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News That Affects You Archives for 2020-12

Big Rapids DPS asks residents to fill out deer cull survey

The city of Big Rapids is asking for input into a plan to thin deer herds.

 

The Department of Public Safety has released a survey asking for information on how whitetailed deer are affecting the community. Some of the questions are what issues have you had with deer and about traffic crashes with deer.

 

The city will use the information to determine possible locations for future deer culls and find out if prior culls by the Department of Natural Resources were successful.

 

A link to the survey can be found on the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety Facebook page.

Taco Bell Reed City opens Wednesday

Taco Bell in Reed City is opening up for the first time on Wednesday, Dec. 30th. 

 

District Manager Mike Henderson says they are gearing up for the grand opening tomorrow and employees have been training for the last week or so. 

 

The new Taco Bell is located just off US 10 at the 131 exchange in Reed City  -  4861 South 220th Ave

MOTA Director reflects on 2020 following millage approval and looks forward to the future

When voters approved a millage proposal earlier this year for the Mecosta Osceola Transit Authority it wasn't known how valuable that would be for older residents and those in need of transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

"While some other transits closed their doors because of the pandemic, MOTA continued with reduced service in compliance with the governor's directives," Executive Director Mike Tillman said.

 

But then as travel restrictions were eased,  MOTA began expanding its service from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to 8 p.m. during the week. MOTA also started eight hours of service on Saturday.

 

Tillman said the need was there for additional services for its residents in need

 

"MOTA offered free porch delivery of both groceries and prescriptions; MOTA continues this service to this day. This service helps to ensure safety for our citizens. "MOTA also provided necessary transportation for essential medical services such as chemo therapy, dialysis, and even medically necessary rehabilitation."

 

Tillman added hours of operation were extended weekdays were extended to 10 p.m. back in October, with its Sunday service extended to its first-ever full eight hours of availability.

 

MOTA was also able to acquire three new buses that were both more fuel efficient and size appropriate for their new demand response service. In addition to expanding their hours, MOTA began offering two new route service in Osceola and Mecosta counties that started in November.

 

Even though there were some challenges in 2020 Tillman is hopeful 2021 will be a great year for Mecosta and Osceola Counties and his organization.

4-year old drowns in Isabella Co. pond

It was a tragic story on the ice over the weekend in Isabella County.

 

Michigan State Police say a four-year-old boy fell through ice on a pond and could not be saved.

 

It happened Saturday afternoon at the boy’s home in Lincoln Township.

 

The boy’s father was trying to find his son in a pond behind their house but could not locate him.

 

The boy was found by first responders and was rushed to Mid-Michigan Hospital in Alma where he was unable to be revived.

Fall Sports resume practice today; Winter sports still on hold

Some Michigan high school athletes will be returning to competition after state playoffs in football, volleyball and women's swimming and diving were halted in November as part of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's COVID restrictions.

 

Practice begins today In football, the eight-player championship games will be played January 9th, followed by the 11-player finals on January 15th and 16th.

 

The announcement came after the state health director said football and volleyball players and swimmers will participate in a coronavirus antigen-testing program.

 

Volleyball quarterfinals will be held on January 5th, with semifinals and finals from January 7th through the 9th.

 

Girls swimming and diving finals are scheduled for January 15th and 16th. All indoor winter sports remain suspended until January 16th.

$9 monthly increase for residential Consumers Energy customers

Michigan regulators have approved a $100 million dollar electric rate hike for Consumers Energy, authorizing the state's second-largest utility to bill the average residential customer about $9 dollar more per month starting in January.

 

The increase for residents is nearly 12 percent after factoring in other allowed adjustments.

 

The agency says the Jackson-based utility sought the higher rates to fund upgrades to its distribution system and to meet its clean-energy goals by retiring coal-fired plants.

State Senate approves bills allowing college athletes to get paid for likeness

The Michigan Senate is giving final approval to bills that would let college athletes get paid for the use of their names, images or likeness rights.

 

If signed into law, Michigan would be at least the fourth state to allow college athletes to be paid for endorsements, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign the bills.

 

The legislation would ban in-state schools, the NCAA and the athletic conference from blocking compensation.

 

A second measure would no longer make it a crime for agents to enter into contracts with student-athletes while the NCAA comes up with new rules to let athletes become paid sponsors.

 

Michigan Attorney General warns residents of DTE Energy phone scam

Attorney General Dana Nessel issued an urgent consumer alert to Michigan residents in response to recent imposter scams related to DTE Energy.

 

DTE Energy reported that it recently became aware of calls being made to customers by someone claiming to be a DTE employee.

 

The scammer was notifying customers of a power shutoff and requesting payment by bitcoin or preloaded money card to avoid shutoff.

 

When a return call was made that impersonator would then take advantage of the customer by getting personal information and/or cash.

 

Attorney General Nessel is urging residents to recognize potential bad actors posing as utility workers, whether it be in-person, by phone, text or online.

District Health Department #10 announces initial COVID-19 vaccination plan

District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) has been working hard to develop a distribution plan for when the first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine arrives. Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the COVID-19 vaccine will be prioritized in the following way (please note the priority phases are subject to change):

 

  1.  PHASE 1A includes: 
    1. Persons serving in healthcare settings with high risk for COVID exposure 
      1. EMS staff 
      2. Medical First Responders 
      3. DHD#10 vaccine clinic staff 
    2. Residents of long-term care facilities 
      1. Many long-term care facilities are partnering with CVS or Walgreens to receive the vaccine 
      2. For those who are not partnering with pharmacies, DHD#10 will provide the vaccine to residents 
    3. Residents of homes for the aged and adult foster care centers 
    4. Other health workers who conduct high-risk procedures, have direct contact with patients, and have skills critical to keeping the healthcare system functioning 
  2. PHASE 1B includes:  
    1. Essential workers such as 
      1. Police 
      2. Firefighters 
      3. Corrections Officers 
      4. Education Sector 
      5. Food & Agriculture  
      6. Utilities 
  3. PHASE 1C includes: 
    1. Adults with high-risk medical conditions 
    2. Adults 65 and older 
  4. PHASE 2 includes:
    1. Remainder of Phase 1 population 
    2. Critical populations 
    3. General population


 “District Health Department #10 has established a COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Team that has been working daily to develop our plans for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine when it arrives,” states Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for DHD#10. “Our goal is to get it to the priority groups as soon as possible without delay.” 

 DHD#10’s COVID-10 vaccine distribution plan is as follows (subject to change): 

  • DHD#10 will be receiving the Moderna vaccine in the first shipment, set to arrive the week of 12/21/2020. 
    • MDHHS was responsible for making the determinations for where the first doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines would be distributed. 
    • The Pfizer vaccine should be available for use by DHD#10 when the subsequent vaccine orders are placed. 
  • DHD#10 will begin vaccinating Phase 1A priority groups the week of 12/28/2020, beginning with:  
    • EMS 
    • Medical First Responders 
    • Residents of long-term care facilities who have not partnered with pharmacies for their vaccine 
    • DHD#10 vaccination clinic staff 
  • DHD#10 will notify each priority group directly on the specifics of date, time, and location. There is no early sign-up or registration. 
  • DHD#10 is currently planning for vaccine distribution for all other priority groups and will notify each group on scheduled vaccine clinics. 


 It is anticipated that the COVID-19 vaccination will be readily available for the general public in the spring or summer of 2021. 

 For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, including an educational video on the development and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine by our Medical Director Dr. Jennifer Morse, go to www.dhd10.org/covid-19-vacccine
 

Huntington and TCF Banks announce merger

A big business deal involving Huntington and TCF Banks is making headlines after the companies announced Sunday evening they are merging as part of a $22-billion deal.

 

The banks will operate under the Huntington name and the merger will have Detroit serving as the headquarters for the commercial-portion of the bank, while Columbus, Ohio will remain the headquarters for the holding company and the Consumer Bank.

Meijer pharmacies preparing to provide COVID-19 vaccine when available

As more pharmaceutical manufacturers move closer to approved COVID-19 vaccines, pharmacies within Meijer locations are gearing up for an extensive vaccine administration program throughout its six-state footprint.

 

Therefore, the federal government has recognized pharmacy vaccinators as crucial public health partners for increasing access and convenience of COVID-19 vaccines.

 

As it prepares for vaccines to eventually be distributed, Meijer is focusing on a variety of initiatives to help it seamlessly provide COVID-19 vaccines to a large number of patients. This includes the development of specific technical solutions to help the retailer to manage both the volume of patients and the need for follow up to ensure patients receive a second dose in a timely manner when required.

 

Additionally, the company is looking at physical spaces and locations for large-scale clinics, similar to the seasonal flu shot clinics the retailer conducted this fall at large stadiums and outdoor locations.

 

Meijer also has the potential to host COVID-19 clinics inside its stores, as many of its stores are more than 200,000 square feet.

State Police Canine Unit finds intoxicated driver in freezing weather

Michigan State Police say its K-9 Unit saved a man's life after he fled the scene of a drunk driving accident in Isabella County Saturday night. 

 

It happened on East Jordan Road and Whiteville Road in Isabella Township, troopers say they were dispatched to the scene for a vehicle in the ditch with no driver. 


Upon arriving on scene,police observed open alcohol containers, a cell phone, and shoes in the vehicle.

 

The trooper and his canine partner began to search the area to locate the driver approximately an hour and twenty minutes after the crash. Despite freezing temperatures and freezing rain, the canine unit locked onto a track that brought them to a large thicket of brush a quarter of a mile away from the crash scene. Inside the thicket, the 36-yr-old Shepherd man that fled the scene of the accident was located.


The man was intoxicated and wearing only a t-shirt and jeans. Medical personnel were summoned to check on the suspect’s well-being and found him to have a body temperature of 94 degrees. The suspect was unaware he had been in the thicket for over an hour and a half.

 

The subject was lodged at the Isabella County Jail for operating while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident, and having open intoxicants in a vehicle. His arraignment is pending.

Michigan Electoral voters to certify election for Joe Biden this afternoon

The road to the presidency moves to the Electoral College today.

 

In Michigan, 16 electors will gather in the state Senate chambers at two o'clock this afternoon to fill out certificates in support of President-elect Joe Biden.

 

The electors are selected by the Michigan Democratic Party since Biden won the election.

 

After today's certification, the next step will happen January 6th when the newly seated U-S Congress will count the Electoral College votes.

First COVID-19 vaccine doses to be given today

A day after the first shipments of a coronavirus vaccine left a Pfizer plant in Portage, south of Kalamazoo, the first vaccinations could be administered today.

 

Health officials say it will be the biggest vaccination effort in American history.

 

About three million doses of the vaccine were expected to be shipped out of the facility Sunday.

 

A statement from the Michigan Health Department said 56 hospitals and 16 local health departments will be receiving the first 84-thousand doses that are distributed in the state and the first vaccinations were expected to be administered today.

 

Health care workers, first responders and nursing home staff and residents will be given first priority.

Pause continues for Fall and Winter High School sports

The Michigan High School Athletic Association took no action on possibly rescheduling fall championship tournaments in football, swimming and volleyball.

 

The group's representative council met Wednesday and will gather again on December 16th.

 

The MHSAA had planned to finish the tournaments by the end of December.

 

But Governor Whitmer this week extended a ban on sports and in-person high school classes through at least December 20th to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

 

Director Mark Uyl said the MHSAA had proposed games without spectators and other steps to keep the venues safe.

Michigan Supreme Court rejects election fraud case

The Michigan Supreme Court is rejecting a request to take control of ballots and ballot boxes from the November election and appoint someone to investigate claims of vote counting fraud in Detroit.

 

The court says it was not persuaded by the plaintiff’s argument that the state’s high court can or should help overturn the election results.

 

The order was 4-3 with Republican-nominated justice, Elizabeth Clement, joining three Democrats in throwing out the lawsuit.

COVID-19 restrictions extended another 12 days

The Whitmer administration extended a partial shutdown of businesses and schools for an additional 12 days through December 20th to stem the latest wave of coronavirus cases across the state.

 

The governor says the extra time will help determine the extent of infections from the Thanksgiving holiday.

 

Indoor instruction at high schools and college, indoor dining at restaurants and organized sports remain off-limits, along with theaters, bowling alleys and other entertainment venues.

 

The current shutdown was to expire today.

 

Meanwhile,  the District Health Department announced a new death in Mecosta County related to COVID-19 on Monday.

 

The County has 10 total deaths since reporting began in March.

 

DHD#10 officials also announced 40 confirmed coronavirus cases over the weekend.

 

In total, Mecosta County has reported 1,330 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 693 recoveries since March.

 

For more detailed information about COVID-19 locally, CLICK HERE 

Michigan State Police warning about scam calls

The Michigan State Police are alerting consumers of a scam claiming to be from Amazon and Apple.

 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced yesterday that scammers are calling consumers and posing as both Amazon and Apple representatives. Scammers will call stating that there is a suspicious purchase, lost package, or unfilled order or there is an issue with your iCloud account.


In both scenarios, the scammers say you can conveniently press 1 to speak with a customer service representative or provide you will a number to call. Do NOT do either, it is a scam! This is an attempt to steal your personal information, like your account password or credit card number.


If you get an unexpected call or message about a problem with any of your accounts, hang up.
? Do NOT press 1 to speak with customer support
? Do NOT call a phone number they gave you
? Do NOT give out your personal information


If you believe there is a legitimate problem with your accounts, contact the company using the correct
contact number for customer service and support. Share this information with family members including
the elderly who are often subject to become victims of these types of scams.


Link:  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/12/fake-calls-apple-and-amazon-support-what-you-need-
know?utm_source=govdelivery

Consumers Energy to conduct siren tests at Rogers, Croton and Hardy Dams December 9th

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 Wednesday, December 9 at approximately 10 a.m.

 

The test 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 test.

 

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 Neil Dziedzic, Consumers Energy’s executive director of hydro operations. “Also, ice-covered water down river from a hydroelectric facility should never be considered a safe place to walk.”

Mecosta Co. Sheriff's Office raising money with "No Shave November & December"

The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office is participating in its first annual “No Shave November & December.

 

This is a fundraising opportunity where Deputies and Corrections staff will forgo shaving and donate the money spent on shaving supplies to a local charity.

 

The Sheriff’s Office has raised $1000 so far and have chosen to donate the money to The Hemlock Park Improvement Project.

West Michigan Surgery Center Named Best Ambulatory Surgery Center by Newsweek Magazine

Big Rapids, Michigan – December 1, 2020 - West Michigan Surgery Center (WMSC) takes top honors in Newsweek Magazine’s “America’s Best Ambulatory Surgery Centers 2021.” Newsweek partnered with respected global research firm Statista to analyze more than 4,300 Ambulatory Surgery Centers in 25 states. The report ranked Big Rapids’ based West Michigan Surgery Center among the top 7 Ambulatory Surgery Centers in the state. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs currently lists 150 Ambulatory Surgery Centers in its provider directory.

 

Statista based its results on a few parameters, including: A reputation score and key performance indicators. The reputation score was based on the quality of care, performance data, and peer recommendations. The key performance indicators took into account the quality of treatment and medical conditions. Experts and survey participants also reviewed how well facilities were responding to the threat of COVID-19. All data was collected by Newsweek and Statista from July to September 2020. ASC participants were not able to recommend their business in the survey.

 

“We are excited about this honor, and believe it shows our dedication to providing our patients with evidence-based, cutting edge surgical treatments that offer the best results, in an affordable, safe, and effective manner,” says West Michigan Surgery Center Medical Director and Founder, Girish Juneja, MD. “Our skilled and knowledgeable medical team treats each day as another opportunity to ensure our patients receive the safest and best care possible.”

 

Located at 20095 Gilbert Road in Big Rapids, West Michigan Surgery Center provides services related to Pain Management, Orthopedics, and Endoscopy. Facility physicians and staff are committed to providing high-quality and efficient patient care, ease of access to services, at substantially lower out-of-pocket costs than hospital based surgical services. WMSC offers consumers state-of-the-art healthcare options that at one time were only available in larger hospital based surgical units. This is the first time WMSC has been named one of “America’s Best Ambulatory Surgery Centers” by Newsweek magazine. For complete methodology of the Newsweek study, visit: https://bit.ly/WMSCNewsweekMethodology

 

West Michigan Surgery Center was established in 2006 as the only freestanding, privately owned ambulatory surgical center in the Big Rapids area. West Michigan Surgery Center is licensed through the state of Michigan and holds Medicare-Deemed Status through the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Accreditation by the AAAHC signifies that WMSC has met the rigorous standards of a nationally recognized third party; and indicates a commitment to providing only the highest levels of quality care to patients and the same high level of conduct in business practices. More information about West Michigan Surgery Center, its staff, and services, can be found at www.westmichigansurgerycenter.com

 

Girish Juneja, MD
Medical Director, West Michigan Surgery Center

 

Latest COVID-19 numbers in Mecosta Co.

Michigan health officials are reporting 10,428 new cases of the coronavirus and 98 additional COVID-19 deaths since Saturday.

 

Meanwhile here in Mecosta County, officials at the District Health Department #10 announced 43 new COVID-19 cases since Saturday, and two additional deaths related to coronavirus bringing the county's total to 1,211 cases, with nine deaths and 555 recoveries.

 

DHD#10 also reported ten hospitalizations currently at Spectrum Health Big Rapids related to COVID-19 as well.

 

For a more detailed look at COVID-19 numbers locally,  CLICK HERE

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