Minimum wage workers in Michigan will be getting a pay hike come New Year's Day.
The state's minimum wage is jumping from the current $8.50 an hour to $8.90 an hour.
Michigan’s minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $9.25 an hour in 2018.
While worker's advocate groups continue to push for a $15 an hour, saying workers simply cannot survive on the current minimums, many business leaders oppose a big jump in the minimum wage.
The public safety director for Greenville in Montcalm County is in trouble with the law.
Fifty-one-year old Mark Reiss is being charged with health care fraud, along with his ex-wife, charges that carry up to 4 years in prison.
Officials say Reiss illegally kept his ex-wife on his health insurance plan after the couple divorced.
The situation came to light after Riess's ex-wife, Christine, filed a false claim for medical treatment she got in Grand Rapids.
Greenville's mayor, John Hoppough, says he doesn't believe Riess did anything wrong on purpose.
In an update to a recall announced earlier this month, packaged foods maker TreeHouse says more of its macaroni and cheese production may be contaminated with Salmonella. The recall is for three different macaroni and cheese dinners and cups that were distributed to retailers nationwide including the following:
Best Buy Date
Big Win Original Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
Cheese Club Express Mac Macaroni & Cheese
Great Value Macaroni & Cheese Original Cups
There have been no confirmed illnesses to date. Consumers who have purchased any of the above products are urged to dispose of or return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with any questions may call 1-800-756-5781, Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m.– 6:00 p.m. (CST).
In Michigan, lawmakers can pass legislation that they know the citizens might not like, but to prevent those citizens from launching a petition drive to undo the legislation, they can put a budget appropriation in that legislation which automatically blocks the petition drive. Governor Rick Snyder says the practice is not really blocking the will of the people.
“I wouldn't describe it that way. I don't write the bills quite often but the goal here is to say how do you implement legislation your putting in place.”
Recent examples of the practice include the law repealing the requirement that most retail items carry their own price tag, and a new tax on pensions that are both immune to a referendum.
A former tax preparer in Montcalm County may be in trouble with the IRS again.
When Karol Fitzgerald sold her home near Stanton in October, the new owner discovered boxes of abandoned tax returns in the garage containing peoples personal tax information, including some for Cedar Springs Public Schools.
The new owner notified the IRS who took the documents on Thursday.
In 2013, the feds seized tax records from Fitzgerald’s former home office in Cedar Springs.
That raid sparked a civil case and allegations Fitzgerald filed fraudulent returns that cost the government at least $11 million.
A Florida woman will sit behind bars for at least a year for her role in an armed bank robbery in Osceola County.
30-year old Melissa Renee Nudd was sentenced to between one to four years in prison for the charge of larceny in a building, and one to two years for a charge of fourth-degree fleeing a police officer.
She plead no contest to those charges earlier this month in connection to the May 26th robbery of the First Merit Bank in Evart.
Her partner in the crime, David Dingee was sentenced to between 25 and 50 years in prison for his crime back in November.
Governor Rick Snyder says he wants to save the Healthy Michigan program that has 600,000 recipients who did not have health care before. But, he says, that may be a problem heading into the new year.
“I wouldn't want to see that program discontinued. The Affordable Care Act includes a lot of things besides that though, and if you look at it, I think it could be very challenging for president-elect Trump or anyone to say how do you take these people off the roles.”
Snyder says it's doubtful that the state could afford to take over the program should the new Trump administration abolish it.
Those wanting to adopt pets, could face a background check at shelters.
New legislation signed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley will authorize shelters to do background checks before allowing someone to adopt a pet.
The bills are intended to prevent animal abusers from adopting pets.
Lawmakers initially voted to require criminal history checks but recently amended the legislation to not mandate such checks.
The bills also allow a state agency to write rules establishing minimum standards for large-scale dog breeding kennels and the housing, care and handling of animals.
A Mecosta County man convicted of breaking into a convenience store in Barryton back in August is heading to jail for at least the next two and a half years.
23-year old Shane Allen Hunt of Barryton was sentenced this week in Mecosta Co. Circuit Court for crimes connected to the break-in of the Hometown Riverside Grocery.
Hunt took a plea deal from prosecutors and pleaded guilty on one count of breaking and entering with intent and one count of safe breaking.
Prosecutors dismissed two other charges against him as part of the deal.
Two Midland natives were brought back to life by deputies in Wexford County Wednesday night after overdosing on opiates.
Police say they found a 20-year old woman and a 46-year old man inside a van breathing but unresponsive in a gas station parking lot in Clam Lake Township.
Officers administered two dosages of narcan to the victims.
The couple was then sent to the hospital for further treatment where they were released after refusing that treatment.
The case has been turned over to prosecutor’s office after controlled substances and drug paraphernalia were seized during the investigation.
If you like hunting, you have until Saturday to apply to win one of three prizes for the Pure Michigan hunt.
The package includes licenses for elk, bear, spring and fall turkey, anterless deer, and a first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area.
Winners also receive prizes like crossbows, rifles, guided hunts and cameras.
Applications cost $5 and are available online or where hunting licenses are sold.
Michigan has become home to several thousand immigrants over the past year. Last year at this time, Governor Rick Snyder was making national headlines as he called for a moratorium on new immigrants coming into the state following terrorist attacks in Paris. That moratorium never happened and Snyder says he's comfortable with that.
“I believe that they have effective review processes and such – the track record supports that.”
Snyder estimates 2,000 – 4,000 immigrants have come to Michigan this year.
Many people will be drinking alcohol while ringing in the New Year. Michigan based emergency doctor Brad Uren says he's seen the results of drunk driving first hand.
“There's really no safe amount of alcohol that you can consume and get behind the wheel. Every drink that you have makes you just a little more likely to have an accident. We've established a legal guideline, but the medical truth is that any amount of drinking can put you at a higher risk.”
The Michigan State Police advise having a plan in place and utilizing a cab or designated driver if you plan on drinking this new years eve.
The Big Rapids Elks Club is once again ringing in the New Year with a ball drop event in downtown Big Rapids.
The event starts on Saturday at 8pm and lasts until just after midnight.
Free hot chocolate and coffee will be served to attendees.
There will also be music as well.
A couple is in trouble with the law after a domestic situation in Wexford County.
It happened at a home in Liberty Township Tuesday.
Deputies say when they arrived to the scene; they made contact with a male and female who had assaulted each other.
The female subject was arrested for domestic assault while the male was arrested for domestic assault, strangulation and resisting and obstructing police officers.
The case has been sent to the prosecutor’s office for review.
Many Michigan school districts are facing a crisis because they can't find enough substitute teachers making it difficult for schools to cope when there are absences due to illness or family emergency, or for those times when a teacher needs to be away for training.
Many tie the shortages to declines in the number of people pursuing teaching as a full-time career.
Those numbers fell from over 6,000 during the 2009-10 school year to around 4,500 during the 2015-16 school year, according to the Michigan Department of Education.
The decline is often blamed on increased demands, pay cuts, weakened bargaining rights, and cuts in salaries and benefits for teachers.
A program seen by some as a basis for president-elect Donald Trump's proposed “Muslim registry” is being dismantled.
The Obama Administration is ordering the regulatory frame work for the National Security Entry-Exit Registration system to be dissolved.
The NSEERS system, which has been defunct since 2011, had required visiting males from 25 countries, nearly all of them Muslim-majority countries, to register with the U.S. government, providing background and other information beyond what’s normally required for a visa.
The program has been denounced, even by national security officials, as both logistically burdensome and ineffective in deterring terrorism.
Michigan Potash Operating LLC has already purchased about 120 acres of land within Hersey and Evart townships and has plans to construct a plant to cultivate about 800,000 tons of potash and 1 million tons of food-grade salt each year.
As a result The Environmental Protection Agency is holding a question-and-answer session, as well as a formal public hearing at Reed City High School on all injection wells proposed by the company. The Q and A session will be held on January 4th at 6:00 pm with the public hearing immediately after.
Oral and written comments will be recorded or accepted at the hearing. Public comments on permits MI-133-0004, MI-133-0005 and MI-133-0006 are open until Friday, Jan. 6. Comments can be emailed to Alan Batka at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to U.S. EPA Region 5, Mail Code WU-16J, 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604-3590.
There is a push to over-haul the state's jury duty system.
The outgoing chief justice of Michigan's Supreme Court is pushing to move the state's jury duty system to one that eases wait times.
Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. says Michigan's jury process is "extraordinarily stupid," as people often get called for jury duty only to sit around in a courthouse before being sent home.
One person is recovering after a Christmas Eve car accident in Osceola County.
It happened on 14-Mile Road near US 131 when the driver lost control on the slick road.
Police say the driver suffered a back injury from the accident.
New legislation signed by Governor Rick Snyder gives local school boards more discretion on student punishment. Under the existing Michigan law many districts had a "Zero-Tolerance" policy. Mich Association of School Administrators Executive Director Chris Wigent says he is pleased with the new bills.
“It does allow us to really make sure that we're looking at each student – their age, perhaps there's a student with disabilities, perhaps there are extenuating circumstances, or maybe it's just straight forward and we deal with it appropriately in that way too.”
Wigent says in the past the rules and guidelines were confusing and now with the new legislation school boards have to take all factors into consideration before making suspension or expulsion decisions.
Nearly 50,000 SUVs are being recalled by Fiat Chrysler.
The company says the 2016 Dodge Journeys, Jeep Compasses, and Jeep Patriots have a sensor connector that can malfunction causing the engine to either stall or fail to start.
So far, there have been no reports of crashes or injuries.
More information is available at www.chrysler.com/webselfservice/chrysler/Recall.html.
Michigan drivers will see a 20 percent hike in registration fees starting January 1st.
It’s an increase Michigan legislators voted in to provide better funding for roads across the state.
Hybrid owners will see an extra $30 tax for plug in hybrids, and $100 for pure electric cars.
The new fees will help drive about $200 million extra dollars annually into fixing Michigan's roads.
Governor Rick Snyder says he does not expect to be charged in the Flint water investigation even though his legal defense bill in the crisis has reached $4.9 million with the money coming from taxpayers.
The governor says much of the money has been spent on producing documents requested by Attorney General Bill Schuette's investigators.
Schuette filed charges against four more people this week, raising the number to 13 including two Snyder-appointed emergency managers who were running Flint when the city was using the Flint River for drinking water.
A Lake County deputy is recovering after arresting a man armed with an ax.
Deputies were called to a domestic situation in Pleasant Plains Township on Wednesday where they found the man barricaded inside a home armed with an ax and a baseball bat.
The officers had to break a window to get at the subject and one officer suffered cuts to his head as a result. The subject was tazed and then placed under arrest.
The injured deputy needed stitches but is expected to be okay.
Montcalm County officials will be swearing in its new Undersheriff today.
Lieutenant Brian Waber has been promoted to Undersheriff.
Waber has been with the Montcalm Co. Sheriff’s Department since 1986 when he was hired as a part-time deputy. Most recently Waber has been Road Patrol Lieutenant since 2013.
His official duties will begin on January 8th
A lot of changes are taking place at Big Rapids City Hall. On Monday, the City Commission passed resolutions accepting City Manager Steve Sobers letter of retirement and Assistant City Manager Mark Gifford's acceptance of the employment agreement as new City Manager offered by the City Commission. Gifford says he knows there's a lot of work ahead of him, but he's ready.
“I'm thankful to Steve, I'm thankful to the Commission, and I'm excited about the opportunity. The agreement is fine with me,” he says.
Sober's will officially retire on January 27th and Gifford will assume his new position on January 28th to give them time to effect a smooth transition. Sobers has been City Manager in Big Rapids for over 13 years and says he's never had a better job.
“Oh, this is such a great community. Mark Gifford is going to be a fabulous city manager and this is the best city commission that I've served in 40 years in work. The future's bright in Big Rapids.”
Sobers, who is from Ohio, says he and his wife, Helen, will be spending the next year or so in the Columbus area helping to baby sit his one and two-year-old grandchildren while his son is deployed to Kuwait starting in March. He also has two sisters in Cincinnati and so plans to settle down somewhere in Ohio.
Ford Motor Company is announcing two recalls.
The first is for over 8,000 2017 Super Duty trucks that do not contain a proper fuel tank strap reinforcement.
Separately, it’s recalling about 1,300 2016 Ford Taurus sedans, 2016-17 Flex crossovers, 2017 Explorers and Police Interceptor Utilities and 2016-17 Lincoln MKT crossovers with leaky turbocharger oil supply tubes.
Ford said it is not aware of any fires, accidents or injuries related to either issue.
New budget rules proposed for Congress could bring deep, automatic cuts to benefit programs for seniors that had been exempt from those kinds of cuts until now. House budget chair Tom Price has said he would like to see reductions in Social Security and Medicare benefits.
David Reich with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says Price has proposed strict caps on all spending that would kick in if the deficit goes up – even due to tax cuts. And Reich says unlike past budget battles, Price wants Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block.
"What if Congress decides to enact large additional tax cuts? His document says we really shouldn't exempt anything."
Reich says Price's proposal is slanted strongly in favor of tax cuts – even to the extent of possibly cutting seniors' benefits to pay for them.
Medicare and Social Security are both popular, and have their own dedicated sources of revenue. As a result. they have been largely exempt from recent congressional tax and spending fights. And Reich says under the current "pay as you go" budget rules, Congress does not allow itself to increase spending or cut taxes without offsetting the cost. He says Price would break both precedents.
Big Rapids Parks and Recreation officials are gearing up for the grand opening of the Hemlock Park Ice Rink Thursday.
Parks and Rec. Director Heather Bowman says a grand opening event will take place from 4-5:30pm.
Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba will be on hand for the event.
Prizes will be given away and refreshments will be served to attendees.
Wexford County has a new sheriff in town.
Trent Taylor was sworn in Monday as Wexford County's Sheriff.
He takes over for retiring Sheriff Gary Finstrom.
Taylor was most recently the undersheriff in Wexford County and started his career with the office in 1992.
He officially takes over Jan. 1.
A Big Rapids man sits in jail on two-million dollars bond after being charged with sex crimes.
32-year old Michael James Carpenter is charged with one count of possession of child sexually abusive material and one count of using a computer to commit a crime.
Carpenter was previously convicted of possession of child sexually abusive material in Mecosta and Grand Traverse County, according to court documents.
The Big Rapids man is expected to be back in court next month.
The Mecosta County Parks Commission is looking forward to the new year. The Commission held it's final meeting of 2016 on Tuesday and noted progress on a number of initiatives.
Plans to begin improvements on the boat launch at Brower Park were approved and installations of the new septic system at School Section Lake Veterans Park, installation of WIFI at Brower Park, and a new web site among other projects and improvements are on track.
Park Superintendent Jeff Able says Mecosta County's parks are getting a reputation.
“Coming off two great years in a row. We had a very good 2015, a lot of people in the parks and that equates to a lot of revenue that we're able to turn back in and we're having an even better 2016 than we had 2015.”
And, he says, the future looks bright.
“The reservations as far as seasonals that we have on the books for 2017 are very promising that we're going to continue the trend of getting busier and busier and hopefully the improvements we're making are part of the return of the clientele that we're seeing.”
Abel notes that revenues this year compared to the same time last year are up $104,000 and last year was a record breaking year.
The GOP leader in the Michigan Senate says he will try to overturn last week's court decision that potentially takes all guns out of schools. Arlan Meekhoff says a school without guns is defenseless.
“I think it's now a criminal empowerment zone. That's where criminals will go because they know there's no resistance and that's a danger to our kids,” he says.
While state law allows individuals with concealed pistol licenses to openly carry their firearms in schools, the Michigan Court of Appeals decision ruled that law does not preempt school districts from enacting their own firearms policies.
The Salvation Army in Big Rapids is heading into the final stretch of its red kettle campaign and its needs your help more than ever to reach its fundraising goal.
According to development director Chris Vallette of the local Salvation Army they are around $20,000 short of their goal.
He says there are a few factors that attributed to the shortage.
"Lack of volunteers in the final 3 weeks, poor weather, and the loss of their Newaygo Ringing Location have led to the projected shortage."
The Salvation Army is asking community members to do 1 of 2 things; give a special financial gift to the Red Kettle Campaign through donating to a red kettle, their office at 325 Linden St in Big Rapids or online at redkettlereason.org or volunteer to ring at a local red kettle.
Anyone can sign up online at www.ringbells.org or by calling 231-796-5597.
A Big Rapids resident says he's living his dream. Nick Routley was sworn in as a full time firefighter for the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety Fire Division at Monday's City Commission meeting. DPS Director Jim Eddinger says he's witnessed Routley at work.
“I did see him on top of the ladder on North 3rd a couple months ago, hanging half way off the ladder, doing way more than I would ever be brave enough to do, so I knew he was the guy to pick.”
Routley has been a Big Rapids resident his entire life and started off his career as a volunteer fireman in Big Rapids Township. He then became a part-time paid firefighter in the City of Big Rapids and says that being a full time firefighter for the city is a dream come true.
Today (Monday) is the busiest mailing day of the holiday season.
That will make this Thursday the busiest delivery day for letter carriers.
The Post Office expects 16 billion pieces of mail and packages between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.
If you absolutely, positively need to have it there before Christmas, Tuesday is the last mailing day for first class mail, though Priority Mail will still be an option through Wednesday, December 21st, and Priority Mail Express until Friday, December 23rd.
A full review of unemployment fraud cases is being called for after it was discovered that Michigan's automated system for processing unemployment insurance was wrong in flagging fraud cases 93 percent of the time.
The state reviewed cases filed between 2013 and 2015 and found that of the nearly 54,000 cases flagged a fraudulent, almost 50,000 were incorrectly identified.
Penalties and interest collected by the state from unemployment insurance fraud cases in Michigan have jumped from just over $3 million in 2011 to about $155 million this year.
Unemployment Insurance Agency spokesperson Dave Murray says that as of August 2015, the UIA no longer uses the automated system to issue fraud determinations.
Instead, trained staff investigates, reviews and makes the determination in all fraud cases, which includes the additional step of contacting the claimant and/or employer for additional information if needed.
A 61-year-old Kalamazoo man is under arrest in Newaygo County after police say they found a handgun in his vehicle.
Newaygo County Central Dispatch issued a be on the lookout for a vehicle being driven by a man who was possibly suicidal on Friday evening.
Deputies found the vehicle in Merrill Township and discovered the handgun near the man's feet.
He was arrested on charges assault with intent to murder, CCW weapon violation, and felony firearm.
A meth operation has been shut down in Osceola County.
According to police in Reed City, they received a tip about a methamphetamine operating at a home.
Further investigation revealed a small methamphetamine lab, numerous methamphetamine production components, and a small quantity of marijuana plants.
The Traverse Narcotics Methamphetamine Response Team responded to remove the components and dismantle the lab.
The investigation has been turned over to the Traverse Narcotics Team.
A judge in Isabella Co. has dismissed the case against a Big Rapids man accused of trying to take money from a Starbucks cashier in Mt. Pleasant.
According to court documents, it was determined there was not probable cause to try 36-year old Nathan Christopher Clark for attempted robbery.
Clark was arrested for attempted armed robbery but was charged in Isabella County District Court with attempted larceny from a person.
He was accused of asking a barista for money in her register while buying a cup of coffee in late September.
He allegedly told the woman he had a gun but it was “a small one” and laughing during the incident, which prompted Target employees to call 911 and resulted in police from several agencies converging on the store in Mt. Pleasant.
A winter weather advisory is in effect until 7:00 o'clock Sunday morning and people are being urged to stay off the roads. That includes Big Rapids Dial-A-Ride says supervisor Dawn Fuller.
“After careful consideration and talking with the City Manager and the street superintendent, it's just in the best interest not to put our passengers or our drivers and vehicles at risk out there.”
Fuller says they expect to resume normal operations on Monday morning.
A man accused of selling drugs back in September is once again in trouble with the law.
38-year old Mahtavis Alonzo Tate of Clio, is charged with two counts of possession of less than 50 grams of cocaine with intent to deliver.
The felony charges against Tate stem stem from a large drug bust by police in Big Rapids where he and another man were arrested when police found cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs along with over $42,000 at an apartment on south warren avenue.
Tate is being held on one million dollars bond.
Michigan's House and Senate have said yes to legislation that would ban tenants from smoking medical marijuana-- or growing the plant-- inside their apartment buildings.
Governor Snyder is set to sign the law this week.
The law is based on a legal opinion by Attorney General Bill Schuette who says no smoking in public areas of hotels, restaurants and the like includes tenants.
The new law wouldn't keep patients from using other forms of THC, like edibles or oils.
With winter in full swing it's a good idea to head out on the trails and give cross country skiing a shot. From trails winding through the woods to groomed trails for aggressive skate skiing, Great Lakes Winter Council president Bob Frye says there are a series of events all across Michigan this winter.
“It can be relaxing [and] recreational – and you don't have to keep up with your wife. It's OK if she skis faster. You can enjoy the trail by yourself.”
With a combined total of 51 ski areas, over 260 lifts, and about 1,000 runs, Michigan ranks second in the nation for number of skiing areas found across the state. For the latest on events and conditions on the trails around Michigan, you can go to mywintertrails.org.
A man is in custody in Wexford County after police found a “one pot” meth lab in his vehicle.
Michigan State Police say troopers stopped the man on Tuesday in Haring Township and found the meth lab along with marijuana and a quantity of methamphetamine.
He was also driving on a suspended license and had multiple contacts with police in recent weeks.
He's being held on various felony and misdemeanor charges.
The Natural Resources Trust Fund will be including an Osceola County project in its list of recommendations for 2017.
The NRTF board recommended using $300,000 to construct 11.8 miles of asphalt pathway as part of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park from Leroy to Reed City.
The project continues an effort to create a safer, more accessible surface along the trail, which connects nearly three dozen communities from Cadillac to Grand Rapids.
Michigan State Police are investigating how a man died in Selma Township.
Troopers were called to a home to do a routine investigation where they discovered John Medendorp had passed away outside of his home.
According to witnesses, Medendorp had suffered from some illnesses.
His body was taken to hospital for an autopsy.
The investigation is pending autopsy results.
The Big Rapids Middle School Band is showing some real talent and is in some very elite company. Earlier this month, 28 7th and 8th grade students were nominated to perform with the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association Honors Band, and just this week they found out they've been selected to perform at the 12th Annual Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids.
Middle School Music Instructor Albie Todd says it's the first time the band has been selected and getting there isn't easy.
“You have to include things like the [Solo and Ensemble] Festival ratings for the past five years, you have to submit a recording, you have to get letters of recommendation from respected teachers in the field.”
Then, the band had to pass muster with a panel of music education professionals from across the state.
“There's a blind panel who listens to the recordings, so they don't know who they're listening to. They know that it's a middle school band and that's all they know,” says Todd.
Last year's conference featured approximately 9,000 teachers, administrators, students, speakers, and guests. The band will be performing at 8:00 am in the DeVos Performance Hall on Friday, January 20, 2017.
Todd says the students would appreciate a big turnout of Big Rapids residents at the concert, but for those unable to attend, there will be a preview concert at 7:00 pm on Tuesday January 17, 2017 at the Big Rapids High School auditorium.
A woman accused of murdering her husband in Newaygo County is being ordered to stand trial.
Glenna Duram faces charges of first-degree murder in the death of her husband, Martin, who was found shot five times in their Ensley Township home last year.
The crime was also noteworthy in that a pet parrot was found mimicking an argument and saying, “Don't f-ing shoot.”
However, Newaygo County Prosecutor Robert Springstead says there is enough evidence to convict without involving the bird.
Cuisinart is recalling about 8 million food processors because a blade may break off into the food.
Conair Corporation announced the recall on Tuesday after receiving 69 reports of consumers finding broken pieces of the blade in processed food, including 30 reports of cuts to people’s mouths or tooth injuries.
They were sold at department, gourmet, and specialty stores nationwide and on various websites from July 1996 through December 2015.
More information on the recall can be found by calling Cuisinart at 1-800-726-0190 or by emailing email@example.com.
Authorities are investigating the cause of a fire in Isabella County.
CGI Insulation caught on fire in Sherman Township last night, destroying crucial equipment, according to the owner.
No one was hurt and a cause has yet to be determined.
Lansing's lame duck session is quickly winding down, with two days left in the legislative term.
State lawmakers still have major items on the to-do list, including rewriting energy laws and a scaled back plan to reduce medical costs for people seriously injured in car crashes.
Bills were approved Tuesday raising the speed limits on rural highways and to give schools more leeway in "zero tolerance" expulsions and suspensions.
The Mecosta County Trail Alliance wants to make Big Rapids a Pure Michigan Trail Town.
The organization, which includes the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Parks Department, the city of Big Rapids, and the Big Rapids Jaycees, say they need a new logo and they're asking for the public's help.
Community members are asked to submit a design that would invoke feelings of nature in a combination of blues, greens, and browns.
The logo would be used for marketing and possibly on signage along area trails.
Entry forms are available at the Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce web site (mecostacounty.com), on their Facebook page, or at the chamber office at 246 North State Street in Big Rapids.
Drawings can be submitted electronically by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Designs must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017.
Officials with the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety are reminding residents to make sure your holiday decorations outside of your home are secured.
Director Jim Eddinger says in the past week, officers have taken four complaints of residents having Christmas decorations stolen from their yards while they were sleeping.
He recommends securing those decorations and reminds residents to stay vigilant and to report anything suspicious in your neighborhood.
Packaged foods maker TreeHouse has is recalling mac and cheese products saying they may be contaminated with Salmonella.
The recall is for three different macaroni and cheese dinners and cups that were distributed to retailers nationwide including, Big Win Original Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, Cheese Club Express Mac Macaroni & Cheese Dinner and Great Value Macaroni & Cheese Original Cups.
Details about how to identify the recalled products can be found on TreeHouse’s website.
Adalyn and Jackson take first place for most popular girl and boy names according to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital’s 2016 Top 10 Baby Names lists.
The Big Rapids Hospital Birthing Center delivered 536 babies to date in 2016. Of that total, 252 were female and 284 were male.
Top 10 Names for Girls in 2016
Top 10 Names for Boys in 2016
The Parent Teacher Organizations at Big Rapids Public Schools are known for their outstanding effort throughout the school year, but this year the PTOs at Brookside and Riverview outdid themselves. Superintendent Tim Haist brought that to the School Board's attention at Monday's meeting.
“We wanted to thank our elementary PTOs for organizing the Walk-A-Thon. They were able to raise over $50,000 to help support our students at Big Rapids Public Schools.”
Haist says everyone was amazed by what they were able to accomplish with this year's Walk-A-Thon which was held in October and beat last year's fund raiser by $3,000.
DTE natural gas customers in Michigan can expect their bills to increase starting this Friday.
Late last week the Michigan Public Service Commission authorized DTE to increase its rates by $122,269,000 annually effective on December 16.
This on top of a $103 million dollar self-implemented rate hike the natural gas supplier put into effect last month.
Residential customers using 100 ccf of natural gas a month will see an increase of $6.65 on their monthly bills over rates set in the last MPSC rate case, which was in December 2012.
Nurses in rural areas of Michigan may be able to practice independently of a doctor when diagnosing ailments and writing certain prescriptions.
A bill recently passed by Michigan’s House of Representatives that expands nurse's authority is designed help the three out of four Michigan counties where there's a shortage of physicians.
It would allow for the licensing and regulation of advance practice registered nurses (APRNs), a classification of nurses with a masters, post-masters, or doctoral degree in a nursing specialty.
These types of nurses are recognized in 16 states already and there is concern that nurses are leaving Michigan or deciding not to locate here because of their limited scope of practice.
Congress is considering repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act, and a new report by the Urban Institute suggests that would leave more than 887,000 children and adults without coverage in Michigan. Joan Alker with the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families says there's a lot of misinformation about who would be most negatively affected by repealing the A-C-A and it isn't just people who are low-income.
"Eighty-two percent of those losing coverage would be in working families; the majority of those are non-Hispanic whites. And 80 percent of the adults becoming uninsured would not have college degrees."
The report also shows that over a 10-year period, Michigan would lose $38-billion in federal funding to meet the health needs of its residents.
The Reed City Police Department is seeking the public's help in identifying the woman in this picture.
She is a person of interest in a purse theft and check fraud investigation.
She may live or frequent the Houghton Lake area and may also have ties in the Grand Rapids area.
The vehicle she is driving is believed to be a newer Dodge Charger black in color.
The woman has blond hair and is a smoker as she is seen in video smoking.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Reed City Police at 231-832-3743.
Michigan State police are investigating the theft of an ORV from a business in Newaygo County.
Troopers say the crime occurred around November 1st at David Allen Racing in Fremont, where a Polaris Razor, 2 seater was taken.
Troopers describe the ORV as mostly black, with red and white plastic components and equipped with high end accessories.
If you have any information about the theft or location of this ORV, call the Hart State Police Post.
The following schools have canceled classes for Monday, December 12, 2016
BARRYTON HEAD START
BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #1
BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #2
BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #3
BIG RAPIDS HEAD START #4
BIG RAPIDS PUBLIC
CROSSROADS CHARTER ACADEMY OF BIG RAPIDS
DAYSTAR CHRISTIAN ACADEMY IN EVART
EVART HEAD START
MECOSTA-REMUS HEAD START
MORLEY-STANWOOD HEAD START
NEWAYGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS
PINE RIVER AREA SCHOOLS
REED CITY HEAD START
REED CITY PRESCHOOL
REED CITY PUBLIC
ST. MARY IN BIG RAPIDS
ST. PETER'S IN BIG RAPIDS
TRINITY LUTHERAN IN REED CITY
WHITE CLOUD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Check back often as more school closings become available.
A 92-year-old man is hospitalized following an accident in Big Rapids Township.
Mecosta County Sheriff's Deputy Victor Vandertol says the man was a passenger in a car driven by a 94-year-old man from Broham.
The driver was westbound on Perry Avenue at about 3:30 pm on Thursday when he made a left turn at the intersection of 215th but failed to yield to a 22-year-old man from Kent City who was eastbound on Perry.
The victim was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
The presidential recount in Michigan is over, but the fight over who pays for it is still alive. Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein has already coughed up nearly a million dollars to pay for the recount effort in Michigan, but one state lawmaker says she needs to pay the entire bill of two million dollars or more.
“I do believe that the candidate who petitioned the recount should be required to pay the costs that have already been incurred. We have counties that have begun their recount prior to the halt, the ruling got halted, and I think those costs should be borne upon the candidate herself,” says Republican House Elections Committee Chair Lisa Lyons.
Lyons also says she doesn't see it as changing rules in the middle of the game even though state law says Stien will get a refund of some of the money she's already paid.
Employees with the Mecosta County Courthouse will be getting training on how to react and deal with dangerous situations, if they were to ever happen.
Sheriff Todd Purcell says his deputies will be educating county employees on how to deal with hostage situations or if there was a gunman in the area.
“When we started the security committee for the Mecosta County Court Building, some of the committee members wanted our office to give training to county employees when critical instances occur like an active shooter other disturbances in the county of Mecosta.”
Purcell adds the goal is to have those employees be prepared to react if ever in a critical situation and instances.
There's a new face in the lineup at the Big Rapids Police Division. Public Safety Director Jim Eddinger introduced Officer Eric Winsor to the Big Rapids City Commission earlier this week and Winsor says he's glad to be here.
“I worked in Minnesota for two years and my wife, Caitlin, got into Ferris for optometry, so that's what brought us to Michigan. She's from Michigan and [I'm] thrilled to be a part of this community and absolutely honored to be a part of this department.”
Winsor was sworn in as a Big Rapids police officer by City Clerk Tammy Gillis. Winsor's father, who was a police officer in St. Paul, Minnesota for 30 years, made the trip for the swearing in ceremony.
Several people are recovering after a car struck an ambulance in Big Rapids Township on Thursday morning.
Police say a 32-year-old woman from Grant slid through the stop sign at the end of the US 131 northbound exit ramp to Perry Avenue and hit the ambulance as it traveled eastbound on Perry.
The woman wound up pinned in her car and had to be extracted by Big Rapids Twp Fire/Rescue.
Three EMS personnel in the ambulance suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The ambulance was not in emergency mode and did not have any non-EMS persons on board.
A bill that would reduce the consequences for minors caught with alcohol in Michigan is awaiting the governor's signature.
Current law calls for those under 21 who are caught drinking to be charged with a misdemeanor, have their drivers license suspended, fined $500, and spend up to 90 days in jail.
The new bill would make a first offense a civil infraction and a driver's license would be suspended only after a second offense.
Police would request, rather than require, a breath test if they suspect a minor has been drinking and refusing that test would no longer be a civil infraction and that minor would no longer be arrested based on the results of a breath test.
Court records show there were over 9,000 first time offenders convicted in 2014.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights says 65 hate incidents were reported between the November 8th election and last week - three dozen of which occurred at schools or colleges. The news comes on the heels of a new national survey of educators by the Southern Poverty Law Center that found student anxiety and incidents of harassment also are on the rise. Spokesperson Maureen Costello says 90-percent of respondents said the election has negatively affected their schools, and many report disturbing behavior.
"Confederate flags, lots of use of the 'n' word; we've heard of Nazi salutes, swastikas and 'Heil Trump.' It just seems that the kind of civil behavior that we expect of students has completely broken down."
Costello notes the small percentage of schools reporting little impact are predominantly white or have a history of developing programs that encourage empathy and compassion.
Could Michigan highways become faster? The Michigan Senate has voted in favor of a bill that would raise the speed limits on 1500 miles of rural roads.
On 600 of those miles, the speed limit would go from 70 to 75 miles per hour.
The other 900 miles of road would see speeds rise to 65 miles per hour.
Supporters say the higher speed limits are in areas where drivers already surpass current speed limits.
A federal judge has ordered Michigan's Board of Elections to stop the state's electoral recount.
US District Judge Mark Goldsmith issued the order late Wednesday ending a previous temporary restraining order against the Board of Elections that allowed the recount to continue.
Stein can file an appeal of the latest ruling with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The much anticipated Culver's restaurant in Big Rapids Township is finally under way. Township Supervisor Bill Stanek says there's a lot of activity at their new location on Perry Avenue just east of the Meijer gas station.
“Today they poured cement – yesterday they poured footings, today they poured the foundation walls. They've been digging today for the line going in for sewer and water, so they are moving ahead full steam.”
Stanek says there were some hang-ups on acquiring the land from Meijer so they won't meet their original opening date of January 1 and a new opening date hasn't yet been set.
Business is resuming as normal after a small scare on the campus on Ferris State University late Wednesday morning.
Officials at the Ferris Department of Public Safety say an "unknown object" was discovered in the FLITE Library just after 11:15am.
The building was evacuated.
During its inestigation, law enforcement determined the object resembled a military explosive that had been deactivated and sold as a novelty device.
The object was safely removed from the building.
For the second year in a row, Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital has been named a Top Hospital by The Leapfrog Group, an organization that evaluates the safety and quality performance of U.S. hospitals.
Reed City Hospital received a Top Rural Hospital distinction, and was one of 21 Top Rural Hospitals recognized across the country.
“We’re proud to receive the Top Rural Hospital award for the second year in a row,” said Mary Kay VanDriel, president of Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City hospitals. “Our employees are focused on providing the best care for patients at Reed City Hospital.”
The selection of Top Hospitals is based on the results of the 2016 Leapfrog Hospital Survey.
The newly elected Big Rapids Township Board of Trustees say they want to get things done and that was in evidence at their first meeting on Tuesday. The Board reviewed eight departmental reports, passed nine resolutions, and approved the Township's 2017 budget among other items on the agenda. Township Supervisor Bill Stanek says the new Board comes prepared.
“So far it's been great. I appreciate the new board and they're all willing to ask a lot of questions. They've come in and looked stuff over ahead [of time] and they're ready to get rolling immediately.”
Stanek says there are there are projects and issues that the Board will have to deal with in the coming year, but he wasn't ready to tip his hand yet.
“The next big thing will be the State of the Township address and we'll probably announce some stuff in there so you've got to stay tuned for that.”
The new Board (as pictured left to right from the top) consists of Carmen Bean, Bill Stanek, Travis Williams, Penny Curry, Jerry Everett, Tony Geib, and Rene Fountain.
Now through December 16th, State Police will be paying REALLY close attention to distracted as part of a campaign they call "Get Your Head Out Of Your APP."
But MSP Lt Michael Shaw says it's not limited to drivers looking at their smartphones instead of the road.
“When they (troopers) see somebody driving distracted, being on their phone, eating a Big Mac, watching NetFlix, reading a book... they're going to radio back to an actual marked patrol car and that patrol car will come up there and affect a traffic stop.”
A recent AAA Consumer Pulse survey on distracted driving found 95 percent of Michigan residents say texting while driving is their number one concern followed by driving when tired (94%), grooming (87%) and talking on a hand-held cell phone (63%).
Cops and firefighters in Michigan are protesting Lansing lawmakers' latest efforts to rein in pensions and benefits for retirees.
Bills that were introduced at the last minute would end post retirement health care for public sector union members.
Lawmakers says the current system is underfunded to the tune of $11 BILLION dollars.
The head of the Police Officers Association of Michigan calls it "an insult to every police officer and retired police officer in this state."
The Michigan Campaign Finance Network is calling a state bill on campaign financing “Citizens United on steroids.” The bill was recently passed by the Michigan Senate and is on track to get through the House. Executive Director Craig Mauger says Citizens United at least puts a $5,000 cap on contributions, but this bill doesn't.
“The main thing about this bill that should trouble voters in Michigan or people who live here is that it specifically allows lawmakers to fund raise unlimited amounts to super PACs from interest groups.”
Mauger notes that Michigan's accountability and transparency laws rank last in the country. The bill is supported by Michigan Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof who says it's an important bill that needs to be passed in the lame duck session.
A 78-year old Lake County man is dead after his truck accidently ran over him.
Michigan State Police say the incident happened Monday on M-37 near Denmark Street, that’s where James Merbs of Baldwin appeared to be having engine problems, and was standing by his truck with the hood open.
Troopers say his truck then rolled forward over him.
Merbs later died from his injuries at Spectrum Health in Reed City.
Baring any last minute contract problems, Big Rapids has a new City Manager. The City Commission extended an offer for the position to current Assistant City Manager Mark Gifford at Monday's meeting.
“I'm very appreciative of the Commission's comments and their support and I'm hopeful but, of course, a little bit of unknown is out there but I'm excited about it,” says Gifford.
The Commission spent about a half hour discussing terms of the contract which haven't yet been worked out. Those will be hammered out between Gifford and the current City Manager, Steve Sobers, over the next two weeks. Gifford says he fully expects to formally accept the offer at the Commission's next meeting on December 19th.
He did have one thing to tell the citizens of Big Rapids however.
“Thank you! I've had just great support in this community, it's my home town, I have many, many family and friends here and I'm just very thankful for this opportunity.”
City officials began searching for a new City Manager in September after Sobers announced his retirement.
Operation C.A.R.E is designed to reduce traffic crashes and it appears to be working in Michigan.
The Michigan State Police say deadly traffic crashes during the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend are down. Preliminary numbers show six people died in six separate crashes this year, down from 11 fatal crashes in 2015.
The Combined Accident Reduction Effort has MSP troopers conduct high-visibility enforcement efforts focusing on impaired driving, seat belt use, careless driving, and speeding.
A one-year pilot program by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services designed to catch welfare recipients using illegal drugs has come up empty handed.
The MDHHS conducted suspicion-based screenings between October 2015 and September 2016 in Allegan, Clinton, and Marquette counties with no welfare recipients found to be using illegal drugs.
One person was found by a clinician who had a reasonable suspicion of use of a controlled substance but that person was taken off the welfare rolls for an unrelated reason.
Michigan's presidential recount is under way following a ruling by a federal judge.
Federal Judge Mark Goldsmith issued the ruling just after midnight in favor of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.
The ruling gives the state more time to conduct the hand recount before the December 13th deadline.
The state wanted to wait two business days to get started.
Goldsmith heard arguments over the logistics of the recount and how much the state would have to spend, but in his written opinion, he said what’s most important is the integrity of the presidential election in Michigan.
An unusual birthday in Newaygo County is giving the mother and a State Trooper something to remember.
State police say Trooper Owen McGuigan and a college intern were looking for a disabled Jeep on M-82 on Sunday.
A medical emergency had been called in to Central Dispatch and when McGuigan arrived on the scene he found a 41-year-old Grant woman in labor.
Police say McGuigan barely had time to call for an ambulance and put his gloves on when a healthy baby girl was delivered on the side of the road.
The mother and the baby were taken to a local hospital and are reportedly in good condition.
A woman from Barryton is heading to jail after taking a plea deal from Mecosta Co. Prosecutors on embezzlement charges.
57-year old Mary Grein is going to jail for the next 30 days.
The charges stem from a lengthy investigation by the Mecosta Co. Sheriff's Office that lead to Grein’s arrest for having embezzled from her former employer, Riverside Hometown Grocery in Barryton.
Grein was also ordered by the Court to pay $865.00 fines & costs, $522.00 restitution, and perform 80 hours of community service.
Emergency public warning siren systems near Consumers Energy’s Rogers, Hardy and Croton hydroelectric generating plants on the Muskegon River will be tested on Thursday, Dec. 8, 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 tests.
The siren systems are tested each August and December.
Weather conditions were a cause of a car accident in Mecosta County’s Colfax Township Sunday night.
It happened on McKinley Rd/130th Ave. That’s where deputies say a Rodney man lost control of his vehicle on a snowy road.
The vehicle ran off the road, hit an embankment, and overturned.
The driver and a passenger were transported to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
An apparent stabbing near Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant early Sunday morning.
Police say it happened outside a home when two men got into a fight over a girl and one had what appeared to be a knife wound to the chest.
He was taken to the hospital and the other man was arrested.
In Osceola County, a domestic violence call to police turned into a drug investigation.
Deputies say they received a call a involving a domestic violence complaint Sunday.
When they arrived to the scene, they discovered chemicals and tools to make methamphetamine.
Officials from the Traverse Narcotics Team were called in to dispose of the chemicals.
The investigation is ongoing.
Over 680,000 midsize sedans are being recalled by Ford for seat belt problems.
The recall covers certain 2013 to 2016 Fusions, 2013 to 2015 Lincoln MKZs and 2015 and 2016 Ford Mondeos.
Ford says pre-tensioners in the seat belts may malfunction meaning the seat belts would not hold people in the event of a crash.
Dealers will fix the problem at no cost to owners.
The second person accused of robbing a bank in Evart earlier this year is pleading no contest.
Thirty-year-old Melissa Renee Nudd of Pompano Beach, Florida pleaded no contest to one count of larceny in a building and one county of fourth-degree fleeing a police officer on Friday.
Her co-defendant, David Dingee, reached a plea deal with the court in October.
Nudd's deal stipulates a minimum of one year and one day to a maximum of four years in prison.
An Isabella County man is recovering after shooting himself.
Isabella County Sheriff Michael Main says the accident happened at around 7:30 Friday morning when the 81-year-old shot himself in the lower left leg with a medium caliber handgun.
He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Police say it was an an accidental discharge of a weapon that was believed to be unloaded at the time.
The presidential recount in Michigan is going ahead following a deadlock vote over an objection filed by the Trump campaign.
The four member Michigan Board of Canvassers voted 2 – 2 on Friday on a motion to adopt the objection meaning the recount will move forward.
However, the board is still trying to decide if the roughly 4.8 million ballots should be recounted by hand or by machine.
And, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a court challenge against the recount.
Officials say the earliest the recount could get underway is this Tuesday.
President-elect Donald Trump has picked his top defense policy advisor in retired Marine General James Mattis.
Trump made the announcement of Mattis as the new Secretary of Defense during a rally last night in Ohio.
Prior to being picked by Trump, Mattis was the commander of the U.S. Central Command until he retired in 2013.
An aggressive plan to limit retirement health care benefits for police officers, firefighters and other government workers in Michigan is being considered by lawmakers in Lansing.
Under the plan, a local unit of government would be prohibited from paying more than 80 percent of retiree health care costs if its program is funded at less than 80 percent of outstanding liabilities.
Bill sponsor Earl Poleski says health care costs continue to rise while revenues remain static which is not economically sustainable for local municipalities.
Attorneys representing the Michigan Republican Party and the Trump campaign are moving to block the presidential vote recount in Michigan.
An objection has been filed stating Michigan law requires a candidate to be “aggrieved” to be able to file for a recount and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who requested the recount, cannot claim to be an aggrieved candidate.
Michigan's Secretary of State issued a statement saying the Board of State Canvassers must resolve the complaint within five days and is scheduled to consider resolution of the objection tomorrow (Dec. 2). If the objection is not adopted by the board, the recount will commence on the second business day following the board's decision. If the board adopts the objection, the recount will be ended.
Around one in seven Michigan residents receive Bridge Card benefits, but that number may be going down because the state's economy is improving.
A rule change by the Department of Health and Human Services means able bodied participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will need to work and average 20 hours per week, attend an employment and training program, or participate in community service by volunteering at a nonprofit organization in order to receive benefits.
Since 2002, Michigan has had a waiver from the federal government that allows able-bodied adults without dependents to get SNAP benefits indefinitely regardless of whether they work because Michigan's unemployment rate was above the national average.
The new rules are scheduled to be phased in starting January 1st.
The Mecosta County Clerk is making plans on how she and her office will tackle nearly 17,000 ballots during Michigan’s first ever presidential election recount.
Marcee Purcell says she plans on hiring 12 people with election experience to hand count each ballot from 22 election precincts in the county.
Purcell says this will certainly be a new challenge for her.
“This is my first ever recount, so I don’t know what to quite expect, it will be a learning experience.”
Purcell said she’s hoping the recount will take two days to complete.
The Mecosta County Board of Commission approved up to $5,000 for recount expenses.