circumstances have taken away the final season for seniors across the state, it hasn’t taken away what they have already accomplished. Those accomplishments are what Johnson will remember this squad for the most.


“Last year I graduated five seniors and I thought, ‘That’s the most seniors I’ve had in the program.’” Johnson said. “This year it’s seven. I’ve always said that you’re program is going to be dictated by your seniors. If you’ve got guys that have stuck with you for four years and are really buying in, no question that we were going to do what we did last year and more this year.” 


Maybe it was O'Dell who summed it up best. 


“It just won’t be the same without those boys,” he said. “They’re a special group.”

Police asking for public's help to identify witness and suspect in alleged assault at Walmart in Big rapids

Deputies from the Mecosta County Sheriffs Department were dispatched to the Walmart store in Big Rapids on Thursday, April 2nd to investigate an assault. 


The female that is pictured below is a witness to the assault. 


The suspect fled the scene in the red truck also pictured. 


The Sheriff's Department is asking the public's help in identifying the female witness and the male suspect driving the Red GMC truck.


The suspect is a white male, possibly in his early 40's 


Anyone with information please contact Deputy Darcy Mann with the Mecosta County Sheriff's Department. 





Small business loans available to affected business of COVID-19

The Whitmer Administration and Small Business Association of Michigan are encouraging small business owners affected by the coronavirus to apply for loans.


349- billion dollars is available through the Paycheck Protection Program run by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Michigan small businesses – including hospitality and food industry businesses -- along with independent contractors and self-employed persons are eligible to apply for loans to help ensure employees continue receiving paychecks.


While the application process is open for small business owners, independent contractors and sole proprietors can apply starting this Friday, April 10th.


There is more information online by searching Michigan Paycheck Protection Program.


Meijer making changes in its store due to coronavirus

Meijer making some changes in hopes of keeping its workers and shoppers safe during the coronavirus pandemic.


The Grand-Rapids based retailer announced over the weekend it will monitor and manage the number of shoppers in the store to support social distancing.


In addition, Meijer will suspend the weekly sales ad beginning next Sunday to decrease the number of customers inside stores.


As for employees, workers will undergo daily health screenings and temperatures checks as they arrive at the store.


Meijer is also completing installation of protective plexiglass shields at all check lanes and pharmacies.

Scott's Body Shop donates needed masks for COVID-19 fight

Bill and Sylvia Edwards understand medical facilities are on a collision course with a surge of COVID-19 patients—and masks are in short supply.

The co-owners of Scott’s Body Shop in Rogers Heights and Car Center (3 locations in West Michigan) donated 13 boxes of N-95 masks, totaling 260 masks, to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital Tuesday.


“We’re so grateful for the medical professionals who are on the front lines caring for our community,” Sylvia said. “It is our pleasure to donate a supply of masks to help them during this trying time.”

Bill said they were able to cull masks from their inventory across their four locations to make the donation.
“We’re just happy to help,” he said. “Everybody has to do what they can to help us all through these challenging times.”


Their donation follows a similar donation by Ferris State University’s Birkam Health Center last week when it donated more than 1,000 masks, gloves and other equipment.

“We’re so very thankful for these donations,” said Beth Langenburg, Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital Chief Operating Officer. “We know the COVID-19 fight is going to be a long one and having supplies like these will help keep our caregivers safe.”


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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

What place will the Tigers finish in the AL Central?