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News That Affects You Archives for 2021-07

Hearing set for today for CMU shooting suspect

A Farmington Hills man is expected in court today for a hearing that will determine whether he will face trial for a shooting at an off-campus party at Central Michigan University.


CMU quarterback John Keller and fellow student Tyler Bunting were wounded when 21-year-old Kenneth Thomas allegedly opened fire in late April, shooting at random.


Police say Thomas was upset because he had been kicked out of the party following a fight.


Thomas is charged with several firearms-related felonies, along with assault with intent to commit murder.

Spectrum Health to require COVID-19 vaccine for all staff members

Spectrum Health, a 14-hospital network in western Michigan, says it will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for employees, volunteers and contractors -- becoming at least the third hospital system in the state to announce the requirement.


Grand Rapids-based Spectrum, which has 31,000 employees, joins the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and Livonia-based Trinity Health. About 70 percent of Spectrum's onsite staff are vaccinated.


President and CEO Tina Freese Decker says the step will save lives and shorten the impact of the pandemic "both clear benefits to the public good."

White Cloud Dam stable following stoplog failure

The City of White Cloud has worked to repair failed stoplogs at a city-owned dam that resulted in significant changes in water levels both in a pond upstream of the dam, and the river flowing downstream.


Safety measures have been put into place and the dam is stable.


No additional uncontrolled release of water is expected.


Michigan EGLE received reports of the problem Tuesday morning. Local officials report the dam is stable, and expect to replace the failed stoplogs within days. The stoplogs hold back water in the dam. .


The White Cloud Dam is rated as a high-hazard dam. Its most recent state inspection in 2019 rated it in fair condition. It was built in 1872, rebuilt in 1920 after it was destroyed by flooding, and reconstructed in 1990.

Three teens injured one vehicle crash in Aetna Township

Three teenagers were sent to the hospital last night following a one vehicle crash in Mecosta County.


Sheriff Deputies say it happened just after 10:30pm near the intersection of 2 Mile and Northland Drive in Aetna TWP.


An Investigation determined a 17-year old girl from Big Rapids was driving West on 2 Mile Road and swerved to avoid hitting a deer in the road. The vehicle left the road,  struck an embankment then hit a brush pile before rolling over.


The 17-year old driver had to be extracted from the vehicle and was taken to Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids by AeroMed with significant injuries sustained from the crash.


Also in the vehicle were a 15-year old male and 16-year old male both from Morley, and a 15-year old male from Stanwood. The 15-year old male from Morley was taken to the hospital with injuries sustained from the crash.


The other two passengers were taken to the hospital by relatives with injuries sustained in the crash.

Big Rapids DPS and BR Housing Commission team up for National Night Out event Aug. 3rd

It's that time of year again!


A fun family event is taking place next week with a focus of enhancing relationships between the Big Rapids community and local law enforcement.


The National Night Out Event is on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 from 5 to 8 p.m. in Downtown Big Rapids. 


This FREE event is hosted by the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety and the Big Rapids Housing Commission. 


National Night Out is a fun family-friendly event where you will find FREE food, music, games, and prizes.


Michigan Avenue will be closed during the event so police cars and fire trucks can be brought into town for children to explore.


Officials say this event provides a positive way for all of us to come together and build relationships within our community.

Mecosta County Sheriff's Office warns of new phone scams

The Mecosta County Sheriffs Office is issuing a warning of several new scams.


The department says people have been contacted by scammers who are pretending to be from the Secretary of State. The perpetrators claim victims need to buy cards from local stores and give them the card information so victims wont be criminally charged.


Another scam involves calls claiming victims have rented a car in another state, and blood has been found in the vehicle. Scammers tell victims they need to pay for the damages done to the car.


The Sheriffs Office says do not give any personal information over the phone.

State House votes to approve Unlock Michigan initiative

Republican lawmakers have killed a law that underpinned coronavirus restrictions issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, after Michigan's Supreme Court declared the measure unconstitutional.


The Democratic governor is powerless to veto the citizen-initiated bill. A group that organized the ballot drive now is targeting a different law that enabled her administration to keep restrictions intact.


The Republican led House voted 60-48 Wednesday to repeal the law that gave governors broad emergency powers.


State Rep. Michele Hoitenga, of Manton, issued the following statement after the Michigan House approved the Unlock Michigan citizens’ initiative.


This is an important day in the history of the state. People across Michigan came together utilizing a constitutional approach and told state government their voices were not being heard as one person ruled alone. I’m pleased to support this measure and repeal an emergency powers law that had an impact on so many people during our state’s response to COVID-19.


 “Legislators know their communities best. They talk with people and their families in neighborhoods or at the corner diner – formulating solutions based on questions and concerns they hear or experiences people have. When Gov. Whitmer worked around the Legislature to craft directives, that process was taken away. The people lost as a result.


 “But they won today. And it’s a win going forward for Michigan as the balance of state government will be preserved.”


A separate law remains in place. It lets a governor to declare an emergency, but it cannot last for longer than 28 days without legislative approval.

Mecosta County man wins Fantasy 5 Jackpot

A Mecosta County man has a friend to thank after he won a $198,857 Fantasy 5 jackpot from the Michigan Lottery. 


James Snyder, of Barryton, matched the Fantasy 5 numbers in the July 12 drawing to win the big prize: 12-17-25-31-33. He bought his winning ticket at the East Bay General Store, located at 19961 Chippewa Drive in Chippewa Lake. Barryton is about 30 miles northwest of Mt. Pleasant. 


“I like playing Fantasy 5 because it’s a Michigan-only game,” said Snyder. “About seven years ago, my friend gave me this set of numbers and I have played them each day since.


“The day after the drawing, I took a break from working in my basement to check the numbers. When I saw them on my phone, I knew right away they were the numbers I play. I ran upstairs and had my wife confirm I was the big winner. As soon as she saw the prize amount, she grabbed the ticket and took it to the safe!”


Snyder, 62, visited Lottery headquarters to claim his big prize. With his winnings, he plans to pay some bills and then invest the remainder.

Fred Guenther announces his candidacy for Big Rapids Mayor

A retired physician has announced he wants to run for mayor of Big Rapids. 

Fred Guenther announced his candidacy Wednesday, July 21st in a press release.  

Guenther, a retired doctor (OB/GYN) served patients in the Big Rapids area for 36 years and has been a resident in the city for 17 years.  

In the press release, Guenther believes his experience as the chairman of the Mecosta County Medical Center Board,a member ofthe Old Kent Board, the Tuba Bach Board Chairman, a member of the Michigan Tech University Fund Board and United Church Board will be beneficial to the city. 

Fred believes, if elected he will add a balanced approach to city problems and his experience, leadership, skills and diversity of ideas will help lead Big Rapids into the future. 

Four people arrested in Millbrook Twp. after police find stolen vehicle

Four people have been arrested on multiple felonies after police found a stolen vehicle at a home in Mecosta County's Millbrook Township.


Detective Casey Nemeth of the Sheriff's Office says on July 13th, deputies were investigating a stolen vehicle complaint when they arrested four people at a home on the 300 Block of Millbrook Road, in Millbrook Township, where the stolen vehicle was located.


30-year old Brandon Burch, of Grand Rapids was arrested on Felony Unlawfully Driving Away of an Automobile and Felony Selling of Stolen Property, among other charges.


33-year old Kyle Chapman Jr, of Millbrook was arrested on Felony Possession of Stolen Property (Vehicle) and a Parole Violation.


35- year old John Hubbard, of Morley was arrested on Felony Violation of the Controlled Substance Act – Possession of Meth and a Parole Violation.


34-year old Danielle Hall, of Morley was arrested on two Felony warrants for Fail to Appear and Contempt of Court.


All four remain in custody in the Mecosta County Jail after being arraigned in the 77th District Court.

School of Digital Media Programs look fondly to collaborative efforts in center for virtual learning

The third floor of the $29.5 million Center for Virtual Learning is where Ferris State University’s School of Digital Media programs will offer instruction when the new facility is complete in Fall 2022.


Digital Media Software Engineering, Television and Digital Media Production program, and Digital Animation and Game Design are among the academic programs that will occupy that section of the new Center for Virtual Learning. School of Digital Media Director and TDMP Professor Glen Okonoski noted that shows like “Ferris Sports Update” will continue production in the Interdisciplinary Resource Center studio. Still, he notes that many positive attributes will result from instruction in the new facility.


“Our faculty office spaces, media supply, computer labs and other instructional facilities will be on the third floor of the center,” Okonoski said. “Our professors have had their offices in Bishop Hall for several years, which has been functional but not optimal for offering support or making contributions when students are assembling and editing content. The center will provide improved facilities for all existing spaces and activities, as they relate to our area of learning.”


Okonoski added that TDMP students receive 24-hour, seven-day-a-week access to editing labs in the CVL, which meets their desires to create content.


“There has been a three-year process undertaken to exchange concepts and collaborate on plans for the center,” Okonoski said. “Our students will enjoy informal learning and gathering spaces, suites for video and audio recording, as well as a ‘green screen’ application and extended reality (xR) virtual sets so that these facilities might match up with the top destinations for students in our field.”


The collaborative process to bring about the new equipment and attributes for School of Digital Media programs involves University Advancement officers, according to Okonoski.


“Advancement’s Director of Major Gifts Karen Weber and Project Manager Sarah Lowen have been very involved in fundraising efforts, which seek to provide those technical upgrades we intend for our new facilities,” Okonoski said. “Our program is approaching its 50th year of existence, with the CVL providing us purpose-built facilities for the first time. In addition, the collaborative opportunities with our peers in the School of Digital Media are certain to provide great experiences for students in all these programs.”


Digital Animation and Game Design Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator David Baker said moving to the Center for Virtual Learning for instruction as of the 2023 Spring semester will be “energizing.”


“We have every intention to collaborate and offer support to those virtual avenues other programs may seek to explore,” Baker said. “It has been an interesting and exciting time for DAGD instruction, as the Canvas learning platform allows us to deliver our learning worldwide. In addition, our students and faculty have done amazing work in the last year and a half, making tremendous adjustment and development to support and possibly expand our instructional opportunities in the future.”


Baker said the COVID-19 remote development and delivery of Digital Animation and Game Design students’ coursework had been something of a revelation as he assesses recent student efforts as among the best content he has viewed in his teaching career.


“We will be able to accommodate those who seek to learn through peer projects and relationships while supporting those students who would rather, or need to learn virtually,” Baker said. “I have been afforded new perspective on how to offer educational content, which will only be enhanced by the School of Digital Media’s efforts in the CVL.”


Okonoski further recognized peers in the Digital Media Software Engineering program, coordinated by Assistant Professor Mohamed Abusharkh. It is one of Ferris’ newest learning options.


“DMSE has an online completion degree and a fully online Bachelor of Science program, offering students career avenues in a high-demand industry with impressive starting salaries,” Okonoski said. “We know their autonomous vehicle certificate program, which is currently in development, has great potential, as that technology advances in the years and decades to come.”


Among departments and educational programs headed to the Center for Virtual Learning are Information Security and Intelligence, Bachelor of Science in Artificial Intelligence, eLearning, eSports programs and the School of Education.


The state of Michigan has made available $22 million in a Capital Outlay Project award in late 2020, which allowed the CVL plans to move forward.


FBI agent in Gov. Whitmer kidnapping case arrested following domestic incident

The FBI's key public point man in the plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer now finds himself on the other side of the law.


FBI Special Agent Richard Trask of Kalamazoo has been arraigned on one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, accused of assaulting his wife during a domestic incident, which carries up to 10 years in prison.


Trask has been with the FBI since 2011 and has been a public point man in the investigation on the plot against the governor.


Trask's arrest comes at a time where defense lawyers for the five men accused of the kidnapping conspiracy are now claiming entrapment from the FBI, and the five are merely big talkers who had no intention of carrying out the plot against Whitmer.

Brian Garlock to bring Stanley Cup to Big Rapids this Sunday

One of the biggest prizes in sports is coming to town this weekend as Big Rapids native Brian Garlock, a former Ferris State University ice arena employee, will bring the Stanley Cup to the city to celebrate his second consecutive National Hockey League (NHL) Championship.


Garlock, who remains close with Bulldog Hockey and the FSU coaching staff, helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win the cup for the second-straight year last week and currently serves as the franchise's video coordinator, completing his eighth season on staff this past year. 


The public is invited to Buffalo Wild Wings in Big Rapids this Sunday (July 18) between 4 and 8 p.m. (ET) to view the Stanley Cup and celebrate with Garlock. He will be on hand and available to sign autographs and fans will be allowed to take a photo with the Stanley Cup for only a $10 donation supporting local hockey. 


A Big Rapids native who begin his career at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena before continuing his path in professional hockey, Garlock has followed Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper nearly every step of the way. The 2003 Big Rapids High School graduate attended Ferris State and met Cooper when he was the head coach for the Texarkana Bandits of the North American Hockey League and held his Bandits' camp in Big Rapids.


Since that time, Garlock has followed Cooper from St. Louis, where the Texarkana franchise relocated, to the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) along with stops in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch and the Norfolk Admirals. He's been with Tampa Bay since Cooper was hired prior to the 2013-14 campaign. Formerly, he was a zamboni driver for the Ewigleben Ice Arena and worked hockey camps after playing prep hockey for Big Rapids High School.


Along with Garlock, former Bulldog assistant coach Derek Lalonde, who now serves as Tampa Bay's assistant coach under Cooper, also helped lead the Lightning to the Stanley Cup Championship for the second-straight season. Both Lalonde and Garlock also played key roles a year ago when Tampa Bay first hoisted the Stanley Cup Trophy.


In this year's Stanley Cup finals, Tampa Bay defeated the Montreal Canadiens by a 4-1 series' count. Tampa Bay reached the Stanley Cup finals by beating the New York Islanders in seven games to capture the Price of Wales Trophy and became only the second team in the NHL's salary-cap era to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. The series' win over the Islanders in the Eastern Conference finals came against former Bulldog Hockey standout and current third-year New York assistant coach John Gruden.


Over the past three seasons, Lalonde and Garlock have helped lead Tampa Bay to the the most wins in the NHL. Lalonde, a New York native, was behind the Bulldog bench from 2003-2006 under FSU head coach Bob Daniels before moving on to work for the Denver University Pioneers, where he helped lead them to the NCAA Tournament four times. Lalonde also served as head coach for the ECHL's Toledo Walleye and with the Iowa Wild in the American Hockey League (AHL) before joining Cooper's staff.


Last year, the duo become the first with ties to Ferris State Hockey to claim the Stanley Cup Championship since former standout Chris Kunitz claimed four during his memorable and storied NHL career. Kunitz won Stanley Cups with Anaheim in 2007 along with Pittsburgh in 2009, 2016 and 2017). He played with Tampa Bay under Cooper in 2017-18 before concluding his career with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2018-19.

Board of State Canvassers approve Unlock Michigan Petition

Forced by a court order, the Board of State Canvassers has certified a petition drive to repeal a Michigan law that was used to set major restrictions during the early months of the pandemic.


The decision means the Republican-controlled Legislature can kill the law without intervention by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.


Lawmakers could also put it on the 2022 statewide ballot for voters to decide. Action in the Capitol appears to be the likely step.


A group called Unlock Michigan met the 340,000 signature threshold.


The State Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional in October.

Big Rapids man dies in two car crash

A fatal crash in Mecosta County as one driver falls asleep at the wheel.


The Sheriff's Office says one person was killed in the two vehicle crash in Mecosta Township.


An investigation revealed, a Ford F-150 was traveling Southbound on Northland Drive when the driver veered off the road and struck a White Buick Enclave which was stopped at the stop sign waiting to turn North onto Northland Drive from 11 Mile Rd.


The F-150 driver, a 35-year old Morley man, apparently fell asleep at the wheel and woke up at the time of the crash.


He was not injured, but a passenger in the other car, 54-year-old Jeffrey Hayes of Big Rapids, was killed. The 54-year-old female driver also of Big Rapids was taken to the hospital.

Child Tax Credit to begin Thursday

The expanded monthly tax credit payments are going out on Thursday.


The White House announced the payments in May,  saying the Child Tax Credit will provide eligible families with $300-dollar monthly cash payments per child up to age five, and $250-dollars for children ages 6 to17.


It's estimated that the Child Tax Credit will benefit nearly 2-million children in Michigan.


Families that filed recent tax returns or received stimulus checks should get paid automatically.


Any parent who has not paid taxes in recent years can sign up at 

UPDATE: Mecosta County deputies searching for Barryton fugitive

UPDATE: Joshua J. Voorhees of Barryton has bee taken into custody, according to the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office. 

The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office is actively searching for 36-year old Joshua J. Voorhees of Barryton.


Voorhees led Deputies on a pursuit through Sheridan Township Sunday evening that resulted in Voorhees striking a patrol car with his vehicle and then fleeing on foot into a swamp in north/west Isabella County.


Voorhees is considered to be a dangerous with multiple warrants for his arrest .


Anyone with information on Voorhees location is asked to call The MCSO at 231 592-0150.

MI shot to win sweepstakes $1-million dollar winner to be announced today

A drawing will be held today for a one million dollar winner in the MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes in Michigan.


Some winners from last week's 50-thousand dollar daily drawings have been notified and will be introduced at a news conference on Wednesday.


The goal of the sweepstakes is to increase the state's COVID-19 vaccination rate, but it's gone up less than one percent since the sweepstakes began earlier this month.


A two million dollar drawing will be held August 3rd.

School aid budget nearing completion

As the news of Gov. Whitmer signing into law over $4 billion in supplemental school aid
funding hits headlines across the state, I hope the k-12 budget the Legislature sent over last week
is next on her list.

For years, the Legislature approved responsible budgets that paid down debt and put money
away for a rainy day. This responsible budgeting, along with federal emergency funds and a
better-than-expected resurgence of the state’s economy put us in a pretty good position moving

Budget discussions in the Legislature have taken much of the focus in previous weeks as the new
fiscal year for school districts loomed around the corner. Districts need to know what their
finances are going to look like as soon as possible, and it is our constitutional duty to get them
that money. Though revenues are up, many of the difficulties associated with the coronavirus
still burden the budget process.

Schools have unique needs as it is, but the pandemic has further widened the scope of needs for
schools across the state. Our work over the last few months addresses many of these issues and
the school aid budget we approved funds many efforts that will help bring some level of
normalcy and predictability back to our lives.

While more work remains before the upcoming fiscal year budget is fully completed, last week
we made it past a major hurdle as we work to get the job done.
In a 33-1 vote, the Senate approved the $17 billion 2022 school aid budget that focuses on
meeting modern needs and working to get schools the resources they need to bounce back strong
from the pandemic.

For years, a priority of mine has been leveling the playing field for students. Many communities
in my district fell behind when it came to equitable funding — something I have spent much of
my legislative career trying to correct. The budget we approved last week makes tremendous
progress toward equity in K-12 funding. Under the plan, every school in Michigan will receive at
least $8,700 per student, and every school district will receive the same amount in minimum per-
pupil foundation allowance funding from the state.

I also supported funding that will help districts hire more teachers. Large class sizes have been
an issue for many districts as teacher shortages plagued the state. I’ve spoken to teachers in my
district, and even my family, about this and realize the disadvantage to students, unfairness to
educators and other burdens this problem causes. It is my hope that these funds will assist
districts in hiring more teachers, which will result in smaller class sizes and improved interaction
between educators and students.

The plan we approved also includes resources for early childhood funding and money to help
improve reading efficiency, along with funding to help students recover from learning loss and
mental health issues that grew throughout the pandemic.


Students and teachers were among those of us who were hit hardest by the pandemic. Teachers
across the state stepped up as we made the rapid turn to remote learning, and students did their
best to focus on school while the unknowns of COVID-19 weighed on them tremendously. I
believe these funds will help make major headway toward that goal in getting everyone back on
track and into a healthy mindset again

Family Health Care of B.R. hosting summer outdoor kids program

Want something fun to do with your children that will also benefit their mental health?


Starting July 13th from 1-3pm, Family Health Care in Big Rapids is offering a free program called Magic Happens Outdoors which is a walking program that involves crafts and guest speakers from Marine Biology to Dive Team and more. 


Officials from Family Health Care say this program will offer a chance for children ages 8-12, to enjoy some fun summer outdoor activities, all while learning healthy coping skills for anxiety, stress and other mental health issues that may affect them.


The free program will take place at Big Rapids Middle School and along the River Walk.


Officials say attendees will be provided with snacks and drinks during program times. Attendees will also be given a backpack from Family Health Care with school supplies and more. 


Registration is still open. For more information or to sign your child up, call Tricia at 231-689-5943 ext. 44416 to register your child. 

SOS offices expand office hours starting July 19th

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is looking to get through the backlog of residents seeking services at branch offices after the pandemic by extending hours and making it easier to renew driver's licenses and state IDs.


Benson says starting July 19th, branch offices will extend their weekday hours by an extra hour through September 30th.


On Mondays and Thursdays branch offices will close at 6 p.m. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays offices will open at 8 a.m.


Benson says that will provide in-person services to 120,000 additional Michigan residents.


You can make an appointment online at any SOS branch office by going to

Reed City man arrested following police chase in Mecosta County


A Reed City man is behind bars on numerous charges following a July 4th arrest in Mecosta County.


Detective Casey Nemeth of the Sheriff's Office says 27-year old Cameron Woodard was traveling on 16 Mile Rd in Colfax Township when Deputies attempt to stop his vehicle.  Woodard failed to stop and led Deputies on an eight minute pursuit driving through fields, fences and two tracks up into Grant Township. 


Woodard fled on foot from his vehicle and was later located hiding in a swamp.


Woodard was arrested on a Felony Probation Violation and multiple other Probation Violations along with Fleeing and Eluding, Reckless Driving, Possession of Controlled Substance, Multiple Plate and Insurance Violations, Malicious Destruction of Property, Obstructing Police and Smuggling Drugs in Jail and a Domestic Violence 3rd Warrant out of Osceola County.


On Tuesday July 6th, Woodard was arraigned in the 77th District Court and remains in Custody, and innocent until proven guilty, on a $50,000 bond.

Head on crash in Osceola County leaves one driver with life threatening injuries

US-10 in Osceola County was shut down for two hours following a two car crash Tuesday morning.


It happened on US 10 west of Lakola Rd within Chase Twp.


According to a news release from the Reed City Fire Department, emergency crews arrived on scene to find two vehicles with extensive damage and one occupant trapped in a vehicle.


The JAWS of life were used to extricate the driver of one vehicle who was later taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries.


The accident is under investigation.


We will have more details as they become available.


Howard+Revis selected as exhibit design firm for future Jim Crow Museum project


Helping sharpen the vision for a new home to Ferris State University’s Jim Crow Museum, Washington D.C.-based design firm Howard+Revis will lead the expanded exhibition space development for the future 31,130-square-foot stand-alone building on the Big Rapids campus. Already home to more than 14,000 objects, a more prominent facility positions the museum to continue as a national and global leader in the history and consequences of the Jim Crow era while being prepared to address and educate about relevant current topics as they arise.


The new Jim Crow Museum, Archive and Research Center will host, preserve and have greater capacity to share an ever-expanding collection, physically and virtually. A larger permanent home paves the way for improved archiving capability, more robust programming and greater accessibility for students, educators, researchers and the public, museum staff say. The estimated $18.5 million project addresses current facility limitations, including lack of visibility and tight configuration, in FLITE, the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education. Partnering with Howard+Revis to design ideal exhibition space is a critical step.


“The Jim Crow Museum team is thrilled to engage with Howard+Revis Design for the exhibit design of our new museum facility,” said Cyndi Tiedt, the collections manager for the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, which moved into its current location, inside FLITE, in 2012. “This collaboration represents the creative synergy and passion of both teams, and we are delighted to work with a design firm that appreciates and amplifies the museum’s mission.”


Expanded opportunities for education, such as what the new museum will offer, align with the mission of the Jim Crow Museum, founded by curator and Ferris Vice President for Diversity, Inclusion and Strategic Initiatives David Pilgrim. The Howard+Revis team recently visited campus to better understand the role of the Jim Crow Museum, including touring its current home and examining many additional artifacts that the new museum will display.


“The larger space will be valuable. The museum has so much material, and yet it’s so condensed. I think we can help tease out the stories there, give it a little more breathing space and allow the stories to unfold more,” said Tracy Revis, a principal and senior designer at Howard+Revis Design. “Dr. (David) Pilgrim wants to add two new stories, including one that’s about Jim Crow in Michigan. Another one is more contemporary and addresses the issues of today – its forward-facing. Where do we go from here, what do we do with this knowledge that racism has been with us for a long time? That’s very challenging, but I think this extra room allows us to rise to this challenge.”


Visiting Ferris to learn more about the Jim Crow Museum and the people behind it has provided the Howard+Revis team, which includes its other principal and senior designer, Jeff Howard, a starting point for its work.


“The basic situation is we have a huge number of strengths to play from with the Jim Crow Museum, beginning with the strength of its collection,” said Elizabeth Eubanks, director of exhibit development at Howard+Revis. “Understanding the subject material is one thing, but the strength, depth and breadth of this collection is not something a lot of museums have. So, we understand that’s really great ground to work with. We feel we can contribute to bringing context to the objects, bringing the historical narrative forward, bringing actual individuals into the story. We always feel that biography is very powerful. Human examples are very powerful.”


Focusing on showcasing Jim Crow Museum objects in a way that maximizes educational value is a focal point for the Howard+Revis team, which will have more than 8,000 square feet as a canvas for the firm’s storytelling expertise.


“We’ve talked about those stories as being antidotes to these sort of stereotypes and the iconography that you’re seeing that are not real people,” Eubanks added. “We’re interested in balancing those gross generalization images with actual people to give visitors a better, more accurate, fuller picture of African American life.”


The timing of this new Jim Crow Museum project may offer greater opportunity.


“Anytime is a good time for a project like this, but now more than ever. For a lot of us, our hearts are in the right place, and many people are looking for answers and looking for ways to help navigate the nation toward our better selves,” Eubanks said. “And I think this institution has a tremendous role to play in that. People are looking to institutions like this and people who can speak with authority to the history and help them find a way through it.”


Neumann/Smith Architecture, a leading museum design firm, will develop the conceptual plans for the future Jim Crow Museum, Archive and Research Center. Neumann/Smith Architecture’s planning includes climate-controlled storage and archives, expanded exhibition space, research and reading rooms, and staff offices ideal for the growth of the museum’s team.


“We’ve been on this project since its inception. We did the work in FLITE,” said Joel Smith, president of Neumann/Smith Architecture. “We’ve been involved since the early days. Our long-term involvement with Dr. Pilgrim and the whole idea of the teachings of the Jim Crow Museum, and what it stands for, have been important to our office and to me in my career.”


The Jim Crow Museum is a national and international resource that draws visitors from around the United States and the world to Big Rapids, Michigan. Its campus roots date back to 1996 when Pilgrim donated his 3,000-piece collection to Ferris. Further, Jim Crow Museum staff use the collection to share history and teach tolerance worldwide. Museum staff have published three books, generated more than 20 million engagements through social media and online videos. In addition, the team shares its traveling exhibits, provides museum tours, online virtual tours, presents at regional and national conferences annually, opens the collection to visiting scholars, and offers educational programming for schools and universities.


“The fact that Ferris State recognizes that this can have an impact on the campus and visitors to campus. It’s wonderful that the University is thinking this way. Given the history of Ferris that Franklin Hughes and Dr. Pilgrim discovered and told, it speaks to what Ferris has meant to the black community,” Smith said. “It’s an unknown story that is now being told. So, the timing of this could not be better.”


For more information about the Jim Crow Museum:

Reed City woman suffers injuries following car crash in Mecosta Co.

A Reed City woman is recovering following a car crash in Mecosta County last night.


It happened on 80th Ave and 3 Mile Rd in Chippewa twp.


Deputies say a 23-year old woman was traveling north where she ran off the road to the left striking several trees and being pinned in the vehicle.


Accident is believed to have occurred around 11pm.



She was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids for serious non life threatening injuries. 

Tyson Chicken RECALL over Listeria contamination

Check the freezer! Tyson Foods is recalling eight-and-a-half million pounds of precooked chicken products over possible listeria contamination.


The frozen, fully cooked chicken products were produced between December 26th 2020 and April 13th.


Three illnesses and one death were reported, nationwide.


Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.




DHD#10 transitioning COVID-19 vaccine clinics into regular immunization clinic schedules

 Starting next week, District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) is transitioning all COVID-19 vaccine clinics into the regularly schedule immunization clinics held at each DHD#10 location.  


Individuals wanting a COVID-19 vaccine can still schedule online at Click on the schedule link in your county and then select a date in bold and continue to follow the prompts. Please note that immunization clinics are scheduled differently at each of the ten DHD#10 offices. Walk-ins are welcome but scheduling is preferred.  If you do not have access to a computer, smart phone, or the internet, please call 888-217-3904 for assistance. 


DHD#10 will be closed on Monday, July 5, to observe the 4th of July holiday.  


For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, go to To stay up to date on the latest information, sign up for Public Health Alerts at  

Big Rapids man hits deer with motorcycle in Mecosta Twp.

A Big Rapids man is recovering after hitting a deer with his motorcycle Sunday afternoon in Mecosta Township.


It happened on 185th Ave south of Johnson Rd.


An investigation revealed that a 28-year old Big Rapids man was driving southbound on 185th when he collided with a deer.


The driver was transported by EMS to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. 

Two Fenton teens injured in Mecosta Co. ATV accident

Two teenagers are hospitalized after suffering injuries in an all-terrain vehicle crash in Mecosta County Saturday.


It happened around 11:27 a.m. on 30th Avenue near Arthur road in Sheridan Township.


The Mecosta County Sheriffs Office says two teenagers from Fenton, a 14-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy, were riding an ATV and crashed into a barn. 


Both teens were ejected from the ATV, neither was wearing a helmet.

Bands, Brews & BBQ Festival Is Back!

The Bands, Brews and BBQ Festival is back this summer at the Big Rapids Bandshell on July 10 from 2pm- 10pm, for an amazing day of Bands, Brews and BBQ.

In an effort of looking for new and exciting ways to generate greater awareness of the Big Rapids Region, the Mecosta County Visitors Bureau (MCVB) partnered with the Big Rapids Lions Club in 2019 to bring back the highly anticipated Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival. “This has been a great partnership between the two organizations,” stated Connie Koepke – Executive Director of the Mecosta County Visitors Bureau. “The MCVB’s mission is to market the area’s tourism highlights in hopes of capturing overnight stays at area hotels, as well as return visits to the hotels,” which is where the Visitors Bureau receives its funding from. The Lions Club mission is to raise funds that can be used in support of a large variety of activities that improve their communities and help people in need. Dave Hamelund with the Big Rapids Lions Club states, “Some of the Lions Club projects include assisting the hearing impaired, providing diabetes awareness and education materials, working on environmental projects and developing youth programs.”

With the two organizations working together on this amazing event, they are able to not only accomplish both of the groups’ missions and goals, but also create an extraordinary event that can be enjoyed by all. “You may have noticed a change in the name of this year’s event, altering Blues to Bands. This allows the ability to offer more variety of musical styles and bands; as this annual event continues throughout the years to come,” noted Koepke.

The day of the event is set for Saturday, July 10, from 2:00pm – 10:00pm, which is a great kickoff to fair week that begins on Monday, July 12. The festival will not only include amazing music throughout the day (Blues, Jazz, County and Contemporary) but also local restaurants, offering at least one BBQ themed item, a beer tent as well as a vendor area for community businesses and/or crafters to sell their wares. 

The Mecosta County Visitors Bureau, whom is once again sponsoring the event, noted that there is one other change in this year’s festival. There will not be a charge or ticket cost to attend. The festival will be FREE and open to public. “We are asking that those attending do offer a donation that will go towards the Lions Club and the organizations that they support along with a small portion going to help toward next year’s event expenses,” stated Dave Hamelund of the Big Rapids Lions Club. 

“We are also very excited to have Y102 as our official media sponsor of this year’s event, noted Koepke. The Big Rapids Radio Network has always been great supporters of the community and we love working with the station and their team.”

Current schedule for the day includes: Kickoff with Allison LeVeque singing the National Anthem, and a fun-filled day of nonstop Bands, Brews and BBQ.

This year’s musical lineup includes: Key West Permafrost Blues Band, Steve Somers Band with Valerie, Brenda Loomis Band and Benzing-Graves Collective. The festival’s MC will be local musical talent Kelly Quinn. 

Highlights of each group will be promoted weekly on the Bands, Brews & BBQ Festival Facebook page and on the Mecosta County Visitors Bureau’ Facebook page and website at

State Senate passes School Aide Budget

The Senate on Wednesday approved a $17 billion fiscal year 2022 School Aid Budget, which includes a per pupil increase of between $171 and $589. Under the approved spending plan, schools would enjoy a minimum of $8,700 per pupil in the coming year.


Also included is a new $155 million reading scholarship program to support schoolchildren between kindergarten and fifth grade who are considered less than proficient in reading.


Governor Gretchen Whitmer released a statement following the passing of the School Aid Fund Budget saying the bipartisan school aid bill makes historic investments in our children without raising taxes and will help each and every student thrive academically, mentally and physically and she looks forward to signing the legislation.

Triple-A predicts big Fourth of July travel weekend

Michigan roads are expected to fill up with vacationers, as today marks the start of the Independence Day weekend travel.


Triple-A says travel volumes for the holiday will be one of the highest on record, with 1.5 million Michigan residents taking a trip this weekend.


Analysts say drivers will experience the worst congestion heading into the holiday weekend as commuters leave work early, between 3pm and 6pm tomorrow.


The return trip around mid-day Monday also expected to be one of the busiest times on the road.


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Local High School Schedule & Scores

CSAA Baseball

SATURDAY 4/13/24

White Cloud 9 @ Holton 5

White Cloud 0 @ Merrill 13 (6inn)

Clare 16 @ Chip Hills 7 (4inn)

Greenville 9 @ Chip Hills 9 (8inn)

Kent City 1 @ Whitehall 16 (4inn)

Fremont 3 @ Kent City 0


MONDAY 4/15/24

Shepherd 3 @ Big Rapids 9

Shepherd 12 @ Big Rapids 0 (5inn)

Newaygo 0 @ C Montcalm 1

Newaygo 0 @ C Montcalm 2


TUESDAY 4/16/24

Chip Hills 7 @ Tri County 3

Chip Hills 3 @ Tri County 2 (5inn)

Lakeview 2 @ Morley Stanwood 8

Lakeview 5 @ Morley Stanwood 11

Kent City 5 @ Newaygo 10

Kent City 4 @ Newaygo 11

Grant 1 @ Reed City 2

Grant 7 @ Reed City 5

C Montcalm 13 @ White Cloud 2

C Montcalm 2 @ White Cloud 6


THURSDAY 4/18/24

Shelby @ Kent City

Hesperia @ Lakeview


FRIDAY 4/19/24

White Cloud @ Big Rapids

Tri County @ C Montcalm

Newaygo @ Grant

Morley Stanwood @ Kent City

Reed City @ Chip Hills



CSAA Softball

SATURDAY 4/13/24

Grant 0 @ Ravenna 15 (3inn)

Tri County 0 @ Ravenna 10 (CH Forfeit)

Chip Hills 0 @ Clare 16

Chip Hills 0 @ Vestaburg 12

MONDAY 4/15/24

Shepherd 2 @ Big Rapids 12 (5inn)

Shepherd 9 @ Big Rapids 6 (8inn)

Newaygo 15 @ C Montcalm 11

Newaygo 1 @ C Montcalm 14 (5inn)

Lakeview 1 @ Vestaburg 16 (4inn)

Lakeivew 4 @ Vestaburg 10 (8inn)

TUESDAY 4/16/24

Chip Hills @ Tri County

Lakeview @ Morley Stanwood

Kent City 1 @ Newaygo 4

Kent City 0 @ Newaygo 11 (5inn)

Grant 1 @ Reed City 5

Grant 1 @ Reed City 16 (3inn)

C Montcalm @ White Cloud

THURSDAY 4/18/24

Greenville @ C Montcalm

Sparta @ Kent City

Hesperia @ Lakeview

FRIDAY 4/19/24

White Cloud @ Big Rapids

Tri County @ C Montcalm

Newaygo @ Grant

Morley Stanwood @ Kent City

Reed City @ Chip Hills

SATURDAY 4/20/24

Lakeview @Beaverton Tournament

Big Rapids @ TC West

CSAA Baseball Standings

1) Big Rapids: 2-0 | +31 -6 (+25)

2) Morley Stanwood: 2-1 | +24 -17 (+7)

3) Chippewa Hills: 2-1 | +22 -14 (+8)

4) Reed City: 2-1 | +17 -11 (+6)

5) Newaygo: 3-3 | +30 -24 (+6)

6) Central Montcalm: 3-3 | +22 -21 (+1)

7) Kent City: 2-2 | +32 -37 (-5)

8) Grant: 2-2 | +18 -12 (+6)

9) White Cloud: 1-1 | +8 -15 (-7)

10) Tri County: 0-3 | +11 -41 (-30)

11) Lakeview: 0-4 | +23 -41 (-18)

This Week's Poll

What place will the Tigers finish in the AL Central?