Big Rapids Daily News
News Radio 1460 AM - 107.7 FM
News That Affects You

Inmate death investigation rules Big Rapids woman died of natural causes

The Montcalm County Sheriff's Office says an independent investigation ruled a female inmate who died in its jail in December of 2018, passed away from natural causes.


The ruling comes after a two month investigation by the Michigan Sheriff’s Association MISSION team. 


The inmate, 34-year old Amber Lynae Bills, of Big Rapids, had passed away while in custody on December 30, 2018.


The result showed that no jail policies were violated and no criminal acts were committed.


Bills had been booked into the jail on December 22, 2018 on a driving while suspended charge with a $500 cash or surety bond. She also had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court with an additional $500 cash or surety bond. Bills experienced stomach pain several days after arriving at the jail. The nurse examined her on multiple occasions.


Bills informed the nurse she had used methamphetamine and was withdrawing from the drug. Jail staff promptly moved Bills to a cell with direct observation. The nurse placed her on Librium protocol when she discovered her condition. Bills remained in the jail’s direct observation cell from December 28 until December 30.


In the afternoon of December 30, Bills presented in a manner consistent with her previous condition and was given the prescribed Librium. Soon after officers removed Bills from her cell in an unresponsive state. Bills did not regain consciousness following the application of CPR and life saving measures.


A subsequent autopsy ruled Bills died of natural causes.


Gov. Whitmer calls for flood damage assessments in Newaygo Co.

As home and business owners continue to deal with the aftermath of flooding, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has asked the U.S. Small Business Administration to conduct damage assessments in Newaygo County.


If approved, the administration's disaster assistance program would make low interest loans available to eligible residents and businesses affected by flooding.


More than 130 homes and businesses were damaged by flooding earlier this week.


On Tuesday, the Governor declared a State of Emergency for Newaygo County which makes more resources available to local officials.


Gov. Whitmer declares state of emergency in Newaygo Co.

A State of Emergency has been declared in Newaygo County by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after over 130 homes have been flooded.


The county had requested state assistance to address the impacts of heavy rainfall and snowmelt, which resulted in widespread flooding.


Whitmer says as Newaygo County continues to deal with the effects of severe flooding, they are doing all they can to ensure the health and safety of their residents,” She says by signing this declaration, the state can offer even more resources to assist the county’s efforts.


Abby Watkins is the Director of Emergency Services for the county, she says at one point over 100 roads were flooded and dozens have been damaged by the water.

Watkins says almost 90-percent of the home owners effected do not have flood insurance since their homes are not in flood plains.


The Red Cross is now working with county officials to help local residents.




Morley woman dies in car/trailer accident in Kent County

A 46-year-old woman has been killed after she crashed her car into a tractor trailer late last night in west Michigan's Oakfield Township.


Michigan State Police say the woman from Morley crossed the center line around 11:30 last night and hit a tractor trailer.


She was killed , but the 22-year-old driver of the tractor trailer from Big Rapids was not injured.


No word yet if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.


Farmington Hills man faces new sex crime charges in Mecosta County

A Farmington Hills man convicted of rape in 2018, is now facing new charges of sexual assault in a second case in Mecosta County.


35-year old Daniel Carlson was video arraigned from prison where he's currently serving 5 to 15 years for a rape that occurred in 2017.


Carlson is now charged with 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct which stem from an incident in 2016 at the Tullymore Resort in Morton Township. 


This is the second charge with a separate victim from that incident in 2016.


His bond was set at $1 million dollars.


Carlson is scheduled to be back in court next month.



Newaygo Co. police looking for gas station theft suspect

Police in Newaygo County are looking for a man they say stole a large amount of liquor from the Brohman EZ Mart Gas Station on March 9th.


According to deputies, the suspect stole $150 worth in liquor.


He's described as a black male approximately 6' tall, 25-35 years old. He has facial tattoos, one or two tear drops below one of his eyes and an old English "L" or something similar on his face / cheek area.


No vehicle description as the suspect ran from the store to an unknown location or vehicle.  


Anyone with information on the suspects identity is asked to contact police at 231-689-7303.


Two year old dies following two vehicle accident in Newaygo Co.

A two-year old child died over the weekend following a two vehicle accident in Newaygo County.


Deputies say it happened on Elm Avenue, at the Baseline Road intersection in Big Prairie Township Saturday afternoon. That's where a pickup truck driven by an 18-year old man and his passenger a 14-year old male both from Morley failed to stop at the stop sign and hit a car carrying five people.


The driver of the car, a 27-year old woman from New Era and two of her passengers a 29-year old man from Shelby and a 7-year old girl from Shelby were taken to the hospital.


A 5-year-old boy had to be airlifted to the hospital, and the 2-year-old died from her injuries at the scene.


The two teenagers in the pickup truck were not hurt.


State Rep. Hoitenga creates bill to do away with daylight savings time in Michigan

There's a push to do away with the time changes in Michigan.


A lawmaker from Manton, near Cadillac, has introduced legislation that would eliminate the time changes.


State Representative Michele Hoitenga says the time change has been a nuisance to workers and students across the state for decades and the practice is antiquated and impractical.


Hoitenga says rather than end Daylight Saving Time, Michigan should remain in it all the time.


The bill has been referred to the House Commerce and Tourism Committee for consideration.


By the way, this is the time change weekend. So set your clock ahead one hour before going to bed on Saturday night.


Gov. Whitmer details proposed state budget

Governor Gretchen Whitmer presented her first budget proposal Tuesday morning.


As expected, Whitmer proposed a 45-cents-a-gallon gas tax increase. She also proposed repealing a 2011 law that eliminated or reduced exemptions from the taxation of pension and other retirement income. Whitmer also proposed doubling the earned income tax credit for low-income earners from 6 percent of the federal credit to 12 percent.


As part of the budget plan, Governor Whitmer is also requesting nearly $53-million dollars for information technology projects that could help residents and improve government operations. One of the projects includes in-car video streaming for State Police troopers to enable real-time data sharing. Another ten million has been set aside to deal with the passage of two ballot proposals that deal with the redistricting of state and congressional districts and establishes new voting rights.


There are several other projects outlined in the budget presented by the Governor. The spending plan includes a three percent increase, or about $40-million dollars, in revenue sharing to cities, counties and townships. In addition, the governor wants to spend about $23-million dollars for the Michigan Public Safety Communications System which will be used by first responders at the state and local levels and to support a new State Police trooper recruit school. Another $2.3-million has been put aside to continue testing and research on Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan’s deer population.


Governor Gretchen Whitmer plans to embark on a statewide tour today to sell the plan to residents. Whitmer plans a series of speeches, roundtable discussions and town hall meetings. The tour will be an opportunity to explain her budget for 2020 in greater detail and explain why and how she has put this budget forward. The budget tour will start today on the west side of the state.



Mecosta County Deputies looking for Walmart store theft suspect


Deputies from the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office are looking for a man they say stole thousands of dollars worth of electronics from the Big Rapids Walmart early this morning.


Surveillance video showed where a black male suspect entered the store around 3:20 am.  The unidentified male then pried open a locked case behind the employee counter and also cut a security cable to access high dollar electronics. 


The suspect then stole 5 apple watch 4th gen, 4 iPad 6th gen, 2 ACER laptops and 3 Lenovo Tab 4’s,  totaling $4,485.98. 


If anyone has any information in regards to this complaint, the Sheriff’s Office is asking them to contact the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office at 231-592-0150 or through email at



Baldwin woman slams vehicle into LeRoy restaurant Friday

Deputies in Osceola County are continuing to investigate after a elderly woman slammed her car in the front of a restaurant on Friday.


It happened at the Mr. Pibs Restaurant in the Village of LeRoy.


Deputies say a 75-year old woman from Baldwin, ran into the wall of the restaurant causing damage and injuring two people inside the restaurant.


One of those injured was taken to a local hospital with non life threatening injuries.


The investigation is still ongoing.


Gov. Whitmer to unveil state budget Tuesday

Roads and education.


Those are two areas that Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to focus on when she outlines a new budget Tuesday morning.


The Governor said nobody will be surprised she wants to fix the road and close the skills gap.


According to reports,  Whitmer wants to spend billions more to fix the roads and boost a lagging education system.


In her State of the State speech last month, the Governor talked about fixing the "damn roads," and letting high school grads go to community college for free.


The budget will be unveiled before the House and Senate Appropriations committees.


Health Department looking for Mecosta Co. residents to participate in heart health program

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded grant funds to health partners in Lake and Mecosta Counties to help reduce the rise of heart disease in adults and increase access to health care services over the next three years.


Karen Ripke with the District Health Department #10 says the Live Well For Your Heart program will allow participants to learn about leading a healthier life, ways to reduce heart disease and get those participants connected to different services like diabetes classes, weight management, high blood pressure management, dental care, tobacco use and more.


In order to participate in this program the requirements are; being between the ages of 30-74 years old, never been told you have heart disease, you live in or receive health services in Mecosta or Lake Counties, agree to complete the heart age calculator annually and agree to keep in touch with the program for the next three years (1-3 calls a year)


The deadline to sign up is April 30th.


For more information, click HERE


Frozen food recall

Another food recall to tell you about.


Boston Market recalling some of its frozen dinners after customers complained about finding glass or hard plastic pieces in the food.


Be aware if you have any Boston Market Homestyle Meals Boneless Pork Rib Shaped Patty with BBQ Sauce and Mashed Potatoes.


The packages have “best by” dates of 12-07-2019. No injuries have been reported at this time.


Downtown Big Rapids in the America's Best Main Streets Contest

Downtown Big Rapids is in the running for the fourth annual America's Main Street Contest.


The contest focuses on communities with small businesses that help their main streets do well.


The public votes for their favorite main streets with the first round of voting ending April 21st.


To vote for Downtown Big Rapids click HERE 


Run Water Advisory still in effect for the City of Big Rapids

In an update, the “Run Water Advisory” for the City of Big Rapids continues.


This comes nearly a month after the advisory was enacted for city residents.


According to City Officials, underground frost levels are still three and a half to four feet deep. Running a pencil lead-size stream of water at all times is still advised to prevent frozen water pipes.


Water bills are being adjusted for those on the Run Water Advisory List; get on the list by calling the Utility Clerk at 231-592-4005.


Polar Plunge benefiting Area 5 Special Olympics takes place Saturday

Are you ready to take the plunge? The 11th Annual Polar Plunge takes place this weekend on Chippewa Lake in Mecosta County.


The event benefits over 70 Area 5 Special Olympics athletes from Mecosta and Osceola Counties.


Registration begins at 11 a.m. at East Bay General Store, and the parade of plungers will be at 12:30 p.m.


Following the plunge, the After Splash Bash will take place at the Chippewa Lake Community Building, where awards will be given out to the groups and individuals who raise the most money.


To register or to donate to a group click HERE


Michigan to join 15 other states to file injunction against President Trump's "National Emergency" declaration

Michigan will join in a lawsuit seeking an injunction against President Trump's national emergency declaration.


Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Monday night that the state would join 15 others saying the declaration of a national emergency is a "manufactured crisis" and a "publicity stunt" that will raid federal funding and cost millions.


In a statement, Nessel said the declaration will redirect federal funding already appropriated for the state and divert it toward building a wall along the U-S and Mexico border.


Bill introduced to crack down on distracted driving

New legislation has been introduced to change the distracted driving law in Michigan.


Northern Michigan republican Representative Tristan Cole wants to add reading an email or sending a message on a cell phone to the list of banned activities for drivers.


Currently the law bans texting while driving. Cole’s plan also limits new drivers under the age of 18 from talking or listening to a cellphone call while driving except in the case of an emergency.


Another bill, introduced would increase fines for drivers who text while driving from 100-dollars to 250-dollars for first time violators.


The penalty would increase from 200-dollars to 500-dollars for a second violation.


UPDATE: Woman; three children found dead in Kent County home

The Kent County Sheriff's Department confirms the shooting deaths of three girls and their mother was a case of murders and suicide.


Investigators say Aubrianne Moore shot her three daughters, ages two, six and eight, with a hunting-style rifle in a wooded area in Solon Township, north of Grand Rapids Monday afternoon.


After the shootings, Moore put the children in her car and drove them a short distance to their home.


Moore then shot herself outside the car.



The Kent County Sheriff's Department is trying to find out what led to the shooting deaths of three young children and their mother.


The bodies were found at a home in northern Kent County, north of Grand Rapids.


Family members say the kids were two, six and eight years old.


Authorities say there were two crime scenes and the children may have been shot in a different location from where they were found.


The Sheriff, Michelle LaJoye-Young, said there is no threat to the public, and murder-suicide is one of the possibilities under investigation.


People living in the area were asked to give any security video to investigators.


State House Rep. from Manton wants to reform snow day policy for schools

A State House Republican from Manton says she's working on a policy fix for the current snow day issue affecting schools across Michigan.


Current law requires schools to hold 180 school days and 1,098 classroom hours each year to receive state funding.


Michele Hoitenga’s proposal would allow schools to choose between the two, rather than mandating they meet both requirements.


Hoitenga says “Schools should never be put in a situation where they must sacrifice the safety of their students to ensure funding from the state.”


The representative spoke with superintendents throughout the district to weigh every option; this plan being one of them.


Hoitenga said she would like to see a change like this be retroactive to ensure schools maintain current funding for the 2018-19 school year.


Mt. Pleasant man arrested in connection to armed robbery

One man is in custody while police are looking for two other suspects connected to an armed robbery in Mt. Pleasant.


Isabella County Sheriff Michael Main says deputies arrested 20-year old Douglas Gale of Mount Pleasant.


The Sheriff says an investigation started when police were called to Timber Creek Apartments early Sunday morning when the victims had posted a purposely edited image on social media as a joke, showing them with a large amount of cash.


Later, an acquaintance came to their apartment with two other men, demanding the cash they saw in the picture.


Deputies say two of them had handguns.


When the trio learned there was no money, they demanded prescription drugs and left.


The sheriff’s office says it’s currently working to identify the other two suspects in the robbery. 


Howard City man arrested on felony charges following domestic incident

A 29-year old Howard City man is behind bars awaiting arraignment after being arrested on felonious assault charges.


According to the Montcalm Co. Sheriff's Office, the incident occurred Saturday at a home on Joy Street.


Police say the 25-year old female victim called authorities after she was allegedly physically assaulted and threatened with a weapon by her boyfriend.


The suspect left before law enforcement officials arrived. The area, as well as other possible locations the suspect may have fled to, was checked.


The suspect was eventually taken into custody in Ionia by the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office.


The suspect is currently in the Montcalm County Jail charged with Assault With Intent To Do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder, Assault With A Dangerous Weapon, and Domestic Assault.


The suspect is expected to be arraigned later today.


The woman went to Kelsey Spectrum Hospital for treatment of minor injuries and was released.


Three injured in car accident in Mecosta County

Three people were taken to the hospital after a crash in Mecosta County over the weekend.


It happened Saturday night around 11:30 p.m. at 20th Avenue, north of 9 Mile Road in Wheatland Township. 


Authorities say the 20-year-old driver from Holland lost control of the vehicle while swerving for a deer and hit a large rock, causing the vehicle to roll over into a frozen creek bed.


The driver and two passengers, a 20-year-old Grand Rapids man and an 18-year-old Rockford woman, were taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.


Police looking for leads in 2017 firebombing case in Lake County

A larger reward is being offered for information in a firebombing case in Lake County.


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has doubled their reward to $10,000 and the Detroit Crime Commission is offering a reward of $5,000.


The firebombing occurred in April of 2017 when someone threw Molotov cocktails into an Idlewild home with a five year old girl sleeping inside.


Everyone escaped from the home without injury, but the home was a total loss.


Anyone with information should call 1-888-AFT-TIPS or the Lake County Sheriff's Office at 231-745-2711