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News That Affects You Archives for 2021-04

Mecosta County Visitors Bureau kicks off statewide scavenger hunt

Starting on Monday, May 3 rd , the Mecosta County Visitors Bureau (MCVB) will be kicking off a week of Exploring the Big Rapids Region with a Virtual Scavenger Hunt. The Virtual Scavenger Hunt is in recognition of National Travel and Tourism Week that runs May 2nd - 8th , 2021.

 

A total of 30 Visitors Bureaus in the state will be participating in this event with $100 gift card packages (200 in total) to be had by those that are up for the hunt!

 

Participation is easy. Each morning at 9:00am, the MCVB will post the first clue via their

Facebook page @MecostaCountyVB. When you figure out the answer and location of the first clue, simply take a quick photo of yourself at the location and send it via MESSENGER to the MCVB. If you are at the correct location, you will then receive a message for your next clue.

 

There will be three (3) clues prior to finding your final virtual destination. The first participant to complete the hunt will receive a congratulatory certificate plus prize package that includes:

 

$100 in gift card(s) to a participating community business in Michigan, along with local gift

items. Packages can be picked up at the Mecosta County Welcome Center, Monday through Friday, 9:00am until 5:00pm. We will take a photo of you with your prize package to claim your successful hunt to friends and family.

 

Two (2) hunts will be offered each day throughout the week. The morning hunt begins at

9:00am, with the afternoon hunt beginning at 1:00pm. If the hunts are not completed by the close of the businesses day, they will resume the following morning in addition to the new “hunts of the day.”

 

The Great Michigan Scavenger Hunt is made possible by the collaborative effort of 30 Visitors Bureaus that are all members of the Michigan Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus.

 

A total of nine (9) scavenger hunts and prize packages will be given away by the MCVB during the week.

 

This is a great way to not only learn a little more about Mecosta County but it’s also a fun way to spend time with friends and family,” stated Connie Koepke – Executive Director of the Mecosta County Visitors Bureau.

 

Travel Michigan (Michigan.org) will also be supporting the initiative of this event with social media posts as well as a landing page on Michigan.org’s site at: michigan.org/scavengerhunt.

 

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Meijer offering new walk-up vaccine program

Meijer has announced a new walk-up vaccine program.

 

After reaching a threshold of 1 million doses administered, the new program would allow customers to get the vaccine on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Officials said a minimum of 100 doses would be available per week.

 

Both Pfizer and Moderna doses would be available for walk-up visits.

 

Customers could also still register for an appointment by texting COVID to 75049, or by visiting the Meijer website.

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CMU shooting suspect arrested

Following the early Saturday morning shooting of two Central Michigan University students at an off-campus apartment, the Isabella County Sheriff's Office says a warrant was issued for a man who is allegedly involved.

 

Isabella County Sheriff’s detectives were able to take Kenneth Thomas into custody in the Detroit area.

 

Thomas was arrested on a 10-count felony warrant for the shooting of two men in Union township, Isabella County.

 

Thomas and the others with him have no connection to the CMU community.

 

Junior Jonathan Keller, a CMU quarterback, and Tyler Bunting were both shot.

 

Both victims are in more stable condition and are recovering.

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Warrant issued for suspect involved in CMU shooting

New information about a gunman who shot two Central Michigan University students at a party over the weekend.

 

Isabella County Sheriff detectives have a warrant for a suspect who is from southeastern Michigan. Investigators aren't releasing any information about the suspect until he is arrested.

 

The gunman fired shots after a fight broke out at a party at the Deerfield Village apartments. A quarterback on the CMU football team and another student were each shot once.

 

They are recovering.

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DHD#10 offering off site vaccine clinics

An upcoming clinic in Oceana County is offering both Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer vaccines.

 

District Health Department #10 is partnering with Double JJ Resort in Rothbury to host the vaccine clinic.

 

The first dose of the Pfizer will be available for anyone 16 and older. Johnson and Johnson will be available for anyone 18 and older and is the one-dose vaccine.

 

Those interested can sign up for an appointment online.

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Manton woman arrested on warrants/ concealed gun in Osceola County

A 33-year-old woman from Manton has been arrested in Osceola County for a concealed weapon in her vehicle along with several outstanding warrants.

 

Mount Pleasant troopers pulled the woman over on M-115 for driving 94 in a 55 zone.

 

Troopers say the woman was driving on a suspended license, had warrants out for her arrest and they also discovered the concealed weapon.

 

The woman was taken to the Osceola County Jail and is awaiting arraignment.

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CMU Football Player shot

One of two people shot at an apartment complex near Central Michigan University over the weekend has been identified as a quarterback on the Chippewas football team.

 

A Go Fund Me account posted Saturday says 21-year old John Keller, who is from Ohio, was shot in the chest and is fighting for his life and in critical condition at Hurley Medical Center in Flint.

 

The Isabella County Sheriff's Department said a fight started at the Deerfield Village Apartments early Saturday morning and then someone went to a car, grabbed a gun and started shooting.

 

A second person was also wounded and remains hospitalized at a Midland hospital.

 

No arrests have been made.

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Evart man and woman arrested in connection to multiple thefts

A man and woman suspected of stealing guns, RV's, off-road vehicles, trailers and cars from as many as ten counties throughout west Michigan in the last two months are in jail.

 

Authorities arrested 36-year old Jordan Dewitt and 40-year old Christina Taylor Monday in Kent County after a 40-mile chase that went through parts of three counties.

 

The suspects, who are from Evart, are now in the Mecosta County Jail.

 

Detectives from eight Sheriff's Departments along with Michigan State Police and the Big Rapids Public Safety are working together to link the suspects to various criminal activity and recover stolen property.

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Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals to participate in 'Drug Take Back Day'

Overdose deaths in Michigan have almost tripled in five years, and Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals are helping to stem the tide.

 

Community members are invited to stop by on Saturday to dispose of expired prescriptions and other unwanted or unneeded medications.

 

This free and anonymous public service is part of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

 

The local event is led by Spectrum Health and Ten 16 Recovery Network. Collections sites will be open Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital and at Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital.

 

In addition to unwanted prescription medication, needles/sharps will be collected, and full needle containers can be exchanged for empty containers while supplies last.

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DHD #10 offering free face masks and face shields

District Health Department #10 has received an abundant supply of Personal Protective Equipment from the state health department.

 

The PPE will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis in the following counties: Crawford, Kalkaska, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Newaygo, Oceana and Wexford.

 

Anyone interested in receiving a free face mask or face shield should go to any DHD#10 office during business hours.

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Mecosta County Deputies arrest Evart couple following chase

A man and woman from Evart are behind bars after a breaking and entering and taking police on a multi county chase.

 

According to Mecosta County Sheriff Brian Miller, deputies were helping Newaygo County police locate suspects who were involved in a reported breaking and entering on Baseline, when the suspect vehicle was located by a Mecosta County Sheriff's deputy.

 

During a traffic stop on Mecosta County's 7 Mile Rd, the suspect fled police. 

 

The pursuit continued down Northland Drive through Mecosta, Montcalm and into Kent County. 

 

The driver, a 36 year old man and his passenger, a 40 year old woman both from Evart, were apprehended a short time later after they had abandoned the vehicle in the Sand Lake area and had fled on foot into a wooded area.

 

The two are currently being held at the Mecosta County Jail, awaiting arraignment on charges.

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Reed City man sentenced on child porn and drug charges

A Reed City man will be spending at least three years in prison for his involvement with child pornography and drugs.

 

39-year old Adam Christian Wernette was sentenced Wednesday in Osceola County's 49th Circuit Court to between three years to 25 years in prison for guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated child sexually abusive activity, using a computer to commit a crime and three years to 10 years in prison for a guilty plea to aggravated possession of child sexually abusive activity and between 8.5 months and seven years for a guilty plea to distributing or promoting child sexually abusive material.

 

Wernette pleaded guilty to the charges back in February for his connection with an incident on June 30, 2014, in Richmond Township.

 

According to the Attorney General's Office, a tip was provided to authorities which led to the execution of a search warrant, and allowed police to discover more than 100 images and videos of child sexually abusive material on Wernette’s computers and cell phone. It also led authorities to the discovery of drugs that were illegally in Wernette’s possession.

 

During his sentencing, Wernette was also given jail time of between 8.5 months and four years for a guilty plea to larceny in a building and 5.5 months to two years in prison for guilty pleas to possession of morphine, possession of Oxycontin and maintaining a drug house.

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Gov. Whitmer gives COVID-19 Update

As COVID cases spike, Michigan is doubling down on promising therapeutic treatments and on preventative measures that work: Wearing a mask, washing hands and maintaining social distance.

 

Although the governor did not introduce any new restrictions, Michigan has five times the number of coronavirus cases it had in February, and an 18% positivity rate.

 

Since January, 291 clusters have been identified as connected to school sports alone.

 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said infusion treatments including the monoclonal treatments Regeneron and Eli Lilly are "another tool in our tool box" that the state plans to emphasize.

 

So far, 6,600 Michiganders have gotten the treatment. The state also pledged to increase the number of infusion sites around the state.

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Unemployment benefits extension to end

Michigan's extended benefits for those who are unemployed will be ending soon.

 

Due to the state's lower unemployment rate, the U.S. Department of Labor notified the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency the Extended Benefits program will no longer be payable after Saturday, April 17th.

 

Extended benefits are available when the state's total unemployment rate averages 6.5% or higher for three consecutive months.

 

Michigan has paid approximately $419 million in Extended Benefits since high unemployment rates triggered the Extended Benefits program.

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Sheriff's Office investigating vehicle parts theft from BR Menards store

 

Deputies from the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office are investigating a larceny of vehicle parts complaint at the Big Rapids Menards store.

 

Security footage shows the suspect arrived in the same type of vehicle that he took the hubs from. The suspect stole the hubcaps from the victim's vehicle as he was leaving the store.

 

 

The Mecosta County Sheriff's office is asking for assistance to identify the suspect. 

 

If anyone recognizes the suspect, please call the Mecosta County Sheriff's office at 231-592-0150.

 

 

 

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Fed's deny Michigan's request to cancel MSTEP testing this year

A federal education decision is now forcing many Michigan school districts to scramble.

 

That’s because the fed’s have denied Michigan’s request to cancel state assessments this school year.

 

State Superintendent Michael Rice says their decision not to waive MSTEP testing during the pandemic shows the fed’s disconnect with conditions in public schools in Michigan.

 

Rice wanted the M-STEP tests to be canceled because the pandemic has disrupted learning with many students learning exclusively online for most of the school year.

 

He says it causes several districts to figure out logistics for giving the exams while COVID-related buildings remain closed.

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AG warns residents of post vaccine scam

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning people to be careful as scammers are targeting Michiganders who have received their COVID-19 vaccine with fake surveys offering a reward in exchange for personal information.

 

According to Nessel, the fake surveys ask victims to pay for shipping and handling in order to receive a prize that is never delivered.

 

The Federal Trade Commission states that no post-vaccine surveys are being conducted by Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

 

Any emails or text messages that claim to be sent on behalf of these companies seeking personal financial information are illegitimate and fraudulent.

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Families take part in Elks Easter Egg Hunt at fair grounds

Fun was had by all during the 2021 Big Rapids Elks Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday at the Mecosta County Fair Grounds

 

Around 600 children and their parents took part to hunt down 12,000 eggs and prizes provided by the host Big Rapids Elks. 

 

Y102's Etch emceed and provided music 19 Mile Veterinary Hospital, Cranhill Ranch and sponsor Big Rapids Dental Health Care offered information and giveaways, Betten Baker Big Rapids had vehicles on display.

 

Others supporting this event:  Big Rapids Tire, Gone CleanUp & Removal Service, Chuck & Meredy's Auto Repair, Sara Esiline Farmer's Insurance

 

Additional prizes  donated by:   Bernie's Place, Patterson's Flowers, Bader & Sons, Biggby Coffee, Y102

 

 

 

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Trusting our elections

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding election laws and security since the election in November. In the days, weeks and months following the 2020 election, I heard from many who wished to voice their concerns and distrust about how the election was conducted and an overwhelming number of voters I talk to have lost trust in our state’s election process. Many of these concerns were echoed across the country.

 

Our system of government allows us to have a say in the creation of the laws we live our

everyday lives by. An elected voice in government and the ability to choose our leaders are what make our form of government special and the ability to confidently accept the results, whether we like them or not, is what makes the system work.

 

I believe everyone can agree that we need to have confidence in our elections. Election laws like security measures, identification requirements, and similar standards are what protect your fundamental right to vote. I believe we need to reexamine election laws and processes to make meaningful reforms that work to restore the public’s faith in elections.

Last week, my colleagues and I took this step and formally introduced a legislative package

aimed at strengthening and improving election integrity in Michigan.

 

Over 30 bills were introduced as part of the election integrity package that covers a wide variety of issues dealing with processes before, during and after an election.

The bills include numerous reforms, including improving security at ballot drop boxes,

strengthening poll challenger and poll watcher rights, cleaning up outdated voter lists, and

requiring photo identification for in-person voting and when submitting an absentee voter ballot application. The reforms also would prohibit the mass mailing of absentee ballot applications and increase transparency in the audit process by ensuring audits are bipartisan and open to the public.

 

I sponsored two bills in the package. Senate Bill 288 would make audits bipartisan and open to the public. The bill gives each major political party the right to appoint an election inspector to oversee audits. This legislation would also allow each political party to appoint two observers to monitor the audit process, and the secretary of state would be required to stream video of the audit live on their website.

 

SB 309 would strengthen the rights of poll challengers and poll watchers. Under the bill, poll challengers would be given the right to sit behind the processing table and observe the election process from a reasonable distance. A poll challenger would also have the right to challenge a ballot if an elector is not listed in the poll book or is claiming the identity of another individual, or if the photo identification being used appears fraudulent or invalid.

 

My office has also created a website to give constituents an opportunity to provide feedback on the newly introduced election integrity package. To view a full summary of the election integrity package, and to provide feedback directly to my staff and me, visit

www.SenatorJonBumstead.com/election.reform/.

 

As elected officials, I believe it is critical we listen to input from the people that elected us to represent them in state government. The election integrity package is a top priority for many of our residents, and I am open to hearing suggestions on the best way to strengthen and improve election integrity in Michigan.

 

Voting is the foundation of our system of government, and it is my hope that this legislation helps our residents regain confidence that their elections are being conducted honestly.

 

Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, represents the 34th state Senate District, which includes

Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties.

 

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